Monday, 18 May 2009

CONVERT: Guard Special Characters

By Suneokun.

I thoroughly enjoy converting, and the new guard codex has given me a fun challenge of converting many of the special characters from plastic mini's. After all, Sly Marbo is 'just' a Catachan Guardsman. Harker might be a monster of a man (by last time I checked, we were all whinging about catachan's oversized arms), and Bastonne is effectively your existing stormtrooper sergeant (hellpistol and powersword anyone?) - who's now a grenadier, go figure?

On Bastonne, has anyone alse noticed that his regroup whatever option is called 'Never give up! Never Surrender!' - I think one of the editing team was asleep the day that one got through as it's the main catchphrase from the genius Startrek spoof comedy 'Galaxy Quest' - (if you haven't seen it, do - it's genius!). So Bastonne's actually Commander Tim Allen?? See here for Galaxy Quest.

On another note, Admiral Drax has done a stellar job 'marking' our latest Commander's Field Handbook product - Imperial Guard. I think this one's going to be a really useful tool as remembering to give 'Orders' and what they are ain't second nature yet. I'm going to do some quick artwork and then it's over to the overworked maestro - Ron @ FTW.

So, on with the conversions....

Gunnery Sergeant Harker - the new codex immediately killed two of my key mini's - my veterans sergeants were kitted out with power swords and storm-bolters, but have now found themselves redundant and non-specified. However, my recent Apocalyse battle gave me the opportunity to field Harker. At 55pts Harker's a steal. After all his heavy bolters worth ten points, and unlike the normal heavy bolter - harker's relentless, giving you a 36" S5 AP4 assault weapon! Harker also brings 'Catachan Devils' as an automatic upgrade to the whole squad. Suddenly your guys can infiltrate, have stealth (+1 cover save) AND move through cover. Well I know - I play Tau), so Harker is a buffed up S4 sergeant who costs 15pts for move through cover and infiltrate - yes please! Alongside Harker, I'm converting a flank assault unit with two grenade launchers and a heavy flamer - because I can.

I took the 'demolitions' toolkit in the apoc battle, and they were brilliant, offering dangerous anti-personnel and lethal anti-tank options. I didn't even get to use the Demolition pack and they were so worth it! They destroyed a Basalisk - weathered a barrage of shots and explosion thanks to their 3+ cover save AND stormed the underground bunker, shot up the corrupt governors retinue with Shotguns, heavy bolters and grenade launchers and pounded him down in two turns (with a little help from Marbo)

10 Veterans: Harker (Payback Heavy Bolter) 6 shotguns, 2 Grenade Launchers, Heavy Flamer, Meltabombs and Demolition Pack - 185 pts.

The conversion is made out of a Catachan Trooper. The right arm is the 'carrying lasgun' arm with the wrist cut and twisted. A Chaos marine heavy bolter barely needs conversion on a catachan as it's really not all that Chaotic. I removed some obvious spikes, but left the dangly bits and the skull - very Catachan! The right arm is the 'lasgun carrying arm' from the catachan box set with the lasgun removed. The left arm is from the catachan sentinel driver with the 'scanner' being molded into the Heavy bolter as a handle. The neck strap is from a standalone Catachan lasgun. No greenstuff was required.

Captain Al'rahem: I don't know about you, but the GW Al'rahem looks a little bit too much like Omar Sharif had a divorce from Elvis and crashed the Bentley into a Middle Eastern Bazaar - it's a horrible horrible mini (just like Straken) and reflects the worst of the 2nd Edition production (like metal rough riders!) Originally I was trying to build a 'Bastonne' for my list (before realising he's basically the Stormtrooper Sergeant), and got stuck on how to do the carapace or the Hot-shot laspistol. As such I decided to covert him to a cadian style Al'rahem - as the sword was 'magical' enough to be his claw - add a plasma pistol and bobs your grandma!

Al'rahem is just brilliant, few armies can cope with a Imperial guard tank/gunline AND a whole flanking platoon! When combined with Sentinel or Vendetta support this option is just too mental not to take. You do have to rethink your battle plan AND an astropath is entirely mandatory, but what great fun! In the apoc battle Ra'hem turned up in his Chimera with three squads and 20 concripts (led by Yarrick) - this resulted in real chaos as the special weapon teams, heavy bolters and so on open up at point blank range. Outside the Tyranid codex, only guard can put quite so many mini's on a flank in one turn. Devastating.

The conversion is a mix of 'Empire pistollier sergeant' coat (leftover form the Cadian Rough Riders Conversion) and sword combined with Cadian garb. The cloak and cadian body needed extensive shaving to fit the model (the riders cloak is usually swept back in the charge), and even the cadian legs had to 'lose the bum' to fit. The head is a catachan's, with the head scarf scraped off to give a 'jean-luc picard' look. The real feature of this model is the lustrous underside of the coat. I've opted for purple as my 'officer' colour in the Kochi 20th, this also means that the army 'fits' with the purple and blue of my Nids for 'genestealer cult armies' care of BoLs.

Guardsman Marbo (WIP): Marbo is just so much fun. Allowing you to assassinate one enemy option out of the blue. Marbo is just placed over 1" away from enemy models. His real effect is in dropping a S8 AP2 large blast template on the enemies head, but his combination of envenomed blade and meltabombs makes him equally dangerous in the backfield.

Marbo was a very easy conversion, I already had converted a 'ordinance charge' veteran. I simply removed his shotgun and replaced it with the 'mortar shell loading' arm from the heavy weapon team. After shaving off the excess mortar - I added a Ogre Bull knife (leftover from the Ogyrn Conversions) for a suitably large catachan devil blade.

Commander/Kell: I'm undecided as yet, but this tank commander is a great model, and is an easy build into Kell. I'm undecided as yet (all he needs is a loudhailer - from a cadian vox unit and a standard). He doesn't have carapace, but I don't see that as a big problem. I'm not a big fan of the Kell model for one main reason - he comes with a Cadian 8th banner. My boys are Kochi 20th - so maybe I'll convert?!?

Either way Kell is very handy when it comes to converting commander's rule to mortars and lascannons in the backfield, but is Kell just one too many 'personalities' for one army list - probably. What do you think?

Future: I would like to produce a Hagard Munk character (see here for an introduction to this most nasty of Guard Commanders) perhaps based around the ForgeWorld stormtrooper chimera commander? I'll probably use the Creed rules for him (they're very simlar) and as long as Munk has a meltagun toting trooper at his side he's all buffed up... probably make Geffen a bodyguard.