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 ...

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