This penultimate part of the unit reviews will deal with the dreadnought variants (excluding grey knights - they come under their own section) and the so called assault vehicles, namely rhinos and razorbacks. As always the sections go into a good amount of detail about the vehicles and those found in the standard codices.
Effectively a venerable dreadnought with a few perks, the Chaplain dread is a few points more than a vindicator and has the standard 12/12/10 and 3 hull points as well as the venerable rule and WS5/BS5. It is an elites choice for a space marine, dark angel or Badab army. He can swap out his DCCW (still using this terminology rather than power fist) storm bolter for a heavy flamer and take extra armour, as well as being able to swap his multi-melta for the usual weapon options including a second DCCW and flamestorm cannon. The last few things to mention are that it may only select a Lucius drop pod (not regular) as a dedicated transport and that you get the litany of hate rule, which allows rerolls to hit in an assault when the dreadnought charges (only applies to the dread). A fun unit more useful for fluff purposes to be honest as it brings little to the table that a regular venerable dreadnought does not except for some extra right arm options, no left options and litany of hate.
Effectively a regular dreadnought which again may only choose lucius drop pods and comes with extra armour, an assault drill with heavy flamer and a flamestorm cannon for just under the price of a vindicator. You can swap the flamestorm for a multi melta and take up to two HK missiles. This chap is an elite choice for any SM army except BAs. The siege drill allows you strike at s10 and 2D6 penetration against buildings and stationary vehicles. In addition the heavy flamer can make an extra heavy flamer attack against the occupants of said vehicle/building if a penetrating hit is scored that doesn't destroy it (apparantly you get the wrecker strategem in cities of death for free too). A bit pricey when you take into account the abilities of the ironclad dread and the fact you have to take a lucius drop pod.
Mark V mortis pattern dreadnought
Now this is a bit better compared to the previous two entries. The mortis can be taken as an elites choice for Dark Angels and the same for SM and Badab armies except that they are limited to one per detachment. For a power weapon more than a standard dread you get pretty much the same stats except that a standard dread gets, except that you have two missile launchers and the helical targetting array (more later). You can upgrade with extra armour, take a lucius drop pod and swap weapon loadouts for heavy bolters, autocannons or lascannons. Now for the meat, the helical targetting array. If you remain stationary then you gain skyfire and interceptor for that phase. Considering the lascannon upgrade still puts you under 150 points, you then have the option to shoot down enemy flyers before they have the chance to do any damage, something otherwise unavailable to space marines except for with fortifications. One of my favourite entries from the book and much needed in DA armies.
This will be a long entry as there are several relic weapons to discuss here. The Contemptor is WS5, S7, 13/12/10, but otherwise the same stats as a dreadnought. Coming in at 3 power fists less than a land raider it's quite pricey, but does come with a host of weapons options and a few special rules to compensate. As far as options go, it can take a lucius drop pod as a transport as well as extra armour and a carapace cyclone launcher. Special rules are fleet and ataomantic shielding, which gives a 5++ against ranged attacks and a 6++ in close combat (but adds +1" to the blast radius on an explodes result). It starts with TL heavy bolters on the right and a DCCW on the left, which can be swapped for the following weapons. It can be an elite slot unit in a SM, DA and badab army, as well as a BA army (I asked FW) but not for SWs (haven't clairified).
The right can have the usual selection of upgrades, as well as a DCCW, kheres assault cannon or heavy conversion beamer. The left can duplicate some of the right weapons (mortis style) and can also have a chainfist or kheres assault cannon. DCCWs can swap their storm bolter for a heavy flamer, meltagun, plasma blaster or graviton gun.
Let's take a look at the new weapons in turn. The Kheres is the same as an assault cannon except that it is heavy 6 rather than 4 - basically what an assault cannon was born to be! The heavy conversion beamer is the same as that mounted on the deimos predator and gets deadlier at range same as it's smaller cousin wielded by masters of the forge. It cannot be fired unless the dreadnought remains stationary. The graviton gun (not to be confused with grav weapons) is an 18", AP4, 3" blast, which is both haywire, concussive and requires the enemy to roll under their strength on a D6 (a 6 autofails) or suffer a wound. The blast then remains in place and is difficult/dangerous terrain for the next turn. Lastly, the plasma blaster is an 18" assault 2 plasma weapon - effectively a DA plasma talon.
I like the contemptor a lot, not necessarily because it is a great unit but more that it is a throwback to the days of Epic and the little plastic dreadnoughts you could buy. The relic weaponry is a nice touch and ties in to the Horus Heresy rulebooks. There are so many options to play with that it's hard to say which is best really, but I think a single ranged weapon and DCCW with decent secondary weapon is the way forward. The plasma blaster is nice, and the graviton gun could be good in the right cirumstances, but I think I'd be reluctant to use a heavy conversion beamer due to the limitations it places on the dreadnought. Up close with the kheres would be a safe bet.
Contemptor mortis pattern dreadnought
Same price and overall profile to the contemptor, except that the armament is two TL heavy bolters and it exchanges fleet for the same helical targetting array as the mortis dreadnought. You can swap the bolters for multi-meltas for free, TL autocannons, kheres assault cannons or TL lascannons. In addition, you can take extra armour and a carapace cyclone launcher. I would personally be looking at taking kheres assault cannons, autocannons or lascannons. A nice, meatier version of the mortis, although with the restrictions on walkers firing weapons I'm not sure why you would want to take the cyclone launcher, unless of course you wanted a backup in case of weapon destroyed or a longer ranged weapon than the kheres assault cannons. Can only be taken by SM, DA and Badab armies as an Elite choice.
Damocles command rhino
The Damocles is the price of 3 power fists and is a 0-1 HQ choice that does not use up a FOC slot and cannot be a compulsory choice. It can be taken for any SM army (except GKs) and is effectively the same stats as a normal rhino (without the transport capacity) with the same options. The special rules include an orbital bombardment (same as chapter masters), a teleport beacon (no scatter within 12") and a command vox relay, which is the same as the one on the Land Raider Prometheus and allows you to +1/-1 to reserve rolls. Could be quite a fun addition to games in which you can make full use of all 3 rules.
Infernum pattern razorback
Basically a way to get the FW multi melta model into regular games seeing as it didn't make the cut in the other codices. A bit more than four power weapons and exactly the same as a normal razorback that can be taken by anything able to purchase a razorback in any of the SM books. Don't know if it's that useful compared to other razorbacks, although I rarely upgrade the standard TLHB model anyway.
That's all for now, next time we will look at the forces of the Inquisition and round off with the appedices, including the awesome legacies of glory section. Cheers.