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I'm entirely new to IG, are veteran squads cosmetically distinguished from regular guardsmen in anyway?
Or are they simply these guys: Imperial Guard Cadian Shock Troops | Games Workshop
only designated as "veterans" on the army list?
The only real difference in appearance will probably be how you model/paint them. You can just use them straight out the box but most people will model wear and battle damage onto trheir veterans to make it seem like tey've seen a few battles.
http://www.armyroster.com Check out my ToP WIP in the projects section!
They have the same default gear as a basic Guardsman (flak armor, lasgun), so they look exactly the same, but it's entirely up to you if you want them to look different or more distinguished
I WANNA GET STUCK IN WIT DA BOYZ
Chuck on some additional equipment, grenades etc. A couple of head swaps and intereting poses would work as well.
If you're using Cadians you can always paint a Veteran symbol on their shoulder guards. Or use a Transfer.
I've mixed some Necromunda heads and weapons with my metal Cadians and they look pretty cool. They've got a load of non standardised gear like rebreathers and night vision goggles.
If you're going WYSIWYG the only things you need to change from the standard Shock Troop models are any equipment changes you make. Otherwise the actual humanoid part of the model makes no matter, they've got Flak Armor so you're covered there, and then everything else is equipment based.