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Fighting Tiger Fast Attack (Updated
Most Fighting Tigers who make up Assault Squads or Bike/Attack Bike Squadrons are Tigers of Kali; Kali is the Vedic goddess of death. Some Assault Squads and all Vanguard Veterans are Tigers of Indra, captain of the Vedic gods. Fighting Tigers who make up Land Speeder crews are Tigers of Rudra; Rudra is the Vedic god of battles.
Because Jatis Ghuyarashtra has traditionally emphasized speed over strength, most of my Fast Attack units are assigned to them. Basic colors are Skull White (or Bubonic Brown) and Bestial Brown for Jatis Ghuyarashtra, Skull White (or Fiery Orange) and Chaos Black for Jatis Mahaduyana.
Tigers of Kali
and Tigers of Indra (Assault Squads)
Most of the non-helmet heads are from metal fantasy miniatures--no, I don't remember what brand, as I bought them back in the mid 1990's. At the time, GW did not have many female figures (most of them were Sisters of Battle), and the ones they had were too expensive for me to buy and hack up for conversions. All the jump packs are metal, by the way, and are so heavy that they have the tendency to pull the figures over. I've glued nickels onto the bottom of the bases to help stand them up.
The next batch of figures are Tigers of Kali from Jatis Mahaduyana. Armor is Chaos Black, drybrushed with Codex Grey. Weapons are Boltgun Metal. Like the brown ones, most of these are old miniatures using RTB01 parts, and more than once I've seriously considered retiring them and collecting new Assault Marines. I have 20 in my collection, however, and replacing them would be expensive, time-consuming, and would violate Tip #6 of my own advice on painting.
(easily identified by their power fists ) were converted using Necromunda
Escher ganger heads. In both cases, I replaced their noses and mouths with
metallic osmotic gills and nasty-looking scars: these girls have been around
the block a few times. I painted the hair Bubonic Brown and washed it with
Flesh Wash. Just for a slightly different look, I drybrushed Skull White
over the hair of the Vet in the brown armor, but I dare you to make any
"blonde" jokes to her face....
Tigers of Indra "veteran" squad (counts as Assault Marines)
I used to count the squads above and below as Vanguard Veterans, but the price tag in points for Vets with jump packs is astronomical. Now I consider them Assault Marines, but in fluff terms, they're Veterans belonging to the Tiges of Indra. These squads are some of the few Fighting Tiger units integrated by jatis and sex: the ones in white armor are female (I know, more heresy).
The jump packs are plastic, not metal, so the figures don't tend to fall over (thank God). Most of the models are plastic figures I built at the start of the 3rd Edition era. In the photo above, the figure in the center is a lead (not pewter or plastic) Rogue Trader-era Space Marine that came with two power fists (I count him as only having one). When I interviewed with Games Workshop in Baltimore back in the mid-90's, I took him along in my pocket as a good luck charm (I was offered a position, but I turned it down because it didn't pay enough).
There are some older figures in this "veteran" unit (counted as Assault Marines, remember) as well. The fellow on the far right is the original Emperor's Champion figure, who was released way back in the 3rd Edition days. The guy in the center is even older: a Rogue Trader figure (with the loin cloth added to hide his skinny legs) that came with a power fist and gauntlet-mounted shooting weapon of some kind--I consider it a plasma pistol. If I recall correctly, the mini was originally considered the equivalent of a Chapter Master, but I use him as a Sergeant. His face is painted blue to allude to various Hindu paintings that show various gods with blue faces (why those gods are painted blue is subject to debate). I just thought it would interesting and different, though in retrospect, I should have used a lighter shade.Tigers of Indra (Vanguard Veterans)
Despite their cost, I do have one unit of Vanguard Veterans. The Fighting Tiger Black Ops were built, painted, and given to me by my friend James Arnold. These guys (and ladies) do not belong to any jatis, reporting directly to the two Fighting Tiger Rajas who rule the Chapter. Unlike your typical Vanguard unit, the Black Ops do not use jump packs: they are specialized in jungle warfare (hence the green armor), where jump packs can be a serious hindrance.
Tigers of Kali
As with my
Assault Marines, all my Attack Bikers are female and are painted in white
and brown armor. Some of the models are older all-metal kits; some are
more recent all-plastic ones. And no, your eyes do not deceive you: those
really are whitewall tires on each one. Because Tigers are all about style....
Tigers of Rudra
(Land Speeder Tornadoes)
As I converted the old models and built the new ones, I addressed a long-time problem I've had: namely, that the plastic spindles Games Workshop supplied with the metal models were woefully inadequate. I've lost track of how many times those spindles broke either in transport or during a game. Almost always, the spindle snapped where I had glued it to the model, leaving a hunk of plastic in the hole at the bottom of the vehicle. This was very difficult to repair, and repairs rarely lasted very long.
The solution I decided on was to replace the plastic spindles with metal dowel pins I found at my local hardware store. Each one was very inexpensive, perhaps as much as 35¢ each. To mount the models even more securely, I enlarged the holes in the plastic bases, sank the dowel pins into the hole, and epoxied them (because epoxy rocks and superglue sucks). Similarly, I enlarged the mounting hole at the bottom of each Speeder, and epoxied the other end of the pin there. If a model comes off its base now, it will only be because the epoxy seal was broken, not because the spindle broke: that's much less likely to happen, and much easier to fix than the situation before.
Before I began this project, I had six already-completed Speeders. I removed the multi-meltas, kept the heavy bolters, and mounted the assault cannon bitz that I purchased through the Games Workshop online store. The other four Tornadoes were the original pewter Ravenwing Speeders from the mid-1990's. I assembled those with epoxy and organized my models into four squadrons.
The first squadron is the "Flying Tigers," named after the famous WWII unit. The squadron consists of three Tornadoes, one of which was the very first Land Speeder I ever built, back in the 1990's. The heavy bolter is a converted big shoota from an Ork Wartrukk. For a long time, the pilot held a "Flying Tiger" banner (see below), whose emblem I made by combining two transfers (a Tiger Claw insignia and half of a Dark Angel insignia) from a sheet that came with the original Land Raider box set, back in 1989. As I converted the model, I removed the banner, as it was falling apart.
The other two Speeders are Ravenwing Tornado models I built and painted in the summer of 2007. The fellow who had owned these models before me had snipped off one of the Dark Angel "gargoyles" on the canopy of the Speeder: I clipped off the sword of the other one, painted it Boltgun Metal, and it makes a decent "angel" figure. Building and painting four new Speeders was so much of a hassle that I vetoed adding more work by trying to get rid of the Dark Angel symbols.
This squadron almost always make me think of the "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others" song from Sesame Street. The new models have a lighter shade of Fiery Orange, the difference between paints purchased during the Reagan administration and those purchased in the 21st Century. The two new ones use the "less is more" attitude that I've developed lately regarding tiger stripes on vehicles (you can see some vivid examples of that here).
The next squadron is "Flying Tigers 2," which, appropriately, has two members. These are current, plastic Land Speeders who still have their plastic spindles because they've never given me any problems. You'll note that these models are mounted very low to the tabletop, which not only looks cool (I think), but also helps keep them from falling over.
Next up are the Tornadoes of the "Tiger Shark" squadron, of Jatis Ghuyarashtra, each bearing a "shark mouth" design like the original, WWII Flying Tigers. One of them (the first one I ever did for this squadron) has a big fin on its back (taken from the tailpiece of a plastic F-14 Tomcat model). The shark emblem is from the original Land Raider transfer sheet (see below). Again, these are models I built a loooong time ago. I did the one with the fin back in the early 1990's and added the other two in 1998 when the 3rd Edition rules came out.
Finally, I have two Ravenwing Speeders that form the "Tigers Maruti" (or, roughly, "Tigers of the Wind") squadron. Like the two new members of the "Flying Tiger" squadron, I painted these with the "less is more" principle regarding the number of stripes, and because they're in their own squadron, it's not quite as noticeable. While they're no works of art, I think they're much better than the "Tiger Sharks," mostly because by now, I've learned to stop slapping paint on quite so thickly....
Originally posted April 2000. Updated June 2012
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