Sunday, 13 October 2013

Ten Ideas For The Backs Of Toy Soldiers

I am taking an hour or two off to imagine differently profiled toys. Most of these are for Imperial Guard style armies. If you want to know abou the God Angle Profile, go here.

1. A single air tank like the ones divers carry, either vertically or aslant. When seen in groups this should highlight the vulnerability of the guardsmen. If aslant, would seem like a row of tallymarks. Marines get Rhomboids and Triangles, guardsmen get single lines. A gasmask pushed back over the head so it hangs upside-down, a line of deflated faces staring back at the player in blunt accusation. Like a row of graves.
This world could be one where large pockets of invisible gas fill valleys, turning them into lifeless oceans. Armies walk into the gas like going underwater. So they have excellent reparatory gear but always know when they will need to use it. They would walk slowly and act calmly in toxic environments. 

2. A kinetic sculpture. The simplest would be some kind of pinwheel. Is there any way to make this cool? Maybe psychic-dispersal vanes that catch the unseen wind of chaos and stop you mutating. Chaos troops could have an uneven eight-arrowed pinwheel that spins on their backs. They wouldn’t even need a reason, those guys would just be into that shit.

Their artillery would look like one of these.

(I just really want to get Kinetic sculpture on the battlefield)

 3. A counterweight for aliens. I know they could do this and GW would like it as you could move the bulk of the sculpture much further forward of the base, creating a great impression of dynamism that would be a profile for the entire army. Imagine a beast leaping forward with only its rear limbs just touching the base. Behind it a long tail with some nodule or club at the end. Inside the club, a small lead weight. Could work well for the as-yet unseen Hyper-Violent Barghesi.

4. A mirror. The player would have their face staring back at them. I have seen kinder eggs do stuff like this. Regiment carries half-parabolic defensive mirror shields like tiny radio telescopes with chunks taken out of them. Officers and assault groups carry them forwards. The bite taken out of the shape makes room for the active weapon arm. Rifle troops carry the mirror shields slung on their backs. Pointing back towards you.
Maybe they come from the world where they make the ultra-rare anti-lasgun shields. Or from airless asteroids where laser fire can carry across hundreds of miles as it doesn’t disperse, so they had to think up an active defence.

5. Faces in profile. Stormtroopers might wear embossed body armour with fear/medusa face going forward like the face of Phobos on Alexander’s breastplate and the face of Fortune, or Tyche, on their backs. Fortune does guard your back after all. The player would see a series of serine smiling female faces in profile, like on coins. All facing the same way.

6. A spirit level. Carried in small of the back or across the shoulders. Width of a drain. Just a bit wider than the back, with an actual bubble in there. Regiment from non-demonic otherspace or collapsed webway fragment. They grow up in a non-euclidian zone and need this stuff to function in realspace at enormous cost.
They could wear strange angular helmets with prisms inside them to alter their eyesight for normal space. Could be an anti-necron veteran assault force, trained for suicide actions. Or for assaulting deamon worlds. Or searching the webway when the empire finds a breach. Can’t be driven mad, so that’s handy.

Weapons could look like Naum Gabo Sculptures.


 7. Knots. Big knots of rope worn across one shoulderdeliberately encrypted climbers harnesses. Like that thing Worf always wore, but bigger, chunkier, giving a strong asymmetric profile. Like Celtic knotwork in 3d. Regiment adds one knot for battle survived, vets have huge backpack knots they never take off.

8. Stowed ceremonial powerfists they are not allowed to use. Probably not the real thing but religious/cargo cult replica’s. Like a pair of huge open hands crossed at the back. Could be worn palm down like hands reaching over the shoulder pulling them forwards into battle. Or palm up like hands reaching up out to the player. Fits with god-angle theme as its like prayer aimed at you.

9. Savage world without technology yet worships machine god. Wears icons made from wood on their backs. Cargo-cult mech arms like Tech Priests, but made from wood and obviously carved. Or curled-up Space Marine icons made from wood. Organic grain contrasting with mech form. Possibly leaves and branches still left on.

10 Hexagonal backpacks? Ok this one is really rubbish, but they would lock together on the field and look like a big beehive, which is nice.


  1. I just now realized poetry is the result of not being able to draw or sing and so forcing words to do all the work.
    And succeeding.

    1. It's true. I don't know anyone who can draw well and write well who doesnt spend more time drawing. So it must be better.

  2. Regarding backpack kinetic sculptures -- I'm not sure how well this meshes with established Warhammer 40K technology, but the old GDW sci-fi guerrilla warfare game Bloodtree Rebellion had its oppressive clone troopers equipped with flight devices called something like "whisperpacks". These were apparently a cross between anti-gravity units and backpack helicopters. In the artwork, their rotor blades seemed comparatively small and pinwheel-like in configuration, since they apparently provided only propulsion, with the lift coming from antigravity.

  3. I would ogle at these armies so hard. I would then walk away from the store feeling a little sadder for not buying them.