Astra Militarum Special Weapons - Modelling - Astra Militarum Getting Started - Part 12
Getting Started

Astra Militarum Special Weapons – Modelling – Astra Militarum Getting Started – Part 12

All about Astra Militarum Special Weapons...

Approximate Reading Time: 8 minutes

I started writing this article in December 2019 – as an Astra Militarum Special Weapons tactics article, which is coming in part two. But it first morphed into this modelling article because of some common queries I get regarding Astra Militarum Special Weapons. This is the 12th article in this Getting Started series, you can start at the first article here.

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Astra Militarum Special Weapons

Some examples of common queries regarding Astra Militarum Special Weapons…

I just got this new box of guys – but it only has x special weapons. What’s the best way of getting more?

I have one Plasma Gun Guardsman, and don’t want to spent £20 just to get a few more via a Command Box. What can I do?

Which is best the Sniper Rifle or Grenade Launcher?

Are Melta Guns worth the points? Or should I just take Plasma Guns?

You get the idea. There are tactical aspects here and modelling aspects.

I’ll tackle the modelling aspect first in this article because we need models before we get to use tactics. This modelling part is mainly focused on Cadians because they are available and most popular. I’ve got a quick mention of other regiments later on.

All the Plasma in a Cadian Command Squad, plus Platoon Commander - Astra Militarum Special Weapons

All the Plasma in a Cadian Command Squad, plus Platoon Commander

Optimising for Special Weapons

The main issue that many people find with Special Weapons is a lack of information. This article will help you!

If you have a box of regular Guardsmen then you know what it comes with. If you buy more of them you know exactly what is in that box. You have x number of heads, x number of Lasguns, etc.

But what happens when you don’t know what’s in a box? Say, a Command Squad box? Maybe you had a Command Squad box a year ago but now you’ve forgotten what exactly was in it. You can ask online, ask a friend, find a photo online or come here to this article.

New Cadian Shock Troops BoxI’m going to cover exactly what is inside the following boxes from the point-of-view of Astra Militarum Special Weapons only;

And from there we can all make better decisions about what to buy, and not buy, to fill out our squads with Astra Militarum Special Weapons. I’ll include photos for each so you can glean other bits of information too from this article. Not just info about Astra Militarum Special Weapons. If you are interested in the Astra Militarum Start Collecting Box then you should check out part 11 of this guide which goes into more detail.

Steel Legion - Astra Militarum Special Weapons

Steel Legion – Astra Militarum Special Weapons

New Cadian Shock Troops

New Cadian Shock Troops Box

New Cadian Shock Troops Box

The new Cadian Shock Troops Box from Games Workshop contains a new sprue with;

  • 10x Regular Cadian Shock Troops
  • 25 New Cadian Heads
  • A Sniper Rifle
  • A Melta Gun
  • A Plasma Gun
  • A Plasma Pistol
  • A Power Sword
  • A Bolt Pistol
  • A Boltgun
  • A Bionic Pointing Hand

This is a superb place to start to get your Special Weapons, as you get all those heads to really mix up your squads and the special weapons.

I also sell the bits from this kit at the Cadian Shock Store.

Cadian Command Squad Box

This will be the go-to box for many people when it comes to obtaining Astra Militarum Special Weapons, it contains one of each type we can use in our Astra Militarum forces. Trying to get a full Command Squad of Melta Guns using Command Squad boxes is going to cost you about £80! With one Melta Gun per box, you will need three of these £20 boxes. Which is insane. More on this later on though…

The Cadian Command Squad box contains;

  • A Flamer
  • A Plasma Gun
  • A Melta Gun
  • A Sniper Rifle
  • A Grenade Launcher
  • A Heavy Flamer

Other items of note are;

  • A Bolt Pistol
  • A Plasma Pistol
  • A Power Sword
  • Two Regimental Standards
  • A Medic set of arms
  • 5 pairs of legs and 7 torsos
  • Extra heads

Note the two extra torsos. You get five pairs of legs, but seven torsos – leaving you two spare. If you can get some extra legs from a friend or eBay then you have yourself two extra Guardsmen for very little cost.

Ten Guardsman Cadian Box (& Cadian Start Collecting Box)

The regular Guardsman box and the Astra Militarum Start Collecting Box both contain the same sprues for ten Guardsmen. So both of these boxes contain the same number of special weapons – and it’s not a lot.

These boxes contain;

  • A Flamer
  • A Grenade Launcher

This is not a lot to go on and they do not contain any of the heavier hitting weapons, like Meltaguns or Plasma Guns. You will need a Command Squad box for those.

Astra Militarum Special Weapons on eBay

You can get Astra Militarum Special Weapons on eBay too. This can be a very good idea if you want to fill out a Command Squad with 4 Plasma Guns but only currently own one.

As mentioned above, the Command Squad box only has one in, so to get the extra three it’s going to cost you another £60! On eBay you can get single Plasma Guns for £1 plus about £2 for postage – this gets you three Plasma Guns for £5 or £1.66 each.

  • £3 for the Plasma Guns
  • £2 for the postage

That is a lot better than £20 per weapon! OK, you get a lot more for that £20, a whole load of extra Guardsmen and weapons. But if you just want the weapons then eBay is my go-to place. This is especially true if you have the Guardsmen models already and just need the weapons. You can read more about getting models from eBay in my guide.

I did this with this Steel Legion dude below. He did have a Grenade Launcher, which I forcibly cut out and replaced with a Plasma Gun from eBay. Someone once commented that this is the wrong Plasma Gun and its a Space Marine Plasma Gun. But I cannot tell and do not care, once painted up it looked the part. The painted version you have already scrolled past in the main header image of this post ;-)

Steel Legion Kitbash using eBay Plasma Gun - Astra Militarum Special Weapons

Steel Legion Kitbash using eBay Plasma Gun

Games Workshop Meltaguns & Plasma Guns

You can also use the Legion Plasma Guns and Legion Meltaguns from Forgeworld – thanks to Vyla_SC on Reddit for this tip. There is also the Space Marine Plasma Guns on the regular Games Workshop web store – thanks to AGaurdsman for this tip on Twitter.

Five Guardsman Cadian Box

I mentioned these five model boxes briefly in my Astra Militarum Start Collecting Box article, they contain no legs and no torsos and so do not offer us anything when we are trying to build new Guardsmen from existing bits. Or trying to make Special Weapon Guardsmen.

These Guardsmen are mono-pose models and so you cannot easily place Astra Militarum Special Weapons onto the models. You could chop them up and make them fit, but its a lot of effort. They also contain zero Special Weapon bits. So these are a definite no-no when it comes to Special Weapons.

Metal Special Weapons from Games Workshop

You can also get the older metal models for Cadian Melta/Plasma, Cadian Snipers and Catachan Snipers. This are pretty pricey but they are awesome models for sure.

The Meltagun and Plasma Gun set of two are £10 – so £5 each. That is a lot of money for a single Guardsman model, a squad of four is going to get you back £20. You can do this more cheaply using eBay, it just depends how much effort you want to put into the models.

Other Regiments – Astra Militarum Special Weapons

When it comes to other regiments, even Catachans that are plastic, it gets a little harder to get your Special Weapons. This is especially true for the metal models. E.g. Steel Legion (shown above) and Valhallan models.

You either need to find them on eBay or wait for Games Workshop to do a Build to Order promotion. And even then you may need to convert the models to get the weapons you want. The single metal models with Special Weapons can be very expensive.

If you need a supply of special weapons to convert with then the Cadian Command Squad box is your best bet. Or buy what you need from eBay.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for Astra Militarum Special Weapons for regiments that are not Catachan and not Cadian. There are alternative models from third parties which would mean you can get plastic or resin models that are easier to chop and change. But if you want authentic Games Workshop regiments then you’re a little stuck and prepare to wait and get your waller out when that wait is over!

Here are some third-party suppliers that I have used in the past;

Index of Getting Started Articles