So, maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always thought the Legion of the Damned was one of the cooler elements in Space Marine lore. I mean, in an army of superhuman warriors, they’re the ones everyone points at and says “Whoa, who are those guys?” If you’ve been a long-time player, you’ve probably seen a good half-dozen versions of the skull-and-fire army list, including the Apocalypse datasheet.
They got yet another one in the new Space Marine Codex, and this time they got new figures as well. Absolutely beautiful figures. How could you not love either of those sergeants? I mean, I’ve got a lot of my old figures and I love ‘em, don’t get me wrong. But the new ones with the slightly-different proportions just have a real punch to them, y’know?
Alas, these days all those figures are way out of my price range. Even if you go through someone like the Warstore who’ll give you a discount, you’re looking at about $45 dollars for a bare-bones (no pun intended) five man squad. Get an assault and/ or a heavy weapon and you could be looking at close to $100 for a ten man squad of angry spectral warfare.
So, being poor and clever, I started mulling over it in the back of my mind.
Just recently, it so happens, I was browsing through some old White Dwarf issues from five or six years back. Y’know, when it was fun and exciting to read each month. Anyway, some of you may remember there was a gentle push for “counts as” models to make people experiment with the modeling aspect of the hobby. A lot of examples of this showed up in White Dwarf.
Now, I don’t play Warhammer Fantasy, but I admit there are some gorgeous models and I do like seeing what people do with them. What caught my eye was a run of people doing very offbeat things with undead armies. There were two articles, in fact, about guys who’d made armies using non-human undead, going off the logic that in this world people had to use something besides human corpses. One gent (in WD # 289) had used Dwarves as his Spirit Host by painting the models head-to-toe in ghostly pale blue. Another had made an undead Orc army (WD #309) and used two goblins with bagpipes to represent his Banshee, painted a bright, almost phosphorescent green..
The kicker, though, was a little deeper in WD #309. There was an article on Kill Team (remember Kill Team?) and how to add a “level boss” style nemesis to your game. Unbound deamons, mutant monstrosities, warrior constructs, and at the very end of the article... apparitions. A set of rules for bringing the ghost of an Imperial saint or martyr into Kill Team. Their example was a Space Marine sergeant decked out with a few nice bits and painted in that same ghostly green style.
So last night it hit me (as I’m sure it’s already hit you). The Legion of the Damned are suspected of being ghosts anyway. What about just painting a squad of regular Marines as glowing green or blue ghosts and using them as a “counts as” Legion of the Damned?
It almost works better, in a way, because now you can customize them to your army. There’s tons of history where Space Marines are getting annihilated by company (Ultramarines 1st) or by chapter (Astral Knights), and it wouldn’t take long to find a group of spirits who would be coming to your army’s rescue. Heck, you may have something from your own personal gaming history to fall back on (like when Gillian’s Tyranids wiped out my Relictors last Labor Day).
The best part? You can buy a regular ten-man tactical squad for about $35 dollars, depending on where you shop. That’s a third of the price of buying ten Legion of the Damned models. Still too much? Go to Battlewagon Bits or the Bitz Barn and buy the tactical squad from the Black Reach set. A few less posing options, but now you’re only paying about twenty dollars for a ten man squad of vengeful wraiths. That’s almost 80% less than the LotD figures.
And 80% off is pretty cheap.
I might try one of these this week. I’ll post a picture here if it comes out kind of nice.