Highlights of a Hobby Weekend…and musings about scale!

So, as so happens every few months, my good friend visited from the City again! I tend to treasure these little excursions, as while I may get a good deal of 40k done on my own, it is always nice to sit and watch a good movie the rest of my family has no interest in, all the while building up all the unbuilt stuff in our backlog. Movie night started with Zulu, followed by an episode of Sharpe. The next day, after a short, sharp 40k skirmish, we followed up with America’s closest thing to Waterloo, at least in terms of film; The classic, Gettysburg.

Our hobby area set-up, we started on a small package that had arrived from Artel W, well known for making characters from a certain large British miniatures companies sci-fi books, usually those that haven’t had a model from them before. We all pitched in, and did a nice bulk order to save on shipping, and it was here very quickly, and very crisply and cleanly cast!

Now my gaming group in the city has players of every skill and experience level, and our newest player (and in a fact that makes me quite jealous, is by far the best technical painter in our group!) has little experience with resin. Thus, Artel W’s “Iron Boss”, a large Orc(k) warboss model, was the first on the to-do list.

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He’s a big-un! Fully magnetized for all the weapon options at the suggestion of my friend. A good call too, as it was really simple!
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Here, he’s armed with a massive power-hammer and missile array
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And in this one, a Power Axe and a Grot-Turret
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He’s absolutely massive, easily dwarfing my Guard-sized model here!
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An unfair match-up if there ever was one!

After this, I started on my part of the package; A certain “Hero of the Imperium” and his rather pungent adjutant. Of course, this could only be a model of the great Ciaphas Cain, which to my shame, I actually haven’t read all of his books yet! The smelly Jurgen is well represented too!

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The man, the legend; Commissar Ciaphas Cain, drinking a mug of tanna and holding his saucer like a proper gentleman.
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And holding a tanna pot and napkin, his loyal servant Jurgen. Armed with both a meltagun and lasgun for every encounter…should his stench not shoo them away first!

We finished the night with Sharpe’s Regiment, an oddly political episode of the usually quite action-packed, rock solo type show. The next day, our hobby area cleared off so that we could game on it, we decided to play Hold at All Costs; All I needed to do was survive 5 turns. We agreed on lists prior, but my memory played tricks and me and I must have forgotten to check what he was bringing. Out came the Cadian Steel Tithe, Pask, and 4 of his comrades in Conquerors, backed up by Basilisks, a Hydra, and most worryingly, a Baneblade. I was, if we were playing any other scenario, utterly and hopelessly outmatched with my infantry heavy Vostroyans. But, I had a chance, I just had to tank the shots long enough, provide just enough chaff that he could not possibly kill them all…right?

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It is in these situations you wonder what went wrong…so very wrong indeed…

It was, for the most part, a total turkey-shoot. Of course, this was a turkey shoot of my own design, as I could have brought better units had I remembered what was coming!

We still had fun of course, and it went by rather quickly. Had I been lucky the last two turns, tanked just a little harder, I might have won by the seat of my pants. But as it was, a total and utter military disaster followed. This was followed swiftly by a strong drink, a good cigar and a brisk walk!

I said goodbye to my friend this morning, and spent the rest of the day tidying up. I did get my hobby space sorted again, and primed Cain and Jurgen. It was at this point I thought to see just how big they were…

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Quite tall, even for HEROES OF THE IMPERIUM! Shown in comparison with Commissar Severina Raine from the Black Library event, and a Vostroyan guardsmen. They are all reasonably close though, and I’d have no problem mixing them in the same army.

The answer is, quite tall! They are quite slight and done in a more “true” 28mm then a “Heroic” 28mm, but still stand well above most Guardsmen. It got me thinking; just how big are Guardsmen getting these days?

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Right to left; Praetorian, Cadian(with kilt!), Vostroyan, SLY MARBO, Commissar Severina Raine.

The answer is, quite a bit bigger actually! My poor Praetorians are positively tiny in comparison to the newer models, with both newer GW releases being significantly bigger. The Vostroyans have always been on the large side, a side-effect of the designers wanting to cram as much detail in there as possible. This does worry me a little; the current Guard line looks great and finally the right size compared to the new Primaris Marines, and all that effort would be wasted if Guard suddenly got a lot bigger. We’re supposed to be the average joes, not as big as the vaunted Astartes! Hopefully Severina Raine is not a prelude to the future of Guard models, and merely an aberration.

As it was, a packed weekend with lots of stuff done and it was a nice visit! We did get talking about picking up another “Historicals” game, in this case Blackpowder by Warlord. So in the near future, you will see some 95th Rifles, once my next Tournament list painting goals are achieved. But until then, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming, wherever you are!

 

About Face!(ings)

A bit of a development on the Praetorian front…Whilst they were originally supposed to be just a loyal 32, that idea was shelved pretty sharpish as I fell head over heels for the models. In a move that most saw coming as I never used the blasted things, my languishing Imperial Knights were sold off, to fund, yes, you got it, more Praetorians. I will never be able to run them as infantry heavy as my Vostroyans, the supply just isn’t there. But what, then, to run them as?

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Gone to serve the Emperor in my friends sector of space; May they find better service in the hands of less negligent masters.

The Vigilus Campaign book, Vigilus Defiant, offered a solution in the form the Emperor’s Blade Assault Company; A hard-hitting, fast moving main line of infantry in transports, either in the classic Chimera…or the less then great looking Taurox, backed up by a separate detachment of tanks, using the same regiment as I use to support my Vostroyans, the Pardus Armoured. My Praetorian infantry, all 44 of them, would be used as Mordians for the purposes of the Regimental Doctrine, as this is both fitting to the models heritage, but also the Praetorian lore of them being stubborn men, fighting in immaculate uniforms, in tightly drilled formations. The stratagems in the detachment also encourage an in your face play-style, radically different then my Vostroyan gun-line; with vehicles being able to overwatch even if they were not the target, and to hit on 4’s instead of 6’s while doing so, which apparently stacks with Mordian vehicles hitting on 5’s in overwatch, leading to my transports hitting on 3’s, better then their normal ballistic skill, in the opponents charge phase. I quickly came to the conclusion(perhaps wrongly, if anyone has any ideas on this, please comment!) that while the Taurox is ugly to say the least, it has dual autocannons and the potential for a heavy stubber, for more firepower then a multilaser and heavy flamers on the Chimera. In total, the list would have 2 Chimeras, 4 Tauroxes, 3 Leman Russ Tank Commanders, and a Baneblade. A solid list, I think.

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The MRAP of 40k, looking way sillier with its cute widdle track units…
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Luckily, thanks to Victoria Miniatures, I won’t have to suffer looking at said track units. I’ll be ordering 6 sets of these when the Praetorians get the green light to get started!

With my plan made, and the majority of the Praetorians on the way from distant lands, I decided I needed to do one test figure; and I got hung up on the silliest detail…regimental facings. You see, in the 18/19th century, uniforms had two colors, the obvious one on the outside, and one you’d only see when you turned back the cuffs. These “facings” differed wildly depending on the country, with some having entire branches of the military having the same facings, or in the British example, whatever the founding Colonel thought was a color suitable. I imagine that, even in the 41st Millennium, that more formal regiments follow this idea; You see even the disciplined Mordian Iron Guard in differing uniforms, the Vostroyans with different color turn-backs. I imagine that the Praetorians follow this anachronism as well. The original Praetorians, the 24th Regiment, had dark blue facings and trousers, a quite striking combination that has been emulated quite often. Some others have gone for tan uniforms, some for green uniforms. But the facing colors have always been there, and always a different color. Making mine different was important to me, but it seemed all the good colors had been done already.

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As you can see in this spread, the facing color is a dark navy blue, with the same color used on the pants as well.
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As you can see on my Vostroyan Company Commander, he has “Buff” or cream colored facings; I didn’t give much thought of that when doing these guys, but I did keep it consistent across the army.

In the end, I settled on a light grey, more specifically Ash Grey from the Army Painter line of paints. I figured if it really didn’t look good stripping them would be easy as they are metal. So, here is a member of the 90th Praetorian Dragoons, a mechanized regiment.

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This guy was a blast to paint, as it almost painted itself. The crisp detail was a nice feature of these older metal models. He has a wood-stocked lasgun, grey facings, and the traditional Praetorian red-coat and black boots. The webbing colors I did in class Zulu-era white, as it really pops!
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Quite fantastic facial hair on this guy. I feel he’s too cool to just be a normal Guardsmen, so he may get corporal stripes from my Bolt Action transfer sheets!
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The wash really defines the crisp detail, and is a massive time saver. It also dulls it down, but with me watching the wash and preventing it from pooling, it leaves the model looking rather clean, but still detailed.

It was actually quite an easy paint job, a little under an hour. My whole methodology is that basic troopers get very little time, and I figure I can batch paint these guys to this standard in 2-3 hours in groups of 10. Easy to do, if a little flat looking. I can always go back and try highlighting if my hand-tremors will allow me! Any comments on the colors are welcome and appreciated!

But, that is all I have for you lovely people today, so as always, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming, wherever in the world you are from!

Blast from the Past: Praetorian Guard!

So followers of this blog know that I’m a big Guard fan. What may not be as immediately obvious is my love of 18th/19th century warfare. The smell of powder, the sound of musket fire, and bright flashy uniforms are my kryptonite. The Vostroyans fit this bill to a certain degree, but GW rather wisely made them quite distinct from any one historical source, the closest being WW1 era or earlier Cossack’s. This, and their gothic details place them firmly in the 41st Millennium. No one gets their feathers ruffled, and we get an awesome Guard regiment!

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Vostroyan Firstborn; When you need wear the most ornate uniform to battle!

This restraint wasn’t always the case however, and in the 90’s the Imperial Guard was full of models that more or less represented a stereotypical military force of yore. The Valhallan Ice Warriors are easily Soviets or Winter War Finnish in SPAAAACE. Likewise with the Tallarn Desert Raiders, an equal mix of Lawrence of Arabia’s troops and the WW2 north africa campaign. The Mordians looked like US Marine Corps recruitment ideals, but with their Dredd-Pattern frowns and martial demeanor echoing the Prussians. All of these regiments remained on the store page for a while, as their source material wasn’t immediately going to bother too many people, and their lore distanced themselves a little from their historical analogues.

However, there is always the exception to prove the rule. Enter the Praetorian Guard.

(c) National Army Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Like this, but with more lasers and Orks.

The Praetorian Guard were unabashedly Victorian era British Colonial Troops, more specifically from the Zulu War era. They came from a planet called Pretoria, which any student of geography should realize is a city in South Africa. They fought Orks, which were portrayed as something akin to the Zulus, an unflattering comparison if there ever was one. They remained on shelves for a relatively brief period of time, as if GW realized that, holy hell, this could really be taken the wrong way.

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Very little promotional materiel and official artwork exists for these chaps. This two page spread was all I could find!

Despite this, or, in a lot of cases, because of it, they became extremely popular. Many alternate Guard figures websites such as Victoria Miniatures and Curious Constructs got their start making Not-Praetorians for people who missed the boat the first time. Many prominent bloggers, such as Col.Gravis, Col.Ackland and Col.Winterborne made their names with their lovely Praetorian models. And in my case, I bought a few squads of Victoria Miniatures “Victorian Guard” just because the idea of pith-helmeted Guardsmen fighting the gribblies of the week was too cool an idea to ignore.

They do pop up on eBay from time to time, the original models. And they command quite the premium too. Most people used Mordians while they were still available, as body donors for a head-swap to make yet more Praetorians. But once that supply dried up, well, it is dark days for anyone wanting to play Praetorians. However, earlier this week, a huge amount of blisters arrived on one of the eBay stores I frequent.

I almost didn’t want to open them; The packaging was ancient, and it felt like defiling a relic of a bygone era. But eagerness outweighed that feeling pretty darn quick. Opening them up, and letting out almost 2 decades worth of stale air out, and I was left with enough bodies to make a command squad and one infantry squad.

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Looking sharp! I really look forward to painting them!

The models themselves are the Perry Brothers early GW handiwork. Great details, full of character. They are still, essentially, the Mordian models with a head-swap; trading the ever-present frown for 19th century facial hair and pith helmets.

Out of all of them, I believe the Bugler is the only completely original sculpt done for the Praetorian splash release. But they are all full of character, ready to defend Rorke’s…I mean Glazer’s Creek. They look several degrees easier to paint then my Vostroyans too, a nice change of pace. Not a break from the red though…(Why is almost every army I play red? Seriously, it isn’t even my favorite color!)

I do have another squad in the post, leaving me with 24 models total. While collecting a full Praetorian Guard army is almost impossible, I’m focusing on getting at least 32 models to be my “loyal 32”, to run in conjunction with my Imperial Knights I never seem to actually use. And as a collectors piece, these guys are pretty great. Not many people my way have seen these in the flesh, so it should be a treat!

Now almost deafening in its lack here is an officer to lead them. And there is a reason for this; I really don’t like the Praetorian Guard Captain model! I think it just doesn’t look right, too haphazard and not nearly uniform enough to really fit with his troops.

So, a while back I had taken a Cadian Company Commander from the old metal command box, and slapped a Victoria Miniatures Pith Helmet on it!

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Looking suitably aloof and like he payed for his commission, like a proper gentlemen soldier of Pretoria.

I think he looks pretty good, but I might do some more work on his shoulders, to remove the Cadian Gate insignia or to give him epaulets, a task that may be beyond me!

I got a lot of work to do, and I best get cracking! So, as always, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming!

Fully Painted…Battle Ready?

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Not sure if its the smartest list ever made, but it is a blast to play!

Finally finished my 2000 point list for the tournament tomorrow, after a solid week of painting Vostroyans. Now, I’ve never done a tournament before of any kind, so this sort of competitive play will be an an interesting change of pace. It is using the ITC Championship rules, a huge change from normal play with an insane amount of ways to score objectives. I will be taking pictures of my 3 games tomorrow, and will let you guys know how it went!

I wasn’t planning on painting the flying bases for my aircraft, but a sudden change of heart and the appeal of playing a fully painted army was too much. Unfourtunatly, I had nowhere near the amount of basing material to base them the same as the Vostroyans, so I decided to make the base look like snapshots of a road, as the flyers scream over them.

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 The bases; Note that I have used a larger base, made from a plaque, for my Marauder Bomber as it was dangerously flimsy on the same size base as the rest of my air wing.

Priming the bases grey, I then added a few details, not too many to make it too busy, but enough that they are interesting to look at. I rummaged through the Citadel Basing Kit I bought years ago, which led to some cool resin bits. I’m not sure the kit is still being made, but the resin bits alone are worth the cost.

Of course, with some of the heads having massive bolter holes through the side of them, I took a chance to add some color by adding bleeding and gore effects. Normally, unless the model is very barbaric, I tend to avoid using Blood for the Blood God and Tamiya Clear Red. However, I thought this situation called for it.

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That’s one less Black Legionnaire fighting the Long War!
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Chunky!

Now I can’t claim to be the first to figure out that Tamiya Clear Red is great as a blood paint; I learned it from KrautScientists blog over at https://eternalhunt.wordpress.com. But I like to mix it with Citadels Blood for the Blood God, as the two used together make quite a nasty looking blood effect, with the thin clear red looking fresh, while the thicker BFTBG is great at looking like deep, arterial blood.

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46 Vostroyans, 1 Lord Commissar, 1 Commissar, 1 Leman Russ Annihilator, 2 Wyverns, 2 Thunderbolts, 1 Vulture, and finally 1 Marauder Bomber! My alpha strike potential is high, but this list has one hell of a glass chin.

So, will my Aeronautica list do well? I have no idea, and with my win rate, I’m probably going to lose pretty badly. But, I’m proud that there is not one unpainted or primed only model in this entire force! While the tournament is small, it will still be a grand display when my troops take to the table!

So, until next time, Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming!

 

More Sons of Vostroya join the fight!

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“We shall wage this war with undaunted faith and courage. We shall not take one step back. This is the Emperor’s world and we will not surrender it!”-Lord Marshall Toshenko, Vostroyan XVI

The tournament date of March 30th fast approaches, and this has given me quite the proverbial kick in the pants to get my list painted! An oddity for a guard player, my list actually only has 50 infantry models in it, consisting of 4 Infantry Squads, a Command Squad, a Commissar, a Platoon Officer, and the command staff of a Company Commander and a Lord Commissar. A Vindicare assassin has found his way into the list, as his sniping ability could very well be crucial, and using March’s White Dwarf assassin update makes him quite dangerous.

Of these models, all but the Infantry Squads are painted already, a small dent in the total 100+ strong Vostroyan army I’ve collected over the past year, but a significant portion of my tournament list. The reason for only taking 40 is two-fold; firstly by painting 40 Guardsmen for the list, it knocks out half of my 80 total Infantry Squad models to paint, a major milestone for painting the lot. Secondly, it left me plenty of room to take those shiny planes I showed off a couple days ago. Oddly, I find myself essentially taking a variant of the Loyal 32, a term used to describe the fact that somehow every imperial player is taking 3 Infantry Squads and 2 Company Commanders for +5 command points, for a very cheap cost in points. In my case, my Guard force is substantially smaller then normal to accommodate the aircraft, but big enough to grant me that crucial 5 extra command points, and still a viable enough threat that it can’t be ignored completely.

Now, I was going to paint 2 Wyverns yesterday, but a goof up in a Facebook group chat, by me reposting old content, led to a joke that in penance I should paint up 10 Guardsmen, followed by a prayer to the Emperor*. Of course this was all in jest; but for some reason, it got me thinking. By painting the slog of Guardsmen first, leaving the relatively easy tanks for last minute, my army would look that much better on the tournament date. Properly motivated, I set to work.

As you can see, I held up my end of the bargain. 10 painted and based Vostroyans, ready to march to war on the 30th. Now, they are done up to my personal best, which I know is quite a low standard. But they are easily tabletop quality, and when you have this many more guys to paint over the course of a week and a bit, quantity has a quality all its own. Looking at each model individually, you can see the lack of highlighting and while I at least try to paint within the lines, it has rough edges. But ranked up…

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A firing line of freshly painted Vostroyans, looking sharp as they pose for Regimental Standard?

They suddenly look far better. This is the real secret to painting a horde army, even one as ornate as the one I’ve chosen; Paint well enough that they look good together and suddenly it raises the standard on all of them.

Another problem was also solved here. While they were just undercoated, as the clubhouse I attend doesn’t have a strict painting policy, I gamed with them anyway. But quite often squads would get mixed together, taking a minute or two to fix. That is OK at casual club matches, but it tournament rounds of 2 hours each, slow play just isn’t acceptable. With that in mind, I thought about squad markings. On Cadian models, one could easily paint a piece of uniform a squad color, but those models also have features that carry over the whole squad, like shoulderpads and armor. But Vostroyans are surprisingly not as uniform as you might think. Armor trim, chainmail, even pouches vary wildly on each model.

So, I used the base. By painting a simple block of color on the otherwise drab brown rim of the base, I can easily identify from behind which squad is which. I can’t remember if I saw this idea somewhere before, so I can’t claim credit for it. But it should work really well.

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Simple maybe, but this could save precious time moving my boys up the field.

All in all, a good nights/mornings work. I think today I will tackle another Squad. I learned a few tricks to save time in the process of painting these initial 10, things that I didn’t learn when painting the officer corps individually. Now that the squads will be individually marked, it’ll be even easier to keep track of their exploits on the battlefield, and maybe even earn some of these boys a name to remember them by. Or they could all die in ignominy, face down in a ditch. The dice give, and the dice take away.

But until next time,  Ave Imperator, and happy war-gaming!

*Oh, but don’t think I’m slacking on that last part!

Adore the Immortal Emperor For he is our Protector

Admire the Immortal Emperor For his Sacrifice to Mankind

Exalt the Immortal Emperor For his strict guidance

Revere the Immortal Emperor For his undying guard

Venerate the Immortal Emperor For his Holy Wisdom

Honor the Immortal Emperor For his Eternal Strength

Glorify the Immortal Emperor For his All Seeing Vision

Praise the Immortal Emperor For his Unending rule

Hail the Immortal Emperor For he is Lord and Master

Worship the Immortal Emperor For without him we are nothing

Aeronautica Imperialis: Because Air-power is awesome!

Hey guys! First off, for those who found my content interesting, my apologies for not posting…in, what, 4-5 months? Its been a while. I had some stuff in life that drained my hobby energy while I dealt with it. I’m not sure if I’m fully back to 100% yet but I figured its high time I started blogging again! So with that out of the way….

“Strong men have conquered the land, Bold men have conquered the void, Between land and void lies the sky, and only the Bravest men ever conquer that.” -from the dedication to the Hessenville Aviation Scholam, Phantine.

When I started 40k, and bought my first flyer, it was new; a gimmick, something useful but outside of Forge World and the realm of the casual game, not seen terribly often. Oh, how times have changed. Now, almost every faction has access to some sort of flyer, be it a fighter, bomber, fighter bombers or even the super-heavy titan killers. Forge-World always had the nicest Imperial aircraft however, and for a teenager on a budget, such things were the realm of fantasy. Now, in my late 20s, that has changed. Enter, Ebay.

Slowly, but surely, through ebay purchases and a gift of an Arvus Lighter by a friend, my airpower grew from one Valkyrie to a Vulture, two Thunderbolts, another Valkyrie. Soon, the idea of owning and painting an entire Squadron was no longer a far off dream, but a very achievable reality.

Now, some thought had to be put into painting them, and a good background reference was both real world reference and history books, and Black Library’s admittedly rather limited selection on the Aeronautica Imperialis(Which, by the way, Dan Abnett’s Double Eagle, set in the same area of space as Gaunt’s Ghosts, is a fascinating view of Imperial air combat!). A little more on the Aeronautica; As Guard regiments are not allowed their own air-support, all aircraft are instead an atmospheric part of the Imperial Navy, who jealously guard this niche. As well, Squadrons, like in the real world, do not consist usually of more then one kind of aircraft, both to keep its role focused and to simplify logistics. With this in mind, I started to paint the Thunderbolts as part of the 144th Fighter Wing, a Thunderbolt equipped fighter-bomber squadron tasked with escort duty or ground attack based on the mission profile. The Vulture, subtly different in paint scheme with a slightly more drab look, belongs to the 317th Tactical Air Wing, who operates Valkyrie and Vendetta gunships as well. The Arvus is part of a naval support wing, and shuttles pilots from orbit to aircraft on the ground, as well as basic logistical duties that may come up.

Now this is where the story would end, but as fate would have it, my tax return and a chance eBay find happened within days of each other. After spending most of it on adulting, I then splurged and got something crazy.

The mainstay of the Imperial Navy atmospheric bomber fleet, the Marauder Bomber is a huge chunk of resin, maybe not the biggest ever but by far my heaviest model. Already assembled to a decent standard, it didn’t take long to get the motivation to paint it. Thinking that a bomber would be part of a larger Navy bomber wing, this beast was painted up to be part of the 541st Bomber Wing. An absolute joy to paint.

I decided that the top would be blue, specifically the Fang, as its blueish grey would look realistic while still showing it off as the centerpiece model it is. The bottom was Army Painter’s necrotic flesh, as its nice cream color complemented it nicely. Note, I do not own an airbrush, so the join between the colors was a mix of brush work and rattle-can trickery. While maybe not the best painted bomber ever, I’m still immensely proud of it.

And, its not done! I’ve put the 541st squadron markings on the tail, but I want to get nose art and put it on the front part of the hull. As well, I’m keeping an eye out for a nice large white aquila to put on one of the wings.

All the models I have shown off tonight are being used in a tournament on the 30th of March, held at my “Local” (if one could call an hour and a half drive local) store. While perhaps not as competitive as some other lists, and very easy to table because of boots on the ground, its capacity for high-damage firepower is undeniable. I did actually get a chance to test it against one of my regular opponents.

The flyers did very well, causing massive alpha strike damage, and generally chewing up whatever it was pointed at. While I did lose because of not playing the objective as well as I could have, it was still a good test of the firepower of the Imperial Navy, and I suffered only minor casualties, and didn’t lose a single aircraft.

All in all, this has been a very fun project of mine, and one I don’t see myself ever finishing. Every time I reread Dan Abnett’s Double Eagle, or watch the Battle of Britain or Dunkirk, the need to add to my air-force grows.

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Hopefully you guys enjoyed my little rambling project log, and I hope to see you guys again really soon. Tomorrow, I will be posting some dangerously heretical stuff from Shadowspear. But until then, Ave Imperator!