Dude, Where's My Chimera?

The Imperial Guard army list has always had problems with mobility. For one, Chimeras (I know, the correct pluralization is Chimerae, but it sounds pretentious in this context) are points-expensive; why should you buy what is, essentially, an armored taxi, when you could get another squad of infantry for the same points? For another, mechanization is limiting; if you take the doctrine that allows every squad to have a transport, then every squad has to have a transport. Pretty soon you're devoting a large amount of your points to Chimeras.

Well, the combination of 5th Edition (where mobility is king) and the upcoming Guard codex (with its 30-point reduction in Chimera cost) gives some pretty compelling reasons why you should now be pimping your rides, as it were.

Here's my army list, in chart form. Excuse my awesomely bad Paint skills.

The theory behind my list is based on Blood Pact tactics; a fast-moving shock troop force, equipped for middle-to-close-range firefights. The Missile/Plasma Gun squads and Russes are for dealing with MEQs and vehicles, while the Stalk-tank sentinel and Melta-equipped Platoon HQ are for heavy vehicles. My HQ Squad is melee-equipped, though not especially heavily. I know that in practice, they'll serve as a roadbump, but melee is fluffy for Blood Pact.

As you can see, I have seven Chimeras. Aside from the Command HQ Chimera, which is equipped with dual Heavy Flamers, I elected to give them Heavy Bolters to fulfill an anti-horde role, which is something lacking in my regular troops. 36 Heavy Bolter shots a turn (while they're all still functioning) ensures that I'll be able to chew up Orks, Tyranids, Guard, etc. fairly nicely, and still stay mobile for claiming objectives. That many vehicles will hopefully have some sort of psychological impact on my opponents, too.

While mobility is important in 5th Edition due to objectives missions, the downside is of course that all these Chimeras count as kill points. In kill point missions (which are the bane of every Guard army), I can hopefully deploy a reasonably strong gunline with both troops and transports to give me a fighting chance.

Overall, I'm hoping that my list presents a "Many important targets, but not one critical target" sort of appearance. The lascannon sentinel is tempting, but there are so many vehicles that it might be ignored. The Hardened Vet squad is very shooty, with three plasma guns, but there are a lot of troops that need to be neutralized if we're playing an objective mission.

All of this, of course, is navelgazing, since it's based on theory and mathhammer and not fact. We'll see once I get a few games in. :)

Anyway - back to the Chimeras. The big box I got the other week contained more Chaos bits and another five Chimeras. I already had two old Chimeras laying around that I'd gotten in a trade years ago, so I figured I'd fix those up to save some money.

I decided to detail the interiors, and to that end I added fold-down bench seats to the sides. Then, I added details to the back walls.

Lastly, since I wanted to show off the interiors (and also because the hinges on rear Chimera doors are really flimsy), I built hinged, carnival-style gates as rear doors, using drilled-out plasticard rods.

I also had another problem; one of the old Chimeras I had was missing its turret. So, I made a unique turret for the Command HQ's Heavy Flamer Chimera, using a leftover Hellhound Inferno Cannon, some flamer tanks, and the turret mount thing from a Land Raider's Heavy Bolter. To give it a more Chaotic feel, I added this neat dragon skull thing that I'd been dying to use somewhere in this army.

I still have a lot of work to do on these puppies... here's the tank factory's current status:

I could also use some input. See, I'm not sure what to do with the rear top hatches and the lasgun ports. I'm not sure if I should do something fancy with the top hatches, such as making hatches shaped like Khorne symbols, or putting sacrificed Guardsmen corpses strapped across them or something, or just bolt them shut. With the interiors detailed, though, it seems a shame to shut out the light from above with plain old hatches.

As for the lasgun ports, I am tempted to keep them empty and open. I've never liked the look of the rear lasguns, since they can barely even point horizontally and they block their own viewscopes. I figured that the Blood Pact troops inside would much more easily just stick their own lasguns out, and it'd also save me from detailing the trigger assemblies on the inside. But now I'm not so sure. I'd almost rather do something interesting and Chaosy with the ports, like blocking them off and putting spikes jutting out from them. If anyone has any ideas, please share 'em.

For now, I'll be plugging away on these babies. In my next post, I'll have some pics of the first Leman Russ, which I've post about in the past, but which now has more character (and blood).


John Lambshead said...

Really nice. I am moved to get out my half finsihed blood pact army and do something about it.

I have a fully mechanised Imperial Guard company but the Chimeras soaked up so many points that it was at a severe disadvantage in set-points battles.

As you say, maybe this will fix things.


The Inner Geek said...

For the top hatches, why not a compromise? Some sort of mesh hatch like on old sailing ships... does that make sense? You could still put some bodies on them too. One could have the hatch open and the sacrificed body torn in two! Graphic, but cool!

The work so far looks great though. Your work on the insides and making sure they are visible is admirable.

dverning said...

Actually, "Chimeras" is correct. Chimerae is only proper when you are pluralizing Latin. However, you are using English. This is the designation of a class of tank and not the mythical creature. It is thus a titular designation and the proper English/American is to pluralize with an 's'.

So feel free to call the Chimeras. You can feel smugly superior when someone tries to "correct" you.

As to the lasguns... why do just a 1/2 measure? Take it and run. Why not just remove the entire hatch/gun assembly? This would open the vehicle interior up to even more light. Maybe retain the top of the back door and construct some seating/fire points along the edge of the newly opened top. Add some sandbags, Chaos decorations and maybe some camo rolls or webbing. Basically, something that looks similar to a Salamander, but constructed slightly sturdier and/or fortified by the crew to keep it from being open topped.

Techpriest said...

@dverning - thanks for the language correction... I hadn't thought of that. Good to know. :)

I think you may be on to something with removing the rear roof entirely. If I can find the right material, maybe I could make a kind of metal cage type of thing... could even line it with barbed wire or something.