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  1. #1

    Default Help with Imperial Fists - Fluff, Iconography, Organisation etc

    As we all know Codex: Space Marines is next for us all to play with and that means time for me to start that Imperial Fists force i've always wanted to. I've been on a 40k hiatus for around 6 or so years now, but I've been following it for the past year looking for a spot to get back into it. That spot is very soon. I've been looking at various images of them and come across this as my inspiration for my army:

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    I love the armour variation and gritty, dirty look to them as opposed to a bright golden yellow.

    So onto why i started this thread in the first place; i need some help from you guys. I think i know the general fluff of 40k pretty well but aside from Dark Angels my knowledge of chapters is pretty limited outside of major events, characters and style. I understand general chapter organisation but not so much the intricacies of the Imperial Fists. I personally prefer to model/paint my force in a "mostly" fluff correct way as it helps me get into the army better.

    I'll detail what i already (think) I know:
    • General codex chapter organisation (battle companies, reserve companies etc)
    • Are considered possibly the best representation/example of the codex aside from the Ultramarine's?
    • Specialization in siege, urban and defense warfare.
    • Preference for ranged and heavily armored/armed units? (Devastators, Terminators, Dreadnoughts etc?)
    • Lack 2 of the gene-seed organs (the acid spit and stasis ones).
    • Scrimshaw fallen comrades hands with intricate patters.
    • Have an odd tendency to inflict self punishment for discipline.
    • Were one of the 3 legions to fight on Terra at the end of the Horus Heresy.
    • Hatred of the Iron Warriors.

    Though i could go on, these are the main things i believe i know about the Imperial Fists and would very much appreciate any help if i am missing anything.

    Though i also have some questions if anyone is kind enough to answer them:
    • I plan to be fielding the 5th company, who to my understanding have black shoulder rims?
    • What are the colours of the other companies shoulder rims? (In case i field any marines from other/reserve companies).
    • How are sergeants denoted? I have seen red helmets with a white stripe dowe the middle but also others such as a white helmet or a full red helmet. Are there any denotations on the armour aside from the helmet?
    • How are squad and company markings denoted? (I know the arrow for Tactical's, Chevron for Devestator's etc. I mean more squad numbers/markings and any additional company markings/heraldry).
    • Do any of them wear their scrimshaws on their armour into battle? If so any ideas what i could use to represent this on the models?
    • Do they favour any particular mark or power armour?
    • What marks of power armour do they have available to them?
    • Which mark of power armour do you feel best represents them?
    • Is there any particular tactics or doctrines they use that I am unaware of?
    • Is there any specific weaponry or vehicles they favour?
    • Is there any images of each of their company banners?
    • Generally is there anything else when it comes to their appearance, markings and iconography that i am
    • Edit: How are the 1st company veterans denoted outside of a crux terminatus? I think they are white shoulder rims and helmet but i have seen other variations. Same goes for Terminators. Help with this one would be greatly appreciated.

    If you've read this far thank you, and if you can help me with any of this thankyou again. Anything Imperial Fists i would love to hear about.

    Also if anyone wants to know the source of the images, it's from this fellows flicker:
    Last edited by Xarga; 08-27-2013 at 01:13 PM.

  2. #2

  3. #3


    Thanks a bunch, this answers pretty much everything aside from their company banners and power armour marks.

  4. #4


    Yes you have almost everything. But do not fear to diverge a bit concerning markings , it is stated in the codex astartes that changing the markings is sometimes a necessity to avoid making enemy recognition of marines units too easy.

    My vets have a white helmet and only the upper officers and honor guards have the older vet red strip on their helmet and the skull marking a leader.

    Remember, fists are attrition fighters. They are sent when things are going messy

    Read "legion of the damned" to learn some things that are not so common knowledge about the childre of Dorn.
    Here's an old post I made on Warseer which I think is relevant to give you the right feel about the fists.

    'IF do use every trick in the codex astartes. But they also are said to have a little more direct point of view upon warfare.
    All the lore I can think of points towards a chapter having a tendency to favour direct armoured assault, heavy guns, terminator armours.

    In the old space crusade game, while blood angels were the HtH specialists and ultramarines were well rounded, Imperial fists had the biggest firepower.
    In the index astartes, we learned that during the great crusade, they were an inflexible formation, the anvil on which other legions would drove their foes to crush them and they were siege specialists.
    During the Scouring, Dorn adopted the codex astartes and taught it to the remnants of his legion but they kept their 'all or nothing' behavior.

    But afterward, in 4th edition, IF had the tank hunter perk and kind of no retreat special rule (they would not retreat even if it was tactically sound giving your opponent one more turn to win the day). With the 5th edition marine codex, they are still stubborn and able to fortify.
    Their character is a big guy in terminator armour with a huge thunderhammer, eternal warrior, fortify and the bolter drill skill. (in 4th ed, he could use Phalanx teleporters to concentrate all terminator deepstrike rolls into one, enabling him to lead a huge terminator assaut)

    In the 'space marine' novel and 'sons of dorn' (which is a kind of remake), we learned they usually plan ahead for every contingencies on a battlefield. Improvisation and local initiatives are used only when needed but a well honed battleplan is always required but the chapter high command. Fists are traditionnaly blade duellists and also very methodical. They like to craft things (ritually carving bones) and we can assume they do not equal he BA in this aspect only because they lack the blood angels life span. But I like to assume that most of their wargear is heavily decorated.
    In other novels, we could also learn that imperial fists value victory above anything else. They often don't even consider defeat or even tactical retreat as an option no matter the odds. They are perfectly willing to lead suicide missions in order to win the day. (see above about the no retreat mentality; see Dorn's sacrifice in order to stop in its track a black crusade, three ships (if I remember correctly) against a whole chaos fleet)

    In the various codicies, you could find quotes stating how they tend to dislike covert operations for the main body of their army (keep camouflage to a minimum), they like big guns and are willing to have every advantages in terms of firepower. (Lysander quote about the thunderfire)

    So yes, they are one of the most codex astartes adherent chapter second only to the ultramarines but like all marines, they have a specific history and traditions (and also Dorn's geneseed) that change their interpretation of the codex astartes which itself is in he 41th century a compilation of 10000 years of warfare, the original parts written by guilliman being drowned by copy mistakes, interpretations of the various readers, tactical examples put in there but previous owners or chapter masters owning the copy and so on...

    Ultramarines are the best astartes strategists, wolves are the best killers, Blood Angels are the best and most lethal astartes force for orbital assaults, Dark Angels the most adamant in it's prosecution of the Emperor's enemies, Salamanders are the best in close firefights and have the best wargear, Iron hands have the most technically advanced wargear (or used to with DA) and the best armored troops, Ravenguards have the best covert operations and are the most gifted to suprise their foes with hit and run tactics, White scars are the most mobile astartes force (and perhaps as savage as the wolves),
    but if you want a war of attrition and you're outmatched, when things get really messy, you need the fists.

    IMHO we should keep all those elements in mind when selecting an army. Fists do use everything in the space marine arsenal. But a fluffy IF force will stay consistent with it's lore. It needs a lot of firepower, resilient units, the possibility to smash their foes in the face.

    As I said, I personnaly take Big guns, big armours and terminators, full 10 men tactical squads, (I reluctently combat squad them, I know, that's dumb) and some fast units to be tactically flexible. And I keep them concentrated on the battlefield, I very often have a refused flank.

    And if you like the 6th company with lots of bikes, I think that's all right with the Fists provided you give them lots of guns in support.

    Are they just marines in yellow? I think not.

    My 2 cents.


  5. #5


    ^ Thanks i very much appreciate your help. It's definitely that feeling of advancing methodical firepower that i like about the fists.

  6. #6


    In my own IF army, I've had some success with a unit of three land speeders, all armed with two heavy bolters (Lysander makes those 18 shots twin-linked.) They are awesome to zip around and plunk those foot troops and they have jink.
    Visit my war gaming blog at:

  7. #7
    Fly Lord
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    Looks like the Imperial Fists got a dose of ret-conning in the new codex:

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  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Bigred View Post
    Looks like the Imperial Fists got a dose of ret-conning in the new codex:

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    *squints eyes*

    I really can't read that. Any chance you can upload a bigger copy or link to a bigger copy?

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Cactus View Post
    In my own IF army, I've had some success with a unit of three land speeders, all armed with two heavy bolters (Lysander makes those 18 shots twin-linked.) They are awesome to zip around and plunk those foot troops and they have jink.
    Sounds good, but bolter drill is a tad different in the new codex, but dual HB would still work and something i hadn't considered. Could be quite nice for some ranged flanking anti-infantry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigred View Post
    Looks like the Imperial Fists got a dose of ret-conning in the new codex:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks for the image red, but i agree with the above. Any chance you have a larger image of that? It's difficult to read.

  10. #10


    That's not a retcon, that's a madman's ravings about how to paint helmets. You can, uh, paint your helmets how you like. Nobody's going to argue about how it's "against the codex". Some people in this hobby, I tells ya...

    Anyway, here's my favourite Imperial Fists fact: your Chapter Master is Vladimir Pugh. He had his tastebuds excised as penance for a mission in which massive casualties were taken. Imperial Fists are hardcore.
    Social Justice Warlord Titan


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