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

Thursday, 5 December 2013

On the work bench: A Ceremonial Honour Guard

Life in the Honour Guard: Spend weeks drilling, polishing, yelling, and parading just faint and look like a noob!

The other day I pulled out a few more lasconnons to paint in their tan colour for my ‘122nd Regiment of Praetorian Artillery’. However, before I got stuck in, I came across a set of old cannons with wooden carriage wheels.
I have six lascannon and six autocannons with carriage wheels.
I have had these forever and never done anything with them. I can’t even remember where the wheels came from. The look of the wooden carriage wheels is comply different from those that I had already made so I didn’t know if they had a place in my army. 

But, like I ways do, I came up with an idea! 

What if they were an ‘old fashioned’ ceremonial unit?

Using antiquated equipment polished up fit for a parade ground.  

Never supposed to be deployed to a battlefield.

The sort of unit that would fire the Governor-General’s 21-gun salutes (or “Imperial Salute”).

A ceremonial Honour Guard… that could be a cool unit!

And just like that 'The Veneration Cannons' were born.

In terms of colour and look I could really do anything. After all, real life ceremonial Honour Guards are not anything like their battlefield counter parts! I mean, just check these out:

To be different I swapped all of the gunners for Mordian models. I was planning to cut a few of the heads off anyway. 

A part of me has always wanted to paint some Mordians up like British Artilleryman. 

But I also like the newer Mordian look as well. I say 'newer' because originally in 3rd ed Mordians were painted with both dark blue tunics and trousers, then at some point this was changed to light blue trousers.
In terms of tone and highlighting there are really endless options for blue Mordian tunics....

There are also many historical references for light blue trousers with dark blue jackets/tunics, particularly with early American forces. 

The First test models.

I started with the chap on the far right. The jacket was a little too light so I started the next one with a much darker base colour before highlights. The second from the right was next. I used more of a green-blue colour in the highlight to 'cool' the blue back (like in the above female Mordian picture). Then in the last two (on the left) I left the tunics with lighter shades of the same blue but changed the trouser colour. 

At this point I decided to go back to some basic colour theory. I ALWAYS do this! When I see random coloured models on the net I know not everyone takes the time to think about how their colours interact but mostly rely on whether it 'feels' right or not. A colour wheel makes the job way easier to understand what you are doing and whether you are slightly 'out'.

The basic Mordians were Blue, Red and Yellow, so they form a Triad like this:

Except, when I went back to all of my 3rd Ed guard books with the highlights they actually formed a Split Complementary, closer to this (Blue, Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange):

Adding the Blue-Green trousers makes a Tetrad of Blue-violet, Blue-green,Yellow and Red:

"Really? A blue-violet jacket?" you say.
In this picture you can clearly see that the jacket is a violet tone rather then just blue.

Looking back at the colour wheel you can see that the Tetrad is slightly off balanced (but it still works).
I decided to be a bit different (because I like 'odd') and go with this (Blue-violet, Blue-green, Red-orange, and Yellow-orange) which is very even:

So, how did that look?

Starting with the base colours (don't worry, the yellow will go to orange):

In this picture below, I have my new scheme on the left (Blue-Violet Tunic, Blue-Green Trousers, Red-Orange Piping, and Yellow-Orange Accessories), next to the original Blue, Yellow and Red scheme. 

I though it looked interesting, with the mix of hot colours and cool colours, so I base coated the rest.

 Here is how some of the unfinished men look with the basic colour of the cannons.
I went with a traditional light grey for the carriage and bronze colour for the gun. 

Now digressing to the heads - I said that I wanted to swap a few of them.

I picked up a heap of different heads from the Meridian Miniatuers kickstarter with the intention of using them for head swaps. The thing is that they are a little small for the old 2nd and 3rd ed 'heroic' Mordian figures, so I decided to just use the hats.

Here is the first cut down hat.

 I took the top of the cap off first but it was too high.

So I took more off. 

Still too high so I took some off the bottom of the hat.

and a bit more...

Until I had this. 

I thought this looked OK but the next evening I wasn't happy with it. 
So I started again.
This time I took off the peak of the cap and reshaped the bridge of the nose and eyebrow ridges.

I also left the straight peak on the bottom of the hat so it looked like this:
First attempt on the left, second on the right.

I decided that this looked better so I went back and completely re-did the first gunner.

Here they are with the tunics highlighted.

And here I have added the yellow-orange and red-orange to complete the look

Still lots more to do on these, but the basic colour scheme is all sorted.

When finished, this unit will look 'different' enough to complement my (unusual) command squad well.

Before signing off, I have been following Matthew at Battle Ready Miniatures as he starts building his own Mordian army. I thought I'd point it out because firstly, there are never enough old school Guard blogs out there and secondly, its a cool blog with only 4 other followers. If you are interested drop by and say Gday.

Here is one of his test miniatures and a converted command squad: 

Thanks for dropping by,
Colonel Ackland.


  1. That is some brilliant work man! Love it!

    1. Thanks. It’s good to be back at the hobby desk. If only I could batch paint as quick as you!

  2. Bloody hell that was a good read. Liking where these ceremonial big hats are going sir.

    1. Cheers, I wasn't sure whether the hats would fit (in terms of scale) but they are OK. I think I might add two more to the group.

  3. What a great post! Glad to see someone painting Mordians, and it's really nice to see the whole chain of thought. Next time I do a conversion I'll have to remember to take photos as I go.

    1. I’m glad to see painted Mordians too!
      With my projects, if I don’t take a few shots along the way I never get around to posting about it. Also I thought this way the story would partly explain how I ended up with a really funky (crazy) colour scheme!

  4. Excellent post ! +1 to your next roll !

    And you found a use for the campaign of fire ! Urrah !

    1. LOL, YES! GW should advertise that the book does a good job at holding models. Pretty much every other book on that little shelf gets picked up from time to time but I'm fine with stacking models on that one because I know I will never need to clear them off to read it!

  5. Really nice work. Loving the parade ground passouts as well!

    1. Thanks! The pass outs made me laugh (I have done my share of parading so I'm allowed to without feeling bad for them).

  6. Good stuff going on here mate - glad to see the bubs hasn't completely destroyed your hobby time. Those hats are of the charts - nifty little conversion that will really help make the lads stand out.

  7. Thanks Muppet. Glad you like them. I was going to paint the hats as black shakos originally but the violet really looks 'different' so I'll keep them as is.

    As for the baby…. Well I'm getting better at time management! Having a desk inside that I can sit whenever a moment presents itself is the way to go. And on that note the little fella is crying again... :)

  8. These look amazing!

    Something I'm very proud of is that I've fired three rounds from one of the WW1-era 13pdrs used by King's Troop, RHA:
    - These guys are surely the very model of ceremonial artillery...

    1. Cheers Drax.
      OMG, that's an awesome war-y! I can imagine the boom!
      And LOL, 'the models of ceremonial artillery are the very model of ceremonial artillery'.... Simple things amuse me :)

  9. Bloody love it sir, how did I manage to miss this post - apart from working too much lately :P Love the thought that's gone into this, and the excellent results - Shakos are always a win in my book! Can't wait to see them all finished

    1. Thanks Kieran, it is almost time for another update on these. I just need to find a little more time to finish them!

  10. Bravo sir, bravo.

    Though you're going to have to drill those boys properly if you intend to put them in real combat :)

    1. Cheers! In their 'fluff' they will end up in combat by accident so no extra drilling. I don’t even know if they have ever trained to hit a target? Oh well, their first game should be interesting!