The Scythes of the Emperor Heraldry

Scythes of the Emperor Chapter Markings


In more recent times a lot of official background on the Scythes of the Emperor has been published. It has been a great period to learn more canonical history of our favourite Chapter. Then what is the heraldry and markings the Scythes would adopt ?

There is strong evidence to suggest heavy influence by the Ultramarines Chapter:

  • The Scythes operate around and protect the Sotharan League, the 4th Tetra of Ultramar. (Under Decimus Felix, Tetrarch of Ultramar, ‘Present Day’ 8th Edition 2017)
  • The Chapter was originally the secret 199th Aegida Co. of the Ultramarines. Instigated by Roboute Guilliman no less, the Ultramarines Primarch. (Aegidan Oath Short Story)
  • The Scythes of the Emperor are a 3rd Founding successor of the Ultramarines (Dark Imperium)
  • The new Primaris Codex (2017) has confirmed cross over keyword traits from the Ultramarines.

Compelling evidence for the use of Ultramarine Heraldry artwork as a basis for the Scythes of the Emperor.

The references below are quoted from Rulebooks and Fiction, both factual and my personal views (noted).  Choose what you feel suits your vision of the Scythes.


  1. Company Markings
  2. Unit and Squad Markings
  3. Helms
  4. Scouts
  5. Campaign Badges
  6. ‘Historical’ Markings from the 1990’s
  7. Artwork with Scythes details


Update (July 15th, 2017) 7th edition codex states the Aquila (Chest Eagle) displays company colour (as shown on knees in image below) additionally the new Primaris Codex has confirmed the Aquila again. Notably, the Veteran Kneepad is on the left. (‘Conveniently’ all art is 2nd Co.)

Scythes Emperor Primaris

7th Edition Codex, Quote: “Brother Phetros, 2nd Company, 1st Tactical Squad. “Unusually, the Scythes of the Emperor display their company markings through Aquilas on their breastplates. Veteran status is denoted by a yellow left knee adorned with a black skull.”

Alternate Official Company Marking locations as per Codex Astartes (GW source)

An unofficial usage for Scythes, is an alternate Codex Coloured Knee marking:


An interesting variation; Black Skull on Shoulder, Power fist decoration and right leg showing Unit Marking or Company Marking.


Post Fall of Sotha Veteran of the merged single ‘Battle Company’. Armor salvaged from Mk.II, III, IV and V types.


Scythes Vindicator 'Reaper'

The Vindicator ‘Reaper’ lost on Miral. (Badge error on GWs part)



UPDATE: 7th Ed. codex and the new Primaris Space Marine Codex both use a marking system as seen in Ultramarine 6th & 7th Co.


Classic red helms remain for Sergeants, you can also use a solid white stripe if you wish, but do not forget that Scythes Veterans use a Yellow Kneepad with Black Skull to denote veterancy. Below is an example following Codex scheme modified from the 8th Edition Rulebook:

UPDATE: Fellow Sothan, Alex. R has informed us we can find 4 Black skulls, exactly the right size to be found on the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus Transfer Sheets. Hit up eBay or your Mechanicus friends!


The only historic art reference for Scout Squads is in Advanced Space Crusade & Tyranid Attack. Squads use Company Colours across their Aquila also, in a checker pattern.

(*armor pattern is named after Roy Eastland, the sculptor and the reference numbers are product codes when Scouts were first released. Additionally, the adoption dates match release days 1995 & 2005 metal miniatures, except the 3rd Founding date, that’s canon.)


The Scout examples showcase the classic ‘Tyranid Attack & Advanced Space Crusade‘ boardgame version (including a version I use personally, centre). The third is an example of the modern Scout painted with a mind to the original scheme shown in the first iterations of Scythes artwork. (Black fatigues, yellow sections). Scouts are always in the Tenth (X) Company. So it is irrelevant to show this. However the right shoulder on contemporary scouts displays the Squad number.

Scouts and the Single Scythes Badge
Ever since Advanced Space Crusade and Tyranid Attack, Scouts have been shown to use a single Scythe icon as Chpater marking. In Advanced Space Crusade (1990) this was noted, and I quote, “The Double Scythe was a sign of veterans”. My personal take, and a decision of your own: Scouts earn the Dual Scythes when they become a Power Armor enabled Brother.


The Scythes of the Emperor marine above, also has a Damnos Campaign badge on his left greave. The following are examples of Campaign badges you can use or create similar to mark your Scythes’ battle honours.


Scythes of the Emperor Advanced Space Crusade examples (1990)

Source: WD132, Pg35, Imperial Guard Rules colour plate, Adv. Space Crusade.


Quoted: Veteran Sergeant Reaper. “Note the Kraken campaign badge on his right knee-pad. In his right ear he wears a scythe shaped ear ring, while his left carries his long service studs indicating a service record of 250 years.”


A Scout of the 1st Squad. Note the traditional topknot and scythe shaped ear-ring. The right knee pad bears the black and white striped badge of the Kraken Campaign – all troops (not just Marines), vehicles (and even weapons) used by the Imperium in the war against the Hive Fleet Kraken have been issued with this badge.


Key Elements: The Horseman with Scythe, Yellow/Black Checker and further Horse head and Checker elements on the boltgun. Key thing is, they adopt a very Scythian/Greek style to the art.

Below is the latest Chapter Banner artwork, from within the pages of ‘Slaughter at Giant’s Coffin’, by LJ Goulding. Displaying standard Imperial iconography, Red Trims, Yellow Checker, Horseman astride Abrax (Father of all horses), even an icon eluding to the Light of Mt Pharos.

The 2nd Company Banner, lost on Miral, shows Horsehead embellishments on the cross bar, a classic Kalidescope effect pattern with Conabos Rampant, Black and White Checker plus Crossed Scythes on the gauntlets.

1990’s Tyranid Attack shows a Scythes Officer, more recently (2015+), attributed in modern books as the Founding Master of the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter, Oberdeii. It could be suggested to show the writ of succession that Chaplain Segas provided Oberdeii to sign, bringing into being the Scythes of the Emperor Chapter.

Again you see the strong Scythian Horseman symbology, Checker and more classic Ultramar embellishments.


Thanks for reading!

About Sebastian

Site owner and creator, Sebastian Stuart has been updating and maintaining the Scythes of the Emperor webpage since 1997. He is canonised as 'ForgeMaster Sebastion' by Richard Williams and LJ Goulding in the Scythes of the Emperor novels by Black Library.