Monday, August 30, 2010

The Inquistion, the Last Part (edit): GUNHEDS and Walkers...

Recently it was pointed out to me that I wasn't leading with my strengths, so I went back through and gutted this article for reposting.

The three GUNHED's above were my answer to the appalling vulnerability of the common Penitent Engine. Where the PE is slow, underarmored, and underarmed, (and based on those woussy mecha from The Matrix)  the GUNHED is fast, heavily armed and armored, and has a Sister Repentia in the crew compartment (which is, of course, featured open to show off said pilot). I kept the flamethrower buzzsaw arms and pseudo-sentinel legs (I only used the right one for uniformity) and ditched the rest. That said, it's based on this manly hunk of steel:

That's GUNHED Sergeant MBR-507, from the Japanese movie GUNHED, which came out some time back in 1989. It was pretty standard fare for a Toho movie, in that it was shot in glorious Tohovision and featured giant monstrous things trying to kill each other. The plot was thin, the acting was... adequate, but overall, the star is the Studio Nue-designed monstrosity you see there. GUNHED is an acronym for "Gun Unit/Heavy Elimination Device", and were meant to be entirely unmanned drones deployed in battalions to fight... other unmanned war machines. Interestingly enough, that Kawamori design is also the precursor for the mecha in the underrated Eureka 7.

Anyhow, my take on it was this (and no, it doesn't transform) :

A lot of bits went into #507. That long-barrelled vulcan in the turret came from an old, large scale Heavy Gear weapons pack. The metal turret and tread assemblies is from a pre-Flames of War tank wargame (three lead tank blisters for a mere $6 apiece!) and the rest are Penitent Engine parts, plastic bits, Inquisitor icons, and other things. The legs I extended by use of plastic i-beams and the tread bits from the tank models.  I tried to keep it gothic, keep it dark, and keep it, as other 40k designs, looking like it should have had more tacked onto it, but after thousands of years had been boiled down to its basic ugly funcitonality. Yes, the penitent inside is a Dark Eldar Wych (pun intended):

In the old days you used to be able to order practically any manner of bits from practically the entire range of GW minis, and life was good. Now you can't, of course, because maintaining a massive bitz inventory is evidently too much of a bother for the powers that be to handle. Now we have to scrape and scrabble on eBay for plastics that aren't even marginally as interesting as all of the things we used to have access to whenever we wanted, as much as we needed. 

Those thrusters, of course, are for turbo-boosting into battle so you can flame/buzzsaw them after to you Punisher cannon them to pieces.  I like the book on the engine section, there. I was really into the WH design motif of covering things with shrines and scrolls. This thing remains one of the jewels of my collection, and I liked it so much, I built another one, #508 (or "Flame-HEDD")  with an emphasis on fire:

That giant flamer in the turret belonged to an action figure a long tim ago; I found it at the bottom of a drawer, I think. Having the accelerant tanks on the outside of the turret seems like an awfully good way to get them blown up, but then again, having an open cockpit on a war machine is a terrible idea, too. Maybe it closes like a clamshell, retracting up into the chest? If that's the case, that Rackham babe needs to tuck in her legs:

Yes, I noticed the glare spot on these. The angle on the bottom of the chest section seemed to catch the light no matter what I did. I suppose I should have sealed these with matte instead of semi-gloss, but every time I use a matte spray-seal it just kills the metallics. 

You'd think the Ecclesiarchy would lock up all of their scrolls and relics in museums, but they seem to delight in carelessly nailing them to tanks and other monsters of the battlefield. You might also notice the engine sections are slightly different; these pre-date my current standardization kick. At the time, I did make sure to use only the right-hand PE legs, certain torso bits, etc. that matched up to connect the models, thematically.  It didn't take me long to discover the (then) newly-released Warmachine range:

The Grey Knight version, the X-252 "Melta-HEDD", uses Khador warjack parts (I forget which one) and Inquisitor Karamazov's tri-barrel multi-melta. In retrospoectAlong with the PE and other parts, this model fit together really, really snugly. The Dark Age Reaver girl even fits nicely in its little command throne. More than that, she actually looks like she wants to be sitting in there, and isn't chained to anything.

Well, she's not enthusastic about it, but she's not writhing in anguish, either. 

Compared to the other two it looks a little under-armed; my intention was for that boxy thing on the turret to read as a psycannon, (even though it reads, visually, as some kind of sensor). Being a Grey Knight construct, it has the obligatory Force Weapon in that bigass gauntlet. You didnt think I'd cut away  a dreadnought-sized axe, did you? Likewise he carries a Liber Demonica just in case he has to call out a demon's true name in the middle of combat to subdue it. There is no plastic on this model at all, so it weighs as much as two old-school metal dreads. I shit you not. This thing is fucking heavy.

Man, I do love that cluster of exhausts in that big, solid torso (if I was in the black again I'd start a Warmachine hobby in a NY minute) Sharp eyes will note the old-school Battletech Marauder torsos as boosters on the engine sections. I am almost (at long last) completely out of bits and bobs from the old B-Tech range, too, so unless you want half of a leg or torso that's been smashed beyond recognition, I wouldn't bother asking. 

Yes, I do also own the Penitent Engines that the GUNHED was supposed to supplant. I even used GUNHEDS as stand-ins for PE's at one point, but was so disappointed by how quickly the PE's got chopped apart that I retired the models from that dubiously helpful duty out of shaming them. Yes, really. I went and got real PE's out of pity for the made-up ones. 

I always thought the Penitent Engine had  a lot of potential, if only it didn't have the major stumbling blocks of being open-topped and badly armored. It's far more interesting to look at than the average Dreadnaught, and is closer to being some kind of Dark Eldar construct  than an Imperial design. I mean, a machine powered by a tortured sinner that carries blades and shoots fire? It may be shit on the battlefield, but it's one hell of a neat idea. Unfortunately, neat fluff rarely translates well into the game. 

Remember, this was my first 40k army, and so the idea I had was to run some of these up behind Rhinos or Immolators and let them go to town on the opposition. Of course, Rhinos are terrible to hide behind longer than, say, a turn, and the PE's are so lightly armored that a violent sneeze chops off a vital engine part. Despite this, they were such a neat gothic concept that I even took advantage of some bargain-basement priced Sentinel parts, along with some of the nicer metal Specialist range bits:

The Inquisitor range was a treasure trove of cool-ass parts, like cyborg gladiator arms and devotional scripts. Unfortunately, big metal arms plus light plastic parts equal trouble, and this thing was so forward-heavy I had to build up the base on the bottom to it'd stand properly. Nowadays, my models are much better balanced (uncannily so, in the case of the Tervicrons). 

Like my other sentinel-legged constructs, both of these need a rod up the grounded foot to keep them on the base and stable, but the parts allow for such great poses that I don't mind all the extra drilling.

I'd cap off this edited entry with something witty, but there's a hostage crisis right now at Discovery in Silver Spring, where my friend works. I'm praying for the hostages safety, and that a police sniper will fucking blow the gunman's head off.

Wednesday's a bitch, gang.

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