As we all know, one of the biggest issues with collecting any Forge World army is the cost. While the gap between the FW and GW prices is shockingly narrow in places, you still have to worry about your budget.
Getting bang for your buck is important, and flexibility is a huge portion of this. If you can build a unit that will work for your Heresy list as well as your regular Codex Space Marines in 40k, you’ll feel a lot better about your decisions in the end. One of the units that you can get a lot of mileage out of would be Veterans – with a tiny bit of magnetization, one squad of fancy boys with bolters and mostly sheathed melee weapons can make for some awesome looking Sternguard, Honor Guard or Horus Heresy Veteran Tactical Marines.
In the Horus Heresy list, Veteran Tactical Squads are a very flexible unit, one of my personal favorites (especially for Raven Guard). In game terms, they have the statline of a Veteran (notably 2A base) and while they lack the special ammo of their 40k counterparts, they do have a lot of other neat gear and abilities. Not only do they have the full combo of bolter, pistol and close combat weapon, they also get to choose one ability for free (sniper, fearless, outflank, tank hunters or furious charge). That’s not too shabby.
In terms of upgrades, you can get volkite serpentas (think of slightly less amazing tesla pistols), two special/heavy weapons, and any model in the squad can take a power weapon for 10 pts. Some folks online talk about outflanking with heavy flamers, which does sound tempting, but I quite like a squad of tank hunters with a pair of missile launchers. When led by a Vigilator, they gain a ton of USR’s and can cause quite a bit of havoc to enemy vehicles. If you take a Praetor with Pride of the Legion for his Rite of War, then these guys (and also Terminators) also become Troops, which is always handy.
In 40k proper, Sternguard are still a very strong unit. With all the different ammo options there’s not a lot of targets they aren’t comfortable engaging. Pretty much anything with a toughness value is fair game. For Sternguard, all you really need is the signature fancy boltgun. A little extra bling compared to the average Marine is also more than welcome, and the plastic Sternguard kit really delivers on both fronts.
Another really interesting unit is the Honor Guard. Chapter Masters are suddenly an auto-include in most people’s lists, so it won’t be hard to unlock these guys. Bolters, power weapons and artificer armor for 25pts is worth considering. The delivery method is the main issue, but if you have an empty Land Raider then these guys will put it to good use.
What to Buy
So the Sternguard kit from GW is pretty straightforward in that you get a ton of cool heads, shoulder pads and fancier versions of your standard armor marks (4, 6, 7 and 8). They are one of my most highly recommended kits from the new Marine wave. I just wish they were a bit cheaper in terms of $$$, but that can be said about everything these days. One box of these makes for a good place to start.
One of the best kits you can pick up to provide more bitz for your Veterans is the Forge World Sevrin Loth kit. Not only do you get a kickass Librarian with power axe and Maximus armor, you also get a plastic Command Squad + a ton of (mostly mkIV) bitz to make them all extra spiffy. To be specific, you get two massive power axes, four sheathed power swords, two relic boltguns, and four sets of resin torsos (with pteruges to make up for the lack of loincloths on the legs!), fancy heads and ornate shoulder pads. Some of these bitz are irreparably marked with Red Scorpion icons, but others are either generic enough to work without concern or are very easily fixed with some xacto knives or files.
For a breakdown of all the resin bitz in this set, check this site out. I have never dealt with them in any way, but they have pretty nice photos of the bitz!
If you’re extremely lucky, you might even have a friend who collects Red Scorpions. They will probably be pretty eager to pick up some of the heads and shoulder pads from you, and if you split the cost with them a bit then you can justify the next round of Forge World kits a little bit more easily. If not, then at least you end up with a ton of extra bitz, including a handy set of medic pieces which you can slap on any old Heresy era body. As Apothecarion Detachments are purchased 1-3 per Elites slot and assigned to squads similar to Sanguinary Priests, you’ll probably want a few to accompany your scoring units and make them last a bit longer. Not having to pay for the Forge World apothecary kit is definitely a bonus.
If you don’t mind having even more mk7 legs in your squad, then save your money and stick with the Command Squad models for the basis of the final five Veterans. If you want a more authentic Horus Heresy look, then pick up a set of five models wearing whichever version of plate you prefer. As many of you know, I’m almost always going to go for mkIV Maximus plate when I have the option to do so.
The Final Swiss Army Veteran Squad Build
I don’t mind the idea of having an Honor Guard squad with half power swords and half axes, so so giving half the models a sheathed sword and half the models magnetized power axes would be a safe way to build the unit. As the Sternguard kit comes with a lot of arms holding the gun in one hand and the other arm holding a knife, auspex, grenade or just pointing off into the distance, you can easily accomplish this. Especially since so many of the arms in the Sternguard kit end at the wrist, and the power axes in the Sevrin Loth kit have the hand attached. No chance this was a deliberate consideration from the design team, but it does make for a happy coincidence!
Five of the models will basically be Sternguard with power weapons and decorations added. The resin torsos from the Sevrin Loth kit are mostly MkIV in design, so the remaining give models will be completed using mkIV plate and these Red Scorpion torsos. I just happen to have a ton of these bitz lying around from my Word Bearer and World Eater projects, so I plan to build them up right away. I’ll be sure to post pics of the other squad members as they come off the assembly line!
Not only will the Swiss Army Veterans look pretty badass, they will be able to serve triple duty in my Raven Guard armies. Now all I need is a Heresy era Land Raider to ferry them around in… but that’s a project for another day!