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Thread: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

  1. #1

    Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    I was interested in doing some Salamanders and was wondering what is the reason for the skin being jet black and them having burning red eyes? I have read that it was because of "a reaction between their unique genetics and the high levels of radiation" - Space Marines Codex (5th Ed. Pg 26), but people tell me otherwise that they are African/once were African. I like the Salamanders regardless, but when you think of a whole chapter, you would think of them to have a blend of all races/ethnicity's. Wouldn't they just be jet black because of the heat and radiation from their planet, causing one of their implant organs to start pumping melanin, turning the person jet black? So what are they? And what are these "unique" genetics?

    Thanks for reading,

    Warsurge

  2. #2

    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    I have always been utterly confused by the Salamander skin issue. I mean for a while I was seeing Salamanders with a African type skin colour. Then suddenly they are pitch black with demonic red eyes. To stress the OP's questions; was there a change in the fluff during 5th ed?
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  3. #3

    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    I had the impression the colour scheme was slightly tweaked to emphasize that the skin colour had nothing to do with any racial specific pigmentation.

  4. #4
    Chapter Master eltanko's Avatar
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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    I always presumed it was something to co-incide with their love for flames!!!, they they misfired and burnt their faces! and red eyes like fire. But i guess its like us, a slight variation in skin colour, just a bit more extreme!

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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    Rule of Cool at work?
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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    GRRRRR, scary jet black skin and daemonic red eyes!
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  7. #7

    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    IIRC Marines can change skin pigmentation at will ('Making of a Space Marine' article i think?), whether this applies to Salamanders i don't know. When i started them in 3rd Edition they had a variety of skin tones.

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  8. #8
    Chapter Master Treadhead_1st's Avatar
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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    Originally, way backin Rt/2nd Ed. the Salamanders were "coal-black" with red eyes (so they could see in the infra-red spectrum).

    Then in 3rd Ed. they became "Afro-Caribbean black" with normal eyes, perhaps because of a mis-communication between the designers and the art department. Vulkan became the only black/blue Salamander, because his pod was damaged and he was burned by the heat of the planet's atmosphere and the radiation he was exposed to when he landed. They were said to be Afro-Caribbean because they are recruited solely from Nocturne and Nocturne's inhabitants are refered to as being from "Afro-Caribbean gene-stock", yet some of the Marines were still white due to a fully functioning Melanchrome organ (ie when on a low-rad planet they'd be white but on Nocturne they'd be black).

    This continued through 4th Ed. when Salamanders were painted

    Now in 5th Ed. they have been re-ret-conned to the original look, and listed as having a falty Melanchrome (a retcon of being one of the purest-geneseed chapters with no mutations or faults) despite the fact IMO that it makes the models look un-finished. Personally I paint mine as a very dark ("Africanised") skintone with red-colour eyes so it ties in with both background interpretations and doesn't look like I forgot to paint them.
    Last edited by Treadhead_1st; 19-07-2009 at 09:38.
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  9. #9

    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by Treadhead_1st View Post
    Now in 5th Ed. they have been re-ret-conned to the original look, and listed as having a falty Melanchrome (a retcon of being one of the purest-geneseed chapters with no mutations or faults)
    This wouldn't be because only the Ultramarines are allowed to have the perfect gene-seed now, would it?

    And yes, I also thought the jet-black Salamanders looked a bit weird, but if this is the "original" fluff then that's fair enough.
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  10. #10
    Chapter Master ryng_sting's Avatar
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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    The contrast is important too: outwardly scary, inwardly noble and - by Space Marine standards - compassionate.
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  11. #11

    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    I thought that it wasn't that they had a faulty melnochrome, rather that their actual-black skin, and red eyes, was a reaction to the high radiation of Nocturne. This seemed to carry the implication that any other Astartes who spent an extended amount of time on Nocturne would see their skin change to this as well.
    As the C:SM says,"-a daemonic appearance brought about by a reaction between their unique genetics and the high levels of radiation on the Chapter Planet of Nocturne.' P.26, the Sallies' very own box-out!

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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by Warsurge View Post
    but when you think of a whole chapter, you would think of them to have a blend of all races/ethnicity's.
    You would, if you thought of 40k logically with things such as "what would people look like after 40,000 years of breeding?" "how would people adapt to live on environments for 10,000+ years?"

    But! But but but (butt...lol)
    I figure, this doesn't fit in the style of 40k's story telling, where men with machine grenades would rather chainsaw each other.

    So in the style ( a very important word) of 40k, Space Marine chapters are usually made up of one culture and ethnic look.

    So what are they? And what are these "unique" genetics?
    in Rogue Trader (I think... or maybe 2ed) they were mentioned as having a mutation where their skin was jet black. It's safe to assume that caucasian is the default look for a game made in the 80's by brits. Rogue Trader also had on one of their many charts, for chaos mutation "Your skin turns jet black!"

    So they had the note 'Salamanders are black skinned'

    I figure... as the years and editions roll on, somebody blew the dust off of the dust of the salamanders, read "black skinned" and thought "ah, like Africans!"

    The INTENT of the salamanders was likely 'jet black skin, not African people", but you know what, this is a miniatures hobby game, you really in the end get to decide what you want with your army. I've seen lots of cool African lookin' Salamanders, they are not Wrong, because they are exactly what the hobbyist who owns them wants them to be.
    Last edited by kikkoman; 19-07-2009 at 11:55.

  13. #13
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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    The Salamander skin issue is really an effort to balance out the ubiquitous tabletop choice of Vulkan by making Salamanders the ugliest tabletop army imaginable.
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  14. #14

    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    I thought Melanochrome adjusted the skin tone to compensate for the radiation type. The Salamanders could easily have their Melanochrome faulty. It's not unprecedented for some of the implants to become corrupted.

  15. #15
    Chapter Master Treadhead_1st's Avatar
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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by Madness_ View Post
    I thought Melanochrome adjusted the skin tone to compensate for the radiation type. The Salamanders could easily have their Melanochrome faulty. It's not unprecedented for some of the implants to become corrupted.
    That's the current take on it. But they used to be pure of mutation and fault, and the Inquisition hated the fact they were too few in number to have subsequent foundings. So having faulty gene-seed kinda knackers that fluff a little bit.

    As the C:SM says,"-a daemonic appearance brought about by a reaction between their unique genetics and the high levels of radiation on the Chapter Planet of Nocturne.' P.26, the Sallies' very own box-out!
    It also mentions somewhere else that the "unique genetics" are thought to be a caused by a faulty Melanchrome organ. I think it's in the codex, not a WD mention.

    The contrast is important too: outwardly scary, inwardly noble and - by Space Marine standards - compassionate.
    The appearance contrast is certainly entertaining - Nick Kyme mentioned it on his blog - that the "humanitarian chapter" (escorting the refugees on Armageddon when no other chapter would as they felt there was no glory in it, thus saving billions of lives) is one that looks the most "daemonic".

    I just don't like the overall look, hence "hybridise" both versions, so dark African skintones with red irises. If anyone argues because the fluff says "coal black", I'll just say they are coal black - peat coal, that is
    Last edited by Treadhead_1st; 19-07-2009 at 18:17.
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  16. #16
    Chapter Master Nazguire's Avatar
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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by FarseerMatt View Post
    This wouldn't be because only the Ultramarines are allowed to have the perfect gene-seed now, would it?
    Not at all. The Dark Angels have a flawless set of gene-seed and organs, as do the White Scars (to my knowledge anyway).

    Iron Hands seem to as well.

    Other then the skin issue, the Salamanders are meant to have meticulously looked after and maintained gene-seed.
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  17. #17

    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    Melanochrome acting "funny" is hardly the Mutation (capital m), it's not like they are the Black Dragons, or the Blood Angels, or the Space Wolves or... insert here any chapter with relevant mutations.

  18. #18

    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    I think they are supposed to have jet black skin and red eyes, due to their gene-seed not working. It can still be pure from mutaions, its just that one gland doesn't work the way it should, thus producing the jet black skin and red eyes.

    Other chapters that suffer from the same type of organ are the Raven Guard and the Night Lords, both of whom have very pale skin (and black hair IIRC) like their primarch's. I don't know of the purity of the Raven Guard, but I recall the Night Lord's IA saying that they had some purest gene-seed among the traitor legions (and even some of the loyal ones as well if we look at the Blood Angels), showing little to no mutation at all.

    Other chapters have pure gene seed, yet still suffer from having one or two organs that don't work any more, such as the Imperial Fist.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    The Imperial Fists are unable to enter hibernation (or whatever that thing SM do is called) or spit acid.

  20. #20

    Re: Salamanders Physical Characteristics

    Quote Originally Posted by InquisitorNiels View Post
    both of whom have very pale skin (and black hair IIRC)
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