Sunday, 30 October 2011

SHOWCASE - The Praetorian 4th Mechanised

Following the first Showcase post featuring Victoria Lambs Praetorians I recieved a email from a fellow Praetoria collector, Phil Anderson with a few pictures of his army, the Praetorian 4th (now where have I heard of the Praetorian 4th before?) Mechanised (ah, mechanised!). I think Phil's army is another great example of a Praetorian Imperial Guard collection, and one which deviates from the normal scarlet tunics, to a kharki uniform instead! This goes to show you don't always have to take the conventional route. Phil shows a real attention to detail with minor conversions like the addition of Aquillas to some of the helmets and includes a squad of Roughriders converted in the same way I converted my own early ones, and they look superb! I'll now pass over to Phil for a few words!

The 4th Praetorian Mechanised Infantry

The 4th started life over 10 years ago, inspired by the Big Toof River display at games day ’97 and British history (like many other Praetorian collectors). They army has gone through many different incarnations (painted, stripped, repainted... at one stage it was sporting a lot of union flags), and abandoned the red livery, in favour of desert fatigues worn by British troops in the late 19th century. When the Steel Legion were released with the option of fielding imperial guard as mechanised infantry the 4th were truly born.

Unfortunately about 8 years ago I stopped playing and collecting 40k and my armies have been drifting in the warp (or more appropriately the loft), but I’ve always had kept an interest in it and have been thinking of getting back into it for some time. I recently stumbled upon this blog and was very interested in what people have been doing with their praetorian armies, some of the models I’ve seen here are absolutely amazing and have persuaded me to dust off my pith helmet, fix bayonets and take the 4th out on parade.

The army (looking at the painted finished models) being mechanised infantry obviously has a lot of armour, there are 5 chimera, a medusa, a hell hound (affectionately named ‘singing sally’), a sentinel, a leman russ, and finally my own take on the executioner that I like to call the ‘bulldog’ variant leman russ (sporting lots of heavy bolters).

No praetorian army would be complete without rough riders, and my army has 6 of the plucky devils. These were made using standard bearers and sergeants sawn at the waist just beneath the belt atop rough rider legs (how are those ancient miniatures still current??) with the boots cut off and replaced with the boots of the aforementioned praetorian. All that was needed was a little green stuff and repositioning and lances made from uruk hai pikes (I seem to remember there was a lot of uruk hai kicking around in my bitz box at the time so to use those pikes just made sense).

There are lots of little conversions in the army, sergeants and members of the command HQ have aquilla modelled on their helmets, and one particular kneeling guardsman (originally a heavy weapon crew member) has been given a chainsword and now commands a firing line. For a heavy bolter gunner I’ve used a wounded soldier who looks like he is valiantly manning his post continuing to fight on (heavy bolter is from the old metal heavy bolter space marine scout).

The Command HQ has had the most work done to it (and is certainly my favourite unit). Firstly a heavy weapon loader has had his magazine converted to a medi pack. The standard bearer has a banner I sculpted where I’ve loaded it with purity seals, honours, and litanies. There is a zulu warrior complete with animal hide shield and spear (anyone got any ideas what model has been converted???), a priest, a representative from the inquisition in the form of a storm trooper and of course a bugler. The supreme commander was one of the last additions to the army and is simply the Cadian Colonel (sorry no pith helmet! Will have to be changed if I start the army up again...). The second in command has had quite some work done to him, once again he lacks the pith helmet (and the fact he is a giant of a man due the scale of the plastic IG) and is made from the plastic tank crew with a converted bionic arm, power sword on his belt and sculpted epaulettes.

One unit I always wanted but never got round to creating was some kilt clad veterans, something akin to the black watch...

The army saw some serious action and was a regular down at Poole GW many years ago, wasn’t always too successful in the field (some days it seemed the tanks were made of paper, and lining your men in neat firing lines may look good but template weapons were always a worry...) but was great fun and always kept the Praetorian end up!

Friday, 28 October 2011

REVIEW - Victorian Laser Guns from Victoria Miniatures

Recently Victoria Lamb previewed through her Facebook page the new Victorian Laser Guns that she'll be releasing through Victoria Miniatures, and I'm lucky enough to have recieved a preview sample.

The weapons design is a blend of late 19th and early 20th century rifle design such as the Lee-Enfield or Martini-Henry, this is very evident in the stock and trigger mechanism. However, it has been cross-bred with something altogether more familiar to any 40k player, the humble Lasgun. Also in common with 19th century weapons it is a reasonably long weapon, as you can see when it is compared to a number of other GW Imperial weapons. This belnd of styles means its an ideal weapon to use to count as a Lasgun - anybody who looks at a Guardsman armed with this weapon will be left in nou doubt as to what it represents. Yet it also has a very steam-punk/victorian feel all of its own, it would be ideal for such VSF games as well!

The castings is of an excellent quality, there is only a small and easy removed mould line and the level of detail is spot on, right down to the fold in the straps. Oh, and the barrel is dimpled, no fidley drilling required here! From the point of view of an Imperial Guard converter, the only slight downside is that standard Cadian or Catachan lasgun bearing arms wont work due to the different style of grips between this weapon and standard lasguns. This should'nt hold compentent converters back however, and we are told that there are specific arms in the works! For the VSF player, you may find the gun a little large as it definately feels designed with GW's 28mm Heroic scale in mind, rather then true scale.

These should be available soon from the Victoria Miniatures shop, and judging by existing pricing of her other bits fitting out an army with these lovely guns won't break the bank!

A whole Praetorian army with these would look awesome I have to say, though for myself I think I may be a bit far along to retrofit my army with them. That said I've always fancied having a go at 'updating' a squad as a proper attempt at a Golden Demon and these would fit right in with that idea, watch this space!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Opps - FW Resin Paint Stripping Disaster!

Oh dear.

Be warned resin & fairy Power Spray do not mix for long soaks!

In the pre-wedding rush, I slightly (okay completely) forgot I put a couple of second hand Forgeworld Heavy Mortars in Fairy Power Spray to soak. FPS is my normal choice for stripping paint as its easy to get hold of and dispose of (much like Simple Green). I've never had a problem wiith it before, but this time...

So the resin has gone all elastic, and slightly sticky, both carriages are the same unfortuntely, the wheels worse, though the Mortar Barrels being thicker are still useable. Well I'll chalk that one up to experience.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Praetorian Roughriders Nearly Out of Stock

Just a quick warning, I've currently only got 9 Roughrider conversion sets left in stock, I've just placed an order for another casting run, so will hopefully be able to restock before the end of next week.

Friday, 14 October 2011

SHOWCASE - Victoria Lamb's Praetorian Imperial Guard

Yep, I'm back, and I've some posting to do. I'm going to start with this though, since it seems like an appropriate opportunity. Showcase, is going to be an occasional series of blog posts where I'll briefly highlight other hobbiests whose work which I have found particularly inspiring. These will of course be weighted towards my own tastes, so expect lots of Imperial Guard, and of course specifically Praetorians. There will be exceptions though.

I'd be very surprised if anyone who is a fan of Praetorian Imperial Guard has not heard of Victoria Lamb, in fact I'd imagine that her name is reasonably well known in any hobby circuit. Amongst other talents, which you might read about if you visit her website, she is an award winning miniature painter and sculptor with more then a dozen Golden Demons, and other major awards to her credit. The very first of which was gained with none other then a Praetorian Command Squad.

When I started collecting Praetorian's myself, I'd only ever seen the odd painted model - with the exception of GW's Big Toof River. My first go at the army was overly none to impressive. It was probably seeing Victoria Lambs work, the first time I otherwise saw a full Praetorian army, which cemented in my head the idea that I could do better myself.

Not only is the army gorgeously painted, but absolutely every guardsman is converted, with the addition of webbing and an aquilla at a bare minimum, and many with head swaps, resculpted limbs, or altered weapons. These small details add so much extra to the army. The Heavy Weapons are also converted, this being the first place I saw alternative wheels used to create weapons more in keeping with the theme of the army, which I emulated myself.

The Command HQ is without doubt the army center piece though, as well as her usual conversion touches, including a fantastic standard bearer, is Captain Caine. Beautifully scratch sculpted with milliput, and creating a fantastic resemblance to Michael Caine's character in the classic film, Zulu. I'm as in awe of this model now, as I was when I first saw it.

I'd very much encourage everyone to go and take a look at Victoria Lambs website even if your not the biggest fan of Praetorians in the world, or have seen them before. There is also a selection of her other work, including a number of her fantastic other award winning models, some of which you'll undoubtedly recognise.

Victoria Lamb also now runs 'Victoria Miniatures', selling copies of a number of her original sculpts. Of particular interest may be the Kilted legs originally sculpted for the Drookian Fen Guard conversions featured in various locations by Games Workshop (I've got some on order myself!). As well as her latest release of a Penal Legion conversion kit which looks absolutely superb. There is a webstore on her site HERE, and more details can be found on the Victoria Miniatures Facebook page, HERE.