Saturday, 13 November 2010

Riverine 40K

Repainted and modelled children's toy

Old Crow 28mm Resin Hovercraft Models

Nearly every game of 40K I see is played on something resembling Hyde Park, or Stalingrad, and that's a shame as a novel terrain situation can bring a whole new spice for the jaded palette.

Estuarine warfare brings in a whole new raft of problems. This is where the land and the sea merge. An example would be the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. The US armed forces had to devise whole new vehicles, the riverine force, to fight in this region. The Mekong is tropical but a riverine battleground could just as easily be temperate or icy. Think of the landscape of eastern England and the Thames and Medway Estuaries in Roman times or the Dark Ages, before the land was drained, the waterways canalised and sea walls erected. Beowulf describes such a landscape.

The main terrain types include open 'deep' water, gooey mud banks. and islands of solid ground. Vegetation grows along the waterways and on the islands.

Skimmers come into their own but heavy ground vehicles are restricted to the mainland and islands connected by military quality bridges - which may mean they are absent from the game. Amphibious vehicles, i.e.ground vehicles that float, are useful as are boats.

Vehicle restrictions are as follows:_
Skimmers: no restrictions (but sink if they come down in water).
Light Tracks: dry land, mud (dangerous) and water if amphibious.
Wheels: Dry land, water if amphibious.
Heavy tracks: dry land only.
Hovercraft: Any flat surface.
Boats: Open water only

Amphibious Ground Vehicles
The IG codex describes an amphibious vehicle as one that treats water as clear terrain, such as the Chimera. This is fine for a normal game of 40K but inadequate for a specialist riverine game. An amphibious AFV, like a Chimera, has to have certain restrictions in water: (i) Speed is reduced to six inches a turn; (2) Only the turret gun can fire as the bow and hull ports are sealed to stop water getting in.

Hovercraft: These are 'fast' but cannot cross 'broken' ground or obstacles, such as walls or tree stumps.

You can pick up some nice and inexpensive 28 mm hovercraft hulled vehicles from Old Crow. However, they are a little too streamlined and high tech for the Guard (or renegade humans).

Children's toys are worth watching out for. I picked up a couple of toy boats for a song. I removed the boat hull and repainted it - see above. It is a Chimera, in games turns, including points value, except that it is a hovercraft (see above). It has a twin-linked heavy bolter on top (no bow gun) and four hunter killer missile launchers that are used mainly as bunker busters and boat killers.

Boats are the sort of thing that can be scratch built from plastic sheets and various odds and sods. I have put up some pics of US Riverine boats below. These can be simply open troop transports or fire support boats.

One type not shown is the 'lighter'. This is basically a low, flat pontoon hull with an engine at the back and a conning tower for a pilot, which will probably be armoured. Various guns, vehicles, luggage or turrets are placed on top. In WWII, the German used to use lighters with 88mm Flak guns to protect coastal convoys.

US Riverine Forces.


  1. You're a mind reader, I've been working on a 40K river boat.

  2. what about the rules for the submersile? (ORK)

  3. I made some Epic scale Ork River Monitors a few years back.

    I used 15mm Vietnam Assault craft.

  4. Really?


    "a whole new raft of problems."

    'Raft' puns? Really?

    I'm grinning.

    Good point well made, too.

  5. I wonder if chaos daemons can swim? I'd bet screamers of Tzeentch could. But did Slaanesh remember to teach daemonettes how to swim?

  6. I really like where you're going with this John. I've been wanting to do an amphibious / brown water navy force for quite a while.

    Keep us updated!

  7. Dear Anonymous
    Tell us more!
    If you don't have a blog,email me a pic and I will put it up.

  8. Dear Fuzz
    Big subs need deepwater but I suppose you could have submersibles.

  9. Dear Admiral.
    Guilty as charged. Trust a jolly tar to notice a raft joke.

  10. Dear Jabber
    Daemonette synchronised swimming team - there's a thought.

  11. Dear Felix
    Good site - I have bookmarked it for future browsing.

  12. Have you read the 2nd Black Library 'Bastion Wars' novel? (The name escapes me right now) It dealt with a riverine IG force that had a very 'Vietnam' feel to it.

  13. Dear Cheef
    Yes, I have. As you say, very 'Nam.