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Monday, December 20, 2010

Project: Imperial Guard (where men are men)

Well there's been a slight layoff in painting production in December but with the arrival of some new toys, that is all about to change!  I decided that my Ultramarine army is in decent shape and the plan is to take it to the table for a few games in order to figure out how it performs under the "new" (to me, at least) rules before making any further additions.  With that, my gaze can finally turn to those most lovable of meat shields, the Imperial Guard. 

Ever since the dark days of Second Edition, I've always been a fan of the Guard.  There's something about them that just really appeals to me.  I think it probably has to do with the fact that in a universe of untold horrors, grotesque aliens and huge war machines with weapons that level cities, G.I. Joe Schmoe is still out there in the trenches with nothing more than a rifle and his wits.  Not that I would ever find myself on the business end of a snarling Ork assault or a Tyranid invasion, but I feel like on some level I can relate to these guys.  They might have huge tanks and big guns of their own, but when it comes down to it, they're really nothing special.

As a young pup, the Ultramarines were always my first love, and I really only started collecting the Guard as an afterthought; basically as an Allied force to mix things up a little bit.  What drew me to them first were the awesome Leman Russ tanks and I knew I had to get these in my army somehow.  In Second Edition, there were no real rules regarding Allied attachments beyond what armies you could pick from, and what percentage of the total army list could be allocated to allies.  So, the first things I ran out to buy were TWO Leman Russ's (a standard model and a Demolisher) an Inquisitor in Terminator armor and a squad of Catachan jungle fighters.

Over the next few years of my 40k career, I slowly added to this with models I picked up here and there that seemed cool to me, most of them notably NOT of Games Workshop lineage...which brings me to another point. 

There are a TON of companies out there that make standard 25mm human sci-fi figures...many of which are perfect for use in an Imperial Guard army.  My favorite source for these was the now defunct (but still dear to my heart) line of Warzone miniatures by Heartbreaker Hobbies.  More recently, The Wargames Factory has released a line of plastic Greatcoat Shock Troopers that look very sinister and at a price of $20 for a box of 18, they're nice and easy on the wallet.  These are just two examples of extra sources for alternatives to the standard GW fare...and there are many more out there!

Note: Big Brother says you can't use them in official tourney play, but most local stores seem okay with it as long as they aren't too hard to identify in terms of WYSIWYG, or "what you see is what you get."

After a couple years of this, I had a mish-mash of models loosely banded together to form something that resembled a coherent army.  Hardened jungle veterans lined up next to gas-masked trenchers who were dug in next to pint-sized snipers who in turn supported a squad of heavy armored (note, this had no game effect, it was just cool looking) infantry with assault rifles.  Looking back now, viewing this 'army' deployed on the field must have been like seeing a Jackson Pollack piece for the first time.  But, it was mine and in my fifteen-year-old brain, it was awesome. Fast forward a decade and here I am, cracking open the 5th Edition Codex: Imperial Guard for the very first time.

Cue: rude awakening. 

Apparently, things have changed a bit since the glory days of the Vortex Grenade.  My army, as it is, can no longer even be fielded as such.  It appears that in both points values and force organization, Games Workshop (read: money grubbing bastards) has put a premium on number of models.  This basically means in order to put an Imperial Guard army on the table, I would have to roughly double the size of my existing force.  *sigh*

After a couple days of frustrated ranting, my protests slowly gave way to the reality of the situation.  I had spent THIS much time and effort on these models so far, and I'd be damned if I couldn't use them.  So, like the pathetic addict I am, I logged on to the GW website and started filling my shopping cart. 

I know what you're thinking, "But Rob, you just said there are a ton of other sites to get miniatures from!!" I know, I know...but with my sights set on competitive play, I decided I will have to:

A. Drink the GW Kool-Aid and play by their rules by using their stuff. 

B. Be able to field a somewhat cohesive looking army instead of the rag-tag misfits that currently fill the roster sheet.

So, I looked everything over and based on the usable models I have in my army, I purchased the following to bolster my force and give me what I feel should be a decent list that suits my playing style, ie: slow moving with big guns.  I decided to stick with the Catachans as the fluff-base because I generally think they're badass, plus, I already have a squad and a couple of additional Catachan models painted.  In larger games, I fully intend to use this force in concert with my smaller Sisters of Battle detachment (now under the Codex: Witch Hunters umbrella) to give them a little more bite.

Behold!!! One mortgage payment's worth of little men.

- Catachan Jungle Fighters Battle Squad Box (30 models)

- Catachan Command Squad (5 models)

- Regimental Advisors blister (3 models)

- Heavy Flamer blister (2 models)

- Catachan Assault Weapons (1 w/ Grenade Launcher, 1 w/ Melta-gun)

- Catachan Heavy Weapons Box (3 Heavy Weapons teams -- 6 models)

- Catachan Heavy Weapons Team (1 team -- 2 models)

So, there you have it...50 models altogether.  Let's do this.

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