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Power Armour is worn primarily by the Space Marines, Sisters of Battle, Adeptus Custodes and the Chaos Space Marines. It is a completely enclosed suit of armour, made of thick ceramite plates. The armour would be heavy and cumbersome to wear but for the electrically motivated fibre bundles within the armour that replicate the wearer's movement and enhance his/her strength.[1]

Parts of the Mark VI Corvus Armour


Power armour is fully sealed, isolating the wearer from the outside environment and protecting him from gas weapons and harsh atmospheres. It also commonly includes numerous auxiliary systems such as communicators and auto-senses. The backpack contains the main power plant, environmental system and additional stabilizers. Whilst power armour is most commonly associated with the Adeptus Astartes, the Sisters of Battle and many Inquisitors also use powered armour of one sort or another. Typically however these armours may not contain the same strength-enhancing properties or life-support functions of Space Marine power armour, nor do they provide the same amount of protection. All armour may further be augmented by various artifacts, relics and enhancements such as pauldrons and greaves.[1]

Power armour has been in use since before the Age of the Imperium, from the techno-barbarians of Earth to the original Space Marines created by the Emperor. Over the history of the Imperium, power armour has developed into many different forms. Need, circumstances and recovery of new materials and technology has shaped the armour's evolution.[Needs Citation]

Space Marine Power Armour

Space Marine Power Armour is an extraordinarily sophisticated defensive system which combines huge resistance to physical damage with a sensory array and sealed environment which protects its wearer from the ravages of the void and alien atmospheres. Integrated with the armour are networks of electro-motivated fibre bundles which mimic and augment the muscular strength of the wearer. The true genius of the design, however, lies in its close integration with the already superhuman physiology, senses and reflexes of the Space Marine within. Working in concert, armour and Astartes together become a weapon without equal.[9]

Each suit of Space Marine Power Armour is a work of supreme artisanship, and although it may be one of many, each is a unique artifact whose spirit and history is of deep spiritual significance to both the Chapter to which it belongs and the Space Marine who wears it.[9] It can take decades to complete just one of the new Mk VII power armour, so it is often easier to make spare part for an existing suit than it is to make a completely new one.[18]

There are numerous different Marks of Power Armour, most of which date back in terms of design and application many thousands of years ago to the time of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. Each has its own lore and genesis in place and time. Even in the 41st Millennium some intact suits from this near-mythical age survive in active service as war-relics of the Space Marines. Countless others have been produced or reacquired since, and different Chapters often have entirely different panoplies they can call upon to armour their forces. It is also far from uncommon for more recently fashioned armour to incorporate slivers or whole components from far older suits as revered connections to the past.[9]

Space Marines go through an arduous process where they receive various implants culminating with the implantation of the Black Carapace, which allows the Marine a direct and instinctual interface with the armour, making it in effect a second skin. The advanced systems of Space Marine power armour also monitor the Marine's biological functions, feeding the medical information to the Marine.[Needs Citation]


While Space Marine Armour has evolved and changed over the Millennia, key components remain the same.[15]

  • Auto-senses: Contained in the helmet, these systems include thought-activated communication arrays and audio filters, targeting reticules and range finders, tactical displays and auspex-links, and a host of other features.
  • Photolenses: Protect the Space Marine from light bursts and allow him to see in the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum's as well as enable vision in low-light conditions.
  • Respirator Vox Grill: This thought-activated device amplifies a Marine's battlecry to deafening volumes and contains a respirator to filter out toxins and draw upon an internal oxygen supply.
  • Auto Responsive Shoulder Plates: Shaped to deflect and absorb incoming blows, they usually display heraldry including Chapter, Company, and Squad symbols.
  • Chestpiece: Designed to protect armoured power cables.
  • Backpack Power Unit: This houses the primary power core for the armour, as well as reserve cells and an emergency solar collector.
  • Life Signs Monitor: Regulate a suite of life support functions, including an injection system that can regulate painkillers, anti-toxins, and combat stimulants.
  • Nutrient Reservoir: A self-replenishing high-energy food store that can sustain a Space Marine's metabolism. Thus during battle, there is no need for a Space Marine to eat or drink.
  • Reinforced Greaves: These incorporate gyroscopic stabilizers and power units that can magnetize the soles of the armour's boots, allowing Space Marines to walk on metal surfaces in the void of space or zero gravity environments.

Mark I "Thunder Armour"

Mark I "Thunder Armour"[60a]

Mark I plate was developed by the techno-barbarian factions that dominated Terra prior to the Emperor's ascendancy. When the Emperor began his conquest of Earth, the "Thunder Warriors", the proto-Space Marines which formed part of his retinue, were armoured in the same way as the soldiers of the other warlords. A thunderbolt and lightning symbol was displayed on the breastplate of warriors loyal to the Emperor - this was the personal badge of the Emperor in those days, predating the Imperial Aquila which only became the symbol of the Imperium much later. The emblem gives the suit its common name – "Thunder Armour."[1]

Thunder Armour was not an enclosing suit and offered no life support functions, being unnecessary while the fighting was confined to Terra and the similar environments of Luna and Mars. This early armour was produced on a completely local basis and as such individual suits varied heavily and their exact designs were often a matter of personal taste.[1]

The main part of the armour is the massive powered torso which encloses the chest and arms. Coiled energy cables beneath the armour plating transmit power from the power pack on the back to the arms, greatly increasing physical strength by a factor of between 3 and 4 times. Since fighting on Terra during this period was primarily close-quarters, the strength of a warrior's chest and arms was of paramount importance. The legs of this armour Mark are typically not power-armoured at all, but are enclosed in tough padded breeches. The best-equipped warriors sometimes wore armoured greaves and armoured boots, and such additional protection was common amongst the Thunder Warriors.[1]

As with all powered armour, the power supply is contained with a notably bulky back-mounted unit, most of which is taken up by cooling systems designed to prevent the entire armour design from overheating.[1]

Although it is very rarely used in the 41st Millennium, some suits of Thunder Armour are maintained for ceremonial purposes.[1]

This ancient style of armour is noticeably noisier than later Marks. [8]

Mark II "Crusade Armour"

Mark II Crusade Armour[60a]

After the conquest of the main planets of the Sol system, the factories on Mars were set to work constructing a new type of armour for the Emperor's elite Space Marines. This armoured suit is commonly referred to as "Crusade Armour," since it was designed with the planned Great Crusade in mind, and its production led to the Thunder Armour being retroactively designated as the Mark I. It was the first fully enclosed power armour, with life-sustaining capabilities[1], making it suitable for combat on toxic alien planets and the depths of space.[8] The Mk.II Pattern was standard for the Legiones Astartes during most of the Great Crusade, and its helmet in particular became a symbol for the Legiones Astartes throughout the Imperium. By the ending stages of the Crusade, Mk.II Armour had been phased out for the Mk.IV but many Legions still possessed them in great numbers. In particular, Legions not favored by Warmaster Horus or had many units spread out on the frontiers of the Imperium retained the largest amounts of Mk.II Armour.[52]

Crusade Armour is fully plated, and the legs are also power armoured. The plates are arranged into articulated hoops, for increased maneuverability. The chest coils, which were kept on the outside of the armour plating on Mark I armour for cooling purposes, have now been placed on the inside of the chest plates, so that they are better protected, thanks to more efficient cooling mechanisms. However, this design could not be copied over to the new powered leg armour, which resulted in exposed cabling on the backs of the lower legs. The backpack is roughly the same size as that on the Mark I armour, but is much more efficient, and also includes extra life support, air recycling and fluid recovery equipment, as well as automated medical devices that have remained a part of Space Marine armour ever since.[1]

The helmet is fitted with automatic sensory devices developed on Mars, which allow the wearer to see and hear as though not wearing a helmet,[1] and, since all information is transmitted to a computer in the helmet before being transmitted directly to the wearer's brain via neural link, it enhances sight and hearing while dampening blinding lights and deafening noises.[8] The wearer is also able to see in the infra-red and ultra-violet spectrums, images can be zoomed in and magnified while noises can be enhanced.[1]

Mark II armour is believed by many to still be the most efficient example of power armour design, although with the caveat that the overlapping hooped armour plates are difficult to repair. It can still be found in operational use - in extremely limited numbers - amongst several Space Marine Chapters.[1]

Mark II armour had several subtypes, such as the Paravane subtype used by the Dark Angels, which was known for its exceptional void endurance and enhanced systems. [55a]

  • Gallery of Images and Armor variants

Imperial Pattern

"Imperial Pattern" power armour

A class of power armour referenced in but a handful of sources, "Imperial Pattern" power armour is described as a highly idiosyncratic design notable for a helmet not unlike that of the much later Mark VI, for a distinctly archaic arrangement of vents and joints, and for lacking the flared grieves so distinctive of the known classes. In these sources, the wearers of this class also bear a singular weapon thought to be related to the almost obsolete volkite, some manner of disintegration beamer.[48] It was made available between Mark II and Mark III[63]

Mark III "Iron Armour"

Mark III Iron Armour[60a]

This model dates from the wars of the Great Crusade, when Astartes Legions were forced into deadly boarding actions and tunnel combat.[Conflicting sources] This armour was ideal when cover was minimal and combat was a matter of frontal assault.[1] The most visually brutal and imposing of all the widely produced armour marks, the Iron Armour was a heavy, modified Mark II design (itself the first mass-produced Power Armour of the Crusade era). The Iron Armour's structure has augmented frontal defence and incorporates additional ablative plates, and is intended foremost for use in boarding actions, tunnel assaults and void warfare, although it is considerably heavier and more power hungry than its contemporaries.[9] The new helmet design is a heavily armoured model with sloping plates designed to deflect shots to the left and right, and inspired the Mark IV and VI helmet designs.[1]

Mark III was never intended to replace the previous Mark but to act as an optional suit specialised for situations where heavier frontal protection would be advantageous, such as in the close confines of spacecraft and mining complexes.[8] Because of this, no Legion was ever fully equipped with the Mark III. While successful in the conditions it was designed for, the armour is too clumsy and uncomfortable for conventional fighting. Nonetheless it became widespread in some Legions, such as the Imperial Fists and Death Guard. Meanwhile the Dark Angels and Space Wolves also favored the design, perhaps due to its more bellicose nature.[52]

The Mk.III is sometimes worn by ceremonial guards due to its visual brutality, and can also still be found used in close-quarters situations by various Space Marine Chapters. It is commonly called the Iron Suit or Armorum Ferrum in recognition of its great strength.[1]

Mark IV "Imperial Maximus Suit"

Mark IV Maximus Armour[60a]

At the end of the Great Crusade the Space Marines found their armour wearing out. While some Legions chose to continue local production and maintenance, the Mechanicum of Mars started to design a new variant for centralised issue, which was to be designated the Mark IV or Imperial Maximus suit.[1]

At the Mark IV stage of the power armour development, Space Marine armour began to take on an appearance recognisable as contemporary power armour, the main change being the abandonment of the separate abutting plates in favour of larger inflexible armour casings incorporating flexible joints. This marginally reduced mobility but was far easier to produce and maintain.[1]

Technical secrets recovered on newly conquered worlds allowed Mars to develop the more efficient armour, improving the quality of protection and reducing the suit's weight at the same time. Improved armouring of the power cables allowed the main arm and chest supply to be safely relocated to the exterior of the armour, while the use of new material reduced the size and number of cables.[1]

The helmet was a completely new design, the basic shape inspired by the sweeping front of the Mark III. In Mark IV and later versions the helmet is no longer fixed, but moves with the wearer's head. This represented the constructors' increasing experience with neural connector gear and the new materials which flooded into the Martian workshops as the Crusade progressed.[1]

Mark IV armour was envisioned at the time to be the ultimate and final type of Space Marine armour, able to offer the best protection in a variety of conditions. Many of the Space Marine Legions were entirely or partially re-equipped with it, although the order of which Legions received the armour would shortly prove to be of significance.[1] As a result of its widespread production and use prior to and during the Horus Heresy, Mark IV suits are the most common of the pre-Heresy armour Marks still in service during the 41st Millennium. The Pattern was initially most widespread in Legions that were favored by Warmaster Horus, and thus would become synonymous with Traitor Astartes.[52] Notably, a few Chapters, such as the Red Scorpions and Iron Hands, are still capable of producing new Mark IV suits in the 41st millennium.[9]

The round nozzles on either side of the backpack are not only for heat dissipation but also could be used as stabiliser jets in zero gravity conditions.[27]

  • Gallery of Images and Armor variants
  • Achean Pattern
Achean Pattern

Helmets and Shoulder Pads were a variant Mk IV ‘Maximus’ battle plate design of the Thousand Sons Legion during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. They were produced by the forges local to Prospero exclusively for this Legion and used often by Legion veterans.[20]

  • Cadaere Renissum Pattern
Cadaere Pattern

A sub-pattern of the Mk.IV used by the World Eaters, most notably Cadaere Squads.[54b]

  • Praetor Pattern
Praetor Pattern

The Praetor Pattern was a type of Mk.IV Variant used by the Ultramarines during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. Produced at Veridia Forge, it was not an accepted mark of the greater Legiones Astartes by the time of the Battle of Calth.[11][26]

  • Seeker Pattern
Seeker Pattern

A sub-Pattern of the Mk.IV used by the Headhunters of the Alpha Legion.[54e]

  • Other Patterns

Mark V "Heresy Armour"

Mark V Heresy Armour[60a]

The equipping of the legions was only partially complete when the Horus Heresy broke out. Many of the Legions that had just been fully equipped with Mark IV armour turned against the Imperium while many of the loyal Legions had been deliberately starved of access to it and remained operating with the older Mark II and Mark III armour. Additionally, even the Legions equipped with Mark IV suits quickly found themselves low on spare parts and unable to manufacture replacement units. With war damage and mobile operations, resupply for damaged equipment was difficult or impossible. Marine artificers and Techmarines had to use old style equipment from older models to keep the legions fighting, as well as salvage from slain enemies and unorthodox innovations of their own.[1][8]

This ad-hoc assemblage of various armour mark segments (including new or unoffical design elements) being created by a multitude of legions resulted in an entirely new mark of armour being 'accidentally' created; these previously non-standard, emergency/stopgap designs were retroactively termed as the Mark V once production of the Mark IV was halted and the design for the subsequent Corvus Armour mark (Mark VI) was finalised. Some form of standardisation across Mark V suits is notable, despite their apparently random creation and individual varied origins, due to the dissemination of molecular bonding techniques across the legions. These techniques were developed due to battlefield experience in fighting other Astartes; Astartes plate needed to be proof against their own penetrator weapons, and it was discovered that power armour would benefit from additional reinforcing in this regard.[6] All sorts of improvised additional armour can be seen on Mark V suits, but the most common technique was affix additional layers of armour with the aforementioned molecular bonding studs. This relatively quick and simple technique effectively added another ablative layer to marine armour suits. The extra weight this generated would prove considerable, however, which placed a strain on power supplies. As the addition of extra power generation sources and cabling would just require more armour plating, catching the design in an eternal circle, the wearers of the suit was forced to either deal with the additional weight, or turn up the power output of his backpack but suffer extreme heat output, which not only would prove uncomfortable and even compromising in certain situations,[1][8] and in many cases older, heavy power cabling was used, which created a weak point on the chest[8]

Many Mark V suits ended up featuring an unusual helmet design appropriated from supplies generated by the Tactical Dreadnought Armour program; this spin-off helmet featured similar levels of improved auto-senses as Terminator suits, but was still found to be inferior to those of Mark IV suits.[1] The respirator used for this helmet was codified as the Mantilla-pattern, and saw use as early as late M30.[10]

The Mark V would be the most common armour mark visible during the Horus Heresy, by its nature as a mark resulting directly from the concerns of that galactic civil war. As a result, the Mark V is commonly called the Heresy Suit and is distinguished by the molecular bonding studs often seen on areas such as the helmet, shoulder plates and greaves. Few Imperial Space Marines are ever seen in Mark V suits today, as the loyalist Chapters either broke up these suits for spares or purposefully destroyed them after the Heresy was over. In contrast, many Chaos Space Marines still wear Mark V armour by default[1], either because they still possess their original suits or because they are forced to scavenge equipment. The Mk.V became most prevalent in the Shattered Legions due to their more desperate situation.[52]

This power armour carries resonances of the Imperium’s darkest hour and its greatest victory. Battle-Brothers will offer the wearer their respect. However, members of the Inquisition are instinctively suspicious of any connection to the Horus Heresy.[8]

Production Mark V

Production Mark V is the most widely recognisable form of Mark V, and consists of elements of power armour that most Legions were able to manufacture in their own forges, or otherwise obtain themselves, falling back on common designs for parts that had specific cross-compatibilities, often deriving from Mark IV, V, VI and later Mark VII.[48]

Non-production Mark V

Non-production Mark V is a genuine amalgamation of field modifications combining several different marks of armour in ways no Tech-Priest would ever think to sanction. In general, Mark II and III components can be combined without issue, as can those of Marks IV, VI and the much later Mark VII. Parts outside these two distinct groups can only be combined with one another with great difficulty, however, and so this was often only seen in the more technically adept Legions such as the Iron Hands and Salamanders - in particular those elements of the Shattered Legions that were cut off from ready sources of resupply in the wake of the treachery at Istvaan V.[48]

Mark VI "Corvus Armour"

Mark VI Corvus Armour[60a]

At the end of the production of Mark IV armour, a long term research project began to replace it. As this remained a theoretical endeavour for some time, it lead to the production of the Corvus Suit as a stopgap measure, using a mixture of new and old features.[Needs Citation]

The Mark VI prototype design (which bore the provisional designation of Mk V at the time) was field-tested during the Scalland Campaign by Legionaries of the Raven Guard, whose experiences and comments resulted in improved design features in the finalised armour mark. Mark VI armour offered no better protection-levels than the Mark IV, but incorporated more efficient internal systems where power-routing and auto-senses were concerned. Power systems were given back-up redundancies with no increase in weight, while both olfactory and auditory sensors were improved. Additionally, the armour featured the best stealth capabilities of all power armour marks so far designed[6], as well as a new method of compartmentalising components that allowed them to be swapped out with pieces from previous marks with ease.[1] It is the lightest variant of power armour and featured dual technology circuits that allowed the replacement of rare or sophisticated parts with common or basic alternatives. It also included fail-safes such as duplicate power cabling.[8]

Corvus Armour is also distinctive for its conical nose – designed to house additional systems including advanced auto-senses. According to some, the studded left shoulder pad, taken from the previous MkV pattern, commemorates the glory of those heroes who stood at the Eternity Gate alongside the Emperor himself.[17] Others said that studded shoulder pads shows the parts where additional ceramite armour was bonded to the armour - due to the need for quick field repairs.[65]

The finalised armour mark was named Corvus Armour in honour of Corvus Corax, Primarch of the Raven Guard, and the first sets of it shipped to the Raven Guard Legion ahead of all other loyalist legions, in recognition not only of their role in the design process, but of the sacrifices made by the Raven Guard in the Drop Site Massacre and their determination to rebuild and rejoin the fight against Horus the Great Betrayer.[6]

The Mark VI features clean, sleek lines, due to the routing of power cables under the exterior armour plate (abdominal covering of these was one of the suggestions made by the Raven Guard) and the increased sloping of the helmet design. The left shoulder armour features the tell-tale molecular bonding studs of Mark V armour. The initial suits did indeed use the ablative technique pioneered in Mark V suits, as paucity of supplies during the Heresy meant that some sacrifices still had to be made, even with a new armour design. In later years, the left shoulder was armoured to the same level as the right, but the studs were still affixed in a deliberate continuation of the honoured design that had won the Horus Heresy for the Imperials.[1]

The Alpha Legion was able to acquire small numbers of Corvus Armour and modified it according to their Legion's own needs. Built in secret, the "Corvus-Alpha" pattern of Corvus Armour saw use openly during the Horus Heresy.[19]

Chaos Space Marines can be seen in this armour despite its association with Imperial Space Marines; they captured a significant quantity of the suits on Mars during the Heresy, as well as Mechanicum production facilities, and were therefore able to produce their own Mark VI suits.[1]

Mark VI armour was first issued during the later stages of the Great Crusade, and it was in wide service by the time of the Horus Heresy. And while it may be most associated with forces who employed stealth and infiltration tactics such as the Raven Guard or the Alpha Legion, every Legion was issued with this mobile, relatively lightweight armour mark – even the Iron Warriors, who were well-known for their preference for heavier armour.[51]

By the time of the Siege of Terra, Mark VI was the most numerous pattern in service, the Loyalist Legions defending the Imperial Palace had whole Chapters equipped with Mark VI armour, while the Dark Mechanicum hacked the data vaults of those still loyal to the Emperor to provide the designs to Horus and his forces. With countless Forge Worlds under the control of the Warmaster, production of Mark VI armour continued apace, and the Emperor’s Children in particular used it en masse during the Siege of Terra. The predominance of the Corvus armour would continue well into the Scouring and the present age. [48][51]

Within the Warhammer 40,000 community, Mk.VI armour is often called "beaky" or "beakies".[49]

  • Gallery of Images and Armour variants

Mark VII "Aquila Armour"

Mark VII Aquila Armour

Mark VII armour, also known as the “Aquila,” “Imperator”, “Eagle” armour[1] or “Armorum Impetor”[39], was developed during the Horus Heresy, and remains in use as one of the most common form of power armour ten thousand years later. It represents the final major development of Mark VI armour.[1]

While the final battle for Mars was underway, the Imperium realised the planet would eventually be lost. Armour development teams were transferred to Earth to continue, incorporating their latest work into the armour type that would become Mark VII. As Mars fell to Horus, the new armour began reaching the Space Marines on Terra and Luna.[1]

Mark VII's main improvement is the newly designed chest plastron which covers the chest and arm cabling. The chest bears the Imperial Eagle, giving the armour its common name of Armorum Imperator, or Eagle Armour. This mark abandons the studded shoulder armour plate, and replaces the helmet. As Mark VII is a development of Mark VI, both have a great deal in common, and parts from one mark are readily interchangeable with parts from the other,[1] like the helmet.[8]

Mark VII contains its own back-up power supply and a solar array to recharge this, so the suit can operate even without its backpack though only a short time.[39]

Mark VIII "Errant Armour"

Mark VIII Errant Armour

The suit itself is a highly modified Mark VII, with additional fixed armour plates on the torso that now enclose all of the suit's cables, which were vulnerable to weapons fire, and a new armoured collar protects the helmet's respirator, and also addressed the vulnerability issues of the neck joint, which had been known to act as a "shell-trap", (a round could hit the chest armour and be deflected up into the neck joint). The new collar required a new helmet design, which caused problems for backward compatibility with earlier helmet types.[8]

Mark VIII armour has only seen limited production thus far, and is seen in limited numbers on the battlefields of the 41st millennium. Often, it is worn by veteran Space Marines as a symbol of rank.[8]

Mark X "Tacticus Armour"

Ultramarine Mark X Tacticus Armour

Mark X Tacticus armour is a suit that combines the most effective elements of ancestral Horus Heresy patterns of plate with more recent developments in power armour technology. The Mk.X was developed by Magos Belisarius Cawl at the same time as the Primaris Marines.[23] These suits are currently carried into battle by Primaris Space Marines during the unfolding Indomitus Crusade.[22]

The Mk.X is a design more versatile than its predecessors. There is no single appellation and design but instead a modular system of ceramite plating that can be adjusted for a multitude of tactical roles, from the scouting and reconnaissance capabilities of Phobos pattern all the way up to the heavy Gravis pattern worn by Aggressor Squads.[Needs Citation]

The Mk.X also allows for the utilization of a new breed of weaponry, such as Bolt Rifles, Assault Bolters, Heavy Bolt Rifles, Boltstorm Gauntlets, Auto Bolt Rifles, Melta Rifles[40], and Plasma Incinerators.[23]

Mk X "Tacticus" detailed description[22]

Mk X Gravis Pattern

Mk X "Gravis" detailed description[22]

The Mk.X has a number of different variants, such as the Mk.X "Gravis" heavy armour used by Commanders, Aggressor Squads, Eradicator Squads[40], and the Jump Pack-capable variant used by Inceptor Squads. The Gravis pattern of Mk.X Armour is more heavily protected and allows for a level of protection closer to Terminator Armour level, but with reduced mobility.

Mk X Omnis Pattern

A lighter Jump Pack and Grav chute-equipped variant of the Gravis pattern (made by blending it with the Phobos pattern), known as the Omnis-Pattern, is utilized by Vanguard Suppressor Squads.[40] Omnis armour has no known downsides, but presumably it must have some, lest it entirely replace Tacticus armour.

Mk X Phobos Pattern

Phobos pattern

Another variant of the Mk.X is the Mk.X Reiver or Phobos pattern. The suit’s lighter-weight ceramite and streamlined design allow for greater mobility, and its servo-motors are engineered to be completely silent. The design, however, sacrifices protection for stealth and speed.[24] As their name suggests, they are used by Reiver Squads and Vanguard Space Marine Squads.[24]

Runic Armour

Main article: Runic Armour

The Space Wolves grant valiant members of their Chapter specially crafted suits of power armour inscribed with runes of protection by the Rune Priests. These provide the wearer with a defence against psychic attacks. This armour is created by the Iron Priests, and at least some examples are known to be codified as the Mark XII Lupio pattern.[2]

Aegis Armour

Main Article: Aegis Armour
Grey Knights wear Aegis Armour, power armour that is incredibly well crafted; anointed and inscribed with prayers and wards, ritually consecrated and psychically charged. The suits are generally based on components from Mark VI, VII and VIII power armour designs, with a modified helmet design with a tapered, knight-like visor.[Needs Citation]

Terminator Armour

Main article: Terminator Armour

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.[59]

Additional Designs

A number of variant components for Space Marine power armour are known to exist. Although designs and components are subject to variation, especially in the case of Artificer Armour, more standardized spin-off designs have been developed over the course of the Imperium's history. These include the Sarum and Phonecian pattern helmets (the latter of which was exclusively used by the Emperor's Children)[10], and the Praetor pattern power armour, which was locally produced at Veridia Forge by the Ultramarines in the later years of the Great Crusade.[11]

In addition, a number of Space Marine backpack units have been identified. Although the M.35, M.36, and M.37 designs are usually used by Imperial Space Marines in the 41st Millennium [12], a number of designs associated with older Marks of power armour, such as the Mars[10] and Phaeton[16] pattern backpack units, are still used to some extent. Additionally, the Anvilus pattern backpack is a Crusade-era Imperial prototype that incorporated advanced thruster vents for use in void operations, but at the cost of decreased radiation shielding.[10]

Images of Backpacks' Variants


Sisters of Battle Power Armour

The Sisters of Battle use a version of power armour designed for the human shape and size, known as Sororitas Power Armour.

Custodes Power Armour

The Adeptus Custodes are clad in finely wrought golden armour. Their Power Armour is made from Auramite as opposed to Ceramite.

Vratine Power Armour

Vratine Armour is a type of armour used by the Sisters of Silence. which shares design elements with both the power armour of the Space Marines and the silicate-mesh of Selenite void-mail[36][37]


Power armour is also favored for use by agents of the Inquisition and those individuals wealthy enough to afford one, such as Rogue Traders. These suits of armour enhance the user's strength, allow for operation in hostile environments, and include auxiliary systems such as vox-links and auto-senses. Like the Adepta Sororitas though, the lack of a Black Carapace means these users cannot fully interface with their power armour and so do not enjoy the same strength enhancements and other advanced support systems typical to Astartes power armour.[7]

Malleus Power Armour

Rare even among the Holy Ordos, this power armour is inscribed with pentagrammatic wards in the vaults deep below the Tricorn Palace. It is highly prized by those who expect to fight daemons in hand-to-hand combat, and an Inquisitor who allows an Acolyte access to it must have good (or desperate) reasons. The wards inscribed onto the armour harm Daemonic creatures who directly strike the wearer. The wards are temporary at best, some failing after a single encounter, but servants of the Ordos Malleus regard them as a retributive strike, hoping that with their death they might still weaken or slay such accursed creatures. The power pack used in Ordo Malleus power armour allows it to operate for a week without recharging. Alternatively, it can be equipped with a power supply like that used by the Adeptus Astartes.[34]

Delphis Mk.II "Ironclad" Heavy Power Armour

Delphis Mk.II "Ironclad" Heavy Power Armour[30]

A variant of standard power armour, it features increased personal protection at the cost of agility, with huge plates of Plasteel covering the flatter areas of the body. Exposed servo-mechanisms run along the legs and arms and elaborate bracing runs across the spine. The helmet is small by comparison and the gauntlets are unwieldy to the point where basic actions beyond wielding a weapon is impossible.The power cell system in the rear has several thermal fins protruding to shed away excess heat. Ranks of power cells mounted on the rear provide 12 hours of continuous operation before recharging is needed, but require a day of recharging after each prolonged use. The suit is also a fully enclosed void suit and incorporates an inbuilt auspex, good craftsmanship photo-visors, an incorporated vox, and a pair of recoil gloves. If the suit becomes unpowered, vents open automatically in the helmet to ensure the wearer does not suffocate.[30]

Each suit is a personal heirloom item, colourful paintwork and elaborate scrolls delineating the history of the various users cover the surface; some users have also added additional ornamental shields to indicate their personal heraldry. The more ostentatious suits include large retractable poles for flying more elaborate personal banners and their vessel’s blazons. [30]

Mechanicus Dragon Scale Armour

A Mechanicus Enginseer

This type of power armour is worn by the tech-priests of the Magos Militant and the Enginseers seconded to the Imperial Guard. Each set of dragon scale is individually hand-forged from adamantine and ceramite plating and woven with prayers of permanence and micro-etched with fractal incantations of defense. While offering protection of the finest powered armour, and augmenting the wearer's strength, dragon scale’s greatest advantage is that it is designed to interface directly with the tech-priest’s cybernetic body and draws its power from his potentia coil, never needing to be recharged while worn. The suit's systems include a photo-visor and a respirator. However, the user must have a cybermantle and potentia coil in order to use this type of power armour.[25a]

Other Imperial Designs

  • Light Power Armour

By reducing the bulk of the ceramite plating, Light Power Armour offers the benefits of servo-boosted strength and a shell of durable ceramite, without sacrificing mobility or nimbleness.[47]

  • Heavy Power Armour

Sacrificing mobility for thicker plating and industrial grade actuators, Heavy Power Armour turns its wearer into a walking tank, capable of striding through a storm of small arms fire without so much as flinching.[47]

  • Lidhl Light Power Armour

Despite its heavily ornamented and impressive visage, this armour it is at the low end of protective value. It sees the most widespread use among the officers of the Scintillan Guard, for it allows a great deal of customisation to better display their heraldry and accomplishments.[25b]

Used by the The Imperial Guard's Arkan Confederates' Steamblood Zouaves. Stormsuits are powered exoskeletons covered in high quality and resilient carapace armour.[42x]

  • Zayth Engine Armour

The complicated exoskeletons used by the Engine Orders of Zayth are marvels of Dark Age technology. While not as advanced as most power armour, Zayth engine armour provides a degree of protection from environmental hazards and its pistons and servos greatly increases the user’s strength. Since no clan would ever willingly trade away even a single one of its irreplaceable suits of Engine Armour, most examples found off world are those salvaged from dead Zaythian cities, casualties of the endless wars. Designed to allow the wearer to operate in the hazardous engine rooms of Zayth's vehicle cities, engine armour also comes equipped with rebreathers capable of sustaining the wearer for up to 10 hours, and its shielding allows the wearer to resist the effects of extreme heat and most forms of electromagnetic radiation. The power cells needed to use the engine armour (without which the exoskeleton is nothing more than dead weight) generally last 10 hours before they must be recharged or replaced.[32]

Chaos Space Marines

At the time of the Heresy, Crusade-pattern armour was in the process of disappearing from the Legions and being replaced by improved iterations of Space Marine power armour. Even so, both sides were forced to reinstate older marks of armour to replace their losses, as well as scavenging from their fallen comrades.[62]

The armour of the Traitor Legions reflects these turbulent times, often featuring distinctive studded and riveted plasteel plates rather than the smooth ceramite of later designs.[62]

Exposed power cables blend with sinew and vein and many Chaos Space Marines individualise their armour with crests, horns, skulls chains and spikes. A Chaos Space Marine’s armour will have been changed by long exposure to the warp. It might sprout spines or bony ridges, be covered in a layer of scales or flicker with coruscating energy[62]

Non-Imperial Power Armour


Exo-Armour is extremely durable and advanced Power Armour produced by the Squats of the Leagues of Votann. Often compared to Terminator Armour, it is capable of shrugging off heavy fire and turning its wearer into a living battering ram.[56]

Armour of the Order

A Knight of the Order in Power Armour

The Knights of the Order on Caliban used a rudimentary pattern of power armour, before the arrival of the Emperor. Each suit was handed down from knight to knight and repair/maintained throughout the Age of Strife, being one of the few technologies that the armourers of Caliban retained through the Age of Strife.[43a]

These suits of power armour increased the wearer's strength, were capable of protecting the wearer from artillery shrapnel, and had cooling systems for the wearer's comfort. The helmets were capable of filtering out toxic environments, were equipped with vox-grilles which distorted the wearer's voice, and could somewhat deafen outside sounds. Only helmets worn by team leaders had intra-vox communication systems.[43c][43d][43e][43f]

However, this armour was considered inferior in every way to Astartes power armour. Unlike Astartes armour, these suits did not have enhanced optical systems, nor their own air supply. While they did have cooling systems to increase wearer comfort, they could not protect the wearer from extreme heat/cold like Astartes power armour. Astartes armour was also more protective. [43c][43f]

The Auretian Technocracy's power armour

The civilization known as the Auretian Technocracy used a model of power armour for its "Brotherhood" order of soldiers. Each suit of power armour was fully enclosed and coloured a gleaming silver with red/black heraldry on their pauldrons. The power armour was noted as being so similar to Astartes power armour that the release catches on the helmet were in the same location. Unlike Astartes power armour, the Auretian Technocracy's power armour did not require the use of a black carapace, and its wearers were not gene-enhanced. These suits were the product of a still fully functional STC that the Technocracy possessed, thus while the Brotherhood numbered in the millions, they were all armoured with this power armour.[44]

After the destruction of the Auretian Technocracy, the STC fragment for this power armour was recovered and presented to the Mechanicum as a new pattern of Astartes power armour.[45]

Dulanian power armour

The Faash (the military cadre of the non-Imperial human civilisation known as the Dulanians) employed a type of reactor-driven power armour utilised by their Scarabine mechanised troopers. This heavy armour incorporated internal shield generators and chem-stimm dispensers and featured built-in arm-mounted weapons, typically interference guns or lasguns and power gauntlets.[47]


Conflicting sources

  • The MkII armour is claimed in Deathwatch: Rites of Battle to not be able to move its helmet, with the Astartes insides still being able to rotate his head around inside the said helmet. This conflicts with Forge World's depictions of the MkII armour set and the novel Horus Rising, where an Astartes is seen in MKII Power Armour with the helmet turned towards several of his brethren.[48] According to Games Workshop, Forge World intentionally redesigned the armour's helmet and neck joint in this way to enable more modelling options.[26]

Squat Influences

The Squats influence on the development of MkIII armour conflicts across sources and time. White Dwarf 128 (1990) places MkIII development firmly because of the squat homeworlds in the galactic core. By the time of the Deathwatch RPG, the Rites of Battle supplement (2011, a second-party supplement) references the following: "A new variant of power armour was created during the Emperor's wars with the inhabitants of the worlds close to the galactic core. These high-gravity planets were home to an extensive industrial civilization that put up stiff resistance to the Imperial Crusade."[50] Squats are specifically not mentioned, and this was released before the re-launch of the Horus Heresy tabletop game. By the time a webpost was written about it on Warhammer Community (most recently accessed 2021, but posted earlier), that has been solidified as being created for boarding actions and tunnel fighting, with no reference at all to the galactic core or high gravity worlds.[26]

Miniatures in Power Armour

See also


There is a total mess in the sources. Since the edit in November 2021 (https://wh40k.lexicanum.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Power_Armour&diff=next&oldid=476200), when the numbers of sources where 'shifted' by one, and no changing in the appropriate paragraph's sources where made, plus all other additional edits were made to this article since November 2021, nobody cannot be sure now that paragraphs with sources #10 - #50 are appeared correctly.