Sunday, August 30, 2020

Pass in Review: The 187th Dragoon Regiment's Kill Team

Unlike my delayed entry into Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K), I bought numerous Kill Team items as soon as they became available. 

While my Tempestus Scions are my primary Imperial Kill Team, that doesn’t mean the 187th Dragoon Regiment doesn’t have it’s own for localized missions within it’s Area of Operations (AO).

My friend Dan painted several figures for me to represent a pack of Astra Militarum die-hards.

This particular team was derived from the 5-man box set that often provides simple figures to beef-up one’s forces.

The sixth figure, seen on the left, is a sniper which I purchased as part of a larger collection. Dan converted two of the “filler” soldiers into a medic and demolition specialist.

The regiment’s kill team isn’t a permanent organization.  It’s only assembled when a critical mission needs to be conducted and team members are selected by either volunteers, or more likely, by troopers that have committed infractions that aren’t severe enough to warrant summary executions or exile to a penal legion.

Once the mission is complete, the survivors will return to their original assignments without any blemish to their record, but are warned any further infractions will not be tolerated.

The miscreants will only be given this one chance to redeem themselves.

A review of my “187th Second Chancers,” from left-to-right are the team leader, the demo specialist, medic and three riflemen who may be other types of specialists:

Despite the temporary nature of this group, I decided to name them after some of the main characters from the movie, The Dirty Dozen.

From left to right:  

Captain John Reisman (played as a major, by Lee Marvin), 
Corporal Joseph Wladislaw (played by Charles Bronson), 
Corporal Milo Vladik (played by Tom Busby), 
Sergeant Clyde Bowren (played by Richard Jaeckel), 
Private Samson Posey (played by Clint Walker), and 
Private Victor Franko (played by John Cassavettes).

As of now, there’s no rules in Kill Team regarding vehicles.  I guess because even the smallest vehicle could unbalance a game session.

However,  kill teams have to get from Point A to Point B in order to do their killing.

Since this team is part of an armored cavalry regiment, the best means of transportation would be by modified Chimera command vehicle often "appropriated" for such missions, if one's available.

Because the 187th’s Second Chancers will often be deployed beyond the regiment’s Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT), it’s necessary to provide the team with a means of long range communication. 

In addition to it’s turret-mounted laser cannon the Second Chancers’ Chimera is equipped with a hull-mounted heavy bolter, and a Krak Missile—at least at the beginning of the mission. 

The vehicle is also devoid of unit markings or other colorful displays for a thin attempt at maintaining plausible deniability.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Pass in Review: The 187th Dragoon Regiment's Reconnaissance Troop

One of the problems about being such a late-comer to Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) is that I’ve missed out on obtaining items that are no longer produced, especially from Forge World.  Ever since I started reading the Ciaphas Cain novels, I fell in love with the Salamander Scout and wanted to outfit a reconnaissance unit centered around these vehicles.

Sadly, I couldn’t find any and I’m not skilled enough to assemble a run-of-the-mill Chimera without any help, let alone doing a conversion job.

Fortunately, I discovered that the Lehman Russ Exterminator tank is often used as a heavy reconnaissance vehicle...

...of which I acquired three of them over the past few years.

I paired each one with a specially-painted Chimera to form the 187th Dragoon Regiment’s Reconnaissance Troop (“R Troop”).  Typically, the Chimera and it’s crew will scout ahead while the Exterminator provides overwatch.

1st Platoon or Headquarters Platoon/R Troop

The platoon’s Exterminator originally came equipped with a dozer blade and 3 x heavy bolters, in addition to it’s main armament.  For additional firepower, I added a 
Pinter-mounted heavy stubber.

Right-side view:

The left-side view displays the tank’s camouflage netting secured to the turret:

The platoon’s lead Chimera is one of three painted by my friend Peter.

Right-side view:

In addition to the vehicle’s las cannon main armament, it’s also equipped with a pintel-mounted storm bolter and a Krak Missile.  This particular vehicle also features the commander standing up and brandishing a bolter.

Left-side view:

1st Platoon, R Troop operating together:

The Chimera can also carry up to 12 human-sized soldiers, more commonly referred to as “troopers” in a cavalry unit.

This unit typically carries a scout team, which based on my collection, consists of two troopers equipped with sniper rifles and tracking specialist represented by a 
Catachan Jungle Fighter.

The Catachan Jungle fighter is named “Ahnold,” after Arnold Schwarzenegger, while the snipers are Willie and Joe, based on the characters created by wartime cartoonist, Bill Mauldin.

2nd Platoon/R Troop

Right-side view of the platoon’s Exterminator (which may actually be an Annihilator):

The vehicle was originally equipped with a hull-mounted laser cannon, and 2 x sponson-mounted heavy bolters in addition to it’s main armament, along with having a pile of sandbags in front of the commander’s hatch.  I added the pintel-mounted storm bolters.

Left-side view:

The second platoon’s Chimera is outfitted the same as the first, along with having the same camouflage scheme.

Right-side view:

Left-side view:

2nd Platoon, R Troop operating together:

The platoon’s dismounted troopers consist of two snipers and a tracking specialist. 

The next trio of scouts, I took from one of my favorite classic movies, Gunga Din.  They‘re named after sergeants “Mac” MacChesney, Tommy Ballantine and Archibald Cutter.

3rd Platoon/R Troop

Right-side view of the platoon’s Exterminator: 

This vehicle was one of the first sets of Lehman Russ tanks that I purchased.  It originally came with 3 x heavy bolters in addition to its main armament.  I added the pintel-mounted weapon.

Left-side view:

The platoon’s Chimera is identical to the other two.

Right-side view:

Left-side view:

3rd Platoon/R Troop operating together:

This platoon’s dismounted troops consist of two snipers and a heavy weapons specialist.

Since the sword-wielding, heavy weapons specialist, is a buff female, I named these three after characters from the movie Aliens, from left-to-right:  Private Vasques, Private Hudson and Corporal Dwayne Hicks.

I chose to discuss this unit first because I’m fascinated by reconnaissance missions.  I think they lend themselves well to small-unit actions, skirmish-level games and even role-playing games (RPGs), where player-characters (PCs) can operate semi-independently. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Pass in Review: The 187th Dragoon Regiment's Command Units

Somewhere on the Sector Fronteris...

...the headquarters element of F Troop, 2nd Squadron, 187th Dragoon Regiment seeks-out an area to set up it’s tactical operations center (TOC).


The first to arrive at the site is a Lehman Russ Punisher, scouting ahead and providing security.

Next is the troop’s Chimera command vehicle.

These are the first two of the 26 vehicles I’ll be featuring in my Astra Militarum collection I’ve dubbed the 187th Dragoon Regiment (Composite).  

All the vehicles in my collection were bought used and pre-painted, or I had contracted someone else to assemble and paint the kits.  The only thing I’ve done is some minor repairs when necessary, touch-up paint work; or adding a minor feature, such as a heavy weapon at the commander’s hatch.

Here’s the troop’s TOC set up:

The troop leader, usually a captain, commands 9 other vehicles and infantry squads, organized into 3 platoons.

The tents I bought in the toy section at Michaels.  I have a total of four tents.  They’re pre-painted resin and were in the same shelf space that the realistic-looking animal toys are usually kept.  I’m afraid I don’t know who manufactures them.  They’re much larger than 25mm.  At a guess I’d say they’re more like 35mm scale.  But hey, everything is larger-than-life in the “...grim darkness of the far future.”

Anyway, what follows next is a showcase of my command squad figures.

Starting-off with one of the squads painted by my friend Dan.

Here’s another view, but with the vehicles removed and joined by a commissar, seen on the right.

I derived the command squad’s names from the sitcom F Troop.  From left-to-right:

Trooper Vanderbilt,
Captain Wilton Parmenter, 
Specialist Hannibal Dobbs, 
Sergeant Morgan O’Rourke, 
Corporal Randolph Agarn, 
and Commissar Benito Sforza (based on a guest appearance by Vincent Price as Count Sfoza). 

Dan also painted a veteran/battle-scarred command squad, with most of the members bearing various wounds.  I figure I’ll use these guys to represent the command element for the regiment’s reconnaissance element, “R-Troop,” to represent the hazards of sticking their necks out once too often. 

The above figures are plastic which makes some of them prone to tipping-over easily, especially the standard bearers.  To remedy this, I super glued washers underneath all the bases.  For the standard bearers in particular I used heavier washers. 

These characters are derived from some of the characters in the movie Kelly’s Heroes.  From left-to-right, are:

Staff Sergeant Crapgame
Captain Kelly
First Sergeant Mulligan
Master Sergeant Big Joe
Private Little Joe
Private Cowboy

Some of the collections I acquired included some older, metal figures, like the standard bearer and the vox-caster seen below.

Both figures are heavy and balanced enough so as not to need any added weight.  

I’ll base these guys on the main characters of mini series Rome:  Sergeant Titus Pullo (the vox caster) and Color Sergeant Lucius Vorenus (the standard bearer).

On the other hand, the standard bearer carrying the regimental flag needed a heavy washer glued underneath it.

I showcased this figure in my introduction to the 187th Dragoon Regiment, but didn’t provide a side view:

For the regimental standard bearer’s personality, I chose John Wayne’s character, Sergeant John Stryker from the movie The Sands of Iwo Jima.

Ursarkar E. Creed and Color Sergeant Jarran Kell are well-known among Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) community.

But for my purposes, I’ll “demote” these figures to the ranks of regimental commander, Alastair Mallet (an affectionate parody of Colonel Alois Hammer) and his Color Sergeant “Mad Dog” Slade.

That's if for the 187th command elements in my collection.

Next up will be the reconnaissance unit, so stay tuned!