This paper model is a Bolter (aka Boltgun), its variants are some of the most powerful hand-held ballistic anti-personnel weaponry in use by the military forces of the Imperium of Man, based on the game Warhammer 40K. Bolter is a powerful assault weapon that fires explosive kinetic rounds colloquially referred to as bolts. The Bolter is a weapon synonymous with the Adeptus Astartes, and rightly so. However, although the Space Marines are its primary user, the Bolter finds itself in use in military organisations throughout the Imperium. The weapon is fearsome, with explosive rounds capable of ripping through or blowing apart a foe. The Chaos Space Marines of the Traitor Legions were issued their Legions’ Bolters before the Horus Heresy, and therefore, use generally older variants than the patterns available to present-day Loyalist Space Marines.
The Bolter is a mid-range anti-personnel ballistic weapon that lies between the lighter Bolt Pistol and the more effective Heavy Bolter. The standard pattern Bolter can easily be wielded by a Space Marine, but smaller pattern Bolters must be used by the Battle-Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas.
For both the Space Marines and the Sisters of Battle of the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, the Bolter is viewed as a weapon intended by the Emperor of Mankind to bring his wrath to the enemies of Mankind. Every Astartes carries a Bolter lovingly handcrafted by the Artificers of his Chapter’s Armoury or by one of the Adeptus Mechanicus Forge Worlds. At each point in its construction special rituals are observed by the Artificers or Tech-priests, and even an Astartes’ daily maintenance of his weapon carries an air of religious devotion. The Bolters used by the Space Marines are known to be coded to Astartes genetic signatures so that they are only functional for members of the Adeptus Astartes.
The Bolter is a large .75 calibre assault weapon. It has a much greater mass than most standard-issue Imperial weapons such as the Lasgun, although it is slightly shorter in length. Unlike most Imperial ranged infantry weapons, it lacks a stock, resulting in a grip much like a pistol’s or a submachine gun’s. A Space Marine’s bulky Power Armour would make shouldering a stock an awkward experience, but Power Armour is most likely also able to compensate for vibrations and oscillation, making a stock redundant. Stocks are sometimes used, however, with an extended barrel and an M40 Targeter System to transform the Bolter into a sniping weapon system. These sniper Bolters, known as Stalker Pattern Bolters, are most often used with Stalker Silenced Shells.
The variant of Bolter weapon used by most current Space Marine Chapters is the Astartes Mark Vb Godwyn Pattern Bolter. This variant has a built-in ammunition counter which indicates how many rounds are remaining in the weapon on an external display. The number of remaining rounds will also be shown in the auto-senses display of an Astartes’ helmet. The Mark Vb Godwyn Pattern uses a Sinister/Dexter locking mechanism with a sickle-shaped magazine that carries 30 bolts and can fire in bursts of up to four rounds with a single trigger pull. Other features include a biometric sensor integrated into the weapon’s grip that allows the Bolter to identify its user’s genetic signature so that only Astartes can make use of the Bolter. The Godwyn Pattern also possesses an integral targeter that links with the Space Marine’s auto-senses for enhanced accuracy. Bolters make a unique roaring sound when fired, which is caused as the propellant in their shells ignites followed by an explosion when the bolt detonates upon hitting its target.
Like other Space Marine weaponry, Astartes Bolters are designed to be handled by their superhuman physique. The weight of each Godwyn Pattern Bolter means that most normal humans cannot handle the weapon comfortably without the aid of a supporting brace and even the weapon’s handgrips are too large for a mortal to grasp without assistance. However, even if a mortal were to fire the Bolter, the resulting recoil would most likely rip his or her arm from its socket. It is illegal within the Imperium for a non-Astartes to wield an Astartes Bolter, which is one reason why the weapons are genetically coded so that only a Space Marine can fire them. An Imperial citizen caught in unauthorised possession of a Bolter or even of just a bolt can be harshly sentenced by the Adeptus Arbites.
Known Bolter Patterns
Over the millennia, the Bolter has been improved and changed many times. There have been hundreds of variants, but only a few have made any radical differences in the weapon’s function. All of these variant patterns have the same basic features, but each has different additional features that seek to improve upon its basic design. The current standard-issue Bolter for the Space Marines is the .75 calibre Astartes Mark Vb Godwyn Pattern Bolter.
- Angelus Pattern Bolter – The Sanguinary Guard of the Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters make use of a wrist-mounted, drum-fed variation of the Bolter called the Angelus Bolter that fires potent Bloodshard Shells filled with razor-filament that is very effective against most known forms of armour.
- Baal Pattern Bolter - The Blood Angels and their Successor Chapters make use of a variant of the standard Godwyn Pattern Bolter known as a Baal Pattern Bolter after their homeworld of Baal.
- Ceres Pattern
- Condemnor Pattern – The Condemnor Pattern Bolter is a highly specfialised Combi-weapon used almost exclusively by the operatives of the Ordo Hereticus. It combines a Bolter with a single-shot crossbow armature. Though archaic in appearance, the crossbow fires a silver stake engraved with sigils of disruption that destabilise a psyker’s connection with the Warp. A direct hit from the crossbow will therefore not only deal a severe wound to a psyker, it will also send his power spiralling out of control, consuming the user in a storm of untrammelled psychic energy.
- Crusade Pattern - The Crusade Pattern Bolter is the original type of Bolter used by the Astartes of the Space Marine Legions during the Great Crusade of the 31st Millennium.
- Filienostos Pattern
- Gilded Bolter – The Gilded Bolter is a master-crafted Artificer Bolter of unsurpassed beauty, workmanship and artistry. It is a weapon used by certain Space Marine Captains and has been given as a gift to such powerful Imperial officials as Sector Governors. The weapon has been used by some of the most notable Ultramarines Astartes to have served in the Deathwatch in the tempestuous region of space known as the Jericho Reach.
- Godwyn Mark IIIa Pattern – The Godwyn Mark IIIa is an older pattern of Bolter still used by the Astartes of the Dark Angels Chapter.
- Godwyn Mark Vb Pattern – The current, most widely-used pattern of Astartes Bolter in the Imperium as described above.
- Godwyn Ultima Pattern – The Godwyn Ultima Pattern Bolter is a weapon very similar to the Godwyn Mark Vb Bolter that was known to have been used by the Minotaurs and Exorcists Chapters during the Badab War.
- Godwyn-De’az Pattern - The Godwyn-De’az Pattern Bolter is the standard pattern of Bolter used by all of the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas since their formation in the 36th Millennium. This pattern has been in use by the Sisters of Battle since that time because it remains more reliable and more potent than any other pattern of Bolter developed for use by the Sororitas. The Godwyn-De’az Pattern is designed to be used by a normal human and thus is much smaller than an Astartes Bolter. This pattern of Bolter is designed to make use of the Sarissa as an attachment. The Sarissa is a vicious, curved, bayonet-like blade that can transform the Godwyn-De’az Bolter into an effective close combat weapon even as it retains all of its ranged functionality.
- Hesh Pattern – Since the 36th Millennium, the Astartes of the Deathwatch have been equipped with the Hesh Pattern Bolter, created by Magos Cymbry Jamis of the Adeptus Mechanicus as a reward for the Deathwatch’s exemplary service to the Imperium. The Bolters of this pattern are more compact than other variants and show unusually skilled craftmanship on the order of a master-crafted weapon. Due to their smaller size, Hesh Pattern Bolters are well-suited for fighting in confined spaces and they are also favoured by Astartes vehicle crews and by certain Assault Marines. Hesh Pattern Bolters incorporate an integral folding stock, a motion detector and preysense sensors that connect to an Astartes’ Auto-senses. Deathwatch Astartes who complete their term of service with the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos are permitted to keep their Hesh Pattern Bolters when they return to their home Chapter.
- Heresy Pattern – Heresy Pattern Bolters first appeared during the Horus Heresy. Cut off from regular sources of supply and maintenance, many Astartes were forced to cobble together non-standard Bolters using a variety of different parts drawn from different patterns and existing variants of the weapon. These ancient weapons are collectively known as Heresy Pattern Bolters.
- Locke Pattern – The Locke Pattern Bolter is a variant of an older pattern of Bolter used by the Adeptus Arbites, and is now the most common pattern of Bolter in use in the Koronus Expanse. Like the Bolter patterns used by the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, the Locke Pattern Bolter can be used without difficulty by normal-sized humans.
- Mark III Pattern – The Mark III Pattern Bolter was produced by the manufactora of Badab Primaris during the Badab War and was used by the Astral Claws Chapter.
- Mark IV Pattern – The Mark IV Pattern Bolter was an earlier standard variant of the Astartes Bolter that made use of a 20 bolt magazine and possessed the capability for both single-shot and three-bolt burst fire. The Mark IV Bolter also incorporated a biometric sensor in its handgrip to identify its wielder using his unique genetic imprint.
- Mars Pattern Mark II Scourge – The Mars Pattern Mark II Scourge Bolter is the preferred pattern of Bolter used by the Battle-Sisters of the Order of the Ebon Chalice’s Abbey of Dawn on the world of Iocanthos in the Calixis Sector. Like the Godwyn-De’az Pattern Bolter, the Mark II Scourge Bolter can be used without difficulty by normal-sized humans. It also can make use of a Sarissa blade as a close-combat attachment.
- Nocturne-Ultima Pattern – The Astartes of the Salamanders Chapter are known to have made use of Nocturne-Ultima Pattern Bolters during the Badab War. The Nocturne-Ultima Pattern seems to be a modification of the standard Godwyn Ultima Pattern Bolter carried out solely by the Artificers of the Salamanders on their Chapter homeworld of Nocturne, hence the name of the pattern.
- Nostra Pattern
- Perinetus Mark II Solo Pattern - This pattern of Bolter is considered to be heretical in the eyes of the Machine God by some members of the Adeptus Mechanicus. It is far less sophisticated than the other extant patterns of Bolter and lacks the capability for automatic fire, allowing it to shoot only a single bolt at a time. However, the loss of this capability is made up for by the weapon’s greater range, increased accuracy and enhanced reliability in adverse environmental conditions. This pattern of Bolter is intended to be used by normal humans and is sized accordingly. The Perinetus Pattern Bolter is very popular as a weapon with certain Planetary Defence Force garrisons and certain rebel groups within the Imperium.
- Phobos Pattern – The Phobos Pattern Bolter is perhaps the most venerable design of the sacred Bolter used by the Astartes. This weapon was hand-crafted by the Fabricators of Mars at the very birth of the Imperium, to ensure that every Marine had the finest wargear with which to reunite the scattered elements of Humanity.
- Skapulan Bolter – The Deathwatch of the Jericho Reach is strangely silent about the history of Watch Station Skapula, and how this lethal Bolter remains from the abandoned station. Techmarines fortunate enough to examine the advanced weapon frequently debate the number and nature of Machine Spirits necessary to achieve its flawless performance, but the most widely accepted theories place a union of over one hundred Machine Spirits within the casing of tenebrous alloys. In addition to accuracy and power unrivalled in other Bolters of its size, the Skapulan Bolter integrates a Fire Selector, a Targeter, and a melee attachment equivalent to a master-crafted Combat Knife. The Skapulan Bolter is unique and there are no other known Bolters of this type currently in existence.
- Stalker Pattern – The Stalker Pattern Bolter isa standard Godwyn Mark Vb Pattern Bolter modified with an M40 Targeter System and an elongated barrel so that is can also serve as a Sniper Rifle.
- Ryza-Ultima Pattern – The Star Phantoms Chapter are known to have made use of Ryza-Ultima Pattern Bolters during the Badab War. The Nocturne-Ultima Pattern seems to be a modification of the standard Godwyn Ultima Pattern Bolter that first originated on the Forge World of Ryza.
- Mark II Ultra Pattern – The Mark II Ultra Pattern Bolter was known to be used by the Red Scorpions Chapter during the Imperial operation on the Tyranid-infested world of Beta Anphelion IV. It made use of a Dark Eye nightscope that greatly enhanced the weapon’s accuracy during nighttime operations.
- Mark IV Ultra Pattern – The Mark IV Ultra Pattern Bolter was used by the Red Scorpions and carried a standard 25-bolt sickle magazine, and possessed a built-in ammunition counter, an Auto-senses targetting uplink and a biometric handgrip sensor for genetic identification of its user as standard features.
- Tigrus Pattern – There are many types and patterns of the mighty and iconic boltgun used by the Adeptus Astartes, and the Tigrus Pattern Bolter is one such variant. First discovered in the depths of Forge World Tigrus, the Standard Template Construct (STC) data for this sleek weapon was quickly disseminated throughout the Imperium before the outbreak of the shadowed Horus Heresy. This noble bastion of Mars suffered irreparable damage at the hands of the Traitor Legions, yet the bolters that bear its name continue to see service in the 41st Millennium; revered and honoured as ancient relics of Mankind’s lost glory.
- Umbra Pattern – The Umbra Pattern Bolter is one of the earliest patterns of Astartes Bolter and was produced in large quantities early in the Great Crusade for the Space Marine Legions. It is still manufactured in the forges of some present-day Space Marine Chapters, including those of the Mantis Warriors, Executioners and Carcharodons Chapters, who made use of them during the Badab War.
- Umbra Ferrox Pattern – The Umbra Ferrox Pattern Bolter is a variant of the ancient Umbra Pattern that was mass-produced by the Techmarines of the Space Marine Legions in the midst of the Horus Heresy. Unlike the standard Umbra Pattern Bolter, the Umbra Ferrox is capable of replacing its sickle-shaped magazine with a box magazine with a greater ammunition capacity if the need arises and incorporates Target Reciprocator Systems that enhance the weapon’s range and allow it to better integrate its targeting system with an Astartes’ Auto-senses.
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