Old school sternguard

It’s fair to say I hate painting White. Getting a smooth coat takes for ever and don’t get me started on the shading! So why is it I keep painting veterans with white helmets and trim? The best answer I can find is because sternguard are cool. My current 1st company squads are 10 terminators, 10 assault terminators and 10 sternguard. I have recently added, but not yet painted 5 vanguaurd and my current project is a full squad of 10 more sternguard.

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To me, sternguard at the best unit in the codex. They are flexible enough to fit most lists and the new kit are very good. The special ammunition rule gives them most of this flexibility but the fact that they can take 2 special or heavy weapons and then fill the squad with combi weapons as well gives them even more tactical value.

In all my lists I tend to under equip squads and save points for more fliers. My current sternguard squad is the exception to this. They have 2 combi flamer, 2 combi melta and heavy Flamer. The Sgt is armed with a power weapon. This makes for an expensive squad that is ideally suited to the drop pod assault. They rarely survive a game, but usually kill more that their points cost. This heavy hitter squad usually get me first blood. I wanted the second squad to be a bit cheaper, but also to fill out different role. My army is lacking in its ability to kill tanks and a good old fashioned melta squad would help me with this. So 2 melta guns and a combi-melta was the order of the day. As their core target was armour, I chose to arm the sgt with melta bombs and save points on the obligatory power weapon.

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With the armament chosen I need to build the squad up. I will admit, I was somewhat bored one day when I first had the idea to add a 2nd sternguard squad and I just let the creative process flow, which is the fancy way to say I raided the bits box!

I am a strong believer that most people miss the point with ultramarines. Everyone thinks that they are all the same and many armies are just assembled kits and them paint blue. Personally I think they are far more subtle than that. Each squad will have a deep history, every sgt can have a personality. I always try to put a theme in somewhere. For tactical squad, this can be hard, but vetrans, you can really go to town.

So what’s the idea for this squad? I recently painted squad 1, 1st company and bling overboard. I decided that this squad would be squad 10, 1st company. These guys have only just been promoted and haven’t had time to earn all the plaudits of a veteran squad. So they are closer to a tactical squad in apperance, while still be sternguard. For this I went old school in the design and paint scheme. I used legs, bodies and (for the most part) normal shoulder pads. The weapons and head were sternguard. The sgt got a left over banner and I added an armoured neck guard. Some shoulder pads will have some bling, but nothing like the other sternguard.

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Painting wise I went for an old school look. White trim and helm, with the weapons in red to match the other sternguard. I have finished the off with decals, notably the crux terminus from the forgeworld ultramarine decal sheet. This is yet another throwback to old sternguard before the awesome plastic kit.

My recipe for painting white is as follows

1- as I spray them in blue, I need to paint all areas that will be white in black.
2-using the cemerit white base coat thinned with thinning medium, I layer the White paint to a solid level. Thinned to the consistency of milk, it will take 4/5 layers and the first layer will be truly awefull.
3-once I have a smooth, solid base I shade with thinned ‘the fang’ . The mix should be around 4:1 thinner to paint. It takes 2/3 layers to get it right. I only paint this directly in the deepest parts of the White.
4- using the same mix ratio as step 2, build the White back up, leaving just deepest parts shaded. That this stage slowly as this is where it can get all lumpy.
5-for the shoulder trim, I paint a thin line of drakenof night shade along the blue edging where it meets the White. This will neaten the White and really make it pop.
6-avoid, at all cost, getting any paint on the white, as it’s the Devils own task to get it fixed.

So, that’s the new squad. I hope you like them. All I need to do now is blood them in to clear the curse of a new model and they will be done. Next up will be some vanguard.

Till next time, see you across the battle field.

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Tactical squad 4-advance of the cheap marines!

Just finished my 4th tactical squad (well, 5th, but more on that later) this is my cheapest tactical squad, weighing in at 150pts. It will be my stock unit when I am trying to save the odd point. In this blog i will try to explain my thinking when creating a troop choice, but first I’d like to talk about this great looking unit. (Not bigging it up or anything) I have a large ultramarines army, nearing 10k painted, but I only have 6 tactical squads. (So far) I am to build the full 2nd company. (I am only 5 assault marines to till have all the troops, but around 30 need to be painted)

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Tactical squad 4 is actually the 5th tactical squad I have painted for my 2nd company. I have tried to make this squad stand out, so the whole squad has running legs from either the assault marines or vanguard squad. I have added a holstered pistol on each. This has given a feeling of movement. The squad is also the fist squad that I’m on doing full decals on. The previous squads used the metal ultramairnes shoulder pads. Doing this on every squad was getting pricey. Adding £10 to each squad. That’s more the cost of a spartan for the whole battle company and I know what I want more!

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Each squad is different and has its own mission. Below is a list of each squad, sgt armament, special weapon, heavy weapon and role. Squad 4 is my cheap squad and I hope you see where it fits together.

Squad 1-power axe, flamer, missile. A general squad, great vs fast troop, particularly those of the eldar persuasion.

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Squad 2- power fist, melta gun, heavy bolter. A great squad vs imperial guard, often used with a drop pod.

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Squad 3- combi Flamer, Grav gun, missile-my all rounder, great for infiltration mission, the grav is great at short range. Currently this is my favourite squad, making most lists.

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Squad 4-chainsword/bolt pistol, flamer, heavy bolter. The cheapest squad, tooled up for hordes, but mainly as a way to save points.

Squad 5-power weapon, flamer, multi melta. The perfect foil for squad 3. The 2 squads work well together. Great for those pesky traitors.

Squad 6-(still unpainted) power weapon, flamer, Lascannon. My last squad was designed to help with heavy armour.

When I write a list, I pick 2 squads as my compulsory squads, and as I play fluffy lists, I always run 10man squads. So each list would say squads 3 and 4, with the rest of the points spent on my exciting toys, such are flyers or 1st company. Because I have a solid base, that I know well, I can fall on these to take up the strain. Allowing me to worry about the more risky elements of my army and helping score valuable vp’s.

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The poor old tactical squads always seem to be the ‘and I also took’ parts of most marine lists. I hope this missive help redress this a small part. They are the back bone of my force and have won me many games.

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