I thought I’d put some pictures up of one of the tanks I’ve been working on this week. This one is the first of about 6 Leman Russ tanks I’m re-painting specifically for this force. I’ve picked my favourites from my collection of some 40+ vehicles and am giving them a nicer paint job and a bit of much-needed TLC.

Leman Russ Vanquisher “Steel Herald”

This is the Steel Herald: Leman Russ Vanquisher. (You should be able to click-to-enlarge).

This vehicle forms part of the Armoured Company currently attached to the Cadian 9th. It is currently commanded by Major Viktor Hess, one of the Regiment’s Tank Aces. It’s previous commander, Tank Ace/Sergeant Martz Hertswan (Deceased) scored a confirmed 21 armour kills while in command of Steel Herald, the highest recorded of a vehicle of this class in the regiment’s history. Sadly upon Hertswan’s death Steel Herald was confined to Munitorium storage for at least two decades (being deemed to valuable to risk in the field any further) before being eventually recommissioned and granted to Viktor Hess following the battle of Kell’s Gorge.

During the battle Hess’s Conqueror Pattern Leman Russ (Dominance) was immobilised by a missile fired from a renegade armoured convoy attempting to outflank the Imperial Position. Hess was fortunate, and was immoblised in heavy cover, and from that position accounted for 4 confirmed armour kills, holding the location stoicly against heavy resistance until relieved by the timely arrival of the 23rd Mechanised.

Sadly for Hess Dominance was decalred un-salvageable following the battle, but Steel Herald was made available as a reward for his valour. Under Hess’s command the Steel Herald had notched up 11 confirmed armour kills, the lethality of the Vanquisher Cannon having not lessened in it’s 60 years of service.

Excluding Baneblades and the solitary Imperial Bombard, the Steel Herald is the oldest vehicle currently on active service with the regiment.

Steel Herald (Top View)
Steel Herald (Side View)
Steel Herald (Side View 2)

There are still a few issues with this vehicle that need to be addressed before I can pronounce it done. For instance I need to remove the gap between the Dozor Blade hydraulics and the hull (Clearest in the above image), as I’ve mounted it a little too far forward and didn’t notice while I was painting. Also, some of the unit markings need tidyng up, especially on the left hand side of the turret (conveniently un-photographed for the time being). As for the weathering I’m considering adding  little more mud and grime, but for now I’m happy with the overall effect and fear that too much more will ruin it.

Steel Herald (Right Rear)
Steel Herald (Rear)

Also, concerning in-game ability, it’s unlikely I’ll be fielding the Steel Herald much. While I can undoubtedly see the appeal of a range 72” Melta weapon, it’s 50/50 hit rate makes it too unreliable to justify a 155pts (min) expenditure. With a hull-mounted Lascannon it’s a 170pt model. You can increase the hit/kill rate significantly by buying Knight-Commander Pask, but then the model approaches Land Raider points at around the 220 mark.

The other big issue is that because the main weapon is just a big Lascannon against anything other than vehicles, there are no sponsons that compliment it very well. The argument could be made for Melta Sponsons I suppose, but the advantage of the vanquisher is its impressive range and the Multi-Meltas need you to be close to be most effective. Again the points become an issue, Melta Sponsons are +30pts.

I would also make the argument that Sponsons ruin the aesthetic of the tank. Leman Russ tanks are meant to look ‘boxy’ and out-dated, I’ll concede that, but the Vanquisher is one of the few that doesn’t and still has a sleek profile. I like the silhouette of it a lot more without them, it’s why there’s no model in the Cupola, it just ruins the silhouette.

In an ideal world I would dearly love the Vanquisher to A: Have BS4 like it used to (or have +1 to hit Vs Vehicles) and B: Cause multiple wounds (D3) to monstrous creatures. This better reflects it’s role as a dedicated ‘big thing’ hunter, but it doesn’t overpower it. I’d happily pay more points for those rules as the trouble is that at the moment a unit of lascannon HW teams and a CCS issuing orders are a more effective tank-hunting combo than an armoured unit specifically designed to do it.

The hard truth is that because it’s rules are lacking, I’m more inclined to field the Steel Herald as a ‘counts as’ Leman Russ in my battles. The Str 8 AP 3 Ordnance weapon is just stupidly good in comparisson, you’re rolling 2D6 and picking the highest against vehicles anyway, so the tank-killing power is actually similar. The only real difference is that a standard Leman Russ forces you to snap fire the Lascannon, wheras the Vanquisher (being a heavy weapon) does not.