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Armies of the Jungle
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Armies of the
Jungle: the Aquamarines of so-gaHan Text
by Kenton Kilgore
Upon learning of Beth’s interest, friends of mine (#1 Jungle Fanboy Luis Nunez, #1 Jungle Fangirl Jennifer Burdoo, and All-Around-Good-Guy Bryan “Lawman” Layton, among others) contributed spare miniatures and even vehicles (Luis, you Da Man!), and we acquired several more units during CO5 at the store Dream Wizards. The army is a work in progress, but here, so far, are the Aquamarines….
Almost 98% of so-gaHan’s surface is covered with water, with a few small, scattered islands being the only land. The so-gaHanii lived in large, spherical cities floating at various depths beneath the waves. Irregularities in so-gaHan’s orbit around its sun resulted in climate change, cooling the oceans, altering currents, killing many plant and animal species that the so-gaHanii depended on, and spreading lethal diseases and parasites that so-gaHanii medicine could do little to stem. Within 50 Terran years, the so-gaHanii were extinct.
The Imperium seized so-gaHan, repelling several expeditionary forces sent by the Tau for the same purpose. The Aquamarines established a fortress monastery on the ocean floor, miles below the planet’s surface, where it would be difficult for invaders to reach. Under the protection of the Aquamarines, Imperial workers have begun mining the extensive deposits of strategic minerals and ores found on so-gaHan’s sea floor and in the underwater mountains and abyssal trenches.
In addition to defending the planet and keeping the Tau in check, the Aquamarines have been tasked to recover so-gaHanii technology. The Aquamarines found most of the aliens’ cities and artifacts intact, and after translating the fortunately-plentiful surviving documentation, took many items and designs for their own use. In particular, they have made extensive use of so-gaHanii technology related to amphibious transportation.
The Aquamarines have modified their large fleet of Land Speeders so that they may be used above and below the surface of the water, and have retrofitted captured so-gaHanii craft to serve as equivalents of Rhinos, Razorbacks, Predators, and other Space Marine tanks. While clearly alien in design, these vehicles nevertheless maneuver superbly underwater and ably well on land, thanks to low-powered anti-grav technology that replaces the need for tank treads.
In addition to their extensive use of alien vehicles, the Aquamarines differ from other chapters in that they do not have a single, supreme leader, such as a Chapter Master. Given the youth of the chapter and the relative inexperience of its commanding officers, the Aquamarines are governed by consensus of a Council of 13, consisting of the 10 Company Captains, the Master of the Forge, the Chief Librarian, and the highest-ranking Chaplain. By requiring a majority before proceeding with major initiatives, such as launching new campaigns, the chapter ensures that an incompetent or renegade leader will not lead the Aquamarines into disaster or away from the Emperor’s service.
For now, let’s talk painting. Neither Beth nor I have any great joy for painting: for us, it’s something you need to do to get figures on the table. Our approach is to do something relatively simple that will be distinctive and look halfway decent from arm’s length. There are no Golden Demon-winners in this army, but then, if you’re looking for jaw-dropping 40K painting, you’d better visit my friend Kurgan’s site, because you ain’t finding it here, pal.
Green has always been Beth’s favorite color, even when she was a little girl, so she chose Jade Green (a hue GW no longer makes) for the helmet and shoulder pads of each Marine. For everything else, she picked a light green called “Woodsy Scent” (no, I am NOT making that up) that we found at the local hardware store. The light green paint may have a funny name, but it covers well and is very inexpensive.
As Beth developed the color scheme, she decided that she wanted an aquatic theme for her Marines. She chose to flock their bases in sand and paint over them in Bubonic Brown, to make each Marine look like he’s standing on a beach. She come up with the name “Aquamarines” and designed a stylized “A” for one shoulder pad and a wave design for the other.
Together, Beth and I have been painting the army, Beth doing the basecoats and me doing the detail work. The first few figures looked very “cartoony,” so I suggested a black wash to make them look “grittier.” All that accomplished was making them look like they had just waded ashore through an oil spill. For the next few guys, I tried using some Dark Green Ink as a final step, but it was a bit overpowering. Finally, I bought the new Thraka Green Wash from GW, and it really turned out nicely.
Beth had been given an Chaplain to use as for her HQ. I informed her of the standard all-black color scheme that almost all Chaplains (but not Fighting Tigers) wear, but she preferred to have me paint up her guy in Aquamarine colors, counting on all those skulls to make her Chaplain stand out.
In preparation for Counter Offensive 6, Beth and I painted a full 10-man Devastator Squad, featuring two missile launchers and two heavy bolters. If Beth is up against infantry, she can keep the squad together and have the launchers use frag; if she is facing tanks as well, she can split out the two launchers and use krak. The Dev Sergeant is a Sternguard figure packing a signum and a combi-plasma gun for some “just-in-case” fire support.
When it came to the vehicles, rather than paint chapter colors all over each, as is usually done, we went with basic black with a few touches of Jade Green, Woodsy Scent, and Boltgun Metal here and there. Again, simple, easy, and distinctive.
About those Razorbacks I mentioned earlier. I was wandering around a discount store one day when I found three plastic, snap-together kits for Romulan Scorpion fighters from the Star Trek: Nemesis film. Each was a whopping $5, so I bought all three, reasoning that if Beth didn’t like them, I’d use them for my Dark Eldar. In keeping with the army’s theme, they look very “aquatic,” though definitely non-Imperial. No matter. They’re big enough that they could probably carry five or six Marines, and that tail-like doohickey on the back could “count as” as any Space Marine heavy weapon. Beth’s list was light on anti-tank, so I proposed we consider them as twin lascannons.
At CO5, Beth had won a Predator, but when it came time to put it together, she and I agreed that the bulky, box-like model didn’t look much like a vehicle used by a chapter specializing in underwater operations. I dug around in my bitz box and found a rocket-shaped plastic drinking cup that my daughter Ally-Jane had received, years ago, with her kids’ meal at Denny’s or some other “family restaurant.” I had taken the cup home, washed it out, and had thought about using it as a Drop Pod, but it was better suited for Beth’s needs.
We turned it on its side, used two-part epoxy to mount the lascannon turret and sponsons from the Predator kit on it, and painted it black. We chose lascannons because Beth’s army needed more anti-tank firepower. Like Beth’s Speeders, we painted the tail fins in chapter colors. I also painted small, stylized “A’s” on each side, behind the sponsons. My first thought was to put a large “A” on a tail fin, but the poor quality of my free-hand letter-painting would detract from the model.
The last step was to drill a hole in the bottom of the “tank,” stick a flying stand in there, et voila: an anti-grav “Predator” similar in concept (if not necessarily style) to the proxied Razorbacks she already has (see below).
My kids like these German chocolate eggs that are hollow and have little toys inside them. I always save the containers that the toys come in: they make great "storage pods," "power generators," or, epoxied to the rear of the vehicle, "underwater turbine engines."
Once I had painted it black and drybrushed on some grey highlights, it rather resembled a whale, so that's just what Beth called it. As you can see from the photo above, I put a storm bolter on it, too, right next to the autocannon. Just like its counterpart, we mounted "The Whale" on a flying stand and explain that it's an amphibious Predator variant using captured alien anti-grav designs and technology.
Using the Army
That’s All For
Originally posted June
2009. Updated October 2009.
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