Post christmas blues

So the big day has come and gone, and all that’s left is a mountainous pile of kits to build and paint. I had a great Christmas and my family know me well. So what will I be adding to my ultramarines in the next few months? Well, my main aim was add some bikes and I now have a full squad of 8, a smaller 4 man squad, both with additional attack Bikes, a 3rd attack bike and a full command squad. Add to this the captain and librarian both on a bike and I have the core of a nice bike force. I have also added some vanguard recently and christmas saw me getting a box of sternguard. To round of the new units I also got some scenery.

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The plan
I wanted to get my 6th company up and running for February, but this pushing it even for me, but I will focus on bikes for a while. I have added some nice conversions to the command squad and I am loving my librarian biker.

The company standard was a dilemma, so I have scratch built my own (blog to follow) and the melta guns also caused me to rethink the plan. I have very few melta guns left in the bits box and bikers holding special weapons a quite a pain to do. So I have converted up a new gun arrangement on the front of the bike. The idea was to mount a melta gun centrally, replacing the headlamp. Nestled between the bolter, this triple gun idea was found on the net and looks really good. The apothecary and company champion on bikes were easy to build, with a bit of tinkering to make them look right.

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The sternguard box set was a real treat. I love this kit, but I don’t want more sternguard (just yet). I do however want to add some vanguard on foot, so it was more conversions . Mixing vanguard and sternguard boxes, I went for a new look. Rather than the normal ‘charging headlong ‘ look for an assault squad, I went for a more stoic, static look, almost at rest. The idea was to try and get the whole ‘defenders of humanity ‘ look that you often see in the artwork. Very blinged up and a grim pose.

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As I have said before, weapon layout is key to vanguard (and most other units) You often see people tooling them up to max, thunderhammer and stormsheilds (which is around 250pts for 5 vs 215pts for assault terminator squads with the same layout) but then moaning that they aren’t worth the points. My view is that less is more. I have gone for power weapon/stormsheild on the sgt, a pair of claws on 1, a plasma pistol on one and 2 standard. This is around 170pts for the squad, making them usable in small games. I will add the second 5 at some point in the near future. The ‘gun’ parts (such as the arms and bolters) will find a use soon, but more on that in the future.

So, that’s my painting project for the next few weeks. Keep an eye on Twitter for progress. Till then, see you across the battlefield.

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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.