Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Taking stock, and in the pipeline...

What's varnished and ready to hit the table:

- Company command squad
- Platoon command squad
- Two ten-man infantry squads
- Two heavy weapons teams

What's basecoated:

- One female infantry squad
- One storm trooper squad
- One veteran squad
- One Vanquisher turret

  What's unfinished:

- One scout truck (Scout Salamander proxy)
- Two Demolishers
- One Conqueror
- One five-man rough rider squad

The tanks were finished, but I subsequently decided to add a lot more superdetailing and other treadhead geekery to them, so they're back on the workbench.

Who are these frightful savages?

A firm idea of the socio-economic background (oh dear god, what have I become?) of your pretend soldiers is all well and good, but what do the grubby primitives look like?

Digging around, I found a couple of images from an old 'Famous Regiments of the Imperial Guard' article...

Finreht Highlander
Mordant 'Acid Dogs' Sergeant
What I love about these two is that they look like combat soldiers - back-up weapons, grenades, and - most importantly - ammunition. The run-of-the-mill Cadians have what, three magazine pouches? British infantry carry six. They look feral, but also ruthlessly practical - she has a thick vest of some kind (not some eighties Escher-ganger bikini), he's lugging around a respectably sized bergen - this is something that most (even heavily converted) GW minis lack, and what I am endeavouring to create without making the models too 'cluttered'.

What I imagine the characters to look like, and what I manage to make my minis look like, are slowly beginning to converge. Seriously hacked-up Vostroyans with Space Wolf, Marauder Horsemen or more obscurely sourced heads accompany my 'second generation' models pieced together from heavily green-stuffed cadians with Forgeworld bits and all sorts of other odds and ends, who are in turn accompanied by some bulked up and de-eighties-ed Escher gangers. It's taking time, money, and a hell of a lot of effort, but I must admit it's rewarding when it works properly.


Every converted Guard army needs some nauseatingly awful fan-fiction to back it up, and I am no stranger to the fluffwright's art.

The army's fluff has gone through several incarnations which I won't bore you with here, but here's the gist of what I've settled on in order to explain the rather odd styling of this motley bunch:

The 'Wolfsheads'

Somewhere in the Ultima Segmentum, bordering on the Dominion of Storms, lies a small planetary system that once held a minor Naval refuelling station. Due to sabotage or an administrative error, the station was listed as 'Destroyed' in the Administratum's records during the Heresy, ending the Navy's interest - and permanent presence - to this day.

The system quickly sank into a new age of darkness, and as even the robust technologies of the Great Crusade slowly fell victim to neglect or incomprehension as the generations passed and knowledge bled away, travel - and, finally, communications - between the Naval station and the small lunar agri-world that fed it ceased. The last ship left the station in 009.M31, leaving the fertile moon and its inhabitants to their own devices. 

Being a relatively sparsely populated world and already geared towards agriculture, the planet did not suffer the slow, starving fate of many hive-worlds or other industrial planets isolated by the Heresy and its aftermath. However, deprived of the industries and technology of the Naval station the inhabitants of this small moon slowly reverted to a simple, pastoral life - though not, it should be observed, one devoid of danger. The moon had been colonised partly as a private enterprise by a Rogue Trader called Ephemerus Castille (presumed to be the Eph.s Cast. (Rg.Tr) who appears in the mortuary lists of the powerful industrial guilds on nearby Vadarast, having been executed for siding against them in one of the endless localised conflicts that plagued the galaxy during the Age of Strife), who used it to rear exotic animals for the playboy elites of the sub-sector capital of the Castinus system. His untimely death is considered by contemporary scholars to have been a major factor in the moon's continued isolation, and with no Naval officers on ground leave, or shipping magnates to entertain, the sprawling hunting estates maintained for wealthy visitors were neglected, sabotaged or proved impossible to maintain. Ornamental fowl quickly fell prey to the teeth and claws of escaped carnosaurs, hunter-felids, and other exotic predators bred for off-planet hunting parties as their pens decayed and powered fences fell silent, roaming abroad in the night to find the flocks and herds watched by sharp-eyed shepherds alert to stealthy predators and raiding rivals alike.

The disparate population centres lost their metropolitan air and became increasingly introspective and insular as motorised transport became a thing of the past, and the fine equestrian mounts, meat-kine or guard-dogs bred for off-world dealers or holidaying bigwigs became important family assets rather than a luxury export. Inevitably, diseases, harvest failures or predator infestations pushed some groups to raiding; others - often the dynasties of the former PDF - quite ignorant of the arcane mysteries of farming, transformed very quickly from the world's protectors to its scourge, selling their services for food and lodging. What little contact there was largely took the form of vast annual meetings at a distinctive river confluence in the shadow of the sharply ascending mountain range that bisects the moon's primary continent, calculated from bastardised and much-altered records of the system's orbital cycles from millennia ago. At these meetings animals are bought and sold in their thousands, sleek shallow-bottomed wooden ships hewn from the moon's abundant forests find new owners, marriages are arranged, scores are settled and the delicate metalwork of the moon's small and exclusive fraternities of smiths haggled over.

The psyk-signature of so many minds in one small area attracted the attention of an astropath on an outward-questing Ecclesiarchy missionary-ship scanning the darkness between worlds for just such a long-lost world to bring into the Emperor's light, and it was over just one such meet that the Limitless Benificence settled in 838.M39, disgorging a (well-armed) cutter to make contact with the benighted hordes beneath.

And the rest, as they say, is history....


Head scratching time

The internet is a wonderful source of inspiration. I have always been a bit uncomfortable with the use of heavy bolters for Imperial Guard, which are just too over-the-top in their heroic scaling, so imagine my joy when I found this genius conversion:

Sold! All I need to do now is:
a) Find enough of the old-style Ork shootas used to make this
b) Retrofit three tanks. Oh joy...

As mentioned earlier, Bungaroo's work is really excellent and worth a sniff - here's an example:

I have shamelessly pilfered his camo-ragging idea. His blog is to be found here. Very creative.

Heavy Gear II

Squad II, Team I
Squad II, Team I
Squad II, Team II
Squad II, Team II
The photos of the third team came out badly - I'll put them in another time.

Heavy Gear I

After considerable tinkering, I also cobbled together two Heavy Weapons squads - one of autocannons, one of heavy bolters.

Squad I, Team I
Squad I, Team I

Squad I, Team II
Squad I, Team II
Squad I, Team III
Squad I, Team III


I loathe the Chimera chassis. I can't help myself. It looks like a fat man with a small head. Ghastly.

Consequently, I decided that I would like to cobble together some Cargo-8s to use as proxies or using the Vehicle Design Rules of yore.

Mooching around the internet, I found these as a good start-point for inspiration:

This is exactly how I envisaged the Cargo-8 - pintle cannon, soft-topped, and laden down with baggage
The Morris C8 Tractor:

The Scammell Pioneer:

I then took the 'truck' idea and ran with it, since I liked the idea of a semi-motorised army. What about scout trucks of some sort for formational reconnaissance?

A Tamiya 1/35 'Pink Panther' Land Rover:

A Tamiya 1/35 Long-Range Desert Group Chevrolet 30cwt truck:

Others had clearly had similar ideas before me, although I didn't really like their execution:

Too Smurf

Just no.
But then I found Bungaroo's exquisite work on Warseer....

These were a bit more like it, but still not quite right:

So I bought one of the Tamiya 'Pink Panthers' and went to town. I even built a light box, although the results were bitterly disappointing. This is what my prototype looks like at the moment:

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

This is how my army stood in 2007 - two squads of Vostroyans (of which only one was painted) plus a motley crew of Teutogen Guard conversions as a Hardened Veteran squad with the doctrines that gave them WS4 and Carapace armour.


Welcome to the inaugural post of the Weaponsmith blog, where I will vomit forth into the aether my diverse and sundry offerings. Much of the initial material is old and scavenged from a cobwebbed thread of mine on a barely-alive Imperial Guard forum [Battlegroup Carmine, formerly Crusade of the Saint Carmine, formerly the 12th Army Group of Medusa V infamy] and therefore from my early days in the converting business, so please be gentle...