Lore – Land Speeders Through the Ages

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Land Speeders have been a ubiquitous part of the Space Marine vehicle pool for more than ten millennia. With the impending release of the Storm Speeder, we’re looking at the origins and evolution of these attack craft.

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Origins

The Land Speeder was ultimately a product of the Age of Technology, when Mankind’s mastery of machinery and mechanical understanding was at its zenith. It was during this time that the Standard Template Constructs (STCs) were created, marvels of technology that incorporated vast archives of designs for prefabricated buildings, vehicles, equipment, and more. With these STCs, Humanity set forth across the stars to colonise new planets all over the galaxy.

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Rediscovery

As the Age of Technology became the Age of Strife, Mankind found itself scattered across the galaxy and many of the STCs were lost. However, the rise of the Emperor eventually put an end to this bleak era and saw Humanity united under one banner once more. 

The Master of Mankind’s attention was soon drawn to a discovery made by the technoarchaeologist Arkhan Land* in a tech-vault buried deep beneath Mars’ surface. Land had discovered an intact STC database that contained the long-lost designs for assembling anti-gravitic plates. These designs enabled the first speeders to be built – named Land Speeders in Arkhan’s honour** – and it wasn’t long before these vehicles were weaponised and added to the armouries of the Adeptus Astartes.

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Evolution

The Land Speeder can fulfil a number of roles on the battlefield – reconnaissance, rapid-response, mobile heavy weapon platform, and more. Irrespective of their purpose or nuance of design, Land Speeders are renowned for the speed and manoeuvrability afforded to them by their anti-gravitic plates.

The earliest design of Land Speeder – the Proteus pattern – saw regular use throughout the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy that followed. In reality, it was little more than a pair of seats for the crew strapped to a large rear engine, with weaponry attached to the nose and top.*** It’s a good job that Space Marines feel no fear as it takes a certain type of ‘bravery’ to strap yourself to a jet engine. 

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Later designs of Land Speeder incorporated a dedicated, open-topped cockpit, which offered its crew superior protection without compromising the agility for which the vehicle was famed.

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Popular variants of the Land Speeder include the Tornado, which features a second heavy weapon system, and the Typhoon pattern, named for the typhoon launchers attached either side of its chassis. Both of these versions allow the Space Marines to unleash even more firepower, while maintaining decent speed and manoeuvrability.

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Further variants of the Land Speeder chassis include the Storm pattern, featuring an extended hull which makes it a perfect transport vehicle for small squads of Space Marine Scouts. There’s also the Tempest pattern – a more heavily armoured variant with a fully enclosed cockpit designed to perform high-speed strafing runs.

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The Ravenwing of the Dark Angels have retrofitted two more specialised patterns of Land Speeder to suit their secretive purposes – the Vengeance pattern, armed with the destructive plasma storm battery, and the ominous Darkshroud. How does it fly with a shrine and those angels on it? That’s just another of the Dark Angels’ secrets.

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A New Generation

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The Storm Speeder is the latest innovation to emerge from the forges of Belisarius Cawl. It’s more heavily armed and armoured than any previous Land Speeder – so much so that it requires a second gunner to control its myriad weapon systems. 

Yet despite its increased size and weight, the brutal power of Cawl’s repulsor field technology – the result of advanced modifications to the Land Speeder’s anti-gravitic plates – enables a Storm Speeder to match the speed and agility of its lighter predecessor. With three different variants available, the Space Marines always have exactly the right tool for the job.****


The Storm Speeder is on its way early next year, so you won’t have long to wait to add its formidable firepower to your arsenal. 

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* You can read more about Arkhan Land’s exploits in Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s novel, Master of Mankind.
** Arkhan Land was also responsible for discovering the STC design for the Land Raider, which also bears his name.
*** Let the Aeldari worry about things such as ‘aerodynamics’. As long as the machine spirit is happy, the Land Speeder will fly.
**** As long as the job is violently killing the enemies of the Imperium.

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