Do you like self propelled gun tractors? Do you think that bigger barrels creates even bigger craters? Are you having trouble with rebel strongholds?! Well then you’ve come to the right place Private! We at Forgeworld Vorenus supply the Cadian armored corps with the biggest guns available on the market! Here, have a look at these Colossus Bombards. Forgeworld Vorenus, where more is always more!
In this article I’ll showcase two newly painted Bombards and talk about my experiences with batch painting vehicles, as well as discussing the performance of heavy artillery carriages in your games of 40k/30k.
Plan, paint, repeat – how to line up a project and get your models on the table
These Imperial Bombards were commissioned by the owner of the Destroyer Tank Hunter that I painted a while ago, and make a fine addition to his Cadian armored company. After agreeing on a price tag and the level of paintjob he wanted, I set about 5 hours of work as a target timeframe for these babies. This excluded any drying times, color changing, and cleaning of the airbrush – which takes up the majority of the time when working on the initial basecoats on the models. When painting batches of vehicles my experience is that if you plan your work ahead the process becomes a lot easier and faster. Decide which colors should be painted in what order, and try to paint as many areas of the model as possible at the same time. In contrary to painting an infantry model where I like to paint the uniform first, then move on to the equipment, then the skin and so on, I try to paint as many parts of the vehicles as I can while using the same paints. Laying down all the basecoats of green at once and painting the tracks at the same time as I’m using black to lay down an initial shade and weathering to the barrel and exhaust. This helps out the final process of weathering as it gives you a guideline where to increase or cover up your soot effects. This is also an effective way of cutting time and prevents you from burning out as you see the results of your work fairly quickly. After about two hours there were no unpainted areas on these tanks and they were in a very playable state. The rest is just touch ups.
The vehicles were painted to match the Destroyer in both style and color. The olive drab camo with khaki stripes along the hull works well as a semi-realistic camo pattern and ties them together with the rest of the force. I weathered the tanks by lightly chipping them with a sponge and some metallics (as this is a fast and simple way to create a worn look without having to go through the tedious salt-and-hairspray technique). After that some streaking grime were added around bolts, rivets, and other interesting armor parts to give the impression that these tanks had seen field duty for quite some time. Finally, I created a mud mix with some different pigment powders and matte varnish which was stippled onto the tracks and splashed along the sides of the vehicles using a worn brush and the airflow of my airbrush. I didn’t make the mix as gritty and filled with sand texture as with the Destroyer, since I didn’t want to cover too much of the tanks in mud – thus taking focus away from the beautiful models themselves.
The final step included some more post-shading with black using an airbrush to create more depth to the main point of focus: the large siege mortars. With some black paint still in the cup I increased the effects around the barrel and the engine exhausts by giving them a heavier definition of soot. Decals on, details (like the driver’s prisms) with a brush, sealed them with varnish and they were all set and done!
I learnt a lot from this project. Mainly, as it was my first real commission, planning my work schedule helped me to refine and improve some of my techniques and the order that I paint layers and parts in. Using several ways to accentuate or hide different points on the model with different techniques is a great way to paint models to a good standard without spending two working days on them. If I’m going to be constructive towards my own work, the camo pattern could need some improvement by practicing on a piece of paper or an old model before hand. I’m also in desperate need of a better airbrush (not the compressor but the paint gun itself), and moving from a cheap no-brand one to some pro gear will hopefully improve results in the future now that I’m experienced with the tool of the trade. I’d also like to add some more detail to the back of the artillery tanks, I’m thinking of painting yellow-black hazard stripes along the loading crane to make them pop a bit although this would take away the realistic theme.
What about those big craters you mentioned?
On the 40k battlefield the Bombard is a medium artillery piece compared to it’s cousins the Medusa and Basilisk. Even though it is referred to as the heaviest of deployable siege weaponry, capable of reducing whole heretic settlements to dust, it falls somewhat short by only having a strength value of 6 (compared to the Medusa’s 10 or the old reliable Basilisk’s 9). Where the Bombard really outshine the others is in it’s ability to ignore cover, thus making terrific use of it’s large AP3-template, and it’s nasty habit of clearing out anything but Terminators from fortified positions. Support it with a psyker and you have a very devastating and accurate way of clearing objectives in front of your Guardsmen’s cheering advance. Even though the Colossus Siege gun is mounted on a Russ chassis it still only sports an open topped armor of 12/10/10 making it somewhat vulnerable to most anti-tank fire. If you want your guns to return home you need to be clever when deploying your troops and make good use of terrain to utilize cover. If it’s still a bullet magnet in your local meta, throwing down the extra 20pts for camo netting might keep it operational for a little bit longer. Whether it has a secondary weapon or not is debatable since the model doesn’t come with one (or have any physical spots where a heavy bolter could be mounted) and the description clearly states that the Colossus mortar is it’s only gun. The profile on the other hand says it is fitted with a heavy bolter. I’d say this is a misprint but just make sure you tell your opponent beforehand how you intend to play it as the argument goes both ways. There’s nothing better at killing a game than a debate when he rolls that ‘weapon destroyed’ result and you insist on rolling a 4+ to see which weapon it was.
In the Horus Heresy theatre of war the Bombard is a heavy support choice for the Solar Auxilia and struggles with the fact that it competes with other solid units in the same category. You have both superheavies (that are not Lords of War) as well as the standard selection of Russes and artillery tanks, but at least you can spend an extra 25pts to make the Colossus fire it’s shells with both the ‘Sunder’ and ‘Concussive’ special rules which is a huge boost to it’s poor strength if you intend to fire it at light vehicles. Concussive might not be that useful but still pretty cool if you time your barrage the moment before a decisive bayonet charge!
Overall the Colossus Bombard is a good artillery piece that can have a large impact on the game. It has a huge threat potential against most MEQ (or worse) armies even though the lack of Strength won’t cause ‘Instant death’. Remember that the ‘Ignore cover’ rule means that even Ork biker Nobs and Eldar Windriders suddenly become vulnerable again without their ability to Jink. By simply forcing your opponent to spread out his troops and taking away the option of hiding out in a ruin is also something to take advantage of, even if you are prone to lose your shiny toy at some point in the game. The unit struggles somewhat by the fact that it competes with many other solid options in both 40k and 30k, and to make them work you need to have a plan and build your army around them in a certain way.
I hope this article has shed some light on how the Bombard can perform on the field as well as sharing my insights and experiences on commission painting these bad boys. I’m looking forward to painting more vehicles in the future and I have to say that a couple of Medusas are starting to look very interesting.