Functionally a cross between a WW2 Stuart light tank and a Galactic Empire AT-ST, the Sentinel is one of the Imperial Guard's most recognisable vehicles. With its long legs that allow a superior field of view and fast movement through nearly any kind of terrain, the Sentinel serves as the primary scouting and light support vehicle in the Guard.
There are two common patterns of Sentinel: the Scout Sentinel and the Armored Sentinel, both with comparable, but different goals and two Forge World variants, Drop Sentinel and Sentinel powerlifter
The Scout Sentinel is outfitted with a number of devices and modifications to make it more adapt at scouting: gyro-stabilisers to navigate the most inhospitable of terrain, noise reducing modifications to avoid detection, and sensor and auspex systems to detect the enemy. It is rather vulnerable to small-arms fire due to its open crew compartment.
The Scout Sentinel can field a variety of weapons. Standard armament is the Multilaser, which can be replaced with a heavy flamer, an Autocannon, a Missile launcher, or a Lascannon. Earlier versions could also field an Assault Cannon, but due to munitions problems this design has been abandoned.
Forgoing its stabilisers for recoil compensators and its detection systems for additional power cells and cooling systems, the Armored Sentinel can fire its weapons while charging at the enemy. Its superior armor compared to the Scout Sentinel allows it to shrug off small-arms fire, and protects its pilot even if hit with a heavy weapon. The Armored Sentinel can carry the same weapons as the Scout Sentinel, with the addition of the Plasma Cannon. Still retaining some of the Scout's movement capabilities, the Armored Sentinel is perfect for flanking the enemy and hunting enemy vehicles.
A.K.A the "Suprise Sentinel", drop sentinels are normal scout sentinels with Deep Strike and the option to take a Multi-Melta. They come with heavy bolter as default but if you don't take meltas then you are doing it wrong. Drop sentinels also get the Sky Talon as a dedicated transport. Take that and rocket pods for 80 points valkyrie that does not take force organization slot. In-game use drop sentinels to deep strike/grav chute behind enemy artillery/heavy vehicles and melt them from behind. BS3 is going to piss in your cornflakes a lot though, since every shot has 50% chance to completely miss. Not a unit that you should consider building your strategies on.
The 5th Edition ultimate troll machine. Take these things in squadron of 3 and throw them into TEQ/MEQ's for lols since they can tie them up for remainder of game, or buttrape said MEQ's with sentinel's powerclaw attacks that strike at S8 AP2 A2. After 6th edition hit, Powerlifters main tactic got nerfed to hell since most MEQ's now carry grenades which can blow them up in an instant. Trying to shout, "GET AWAY FROM HER YOU BITCH!" is sometimes a recommended war cry used to channel one's inner role play.
Use on the Tabletop
Although cheap, the Sentinel suffers the obvious handicaps of a Guardsman's ballistic skill. As a gun platform, its hits are massively unreliable, even in squadrons of three, and there are more useful things you can buy for the price of three Sentinels. Scout Sentinels have the advantage of Outflank, but with their low armour, they will survive only as long as your opponent is gracious enough to ignore them. Factor in their BS, and they won't do much damage before bolters pick them off. In 5th edition, Armoured Sentinels made excellent tar traps, too weak to kill anything in close combat, too armoured to take any damage. You could tie up an entire squad of Chaos Terminators for an entire game with ease. 6th Edition allows players to choose to fail their leadership and retreat from close combat, nullifying this one beautiful piece of trolling (but you can still chase them off the table afterwards).
It should be noted that sentinel that is in cover at least knee high and has camo netting (which is a must for sentinels, if you don't take it for every one of your sentinels for every battle, the Emperor shall smite you down and laugh at your corpse) gets +3 cover save. Combine this with plasma cannons and heavy sentinels for 3 blasts at S7 AP2 and you have terminator/light vehicle/spehs mehreen melt squad. Or get Leman Russ Executioner for same price.
Really, wait for a new codex with cheaper and/or more powerful Sentinel variants and forgo these walking Star Wars references in favour of something a bit more shooty. The new codex has the cost of armoured sentinels down to just a few points more over scout sentinels, scout sentinels can no longer take plasma cannons, but all their weapons had point reductions to them. So a lascannon costs as much as a plasma cannon. With vendettas no long the default take in the fast attack slot, there is room and points to bring in this slot. Going from a fluff only choice for an army to something to consider to fill certain weapon gaps. Of note: they are by far the cheapest way for a Guard player to get Plasma Cannons onto a table, which also mitigates their mediocre accuracy.
All in all, Sentinels are usable, given proper application. Not awful, not great, but extremely serviceable in some force groups.
The newly revamped and improved Genestealer Cult released in 2016 have seen some improvement in the Cult's armoury. No longer must they rely on Limos and Cars, this time the Genestealer Cults come in some flavours of vehicles, some indigenous while others being blatantly stolen from the Imperial Guard. In this case, the Sentinel is no exception. Needing a fast scouting vehicle to plan out their future uprisings, the Cultist has decided that the Imperial Sentinel is the best and thus, most common vehicle to be fielded by the Cult.
The Cult manage to gain access by pretending to be official Imperial Guardsmen dedicated to driving these vehicles (so next time you wonder where the hell your fire support is, now you know the answer). The Cult only manages to gain access to the vanilla variant and the armoured variant.
Alternative Modeling Options
If you field sentinels for their function but generally prefer tanks to chicken walkers, or if you just want a way to represent the siegfried without having to completely kitbash it, M3 Stuart light tanks from Warlord Games are the perfect size to proxy for sentinels (though they are half as tall), and are cheaper to boot. All that's really needed to pass basic WYSIWYG muster is to either replace the gun with a proper Imperial weapon, or just replace the turret altogether, in which case chimera or taurox turrets will fit with little work.
A Drop Sentinel AKA Surprise Buttrape!
|Members of the Genestealer Cult|
|Cult Leaders:||Broodlord - Genestealer Patriarch|
|Cultists:|| Brood Brothers - Genestealers |
Genestealer Aberrants - Genestealer Familiars
Genestealer Magus - Genestealer Primus
|Hybrids:|| Acolyte Hybrids - Hybrid Metamorphs |
|Vehicles:||Chimera - Goliath Truck - Leman Russ - Sentinel|