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I'm going to preempt this blog with my usual warning that things I work on take a long time to get built, so I wouldn't be surprised if I'm slowly adding to this thread over the next couple months. Abandon all hope [of regular updates], ye who enter here!
So, here's the run-down.
For a time, I was looking at starting up a Salamanders army. I bought a bunch of Marine stuff - Drop pods, rhinos, a Land Raider or two, some AoBR guys, some regular tactical marines, assault squads, and termies, you name it. I got all the parts ready to go.
Then, all of a sudden, GW ruined it for me by putting out the awesome Legion of the Damned models. The gears in my head started turning, and I had the following conversation with myself:
>'I really like these models, self, but they're an elites choice, and sort've impractical!'
>'When has impractical ever stopped you? You took a lumber saw to a squiggoth.'
>'Okay, yes, but how would I really get much out of these models? I love their aesthetic, but I don't quite like their rules.'
>'So what? Why don't you make a whole army out of just these guys? For whatever reason, GW's making like 30 minis for the 10-man squad, so you'd have a good amount of variation.'
>'Hm... I could see that, I guess. Make each Legionnaire the equivalent of a Tactical Marine? Just run a whole army of the guys like they're your standard marine chapter?'
>'Yeah! You could even work the Salamander rules into this - add a Vulkan He'stan-type character, and crank up the fiery death!'
>'Awesome! I have to do this!'
Meanwhile, Ein's Wallet:
So, to sum up the basic idea: An entire army of Legion of the Damned. I realize they're an elites choice in the current codex. I don't care. Basically, all my 'standard' marines will be Legion troopers. I also realize that, as far as their background indicates, they're pretty limited in manpower and don't have much of an organized force. I don't care. My end goal for this is to make a 'counts-as' Vulkan He'stan and run the whole army as a sort of proxy Salamanders. Since the Legion is just as fire-themed as Salamanders, it does make a certain degree of thematic sense. The things I currently already have for Salamanders will be kept, since they're basically interchangeable - they already have flame motifs on them, so all I need to do is add skulls instead of scales and paint black. This has the added bonus of preventing me from having two green armies, and as far as I'm concerned I think the Legion scheme looks a lot sharper on a table. Plus, let's be honest - black is substantially easier to paint and touch up than lime green.
I've already ordered about $150 of the new Legion models that'll be coming out soon / have already come out - I should have the stuff that released in January by the end of the week, and the second wave that releases in Feb. has already been preordered. I'm also looking at sculpting, and then later casting, my own shoulder pad designs and accessories so that I can convert regular plastic marines into Legionnaires. I wish GW still had their bitz ordering system, because I'd love to buy a bunch of heads/arms/backpacks, but sadly I'm going to have to do without such a resource.
So, starting with the HQ seems like the most reasonable course of action. I need a 'counts-as' Vulkan He'stan character for the army. I do, of course, have my old Vulkan conversion to consider, but he doesn't seem very Legion-esque, all told, so I think starting from scratch'd probably be a good course of action.
After a bit of deliberation, I decided that I really liked this Chaplain as the base for the conversion.
He's already got the bone motif in the form of the ribcage on his armor and the skull helmet, and his arms-wide-open pose should lend itself to some easy converting.
Now, let's talk wargear for a moment. Since I'm making a counts-as Vulkan, I need to pretty much match Vulkan's armament. This means my character needs the Gauntlet of the Forge, Vulkan's Spear, and Kesare's Mantle; basically, a big flamer-glove, some sort of mean looking relic weapon, and a badass cloak.
The spear is probably the outright easiest of the bunch to replace - the chaplain model above is already holding his Crozius pretty nicely, and I figure I can hack the mace-like eagle head off the thing and lengthen it out.
Given that this is the Legion of the Damned we're talking about, nothing would be more appropriate here than a scythe for the Grim Reaper / Death connotations. With that said, I set about planning the scythe out a bit, and quickly produced the mock-up parts below:
You'll notice I have one blade that's basically nicked and rougher looking, and one that's otherwise normal. I think I'm probably going for the nicked blade design instead, since I doubt the Legion get to resupply or repair their stuff that often. Still, you'll get the idea of what I'm going for - going to hack the crozius down, lengthen the shaft a bit, and attach the scythe head right to it. If I feel really bold, I may take a shot at sculpting some flames bleeding upwards off the scythe blade - we'll see.
Now, the Gauntlet of the Forge stand-in is not nearly as simple, unfortunately. On my old Vulkan conversion, I used an Apothecary arm and replaced the drill/surgical bits with the flamer. Unfortunately, there is no right-arm Apothecary bit, so my options there are substantially more limited. I've been brainstorming a bit about what I could do for the right arm, and I thought I'd lay out the options I've come up with and see what all of you thought.
For point of reference, the Gauntlet of the Forge works like an Assault Heavy Flamer - Vulkan can just spit out flamer templates like nothing.
I have two arms that I'm currently considering using for the right side. The first one is an actual Heavy Flamer arm, taken from a 3rd edition metal terminator. The upside to this is that it's pretty clear why the dude's firing a heavy flamer template, and the 3rd edition shoulders for termies are almost the same size as current Power Armor... so the whole arm is pretty much properly in scale.
It's probably the most simple, and I could sculpt flames onto the shoulder pad to Legion it up pretty easily. The downside here is that it's not some crazy gimmicky gauntlet, just a dude with a heavy flamer, which eliminates some of the 'cool' factor.
The other gauntlet idea I've been thinking about involves the old Marneus Calgar model. He has a bolter in his glove, though, but I figure I could hack the ammo feed, replace it with a hose, and put a nozzle on it...
The downsides to this one are a bit larger - first, I'm ruining an older model that's hard to get nowadays. Second, the eagle-motif on the shoulder pad doesn't exactly fit Legion designs. Third, I'd still have to do some extensive conversion to make that stormbolter look like anything other than a stormbolter.
I could probably mock up the same kind of under-slung weapon design as what's on this arm onto the stock Power Fist that comes with the Chaplain model, but that opens up a whole new set of issues: mainly, the fact that Vulkan doesn't actually have a power fist.
I'd be interested in hearing ideas from you guys. It's actually a bit of a shame that Vulkan's gauntlet is lefty, because I'd just as happily carve his arm up and put it on my guy if I could.
As far as Kesare's Mantle goes, I have that cloak angle covered... but that's secret for now!
While I was collecting parts to use for my Legion of the Damned army, I managed to get my hands on a pair of Forgeworld Chaplain Dreadnoughts through a couple trades.
I picked these guys up because out of all of Forgeworld's line, they seemed the most Legion-themed; skulls all over, a ribcage motif on the torso, and bones in the leg armor plates seemed hugely appropriate. The aquila plates on the front were the only questionable parts, but as you'll see in a moment, that's no longer much of an issue.
As is typical of Forgeworld, the quality was a mixed bag. One of the dreadnoughts was perfect - no miscasts, no bubbles, all the details were there, sharp, and lovely. The other? Not as lucky. There was a pretty blatant miscast on the front 'aquila' plates and the legs, and it just generally looked like hell by comparison. Both came new and mostly unassembled in their original FW baggies, so I think FW's Quality Control is more to blame than anything else.
In any event, I wasn't quite sure what to do with the one miscast one. After a bit of brainstorming, I decided I would grind the front plates completely off and turn the thing into an Ironclad because, hey, an Ironclad in an army with Vulkan rules is awesome - hello twin-linked burny death!
Of course, grinding the front plates off isn't quite as easy as it sounds. The skulls hanging off the front of the torso actually cover a bit of the aquila design, meaning that removing the design without mangling the skulls would be a bit of a challenge. I whipped out my trusty dremel, though, and with a bit of patience, sandpaper, and filing, I managed to essentially remove the entire front plate of the dreadnought. At that point, I grabbed some Apoxie Sculpt. This stuff is pretty fantastic if you need a putty you can smooth - a bit of water on your finger, and Apoxie Sculpt turns into a lovely flat surface.
I let it dry, and sanded it down a bit more so that it'd be flat, and viola, I have a dreadnought with no more aquila plates!
Now, my big issue is deciding where I'm going from here. I can see two options for the front plate, once I'm completely done sanding it down / cleaning it up. I can:
>Try and add Ironclad Assault Launchers to the front plate. I don't have the actual parts from the kit for this, so I'd have to improve something - perhaps the bits from a Terminator Cyclone Launcher.
>Add flames to the front plate to fit the Legion aesthetic, and maybe sling some sort of launcher-looking device underneath the plates, in the armpit area, to count as assault launchers.
Of course, I could just as easily leave the assault launchers off, as they're an optional upgrade and not necessarily the best wargear, but they always seemed iconic of Ironclads, which is why I'm considering. What do you guys think? Right now, I'm leaning towards cutting out some flames from thin plastic for the front plate and using those.
The scythe blades are styrene/plasticard, yes - just one thick piece, carved into the shape. It didn't photograph too clearly, but the blades on the underside are actually appropriately sharpened.
So after a bit of deliberation, I've decided to add flames to the front torso, assault launcher positioning be, well, damned.
I went with this style of flame because it matched the general motif that can be found on Forgeworld Salamander Rhino and Land Raider doors, which I have and intend to use with a bit of modification.
After a bit of headscratching, I've come up with something that may be an acceptable substitute for the assault launchers. I hacked the central bit of a Cyclone Launcher off, and I'm considering mounting the launchers on either shoulder to count as a sort of Assault Launcher.
It looks a bit silly because of the lack of arms, so I took two quick shots of some test arms attached in place, borrowed from my old WIP Salamanders Ironclad.
It's large, but it does sort've fit with the characteristic shape I've seen of Ironclads. I haven't yet attached them - they're just resting ontop of the torso as a proof of concept. What do you guys think? I'm giving it some thought, but I can't think of much else that'd work. There's an empty area around the hip of the torso, near the armpit, where I could conceivably mount some sort of launcher, but I haven't had any clever ideas for it yet.
Last edited by Ein; January 18th, 2010 at 02:16.