Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Father's Son

Thanks go out to Col. Ackland and his comments on the trial officer rules, I am now teeming with ideas for these little officer stereotype rules.  As I think of them I'll post them up, and there are certainly lots to be going on with.

One of my favourite ideas (see comments on yesterday's post) was a 'Flyboy', an Aces High, Baron von Richthofen type chap.  That set me off thinking about an Imperial Guard air army ... but that's for another day.  I toyed with the idea of making the Flyboy an upgrade, but in the end the only benefit I could think he'd bestow would be cheaper Valkyries etc.  It didn't seem fair to just upgrade your commander and get cheap flyers; that would be best covered with an alternate army list instead (like Armoured Companies allow you to field lots of tanks).

But, it did get me thinking on, rather an a Flyboy, ie. someone who flies around the battlefield themselves, what about a high-born officer with connections who can call in favours to get extra air cover?  I was very wary about doing this, I didn't want to create a super character who could just call in airstrikes, especially since we already have the Master of Ordnance.  Read on ...

THE FATHER’S SON. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65/35/15 POINTS
The battle was going badly, thought the Sergeant-at-Arms. He had served numerous officers during his long and illustrious career and had guided a few of them some of their steps on the road to glory. He had, however, never had a less promising start. His latest commander had just committed an armoured reserve to a breakthrough, despite his protestations. The tanks could be seen burning fiercely as the enemy swarmed around them in the opposite direction – straight at the main line. With their armour safely netted in the enemy’s trap, their gun line looked feeble against their antagonist’s mighty host. He sighed an inaudible sigh and prepared to fight and die, defending this hopeless commander.
“Something to say, Sergeant?” the officer had an insufferable grin on his face. Did he not know that their men were dying in the valley below?! No, not their men – his men. Despite his tactical ineptitude he had guessed the sergeant’s vein of thought.
 “You do not have confidence in our victory?” In answer, the Sergeant barked an order to the Company Standard Bearer to remove the flag and attempt to return to the Battalion lines with it intact, and then drew his power sword ready to fight to the last. The Standard Bearer snapped to attention and moved to obey. “Corporal-Bearer, belay that order!” snapped the Captain. The Sergeant-at-Arms looked unbelievingly at his commander. There was a lengthy and uncomfortable silence, in which the latter spoke no words. Eventually, seemingly in answer, three Marauder bombers screeched out from the silence and careened deafeningly across the sky. The former’s jaw dropped as promethium bombs plummeted from the sky and down into the ranks of the enemy’s ponderous advance. The line wavered and then began to flag, before being utterly routed with continued bolder fire from the bombers chattering in the background.
So, thought the Sergeant-at-Arms. The rumours were true – they did have the son of a Flight-Marshal.

‘The Father’s Son’

Silver Spoon
The Father of the officer is some high-up general, who has secured his son’s commission through influential connections. He ensures his son has access to a few extras to make his job easier ... units under the officer’s command do not have any numerical restrictions on selecting units – ie. 0-1 restrictions do not apply. The Father’s Son can re-roll any failed reserves rolls for units he is either part of or in his command. This extra re-roll can be used as well as the Executive Officer’s Intercept Reserves special ability, but not for the same unit.
What Does This Button Do?
The Father’s Son is not acquainted with the higher-grade weaponry and kit such as bolt or plasma weaponry. He may not select any weapons from the wargear section, and can only use the weapons in his armoury.
If the officer is a Company Commander, he has the Senior Officer rule, and can issue two orders per turn as described on page 30 of the IG Codex. Otherwise, he has the Junior Officer Rule and can issue one order per turn, as described on page 36. Note that orders can only be given to the officer’s own men.

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Leash

The Leash is an expansion of the Trial Officer Rules.

Everyone knows commissars.  Everyone has had a perfectly sensible officer gunned down by one of these black-and-red-clad lunatics and lost a subsequent close combat as a result.  But reading the Departmento Munitorium manual (and why, by the way, are they £50 on Amazon?  If I'd have known their value would go up that much I'd have bought more than one) it occurred that most capital crimes, most of the '31 ways to crash-land', as it were, just refer to 'officers' rather than Commissars.  Coupled with a stint of watching some Eastern Front WWII films, I thought it was about time I expanded the trial officer rules.

'The Leash' is a bit like a commissar 'upgrade', in that it turns an ordinary officer into one with the summary execution rule.  However, rather than the idealistic, stylised view of commissars inspiring men to feats of great bravery in the name of the Emperor, I thought most ordinary soldiers would just hate the officer even more - and wait for an opportunity to take a pot at him themselves.

Further to my rules from the last post, I thought it would be a good idea if, rather than you just picking these special rules to make your army super-elite, that these rules only apply in campaigns, and all the other players pick them on your behalf.  This requires a certain level of fair play from your opponents (so they don't all give your officers the... I don't know, Staggeringly Incompetent, or Paraplegic special rules, or something), but they should be able to translate the officer's actions and dice rolls into a suitable rule.  Eg, if the officer (i.e. you) keeps on pushing a platoon forward into withering enemy fire a la Enemy at the Gates, utterly indifferent to the ridiculous casualties, and keeps passing his morale checks, at the end of the game your fellow players can choose to nominate him for The Leash upgrade.  Just makes it a bit more 'real', and stops abuse of the system by you giving all your own officers rules like Napoleon Reborn or Make My Day.

Anyway, enough potato waffle.  The Rules!

THE LEASH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30/30/30 POINTS
The Lieutenant did not cry out or protest. His men were up in arms, screaming and arguing loudly in his defence, but the Provos kept them from being more than a background distraction. The clearing in the woods had only ten minutes before been the site of a ferocious battle, and the crack of las-bolts still punctuated the fracas that ensued.
Captain Amelius smirked slightly as he walked up to the centre of the mob, a passage held open by his loyal Provost staff. In the centre lay the contemptible officer. Perhaps it was a tenuous charge. Perhaps it really was a ‘tactical pause’, but that was all the excuse Amelius needed. He hated the Lieutenant, and more importantly wanted his platoon. It was supposed to be ‘each and every commissioned officer’s sacred duty to uphold good conduct and military discipline, if necessary by lethal force...’, but few took it so literally as Amelius. 
He drew his stub pistol in one smooth action, raising it and firing without the slightest pause.
The crowd fell silent. With one hand on his hip and the other holding the still-smoking pistol, Amelius looked upon the loathing faces of his new command.

‘The Leash’
Summary Execution
Although not a Commissar of the Schola Progenium, some officers will not hesitate to use the same lethal force to enforce discipline. The Leash has the Summary Execution rule as described for Commissars on page 32 of the Imperial Guard Codex.
That’ll teach you…
Needless to say, while the benefits on good order are marked; so too is the distrust and fear felt by the men towards their commander. So much so that if The Leash executes an officer in battle, roll a D6 afterwards. On a roll of 1, the men have hatched a plot to murder the dastardly scoundrel. (You can simply remove The Leash, but it prevents the perfect opportunity to play a Kill Team-style scenario, with The Leash and his band of loyal thugs occupying the command dugout, and a squad of disgruntled veterans on the prowl and out for revenge...)
If the officer is a Company Commander, he has the Senior Officer rule, and can issue two orders per turn as described on page 30 of the IG Codex. Otherwise, he has the Junior Officer Rule and can issue one order per turn, as described on page 36. Note that orders can only be given to the officer’s own men.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Trial Officer Rules

I'm a pretty big pan of creating house rules.  The ruleset is very adaptable, and can be modified pretty easily to accommodate your desired style of play.  For example, I like to have quite cinematic games where everything is gritty and realistic, but still a bit cliched - have a look through the 2nd Battalion Hardened Veterans Squad to see what I mean.

So, one of my biggest bugbears with the IG codex is the commanders.  Fair enough, Guard officers are never going to be beating Carnifexes in close combat, but platoon commanders now have stats that make them basically like veteran sergeants.  I wanted to create some rules for officers; as well as heroes and legends, a few cowards and weasels as well.  All of the trial officers incorporate some negative rules as well as positive ones to try and make it a bit fairer.

The way I've incorporated the Officer Rules is as a series of 'upgrades'.  Officers command either companies (i.e. the HQ slot) or platoons (Troops slot), so either of these leaders are candidates for upgrades.  Also, I allow one ordinary squad veteran sergeant to be upgraded, probably something like the stormtroopers squad which might be led by an officer.

The special rules that officer has only apply to his command; so a HQ slot officer will bestow his special rules on the whole army (hence the high cost), the Troops choice officer will lend special rules to that troops choice, while a squad upgrade will only affect that squad.  This is why there are three points costs given for each upgrade.  The wounds are blank because the upgrades don't affect the number of wounds; they always stay the same as the un-upgraded officer was before.

I'll stress that these aren't play tested and (particularly the points costs) may be unbalanced.  But I've tried to keep the rules sensible (no special rules like:  'Tough.  Gives all troops +1 W') and there are some negatives as well.  Some even so negative that it's actually a minus-points cost.  I'll post up one of these now as an example and as I come up with more I'll follow with an update.  Enjoy!

THE OLD MAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45/35/25 POINTS
The men looked bleakly at each other across the gloom of the dugout. They could sense the futility of it all; it was not that they did not want to fight, quite the reverse. They had come to this hell-hole of a moon to fight the forces of the Great Enemy, not to be thrown away in some pointless suicidal attack. It was useless to protest. Protesting would normally be as suicidal as going through the attack – but this was not an ordinary protest. 
Brevet Captain Faroe swept into the room. Everybody shifted their gaze onto him – the fact that he was back at all was good news. The Executive Officer would normally just fling any such upstarts at the Company Commissar and be done with it. But he could not fail but to notice Faroe. Although he was ‘from the ranks’ he had just about every decoration the Departmento Munitorium could make, and the undying respect of each and every man under his command.
If anyone could get Nineteenth Company out of this mess, it was the Old Man.
He looked up at his men, and they could immediately see the tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry, boys...”

‘Old Man’

One of the Guys
The Old Man lives, sleeps and fights with his men, and they respect him for it; they’ll follow him to the very gates of hell if he asked! All models under the Old Man’s command may re-roll any break tests for morale purposes (so not for target priority or other tests based on leadership).
They Got Him!
If the Old Man buys it, the boys’ morale will be shaken badly. If the Old Man is killed, at the start of their next turn all models within the command radius must take a leadership check.
If the officer is a Company Commander, he has the Senior Officer rule, and can issue two orders per turn as described on page 30 of the Imperial Guard Codex. Otherwise, he has the Junior Officer Rule and can issue one order per turn, as described on page 36. Note that orders can only be given to the officer’s own men.
House Rule Note: Some players may wonder why the Old Man has such a low leadership value. Unlike a lot of other indoctrinated officers, the Old Man has seen too many of his friends and comrades killed to keep fighting against insurmountable odds. Better to break contact and pull back, than throw all of the boys into some death-trap assault...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Grav Troopers

After a bit of digging around my model collection, I decided to share some of my original 'Ninth Battalion' army, made using plastic Cadians.  I'm not as happy with the painting or modelling of some of these as I am with my more recent efforts; they are about three to four years old but some of the conversion work is good.

This squad is a converted hardened veterans squad, mainly because I didn't like the rigidity of the plastic Kasrkin and lack of convertibility.  These guys are just based on the regular Cadian infantry, but with the flamer heads (mouthpieces on the helmets) painted white, and cut-down vox casters as squad radios.  They carry a variety of weapons but predominantly plastic Space Marine Scout shotguns, along with a few bolters and a grenade launcher.  My favourite thing about this squad is that it was cheap to make; granted, this was after making about 50 regular guardsmen so I had ample spare parts, but the only extra thing I needed was a scout sprue for the shotguns.  Don't listen to Games Workshop; the best unit in your army doesn't have to be the most expensive as well, carved out of rare platinum-encrusted dinosaur resin or whatever.  Plastics are our friend.

In terms of fluff, these guys represent attached squads of First Battalion, who are the equivalent of Kasrkin and get attached squad-by-squad to other formations.  Their status is indicated (apart from the shotguns etc) by the all-white helmets.

On the right is the squad sergeant, armed with a bolter.  The hands are actually the original Space Marine hands, but I've painted the fingers so it looks like he's wearing fingerless gloves, which I think looks very cool.  As you can see from my blurry close-ups, I made no attempt to remove the flash from this guy's helmet and looking at it now it really shows.  Oh, the heady days of youth!  Thinking about it, I may bring them back out and re-model them a little bit, add a few highlights and clean them up a bit.  I also want to re-base some of them, as these are done in a very simplistic gravel-and-flock way.  A model is never finished!

The shotgun conversions were very straightforward but they work well.  I did experiment with cutting down some lasguns to make impromptu shotguns, but it wasn't really clear what they were supposed to be.  Lesson learned: make it obvious what things are supposed to be!  It's a bit like exaggerating highlighting to make it visible from a distance.  The shotguns I made looked okay as an individual model, but on the battlefield it just looked like their lasguns had broke and were shedding parts.

In terms of rules these guys struggle a bit now, since (I don't think, may be wrong) Hardened Veterans can all get shotguns now.  And I certainly don't think they can take two bolters.  So I have to do a bit of wriggling and count them as having lasguns normally.  I miss the old Third Edition Hardened Veterans, with the three-wounds officer and proper access to the Armoury!  Oh well.

I like this grenade launcher conversion, because I never thought the original ones looked any good (also very unstable-looking, with no stock etc).  The simple addition of a lasgun stock and grip here make it very unique, without being an obscure conversion.  Simple is better.  On an aside, I really struggled getting the transfers to apply properly on the curved shoulder pad, and have given this up now.

So, there we have it, the first glimpse of Ninth Battalion!  As I blow the dust off a few more of these guys, I'll try and get more photos up and also might look into remodelling some of these guys, and who knows, they may find themselves redeployed into Second Battalion ...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Uniform Pictures

Here's some more fluff I've been working on, with the artistic talents of Headologist helping me out .. some uniform plates!  These are a bit like the colour pictures you get in the Osprey books and I like doing these, as it gives a bit more depth and colour than just the standard issue 40K artwork.

These are both based on one picture, but I have a few more I'm working on and I hope to get some more updates in the next few days!  For those of you not familiar with the background of the army, these are the dress uniforms worn by the troops of the Praetorian units - consider it one step up from the smart uniforms the Mordian Iron Guard wear.

3. Captain of Infantry, Mess Dress.  The Mess Dress is worn on formal occasions only.  Usually, as the name implies, these are regimental events hosted by the R.P. to which officers are invited.  Some of the ceremonies might include the anniversary of a famous battle, the regiment’s Founding Feast, or a prominent Saint’s Day.  Palladian regiments have a very strong esprit de corps, and the Mess community is part of this.  The Mess Dress would not routinely be worn outside of such an event.
The uniform has the same cut and colour of the Field and Dress uniforms, with a number of accoutrements.  The most obvious is the heavy horizontal braiding across the chest.  This is a distinction of Palladian regiments and is universal to officers and soldiers.  Mess Dress is the only dress which only comes in single-breasted variants, which is the only variant possible by nature of the decorative braiding.  The buttons are gilt silver, and are sometimes embossed with the regimental number.  The Mordian Knots on the sleeves, unlike in the Iron Guard regiments, do not denote rank.  In this as with all officers’ uniforms, the rank is denoted by shoulder straps.  In this case the three gilt stars upon silver braid signify a captain.

Of note is the standing collar, present in some form in almost all Palladian dress.  The buttons on the collar sides are regimental distinctions; those regiments with the Bonus Imperatora are allowed to wear these badges.  The Mess Dress tunic does not have a matching belt.  The weapon, usually a sword for an officer such as this, would be worn suspended from a loose leather belt worn between the bottom two horizontal braids.  Mess Dress uniforms are finely crafted items and are sometimes individually tailor made for the more senior ranks.

     4. Cavalry Lance-Guardsman, Mess Dress.  Shown below is another example of Palladian Mess Dress, as prescribed for enlisted men.  Although Officer’s Messes are the only messes which routinely allow the wearing of Mess Dress, in exceptional circumstances enlisted men can be invited into the mess, and for this a special tunic will be tailored.  An example of this is if a man is to receive a senior award for gallantry, this will often be a ceremony held in his honour in the Officer’s Mess.

The uniform is identical in cut to the officer’s version; the shoulder straps upon which the officer wears his rank is a plain cloth strap in arm-of-service colour; in this case golden yellow for a cavalryman.  Rank insignia for enlisted men is not worn on black backing cloth (cf. plate 2), but a single braided stripe with decorative edging is worn at the same position on the sleeve.
Otherwise this item of uniform is identical to the officers’ version.  This is usually because in practice, enlisted mens’ mess dress is so rare that it is converted on an ad hoc basis from surplus stocks of officer’s uniforms and simply re-tailored.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Anti-Magnetic Tank Paint

Earlier I posted a few pictures of my tanks, some of which have been fitted with 'Zimmerit' anti-magnetic paint, and as I did another one today I remembered to take some photos so I could do a mini-tutorial.  First, a bit of a history lesson:  zimmerit was the name for the composition the Germans applied to a few of their tanks during World War 2, which was a mix of sawdust, wood glue and a few other chemicals.  It wasn't strictly 'anti-magnetic' at all, it just created an uneven surface so that mines couldn't be stuck to it.  It was only used for about a year.  Despite the fact that it worked well, the Allies didn't use nearly as many magnetic AT mines as the Germans did so it was barely worth the effort.  Also, a popular and totally untrue rumour that it was flammable started spreading, and in Sept 1944 the practice was stopped.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Cloth, Flesh and Ink ... A Wargamer's Cosy Night In

I thought I'd break from the Palladian theme today to share some of the work I've been doing on historical miniatures: specifically, some of Wargames Foundry's Gladiator models.  These are some that I've been painting up for fellow blogologist and general history buff Headologist, and although not strictly related to 40K, there have been some very useful trials of new painting techniques focussing on flesh and cloth, and various shades of brown.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Command Squad

Morning all!  Further to my last Hardened Veterans post, I've dug out some of my other favourite conversions to share.  These models are not army commanders, but orderlies and objective markers; primarily display pieces, really, just ones that can double as objectives.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Hardened Veterans

Well, here they are!  After a lot of procrastinating, I've finally got round to putting up what is probably my most heavily-converted squad in the game.  The Hardened Veterans.  I really love these models, and in every incarnation of Imperial Guard, these guys are always the tactical and modelling focus of my army.  These chaps are based on a roughly equal mix of Schaeffer's Last Chancers and ordinary Mordian troopers.

I always find that these guys end up being the centre of attention in any games.  Just for coolness' sake, I often send them into the thick of the scrapping and get them to complete the objective ... normally suffering heavy casualties but the commander (with a single wound) just manages to detonate the bomb in time ... any unit that can do that in my mind is worth the points.

So, we'll have a look model-by-model at everything in the squad.  First up, some may recognise this as the old Shiv model from the Last Chancers.  Well, it is.  I liked the old model and wanted to keep it alive in my squad, as well as needing a close combat specialist.  The swap of a Baneblade Commander's power sword for the knife is to make him a bit more 'in the thick of battle', rather than 'sneaking around knifing people'

For painting, I decided to go for normal, almost civilian clothes, and that called for browns.  I experimented using layer after layer of washes onto a white undercoat and got a really nice, natural effect; although it did take a long time and a lot of ink.  Despite this I really like it and have carried on using it as a technique on other models.  About six or seven layers is usually sufficient, using Brown Inks and Ogryn Flesh, mostly.

Next up, the Chief-Sergeant himself.  An obvious Schaeffer parody, I changed the one thing I didn't like about the model: the sword.  For such a dystopian cynic as Schaeffer (or my Chief-Sergeant)  I didn't think heroically pointing a sword at the enemy would cut it so I did a simple swap to get him duel-wielding a pair of pistols.  I really like the effect; cigar between the teeth, cooly marching forward, duel pistols at the ready ...

The painting was simple, and for the most part followed the Step-by-Step which you'll find in the Blog Archive.  The one I will draw attention to is the white plasma pistol.  Nothing complicated, I just really like the idea of a white-cased, ceramic, clean casing for this archaic and venerated technology.

 Ah, Warrior Woman.  I think women don't feature very heavily anywhere in the 40k fluff except as Sisters of Battle, so I like to use what models I can when they're around.  A nice simple conversion on this one, swapping her lasgun for a chopped down SMG version.

Again the painting followed the normal procedure although I was pleased I managed to get the flesh better than normal.  It's something I find very hard to get right.

Next is 'Animal', whose main job is to stop the entire squad getting ploughed into the mud by tanks.  A simple head swap here, but I think the neat hat really offsets well the feral animal look of the rest of the model, a bit like Joseph Porta of the Sven Hassel novels, a grizzled veteran of the Eastern Front, going round in a top hat.  He's also slightly mental.
 Next, I wanted to go for a more traditional, 'Old Man' type figure as a possible second-in-command.  The Mordian Guardsmen this is converted from is one of my favourites as he looks very dynamic.  This conversion tries to keep that.  The bolter is a standard Space Marine one and the head a Cadian Sergeants.  Simples.

For painting, again he followed closely the normal Step-by-Step.  I changed it by having the bolter red; something which is becoming less common nowadays but which I think looks really cool.  Also, just where his neck his you can make out a bit of the striped football scarf!

The next model isn't converted at all, but was kept in because I really like the look of it.  I used a Bubonic Brown undercoat with the layers of washes used on Shiv to achieve the natural cloth look.  I try to vary the shades of brown in the army (if it isn't the standard issue webbing) to make it look more natural, and you can achieve this really easily by varying your starting colours.  Even after five washes you can end up with some really different shades.  Compare the hat with the pouch he's getting the lasgun magazine out of here.

 This is one of my favourites, which is why it's more of a shame that this is probably the worst-quality photo.  It's the standard-issue 'Ox' model, but as with the dress-cap-wearing 'Animal', I decided he should keep one tattered remnant of his old uniform.  In this case it was his white epaulettes.

I'm not much of a sculptor so this really was new ground for me.  I just covered the shoulder with Green Stuff, and flattened the top.  Then using a scalpel, I simply scored down from the flat top, down the arms, to make the 'tassels' or whatever they are.  They're not perfect but they look okay from a distance, which is all that matters.

Last but by no means least is my Demo Man.  Again, I liked the old one so I kept the conversions simple with a head swap again.  The AK-47-style lasgun looked brilliant, so I decided to paint it with wooden furnishings.  Again, the jacked and webbing are all painted with a series of brown washes.

So, there you have it!  A squad of bitter veterans ready to take the fight to the enemy!  I think the key things to take from this, reading back, are to have fun with your Veterans.  I know that's the aim of the hobby, but sometimes when you're painting ranks and ranks of identical Guardsmen / Marines / Nids / Whatever, we can forget that.  It's sometimes fun to drop all that, and play up to a few cliches and war movies to make a unit that's going to be good on the field as well as a good laugh to play with.  In this way, I think it reflects your view of the game and sums up a lot about how you like to play.

Now I just have to take them on the field and watch them get effortlessly wasted by bolter fire ... until next time, Guardsman!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Uniforms and Background

Well, holiday's begun, and so far I'm coping with the lack of paints remarkably well.  Today I'm going to put up a few of the pictures I've been looking at for inspiration, particularly with regards the uniforms and background.  As I've already put up, the 'Mordians' are 2nd Battalion troops in dress uniform, whereas the 9th Battalion 'Cadians' are representative of the standard field troops.

The uniform on the right represents, in cut, what the Mordians would look like without any kit on (this is a Prussian 19th Century tunic).  I really like the double breasted cut, and obvious colour modifications this might serve as an illustration for the 'stand-down' uniform.

I really like using real-world photos to illustrate things where possible, as it adds a level of realism you can't otherwise get with just artwork.

And I can't draw.

I plan to have a full-colour gallery of uniforms as an appendix to my fluff document, in the same sort of way that Osprey do.  As an aside, Opsrey books are a great starting point for fluff and you can copy the headings and get a good feel for the structure of what a fluff document should include.  For my part, a lot of the organisation and doctrine is taken from German WW1, and the Army Handbook has been an invaluable resource for this.

A few days ago I put up some officer's insignia plates, and I've finally got round to doing some NCOs as well.  These are okay, but I might re-do them at some point, as they resemble very closely the WW2 German insignia they are derived from.  It's good to be inspired, but I don't want to end up just doing an army that is a total copy off a real-world army, so much so that you can't tell the difference.

The first three are 'on-table' ranks, so senior Guardsmen to Sergeant/Veteran Sergeant, whereas the last three are sergeant-major ranks and so are more like orderlies than fighting soldiers.  They are sewn on as separate patches, hence the (deliberate) higgledy-piggledy appearance.  As I say they may change in future, but I now have a working approximation to go off.  And something to paint on my models.

So, that's my current project.  Soon we are having a big games night, so expect pics and battle reports by the end of the week!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Heavy Mortar and Crew

Time for some more pictures.  This is one of my three Forgeworld Heavy Mortars.  I really like the look of these models, and their accuracy make them a real bonus in games.  I've not had chance to use them properly yet, but I strongly suspect that they'll be overlooked as the enemy deep strikes onto my Basilisks and Earthshakers.

Anyway, I've added some of the regular Mordian Mortar Crew to give the scene a bit of life.  In fact, a few more Mortar Crews and that'll be all my army built!  Then just have to paint it ...

The mud is my favoured household filler / Dark Flesh combo, and I've painted all the uniform trim red, to signify artillery troops rather than infantry support.

 The shells are colourfully painted to signify gas shells - after the multicoloured banding used on World War 1 shells of the same type.  Incidentally, I'm reading a really good book about Fritz Haber, pioneer of gas warfare and I wanted to incorporate some of this into the world of 40K.  I'd imagine by this point it would have gone beyond all controversy; anything that's a weapon in the 40K universe is good!  Still, it's interesting to read about anyway and expect some house rules for gas shells soon.  Future plans: a short holiday means there will be no modelling for two weeks, but I'll hopefully get some battles fought and the results posted up here pronto.  I also have lovingly photographed by beautiful, pride-and-joy Hardened Veterans squad so expect to see them marching on fairly shortly!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Service Record: Lucius Nero

Well, since Headologist has been getting along with some paperwork on his blog, I thought it was about time I updated mine.  Using my newfound typewriting skills, I thought I'd type up the full service history of one of the Company's most controversial characters:  Captain Nero.

A former soldier from the ranks with a dark past, he has a reputation for inconsolable drunkeness, mindless bravery and getting men under his command killed ... the service record throws some light onto this dark character, so read on:

Friday, 6 January 2012

Platoon Commander

Well, believe it or not, I've finally managed to do a bit of painting!  Here's one for you:

 As you can no doubt tell, he's the standard Imperial Navy advisor model, with the cap taken from a Mordian Lieutenant.  I'm pretty pleased with this paint job, as the green looks realistic and the tunic looks crumpled, while still being neat.  Also, it's a good opportunity to show off my basing ... I'm a firm believer, that even with run-of-the-mill models some effort on the base can really drag up the quality of the whole miniature.  This base here is done using the 40K basing box.  As I've said before, these are quite expensive but will go a very long way.  Three boxes have done my entire Imperial Guard army with LOTS to spare.

If there's one thing I'm not proud of it's the face ... I can never seem to get them right.  Especially on this photo, the hands look really good but around the eyes spoils it a bit for me.  That said, he does have an amazing moustache.

All my officers are mounted on the large bases as shown here.  Most of them have little dioramas and what not on them, as they are all individual characters with backgrounds and fluff, etc.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The 9th Battalion

Update:  today has seen me plod long with painting my latest squad.  A full roll call of all the models in the army has revealed I am perilously close to having all the figures I need for my 2000pt army.  All I need now are two more lascannons and enough mortars to pillage the crew as artillery loaders, and that's the army done!  Well, 2nd Battalion, anyway.  Well, one company at least.

I'm going to expand it with a Ratling Squad and pad out the infantry platoons to be three squads each, in time.  Meanwhile, there's a snippet more of the fluff.  This section is taken from the background to 9th Battalion, my first army.

L U X   I M P E R A T O R;  9th Battalion
It was alongside 8 Bn. that 9 Bn. was formed to bring the Praetorian Guard up to a regimental strength. In line with the general effort to include more light units, 9 Bn. was designated a light infantry reconnaissance unit, to conduct scouting raids deep into enemy territory. To this end, 9 Bn. were gifted fewer heavy armoured vehicles but their ranks received additional instruction in skirmish fighting: open order advances in open ground, and advances-by-section in urban or jungle areas. Emphasis was placed on personal martial skills such as marksmanship and fieldcraft.
Their first action was Kasr Lutien, M41, during the Black Crusade. The reconnaissances conducted provided information vital to the successful assault following a lengthy siege, in which the 9 Bn. also participated. In the nine-day engagement, the battalion was mentioned in planetary dispatches every day for its unwavering valour and fortitude. Following this successful campaign 9 Bn. worked in close concert with the Invidiae. Having been formed at the same time and since fought in the same engagements, these two are considered as ‘sister battalions’ and a strong martial bond exists despite their relative youth. Dropped by 8 Bn. landers, 9 Bn. operated behind the front line of Enemy troops, targeting isolated principalities corrupted by the enemy and engaging solitary outposts. Their exploits served to strike fear into the hearts of the enemy; captured heretic commander Zamrod admitted during questioning that, ‘we all feared the Ninth... every advance we made or attack we planned factored in interference from this battalion. We knew there was only a battalion, but at times it felt like there was a brigade loose behind our lines.’ 9 Bn. were later granted a signal honour when the Inquisition ordered his crucifixion to take place at their battalion headquarters.  Since this campaign, they have acquired the Regimental sobriquet of the Lux Imperator; spreading the all-illuminating light of the Emperor into the darkest corners of the Enemy’s realm. They have, along with the other battalions of the Praetorian Guard, recently been engaged fighting on Edethor Luna where their actions continue to draw the highest praise upon the current battalion commander, Maj. Hadrius.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

You've got Mail!

Continuing my fluff-themed posts, I'm skilfully avoiding having to admit I've done very little in the way of modelling recently due to a long stint at work.  Currently plodding along with 2nd Platoon's infantry squads, so the production line is up and running ... hoping to get an (unfinished) army shot showing everything I have by the end of this month.

Anyway, for today:  I was wandering around a set of old bookshops today when I came across an old typewriter.  It struck me as just the sort of antiquated technology you might see in the Imperial Guard universe, and I used it to throw together a 'snapshot' of Imperial tele-transmissions.  No real purpose to this, and it doesn't tie in with any existing fluff, but it just looks rather cool.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Shoulder Fluff

If there's one thing you can say about the Imperial Guard, it's that they're organised.  Whether expertly dispatching troops into a futile pointless meat grinder in an orderly fashion, or fastidiously ordering tens of thousands of 'bolts' for troops to hold up their trousers with because of a clerk's poor handwriting, the Imperial Guard have got organisation sorted.

The fluff in the Codex and Rulebook doesn't really go into any great depth, and having a little historical interest, it's one of my favourite parts to add to my background.  Today, a little insignia / ranks.  A lot of people tend to just use the stuff off Halo or the modern USMC, so I tried to come up with something original, yet 'rooted' in history.  Results are below.

For those of you who are interested, they are 'inspired' by East German shoulder boards with a little rejigging and the addition of a squared-off fabric backer.  The bottom one is an example of a 'full dress' epaulette, so this is what the 'Mordians' would be wearing in 2nd Battalion.  This was all done in MS Paint over the course of a day so it's not hard to put them together at all.  The ranks that these correspond to haven't been fully worked out, but might go something like this (taken from the Palladian Structure and Strength chapter - will be published in full in due course):

5. Grades of Field Officer.  The grades of the field officers in the Palladian Guard are as follows:-
(i.) General Officers (Communatis)

(ii.) Regimental Officers 

First Colonel     
1st Lieut.
2nd Lieut.
3rd Lieut. 

Monday, 2 January 2012


After the success of our sniper-based 'Snatch and Grab' mission, I've decided to put up our trial rules for snipers.  These were devised by an avid sniper-maniac and historian, so they aim to offset a few inaccuracies (if you'll pardon the pun) in some of the sniper rules.

I'll stress that the GW out-of-the-box rules are not wrong as such; they are designed for a balanced game.  These are a bit more realistic (stronger, longer ranged) and as such are not really fair.  That's a recurring theme with our games, we are prepared to make them a little less fair in exchange for them being a little more realistic.  Because life isn't fair.

Another brand of house rule is the ad-hoc, make-it-up-as-you-go sort of job.  For example, in the last game two Guardsmen were charging down a corridor towards a sniper.  He shot and killed the front man, and on the spur of the moment we decided that if he rolled a '6', the round passed through the front man and into the second.  Unfortunately for me as the Guard player, it did.  Nonetheless, it was fun and added a little more of the cinematic to the game.  These sorts of one-offs make for a more interesting - although again, less balanced - game.

Anyway, here are the sniper rules.  Playtest and enjoy!


Range Str       AP Type
36"     4             6   Special 1*, Sniper
*Rapid Redeployment:  Some rifles may be sufficiently well-engineered (or simply light) enough to allow the firer to move into position quickly, set up, and snap off a shot in moments.  A Light Sniper Rifle is treated as an Assault weapon in that its firer can move and fire in the same turn.  However, in all other respects it still counts as a Heavy weapon – ie. it does not confer any extra bonuses for assaulting or allow a move, fire and assault in the same turn.
Long Range Shot: Skilled snipers can judge wind, elevation and a myriad of other subtle factors to compensate and bring a shot down at extreme ranges.  A sniper can declare he is firing a Long Range Shot at the start of the shooting phase before he measures the range.  For every full 12” above the maximum range the shot is, he suffers a -1 to the to hit roll, but then may fire as normal.  Remember that a leadership test must be taken to fire at a unit that is not the closest target. A Long Range Shot and Rapid Redeployment may not be used in the same turn.
Range Str       AP Type
36"     5             4   Heavy 1, Sniper, Rending
Long Range Shot: Skilled snipers can judge wind, elevation and a myriad of other subtle factors to compensate and bring a shot down at extreme ranges.  A sniper can declare he is firing a Long Range Shot at the start of the shooting phase before he measures the range.  For every full 12” above the maximum range the shot is, he suffers a -1 to the to hit roll, but then may fire as normal.  Remember that a leadership test must be taken to fire at a unit that is not the closest target.