Howlinggriffon? What's all that about?

I was looking at this blog the other day and realised that anyone viewing it probably wouldn't understand why the weblink to it was

My first foray into the wargaming hobby was way back in the '80's but I only got into it seriously in 2000. I'd been out of the hobby for years but got interested again after playing some 40K related computer games (Chaos Gate and Rites of War if you remember those!) I'd bought a Space Marine codex and wanted to try painting some - but wasn't sure what chapter to aim for. The guys at my local GW store said "Just choose something that isn't Ultramarines or Space Wolves - that's all we see!" Something different was called for - so I chose the Howling Griffons chapter! Famous for having a red and yellow quartered colour scheme, they seemed like they'd stand out on a tabletop.

After painting a few units, I thought I'd try creating a website about them to show them off. After a year or so, the website became more popular and kept adding to the army. Eventually, I got an email from Tim Huckelbery who was head of the GW forums and I was asked to become one of GW's moderators. I did this for a few years which was good fun - I got to chat with a lot of GW staff and made some friends on the boards along the way. When GW closed their forums, I decided it was time for me to hang up my spurs and retire the Howling Griffons army - I'd used them for several years and it was time to move on. I recently closed the Howling Griffons website but I thought the army should still be on display somewhere - so I've taken these pictures of them for the blog.

So - that's why the blog is called "howlinggriffon". It's my regular username on a lot of forums!

Onto the models then. I'll put them up in order of their 40K classification...


Chapter Master Alvaro is the leader of my army, sporting Tactical Dreadnought Armour (Terminator armour to you and me!) It's still one of my favourite models as I really like the dynamic pose, something that was lacking in the old metal terminator HQ models at the time.

Captain Tiberius is another classic metal model from the old Command Squad set (now replaced by GW with a plastic set). This is another great pose and another classic model. I think this model looks better than the current plastic Commander despite not having the choice of weapons the plastics allow.

Librarian Balthasar started off as my first painted HQ model so he saw a lot of action in the early days. Although he was later superceded as leader of the army, he became more popular when the "Fury of the Ancients" psychic power was put into the 4th ed. Space Marine codex. I stopped selecting that psychic power though as, for the point cost, it was seriously broken and I hated using it as it annoyed my opponents.

Chaplain Titus, another Jes Goodwin classic metal model, was used regularly in my army for a number of years when played using the 3rd ed. Space Marine codex. When the 4th ed. codex came out, I needed a Chaplain with a jump pack, which lead to the creation of Chaplain Castus.

Chaplain Castus has been used in nearly every battle I've played using the 4th ed. codex as he's the perfect leader for my Assault Squad. He makes the whole unit Fearless and, with his Litanies of Hate skill, he makes them reroll any failed attacks on the turn they charge. He's been one of the most important models on the table because of this.

Emperor's Champion Athos was a 3rd ed. codex model. At the time, only Black Templars were allowed to field an Emperor's Champion but a "Chapter Approved" article was released that allowed all chapters to take one, hence this model. He was my most ambitious conversion at the time as he was made from eleven different parts included the helmet from a Reaper knight. Recently, he's been used as a replacement Captain.


Terminator Sergeant Brutus leads my Terminator Assault Squad into battle. Well, he did. When the 4th ed. codex came out, I had to pay extra points to arm him with the storm bolter/power sword combo so the unit was retired from battle until I could make a new metal sergeant armed with a pair of lightning claws.

A pair of terminators armed with Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields

Two terminators sporting pairs of Lightning Claws

Terminator Assault Squad. When I first painted them, I used them a few times but found I'd make a mistake with them. If I started them in my deployment zone, they walked slowly across the battlefield being shot at by every heavy weapon my opponent could muster so they died before they could get into battle. If I tried deep striking them into the heart of the enemy battlelines, they were rapid fired to death before they got to attack! Either way, dead. What they really need is a Land Raider to carry them safely into battle - so until I paint one, these guys stay in the case!

Terminator Sergeant Marcus is one of the fantastic plastic Terminator models. The dynamism of these is great, far better than the very static poses of the old metal Terminators.

Cyclone Missile Launcher and Chain Fist

Assault Cannon and Chain Fist

Terminator Squad Brutus. One thing I realised after building these is that it's best to put Chain Fists onto the models sporting Assault Cannons or Cyclone Missile Launchers. Ah well...

Veteran Squad Decimus. Another unit of classic metal models mixed with plastic arms. These guys used to ride around in a Razorback along with Chaplain Titus but once the 4th ed. codex arrived, the weapons on the Razorback were no longer legal (Lascannon with twin plasmaguns) so the Razorback went into storage. It was the only vehicle I ever painted for the Howling Griffons too!

Dreadnought Mort armed with Assault Cannon and Dreadnought Close Combat weapon.

Dreadnought Mort armed with twin-linked Lascannon and Missile Launcher.

A favourite model of mine, this Dreadnought has been in nearly every battle I've even fought since he was built. I left the arms unglued so I could swap them over whenever I wanted to.


Tactical Squad Gaius was the first unit of marines I painted for my army - they're sporting the default weapons that were in the box set at the time (Missile Launcher and Flamer). I dabbled with painting the sergeants armour a slightly more orange colour but never carried it on with the rest of the units. I was pretty pleased with how they came out though.

Tactical Squad Hastus. The second unit I painted for the army but with some alternative weapons. The sergeant model was a metal Assault Squad sergeant. I put metal tactical shoulder pads on this unit but you can't really see them the way I painted them - doh!

A couple of metal models sporting Plasmaguns - used to switch out models in the Tactical Squad when I need something other than Flamers or Meltaguns.

Sergeant Falco here was made from another classic metal model. I use him to lead one of my Tactical Squads if I want just a regular bolter armed sergeant.

Sergeant Severus here is another "bolter" sergeant I made for use as an alternative. He was in the old metal Command Squad box as a standard bearer - I just chopped off his standard and swapped it for a chainsword.

Scout Squad Regulus was built for a tournament - seven metal models including a Missile Launcher. I wanted the sergeant to look a little different so I chopped the head off and swapped it for a head from a Deathwatch sprue - as it happened, it was such a successful swap that you couldn't spot it was different at all! I had to paint his hair grey to make him stand out. Later on, I added some more bolter scouts to take them up to a ten-man unit, this time using some of the newer plastic scouts. A decent unit in combat - it's been surprisingly effective.


Assault Sergeant Verix is another metal model, this one sporting a Bolt Pistol and a Power Fist. Perfect for bringing righteous justice to his enemies!

Assault Marines with Plasma Pistols

Assault Marines with Flamers

Assault Marines

More Assault Marines

Assault Squad Verix. You can't actually field a 12-man unit but I built that many so I could have alternative weapons - either Flamers or Plasma Pistols. This unit gets led into battle by Chaplain Castus and they wreak havoc when they do so! With so many attacks with rerolls, they kill most things they hit on their first attempt. They became so deadly that I stopped using them as the game was pretty much over once they got into combat. I switched to using the Bike Squad to give myself more of a challenge.

Land Speeder armed with a Multi-Melta

Land Speeder Squadron. Every Space Marine army I ever saw always seemed to have nothing but Land Speeders armed with Assault Cannons. I built three armed with Multi-Meltas so I could go tank hunting...

Close up of the base on one of the Land Speeders. I painted this dead Chaos Marine as a Night Lord - that legion has a lot of history with the Howling Griffons so this was a little tribute to their enmity.

Bike Squad Sergeant Collix sporting a Power Fist.

Bike Squad marines armed with Flamers

Bike Squad marines

Attack Bike armed with Heavy Bolter

Bike Squad Collix. I built this unit so I had an alternative Fast Attack choice instead of the Assault Squad and Land Speeders I regularly used. They can pump out a huge amount of rapid-firing bolter death while still moving pretty fast - and if they do get into close combat, the sergeant can do some damage with his Power Fist. The Flamers have been amusing. I once killed sixteen Dark Eldar with just those two Flamers. Righteous!


Devastator Sergeant Marius is another classic metal models from the old Command Squad set. No need to adapt his pose - he was perfect as he was...

Four Missile Launchers made from classic metal Space Marine bodies with plastic Missile Launchers.

Devastator Squad Marius. All but one of this unit were made from old metal Space Marine bodies. This has been a particularly effective squad as there's little four Missile Launchers can't kill. Having so many extra marines in the unit means that the marines armed with the heavy weapons tend to survive until the end of the battle. A favourite unit, for sure.

Devastator Squad Quarto was a bit of a mistake. At the time of building them, I mainly played games at my local GW store on 4ft x 4ft tables. I thought the Plasma Cannons would be effective at that range and anything getting closer would fall to the 24" range of the Multi-Meltas. The problem was that these had the name "fire magnet" painted in large letters above their heads! A big points sink, they were an easy target that soon lost effectiveness once they took some casualties. These guys have spent more time in their case than on the battlefield, for sure.

Well - that's the army that I'm probably most famous for using. I don't use them anymore as I needed a break from painting red and yellow all the time - but I may break them out of storage at some point and get some vehicles and tanks painted. Maybe when the 5th edition Space Marine codex comes out...


I only recently refound my old Howling Griffons Razorback.  I had to repair it slightly but it's still usable so I took a photo of it for completeness.  This is the vehicle my Veteran squad rode around in...