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Terminator Armour

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Energy Fields: Conversion field - Refractor field - Displacer field - Stasis field Armour: Flak - Carapace - Powered - Artificer - Terminator

Terminator Armour or Tactical Dreadnought Armour is the toughest and most powerful form of personal armour humanity has ever developed, used by Terminator units. The scarcity and expense to maintain Terminator suits means they are available only to the elite troops from the veteran companies of the Space Marine Chapters.

Terminator Armour being equipped[10]



Indomitus Pattern helmet

Like power armour, Terminator suits have an outer shell of ceramite-bonded plates powered by electrically-motivated fibre bundles. Plates of heavy plasteel further armour the ceramite sections, especially on the front of the suit. This extra armouring provides a level of protection that is far superior to normal Marine armor; not even a Krak missile will penetrate the suit's breastplate.[7] It has even been noted to allow its wearer to survive being stood on by a Titan.[1] It also contributes to the immense weight of the suit, making the wearer less maneuverable and slower. External adamantium ribs help support this weight, while the inclusion of suspensors help the suit carry heavier support weapons.[3]

On the left shoulder of every Terminator suit is displayed the Crux Terminatus badge - those worn by Terminator captains are said to contain a piece of the Terminator Armour the Emperor wore when he fought Horus during the final battle of the Horus Heresy.[2]

Like power armor, Terminator armour is fully enclosed with life-support functions, and includes an array of sensors including radiation monitors, biological detectors and self-diagnostic scanners. Terminator Armour also incorporates many more auxiliary systems than normal Marine power armour, including motion sensors and threat detectors.[3] The armour's sensorium, based upon tendril sensors, links directly into the wearer's own awareness. The sensorium allows the wearer to use a vast number of scanners and detectors without conscious thought. Sensoriums can also be linked together, allowing every squad member to see exactly the same view of the battle as his comrades, though often only the Sergeant's suit will broadcast pict-signals.[3]

Terminator armour is also notable for incorporating a Teleport homer in each suit. This technology allows the squad to overcome their suits' lack of maneuverability by placing them directly in the enemy's midst, though the process is dangerous and sometimes inaccurate. In other cases, Terminator squads will be transported into battle by Drop Pods or Land Raiders.


Terminator with Power Fist and Storm Bolter.

Due to the massive strength its fibre bundles and advanced servo-motors afford the wearer, weapons normally too heavy to be considered man-portable can be used without impeding performance. Heavy flamers and assault cannons can be wielded as easily as a normal man would a handle a lasgun or boltgun.

Terminator Armour has its own integrated weaponry: a storm bolter and a power fist. The Storm Bolter is a multi-chambered, short-barrelled development of the trusty standard bolter already used by the Astartes. It shoots at a faster rate than the original weapon, allowing it to lay down a curtain of fire. It is also quite short, partly because it is built into the exo-armour, making it an ideal close combat weapon. Such a combination in a single weapon has proven useful, to say the least. The power fist is already standard issue in many Chapters, and needs little work to adapt it to exo-armour.[2]

Heavier weapons include the heavy flamer, the assault cannon, Grenade Harness, and the cyclone missile launcher. Normally one squad member will be designated as fire support and carry one of these weapons.[3]

Some Terminator squads, designated specifically for close-quarter combat, while eschew any ranged weapons in favor of either Lightning Claws or a combination of Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield.[3]

Tactical use

Most Marine chapters maintain some Terminator suits in their armouries, and train some squads in their use. However, Terminator armour is not used by these Marines as a matter of course, but issued as and when required. Conventionally armoured Marines, for example, would not be expected to clear the densely-packed corridors of a hive world. Their task would be to form a cordon while Terminator-armoured squads carried out the clearance.[3]

By the 41st millennium, Terminator armour is so prized that its use is reserved for when it will be at its most effective. Terminators may be used in boarding actions, where the cramped conditions and long corridors mean that the Terminator's strength and firepower can be brought to bear without the risk of flanking manoeuvres. Terminator armour may also be deployed on the open battlefield, either to wield devastating long-range fire with their heavy weapons, or deep-strike teleporting to attack the enemy's command structure.[3]



Terminator Armour Early design[2]

Terminator armour was developed during the Great Crusade [6] by the Adeptus Mechanicus Tech Adepts of Mars. Its design is a blend of Dreadnought armour, standard Marine power armour and heavy suits used by engineers working in the most hostile environments (such as micro-debris-plagued orbits or the radioactive engine cores of stellar frigates). It was first intended to provide heavy armour and firepower to troops fighting in cramped battle zones, such as the claustrophobic tunnels of hive worlds and Space Hulks, which are too confined for Dreadnoughts and vehicles.

Several designs of Terminator armour evolved in parallel from the forge worlds of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the armouries of the Marines. Often bearing little physical resemblance to each other, these different exo-armour suits in fact have much in common. Massively armoured, sealed against any external conditions and incorporating their own armament, Terminator armour designs proved their worth from the first. Like power armour, the suits were equipped with fibre-bundle muscles and imposed few movement restrictions upon the wearer, despite their immense weight.[2]

Terminator Armour early design[2]

Terminator armor was originally meant to replace normal power armor, however the destruction wrought by the Horus Heresy destroyed many of these suits, and the limited resources left after the war ended combined with the complexity of building and maintaining Terminator suits contributed to their increase rarity.[3]

Today Terminator suits are highly prized by their Chapters and kept in a constant state of repair and renewal. Although the Adeptus Mechanicus still maintains limited production of Terminator suits,[3] the rate is so slow that often a "new" suit is cobbled together from refurbished parts salvaged from the battlefield. This explains the sometimes disparate and ragged look of Terminator squads. Indeed, as time marches onward the knowledge of how to fabricate some of the more complex pieces becomes an increasingly faded memory in the decrepit minds of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and "reverse engineering" is an all-too-common science in the 41st millennium.[5]


Cataphractii Pattern

Cataphractii-pattern Terminator Armour[10]

This pattern was among the first issued to the Space Marine Legions, and was used during the late Great Crusade and Horus Heresy by both the Space Marines [11] and the Legio Custodes[13]. Although it was rare before the Horus Heresy, some Legions, such as the Iron Hands, possessed a large number of suits.[9] In addition to being distinguished by its large, layered pauldrons, and the pteruges protecting the elbow and thigh joints[9], it was functionally distinct from other patterns, bearing additional plating and shield generators installed within the shoulder pads.[8] This resulted in severe straining of the suit's exoskeleton and reduced the wearer's movement speed, leading to its decline among some Space Marine Legions during the early battles of the Heresy.[11] In the M42 Cataphractii Armour is still used but as a relic rare armour and used only under the important circumstances.[23]

Some Cataphractii Armour suits are equipped with a Grenade Harness.[23]

Tartaros Pattern

Tartaros Pattern Terminator Armour[10]

This pattern is issued to the Veterans of a Chapter's 1st Company and is possibly considered the most advanced form of Tactical Dreadnought Armour. It shared many systems with the Mk IV Maximus-pattern power armour whilst providing greater mobility for the wearer compared to the Indomitus with no loss in durability.[4] This pattern was mostly used during the last years of the Great Crusade and during the Horus Heresy. In the M41 such a Armour are incredibly rare. Even so some of the Space Marine Chapters which have this suits in possession deploys these venerable relics, given them to the most able members of the 1st Company.[17]

Indomitus Pattern

Indomitus Pattern Terminator[10]

Though they first appeared during the Horus Heresy[8] the Indomitus Pattern Terminator Armour is noted for being the most widespread pattern as of M41, due to its template being held by key Forge Worlds such as Mars.[4] It features large rounded pauldrons and an iconic helmet design that resembles the face of a long-extinct species of Terran canid. On each suit’s left shoulder sits the revered Crux Terminatus. These sacred icons are said to incorporate a shard of the golden armour that the Emperor wore in His fateful duel with Horus, and serves a reminder of His noble sacrifice.[10]

Gorgon Pattern

Gorgon Pattern Terminator Armour[22]

A variant of the Indomitus Pattern devised by the Primarch Ferrus Manus and the Iron Fathers, this advanced prototype suit was just going into production at the onset of the Horus Heresy. The design replaced field generators embedded in the armour with experimental systems that converted incoming electromagnetic and kinetic energy into bursts of blinding light, able to incapacitate nearby foes. The heat and electrochemical toxins bleeding from the suit limited the armour's agility, and its effects required a high level of cybernetic modifications for its wearer to endure.[12]

Salamanders prototype Terminators

Vulkan's Terminator Armour prototypes[20]

These prototypes were designed by Vulkan himself, and used by the Salamanders in the aftermath of the Drop Site Massacre. They were much wider and taller than standard legionary power armour, and featured an additional exoskeleton frame to which slanted reinforced armor plates were attached. Left hands carried Power fists, claws and Chainblades for close combat, opening armour and cutting through bulkheads, while right hands wielded a variety of small arms ranging from simple combi-bolters to triple-barreled autocannons, Plasma Launchers, Rocket Launchers and long-barrelled Volkite Culverin.[20]

Saturnine Pattern

Saturnine pattern was made available after the MKVI Power Armour, during the latter stages of the Horus Heresy.[21] Its pattern is described as being functionally identical to the Tartaros and Indomitus designs[11], and it is believed that any divergence in design was largely aesthetic. Little is known about the origins of these Terminator suits, and few examples of this pattern are known to still exist.[10]

Arkonak Pattern

The Minotaurs Chapter are noted as having widespread access to this rare pattern.[14]

Aegis Pattern

Grey Knight Aegis-Pattern Terminator Armour

Used by Grey Knights Terminators, this pattern of Terminator Armour is equipped with the protective Aegis system.[15]

Aquilon Pattern

Custodian in Aquilon Pattern Terminator Armour

This pattern of Terminator Armour was used by the Adeptus Custodes during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Its origins lie with the Cataphractii suits of the Space Marine Legions, but with far greater power capacity and customized neuro-fibre uplinks, it is said, redesigned by the mind of the Emperor himself. Aquilon Pattern Terminator Armour was said to have adjusted for the enhanced physique of the Custodes, who were capable of bearing more weight and strain than even Space Marines. This allowed it to be fitted with additional power systems and capacitors, increasing its durability and maneuverability.[16b] Aquilon Pattern Terminators were given more advanced weaponry than their Astartes counterparts, wielding weapons such as Lastrum Storm Bolters, Solerite Power Gauntlets and Power Talons, and Power Talon, Infernus Firepikes, and twin-linked Adrathic Destructor.[16a] Within the ranks of the Custodes, Aquilon Pattern Terminator Armour was deployed by the Tharanatoi Caste.[16b]

Allarus Pattern

Custodian in Allarus Pattern Terminator Armour[10]

The Allarus Pattern Terminator Armour is used by the Adeptus Custodes of the Allarus Terminators in the present setting. Driven by magnatomic generator-shrines, articulated with leonus-class actuators, and fashioned from layered auramite and adamantium, Allarus armour is a marvel of craftsmanship. It provides its wearer with an exceptional range of movement and near-unencumbered speed, augmented strength and resilience, and the survivability to stride unharmed from the blast of a macro-cannon shell. Coupled with the protective blessings of the Emperor, Allarus Terminator plate is arguably the most effective man-portable combat armour in the entire Imperium.[19] These expertly crafted suits are each individually worth entire worlds.[18]

Unique Suits


See also