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The Great Crusade > Pre-Heresy Background Q&A > What is the Pre-Heresy Space Wolf symbol


Title: What is the Pre-Heresy Space Wolf symbol


BigWill - April 23, 2008 11:55 PM (GMT)
Is the side profile with the red wolf with a moon in the background the badge for Pre-Heresy Wolves or for just 13th company
What was the symbol for the Legion?

Yvraith - April 24, 2008 01:07 AM (GMT)
I'm pretty sure that it hasn't changed since the Crusade, so it'd be the current "Chapter" Symbol.

The Red Sorcerer - April 24, 2008 10:18 AM (GMT)
The problem there is that the Space Wolves don't have a chapter symbol. Each Great Company wears a different symbol based on one of the various legendary wolves of Fenris - the symbol is chosen by the new Wolf Lord when he takes command of the Great Company. The symbol depicted on the GW Transfer sheets and studio army is the one for Ragnar Blackmane's Great Company.

Whether this arrangement was the same pre-heresy is unclear. The artwork seems to suggest that they had a standard symbol very similar to the design carried by Ragnar's great company, but in red rather than black - almost all the Space Wolves in the artwork seem to be wearing this symbol where their Chapter Heraldry is visible, and the Index Astartes shows a red wolf symbol as well. Example:
user posted image

Weiss - April 24, 2008 10:31 AM (GMT)
Then you have the Wolf Guard pictures which feature the space wolf legion symbol on their standard.

The way I see it, the Space Wolves abhor the Codex Astartes and would seem to have kept to their traditional ways after the Heresy, so would probably use the same system for their organisation (just on a much larger scale), which was probably based on the social structure of Fenris in the first place.

That's just supposition on my part though...

The Red Sorcerer - April 24, 2008 01:38 PM (GMT)
Yes, there is a picture of Wolf Guard who seemingly have a black wolf icon (certainly on the standard). But all the normal Space Wolf marines seem to have the red wolf design, whereas you would expect some variation if the different great companies had different symbols pre-heresy.

In addition, the red wolf symbol used by the pre-heresy Space Wolves in the artwork is not, in fact, one of the symbols used today. You can see the different Great Company symbols here (in black and white unfortunately). Anyway, the 'Blackmane' wolf symbol is effectively identical, but is (unsurprisingly) in black when used by the Space Wolves rather than in red. This seems to suggest that the current system was a post-heresy development. The Index Astartes supports the use of a red wolf icon as well.

Weiss - April 24, 2008 01:54 PM (GMT)
So the great companies had no relevance pre-heresy?

The Red Sorcerer - April 24, 2008 02:19 PM (GMT)
Of course they did. The Space Wolves seem to always have been organised into Great Companies. But the artwork and Index Astartes seems to suggest that all Great Companies wore a standard Legion symbol, rather than having different heraldry for each Great Company as is the case today. The pack markings they use post-heresy to distinguish long fangs, grey hunters and blood claws seem to be absent as well.

Weiss - April 24, 2008 02:44 PM (GMT)
Hmm, I find it hard to believe they would have no tactical markings... (not doubting your word, just the veracity of the (often innacurate) illustrations). It is disconcerting that every picture features this though. It begs the question: how did they distinguish between the different squads then?

Anodyr - April 24, 2008 03:06 PM (GMT)
Actually Im almost positive there is at least one pic with what look like squad markings on the right shoulder - horizontal red triansgles if I remember correctly. I'll flick through the book tonight and see if I can find it.

VESPASIAN - April 24, 2008 03:19 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (The Red Sorcerer @ Apr 24 2008, 02:19 PM)
Of course they did. The Space Wolves seem to always have been organised into Great Companies. But the artwork and Index Astartes seems to suggest that all Great Companies wore a standard Legion symbol, rather than having different heraldry for each Great Company as is the case today. The pack markings they use post-heresy to distinguish long fangs, grey hunters and blood claws seem to be absent as well.

Unfortunately thats not correct.

The Artwork in Horus Heresy: Collected Visions actually shows several different Wolf symbols being used by Space Wolves in the Heresy period; demonstrating arguably that the Great Companies of this period were indeed differentiated by different symbols.

Great Company Symbols:

The 13th Great Company is represented by a Red Wolf's head in profile, with a White Crescent behind the head. (Page 138 &139).

Other symbols used as Great Company insignia are:

A Red Iron Wolf (Page 103)

A Black Fire Breather Wolf's head (being used by Wolfsguard Terminators, Page 45)

A Black Wolf's Head being worn by Wolfguard units (similar to the Blackmane Wolf's Head, P.234, 235 and elsewhere)

And the Red Wolf's head that Red Sorceror is refering to.

In addition we have other symbols that were used during the Heresy, which are mentioned in various sources.

The personal emblem of Leman Russ himself was the 'Wolf that Stalks the Stars'. This symbol has always been the used by the Great Wolf's company (Index Astartes Volume II, Page 8) This would be a fantastic badge to use if you wanted to do Leman Russ' personal household.

These symbols described below, would probably have been used during the Heresy as well.

The Thunderwolf symbol is highly favoured by Wolf Lords, and it is quite rare for one of the Great Comapnies not to have displayed this symbol. (Codex Space Wolves, 1994, P. 12)

The badge of the Two-Headed Wolf is an ancient and significant symbol for the Space Wolves, representing both Morkai; and Freki and Geri, the companion wolves of Russ. This symbol is frequently adopted by a Wolf Lord and is therfore often borne by one of the Great Companies. (Codex Space Wolves, 1994, P. 12)

Pack Markings:

With regard to pack markings, the above book says that the pack marking worn by Bjorn the Fell-Handed (entombed in his dreadnought), in red,black and white; is an archaic form of that used in the 41st Millenium. It could be possible therefore that this type of pack marking also dates back to the Pre-Heresy/Heresy period.

There are also Black Wolf's heads in a Red Diamond pack markings (Horus Heresy: Collected Visions Page 251).

In addition there are the yellow shoulder, with horizontal black triangles pack marking; shown being used by the Asgeir Fenris Hunters Pack (Assault Squad with jumpacks), (Horus Heresy: Collected Visions, Page 137).

BigWill - April 24, 2008 03:48 PM (GMT)
if you could please post or pm me a pic of the Leman Russ heraldry.
I just picked up 2 boxes of wolfen that come with a 13th comp xfer sheet
it has the red profile you guys were talking about and also a symbol that is identical to the Luna Wolves only with a red cresent moon instead of white.

I will probally go with the red profile wolf for the bulk of my troops and maybe even do Leman and the Wolfguard if the Leman model is the right size for me.

Iacton - April 24, 2008 04:02 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Weiss @ Apr 24 2008, 02:44 PM)
It begs the question: how did they distinguish between the different squads then?

By smell?

Weiss - April 25, 2008 07:45 AM (GMT)
:lol: That wouldn't surprise me....

Cheers Vespasian.

The Red Sorcerer - April 25, 2008 09:58 AM (GMT)
Gah! Vespasian is, of course, completely correct. That'll teach me to check sources properly next time. I'd spotted the Blackmane wolf before, but had completely missed the others. I'm particularly surprised I'd missed the 13th company symbol, that one is particularly obvious. Ah well. Interestingly, the fact that the 13th Company design is shown on a Wolfguard unit and a Rhino shows that they had these units pre-heresy, unlike in the 40K 'present'.

@BigWill: If you follow the link I posted earlier showing the Great Companies heraldry, the 'Wolf that Stalks the Stars' is the design in the centre, indicating the Great Wolf. It is usually represented in white on a black background... have a look at the GW studio version of Logan Grimnar for an example.

Interestingly, the Index Astartes suggests they may have used similar pack markings as well. The pre-heresy colour scheme shows a Grey Hunter-style marking on the chain-blade of the bolter the marine is carrying. I've not yet spotted any artwork with the pack markings on the shoulderpad like the present-day scheme though.

ShroudFilm - April 25, 2008 11:47 AM (GMT)
I think Bjorn is likely to be our best source on PH SW stuff, since he was an active living member of the legion during the Heresy, and still remains in M41 as a dreadnought.

asmodai650 - May 29, 2008 12:41 PM (GMT)
Sorry for a little bit of thread-o-mancy, but I thought I would chime in on this as someone else may need the info later.

There is no set order for each great companies markings. It is up to each Wolf lord to adopt a symbol for his company. Most carry on the traditions of the previous wolf lord, using his pack markings and symbols. Others however may decide to change the symbol, color, or both. This most often would happen if the previous wolf lord fell out of favor with the current great wolf, or out of respect. Similar to the way we would now retire a sports jeresy of a great player. As soon as I get my things unpacked, I'll try to find a reference source for this. I beleive it is in the 2nd edition codex, a must have resource for any wolf player.

Horn - May 29, 2008 04:16 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (ShroudFilm @ Apr 25 2008, 11:47 AM)
I think Bjorn is likely to be our best source on PH SW stuff, since he was an active living member of the legion during the Heresy, and still remains in M41 as a dreadnought.

But when was he plugged in?

Magos Explorator - May 29, 2008 06:50 PM (GMT)
I am fairly certain it was post-Heresy: I think it's described in the 2E Space Wolves codex, but sadly my copy of that is currently far from me.

asmodai650 - May 30, 2008 12:28 PM (GMT)
It was after the heresy and after Russ left for the warp. Russ took all his other wolf Guards with him and left Bjorn in charge. As Majos Explorator said it is in the 2nd edition codex. Hopefully it will be in the new one as well.

VESPASIAN - May 30, 2008 06:41 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Horn @ May 29 2008, 04:16 PM)
But when was he plugged in?

Codex Space Wolves, 2nd edition, Page 68 has the details about Bjorn.

Bjorn was the first Great Wolf of the Space Wolves Chapter after the Primarch disappeared. He led the Space Wolves on the First Great Hunt to find Russ: and also ended it when the epic search for Russ proved unsuccessful.

Bjorn was also directly responsible for maintaining and preserving the unique organisational structure of the Space Wolves (he refused to allow the Codex Astartes to be enforced onto his beloved Chapter); which has lasted from its formation through to the 41st Millenium.

It was during the Proxima Rebellion, leading a succesful raid on a Dreadsun Fortress (inside which were trapped other Space Wolves), that Bjorn suffered so many wounds that he was left crippled and paralysed. It was after the failure of the Wolfpriests treatments that he was transferred into a dreadnought in order to preserve his life.

So Bjorn was interred after the Heresy and after the completion of the First Great Hunt.




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