Project Showcase: Star Wars Legion Imperials
Bryan’s painted force
Welcome to a showcase of a recently completed project of mine, an Imperial force for Star Wars Legion. This force will grow in the future but for now it represents a solid painted collection that gives me more than enough to play a standard sized battle and change up my army list between games. Well let’s head off to Tatooine to meet the garrison of Mos Eisley Spaceport, ensuring the Empire’s grip on this hive of scum and villainy…
There are currently only two factions for Star Wars Legion, the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance, and I am collecting both sides for a matching set. I only play with painted forces, so I chose to paint the Empire force first as it would be the quickest to get on the table and playing, as I have some more complex modelling ideas in mind for the Rebels.
Saying that, I wasn’t going to be modelling up a straight forward Imperial force either. My 80’s childhood nostalgia kicked in and I took the opportunity to create a platoon of Sandtroopers as seen on Tatooine in A New Hope, as I had always thought these troops looked awesome. These troopers have extra gear and weather beaten armour, I love this look so much and it instantly gave me a themed plausible force; an Imperial garrison in Mos Eisley.
For the most part I have simply cracked open the different unit boxes from Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Legion range. These are plastic, but not the polystyrene most of us are used to with other plastic miniatures. These are slightly softer, don’t come on sprues and while multipart, offer no alternate assembly options. Saying that, the type of plastic is very easy to cut up and change poses and weapons using a modeling knife, just be very careful while doing so.
Creating Sandtroopers instead of normal Stormtroopers did entail a fair amount of modelling work.These specialist troopers all feature a shoulder pauldron, something only the squad leaders do for the standard troopers. They also feature a large backpack full of desert survival gear and extra ammo pouches, so these all had to be added.
I used Greenstuff putty to sculpt the shoulder pauldrons and then raided my bitzbox to cobble together their backpacks from leftover WW2 vehicle parts. These actually match the aesthetic of Star Wars as many of the movie props were made from WW2 weapons and gear. To finish them off I grabbed a load of German WW2 ammo pouches to add on, again these matched those used in the film and are readily available in 1:48 Tamiya and 1:56 Warlord Games plastic German infantry sets.
Painting them all
The core of a Star Wars Legion force are it’s units of basic troopers, and since mine were going to require some converting I decided to concentrate first on my minimum of 3 units all at once. I find it’s best to tackle the basic troops first as my motivation is high at the start of a project like this, and they can be a bit of a slog.
The biggest painting challenge was going to be all the white armour. I really could not see myself line highlighting all the armour edges, or blending up from a grey. With my limited time I knew that washes would be the key. To this end I experimented with using flow medium to assist the washes over my white primed models to create the depth I needed, without darkening the models too much. I found I had my best results when adding a layer of gloss varnish before the washes. This creates a very smooth surface for the wash to work on and stops it staining the raised areas as it encourages the wash to flow into the recesses even more than normal when combined with the flow medium.
This allowed me to really knock out my white armoured troopers very fast. I recorded my method in this step by step painting guide here so you can benefit from my trial and error.
Once I had a core of basic Sandtrooper squads I rewarded myself by working on some of the vehicles and General Veers, the force commander.
The AT-ST Walkers are the large centrepiece models of the force and the ‘mini’s are truly spectacular. I employed a series of grey rattle can colours to spray and shade up the basic hull colours. To give them the beaten up look that a backwater garrison's vehicles should have I used enamel weathering techniques I learnt on my WW2 tanks.
Star Wars Legion does focus on the heros and villains in the game. Because of my forces concept, I felt it wasn’t right to field Darth Vader himself, unless he personally wanted to take over the search for THOSE droids...instead I have General Veers leading my army. I rather see him as representing a generic Imperial Officer for now though.
Another villain I simply could not resist to include was the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett. He’s one of my favourite character designs, costume wise, in any film and he was pretty badass until his rather silly demise in Return of the Jedi. His miniatures is easily the best in the range so far, and is another great link to Tatooine for my army.
After the vehicles and villains I set to work on some other specialist support units. There are the iconic speeder bikes, which were very fun to paint. I didn’t modify these in any way, simply relying on the weathering and basing to link them to the force theme.
Next up was a bit of fire support in the form of an E-Web Heavy Blaster team. I used two Stormtroopers from one of the squad boxes for the crew as the original set comes with Snowtroopers. I followed the same method to convert the crew as I did for the Sandtrooper squads to link this into being part of the platoon.
Lastly, with a good mix of units under my belt I felt ready to tackle another large batch of basic troops. This time it was two squads of Scout Troopers. Very cool looking minis, these were an absolute ball to paint. I didn’t modify them like I had the Sandtroopers, thinking these guys were lightweight looking enough to handle themselves in the desert. I used the dust weathering to tie them into the rest of the force instead.
The standard size for a game of Star Wars Legion is 800 points, and I have about 1200 points painted here so far. I like painting slightly more than the minimum so I can try out different army list styles in my games. I usually move onto another painting project while I play with what I painted last, so this stops things from becoming stale before I revisit the army and paint more units for it.
This force features a nice spread of units from across the different categories that are available in Star Wars Legion, 4 units of Core Troopers, 2-4 Elites (depending how I deploy my scouts), 2 support units (the Speeder Bikes and E-Web) and 2 heavy units in the form of the AT-ST Walkers. It has a commander and also what’s known as an operative, basically a hero or villain that isn’t a leader type, in this case Boba Fett.
So far I have had a lot of fun with the Star Wars Legion rules set. It shares many design principles with my favourite games of recent years like randomised activations, and suppression mechanics. It also introduces many new things to my gaming experience, like upgrade cards, tokens and a very elegant ‘keyword’ based system of universal special rules. The synergies and combinations seem to be endless and ever expanding with each new unit that is released and the cards it comes with, as these can be used across your other units too. The game is constantly evolving, so these models I have painted seem to be a good investment as there are subtle new options for ways to use them every few months. I am always mindful of escalating power and balance issues, but so far Fantasy Flight Games have been doing a great job of this.
Well that’s one army project wrapped up (for now!), I’ll be doing the Rebel Alliance side in 2019 and will report back on how that shapes up.
Thanks for checking this out, and if you have any questions just ask below in the comments.