Astartes - a fan made animation
"A Warhammer 40,000 fan-film project. Mini-episodes released as a five part series. 100% unofficial and in no way endorsed by Games Workshop."
- – Description of the Astartes Youtube Channel
Astartes is the name of a short, entirely fan-made and totally fuckin' awesome set of videos depicting an orbital boarding action by the Retributors chapter of Space Marines (not to be confused with the Sisters of Battle Retributor Squads). The official description promises five videos, the last of which having been released on April 2, 2020.
Following a series of incidents catalogued as the 'Argosa Uprisings' in 482.M39, the Retributors Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes is tasked with assisting in the hunt for fleeing renegades and their leaders, and bringing down the Emperor's justice for their crimes.
A surprisingly high quality series of videos from such a small outfit (And by that we mean a one man team), with an equally surprising attention to detail from art and designs to sound. Animation is masterful, fluid, and impactful, while models and props are beautifully detailed - even more such details can be seen only by carefully pausing (for example, names can been seen etched on the left shoulderpad of some of the Marines in part 4). By contrast the cinematography and storytelling focuses on the strengths of minimalism, such as using negative space and darkness to draw the eyes, or silence to heighten the following sound effects.
Done almost entirely without dialogue, showing how both the Retributors Marines and their heretic adversaries duke it out. It goes about as well as you'd expect for the heretics; despite the rather one-sided nature of the action, there are equal demonstrations of good tactics and responses by both sides. It also illustrates why you don't mess with someone who does this as a day job.
Also showcases many smaller, more humble elements of the 40k universe, or expands on how they might be used practically and effectively. Examples include: a Caestus Assault Ram (launched from a Cobra Destroyer for some reason), blind grenades, multi-lasers, boltguns and a few others besides.
The 5th episode has a lot of unclear and cryptic questions: Inquisition sanctioned psykers, a 'Golden' man, a ball which talks, slithering xenos things, a massive temple so damn high, so many things to read into....and a quick action scene that is probably a new showing of another homebrew chapter for the series, with a marine who has a skeletal hand similarly placed like the Iron Hands' badge over his helmet (which is of course contradictory to the Iron Hands' thing) before a Predator rolls in.
Because the videos lack dialogue, most of the audio component is either music or the sound of the weapons and equipment the characters are using.
The hacking debacle
The channel was hacked in November 2019 by a scummy YouTube channel reseller. The guy who bought the password tried to promote his own channel, and host livestreams of the supercut (in shitty 360p for some reason) to steal ad revenue. Obviously this didn't work because 40k fans Get shit done and spread the word about the injustice. Special thanks to Chapter Master Valrak and EckhartsLadder for boosting the signal to rally the troops.
The Emperor protects, because the shitty hacker(s) thankfully never bothered deleting the videos themselves (possibly, the idiot who got his personal Facebook account exposed attempted to steal ad revenue from the millions of views, which they probably failed to make a profit on what he bought it for). At one point the scum closed the channel (a sort of reversible deletion) then sold to another guy who re-opened it. And finally in December the original creator finally navigated the labyrinthine YouTube bots to get an actual moderator to restore his access. All's well that ends well.
Hacking is bad but it happens to the best of us despite our best precautions. That's why it's called hacking. Thought for the day, be a good internet browser and enable two-factor authentication today.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
All Hail the Omnissiah, for by His hand is the Machine made Pure.
The link to teaser and 5 videos. The 5th video was released on April 2, 2020.