Typically I've worked on a single platoon for this ongoing Tanith commission each year (check out previous posts HERE
) but this year my client switched jobs and was able to afford a second installment. Continuing to expand the forces involved, he asked for a platoon from the Volpone 50th, the so-called Bluebloods. General Sturm and Major Gilbear play important roles in the narrative arcs of the Ghosts, that of obstacles to be overcome without resorting to violence.
Initially we discussed working on a 25-man platoon carried in three Taurox transports. I'm not a fan of the Taurox model at all, so I suggested the Crassus Amored Assault Transport. My client checked it out and agreed to pick one up. The Crassus has a transport capacity of 35, so my client added two Cyclops Demolition Vehicles to the docket. Anyway, on to the models : )
Like many of the regiments in Dan Abnett's stories, the descriptions of the Volpone Bluebloods are quite vague. We scoured the books and the Internet and basically found that there was little beyond "grey and gold armor" and "matte-black hellguns" to go on. Sometimes that can be fine, and knowing I'd be working with the Scions kits, I started to develop the scheme.
Major (later Colonel) Gilbear was the adjutant to General Noches Sturm when we first encounter them in the storyline, just as the General orders artillery to shell the retreating Ghosts (in Ghostmaker
). He is described as tall and physically imposing, so I really had to use the stormcoat provided in the Scions box to bulk him out. I also added a few millimeters to his legs so he stands taller than all the others in the platoon. Hanging from inside his coat is a fox tail, a nod to the origins of the name Volpone (Italian for sly fox). He sports a red beret, rather than the blue we chose for the troopers to again mark him out as a commander. While the armor and fatigues of all the models in the platoon are nice and clean and neat (rigid Volpone discipline demands it), I decided to paint up his stormcoat as a battered old thing, no doubt once worn in combat by an heroic forebear.
Here are the standard bearer and vox caster for the command squad. It was fun to paint up that big banner (all those details are already sculpted on) although it was a bit tough to scrape away the "Scions" text that comes molded to the scrollwork.
Rounding out the command squad are the plasma gunner and the medic. The pose for the plasma gunner is very cool. Just right for a guy who is preparing to lay down devastating cover fire while his comrades advance. The medic's equipment is very cool, the case is very neat and the narthecium in his left hand completely brutal.
We decide to split the troopers into three initial squads that could be recombined into two larger squads should my client so desire. The first has a sergeant with power fist and two troopers with meltaguns. Tank-hunting is their obvious role.
The second squad features a sergeant with a power sword and plasma pistol, plus two troopers with hot-shot volley guns. This squad can certainly focus on power-armored opponents.
And finally a cheaper generic squad, a sergeant and five troopers with stock weapons. If my client wants to play with larger squads, he can simply split this squad up and insert the members in to the previous two.
On to the Crassus. This beast of a transport vehicle was released a few years ago by Forgeworld and it was the star of quite a few memes in its time, but it has since faded into obscurity. I'm actually a fan of it. I think it looks pretty cool.
If you put the side sponsons on, you can load it up with four weapons from the following list: heavy bolter, heavy flamers, autocannons, or lascannons. Of course my client wanted all four options available to him : )
As you can see, I've kept the weathering to a fairly minimal level, following on from the idea that appearance is incredibly important to the Volpones.
It was interesting to paint the interior before I had fully assembled the model. It added another step that I hadn't initially thought of, but I think it worked out pretty well in the end.
Finally, we have the Cyclops Demolition Vehicles. These little guys have zero weathering or damage on them, because it's their first time out since they left the factory. When your job is to explode violently on your first time out, you don't get a chance to pick up nicks, dings, and scratches ; )
Their two controllers can also be folded into any of the squads, should my client not want to fields the Cyclops bombs.
I hope you all like them. I will say that the photos have unfortunately knocked out quite a bit of the subtle shading on the grey armor, but that's sometimes how it goes.