The front of a Red Scorpions Space Marine Thunderhawk flyer from the display cabinets at Warhammer World.
The Thunderhawk gunship is used by the Adeptus Astartes as their primary means of deploying forces for ground combat as well as their primary source of air support. The Thunderhawk gunship is often considered the lynchpin of any Space Marine Chapter, as it is able to fulfill many combat roles. The Thunderhawk is fully capable of functioning as an orbital drop ship, a heavy ground attack gunship, or as a bomber. The aircraft is able to quickly carry Space Marine forces from orbiting starships down into the midst of a battle, while at the same time providing supporting fire against enemy ground or air targets.
This model is one of the Forgeworld Display models. When you see it for “real” you realise how large the model is. I am not a great fan of the model, however I do quite like the Thunderhawk Transporter.
This Thunderhawk was part of a airbase diorama at Warhammer World where there were all the different kinds of Space Marine Flyers.
There were lots of nice touches in this diorama, such as the above Thunderhawk getting rearmed for its next mission, whilst Space Marines guard the landing pad. Around the airbase, there were squads of Space Marines marching , as well as vehicles moving around and into position.
I took a photograph of this concept sketch at the Forge World displays at GamesDay 2005.
Now six years later we’ve not seen anything like this appear from the depths of the Forge World studio, though we have seen very similar models.
First impression was that this was a Thunderhawk Transporter.
It carries stuff, it carries a Land Raider. However though it has similarities, which makes me think the sketch is for a Space Marine vehicle, is it a Thunderhawk Transporter? Probably no.
We’ve also had the Valkyrie Sky Talon which does look similar, but the Sky Talon is for moving the Tauros Venator rather than some big infantry pod.
Likewise I don’t think the Caestus Assault Ram was derived from this sketch, much more likely that the Assault Ram was a big Land Speeder!
The reason for discussing the sketch is the current rumours flying around about a mystery Space Marine vehicle.
There’s word of a new Space Marine vehicle in the works. Here’s the latest we’ve heard.
Apparently this is the big “new kit” to accompany the updated Codex:Space Marines.
-The term “Space Marine Gunship” has been mentioned.
-It’s NOT the Stormraven
-It’s NOT the Caestus Assault Ram
-Its NOT an “assault themed” vehicle
-There are whispers of that ancient bit of fluff regarding the “missing link transport” Astartes vehicle.
So it’s not the Stormraven either! Could it be this?
So is that sketch from GamesDay 2005 any indication of what we might see, or something completely unrelated, we’re going to have to wait and see.
Space Marine Thunderhawk on display in the Forge World display cabinets at GamesDay 2009.
See more photographs of Thunderhawk Gunships.
At GamesDay 2003 there were a lot of Forge World Warhound Titans which has just been released. Amongst all that Imperial heavy armour was this lone Ork Great Gargant.
This was from Armorcast in the days before Games Workshop took large scale resin models back in house and created Forge World. It was only (in theory) available in the USA and was very difficult if not impossible to get in the UK.
If I could find one, afford one and have the time to paint one, I really would like to get hold of this model, but alas I think everything is against me!
With the release of the plastic Stompa you can compare the detail of the Armorcast Gargant versus the well detailed plastic Stompa now available. Large plastic kits are now certainly achievable technically from Games Workshop, of course the business case has to be made. It is this business case which I suspect means we may never see a plastic Gargant. The main problem will be having such a large kit in the stores. Taking up a large amount of shelf space, means that less space for smaller (probably more profitable) kits. Games Workshop have already started to
reduce the space taken by particular models, by combining all variants into a single box. So no longer do we have separate boxes for the Land Raider variants such as the Crusader, but now have a single box containing all variants. This has made room for the larger kits such as the Baneblade, the Shadowsword and the Stompa.
However to make room for a Gargant kit would mean removing more than just the variant boxes.Interestingly we could see a Reaver, though just as tall as a Gargant, certainly does not need such a large box as it is not as big as a Gargant (in terms of girth).
So what will be the next big plastic kit?
My view is that we will probably see a Space Marine Thunderhawk.
This has been rumoured for many years, it’s not a matter of if, more a matter of when.
One tidbit to think about with the release of the Skyshield Landing Pad is the following description.
Landing pads are launch bases used by flight-capable craft to unload or evacuate troops and vital personnel. The Skyshield landing pad used by the Imperial Navy, though originally purpose-built to accommodate Valkyrie and Vendetta gunships, is robust enough to serve even the Thunderhawks of the Adeptus Astartes, and has field generators that protect the craft and its crew from incoming fire.
Note my emphasis. Now obviously this could be referring to the Forge World model, but why note this in a kit description. In the rules yes, in the marketing for Games Workshop mainstream, generally they don’t mention Forge World models as part of describing other products, normally as a separate page or link.
The Skyshield landing pad is a very nice model, perfect for the Valkyrie.
So no plastic Gargant but maybe a plastic Thunderhawk…. perhaps…
Space Wolves Thunderhawk Transporter
I really quite like the Thunderhawk Transporter even though I am not a fan of the Gunship variant. I am guessing that the main reason I don’t like the Gunship is that huge gun on top! It just doesn’t look right. Also with all the aerodynamics of a brick, the Gunship doesn’t look like the assault flyer for an elite force as the Space Marines, for me the Valkyrie is more Space Marine Gunship than the Thunderhawk is.
So why does the Transporter work for me, well it’s a transport, so the fact it looking like a flying brick goes in its favour!
This Space Wolves army includes virtually (if not all) the Space Marine models and conversions from Forge World as well as all the plastic and metal models from Citadel.
It was on display at both GamesDay 2006 and GamesDay 2007.