In case you were wondering, some of the parts to make my groovy Rough Riders were sculpted by Rob at Curious Constructs.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Praetorian Sailors? Yes, I think there is such a thing!

Ahoy! With the anniversary of the sinking of the titanic on the weekend this post has gone slightly nautical.
In light of ‘The Pacification of Montar VII’ big-game that has been proposed for Jan 2013, I have decided to temporarily rename my regiment. Well, not so much a new name but re-issuing their old name. You see originally I called the regiment “The 1st Expeditionary regiment of foot”. They weren’t a standard line regiment but a Praetorian fleet based regiment sooo that somehow justified why they weren’t red.

The thing is however, all Imperial guard regiments leave their home world and travel with a fleet finding war where war is needed. On realising this (and the massively frustrating point that Praetoria doesn’t exist on 40k star charts) I renamed them so they weren’t from Praetoria.  

Now I do want them to be from Praetoria once again, at least for a while, so they can take part in the Montar campaign – provided I can get to the other side of the galaxy in time. Also I do still like the original feel of a non ‘army’ regiment from the Navy or Airforce, like our Ausy Airfield defence guard (equivalent to UK’s Air Force regiment) or navy marine style forces.

Praetoria has a huge population, a large merchant fleet and is situated near the Segmentum Tempestus Naval Base at Bakka. These three points makes it likely that the Imperial Navy in the sector would recruit from Praetoria, and it’s possible there would be wholly Praetorian ships and fleets.
Sketches from Jes Goodwin and art work from Marc Lee
The next point to consider is that in real life all ‘non army’ services need solders to fill force protection roles. The same would be true of the Imperial Navy, especially considering that all aviation capability and air support in the Imperial armed forces is assigned to the Imperial Navy. In some cases this could be filled by sailors with guns and security teams (like boarding teams) or there could be a Navy regiment of soldiers. These soldiers could be assigned to protect surface bases, airfields, fleet ground assets and equipment. Rather than being a ‘security force’ they could engage in ‘Aggressive Defence’ actively seeking out and destroying threats. In some cases this would put them on the frontline fighting next to the Guard.

One of my Praetorian Sailors
(with just a quick touch of paint).

The Imperial Guard has different style regiments from different planets, so it is likely that the Imperial Navy has different style crews from different segments.  Taking all this into consideration I’m proposing that there may be a navy fleet regiment from Praetoria. And well, cue my boys in blue...
Praetorian Fleet Regiment?

As for names I was thinking:
The Praetorian Expeditionary Fleet Defence Guard (of the Imperial Navy) ?
1st Praetorian Fleet Regiment of foot ?
– it’s a mouth full so I’ll just refer to them as the Fleet Regiment. 
While I was considering all of this I also pulled out some old converted sailors. I made these years ago (long before the officer of the fleet model was around) by filing down a Mordian's cap and taking off the visor. I also green stuffed a white collar/scarf. I painted them the same blue as my Praetorians but altered the rest of their colour scheme.  At this point I’m being very careful not to write things like ‘because they are seamen I thought they should have white on them”.
Here is the first touches of paint on my sailors that will accompany the fleet regiment.


Obviously they need loads more work, this was just a first peek at what I had in mind. The character in the bottom left photo was a royal navy officer from Black Scorpion miniatures with a head swap. The armour, which will be a gold-bronze, was inspired by this pic from Drathmere's- 40k hobby blog. Also I will probably 'tan' the white a little.

As for style I was thinking along the lines of sci-fi-sailor. I wanted to keep the square rig sailor hat and scarf to keep the feel of  'Cloudships of Mars'-which is Victorian’s in space, essentially what Praetorians are!
Modern (Ausy) sailors
Cloudships of Mars
Space sailors from 'The 5th Element'
NOT the sailors in space that I was thinking of!
This has a completely different feel to the Navy storm troopers/boarding teams that are about (notably those of Colonel Scipio's Palladian Guard) so I'm interested in people thoughts on my take of them.

Also what are peoples thoughts on the concept of a 'fleet regiment'?
Is the background sufficient to field my 'blue coats' next the 'red coats' as Praetorians?
Any other general comments related to this will be wholly welcome too because its a left field idea!

I cant finish this post without a big shout out to Headologist's compilation on imperial navy art on 'Do you have a flag?'and lastly for those interested here is a fan Codex Imperial Navy that I came across by Keats and Bobk.

cheers all, 'anchors aweigh'!


  1. Very cool! I like how they're coming along, at the start I was thinking "the crew on the ship from 5th Element" and then saw you beat me to the reference. Looking forward to seeing more!

  2. I think the idea of a naval deployment is awesome. maybe use the rules from seige of vrax (or the old witchhunters codex) for long range bombardment to represent your officers calling in airstrikes from the orbiting fleet.

  3. Think this is a splendid project idea and all too conceivable that the Imperial navy would indeed have some sort of fighting force of their own.
    My own Rogue Trader House Guard has a similar backstory, though don't look anywhere as good as your's.

  4. Naval regiments were used in the first world war alongside the regular army at the beginning of the war. Armed with Winchesters at first would you believe, so your concept is very sound. Also the modern RAF regiments aggressively patrol around there bases in Afghanistan although they are equipped the same as the army.

  5. Pic 10 second from left,is that from forge world?


  6. Great stuff!

    How about something fairly simple like (the) 'Praetorian Fleet Guard'?

    I'm jealous. Over the summer maybe I'll have a play with a project like this...

  7. Great idea and as a naval man I thoroughly approve! I am going to be adding something similar eventually to my army on a small scale (naval gatling guns, marines, poss some sailors), one of many projects on a wish list miles away from completion. The reference to naval division of the first world war is a good one, they functioned like an army division but had naval ranks and traditions (they flew the white ensign!), they were basically surplus sailors though they weren't designed to complement the RN in any way. Sailors often fought on land though obviously, in the Zulu war detachments of sailors were used to bolster the regular troops. Some special rules might be cool, especially some custom orders. Sailors probably shouldn't be able to first rank, second rank as they were traditionally trained to fight boarding actions. But maybe some beefing up of assault orders, ability to take two cc weapons etc. might be fun.

  8. Just dropping by, but this prompted me to think:

    Given that there are Imperial Navy facilities at Bakka (which is near Praetoria), your guardsmen could be the equivalent of a Planetary Defense Force for an orbital platform.

    Given the MUCH larger scale of such a facility, even compared to Imperial Navy vessels, and given that the platform would not be traveling through the warp, and thus be vulnerable to field loss, you could have more 'standard' Guard weaponry, and not the small arms more common to Naval Armsmen.

    The regiment could also be largely a permanent posting from Praetoria (though, of course, reinforcements might be diverted to a necessary warzone). So, rather than being Naval forces proper (which really seem like they would be restricted to boarding actions, etc.), they would be a proper guard regiment, just assigned to a particular environment, and thus, not really any different from hive world, ash world, ice world, etc. troops.

  9. A sterling post, crawling with great pics. Thanks for the shout as well.

    I think you're absolutely right, there's a difference between small, elite teams of agressive boarding troops which get a lot of coverage (guilty of that myself), but you get the unsung heroes, the huge ranks of marines and navy troops whose job it is to clean up the mess. A bit like the way everyone models an IG army, but rarely a PDF unit. It's an aspect of naval warfare I'd skipped over myself, but I'll be revisiting it now.

  10. Massive thanks to everyone for your input! It is all really appreciated.

    @Malkavschilde- yes I have the siege of Vrax book, and long range bombardment (in the odd game) will be a must!

    @Blitzspear- yes that model is from Forge World -it is an inquisitor servitor.

    @Drax- I was trying to avoid using the word 'Guard' again, but that does have a good ring to it!

    @Buffer- With a name like Buffer I thought you might be a navy man. thanks for the insight too.

    @Anonymous- cheers, that is something to think about for sure.

  11. @Mordian7th- great minds think alike!

    @Deadestdai- thanks for stopping by. Your RT crew are cool as- they have great style!

    @Col Scipio- your welcome- I do really like those bearding teams of yours though :)

    So after reading my post I thought I might need to clarify one point: My sailors and navy officers are only intended to be fleet 'sailors', the chaps with the Pith helmets are the guys that I was making the "fleet Regiment". Most people got that but I realised it wasn't completely obvious because I was talking about the 'fleet regiment' but then also posted photos of my sailors. Thanks everyone!

  12. Excellent stuff! And thanks for the shout out :) These do look very Victorian - superb work, the chaps in the Pith helmets look just like an RN landing party of the era. When I get my arse in gear my lot will (hopefully) look a little closer to the more stereotypical naval boarders, pistols hastily stashed in belts and some form of boarding pike - as well as trying to combine that with the more modern naval look presented by GW art. Your interpretation and Scipios is far more inventive, but that's the good thing about the game I suppose, there's room for all approaches

  13. Thanks Headologist, I'd love to see you take on naval boarders. You're right, it really is cool that we can be so diverse within the 40k universe.