Thursday, 1 October 2009

Chaos Marine Backpacks

I'm having a little nerd crisis at the moment over Chaos Marine backpacks, brought about by Lost and the Damned, and the oldskool models I love to surround myself with.

Let's start in the current day.

Current Imperial backpacks:

Current Imperial Marine backpacks



Current Chaos backpacks:

Current Chaos Marine backpacks



The main difference is the stabiliser jets at the top are on stalks on the Chaos ones. This is one of the main design features of Chaos models that give them a distinct visual identity.

Now, let's travel back to the 1990s, Citadel's Silver Age.

1990s Imperial backpacks:

1990s Imperial Marine backpacks



1990s Chaos backpacks:

1990s Chaos Marine backpacks



Again, the Chaos ones are characterised by the stabilser jets protuding from the backpack's body. It's nice seeing this design detail has endured through the ages.

But let's go further back, into the 1980s when this all began.

1980s Imperial backpacks:

1980s Imperial Marine backpacks



1980s Chaos backpacks:

1980s Chaos Marine backpacks



Ahh! Again, we have the stalked stabiliser jets. An original design quirk going back to 40k's fledling days.

But no! No! Look closer! The stabiliser jets are the things beneath the stalks.



So, what's going on? What are the stalks if they're not stabiliser jets? The mystery deepens with this picture from Lost and the Damned. (Fans of Squats please look away now.)

Page 254



They're flying?! Is this illustration intended to illustrate some of the options on the Special Equipment Charts? Perhaps the Equipment and Bionics chart?

Equipment and Bionics Chart



Woah! Jump Packs upgraded to flight packs?! What's the difference? Well, look it up in Rogue Trader and you get:

Flight pack. A flight pack is worn on the back. It can be either controlled by a manual control (which requires a free hand) or b direct mind-impulse link. The pack enables the wearer to fly, using a small thrust jet combined with suspensors.

Jump pack. A jump pack permits its wearer to make a long, powerful jump instead of a normal move. Unlike a flight pack, a model using a jump pack does not remain airborne, but takes off, jumps and lands as part of its movement.


Okay, so there were Jump Packs and Flight Packs. So, who had what? Well, most Chaos Marine Squads in the army lists had access to them.

Jump Pack options



Which leads me to the conclusion that back in the 1980s the Renegade Marine models were equipped with Jump Packs as standard, while their Imperial counterparts had standard backpacks.

Weird really, as page 72 of 2nd edition's Chaos Codex says: Though both jump packs and skimmers were available to the Space Marine Legions in limited quantities prior to the Heresy they were proportionally far rarer than in the later Imperial Space Marine Chapters. The complex fabrication and maintenance rituals required for jump packs and skimmers has eliminated their use by the Traitor Legions since their banishment to the Eye of Terror.

Weird how things change, no?

Labels: ,

Posted by Curis at 10:46 am

17 Comments:

At Monday, 12 October 2009 at 14:18:00 BST , Blogger Magemanda said...

Wow, an unbelievably detailed and fascinating account of the generations of back-packs. Thanks for bringing it to the masses :-p.

Seriously, good job. Great anal-ysis.

 
At Monday, 12 October 2009 at 16:50:00 BST , Anonymous Ian Wood said...

Nope, the Chaos backpacks just had extra bits on stalks to make them look more Chaosy. In the same way that Imperial Marines had this huge backpack stuffed full of equipment that had no effect in the game other than making it a sealed suit, the Chaos version had a couple of extra stabiliser jets that had no game effect.

As much as I liked (and still like) Ian Miller as an illustrator, he wasn't too hot on some of the technical details in terms of in-game capabilities...

Jump Packs were substantially bulkier:
http://solegends.com/citcat88/4103spacemarines-01.jpg

Flight Packs never had an official model as far as I'm aware, although I used Jump Packs and models on really tall stands.

 
At Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 21:47:00 GMT , Blogger Angelic_Despot said...

I think Ian Wood has got it. Back in the day, control of who did created what artistically was a lot less strict than it is now. I think whoever drew the picture just thought they would look cool descending from the sky like that.

 
At Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 21:53:00 GMT , Anonymous Curis said...

Yeah. I think I've had my theory well and truly disproved.

 
At Wednesday, 17 March 2010 at 22:15:00 GMT , Blogger Mick said...

But weren't all backpack originally jump packs? If you look at the earliest of early drawings the 'stabiliser jets' were jump packs.

 
At Thursday, 18 March 2010 at 22:55:00 GMT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they were originally conceived as some kind of jetpack rather than a power supply. At least that was what I thought when i first looked at a space marine without knowing any of the background.

 
At Monday, 22 March 2010 at 23:41:00 GMT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old basic backpack was indeed a jump pack. In fact in the first Imperial guard army list (WD 108 I think) the guard assault squads could take jump packs and are pictured soaring high on marine style back packs. What we now have as the jump pack was the much more elaborate flight pack, which held you aloft permanently.How this helps with the Chaos packs I am not quite sure, but I thought you might like the little nerd fact anyway. ;)

 
At Tuesday, 23 March 2010 at 17:51:00 GMT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is any way to get my hands on those 80s backpacks. They look awesome. Would they fit on a modern CSM model?

 
At Wednesday, 24 March 2010 at 13:20:00 GMT , Anonymous Curis said...

This is so muddled now. I'm more confused than when I started.

Those old backpacks fit beautifully on the new models. Though they've got technorganic components so they'd work best on Possessed and the ilk.

 
At Saturday, 27 March 2010 at 09:39:00 GMT , Blogger Rusty Dice said...

I'm with Mick. I've been in the hobby 26 years and as a kid I remember all packs being 'jump' packs. The modern jump packs being what we used to call 'jetpacks'.

 
At Sunday, 18 April 2010 at 13:08:00 BST , Blogger Ferran said...

As someone in the Warseer thread mentioned, I've always thought of these vents as heat / fumes / waste disposal. I first got into 40k during RT, and I have vivid memories of the jump pack illustrations, definately very distinct from normal backpacks. Clearly that earlier LatD illustration shows normal backpacks as flightpacks, but I'd put it down to inconstistencies between different artists' understanding of the fluff (I'd make this assumption mainly for my own peace of mind, and not due to any written / pictorial sources)

 
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At Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 04:57:00 BST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 05:00:00 BST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 07:56:00 BST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 07:59:00 BST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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