Thursday, June 25, 2015

Skitarii Customization - part 1

(are they Skitarii or Tech-guard?)

Test Tech-guard assemblies
While I really like some of the 30k Forge World Mechanicum models, I am not enthusiastic about the look of the plastic Skitarii.  I am even less enthusiastic about the "reinvention" of the Skitarii in the post-heresy era and the revisionist history that has gone on to change them from augmented Mechanicum foot soldiers into some strange twisted state between Space Marine and Servitor.  So pardon the blue-tac and let's take a look at some of my concepts!

GW's Skitarii Vanguard
   I've determined that my Skitarii would be more like the concept of the Tech Guard from the Rogue Trader era, augmented humans who were the footsoldiers fighting alongside the Titans and Knights. As a result I decided to just build them from custom parts instead of trying to convert them from the Skitarii kits from GW.  I knew the Rangers would be the most difficult ones to build out to my vision, so I chose to tackle the Skitarii Vanguard head on.

   To me, the standard Skitarii Vanguard (pictured at right) looked like the strangest parts of the Solar Auxilia coupled with some left-over Steampunk bits stuck on a set of 25mm legs that didn't scale with the rest of the model.  Okay, so maybe I'm being a bit harsh here, but the whole concept of their lower legs giving them unrelenting marching ability is just dumb.  Sounds like an idea from someone who has never marched further than to the refrigerator to get dinner.

Choosing bits from Anvil Industries, I debated using their bionic legs, but decided to save those for another Mechanicum project.  Instead I used the Exo-Lord Black Ops legs, because with the right paint job, they would look like well-oiled mechanical pistons instead of power armor.  I chose Anvil's Spartan Torsos, and paired those with their Bare arms, Spartan Shoulder pads, compact power plants, and Regal cloaks.  Heads were "obviously" the Spartan heads (with and without crest).  Are we sensing a theme here?

 The first concept turned out like this:

Skitarii with Plasma Caliver
Not a bad start.  The weapon is the Ion Rifle, also from Anvil Industries, which I'll be using as the Plasma Caliver. (a rather nasty, if suicidal Skitarii weapon!)  I liked the overall look, although during assembly, I had to turn the Compact Power Plant sideways as it looked too lopsided with the cape.  Several other Vanguard builds ensued, some that worked and a few that just didn't!  All of the weapons I tried were from Anvil Industries as well, and I did this knowing full well that many would need to be modified to fit the right look.
 Replacing the Radium Carbine of the GW Vanguard models was the Automatic Shotgun, and since it looked a lot like a Thompson SMG with the stock and rotary magazine, I was hooked.
Skitarii with Radium Carbines
But at the same time, several concepts just didn't work at all.  The model on the left, below has the standard sniper rifle from Anvil.  Too modern for the Transuranic Arquebus.  I'll solve that later!  What about an Arc Rifle? For the model on the right, below, I glued a grenade launcher on top of the shotgun and upside down in a vain attempt to make something like the Arc Rifle of the 40k models.  But that one looks terrible as well.  I guess I'll just have to keep searching for the right weapon to replace that with!

Failed Skitarii concepts
Even with the two weapon fails, I at least have a baseline design for the "Spartan" looking Tech Guard for my Counts-as-Skitarii force.  Now to basecoat them in the same blue as my Knights and start painting!