"IT IS THE BEEEEEINNNBLEEEEHHDDDEEEE!" ~ Captain Diomedes of the Blood Ravens.
The Baneblade is a big fucking Imperial tank in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, known generally for an impressive arsenal (OF GUNS), and disappearing en masse. Besides looking totally kickass, it stomps a lot of ass too. It is supposedly one of the oldest and largest tank designs used by the Imperium, despite that it's actually medium-sized according to the old Epic fluff. Then again, the "big" tanks in Epic were closer to moving, gun-mounting cathedrals. This is an actual tank. A manly tank. The manly tank. If only the Mechanicus had looked at the Battle Cannon, looked at the Baneblade, and scaled-down the Baneblade design and slapped on single-barrel heavy weapons instead of twin-linked and a long-barreled Battle Cannon.
- 1 Origins
- 2 Design
- 3 Warhammer 40,000
- 3.1 Variants
- 3.2 Non-Imperial Variants
- 4 Dawn of War series
- 5 The Novel
- 6 External Links
- 7 Gallery
The Baneblade first appeared in the Space Marine edition of Epic, where it was the Imperial Guard's standard super-heavy tank (it says a lot about the universe that there's such a thing as a "standard" one). This version was armed with a turret-mounted Battle Cannon (with the same stats as the one on the Leman Russ Battle Tank, despite the turret being the size of a Leman Russ), two Lascannons, and a bunch of dice worth of "Bolters" to deal with swarms. Despite obviously having a big gun on the lower hull, there was no representation of it in the tank's rules. Fluff described the hull as the size of a city block.
Being a standard version, there were variants at that point, and only three:
- The Stormhammer was effectively a moving fortress, and the precise armament is hard to say given the odd way the game treated "Bolters;" anything from an officer's Bolt Pistols to both a Leman Russ' Heavy Bolters was one attack die with the same stats. This means this particular monster might have up to 24 Heavy Bolters (or alternately 12 bolt pistols) in addition to two turrets with two battle cannons each. Basically, you park it in a place and then forget about that place, since it is now Defended.
- The Shadowsword was one of two Titan-killing variants, armed with two Lascannons and some "Bolters" like the Baneblade, but with the rear hull built up to mount a fixed Volcano Cannon, a giant laser weapon normally mounted on Titans.
- The Stormblade was a second variant of the fixed-weapon hull, and proof of how incredibly fucking HUEG the old Epic fluff made the Baneblade chassis; no fruity Lascannons for this one, the sponson weapons were a rack of missiles and a fucking Battle Cannon. Your main gun was a Titan-grade Plasma Blastgun with a Hellion anti-Titan missile slung on the top. Potential drivers had to produce written proof that they were bad enough dudes to save the President before they'd even be considered. Forge World makes a Stormblade, but it just sits there (eating an entire sack of dicks) because it knows it will never be cool enough to have a sponson-mounted Battle Cannon.
The Chaos legions have their own version called the Decimator, which is, in fact, an early pre-production model super-heavy tank that would later lead to the development of the Baneblade. It has replaced its bolters with lots and lots of Reaper Autocannons, resulting in it being far nastier against medium armor, though its main cannon is not turreted, meaning the entire tank has to turn to fire it.
Here are a few fun facts about the mighty Baneblade:
- At the time of the Great Crusade, there used to be entire
companiesbattalions of Baneblades (it was described as being the "mainstay" of the Imperial Army). Nowadays, regiments with anywhere near a hundred Baneblades are virtually unheard of, and any Imperial Guard force can count itself lucky to have just one in their possession. If a Baneblade gets lost in combat, chances are that the Mechanicus will throw a bitchfit and pull out all stops to recover the hulk. This was the case seven years before the Third Armageddon War, when an entire Imperial Guard Army Group of approximately 30,000 men were deployed to Golgotha to retrieve Yarrick's Fortress of Arrogance and a bit of STC teleporter tech (although guard didn't know about that last part). From two tank battalions, lead by a Shadowsword tank called Angel of the Apocalypse and supported with a full mechanized battalion of elite Kasrkin Storm Troopers, only a pair of tanks and couple of hundred men survived. Rather justified. It was not and that is the point of the novel Gunheads that describes the sorry ordeal. They traded an elite tank force that was desperately needed in Armageddon for Yarrick's precious relic so that some smug general could score some political points. Worse than that, the Baneblade was only a carrot to get the AdMech some meatshields for their Xenos Teleporter Stealing Fun Time. Repairing a Baneblade is easier than making a new one, but trading a full tank army for one is not worth it. This seems to be a constant trope in 40K - sending a large amount of bodies to retrieve one body. See "squads of Space Marines fighting and dying to retrieve the body of an already-dead comrade so their geneseed can be retrieved, even though dozens of other Marines are dying at the same time". Ehhhh, that is questionable. The epilogue really seems to suggest that the inspiration of the Fortress of Arrogance was enough to have a major if non-quantitative effect that two tank battalions and a full mechanized Kasrkin battalion could not have ultimately contributed to the pivotal battle that led Ghazghkull to leave Armageddon. TL;DR, your mileage may vary.
- Production of Baneblades continues into the 41st Millennium. Although the STC has been shared with a select few of the countless forgeworlds in the Imperium, the majority of Baneblades still come from Martian forges. As a result, the Macharius Heavy Tank was re-discovered/developed explicitly for armored regiments that needed something meaner than a Leman Russ Battle Tank but needed scientific notation to denote their place on the Baneblade delivery list.
If you need some kind of analogy to more fully appreciate the awe-inspiring/pants-browning nature of Baneblades and their variants, then consider that a vanilla Baneblade is basically an up-armored WWII-era destroyer on treads with a near impossibly good suspension, weight to power ratio, ground pressure ratio, a power plant that will gladly burn any fuel, an advanced fire control suite and yet still is more heart-stopping better/terrifying than that. Or a Landkreuzer P.1000 Ratte that actually worked except you know with 25mm auto-cannons and particle beam "Laser" anti-tank weapons. Either way you think of it, it is an awe-inspiring/terror-inducing weapon.
Also one of the few imperial guard tanks that don't look like they refitted something from the first world war.
Scratch-built Baneblade models with homebrew (read: unfair) rules have been kicking around since roughly ten minutes after it was introduced in Epic, but it wasn't until Forge World was founded that Games Workshop ever considered releasing an official model. The Baneblade then became available as a plastic kit from GW itself, along with a six-option kit for the fixed-hull variants. With the sixth edition re-release of Apocalypse, GW redid the kit again to make all eight of their official variants (everything in the list below except for the Fellblade, Plaguereaper, Stormblade, and Stormhammer).
There are currently ten official variants (nine of which have models), with the names being a nightmarish jumble of "Bane," "Sword," "Storm," "Shadow," "Blade" and "Hammer" to the point it's difficult remembering which is which.
Though the naming conventions may have an in-fluff excuse for their complexity, since apparently since Baneblade and Shadowsword tanks are in such high demand that unscrupulous Forgeworlds without the correct know-how to build them would bodge together a variant "counterfeit" tank and hand them off to unsuspecting Imperial Guard regiments, who are none the wiser when they get "Baneswords" or "Stormblades" instead of what they actually asked for.
The modern Baneblade mounts what's known as a "Baneblade Cannon" (representing belated recognition that the thing in the turret is really huge and so probably not a Battle Cannon) with a coaxial Autocannon, the same two Lascannons it always had, two Twin-linked Heavy Bolters in each sponson and another two on the hull front, and a Demolisher Cannon where the Mysterious Not-A-Weapon was once mounted. This leads to the well-known ELEVEN BARRELS OF HELL, though the vehicle has options for two more sponsons to be mounted (each with another Lascannon and Twin-linked Heavy Bolter) plus a pintle mounted heavy stubber, which raises the bar to eighteen. This option can only be taken on the GW plastic kit, as the old Forge World models were shorter, sillier-looking, and had no place for them. These were given their own pattern in the fluff, and thrust upon an unsuspecting Forge World (the other kind) to make and produce for all eternity.
The Baneblade is so awesome Commissar Yarrick uses a customized, "commandeered" Baneblade as his own transport. It's known as THE FORTRESS OF ARROGANCE and it makes Heretics and Xenos wet themselves. Although Yarrick did leave the thing parked on a world of Orks by "accident".
Fortress of Arrogance
It is of no surprise that Yarrick has his own personal
pimp Emperor-mobile in the form of the Fortress of Arrogance. The Fortress is a sweet-ass black and gold plated Baneblade with unique decals and armaments. The Fortress was refitted with an armored cupola, giving Yarrick a "pulpit" from which to command and inspire. The turret also includes enhanced sensor and communications arrays making it far more accurate and have a longer ranger and penetrative shot than the regular Baneblade. Unfortunately Yarrick was pretty bad at maintaining his mobile house of pimps. During the the Battle of Golgotha, the tank was crippled by a Stompa, and Yarrick was forced to abandon it when the Imperial forces were routed from the planet. In a scene of a miracle, the Fortress was barely defiled by the Orks and was able to be fixed by the Mechanicus in prime condition.
The Shadowsword is a titan-killer. With a D-strength Volcano Cannon. It is considered the sister-tank to the Baneblade and EVERYTHING else outside the two of them are consider cheap knock-off wannabe tanks. Some Forgeworlds simply can't make Volcano Cannons or the complicated targeting computers intended to go with them, so they mount different guns and are sold off to Imperial Guard regiments in place of Shadowswords to fill requisitions. You'll find several variants listed below.
"Real" Shadowswords are registered on Mars as soon as they get manufactured, and the Adeptus Mechanicum keeps a paranoid level of attention regarding their wherabouts so they know where they are at all times.
Even amongst "dedicated" Shadowsword tanks, there seems to be very little rules difference for telling genuine vehicles apart from counterfeit ones on the tabletop; one might assume that the targeting computer sponsons (granting +1 BS) indicate a authentic Mars registered vehicle. Either way; the Shadowsword has a very good chance of bringing down even the biggest of titans. This guy is your friend. It will be there for you when something absolutely must die and must die now. GW and Forgeworld both make kits for these -- the GW kit can make seven other tanks, but FW's kit has the targeters, a bigger engine and a bipod for the cannon to rest on.
The Fellblade is the Space Marines' main super-heavy tank, not used very much since the Horus Heresy. It's not so much a variant of the Baneblade as a sibling tank, with a unique Forge World kit to make it and a couple of its own unique subtypes.
The Banehammer fields the Tremor Cannon in a forward-set casement, a weapon that can turn a huge segment of the battlefield into a patch of flying rubble, slowing down the enemy long enough for the rest of the army to destroy them. It can also carry 25 soldiers, and has enough room in the rear deck to let ten of them stand outside and fire.
The Doomhammer is a tank-killer. With a modest 5" blast but stats befitting a tank hunter, the Magma Cannon can reduce all but the largest of titans to scrap. It can also carry 25 soldiers, and has enough room in the rear deck to let ten of them stand outside and fire.
The Hellhammer has the same profile as the Baneblade -- it doesn't have a big armored casement like the others, but rather the same comically-small pivoting turret. It uses the Hellhammer Cannon, which is shorter, but no less deadly than the Baneblade Cannon, and strikes harder but on a smaller area, giving exactly zero fucks about the cover in between. Basically, if you shoot it at a unit, and that unit is not a superheavy, you have killed that unit. And any sense of friendship you may have had with your opponent.
The Stormblade is armed with a titan-scale Plasma Blastgun: a plasma-hurling death weapon that eats MEQ's, hordes, hordes of MEQ's, and even light tanks for breakfast. With better range than the Stormlord and a blast radius so big that Plasma Siphons feel even worse about existing, it excels at killing hordes of anything in Apocalypse. Even vehicle hordes.
It's origin story starts on the Forge World of Ryza, where despite having the best reputation with regards to plasma technology, they couldn't build Volcano Cannons for Shadowsword tanks. So as an alternative to a giant D-Gun they slapped a giant plasma gun instead. Luckily, because the Shadowsword chassis was so massive, removing the the laser generators meant there was plenty of space for a cooling system, so the tank never Gets Hot! from overuse.
As mentioned above, Stormblades in Epic used to have Hellion Missile launchers to add to the amount they could Rape Titans, however in current 40k they no longer have them. The fluff reason is because the missiles had a tendency to self detonate when exposed to enemy fire, resulting in several tanks being destroyed by their own missiles. So it was figured that the tank and plasma blastgun were more precious than the limited-use ordnance that came as an aftermarket extra, so the missiles were withdrawn.
There is also a Legion Astartes version because Forge World got tired of making additional versions of the Fellblade.
The Stormhammer is a Solar Auxilia tank for 30K. It differs from the old epic version in that it only has three barrels of battle cannons - a twin linked two shot hull mounted battlecannon and the S9 AP2, 7" blast Stormhammer cannon with shred and pinning. The standard secondary weapons are six multilaser sponsons which can be swapped out for heavy bolters or heavy flamers for free or lascannons for a cost, a coaxial multilaser and a hull mounted lascannon. Optional toys are a pintle mounted multilaser or heavy flamer and up to 4 (!) HK missiles. All the firepower is rounded out by a 6+ invulnerable save against blast and template weapons, and the ability to reroll failed dangerous terrain tests. The sponson weapons can be traded out individually, letting you choose any combination of multilasers, heavy bolters, heavy flamers and lascannons you want. It fills the same role as the Baneblade as a general purpose superheavy, with a gun for every target. The Stormblade offers more flexibility in loadout, and having 6 sponsons that can be individually customized for any situation allows it to engage even more targets compared to the Baneblade. The original Stormhammer was outfitted with two twin-Battle Cannon turrets and four pairs of Heavy Bolters, along with options for pintle storm bolters and four more sponsons, meaning it could mount seventeen fucking bolters if you were willing to pay for it. The problem? Its turrets all pointed different directions. Parking this thing in the intersection of a city table and pointing its turrets down the streets, however, was as good as denying the area to the enemy completely, unless somebody brought a Deathstrike.
The Stormlord is designed with but one purpose: to waste MEQs. With the most dakka seen in Imperial armies (hell, ANYWHERE) in the form of a Vulcan Mega-Bolter (that can fire twice if the tank sits still), the ability to have up to 20 of its 40 passengers fire from its fighting platform and the option to have four lascannons, this tank WILL END enemy infantry! This is probably one of the best super-heavy tanks in the game due to the amount of fire power that you get. 30 s6 ap3 shots at 60" range, 9 s5 ap4 shots at 36" range (twin linked) and 2 s9 ap2 shots at 48" range. Then you get 20 models shooting out of the top. Though you wonder how the passengers fit without taking up room for extra ammo...
Originally built from salvaged Shadowsword or Stormblade tanks, because those Volcano Cannons and Plasma Blastguns are blisteringly difficult to manufacture, the Imperial Guard just put wide-bore Cannons on the hulls and gave them spare Hellhammer Shells to fire.
Needless to say these "unsanctioned" modifications got the Mechanicum's collective jimmies rustled up. But because the vehicles were still good at what they did, the Imperial Guard commanders kept the vehicles listed on the roster in spite of what anyone else was thinking. Yet, in an uncharacteristically grown-up move, the Mechanicum actually capitulated on the matter and started making Stormswords themselves, upgrading the "Hellhammer Cannons" with dedicated "Stormsword Cannons" which have much the same range and effect, but a bigger blast radius.
The Stormsword excels at city fighting. It is able to turn entire building blocks to dust with a single shot. The tank's main weakness is the short range on its Stormsword Cannon and lack of Demolisher co-axial.
The Plaguereaper is a Baneblade variant exclusive to the forces of Nurgle. It's a corrupted baneblade chassis with its baneblade cannon replaced with a giant pus-cannon, which bathes a large area with a contagion that causes the body of whoever's afflicted by it, to erupt in boils and their flesh broken down before their very eyes in seconds.
What happens when orks get hold of the massive engine of armored destruction that is the Baneblade? They make it twice as big (by welding armor plates and guns where there's a gap) and fast (by giving it a ridiculous super-charged engine so big it probably houses several lost gretchin communities).
The Tormentor AKA Pert's personal car is a modified Shadowsword of the Iron Warriors Primarch, Perturabo. It is a really pimped out variant that boasts additional armour plating on all sides, extended command and control functions, a 15-model transport capacity with added rear access point, a even more enhanced Volcano Cannon and a Titan grade Void Shield. When Pert does it right, he gets it done. The Tormentor is a vehicle befitting for a Primarch. It is still not known whether Pert uses this as his personal car so he can run over and crush any pedestrian vehicle that pissed him off lately. But what is known is that the Tormentor is a clear sign of Pert telling Rogal Dorn to go fuck himself as he destroys Dorn's fortifications.
In terms of tabletop, the Tormentor can be spent with a +500 points in a 3000+ points or more game. The Tormentor uses the Dedicated Transport rule and can carry a scary number of battle-automatons and Iron Warrior troops. It also doesn't take up a Lord of War slot.
Dawn of War series
In the Dawn of War PC game the Baneblade is the IG super-heavy unit, equivalent to the Chaos Bloodthirster Daemon, or Eldar's Avatar of Khaine. Only it's better because instead of a winged Daemon cow or a big flaming homosexual in a loincloth, it's a fucking giant tank. It is literally the best of these master units in the game, and it will go toe-to-toe with any other such unit and kill them before they kill it. Every time.
Its a well known fact that the crew members of Baneblades are chosen exclusively on the grounds of how big their balls are. This makes them able to shout "Failure is the weakness of the enemy!" "Ready to unleash ELEVEN barrels of hell!" and "All guardsmen, Follow ME to GLOOREEEEY!" and being the only badass non-Hero unit in the entire Imperial Guard.
The Baneblade was introduced in DoWII's second expansion: Retribution, as the Imperial Guard's super heavy unit and one of the superunits, a title it shares with the Swarmlord, the Great Unclean One, the Avatar of Khaine once more (notably, the Avatar along with the Baneblade are the only returning superunits from the first Dawn of War series), the Battlewagon, and the Land Raider Redeemer (which is a different variant from the one in Dawn of War). It makes a centerpiece appearance in the second mission of the campaign where a renegade one chases your characters around while the crazy Scottish driver yells "IDDACARE WHOO YOU ARE! FELL DA MIGHTA'DA BANEBLADE!!" It then gets sodomized by rudimentary anti-armour turrets. On the upside, if you're playing space marines, you get to watch the Emperor's Fury running around a jungle path being chased by a giant tank (Benny Hill music optional, but encouraged).
It's still a moving fortress of rape that can decimate multiple tanks at a time and blow hordes of enemy units to bits and the strongest and toughest vehicle in the game (since it can't transport infantry like the Battlewagon and Land Raider Redeemer, it compensates with more firepower). The main difference is that while its main weapons systems (the BEHNBLADE cannon and the Demolisher Cannon) do much more damage than before, they don't function like the rest of its guns, they're used for special abilities that require manual targeting to fire, and cannot be fired at targets within minimum range. On top of that, this Baneblade has only TEN BARRELS OF HELL: the co-axial autocannon is there but is non-functional, which considerably reduces the overall firepower of this beast. Needless to say, the Baneblade requires a ton of support to use effectively, or otherwise it will be taken down in melee/at close range by just about anything (though all super units need support as well, so that's nothing new). Also, it's size means it can have difficulty maneuvering on certain maps (DoW II maps tend to not have as much open space as the original's).
The Baneblade has achieved a bit of a mini-meme status because of Captain Apollo Diomedes of the Blood Ravens, who has this tendency to scream: "EET IS THE BEEEEHHHHNNNBLLADDDE", in the most awesomely hilarious voice possible, whenever he sees one. Unfortunetly, this meme is already old and overused.
The novel, titled Baneblade, is about lt. Lo Bannick and his quest to redeem himself from the grievous sin of killing his cousin in self-defense. He does this by signing on to the nearest imperial guard unit and starts the novel commanding a squadron of Leman Russes and then after an Ork ambush he gets a spot as third gunner on the Mars Triumphant.
In short it's written so you could fap to how awesome the Baneblade is. Ironically, the real star of the book is a dangerously intelligent Ork Wierdboy who's aware of the Emperor's presence in the warp and is trying to use vast amounts of a psychic amplifying crystal to literally turn himself into an Orkish Emperor. And he doesn't even die in the end.
- Baneblade Homebrew
- Russia made a scaled-up RC variant. Makes me wonder what the US did wrong not to get one too.
- Captain Diomedes' hit single: IT IS THE BEEEIIINBLADE!
- A Black Library's novel: BEEEIIINBLADE!!!
- THE BANEBLADETERIUM!
- How to build all eight versions of the Baneblade with just one Baneblade
General Sturnn likes it hot and heavy.