Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More PBJ. Er, PBI.

Here's the completed Red/C.

A full army shot, at least the army thus far:

Three completed infantry squads, one unpainted platoon command squad, two built (and one half-built) Rough Riders, two Highlanders (one built), and fifteen War Orphans.

What are the War Orphans? These guys:

They're the various metal Guardsmen I've collected over the years. I have zero idea where any of them came from, so I probably got them in various bulk bitz I've bought from people. Two Steel Legionnaires, four Mordians, four Tanith, one Catachan Sergeant (possibly one of my favourite models ever, the dude with the shades, bolter and cigar. I'm going to give him a Tilly Hat to make him 110% awesome.), two old metal Cadians and two old metal Storm Troopers. I'm thinking of using them as members of a Battalion of Detachments, nicknamed the "War Orphans", to quickly bulk up the numbers until I can buy more Cadians.

And, finally, I realized I hadn't done a workspace picture. Here it be:

Yes, I'm a slob.

The Armour of Carboard

I have fortifications! Along with further proof that Starbucks is awesome (as if we needed more proof...)

Defense Tower. It kind of reminds me of the castle towers in Samurai Jack... Once I've got MDF I'll give it a proper base and some razor wire and rubble barricades around the bottom.

I made the platform large enough to comfortably fit three Heavy Weapon team bases, and about twenty Guardsmen (or Marines, or any other man-sized model I would assume) fit up there. It's a little over six inches tall, but I figure it can be treated as though a full turn's movement can take a squad from the base to the platform.

A bunker! I want all my towers to be the same height, and since my wife gets grande instead of venti I had to find something else for this cup. Thus, a small pillbox/bunker thingy. Again, fits a Heavy Weapon base snugly. I saved the top half of the cup, and I think I'll use it as the centre of an [i]Enemy at the Gates[/i] style fountain/statue, because there's always one.

Defensive barricades/mini-trenches. I couldn't do a proper trench, so I knocked these together. Once I have some kind of putty or something less expensive than green stuff I'll fill in the fronts.

And the barricades with the bunker. I forgot to crop this one, and the last one apparently, so you get a guest appearance by my knee. ;)

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Cardboard City Begins

I've decided that I'm tired of mooning about the internet, thinking "I should build some terrain someday", and just to build some. That said, I'm more interested in getting enough stuff built to be able to play with, without resorting to the Book Pile of Doom and hopefully be able to get some variety. I've got a ton of cardboard boxes lying around from the last move, plus a lot of bits I've been saving over the years.

On to the pictures!

A Manufactorum. I got this kit for my birthday a year or two ago, and only finally built it properly a couple weeks ago.

A bunker. It has a removeable lid. I patterned it roughly on the templates in the 4th Ed rulebook.

A small ruin. The broken floor is new (to me, at least). I only just noticed it while taking the pictures, but I think I'll work with it as it adds a nice touch to the piece.

The above ruin's mate. This one got some CoD bits I had left over from the Manufactorum to spruce it up.

A little barricade thingy.

A big ruin, again patterned on the template in the back of the 4th Ed rulebook.

So, yeah, that's the city so far. They're very plain, and unpainted, and they're likely to stay that way until I've got enough to do a good table, at which point I'll probably come back and do a second pass to add rubble, gubbins, etc.

Any suggestions for what to do next? I was thinking the remains of a small church.

Fear the Beard!

Well, a week after Air Canada sent my bags to Toronto without me (my flight was canceled due to weather, or something, but they still sent our baggage on. O.o) we got our bags back. This is good for you because the camera was in my wife's bag. Pictures!


That's the first half of Red/C. The second half is just primered, so I didn't bother with them.

Here's a close up on the Sergeant. I gave his peg leg a little foot, but it's kind of hidden by the basing. Ah, well. I do like how the GS on the end of his pant leg turned out.


Red/Command! I'm really quite pleased with these guys. I opted for two shotgunners and two with LP+CCW, plus the JO and the Commissar, so this squad should be decent in CC. Assuming I'm fighting, oh, wet paper bags? ;)


I've always wanted a beardy army, so I've decided that every barefaced Yukoni, with a couple of exceptions, will have facial hair. Starting with Mr. Chops here.


The Platoon Sergeant Major. The aquila on his breastplate denotes his rank of Warrant Officer. Also...BEARD! I also extended his bandanna into an eye wrap.


The second guy with shotgun. Behold...sleeves!


One of the few without facial hair, this guy is one of the Yukoni version of the First Nations (also known as American Indians, FYI). Thus, because sterotypes are fun, he has a tomahawk, mohawk and severed heads.


And Herr Kommissar. Alles is in fact klar. He's only other smooth-chinned member of the army thus far, to help mark out the fact that he isn't a Yukoni. His pistol is meant to be some kind of stub- or auto-pistol revolver type thing. I think it turned out okay...


And the Old Man himself, Captain "Wolfbiter" DeJean. Fear the mustache! Fear it! I didn't get any pictures of it, but his cape is off the Marauders sprue, and still has the skull on it. I didn't want to ruin the cape so I didn't remove it, and it just occurred to me to make it into an Ork skull.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Aye, gie em wind!

You know you're a tough guy when you don't need a helmet.


That's the Sergeant of Red/C, the whole of whom can be seen here:

I want to finish 'em off as quickly as possible so I can get to Red/Command. I've got a few of them done or almost done, in violation of my one-squad-at-a-time rule, and I think they're awesome and want to show them. But rules is rules!

Speaking of adhering strictly to my self-imposed rules, here is the Highlander. I like him so much, especially his tam o'shanter, I think I'm going to replace one of the platoons with him and his ilk, just for fun. Also, reading Brave Battalion isn't helping. There's just something so compelling about a mob of soldiers rushing across no man's land, through mud and barbed wire, dressed in kilts with a piper urging them on. You can keep your hyper-modern special forces, I'll take the Ladies from Hell any day!

I need that to grasp!

I'd love to be showing off the latest round of pics of the Yukoni. I really would. Red/C is almost totally built, and I'm quite pleased with the Sergeant especially.

Also, I built a Highlander, for no readily apparent reason beyond having a compulsion to put kilts on things.

So yeah, I should be having pictures to show, but instead the batteries are powering an extra XBox controller for the wife and her BFF to play Left 4 Dead (I can hear the screams and moans of dying (re-dying?) zombies as I type this) so the camera is as dead as those zombies should be.

To make it worse, I can't keep working on said models until such time as I can take pictures because I slipped while cutting up a lasgun in preparation for drilling and GS'ing and drove the point of my Exacto knife in the meat at the tip of my thumb. It hurt. And bled. A lot. So now my left grasping digit can't have any pressure put on it and everything that needs doing requires exactly that. Curse you, Salazar!

In other news, I think I've got the plans down for how I'm going to represent the Medusa Siege Guns and the Thudd Guns. For the Thudds, I'm going to make Nebelwerfers with plasticard and Ork Zzap Gun carriages. The Medusas are going to be WWI British Mk5 8" howitzer made by HLBS Figures. I was originally going to use their "Big Bertha" German Krupp 420mm howitzer, but after looking at pictures of both and comparing them against Forge World photos of the Medusa, I think that the Bertha is better for a Bombard.

My other news is all literary... I bought Only in Death and read it in an afternoon. Excellent book, but I kind of wish the Ghosts would go back to proper stand-up fights. Abnett does the bizarre stuff really well, but it sometimes gets in the way of good old fashioned soldiering when there's spectres and giant ambulatory spinal columns wandering about. I also got four Canadian military history books, the first of which I'm to read is "Brave Battalion" by Mark Zuehlke. It's about the history of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) through the whole of the Great War. It's probably what prompted me into making a kilt-wearing, tam o'shanter-topped, lascarbine-weilding Yukoni Highlander. I might replace Green Platoon with a Highlander Platoon, just for fun.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The army list

As Muskie so aptly pointed out, I've neglected to post the army list for the 23rd. D'oh!

Anyways, here it is:

Senior Officer
-Power Weapon
-Carapace Armour
-Medallion Crimson
-Iron Discipline

Command Squad
-Meltagun x2
-Veteran w/ Standard

Commissars x4
-Power Weapons x4

Heavy Support
Medusa Siege Gun x2
-Indirect Fire x2

Quad-Launcher x3

Infantry Platoon – Red Platoon
-Junior Officer
--Power Weapon
--Iron Discipline

Squad A

Squad B

Squad C

Infantry Platoon – Blue Platoon
-Junior Officer
--Power Weapon
--Iron Discipline

Squad A

Squad B

Squad C

Infantry Platoon – Green Platoon
-Junior Officer
--Power Weapon
--Iron Discipline

Squad A

Squad B

Squad C – Remnant
-Guardsmen x5

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


...I has them.

Here's the first half of Red/C, pre-paint.


Now, to respond to some comments I've had on previous entries:

jabberjabber, Wolf Lord Bill and RonSaikowski: Thanks, guys! I'm hoping I can keep the pace up, as I'm aiming to have the whole platoon (ie, Red/C and Red/Command) done by the beginning of January. That'll be a big chunk of the army right there!

GamersWorld: Thanks for the tip, but as far as I know, Simple Green isn't available in Canada, or at least not anywhere I've seen around Vancouver. D: My wife tells me acetone nail polish remover is cheap, though, so I may give that a go. Assuming it doesn't damage plastic. Which I'm not sure about...

sovietspace: An old GW trick, indeed. Plus, it's easier to get away with when you're detailing Guard. Space Marines are a lot cheesier if they all just happen to be like some ancient culture. ;)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A second squad is completed

Red/B joins the ranks! Huzzah! That makes two whole squads, or twenty models, in about two weeks. That's a record speed for me, even counting the "ohmygoshtournmentisthisweekendmustpaintpaintpaintlikemadman" panic paintathons I've done...oh, every time I've gone to a tournament.

The newly finished:

The whole squad:

Anyways, I'm pretty sure I can complete all of Red Platoon by the end of December. That's another full squad of infantry, and a Command Squad of five, including the platoon officer. I'd like to get some more work done on the cavalry, too, but I don't think I'll be able to do more than one (the "officer" leading the squadron), unless I can get my hands on some paint stripper.

In other news, I spent several hours researching miniature sculpting, sourcing supplies like tools and armatures, as well as resin casting. I'm thinking I'll give it a try, as it would be good practice, and it'd be cool to build up to being able to produce my own minis for use as an army or even (dare I say it?) sell them!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Assault on Djep

Please note, this is a Work In Progress. I would really appreciate any and all feedback, and I'll post updates as it gets worked on. -- Updated Jan 11, updates highlighted in orange.

Bulk Carrier Pride of Yukoni
Djep System - Inner System Approach
L-Hour minus 12

The high command chamber was sweltering, and filled with a nose-itching blend of incense, unguents, the spicy smoke from pipes and cigars, and the smell of several dozen military men crammed into too small a space. Originally a deck officers' mess hall, it had been hastily converted into a briefing room, with a circle of folding tables and chairs around a hololith tank. Among the furniture mingled the senior officers of the Third Yukoni Expeditionary Force in full dress, a forest of red serge coats, gold braiding and peaked khaki caps, sprinkled with the ominous black of commissars, and the blue of the Yukoni armour and artillery regiments.

The hubbub stilled as the room's doors swished open and a pair of grenadiers in glossy black carapace armour and tall fur busbies stepped in, flanking the doors. After them came Lord General Militant the Honourable Myers, his white uniform gleaming in the soft shipboard light. He was a stocky man of average height, the muscle of youth beginning to turn to fat, with steel-grey hair cropped close on the sides after the fashion of the Yukoni grenadiers. With a rustle of fabric the assembled officers drew to attention, saluting their general. It was crisply returned, and the general began to move through the press.

"In ten hours," Myers began in a voice made hoarse by decades of combat and screaming battlefield orders, "we will arrive in low orbit over the planet of Djep Three, and begin combat landing operations two hours after that. Thus, gentlemen, we are twelve hours from L-Hour." Trailed by his two grenadier guards, he stepped to the hololith tank. Lines of light fizzled into being, creating a sphere upon which were drawn a chicken scratch of red, blue, gold and green: the lines of battle. Myers touched a rune, and the globe unwrapped into a plane, and zoomed in.

The general waved his swagger stick at the map. "This is the primary front, Sector Alpha-Alpha-Deuce. As you all are no doubt aware from your intense study of Djep's history..." He paused for the muted laughter that rippled through the assembled officers. "...this is a largely self-sufficient planet that is governed by a collective of noble houses. Each house has feudal control over a large portion of the surface. Eighteen months ago, three of these houses rose in revolt, pushing for secession. Since then, another six have joined them. Eight of the houses have declared neutrality--they will be dealt with appropriately once the dissident elements have been crushed--and the remainder are actively fighting the secessionists. Fifteen months ago, three Praetorian infantry regiments and two Phyressian armoured divisions arrived to aid the loyalists. Six months ago, the war stagnated into static trench and urban warfare. We have been assigned to reinforce Imperial forces already on the planet and break the deadlock. Three more Praetorian regiments, an Abraxan artillery brigade and at least one Cadian superheavy battalion are already en route, and will be here in about three months." The general glared at his officers for a moment before continuing. "I want this war broken before they arrive. Planetbound, inexperienced PDF conscripts should not be holding up the cream of the Imperial military, much less requiring the intervention of the Astartes!" Many of the officers glanced out the room's narrow portholes, as if looking for the lean Astartes Strike Cruiser that had joined the battlegroup's fleet at the last warp transition.

Myers took a breath, and straightened his jacket. "Now then, to the details. We will be making full combat drops in a number of locations. We hope to take advantage of the element of surprise as much as we can, though the secessionists will know we are coming and probably already do." He pointed to the eastern end of the spider web traceries of trenches and fronts, where the angry red lines coagulated into a ball set among low hills. "This is the township designated AA2-F1, though I'm told the locals call it Hillsideton. It's the primary eastern bastion of the secessionist defense line, at the base of this mountain range. The Astartes will be making a full drop pod assault on the AA2-F1, and their commander tells me it will be taken within twelve hours of landing. To that end, the Eighth Heavy will land behind friendly lines here, and blitz north through this forest," he indicated a green space that grew like a tumour in the midst of the front lines," and link up with the Astartes. All Light and Mechanized companies from the Line Regiments will be seconded to Colonel Vierres for this operation."

Vierres, a short, latern-jawed officer wearing an NCO field cap stood up and sketched a shallow bow to the general. "Don't worry lads," he said to the other officers, "I'll keep your boys away from any hard work."

Myers waved down the jeers and laughter and continued. "At the western end of the front there are these three towns, codenamed AA2-N1 through N3. These towns dominate the main arterial between the main front and the loyalist starports and supply base. The only other route loops south around these hills, and takes three times as long to travel. The Ns have been in enemy control for four months, and we need them back if we're to deploy with any semblance of speed. Two companies of the Droptroop Regiment Third Battalion will be inserted via grav-chute in the upcountry north of the hills, while the entire 23rd Line will land via dropship on the flats here, south of the towns. Their objective will be to clear the towns so we can move from the starports to the main lines."

The commander of the 23rd, the paunchy, florid Colonel Hogan frowned at the display. "Can we expect any support, my lord? I've no doubt my lads can handle this, but clearing locals out of their home towns takes time, time I gather we don't have."

Myers nodded. "The drop troopers will be disrupting the defenders' supplies and reinforcements, and we'll move at least one field artillery battalion to support you once you've secured the beachhead. Additionally, it is my understanding that the southern sectors are still contested by PDF forces." The general held his hands up to forestall the series of groans and protests. "I know how you all feel about local forces, but remember that these men have been fighting more or less non-stop for a year and a half now. They're veterans, even by Guard standards, and they know the terrain. And Hogan, they'll be under your direct command. I won't have any of the usual liason murd in this war."

Hogan grunted, and shrugged. The general turned back to the hololith. "Now, while Hogan is opening the back door for us, bulk carriers will be landing the balance of our troops in the main loyalist space ports, two hundred kilometers west. Once the main arterial is open, we can move the army to the main front, these lines here, which are held by the Praetorians and PDF. Tactician Franz," he said, gesturing for the slender man to join him by the hololith, "will provide you with a summary of that front as it now stands."

Bulk Carrier Pride of Yukoni
Djep System - Inner System Approach
L-Hour minus 8

Guardsman Lucas Dearborn of the Yukoni 23rd Line Infantry, Fifth Battalion, D ("Dog") Company, Blue Platoon, Second Squad, First Section propped his booted feet up on the chair in front of him, tilted his head back, and pulled his helmet down over his eyes. He remained that way for about thirty seconds before Sergeant Haeks cracked him across the shins, nearly tipping him over. "Straighten up, Dearborn. You can loaf when the war's over." Dearborn resisted the temptation to snark back, knowing the Sarge was just looking for an opportunity to trot out his old saw about there being "only war" in the Imperium. Annoyed, Haeks settled for a glower and turned away.

Lucas was contemplating a way to nap without being noticed when Nicholas Rozen, his squadmate, dropped into the chair next to him. "So, do you know what's going on?" Rozen asked, nodding to the Munitorum orderlies fussing around the lectern at the base of the stadium-seated room.

Lucas shrugged. "No idea, but I'm sure the LT will be along to tell us soon." There wasn't an officer present yet, but most of Blue Platoon was there, lounging in the padded chairs as they waited to be told what was going on. Haeks and his fellow Sergeants patrolled the isles like professors at a scholam. Orange and Black platoons were there, too, each platoon spread out in little groups and ones and twos.

Rozen started to reply, then tapped Lucas' shoulder and pointed. "Something tells me this is going to be higher than the LT." Lucas looked over and saw the men of Red and Green Platoons filing in, quickly filling the room. Three of the company's platoon commanders, Captain "Wolfbiter" DeJean of Red, Lieutenant James Marquis of Green, and Blue Platoon's Lieutenant Guy Marcus. Lucas tossed his CO a lazy salute, and Marcus returned an arched eyebrow, immediately making Lucas feel slightly foolish, as the officer usually did.

Sure enough, the briefing went higher than a platoon commander. Two guardsmen, wearing the badge of Dog Company's command platoon, closed the door behind the final officer to enter the room. Major Michael Brown, decorated veteran, hero of the Sack of Fort Ilghur, former commander the 5th Battalion's Light Company, and all-around hard case (if you asked Lucas) stepped to the podium. The three long shrapnel scars across his cheeks and nose pulled his expression into a permanent grimace, but even Lucas had to admit the Major cut a striking figure in his gilded breastplate, peaked cap and sheathed sabre.

The Major waved aside the orderly who tried to pin a microvox to his vest, pitching his voice with practiced ease so that all corners of the room could hear him, a quiet briefing room not being a patch on an artillery barrage. "Dog Company," he began, leaning forward to grip the sides of the lectern, "in just under eight hours we will be dropping into combat against the enemies of the Emperor of Mankind." He broke off as over a hundred voices let out cheers and war-whoops, and grinned his scarred, ghoulish grin. Lucas and Rozen joined in, exchanging palm-slaps and fist-pounds with their comrades. The battalion had been on a troop ship for six months, and they were bored and lazy, desperate as much for real air and a sky above as they were for action.

Brown let the tumult continue for a moment, then raised his hands for silence. "In order to reinforce the main front, our forces will need the use of a highway. That highway is dominated by three separate towns that are currently contested by the enemy. The Lord General himself has tasked the 23rd - the entire 23rd - with retaking these towns so that we can move men and material down the highway without being shelled the whole way. First and Second Battalions are taking one town, Third and Fourth the second and the Fifth gets the third town all to ourselves. The Lord General, however, seems to have gotten the assignments backwards and given Fifth Battalion the smallest of the towns." That got a laugh, and a private from Orange Platoon raised his hand.

"Sir, you said the towns are 'contested'. Does that mean there are friendly strengths on the ground?"

The Major's lip twitched in what might have been the beginning of a smile, or a sneer. "Yes, private. All three towns are contested by PDF forces."

A ripple of muttering and muted complaints swept the room, and it was Lucas who raised a hand. Lieutenant Marcus raised his eyebrow again and flashed the Major a look, but the Major ignored it. "Yes, Dearborn?"

Lucas suppressed the flush of pride that the Major knew his name. "Sir," he began, "it's very nice that the PDF are there, but are there friendly strengths?" Laughter rippled across the room, but the Major just scowled.

"I know how you all feel about the average PDF force, but let me remind you that these men have been fighting for over a year and a half without respite. They are veterans, especially by PDF standard, they know the terrain, and they're fighting for their homes. Never underestimate that, of all things." The Major hadn't taken his eyes off of Lucas as he spoke, and Lucas found himself unconsciously shrinking back into his seat. As if his point was proved, the Major swept his gaze over the rest of his company. "The PDF are valuable allies. They know the ground, they know the enemy, and the job will get done a lot faster and cleaner if we work with them. That said, the chief," he meant Lieutenant-Colonel Gregor, the battalion CO, "is in direct command of the town and all Imperial forces therein, and Colonel Hogan is in overall command of this operation. The Imperial Guard are running the show, not the locals, and that is non-negotiable." The last seemed to be direct to the platoon officers, and five peaked caps dipped slightly in acknowledgment.

"Now then, to the details." The Major nodded to a drone at the back of the briefing room, and the lights dimmed, to be replaced by a line map projected on the wall behind the Major. "This is the town codenamed AA2-N3. Our objectives are marked in red..."

Forward Defence Line Command Post (formerly Hillsview Public Market)
Djep Three, AA2/West, Pellas River Front

PDF Trooper Niko Zarcov tripped over a piece of rubble and fell backwards, the impact sending jagged bolts of pain up with tailbone and knocking the breath out of his lungs. It saved his life, as a hard-round passed over his head and spat dust and rock splinters from the wall. Niko didn't notice it as he tried to dodge the saw-backed bayonet on the end of the rifle held by the secessionist trooper trying to kill him. Niko lashed out with a kick that caught the quitter in the knee, dropping him back long enough for Niko to get his feet under him and leap forwards, catching the quitter in the gut with his shoulder. They went over, rolling in the dust, the rifle between them. Niko slammed his head forwards, catching the enemy soldier in the nose with the crest of his helmet, and the quitter slumped, unconscious. Niko scrambled back, taking the enemy's rifle with him. He jerked it to his shoulder, shot another green coat and then drove the rifle butt down into his wrestling partner's trachea.

"Zarcov! Your uniform is a disgrace. Get yourself cleaned off before an officer sees you." Niko looked up and blinked at the speaker, Sarge Jenz. The Sergeant grinned back, and tossed Niko his rifle, recovering it from the rubble where Niko had dropped it in the middle of assault. "Come on lads," Sarge called, waving the rest of the squad up to the windows and doors, "the quitters haven't yet!" The squad gave a huzzah, and then more green uniforms were coming into the command centre.

Niko shot another two, and ducked a thrown rock. Next to him a corporal fell over backwards, his arms flying up as though in praise and the right side of his face gone. A quitter came in through the door the corporal had been guarding, and swung his rifle at Niko, holding it by the barrel as a club. Niko threw up his own rifle like a stave and blocked the blow.

Then the sky burst.

The noise was deafening, an explosion like every thunder storm Niko had ever heard suddenly happening right over his head, and the sun vanished. The fighting trailed off as everyone, loyalist and secessionist, blue coats and green, cattle and quitters, looked up at the sky. It was the end of the world. It was a miracle. It was salvation, and it was doom. It was a Bakka-pattern, mottle-cream, quad-engined, fat-bellied Imperial Guard combat dropship with sector fleet markings slowing from supersonic reentry speeds. It had a golden aquila thirty feet high on the side, and it was followed by six more like it. Black flowers, AA fire, blossomed around the seven ungainly ships like celebratory fireworks.

Niko felt a smile growing on his face, the unfamiliar movement cracking the layer of dust, sweat, blood and mud on his face. He looked down, happening to make eye contact with the enemy soldier he was still locked in mid-melee with, and they stared at each other, two young men caught on opposite sides of a war they didn't fully understand and desperately trying not to die. There was a long moment as they stared at each other, and then the quitter snarled and shoved forwards with his rifle, trying to push Niko off balance. Niko twisted, letting the quitter's force push him slightly past Niko and his rifle down, and Niko rammed his rifle down, inside the quitter's guard and then heaved into a cross-cut that ripped his bayonet through the other man's throat. The quitter fell over backwards, clasping at his throat and drumming his heels on paving stones. His blood make a sticky red goo in the dust.

The enemy was falling back, as much demoralized by the Imperial dropships landing in the south of the city as they were falling back from the stiff PDF defence. They left behind bodies that lay in boneless heaps or twitched and moans. Niko, Jenz and the squad rushed back to their fire positions and put lasrounds into backs. Niko got the last kill, smacking a green coat over with a hit in the small of the back. The squad gave another huzzah, and Niko saw something in the eyes and faces of his comrades something he hadn't seen in months, or more. Hope.

Primary Imperial Landing Zone (formerly Hillsview Lower Bench Scholam)
Djep Three, AA2/West, Pellas River Front
L-Hour plus thirty minutes

Lucas tugged his helmet lower to shield his eyes, sensitive to natural light after months of the fake stuff. He marched down out of the dropship with the rest of Blue Platoon and Dog Company. Around them the other six companies of Fifth Battalion were debarking from the other dropships. Arrow, Boar, Crow and Ember, the other infantry companies. The elite Heavy Company, their bulky matt-khaki carapace making them look
from a distance like bipedal insects. Battalion HQ Company, a mix of supply-hauling trucks, whole platoons of crew-served heavy weapons, light field guns, a pair of Chimeras and the stormtroopers they carried, the Lieutenant-Colonel's personal bodyguard. And of course the support personnel the battalion needed; mechanics, cooks, pioneers, Munitorum drones, cargo-servitors and the creepy Mechanicus Tech-Priests, labourers and all the other noncombatants needed to keep a body of fighting men fighting. The only thing missing was the Light Company. Lucas found it odd not to see their camo-painted Chimeras and Salamanders, clanking Sentinels and throaty bikes, but they were on the other side of the warzone, aiding the 8th Heavy push through some forest. Lucas had heard rumours that there were Astartes in that sector, but Lucas had difficulty believe the Angels of Death were troubling themselves with a backwater war like this one.

Then he was off the ramp, though it still rang and jumped as the rest of the company - nearly two hundred men - followed. Before him on the cracked and dusty pavement stood the Major and his command squad. The company standard cracked and snapped in the wash of the dropships' idling engines, and the Major held the leather leash of Dog, the canine company mascot that all the troopers loved. The big dog, a square-jawed, meat-headed hunting breed, could take down a full-grown horse or even a stag moose but was still the biggest suck Lucas had ever met. He'd never actually seen the Major take the dog into a fight; company morale depending more on the dog than it did on the Major or Commissar Mund, who stood behind the Major like a sweating shadow in the sun. The platoon commanders were receiving their printed order packets from the Major's bespectacled adjutant, and Marcus was shouting at the Sergeants to form the platoon up.

Lucas took advantage of the inevitable confusion to study the terrain around him now that his eyes had adjusted. They were in a river valley, perhaps ten kilometers wide. To the south, across the Pellas River and the highway, the hills rose sharply. The north was the town, rising above on a series of plateaus or shelves that projected from the lower northern hills. They had landed on the lowest shelf, and Lucas could see the crumbling line of buildings on the next shelf up, fifty metres up a steep hill. Lucas really hoped they wouldn't have to assault up that under fire. Above that, he could see slowly dissipating flak bursts and contrails of the surface-air missiles that had chased them down. Once again, Lucas heartily thanked the Emperor, and especially the Tech-Priests and shipwrights of the Bakka shipyards, for making such sturdy dropships.

"Blue Platoon! Blue Platoon, on me!" It was Lieutenant Marcus calling them over, and Lucas hustled over the scrum forming around the platoon commander. Lucas shoved his way closer to the front, finding himself next to Rozen and Haeks and the rest of Second Squad. "Alright, listen up. Just up that hill," Marcus said, pointing at the steep incline Lucas had noticed earlier, "and about a hundred metres in is the front line. We've gotten word that the PDF have already started a push to keep the enemy busy while we advance. Our objective is to break through the lines and seize ground. Minimum objective is the recreation centre half a click north of the line, but I want us to take at least a full kilometer. Intel says that the line has been fluid for at least three weeks, so we shouldn't hit any heavy fortification until that point."

Lucas shivered a bit, despite the heat. What that meant, in his experience, was that they could expect to keep pushing until they walked into prepared defenses with little to no warning. It wasn't going to be anything fun. Even a dissident conscript could be as dangerous with a support weapon as well as a trained Guardsman.

"Platoon Sergeant," Marcus said to his chief NCO, "form up in line of advance. First, Second and Third Squads out front, Fourth and Fifth in reserve."

The platoon was already moving before the orders were shouted, and Lucas soon found himself in the very forward centre of the formation. First Squad was to his left, and beyond them he could see Captain DeJean, in his theatric red fur-trimmed cape standing in front of Red Platoon. To the right was Third Squad and then Orange Platoon, and ahead was the enemy.

Behind him, the Company Sergeant Major drew breath into his capacious lungs. "C'MP-NAH! Had-VANCE!"

Building 83 (formerly Hillsview Recreation Complex)
Djep III, AA2/West, Pellas River Front
L-Hour plus fifty minutes

Niko decided that, of all the places it could happen, the town swimming pool wasn't really the place he wanted to die. As if the underscore the point, the light support weapon the quitters had overlooking the pool complex dug another line of divots out of the lip of the pool, spraying Niko and his squadmates with chips of concrete. The pool had been used as a makeshift trench by both sides as the lines moved back and forth, and it had been filled with enough dirt and rubble to form a firing step, but the squad wasn't using it.

Orders had come to launch an all-out attack before the Imperial Guard landers had even settled. Full of fire, every PDF trooper in the town had charged the lines, and had succeeded in pushing the enemy back at least three hundred metres, the biggest gain in weeks, before the enemy had stopped running and started a blistering defense in a line of buildings that ran from the old local praefect headquarters, through the centre of the recreation complex and further east into the commercia district. The advance had stalled almost immediately, with casualties.

Niko and every other trooper in the pool were cursing, the enemy, local command and the slow-arse Imperial Guard in equal measure. Down the line, a trooper wasn't quite low enough and he screamed as a heavy round tore through his shoulder, nearly severing his arm. Niko tasted copper as arterial blood sprayed down the length of the pool.

"They're attacking!" Sergeant Jenz was peering over the lip, ducking back whenever fire came his way. Niko followed suit, and a weight dropped into his gut as he saw at least another platoon of quitters forming up to rush them. "As soon as the fire stops, rise and address! Don't let them get close!" The order to fix bayonets was pointless; few of them even took them off any more.

Back to the infantry

Here's the first half of my second squad, Red/B. They're painted, from basecoat to base, in one night, which is a record for me! My ludicrous army list is actually looking feasible now. ;)


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rough Riders, Part the First

So instead of painting Red/B, I built some Rough Riders! :D

The pair of them. One uses Cadian legs, the other uses Catachan. They're based on some Rough Riders I saw over on the Ammobunker.

Here's the guy with Cadian legs. I used them originally as the rest of the army uses Cadian legs, so... But I'm not hugely pleased with how them came out, and in the reference pics I've seen of Canadian cavalry they don't have the same "skirting" of the jacket as the infantryman.

And here's the guy with Catachan legs. He came out a little better, but he's a little high in the saddle. The next guy will have to lose more of his groin. :unsure:

"It's a charge boys, a charge!" -Lieutenant Gordon Flowerdew, Battle of Moreuil Wood

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Here's the second half of Red/B:

And shot of the whole squad. As you can tell, these guys are in close firing order, showing their Praetorian heritage:

And while I'm here, I thought I'd post a couple links to pictures I'm using as inspiration for my cavalry:

From the Canadian Military History page
Canadian cavalry charge, from the website of the Fort Garry Horse.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It begins

So it begins... I guess I'll kick this off with some 40k, which is likely to be the most common thing here. I present... my burgeoning Imperial Guard army, for Warhammer 40000, the Yukoni 23rd Line Infantry. Yes, they're thinly veiled World War 1-era Canadians. Only in space. With laser guns. Go me.

Here's some selected pictures of the progress thus far.

The prototype trooper so far, before paint:

And after paint:

And here's his squadmates, the men of the 23rd Line Infantry, 5th Battalion, Dog Company, Red Platoon, A Squad.

And just in case you enjoy big walls of text, here's the fluff (that's background fiction material to those uninitiated in the arcane sub-language of the Warhammer nerd) for the Yukoni. As a side note, to provide some context, the universe this is set in takes place in the year 40,999, and humanity has spread across the entire galaxy and diversified, though it is ruled by the monolithic Imperium of Man. The Praetorians are a thinly veiled version of Redcoats in Space, specifically British infantry from the Boer and Zulu Wars. Because I like science-fiction and nationalism, I made a thinly veiled version of Canada in Space. It seemed natural.

Regiments of Renown: The Yukoni Line Infantry

Originally settled in late M40 by long-reaching Praetorian colonists, the Yukoni system is now the capital of a confederation of colony worlds joined by a common heritage known as the Dominion of Yukoni. Many of these worlds remain as a harsh frontier, and the demands of life on the edge of the galaxy have produced a people that are independent, resourceful and prime candidates for inclusion in the Imperial Guard.

The regiments of the Yukoni trace their lineage back to the PDF formations that were instrumental in expanding and protecting the colonies from innumerable xeno and heretical threats. Eventually, after the suppression a Chaos-infested rebellion from thirteen of the newly founded colonies, the martial prowess of the PDF regiments were noticed by Segmentum Command and the first Imperial Guard regiments were raised from Yukoni, largely made up of veteran PDF troopers and officers.

By now, the Dominion of Yukoni is a collection of systems and colonies ruled from Yukoni Prime and independent from Praetoria in all but ceremony. The Governor-General is in name a regent for the lords of Praetoria but an Imperial sub-sector governor in practice. Despite this, the Yukoni still point to their Praetorian heritage with pride, and good relations still exist between the two states.

Recruitment & Training
Where the Praetorian Guard are recruited from crime-toughened hive gangers the Yukoni are frontiersmen, hunters and survivalists who have carved a prosperous home from the wilds at the edge of the galaxy. Although many of the Yukoni military traditions and training have their roots in Praetoria, the intervening centuries have evolved those into something uniquely Yukoni.

Like most planets in the Imperium, the Yukoni have conscription to fill their ranks and tithes. In addition, many troopers are volunteers, following patriotism or family tradition into the Imperial Guard. Officers and NCOs are frequently promoted from the PDF into active service. Once recruited, the Yukoni regiments are trained in the variety of environments available in the colonies, and are extensively drilled in company- and battallion-level tactics. Company commanders in particular are expected to be intelligent leaders, capable of initiative and rapid decision-making.

A notable habit of the Yukoni regiments is their focus on continued learning and adaptation. Actions are examined in depth by officers and NCOs, lessons extracted and doctrinal adjustment made and forwarded to the Yukoni War College for further examination. One of the unofficial mottoes of the Yukoni regiments is "Never stop training". Indeed, many regimental commanders regard battle as opportunities for further training, and new recruits frequently find their "on the job training" consists of trench raids, long-range patrols and close quarters fighting.

Battle Style
Like the Praetorians, the Yukoni regiments rely on their infantry to win the day. However, where the rigid and draconian discipline of the Praetorian Guard requires stiff and ponderous tactics, the frontier-born Yukoni have developed a reputation as hard-nosed shock troops. This reputation has been proven repeatedly in the closing days of M41 in battles like the Evacuation of Toors, the Battle of Governorston Heights and the sack of Fort Ilghur.

The Yukoni prefer to practice a combined-arms approach to warfare, adding cavalry, armour and abhuman support to a solid core of infantry. The varied planets of the Yukoni division are home to a sizable population of Ogryns who are recruited into the two Abhuman Support Battalions and distributed in squad- and platoon-level strengths to support line infantry regiments. Additionally, the Yukoni have several Rough Rider regiments, including the Imperial Yukoni Dragoons and Lord-General Brock's Horse, that they field as lancers and dragoons for light support of the infantry, or as massed formations for rapid assaults and disruption of enemy positions in preparation for infantry advance.

Armour is relatively rare among the Yukoni, not having access to the heavy manufactora necessary for building large formations of tanks. The single Yukoni Heavy Armour Regiment is distributed across their warzones, and the two Light Armour Regiments consist of Sentinels, Salamanders and light wheeled vehicles of local manufacture. Artillery support generally takes the form of static emplacements, with self-propelled guns like Basilisks and Griffons being the most common form of Yukoni armour.

Infantry regiments are broken down into Heavy, Light, Line and Support with Line being by far the most common. Heavy Infantry Regiments are mechanized formations, equipped with Chimeras. Light Infantry regiments, like the infamous Yukoni Special Mountain Corps and the secretive Yukoni Pathfinders, are primarily elite recon and special operations regiments. Support Regiments can be anything from rear-echelon non-combat formations to heavy weapon regiments.

Line Regiments, making up over 80% of the Yukoni infantry forces, are the most well-known of the Yukoni. Each regiment usually recruits principally from a single system or group of colonies and is broken down into six battalions which are numbered 1 through 6. The first five battalions are the main combat force, while the sixth is a paper battalion that contains additional support staff, training officers and NCOs and any in-training inductees. The core of a Line Infantry battalion are its five Infantry Companies, lettered A through E. Each of these companies are commanded by a Major, or a junior Colonel in rare cases, and are broken down into five Infantry Platoons, denoted by colour (Red, Green, Blue, Orange and Black) and further divided into a command squad and five lettered infantry squads. In addition to the Infantry Platoons, the Command Platoon contains a number of heavy weapon support squads, especially man-portable field mortars.

After the lettered companies are the two Flank Companies, the Light Company and Grenadiers. Grenadiers are the elite of a battalion, and are equipped and trained in imitation of Storm Troopers. Light Companies, on the other hand, are somewhat confusingly named, as they are mechanized and armoured recon, made up entirely of what would in other regiments be called Armoured Fist squads and replacing heavy weapon support squads with Sentinel squadrons. Light Companies are expected to be the best and brightest of a battalion, and command of one is considered by many a logical progression to higher positions.

Finally, there is the Battalion Command Company. Most of the strength of this company is the battalion's non-combatant support staff, but will also contain the battalion commanding officer, a colonel or more commonly a brigadier, and his command platoon, as well as any battle-hardened veterans the CO has promoted to his "life company".

Despite, or perhaps because of, their fierce performance on the battlefield, their reputation as storm troops and their frontier upbringing, the Yukoni regiments are frequently plagued by discipline problems, and commissars are a common sight in the regiments. Most battalion and regimental commanding officers try to ensure a ration of one commissar to every platoon commander, although many hard-liner commissars tend to die heroically on the battlefield with disturbing frequency. Those political officers who serve long-term with the Yukoni depending on winning their respect on the field and remaining impartial and even-handed, for the Yukoni loathe arbitrary authority.

Appearance & Uniform
Almost all Yukoni equipment is of local manufacture. In contrast to the sharp and distinctive uniforms of the Praetorians, Yukoni battle dress is almost universally a drab khaki or dark green, with camouflage being rare outside of Light Infantry Regiments. They typically go into battle prepared for a lengthy time in the field, wearing packs and webbing.

Their body armour consists of plate covering the torso, made of steel layered over flak armour, with heavy pauldrons of the same construction and the local wide-rimmed MkI Broadiny helmet. NCOs are issued with and permitted to wear field caps while peaked caps are reserved for officers and commissars, though some officers.

Weapons & Equipment
The main weapon of the Yukoni Infantry is the M40 Rosch MkIII lasrifle, a longer, heavier weapon than the ubiquitous Kantrael short-pattern weapon that trades the Kantrael's high rate of fire for better stopping power and ease of manufacture in the Yukoni forges. The Rosch is capable of utilizing any regulation Munitorum power clip, with the twenty-shot Yukoni variant being the most commonly issued. The Rosch lasrifle mounts a twelve-inch knife-form bayonet.

In addition to rifle and bayonet, Line Infantry Guardsmen are commonly issued with frag grenades and trench spikes when close quarters fighting is expected; most of them are never returned to battalion quartermasters and end up supplementing every Guardsman's personal and trophy weapons.

Most officers and NCOs are issued with personal side-arms, usually the long-barreled M39 Weblong pattern, though many Yukoni throughout the ranks supplement their principal weaponry with personal or trophy solid-slug sidearms.

Beyond the standard Yukoni equipment, squads are most commonly issued with a meltagun, which are in plentiful supply from the Subdury Aleph Forge World where they are manufactured for a nearby Astartes Chapter, for close-range support against tanks and fixed positions. Slightly less common are flamers and grenade launchers, with the latter more commonly seen in Grenadier and Heavy Infantry squads, and the former in Light Line Infantry squads.

Heavy weapons are relatively rare among Line Infantry squads, usually reserved for support weapon squads. When they are issued, usually no more than one or two to a platoon, it is the standard Munitorum issued rocket launcher or autocannon. The Yukoni also make widespread use of light field mortars.

Notable Regiment Members and Actions

One of the most famous Yukoni Regiments is the 23rd (Brock's Own) Line Infantry. They have a proud history stretching back to the 33rd Yukoni PDF who fought beside the ancient hero General-Militant Brock in defense of the Yukoni heartlands against the rebellious colonies, and it their own Sergeant MacDonnell who carried Brock's colours up Governorston Heights and fell beside the great general.

More recently, all five battalions of the 23rd were part of the First Yukoni Expedition Force at the taking of Fort Ilghur, fighting alongside and earning the praise of the Astartes in the storming of the once-impregnable fortress. A particular hero of the campaign was then-Captain Michael Brown, in command of the Fifth Battalion's Light Company, who was at the forefront of the fight for the East Breach and the taking of the Olympus Bastion, as well as several other actions prior to the beginning of the seige. Gravely wounded in the final hours of the siege, Brown was subsequently awarded the Medallion Crimson, promoted to Major and given command of the hard-fighting 5th Battalion D "Dog" Company.

The Yukoni Pathfinders and Special Mountain Corps are the two most famous of the Yukoni Light Infantry Regiments. The Pathfinders are principally airborne troops, and have fought in several planetary and urban assaults well ahead of the main forces, carrying out sabotage, beachhead assaults and other desperate missions behind enemy lines. The infamous Special Mountain Corps, on the other hand, are elite commandos frequently tasked with ultra-long-range reconnaissance, kidnapping, guerrilla warfare and assassination. They also have a standing agreement with several Inquisitors operating in the area to second squads or whole battalions when asked. Some of the Mountaineers have even survived to tell absolutely nothing of these desperate missions.

The two Ogryns regiments, the 1st Abhuman Support and the Imperial Yukoni Abhumans, enjoy a level of respect uncommon among the armed services of the Imperium. Both regiments have been present at nearly all of the most famous Yukoni victories, and the clannish Ogryns they recruit from are accustomed to living and working alongside Yukoni settlers and pioneers across the Dominion.
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