Astra Militarum – Exterminator

Posted: April 24, 2014 by The Master of the Adeptus Administratum in Forgeworld, Hobby, Rules, Tactica, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

As Imperial Guard players transition to the new Astra Militarum codex, while much may seem the same, many things have changed.  I’ll be posting a series of articles about some of the units which have seen changes and hopefully provide some insights, tactics, and general information about how the unit has evolved.


Next up: Exterminator.


History:  The Leman Russ Exterminator first made its codex debut in the Imperial Guard circa 1999.  Back then, the Exterminator had a simple twin-linked autocannon for its turret.  An Exterminator model box was on the shelves with metal conversion bits to add the twin-linked autocannons to the plastic Russ turret, and a metal hull heavy bolter bit, as the original Leman Russ kit did not have a hull heavy bolter component.  Not a lot of Exterminator models were seen on the tables back then, mostly due to the fact that most Imperial Guard players already had their Battlecannon Leman Russes and that the Battlecannon was far superior to the twin-linked autocannon.  Back then, the rules were that if the tank moved it could only fire a single weapon.  So the Exterminator on the move was nowhere near as effective as a standard Leman Russ main battle tank.

In what seemed to be an attempt to move  these Exterminator kits off the shelves, the Leman Russ exterminator found its way into the Space Wolves codex back then… “The Leman Russ is generally used only by the Imperial Guard, but in recognition of their Primarch, the Space Wolves do have a handful of Leman Russ Exterminators in their inventory.”    – Codex Space Wolves circa 2000.  Space Wolves players found this to be a nice addition as it helped the army and their lack of heavy weapons.  The fact that it gave them an armour 14 tank shooting at BS4 was also an exciting prospect.

2012-10-05 22.58.14

The Exterminator stepped out of the spotlight as it did not appear in the following Imperial Guard codex, but was brought back in Forgeworld’s  Imperial Armour Volume One – Imperial Guard & Imperial Navy.  The GW model kit was discontinued but Forgeworld added a new resin turret to their product line.

The Exterminator was also removed from the long awaited Space Wolves codex in 2009 and the Space Wolves put their Exterminators on the shelf.  They stayed there until the Apocalypse expansion which allowed them to hit the table albeit with a reduced BS of 3 as an “Imperial Guard” tank.

More recently, the Exterminator came back to the Imperial Guard codex in what is now the ‘old’ IG codex, along with most of the other Leman Russ variants.  Two new Leman Russ kits were produced to cover all of the variants, including the Exterminator.  The Exterminator Autocannon got a significant upgrade making it Heavy 4 twin-linked, and at a comparable points cost to the Leman Russ Main Battle Tank.  The rules update making the Leman Russ and its variants Heavy vehicles meant that the Exterminator could move and fire all of its weapons making it a formidable tank on the battlefield, and a solid option from the standard Main Battle Tank.

With the arrival of Allies in sixth edition, Space Wolves players once again had a way to field their Exterminators thanks to Knight Commander Pask.   With the Pask upgrade, the Exterminator was once again BS4, and thanks to the v6 rules, better Exterminator Autocannon, and Pask’s special rules, and better side armour, this Exterminator was better than ever before!  All that was needed to get it back to the table was a small allied contingent of Imperial Guard.

Now, with that advent of Codex: Astra Militarum the Leman Russ Exterminator continues to be a solid choice for both the Imperial Guard and while still a possible choice in an Allied force thanks to the Tank Commander and Knight Commander Pask upgrade, a second Leman Russ tank would be needed to form a platoon to field it as a BS4 Exterminator.

Points: The base cost for a Leman Russ Exterminator is 130 points.  This is a 20 point reduction from the previous codex.  While four twin-linked Autocannon shots may not seem as potent as a Battle Canon blast, they are much more reliable at dealing with light vehicles.  In the old book, the Exterminator held up very well against the Leman Russ Main Battle Tank.  Having a points reduction seems to make it an even more attractive option.   Even before the Astra Militarum codex arrived, I had started regularly fielding Exterminators after too many bad scatters from the traditional battle cannons.

Stat line: The now familiar Leman Russ stat line remains the same.  14-13-10 as well as its unit type of Vehicle (Tank, Heavy).  The BS3 and 3 Hull points are unchanged.

Wargear: The Exterminator Autocannon retains its profile.  Its Heavy 4 twin-linked Autocannon can lay down very accurate long ranged fire.  It comes standard with a hull heavy bolter, searchlight, and smoke launchers.

Options:   As with all Leman Russ tanks, they can add up to two additional Leman Russ tank variants to form a squadron.  Sponsons can be added the hull heavy bolter can be upgraded to either a heavy flamer or lascannon.  They can also take selections from the Astra Militarum Vehicle Equipment list.  Of note, the Heavy Stubber and camo netting provide a bit more firepower and additional survivability respectively.


Many people view the Exterminator as a specialty tank meant to take on hordes of infantry but this is somewhat narrow minded.  The Exterminator Autocannon is effective at taking on light vehicles, dedicated transports and can be a threat against the tougher units like monstrous creatures.   The fact that the weapon is twin-linked also gives it reliability which overcomes the weak BS3 of much of the army.  If equipped with a hull lascannon, it becomes an even bigger threat to these sorts of targets.

The Exterminator Autocannon can also provide some improved anti-air capability.  The re-rolls to hit make a big difference – and when you consider that a standard Leman Russ main battle tank’s main gun can’t touch a flyer, the Exterminator gets another nod for its versatility.

Looking at the Exterminators in my collection, the two for my Imperial Guard are equipped with heavy bolter sponsons and a hull lascannon.  These used to come out at 185 points each in the old codex, and now with Codex Astra Militarum, they weigh in at 160 points.  My Space Wolves Exterminator in the previous codex was 230 points with the Knight Commander Pask upgrade.  With the new codex, it can be fielded with just a basic BS4 tank commander at 185 points, and 225 points when using Knight Commander Pask.  To field it as such, I will need at least a second Leman Russ tank to form a squadron.  I’ll be covering the Tank Commander and Knight Commander Pask in a future article and get into all of their options and tactics there.

I’ll be looking to add a heavy stubber to my Imperial Guard Exterminators, for 5 points it is a really good buy.  Camo nets are also an upgrade I am considering.  The synergy with camo nets and smoke launchers is worth mentioning, as well as using them in a more static role in cover or behind a defence line.

The Leman Russ Exterminator is a solid choice for any Imperial Guard force. It should give players another alternative to the traditional Main Battle Tank and where the Main Battle Tank is very boom or bust, the Exterminator will be much more hit than miss.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s