+ Reaver Titan +

+ Engine kill! +


+ This Legio Validus Reaver is the first new Amber King off the supply lines in a long time; but a surprising lesson in just what you can do in a couple of hours when you put your mind to it. +

+ Start of the evening +

+ Above, the basic colours are in place, and I'd just started painting the panel lines black. +

+ A little while later, the panel lines are done, I've highlighted the yellow, and the base has received a basecoat. +

+ Same stage, from another angle +

+ End of the evening +

+ All polished off bar any final tweaks I decide to make. The great joy of acrylics is that you're able to work back over things very easily. +

+ There was a lot of exploratory painting work here, some very enjoyable 'flow' stuff. The downside is that I didn't really take much notice of what colours I was using, so it might be a bit of a struggle to replicate things for future Engines. Fortunately, I don't think consistency is critical with Titans. They're hundreds or thousands of years old, and as long as the base notes are clear, I think there's leeway for variety. +

+ I was tempted to use oils again here (they were a lot of fun, and I haven't had a chance to use them much recently), but in the end decided to see how well I could replicate them using acrylics. I used spattering and glazing to build up texture, warmth and shading – compare the clean flat shot from the midpoint:

... with the finished piece. You'll see browns and purples apparent in the yellow shadow – the blending executed partially with a big flat brush, and partially with a clean thumb(!). + 

+ I feel there's a story around the figures on the base; perhaps they'll inspire someone to write about an Inquisitor or similar sent to oversee the Legio – after all, that ancient sigil on this Engine's shoulder is perhaps not the best thing to wave around the Inquisition... +

+ Legio Validus always rather suffered from being my 'ideal' legion – that is, I wanted to develop it and build lots of complex lore... and as a rather inevitable result never started. Sometimes it's best just to go for it and see where things lead you, rather than overplanning and undersupplying. +

+ This poor Engine doesn't even have a name yet... + 


+ Illuminations +

+ Few little detail shots. Not convinced about the Eye of Horus shoulder; might swap it out... might build it into the lore... Who can say? +

+ Rear view  +

+ Front view – there's a distinct lack of a Legio symbol here... unless the blue arrow is it? +

+ inload: Epic assistance +

+ Forgotten Kings + 

+ One of the things I wanted to do with the War of the False Primarch was to use it to give depth to some of my existing forces. +

+ As things transpired, I've barely had a chance to keep up with the writing!  As a result, some planned 'scenes' have been glossed over – I had hoped to illustrate the first Siege of Ishim and the Machinedeath with Titans and Epic forces, for example – but simply ran out of time to do so. +

+ I hope to go back and fill in these gaps – particularly for the Machinedeath, which is a pretty key moment in the War. The key notes for the battle are:
  • It's where the Silver Stars are first revealed as being Legion strength
  • It knocks both sides flat, and leads to the Sorrowful Years, where everyone is forced to entrench and rebuild
  • During the battle, we finally see the 'Primarch' himself leading his forces against two Titan Legions – and therefore get an image of what he's capable of...
  • Crucially, the Silver Stars lose virtually all of their superheavy tanks – along with huge amounts of armour – in taking on the two Titan Legions and their allies.
  • The Titan Legions – Legio Punica and Legio Validus – are rendered combat ineffective, and driven back into Heliopolis for repairs.

+ Call for aid! The Machinedeath on Null +

+ If you've got a Titan – or some Space Marine Superheavies, tanks or aircraft – that you need a scheme for, perhaps you'd like to help out by painting some up using a scheme that would fit in? +

+ Primarily I'm after Legio Validus, Legio Punica and Epic scale Silver Stars tanks/aircraft, but if you've got any armour/aircraft of the Pentarchy Chapters (Flesh Eaters, Charnel Guard, Red Talons, Death Eagles I/II, Carcharadons) at Epic scale, that'd also be lovely. Finally, the following Partisan Chapters were also there: Argent Heralds, Inheritors, Riven Lords, Void Barons and smaller complements of Red Fish, Jade Talons and Firebreak. +

+ Any and all models – whether Epic or 40k scale(!) would be very much appreciated. If you want to go for bonus points, the world of Null, site of the Machinedeath, is an airless (though not uninhabited) desert. Blasted sand/dust wastes are the order of the day for basing – but as you can see from my own Silver Stars, far from essential. For painting guidance, the Silver Stars are covered in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]; and here's a quick pic. +


+ The 'Twice-Bound': Legio Punica inspiration +

'Formed in the dark madness of the Horus Heresy, the origins of Legio Punica are lost, save for in the dwindling number of Titan’s machine spirits that have remained in service since the Legion's creation. Only the Princeps and Moderatii who pilot these ancient machines gain access to secrets as they bond with the Titans and are forbidden from sharing them with anyone but their crews. The nature of the inception is not one that reflects well on the Legio – and it is one they prefer to keep hidden.'
[//My Time Amongst the Machine-priests, a Memoir – Howtopher Buxcraft+]

+ Punica are the brainchild of Toby Harris, and very cool indeed! You can see  more of the Legio Punica's colours and read their background in this article [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], but if you fancy a pop at them, here's how awesome they can look! +

+ Legio Punica Reaver by Toby H +

Legio Punica Warlord

+ Amber Kings: Legio Validus inspiration +

+ Despite existing in shared PCRC background since at least 2005, and having had a number of differently-scaled starting points, I've only ever finished one of my Titan Legion – who may be vaguely familiar to long-time readers. +

+ Mercator Stipent +

+ I can hardly ask others to supply me with pictures of my own damn Legio without giving it a go myself, so here's our first WIP entrant. If you fancy giving the Legio a go yourself, the scheme is simple: yellow with silver trim and green lenses. Chequers and the flaming circle (seen above) are common motifs. +

+ As noted at the start, I wanted to use the broader project to help develop my own armies – I write a lot of advice on this noospheric node about creating your own army and lore, but the best thing I can recommend is listening to other people and considering how their forces and stories would impact your own. +

+ Legio Validus, for example, has a fairly dry existing history – supposedly, they were split off from Legio Victorum and settled in Sector Antona Australis. While I don't want to contradict that, I do want to add depth – and thus they've appeared, apparently asynchronously, embroiled in the War for the False Primarch... +

+ I love the secrets and lies of 40k, and felt that perhaps the reason Punica and Validus were the only two Legios sent to the region was that they aren't squeaky-clean in terms of reputation. Punica's background certainly bears that out, and Validus likewise has some secrets. Having those fall into Imperial hands has perhaps altered the political landscape for the Legio. +

+ In short, Validus was one of those Legios whose support for the Emperor in the Horus Heresy was not quite as enthusiastic as one might have hoped. As a result, their parent Forgeworld was censured and has found itself repeatedly deploying Validus in an attempt to demonstrate their (modern-day) loyalty. +

+ The Inquisition finds this 'volunteering' rather useful, and – sure of Validus' discretion – use them for operations that are perhaps best left forgotten... +

+ Orthodox troops follow in the footsteps of the Amber Kings +

+ inload: A visit to Lamb's World +

+ A jaunt to Lamb's World +

+ Ratlings aren't native to Lamb's World, but the nature of warfare in the Antona Australis Sector means that there's lot of cross-pollination in the Guard. +


+ It's raining. It's always raining on Lamb's World. The planet is my own little corner of a little corner of a little corner of the 40k universe, and home to a significant proportion of the Imperial Guard armies I've built over the years and sent out to fight in the name of the Emperor of Mankind (and, thanks to Omricon* – the PCRC member, not the virus variant! – at least one in the name of Chaos Gods!). The first Lamb's World Guardsmen were raised when I was still at school, and I'm still gradually adding to them. +


+ There have been a number of Lamb's World Regiments I've built; with figures drawn from a huge number of ranges; in metal, resin and plastic; and ranging in size from Epic to Inquisitor scale. My favourite (am I allowed a favourite?), however, are the Lamb's World LVth – the Black Hands (so-named because a shipping error left them with no soap on their first deployment), and the dusty desert-fatigued soldiers have been fighting for years. +

+ Victoria MIniatures' Arcadian Guard form some of Lamb's World troops +

+ It's not simply that I like the immediate accessibility of 'soldiers fighting aliens'. A large part of the reason that I like them so much is that Lamb's World allows a bit of gentle humour – from the names of the planet's cities, to scrawled graffiti on the tanks, to their affectionate mediaeval Welsh theming. +

+ Space Marines are all very earnest, which can be dry. The  nature of the Imperial Guard means that there's room to be a bit wry about things. Regular humans, courageous though they may be, can't fight forever – exploring the  soldier's downtime and reaction to the inevitable shortages caused by the Departmento Munitorum is fun. It's nice to think that perhaps some of the Black Hands might one day get to retire back in relative comfort amongst the green hills and valleys of their rather soggy Rainworld home. +


+ Vidscans inloading + 

+ Anyway, enough musing – let's see some pics! +

+ Citadel Rogue Trader-era Officer and Standard Bearer with Elysian arms. His canine companion is from Anvil Industries. +

+ This officer – a Caef (senior officer) in the principal Lamb's World dialect of Low Gothic – and his equerry are relatively recent additions. The first character I ever remember creating was a 'Lieutenant Whittaker' from my long-departed Rogue Trader force. Stuntwedge of the PCRC very kindly gave me this Captain, who has been painted up to be a modern-day Whittaker – presumably after years of fighting! +

+ You can read his exploits against the wonderful Bezoan Skitarii of Lucifer216 in the Neues Tremo War – a campaign I'm keen to pick up again. Perhaps the Gatebreakers will lend the Lamb's Worlders a hand? +

+ Whittaker is a good example of how you can multi-task your models. The LVth Black Hands are led by Caef Terentius Dresden [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], but by swapping out the Officer and standard bearer, it's easy for the troops to be used to represent another of the planet's hapless Regiments. Whittaker is leading the 18th Regiment – yet to earn a nickname – on Neues Tremo. +

+ Composition +

+ The core troops of the Lamb's World LVth regiment are made up of Forge World parts: Cadian upgrade heads (mostly the Respirator ones, but quite a few of the standard Veterans, too) on the Elysian Drop Trooper range – all not sadly out of production. +

I have a dwindling stock of bits to allow for expansion, but happily the nature of the Imperial Guard lends itself to slight deviations from a purely uniform look. Humans, after all, are infinitely variable; and a mixture of wear and tear and patchy resupply means that differences in detail of equipment and fatigues adds to the sense of a war-weary force. +

+ This meltagunner includes a heads taken from an AT-43 figure, for example, and the Victoria Miniatures' figures earlier also show how a colour scheme can cover the differences between ranges. I have some plans to kitbash a squad or two of the Victoria Miniatures figures with some of my remaining Elysian bits to further elide the distinction. +

+ The ogryn's converted from an Warhammer Ogre Kingdoms Bull, the Leman Russ is a Mars-pattern Forgeworld kit, once available as a conversion kit, and I think now slightly recut and redesigned. +

+ This is not a realistic army. It mixes modern-ish looking infantry with WWII-style tanks and – as you can see above – giant space ogres, ratlings, horse-mounted cavalry, robe-wearing priests and all sorts of other 40k weirdness. Nevertheless, I hope the overall impression is one that would be familiar or at least immediately understandable by pretty much anyone. +

+ That sense of 'okay, I understand toy soldiers' goes a long way to grounding 40k. Without the Imperial Guard, a lot of the more over-the-top or flamboyant elements would become over-stylised. It's cool to have weird aliens invading a planet and fighting recognisably human soldiers, as it makes 40k relatable. If everything's special, then nothing is. +

+ I can't imagine my upcoming Alaitoc warhost is going to be too happy with that light-fingered Ratling sniper's bracelet... +

+ A murky, muddy mass of Guardsmen and women holding the line against the worst the galaxy can throw at them – true of the Guard in general, and of the Lamb's Worlders in particular. . +

+ Techpriests, along with preachers, psykers and commissars, are some of the more esoteric elements that help balance that grounding, and make it fun. However you spin it, conflict is horrible, and it's good to remember that you're playing a wargame. Brightly-coloured lunatics with space-axes are hard to take seriously! +

+ Rough Riders are another favourite of mine. I've got five that regularly turn up in my games – and it's another example of how gaming with my mates is a key part of the hobby for me. Rough Riders have appeared and disappeared from the Imperial Guard rules on a regular basis, and the PCRC have always been very happy for me to use home-grown tweaks to allow the inclusion of things like this. +

+ Bring back my horses, Games Workshop! +

+ The figures are Empire Pistolier legs (metal, from the glory days of bits ordering, which gives you some indication of how old they are) together with the same bits used for the infantry. The horses are Wood Elf ones that – as is fast becoming a theme – I think are no longer produced. When I built this army, I was nowhere near as experienced or confident with converting things, but I'm pleased with how the fairly basic tweaks and kitbashing (as well as the decade-old paint job) used for this army still hold up fairly well. +


+ Future plans +

+ In the short term, I'd really like to play The Bezoans Strike Back – a return leg for Lucifer216's Adeptus Mechanicus. For me, having a finished army is something of a pleasure; where it's something to use and enjoy, with the potential for expansion, rather than being a Sisyphean task to continually grow. +

+ With that said, Lamb's World allows me a lot of flexibility to fold various bits and bobs in. I have numerous little squads that could form the kernel of a new Guard army, but I also have the option of painting them up as a new intake of the Black Hands. These include Victoria Miniatures' Arcadians and Elysians, as mentioned above, a few squads of metal Cadians, and some more esoteric things like Squats and Beastmen. Vehicle-wise I have three Chimeras and another Leman Russ that need polishing off... but happily, there's no rush. +


+inload: Beyond Gate 2022 and converting Algoryn tutorial +

+ Beyond Gate 2022 +

+ Algoryn AI hunt through the jungles of Ish. +

‘Two years ago, the Gates began to slip beneath the photosphere of the Great Engine, Antares. No-one could explain it, let alone slow or halt it.’

‘In a cascade – across a sun so large that it would fill Lost Earth’s sol system to the orbit of Jupiter – the Gates closed once more on the promise of civilisation.'
'None knew how long it would last, and once our gate closed, there was silence, and we shivered, and we mourned.’

‘And then… scarcely two years later, as best we can reckon it, the Gates began to re-emerge and re-open.’

‘Join me. Join us, as we go Beyond the Gates of Antares once more.’


+ With the War of the False Primarch still rumbling on over at +Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten+ (and if you haven't checked it out recently, do go give it a squizz), I'm being careful about stretching myself too thinly across multiple projects. +

+ That being said, the past couple of years have been tricky for people to make contact and share ideas – just like the Gates shutting in the Antares background. I've been turning up all sorts of cool Gate of Antares stuff here and there, and wanted to have something that would help hobbyists find inspiration and ideas from each other once more. Enter – #beyondgate2022 – a small initiative to allow all our disparate shards to reunite. +

+ It's very simple to get involved:

  • Post a picture of your Beyond the Gates of Antares models in a scene.
  • Add a little colour text.
  • Tag it with #beyondgate2022
+ That's it. Of course, if you want to spread the word, please feel free. The more, the merrier – and hopefully the initiative will help you to find new BtGoA models and hobbyists. +


+ Algoryn AI +

+ We had a look at the Armoured Infantry kit for the Algoryn Prosperate in the last inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], and in my mini-review, I mentioned that I wanted to compare them with the Armoured Infantry Command Kit. Well, that's arrived, and I had a chance to bash 'em together. +

+ Most of the comments that apply to the standard AI kit apply here; the main differences are:
  • New leg poses – two are either duplicates or mirrored versions of the AI legs; though happily the better ones. 
  • Different weapons – AI command squads are armed with plasma carbines: better all round than mag guns. 
  • Command bits – You get an alternative torso back that marks out your commander, and a medi-drone rather than a gun drone.

+ The Good +

+ The three new leg poses are a huge improvement over the ones in the AI kit. Less dynamic, perhaps, they are far more versatile. Even unconverted, they allow for a variety of subdued poses, and the more open posture at the hip means they're also easily converted if you do want some more options. There's a little tutorial below if you want to give this a go. +

+ Importantly, I'm happy to report that the Armoured Infantry Command kit is completely interchangeable with the AI kit. Arms, legs, heads – everything swaps over nicely and is entirely mutually compatible. Indeed, even the iconography on the torso front is identical between kits. Here's an example of the kits used in concert. +

+ A mix of standard and converted arms and legs in this shot. These models were built using a combination of one AI infantry sprue and one AI Command sprue. +

+ I've got two of the Command Sprues and three of the AI sprues; the image above shows models built from a combination of both. Owing to the options on the AI sprue, you're able to arm ten bodies from just the AI sprue – so it's not a problem that you don't have any options in the command squad. If you're interested in using them for gaming, you'll be pleased to hear that the results are game-legal – the army list [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] allows the AI squads a great deal of variety in armament. +

+ It's worth noting that, while you get only plasma carbines on the Command sprue, it's easy as pie to trim off the gun and hand at the wrist and replace it with another gun from the AI sprue. This gives you access to more poses. While admittedly they're largely variants of the same pose, I thought it worth noting. Plastic makes converting these kits very easy. +

+ If you're happy to use the bare heads, there's also sufficient heads on the AI sprue to mean you can avoid the Command helms entirely – though as you can see below, the Command helmet style makes for a nice squad leader look. +

+ Leftovers from the infantry sprues allowed me to make this squad armed with mag repeaters and micro x-launchers. Note the squad leader in the centre. I'm oddly pleased with the natural pose on the open hand (second from left at the bacK). This was achieved by cutting between the middle and ring fingers, then gently pressing the ring and little finger inwards. +

+ The bad +

+ There are fewer options: this is a slightly smaller sprue, and you get just five sets of arms. Similarly, there's no sixth torso back that would allow you to make a 'normal' model in place of the officer. +

+ The command torso is on the right. If you're happy with a bit of chopping, it's a cinch to trim away the crest and get something near identical to the standard torso (left of image) +

+ I noted above that the torso front symbol is identical on both kits – and while this is great if you want a uniform appearance, I thought it only fair to mention here that this also means there's not actually much differentiation between AI and Command. It would have been nice to have at least some options to help personalise and customise your commander. +

+ Summary +

This is a better overall kit than the AI one, in my opinion. However, a couple of minor niggles stop it being ideal. While I understand that there's limited space on the sprue, I would have thought a couple of options would have made it a much more saleable product – an optional 'normal' torso back and some weapon options that complemented the AI squad would have made it great to combine. +

+ Since you are likely only to want one or two Command Squads, it seems a missed opportunity not to make this sprue work harder and provide an alternative 'normal' AI squad. All you'd need is the aforementioned torso back and perhaps two pairs of arms with mag repeaters. Alternatively, a D-spinner or two would have made this pull double-duty as an AI Assault Squad Command sprue. +

+ Another missed opportunity was the bare heads. I was disappointed to see that they were the same as on the other sprue – a particularly baffling decision, as the helms are different. As with the C3 Strike Squads, I'm left thinking that this kit is ripe for conversion packs – and some variant heads, arms and torsos would go a long way from turning this from a decent kit into a really good one. +

+ However, I don't want to complain too much. The 'bad' bits above are easy to overcome, and mainly mentioned out of a sense of completeness. Overall, while I think both the AI and Command sprues have drawbacks, they are also absolutely brilliant in combination. If you've picked up the Strike on Kara Nine starter set, or have otherwise got hold of some AI sprues, I thoroughly recommend you picking up a Command sprue or two. +


+ Converting the Algoryn Armoured Infantry legs +

+ I mentioned how I approached this in the last inload, but on the basis that pictures are considerably easier to follow, here's a step-by-step on the process. +

+ I've picked this particular pair of legs not because it's a particularly bad pose, but rather because it's got very little visible soft armour at the hip. That makes it amongst the hardest to convert. If you can manage this, you'll find the others a walk in the park. +

+ Needless to say, I hope, that you should be careful with knives. Use a fresh sharp blade if possible, and avoid cutting towards yourself. +

_I  Cut into the soft armour from an angle that allows you to work touching the hard armour. Work carefully and gently, not applying too much pressure. +

_II  When you think you'll start cutting into the hard armour or another element, withdraw the blade and come in again from another angle. +

_III  Cut in from different angles until the leg starts to come away. With the additional working room this gives you, start again from the first angle until the leg comes off.

_IV  Repeat on the other leg. Again, assess where you can get the knife in with minimum damage to the rest of the model. The less you damage it, the less you'll need to disguise or repair later. 

_V  In some case, you'll find it impossible to cut into the soft armour, as it's simply not present on the sculpt. In these instances, just cut as closely as you can to the central point between two hard armour plates and work particularly carefully. 

+ Tip +

Rest assured that it's not a disaster if you do cut into the hard armour. If you manage to stop in time, you'll likely be able to use a bit of polystyrene cement to repair the cut. If you've distorted the plastic with the width of the blade, use a brush to apply a small amount of polystyrene cement into the gap. Leave it for a few moments, then use the tip of the knife to pick up the inevitable tiny plastic offcuts and scrapings from cleaning the mouldlines and drop them into the gap. Keep doing so until it's partially filled and touch a hint more polystyrene cement on top. This will turn into a plasticy goo that will dry into a fairly clean surface. 

_VI  Now to fill the space in the hips to open out the posture a bit. You can, of course, do this with pinning and greenstuff, but here's how you can tackle it with plastic. The advantage of this approach is speed, and it's also very secure. Use your knife blade to gently trim off one of the circular shapes from the sprue, exactly as for the necks in the last inload. 

_VII  Cut the little disc in half to give you two 'D'-shapes. This gives us all the components. Spend a little time with a knife and file to gently clean the bits up and remove any hard angles. This will help disguise the conversion and give you more options of posing.

_VIII  Gently trim off the hard corners on the disc halves. The bottom left one is done, the top right is not yet.

_IX  Time to assemble. Glue the little discs to the pelvis, with the curve of the 'D' pointing outwards to replace the soft armour. Depending on how you place them, you'll open up different posing options. Bringing them forward on the hips, will swing the legs out to each side, for example, while rotating them so the curve of the 'D' points down to the ground will spread the feet apart. 

For more extreme poses, you can add a second 'D'-shape – the important thing is to make sure that part of each leg is still able to be glued to the pelvis part. This prevents the pose from becoming too exaggerated and unnatural.

_X  From here, it's just cleaning and tidying. You may find the plastic filling technique is sufficient, or you may prefer to build up with greenstuff – entirely up to you.


+ Tutorial complete – hope it comes in handy. If you give it a go, please do come show it off on the Facebook group page – or up on Instagram with the #beyondgate2022 tag. +

+ Now, I'm off to continue building the jungles of Ish... and then back to Omu for the arrival of some big-headed Vyess panhuman morph reinforcements. +