+ inload: Where the Stone Oxen and Lions Stand +

+ Emperor's Children, 16th Millennial +

+ Work in progress Emperor's Children 'The Illuminator demands perfection!' +

+ Another short painting session last night sees progress being made to my 15mm Emperor's Children. I'm not a fan of batch painting, but it's really the only practical way I've found to make progress with this scale. They're not small enough to whip through like Epic, nor quite large enough to be worth trying to focus on them as individuals. The upsides are that the details are clean and reward quick, simple techniques. +


+ Painting 15mm Emperor's Children +

+ I'm planning to work through four stages for these marines, summarised from left to right below. +

_1  Quick and simple – the model is painted with Screamer Pink. The bases are then painted with drybrushing, as described in an earlier inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. The model is then washed with Druchii Violet and the guns, backpack, studs and visible soft armour in Incubi Darkness. +

_2 Stage 2  This sees the metallics picked out with Ironbreaker. The midtones are then added with an even mix of Screamer Pink and Emperor's Children, favouring the upper parts and avoiding the recesses. +

_3  Having dried, the metallics are washed with Nuln Oil and the highlights added. Form highlights are Emperor's Children thinned with flow enhancer, over which are added Fulgrim Pink edge highlights to areas facing the light. +

_4 Detailing. The guns get an edge highlight of Vallejo Off-white, the eyes are picked out with Moot Green, and the Legion markings are added with gold (I think it's Liberator Gold, but wouldn't swear to it) a over a circle of Incubi Darkness. +


+ Paint musings +

+ An overall shot of the force as it stood at the start of the evening. As usual when starting a new project, my mind is bubbling over with ideas for development and expansion – but I really think it's only right to at least get these all painted and ready before asking the ever-kind Lucifer216 to print any more! +

+ Natural light always shows things slightly differently; I find it lends itself better to colour accuracy (at least with my phone). Below are some shots from the desktop this morning. I don't think they bear up to too much close scrutiny, but I'm pleased with the overall effect even at this stage. Indeed – it's actually been nice to simplify things. +

Block colour space marines, with little in the way of individuality or complication, is how I remember the Epic battle reports of years ago. Armies painted like that have a lovely 'Legion' feel; of near-identical super soldiers, and I think that aesthetic is perfectly suited to 15mm. +

At 32mm, I like a bit of individuality, as the size and detail of the figures allows easy reference. Smaller than that, and it becomes considerably harder to tell the difference between different units at a glance. For that reason, I'll be keeping personalisation to a minimum here, perhaps lavishing a bit more time and attention on squad leaders and so forth. +

+ That will leave space for more elite units – Palatine Blades, Noise Marines (Kakophoni if you're feeling fancy) etc. – to be picked out with the addition of more silver and white. +


+ Lore +

+ There's more to this hobby than painting and playing; so I wanted to come up with some background for the force in general. The Emperor's Children are a faction I've never really explored in depth, though they're a long-familiar name. Like the other three Chaos god-aligned Traitor Legions, I like how they represent a warning of taking a virtue to its extreme – for the Emperor's Children, pride curdled into arrogance. That's something that's long been tempting to explore – which I partially did in my Iron Hands narrative project, May You Live Forever, which followed a couple of Iron Hands during the Isstvan Dropsite Massacre. They encountered a few isolated Emperor's Children there, and so I'd like to touch back on that. +

+ Lucifer216 came up with the brilliant idea of producing some key figures in 32mm scale, and using forced perspective to get some shots. A lovely way to inject some personality and a great excuse to paint up some one-off larger figures, too. We thought it'd be good to generate some names, too, so my commander will be revelling in the name Lieutenant-Commander Dolichenus Tyrian, Prince of Chemos, Great Bull. +

+ Beyond this, however, I've left things fairly loose. Part of that is deliberate – I don't want to be distracted from making progress by diving into the minutiae of Legion's background and getting distracted. After all, everyone involved has a good solid understanding of the forces they're commanding and opposing, and I'd rather focus on the standard Legion troops than exceptions. +


+ Gaming stats +

+ As outlined in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], we're planning to use a modified version of Beyond the Gates of Antares (version 2) to play out this war. There's quiet a bit of counts-as and exceptions (mainly simplifying, but also some direct changes), so I thought I'd start drafting a reference sheet for us. I'll try to find some way of sharing it here. +


+ inload: Ironstaff Throng +

+ Adding to the Ironstaff Throng +

+ A review of the Necromunda Ironhead Squat Prospectors +

+ Squats! New squats. From Games Workshop. Intriguing stuff, and being a bit of a fan of this long-lost faction, I pre-ordered the Necromunda Ironhead Squat Prospectors as soon as they came on site. +

+ The pinks are for an Emperor's Children project, you might (or might not!) be relieved to hear+

+ The box contains two identical sprues, each allowing you to build four Squats. The models go together quickly and smoothly, and result in a burly and broad finished figure. They are on 28.5mm bases: slightly smaller than those of Primaris Space Marines, but larger than that of Guard infantry and the like, which are on 25mm. This gives a deceptive appearance. They are slightly larger than I'd anticipated, but not as large as I was fearing. +

+ Pictured here, in what might be the least useful scale comparison picture ever, is one built virtually stock, besides a Rogue Trader classic (the Piscean/fishman/saharduin) and another modern remake of a classic, the Ambull from Blackstone Fortress. The Piscean is on a 30mm base, same as a Space Marine; the Ambull on a 50mm base. +


+ Gut reaction +

+ My overall reaction to having one built is fairly positive. I love the core silhouette. Once the two halves of the torso are connected, and the legs added, you have a great core figure. I'm less immediately sold on the the heads and arms, however, as they add a huge amount of bulk that cover up a lot of what I like about the figure. +

+ As you can see from the more useful scale reference picture below, they're not, as some were fearing, as tall as modern Imperial Guardsmen, even taking pose into account. It is, however, notable that they are bigger than the fantasy dwarfs – the converted figure on the left is based on an Kharadon Arkanaut (the steampunk sky dwarfs), for example, and they themselves are larger than the older Ironbreaker etc. models (Dispossessed). +

+ From left to right: converted Squat, new Ironhead, Death Korps plastic, Forgeworld Cadian + 

+ A few years back, I posted a tutorial on how to convert Squats from the then-new Warhammer sky dwarfs (you can check it out here, if you wish [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]), so my view of how reimagined squats could look is probably coloured a bit by that. +

+ Nevertheless, I like the result. For a start, it's considerably more creative than my attempt, which mined the 2nd ed. plastics and contemporary dwarfs very closely. The new Necromunda squats take their inspiration from elsewhere. Indeed, I think they take a lot of their design cues from 'Iron Bonce the Squat' [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] (not least their name), the first space dwarf released for the then-new Rogue Trader – no bad thing; it's nice to change things up a bit. +

+ Let's take a look at some of the other bits and bobs of the new models. +


+ Beardie-weirdies +

+ I read some pre-release fears that the heads weren't 'squatty' enough, and didn't have enough facial hair. For anyone on the fence owing to this particular concern, rest assured that all five of the head options include facial hair, ranging from a full set to some powerful mutton chops. +

+ Let me be clear that it's not the aesthetic of the heads that I dislike, but the decision to use a ball-and-socket approach. In all honesty, lack of beards is not something that would have put me off anyway, but I like the decision to include them nevertheless. Beards and dwarfs seem to go together in sci-fi and fantasy, and part of me prefers the more subtle facial hair here than the flanderised alternative. Giant beards are a key part of the Warhammer dwarf archetype, but I don't think they're quite so key to squats. Even the original squat plastics had relatively short or restrained beards in comparison with their Fantasy battle compatriots. +


+ Having said that, I do think it's a valid point that they don't look like they have beards from the studio's stock shots. This is partly because of the angle of the shots (the lower part of the face is often hidden behind the high collar of the suit), and partly because of the separate visors, which further cover them up. +


+ Any bad bits? +

+ Few reviews of Squats are going to be entirely free of 'grumbling into beer', so I did want to flag up a couple of bits that I was disappointed by. Firstly,  let's address those visors. While a nice nod to Ironbonce, and eminently practical from real-world safety principles, it's a shame to cover so much of the face. On my build below, I trimmed away a little at the back to allow it to sit a little higher, revealing more of the face. +

+ I also left off the backpack and cut away the second barrel on the gun; mainly to clean things up a bit. +

+ Secondly, the sprue has a surprisingly small number of options. You don't get enough weapons to give everyone two-handed rifles without doubling up the heavy, and the few options there are are limited to grenades and the like. I would have vastly preferred some extra heads or characterful bits like the Goliath cigar to multiple visor options. This is something that I hope is addressed in an upgrade sprue or alternative expansion sprue (as the other Necromunda gangs have received) so consider this judgement in light of the likely appearance of that. Perhaps further releases will make this early one sing. +

+ Thirdly, and my biggest grumble, is the head recess. It's huge, and makes using parts from other ranges much harder. Perhaps it's a design feature that will be shared by the upcoming Leagues of Votann (the other new squats) models, but at the moment it's just annoying that the Ironhead prospectors aren't compatible with any of the existing dwarf ranges from fantasy – or indeed anything else. If you don't like the super-wide helmet aesthetic, you're a bit stuck – and that ties back in to the lack of options. Even one or two unhelmed heads would have been nice. +

+ One stock and three lightly converted figures +

+ Fortunately, it's not an insurmountable problem. As you can see above, a lump of plastic offcut can raise a Fyreslayer, Arkanaut or Dispossessed head to an appropriate height, though you'll also need to carefully trim the beard of the donor model. The results above will be improved by some greenstuff around the recesses to tidy things up, but you get the basic idea. +


+ Conclusion +

+ How do the new squats measure up? Despite my critique above, I think these are lovely little models. I always try to avoid expectations on redesigns of older models, as I always value someone trying something new and creative over being slavish to the past. While these don't quite scratch the itch for me as stock, I am very pleased with them once converted, and I'm excited to see what everyone else does with them. +

+ Most of all, however, I'm most pleased that the new squats are good solid models in their own right. I don't think that you need be nostalgic for the old models to find these appealing, and the designers should be congratulated for that. The Squats have lurked for so long that almost anything would have been borne some serious weight of expectation – and I'm pleased to say that, overall, I think they stand up to it, straight out of the box. +

+ Overall, bar a couple of grumbles, these get two mechandendrites up. +


+ Ironstaff Throng +

+ The Ironstaff League is the little space I carved out for Squats in the PCRC's shared sector, Antona Australis. The background can be seen on the blog here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], and was my attempt to integrate Squats into the 40k universe, and includes a bit more Warhammer dwarfiness than what we've seen so far. Fortunately, I think such differences add to the richness – you might think of the Ironstaff League as a slight cultural outlier, rather than completely incompatible. + 

+ It's largely because I already have some converted figures that I decided to convert my Ironhead Prospectors. In other words, had I not already converted some squats, I'd probably have left the models unconverted – because for all the minor grumbles above, I do think the new models are very characteful and appealing. +

+ What I have done is to include some more of the Celtic/Brythonic design language – knotwork, filgree etc. – common to Warhammer Dwarfs, and largely absent from the new models. I have done this sparingly, as I think there's a fine line to tread between homage and caricature. Indeed, part of me admires the GW designers' decision to avoid such design language completely, as it makes a definite statement of intent that they're not beholden to the past in the relaunch of the Squats. +

+ Despite this, there's no question that the new models do stand out from the rest of the force. I don't think that's necessarily a problem – indeed, if anything, it gives me a bit of space to have these as some sort of specialists – perhaps I'll use them as heavy-weapon wielders or something, given the unusual way their weapons are held compared with my existing models. + 


+ The chap with the banner is a loose nod towards the old hearthguard models, and that's something that I think I'll experiment with for the other sprue. Having a squad of clearly bigger and brawnier figures, with bulkier armour and equipment, makes should work well to mark out the Warlord.


+ The new figures are pictured here alongside my conversions. Further releases  and a coherent paint scheme will hopefully further blend away the differences; but I already think they'll look nice on the table together – what do you reckon? +


+ inload: 15mm gaming in the Horus Heresy – and painting Emperor's Children +

+ New frontiers +

+ One 15mm Emperor's Children Legionary complete, and twenty-odd more well on their way. +

+ New projects have a habit of becoming over-ambitious and under-delivering, so I wanted to play things down and keep things as simple as possible. Here then, is an inload to give an easy reference point for the PCRC on gaming in the Horus Heresy at 15mm. It's a gathering of my thoughts as much as anything else, and if anyone else fancies testing this out along with us – please feel free. I'd love to hear your feedback and experiences to help make things better. +

+ Gaming in 15mm +

+ Bob Hunk and I are going to playtest using the Antares 2 rulset, available free at the Antares Nexus here. Our first considerations:
  • Walk before we run  Keeping things simple and minimal to begin – a new game system is tricky enough to adapt to.
  • Use existing stats where possible  A mag gun might not be the final set of rules we use for a boltgun, but it's a good place to start.
  • Add granularity sparingly  We get little enough time to game as it is, so keeping the game accessible and benefitting from the balancing of the Antares community is important.
+ With these things in mind, we'll be using the game largely unchanged to begin with. We've got a fairly slim selection of units at the moment, which is good to start with. These, along with my suggested proxies from the Algoryn, are:
  • Legionary Tactical Squads – Vector AI Squads
  • Rhino – Defiant Transport Skimmer 
  • Land Raider – Bastion Heavy Combat Skimmer

+ I suggested Algoryn because they've got the most 'basic' armour and weaponry of the Antares system; no variance between ranges and few special rules. That makes them a great proxy for the simple, brutal warfare of the 31st Millennium. Algoryn also have relatively better physical stats than many of the other factions – suitable for the Space Marines. +

+ Heresy in progress... +

+ Unit changes +

    + There are some modifications that we've discussed. That might clash with the simplicity note above, but they're really there to ensure WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). It's simpler, after all, to refer to the model in front of you than the ruleset.
    • We strip out all drones for the moment.
      • I think these add a lot to the game, so I'd be quite keen to see them reintroduce eventually as servo skulls, signum rules or something. For the moment, however, we'll keep it simple.
    • Changes to the Tactical Squads 
      • No option to change squad size. They're fixed to five. 
      • The Algoryn special guns aren't a good approximation of the Astartes loadout, so they are also all armed the same way by default, with a boltgun (mag gun).
      • For every two squads (i.e. ten marines), you can take either a missile launcher (using Mag cannon stats for krak missiles and X-launcher stats for frag) or an autocannon (using Mag Light Support) stats.
      • This is a bit different to how these weapons are used in Antares, where they're crewed support weapons, so we'll need to see how this works in practice. It may be that we need to bump up general survivability somehow, or draft our own weapons stats.
    • Changes to the Rhino
      • Use as-is, but with no options.
      • Be sporting when it comes to terrain – these are tracked, so don't get the various hover benefits etc.
    • Changes to the Land Raider
      • As for the Rhino notes on manoeuvring/terrain
      • Replace all weapons with two twin lascannons (Heavy Mag Cannon)
    + The aim of all these changes is to make things as simple and approachable as possible. At 15mm scale, some granularity is good, but if we can keep things really simple, then it's going to be much easier to play bigger battles. +


    + A nod to scale +

    + One thing we are still discussing is the table scale. I've suggested that we start on a Kill Team-sized board (22 x 30in) and use cm in place of inches. My argument for that is mostly practical. While I would love to play giant games on a 6 x 4in with loads of models and suitably monumental terrain, at the moment we've just got 30-odd figures.  Also, a small board makes it more easy to set up and put away in the limited time we have; and more able to be played alongside other games at our meet-ups. +

    + Secondly, Antares is quite a mobile game – you can typically move two or three times your move stat – and has much longer gun ranges than typical in 40k. As a result, I think things should work out alright at this size – or at least I'd like to see how this plays out in metric. If it doesn't work, or looks a bit crap, I'll happily change over to imperial. That's the joy of playtesting! +


    + Who's involved? +

    • Bob Hunk – Imperial Fists
    • Myself – Emperor's Children
    • Lucifer216 – Night Lords
    • TrojanNinja – Dark Angels
    • ...and hopefully other the PCRC members soon! :)

    + Painting 15mm Emperor's Children +

    + A quick rundown of how I've been preparing and painting my models: +

    + 1_ The models are glued to pennies as their bases, which are then covered with sand. +

    + 2_ Once dry, the models are sprayed with Halfords Camouflage Brown. A great matt finish. +

    + 3_ The models are sprayed at a 45-degree angle off vertical from both front and back, giving a zenithal highlight. I used Halfords Khaki as that was the lightest colour I had. I suspect it'd be more effective with white. (This was done on a whim as a bit of a test  for other schemes, to be honest – seemed to work well, but purple has such strong coverage that the effect is minimal with this scheme. Had it gone wrong here, no great shakes, as the purple would cover it.) +

    + 4_ The models are painted Screamer Pink (front), then washed with Druchii Violet. Once dry, the guns, soft armour and metallics receive a layer of Incubi Darkness. Note this is not pure black – to help with the sense of scale, tones need to be slightly muted to suggest aerial perspective (that is, dust in the atmosphere makes more distant things appear slightly bluer and less contrasting in value. Avoiding pure white or black, therefore, helps to create the illusion of distance).  +

    + 5_ I add a little circle of Incubi Darkness to the pauldron (to help the Legion symbol to pop) and studs on the other shoulder. Metallics are then added with Ironbreaker, then the guns and backpack get a wash of Agrax Earthshade. Once dry, highlights are added by adding a touch of Vallejo Off-white to the pink and Incubi darkness. The details, such as the Legion symbol on the pauldron are Liberator Gold. Eyes are a bright green (Warpstone Glow?) painted over Incubi Darkness. They are dotted with white to finish. +

    + Basing +

    + All very straightforward – a straight succession of drybrushes with the colours above. I added a hint of white to Zamesi Desert for the final pop, and then painted the rim of the base with Dryad Bark to tidy things up. +


    + inload: 15mm Horus Heresy +

    + Madness – an exercise in 15mm +

    + The PCRC met up for our first tabletop wargaming in a long time – and longtime PCRC droog Lucifer216 very kindly presented Bob Hunk and I with a gift of thirty-odd Space Marines and tanks each. The title of the inload has probably given away the ending, but they're 15mm. +


    + Theoretical: Gaming plans +

    + Teeny-tiny (but not as teeny-tiny as Epic-scale) Space Marines +

    + A whim? A bit of fun? Who can say, but the possibility of 15mm gaming is a tantalising one. I'm keen to try out the now model-agnostic Antares rules, which are freely available from their new home at the Antares Nexus [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. Partially that's because I have really enjoyed the smooth lines and gameplay of Antares, and partially because it's an opportunity to explore the intriguing idea, presented by the authors themselves in the foreword to the core rules:
    '[...]it was suggested by several of our play testers that the Core Rules, this file you are reading right now, could form the basis for a game set in almost any futuristic universe and not just the Antarean Nexus peculiar to the Beyond the Gates of Antares background. Although the core rules are designed to cover the sophisticated technologies and machine-centred forces of Antares, all the elements are there to enable players to adapt the game to any background and any model ranges they please.'
    [Rick Priestley and Tim Bancroft]

    + I think the Antares 2 engine will be suited to a Horus Heresy-style game, as the game works really well at reinforced platoon-level (that is, about thirty infantry plus a supporting tank or two). The fact that we both have almost identical forces should also help: mirror matches circumvent some of the problems that can skew specialised forces. Basically, you're less likely to have balance outliers if both sides are identical. +

    + I haven't put a huge amount of thought into adapting things, but my current musings include:
    • Using the (relatively) low-tech Algoryn as a basis for the Space Marine stats
    • A wholesale conversion from inches to cm
    • A basic squad size of five
    • Keep things as simple as possible to begin
    • Consider the use of Army Options to differentiate Legions

    + Practical: why 15mm? +

    + This picture demonstrates the size of the Space Marines. In the foreground is a multi-based set of Epic-scale (~6mm tall), and on the right a modern (i.e. Primaris-sized) 40k piece. The 15mm tall ones are in the middle. +

    + This scale will – I hope – hit the sweet spot for me of visual impact in-game (something that Epic loses) with practicality of company-size gaming (something that 40k struggles with). 15mm infantry is large enough to be interesting to see and paint, but small enough to allow meaningful manoeuvring on a typical game board. +

    + A better comparison with the 32mm marine +

    + Secondly, while I love Epic dearly, I find the infantry dispiriting to paint. They're individually quick to do, but the multiple models on a base makes the practical side of painting them frustrating for me. To that end, I've based these individually. I've used pennies for the bases: cheaper than washers(!), and heavy enough to give the lightweight resin some resilience against table knocks etc. The base is relatively larger than that of a 32mm figure, but fits neatly proportionally between the base size of 40k and Epic. Much smaller and I'd be concerned about stability. +

    + A group of Astartes advances in the wake of armour +

    + You'll notice I've also based the tanks, using 50mm round bases for the Rhinos and a 60mm for the Land Raider. The small size of the vehicles is one of the big appeals for 15mm for me. At 32mm scale, tanks just have too large a footprint to 'feel right' with the 40k rules, but here they're chunky enough to look cool, but slight enough to allow for that elusive 'meaningful manoeuvre' I mentioned earlier. +

    + You'll notice I've also based the tanks, using 50mm round bases for the Rhinos and a 60mm for the Land Raider. The small size of the vehicles is one of the big appeals for 15mm for me. At 32mm scale, tanks just have too large a footprint to 'feel right' with the 40k rules, but here they're chunky enough to look cool, but slight enough to allow for that elusive 'meaningful manoeuvre' I mentioned earlier. + 

    + Basing vehicles is something I've been experimenting with for a while. I find that it helps to place the vehicle both in the army (by giving it another element that matches the force), and in the broader setting. The base acts like a picture frame, making it clear that this is part of the same game. +


    + Force plans +

    + Here's the full force – a mighty thirty Space Marines with their transports and heavy armour support. +

    + Bob Hunk has decided to roll once more with Imperial Fists, so a Horus Heresy setting seems appropriate. To complement the bold yellow of the VII Legion, I'm going to give the mighty Emperor's Children a spin. +

    + The only Emperor's Children marine I've painted in the past couple of decades was a casualty under Ferrus Manus' foot [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], but a vibrant purple is opposite yellow on the colour wheel, so will stand out nicely in battle. Secondly, purple paints tend to have quite good coverage, so I'm hoping that means the force will be quick to paint. +

    + A squad of Emperor's Children emerges from their Rhino armoured transport. +


    + inload: Catachan Spotter for Kill Team +

    + 'Get me fire support – now!' +

    + Another of the Ever-Readies finished up on the painting block last night. I was working the remaining half-dozen, and now have just the skin and details to do on the others. I didn't want to end the night with nothing finished, so worked this one up to completion. +

    + He'll be used as a Spotter specialist in Kill Team, so I wanted this role to be clear from the pose. The downside of single-piece metal models is that conversions are considerably more involved. Choice of figure is thus important. +

    + The sculpt is a loader from a lascannon team, so he's (appropriately enough) already pointing out a target to his team mate. +

    + One of the nice things about the Perry sculpts is that they're always well thought-through. This figure works well from any angle, and despite being taken from a two-part mould, has a very naturalistic and convincing pose. +

    + The face was fun to paint; you'll notice that it's worked up to a greater degree than the rest of the figure, in order to draw the eye. +

    + I also added 'Property of 634th' as a bit of kit graffiti. Large areas like the backs of jackets give nice opportunities for details like this that hint at the figure's character. +


    + Catachan Devils +

    + The old Codex: Catachan had the regiments' veterans called 'Catachan Devils' in honour of the ferocious predator of their homeworld. I'm really hoping we see a dedicated Catachan Devils kit for Kill Team. In the meantime, I'll make my own! I'm a little limited by available figures, but I'm aiming to field:
    • Sergeant Veteran* with plasma pistol and power sword
    • Confidant Veteran with boltgun
    • Comms Veteran
    • Demolition Veteran
    • Hardened Veteran
    • Sniper Veteran*
    • Spotter Veteran
    • Gunner Veteran* with flamer
    • Trooper Veteran
    • Trooper Veteran
    + That's a bare bones list, with the unfinished figures picked out with asterisks. I'm confident that I'll get at least those done, in which case the Team will be ready to field alongside Tactical Assets (which I was tempted by anyway, as the idea of calling in off-table support seems quite fitting for the pulp Vietnam War-inspired Catachans). + 

    + If I manage to get them done, then the stretch goal will be to replace the Tactical Assets with:
    • Bruiser Veteran
    • Medic Veteran
    • Trooper Veteran
    • Trooper Veteran
    + But even these specialists will be counts-as figures (e.g. the bruiser will be armed with a chainsword, not a trench club), until I can spend some time sourcing some more appropriate models or convert them. +

    + Finally, I'd really like to build a Catachan-themed ogryn for friendly games. Ogryns are a favourite of mine, and they seem very fitting for a Kill Team-style narrative. It'd have to use homebrew rules for the moment, unless I swap over to using the new Kill Team Moroch Traitor Guard rules, which include an ogryn. +


    'No, over there!'

    + inload: Catachan 634th – The Ever-Readies +

    + The Ever-Readies – Catachan 634th +

    'He raised his eyebrows at the question, then leaned in with a conspiratorial grin. "Regimental Motto? Well, 'ficially, it's 'Wherever, Whenever, However'. Ain't remember a time no-one used those words 'zactly, of course." 

    You couldn't help but respect the Catachans – for all their burliness and noise and flash, their fieldcraft was second to none.'

    [+Ambrose Osctain, Embedded with the 634th+]


    + Last time we looked at the Catachans here on Death of a Rubricist was to look at the two special releases – the Catachan Colonel [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] and sergeant 'Ripper' Jackson [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. Since then, I've been the recipient of a kind gift of a dozen or so Guardsmen from fellow PCRC droog Omricon, and have picked up a couple of specialists. +

    + What does that spell? That's right – Kill Team. +

    + I'm delighted to say that we've got a big meet-up planned for the first time in... ooh, a couple of years, I think; and Kill Team is on the agenda. Amongst others, I'm hoping to see Bob Hunk's awesome Gron's Kommandos [+noospheric exloadlink embedded+] in the field at last; and rumour has it Warmtamale is bringing his Kroot. +

    + Do I bring one of the many things I've painted in the big lacuna since we last met up for gaming? Of course not – this is our gang, the PCRC, where last minute panic-painting is de rigeur. Onwards with some Catachan Devils from the 634th, then.+ 

    + From left to right, the squad so far is made up of a Comms Veteran; two Trooper Veterans; a Hardened Veteran (the Catachan Colonel, with the power fist counting as the bionic arm); a Confidant Veteran (Sergeant Jackson, whose boltgun fits in perfectly with this role) and a Demolition Veteran. +

    + We've looked at the previously-painted figures elsewhere [Vizref: inloadlinks above], so here we'll just look at the newly-painted additions. +

    + As I've harped on about before, the Catachans offer a great opportunity to practise painting skin. Unlike most of the bare-faced figures I paint for 40k, I wanted the Catachans to (mostly) look vigorous and healthy – a perfect opportunity to try out rich, tanned skintones from a variety of ethnicities. +


    + History of the Guard +

    + All sculpted by the inimitable Perry Brothers (the Catachans largely by Michael, I believe), the 90s-era Imperial Guard models have lots of sentimental value for me. I'd owned the Rogue Trader plastics and metals, but these larger-than-life single-piece figures were full of the character and motion typical of the Perry Brothers' work. +

    + While they're certainly more caricatured and 'heroic scale' than the cool new Cadians revealed yesterday, the exaggerated features and single-piece nature made them also hugely rewarding to paint. Indeed, I think my 2nd ed Imperial Guard army, led by a Rogue Trader model rejoicing in the name Colonel Whittaker, and made up of a motley mix of Catachans, Cadians and Valhallans, was the first fully-painted army I owned. +

    + Each of the Imperial Guard Regiments was originally released as a ten-man boxed set. The Catachan Jungle Fighters box included a sergeant with a bolt pistol and chainsword, melta gunner, missile launcher and loader, and five lasgunner sculpts, two of which were duplicated. The figure above is one of the duplicate lasgunners. +

    + After the various Regiments had all been released, follow-up waves expanded each range. These typically included four new lasgunner sculpts for the regiment; a new sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain; a vox-man; three additional special weapons; and more heavy weapons teams. This particular trooper is from the later expansion blisters.  +

    + The Catachan Vox-trooper is one of my all-time favourite sculpts, as it really sums up the Imperial Guard: engaged, resolute, and disciplined – but with a definite sense of weariness and being under-supplied. +

    + This particular example is second-hand, and came lacking a vox-backpack (replaced with a plastic one) and the aerial on the handset. +

    + The Catachans were unusually well-served in comparison with the other Regiments. They got their own mini Codex, which was accompanied by a few news metal specialists, like this demolition trooper. In the next inload, I hope to bring you a look at one of the heavy flamer troopers and snipers that was released at the same time, too. +

    + Besides these additional releases, they also got a plastic kit (not a favourite of mine); a Catachan sentinel sprue; a special release grenade launcher (making them the only regiment that had access to all the special weapons); and, later still, some new officers. These were released later than the others, and so are rarer to find second-hand. + 

    + The holy grail of Catachan collectors is the banner bearer, which remains unreleased. +


    + In terms of paint scheme, I've gone for:
    • Uniform combat trousers (the method's detailed in the Sergeant 'Ripper' Jackson inload linked above, but basically Gretchin Green and Zamesi Desert patches over Halford's Brown Primer); 
    • Charadon Granite gun casings and hard equipment (grenades, scabbards and the like); 
    • Battle Green soft equipment (pouches) and armour;
    • The bandanas, jackets and shirts will be slightly more motley, and provide the contrast and impact of the scheme. The vest are usually white, yellow or olive green (i.e. the same colours as in the camouflage trousers), and the jackets are green or Charadon Granite. The latter are differentiated from the hard equipment by getting a warm Agrax Earthshade wash rather than the Nuln Oil black used for the equipment.

    + This WIP shot shows some of the colours I'm using, including the two for the bases (on the left). It's also a sneak preview of another two on the blocks. +


    + Halfway there, and three days to go +

    + The full set. Which models can you pick out? +


    'The God-Emperor needs your service, soldier. He ain't here right now – but I am; and I need you to capture that hill.'
    [+Colonel Carl 'Mustang' Oakland , 634th Ever-Readies+]