Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle

As previously mentioned, Island Mike and I will be joining forces at G&G VI for the annual Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse game.  We will both be fielding Imperial Guard armies, the nearly hapless humans of the war-torn 41st millennium, but with drastically different themes.

While my Valhallan Ice Warriors are very evocative of WWII Russians with their bomber hats, greatcoats and blanket rolls, his Catachan Jungle Fighters have more of a U.S. G.I. feel, with elements of both Vietnam and the Pacific theatre of WWII.  Think Guadalcanal Diary meets Platoon, and you won't be far off.  Incongruously, the wife-beater shirts and headbands of the Jungle Fighters offer the same level of protection as the heavy coats and occasional helmets of my Ice Warriors; a 5+ armor save.  Weird, huh?

A lot of the background describes how the Catachan's native planet is a 'Deathworld', not suitable for colonization as the planet's surface is almost exclusively jungle, filled with disease, carnivorous plants, and predatory insects ranging in size from gnat to caribou.  No one told the Catachans though, or opted to give them a choice, because they are still there, and the ones who survive to adulthood are tougher by far than those bred on more civilized worlds.  Catachan's only export is men, men who fill the ranks of the Guard.

The toughest of these are the veteran squads or 'Catachan Devils', elite long range scouts adept at ambushing with lasguns and snare mines, but opting for the precision and silence of their long blades whenever possible.  Every Catachan carries a 'knife' (some which could very reasonably be called a sword) of his own making and adapted to his fighting style, some with monomolecular edges, others with a hollowed channel inside the blade partially filled with mercury in order to impart more swinging power to the tip.

Even these Devils defer to their commander, however: Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken.

Straken's 'lead from the front' philosophy has cost him dearly in injuries over the years, most notably in the incident where he lost his arm to a Miral Land Shark.  Far too valuable to be cashiered, Straken gets repaired and augmented and sent back to the front to carry the fight to humanity's enemies.
I offered to get Mike this model to use as a commander for his Catachan Air Cav as an early birthday present since I have the option of picking up special orders at the local Games Workshop store and not paying any shipping.  I don't know if he knew I was going to paint it for him, but if not, I guess the Cat(achan) is out of the bag now, huh?  (Canada Post assures me he now has it.)

Old, tired Straken

New and improved Straken
 This newer version is a vast improvement over the older, more two-dimensional original produced a decade ago without being a huge departure.  The bandana, shot gun and trophy skull have all returned, but apparently Straken's last bout of physio therapy included a lot of time on a Bowflex.  Lookit those lats!

I love how anachronistic the wooden shotgun stock and pump look alongside the bionic arm, and the bandolier full of shells is a nice addition as well.  Other cool details include the tooth-necklace around his neck, two different types of grenades, an Imperial Eagle belt buckle and the leg-tie on his holster.

After painting a squad of ten figures all with the same uniform and kit, it's always nice to shift focus to a single character model, and it was also a treat to work on a warmer palette than my Valhallans have with their many shades of grey.  I'm very happy with how Col. Straken turned out, especially when I recall how daunting I used to find the prospect of painting flesh tones.  Plus, the bionic eye meant he couldn't be cross-eyed, which is a plus.

1 comment:

  1. No, indeed, I had no idea the Colonel was coming painted! It's a brilliant paint job and a most excellent b-day gift. Thanks again hermano.