In the Index Astartes books of yore GW actually put out some suggestions or preheresy vs post heresy tactical markings. At the time, it created all sort of Jamaican Rasta looking armies as fans started to paint all tacs in green, fast attack in red, etc. This is still a throw back fan concept for some who like the look.
Flash forward to current examples, I think most agree that the colors are based on Company colors:
- 1st Company = White or Silver
- 2nd Company = Yellow or Gold
- 3rd Company = Red
- 4th Company = Green
- 5th Company = Black
- 6th Company = Orange
- 7th Company = Purple
- 8th Company = Grey
- 9th Compnay = Blue
- 10th Comapny = Scout Company is usually white, but it's displayed on them individually because they are scouts are usually in camo.
Additional, confusion from this image comes from the fact that Legions have lots of Chapters (1000 Astartes), which are broken down to 2 Battalions (500 Astartes each). Each Battalion has 5 Companies with 100 marines, each broken down to squads of 5 to 20.
In 40K, the space marine chapters are a Company strong.
The most recent artwork put out by Forge world, removes the concept of trim color across the board, and gives examples with black or silver trim as you can see in the following examples.
In 40K, the space marine chapters are a Company strong.
From Left to Right (Based on the text that goes along with these pictures):
- Vet Sgt. (White Face), 2nd Company (Displayed on Chest), Recon Company (Right Knee)
- 7th Battalion (Right Knee), which actually denotes him of the pre-Corax unified Raven Guard.
- Vet Assault marines (White arms and shoulder pads), 4th Battalion (?), 5th Chapter (?) Assault Company (right knee)
- 31st Shadow Company (left knee) which is directly under legion command, stead of serving in line, MKIV recon armor, which is turned off, which is why it's almost black. So technically their armor literally goes to camo mode.
- The Terminator below, is part of the first Battalion in the 5th Chapter in an assault company.
Forge World also put out shoulder pad tactical markings. Which are very cool but kinda ambiguous, as they don't exactly line up with squad types across the board. Although it is nice that they at least match the index astartes should pads, minus the color.
So, based on what we know:
- Vet Sergeants have white faces, and the more senior you are the more white you have on your helmet, as seen in the Talon Leader and the Captain.
- Vet assault Marines have white arms and white shoulder pads
- Shoulder pad rims are either black or silver.
- Raven Guard markings started after Corax joined the legion.
- Company, Chapter and Battalion Markings are used, but not very uniformly.
- Squad Type is designated on the knee pad or the shoulder.
- Squad markings aren't used and are named after their Sergeant.
- Finally, it should be mentioned that Raven Guard will often fight in stealth markings so as not to have their leadership easily identified, so feel free to throw a lot of this out the door is you like.
Ideas for themed Raven Guard Armies:
- Pre Corax Raven Guard: See armor #2. The XIX Legion was created from the Terran Xeric Tribes which came from the Asiatic dust plains during the unification war. They wore grey armor and fought a lot under Horus and the Luna Wolves. They had a reputation for being cold blooded and acted as oppression, repression and occupational forces. They were known to wear war paint made from Asiatic dust and were referred to as the "Pale Noma" and the "Dust Clad". When Corax took over the Legion they reminded him of the slaver of Lycaeus, and thus he reassigned many of the Terran based Legionaries, including Shade Lord Akrhas Fal to the fringe of the Imperium as Predation fleets or Charcharadons, which would become space sharks chapter that is covered in the Babdab war.
- Pre Drop Site Massacre Raven Guard: Raven Guard were one of the smaller legions at the time of the Great Crusade. They had 80,000 marines at the time of the drop site massacre, which mean they had ~ 8 Chapters, 16 battalions and 80 companies. So if you are doing markings I would stay with those confines.
- Post Drop Site Massacre Raven Guard: About 3,000 Raven guard escaped the Drop Site Massacre, and their total fight force was around 4,000 Astartes all together. Corax reorganized his remaining forces into 3 divisions based on combat specialization.
- Agapito Nev: Commander of the Talons, comprised of tactical companies
- Solaro An: Commander of the Hawks, comprised of light vehicles and air support
- Solaro An is also interesting in that he the youngest command, being that Corax brought him from Deliverance as a child. He is killed at the drop site massacre and replaced by an Alpha Legionnaire. So you could totally play this as a traitor Raven Guard force.
- Nuran Tusk: Replaced Solar An as commander of the Hawks only to be killed, a few weeks later, during the assault on the perfect fortress.
- Soukhounou: Became the commander of the Hawks for the rest of the Heresy. He was Terran born.
- Aloni Tev: Commander of the Falcons, comprised on assault companies
- Raptors: Corax also tried to bolster his ranks with pure Primarch gene seed that the Emperor gave to him. This made a splice of Astartes and Primarch called "Raptors", which were unleashed on the Word Bearers under the command of Branne Nev who was also the master of recruits. Branne Nev was the commander left behind to protect Deliverance. He came to rescue what was left of the Raven Guard after the Drop site massacre and thus saved the Legion. The new Legionaires created after the massacre eventually became the Raptors Chapter.
I'm personally still trying to figure out what vintage Raven Guard I am painting. That said, I'm going with the index astartes shoulder pad markings, but I'm doing them in white. I also want to use them in the 40K universe, so I'm using small amount of red indicators to denote the 3rd company. I'm also doing squad markings on the right knee and left shoulder pad and leaving the right shoulder pad for the Chapter Raven. I'm also try not to make them too white, as i want them to feel stealthy, unless they are assault troops or terminators which seem to be unleashed more as a shock troopers.
Anything I missed? What have you guys decided on for you Raven Guard?