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.
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.
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!