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Codex: Fighting Tigers of Veda (pg 18)
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Designer's Notes
This part of the website is where I explain how and why I designed the Fighting Tigers of Veda in the way I did. I've included this section to help guide and inspire players who are considering or starting any 40k army, not just Space Marines. Hopefully this section will give you some ideas and show you how you can avoid some of the problems I had.

I was first introduced to Warhammer 40,000 in 1987 by a friend who had visited a Games Workshop store in Laurel, Maryland (alas, that store is no longer there). After he showed me how the game worked and some of the miniatures I ran right out to buy the "Rogue Trader" rulebook and several boxes of plastic "beakie" Marines (which my wife dismissively dubbed "Space Mice").

Choosing the Army
I chose Space Marines because I had seen (and loved) the movie Aliens and wanted my own elite warriors to throw at the relentless, endless hordes of alien filth! I think the best way to decide on an army is to just go with what interests and excites you and don't worry about how it will fare on the battlefield: GW does a pretty good job of making sure that each army can hold its own in a fight. 

Ignore what others say is the "best " army to have (one like theirs, of course!), because there is no such animal: each army has its own character, strengths, and weaknesses. Also ignore snide comments players make about certain armies being "easy" or "cheesy."  Collect an army that fits your playing style: my buddy Pat is a close combat junkie, so his armies include Space Wolves, Orks, and Tyranids. If you prefer tanks and big guns, you might try Imperial Guard.

Rogue Trader Fighting Tigers: the Benefits of Thinking Ahead
"Rogue Trader" the First Edition of Warhammer 40,000 and it was very different from today's 40K: the game was just starting out, so the rules encouraged you to experiment and "do your own thing" (note that while this sounds good in theory, it isn't always a good idea, especially in a game where you're competing against someone else). There wasn't a whole lot of detail about the Space Marine Chapters mentioned in "Rogue Trader," so I decided to create my own. Tigers are my favorite animal, so I used them as a theme.

Looking back, I should have thought a bit more carefully about what I was doing. Painting up a single Fighting Tiger figure--with stripes on the helmet, shoulder plates, greaves, and backpack--is one thing: painting over 200 figures (which is about the size of my army now) is something different. Keep your paint schemes simple because you will need a lot of figures. It's taken me many years to paint my army, and a lot of that is because the Fighting Tiger paint scheme is complicated. Do yourself a favor and think long-term.

Why aren't all Fighting Tigers orange and black, like real tigers? Basically, because I didn't put a lot of thought into designing my Chapter as a whole. 

Back in the "Rogue Trader" days you could equip your troops with all kinds of gear, so I initially envisioned an all aerial-Space Marine Chapter called the Flying Tigers (after the famous World War II air unit; see photo below). The Flying Tigers wore flightpacks, rode powerboards and jetbikes, and had custom-designed aerial vehicles (much like the Ravenwing, which I found out about a few months after I started playing). 

WWII Flying Tiger
WWII Flying Tiger--one of the inspirations for the Fighting Tigers

I quickly realized that air power alone was rather limited, so I created another bunch of Marines, the Sabretooths, and painted them mustard and brown to emphasize their infantry orientation (mustard and brown are earth tones) and to distinguish them from Flying Tigers. I organized the Flying Tigers and the Sabretooths into one Chapter, the Fighting Tigers of Regulus-9.

Then I thought it would be cool to have some "white tigers," so I painted some up, not really thinking about how'd they fit with the others. I also painted up leaders in all kinds of mind-bending color combinations, like white with metallic purple stripes, silver with blue stripes, black with orange stripes. UGH. After a while, I had quite a mess on my hands.

While "just because I like it" is a good reason for choosing an army, it is NOT a good approach for painting and putting an army together. If you're going to have more than one color scheme, think about why you want more than one color scheme and how they will fit together. If I had to do it all over again I would have stayed with the orange and black scheme and maybe used white and black for leaders.

Second Edition Fighting Tigers
Second Edition, which was much more structured than "Rogue Trader," forced me to re-think and reorganize my army. The "fluff" in Codex: Ultramarines impressed me with its cohesiveness and detail, so I began to create a background for the Fighting Tigers. Some of the things I considered were:

Historical Background.  Like many Space Marine players then, I had come up with Latin names for my characters: for example, my commander was Lucius Tiberius Britainnicus.  It occurred to me that since tigers are Asian animals my Chapter should have Asian influences. The obvious answer was Far East Asia (Japan, China, Korea) but I had recently become interested in Hindu culture and mythology, so the Fighting Tigers of Regulus-9 became the Fighting Tigers of Veda; Lucius Tiberius Britainnicus became Raja Khandar Madu, and so on. Consider using history and mythology as inspirations, but avoid belabored themes.  Ultramarines are very Greco-Roman, Space Wolves are Vikings in power armor: does the 40K gaming universe need more like them? 

History.  Every army should have some kind of history behind it. Rather than make one up from scratch, I decided to mold the games I had played over the years into the history of the Tigers. My earliest opponents were three friends who played Eldar, Orks, and Chaos Space Marines, so I decided that these were the majority of the Tiger's early enemies (when 3rd Edition came out the Eldar became Dark Eldar).

As I was switching from "Rogue Trader" to 2nd Edition, I was having to do a LOT of reorganizing: retiring custom-built vehicles, getting rid of jetbikes, repainting figures as I configured them into 10-man squads. I decided to include this into the Fighting Tigers' history as a "rebuilding" period after suffering a major defeat, hence the story of the Warband Bloodcomet wiping out almost all of the Chapter. "DEFEAT?" I hear you ask incredulously. Yes, defeat: how dull is it to read or hear about some army that never gets beaten? As a lifelong professional football fan ("Go Steelers!") I can tell you that the defeats your team suffers, especially against hated rivals ("Ravens suck!"), are just as important--and make just as good stories--as the victories.

Color Schemes and Female Marines.  I realized I had a problem with all the different color schemes (black and orange, mustard and brown, white and black, not to mention all the freaky paint jobs on the leaders) but I did NOT want to repaint them all. To explain the color schemes, I invented the two jatis, or castes (another Hindu idea), and divided my Marines: the ones that were painted orange and black would go in one jatis, the ones painted mustard and brown in another. What to do with the white and black Marines? There were too many to repaint, so I included them with the orange and black Marines and started painting complementary white and brown Marines.

I decided that white Marines were the colors they were because they were Assault Marines, but this reason didn't fully satisfy me: how come Devastator Marines and Terminators were the same color as Tactical Marines?

Then I remembered a picture of a Sister of Battle (below) in the back of the "Rogue Trader" book. That picture inspired me to use female Space Marines. Thus,  white Marines would be female. And as they were all Assault Marines, they would be devoted to Kali, the Hindu death goddess. 

Sister of Battle artwork from Rogue Trader rulebook
Artwork © copyright 1999 Games Workshop Ltd.

This idea led me to connect other Hindu gods to other types of Marines and also inspired me to come up with the story about tigers from Earth being cloned on Veda, with white tigers being females.

I had almost resolved--more or less--the whole question of color schemes. I decided to repaint each leader in one of the four schemes, eliminating the eyesore combinations I had created but breaking some 40K tenets. Don't be afraid to challenge old ideas: the 40K universe is a big place and almost anything can happen. Who says women can't be Space Marines? Who says Chaplains have to wear black?

Third Edition and Beyond
By fall of 1998, I only had to paint six figures to finish my Fighting Tigers army: then 3rd Edition came out and forced me to reorganize my army. This time I learned my lesson and thought carefully about how I would switch my army from 2nd to 3rd. The biggest changes were:

Allies. I had relied on a lot of Allies under 2nd Edition, mostly to patch up what I thought were weaknesses in my army and also to give myself a break from painting tiger stripes (check out some of them).  I had fun with Allies, but I don't miss them, and with an army as large as mine (then about 6,000 points) I had plenty of stuff to use. By eliminating Allies as I had used them (a squad from this army, a squad from that army, maybe an Assassin or an Inquisitor as well), 3rd Edition made me focus on making the best of my army.

Vehicle Weapon Swaps. In 2nd Edition, I used the rules from "Dark Millenium" about having different weapons on vehicles: every Fighting Tiger vehicle had non-standard weaponry (bikes with storm bolters, Rhinos with heavy flamers, Land Raiders with battle cannons). I've replaced the weapons and added a few more vehicles to fill out squadrons and to transport troops.

Since 1998, I have built on to my Fighting Tigers army. In 2004, I decided to add several squads of Scouts, an effort I nicknamed the "Fighting Tiger Recruitment Drive." I added this into the Fighting Tiger fluff by saying that after the very costly Blood Deserts of Auros IX Campaign, the Tigers increased their numbers. Because I liked them, I built up my force of Land Speeder Tornadoes. I've also added more transports, in the form of Rhinos and Drop Pods. When the 5th Edition version of Codex: Space Marines came out, I reorganized several squads to build Sternguard and Vanguard Veteran units. I currently have just over 10,000 points of Fighting Tigers of Veda, and do not intend to add any more units. That's enough painting tiger stripes!   

Check out my current Fighting Tigers army...
 
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Related Pages
Glossary and Pronunciation Guide
FAQ about the Fighting Tigers
My current Fighting Tiger Army
Codex Main Page and Table of Contents
 

Last updated December 2008
Codex: Fighting Tiger logo (GW style) by Jason Foley 

Top

Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics  <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle