A new normal
It’s been almost 5 months since I posted last, the combination of global pandemic, criminal negligence from the people elected to look after us and the largest civil rights movement I’ve ever lived through hasn’t given me much headspace to create content. I’ve been sat with the same 9 draft posts for months, some are from an Inquisitor campaign that is looking increasingly like it’ll never see completion, some are of projects from 2017(!), some are writing or design that I never got round to editing.
I’m still mourning what I’ve lost, and while thankfully I still have my health and all my loved ones (we were quick to go into isolation while our government arsed around and delayed a proper lockdown), I’m coming to terms with what a new ‘normal’ will be.
I’ve done a heap of hobbying over lockdown, occasionally sending snapshots over Twitter, but I’ve neglected the proper writeups and lovely images that come with it. I’ve been putting off my ‘welcome back’ blog post for a while, either because I wanted to do a big, explosive return with lots of exciting new content, or I wanted to sneak back in under the radar and pretend nothing happened, or something in between.
Lockdown has given me a lot of time to be introspective, and logging back in to find there are still dozens of people accessing the site daily despite zero activity on my part has given my spirits a lift. The world is in a strange place right now but knowing I can bring pleasure to people with the things I create is enough to dust off the keyboard and get back to publishing.
I’ll be tinkering with the format of the blog, hopefully with more emphasis on the RPG stuff I’ve been working on, but for now I’ve got a tonne of cool minis I want to show off…
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves
It all started with some easy-build Imperial Guardsmen and some heads from Anvil Industry.
Super easy to assemble, I got a box of five for less than a fiver on the internet. After making a bunch of weirdness for various RPGs I was running, I was looking forward to batch painting some soldiers.
Snipping the heads off was straightforward, they just needed their necks hollowing out with a craft knife to make room for the Anvil heads.
I picked up a Cadian command box from my FLGS Asgard Wargames so I could make a gunner and sergeant of some kind. I also happened to have a spare ogryn in my bits box, so guess who was getting some auxiliary muscle!
I was pretty deep into our Orthesian Dynasty Rogue Trader game and we’d just started discussing the possibilities of recruiting an army, so naturally I became overly obsessed and planned out half a dozen different Imperial Guard regiments using the Only War regiment builder. None of them got used, but one of them got lodged in my brain and the only way to work it out was to assemble them.
Anvil Industry don’t make Ogryn-sized helmets (yet…) so I had to assemble my own pith helmet from green stuff to complete the look. I had no idea what I was going to use this squad for, but I knew they were going to crop up in our Rogue Trader game and give my PCs a headache sooner or later.
By this point I’d settled on the name – Hastati mercenaries from the planet of Demeter. They’re modelled on the Imperial Guard, but they’re a bunch of bastard-hard mercs who specialise in planetfall, ship-to-ship combat and bringing the local flora and fauna to heel. They’ve identified a niche as an army that specialises in just about everything a Rogue Trader needs on a hostile planet, and they appreciate that rivals showing up is all part of the paycheck…
Trooping the colours
I knew I wanted them hella flashy, with rich colours for their tunics and elaborate metalwork to show off their wealth. The Ventrillian Nobles were an inspiration, as were the obvious colonial redcoats their helmets are based off.
A nice bronzey metallic with two coats of wash then edge highlighted with the same colour gives an easy-win expensive look. The real bollock was the white – just when you think you’ve done enough thin layers…
The fatigues and tunic were the same idea – base colour, wash and layered on the top. I didn’t want to paint more than a dozen, but if I *did*, I’d want a scheme that could be batch painted. I don’t even need to actively punish myself, I can potentially punish myself in a hypothetical future. Cosmic brain hobbying.
I still haven’t perfected my plasma coil recipe. I always go for the cop-out of lighter colours on the ridges, as I can never get the under-glow right. One day I’ll be brave enough to attempt the anti-highlight, but it wasn’t on this project.
PS don’t tell anyone but I absolutely did not drill out this barrel.
I toyed with the idea of having them on jungle/desert bases because it fit their aesthetic, but I really liked the juxtaposition of cold, hard starship flooring. They might be adept at traversing alien worlds, but their home is made of steel. It’s not terra firma under their feet, but grav-plating.
I’m very happy with how the big ogryn lad came out. The whole squad was designed to be an encounter on an alien world with a rival Rogue Trader, and I couldn’t shake the idea that trekking through the unknown with a heavy weapons platform didn’t seem right. Your heavy support should come with its own set of legs, and aside from avoiding the odd dark enclosed spaces, should be relatively self-sufficient.
Mid-level Rogue Trader RPG parties are capable of putting out an astonishing amount of firepower, but aside from the odd defense-heavy Explorator, aren’t capable of withstanding a whole lot of return fire. As glass cannons go, they just get an awful lot more cannony – relying solely on deleting threats before they become a problem.
Ogryns are strong and tough anyway – coupled with some decent armour and a shield made of space magic and suddenly they’re a potent threat. Your sniper character can’t one-shot it, so you have to dedicate some of those precious resources you’d use to delete more dangerous threats.
All in all a lovely little patrol group. Trained human mercenaries are not high on the list of things you expect on an uncharted alien planet, so I hope it’ll give my players a run for their money!