Road to Glazers Creek: Praetorians, Full Steam Ahead!

“A prayer’s as good as bayonet on a day like this.”

“Still, a chap ought to look smart in front of the men, don’t you think?”

Hello! It has been a while since I focused on my Praetorians, and a long time ago, I alluded to doing a Glazers Creek refight. Unfortunately, plans fell through at the time. I have made new plans for Glazers Creek, however, and for that I’ll need 25 Power Level of Imperial Guardsmen. And, what better regiment then the Praetorian XXIV!

Glazers Creek, if you don’t already know, is a fantastic scenario for Warhammer 40k featuring an Imperial Guard last stand against the vile Ork menace. Players must survive waves of Greenskins, and if even one Guard model remains at the end, the Imperial player wins! It was originally fought in 2nd Edition Warhammer 40k, but saw a new scenario update in 2018, and is a tremendous amount of narrative fun. Of course, this last stand is inspired by the epic 1964 Film Zulu, and the original scenario wore this inspiration on its sleeve.

Zulu (1964) - (Drama, History, War) [Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla  Jacobsson] [Feature] - video Dailymotion
“Men of Harlech, stop your dreaming, can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming…”

To tease you a little, allow me to elaborate on the refight. It will either be the classic Orks, or altered to feature the Tyranid menace. Unlike GW’s rendition of the fight, I will be splitting the command with another Guard player. This is to represent a Bromhead and Chard scenario, just like Zulu! Both Imperial players will have side objectives, and while surviving is the key, they will have differing goals, and that may cause tension, especially as you can’t tell the other player what that goal is!

Now to do this battle the justice it deserves, I need to get my Praetorian Guard painted. I have made another post detailing the history behind that regiment, and I won’t go for length here, but suffice to say they wear spiffy redcoats and gleaming pith helmets! They are, really, just head-swapped Mordian Iron Guard, but they have gained a life of their own on the internet. I have acquired, slowly and expensively, over the last few years almost a company’s worth of them.

I did a few test models, but this is the real deal now. I was inspired by the blog and Subedai’s amazing Praetorian paint scheme. While I could not hope to match the crispness and amazing brush work, I did steal wholesale the paint scheme. Lets have a look at my first completed unit, a Command Squad led by Major Cushing!

This Praetorian is meant to be used on a weapons team, but I like to imagine he has some sort of fancy mini-vox. I love how vibrant I managed to get the red!
The white pouches add some real contrast to the paint scheme. I’m particularly chuffed about it.
Meltaguns. Never leave home without at least one! This model is a one-off, as I can’t see myself spending another $50 Canadian dollars on another one!
I did a bit of muzzle burn on the barrel. It’s a simple effect but I think it works.
Who needs vox-casters when you have good ole Bugles?
The crispness of the yellow lace was fun to paint, and simple too! All it took was a base of Averland Sunset followed by a wash.

Now the other two models are particularly interesting. The banner is an old school, printed banner glued on with white glue, bearing the insignia of the Praetorian XXVI. This was included in the old Praetorian army box, but mine is simply printed out on paper and glued on.

Holding aloft the banner of the Regiment, this lad is ready to fight off those who would bring it low.
I put some kinks into the banner, to give it the effect of wind blowing on it.

Now the officer, this was an interesting case. I never liked, as controversial as this is, the official Praetorian officer model. It seemed too wild, lacking in trim and regimental flavour. On the other hand, I had an old Cadian officer model that didn’t fit that regiment, what with his ‘sneering imperialist’ expression. I simple plonked a pith helmet from Victoria Miniatures onto his head, and presto, a fine Praetorian officer was born! I removed the Cadian Gate from his one pauldron, and painted his flak armour a crisp white.

It is amazing what a simple Pith Helmet can add to a model!
Again, I made sure to keep the red nice and crisp. While he lacks epaulettes I made sure to include yellow details on his scarf.
No Cadian gate here!
With a face like this, he was born to be a Praetorian. That imperial disdain is perfect.

That is all I got done today, but my full list for the refight includes three Infantry Squads. I can knock out ten men a day, like I did my Vostroyans for the Miniwargaming trip. But why stop there? I have 70+ of the lads to do, and that is just seven painting sessions! Having a blog will keep me on track here, as I will want to post them. It is quite good motivation!

Well, I hope you enjoyed your first real taste of Praetorian goodness, because I plan on getting these guys done really quickly! I will be back with more later this week. Until then, Happy War-gaming wherever you may be, and remember to fix bayonets!

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?

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.

The MRAP of 40k, looking way sillier with its cute widdle track units…

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.

13046_md-2nd Edition, Imperial Guard, Praetorians, White Dwarf
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.

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.

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!

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!

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!

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.

13046_md-2nd Edition, Imperial Guard, Praetorians, White Dwarf
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.

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!

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!