Battlefleet Gothic: First ships

As I mentioned earlier, one of my goals for this year is to get a playable fleet ready for Battlefleet Gothic. Over the past month, I’ve done just that: Get started. Coming weekend, I’ll be playing a few games, and to that end I’ve been busy painting up a 1750 point Space Marine fleet. I currently own two fleets, Space Marines and Imperial Navy, but the latter will probably be sold off.

About Battlefleet Gothic

Another of GW’s now-defunct Specialist Games, Battlefleet Gothic is a space fleet game. Each player takes command of a fleet and battle ensues. The game is very different from most other games by Games Workshop, except possibly Epic. The scale, for one thing, is hugely different. Where in 40k, a Thunderhawk is one of the larger models available, in Battlefleet Gothic entire squadrons of them are represented by small 20x20mm tokens. Another huge difference is that players really need to plan ahead. Unless given special orders to do so, ships can’t stop. They are also limited in how quickly they can turn. Together, this means that not planning ahead can take a ship out of the game simply because it flew off the table. Combat is also greatly streamlined. Huge arrays of gun batteries are condensed into single dice rolls. Gone are the To Hit, To Wound, Save, Feel no Pain and other consecutive rolls from 40k. All this combines into a game that is easy to learn and hard to master.

The ships

Like most Specialist Games, most models except for those in the starter kit are metal. Since the Space Marines weren’t a starter fleet (Imperial Navy and Chaos were), pretty much all of it is. This means my fleet is all metal except for my Forge World Thunderhawk markers, which are resin. I also recently added some 3D-printed ordnance markers from Shapeways, but I’ll be showing those in a later post.


Battlefleet Gothic Battlebarge Angel of RetributionThe biggest ship available to the Space Marines is the Battlebarge. It is roughly equivalent in size to the Battleships used by other Navies and heavily armoured. Unlike most battleships however, a large part of its firepower is front-facing. This matches the Space Marine style of rushing forward and attacking at close quarters. For my first fleet, I painted up one of the three in my collection. As you would expect, my fleet matches my 40k army: Dark Angels. I decided to paint some of the weapons red. This is a classic Dark Angel colour combination, but not one I’ve used in my 40k army. However, for the large scale of these ships, I felt I needed something to stand out from a distance. I also made good use of one of the Forge World ‘etched brass’ sprues. The Dark Angels symbol on the sides is from there, as well as a lot of the decorations on the Strike Cruisers, below.

Strike Cruisers

Battlefleet Gothic Strike CruisersStrike Cruisers are roughly equivalent in size to light cruisers from the Imperial Navy. They are better armoured however, and more heavily armed. Like the Battlebarge, most weaponry faces to the front. Since the background says a Strike Cruiser can hold roughly a company, I decided to match each of mine to one of the ten companies. Here we see those for the first, second, fourth and fifth. The first two are easily distinguished by their colour, obviously. For the others, I added the company symbol to the front wing (againt taken from the etched brass sprue).


Battlefleet Gothic Hunter DestroyersDepending on the fleet list, Space Marines have access to different escort ships. They can either use the same escorts as the Imperial Navy (albeit at a slightly higher point cost), or use their own. Since I use the Crusade army list, I only have access to the latter. These are quite similar to the Imperial escorts, but faster and better armoured. The background specifically mentions that the Dark Angels heavily favour Hunter Destroyers, so the vast majority of my escorts is made up of those. Each of my escort squadrons is colour coded, with the colour visible in the shield on the side. In the picture you can see Rubicon Squadron, which is red.

Battlefleet Gothic Nova FrigatesHowever, I also have a full squadron of Nova Frigates, since they are the easiest way for Space Marines to get access to lance weaponry. For this first fleet, I’ve painted up five models from Onyx (black) squadron.

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