Land Speeders are coming quite a common choice in Space Marine armies these days, and I can see why too. These little things are cheap, have a versatile role and are fast.
Firstly, lets look at the Land Speeder in general. It has the same ballistic skill as majority of Space Marine models it's also armour 10 all the way round. The low armour value does make this thing pretty fragile, but for a base cost of 50 points and depending on the setup you create it should make more than it's points back. Just the problem is even a S4 weapon has a chance of popping, that is if your moving flat out as skimmers which become immobilised when going flat out are wrecked.
Skimmers also come in squads of up to 3, this can be pretty cool but with weak armour I probably wouldn't do it and go for one skimmer per fast attack slot, if I could.
The Land Speeder is also a fast vehicle and a skimmer (obivously!) this means you can turbo boost this sucker 24" and get a 4+ cover save, not bad. This makes the Land Speeder very movable over the battle field so you can contest those last minute objectives or get the Speeder into position early on, with a cover save the skimmer will last a bit longer. As it's also a skimmer so you don't take terrain tests when moving over terrain, and because it's fast you can also fire one weapon when moving 12" or two weapons when moving 6", quite handy. Another bonus if any monkey fancies ramming you a skimmer can dodge on a 3+ as well so if the "Deffrolla Craze" is coming at you and expects to auto glance then dodge that son bitch! lol.
Standard wargear gives the Land Speeder a heavy bolter. TBH I'd always upgrade this as the heavy bolter it suited more on other units, the Speeder has access to a lot better and move useful armoury than it's standard load out.
Final entry is deep strike. This can pay off if you land on target, fancy deep striking in and melting some tanks armour with up close and personal multi melta shots? Or fancy deep striking in close or in terrain and BBQ'ing troops with the heavy flamer? Sure you've have to take a terrain test but you need a 1 to fail, so not all bad.
As mentioned the heavy bolter comes standard, which I think suits other units better. For example a standard Space Marine Predator comes with a autocannon, is armour 13 and also a tank is 60 points if I remember so I'd rather really take that than a standard Land Speeder.
You can upgrade the H.B so a heavy flamer for free. Fair trade off I guess, and mentioned previously with the deep strike rule you could drop in and BBQ troops camping on that objective. The heavy flamer is also well suited for the Speeder because of it's ability to move quickly. You don't need to wait a few turns to get into range like other units, just turbo boost 24" and wait until next turn of move 12", because the Speeder is a fast vehicle is can fire one weapon if it moves 12" - so your flamer now has a 20" range.
Next you can upgrade to a multi melta for a cracking 10 points steal. This makes the Land Speeder a feared anti mech unit due to its high speed and ability to deep strike in, this makes mech armies very uneasy around Land Speeders. No doubt though a mech player won't let a multi melta Land Speeder last long so probably be a suicide unit but if that 60 point little skimmer blows up a 250 point Land Raider then you're doing well. As I've already mentioned you can deep strike in and tackle armour, if played off well this will put you into the 2D6 melta range straight away and hopefully cook off a tank.
For 40 points you can upgrade to a "Typhoon" pattern; which is basically a Land Speeder with a typhoon missile system. This allows you to fire 2 krak or frag missiles a turn, same thing Terminators can take. This though will make the Speeder 90 points and because the typhoon is 48" range so probably do not need the movement so you'll be sitting back blasting away. The benefit here is if you are out of range you can still move, bonus is you move 12" and still fire because the typhoon is really heavy 2. Though for 85 points you can get a dakka Predator; autocannon and heavy bolters. While the typhoon can be both anti troop and anti armour I think a dakka Predator can do anti troop better for 5 points cheaper and is tougher too.
The Typhoon pattern is probably something I wouldn't take. Once again the Predator can do the anti troop side better and the Speeder has more suited roles available.
The next pattern availabe is the Tornado pattern which is bascially a Land Speeder which takes two weapons.
You can take nearly two of every weapon, apart from the assault cannon. Taking dual heavy flamers can be fun and you can make a meal out of hordes. For only 70 points you can lay down two templates and more than likely the hordes your burning will do little or no damage to your skimmer. Not bad...
I personally wouldn't take two heavy bolters. This would make the Speeder 70 points and for 85 points you get the fully tooled up Predator which does a much better job in the anti infantry department.
Dual multi meltas could be fun, but you should hit most the time with just one. Still gives you a second chance if you do miss. For 80 points a fast skimmer with 2 multi meltas is a bargain.
Currently the most popular build is a multi melta and heavy flamer; I also favour this build. With this your skimmer has dual roles; anti tank and anti infantry. You can pop a tank and then next turn burn the infantry (if you survive) or use a supporting unit to tackle the infantry. With dual roles for only 70 points this is a steal.
The assault cannon could go with a heavy bolter for mass skimmer gun boat fire, but this would make the Land Speeder 100 points as the assault cannon is 40 points alone, nearly the price of the unit itself. I personally think this is expensive and best left to the real heavy support choices to fill this role.
Land Speeder Storm
The Storm is a different animal to the generic Land Speeder and acts as a transport for Space Marine Scouts. It can still take different weapon loads outs but not dual weapons, so the Storm looses it's dual function of attack but gains another role in another way; which is transporting the Scouts.
The Storm has the more or less same profile as the Speeder. It's armour 10 all the way round, it's a skimmer, it's a fast vehicle, and has deep strike. It's changes end there it's ballistic skill is 3, like Scouts but it has some other goodies!
The Storm is open topped which means the Scouts can assault out of it. So pop a multi melta on the Storm move it 12" and wreck a vehicle. Then the Scouts can disembark and assault (because it's open topped) which efffectively gives the Scouts a 20" assault range. The flip side to the coin of this is the Storm being armour 10 and open topped makes it very weak as attacking units get a +1 on the damage chart and it only carries 5 Scouts. Scouts aren't exactly tough cookies in combat and a unit of 5 won't last long. Of course you can zoom around the battle field and use the Scouts for supporting fire, like with bolters or bail out and blast with shotguns and then assault. Though, shooting will limit the Storm to moving 6" only, and because it can only carry one weapon it means moving 12" doesn't have a negative affect on it's shooting.
The Storm still has other uses. It comes with a jamming beacon. As this sucker can move 24" you can use it to support units and plug weak points on the battle field. If you're hoping a unit deep strikes next turn then turbo boost the Storm to where you want and take a teleporter homer on the sgt, any of your deep striking units they then will not scatter because of the homing beacon. The same principle applies to the jamming beacon, if you think your opponent is going to deep strike any of their units then use the Storm to plug the hole and let the jamming beacon stop him using abilities which allows him to deep strike without scattering i.e chaos icons.
All in all Land Speeders are versatile little things and for the points you cannot go wrong. The standard Speeder does have some expensive options, but pretty much all the wargear can be used. The Storm can be useful for delivering Scouts for a particular mission or assisting with your deep striking or disrupting enemy plans.
I hope that's a interesting read and if you have any comments feel to let me know!