As you might well know, if you’ve been following my Painting Progress blogs I’ve been writing every Sunday this year, I’ve been slowly building up an Alpha Legion force, primarily to play 30k at some not-too-distant point. I’m a hugely fluffy gamer – by which I mean, I’m more interested in the theme of the game than whether I’m playing at all tactically – and so reading about the Legion has been a big part of this process. Of all the Space Marine Legions, the Alpha Legion is by far the most secretive, and while little is really known about them, there is a fair bit of conjecture, so I thought I’d add a little of my own thoughts to that in today’s blog!
The Alpha Legion was the twentieth and last of the Space Marine Legions created by the Emperor of Mankind during the First Founding. Unlike the majority of their brother legions, the Alpha Legion was created somewhat apart from the others, with a very specific purpose in mind. This purpose appears to have been one of secrecy and intrigue, assassins fighting in the shadows and doing the jobs that otherwise could not be performed openly.
Before they were reunited with their Primarch, there are records of a secretive Legion carrying out assassinations and other shady activities that were off-the-record, sometimes these operations took place alongside other legions, who had not been made aware of the Legion’s presence on the field.
Eventually, they were reunited with their Primarch, Alpharius. Or, that should be, their twin Primarchs, Alpharius and Omegon. Something that is truly unique to the Legion, nobody is sure if this was by accident or design that there are two of them – though, given the predilection for secrecy and misdirection, I would guess that it was more the latter.
As a Primarch, Alpharius was the last to be found by the Emperor, hence the Legion was designated the XXth. Alpharius was a coolly calculating, brilliant tactician every bit the equal to Roboute Guilliman, and in fact the two legions formed something of a rivalry during the Heresy. Alpharius had few friends among his brother Primarchs, notably only Horus (though the Legion did campaign alongside the Dark Angels and the Iron Hands).
Alpharius’ wargear is particularly exotic, including the double-headed spear known as the sarrisanata, which is possibly of xenos design. I’m thinking about kit-bashing an Alpharius together, as a Stormcast Eternal paladin glaive might do the trick with this one, but I guess we’ll have to see. I kinda want to make him really stand out from the army…
Alpharius was said to be able to walk among his legion with some degree of anonymity, which must mean he was short for a Primarch. I mean, space marines are generally pretty huge, so he’s still definitely taller than the average human, but not as imposing as his brothers. Sources also talk about many other marines from the legion undergoing cosmetic surgery to further resemble Alpharius, deepening the level of subterfuge and intrigue. It was also common for any member of the Alpha Legion to call himself Alpharius when dealing with outsiders.
While a lot of folk online still say all of the Primarchs were super-human beings, I think the fact that his own legionaries could pass as his double must mean that Alpharius (and, by extension, Omegon) was of average space marine height, right? I mean, what’s the point in the rank and file undergoing cosmetic enhancement to further resemble him if he’s still two feet too short to pass as the Primarch?
That’s the principle I went with when I built my Omegon conversion a couple of weeks ago. The one concession I made to the idea that the Primarchs are stand-out characters was in using a head from the regular 40k range, which are slightly bigger/more rounded than those in the Betrayal at Calth marines. Otherwise, this guy is just one of the rank and file, and you’d never know who you were dealing with until it’s too late!
Omegon is the leader of the Effrit Stealth Squad, so I’ve paired him with the Reconnaissance Squad. In the game, Omegon doesn’t actually have any rules (yet), but the assassin Exodus does, and given the fact that he can only join Recon Squads, I thought it made perfect sense to basically use the Exodus rules for him.
In the lore, Exodus is thought to possibly be more a title than an actual person, with several deployments being made at the same time on some occasions. His skill as an assassin is legendary, rivaling even the members of the Officio Assassinorum.
The Legion relies on stealth and subterfuge, and makes use of a lot of non-astartes personnel. This is seen quite prominently in the novel Legion by Dan Abnett, which is a remarkable novel in the Horus Heresy series for the fact that the space marines have such a small role – at least, it seems that way at first! It’s true that the genhanced space marines would find it difficult to move around in stealth even out of their power armour, but regular guys from the Imperial Army would be much better-placed for the most part. I’m not entirely sure how I’d add some regular troops to my army, but I’m bearing the thought in mind for the time being…
Something I couldn’t quite get my head around at first – but now really like about them – is the unit organization. Space Marine Legions were usually formed into some kind of fighting companies of varying sizes, such as the Fellowships of the Thousand Sons. Not so the Alpha Legion, however, which was organized into whatever fighting unit was required for the mission at hand. In painting up my Ultramarines, I’m trying to take some pride in the fact I will have the proper unit and squad markings, colours and all the rest of it – like a real military unit, essentially. With these chaps, though – I have no idea! But there is a bit of freedom to being able to use the miniatures however I feel, and I just know when it comes to fielding them in battle this will be right up my street. I never like to use the exact same combination twice, so a flexible fighting force really appeals to me like that.
I do love these guys, and I’ve really enjoyed building up my force over the last few months! All in all, I feel like I’m going to be in for some exciting times once I get into this Heresy game play!