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Has anyone ever seen or has anyone ever toyed with the idea of a Guard army based upon the American revolutionaries? Some kind of fiercely independent isolationist people with "liberty or death" or on the banners. Gadsden flags and what not?
Any ideas on how to convey that with paint tactics unit choice and backstory?
Well... I don't know - first of all, remember that it's 40 Thousand Years after all that, no remnants of our 'present' day history would exist, but if you simply mean a group of people who would try to leave the Imperium because of persecution and would subsequently get to a 'new world' in which to found their own nation, exterminate the local population and arm themselves to the teeth and probably have a war of independence (which I doubt they would achieve in the 40K Universe)... then that's entirely up to you.
The paint scheme I have no idea what you intend by it - as in do you want them to be wearing red white and blue? Because the whole point behind the Imperial Guard's uniforms is mostly camouflage-based. You don't really want the enemy to see you, Space Marines and Chaos and the like are excused because they just love all the colours of the rainbow - but I don't think (if you're planning a rogue IG army) would go about wearing anything that wouldn't fit with their surroundings.
The closest thing (that I can think of) that you could do in order to achieve a kind of 'libertarian separatist/isolationist' group would be if you created a corrupt Imperial Guard Colonel or General of sorts, and had him get deliria of grandure. Which you could explain as being touched by Chaos, or maybe he fought during the Damocles Crusade and had prolonged exposure to the Tau's ideology and decided he wanted to leave from the persecution and horrid nature of the Imperial regime.
The biggest problem is that there really can't be a lot of 'loner factions' out there, mostly due to the fact that someone is bound to kill you if you don't get support from someone else. The Imperium won't allow a rogue chapter of Space Marines to go freely out of the Imperium, and I doubt they'd allow a rogue group of Imperial Guardsmen to do the same. They tend to perform an Exterminatus on planets who's population turns to Chaos or turns to any other faction.
So you could to a certain extent make some fluff on a planet or system who's run by your character (possibly a Governor-Militant) and his Imperial Guardsmen who run isolationist politics.. but this would only work to a certain extent like I said, because they'd still have to trade, and they'd still probably request aid from the Adeptus Astrates if they're getting hammered by Chaos/Nids/whatever. So... yeah I'd think it over a bit more ^^;
I personally would disagree about the uniforms thing. Many facets of the imperial guard don't really make sense it today's warfare (warrior weapons anyone?), plus the guard represents thousands, if not millions of different martial cultures. One such culture may abhor camoflauge and consider it the garb of cowards. Perhaps another doesn't tithe many regiments to the guard, and a brightly uniformed regiment may represent a brand new regiment that doesn't know any better and dresses like they did in their village or factory militias. The possibilities are really endless.
As for the other topics, my mind is a bit muddled right now so I will probably discuss them later.
Well what i was thinking was that they did not outright secede form the empire but merely were isolated in some way and came to enjoy the independence. Say a warp storm or some other astrological nightmare that kept them form making contact with the empire for hundreds if not a thousand years or so. Maybe there status on astrological maps is listed as lost or destroyed and their existence either ignored as error or outright forgotten. Perhaps they KEEP it that way... which would give me reason to fight marines and other guardsmen.
As far as re white and blue... the colonial soldiers wore blue and white and only about half the army was regular troops. A great bulk of them were militia and enlisted/conscripted men. Wearing everyday clothes or as in the culpeper militia... fringed green-dyed leather, tomahawks, and letters on their chests spelling our liberty or death... (those guys must have been kickarse!). So perhaps I could emulate this sort of mixed unit or keep them entirely militia based. Conscripts would work well for those enlisted men and vets and such for more unique well trained units like the Culpepper Regiment
Now that's a good idea ^^ A Warp Storm would work perfectly *nods*
Oh, the good ol' warpstorm....the literary stand-by for all strange happenings in the 40K universe.
Anyways, to make something like this work and to have the participants of said revolutionary spirit not completely destroyed by the Inquisition in about a week when the warp storm clears is gonna' take a little unique setting placement. Yes, a warp storm could work. Let's say you have your eons long warp storm come piling in over this low pressure region of the space-time continuum. Single planet, or system on planets, is cut off for a while. I could see the PDF's tactics and wargear being different (either due to age, lack of new STCs, or in the case of your army, personal ideals) and the troops themselves taking on a very independent spirit, but only because they know of their isolation and have adapted to survive in it. For instance, they still love their Emperor, oh yes they do, but they won't go rebelling against the nearest Imperial construct just because they know they can. So, they're independent, they know they are, but they aren't heretical by any standard of the Inquisition. That's my first idea.
Second idea, and one that will definitley get them slighty more love from the Inquisition (if there is such a thing), involves some kind of xenos ruler/occupational force. Good example if some of the Ork fluff. There is reference to Ork worlds using human slaves and establishing reward/punishment systems for good and bad behavior, respectively. You could base your force around such worlds, with the troops declaring independence from their really, really tyrannical rulers. You'd kind of have to stretch it to figure how they get their weapons and supplies. I can think of using modified Ork weapons, using weapons from an outside supplier (rouge trader, another planet not wanting to get involved, etc.) or using Ork manufacturing systems (or leftover human ones) to explain this. All this is so you can use your IG Codex. You could just give them the weapons from their rulers, but don't expect to get away with that in a tournament. At the end of the day, they might just get offed by the Ordo Xenos because of fear of alien contamination. Keep that in mind when writing fluff.
Last thing I can think of is rebellion from heretics or Chaos. Whoever these freedom fighters are, expect them to get totally wasted by the Inquisition if they're liberated someday. The Inquisition just won't risk possession and that's just how they roll. But it makes a plausible reason why your army would be rebelling. Also, if it's a human planet, they would (ideally) have all the old means of manufacture they had before Chaos became majority rule. Oh, and you could easily say they fought loyalist Marines or Gaurd because they mis-took them for Chaos. That might be kinda' foolish after that much time fighting Chaso, but hey....maybe they aren't smart?
P.S.- A little elaboration on the first idea: after a while in a closed off system or on a planet, the humans could, sooner or later, become the only remainig species left. If they started in-fighting (not necessarily because of one side being Chaos) you could base your force on the smaller, possibly oppressed one. With little mainstream Imperial influence, certain nations on the planet could somehow be imbalanced and boom; you have a war on your hands. This could be a reason why your Gaurdsmen fight other Gaurdsmen while not technically being heretics.
As for troop choices, use whatever you want in the codex. Like you mentioned earlier, some forces involved in the American revolution were militia. So use Conscripts rules, call them Militia. Give individual units of Conscripts different Militia names. This unit is the Culpepper Militia, this unit is whoever else. For regulars, use Infantry Platoons. Your Elites could be especially experienced Militia or Regulars, just use Storm Troopers rules. Done and done. These are just ideas. If you can think of why an army would have Elites/Heavy Supprt/etc., you can use it. Just because they're revolting doesn't mean they can't be well equipped. On the other hand, you could balance a less equipped army, like the American revolutionaries, with loads and loads of infantry and conscripts. This isn't historically accurate, but it helps the army stay balanced when fighting. In short, the real advantage of the Americans was spirit and homefield advantage. Maybe 'Die-Hards' and 'Light Infanrty' could represent this? Your choice.
So, yeah, my ideas on how it could be done.