Friday, November 1, 2013

40K Friday - Death Guard

I've been slowly acquiring needed pieces and putting parts together for my chaos marine army. I know CSM's are not highly regarded right now in the competitive 40K scene but I don't do this for tournaments. I had a 40K Chaos army back in 2nd edition (back when Abaddon was a new mini) but I later traded it away for more Orks - because you always need more Orks! This was one of those things that taught me never to trade away painted figs because I will regret it later - because I did.

I actually started picking up pieces and units during 5th edition but I never put them together because I just wasn't feeling the inspiration I needed to get it started. I kept picking up things that looked interesting and waited for that light-bulb moment. Now my only fully built and painted Warhammer Fantasy army is a Chaos Warrior army that goes back to 3rd Edition, so I'm comfortable playing the badguys. That army does have a theme though and I wanted to have something like that to guide my assembly of the force as it helps me decide what makes sense to include and what does not rather than just grabbing everything and throwing together a scratch force every time I play.

Last year I finally felt like I had a concept:What if my army was a force trapped in the warp aboard a space hulk and whenever I used them in a fight it meant the hulk had emerged into space near a planet? The random nature of the warp and the screwy nature of time there meant I could justify all kinds of ridiculousness in terms of time and place. Say, a demon prince, a chaos sorcerer and a band of survivors stranded aboard a hulk. This would also influence what kinds of units would be included, as it seems unlikely that a massive tank force would be carried aboard a hulk, so this would mostly be an infantry and walker force and maybe ... bikes. At the time that seemed like an interesting mix of forces. Then the new codex came out and every CSM army seems to include bikes anyway so it's not quite as novel as it was.

This concept would also give me a reason to do some interesting bases. I've decided to do a metal decking/grid thing with them - once I have some finished samples I will share.I tend to do plain "turf" bases and once you start an army you're kind of chained to that particular approach. Any update of the basing requires you to go back and do all of the bases if you want to keep a unified look. I usually do want that as consistent basing is one of the things that brings an army together as a unified force -  visually speaking. A few years ago when I last expanded my fantasy chaos army I went with snow bases because I wanted something different and because they were supposed to be invaders from the north. Going back and updating the older parts of the army was easy because you just put snow on top of whatever is already there - just like reality! Metal deck grids are not something that's easily retrofit onto a painted mini but since it's a new army I don;t have to worry about that part. Since I am doing it myself I am not dependent on "custom base X" from a particular model company being available and that's something I don't want anyway as I tend to add to them and keep armies for the long haul.

So now I have a concept, I have a pile of mini's, I have an interesting base idea. What do I want them to be? The "stranded" concept screams Nurgle to me and explains why the force is reduced from whatever it used to be - they are the survivors of some horrible plague, the "chosen" of Nurgle. The only problem is that I am not all that thrilled with the standard color scheme for Nurgle of blah green + rust + the occasional pink intestine or yellow eyeball. It just isn't that visually appealing to me. There is hope though:

The pre-heresy Death guard legion uses a green on white scheme that looks pretty nice, and I don't have a set of white-armored marines. Even if I dirty them up they should still stand out. I really like the painting guide I found here - that's a good looking paint job, especially when the whole army is lined up.

Force-wise I see a Nurgle Chaos Lord in terminator armor, a Chaos Sorcerer on a bike, and a demon prince as my HQ's. The termie lord will lead a couple of units of Nurgle terminators, the psycher biker will lead a Nurgle-marked bike squad, For Troops there will be a couple of units of plague marines and regular CSM's and possibly some cultists just because I have them. For heavy support I'm building a unit of Havocs for now, and I have a pair of helbrutes for any leftover Elite slots. In the near future I'd like to add a heldrake but I don't have one yet.

Not everything will be in every force but the basic strategy is hold some objectives with the troops while the bikes and termies (and heldrake) clear the enemy off of the others. Details will vary but that's the basic approach for now.

So far:

There's 1 CSM squad, 1 terminator squad, some bike parts, and an otyugh who will be a chaos spawn for this army. Yes, there are some normal marines mixed in there to represent the less-corrupted members of the force.

There's the rest of the terminator parts, six bikes & bikers and the sorcerer and his bike. We're just in the "primed white" stage but it's a start. The two six-man plague marine squads are already primed as is the demon prince so the core is pretty much handled. Now I need to get some actual color on them. The whole army is a mix of old-school metal chaos and some of the newer plastics. I think a decent paint job will unify them. My take is that this unit of Death Guard is still largely in their pre-heresy colors but is inevitably sliding toward that Nurgle guts-hangin-out look that most of the modern units have. Being in and out of the warp means that different units do it at a different rate - some of them are nearly pristine white and un-mutated while others look like normal plague marines. It should be fun and if I do it right it gives me a little variety in painting while keeping the army looking like it belongs together. More to come!

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