"Look, Rhinos, RRRRRRHHHHIIIIIIINNNNNOOOSSSSS!!!! Our enemies hide in METAL BAWKSES, DA KOWARDZ! TEH FEWLZ!! We...*space asthma* We should take away their METAL BAWKSES!!"
Rhinos are the primary Armored Personnel Carrier of the Space Marines (both Traitor and Loyalist alike), and are without a doubt one of the most useful and ubiquitous vehicles in the entire Warhammer 40K universe. As an easy bake oven (read STC) produced vehicle, the Rhino dates back to the distant time of Mankind's initial colonization of the galaxy. Originally, they were named "RH1 N0 - Tracked Exploration and Multi-defence. This means that 'L33T SP34K' is still used in the distant grim dark future. Also it being created for "Multi-defence" hints at the possible fact that creation of this STC took place between 1970 and whenever C.S. Goto will finally draw his last breath.
For added fun, the people over at Relic Games dressed up an FV432 as a Rhino for the Grim Dark Present of the Third Millennium. See it here. While badass, perhaps the money they put into that Rhino should have been put into Dawn of War III.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Rhinos in Action
- 3 Major Rhino variants
- 4 Other Rhino variants
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
They are the most ubiquitous vehicle period on the tabletop, as well; they are cheap, effective, easily-modded, and useful in a wide array of scenarios. They give Devastators the ability to get where they need to set up, Rubrics mobility, and if nothing else are something to hide behind when Eldar/Imperial Guard starts trying to snipe your commander with Bright Lance/Lascannon fire. They can also be used as battering rams and for Tank Shocking enemy units. Topping it all off, they can pump some ammo down-range for when you really need to squeeze out some extra fire. If you don't take them out while their cargo is inside, you'd better take them before they do such dick moves as acting as moving cover, providing fire support (for the Chaos version, though the loyalists can do the same with the Razorback) and acting as tank shockers, since the annoyance factor of these things racks up in a hurry.
They're also pretty ubiquitous in universe as well, being a go to for whatever is needed at the time - there are even ambulance, firefighter, and water cannon riot control rhinos in the fluff.
Rhinos aren't terribly well-armed OR well-armored; their front and side armor are AV11, and their rear armor is AV10. Their only weapon is a Storm Bolter (Combi-Bolter for the Chaos version). However, they are impervious to most antipersonnel fire from the front or sides (unless you fight Necrons or Tau), and the fact that they're so frickin' cheap to use - means they see a lot of use in literally every Space Marine and Chaos army that isn't completely drop-pod/teleport happy (and even then they may see quite a few Rhinos). It's so simple that it can be repaired by your average Guardsman (seriously), and its armor is thick enough to hold off considerable amounts of anti-personnel fire - handy against the Orks and Dark Eldar.
Firaeveus Carron hates the things for some reason. Brother Albus of the Thousand Sons has informed us that this was because Carron was dropped on his head during his gene-seeding process. Like, for the entire day he was dropped on his head over and over.
Also, Brother Vold, also of the Thousand Sons, has hinted that the first thing he saw as a mortal was a single Rhino running over a lot of his hometown. Which would be badass if it wasn't so unbelievable.
As a broad counterpoint, there are a couple reasons to not utilize Rhinos. Firstly, as a cheap, efficient transport, they have a deleterious "pounds to points" ratio. Building up a large force of the transports does not swell a starting army quickly and they are thus shied from by players looking to start a force. Secondly, they have little offensive presence, especially with tank shocks being wholly unreliable. Certain editions favored raw aggression and static firebases, which left Rhinos out cold. In a similar vein, they did not always transport troops faster or more safely than walking, again edition-dependent. An early exploded transport was slower and could cause more damage to a squad than the stray rokkit that blew the Rhino up. Additionally, they can't carry bulky models or be used for scouting or infiltration well, thus closing off other combat styles from finding their use.
Rhinos in Action
There are seven main kinds of Metal Box currently available; the Loyalist Version, the Mechanicus Version, the Custodes/Sisters of Silence Version, the Inquisition Version and the Chaos Version along with the Sororitas. All absolutely kick ass. Essentially speaking, almost everyone uses the damned Metal Box like the 40k equivalent of fucking iPhones. Even the Squats of all people are known to use the Rhino. Guess it really is that good eh?
The Loyalist Rhino features a modest variety of options. It has a Storm Bolter, which can provide a decent volume of fire at short range. Its ability to take additional firepower is generally limited to an optional, additional storm bolter, and an optional Hunter-Killer Missile (an infinite range one-shot Krak Missile). In 8th Edition other options such as Dozer Blades have been reduced to cosmetic enhancements. Being reasonably fast and reasonably tough the Loyalist Rhino is useful as an assault transport, ensuring that its payload is delivered in a hurry while continuing to provide some support afterward. In earlier editions the Rhino's big top hatch served as a firing point for 1 or 2 troopers, but that is no longer the case.
Custodes Rhino/Null-Maiden Rhino
As expected from the Emprah's Adeptus Custodes and Sisters of Silence, they themselves have access to the Rhino to help assist them in the 41st millennium. However it is a bit sad seeing as how the Custodes and Sisters went from having anti-grav vehicles that could one shot most enemy tanks and stealthed APC's with anti-tank missiles during the Great Crusade to now being bound to one of the most simple vehicles of the Imperium. That or maybe the forces of the Talons of the Emperor are having budget cuts and decide to use the Rhinos as compensation so they could use their more advance vehicles as a backup. As expected, these Rhinos are covered in gold which somehow automatically improves its status as 'venerable'. I guess gold paint really is the answer to everything.
Adepta Sororitas Rhino
Like their Space Marine siblings, the Adepta Sororitas have access to the Rhino. It's very similar to the normal Rhino, aside from the fact that it can't take a 2nd Storm Bolter. The main difference, aside from aesthetics, is that it has can take a Laud Hailer (basically a megaphone that constantly broadcasts prayers and hymns, which helps the Sisters with their acts of faith) and the fact that it comes with a 6+ Invulnerable and Adamantium Will. As you can imagine, this makes it just as awesome, if not more, than the Space Marine Rhino. It should be noted that most vehicles based on the Sororitas pattern of Rhino like the Immolator have a hull mounted Heavy Bolter giving them above average fire power.
The main difference between the loyalist and chaos version of the Rhino is that the ones of chaos have SPIEKS! In a few ways, the Chaos Rhino is a better deal than the Loyalist version. Its main weapon is a Combi-Bolter, which before 8th edition was flat-out better than the Storm Bolter of the Loyalist Rhino. It can also mount a second pintle weapon (either another combi-bolter, or a combi-plasma/flamer/melta), which is quite a nice way to add some punchy firepower to this otherwise innocuous vehicle. Its best-known and possibly-coolest advantage over the Loyalist Rhino is the Havoc Launcher, which gives it a long-range S5 frag missile launcher that allows the Rhino to join in the fun and pelt enemies at longer ranges. So armed with a Havoc and the additional pintle weapon, the Chaos Rhino can deliver surprising firepower at a reasonable cost. It totally makes up for the fact that Chaos fellows don't get Razorbacks.
The Mechanicus also deploys the Rhino but in less frequency due to having most of its forces as cyborgs and robots. It is similar to the loyalist counterparts but with Mechanicum iconography and stuff. They're also painted in Mechanicum red, black and white to show that yes, the Rhino is part of the Mechanicum forces. Although the Mechanicum don't really use them as much, the Skitarii found them to be quite useful in regards of not getting sniped in the battlefield. Plus the Mechanicum needs something that would led their expendable robo-men to do something rather than instantly dying in droves. For some reason, 8th Ed. AdMech don't have rules for rhinos, even though they are the ones who manufacture them for the rest of the Imperium, choosing the Skorpius Dunerider as its main transport (although it might just be because a certain someone wants people to buy shiny new models instead of second-hand ones).
The Inquisition not only has the Rhino but also other supposed 'Space Marine Exclusive' vehicles such as two patterns of Land Raiders and the Razorback. The Inquisition being some sort of pseudo-army (A large independent militia is a more accurate term) needed a transport vehicle to carry the Inquisitor and his merry men of psychos and sociopaths cheaply and safely. So it is of no surprise that the Inquisition would choose the famous Rhino and its versatility. While the Inquisition do also have access to the Chimera, it is more regulated to act as a support vehicle rather then being a dedicated transport, so the Inquisition rolls with it.
Yeah the Squats have them too. Back in the ye olde days, the Squats were able to gain access to the Rhino in the Ork and Squat Warlords army book back in 1992. While the Squats already have their oversized machines and Land Trains, they found out that they are in dire need of some surface crawling troop transport. So they got the Rhino in exchange for the Imperium getting the Leviathan. The deal worked, and now our little space dwarfs can ride inside a metal box while being supported by even bigger Metal Boxes.
Major Rhino variants
Here are some major variants of the Rhino that is still functionally, a rhino.
Damocles Command Rhino
A slightly more crappier version of the Rhino Primaris. The Damocles Command Rhino is used by the Space Marines for large-scale operations or campaigns.
The Damocles is an example of the kind of advanced technology available to the current Space Marines. It is used only in operations where command and control of significant Space Marine formations are required, such as a battlegroup consisting of a Battle Company plus support elements. The Damocles provides a communications link between the Force Commander, his battlegroup and any air or orbital assets operating in the area. For this reason, the Damocles is rarely committed to front-line actions, and is typically hidden away to prevent enemy interference.
In addition to the driver, the Damocles is crewed by a communications officer and a tactical officer. These Space Marines will have undergone additional training with the Chapter's Techmarines in order to operate this sophisticated technology. There is also room for the Force Commander next to the driver, allowing him the ability to keep himself updated on the developing situation.
The Rhino itself is packed with some of the most advanced comms technology available to the Imperium at large. It mounts secure, multi-band communications gear that acts as a communications hub for the battlegroup, with signal boosters to allow ground-to-orbital comm-links, as well as the ability to communicate with other Imperial command units operating in the area. It can also monitor, intercept and decrypt enemy communications, which in addition to a multi-spectral auspex allows it to track enemy movements. Link-up with an orbital relay allows the Damocles to track individual squads and vehicles for an entire Chapter, as well as bio-status readouts provided directly by the Marines' power armour. Finally, the Damocles includes a teleport homer, which produces a strong signal to allow for much safer and more accurate teleportations.
The Damocles is usually unarmed but can be equipped with the standard-issue Storm Bolter if it gets too hectic.
An earlier version of the Rhino used during the Great Crusade, the Deimos-Pattern Rhino is somewhat better armed than the currently used version with two turret-mounted bolters (which could be replaced with a pintle-mounted combi-bolter, heavy bolter, heavy flamer, or Havoc missile launcher). It can sometimes be armed with a spiked prow, given it extra ramming attacks in close quarters. However, this extra firepower came at the expense of front armor, and without an assault ramp it was not quite as good at carrying assault troops into battle.
Due to this, back in the good ol' days, the Deimos Pattern Rhino was the most common Rhino pattern in use during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia, and served as the transport of choice for the Space Marine Legions, the Legio Custodes, the Sisters of Silence, the Mechanicum, and in limited numbers by the regiments of the Imperial Army.
The Deimos Pattern Rhino would eventually be replaced by newer marks and patterns, and it is no longer produced by the Adeptus Mechanicus, the chief principle replacement was the Mars Pattern Rhino. It is unknown why this old Rhino was replaced given that it does its job relatively okay.
The Rhino Advancer AKA the Space Marine Limo was a long bodied, open-topped variant of the Deimos-Pattern Rhino modified to carry a greater number of Space Marines while also letting them deploy more rapidly.
This was due to the larger, 20 man Tactical Squads of the Crusade/Heresy Era. When the Space Marines being transported need to deploy, they can use either the vehicle's five ramps or just vault over its side. They have since fallen out of use as their increased capacity was of little benefit after the Legions were divided into smaller Chapters.
The Deimos Pattern Rhino chassis is equipped with two top turret-mounted Bolters that are controlled by the vehicle's target-logis systems, or its Machine Spirit (artificial intelligence), but the Rhino Advancer's turret-mounted Bolters are controlled by the passengers and act as a pintle-mounted weapon.
While the fluff and artwork depicts it as an enlarged open-topped Rhino, modellers have decided for a more enclosed and limousine-esque vehicle. Most would rather go with the limo as at the very least, looks less ridiculous than the open-topped death sentence as shown in the artwork. Unless you actually know anything about tanks that is, otherwise you might realise the stupid thing couldn't turn around.
A truly limited edition model.
The Rhino Primaris is a specialized variant of the standard METHUL BAWKS that serves as a battlefield support vehicle with C2 (command and control) functions. As a designated command vehicle, it possesses an unusually powerful array of Augur sensor arrays, Cogitators and advanced communications gear to carry out ship-to-surface coordination of a planetary assault. In contrast to the Damocles whose comms tech has a shorter range, slower feedback with some lag and is only capable of calling low-orbiting ships.
It often acts in concert with the Land Raider Excelsior, a variant of the standard Land Raider also intended to carry out command and control functions, to help target orbital bombardments from a Space Marine fleet in high orbit of the embattled world. The Rhino Primaris can transport 6 Astartes into combat.
A new command Rhino announced as an exclusive for Warhammer World, it differs from other Rhinos by using a twin-linked Plasma Gun as its main weapon instead of a Storm Bolter. But more importantly, as a command tank it gets a fun batch of toys- anytime past the first turn, its orbital array either allows it to bring in one unit from reserves (bypassing the reserves roll entirely) or call down a Chapter Master-style orbital bombardment once per game (S10 AP1 with Ordnance 1, Barrage, Massive Blast, and always rolls 2d6 for scatter regardless of BS).
Additionally, it has a Servo Skull Hub that gives out one of three buffs to anyone within 12" (each of which is usable once per game): grant a unit Fearless, repair a nearby vehicle for one Hull Point on a 2+, or allow a unit to fire Snap Shots and Overwatch at their full BS. It's meant to be used alongside the Land Raider Excelsior, and as a result it gives the LR +1 BS as long as it stays within 24" of it.
Other Rhino variants
Because the Rhino is an incredibly easy vehicle to both make, maintain, and customize, the Imperium has developed several vehicles based on the Rhino chassis, though nearly all of them are exclusive to the Spehs Mahrens.
The Predator tank is the Space Marine's standard battle tank that uses an up-armored Rhino chassis, but has no more transport capabilities as its weapons and ammunition take up the space. Instead, it has a turret-mounted autocannon and 2-side mounted Heavy-Bolter sponsons and even heavier armor. The autocannon and Sponsons can be swapped for lascannons for tank-hunting though. There's also the Blood Angels' custom version called the Baal Predator, which mounts a twin-linked assault cannon or a flamestorm cannon for a turret.
In earlier editions (around 4th) the traditional all-rounder of the Predator was the Twin-linked lascannon turret and H.Bolter side-sponsons. Now, with the changes in the lascannon's stats and price, it's now reversed with the autocannon turret and lascannon sponsons, as this is now the cheaper option. If you use the 4th edition combo now, you're probably better off with a Land Raider. It's always been possible to go all-in (4 lascannons or autocannon with bolters) but rarely wise.
A heavier Rhino that eschews some personnel-carrying capacity for heavier weaponry. More expensive, but it can now mount shinier bits like Multi-Meltas and lascannons, which means it can act as a useful close-support unit as well as a transport, if the Predator is your Main Battle tank, the Razorback is your light Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
Particularly useful for marine Devastator Squads which provides them with much needed mobility and can provide effective support for them as their weapons can match the range devastators typically fight from.
The Whirlwind artillery tank is the Spehss Mahrens' primary artillery piece. It can't exactly contest with the IG's artillery in terms of power, but it is more mobile than most of them. It's optimized for screwing over infantry, it can either fire an AP4 shell for anyone in the open, or another one that ignores cover saves.
Probably the only good thing Roboute Guilliman did during the Horus Heresy is inventing the Vindicator. The Vindicator is the nightmare of every other thing out there. The Vindicator mounts a Demolisher Cannon, which is basically a S10 AP2 pieplate shotgun and coupled mad-tough frontal armor.....with a fucking dozer blade that makes it look cool and makes sure that even difficult terrain can't stop it from fucking someone's day up. In short, think of it as a battering ram ... With a Demolisher cannon. If something expensive gets in it's firing range, it's 98% guaranteed dead, or at least messed up badly. With 6th ed rules any vehicle even touched by the deathpie template gets the full brunt of fuck, instead of just half.
It's even scarier when it's with Chaos version, throw in a havoc launcher and daemonic possession and then watch your opponent devote retarded amounts of firepower to keep the Khorne-incarnate rape-engine down.
A new Pattern, introduced in the 6th edition codex for the Space Marines. Looks like an overhauled Whirlwind, but replacing the Missile launcher with Anti-air cannons and MOAR plates, making it a Flak tank of sorts. Can target multiple enemy targets firing normally, or one target with twin-linked.
Anti-aircraft vehicle. It kills flyers by pelting them with dead people.
The Sabre is an old pattern used during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. It is basically a self-propelled tank destroyer that usually uses either a hull-mounted lascannon or autocannon. Its nothing really fancy. Its a simple Rhino with a gun, with the transport ability removed as the passenger compartment is used to store ammo, or in the lascannon's case: the generators responsible for powering the weapon.
Think of a Jagdpanther and you're pretty close.
A Sisters of Battle only variant, the Immolator mounts a pair of Heavy Flamers standard, but can switch it for a pair of Heavy Bolters or a pair of Multi-Meltas, thereby completing the Holy Trinity of Bolter/Flamer/Melta. Formerly a go-to unit for anyone playing Witch Hunters, but when the Inquisition got split off and Sisters got their own separate army, the points got jacked up and it stopped being as popular. It came back in force with the 6e digital update, with a points decrease, every unit in the army having easy access to it and a free upgrade to multi-melta.
It's worth pointing out that it, like the Sister Rhino variant you can build from the same box (protip: The difference is whether the glass canopy on top is open or closed) are absolutely gorgeous models. But then, having gorgeous models has never been an issue for Sisters.
The Sister's primary artillery piece and in true Sister fashion it's a tasty blend of awesome looking and insane. Similar to the Whirlwind, except it replaces the regular old rocket launcher with a missile spewing pipe organ. However, due to the frosty relations between the Ecclesiarchy and the Mechanicus, they don't get as much proper maintenance as they should, resulting in an appropriately moody machine spirit that might decide to sulk and only spit out one missile... or go mad with battle fury and unload a whopping six onto your enemy's face.
Another Sisters of Battle exclusive variant and a sorely needed one, it bridges the gap between a Predator and a Leman Russ Battle Tank, being armed with a Battle Cannon for some heavily armored firepower that the Sisters lack. It also comes with Heavy Bolters in its hull and sponsons for some added dakka, a pintle mounted Storm Bolter, and may swap its Battle Cannon for twinlinked autocannons like a Leman Russ Exterminator or equip a Hunter-Killer Missile.
This Rhino was specially equipped with grav-plates similar to the Land Speeder and further enhanced with technology reverse-engineered from Eldar transports, allowing them to hover over the ground and fly to a limited extent. Only the Adeptus Custodes and the Sisters of Silence have been known to use them, and even then they have never been deployed since the Siege of Terra. It's been theorized that they were meant to carry troops to and from the Imperial Webway that the Emperor was attempting to construct.
Like anything else associated with the Iron Warriors, the Castellan Rhinos were designed with siege warfare in mind. While it was still perfectly usable as a transport, its real value stemmed from the unfolding armor bracing, whose modular construction allowed the Castellan Rhinos to be linked together in a chain, forming a makeshift fortified line when materials for more permanent emplacements were unavailable or a defense had to be fashioned quickly. That essetially allowed it to be quickly repurposed into an instant bunker.
During the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, the Iron Warriors would deploy many, sometimes thousands of Castellan Rhinos to encircle fortifications and cities quickly. For some reason, the Imperial Fists did not made any attempts at using these Rhinos due to their nature (probably because they believed that big E would think they were copying iron warriors rather than other way around, a mortal blow to their morale).