It’s Thursday, so that means another update of the archives. I’m going to stick with Epic after the Orks yesterday and have included the Mortant ‘Head Hunters’. These were a bit of an odd force in that they weren’t originally designed per-se, but evolved out of a re-painted demo force I originally painted for UK Games Day. The original scheme was a somewhat bland desert yellow so I was looking for a way of re-using the miniatures without having to resort to paint stripping. Not a problem for the metal, but wasn’t sure how well the Forgeworld resin would hold up to that. Instead I came up with a scheme that could be applied effectively over the original paint to add tonal depth and thus an end colour not dissimilar to a WWII Brown Violet. Of course any chance of matching the colour for future units exactly will be nigh impossible.
The 27th Battalion
Imperial Guard armies come in all shapes and sizes, the Steel Legion being just one particular Guard Regiment amongst thousands. Having completed the majority of formations that I wanted to include in my Steel Legion force, with the exception of a few reinforcements that I will add at a later date, it was time to move onto a different army. For my second Imperial Guard force in Epic I have chosen a combined formation consisting of both Mortant Head Hunters and Cadian Armoured elements. The reason for drawing units from two different regiments is to (hopefully) demonstrate that although an army made up and painted to represent a single Regiment looks great, there is no reason not to construct a force made up of elements from different Homeworlds. One of the reasons Armageddon makes such a great backdrop to a campaign is the diversity of forces that fought there, units in the field often being drawn from many different regiments.
To get the ball rolling, this article covers the first of the Mortant armoured formations that will provide the bulk of my forces; the Cadian support elements to follow in Part Two. The other reason for starting a second Imperial Guard force is twofold, firstly it lets me try out a different colour scheme to the Steel Legion and secondly I can add in units not already covered, such as the Griffons and Manticores.
Mortant Artillery Company
The Mortant Artillery Company consists of six ‘Armageddon’ pattern Basilisks, three Manticore Missile Launchers and a Trojan Command vehicle. As this army is being assembled to take part in a campaign that will be covered later in the year within the jungles of Armageddon’s equatorial region the colour scheme I chose was a drab green.
Each of the artillery pieces were initially undercoated black over which I applied a rough dry brush of bestial brown and bubonic brown. Over this a watered down coat of catachan green was applied and finally a wash of black ink and catachan green watered down very thinly. This may seem a rather long winded process, but it produces what I call a ‘bleed through’ effect allowing patches of the brown underneath the catachan green to bleed through the thin topcoat creating a natural nuancing of the colours and a soft smooth finish. To complete the effect a light dry brush of catachan green was then applied followed by a very light dry brush of camo green. It is important to let each successive coat dry completely before starting the next to get the best out of this method otherwise the dry brushing will tear the underlying paint. Colour Bleeding is something you may want to try first on a few old models as it does take a little practice to get right, but the end effects are well worth it and very subtle.
Mortant Tank Support
No Imperial Guard force would be complete without a least a few Leman Russ battle tanks, so to support the Artillery Company I have added the first of a number of Leman Russ Support Platoons. These were based and painted in exactly the same way as the Basilisks and Manticores with any stowage picked out in a mix of bubonic brown and desert yellow.
The Manticore Missiles I decided to paint shadow grey and highlight with space wolf grey to make them stand out a little more as the danger with painting the bulk of the force in drab colours is they can look too muted and dull overall. Making a few details on each vehicle stand out with brighter colours is a good way to ‘lift’ an army visually on the table without making it too colourful.
As with all of the vehicles in my armies I have based the tanks on 20mm x 40mm Warmaster bases.
The Griffons were added to give my Mortant Infantry Platoons some additional fire support and soften up any enemy strong points in the jungle. As mortars would be a featured theme of this army, keep an eye out for some more unusual “Head Hunter” formations in a future update.
The Trojan shown to the rear of the Griffon formation is the final unit in the Artillery Company. Although command vehicles were dropped from the tournament army lists in Armageddon prior to the final release, I liked the idea so much during development that I decided to keep them in my own formations. In this instance I replaced the Salamander Command vehicle with a Trojan as it seemed more appropriate.
That about wraps up the first few Mortant formations. Next update, I will look at putting together the Mortant Infantry, some jungle ‘Specialists’, Recon and of course the Cadian Heavy Support.
Cadian Super-Heavy Tank Company
When it comes to truly delivering crippling blows to Titans or smashing open lines of tanks and infantry, there is one Imperial formation that really fits the bill and that is the Super Heavy Company. Bristling with guns and thick armour the Baneblade’s and Shadowswords of the Imperial Guard have long been a firm favourite of mine.
In part one of my ‘Alternative Imperial Armies’ I looked at the first few armoured formations of my Mortant Head Hunters. Having additionally added a few infantry units now to the army I started to consider what else I could add that hadn’t already been covered by the Steel Legion diary. Right at the top of my list I had a Super Heavy Tank Company, both for the sheer punch the formation has and additionally because they are such fantastic models.
I initially selected a full Shadowsword Company, but on reflection decided to drop one of the Shadowswords in favour of a Baneblade to provide me with a bit more flexibility. Although I could have simply painted them as Mortant armoured units, I felt it would be more characterful to paint them as a ‘seconded’ unit drawn from a different Regiment. As Cadian Armoured Companies played a large part in the Armageddon conflict and the dark green Cadian camo scheme would fit in nicely with the Headhunters I opted to paint and mark the units as part of the Cadian 5th Armoured Battalion.
With the formation selected and assembled I then based, textured and undercoated the three Forge World tanks ready for painting. To get the characteristic dark green scheme I began with a base colour of catachan green over which I added a wash of black ink and dark angels green. Any flat areas were then repainted catachan green before giving the entire model a very light dry brush of catachan green mixed with camo green. Once dry details such as markings, tracks and guns were then painted appropriately and the base was dry brushed graveyard earth and bleached bone respectively. As a final touch I added a few whip aerials to the tanks made of very thin brass rod.
One super heavy tank formation ready for battle in the name of the Emperor.