Dienstag, 7. März 2017

Commissar Ciaphas Cain - Hero of the Imperium

For this post I'll once again stroll off my habitual historical path and will enter the grim darkness of the far future. All kinds of threats are roaming between the stars, the home of a mankind beset by enemies from the outside as well as from within. It's the 41st millennium and everything is dark and humorless.

Everything? No, not everything, at least not everyone. Amidst all the darkness surrounding men there's light. Commissar Ciaphas Cain - Hero of the Imperium. Together with his trusted and malodorous aide Gunner Jurgen, Cain time and again braves all kinds of threads a remorseless galaxy can throw at him.

Ciaphas Cain is a political Commissar in the Imperial Guard, the hammer of the Imperium, the last line of defense between mankind and utter destruction. Commissars are meant to lead by example. They are meant to inspire the guardsmen under their 'care' through uplifting speeches and the occasional bullet through the head should a soldier not feel inspired enough and fail his duty and thus the Emperor.
Not so Commissar Cain.
Having realized 'inspiration' as dealt by most of his fellow commissars often leads to a short life expectancy in the heat of battle, finds it far more useful to have soldiers watch his back instead of shooting at it.

Furthermore he's by his own accounts a coward. A coward with a reputation to lose. And as this very reputation means all kinds of privileges he normally wouldn't be privy to, he's anxious to hold that - in his eyes unmerited - reputation of heroism upright.
Unfortunately for him this, more often than not, means he finds himself in the thick of it, despite of his best efforts to stay clear of anything even remotely smelling of danger. But his instinct and sheer will to survive sees him besting any precarious situation thrown at him. But fighting off the most wicked of the enemies of mankind leads to his reputation growing even further with every dangerous mission he returns from. This in turn means he has to fight even harder to maintain it... a vicious circle indeed.

Cain wouldn't have lived into his second century without the unquestioning loyalty of his personal aide Gunner Jurgen. Jurgen, a Valhallan by birth, is of a - to put it mildly - somewhat unprepossessing appearance. He's with some certainty the dirtiest and smelliest soldier in the whole of the guard, and would probably not smell out of place amidst an orcish warband. Cain has grown accustomed to his aides body odour over the decades but still does his best to stay upwind of Jurgen.

But hidden behind the dissuasive facade of Jurgen there's a rather peculiar ability. Jurgen is a blank. Meaning he's unaffected by any kind of psychic abilities the enemy may field to further his goals. More so he also creates a kind of psychic void around him, meaning those in his immediate vicinity also are safe from (psychic-) harm. Of course this means Commissar Cain stays as close to Jurgen at all times as breathing allows. A second, more mundane quality of Jurgen that Cain has learned to appreciate is his unquestioning loyalty towards the Commissariat and Cain in particular.
No matter what Cain asks of him, Jurgen - with a single minded determination - will do everything to fulfill his task, even when this means he has to put his life on the line. More than once Jurgens determination alone was all that stood between Cain and death dealt by one of his enemies.

As is probably evident from my enthusiastic ramblings, I'm an avid fan of the Ciaphas Cain novels by  Alexander Michael Stewart aka Sandy Mitchel. With Cain (as well as Jurgen and the rather uncharacteristic female Inquisitor Amberly Vail) he has succeeded in creating a set of believable* and even funny, but not not hilarious, characters amidst the grim darkness of GW's Warhammer 40k universe.
Ever since I first read the novels I wanted to create my own Ciaphas Cain. And truth be told I'm rather chuffed by how my interpretation has turned out.

*at least more so than most of GW's Uber-humans that seem to lack any sort of human emotions as well as any kind of humor.

Sonntag, 26. Februar 2017

La Legion

This years challenge has started quite slowly for me but at long last I'm finally able to squeeze in an adequately sized submission. Curt, ChrisS, PhilH and myself are running a Spanish Civil War side challenge and if I'm not completely mistaken this entry should put me in the lead... for the moment at least. As per our agreement it's a legally playable force for Bolt Action.

1st Command element
Truth be told I was rather hesitant to add yet another project to my already rather impressive collection of unfinished armies. But once I caved in and finally ordered the first figures there was no chance of stopping that train anymore. As soon as the order from Miniaturicum arrived I had to put brush to them. I almost couldn't even wait for the undercoat to fully dry, so eager I was. Small wonder with such lovely sculpted miniatures from Mr. Hicks.

2nd Command element - Standard bearer was submitted already

Support weapon - Light mortar
I went for a rather limited colour palette on these, but as I'm aiming more for the earlier period of the conflict and the Legion being considered an elite unit, I figured they'd probably be a little more uniform than other units in this conflict.

1st Squad

2nd Squad
According to Wikipedia there were five FT-17 tanks in service with the nationalist army at the outbreak of the war. I always had a soft spot for that rolling french tin box, so I couldn't resist the temptation to paint one up. The relevant Osprey states Spanish tanks of the period were dark grey but I preferred to give it a olive-green finish. In order to raise morale I painted the nationalist red-yellow-red colours around the turret and added the well known ¡Arriba Espana! slogan. Quite an eyecatcher I think.

'Heavy armour' - Renault FT-17 tank

Dienstag, 21. Februar 2017

Western Roman Cataphractarii

The Cataphractarii were the tanks of late antiquity. Like their eastern equivalent, the Clibanarii, they were heavily armoured and also made use of the contus. The contus was a long cavalry lance of between 3 and 5 meters. It should be noted that medieval lances only measured about 2.50 to 3 meters in length. Due the extreme length the contus had to be used with both hands and thus the Cataphractarii didn't use shields, or if so only very small shields strapped to the upper arm.

Sonntag, 12. Februar 2017

Balbus the disfigured - Early Republican Roman command stand

Finally I've made it! My first scheduled friday-submission!
Well, live is rather busy around here with me being away on in-company training for much of the time as well as taking over new responsibilities in my job. Normally I would have planned to have more time for painting this challenge, but alas it was not to be. I'm rather sure most of you know such real live issues only to well so I stop blathering and will come straight to business.

Dienstag, 7. Februar 2017

If walls could talk...

It was a sad day for Frank Sperber, Obergefreiter of the Wehrmacht, when he returned home for the first time in over a year. The last time he saw the house he had called his home was when he departed for his first assignment after basic training, sitting on the floor of a horse cart, holding a lock of blonde hair in his left hand. He was to join a newly raised Panzergrenadierdivision in France and he could still vividly remember his parents, standing at the garden gate, waving him goodbye with tears in their eyes as if they'd knew what was to come. And there was Anne... 

Freitag, 13. Januar 2017

'Liberated' R35 in German service

As certainly some of my regular followers will be aware of, I'm currently taking part in the frenzy that is the Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Thus service on this blog might be even more erratic than usual. 
Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731(f) - France June 1940

Sonntag, 25. Dezember 2016

Red Devils on the prowl

I actually wanted to start this post ranting about the latest update to the Blogger Dashboard...
but it being Christmas Day and all I decided to save my breath. But I'm in all honesty considering to stop using Blogger. It became a pain in the butt to work with on the tablet and thus I'm considering different possibilities for the future. Also I want to apologize for a lack of comments on your collective blogs. I'll try to make good for that in the next few days. But that's enough of my whining for now, so on to the miniatures I'd say!

Sonntag, 20. November 2016

A bridge too far?

I hope you don't mind my rather pathetic title for this post but honestly no matter how hard I tried nothing wittier sprang to mind.

Fallschirmjäger crossing a river near Monte Cassino - May 1944

Sonntag, 30. Oktober 2016

Final Fallschirmjäger installment... for now

I would never have guessed it when I (re-) started work on my Fallschirmjäger force for Bolt Action, but I actually managed to paint up all the figures I had sitting in the lead pile for this particular project. Well, the white metal ones that is. I've not yet decided if I'll go down the plastic way for future reinforcements or if I'll bite the bullet and stay with heavy metal.
At the moment that doesn't matter that much though, as the force is at about 1600 points now and as such more than fully playable.

As mentioned in previous posts I'll be using the Fallschirmjäger Theatre Selector from 'Duel in the sun' for this force and as such there were several choices I still needed to round out my force.