Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Weapon Choices

So now I am itching waiting for the post.
I have already started filling up orders for even more bitz, planning ahead, but I should really wait until I see what the different minis I ordered look like and how they work together. Chances are that something is going to be amiss scale-wise, but I have to take the chance really since there are no Games Workshop options.

I have a dilemma of on the one hand making the army I want to see, and on the other an army that would actually be playable in WH40K rules with 'this counts as...', but since I have not actually played a WH40K game in years I have to be honest, I am doing this for fun. So I really should create the army I want to see.

So in logical terms, if that is possible in a sci-fi game- I have considered that my Corsairs should be kitted out with 'shotcannons' which is written about in the Black Library literature of Armsmen. No GW models for these exist however, so I have decided to make my own. As a support weapon I plan to give the unit a missle launcher so they have more of a tactical support use. Which was the plan.

The Armsmen unit I call FirstWave will not be modelled anytime soon since I plan to use some expensive models there. However, I think they should just carry shotguns since they are a close quarter and assault unit, however to give the overall force a bit of punch against armour (something this force really needs) I think I should equip half the unit with multi-meltas and grenades so that they have a real unique sting.

Similarly, for my Watch unit I think they should receive shotguns, modded lasguns which I might fluff out as Shotgun Augmented Rifles, shotguns with extended range and lower impact. As support weapons it would make sense that they get Grenade Launchers, Flamers and Melta-guns. These being decent tactical and assault weapons for field or close quarter fighting. The range of the SARs if they make it to life, will be a rational argument for a light infantry unarmoured force.

So now, it's back to waiting...

Monday, 28 September 2009

My Mythology

This blog entry includes the only known artwork of Naval forces by a Games Workshop staff member, Jez Goodwin. The officer figure has now finally seen light as a model.

My idea for an official name for my Naval Infantry is based on the use of Latin as the language of the Imperium, as the Navy is called Aeronautica Imperialis, the infantry branch in my work is called, the Arma Aeronautica. So here is an outline of the fluff I have developed...

The Arma Aeronautica is the official term for the Navy Surface Combat Insertion troops, SCI which has given the appellation 'Sky Troops' due to these being airborne in nature, or 'drop troops'. Due to the laws and restrictions governing the military of the Imperium the Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy once split from the Imperial Army after the Horus Heresy in the fears that rebel forces could be too powerful if given combined abilities. Thus the Imperial Guard was prohibited from all aeronautical craft and command of ships, and reversely so for the Navy who were restricted from infantry forces. However, due to the development of demands and the requirement for military efficiency, various exceptions to these rigid rules have come about.

For example, the Imperial Guard uses its own aeronatical companies, of flyers and bombers best known of which are the Phantine Air Corps, furthermore the Guard special forces Stormtroopers and Grenadier units are typically deployed via airborne drops onto the field in dedicated craft such as the Valkyrie which are increasingly under Guard and not Naval command.

Similarly so, the Imperial Navy make use of boarding troops as well as drop troops, which are best known in the form of the revered Naval Armsmen. What follows is a full desciption and breakdown of the 'SKY Troops' organisation; the Arma Aeronautica.


Naval Infantry consist of three tiers of soldiery although only one is widely known, that of the Armsmen. However, these represent a single branch of the SKY Troops forces. Onboard ship the designation specialisation for infantry boarding response, secure control and protective assignment duties are the highly trained NavSec (Naval Security) branch. These are the Armsmen proper and hold the rank Armsman or Master-at-Arms, all officers are automatically required to hold some basic SCI training although some officers have specific specialisation as NavSec. NavSec provide disciplinary supervision onboard ship and on naval bases, perform guarding tasks such as at weapon depots, they also enforce officer rule upon the hardy masses of voidborn crewmen and pressgangers.

NavSec armsmen form several types of combat unit which can respond to all nature of Naval requirements for infantry.

  1. OVERSEERS The main role is that as outlined above, actual ship security also called Fleet Protection Mandate, which allows the assignment of infantry posted for this specific role, officially the designated unit will be termed Overseers. Overseers are typically referred to by non-Naval personnel as Naval Arbiters (police) or Naval Commissars (political officers as seen amongst the Imperial Guard.)
  2. FIRSTWAVE The primary function of NavSec within the SKY Troops is to offer a Special Operations role, and in the following three unit classifications, NavSec operate in a support role to Naval Special Forces whom we shall meet later. FirstWave units are the units that respond to boarding and breaching alerts during ship-to-ship fighting, but they also carry the same equipment and fulfil a similar role during surface combat insertion or 'drops'. FirstWave utilise protective armour, cutting tools and close quarter combat weapons. CAGE atmospheric armour suits fall under the FirstWave class, and are always deployed in concert. Assault Support
  3. CORSAIRS Formed into larger teams than other units, Corsairs provide a grenadier role on the battlefield wearing little or no armour and relying on special weapons, grenades and technological equipment. Considered seek-and-destroy units they are invaluable in boarding actions as well as surface combat insertion where they can provide much needed firepower. Tactical Support
  4. MARKSMEN Sniper rifles may seem an unusual choice for Armsmen in ship-to-ship fighting but the neccessity for minimising collateral damage when fighting onboard a vessel requires often more surgical devices than raw bombardment. Sharpshooters can pick off enemy targets without risking destroying valuable technology or rupturing a bulkhead or hull. The range of labyrinthine corridors and vast hangar decks are extremely similar to dense industrial or urban theatres of war on most planet surfaces and allow naval snipers to maintain a high level of proficiency. Snipers
  5. Master-at-Arms Assigned as single operatives, these NCOs give a much needed strategical backbone to the naval militia units such as the Watch and the Field Gun crews. They also stand as team leaders within the NavSec units unless a specialised officer such as a Sniper Captain or Corsair Captain is assigned to that unit. Infantry Branch NCOs

Apart from the Armsmen themselves the typical bulk of a SKY Troop deployment force will generally speaking be emergency conscripts drafted from surplus ships' crews. Not every Naval ship has a compliment of Imperial Guard, infantry and vehicle divisions who operate to full efficiency when ammassed in great numbers. Therefore when a planet or outpost has need of infantry forces during military emergencies, it is more often than not the Imperial Navy ships that are on hand. Rather than ferrying Imperial Guard forces or waiting it out, the Navy will deploy its own Arma Aeronautica forces and commit to the fight as best as possible in a Light Infantry and Airborne role until heavier relief forces such as the Guard can arrive.

Naval Militia & the Watch
The conscripted ships' crews are referred to not as Naval Infantry per se such as the trained Commandoes and Armsmen, but instead bear the temporary position of a militia. Formed into large ranked bodies called a Watch, these are in effect the equivalent of a platoon. Reinforced by Masters-at-Arms and a leading Officer of the Watch they can provide a basic wall of fire.

Militiamen also man the Field Guns of the Imperial Navy which are the only surface heavy weaponry available to the SKY Troops due to there being a Munitorum restriction on surface vehicles such as tanks, APCs and artillery. Field Guns are heavy operable mobile positions which are only transported on foot by the sheer grit, determination and skill of their crewmen. Field Gun Crews are considered an elite in their own right, performing intense drill regimes even when serving onboard ship in deep space. Under the instruction of the Armsmen and Commandoes, Field Gun Crews provide the only Naval unit that is solely dedicated to surface warfare. There are three types of NAVAL ISSUE heavy weapon:
  1. MACE Mobile Assault Cannon Emplacement.
  2. MAUL Mobile Assault Utility Laz. A combined multi-laz cannon
  3. LANCE Laz Assisted Naval Cannon Emplacement. A battle cannon with multi-laz fixture
Specialised artillery officers and NCOs (Masters-at-Arms) can be assigned to Field Gun Crews to maximise performance.

Imperial Naval Commandoes
The final tier of the Imperial Naval Infantry is the highest but least known, and is in fact one of the most secretive and elite organisations within the entire Imperium of Man. Dating back to the time of the Emperor, the Imperial Commandoes have operated as a special forces unit, assigned for most of their history to Naval ships to conduct recon, demolitions, rescue missions, infilitration, kill team objectives and deep strike runs into enemy territory mainly to augment Naval superiority. Relative to Imperial Assassins, Commandoes have a prolonged training regime supervised by the Combined Operations Executive whose members hold rotary positions and are made up of high ranking officials from a range of Imperial military organisations apart from the Navy and Guard (such as the Adeptus Astartes). The COE fulfils the Munitorum stipulations that the Commandoes must be given a watchdog community for fear of their infiltration by rebel or xeno agencies. The COE also serves in the reverse capacity of maintaining a wide-range of intelligence and cutting-edge training. The Commandoes open their training selection only to veterans of the Guard, Navy and Arbites and failure in such exercises means death, so extreme is the course that it is comparable to the Space Marines themselves.

Copyright Ross Downing 2009

WH40K's Navy

So what is there in the Warhammer 40,000 mythology to work from?

Well the Imperial Guard are the army, and apart from the other human military organisations too numerous to mention here, the Guard are the closest thing to the Navy. In fact, the boys at Forge World and Games Workshop have actual begun to release Imperial Navy models and a handful of infantry figures (a pilot, some crewmen and an Officer). So far most of these are merely amalgamated into Imperial Guard armies.

I have been inspired by the obscure and fleeting references, mainly in several Games Workshop sci-fi books that run parallel to the minatures, of Naval soldiers. This was the spark that gave me a loophole to project my entire run of ideas.

WH40K refers to Armsmen which are employed on Naval ships as guards, enforcers and 'in modern parlance, marines' used in boarding actions (not to be confused with human Space Marines, also a WH40K product). Apparently they are highly trained, in comparison to Imperial Guardsmen, use a shotgun-like ballistic weapon and some form of armour similar to the Imperial Guard special forces the Stormtroopers.

The new Navy models are stunning and already very popular with Imperial Guard players. Reffered to as 'flyers' these massive warmachines can 'swoop' in across the tabletop and scare the pants off the opposing player.

So popular have the Imperial Navy models become that infantry seemed natural to use with them and so the Imperial Guard droptroops and other figures have now been incorporated into the Imperial Guard product series, but still no sign of Armsmen or fighting naval infantry.

Naval figures have been limited to the 'Regimental Advisor' which represents Imperial Guard contact with 'eyes in the sky' orbital ships, as well as pilots. So these are all I had to go on to develop my own ideas.

Intellectual Copyright & the GW legal demons

In the mythology of WH40K, set in the year 40,000 (a mindboggling idea to me as a 12 yr old) and the human faction consists of several military organisations. The Dallas-like yarn of the story goes that the Emperor was mortally wounded during a kind of civil war with his possessed demonic adopted son Horus, who he in turn slew around the year 30,000. The Imperium from then on turned into a Gothic Orwellian nightmare (if it wasn't already) and the WH40K game has humanity pitted against a series of alien races including the demonic 'chaos' forces. The Imperial Army upon the death of the Emperor split into two, so the story goes, the Imperial Guard and the Imperial Navy.

Now although the Imperial Guard has been at the forefront of the Games Workshop mythology and product lines since the early '80s only very recently have we seen any Imperial Navy models or figures appear. Since their appearance struck simulataneously with my daydreaming of this project, I took it as a very cool coincidence and something that I should pursue as a writer, mainly commercially. I have since learnt that the Games Workshop do not really take kindly to external submissions, or rather they take rather mercileslly anything sent to them via email or post automatically by law becomes their intellectual property.

From http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?aId=3900002

Any notes, e-mails, online messages or bulletin board postings, ideas, suggestions, concepts, designs, or other material submitted to any physical GW company address or to any web site owned or controlled by GW and/or to any e-mail addresses contained in or on those web sites ("GW Web Sites") will become the property of GW throughout the world and GW shall be entitled to use the material for any type of use forever, including in any media whether now known or hereafter devised. When you submit any material to any physical GW company address or any GW Web Sites, you agree, offer, warrant, and represent, both explicitly and tacitly (and GW accepts) that you are assigning all intellectual property rights in that material to GW and that GW has the right to use that material at any time entirely in its own discretion for whatsoever purpose including for commercial, promotional, and advertising purposes without any obligation (including any financial obligation) to you now or at any time in the future. You waive and relinquish any rights, including "moral rights," that may exist in any content to the furthest extent permissible by law and agree not to assert any rights over that content. We are afraid that in order to protect ourselves legally, this is the only way we can operate. If you are unhappy with this policy, then please do not post or send any material to GW.

As an aspiring author that leaves me pretty screwed. I cannot present them my ideas without losing them, but I cannot introduce my ideas without giving something away. After designing this new product line and working with several professional graphic artists from afar a field as China and the US to achieve it, I decided I would make my work public to gain interest so it wasn't just an intellectual dead-end, but at the same time retain my own claims and rights on my creativity. Read on for the fluff...