A Beginners Guide to Horus Heresy: Part 2 The Armour

So, Severus gave me a homework assignment, write a brief blog about power armour and which legions can use the individual marks. This is going to be really basic, and more to be used as help for which legions should be equipped with the different possible Mks.

MkI – Thunder Power Armor
Available to Legions: None

The less said about this armour, the better. It isn’t really power armour. Yes, it was what helped the Emperor reunite the clans of Terra. Once the Emperor unified the Terran solar system, he moved on to bigger and better things. However, the design was not suitable for the great crusade.  Towards the end of the Age of Strife, the MKII armor was designed. The MKI is not suitable for any legion, and I don’t even know where one would be ably to buy them.

MkII – Crusade Power Armour
Available to Legions: All

And here is where the fun begins. The MKII armour was meant for the crusade, as the name implies. This was the first real power armour available to the legions. Depending on the time frame you were aiming for when building your Legion, This would be one of the more common Mks that should be fielded in your army. Every legion can take them and fit in with the story.


MkIII – Iron Power Armour
Available to Legions: All

This next Mk looks like an actual progression took place when designing the armour. It’s a little sleeker looking, but still bears a lot of resemblance to the MkII armour. Again this armour was available to all legions, and would be pretty common in pre-heresy Legions.


MkIV – Maximus Power Armour
Available to Legions: All (Traitor Legions had a higher concentration)

At the height of the great crusade, the Adeptus Mechanicus of Mars introduced this new armour to the Legions. The old MkII’s were wearing out, and while some Legions repaired and maintained the old armour, new armour was slowly being delivered to legions on the front line. It should not be a surprise the Horus would want the latest and greatest armour for the Legions in the think of the crusade, most of which became traitors.


MkV – Heresy Power Armour
Available to Legions: Mostly Loyalist, but a lot still made it into the traitors.

With supply lines cut, and relying on themselves to design and upkeep their own armour, Legions came up with what is the MkV. The layered the armour and it was held together with studs, hence the giant studded shoulder pads. Even the traitors did get ahold of this armour, in fact, the imperium is distrustful Space Marines who don the MkV power armour. (My poor Carcharodons)


MkVI – Corvus Power Armour
Available to Legions: Loyalist* (High Concentration in Raven Guard)

Ah, old Beakie. I actually try to use this armour as much as possible in my Carcharodons (and the MKV). This was supposed to be the MkV, but the outbreak of the Horus Heresy delayed it’s introduction. The shape of the helmet was due to all of the new sensors added to the helmet. It was named after the Raven Guard’s Primarch, which also explains why it is so common with that Legion.


MKVII – Aquilla Power Armour
Available to Legions: Select Loyalists (Ultramarine, White Scars, ask the primarch)

This mark was delevoped during the final stages of the Horus Heresy, and had parts that were interchangeable with the MkVI. In fact, as Horus brought the war to Mars, those working on this Mk were brought to Terra to complete their work. Only select loyalist were able to get this Mk due to where the war was being fought. To be true, only those fighting in defense of Terra would have any of these.


MKVIII – Errant Power Armour
Available to Legions: None during the Horus Heresy

This is the latest and greatest of the power armour. Created after the Horus Heresy, none of the legions would use this. In fast, even in 40K, it is an uncommon Mk to see. More common than MkII and MkIII, but still very rare.


*Alpha Legion could use almost all Marks of armor. But anything past the MkIV would be extremely limited. You can make the argument/story that those few soldiers infiltrated a loyalist legion, killed a few guys, and rejoined the legion. Again, that would be extremely rare.

5 thoughts on “A Beginners Guide to Horus Heresy: Part 2 The Armour

  1. Great write up. I too have a Mk V heavy Carcharodon force.

    I always thought Mk IV was the “good guy” armor (probably because of seeing the Red Scorpions in the past) and Mk V was the “bad guy” armor (because of the name) but it turns out it was the other way around! I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about 40K but I didn’t know this! I see a lot of artwork of Word Bearers in Mk V but now that I think about it, most of the Mk V artwork is of Loyalists, and it would make sense that it is a mainly Loyalist used armor, especially Raven Guard before they got their Mk VI.

  2. One minor thing you forgot – the studded shoulder bad on the Mk. VI armour. If you didn’t know, and for those who don’t, it’s to represent those who fought and died at the Eternity Gate. A deliberate throwback and reminder of Mk V 🙂

    Also, Mk. III is *essentailly* an unarmoured variant of Mk. II, designed for close-quarters engagements and boarding actions.

  3. Just read the article, its not bad, but its wrong.
    The mk2/3/4 armour were widely used by all legions at the time of the heresy, with mk4 being the pinnacle of suit design.
    At the outbreak of the heresy the legions had trouble trying to get spares/repair the mk4 suits, so out came the mk5 suit which was hurried out to keep the legions operational. It wasent held together with studs. They found the armour plates were to thin, so used the studding to help deflect incoming bullets. The helmet was from the terminator program. Badically mk5 covers marines that wear a mix of armour types.
    Mk6 came out as the legions turned traitor, so only a select few got hold of them, raven guard, imperial fists, and the alpha legion.
    Mk7 came out after the heresy, as the factorys geared up the production lines to replace all the worn out suits, and ones beyond repair.
    Mk2 was a standard armour, were as mk3 was designed for boarding actions and assault units, as all the armour from the back of the mk2 suit was moved round to the front on the mk3.

    • ” It wasent held together with studs. They found the armour plates were to thin, so used the studding to help deflect incoming bullets. The helmet was from the terminator program. Badically mk5 covers marines that wear a mix of armour types.”

      No, it was held together with large rivets. The armour was found not to be strong enough, so several layers were used, held together with rivets (which may have provided some deflection).

      And in a previous comment I typed ‘unarmoured’ when talking about Mk. III. I meant UParmoured. Derp 😛

  4. Christ, this brought back memories of painting and playing 40k back in the late 80s/early 90s (put it this way – I can remember when Eldar were called Space Elves). One thing you should clarify is that the Mk VIII armour was introduced around 10,000 years after the Heresy, which shows the almost complete halt in research/production after the Heresy and Martian civil war wiped out records and knowledge.

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