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Formative Armour. A History Of Space Marine Power Armour.

Discussion in 'Space Marines' started by The-Mad-Magos, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. This article is based on an article originally written by Rick Priestley in the late 80's early 90's, I have adapted to update and add in the latest information whilst hopefully presenting it in a concise and easy to understand format.
    As such it may be superseded by official Games Workshop publications.

    Formative Armour A History of Space Marine Power Armour.
    Based on an article by Rick Priestley.

    Most humans who have any contact with Space Marines will know and recognise the most common types and patterns of Space Marine armour quite readily. However, there are other older types, patterns and marks which remain in service to this day and which are very different in their design. Some Space Marine Chapters use only a single type of armour while others make use of several different types.

    Many of the older variants have special associations for particular Chapters and may be worn by ceremonial guards or by elite units for example. Other Space Marine Chapters are less formal in their use of armour, mixing various types and marks into their fighting units with little or no regard for conformity. The degree of uniformity within a Space Marine Chapter varies a great deal from Chapter to Chapter and is often determined by historical precedent or tradition.

    The initial evolution of Space Marines and their armour occurred during the long period of Earth's isolation that preceded the rise of the Imperium and which later became known as the Age of Strife.

    The Age of Strife lasted from approximately the 26th millennium to the beginning of 31st (ie. roughly from 25000 AD to 30000 AD - further references to dates are given in terms of millennia). During these five thousand years the ancient pan-galactic human civilisation of the past broke down and was replaced by many thousands of local civilisations based around either a single solar system or, occasionally, a small cluster of nearby stars. The reason this happened is that warp travel (the means by which spacecraft travel throughout the galaxy) became dangerous and eventually impossible due to colossal disturbances in the fabric of the warp. These disturbances, known as warp storms, were caused by the growth of the Chaos Power Slaanesh.

    During the Age of Strife, Earth and the other planets of the Terran solar system were unable to communicate with other human worlds beyond the system, but maintained contact with each other. For much of this period the government of Earth held sway over the entire system, at other times Mars and the Moon were dominant.

    For much of the time the different worlds found themselves at war. During the 28th millennium Earth government broke down completely and the planet divided into dozens of inter-warring nations. After two and a half thousand years of continuous warfare little remained of the once sophisticated civilisation of the past. The planet had become a battleground fought over by techno-barbarian warlords and their warrior hordes. This was a dark time for the people of Earth: a time dominated by brutal rulers like Kalagann of Ursh, Cardinal Tang, and the most infamous of all, the half-mad half-genius Narthan Dume Tyrant of the Panpacific Empire. It was against this background of techno-barbaric warfare that the first Space Marines were created and the first Space Marine Armour type developed.

    Mk I, Thunder Armour


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    Powered armour was originally developed before the Age of Strife and was included in the STC system. In fact it was so widespread that this is the sort of armour worn by virtually all the techno-barbarian warriors that dominated the Earth during the Age of Strife.
    So when the Emperor began his conquest of Earth his retinue was equipped and armed in the same way as those warriors of other Warlords. The power armour they wore was not the single enclosing power suits of later ages and advanced STC's but more basic forms.
    As such they offered no atmospheric protection or life-support facilities, these being unnecessary whilst fighting within the atmosphere of planets like Old Earth.

    The armour itself was of a fairly standard design with variances to the exact design due to the fact that their production was usually on a local basis, and they conformed to the personal tastes of the maker and commissioner.
    All types of this armour had certain pieces, underlying technology and design ethos in common. The helmet was conical based with a rounded top, round ear guards/filters and were open faced with some form of a clear visor, plus there was some form of adornment with typical examples being a topknot or a horse hair crest in the ancient Greco-Roman style. The main part of the armour was a massive powered torso, with a cuirass over it enclosing the chest and arms. Beneath this cuirass are the coiled energy cables that transmit power into the arms, effectively multiplying the wearers strength and fighting abilities by as much as three or four times.

    During the long period of the Unification Wars most fighting consisted of close combat, with warriors preferring to look the enemy in the eye, rather than use long range weapons, therefore the power of a warrior’s chest and arms was of paramount importance. This not to say Bolter weapons weren't employed.
    There was also the backpack, which provided the suit with power. Most of its bulk being occupied by cooling mechanisms meant to prevent the power unit from overheating.
    The warriors legs are not powered at all, but enclosed in tough padded breeches sometimes the warrior wears armoured greaves and armoured boots. These were not standard by any means, but were worn by many of the better equipped warriors and were common amongst the early Space Marines.

    The Emperors warriors bore his personal Thunderbolt and Lightning emblem on their breastplates in those days, predating the Imperial eagle which only became the symbol of the Imperium much later, and leading to the armour's common name of Thunder Armour and those that wore it the Thunder Warriors. By the latter stages of the wars to unify the Solar system the Emperors forces also had thigh armour, armoured boots and greaves, bearing a derivative of the Thunderbolt & Lightning emblem, as part of their armour.
    Warriors equipped this way fought during all the Emperor’s wars on Old Earth, as well as those on the Moon, Mars and other terraformed worlds of the Sol system which had Earth-type atmospheres at this time.

    This armour was originally equipped to the Emperors techno-barbarian forces, then to the Thunder Warrior regiments, the Custodian Guard and, when they were eventually created, the regiments of the Legiones Astartes. Space Marines were provided with this suit as their first armour.

    Mk I Armour was rarely seen worn by Space Marines near the end of the Great Crusade, though it does form the basis of the Custodian Guards Armour, and is unlikely to be seen at all on the 41st Millennium battlefield, though ceremonial units are sometimes equipped with them.

    It is safe to say that most if not all Imperial power armour is based, at least in part, from this type of armour.
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  2. Mk II, Crusade Suit

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    Once the Terran system was secure and the process of rebuilding was firmly in hand, the Emperor and his forces could look to Galactic conquest. Even before the Warp Storms and the Age Of Strife had ended, the Emperor had started to make provisions for his Great Crusade. Part of these plans included re-equipping the Space Marine Legions with a more sophisticated combat armour suitable for the hostile environments and forces they would face.

    With its advanced technology, the newly compliant Mars became the centre for the development of munitions and military technology. A new type of armour was developed and produced in great numbers in the Martian factories, under the direction of the Adeptus Mechanicus. This enabled the entire Space Marines Corps to be re-equipped.

    This new type of armour was totally enclosed and life-sustaining, so therefore suitable for fighting on alien worlds and in the depths of space.
    It has, as part of its integral design, an arrangement of articulated hoop-shaped plates for ease of movement, similar to the ancient Roman Loricum Segmentata (or Lorica Segmentata), with the plates now protecting the arms and legs as well as the chest. This design has visible additional energy cabling for the legs whilst the chest coils are enclosed by the armoured plates. Mk I armour had deliberately placed the chest coils on the outside to help keep the armour cool, but the more efficient coolers of the Mk II did away with this necessity leaving only a few cables partially exposed.

    The backpack retained a similar shape to its predecessor but was much more efficient and contained all the extra equipment needed to maintain life-support, air recycling, fluid recovery, plus various automatic medical functions, which have remained common to Space Marine armour ever since.

    The Mk II’s helmet came fitted with automated sensory devices, developed in the Martian workshops. These consist of external sensors that gathered Audiovisual input from the immediate environment, effectively acting as eyes and ears. The input gathered by this method is then processed by a computerised unit and transmitted directly into the wearers brain via as neural connector. This allowed the wearer to seemingly see and hear quite normally for an Astartes whilst providing the ability to see into the Infra-Red and Ultraviolet spectrum of light, and hear a broader frequency of sound than normal. A plus is that the wearer can also selectively filter or enhance an image or sound.

    If exposed stimuli beyond tolerance limits, IE. blinding lights and deafening noises, these systems acted to prevent damage and dampened down the incoming signal.

    This type, and variants, were used throughout the Great Crusade. Many Legions, and subsequently Chapters, maintain that it is the most efficient basic design of Space Marine armour due to range of movement it provided the wearer. Although the overlapping plates were and are notoriously difficult to repair making the armour difficult to maintain.
    Examples of this armour, much repaired and carefully maintained, are still used in small numbers, by those Space Marine Chapters who have them, into the 41st Millennium. Also some helmets were later retrofitted with the dual eyes lenses of subsequent marks.


    During the early stages of the Great Crusade, especially the initial actions of the Inner Galactic wars, it was concluded that a heavy armour type of suit was needed to supplement the Mk II and even take the leading role it in certain situations, tunnel fighting and boarding actions for example.
    Whilst a new suit design was under development to fulfil this role, the artificers of the Space Marine Legions found a stopgap. Basically they took the armour plates from the Mk I suit and attached them to the Mk II on the chest and legs, thereby increasing its forward protection. In some cases they even created a hybrid or artificer helmet, usually based on the Mk I with either a Mk II face plate, a Death Mask, or a hideous face mask akin to the Oni style of ancient Nippon.
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  3. Mk III Iron Suit (Armorum Ferrum)

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    The Mk III armour variant dates from the Inner Galactic wars between the Emperor’s forces and the inhabitants of worlds close to the Galactic core, including many Squat worlds, not all of which were entirely pleased to find themselves the object of galactic reconquest, and Xenos races. Mark 3 armour was never intended to replace its predecessor, but to provide an optional heavy armour type suitable for fighting on board spacecraft and in tunnel complexes. High casualties suffered in such situations demonstrated a need for such armour, and thus the Mk III was born. Considerable emphasis was placed on frontal protection, whilst the rear armour plates could be lightened to compensate. This armour was believed to be ideal where cover was limited and combat was a matter of frontal assault plus it works well with Boarding Shields.

    The basic design of the suit is a heavily modified derivative of Mk II, with the addition of fixed armour plates to the body and limbs, flexible joints for the limbs, plus a new heavily armoured helmet. This type of modification may have originally been due to an improvisation performed by artificers and techmarines to deal with the conditions faced during the Inner Galactic Wars. The sloping plates of this new helm were intended to deflect shots to the left or right, and was to inspire similar features in the Mk IV and Mk VI helmet designs.

    Like its predecessor it is questionable how integral this was to the original design, and may have due to the belief that it provided greater protection without the neck seals. It is also possible that like the Mk II, this was a feature unique to certain early examples where a higher level of protection was needed, like those Mk III suits used specifically in Boarding Units. This feature was superseded by more elegant design solutions.
    No Space Marine forces were equipped solely with this mark and surviving examples are seen even in the 41st Millennium, many modern Chapters still use Mk III armour for boarding actions, tunnel fighting and similar combat situations, though these may be modified to individual chapters tastes.

    Whilst a successful solution to a specific need, the Mk III was considered too clumsy and uncomfortable for everyday use.
    As the most visually brutal of all Marine armour, it is favoured by some Chapters and does get used as a basic uniform for ceremonial guards for many more. It is also the preferred armour for Boarding squads.
    The name Armorum Ferrum, or Iron suit, derives from its great strength.
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  4. Mk IV, Maximus Suit

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    The Great Crusade lasted for approximately 200 years, towards the end of which came a period of consolidation. At this time the Legions were scattered far and wide throughout the known galaxy as part of the Expeditionary Fleets, plus many now serving as garrison forces rather then crusading and campaigning armies.
    Much of the equipment of the past was rapidly wearing out, especially the earlier suits of power armour produced on Mars.
    Whilst some Legions chose to continue local production and maintenance, the Martian factory hives of the Cult Mechanicus set about development and production of a new suit of armour. This was to become the Mark 4 or Imperial Maximus suit.

    The main design change of the Mk IV was to abandon the separate abutting or overlapping plates of previous designs, in favour of larger inflexible armour casings incorporating the flexible joint design that was originally developed for the Mk III. The resulting armour was only marginally less mobile than earlier types, and considerably easier to mass produce and maintain.
    Technical secrets and STC's uncovered on newly conquered worlds, enabled the Martian Labs to further develop more efficient composite armour for the suits, improving the quality of protection whilst reducing the suits weight at the same time. Improved armour sheathing of the power cables enabled the main arm and chest supply to be safely relocated to the exterior of the armour, whilst new construction materials and methods allowed the size and number of cables to be reduced.

    The Mk IV’s helmet was an entirely new design, with the first designs basic shape inspired by the sweeping front of the Mark 3. Thought the Mk IV-a helmet owed its design to the Mk III, the subsequent designs of Mk IV helmets, -b -c -d, owed their shapes to other design factors.
    In some examples of the earliest Mk II and III helmets, the helmet seemed to be fixed in place with the wearers head free to move inside, not unlike a primitive diving suit, though this feature was quickly superseded in these two suits. The Mk IV, and all subsequent designs, use close fitting helmets that moved with the wearers head. This facility reflected the increasing experience with neural connector gear and new materials, by the designers and constructors.

    The Mark 4 armour was designed to be the ultimate and final design of Space Marine armour of its time, able to offer the best protection in a variety of conditions.
    The Martian factories were turned over to its production and many Legions were entirely or partially re-equipped with it as their standard armour.
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  5. Mk V, Heresy Suit

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    The General issue of the Mk IV suit was incomplete when the Horus Heresy erupted. This threw the entire Mk IV supply program into turmoil. In fact many of the most recently equipped Legions joined Horus in rebellion, while many loyalist Legions were forced to continue using the older marks of armour. The resulting confusion was considerable. The Space Marine armourers (Techmarines and Artificers) had hardly grown familiar with the new armour, and many were as yet unable to properly maintain, let alone duplicate it, as was originally intended.

    With the Mk 4 newly in service, the need for large amounts of Mk IV spares had not been anticipated, resulting in suits rapidly becoming unusable due to even quite minor battle damage. It was soon found that the new and rather specialised materials used in construction of the Mark 4, were generally unavailable locally, and this increasingly became a problem as Legions moved from battle-zone to battle-zone. Loyal Imperial forces were soon forced into a fallback position.
    Mass production of Mk IV armour was suspended indefinitely, and a new type of armour was 'designed' literally overnight to address the situation at hand, improvised suits of armour made from what was at hand and could be easily acquired. This armour was designated the Mk 5 or Heresy suit.

    Mk V, out of necessity, used as many pre-Mk IV components as possible. Large stocks of such existed and the Marine armourers were already familiar with their application.
    Once supplies of the new materials used for the Mk IV armour dried up, it became necessary to re-use older substances. The Mk IVs lighter chest, arm and leg cabling were replaced by older and heavier style cabling manufactured from more readily available materials. These cables were all now exposed, due to being to bulky to fit under the new style chest plate. This was a consistent weak spot in the design, leading to the fitting of various forms of improvised extra chest armour to protect them.

    A distinguishing feature of the Mk V was the heavily studded armour plates. This was an attempt to reinforce the Mk IV pattern plates when inferior materials were used, due to lack of proper supplies. An extra skin of plate was fitted using molecular bonding studs.
    The extra weight could be considerable, especially if further chest armour had been added, leading to increased pressure for energy from the power pack. As a result the wearer either had to turn up the power output and suffer from heat build-up, or leave the power settings as it was and accept reduced power levels.

    The helmet associated with the Mk V was a spin-off from the Terminator development program, an early type of post-Cataphractii helmet design, sharing the same type of auto-sense components as contemporary Terminator suits and fitting a respiration unit. Such respiration systems, such as the M.30 'Mantilla' pattern unit and the 'Sarum' type face mask appear to be an uncommon contemporary with the Mk IV helmet, maybe even dating from earlier in the Great Crusade, but would later become standard issue for the Mk V.

    Being something of an improvised stop-gap, it was common for Mk V suits to vary a great deal. Where Mk IV helmets, armoured plates and cabling were available, these were often used.

    Despite an inauspicious origin, the Mk V armour proved remarkably durable plus equally important, it was easy to produce and maintain. Huge quantities were shipped out to various Legions during the Heresy, including to Legions which subsequently joined the Warmaster. As Horus’s own supply position became tenuous, armour was scavenged from fallen enemies and used by his forces, leading to an increasing number of Mk Vs within the Warmaster's Legions.
    After the Heresy the vast majority of the Mk V suits were broken up or dismantled to provide spares. There are Chapters that maintain examples of the design, with entire suits retained in honour of the Heroes who wore them, many seemed to prefer to forget the dark days of the Heresy.
    Traitor Legions may still be equipped with Mk Vs, though they may be unrecognisable as such due to the influence of the warp.

    It should be noted that this design of armour may have been derived, at least in part, from improvised suits of armour that pre-existed the Horus Heresy, and there were cases were such improvised suits of armour were just re-classified as Mk V's.
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  6. Mk VI, Corvus Suit

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    At the same time as Mk IV armour production was suspended, work was begun on a long term development program to replace it with a more durable and easier to mass produce suit. The Mk V was only ever perceived as a stop-gap design. The weapon development workshops on Mars began to experiment with a mixture of new and old technology, making the newer materials more durable where possible.

    A notable feature of the resulting armour type, and its successors, is the provision of dual technology circuits. These permit relatively rare or sophisticated functions to be temporarily replaced or repaired using common components or very simple technology. Although development was incomplete, the new armour was rushed into production during the advance of Horus’s forces throughout the Solar System. Hastily equipped Space Marines wore the new style Mk VI armour into battle while the development laboratories were disassembled and prepared for transport to Terra. During the Martian campaign the traitor forces eventually overran the production facilities for Space Marine armour and soon began to manufacture new suits for their own use, a large proportion if not all being Mk VI. Consignments were distributed to other forces in the Galaxy, so that this new type of armour became relatively prominent.

    Distinguishing features of the Mk VI are its relatively clean appearance, due to rehousing the main power cables under the armour plates. The exterior chest and arm cables are duplicated under the chest plate and are automatically isolated from the main system if damaged, thus providing a failsafe and overcoming one vulnerability of the Mk V.

    The helmet is an improved version of the Mk IV, -b -c -d patterns rather than a new type, and may have been in use already possibly even under the name Corvus, although a new type was under development and would be used in its successor.

    The left shoulder armour retains the same construction method as the earlier Mk V, generally for the same reasons. Where supplies of material were short it is the right side of the warrior which needs the greater protection while he fires his weapon, thus the left side could be most easily replaced by slightly less effective plates. The need to economise in this way was very real at the time.
    Later the studded pad became associated with the Defence Of Terra Campaign, and the final heroism of the Space Marines, so that it became a traditional emblem and act of remembrance of those days.

    The name Corvus derives from the fact that the Raven Guard were the main Legion to field test the prototype suits during the late Great Crusade. Plus they were also the first Legion to be officially issued with Mk VI.
  7. Really good info on the armor suits Mad Magos :) I was just talking to someone about armor patterns and their differences the other day. Solid job on this. :)
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  8. Mk VII, Armorum Impetor or Eagle Armour

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    During what would become the final battle of Mars, the Imperium realised the planet would eventually fall and so set about duplicating and transferring the munitions and weapon production lines to Terra.
    The armour development teams were transferred wholesale, to continue the ongoing development program, and incorporate their latest work into a new armour type.
    As Horus’ forces finally overcame the defenders of Mars, new Mk VII suits began to reach the Space Marines on Terra and the Moon. The Mk VII represents the fulfilment of the new design program which was really only half complete in the Mk VI. In fact, so effective is the Mk VI, that both types continued in service thereafter, so that many Legions and Chapters chose to continue with the Mk VI rather than adopt the Mk VII.

    The main design improvement of the Mk VII is the newly designed chest plastron, which covers the chest and arm cabling. This bears the Imperial Eagle device (Aquila) and gives the armour its common name of Armorum Impetor or Eagle Armour.
    The other main difference is the abandonment of the studded shoulder pad, and the substitution of the new helmet for the Mk IV derived model. Improvements were made to the knee joint articulation, but this design modification had already been incorporated into many of the later Mk VI suits.
    On the whole it is fair to say that Mk VII represents the final development of the Mk VI, and that the two sets of armour have a great deal in common. Parts from one are readily interchangeable with parts of the other, so that for example a Mk VII helmet will fit a Mk VI suit, and vice versa.
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  9. Mk VIII, Errant Armour

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    Not much is known about this pattern of armour beyond speculative reasoning, but In the millennia since the Heresy there has been some further developments of power armour, though this new suit may be considered more of a refinement of Mk VII rather than an entirely new design. These refinements generally take the form of increased protection of the wearer with some dedicated towards increasing ease of movement.
    The obvious difference between the two suits are primarily protective, a piece of armour covering the inside ankle joint which may also increase flexibility of this joint, Mk III-like vambraces covering the forearms, an armour plate that covers the power cables on the stomach, a gorget increasing protection to the neck joint and lower part of the helmet, and finally a helmet which seems to owe a lot to that of the Mk VII's.
    Plus there are probably improvements to the inner workings of the suit.


    Pre-Existing Armour Elements

    It should be noted that certain elements of armour existed before the suit they are associated with. For example, Though the Corvus Helm is most associated with the Mk VI or "Corvus" Armour it actually was part of the Mk IV development project. This means that the Corvus helm could have been in use shortly after the Mk IV went into production, which would explain why there are reports that it was seen during the early stages of the Horus Heresy.

    This pre-existence is probably due to number of processes, one example being where innovations are created by Techmarines and artificers when faced with a problem or problems, which were then incorporated in some way into a later Marks. This kind of development is believed to have led to a hybrid of Mk I/II suits and may have contributed to the final design of the Mk III.
    Another process is due to the possibility that experimental armour pieces or entire suits were issued to combat units for field testing. This would explain why elements of an armour turn up before the armour has finished its design process.
    Then there is the Sarum patterns, which were originally developed by a faction of the Adeptus Maechanicus on the Forge World Sarum and initialy used by the World Eaters Legion during the Great Crusade.

    For a Mk V, being mostly improvised with established components like the Sarum Mask, the former is most likely, whilst the latter is more probable for the Mk VI.


    Legion & Chapter Variants

    The original seven basic marks of Space Marine armour were all developed up to and during the period of the Horus Heresy. During the production history of each mark various improvements were incorporated in the light of experiences in the field, combat doctrine and resources available. Thus there is a certain degree of variation, even within each mark, peculiar to companies, Chapters, and pre-second founding Legions. Though these variations are usually limited to the types of material used or a design ethos rather than to stylistic changes. This did not prevent some Legions utilising a particular style of variant to the near exclusion of others or even producing their own unique armour patterns.
    An excellent example of this would be the Phoenician pattern helmet, a variant unique to the Emperor's Children Legion of the Great Crusade era awarded as a badge of valour.
    Then there is the Praetor Pattern suits developed by the Ultramarines and offered to the Mechanicus as a new Mark, though that failed.

    Following the end of the Heresy much in the Imperium changed, including the organisation and number of the Space Marine forces. Whereas before this time there had only been twenty Legions of the first founding, the huge Pre-Heresy sized forces were broken up into many smaller Chapters. These new Chapters of the second founding were equipped with whatever suitable armour and weaponry was available. For the most part this comprised Mk VI and VII armour with modern weaponry, but with a fair sprinkling of older types, patterns and marks.

    Since that time each chapter has largely taken over the production of its own equipment. That is not to say that every Chapter produces every single item of hardware it uses, much is still produced by the Mechanicum. Some Chapters trade items with brother Chapters, or commission work from local fabricators. This latter option is especially common where Chapters hold governorship of the world they are based on, and as such is effectively owned by Chapter with its resources organised by the Space Marines as they wish. For Chapters with operations more mobile, supplies are usually procured through the Adeptus Mechanicus and from Forge Worlds.
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  10. Marine Artificers

    Within each Chapter the Space Marine's armour is maintained by the Techmarines and skilled Artisans referred to as Marine Artificers. These Artificers are not Space Marines themselves, but highly trained and dedicated craftspeople who can spend their entire lives working for the Chapter. Artificers are just one of the myriad type of ‘civilian’ servants who work for their Space Marine masters.
    In some Chapters these Artificers traditionally work together in a single huge workshop with their products distributed amongst the Chapter as a whole. In others, individual Artificers are the personal servants of either a Company, Squad or individual officers. These Artificers are particularly proud of their masters, considering the status and reputation of their unit or officer to be of the utmost importance. In their turn the Space Marines are as equally proud of the Artificers, whose fine workmanship adorns their armour and weapons.
    Over the history of a Chapter especially talented Artificers become famous and justly celebrated as Master Craftsmen and women, with examples of their work being much sought after.

    In many Chapters it is traditional for Artificers to come from special families or tribal groups, with fathers passing their skills on to their sons. In other Chapters the position is open to all, but involves a long period of apprenticeship to a senior Artificer.

    The Artificers’ job is to decorate and maintain the Chapters armour and weapons. The Chapter has Engineer Adepts and Techmarines whose role is to manufacture much of the equipment, so the Artificers are involved more with decoration, engraving, customising, personalising, adapting and modifying the basic equipment.
    For example, when a Marine earns a combat honour, it is the Artificers who make the honour badge and affix it to the Marines armour. Similarly, the Artificers make rank, campaign and long service badges as well as other marks of distinction that are used by their Chapter.

    Older types of armour do become associated with the history of many Chapters and often with the deeds of heroic individuals. Artificers will carefully seek out examples of these ancient armour to use as the base on which they can engrave honour marks or purely decorative features. Such pieces will be lovingly restored, often plated with precious metals, and then painstakingly engraved with naturalistic scenes, abstract designs or Chapter badges, plus with dual technology circuits, incorporated into a Marines armour.. A piece of armour that can be shown to have belonged to an old Chapter hero is valued above all others.
    Successful Space Marine Officers and heroic individuals of a Chapter are often presented with ancient pieces of armour, and as such a single armoured plate or helmet might have a long and famous history and could have belonged to a whole succession of Space Marine heroes and been worked on by many famous Artificers.


    Individualised Armour

    As well as resurrecting old pieces of armour for notable Space Marines, the Artificers also decorate and customise new armour as well as modify armour to suit a particular individuals or needs. Usually it is only Space Marines who have earned some kind of reward or honour who would receive such items.
    As a result of their efforts over the millennia most Chapters have been in existence, it is quite common to find suits which combine elements of different marks of armour, as well as quite unique suits with custom armour plates or helmets.

    Some Chapters reserve such armour for special individuals, officers, offices within the Chapter, or high ranking commanders. There is no fixed rule on this, it is a matter of Chapter tradition and preference how such armour is used.
    However, it is generally case that very high ranking officers and officials inherit such suits of armour, which they may then combine with their existing armour so that they retain their individual honours or personal pieces of armour when appointed to a new position. They can wear the inherited suit whilst transferring across their personal awards and heraldry, or combine their own suit with the inherited armour to form a new configuration.

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    More pics here:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gagoc0077/sets/72157636502635855/
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