While markings on Veteran Sergeant models didn't seem to follow a set pattern, the marking of other Veterans was very consistent. The 4th and 5th Edition C:SM stated that a white helmet, or white laurels painted onto a helmet, indicated a Marine's Veteran status. Although nothing written in these editions of the codex implied that the white helmet needed any additional markings, the books' model galleries showed photos of Veteran Marines whose white helmets bore blue or red laurels.
The official unveiling of the plastic Sternguard and Vanguard kits in conjunction with the 6th Edition C:SM seems to have changed things:
|6th Edition Sternguard Squad|
Note the utter absence of painted laurels. All we see is a single Marine with laurels molded onto his helmet. (Other pictures of the kit show that it comes with several heads with molded laurels.)
|Definitely no laurels here|
|Is the crest meant to be a kind of stripe?|
Again we're presented with a Veteran Sergeant who lacks the traditional laurels. Of course, as a Sternguard Sergeant and an obvious member of the 1st Company he doesn't need laurels to show that he's a Veteran. However, it could be claimed that the white crest is intended to replicate the classic white stripe, but it would be a very non-traditional way to do it.
The new Vanguard models are consistent with the Sternguard models:
|6th Edition Vanguard Squad|
This time the Sergeant is bare headed, so we can't say anything about his helmet, but the helmets of the rest of his squadmates illustrate GW's current approach to Veteran models:
|Again, no laurels|
In other words, Veterans' helmets often lack laurels unless they're molded onto them. Although this represents a change from how previous Veteran models were painted, it's consistent with the actual wording of the previous codexes.
To be honest, I'm glad that the laurels are no longer expected on Veteran Marines. I really wasn't looking forward to painting all those laurels on my Sternguard.