Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Building a Blood Angel Battle Company - Part 1 - Planning

I've decided that seeing as I'm 'into' Blood Angels now I'm going to build a full Battle Company.

I've been kicking the idea around for a little while - well a long while actually as I really like the idea of the half-deranged Captain Tycho. Despite that fact that his in-game abilities are mediocre his back story is cool - assigned to combat duties on a permanent basis by the Chaplain because he is so close to the edge of being a member of the Death Company as it's the only thing to do.

I plan on picking up the GW Battleboard at some point with a view to painting it as a desert/wasteland. This will then be good for games of Flames of War in Africa, Legends of the High Seas (on islands) and Field of Glory in the middle east. The other more pertinent arena it will be good for is games of 40k set on Armaggeddon.

I've got an Ork force for 40k and with the release of Planetstrike I really want to build my collection to the point where we can fight campaign/story-driven games at home.

My 40k games at the DWS are very much one-offs but when we play at home we've usually made the games fit within some form of story.

So with this in mind my Blood Angels 40k space marine battle company will be built around the idea that they're operating on Armaggeddon during one of Ghazgkhull's invasions.

The Blood Angels were in action on Armaggeddon in both the second and third wars so that fits nicely with my intentions.

Seeing as I like Tycho's character so much he'll be my Captain and his company is the 3rd Battle Company. So that's settled I'll have to class the force as being based in the period of the second war for Armaggeddon apparently Tycho dies during the Third war (I didn't know this until I just did a google search). You learn something new every day! :)

I've already started painting my collection towards this goal, with appropriate markings on one of the tactical squads. But that was on the basis of building an all-comers list for one-off games. I've now decided on building towards a full battle company and the list building for one-off games is a secondary issue.

So what makes up a battle company?

My understanding is that a Space Marine battle company consists of:

  • Captain, Chaplain & Librarian

  • Honour Guards for the leaders

  • 6 ten men Tactical Squads

  • 2 ten men Assault Squads

  • 2 ten men Devastators Squads

  • Support in the form of dreadnoughts, tanks, bikes, land speeders and transports

  • Death Company

With the rumours of a new Blood Angels codex due out next year I'm not sure whether they'll have any details that differ from the above but I do think a bias towards assault marines wouldn't be amiss.

For the time being I'm going to aim to build along these lines though.

One question I have to resolve is how do I fit Terminators & Scouts into my army?

I suspect I'll have to paint them as marines from the first and tenth company respectively. Which is no big deal really. (If I get into a good rhythm I wonder If I'll be tempted to go for a full chapter? - let's get a company done first though!)

A new'ish direction

Having defined the general basis of the army I can now start thinking of how I'm going to illustrate this through the models themselves.

As I've already mentioned I've made a start by painting the appropriate company markings on the shoulder pads of one of my tactical squads, but that really doesn't say 'Armaggedon' so I'll be adding some Orky bits and bobs to the bases.

The other aspect of the Blood Angels is their great age - part of their gene seed mutation. I'm lucky enough to have an old collection of models so I'll be including different armour variants throughout the force as an example of the great antiquity of some the members of the company.

Seeing as Tycho is supposed to be a bit of a nut case I'll try to incorporate as many Death Company as possible when playing the army. I suspect his squads see enough action to push them close enough to the edge.

Thinking of them seeing a lot of action in battle I might have to model lots of battle damage onto the company too.

Hmmm... lots to think about going forward, I think I may have to revisit my first Tactical Squad and give them an appropriate make-over.

If you have any thoughts or experiences about building full battle companies let me know I suspect I'm going to be working on this for quite a long time.



  1. Just had an interesting chat with Rick on the subject of Battle Companies - you've basically answered most of the questions for yourself.

    The Termies and Scouts do indeed always come from their own companies.

    You could always make your company more Assault Squad heavy and create your own back story as explanation.

    We reckon, although not absolutely certain, that the Death Company needs to be rolled for at the start of the game (at least when Rick had his Blood Angels Company they did), so will vary in size each game. Death Companies are led by Chaplains and lose special equipment - eg Terminator Armour, Heavy Weapons and get the black Armour with the cross, losing all honour badges, insignia, etc in the process. They are essentially a combat squad, but with a pile of special rules. If we're right, you'll need a bunch of spare miniatures painted ready to use as a Death Company.

    Of course, the new Codex could change all this, but I hope it's helpful in some small way.

    Duncan (@busstoptoyshop)

  2. Under the current codex, we do not roll for Death Company. We get one for each of the indicated units. The current codex may be downloaded direct from GW at the following web address.



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