Saturday, 3 December 2011

Imperial Agents

A new commission unit for you all to feast your eyes on today! The brief was to paint a unit of generic infantry to be suitable for a variety of Imperial uses (Inquisition, Ecclesiarchy witchfinders, Administratum guards, PDF praetorian guards etc). This is what I came up with:

The Imperium seems to use black, red and white in different combinations as a standard colour scheme. The client (who had done all the modelling, I was just painting) wanted polished metalwork so I decided that a warm brass would fit nicely with the tricolor scheme.

The majority of the models are Wargames Factory shock troopers with Empire heads in place of their normal ones. Now I don't want this to be a review of Wargames Factory plastics but I must say a brief word about these models: amateurish. There are so many errors and poor descisions that I cannot believe that someone authorised the enourmous expense of cutting a plastic mold. A short list of some of the defects: Soup plate left hands lacking all definition (soft detail is a problem on all these models), sleeve cuffs different sizes, random placement of belt loops on coats, coats hugging the buttocks of the troopers as though made of silk, weird spiral structures on the legs making it impossible to see where the boots end and trousers begin. The list goes on. The one really nice bit are the guns which have a pleasing freshness to their design. I decided to paint the inner barrels verdigrised copper (my usual mix of a Hammered Copper basecoat and then thinned Scurf Green and White washed into the recesses) whereas the outer furniture would be blued steel.

With the basic troopers out of the way it was time to have some fun. The wonderfully flamboyant officer is a mix of Imperial Guard and Empire parts and has worked very nicely indeed. I decided to use the same pallete of colours as the troopers but go one stage neater on the highlights and a few other details. The leather is a refinement of my old Dark Flesh with Devlan Mud method and is now a process that starts with Scorched Brown and is highlighted with a 50:50 mix of Scorched Brown and Dark Flesh. Final edge highlights of the previous mix with a little bone give convincing wear marks and a wash of Devlan Mud ties all the highlight stages together and kills the slightly pinkish quality of the edge highlights.

I'll have to remember about blending Guard and Empire parts as that sword and poinard combination looks very nice on his belt.

The paper in his hand combined with the pointing hand suggested 'map' to me. Thus, drawing on my old orienteering knowledge, I set out to create an OS map in his hand. Remember that this thing is tiny, 4mm across of thereabouts. The contour lines are thinned vermin brown while the forest and river sections are simply Thraka Green and Asurman Blue washes. In retrospect I should have used a dark brown for the grid lines as they would not have appeared so stark. Ho hum, live and learn...

Finally we have the dogsbody of the unit, usually counting as a vox-caster (literally running orders around) I saw him as the general low-ranking gopher that the rest of the unit treat like their personal slave. Thus I painted him in livery colours rather than a uniform (implying ownership and made him slightly more dishevelled than the others with a bit of a 5 O'Clock shadow on the jaw and shaved mohawk. Just to reinforce a point I made before about colour balance, take a look at the cloths around the head and leg. The red and white balance what would otherwise be discrete areas of colour across the model while the black is carried as a diagonal by making the gun black also.

From the back you can see the effect of the livery colours and the two bones randomly on the back of the donor Empire state trooper. I figure they are the "Bones of a Saint" that he bought from a bloke in the pub.

Well, that's all for another session! Updates will be sporadic as I am working on super secret christmas projects along with some Blood Knights for a client. So expect me when you see me!



  1. Very cool unit - well done! Looking forward to seeing what's next!

  2. I agree. It's good to see some bolder mixing and matching like this, and the combination works well. The gun design is definitely fresh, and matches the potential in the setting without a doubt.

  3. Excellent. You'll be delighted to learn that I've found another IG/Empire army man. With a banner. But he'll have to wait until next year.