Book Review – Insignium Astartes (Uniforms & Regalia of the Space Marines)

Insignium Astartes is an oversized (bigger than A4) 64 page reference book for the Space Marines force in Warhammer 40k.  The questions I want to ask are: ‘Insignium Astartes – is it big and clever?’ and ‘In hindsight would I still buy it?’

The book covers the following:

  • Basics of space marines – what they are, the different Chapters and organisation of the Chapters
  • Correct identification markings for all main unit types – Tactical, Assault, Devastator, Command, Veteran, Terminator and Scout
  • Correct identification for ‘unique’ units – Captains, Chaplains, Apothecaries, Librarians and Techmarines
  • Identification markings for vehicles – bike, land speeder, dreadnought, rhino, razorback, predator and land raider.

The book ends with a small section showing the colours and Chapter markings of a number of other Codex chapters and describes the honour badges, army badges and field signs.

Initially I was very disappointed with this book, limited ‘new’ information, very little explanation of the different symbols and why variations are formed.  Then, after a few months, the true magic of the book was revealed to me whilst painting my first troopers.  The book allows you to mess around with the Identification Markings that we all know (and generally adhere to).  Why have 10 Tactical Marines all with the same shoulder pad markings?  When done correctly this leads to cohesive squads with individual members rather than 9 identi-brothers and a sergeant – and trust me, the book gives plenty of ideas about variation.

The best (and worst) section of this book is about honour badges, army badges and field signs.  The section lets you look through the keyhole into the world of individuality possible whilst having a cohesive feel to your force.  Honour badges make so much sense – look at the Army, snipers are able to show their skills on their uniform, as can troops trained to jump out of airplanes or fly.  The limited army badges hold the section back (I assume this is to let us use our imaginations).

In summary the book is excellent in promoting free thinking and pushing you to make perfectly cohesive squads of individuals.  As a ‘true’ reference book it is seriously lacking in text and detail.

Is the book big – its oversized but small in page numbers, the book could have been an encyclopedia.  Is the book clever – in my mind definitely, once you realise it is not a strict reference/fluff book.

Would I buy it – Yes, but only if I did not have any friends who already owned it, I only use it for ideas every few months.

Anyone had any experience with this book?  What did you think of it?


3 Responses to Book Review – Insignium Astartes (Uniforms & Regalia of the Space Marines)

  1. I’ve always wondered about this book.
    Thanks for the review.

  2. I thought it was a great book for describing the details behind the look of a marine company. It went beyond the codex and the “how to paint space marines” book in explaining the “why”.

    You are correct about the badges section. They could have expanded that a bit more. It’s almost as if they had to maintain a page count.

  3. Blackblade says:

    Nice to have a honest review of this book! thanks!

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