View Full Version : The Emperor's Legion - Concept

The Dark Dwarves
05-04-2007, 21:35
The making of an Army from Idea to Reality – The Emperor’s Legion
By The Dark Dwarves

About me and my overall idea
First I would like to start by describing what kind of player I am. I am new to the Warhammer 40K universe, but have been a long time Warhammer Fantasy player. I am a player who doesn’t have a lot of time for games, so they are few and far between. I am more of a painter/modeler in respect to this hobby, and my knowledge base is more theoretical and relies heavily on the work of other players that I am able to acquire thanks to the power of the internet.

*Special Thanks to The Jungle and geocities.com for inspiration and tactical insight*

Building armies is great fun and painting and conversion is one of the best aspects to the hobby – even if I do treat painting like a chore. I like to come up with interesting ideas and then try to model them on the battlefield. I can put together models and convert models all day but when it comes to painting I have to make myself and set a schedule to get it done.

The current blanket idea is a Star Wars Themed army, mainly The Empire. As I have been looking on different web pages I noticed the Star Wars theme has been done before but with Imperial Guard, or Tao. But I questioned that, as I feel the Space Marines look more like Storm Troopers then Imperial Guard or Tao guys (with the exception of a few models). So I have become a Space Marine player simply by the look of their models. But I don’t just want an army of Space Marines painted to look like Storm Troopers. I wanted to make my army distinct and stand out not just to look like a Storm Trooper Army and after reading how to Make your Army Distincton The Jungle I decided to really pursue the idea and tailor it to my needs.

Why all the planning?
Well, I have never played Warhammer 40K before, ever. So the cool part to all of this is I haven’t spent a whole lot of money yet on supplies. And by making this theme and ironing out unit choices in advance I won’t be wasting time and money on units that will never see the table top. I want to start with 1000pts and move up to 1500 and 1850 as these three army point values seem popular for games. If I have to go to 2000 some day, all the better but I am not going to buy 2000 points if I cant paint it all.

More on Theme
When I first thought of this Army to design I was looking at the standard Space Maine miniatures and thought of how much they look like Storm Troopers. So I got to thinking about theme and background I could use to make it more unique. The background has similar parallels. Both Marines and Storm Troopers fight for their Emperor to expand their Empire. Both are relentless in their service and are willing to die for their cause.

Another thing that got me interested in this endeavor was in the third edition marine codex where they showed a whole chapter of Space Marines on the inside front cover. After looking at that and watching the Star Wars Trilogy I cam up with the name and overall theme of the army. I named my army ‘The Emperor’s Legion’ and based the unit selections and conversions around the Endor battle in ‘The Return of the Jedi’. The movie quote that sparked inspiration “An Entire Legion of my best Troops awaits them” Star Wars may have been done before but I don’t think anyone’s done something like this before.

Unit Selection and Modeling/Conversions
Now that I have a Theme and an overall concept I started looking at the Space Marine Codex to determine what will stay and what will go. By limiting my unit choices I not only validate the Theme but also make the Army more distinct from other Space Marine Armies.

*Distinguishing Markings: It is necessary to some tournament players to have distinguished markings; between squads, SGTs and Veteran SGTs, as well as Troops vs. Heavy Support unit choices so I have come up with the following marking system. All markings will be done on the model’s base. On the top but near the back of the model will be the Squad number so as the models move down the field I can clearly see them and keep unit coherency. On the top but near the front will be the SGT markings and the unit type.

For the SGT markings I have used the good old U.S. Army rank scheme as it is most well known. A SGT will have three upward pointing chevrons to mark his rank, where a Veteran SGT will have the three upward pointing chevrons and two downward rockers to represent his rank and Status. So the opponent when looking at my model from the front will see an arrow decal to indicate Troop Type (Troops) and possibly a SGT icon to indicate where the SGT is in the squad making it easy for them to discern what is what.

*Personal Note on Basing: By making the marking system this way it will mean that I can not base the miniature with flock or other cool stuff, as it will cover the markings. GOOD! I hate having to base my minis, because certain companies think I should, so this is also an act of defiance on my part. Will I lose appearance points? Maybe, but if it makes it easier to play against me, satisfies WYSIWYG, and still does not mess with the theme of the army would you penalize me for it?

Army Concept Art – The Emperor’s Legion
**Note: All images are to illustrate an artistic concept only and in no way intended to challenge or infringe on any Star Wars trademark or idea.


Army Notes
*The Battle of Endor (for those people out there who have never seen Return of the Jedi) is a land based battle of primarily Infantry. Therefore, unless I can justify a change from the movie somehow my list will not incorporate any vehicles or transports.

*No characters will wear Terminator Armor nor will Terminators be fielded of any kind – Because tournaments are “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) Terminators need to be terminator models. I feel this pulls me out of theme as the look of the terminator models don’t go with the Storm Trooper theme. It’s too far of a stretch for an opponent to accept as being part of the theme.

*No character/model will wear a jump pack of any kind – same reasoning as for the Terminator Armor and Terminators.

*No characters will ride bikes.

Captains and Masters – are the most common leader at lower point levels. Originally I was thinking of painting a space marine (without the helmet) and paining him grey with black boots. Like the Imperial shown here behind Darth Vader in this picture.


Chaplain – Darth Vader, kicks butt in close combat and fits theme with power weapon (light saber)

Librarian – Another option for Darth Vader, has Psychic powers (the Force) which can be used in battle.
*Note: Do to theme it will be either/or on the Chaplain /Librarian as to who Darth Vader will be and will also be dependant upon what point level I take for my list. Darth Vader may only be in the list at 1500pts or higher.

Command Squads – may be taken for any HQ choice. I like the guards here in this photo and plan to use them as a command squad.


Veteran Squads – May be used as they look just like the Troops with minor changes or add ons to the base to make them stand out. I have not decided how I want them to look yet.

Dreadnoughts – Since I have no vehicles in my army The Dreadnoughts are kind of my only real heavily armored unit in my list. It is also the only way for me to get the revered assault cannons into my list. I plan to use Imperial Guard Walkers as my dreadnaughts. They have the same base size as a Space Marine Dreadnought I think, and I will convert them to look like AT/ST walkers in the Battle of Endor.

Scouts – In the Movie there were some ‘dismounted biker scouts’ shown in the movie so this troop type is also available. Modeling these guys is a bit of a challenge. I just use the standard Space Marine model and leave off the backpack and shoulder pads (the same as the Tactical Squads) but the head is the hard part. I use the pointed heads here. I cut the point off of the head flush with the bridge of the helmet. So now I have a flat faced Space Marine. Then I cut into the head, going straight down with my knife in a ‘V’ so that it points the helmet enough to look like a biker scout helmet. The painting process will define the shape the rest of the way.
*Note: Dismounted Biker Scouts if not used in the actual army list will still be used as Sentries if the battle or scenario has the Sentries special rule.

Tactical Squads – The backbone of the Space Marine army as well as ‘The Emperor’s Legion’, expect to see lots of these. Modeling a Storm Trooper is easy, don’t put the backpack or the shoulder pads on the Space Marine and cut off the little nub where the backpack would go and you’re ready to paint him. (No pointed headed or non-helmet wearing marines are used here)

*Special Note on “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG): I was originally going to model all of my ‘Storm Troopers’ with bolters and then paint on the base if they had some kind of special weapon i.e. Would paint a little fire on the base to indicate that the model carries a flamer. I was going to do this because as you know the metal minis that carry special weapons and heavy weapons have shoulder pads that you cannot remove, and would look different then the other ‘Storm Troopers’ who don’t wear shoulder pads or backpacks.

Upon talking with fellow gamers this was determined to NOT be a good idea because it would detract from the game. As the opponent to ‘The Emperor’s Legion’ I would have to always decipher the little codes on the models and it would take away from game enjoyment and may cause arguments. Therefore, Heavy weapons and special weapons are WYSIWYG on all ‘Storm Trooper’ models.

Transports - A word on transports; now because there are no vehicles, transports become almost a non-factor. However, I think I can justify the Drop Pod. My thoughts are to use the Imperial Shuttle Craft (you know the vehicle Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie use to land on Endor) as a model for Drop Pods.

However because modeling such an item turned out to be a real chore. I thought about using toy models of the shuttles but none seemed to fit the scale of what I was going for until I came upon a website that had these bunker kits.

And this got me thinking about the bunker that was being fought over in the Battle of Endor. So I purchased the kits and the intent was to paint them up like the bunker from the movie.

Fast Attack
Scout Bike Squadron – Two words ‘Biker Scouts’. The name itself is restrictive for me. Bikes are known on many websites as being a good unit choice, scout bikes not so much. But the fact is they are Biker Scouts, Scouts being the key word makes me take the Scout Bike Squadron. How I modeled them. Take some Bike Squadron box sets and revamp the riders (see Scouts) and then model the bike. Using the box set, some extra pieces of sprue, plexicard, and some green stuff I was able to model the movie pretty closely. The concept art is below.


Heavy Support
Devastator Squad – The only non-vehicle Heavy Support choice. Modeled them the best I could (see Special Notes regarding WYSIWYG, and squad markings)
Traits and their role in ‘The Emperor’s Legion’
With the self imposed unit limitations of the Fluff and Theme I wanted to have traits that would thereby enhance the army purely from a game playing perspective. My list revolves around drop pods, dreadnaughts and scout bikes so I’m open to those more experience gamers out there as to the traits I should take.
Here are some I think that could be useful and why.
#1 Choice - ‘Take the fight to them’ The "take the fight to them" trait revolves around bolters in Tactical Squads. It’s a free choice as it doesn’t make me add points to a unit to give them cool stuff and depending upon which point level I play I can have a lot of models affected by this trait. My assault units each have 7 marines with bolters and my shooting squads have 4 making assaults from any unit a little more dangerous by having more attacks in close combat. The "take the fight to them" trait also lets you pick who gets BP & CCW or bolter, so you can mix weaponry to an effective ratio.

Another thing I was pondering is that of cost "take the fight to them"(TTFTT) and “trust your battle brothers” (TYBB) both give you 2 attacks when assaulted, but TTFTT gives you 3(4 if you count the bolt pistol shot) on the charge...while you get the standard 2 with TYBB. In addition you must pay X pts for TYBB while TTFTT is FREE.

#2 Choice - ‘Cleanse and Purify’ Being able to swap a heavy weapon for a lighter one is a great asset. By taking 'cleanse and purify' the squads would be geared towards close range firefights. However the Emperor’s Legion is already geared for close ranged firefights in its assault elements. So, the only units that would benefit from the trait would be the shooting squads. They could use their long range weapons until the enemy gets close and then switch to the close ranged variant as the enemy advances. It remains the number two choice because it doesn’t cost anything to have it but it doesn’t benefit everyone in the army either.

#3 Choice - ‘Uphold the Honor of the Emperor’ Is probably the most ‘fluffy’ sounding trait that I can use for ‘The Emperor’s Legion’. And providing an invulnerable save vs. shooting for free (points wise) is a good bonus too. The down sides are also mitigated as I probably won’t be in cover anyway, and will undoubtedly come under fire after their drop pod hits ground. The trait only affects Veteran or Command squads and therefore only would benefit me at 1850 points or higher level games as these unit selections get chosen.
These are the minor trait disadvantages that I think would hinder me the least and why.
#1 Choice – ‘We Stand Alone’ I think it’s the best ‘disadvantage’ out there. I have always been a purest and never wanted to have mixed armies when I played so therefore not being able to use allies in my game will not hurt my feelings nor my armies play. The Emperor has always favored the human race over all others; therefore we don’t play well with others.
#2 Choice – ‘Have Faith in Suspicion’ Now in my unit selections I have left the Character of Darth Vader open to be either a Chaplain, for his kick butt close combat ability or a Librarian, so he can have a psychic power (the Force) to help the army. Currently I have yet to put him in as a Librarian in any of my lists so until I do this is still a viable disadvantage to select.
Themes of Shooting/Counterassault Armies – Why I chose what I did
When I designed my lists I have deliberately designed the armies to be broken into three main parts.
The Fire Base – These are my shooting units (Dreads, Lascannon / Plasma gun squads, and The Master who has an Auspex and joins the Heavy Bolter Devastator squad to take out scouts or other infiltrators). They are designed to kill targets at range and ‘encourage’ the enemy to come to me. The firepower of a shoot/counterassault army must be strong enough to force the enemy to close for combat rather than simply trading firepower. However, the longer the enemy is on the open field, the enemy is vulnerable to superior firepower. Lascannon and plasma guns are excellent against enemy vehicles and elite troops, but destruction of transports is of primary importance, and should be considered first. Enemy suicide units need not be shot down, as they can generally be neutralized by an assault unit before they cause significant damage.
The Fast Stuff / Bait – Designed and included to be something that the enemy doesn’t really want to shoot at but if he doesn’t he may lose something big. When thinking of this, I think of the Biker Scout Squadrons. They are small and semi cheap. They are designed to get to the other side quickly and blow up heavy armor or transports with their Melta bombs. They are also bait so the enemy doesn’t shoot up any of my more expensive killer units like the Devastator units. They also give me something to play with and cause the opponents grief as I wait for the drop pods to come onto the battlefield.
The Assault Team – Designed to Drop Pod in close to enemy units disembark and blast away. Assault what is left. It is the most flexible as to where the units can come onto the board; either to support the Firebase if it’s being overrun or to attack the enemy in the rear where they least expect it. However when they come in may be an issue. At 1000pts for example, when 20 marines drop in with four flame templates and multiple shot bolters – I think it will be decisive enough. The counter assault element for the Fire base are the dreadnaughts if need be. With the assault team I am relying on the flame templates. Loading up my Drop Pod squads with them I can land the Drop Pod even near cover where the enemy may be hiding and still burn’em up.


So there is the concept. I know it was long and hopefully it was fun to read. I will be posting pictures of the units as well as the army lists for critique. As I am in-experienced playing 40K I wanted to post this here in an attempt to make the list better (i.e. more tournament effective) and also test your brain a little by making you work within a structured theme.

Let me know your thoughts?

The Dark Dwarves

Marius Xerxes
05-04-2007, 21:52
I know you may already have set ideas on how you want to paint your army, but had ya not concidered to have the Command Squad done up like the Royal Guard? or are you (and sorry if i missed it) just going for the black and white contrasts. I love the idea you have come up with fopr this army. If ya dont mind my adding a lil bit to this list, but maybe use Zero-G troops as terminators, and though they have scouts already, Storm Commandos would look cool as scouts too (actually have the same helmet design, but differant armour). There are lots of pics and such, and im sure you already know of the units i mentioned.. but if not let me know and i can get ya some color pics on some of the non movie units mentioned here.

05-04-2007, 22:03
since you have pretty much made up your mind, i'll just say great luck and fun with your new army

but for an imperial legion from endor, i would have gone with Eldar
jet bikes
(maybe the avatar oozing dark force as Darth Vader)

06-04-2007, 04:07
I have heard stories (I don't know thier veracity) but the gist of them was that some guy had painted his space marines white like stormtroopers and had a leader figure (unspecified) in black armour with a red power sword, he was not allowed to use his army in the local GW store because of it's direct Star Wars theme.

As I said I don't know how true this story is.

06-04-2007, 04:25
There is a guy at a GW in novi who has a SW army
White well, every one, black vader, red combat weapon
red shirts think its great

Lord Marshal Reinhard
06-04-2007, 12:37
Actually, you CAN use Terminators... Imperial Stormtroopers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_stormtrooper) were trained to various levels of ability, just like Space Marines. One Elite branch of the Stormtroopers were the Spacetroopers, second only to the Imperial Royal Guard in terms of fighting ability. You could easily field shooty Terminators as Spacetroopers.
As for disadvantages, "Have faith in suspicion" is highly unapropriate IMHO, the best way to represent Darth Vader would be to field him as a fully kitted-out Epistolary with Fear Of Darkness & Vortex Of Doom (to represent the aura of fear & the deadly force lightning of the Sith Lord). And of course the ability to insta-kill any multiwound creature with his force weapon mirrors Vader's superhuman swordmanship...
As for the Command squad, it would be really cool to make it like the Royal Guard, however, if you do so, you might want to make it an expensive one (full T.Honours all around) to represent their fighting ability...

Just my 2 cents

The Dark Dwarves
06-04-2007, 14:01
Wow, Great feedback and tips - allow me to respond.

I want to keep the theme to just the Battle of Endor from the third movie VI (to me there are only three movies) I may one day expand it out to be an all encompassing army but for now let's keep it simple.

Darth Vader would be to field him as a fully kitted-out Epistolary with Fear Of Darkness & Vortex Of Doom (to represent the aura of fear & the deadly force lightning of the Sith Lord). And of course the ability to insta-kill any multiwound creature with his force weapon mirrors Vader's superhuman swordmanship...

This is the stuff I need to know. I am brand new to this game and my intent of all of this posting is to find out how to make it competitive.

Here are some Photos
Chaplain or Librarian – Lord Vader (Favorite Part of this model the Light Saber and his cloak)

Master or Commander – They seem to go through a lot of these guys in the movies. “You’ve been promoted.” – “Damn . . .”


Command Squad – These guys are based off of the Space Marine Scout Figures. I used green stuff to try and get that helmet they wear to come out right. Hand painting the shoulder insignia was tough challenge but adds a great little touch. Also, by basing all of my HQ with a red vs. a grey base it really unifies the HQ Squad.

Another Angle

Keep the ideas coming.

The Dark Dwarves