I remember the day I sold my soul to Satan. It was last Friday at approximately 4.36pm. I brazenly walked into Games Workshop Wellington, a tidy shop tucked away securely in the back of Courtenay Place where you can't see the bordello standing proud across the road. I stood, gazing dully at the top of the Space Marine display where sat a mint condition 'Triumvirate Of The Primarch' model kit. It contained a newly streamlined figurine of Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines.
I don't like Ultramarines. Stupid, Mary-Sue, poster boy, bloody do-gooders. Roboute himself is okaaay I suppose. I warmed to him a little in Guy Haley's Dark Imperium. He's still a bit of a Mother Teresa though. I mean, all the Primarchs are supermen! Demi-gods! Their potential is almost limitless. Fulgrim turned himself into a dragon! (Gorgon? Kali?!) He's completely out of his bloody mind, but still. All Roboute does is gnaw at his fingernails and worry about humanity. Get a grip man, you're supposed to be the pinnacle of genetic manipulation! Your ego should be flawless!
So anyway, I'm looking at the box, vexed because I'm using a Primaris Captain in Gravis armour in my army list and thinking that I should always run him with the Sanctic Halo and take the Chapter Master stratagem because then he'd be like a mini Guilliman. Not an actual Guilliman because that would involve selling my soul to the Devil and being turned fully to the dark side. Just a facsimile of Guilliman. Guilliman-lite. The trouble is, he's never going to be as good as the real thing. Sure he's cheaper, but so is cheap wine and what you really want is the good stuff.
My sullen brooding was delicately interrupted by the words,
"Go on, you know you want to...".
I thought I was having another imaginary conversation at first. I'm getting a bit long in the tooth and have the occasional senior moment. But it was actually the Games Workshop manager, Nathan, whispering in my ear. He must be a disciple of Tzeentch, his words were perfectly timed. Almost uncanny. I caved in about 3 minutes later and bought the damn thing.
I don't even like the model. Well actually that's a lie, the armour is fabulously detailed and he stands astride a broken Imperial Eagle like a proper saviour of mankind. But I don't like the rest of the pose. It doesn't float my boat. I can't quite put my finger on it. I'm not sure what he's doing with his hand (and that's always a worry, as my mother will attest). I thought the splayed fingers were allowing some sort of 'palm' gun to fire, like Spiderman or something. But the bolter is on the side of his arm, not underneath. Is he casting a spell? I didn't think he was a psyker? And his face. He looks like a hobgoblin. Isn't he supposed to be noble and chiseled and stuff?
I fancied that Guilliman in the heat of battle, with his blood up, would look something more like this:
So I decided to tweak him a bit. First off, the kit comes with a helmeted option which is a no brainer. Protecting your head is paramount in the 41st millenium and neatly hides his fugly kisser. Roboute doesn't necessarily need extra protection but I didn't want him scaring small children with his frightening visage. Safety first!
The next part was trickier. I wanted to give the impression that he was firing his hand cannon, obliterating the insidious foes of the Imperium. This required the arm to be straightened and angled upwards slightly. Reconfiguring the ammunition belt so that it was still attached to the backpack seemed onerous so I just bent it round a bit further. I also wanted his fist to be clenched (not pointing). The fingers and thumb were cut off and glued back on in a fist-like arrangement. No need to sculpt when you already have the parts but the knuckles were a problem i.e. missing entirely. I needed something roughly spherical so I hunted around and found a Dwarven Hammerer's banner decoration with just the right baubles attached. I knew those Hammerers would come in handy one day. The gaps were filled in with grey stuff.
Finally I decided to re-base him. The real base is great but I'm going to theme my army struggling with the Tyranid menace (as per the Redemptor) and this will help him fit in. Plus I like mucking around with tentacles. I might paint the original base anyway and make it interchangeable.
I want to paint this in more muted colours, again to help him gel with the rest of the army. I never really liked the primary colours used for Space Marines (I know, I know. Heresy) but I'm not sure. I think this is going to be difficult to paint well. I might have to get a new airbrush, having more or less destroyed the other two. The needles are used for stirring paint now and picking bits of blu-tac out of crevices. He's still got to be an Ultramarine though. Maybe I should use darker base coating and just highlight with Magcragge/Calgar blue.
Maybe I should actually play a few games with him before committing. He seems pretty solid on paper. More than solid. 'Hideously overpowered and cheesy' might be a better description. I always struggle with the unending tide of models and options whilst playing Tyranids. Guilliman + Ultramarines can be an elite force that practically plays itself. Its a direct contrast to the minions of The Great Devourer which need an awful lot of TLC. Model placement, tactical use of psychic powers, synergising units and trying to understand what spore mines actually do without having to refer to eight different sections of the rule book. I often lose track of it all during a game. Even forgetting fundamentals like rolling for instinctive behaviour. The Hive Mind gibbers and raves in the back of my mind, whispering confusing and often nonsensical advice.
"You can't remove those Hormies from combat because it will put the unit out of synapse but you have to remove them or create a hole in your screen for those Khorne Berserkers to charge through. That unit of Genestealers can secure objective 5 in 3 phases time assuming it a) doesn't fail the charge b) wins the combat c) causes a morale failure and d) consolidates more than 2". Its a dead cert mate, go for it. You can statistically expect 10.5 gaunts to spawn this turn on 3D6 but the probability of a double is 4/9ths so, whatever you do.. oh shit 1-1-2. Attention! Attention! The Tervigon is not working! Cthulhu fhtagn Nnnnnnyarlathotep@11~^(;,;)^~&! :€O̳͍̟̱̟̘͕h͚̥̞̱̝͘ ̨͎̖̤̲̦̯̭G̡̻̝͕̞̝̰o̵͎͕d̥̕ ͍̤̫͇͕̺ͅI̬͠'̠͎̪m̝̮̝̣̳̙ me͍̤̫̤̬̙̼l̺͕̖̫t̼̝̺̲̹̜̣i̢̭͖͍n̷g̸̮͈!͙̙͇̫͔ͅ!̲̦̤͍͈̰
The Ultramarines method of gaining tactical advantage is much less stressful. Guilliman leans back in his throne and casually remarks,
"I think you need to roll that again."
They should have printed 'Don't Panic' on the cover of the Codex Astartes. Even an idiot like me can't get it wrong. Assuming I don't forget the rule and since it happens in every combat phase of both players' turns, I am unlikely to.
"Why yes, Mr. Girlyman! I appear to have missed all my lascannon shots and have completely forgotten about command points, in my usual sleep deprived, drug addled, brain fug. The correct course of action right now would be to ignore the result and have another go. Fuckin' genius!"
Guilliman's gaze is cool. "You might want to save a command point to improve your odds of resurrecting me when you inevitably charge up the board in a foolhardy stampede."
"Thanks, I'll do that. Ha-ha! Roboute the Revenant!"
"You may call me 'Rob Zombie'. I'm 'down with the homies', to use the vernacular"