Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of historical and fantasy miniatures wargaming and model building. From 15mm Flames of War, to Warhammer 40K, to 1/35th scale tanks, with some potential surprises on the horizon - you'll find them here!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Brood Brothers Veteran Squad

I wanted an excuse to try something a little different with my Astra Militarum infantry squads, so I decided to take the plunge and create a veteran squad. The Veteran squad really only differs from the traditional infantry squad in one statistic - ballistic skill. So this said to me I should tool up my veterans with as much lethal long-range firepower as possible, and not waste any points on close combat weapons. So that's the direction I went - I have the option of up to three plasma guns plus one heavy bolter, and the Veteran Sergeant has a plasma pistol! For those of you counting figures, yes - there are twelve figures in the picture below even though you can only field ten in a standard squad. This gives me the option of dropping the heavy bolter or a couple of the plasma guns as needed.

You'll immediately notice that while the carapace armor is the same color as what I use for my rank and file squads, the uniform itself is different, and I've added a few blue details. I decided rather than to base the paint scheme off of World War II Soviet colors, I'd bring my Veterans head a few decades and base them on 1980s Soviet airborne troops. These were termed Воздушно-десантные войска (Vozdushno-desantnye voyska – 'Air-landing Forces'), which was often shortened to just VDV. If you read through my blog, I also play Flames of War, a 15mm World War II miniatures game, and its more modern variant, Team Yankee. On their website is a good article detailing how to replicate this camouflage on 15mm miniatures, so I figured the same techniques would work for the 28mm heroic 40K miniatures.

The technique worked perfectly, but of course since I was painting a basecoat followed by two camouflage colors, then washes and a quick highlight, it took much longer than my normal rank and file troops. The end result is also fairly subtle, but it is clear that they're wearing a camouflage uniform if you get close enough. In the end it distinguishes them enough on the table (especially with the epaulettes) so that they really stand out.

To further distinguish these guys from their more mundane cousins, I also added packs and several details from the Cadian Infantry Squad Upgrade Pack from Forgeworld, which sadly went out of production literally weeks after I received mine in the mail. I might should stop ordering from Forgeworld, Games Workshop has a nasty habit of discontinuing all of the fun stuff right after I buy a set (the list is non-trivial at this point starting with the Death Korps Quartermaster set).

I didn't end up using all of the bits and pieces for this conversion, though I used a lot of them. I'll use the rest of them, though not the heads as I obviously have different head swaps to perform on my troops. I'll probably eventually dump the heads on the secondary market. 

I also decided to go all out and create a unique mount for the heavy bolter for this squad based on the Soviet Maxim machine gun used during World War II shown below. (Yes, the uniforms are modern but the equipment is archaic - this is the 40K universe, did you expect anything else???)

As always, the amazing genestealer cult markings are from Scumb4g Kustoms. He does great work, and his decals always come off the backing without issue. Rather than the standard Arabic numbers I use on the rank and file, I decided to go with Roman numerals for the squad number on the left shoulder pad. These came from The Mighty Brush. Their decals are great as well, they are discrete decals (i.e. individual decals rather than several images on one set of film), but can take a little longer to come off of the backing.

What I ended up with was more of a fusion between a Krieg mount and the traditional Maxim mount, and I had to heavily modify the gun shield for it to make sense with the standard guard miniature that fires kneeling rather than firing prone. In fact I actually started with the wheel from a Krieg miniature and punched out similar sized discs of styrene to serve as the basis of the wheels. The whole miniature exploded and ready for priming can be seen below.

As you can see, the whole carriage is entirely scratch-built from styrene sheet, strip, and tubing as well as a little copper wire. The end result I think looks pretty good, and makes the unit more unique on the tabletop. It was a fun build, but since I'm planning on having exactly one, and only one, veteran squad I knew I wouldn't ever have to replicate the feat!

One glaring omission you'll likely not is the unit has no transport visible in any of the pictures at this point. There's a good reason for that - their transport is not yet finished. As the real VDV typically arrived in battle in the Mi-24 "Hind" helicopter, I figured these guys should arrive in the Warhammer 40K equivalent, the Imperial Guard Valkyrie - which even has the stacked cockpits like you see on a "Hind". I've started on the miniature, but it is far from complete, so look for it in a future blog entry!

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