Take a first look at how I plan to model the basic COG soldiers, and discuss how I might model their oh-so-recognizable weaponry.
So it's been a little too long since I've been able to post. Work's ramped up for me, and I had traveling friends staying at my place (a one-bedroom apartment), and then a family friend passed away... yeah it's been a little hectic. But I digress — I'm here now to talk about where things stand.
The Storm Trooper squad that I wanted to field is partially done: the one test model is completed, and eight others are just past the wash stage. But I've been preoccupied with figuring out how I want to model the run-of-the-mill soldiers.
I'm not the only one who's considered an Gears-themed army. I've read their ideas, and mulled back and forth over which army I might field them as. Often cited as the picture for inspiration will be the image of Marcus, Dom, Cole and Baird. And while that's a half-decent starting point, let's be real: those are the heroes of the COG. Those would be veterans, not typical dudes. And their armour varies from your typical soldier too. I think the best starting point is actually the Carmines - you can see a shot of our helmeted friend in a previous post. Watch the opening cinematic to Gears 2 and you may agree with me that the COG would feel better as an Imperial Guard army rather than Space Marines. I mean, look at them - they're getting their asses beat!
Guardsmen it is.So I've picked up a few things to get things started: a Cadian Battleforce, a Heavy Weapons Squad, and a box of Ratlings. Yes, I get that Ratlings have nothing to do with Gears of War, but I liked the models so I might just keep using them. And I want to have them on hand in case I play against a rather snarky opponent who doesn't feel that COG soldiers with snipers can count as Ratlings. Here's what I've come up with so far.
After looking around a fair bit, and getting the OK from the red shirts at the local GW, I've decided on using these Heavy Infantry Visored Heads from Pig Iron Productions. No, I can't field this army in a GT, but I'm not that kind of player. When I worked at GW, we had a pretty strict policy on the use of other ranges (in fact, we weren't even allowed to use LotR bits in our armies), but things have become more friendly since that time. I've seen these heads on Cadian bodies and I think they look great — see further down.
I will use the standard Cadian bodies for my soldiers - I think they look great as is, though I might decide to file off the Imperial Eagle. Typical COG soldiers have a COG skull imprinted on the armour, but I'm not ready to make that conversion 80+ times. And they'll be covered by guns. The alternative I'd considered to Cadian bodies were Space Marine scout bodies, but those are prohibitively expensive — that said, I think making a veterans squad using the scout box is definitely on the table.
Pretty much planning to use standard-issue Cadian arms for all of the COG soldiers. In Cole Train fashion, a few veterans might have Catachan arms, but he's definitely in the minority. The only difference here is that COGs have gloved hands, while the Cadian arms don't. I've considered swapping the hands for, say, Space Marine hands but I'm worried about scale differences and ... well a butt-load of cutting.
Let's be honest: the Cadian skirts are not going to fly well with me. I may have to bite the bullet here and use them anyway out of money concerns. But I have a fair number of Catachans that I'm willing to chop up in order to give my COGs more appropriate legs. Problem is, I don't really like the Catachan boots. This is another case where, if you ask me, the best solution is with the Space Marine scout legs. But I've already talked about why that's going to be a problem. A $6 a model problem. For an army with 80+ models in 1500 points. But they look cool! Consider this image from End Transmission, who uses the Scout legs AND Pig Iron heads to make some wicked looking guard:
The legendary Lancer. I've scoured the net for conversion ideas. And while I think there are half-decent conversions based on the Boltgun, I'm not full convinced that it's the weapon I'd want to use. Obviously I'm biased because IG don't carry Boltguns standard, but hear me out! If you've ever used the Lancer in Gears, you'll know as well as I do that the Lancer kills with quantity, not quality. It kills by hitting baddies with a million pillows. The Boltgun shoots friggin' explosive, rocket-propelled bullets. So I look at the Lancer as being more similar to an Autogun / Lasgun than a Bolter in power.
In terms of look, I've found that Boltguns look too short for the Lancer model. The Cadian lasgun, however (not the Catachan one), looks much more in proportion. In fact, one of the best chainsaw bayonet tutorials actually has the boltgun chassis extended. The Cadian lasgun shouldn't need that modification. So in the end, I'm going to try using a Cadian Lasgun as the basis for the chainsaw bayonet conversion. But I won't have any conversion pics up until the Battleforce arrives. The image at the right shows the Lancer model at the bottom. The green lasgun, the bolter and the chainsword were all taken in one picture, while the cadian lasgun was taken and scaled in relation to the Catachan lasgun (using the trigger/handle as reference).
Finally, I think I'll go with an urban or grey base for my models. The COG fought most of its battles in ruined cities, and so I'd want to mimic that. I've also already got an army on dirt and grass, and I could use the change.
So that it for the basic COG soldier: what do you think?