Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Death Company in Review

I've been thinking a lot about the 'Ardboyz tournament this week. I often think about tournaments once they're over, mulling over what I did wrong and right, and what I could correct for the future. It's actually why I like playing in tournaments -- they're excellent learning experiences, and you have a great opportunity to meet some new people and play against some new opponents. As part of my ruminations, I've thought a bit about the units I used last Saturday and how they fared. Actually, this tourney was perhaps the biggest learning experience I've ever had, as I had never played an all-assault army or quite such a mobile army before. But for today, I'd like to talk about one unit in particular:

Death Company. As you may remember from my list, I fielded them in a unit of 10, sporting one Power Fist and four Power Weapons. Now, I didn't want to shell out the extra 150 points to give them all jump packs, so I shoved them into a Stormraven. And let me just say -- they earned their points back in every single game. Round one, they charged and destroyed Commander Farsight and seven bodyguards, plus a Devilfish and Hammerhead. I can't be sure on the numbers, but that should ring in around 1,000+ points. Admittedly, they had help from a Death Company Dreadnought and Astorath the Grim, but even then, their cost would cap at 530 points, meaning they killed double their cost. I only lost one or two in the exchange.

In round two, I did not get them into the fight soon enough, but they did kill off five Nob bikers, and almost half of a full shoota boyz squad before time ran out. In another turn or two, they would have polished off the shoota boyz without a doubt, though there would not have been much else for them to attack. And in round three, while they did die off completely, they massacred two close combat Carnifexes, the Tyranid Prime Warrior and helped mop up a Hive Tyrant and his posse of Tyrant Guard. They later went on to destroy a Mycetic Spore before getting assaulted and eaten by some Genestealers. After all, only about half of the unit was left alive at that point, and Rending took away even their FNP save.

The unit is extremely durable, too. In the second round, they were assaulted by thirty shootas. First they managed to eliminate nine enemies before they could even attack, but even sucking up a total of sixty attacks at WS4 S4, only a single marine fell. Of course, two more fell to the power klaw-toting nob, but that's beside the point. PKs kill a LOT of things, including my land raiders.

All in all, they're a very durable unit that can dish out a lot of pain. The major difficulty is getting them into combat as well as steering them in the right direction. Provided their means of transport (Stormraven, Land Raider, Drop Pod, Rhino, etc.) gets them to where you want them to be, they can at least hit your major target. It's after that which presents a problem. Once they kill whatever they've charged, Rage brings them straight after the nearest enemy, which isn't always where you want them to go. For my next post, I think I'll talk about the methods of delivering your Death Company into the thick of the fight, and the pros and cons of each.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Have Fought in the Emperor's Name!

Whew. . .what a long day. Long story short -- I managed to place third, earning a $20 credit and an invitation to the Semi-Finals. I'm actually surprised I managed to place, given the fact that my games were Draw, Minor Victory, Minor Victory. My list was exactly as posted above, and, from memory, here's what my battles looked like:

Round One
Opponent -- Tau Empire

My opponent had Commander Farsight, accompanied by seven or eight bodyguard crisis suits, each with plasma guns and burst cannons, as well as a sprinkling of shield drones. There was a small unit of pathfinders, two units of fire warriors, three devilfish, a hammerhead, a unit of stealth suits, one crisis suit team of three with missile launchers, and another crisis suit team with plasma gun/burst cannon, a handful of drones and Iridium Armor. Deployment was the odd one from scenario one with the diagonal centerline that you have to deploy 12" away from. My foe rolled higher and deployed his army. I kept everything in reserve.

His first turn was completely wasted, as there was nothing to shoot at or assault, so his army shuffled around. My turn one, I dropped in the Furioso Dread and Multi-melta dread. The MM dread failed to do anything beyond scoring a Crew Shaken against the hammerhead, but the Furioso dread killed all but two of the stealth suits. Top of turn two saw one drop pod destroyed, and the MM dread Immobilized and Stunned. But then it was bottom of two, and time to STRIKE FROM THE SKY, BROTHERS!!! Brothers?! Brothers. . .? Yes. . .my Reserve rolls on turn two. I had three assault squads split into combat squads, a vanguard vet squad all together, an empty drop pod and the stormraven. So a 4+ with a re-roll on most of those units saw. . .the empty pod and one combat squad arrive. Needless to say, this meant that combat was going to be put off until round four at the earliest. In any event, I charged the Furioso dread into Farsight's crew. . .and he promptly got his dread CCW sliced off.

The MM dread didn't survive my opponent's next shooting phase, but the beginning of my next turn brought out, well, my entire army. Perhaps the only serious mistake I made all day happened now. My Vanguard Vets landed right near Farsight's squad. . .but I forgot to declare Heroic Intervention before rolling the scatter, and thus they were left stranded. Needless to say, after Farsight finished off the dread, his squaddies double-tapping plasma guns into the beleaguered vets, who were in the open, by the by, left one alive. Elsewhere on the battlefield, my stormraven, having just arrived from reserve, was promptly shot down. The few combats I managed to get into, namely with the two units of crisis suits, netted me nothing. But things were about to turn around for me.

Though their transport was destroyed, the Death Company, led by Astorath, assaulted and summarily destroyed Farsight's squad. Very little else was happening, but over the next turn, the DC managed to sweep forward and destroy a devilfish and the hammerhead. Going in to turn six, my opponent flew two units of firewarriors onto objectives, and I lacked the ability to remove them. Luckily, my drop pod was contesting one objective, and a lone assault marine, after going blow-for-blow against a single stealth suit for about five rounds of combat, managed to fly onto an objective and capture it for the draw.

In review, I forgot how hardcore crisis suits are. They're extremely crunchy, not to mention they all have two wounds at T4. Whether or not my vets using HI would have made a huge difference, who can say, but it was definitely a fun game against a good opponent, and I would say a Draw is not bad for the first time using this army.

Result -- Draw

Round Two
Opponent -- Orks

For round two, it was spearhead deployment (my least favorite). This scenario was actually a call back to 4th edition, as the only objective of the game was to accumulate Victory Points. Remember those? Anyway, my opponent was rocking two units of Nob Bikers, two units of Meganobz, another unit of Nobz, two units of Shootas, two Battlewagons, three Killa Kanz and a unit of Lootas (that she both forgot to deploy and declare they were in reserve, so they weren't in the game). I managed to roll higher, and given the lack of long-range firepower, I decided to deploy my entire army, save for the Dreads (all in pods), and the Vanguard Vets, who I split into combat squads. Turn one saw the Stormraven blow up a battle wagon with some side armor shots, and the Furioso, who had landed right next to the wagon, proceeded to kill all but the nob with is frag cannon. My MM dread failed to hit the other wagon with its big gun, and proceeded to get run over by said wagon.

Turn two, I assaulted two full units into some meganobz and managed to kill all of the nobz, with a failed morale check leading to the warboss attempting to flee and getting run down. Now, unfortunately for me, her units started arriving. The other unit of meganobz started laying some hurt on one of my assault squads, while a bike squad started ripping apart another one. We were getting pretty cramped in her deployment zone with lots of terrain, so my jump infantry were having difficulty maneuvering properly. In fact, the next turn saw all of the combat cramped into about a 2' x 2' space, with greenies and marines hacking away at each other. The turn of the tide came when I pulled up in the 'Raven and unleashed the Death Company. First, they slaughtered a unit of nob bikers, but then were charged by 30 shootas. They managed to kill 9 before the boys got to attack, and after sucking up attacks from 20 boys (that's sixty attacks!), lost a single model. The Nob managed to kill off two more.

Elsewhere, my Furioso dread was charged by the three kanz, and over four rounds of combat managed to destroy two of them, suffering no damage himself. My Vanguard Veterans tried to bail out the assault squad that had been charged first by Meganobz, then by Biker Nobs, and THEN by regular Nobs, and although they managed to kill all of the enemy off, the assault squad had already fallen. Unfortunately, this is where the time limit ended, in turn four. Left on the battlefield was Astorath and seven Death Company (with power weapons and fist intact), four assault marines, two sanguinary priests, two vanguard vets with power weapons, the Furioso, Death Company dread and Stomraven on my side. On my opponent's side, there were about fifteen shootas, one killa kan and about four biker nobs. But, because we ran out of time, it was a minor victory. One more turn, and I probably would have tabled.

In retrospect, I would have only made very slight changes to my battle plan. Since I was playing an assault army, I had to be aggressive. Since my opponent was of a similar mind, we got into combat turn two. The main issue here was the fact that of the units in reserve, three of them (both biker nobz and the nobz in a trukk) had at least an 18" striking distance from the board edge. So even if I managed to assault and annihilate everything on the table, I would get counter-charged like whoa. So I held the Death Company back until my opponent's entire army was on the field, and one more round of combat would have easily seen the end of that unit of boyz, as well as that biker unit, easily turning a Minor Victory into a Massacre.

Result -- Minor Victory

Round Three
Opponent -- Tyranids

Round three, and this was the one that was going to be trouble. By the scenario, any unit that could move over 6" in a single phase was to be worth 3 Kill Points. My army was worth a total of 34KP. I knew this one would be tough for me, especially as my opponent had no units that could move over 6". The bugs I was facing had two units of two Zoanthropes in spores, the Doom of Malantai in a spore, one unit of 'Stealers in a spore with two more outflanking, Tyrant Guard, a Hive Tyrant, a unit of two Carnies, Tyranid Warrior Prime, and both a small unit of Termagaunts and a small unit of Hormagaunts. The zoeys, Doom and genestealers all began in reserve, while I deployed everything save for the vanguard vets. I both deployed first and took the first turn, and as my opponent's army was heavily divided, immediately went on the offensive. The Furioso dread arrived turn one, blasting a handful of termagaunts with its cannon, but was promptly assaulted by the tyrant, his guard and the warrior prime. The dread somehow survived, losing its close combat arm. One of my assault squads was similarly attacked by the hormagaunts (I forgot they had Fleet), but only lost a single marine before annihilating the unit.

Turn two, I dropped off the Death Company in between the carnifexes and tyrant blob, assaulting both, while also throwing a unit of assault marines into the mix and having another unit mop up the termagaunts. I managed to do seven power weapon wounds to the carnies, killing one but leaving the other alive. Thanks to Lash Whips, everything else struck at I1, so I lost a few assault marines and death company before I could strike back. Still, through it all I only lost six models, causing sixteen wounds myself. The Fearless wounds finished off the last carnifex and saw the tyrant reduced to two wounds, with only a lone tyrant guard to keep him company. Then my opponent's army arrived.

He managed to roll his outflank so that both units of genestealers arrived together, and in fact, the only thing that did not come in from reserve were the 'stealers in the spore. Doom landed next to one assault squad, with the other zoeys spreading across the table. Two zoeys warp blasted my MM dread out of the game, but only because my opponent forgot about the Stormraven (we had removed the model from the base, because it was perched on the side of a hill). Doom's Essence Leech did nothing. . .I rolled a 7 on 3d6 for the Leadership check. The assault phase saw the end to the tyrant, thankfully. In my next turn, Doom failed to do any wounds again before getting shot up and assaulted. The 'Raven spun around and unloaded all of its guns plus all four Bloodstrike missiles into the two nearby zoanthropes, killing one and wounding the other. The Vanguard Vets arrived, and via Heroic Intervention assaulted a unit of Genestealers. Unfortunately, the vets lost half of their number before striking, but my power weapons managed to soften the unit up a bit. Doom fell to the assault, and I managed to attack the full unit of zoeys with another assault squad. . .but failed to do a single wound.

Over the next turn, the vets died off and the Stormraven was immobilized. I unleashed the Death Company dread from within it, and between two Deathwind missile shots from drop pods, the Furioso's frag cannon and the DC dread's heavy flamer, I reduced the other unit of genestealers to seven models before assaulting with both dreads. The DC dread, kitted out with Blood Talons, actually killed the entire unit itself, leaving the furioso nothing to do. The assault marines that were tied down in a fight with zoanthropes ended up getting counter-assaulted by the other beaten up unit of genestealers, and in the bottom of turn four, his last unit arrived. Again, we ran out of time and the game ended.

Looking back at this game, there's little I would have done differently. My hope was to rush and overwhelm the small portion of his army that began the game deployed, before everything else arrived. Even with Feel No Pain, genestealers are a major concern, given the fact that they strike first and can Rend. It's tough to say whether or not another turn or two would have seen me faring much better, as I still had two units of genestealers do deal with. My dreads were too far away to be much help, same with the deathwind launchers, and I only had about fifteen assault marines left, which is hardly a fair fight against an equal number of genestealers.

All in all, I'm very satisfied with the way the tournament ran. As this was the first time I had ever used this army (after all, I just finished building it the night before), I feel I did pretty well. That last scenario was killer, though. I managed to eliminate eleven enemy units, losing only two units and Astorath in the process. But since two of those three units were jump infantry, the final KP score was 13 - 7 (this was actually a Major Victory, but I hadn't realized at the time that HQs were worth 2KP each, so I had calculated 11 - 7). I don't know if I'll be able to go to the Semis, as I have no idea how close or far they will be, but it would be cool to go. I'd probably get my face smashed in, but it would still be fun.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Madness Hath Consumed Me. . .

Although, I suppose you could say that of anyone who participates in our Hobby, but I meant in a more specific way. I locked myself away in my nerdery upon returning home from work yesterday (around 2:00 in the afternoon). With only a few brief excursions to greet and talk to my wife, and of course the necessary foraging trips to the kitchen, I did not leave said nerdery until 12:00 last night. I suppose I finally know how it feels to be a mad scientist, obsessed with finishing one's work.

Unfortunately, when I emerged, rather than cackling madly with glee before unleashing some unholy terror on the world. . .I just had more assembled minis. Now, the list I'll be fielding is drastically different from anything I've ever seen fielded before (after all, everything has a jump pack or is in a flying transport). But I'm sure it's not all that different from lists that are going to be fielded all across the U.S. today.

Here's the list I'll be rolling with. . .

Astorath the Grim

Assault Squad
-- Flamer
-- Flamer
-- Sarge w/Power Weapon

Assault Squad
-- Melta
-- Melta
-- Sarge w/Power Fist

Assault Squad
-- Melta
-- Melta
-- Sarge w/Power Fist

Death Company
-- Power Fist
-- 4 x Power Weapons
-- 5 x Death Company

Death Company Dreadnought
-- Blood Talons (Heavy Flamer/Melta)
-- Drop Pod

Furioso Dreadnought
-- Frag Cannon
-- Drop Pod w/Deathwind Missile Launcher

Sanguinary Priests
-- 3 x Priests with Jump Packs

Vanguard Veterans
-- 3 x Power Weapons
-- Jump Packs

-- Multi-melta
-- Drop Pod w/Deathwind Missile Launcher

-- Extra Armor
-- TL Heavy Bolter, TL Assault Cannon

While I'm going to give up a TON of potential kill points in that last, special scenario (34!), I feel like this list can dish out a whole lotta hurt. For starters, it will be more maneuverable than most other lists I'll be facing. It can easily outrun footsloggers, and while units in transports can keep up with or outrun this list, they can't assault from inside their tin cans. Against gunlines, I can hold the entire list in Reserve, and thanks to Descent of Angels, Deep Strike so close that they get one round of shooting before they start dying in droves with unheeded prayers to their heathen gods on their lips.

Not sure if it's going to work. After all, I'm as unfamiliar with this list as my opponents will be. But the wealth of tactical options it provides will be fantastic. Look for battle reports up here tonight or tomorrow, and say a prayer to the Immortal Emperor that I may find victory.

For the Emperor, For Sanguinius!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Status Update

Alright, I managed to finish off the third assault squad last night. My scoring units are now complete. I also assembled their jump packs, but I still have to assemble ten more for one of the other assault squads, AND I have to show up early to the tournament on Saturday to buy and assemble my final ten (yes, I’m cutting it THAT close). Tonight, I’ve got those ten pesky jump packs to work on, and then ten Vanguard Veterans and ten Death Company. Now, I know I can easily assemble twenty models in a single night, but I’m hesitant to. If I rush assembly, that means significantly less time spent crafting and converting each model. Considering the fact that these are my veterans and death company, units that should pop out on the table top (at least the veterans), this may be an issue. Hopefully, I can kick a whole lotta tail tomorrow and just buy more DC models.

Aside from the status update, I also wanted to briefly touch on the advancement I’ve seen in GW mold technology. Now, I’ve only been playing for seven years, so I missed the REALLY old days, but even when I started, plastic kits were really a way to provide most armies with cheap kits to fill the ranks of units they would need a lot of. For example, when I started up my Dwarfs, dwarfs warriors and dwarfs with crossbows were the two most common Core units. They also happened to be the only units in the entire army that came in plastic. Same for my two friends, Tyler and Bob. One, with Lizardmen, had plastic Saurus and Skinks, and the other, with Hordes of Chaos, had Chaos Warriors and Marauders. Everything else was metal. On a side note, that’s why I don’t much mind paying $25 for a unit of 10 infantry models. . .most of the units in my army were $5 per model! Anyway, looking at the old dwarf warriors and quarrelers of mine, the kits definitely have a decent amount of detail, and are pleasant enough to look at (especially now that they’re decently painted), but I would never have thought about converting the more elite units in my army out of them, simply because they don’t look “elite” enough.

The same goes for, as a current example, the Blood Angels. The plastic assault marine kit is nice. It has a good amount of detail on the armor, and various accoutrement to add a little flair to the models. But if I have one unit painted red with yellow helmets, and another red with gold helmets, well, you can tell which are the vets and which aren’t, but there’s not a whole lot that would make the veterans look elite that wouldn’t involve a lot of cutting, sawing, gluing and sculpting. Enter in the plastic kits we’ve seen with the new release. Between the Sanguinary Guard and Death Company kits, you have everything you’ll need to make Veterans, Sanguinary Priests, Sergeants, and even characters, named or unnamed. The kits are not only extremely detailed, but the death company kit comes with power weapons, a power fist, a thunder hammer, bolt pistols, hand flamers, plasma pistols, inferno pistols, bolters, jump packs, chainswords. . .AND the bits to make five models. I was upset before I saw the kits that Blood Angels wouldn’t be getting a chapter upgrade kit, like Templars and Dark Angels, or a more versatile chapter kit, like the Space Wovles. Then my eyes beheld the glory that is the new DC kit, and I would gladly shell out $35 for a kit that only has five complete models. If you get yourself two DC kits and a tactical squad, well, my friend, you now have enough to make a Vanguard Veteran and a Sternguard Veteran squad.

I do have to say, because I don’t see this on the internet enough, I’m pretty darn happy with the way GW has been operating for the seven years I’ve been in The Hobby. Sure, price increases suck, and they haven’t always made the best decisions, but all in all, they have a solid company and a game that’s larger than any other miniatures system out there. And I’m not just saying this because my army has all of the shiny new toys. . .but it helps.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Have Come to Destroy You

Well, not me personally, but this dude. . .

This is my Furioso bearing a Frag Cannon, which is just too cool not to field. A S6 rending template that fires twice? Yes please. Sure, it's not going to do a whole lot against marines, but orks and bugs? C'mon! I was also sure to keep the melta on the Blood Fist (dread CCW) so he could serve in an anti-vehicle role if need be. The cannon itself was really simple. In fact, almost the entire model, minus the left hand and shin guards, is from the Ironclad Dreadnought sprue. The frag cannon arm is simply the hurricane bolter arm from the Ironclad with a slight modification. The arm comes in three parts -- the inside, the outside and the front. The front "cap", if you will, has a bar of plastic going down the inside, to separate the two rows of bolters, I would imagine. So I simply clipped that bad boy out, chopped two barrels off of a Dwarf organ gun, and stuck 'em in there. Blammo. Here's a profile view of the cannon.

I'm hoping this bad boy will pay some big dividends come Saturday, when it's 'Ardboyz time.

While I'm still a good way off from having everything assembled, I did also manage to finish these guys:

It's another assault squad (sans backpacks right now), this one with two flamers. The picture's a little small, but that's not super important as I did little modifications here. In fact, the only model I spent extra time with at all was the sergeant.

Again made entirely out of Death Company bits (as all of my sarges and vets will be), this dude has the pointing Assault Marine sarge arm, and he's landing/leaping off of some wrecked Eldar wraithbone (I think from a war walker?). I like it, because I imagine him jumping into battle, pointing that nasty power fist at some foe, and shouting, "I'm comin' for YOU!" The little blob on the base is actually putty. I accidentally snapped the piece as I was trying to bend it, so I had to plastic weld it to the base hardcore, and then throw some putty behind the elevated arm to give it some support.

I'm currently working on my third assault squad, this one boasting two meltas like the first, and then I'll be done with my scoring troops. That only leaves me ten vanguard vets and ten death company. . .

I do remain hopeful that I will finish. After all, I kind of have to. Sadly, the time crunch means that I will probably not be able to convert up a dreadnought to serve as my Death Company dread with Blood Talons before Saturday, so I'll have to run boring, old Blood Fists. Not that a model with five S10 attacks on the charge is a BAD thing, but I was looking forward to charging a blood talon dread into a unit of plague marines and kill, well, nearly all of them.

Lastly, an apology to those of you who have been trying to follow this blog. I think I'm going after "World's Worst Blogger", or something like that. But I have resolved to make a much sounder effort. After all, I'm going to have a LOT of model building progress to report these next two days, and then battle reports after Saturday. And after that, Mordheim warband progress. And after that, I'll actually start PAINTING my Blood Angels. Which will be weird for me. I've never had more than five fully painted models in any 40k army I've ever owned. Yes, I'm serious. And I've been playing the game for five years.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

For I am the Angel of Death, and I have come for You

Alright, with the deadline for finishing my Dwarves (which I missed, of course) now passed, I can focus on hammering out Blood Angels for 'Ardboyz. Here's the latest (unpainted) addition to my force. . .





This is my homemade Astorath the Grim. I know, I know, I totally cheated. The jump pack is the one from the Astorath model. But it's just too amazing not to use! The pictures on GW's website do it no justice whatsoever. When I saw it in the blister, though, it blew my mindhole. The actual model itself I hate. I hate it with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. First off, the whole "armor that looks like muscle" thing was cool. . .when they did it with Mephiston. Doing it again is kind of lame, and I didn't really like it that much in the first place. And could he look a little more like Dracula? Anyway, I picked the mini up so I could build my own, and as I just purchased a crapton of stuff for my Bangels, I had plenty of bits to choose from.

The torso, legs, right arm (with the axe) and shoulder pads are straight out of the Sanguinary Guard sprue. The left arm is from the devastator box, and the head is from the Ravenwing upgrade sprue. All in all, you're talking about a $27 - $28 model ($20 for the blister, and one-fifth of a $33 box plus other stuff), but I really like the way it came out. It was perhaps one of the simplest conversions I've done for a named character. The only thing I had to cut n' file was off of the foot. All of the Sanguinary Guard legs have bits of rubble or stone on the lower foot, to get that dramatic taking off/landing/running pose on the base, so I had to clip that off and file it down. Unfortunately, they also molded designs into the soles of the boots. So, instead of trying to carve the design into the part of the foot I had cut the rubble from, I filed both smooth.

Anyway, I think this bad boy will be a nice addition to my emerging army. It's kind of funny to me, though, that he was one of the first models built, but will be one of the last painted (I tend to paint my characters last).

A Devious Scheme

Alright, maybe not so devious, but I have finally decided on a paint scheme for my Blood Angels successor (although now I'm re-thinking the name). I hemmed and hawed over what I should do as my scheme was ruthlessly stolen by the guys who designed the Blood Ravens. Perhaps I should explain that thought. My original idea was to have a predominantly red scheme, as a proper Blood Angels successor, but with progressive amounts of white to tie in to the whole purity concept. The basic marine was red with white shoulder pads, but I was okay with the similarity to Blood Ravens, because the sergeants, veterans and characters would have more and more white depending on their status. Unfortunately, after playing Chaos Rising, I realized that the Blood Ravens honor guard is almost all white. Well shucks. . .there goes that idea! And it was back to the drawing board.

I went through several ideas, including going for the "split" paint scheme (think the Angels Sanguine or Storm Lords), but as that would be very difficult and didn't quite fit with the fluff, I had another idea. This idea ties into the whole Graeco-Roman theme behind the army. While in temperament they would be somewhat closer to Athenians (interest in philosophy, art, and leading the population), Space Marines are, by nature, very Spartan. Not to mention the fact that the color worn by Spartan hoplites was a good, deep red, and Blood Angels are red. . .well, it just makes sense. Anyway, the predominant scheme for the army would be this:

I use Mechrite Red as the primary color, as it's darker than Blood Red and also goes on more easily. The lower half of the leg and also the helmet are Dwarf Bronze. The thought here is that the bronze legs and helmet represent the bronze greaves an helmet of a spartan hoplite. As poorer hoplites could not even afford armor and simply went into battle with a shield, the scouts will be all red. Then we have your basic marine with the above scheme, to represent a slightly wealthier hoplite who could at least afford basic armor. Next we have the sergeant/veteran scheme. . .

The added bronze on the shoulder pads and chest plate are to represent the wealthier (and perhaps more successful) hoplites who could afford a bronze breastplate. Also, for the sergeants, I plan on using a transverse (sideways) crest. Believe it or not, that kind of crest is a pain in the butt to track down. The only one I've found so far is the one on the Cato Sicarius model, and that will involve filing off the Ultramarines "U", which will be fun. Obviously, Sanguinary Guard, as they have the fully molded armor (which is very Graeco-Roman!) would be entirely bronze, as well as most of the characters. I've also found the perfect shields for terminators and veterans or characters, at Scibor Monstrous Miniatures. Check 'em out! One even has a very Imperial-looking purity seal-ish thing.

The one debate currently raging in my head is this -- should I paint the left shoulder pad bronze to represent the typical hoplite shield? It would be very fluffy, I'm just not sure if it fits entirely. Here's what it would look like. . .

As I said, it would definitely fit the army theme very well, I'm just not 100% sure it looks good from a painting perspective. Anyway, I'm pretty stoked about figuring out a unique paint scheme. While many chapters have the lower leg/helmet areas in a different color, I haven't seen an army mix a metallic and non-metallic in quite this fashion. In fact, outside of Grey Knights, you don't see many metallic marine armies at all.

Oh, and lastly, all of the images were provided by the great Space Marine Painter Tool you can use from Bolter & Chainsword.