Xavier was a Chaplain in the Salamanders Chapter of Space Marines. He is regarded as the greatest Chaplain the Salamanders have ever known.
A proud upholder of the Salamander’s Promethean Cult, Xavier is said to have epitomised the Chapter’s ideals more completely than any other Marine in their history. Dedicated to encouraging his fellows in feats of endurance and fortitude, it is said that when Xavier led them, the Salamanders never fell back before an enemy. As a sign of this dedication, he was entrusted with the keeping of “Vulkan’s Sigil”, a relic believed to have been carried by the Primarch Vulkan. He is also famed for having slain a particularly ancient and monstrous salamander with his bare hands.
Games Workshop re-released this model last year through their “Made To Order” service, and since it’s the only other Salamanders-specific model that GW ever made (apart from Vulkan He’stan), obviously I had to pick it up.
I am not normally a fan of grav-tanks, and when I saw the Astraeus Super-Heavy Tank, I wasn’t immediately taken by it. But over time I’ve come to really love the design so I decided that I wanted one for my Salamanders army, and I treated myself to one for Christmas.
Compared to the other Forge World models I’ve built and painted, this one was a breeze to assemble and needed very little work to get it ready for painting. The only pain point is the huge number of grav skids that you have to paint separately and then glue on.
I am quite pleased to have finally (after 9 months) completed this model, as it’s been a complete pain in the arse. The cast was fairly poor (bad enough that I could probably have got a replacement if I’d wanted) and I struggled with the paint job, thanks to my bad habit of assembling the model too much before painting (specifically, the exhaust pipes on the side) which meant that I had to mask off and respray a few areas to cover up the places where I’d got paint where it should not have been.
I magnetised all the weapons, so I can swap the Flamestorm Cannon for a Magna-Melta, and maybe also change the sponsons if I pick up some alternatives at a bits site or elswhere. I’ve also made some plastic doors that fit into the sponson and turret sockets, so I could even use it as a Rhino or Razorback if I wanted.
Kavan Bor’seth was Chapter Master of the Salamanders during the 36th Millenium. After a distinguished career as a Sergeant in the 3rd company, he was elevated to the ranks of the Firedrakes, ultimately rising to lead the First Company and assume the mantle of Regent of Nocturne. He was presumed killed after many years of service, when his strike cruiser Sentinel of Hesiod was lost in the Warp en route to the Diadin sector.
Bor’seth wore a legendary suit of Artificer armour dating back to the Great Crusade. The suit was the subject of many legends: some say that it was wrought by Vulkan himself for one of his favoured commanders, others say that it was claimed as a trophy from the decapitated corpse of a traitor legionary during the Scouring. Alas, due to the loss of the Sentinel, this relic of the chapter is now lost forever, taking its secrets with it. The suit’s backpack includes an integrated auspex and teleport homer – technology once common during the Great Crusade but since lost to the Imperium.
Bor’seth’s preferred armament was a finely-wrought Thunder Hammer (with a similar pedigree to the armour he was clad in) and a regulation combi-melta, a weapon he grew fond of during his time in the Sternguard squads of the Firedrakes.
As soon as I saw it, I realised the conversion possibilities of Armillus Dynat (from the the Horus Heresy Character Series) and decided that I wanted to give it a go. The scale-pattern of the Heresy-era Alpha Legion works just as well as drake-scale in my opinion. And given how distinctive (and expensive) the model was, he couldn’t just be a veteran sergeant or company captain, so I decided to write a biography for him and place him far enough back in history as to avoid any conflicts with canon.
It’s kind of silly that it’s taken me more than four years to paint this model, but I’m so glad that I finally did! Soon after I bought it, I primed it using Army Painter Army Green, the same as all the other models, but I quickly realised that it was a mistake and that I should have primed it black instead; and it’s taken me this long to get round to stripping it and re-priming it using the airbrush.
Bray’arth is a great centerpiece model and counts as an HQ choice for Salamanders army. I’ve designed my Salamanders army around Vulkan He’stan in that I have a lot of meltas, but there’s no reason why I can’t take both models as long as the points limit allows.
This is the Salamanders Storm Eagle Vulkan’s Wrath, the personal transport of Captain Dac’tyr, Lord of the Burning Skies and Captain of the 4th Company.
As is common among Salamanders vehicles, Vulkan’s Wrath has been modified by its master, who added a stabiliser wing with forward-facing flaps to function as an air-brake: this allows Vulkan’s Wrath to rapidly decelerate after a high-speed orbital insertion.
This model is a real bugger to paint and he’s not turned out anywhere near as good as I’d have liked. It’s the first model that I actually wish I had in Finecast instead of metal. The quality of the cast is actually fairly poor, and all the spiky bits and sharp edges are a recipe for having the paint chip off, and to try to prevent that, I’ve had to overload on varnish. Plus, I made the mistake of assembling him before painting, meaning that it was much harder to get into all the nooks and crannies.
Anyway, he’s done now, and while he’s not as good as I’ve liked him to be, at least he’s tabletop standard.
Here is a pair of Rhinos which can be converted into Razorbacks. When played as Razorbacks they use kitbashed weapons: a twin-linked Heavy Flamer (ideal for Salamanders) and a twin-linked Assault Cannon.
The side doors on Number 1 are magnetised: I’m planning on kitbashing some sponsons and a turret so that it can be converted into a Predator.