Army Showcase: Coda’s Swords of Davion

Finishing your own army is core to the Warhammer 40,000 hobby. In our Army Showcase series, Goonhammer contributors take a look at the armies we’ve been collecting for years, and the new ones we’ve just finished – what drew us to them, why we keep building and painting, and how they play on the table. This week, Tyler “Coda” Moore (who is cool and good) is talking about his Space Marine army. As per usual he has gone completely off script for a series article, so read on to find out how he ignored the editor team (which he is part of) this time! 

Dearest reader.

I have a theory.

A proper project army is almost like a snapshot in time if you will. As you look back at various units you can also look back at yourself when you painted them. A retrospective formed out in plastic, resin and metal.

So this Army Showcase is going to be different my friends. It’s not going to just be about the army, in fact the first part of this article is mostly going to be focused on why it exists in the first place. Which will hopefully make for a better read. If it does, you should totally let me know so I can celebrate it.

If it’s a bit shit, I blame the VarAdmin, Corrode. (Mild discomfort to the false admin, friends.) He totally said to do it. For realsies.

Anyhow. I gotta tell you right here to strap yourself in, we are going to get personal on this one.

Swords Of Davion Space Marines
Swords Of Davion Space Marine Army Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

Ah. The Swords of Davion. The reckless, sword wielding duelists of the Imperial Davonic Republics.

They are my pet project, forming in my mind’s eye from the age of 10. Often started, stillborn and then reborn again, this army is on its second swing on the tables and third or fourth attempt of being completed. This time however is by far the best rendition I’ve managed, and the new codex has provided their best chance at matching their background. They have featured on this site a little and if you like the scheme I detailed out the recipe here.

So let’s look to the past, for it informs our future.

Sword of Davion Space Marine Assault Marine Veteran Sergeant
“Swords, swords, swords!” – Key part of the theme right there. Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore


The Past

Old space marines swords of davion
Behold my old, dusty, small based creations and despair! Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore at least 3000 years ago.

As I’ve said this army/project/way of life has almost started a few times from 1999 to now.

The main time frame was roughly in the heady days of 2006~8, where I ran a ton of jump packs backed by Tacticals in Razorbacks, Scouts, and Vindicators. It actually grew out of my gaming group’s entry into Epic, and I tried to make the army based on what I had for that system. It wasn’t a hyper competitive list by any means as I attempted to stay within a semi-rigid TO&E based on my plans for the Epic army. This was a byproduct from playing Flames of War, and I thought it was a cool way to theme the army.

Sadly, as many others in their early/mid 20s do, I left the hobby from 2009 till 2017, only maintaining a surface level of interest in the game. Barring an aborted attempt at Night Lords and restarting the Swords in 2012~13ish, I was out of tabletop gaming and painting.

To be honest Black Library was the primary reason I kept an extremely distracted finger on the pulse, with Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Dan Abnett and others keeping me in the loop.

Then 2017 hit.

The bad year.

I’ll spare you all from the details. However I need to be honest about where this version of the army came from or this article will ring hollow.

I was pretty depressed and was dealing with a heck of a lot of anxiety in ’17 thanks to my workplace at the time. Push came to shove and I finally faced that I had to learn methods of management and seek treatment.

After talking to a few health professionals they suggested trying out a hobby. I told them I had one, racing my car, but it was extremely limited by high costs and renting would mean I couldn’t pull apart a car on whim, nor could I work on a car outside at 8pm at night or 6am in the morning when my anxiety and depression was at its worst. So they asked me what else I could do as a mindfulness activity, with the example of arts and crafts.

About midway though laughing and saying “dude, seriously, I can barely draw a stick figure” I stopped and asked if painting toy tanks would work. They said to try it.

So I brought some Team Yankee M1 Abrams and ordered a bunch of F/A-18s.

Team Yankee USA M1IP Abrams
I spent literal days figuring out the right green. I’m super happy with how these turned out and they may be the amongst the best things I’ve painted. Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

And it worked. I found a rabbit hole of research, preparation, assembly and painting that I could dive into as a distraction and a fantastic activity for mindfulness. I brought historical books and more importantly, more tanks. I got a kick out of figuring out where the first F/A-18s in service did their cruise so I could use them instead of A-10Cs. I researched exactly what green an M1 Abrams would be in 1985. I read book after book on the Iran-Iraq war and toyed with writing a fandex for it. I got that sweet hit of dopamine when your models get ‘likes’ on the Internet.

However it wasn’t all smooth sailing. I was having trouble with supply issues and finding games. The community wasn’t as vibrant and active as I remembered. Battlefront as a company had changed a lot since I bought into them in 2004. I also found that my social anxiety was making dealing with ‘new’ people very difficult and the concept of just rolling up to a store and shooting the breeze felt wrong somehow.

Not going to lie that last one was a bit of a shock and made me wake up to how much my social confidence had degraded over the last 3 years, as I spent a frankly shitload of time after  school hours (sometimes during. I was not a good student at all) and weekends at Tribsa (rip best FLGS ever) just shooting the breeze, not caring for an instant if I didn’t have a game lined up to play.

All in all I was frustrated.

So I checked in on 40k. Right before the release of 8th ed, with the Gathering Storm finally propelling the lore forward. Right after the rebirth of GW’s community arm.

Good timing right?

I unearthed my dusty models and took stock of what was left. Most had fallen into tragic amounts of dust and disrepair. Many were lost throughout 5 or 6 house moves. I made a decision to restart my homebrew Marine chapter and do them right. I threw myself into learning more about the new background of Imperium Nihilus and coming up with how the Swords of Davion and the sector as a whole have adjusted to it.

I spent the back half of ’17 traveling by car/van over literally many thousands of kilometers. I sunk myself into podcasts, audiobooks and anything else I could get my ears on while on the road. Speaking of which, the 40k Badcast is a heck of a show. 10/10 would Pod again.

Let us not dwell here however, and be in the now.

“One day I’ll finish up their IA” he said, lying to himself.

The Present

I kicked back off with Dark Imperium. The boxset was the perfect hit of mainline 40k into my hobby veins.

I watched WHTV live when my anxiety driven insomnia hit. I found a community online that I could engage with. I started getting on Twitter and the SA forums more often. Discord became a fun place I could go to to blow off steam. Streams like The Hobby Room that are live before I start my shift at work are a great way to chill out before the madness of my job hits, and have a fantastic community.

I started writing for a quirky blog run by fellow goons that would celebrate getting a 100, or dare to dream about it, 500 hits (what a ride that’s been).

So about 2 and a bit years in I’ve got about a 1500ish pts army good to go, with a plan for rapid expansion till 2000+pts in the next few months.

In the last month or so I’ve started going to my FLGS weekly and actually playing games with people. I’ve started streaming and have committed to running an extremely gimmicky event in 2021 (BOTEHAMMER 2021, BE THERE OR BE SQUARE or just not on a bote).

I won’t lie to you and say that things have had the upswing momentum of a runaway freight train since I started the hobby again, after all getting better mentally is a hell of a ride with many ups and downs.

But I’m working at improving and this army is a good bit of visual proof of that. Ditto for the articles I write here, which I hope are not only ‘cool’ but also ‘good’.

On that note, let’s cast our gaze further afield.

The Future

My 2000pts double Batt. list is my current goal. I’m aiming to have this done by December. So you know.

Expect it in Feb early March is what I’m saying.

Solid progress has been made. I’ve joined a tale of warlords at my local FLGS to chip away at the rest.

This is also what I’m taking on my big old Murrican roadtrip to Adepticon. I’ve been wanting to go to the States and do this trip for about 7 years. Going to Adepticon and hanging out with the Goonhammer crew IRL is what pushed me over the edge to commit to it. As for 2021, BOTEHAMMER (what if Warhammer but bote?!?) in Sydney should be a wild time, also I really want to travel to the UK to pilgrimage to Warhammer World and most importantly, catch up with the many internet friends I’ve made thanks to this amazingly inclusive hobby.

I’m also planning to write that IA as the first Index Goonicus article. It will totally be done soon* guys!


The Models

Let’s break this down. HQ, Troops, Elites, Fast Attack, Heavy Support, Dedicated Transport and then the entire army. Some of these guys I’ve already written wordy words about so I’ll link their articles as well. The Swords of Davion do not know their Primarch, however if you use the Ultramarine Supplement Codex with the traits Hungry For Battle and Whirlwind of Rage you’ll get something pretty close. I’ll be going into detail why in a future article…..

For the record, this is a narrative/themed army that occasionally ends up at tournaments by mistake. I’m aware that there are better combos out there for what I’m trying to achieve.

The key things for this army in order of importance are:

  • Power swords
  • Jump packs
  • Adhering to the army theme
  • Things I find cool and good
  • Actually being effective on table

Theme wise this army depicts the Swords in their current state. Defending the extremely cut off Imperial Davonic Republics from a Chaos invasion due to the great rift, seeking to make the worlds safe enough for the Davion Primus refugee fleet to return home. To do this, they carry out missions, curry favour and use any means to achieve that goal, with most of the chapter fleet bound or defending Davion Secondus, the homebase of the Davion Resists movement.

Oh. Also while writing this I started doing little quotes that morphed into short stories about the units. I’ve included them here as I figure it might provide insight on the army and it’s theme. Also because I wanted to get out what has been kicking around my skull for the last 10+ years.

In short, I apologize in advance for my bad fan-fiction writing. Anyway, ONWARDS!

Space Marine Swords of Davion Chapter Master Tiberius Rex
Tiberius Rex. Chapter Master of The Swords of Davion Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

“He parried a Knight Mikal. A fething traitor Knight.

I wouldn’t believe it unless I saw it with my own eyes.

Watching him fight was like seeing the natural rules of nature being broken.

Nothing living should be that fast Mikal. Nothing.

He and his guard hit like a deathstrike missile made out of ceramite, right into the Arkaian lines. Ten years of this counter crusade and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
– General Harmon Wade, Noviatan 85th.

Tiberius Rex, Chapter Master.

The Returned Exile. Worthy bearer of the White Sword. Master of the great ship Gladius. Thrice Winner of the Red Dawn. Liberator of Thaban.

An exemplar of everything Davonic Astartes.

The good old metal Emperor’s Champion is my fave citadel model of all time. This guy has been in my procession for a very long time and this is his second incarnation. I’ve written an article on him a few months ago detailing out his heraldry and the parts to build him here, to cut it short I felt like Tiberius had to pull in all the little elements I was adding to the force, while also hinting on what would come next. He is the centerpiece of the army and the model I’m secretly (well not anymore) most proud of.

I use the Space Marine Captain datasheet for Tiberius. He is armed with a Power Sword upgraded via relic to the Burning Blade to represent the Ancient White Sword Of Davion, the blade of the one who was worthy, a Storm Shield and Jump Pack. His warlord trait is fittingly “The Imperium’s Sword“. Furthermore 3CP is spent to make him a Chapter Master and Exemplar of The Chapter, giving him a second warlord Trait Paragon of War.

In short he hits like a truck and is a key part of making my 2000pts list work. I’m aware that giving him a Master Crafted Thunder Hammer would be better overall but this is a narrative/themed army over anything else. So far he has killed 2.5 knights in the space of 3 games.


Space Marine Swords of Davion Lieutenant With Jump Pack
Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

“All at once or one at a time. It won’t matter.” 

Ulther, oh dear god Ulther.

He is a total bastard.

An unrepentant <redacted> of a human being before he became an Astartes. Ulther is a proud product of the chapter’s ‘old way’.

He cares for nothing but personal glory in battle. Lucky for the Swords, most of his ilk were tempered or killed by the Tau invasion of the Thaban System. Unlucky for them, Ulther is still a constant reminder and thorn in the Chapter’s new leadership. With the incoming Primaris reinforcements he has managed to gain a small following of Davonic First Born Astartes.

Ulther’s title is the Red Fox. Even for an Astartes he is seemingly always knee deep in the blood of foes and allies, right in the maelstrom of the most brutal close quarters fighting he can find, wielding his Eviscerator with savage glee.

Vermillion earnt his title during the battle for Fox Pass, where his entire squad died to due to his unwillingness to retreat in the face of a Blood Axe horde. Instead he and the squad held the narrow pass for 8 nights and 8 days until he was relieved as the sole survivor, found covered grievous wounds and rent armour. Standing alone amongst the corpses of decapitated Astartes and Orks alike….

For the mini, I wanted Ulther to be a big dude with a large presence on the table, so I used Deathwatch legs and some chonky FW armour for his torso. A Chaos Warrior champion supplied his helm and his blade is from the Assault Marine kit.

In games so far, he has failed every charge he has tried to make, which while funny is eternally frustrating

On the tabletop, The Red Fox is a Jump Pack Lieutenant with the Teeth of Terra relic.


Space Marine Swords of Davion Chapter Champion Emperor's Champion
Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

His arms were tired. His armour’s power pack was failing. And so was he.

It was the fifth day of fighting with no end.

Still, he swung, as he had done countless times that week, the marble black sword’s energy field howling as it took the traitor in his chest, his own helm passing under the chain axe’s arc. Owain cursed as he ripped the blade free, bereft of the grace that total exhaustion robbed a long ago. He had been aiming for the head and had slipped, a mistake that saved his life.

This was madness.

The tide of traitors was never ending, pouring out of warp portals with fresh fighters and material.

Still. This was his place. At the front, seeking a worthy end.

Maybe it was his time, his Venit Hora he thought.

He spared a look back, all the while knowing this brief respite may be the last for some time.

More civilians poured into the Stormhawk. They couldn’t risk civilian landers anymore as air dominance turned had turned to air superiority and now to an distressingly even match in the skies. He saw the hatches close and the engine’s constant whine turned to a roar, raising and then propelling the aircraft to the sky, seconds after it left a Thunderhawk, one engine bleaching black smoke, slipped seamlessly into its landing pattern, turning to short final to the landing pad. Once, his armour’s auto senses would have tagged the ship with it’s IFF and comms information, for now it’s machine spirit only emitted the clicks of false relays firing and white noise of corrupted datasphere interpolation. 

How did this happen? By the Emperor’s name does a sector governor’s seat of power fall so fast? Squad Telio’s bolters roared anew from the ramparts above. Moments later Telio’s infuriatingly calm, even voice crackled over his vox link.

“Owain. Telio. 10 seconds until the next wave of heretics cross the beam. Siren’s Sword is the last vessel to land, when she leaves the fleet will jump. Return to the pad now.” Owain winced. He remembered when Telio would have ended that sentence by calling him brother. It had been a long three years since that day.

“Telio, I will hold for as long as I can. Save my space for those people. I will endure this horde to cover your exfil. The Emperor protects.” he replied, using his words to steel himself for what he had to do next. He took one last deep breath, rolling his shoulders, trying not to notice the ratching mess of noises his battered armour made.

He raised his the blade in a challenge.

Maybe this was the last time he would do so? At least he may save those souls on the landing pad.

A good end.

He charged.

Owain is an echo of Tiberius 50~75ish before the great rift opened. He is ‘exiled’ and will bear the Black Sword of Davion until he is found worthy by performing 12 mighty labours. I based a lot of the Swords on Arthurian myth. Owain’s and many of the Davionic Sword’s names come from that mythos.

Owain was slated to take over the 2nd company before the Rift opened. Well liked by his men he was a terrific swordsman and well liked by his men. However he committed a grave sin and has been exiled by his chapter. Currently Squad Teilo, lead by his long time friend, aids Owain, providing him transport in their razorback.

For his quest Owain has been gifted the ancient Black Sword of Davion, a legendary blade forged in a time long forgotten. It is said that whoever wields the blade must seek to prove themselves worthy. Indeed that very sword was bore by Tiberius himself used during his exile, only returned to Davion Primus when he found the long lost White bladed twin to the Black Sword. Some say that the black sword was the template to another weapon that shares its title, forged in a darkness in mockery of this blade’s original owner, who spurned the twin blades of Davion as a gift many millennia ago…..

Time will tell if Owain is worthy of taking his place back in the chapter proper. Some say he is destined to fail, indeed he came close to death as he refused to leave Davion Primus during it’s evacuation, seeking to trade his life to save as many civilians as possible. Others say the he will prove himself to be worthy and therefore be able wield the White Sword should Tiberius ever fall in battle….

I used the Legion Champion model for Owain and replaced his blade with a plastic one to stop it breaking all the goddamn time.

Until the new codex came out, the Swords used Black Templar rules, with Owain standing in as an Emperor’s Champion. These days I’m toying with Company Champion or Lieutenant with thunder hammer as a good TT representation of him.


Space Marine Swords of Davion Tactical Squad
Squad Teilo painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

“That fool. That absolute fool.” Teilo’s anger turned inwardly to fury as he saw Owain raise his blade. He sprayed fire over the charging Astartes shoulder, landing a barrage of bolts into the gorget of chain axe wielding Heretic Astartes that sought to cut him in two.

“Brother, it is not your task or duty to save him from himself. He made his choices.”

Teilo turned, loading a fresh drum into his bolter. “Cerdic it is a waste of a good man for him to die here.” he keyed his vox “Vortimer, Telio. I trust you haven’t expended all your stores. We are advancing to position Zeta-Niner. Request combat exfil pattern Lima from that location.” 

“Emperor damn it Tel, you’ll get us all killed. Just. Let. Him. Go.” Ceridic hissed at him over the private channel. Teilo ignored him. He switched out his vox, for it would be unwise for his next order to be broadcasted, while he hoped against hope that Vortimer’s somewhat legendary string of ‘interpreting’ standing orders would continue. 

“Squad Teilo. Advance.” He vaulted from the pad, power sword singing, as he plunged into the horde.

Squad Teilo. Third squad of the Second Company. The Last To Leave. The archetypal tactical Davonic Astartes squad. I’ve already talked a little about them here on this site.

The squad is built mostly out of MkIV, a standard thing for the Swords of Davion thanks to an incredibly lucky ‘find’. In true Swords of Davion fashion, they are depicted mid assault, charging into combat after laying down a withering hail of bolter fire during their advance thanks to the Umbra Ferrox pattern bolters.

Teilo himself wields a power sword, as is custom for any ranking military member of a Davion hailing force.


Space Marine Intercessors
Space Marine Intercessors , Squad Samson Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

“What did you say? Le…. Luufffft ooooh, Left-tenant you say? An officer rank? What a concept to behold. And *you* earnt this position? What a wonderful and dare I say, simply marvelous notion you have there, friend.” – Veteran Sergeant Aurelius to the now Sergeant, formally Lieutenant Samson. 

Here we have my first Intercessors and my first 40k models in a very, very long time. Squad Samson is built out of Dark Imperium models.

Squad Samson, like all Primaris Marines, is new to the chapter. Confirmed as a genetic match for the Swords, the Primaris contingent is slowly making inroads to be accepted into the chapter proper.

This block of ten was the first 40k models I painted to completion for over half a decade and oh dear god it shows reader. It shows. The basics are there but the paint is too thick. For the record the one with the white bolter grip? That’s the test model for the renewed chapter. Right now I’m planning to do some really mild edge highlights (the rest of the army will also be getting that treatment) to these and redo the power sword to match the rest of the army.

Gotta say, for push fits the Dark Imperium stuff rocked. I made the LT into a Sarge, which would start a trend of models being ‘demoted’ in this army.

They also set the tone for Chapter, squad and other markings being all freehand. In the future I’ll be going with decals or more likely 3d printed details but this army as a whole will hold true to what I kicked off in 2017.


Space Marine Intercessors
Squad Freeman , Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

The view port displayed a field of stars who’s beautiful display was marred with the ever changing, baleful red cancer that yearned for them. An Astartes, in red and white armour gazed out at it, taking in the dawn of a new era. A second astartes joined him, armour a deep olive, white trimmed.

“It’s still there Malak. Somewhere in that maelstrom Davion resists, I swear it.”

“Young Tiberius! Cousin, it has been far too long! You’ve gotten taller I think” the warrior beamed at him. Captain Malak of the Sons of Orur was the only devoted scion of Guilliman that Tiberius could stand, mostly due to his gregarious nature. There was also the fact that nearly 250 years ago, Malak was the training officer of the Chapter 944. The chapter that would go on to bear the name The Swords of Davion. It was he that selected the first waves of aspirants, trained them, moulded them and set them on their way. It was he that selected a young boy, barely able to stand at the end of his trials. The one that the apothecary said would never make past the implantation process.  

Tiberius smiled. He accepted his old officers outstretched hand, gripping it wrist to wrist. 

“Ah and a white helm I see. My congratulations Chapter Master.” 

“My thanks, I see you are back with the Third. You always wanted to return there.”

“It’s true. It’s a shame what happened to my predecessor, Kreios, only 60 years of service and a Captain would you believe! You would have liked him.” that drew a raised eyebrow, “Don’t give me that look, you would have Tiber! He even broke a rule once or twice and… Ah! I see you still have some of that humour in you despite what has happened. This is good. But yes, our ranks swell with these newborns, I believe my sire wants steady hands at the helm to temper them.”

Tiberius shifted his gaze from his old friend, looking out to the stars.

“Tell me about them Malak. Tell me about the Lord Commander and the Primaris.”

My second squad of intercessors looks a hell of a lot different from the first.

It was because I was rushing towards a deadline and missed several finishing stages. What I’m saying here is monthly oaths are a hell of a drug. They make you get models done but god damn you’ll cut corners at times to finish them.

The Something Awful oath thread was a great way to get me painting. The dreaded deadline and failing an oath stopped me procrastinating and earning ‘points’ for painting was rad.

However it also stopped me accelerating, as I would get my oath for the month done, have 4 or so days left, and be unable to put paint to a model. I’m currently umm-ing and ahhhh-ing making a Kanban Board but I fear without something to make me accountable to it I’ll slip.

Ah well, food for thought I guess.

Getting back to the Intercessors, the Primaris Marines drawn from the Grey Shields have non Davonic (non Arthurian) names to differentiate them from Davonic born marines. In future I’ll dip into the name list for newly created Biglys by the Swords.

Space Marine Intercessor
Space Marine Intercessor , Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore


That said, rushed or not I love this model. It’s the first face I’ve really nailed and the phone’s camera picked it up and everything. This guy would be the archetypal Davion Primaris Astartes for me.


Space Marine Intercessors
Space Marine Intercessors Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

“You did not kneel on seeing him! None of you did! How is that possible, did you not feel your hearts skip a beat?”

“I have no idea. Maybe he is not our gene father Malak? Still, his pet magnos says he has Astartes with our gene coding, whatever that maybe. I will take them for I have no choice, he offered little in other methods of assistance.”

Here are my newest Intercessors, along with an older DI model to show how the scheme is slowly progressing. They are smoother and I would hope a little better overall. The GLs will be folded into renumbered squads as soon as more Vet Sarges are ready for them, as I plan to run 4 5-Marine squads in the future. I’m also looking at popping in at least 5 stalker bolt rifle models.

As for autorifles?


I know I really should be using them for this assault heavy theme but I gotta save something for the Spears….


Space Marine Vanguard
Swords of Davion Vanguard Veterans – Squad Aurelius, The Thrice Proven, The Last Of The 8th Blade. Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

“That was cruel. Humorous. But cruel all the same, you went right for the kidneys in fact, maybe you should take the Black and Dagger after all. You’ll have to leave that fancy cleaver for something more discreet though.” said the giant relaxing against arms box inside training cage, eyes closed listening to the toil, triumph and curses of his brothers, his unmarked robes telling nothing of his rank or company.

The other Astartes resumed his training drill, sword and shield in hand, not bothering to pause as his spoke, “It had to be done Agravain. The whelp painted his armour in our clad and did not bother to find that we instituted similar practises years ago. Arrogant fools the lot of them. Time will tempter them though, working out all their the flaws. As sure as the smith does to a blade.”

“That would echo our experiences, yes?” said the other marine. 

Now we are talking. Squad Aurelius, The Thrice Proven, The Last Of The 8th Blade. Clad in MkIV, Squad Aurelius is an archetypical Davionic Veteran squad. Tempered, yet eager for a fight. I modeled them all in resting or challenge poses, trying to sell that A: They are about to drop the hottest rap album of M41, or B: were a bit wiser and brighter than the average assault squad.

Clad solely in MkIV as fitting a squad of their status, Squad Aurelius is the last cohesive squad of the 8th company, who were broken up to lead the chapter and chart a new course for its future after the disaster and then liberation of Loholt.

Space Marine Contemptor
Space Marine Contemptor Orhalt, Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

Unnatural, robotic voices boomed in the hold. They had asked for a quiet space. To rest. To reflect. To help each other remember. To stop the ‘loss’ as they called it. 

The Techmarines had forbid it. For much rest was required for the unliving to walk among the stars in battle once more. With engines as ancient as theirs they could not predict outcomes like they would with a Castraferrum Pattern. All of this was new territory for them. They had stressed at length to be wary. 

But the Chapter’s Chaplains always found a way to subvert expectations and the rules that came along with them. Also, the unliving were as much theirs as the Techmarines. They found a loophole, the codex stating that as long as an aspirant was in attendance, learning the wisdom of the ancients, they could awaken.

And they could converse, as they had once done. When they were all living. Devastator Squad Safir of the 5th. 

“Do you remember Arkaian Delta brothers?”

“I do. The orks, they were everywhere, Hewin slew so many that day.”

“As do I.”

“Affirm. I remember the smell of sulfur pits. Hideous world really. Almost as ugly as Ulther. We should have left it to the orks, given the hellspawn that came from there a century later”

“I…… I do not brothers.”

Silence sang for a mournful moment. The booming metallic voices falling uncharacteristically silent. The scout, standing guard, bolter at rest resisted the gulp that was making its way up his throat. 

“Hewin. You were there remember. You held down the swarm with heavy bolt and fury. It was marvelous to watch. 

“It pains me that I have forgotten this moment brothers. I beseech you all for your recollections.” 

It was Orhalt’s boom that replied.

“It began with you taking a round to the head, so mayhaps your memory is not so bad now I think of it. It shattered an optic you had been working on for the better part of a solar week. You where most angry at that brother. Most angry indeed. By the emperor did you take out your wraith on the orkoid”

And so began another round of tales of the hold. With a second initiate carefully writing down the memories of men who no longer walked as the living.

Orhalt was assembled many, many years ago, and base coated when Contemptors first arrived on the scene. I would take 6 or so years for him to get the rest of his layers.

Orhalt and his brothers of Devastator Squad Safir all died holding a critical juncture while reclaiming the what became the Gladius, a reclaimed dormant ship, filled with fresh relics from a time history has forgotten. He and his squad are all inserted some of the prizes won dearly with their blood. Their heraldry is won on their kneepad, depicting the Gladius and their company colours and squad designation.


Space Marine Swords of Davion Assault Marines
Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

“Remember. It’s not the time to strike now. Wait for Squad Agravain’s call. Only then do we fall on the convoy.” They were crouched, amongst the cliff facings, caves and wadis of the canyon. Hidden from sight. Armour cold and dead, waiting for the right moment. 

This was the third convoy to pass. They had to wait for the 1st Blade specialists to clear a path in the cave network that lead to the other side of the valley. Argravian’s team had already pilfered the data from the Sub-Headquarters node of the caves, uploading a stream of data to Squad Moriens helm. They had worthy targets. However the had to wait. Only then when the ambush was complete and viable would they descend.  

“Brother Sergeant. I see him. I see the arch heretic.”

“Ease brother, ease. It is not yet the ti…”

“DEMI SQUAD ENGAGING. DAVION RESISTS, FOR THE EMPEROR.” The last part of the warcry was drowned out as jump packs fired from the demi squad on the other side of the valley.

Morien winced. He cycled his armour to active. This would not end well. 


This is my fave unit of the army. These are Davonic Astartes in the purest form. Jump packs. Check. Swords. Check. MkIV armour laced with some choice bits of MkVIII. Check.

Reckless, wanting only to fight and gain glory. Check and check.

Putting these together was a joy and I really wanted to push their dynamic nature over the more reserved, experienced Astartes of the Vanguard.

The only one who isn’t running forward, calling out his foe?

Morien. Poor, long suffering Morien. One day he won’t be in charge of a uncontrollable horde of youngbloods. One day.


Swords Of Davion Assault Marine
Swords Of Davion Assault Marine on the charge, painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

Seriously. Perfection rite there. 

Morien pivoted, bringing the blade along in a wide arc, cutting two traitor guardsman down. He ducked as a plasma shot seared over him and gunned his pack, soaring forwards in a shoulder charge, collecting the gunner and smearing him against the heavy wheeled truck. Why. Why did put himself through this. He should take the offer to join the first he thought. It was long overdue. 

“Patten Hector you idiots!” he hissed as he parried a heretic Astartes combat blade, turning it sideways before kicking out, and then taking the arm with a sharp sword stroke. His dark mirror image roared as he stepped though with the heavy blade, cutting the foul creature down.

Then the side of the shipping containers truck blew out with the savage roar of separation charges. Morien rolled away, standing only to look up at what was surely their death. T

Two heretic Astartes. White and bronze clad. In Terminator armour.

It occurred to him, in that moment, that the intel was wrong, the arch heretic was not alone, without his personal guard, after all. The Swords’ plan wasn’t the only ambush in play this day.



Swords Of Davion Hellblasters
Squad Lucan, Hellblasters , Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

One of them had fallen, needlessly, in the first part of the ‘ambush’. Now three of them were already dead. Morien yanked the sword out of the guts of the dead terminator in front of him as that number ticked over to four.

“Brother!” the other hulking brute cried. Lightning claws wet with red Davonic blood. “Let me show you the folly of following that corpse god on it’s shattered throne.” 

Morien dropped to a guard stance. To be honest he wasn’t a fantastic swordsman by Davion standards. But he was wise, some would even say tragically old by an assault marine sergeant standards. That experience in his mind generated the luck required to keep him alive over raw skill or refined talent. However he was sure those reserves where long exhausted now. He had only won the last fight by chance.

A thud landed beside him. One of his charges. He voxed private. “Retreat. Now.” the Astartes went to move forward, ignoring him. Morien broke his stance, shewing him back with his left hand. 

“This one is mine by rite brother. Now go. Quickly. Gather your brothers so I may tell them how I slew this deluded fool. Go on. Quickly now.” He turned to the vile creature before him, saluting with his hissing blade. “Venit Hora.” 

The chaos marine let out a hacking, coughing laughter. Gesturing towards the younger astartes as he jumped away to another part of of the swirling battle. The fiend spoke.

“Wise. But ultimately pointless. Even now our reinforcements swarm underground to this posi-“

There was a bright light, his auto senses struggling to adjust as plasma shot after plasma shot smashed into ancient plate, annihilating the veteran of the long war. Morien looked back, seeing Squad Ten, newborns with plasma weaponry, moving out of the caves, still laying down fire as the First Blade Kill Team filtered though behind them. 

Thank the emperor for that. He thought. He keyed his vox.

“You took to long Agravain. We already slew the target. Unfortunately we deviated from the mission parameters. Casualties are high.” He didn’t wait for the reply as he spied his next target, called for his squad to rally on him as he leaped into to the skies on wings of fire. 

The Hellblasters are more Primaris models from Dark Imperium.

I was going to write about them but Assault Marines are cooler. Which sums up this entire army in a sentence really.


Space Marine Razorback and Vindicator
Space Marine Razorback and Vindicator painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

These golden oldies are still in the old scheme from the army’s 1st iteration and are getting some use still.

If Vindicators ever become viable, these two and the other 2 Razorbacks and Vindicator will be getting a repaint. Until then they wear the old colours and markings proudly.

Lastly, we have Kill Team Agravain, who are too sneaky to write a story about right now, so you’ll have to check back some other time. You can read more about them in an article I wrote a while back here.

Space Marine Kill Team Agravain Painted by Tyler "Coda" Moore
Space Marine Kill Team Agravain painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore


Space Marine Kill Team Agravain Painted by Tyler "Coda" Moore
Space Marine Kill Team Agravain painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

And there’s the army as it stands now! If you made it this far, thank you for reading these words! I hope you found it as enjoyable to read as it was to write.

Swords of Davion Astartes
Swords of Davion, Kararath, Muster of the 2nd. Painted by Tyler “Coda” Moore

If you have your own successor chapter that you have written way to many words about, shoot us an email at , post a photo of your awesome plastic space people on the Goonhammer Facebook page, or tag us on Twitter or hit something with the #goonhammer tag.

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Have fun