News from the Front Line

Side view

Detail of the turret and crewman
Time, I think, for a photo update of some of my latest projects.  Work has been kind to me recently and I've had a lot of time to work on all my ongoing projects, including finishing quite a few off.

The main one is my Hydra conversion, representing an AA tank pressed into service as an anti-infantry vehicle.  This project started life as a bit of tinkering with an upturned Leman Russ turret here, and some minor conversion work on the Chimera chassis itself here.  Painting was very simple, albeit a bit rushed.  I hate painting tanks.  The main hull is painted with Dark Angels Green, then Catachan Green, then a highlight of Knarlock Green.  The camo stripes are Dark Flesh followed by Graveyard Earth, with the whole vehicle lightly dry brushed with Denheb Stone.  The mud is made of household filler and consists of various shades of different browns evened out with a wash of Devlan Mud.  Simples!

The crew member is a leftover of an old heavy bolter loader with the bolter magazine hacked off.  He's painted black as that's the colour for armoured crews (no one notices oil stains on a black tunic!)

The guns are just two plastic autocannons with a co-ax heavy stubber.  I like to treat this as two separate guns, rather than a twin-linked weapon.  I think this weapon would be more about volume of fire than accuracy.  The cannons are designed to be traversable upwards as an AA weapon, but it's been turned on some unlucky ground troops.

This tank hasn't really been built specifically for my army, it's more of a modelling project but it counts as basically a Chimera with 2x AA autocannons and a heavy stubber instead of the turret - and no transport capacity.  Under current house rules, it costs about 120pts but this hasn't been play tested yet.

Overall, I'm happy with the construction although there are a few rushed flash lines and things as it was a bit ad hoc.  The painting is quite rough and ready, but I really wanted to get this done.  A lot of tinkering modelling projects end up sitting on my desk half done, and I didn't want this to happen here.  I'm also looking at scoring a Chimera turret off a bitz website so I can swap turrets and have an ordinary Chimera turret if necessary.  Anyway, a project well done I think.  I'll have to fight a battle or two with it soon and let you know how effective it all is on the battlefield.

Next up, regular readers will remember my excitement at receiving the latest Forgeworld order; the components for a Zone Mortalis boarding team.  I had a really good time putting these together.  I'm planning to make 10, but am awaiting the arrival of a few scout shotguns to make up the rest of them.

These were the first models I've painted in a long time that I've undercoated black, but I was clear that the main colour would be a sinister jet black.  I tied them in to my Palladian army by keeping the green tunics, but made the armour plates black.  Incidentally, the Dawn of War Army Painter was very useful here.  These represent a 4 Battalion urban containment troops, so they'd be suitable (both painting and fluff-wise) for use as a Necromunda Arbites team, since they do a lot of under hive sweeps on Palladia, as well as a boarding team.

Nice and imposing, perfect for a boarding party!
I couldn't resist doing the black-yellow hazard stripes on the shields.  These were actually quite easy, with a few practice runs I managed to get a fairly straight line.  I used foundation Iyanden Darksun to prevent the black 'blotching' through.  A few coats of Sunburst Yellow completes the look.

The troopers themselves are fairly simply painted.  I wanted to keep the number of accoutrements down to focus on a predominantly black scheme, but also wanted to avoid an unfinished look.  A few white skulls and a nice blue sheen on the eyepieces achieves both these aims I think.  Anyway, I'll let you look at the first few finished guys without any further waffle from me.

An attempt at a shotgun with wooden furniture.

The more ordinary guys with black shotguns.

And lastly, I received a few spare Basilisk crew off Admiral Drax a few days ago.  I decided to experiment with a few different colour schemes, in the way that real soldiers often mix and match bits of equipment and kit.  I like these models as they show one of the very few instances of Guard soldiers without body armour (Cadians) or ornate dress uniforms (Mordians); these are the 'normal' Guardsmen.
Normal forage cap, with an armoured crewman's
black tunic.  With sculpted epaulettes as well.

Full black armoured crewman's tunic, with a
camo forage cap.  Both have red piping for
artillery crew.
Quite a lot covered there, updates on a few projects.  I have a new surprise due next week, but after two weeks my Forgeworld order is still 'awaiting packing', so I'll have to wait and see...


  1. Some really nice work here. I love the conversion of the Chimera, and the idea of a dedicated AA vehicle for the guard, doubling as an anti-personnel weapon, is brilliant.
    Love the figures as well.
    Do you not normally undercoat black? If not, what colour primer do you use?



    1. Thanks, Mike.

      My normal undercoat is white, as I find the resultant colour is a lot less blotchy than with black, and you get brighter and more defined colours. Also, it leaves you open to using washes a lot more freely - to paint browns, I often just use loads of black/brown washes straight onto a white undercoat. Having said that I have only used white primer for about a year now, before that it was all black.

  2. Great stuff, and I love to see those artillery crew being made useful too!

    I think the boarding team look absolutely BRILLIANT...but I'm almost afraid to note I was struck by wondering how they activate the 'pump' on their shotguns? Should we assume they just have different fire modes?

    1. I knew I couldn't submit something like that to the blogosphere without someone spotting it... in my dream world they're just handgrips, rather than pumps. But yes, I did think about trying to put bolters or something more 'one-handed friendly' on there, but shottys unfortunately look superb, so shottys it had to be!

  3. I love the tanker uniforms, a while back I did SS spring camo on some Imperial Guard crewman, but I gave them the black the black panzer caps and trousers. It's fun to mix the uniform elements up like that on soft body Guardsmen.

  4. Great looking stuff! The alternate hydra conversion turned out quite cool, and the boarding team is looking really sharp - keep up the great work!

  5. Thanks again all,

    @Chris, yes the half-SS look was exactly what I was going for... although that's put the idea in my head for some proper splinter-camo guardsmen!

    @Mordian7th, thanks for the feedback! Will hopefully have the whole team completed in about two weeks or so

  6. yeah I particularly like that boarding team too (but then again I like the feel of all of your stuff). I found my old school sailors so I'll blog em soon :)

    1. Cheers for your thoughts Col, like the sound of the sailors, can't wait to see them!

    2. Aha, I remember you mentioning those. I really need to get my boarding team ship-shape after promising them all those months ago :P Scipio, I'm guessing the shotguns I sent have arrived by now?

      I'm making reasonable progress with the Marines now, so perhaps I can convert some Ratings with boarding pikes....


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