Steel Legion Master of Ordnance
Heroes of Armageddon charity project, completed July 2011
You may have heard about the Heroes of Armageddon charity project. You can read their blog as well as I can, but the gist is that a number of hobbyists, vendors, forums, and the like got together under the leadership of SC John and SC Mike to create FOUR collaborative [Warhammer 40K] armies based on GW's Third War for Armageddon background campaign. They raffled off the armies and gave the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders.
I was impressed from the moment I heard about this project back in April 2011 - the teamwork, the effort, and especially the idea behind it. I wanted to participate in some fashion after seeing their previous charity project, but frankly I'm not an army painter. Being honest, I’m not even a squad painter. But I browsed the list of participants and noticed a number of friends and fellow painters, including veteran hobbyist Dave Taylor who was heading up the Steel Legion Imperial Guard army build team. Now let me tell you, I am NOT an Imperial Guard guy. Tanks were never my thing and all that infantry to paint? Thanks, but no. Nonetheless, I browsed his army list hoping for an epiphany. I didn’t initially see any place where I'd be suited to contribute and I’d just about resigned myself to a ”support via donation” role when I noticed the command squad in Dave's list has a Regimental Advisor - ah ha! So I contacted Dave and (without even having to beg) signed up to sculpt and paint a Steel Legion Master of Ordnance. He’s only 30 points - less than 1% of the final army value - but he’ll get to hang out with Dave’s command squad and Kirill Zilkov's Commissar Yarrick and a bloody huge IG army.
As several astute viewers have pointed out, this model is based on the Adepticon 2010 Governor model. ”The Plan” had always been to leave the initial sculpt as an Adepticon-only miniature and convert a ”more military” version for me (and my webcart) based on the Governor. That was over a year ago and I had yet to get around to it. The Heroes of Armaggedon project gave me the framework and deadline to finally get this done - not to mention the general good feeling of participating in such a fantastic project.
Converting the Governor into an artillery officer wasn't a huge stretch, as long as your idea of an artillery officer is reasonably dressy. The sculpt received a belt, sidearm, and boots, as well as a longer jacket and gasmask to fit in with his Steel Legion comrades. I had originally intended to pose him reading the dataslate I used to replace his cane, but after consulting my non-hobbyist-sounding-board wife, we settled on this pose which she described as “the brass issued me this thing, but I don't really need it”. I suppose she's right; how hard can it be to drop artillery on the screaming green carpet of violence that is an ork horde? Can you miss? Regardless, we liked this pose better than the other options, and as a bonus, it was much easier to paint the screen when angled this way.
I'd like to mention that the idea for the skull-shell on his base came all the way from Jakob Rune Nielsen in Denmark. Jakob came to Adepticon for the first Crystal Brush painting competition and took second place overall with his Blanchesque Duchess Death. While letting those of us who attended his classes pour over his figures and sketchbook, I came upon a WIP mini with a servo-skull-assisted artillery shell. Class act that he is, Jakob gave me his blessing to work the idea into this project. My version differs a bit from his, but I’m pleased to give credit where credit is due.
Dave Taylor determined the final paint “recipe” for the army based on the original GW Steel Legion colors. The palette didn't make a lot of sense to me on paper, but I should have had more faith in Dave's vast painting experience. I ended up really liking the black-brown-tan combination, and even the colors for the base (which sounded crazy to me initially) came together very well. The red-lit dataslate was an extrapolation of Dave's paint scheme. I'm a big fan of limited palettes on miniatures, and while my initial inclination was to paint the screen in a more traditional green, I think the red really works well. It seems a plausible color to maintain one's night vision as well as looking a bit more sinister and maintaining my restricted palette. Dave's recipe also prompted me to try my first GW Washes - specifically Devlan Mud and Badab Black. I'm certainly late to that party, but I’m impressed. I can blend and glaze and wash without them, but I'd be a fool not to use a good product when it’s sitting right there. My only criticism would be the slightly satin finish I seem to get with the GW Washes. It’s not as pronounced as the shine of inks, and a coat of Testors Dull Cote matte spray removed the gloss effect in the end, so all in all it’s a pretty minor complaint for such a handy concoction. This figure is also the first Golden Demon miniature I've painted and not kept for myself. The last picture in the series is from the GW event coverage. It had always been my intention to donate this piece to the Heroes of Armageddon project when it was complete, but I confess that was easier said than done. There may have been a teary farewell, but he's with his fellow Steel Legionnaires now, dropping Str 9 AP3 large templates on the enemies of the Imperium. I'm so proud of him…