Now, if you're a marine player of any kind, and 75% of you are, (Thanks GW!) then you're probably at least passingly interested in playing 30k. If you've been a marine player for a decade or more, and you're a first founding legion, chances are, you've already amassed all the toys you need to play 30k. Kudos.
For everyone else though, there's a problem. That problem is called being an adult. Being an adult means that you have to have disposable income to spend on toy soldiers, and sometimes, when you see the price tag on forgeworld models in British Pounds Sterling, you get this sharp twitch of pain in your butt, where your wallet used to be. Sometimes, you tell your wife how much that Reaver titan on your desk actually costs, and you end up sleeping on the couch that night. Sometimes, you walk into a dark alley behind the Forgeworld studio and you find a couple of rubber molds mugging a defenseless credit card.
Of course, not everyone has those kind of problems. Some people stay single, don't have kids, or they have good jobs that let them buy all the toys they want. That's great for them. I'm not talking to them. I'm talking to all the average jerks who thought it would be cool to go into business for themselves and open up a bits store because they love the hobby, only to have Tom Kirby slam a car door on their fingers a couple years later. (That's just a friendly cheap shot at MBG if you haven't been paying attention to GW politics lately.)
Break into Techmarine Boogaloo
One of the cheap, easy, and cool units available in your legion list in 30k is the techmarine covenant. So today, let's talk about that. Why is the techmarine covenant such a pack of unstoppable badasses?
1) First things first, you have backwards model compatibility. The canon model for techmarines in 30k are the same ones in 40k. You can use all of your existing techies, if you have them. Most original techmarine models from the late nineties through current times are wearing canon old mark armor that was available during the Great Crusade, so you don't have to chop them up to make them historically accurate.
2) Techmarine covenants are a great budget choice in the elites slot. The whole crew is 1-3 techies, and they can all buy servitor retinues as you see fit. This keeps them cheap and easy on points and money.
3) Techmarine covenants get all the cool toys that make Horus Heresy games fun. They have access to conversion beamers, graviton guns, rad grenades, and all the cool great crusade bells and whistles. A lot of units in the Great Crusade army list are just time travelers- The models do not change significantly from 40k to 30k, except for a smattering of options. The great thing about the techmarine is that he has an infinite buffet plate and can go back for seconds. He gets to play with all the really badass old school toys, and you don't have to buy a big tank to do it.
Now, if you're going to use techmarines, you're probably going to want 3 of them, because you're blowing up a whole elite slot to grab them. Might as well fill it up.
This is where we run into our first problem- Techmarines ain't cheap. Well, at least the cool ones aren't. There's a lot of interesting techmarine models available- The chaos warpsmith is the youngest, he's finecast, and he's pretty much Iron Warriors all the way down to his boots. There's the old metal techmarines with servo arms that you can still get through GW, and they're relatively cheap, for GW. Space Wolves players still have their classic iron priest, that guy has been around for an age as well.
The newer, sexier techmarines are a bit more of a big deal though. They have the really cool redesigned beefier servo harnesses that are pretty badass. You can get one by himself for around 20 bucks from GW, one comes with the thunderfire cannon, and one comes in a fat $45 box with a bunch of his servitor goons.
Here's a dealbreaker though... At that point, we're starting to talk about 15-20 per techmarine. paying 35-60 bucks for one FOC slot unfortunately isn't that bad for GW lately. As a matter of fact, with Tactical squads and other ten model troop formations across the board going for $37 off the shelf at GW, that's pretty much industry standard. Here's where panties get in a bunch- All those sonsabitches are finecast.
Now, with finecast, I can normally suck it up and deal with it. I don't like it, but I don't like chasing down the old metal versions of my favorite models on ebay either. (which I'm done with anyways, I finally won a guitar noise marine auction. Good riddance.) But finecast techmarines? With all their fiddly little robot arms?
NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
Not happening... Especially when you consider that guys like MBG and most of the discount online stores aren't in a hurry to stock them. Finecast Thunderfire cannons are not a popular item. I'm not in a hurry to drop 20 bucks on GW for one model, when all the details on that model are fiddly little resin robot arms. Look that up in the dictionary, there's a picture of it next to the entry for masochism.
So where does that leave us, the lazy cheap-ass that doesn't want to deal with finecast, or for that matter, the GW markup that comes with it?
Well, here's the light at the end of the tunnel- We can make our own. Techmarines are pretty much just normal jerk marines with extra robot parts. If you like to go with the canon codex scheme, they also paint themselves red. If you have a marine that's red, and is doctor octopus, hey, that's a techmarine. Good job. Grab a power axe and go to town.
Now here's the really fun part, the conversion beamer- Up until Forgeworld, we were all in the lurch as to what it actually looks like. Space marines have been able to get them for awhile now, but there was no word on what an official conversion beamer looks like until we started getting them from forgeworld- The Astral Claws techmarine has one, and contemptor dreads and predators can get one, but before those came out, conversion beamers were kind of open season.
Personally, I think they still are. I like the idea of having a giant ray gun that is unique. Its supposed to be weird, ancient tech, its okay if no two of them look exactly alike- Especially when you've seen all the really cool bike techmarines with conversion beamers that people have converted. Those are cool as hell.