I bought some Heresy era legionaries in Mk IV armour the other week. I couldn't bring myself to finish a previous unit of tactical marines using the old starter kits and bits-box leftovers. I kept staring at the squad with the firm intention of painting them but the internal muse kept refusing. "Nope. Not going to paint. Don't like 'em". In any case, I still needed some tactical marines as a cheap troop choice for my Red Scorpions army list. Since our local tournament scene switched up to 1750pts recently, I probably needed them just to make up the points. I prefer the look and feel of Intercessors but Tactical marines have their place.
I'd already seen how nice the Mark IV's look next to Primaris when I played Regan O'Halloran at Call to Arms last year. So I bought a box and body swapped in a few odds and ends to stretch it out to a 12 man squad with heavy weapons. The 'Dalek' effect on the legs and shoulder pads is a bit funky and old school but apart from that, the Mk IVs have crisp detail and cool helmets. I set to work and it was all going swimmingly.
|further proof (if any were needed) that you should never throw anything away. Normal people are wrong and crazy-cat-lady hoarders should be put in charge of the world instead of crazy-old-men wearing cats on their heads.|
Cleaning mold lines off a model is boring and the mind wanders. I was scraping away and trying not to fall asleep, when I was suddenly seized by a heretical desire to re-convert my old Nemesis Dreadknight. The model is one of my failed Grey Knights experiments, built 5 years ago and home to a small nest of spiders on the bottom shelf now. I realised that I needed to turn it into a MadCat. A Clan OmniMech MadCat D Timber Wolf from the BattleTech universe to be exact. The tactical Space Marine project was dropped indefinitely and I departed the house to purchase a Stormtalon with my "impulse-buy!" siren blaring loudly.
|I didn't realise I still had these.|
Converting a walker out of a Stormtalon Gunship is definitely not a new idea and has been kicking around for a while. I think the first conversion I saw was on SpikeyBits ages ago. What really got the creative juices flowing was seeing one with scratch built legs on Capt. MAGpie's conversion corner. I was seriously impressed with those but knew that I didn't have the patience to slowly craft every single panel out of plasticard like he does. Capt. Magpie is clearly insane (but in a good way, take a look at his Damocles Command Rhino interior which is heart-warmingly wonderful. If the crew were drinking tea at their consoles it would be perfect).
|Singing: Oh, your toe bone's connected to your foot bone. The foot bone's connected to the ankle bone. The ankle bone's connected to the.. arm bone, the arm bone's connected to the... to the... shin bone? Now hear The Word of The Lord!!|
It occurred to me that if I glued the forearms of the Dreadknight to the ankles, separating the feet from the legs then I could produce a workable reverse-joint 'chicken walker'. A simple idea, but a good one. I've been steadily working on it since then.
The original intention to build a Mad Cat has been subverted by practical and personal preferences however. I don't really like the stubby toes on a Dreadknight and the bulk of the Stormtalon fuselage makes the figure look very top heavy. Since it was a chicken walker now I saw no reason not to give it chicken feet as well. I chopped up some decorations from a fantasy ruin and built him some talons. I'm happy with the results and hopefully it looks more like a raptor than a rooster.
The weapon loadout was a bit tricky. Particle Projector Cannons don't exist in 40k and whilst Lasers are an acceptable substitute, you have to take twin assault cannons if you want to use it as a Stormtalon in game. So I guess, in BattleTech terms, I've put Rotary Autocannons on my Mad Cat. The LRMs are easily represented as Typhoon or Skyhammer missile launchers but the ones in the kit don't look right. I considered using the jet engine cowlings to convert my own but they don't seem quite right either. So I've ordered a Space Marine Air Defence Missile Launcher from Forgeworld and will use the pods from this. Pretty lazy but it should look cool.
Finally, I put a shit ton of jump jets on my version. I'm pretty sure that Mad Cats dont fly and I think a real BattleTech enthusiast may be horrified by what I've done. Come to think of it, a 40k enthusiast may be horrified too and it will be interesting to see what the rules lawyers make of this in a tournament (damn right I'm taking it to a tournament!). In 40k terms, a Stormtalon Gunship is a flyer so I have to add something which represents the fact that it can move across the entire battlefield in one turn. Jump jets are the answer. When the beast runs around on terra firma I'll class that as 'hover' mode.