Macharius Heavy Tank
"What I cannot crush with words I will crush with the tanks of the Imperial Guard!"
- – Lord Solar Macharius
It is part of a class of tanks known as "second-generation Baneblades" -- since the Adeptus Mechanicus keeps a very tight hold on the Baneblade STC patterns, supply is extremely limited. Other Forge Worlds try to fill the gap in super-heavy tank demand by building heavy tanks of the Macharius and Malcador families. Though it is less durable and possesses less firepower than the Baneblade, it is also substantially less expensive (in the fluff) and more common. Since General Vance Motherfucking Stubbs discovered that large quantities of Baneblades are prone to going missing, armies that needs lots of tanks (e.g. the Death Korps of Krieg) tend to use tanks like these.
In appearance and operation, the Macharius is the big brother of the Leman Russ Battle Tank -- each of the main weapons available to the Macharius chassis is the equivalent of one of the Russ variants. The options for the sponson- and pintle-mounted weapons are also similar.
Macharius Heavy Tank
The main standard variant of the Macharius line of tanks. The Macharius Heavy Tank as you can already imagine, cannot hope to match the Baneblade in firepower, armor, engine performance or advanced logic-engines due to its smaller size and fewer weapons. Despite these failings it is still a powerful heavy tank and a whole load more useful than that silly looking Malcador; to reiterate what has been said before, the Macharius carries a very thick frontal armor and twin synchronized Battle Cannons in its main turret. Secondary fire comes in the form of a hull-mounted twin-linked Heavy Stubber and two sponson-mounted Heavy Stubbers, although the latter can be switched out for Heavy Flamers or Heavy Bolters. Some tanks will also carry a pintle-mounted Storm Bolter or Heavy Stubber and/or a single Hunter-Killer Missile.
The tank requires a large crew to operate, with the commander, gunner and two loaders in the turret, while the hull seats the driver, comms-operator/heavy stubber gunner, and two sponson gunners, totaling of up to 8 or 9 crew members.
As is common in WH40K, the fluff does not equal the crunch. While the regular Macharius is meant to be a baseline heavy tank, in terms of price efficiency, it struggles competing with its Leman Russ counterpart in terms of sheer utility. A twin-linked battle cannon may sound appealing, but without a Heavy 2 buff, twin-linked sponson weapons, or a modest price reduction, at the end of the day the Macharius is really little more than a bigger, more expensive Russ with twin-linked, with no other gimmicks going for it. That said, twin-linked weapons alone have stolen victory from the jaws of defeat on more than on a few occasions so the call is yours. Frankly, running some psykers with your Russes will do the job for cheaper.
The Macharius Vanquisher is armed with twin-linked Vanquisher Cannons in the main turret. While rarer and harder to manufacture than battle cannons, they are capable of using special anti-tank shells in addition to normal munitions. Fired at very high velocities, the anti-tank shells can penetrate even the thickest of armor, turning this variant into a potent tank hunter. The Macharius Vanquisher features the same secondary weapons as the original with the ability to mount an additional pintle weapon and/or hunter-killer missile.
In contrast to its counterpart, the Malcador Annihilator, the Macharius Vanquisher is superior in almost every way. Even though the Malcador has that sweet ass twin-linked Lascannons, its unreliable engine, underwhelming armor, lack of a proper turret and disappointing side weaponry means that pound for pound, the Macharius Vanquisher offers more bang for your buck without the hassle of being immobilized because of reasons.
Out of all the Macharius tanks, this is possibly one of the most popular due to the power of the Vanquisher Cannons and the fact that it is a heavy tank which means it is far more sturdier than the common Leman Russ Vanquisher which is important since these big ass vehicles are going to be a giant bullet magnet on tabletop.
The Macharius equivalent of the Leman Russ Vanquisher. When you want a Macharius, this is the one you want 60% of the time. While the Russ's Vanquisher Cannon is a pure tank hunter (no blast), the Macharius is large enough to carry a second rack of shells that have no extra armor-piercing effect but are 2d6 S8 Ap-2. So in effect the Macharius Vanquisher is more of an honest-to-Emprah heavy Main Battle Tank than the regular Macharius; capable of engaging any enemy on the ground effectively and is damn hard to kill.
The Macharius Vulcan mounts the infamous Vulcan Mega-Bolter in its main turret, a fearsome weapon normally found on Imperial Titans. Firing thousands of rounds per minute, the Vulcan is a highly-effective anti-infantry platform, able to sweep clear trench systems and suppress enemy heavy weapons teams. Since the mega-bolter is fed by a high-speed autoloader, the Macharius Vulcan requires only a crew of six, using the space previously taken up by the two loaders for more ammunition. The lack of penetrative power against fortified targets limits the tank's usage, while its main drawback is limited internal storage space.
Able to carry only twenty seconds worth of continuous fire, this monster eats through bullets like a Neckbeard dining on some Meatbread. Thus, most crews will fill the tank's stowage bin with extra ammunition and strap on additional ammunition crates to the hull with predictable results. The Macharius 'Vulcan' features the same secondary weapons as the original with the ability to mount an additional pintle weapon and/or hunter-killer missile.
Tl;dr, it is basically a discount Stormlord that may actually be superior than its larger counterpart due to the presence of an actual turret, cheaper price and smaller profile. Which then begs the question on why can't the Stormlord afford an actual turret. If the smaller Macharius is able to successfully put a Vulcan mega-bolter on a periscope turret, then surely a much larger tank should be able to do the job just as well.
For when you need 2s to kill space marines. With 30 dice. When you want a Macharius, this is the one you want the other 40% of the time. Where the Leman Russ Punisher uses non-armor-piercing autogun shells, the Macharius Vulcan mounts the massive Vulcan Mega Bolter, normally a Titan-mounted weapon. Can fire its Vulcan Mega Bolter twice at the same target if the tank does not move. That's 30 shots at S6 AP3, and you're always going to be in range at 60".
You thought the Leman Russ Executioner's Plasma Cannon was bad? The Omega mounts an even bigger gun -- it can fire like the Executioner's gun with a longer range and larger blast. The Macharius Omega is a relatively new addition to the Imperial arsenal, armed with a mighty Omega-pattern Plasma Blastgun. The Omega-pattern Plasma Blastgun, unlike the Ryza-pattern found on Imperial Titans, is a more compact design that is easier to manufacture. The STC for this weapon was originally discovered by Explorator-Magus Hum’nal in late M39, but a Mechanicus schism over the purity and completeness of its template delayed the testing and eventual deployment of the Omega pattern weapon for centuries.
While this allows it to be mounted on smaller vehicles, it is also highly unstable and more prone to overheating than its larger cousin, which may be why the thing is open toped. The comparable ease with which the Macharius Omega can be manufactured and maintained has more then overcome its shortcomings in the eyes of the Departmento Munitorum, and large quantities of resources have been devoted to the forge worlds which produce them such as Lucius, Hellgrace and Dynax Primus. Subsequently, the Omega has proven its worth on the battlefield of Orask, Nicanodes and in counter assaults against the Tyranids on the Sable Nebula. Still, despite being more stable on a whole, trying to overcharge fire a single "Maximal" blast with even more range, an even bigger blast, and the strength of a Lascannon will have the risk of suffering a Meltdown if it shoots that way (similar to Gets Hot but with D3 lost hullpoints), so it is best to apply a Trojan and Enginseer to prevent catastrophic self-destruction.
Other differences with the Macharius Omega is the removal of the hull-mounted Heavy Stubbers, while the sponsons can mount Heavy Bolters, Heavy Stubbers or Autocannons. It is similarly able to carry a pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter and/or a single Hunter-Killer Missile.
All in all, it is basically the Stormblade's little brother.
Unfortunately, if you want a Macharius Omega now you're gonna have to either convert it or buy it used, as Forge World axed it from their product line. You can buy it if your willing to front the costs of producing 10 models.
Considering that Games Workshop seems intent on making the Macharius tank as a compromise between the Leman Russ and the Baneblade, it is worth wondering what new patterns might yet be released. Particularly in light of the new daemon engines that Chaos are getting and the half-ass Baneblades that the SM are getting ret-conned into their arsenals, the IG might need some balancing firepower. Might a Siege Macharius with extra armor standard with heavy flamer/multi-melta sponsons and twin linked demolisher cannons or a heavy anti-aircraft tank with ten twin-linked autocannons be around the corner? Or maybe Forge World will finally give us a model for the mythical Dominus. Because who doesn't love 3 s10 ap3 5" marine-nomming blasts? Stay tuned...