Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Death By Dodo

This is something I've been meaning to post for a while, but before I get to the meat of it, let me start at the beginning. 

Rough Riders, I love 'em (and yes, this is an Imperial Guard post, I've not forgotten my long neglected footsloggers!). Although tactically less than perfect, they do have their uses as a harassment, counter-charge or tank hunting unit. And more importantly, the idea of the humble IG having to make do with horses on a battlefield of genetically modified super killers is just so appealing. 

However, Rough Riders have one major downfall - the models. On the one hand you could spend a not inconsiderable amount of cash to get some of the worst models GW have ever made. Alternatively you could spend A LOT of money to get some of the superb Forge World versions. 

So, neither of those options are particularly appealing. You could of course scratch build your Rough Riders, and there are some stunning conversion jobs out there. Pop over to Col. Gravis' Praetorian Blog to see his great Lancers, Hussars and Mounted Colonel. Another example is this old GW suggestion for rough riding bikers. However, I'm not really at the stage where I want to attempt to scratch build models like these, so I had put the possibility of getting rough riders out of my mind. 

However, earlier this year I stumbled across a member of Librarium Online (Doctor Thunder), who was gauging support for some custom casted Rough Riders. These would be made by the folks at the Phoniex Wargamers Club, who have also produced conversion kits to make female marines. 

I was immediately interested. Then, when I found out that there would be only one batch made, that they would have a unique design and that it would only cost me around £30 for ten shipped from the US, I jumped at the chance. 

So, for your consideration, I present the 'Death Dodo's':

Now, the concept of Imperial Guardsmen riding to war atop the back of what are effectively giant emu's is, I'll admit, a bit on the farcical side. However, considering that I play a regiment of Pith Helmeted Victorians transposed into the future, I figured I could get away with it!

Now what I got for my money was amazing, considering the fact they are home made and relatively cheap. The components came in a small bag, and require a good amount of clean up, in terms of flash and mold lines (something I've not really tackled in the pictures shown here). In addition most of the joints will require some green stuff. I have enough parts for ten birds, along with 10 sets of legs, lance arms and rein arms. The original idea is to use Cadian torsos for the rest of the model, but I am of course planning to use some Praetorian torsos - I'm hoping that with a bit of green stuff they should fit quite well. 

So below are some pictures of what you get and one to show the scale of these models, which are far from small! 

The level of detail is very impressive, for example the tread on the boots. Its just a shame about the flash. 

I'm not planning on assembling the rest/painting these guys for a long while. I may have a crack at them during the summer, after I've got more DA done. However, I just wanted to show them off and see what you all thought. 

A big thank you goes to the Phoniex guys who organised all this (and who apparently ended up making a loss on the project). Its an awesome way to give something new to the community, I'm glad that I'm able to share them all with you! 

Thanks for reading...


unforgivenangels said...

Death-Dodos! Absolute quality my friend. I wouldn't think it would be too far off to suggest the Guard have utilised these odd beasts as mounts considering the amount of planets controlled by the Imperium, you are bound to have some sort of animal that can be used as a war-tool. £30 for 10 is a great price considering just how unique these will be when you play against opponents. They are great models, and I look forward to them being painted up and joining your ranks

Malcolm Wilson said...

Those are great! I'm envious, especially since I went down the route of hand-converting all mine. I'm looking forwards to more.

Just as a side note, there is giant-bird-cavalry in one of the Gaunt's Ghosts books (Straight Silver?), so your dodo cavalry isn't completely outlandish.

Wolf Lord Bill said...

Just awesome

Matt said...

Wicked awesome. Get you a Dark Eldar slave girl and put some guard pants on her but leave the top, mount some wings and you have Tarna the last of the terakians imperial guards (sp). Those are awesome your score from me for coolness would be a 100. Can't wait to see em done. One ?? what color you gonna make them, random assortment or all on color?

jabberjabber said...

Superb - those giant emus look very mean and nasty. They're going to look spectacular when fully assembled and painted up, I just know it.

RonSaikowski said...

These look great.
Talk about making your army stand out on the tabletop.

I'm looking forward to seeing more when you get back to working on them.

Admiral Drax said...

Fantastic! I'm very impressed and a little jealous. You're right about how tacky the old rough rider models are - I'm hugely ashamed of mine, even post-conversion!

- Drax

Evernevermore said...

Well funny as it might be there is fiction to back up cavalry mounted on giant birds. In one of the Gaunts Ghosts novels, the army of the planet the 1st Tanith are deployed to have an elite unit. The unit is mounted on giant birds that are mentally attached to the riders, to allow the riders to have both hands to work their rifles or use a pistol and blade in close combat.

Just PLEASE dont paint them as chocobos

Anonymous said...

At the cost this hobby is getting to be, I wonder....

sovietspace said...

Wow, what a response guys, that's got to be a record for this blog!

I'm not surprised these models got such a positive response, and I've got to again stress that all credit should really go to the Phoenix Wargamer Guys, awesome work on their part.

However, allow me steal a bit of their glory!

A few responses:

Malcolm Wilson & Evernevermore: I had forgotten about those birds in the GG Books, thanks for reminding me! I may have a crack at replicating some sort of 'mind link', but perhaps only on the Sergeant and his bird. In fact, the nation featured in that book should provide a lot of inspiration for my Praetorians in general, I shall have to dig it out...

Matt, Evernevermore: As far as painting goes, I was thinking of a very realistic colour for the birds (certainly nothing like chocobos, which I had to google!). My first thoughts is some sort of muddy brown (like Kroot), or perhaps a dark green. And I think I would paint them all the same, to make them look uniform.

Drax: I did quickly try to find a photo of your Rough Riders on your blog. I could swear I remembered seeing them and I wanted to pop them into my post along with Col. Gravis' models.

Cheers for all the comments guys.

Juahn F'rann said...

Great looking stuff! These are exactly the kind of things that make an army really shine on the battlefield. Walking birds, what an idea! Simply brilliant. Congratulations for getting those models, now you can go painting them like a dyatrima or similar. Ww want them before 2009! ;)


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