One of my favourite changes to the new guard codex was the inclusion of Veterans in the troops section, and the increased range of options available. They are now not only capable of dishing out some horrendous firepower, but when properly equipped can be tough to shift as well. Camo cloaks giving them a 3+ save in regular cover or a 2+ save in fortifications, while the grenadiers specialty gives them carapace armour. Obviously one could combine these together to create a super tough guard unit, but that would both be very expensive in points, and would also make very little sense. I find that it is better to give them one or the other.
So far I have assembled and painted two squads of recon vets (equipped with camo cloaks) and assembled two squads of assault veterans (equipped with carapace armour). This article focuses on the recon veterans – the assault veterans will follow soon.
The first recon squad, shown above includes a converted heavy bolter team, three grenade launches and a converted sergeant who will represent Gunnery Sergeant Harker (yet to be renamed). That gives me a squad with some serious anti infantry firepower who will be pretty hard to shift without a concerted assault thanks to their camo cloaks and snare mines.
The Heavy Bolter team was very straight forward – the hardest part working out how to give the appearance that the guardman was holding the gun. The heavy bolter is mounted on a bipod as I felt that this more accurately represented the style warfare employed by a recon/ambush unit. Given a choice I would instead equip this squad with a heavy stubber, which is really the 41st Milleniums nearest equivalent to a modern day light machine gun. The loader just has a belt or ammo wrapped around him – extended with green stuff at either end as the ammo belt I removed from an ammo box wasn’t quite long enough.
Gunnery Sergeant Harker was a little bit trickier as I had to cut down the size of the heavy bolter to something he could feasible move and shoot with. I’m a little concerned that the strap (made out of green stuff) doesn’t really look like its taking the weight of the gun, but overall I’m quite please with the effect.
The second squad shown below consists of three snipers, a missile launcher team and a standard sergeant. I was at first reluctant to include snipers as I’m not convinced of their effectiveness given the fact they no longer always hit on a 2+, and rending has been downgraded, however they seemed so appropriate for a recon squad that I had to include one, and the idea has grown on me. Overall the squad should be fairly effective against large tough monsters (Tyranids anyone?) while retaining punch against both heavy and light infantry (the plasma pistol on the sergeant helps with the former!). The squad in fact will be getting its first outing on the tabletop the day after writing this – so I will report back!
Once again the heavy weapon team is converted. Instead of using the full length missile launcher model, I instead have converted a mortar tube into a shorter missile launcher more reminiscent of a Space Marine weapon, or more specifically a modern day Light Anti-tank Weapon System (LAWS). The loader has a trio of rockets strapped together (again the strap was green stuff). The scope is a space marine boltgun silencer, with one lense and eye piece of a pair of guard binoculars glued onto each end.
Two of the three sniper rifles shown below are straight from the command squad box sets, but I still needed a third. This one (front center in the picture below) was created using a lasgun, a space marine scope, and a space marine silencer (this time actually used as a silencer!). It is obviously different to the other sniper rifles but I’m taking a little bit of license inspired by the Gaunts Ghosts stories in which all the snipers have a habit of customising their rifles.
Specific conversions aside, there are a few more general modelling trends featured throughout both units. The first and most obvious is the camo cloaks which all of the models are sporting. These are suprisingly easy to create, though they can be quite fiddly. All one needs to do initially is create a square of roughly the right size (better to make it slightly too big than too small). Two of the corners then need to be pinched, and are wrapped around the neck of the model and joined at the throat, allowing the cloack to fall down the model’s back. The cloak is then folded/positioned as you wish. Once dry, some of the cloaks required filling out with some extra green stuff, and almost all of them required filing or sculpting to get them looking just right.
All of the models also feature backpacks, grenades, pouches and bayonets. These accessories contribute to the image of a unit trained and equipped to operate alone for extended periods of time, and help make the unit unique.
When painting, instead of giving them purple armour to mark their status as elite infantry I decided to extend the attempt at creating an authentic looking unit to the paint scheme as well as the equipment. To this end the armour, accessories, gun casings and clothes were all left matt black, with only the camo cloaks painted in a green camo pattern using gradual highlights through dark angels green, Snot Green, Goblin Green, and a mix of Goblin green/skull white – then subsequently washed with Thraka Green. The skin was painted as usual – dark flesh, elf flesh, and a wash of ogryn flesh – before being washed again with both thraka green and badab black. This successfully achieved the all over camoflaged look one would associate with modern day special forces (or Arnold Schwarznegger) without it being to ‘clean’.
In my next article I will look at the assault veterans and explain how I made shotguns, carapace armour, a variety of scratch built special weapons and a converted Sergeant Bastonne (again to be renamed).
I hope you found something useful in here – or at least some inspiration – and as always I’m eager to hear of alternatives to my methods, and would love to see some pics of other veteran units.