The Brodian Guards

Warhammer 40K Imperial Guard

12/07/2010

Dulce et Decorum... (Fluff)

Posted by Matt Ragan |

I originally wrote this in 1999. Chris A. found it today and sent it on. What a great Christmas gift/blast from the past! I updated the regimental numbers and nicknames to suit what I'm doing today. Other than that, I left it alone as a snapshot of my writing back then.

I wrote this story following my first ever game of 40K using my Imperial Guards. Chris A. was teaching me the rules ... 3rd Edition and we played on his dining room table if I remember correctly. He won, but the deed was done. I was hooked.


Captain McKay looked in awe at the vehicles rumbling through the main perimeter gates of the firebase. The size of an Imperial Space Marine Land Raider and escorting Rhinos was an incredible sight to behold. He suppressed a momentary flash of anger as he recognized the markings of the vehicles. It had been many months since last the 4th Brodian 'Wolfhounds' had encountered 'The Undying,' the Void Phantoms Chapter of Space Marines. Their last encounter was...less than cordial.

The first Rhinos in the column came through the east checkpoint without issue, he grimaced in anticipation as the Land Raider came to a near stop and made a slight course correction as it continued forward. These Marines weren't going to leave the Land Raider outside the perimeter as he had been hoping. The checkpoint gate was built to regulation specifications. Modular deployment firebases, which take less than 2 hours to set up, were notorious for not being designed with big vehicles in mind. The standard gate module meant the Marine driver would have exactly 16 millimeters clearance, 8 on each side. The Captain raised an eyebrow as the Raider came through without so much as a scrape; a very impressive display of skill. But of course, no less than the best crews would be driving those titanic Marine transports. A grin cracked his face as he looked over the Marine Land Raiders and thought of the new jewel in his command. After the stellar defense of Katanka Pass against the Orks on Sonnak IV last year, the Brodian 2nd Dragoons had detached a Vanquisher battle tank to his regiment. The main gun on the Vanquisher could smash even Land Raider armor; woe unto the foes of the Imperium that could not build such monsters. He shook off his battle musings and returned to the moment at hand.

He inspected his uniform; every medal, ribbon, honor and piece of equipment was in place and the blood red of his uniform stood crisp beneath the gleam of Imperial gold. As he exited his "office" at a brisk walk, his stormy blue eyes quickly took in the firebase around him. Sandbags, gun emplacement, razorwire, traps and methods of mass destruction loomed as grim watchmen on all sides of the firebase. Fluttering proudly above it all were the unit colors and the Imperial Eagle flag. Good enough for now.

He went to meet the commander of these Void Phantoms. The Marine vehicles had already come to a stop on Kill Zone Beta, the one minefield that would be left unseeded until after the Space Marines had left. As his steps carried him down the north-east face of the hill his unit was defending, the Captain noticed a Marine in a deep blue suit of Terminator armor exit the Land Raider. That would be the Chief Librarian. His sergeant had already assembled his other officers; he doubled his pace and joined them at the head a few moments before the Librarian. Smoothly, he continued walking right past his Lieutenants to stand directly in front of the armored giant. The Captain looked up into the eyes of the Chief Librarian of The Undying and gave his salute.

"Welcome to Firebase Jacob, Lord Liche. Your supplies are waiting for you in depot three. Sergeant Gordon will show your men the way." The Captain felt sure his temper was well in control, but who could keep emotions hidden from a Marine Librarian? He was a bit surprised as Lord Liche returned his salute; this was no normal cocksure, self-righteous, arrogant Space Marine.

With a nod to McKay, he turned and motioned for four of his marines to go with the Guard Sergeant and tend to the supplies. "We have never met you and I, but our units have." The dry voice rumbled from somewhere deep inside that ancient blue armor.

In the looming silence that followed the comment, McKay could feel his face flush with his famous Brodian temper. Damn it all! He was supposed to be more in control than this. Months ago, a "clerical error" had put a detachment of his Wolfhounds against a squad of Void Phantom Marines. Both units had been sent to rescue a wounded Imperial officer. The Wolfhounds had been told to be "wary of heretical units" that might wish to capture the officer as well. When the Void Phantoms also came to the rescue of Colonel Manitou, a brilliant Tank warfare tactician, an engagement which resulted in the deaths of several of his lads and an unknown number of Marines ensued. It was no fault of the Void Phantoms, the young Brodian Second Lieutenant had confused their bone colored armor for Chaos troops. Those were the facts around the issue, but the Captain's temper would not listen to facts.

McKay spoke again, his voice controlled, his tone polite though his innards were red chaos. "May the Void Phantoms crush the bugs under the Emperor's armored heel. Trust that this pass will still be under Imperial control when you have finished with the Tyrannids." The Captain paused long enough to take a breath. "Else, be confidant that we will all be dead."

"The Imperium would expect nothing less." The Librarian hadn't moved. McKay looked up for a moment into the dark warp eyes of the Marine. Was insult intended? Was there more to those words than face value? Probably. The Captain took step back.

"If you will excuse us, we have preparations to complete and defenses to strengthen." He turned to go without waiting for a response, his self-control stressed to the limits. A brief memory of one of the dozen letters he had written, particularly one to a widow with four children because of these 'Void Phantoms' came flashing to mind. He could hear the Marines as they got back into their various armored transports.

"Captain McKay." An amplified, though still disquieting voice checked his stride. He turned to look at the Librarian, his blood only just beginning the familiar process of cooling.

The ancient Marine's body had turned slightly as if he were about to head back to his vehicle. Two pairs of eyes locked. One pair ancient and dark with the warp; the other stormy and flashing blue. Again, echoing out from a shell of metal came the Librarian's unsettling voice. "My friend, it is said 'without zest, Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori.' " Then the Marine turned and his armored steps carried him toward his transport.

The Captain let out a surprised snort. "Friend?" Well, in any case, the Librarian had done some investigating before he arrived. "Dulce et Decorum..." was the motto of the Wolfhounds. Then, as McKay thought about the exact words the Librarian had spoken, a stunning realization descended upon him. He could feel his rage draining away like blood from a new wound. The motto came from an old Terran poem, brought to Brodia with the earliest colonists in a personal journal. The last lines of the poem were; "My friend, you would not tell with such high zest; to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori."

'Sweet and Fitting is it to die for the Fatherland.' To the Brodians, that particular motto is remembered as "the old lie" and not for what it translated to. But, that was not common knowledge! It was a cultural quirk, a holdover to the days of the old Brodian pagans!

It was a custom, in any Brodian military unit, that anytime anything went wrong as a result of officers, or the Administratium, or especially the Ecclesiarchy, that "Dulce et Decorum" came into conversation. The phrase had become a saying of almost all Brodian Imperial Guard units for anything that was totally screwed up; especially if it would eventually result in somebody getting killed.

Well, the "rescue" of Colonel Manitou and the colossal botch that resulted certainly qualified as a "Dulce et Decorum" situation. Captain McKay watched the Land Raider leave the compound with the same skillful driving that brought it in. That unusual Librarian was somewhere inside the mammoth. Quietly, in his native Brodian; instead of the formal Imperial Gothic he had been speaking, he whispered "Well...I'll... be... damned."

He silently watched as Imperial engineers began the process of mining the kill-zone now vacated by the Marine transports. Perhaps after this campaign, he mused, he should learn more about these..."Undying."

'Dulce et Decorum...' by Matt Ragan (C)1999/2010; all Void Phantom characters and concepts are original to Christopher Allen; all Warhammer 40K concepts are trademark and copyright Games Workshop, "Dulce et Decorum Est..." copyright Wilfred Owen and no challenge to those legal copyright holders is intended by their use.

12/05/2010

3D Gun Assembled

Posted by Matt Ragan |

Work progresses. Here it is assembled on a base with the figures I'm going to use as the crew.

12/03/2010

3D Scratchbuilding (the future?)

Posted by Matt Ragan |

So, those that know me know that I have a background in 3D art, NURBS modelling, and producing miniatures from that kind of technology. With my reunion with my Praetorians I had a chance to really look at my Heavy Weapon options and ... I was never happy with the Mordian guns. I wanted something more "steampunk."

So, I fired up my old 3D NURBS software and designed a new one. It's magnetic with options to swap out either the Autocannon barrel or the Heavy Bolter barrel. Here are the original in-software graphics (scaled to a 60mm base and IG sized "waldos" for size reference).

The gun carriage is inspired by Napoleonic era "block trail" French artillery sledges and the wheels are inspired by WW1 era field artillery. The guns themselves are obviously heavily modified from the Games Workshop in-game pieces so as to satisfy IP law.

AC Mode


HB Mode


I am printing the gun via a service called Shapeways.com in the Netherlands and it costs about $11 to create one gun kit which includes shipping (minimum order $25). I have to provide a length of 1/8th inch styrene tube to make the AC barrel and a base.

It arrived today (the below photo was taken by a buddy of mine who had it shipped to him because he bought a few other things I had 3D designed).



Stay tuned for updates as I go and get, assemble, prime, paint, and base my new toy.

12/02/2010

Ranks, TO&E, and other matters

Posted by Matt Ragan |

Well... it's nearly pointless trying to come up with a real world based TO&E and trying to shoehorn that into 40K. Words are used differently.

This now incorporates Lord Gordon's (from The 20th Praetorian Dragoon Guards blog) feedback.


So, like many before me, I'll take the TO&E demands from in-game and apply them upwards.

Command Echelons


Basically, after reviewing how the terms are used in both the new 5th Edition IG Codex, Apocalypse, and the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer... using in-game definitions of the words you have:
  • Army Group
  • Battle Group
  • Regiments
  • Companies
  • Platoon (Infantry) / Squadron (Vehicles) / Battery (Artillery) / Troop (Sentinels)
  • Squad (roughly 10 soldiers with or without transport, or 3 sentinels) / Vehicle (individual tank, gun, etc.)

    As near as I can tell, The Imperium has done away with "Battalions," "Brigades," and "Corps" (or perhaps never had them except as a localized term unique to the IG Regiments that used those terms). The in-game universe equivalent to a Brigade Combat Team or other such combined arms amalgam unit is the "Battle Group."

    "Divisions" and the concept of a "Numbered Army" seem to be terms reserved for how forces actually get split up on campaign in fluff, and not so much a formalized command echelons. The in-game construct is the "Army Group."

    The in-game justification is that it was a necessary "gross oversimplification" due to the demands of "organizing wars on a galactic scale" (pg. 9 5th edition IG Codex). Ok, no problem, I can live with that.


    Rank


    The only terms apparently recognized by the Departmento Munitorum are:
  • Guardsman
  • Veteran Guardsman
  • Sergeant
  • Veteran Sergeant
  • Platoon Commander
  • Company Commander
  • Regimental Staff
  • Regimental Commander / Battle Group Commander
  • Army Group Staff
  • Army Group Commander

    Synthesis


    In-game, the XO is usually abstracted into the game rules as just another dude or the leader of a different unit. Sometimes they appear in game, with stats: for example, a Heavy Weapon Team or the 2nd HQ choice. So... this is how I'm going to organize my home-grown Guard Regiment.

    Other Ranks
  • Conscript (OR1) - Imperial Guard solider in training or native levies/planetary defense forces pressed into service
  • Guardsman (OR2) - Basic trained Imperial Guard soldier
  • Chosen Man (OR3) - Veteran Guardsmen (gender neutral in usage)
  • Corporal (OR4) - Leads Teams (for example Heavy Weapons Teams)
  • Sergeant (OR5) - Leads Squads / Commands vehicles
  • Staff Sergeant (OR6) - Veteran Sergeant
  • Sergeant First Class (OR7) - Platoon Senior Non-Com
  • First Sergeant (OR8) - Company Senior Non-Com
  • Sergeant Major (OR9) - Regimental Senior Non-Com
  • Colour Sergeant (OR9) - Bearer of the Regimental colours

    Officers
  • Cadet (OF0) - Final year non-aristocrat students at the Military Academies; sometimes placed in the field over Conscripts
  • Ensign (OF0) - Young aristocrats placed in the command hierarchy to get training as an officer; usually over Conscripts.
  • Lieutenant (OF1) - Platoon Leader
  • First Lieutenant (OF1) - Company XO
  • Captain (OF2) - Company CO
  • Major (OF3) - Regimental Staff
  • Master (OF3) - Regimental Staff (may or may not be part of the Departmento Munitorum)
  • Lieutenant Colonel (OF4) - Regimental XO
  • Colonel (OF5) - Regimental CO / Battle Group CO
  • Battlemaster (OF6) - Temporary Rank - CO of multiple Battle Groups (similar to Naval "Commodore")
  • Major General (OF7) - General Staff Officer
  • Lieutenant General (OF8) - General Staff Officer (often Army Group XO)
  • Marshal (OF9) - CO of an Army Group acting with local political authority (usually not needed as the Guard usually operate independent of local system matters)
  • General (OF10) - CO of an Army Group
  • Lesser Titled Lord (OF11) - General Staff Officer with Specialized Roles/Duties
  • Greater Titled Lord (OF12) - General Staff Officer with Specialized Roles/Duties or CO of multiple Army Groups ("Lord Castellan" or equivalent)
  • Lord General Militant (OF13) - Supreme Sector Commander ("Lord Commander" or equivalent)
  • Warmaster (OF14) - Created by appointment of the High Lords of Terra for special circumstances

  • 11/11/2010

    Vendetta Repaint (Part 1)

    Posted by Matt Ragan |

    Well, here's my Vendetta repainting project.

    This photo represents the completion of phase 1; the airbrushing is done. Next is all the detail work.



    Full credit to Colonel Gravis who provided the inspiration for the paint scheme.

    11/11/2010

    The Haggis of Guardsman McPhee

    Posted by Matt Ragan |

    With deepest apologies to Robert W. Service, my favorite poet - from whose poem "The Haggis of Private McPhee" I have shamelessly stolen the bulk of this text. PS - Just like the original, you really can't read this poem without affecting a Scottish accent in your mind or reading it out loud.

    The Haggis of Guardsman McPhee


    "Hae ye heard whit ma auld mither's postit tae me?
    It fair maks me hamesick," says Guardsman McPhee.
    "And whit did she send ye?" says Guardsman McPhun,
    As he took deadly aim with his trusty lasgun.
    "A haggis! A HAGGIS!" says Guardsman McPhee;
    "The brawest big haggis I ever did see.

    And think! On the eve where fond mem'ry wheels
    Tae haggis and whuskey -- our Foundin' Day meals.
    We maun find a dram; then we'll ca' in the rest
    O' the lads, tae toast our Regiment as the best."

    "Be ready at sundoon," snapped Sergeant McCole;
    "I want you two men for the List'nin' Patrol."
    Then Guardsman McPhee looked at Guardsman McPhun:
    "I'm thinkin', ma lad, we're confoundedly done."
    Then Guardsman McPhun looked at Guardsman McPhee:
    "I'm thinkin' auld chap, it's a' aff wi' oor spree."

    But up spoke their crony, wee Wullie McNair:
    "Jist lea' yer braw haggis for me tae prepare;
    And as for the dram, if I search the camp roun',
    We maun hae a drappie tae jist haud it doon.
    Sae rin, lads, and think, though the nicht it be black,
    O' the haggis that's waitin' ye when ye get back."

    My! but it wis waesome on Naebuddy's Land,
    And the deid they were rottin' on every hand.
    And the rockets like corpse candles hauntit the sky,
    And the winds o' destruction went shudderin' by.
    There wis skelpin' o' bullets and skirlin' o' shells,
    And breengin' o' bombs and a thoosand death-knells;

    But cooryin' doon in a Bassie shell hole
    Little fashed the twa men o' the List'nin' Patrol.
    For sweeter than honey and bricht as a gem
    Wis the thocht o' the haggis that waitit for them.

    Yet alas! in oor moments o' sunniest cheer
    Calamity's aften maist cruelly near.
    And while the twa talked o' their puddin' divine
    The Greenskins below them were howkin' a mine.
    And while the twa cracked o' the feast they would hae,
    The fuse it wis burnin' and burnin' away.
    Then sudden a roar like the thunner o' doom,
    A hell-leap o' flame . . . then the wheesht o' the tomb.

    "Haw, Jock! Are ye hurtit?" says Guardsman McPhun.
    "Ay, Geordie, they've got me; I'm fearin' I'm done.
    It's ma leg; I'm jist thinkin' it's aff at the knee;
    Ye'd best gang and leave me," says Guardsman McPhee.
    "Oh leave ye I wunna," says Guardsman McPhun;
    "And leave ye I canna, for though I micht run,
    It's no faur I wud gang, it's no muckle I'd see:
    I'm blindit, and that's whit's the maitter wi' me."

    Then Guardsman McPhee sadly shakit his heid:
    "If we bide here for lang, we'll be bidin' for deid.
    And yet, Geordie lad, I could gang weel content
    If I'd tasted that haggis ma auld mither sent."
    "That's droll," says McPhun; "ye've jist speakit ma mind.
    Oh I ken it's a terrible thing tae be blind;
    And yet it's no that that embitters ma lot --
    It's missin' that braw muckle haggis ye've got."

    For a while they were silent; then up once again
    Spoke Guardsman McPhee, though he whussilt wi' pain:
    "And why should we miss it? Between you and me
    We've legs for tae run, and we've eyes for tae see.
    You lend me your shanks and I'll lend you ma sicht,
    And we'll baith hae a kitful o' haggis this nicht."

    Oh the sky it wis dourlike and dreepin' a wee,
    When Guardsman McPhun gruppit Guardsman McPhee.
    Oh the glaur it wis flyin' and crieshin' the grun',
    When Guardsman McPhee guidit Guardsman McPhun.
    "Keep clear o' them corpses -- they're maybe no deid!
    Haud on! There's a big muckle crater aheid.
    Look oot! There's a Ork; we'll be haein' a coup!
    Spotlite! For Godsake! Doun, lad, on yer daup!
    Bear aff tae yer richt. . . . Aw yer jist daein' fine:
    Before the nicht's feenished on haggis we'll dine."

    There wis death and destruction on every hand;
    There wis havoc and horror on Naebuddy's Land.
    And the shells bickered doun wi' a crump and a glare,
    And the hameless wee bullets were dingin' the air.
    Yet on they went staggerin', cooryin' doun
    When the stutter and cluck o' a Stubber crept roun'.
    And the legs o' McPhun they were sturdy and stoot,
    And McPhee on his back kept a bonnie look-oot.
    "On, on, ma brave lad! We're no faur frae the goal;
    I can hear the braw sweerin' o' Sergeant McCole."

    But strength has its leemit, and Guardsman McPhun,
    Wi' a sab and a curse fell his length on the grun'.
    Then Guardsman McPhee shoutit doon in his ear:
    "Jist think o' the haggis! I smell it from here.
    It's gushin' wi' juice, it's embaumin' the air;
    It's steamin' for us, and we're -- jist -- aboot -- there."

    Then Guardsman McPhun answers: "Dommit, auld chap!
    For the sake o' that haggis I'll gang till I drap."
    And he gets on his feet wi' a heave and a strain,
    And onward he staggers in passion and pain.
    And the flare and the glare and the fury increase,
    Till you'd think they'd jist taken a' hell on a lease.

    And on they go reelin' in peetifu' plight,
    And someone is shoutin' away on their right;
    And someone is runnin', and noo they can hear
    A sound like a prayer and a sound like a cheer;
    And swift through the crash and the flash and the din,
    The lads o' the Hielands are bringin' them in.

    "They're baith sairly woundit, but tis curious droll
    Hoo they rave aboot haggis?" says Sergeant McCole.
    When hirplin alang comes wee Wullie McNair,
    And they a' wonnert why he wis greetin' sae sair.

    And he says: "I'd jist liftit it oot o' the pot,
    And there it lay steamin' and savoury hot,
    When sudden I dooked at the fleech o' a shell,
    And it -- DRAPPED ON THE HAGGIS AND DINGED IT TAE HELL."

    And oh but the lads were fair taken aback;
    Then sudden the order wis passed tae attack,
    And up from the trenches like lions they leapt,
    And on through the nicht like a torrent they swept.

    On, on, wi' their bayonets thirstin' before!
    On, on tae the foe wi' a rush and a roar!
    And wild to the welkin their battle-cry rang,
    And doon on the Greenskins like tigers they sprang:
    And there wisna a man but had death in his ee,
    For he thocht o' the haggis o' Guardsman McPhee.

    11/09/2010

    Colors of Seniority

    Posted by Matt Ragan |

    I've been mulling over distinctive unit markings for purposes of clear delineation of which models are with which unit. So, I've been researching the British Tank Pennants of WW2 as well as combining those ideas with the Codex Astartes... seemed appropriate at the time.

    Seniority

  • 1st = White
  • 2nd = Yellow
  • 3rd = Red
  • 4th = Green
  • 5th = Black
  • 6th = Orange
  • 7th = Purple
  • 8th = Grey
  • 9th = Blue
  • Command = Different depending on unit type

    Infantry


    I stole this idea from pictures I saw of the Federal Army during the Civil War that used colors and numbers inside the epaulets to denote units (branch of service and regiments I believe). I'm going to paint the flat area inside the epaulet's "disc" (right above the fringe).

    When looking down at the Model from behind:
  • Left Epaulet = Platoon/Squadron/Battery/Troop (aka "Force Org Chart position")
  • Right Epaulet = Squad
  • Command = Stripe down the pant leg is white for Non-Com, yellow for Officer
  • Epaulet Fringe = Normally yellow. Metallic silver thread is used for squad and platoon command, metallic gold for company or higher levels of command.

    Company and Regiment Markings
    Like many Imperial Guardsmen, Brodians are trained to follow the orders of the highest ranking officer present (in the event their normal chain-of-command is broken). Because of this, there's really no need to denote Company and Regiment as each trooper is well aware of who his Company and Regimental officers are. Thus on an individual trooper level, there is no Company insignia. Regimental membership is done with distinctive buttons and rank pips; however, that's too small for us to see at typical 40K scale.

    However, Platoon Standards do carry indication of the parent Company. While every Platoon Standard is more or less unique, the "outer" color (the predominant one touching the flagpole) will be the seniority of the parent Company and the "inner" color will be the Platoon color. Somewhere on the flag will also likely be a black letter denoting the Company (A, B, etc.). Platoon Standards from companies that are part of prestigious Regiments may also have a heraldic emblem signifying Regimental identity.

    Veterans
    Every company has a squad of seasoned combat veterans. These are denoted by the double white pips (one on each shoulder) and often the fringe itself used for the epaulet is white. Collectively they are known in slang as the "Lilywhites."

    Vehicle Pennants


    Vehicles (Sentinels and flying craft excluded) fly triangular pennants (usually from the aerials). The color on the top half denotes the Squadron or Battery. The color on the bottom half denotes the vehicle's individual seniority within the unit. If the colors are difficult to distinguish or are the same, a thin black line separates the colors.

    When vehicles are destroyed, rendered inoperable, or the crew is transferred for whatever reason... the pennant travels with the crew. Battle honors are affixed to the pennant.

    Pennants on Sentinels and flying craft are rendered as semi-triangular "shields" (the left side when looking at it is the same as the "top" of a streaming pennant, right side is the "bottom").

    Command
    Pennants of command vehicles feature diagonal black bars. One bar is for squadron/battery/troop leaders. Two bars denote a company level command. Rarely seen are three bars denoting Regimental level command and so forth.

    Vehicle numbers signify nothing other than that particular vehicle's numbering within its Regiment. Each Regiment has its own numbering system.