The Tiger Roars
I Liked ‘Em So Much, I Built My Own (UK Edition) by Stephen Newman
My name is Stephen Newman. As a player of over 8 years to the Warhammer 40K hobby it is fair to say that I have accumulated a vast number of figures. For the first 8 years of my hobby, I was happy to play as Eldar, but in September 2010 I started getting bored with them. I disliked the fact that every army was getting better but I was quite happy to wait this. What annoyed me more was the number of models made of pewter, which I find chip really easily. I also did not like the number of models that predated 3rd Edition that could be found in the product range. I needed a fresh start.
My problem was what army to choose. My main bugbear to choosing armies is that they have to be individual and relatively few in numbers because I am a very slow painter. However it was clear to me that at least one of every other army was already being used at my store at a regular basis so I needed to use a force that would be unique in another way.
This led me to the Fighting Tigers. My own love of tigers and Warhammer had led me to this site about five years beforehand and I had been tempted on more than one occasion to start a force and collect them. However, at these numerous occasions I was not confident in painting them in a way that would justify how awesome I felt the chapter was.
Now, though, I was more confident and the main warning about having to spend time on each marine meant did not mean much to me as I already spend large amounts of time on each one.
So despite the fact that I find Marine armies far too numerous, it seems that I had fallen into buying one. To make it seem more acceptable to me, I thought that the uniqueness of the chapter, combined with my own flair, would make sure they branched off like the Tigers of Jennifer Burdoo.
Some of my heroic Fighting Tigers
Designing My Army and Fluff
The next part upon choosing my force was what to actually buy and paint and how to tie them into the mainstream Tiger fluff but at the same time provide some distance.
Upon reading Codex: Fighting Tigers my first thought would be to rename and introduce some names for the units. So with this decision I decided to christen Drop Pods as Striking Tigers, Legion of the Damned as Grey Tigers, Honour Guards as the Brotherhood of Shiva, Land Speeder Storms as Smilodons (sabre-tooth cats that were the largest of their kind and ancestors to tigers), Thunderfire Cannons as Bengal’s Roar, and a Land Raider Redeemer as The White Tiger 3.
This already produced some branching from the main Tiger fluff, but then I decided to make an army list. I had already made the conscious decision to make my army solely from Jatis Mahaduyana, and thus would include as many Heavy Support choices as possible and few Fast Attack choices. Now I needed a convincing backstory.
I settled on the idea of including my favourite character from the website: Raja Shamshir Talatra. I always liked his background and his fall from grace I found interesting. Because my Tigers are from Mahaduyana, I would need some convincing works. With the fact he was in exile, I settled on the idea that my army would be the shikar sent to bring the renegade commander to justice. Later on, after painting my leader, I felt it would be cool to have as part of the background that my leader, Gurav Chopra, was at one time a good friend of Raja Shamshir and was almost like a disciple, like the relationship between Commander Farsight and Brightsword from the Tau. After Talatra was cast out, Gurav Chopra swore to Khandar Madu herself that he would be the one to bring Shamshir down. to show him that the ways of good were better than Chaos.
Kshatriya Gurav Chopra (centre,with attached Singh Squad) is prepared to hunt down Shamshir
Modelling and Painting the Marines
When I first started painting, I decided to make a couple of modifiers to the main scheme that was used on Kenton’s Fighting Tigers. I decided to follow one of his counsels and painted basic troopers with orange only on the shoulder pads and helmet. Marines that are classed as veterans or higher would get the full original colour scheme. With my slow painting style, I found this rather fun and I actually enjoyed painting each Marine.
When it came to stripes, I knew that my mediocre painting skills would make it impossible for me to make proper tiger stripes, so I made some more cartoony “slash stripes”. These were made by dragging the model against the brush at different thicknesses and for different lengths of the armour, making sure that if it bent around with the armour, then so too did the stripe. This might have made them more cartoony, but at least it ensured that no two looked the same and the stripes were different.
I decided against using varnish, mainly because the models have less need to, but I made sure that each model is undercoated in white first. Due to my inability to paint a straight line, I also did not highlight the armour. I may do so at a later date, but there is no need at the moment.
Tigers of Indra with attendant Man Eater tank
Painting the Motor Pool
When it came to painting the vehicles, I only painted the hatches with stripes (otherwise I still would be painting them). You might notice that my stripes are painted horizontally when they should be painted vertically on the side doors. This occurred because of a mistake I made on the first Razorback. Rather than correct it (which would have taken me a lot of time) I decided to carry on the error to all my other vehicles. I also painted a paw print on one of the hatches that the crew would look out of on top of the tank.
I decided to keep all of the vehicles the same names as used in the codex. However after I started on my Predator, one of my friends asked whether they could name it Tiny the Tiger.
Tiny the Tiger, from the Crash Bandicoot games
Tiny the Tiger is often depicted as quite dim-witted, attacks only in one direction at one target, and attacks with force. I felt this was quite appropriate for a Predator (minus the rubbishy intelligence), so the name was used.
Tiny the Tiger, Predator for my Fighting Tigers
As mentioned earlier, all characters were painted at a veteran level. This meant they were painted in the full colour scheme appropriate to sex. However, when I first started playing the Tigers, they were compared unfavourably with the popular icon Tony the Tiger.
This got me thinking about how I could create an actual model that would look like Tony the Tiger and yet fieldable. I decided Tony would be a Captain and would be represented as a Vedic Great Tiger, a bodyguard for Gurav Chopra that is only granted to those on dangerous assignments.
I did not have a clue where to start, except I knew that I wanted a GW model. The project was sidelined until the perfect model eventually became available: the Dark Eldar Clawed Fiend.
I knew this would be the perfect base for my conversion
Photo copyright 2011 Games Workshop
Converting the head would be easy: just use one from the Sabretusks in the fantasy range. I was, however, unhappy with how the tail looked. In the end, I replaced it with one from a Rat Ogre, filing it down to make it less spiny and more smooth, more befitting a tiger. After a paint job, I finally had the model ready.
“Tony the Tiger.” In game, he counts as wearing artificer or Terminator armour and wielding a pair of lightning claws
I hope in the future to expand on the Tigers. I already have plans to include my own take on Raja Khandar Madu. I leave you with a photo of the main part of my army.
The 1500 points force I use
Posted September 2011