Hobby Blog: Progress on my Airborne Army!


Hey everyone, Reecius here to show off some pics and talk about some progress I have made on one of my armies. Yeah, you heard that right, I’ve actually gotten some hobby time in, w00t!

Finding time to work on my own stuff is very challenging these days, but I actually really love to build and paint minis. I have really been enjoying my Airborne Army as it contains many of the elements in a list that engage me. It’s a tricky army that is all about smart deployment choices, overlapping unit buffs (or, force multiplication), movement and orchestrating a group of relatively weaker units into a powerful combined arms force. Since I am farming out most all of my other projects to our Frontline Gaming Studio to finish painting, I figured I could work on this one, myself. I made some time to get some work done and am happy with the progress so far.

My red and black Astra Militarum, the Tartarus 151st, is an army I’ve had for ages. The fluff I wrote for it (and yes, I write fluff for every army I own, lol), is of a death world (Tartarus) much like Catachan but that due to the nature of its sun, plants are red instead of green. Plants are green on Earth because they reflect green light due to the chlorophyll in them. If a planet orbiting a sun with different characteristics, or differences in the atmosphere, caused other wave lengths of light to be best for photosynthesis, it is quite possible they would be any other color. Yes, I am a nerd, but it was a cool concept to me so I ran with it, lol. So, Tartarus is a planet largely covered in red forests and jungles, which is why the models in my army have red and black camouflage.

I loved the Catachan models and fluff, but also the Elysian style of airborne combat. Back in 4th ed, you could pick Doctrines for your IG army, which let you really customize them to fit your play style. So, I made my Astra Militarum army combining both! Air mobile, bad ass jungle fighters. I wanted to weave that into the fluff of my regiment along with including a Space Marine chapter that worked closely with them, too and drew recruits from the planet allowing me to use them all together. Thus was the Tartarus 151st born!

Funny enough, there actually is fluff in the GW cannon about a unit of Elysians and Catachans joining together, the 314th Prosan. Also, please note, the Red Tigers Space Marines chapter is one I made up, not actually in the fluff.

red forest

The Origins of the Tartarus Regiments

As with all Death Worlds, Tartarus is a planet most humans would not survive long on. The planet was largely unimportant in Imperial records for most of its existence as what few natural resources it did possess, were not worth the incredible risk associated with going planet side to exploit them. It was most noteworthy for serving as the last stop for convicted criminals sent there to die from populated planets in the sector whose relatively enlightened laws (for Imperial standards) prohibited capital punishment. However, with overflowing hive cities and rampant crime, sector politicians found a workaround to their dilemma: send the convicted to the (barely) habitable Tartarus and let nature take its course.

survival of the fittest

This practice went on for centuries with little thought as to the fate of the prisoners sent to Tartarus. This all changed when one Inquisitor Razmus sent  to investigate corruption at the sector capital discovered not only that the sector governor was planning to succeed from the Imperium, but that several key planets in the sector planned on joining in the uprising, as well.

With only a regiment of Elysian Drop Troops and a single company of the fleet based Red Tigers Space Marine chapter within range to react in time to prevent disaster, Inquisitor Razmus was forced to get creative. The only advantage he had was the element of surprise as his investigation had as of yet gone undetected by the soon to be rebel governments. Following his legendary intuition, Razmus began searching sector archives and came upon the history of Tartarus. Desperate to bolster his forces, he went to the planet to see if any of those sent there had survived and could be useful.

What he found astounded him. Not only were there survivors, but more than could have been possibly anticipated! Those that survived in the wilds of Tartarus were tough, resourceful men and women. Over the years they had gathered into close knit tribes of warriors and hunters. They learned to thrive in the harsh environment and while most that arrived on Tartarus died, those that did not were made of sterner stuff than the average Imperial citizen.

Razmus approached the survivors and though his arrival was greeted with distrust, his offer was a simple one: join him, earn their freedom and a chance at revenge against those who had put them there, or face death by orbital bombardment. The decision was an easy one.


During transit to the sector capital, The Inquisitor ran the Tartarus recruits through a crash course in Imperial combat doctrine using the Elysians that had arrived in-system as impromptu instructors. The death world natives took to the training better than hoped for. They were already physically tough, but had also learned discipline and teamwork during their time on Tartarus as only through working together could they survive the harsh environment.

Upon arriving in position to enact the Emperor’s justice on the would-be rebels, Razmus was notified that the Red Tigers Space Marines had also moved into a strike position on the Sector Capital. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Inquisitor knew he had a formidable force at his command.

The ensuing battle was brutal, but short. With the element of surprise and a small but elite army of hardened warriors that were able to attack on any front with incredible speed, the planetary defense forces were unable to use their superior numbers to their advantage. While the Elysians and Red Tigers performed with habitual bravery and professionalism, the soldiers of Tartarus exceeded all expectations, proving themselves superior to the PDF forces in every way. Razmus and his forces were able to destroy the sector capital’s army’s leadership, leaving their forces in disarray. This allowed him to capture the rebellious planetary government and then have them publicly executed for treason, and their families striped of all titles and wealth.

The brutal and decisive victory was so swift, the remaining rebels were unable to react. Further Imperial reinforcements began to arrive in-sector and sensing disaster, the remaining would be rebels publicly praised the Imperium’s victory while simultaneously attempting to destroy any evidence of their own involvement. However, it was too late for that as Razmus had already noted their treason and dispatched Imperial Assassins to eliminate the less than loyal. Had his forces not acted so swiftly and the rebels had time to join forces and dictate the battle on their terms, the Imperium would not have been able to put them down without vastly more resources and in all likelihood, the sector would have become a minor fiefdom outside of Imperial control for generations.

In the wake of the resounding success of the operation, Inquisitor Razmus was true to his word. The soldiers were given the choice to return to Tartarus as free men and women or to return to life on one of the other planets of the sector. Some chose not to return to Tartarus, but most did, having either grown to appreciate their hard life on the unforgiving planet and the communities they had formed or seeing nothing they liked back in the hive cities. Razmus commended those that returned and struck a deal with them to provide free and open trade with the rest of the Imperium in exchange for the continuation of a regiment of soldiers from Tartarus to henceforth serve the Emperor. The other planets in the sector would continue to ship their criminals to the planet, and those that survived would add to the tribes of the planet who themselves grew naturally. Thus the Tartarus regiment was born, and would go on to serve the Imperium loyally and with renown.

Further, so impressed were the Space Marines of the Red Tigers chapter with the bravery and tenacity of the Tartarus soldiers, they began selecting new recruits almost exclusively from the planet. The chapter has since become closely involved with the defense of the sector and often work in conjunction with the Tartarus regiments, finding their mobile form of warfare to compliment Space Marine combat doctrine.

Hobby Progress

So, there you have it! I think it is more fun to come up with back-stories for your armies as it draws you further into the immersion of the hobby. Here are a few pics of the new additions to my force! Also, I attached my list so some of this makes a bit more sense. I have a few points to spare and am getting a few different units for variety.

Airborne Imperium 1850pts
Unit Description Size Cost
Space Marines CAD Raptors CTs
Issodon (Warlord) 1 175
Scouts Bolters 5 55
Scouts Bolters 5 55
Elysian Drop Troops Detachment
CCS M.Gun x 4, Fist 5 115
CCS M.Gun x 4, Fist 5 115
Veterans M.Gun x 3 10 110
Veterans M.Gun x 3 10 110
Vulture Punishers 1 155
Avenger 1 150
Vendetta 1 130
Skyhammer Annihilation Formation Imperial Fists CTs
Assault Squad Vet Sarge, P.Maul 5 110
Assault Squad Vet Sarge, P.Axe 5 110
Devastators H.Bolter x 4 10 180
Drop Pod 1 35
Devastators H.Bolter x 4 10 180
Drop Pod 1 35
Totals 76 1820


So these are the bog standard bolter slangers from the Red Tigers portion of the army. I use them in this list as the non-heavy weapon equipped devastators in the Skyhammer Annihilation Formation. They have a red and black paint scheme as well as basing that matches my Tartarus troopers, without the camouflage. I use mostly mkV Forge World armor with a mix of normal marines, all with the mkV chest plate and studded shoulder pads. Also, any marine without a helmet has a respirator to give them a unified aesthetic. The only thing missing from the finished marine pictured is a tiger head on his right shoulder pad.


I’ve got 1 of the 2 Drop Pods done for the Skyhammer formation. 1 more to go!


Here’s 1 of the 2 Assault Marine squads in the Skyhammer formation. I am again, using mkV Heresy armor here. LOVE the FW Assault Marines! They look so rad and are very dynamic models. I prime the weapons separately as it saves a ton of time over hand painting them black.


Here’s the Vet Sarge with a beefy power axe I converted up for him. You definitely won’t miss this guy in the unit, lol!


Here’s half the Heavy Bolters from the Skyhammer formation along with a Sarge. I am using 1 unit with regular Heavy Bolters, and the other with Forge World legion Heavy Bolters. I dig the variety and think both styles look awesome so decided to mix it up.


Lastly, I put together a unit of Scouts for the Raptors portion of the list (I still play them as counts as “Red Tigers” for fluff purposes, but they have different Chapter Tactics). I like the cape and night vision goggles of the Sniper Scouts, so I used those but converted them to be holding Bolters. I will be making one more unit of these, some more of my Astra Militarum along with the man himself: Lias Issodon next time.

Thanks for reading along! Another update to come, soon.


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

28 Responses to “Hobby Blog: Progress on my Airborne Army!”

  1. iNcontroL September 28, 2015 7:32 pm #

    coming along great and I love the fluff you made for them!

  2. Hotsauceman1 September 28, 2015 7:49 pm #

    Wait, Elysian Vendettas have Punishers? Sweet
    Im am Curious as to what Lias Issodon brings to this list though

    • bogalubov September 28, 2015 8:53 pm #

      They don’t have the option for punisher cannons in the Taros Campaign second edition book.

      That does bring up another question. For the older forge world books, are we to use the unit costs printed there? A vendetta in the AM book is 170, do we not use the most updated unit price from the main codex?

      • Sueppchen September 28, 2015 11:02 pm #

        Ah, come on. The Punishers are obviously a typo. I do not think it is possible to write one or two long articles with well-conceived content per day without any oversights.
        I think the question about the cost of the Vendetta is also answered in the list. Reece uses the point costs of Imperial Armour in his Droptroops Detachment, which is complely RAW and legal.
        In the areas where I play there are houserules that units like Vendetta, Manticore or Chimera have to be used with the latest rules and pointcosts regardless of the source and the detachment.
        However, this is ust a houserule. As long as this is not fixed anywhere, you actually have to use the rules and costs of your detachment.

        • Reecius September 29, 2015 7:03 am #

          They do have Punisher cannons =) Thanks for the support though, appreciated! -EDIT Wait, doh, I was talking about the Vultures! Sorry, typo in the list saying Vendettas got Punishers, my mistake, they do not.

      • Reecius September 29, 2015 7:03 am #

        Yeah they do, 5th bullet point down, pg.221 of the book. “Any Vulture may replace its twin-linked multi-laser and all Helstrike missiles with: -One twin-linked punisher gatling cannon.”

        And per the ITC army guidelines, we play each list exactly as it lays with very few exceptions. So yeah, they get the cheaper Vendettas, but pay more for their troops as it is written in the list.

    • Reecius September 29, 2015 7:00 am #

      Yeah, they can take Punishers, 5th bullet point down on the list.

      Lias is a F’ing bad ass, that’s what he brings! But honestly, he has an awesome Warlord trait and he gives me reroll reserves, -1 to enemy reserves, shrouding, and his pre-game bobby trap attack. He’s a boss.

      • Bogalubov September 29, 2015 9:54 am #

        The punisher cannons are Vulture options as you point out, not Vendetta options. I think that’s where the confusion comes from on our part.

        I’m also not trying to be a stickler, I would just like to get clarification from our 40k nerd Messiah regarding list building. (I’m not kidding, the ITC is awesome and FLG has been fantastic for the hobby.)

        Do the Elysians get orders? The Taros campaign book didn’t have orders, so do we use the current AM for orders? Not that this makes the list OP, but it does seem like cherry picking to use the old points costs and then rule mechanics that did not exist. Especially since I remember communication from FW giving responses regarding the D99 and Elysians that since they operate alone so often, they take orders from no man.

        • Reecius September 29, 2015 11:38 am #

          Oh, yeah, lol, that was a typo! Haha, I didn’t understand what folks were talking about, my bad. No, the Vendettas don’t get Punishers.

          Elysians do get orders, yes, we simply redirect them to the new AM book. That is the only change from straight RAW in terms of playing the book we made as otherwise, they would totally lose the rule which they pay for. The only thing that is cheaper for them are the Vendettas. Their Veterans are 20pts more per unit. I find I actually don’t come ahead any points at all over pure AM.

  3. Bassface7 September 28, 2015 10:25 pm #

    So essentially – Australia in spaaaaace

    Cool fluff, nice to see tournament players interested in more than just the tactics side of the game.

    • Reecius September 29, 2015 7:04 am #

      It is sort of Oz in space, lol, didn’t think of that. And yeah, I love the entire hobby, not just tournament play (although that is admittedly my favorite aspect of the game).

  4. greggles September 29, 2015 3:34 am #

    Awesome Reece. I always love how you and frankie get along, with how you approach your armies differently, but with the same passion.

    • Reecius September 29, 2015 7:07 am #

      Thanks! I love your army too, buddy! Ork Walker force is bad ass.

      • greggles September 29, 2015 9:18 am #

        One day we will have a proper showdown! You guys going to be at adepticon next year?

        • Reecius September 29, 2015 11:39 am #

          Haven’t missed an Adepticon, yet! We will most likely be going, yes.

  5. Hotsauceman1 September 29, 2015 8:03 am #

    Y’know Reece, IF you stopped buying Forgeworld, you could afford another pair of pants 😛

    • Reecius September 29, 2015 8:06 am #

      Lol, actually kind of true, haha

  6. Truesight September 29, 2015 8:22 am #

    Looking really cool. I think this list will catch alot of people off guard, there isn’t many like it out there at the moment.

    • Reecius September 29, 2015 8:45 am #

      Yeah, exactly! One of the reasons why I dig it.

  7. Bryan September 29, 2015 9:10 am #

    The theme is really cool! Looking forward to seeing more of this army in battle reports.

    Pity you can’t fit in a inquisitor with servo skulls using the spare points. Heavy bolters on the devs is a maverick choice!

    I’m building an army around Lias and beta striking myself, allot different in unit selection and I think your force is the better rounded for it, but I want an all infantry force that uses infiltrate and deep strikers all over the shop! Lias enables this and I found out about him a few months ago on here, so thanks!

    • Reecius September 29, 2015 9:25 am #

      Thanks, glad you like it! Yeah, that is the idea: total flexibility in deployment and multiple threat vectors! Been fun so far.

      • Maeglin September 30, 2015 7:57 am #

        Heavy Bolter Imperial Fist Devastators can be amazing! The combination of bolter drill plus tank hunter is death to light vehicles. Add in the abilities of the Skyhammer and it’s even better.

        • Reecius September 30, 2015 8:16 am #

          Yeah, I’ve found them to be quite good. I use them for pinning and shooting infantry, typically, so the heavier weapons haven’t been needed.

          • jpwyrm September 30, 2015 1:16 pm

            That is a cool way of using the Skyhammer IMO. I used them again recently against Necrons and the ability to “pin” units was key to achieve victory. I had not thought about Heavy Bolters that much, but in light of this game and what you just said, it might be a good way of controlling the opponent’s advance.

            Great fluff and list BTW Reece, always good to see a balance between fluff and crunch in a player. Good job! Please continue to field this army in your Battle Report, it’s always fun and full of surprises!


          • Reecius September 30, 2015 2:12 pm

            Glad you like it and thank you for the kind words! Yeah, the hobby is much more than just a nasty lise, there’s tons of fun to be had in modeling, painting and the fluff, too.

  8. Oadius September 30, 2015 6:08 am #

    I thought vendettas are 170 points.

    • Reecius September 30, 2015 8:15 am #

      Elysians get them cheaper, but generally pay more for other options.

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