Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Eighth Painting Challenge Entry - Reaver Class Titan from Armorcast

Reaver Class Battle Titan from Armorcast
So far my entries to Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge have been mostly 20mm figures, and it has been a lot of fun.  But I mentioned at the tag end of my last entry that I was getting an itch to switch over to some sci-fi. Well I decided to do so in a big way (literally) with this entry.  This is a Reaver class battle titan from, a giant fighting machine from Games Worskhop's Warhammer 40k setting. The model, from Armorcast, is 13 and a half inches tall, from the toes to the top of the missile launcher on the top carapace. It's a big sucker!

Crew would be inside the "head"
Regular visitors to the blog will have perhaps noted references here and there to Reaver Titans.  Well, we weren't kidding!

Heavy laser cannon of some sort on the left arm
In Warhammer 40k setting there is always a bigger gun. No part of the setting embodies this more than the Titans. Massive machines, armed with very heavy and powerful armaments. Organized in pseudo-monastic formations, each pledged to a particular "Forge World" (i.e. planet or system given over completely to the manufacturing of arms and munitions), Titans are the "killer app" of the Warhammer 40k universe.  Whoever or whatever human faction or alien race is resisting the Imperium in any given conflict is unlikely to last long against whole detachments of machines like this.

View from the top
Titans look like killer robots, but are in fact vehicles, walkers with crews - a commander ("Princeps"), gunners and tech-types ("Moderatii") and a few unpleasant/unfortunate former humans who are essentially just installed directly into the machine ("Servitors" - yuck).  This Titan, a Reaver class, is a very large fighting machine, but is actually classified as a "medium" class (!) battle titan.

These figures are just to show the size, but they are actual Titan Crew figures from GW's Rogue Trader period; I painted them years ago - now they have an actual Titan to crew!
The Titans first came to the GW gaming table in 1988 as part of a game called "Adeptus Titanicus".   The game featured large walking machines battling each other on the table in 1/300 or 6mm scale/size.  Fun! The first model Titans were about three inches tall.  In time, this game expanded - infantry were added, tanks were added, and more Titans, for the humans and the aliens, were added to the figure line.  The game evolved and went through many name changes, but would be known by most GW players as "Epic".  Epic was a great game, and because GW today is singularly incapable of supporting anything people enjoy, Epic now sits, to borrow a phrase from Curt, "mouldering in GW's IP graveyard." For a relatively recent example of an Epic game featuring a number of Titans on the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts table, see here.

An example of the "tech guys" who would help maintain the Titan from the Adeptus Mechanicus; the figure on the right is a Rogue Trader vintage, but I'm not certain of the origin of the one on the left. UPDATE: that is a Rogue Trader era Servitor - "Bob Olley", vintage 1989 - thanks Dave for the info
So how did the 1/300 combat walkers make it to the 25mm/28mm gaming tables? Well, there was a period (in the 90s, I think) when GW had issued/sold a license to a company called Armorcast to make 40k models.  I was just getting into gaming at this time, and I can remember cruising their web site looking at all of these models I was sure I would never own. Armorcast had set out to make 28mm-scale versions of the super-heavy vehicles
which had started to appear in GW's "Epic" game.  Included among these were models of the Titans.  

"Before" - this the model after it arrived via EBay
So this model is very old - perhaps as much as 20 years old.  I can't recall how long ago the Armorcast license expired, but GW has subsequently issued many, many new models, including many new version of models that were once sold by Armorcast (such as the Baneblade - a really large tank).  It also offers models of some of the Titans through Forge World, although those models are very, very expensive and beyond my skill and patience to properly assemble or paint.

A WIP shot of the torso and legs receiving base colour coats
So why, all these years later, track one down and paint one up now? Why, it's all Dallas' fault, of course. 

Well, more than that obviously.  First of all, I really have a soft spot for the old GW "Rogue Trader" era and I actively collect and paint figures from that period.  But a second jolt has more to do with a decision last year to dive into collecting figures for the Horus Heresy in 28mm - see here for more on that.

Basic colours on the head
It was Dallas who suggested that, if we really wanted to go nuts with Horus Heresy stuff in 28mm, we would get Titans for a "really, really big game".  I thought he was kidding - maybe he was at first - but he wasn't!  He tracked down a model on E-bay.  I was shocked - while Dallas is prone to provocational collection escalation, this was a new level entirely! I couldn't let that stand! Dallas connected me with the same seller.  So before we knew it, we had Armorcast titans to paint up!

More WIP - one of the weapon/arms and the shoulder carapace plates

But as happens so often with hobby projects, it took a while to get it under the paint brush. I haven't painted any Legion figures in a while, mostly completing a long run of WW2 stuff, and the Titan was waiting and waiting. A few weeks ago Dallas finished off his Stompa (it is awesome) and he seemed likely to jump from there to painting up his Titan - hinting as much in his blog post.  I suddenly felt the race was on.  Having completed a long run of 20mm stuff during Curt's Challenge, it was time to hit sci-fi again, and so I painted this model.

Last week - basic colours and highlighting applied, waiting for decals, weathering and other finishing touches
The colour scheme, and markings, are for a formation known as "Legio Mortis". This Titan unit sided with the Warmaster Horus and his rebellion against the Imperium, so this machine is one of the bad guys.  The Titan itself is named "Ferrum Mori".  I haven't the slightest idea if those words actually mean anything, but this was apparently the name of a Titan among the forces sent down to finish off loyalist troops in Horus' first action in his rebellion - the purging of his own forces on a world called Istvaan. I thought this name would make as much sense as anything else I might try.

Another view of the laser weapon on the left "arm" - sadly this weapon has just the slightest bend in the casting...
Assembly of this model is interesting.  The model is cast in a very, very solid resin, and the components are bolted together.  This allows different parts to be swapped out. This is the only war gaming model I have which needs a ratchet :) I tried to use some rare earth magnets, but it was far too complicated and I didn't want to risk damaging the model while doing modifications, so I stuck with the original tried-and-true bolts.

No magnets on this literally bolt it together!
You can see the bolt in the shoulder holding the weapon in place; unscrew the bolt, and you can switch the weapon
The model came with three arm options - two different gun mounts (I believe one would be classes as a "Vulcan Mega-Bolter" and the other as a "Turbo Laser Destructor") and a giant powered fist, useful for smashing opposing Titans, whole city blocks, or whatever other multi-story obstructions might be encountered in the grim darkness of the far future.  This is absurd, of course, but I love it and it adds to the enjoyment.  After all, if there is a Titan on each side, well, they just have to fight it each other in close action.  Anything less would be a travesty!

The "power fist" - an arm specifically designed to allow this Titan to tear apart other Titans it encounters on the battlefield; the decal is from the Imperial Knight kit, but I freehand painted the name and banner - I'm surprised at how well it turned out
The decals are mostly spare ones from GW's Imperial Knight model kit, with some assorted ones coming from spare model aircraft kits. The "Eye of Horus" decals are from the Forge World transfer sheets. I tried to give the machine a little wear, but in the end I did not weather it too much.  For all of the combat action these things would see, there are casts of hundreds of mechanics who (literally) worship the thing and bring it back to snuff after every single battle. With that in mind, I mostly tried to scuff up the feet a bit, chipped the power first a little bit, and left it at that.

Another view of the "power fist"
Credible intelligence reports indicate Dallas is already painting his Titan - it will represent one of the Loyalist Titan orders from the Horus Heresy.  While details are still fuzzy, we do aim to have a "rather large" 40k game sometime where we can put these bonkers things on to a gaming table for a scrap set in the Horus Heresy - that will be quite a day!

I purchased a spare banner from a GW Imperial Knight kit to add some flair;  drawings in the books show much larger banners, but those are hard to do and make this even harder to put on a table - or even a shelf - I like how this turned out

In terms of using this in a "skirmish" game, well, other than perhaps an immobilised objective of sorts, it has little or no practical application.  There are rules in 40k to put this beast on the table, but the statistics of the armour, void shields and weapons reflect its stature on the battlefield. This thing would blow away entire segments of an enemy force with every turn.  To take just one example, the launcher up on the carapace is called an "apocalypse launcher".  How will your infantry squad do under fire from that? Not a fun game. 

But a fight against another Titan? Well, that will be fun!

Cousins - the smaller model is a Reaver Titan from GW's Epic figure line...
I know Dallas will do an awesome job on his machine, and I look forward to our Horus Heresy "mega-game", whenever that will be. In the interim, I want to try and cook up an Istvaan III scenario where this thing is perhaps damaged and waiting for help, and surviving Loyalists sieze the opportunity to move up and try to take it out.


Samuli said...

That's a nice "small" project for the challenge :) Very impressive stuff. I've seen one live a long time ago and these really are great figures. Hadn't realized that the parts are actually bolted together. Quite a good idea actually considering that the parts probably weigh quite a bit

DaveV said...

Awesome work!

I remember visiting the Armorcast booth back in 1995 on my first visit to GenCon, then in Milwaukee, WI. They also had Ork Gragants, and smaller titans like Warhounds and Revenants.

At the time I picked up an Eldar Tempest superheavy tank (which I subsequently painted up, and also bought another on eBay more recently to make a pair). That tank is relatively small, about a foot long, maybe 5 inches wide, but only around 3 inches tall.

The figure next to the RT-era Adeptus Mechanicus is a servitor model sculpted by Bob Olley, vintage 1989:

Dallas said...

Death Metal baby!!!

Looks amazing. I'm hopping down to GW tonight to pick up a pot of Balthasar Gold to start on the trim parts on mine. Yours looks great and certainly went up quickly!!

Question - did you glue the legs into the feet, or are they a friction fit?

Millsy said...

What a beast! You've made a cracking job of him (her?) Greg. As I said on the challenge blog I love all the Mechanicum bits and pieces you've included.

Paulalba said...

What a stunning build and a cracking paint job, look forward to more rogue trader, Horus Heresy stuff and great to see the crew actually having a vehicle to, well crew!

Greg B said...

Thanks guys.

Dallas - the feet are not glued yet, but I expect they will be, as I cannot swing a magnetic connection (would be ideal, but beyond my skill) and I don't think the friction fit is safe for anything other than display - can't risk having the feet fall off every time you move it.

I'm looking forward to seeing your monster!

DHC Wargames said...

I really loved this entry!

At first I thought, have Forgeworld been mad enough to release yet another version, but then I read that this was actually an older Armourcast version. Never knew that existed.

And honestly... I think it looks cooler than the forge world stuff!!!