Thursday, September 17, 2020

GUEST SHOWCASE: Steve Foote's Tallarn Astra Militarum

Today I have another awesome guest article showing off a wonderfully unique and well executed army. This time hobbyist extraordinaire Steve Foote is here to show us his Tallarn 152nd, the Sakers, complete with lots and lots of tanks!

Steve: I’ve always be fascinated by tanks, the thought of actually having to fight in one is terrifying and thankfully something I’ve not been asked to do. So, when I came to pick a new army project for the new edition of 40k, I decided it was time to tackle a 40k tank army. 

The Look

To wanted make a realistic looking fighting force that still looked 40k, fitting in with the armies I would be playing against. I wanted to use some fine scale military modelling techniques, but needed to shortcut them so it didn’t take 2 months per tank...

I decided early on I liked the background for the Tallarn; a fierce, tribal people that specialised in hit and run attacks on desert worlds. This shaped my force based on the missions I’d expect them to be given, operating deep behind enemy lines, carrying fuel, food and ammo in case supply drops couldn’t be made. No artillery, no command team on foot and anti-air assets need to be able to keep up with the armour. I wanted a mixed arms force but I wasn't looking to min/max units for competitive play. Also painting and weathering the models would be a fun challenge.

The Look

These are elite troops so wanted their equipment to be cared for, always ready for battle. So even though I wanted the armour to look like it was in good order, it couldn’t be factory fresh, some wear and tear and some desert dust would be present. I decided to keep the numbering fairly standard for guard but did add roof numbers for aerial recognition – important when fighting behind the lines. I would include some spots of rust, but generally sand worlds are super dry locations so I would only add rust around places like the exhausts that might well create moisture in cold desert night fights.

Making Them Specialist

Thinking about the environment that the Tallarn will be fighting, I wanted to challenge my new 3d model making skills to add some parts that these desert warriors might use. First up was a large air filter/scrubber for the engine, to keep out the dust and sand, next extended fuel tanks to allow longer travel times between refuelling. Desert fighting is all about fire and manoeuvre, Tallarn would want to be fast and mobile at all times. Then they will want to carry more ammo, so I extended the turrets to the rear, to take more shells and also added a longer-range radio than the standard Leman Russ. These were designed and modelled in Blender and then printed in PLA on my Ender 3 Pro at max quality settings.


I decided as well as the 3d ‘hopup’ parts I wanted to make the other models feel a little more modern, so did things like moved the turrets on the chimera back on the hull, fitted the Tauros wheels upside down to give them higher lift and more of a dune buggy vibe. The biggest conversion, for lots of reasons, was the Dunelord, my variant of the Stormlord. As this was going to transporting the Scimitars, my heavy infantry Bullgryn unit, I decided to make the model look more of a transport, adding a large front assault ramp.

Paint and Finishes

With the kits built it was time to tackle bringing them to life. I always liked the Israeli armour colour so I simply got some Vallejo Air IDF Sand Grey, which went down over some zenith shaded undercoat rattle can. The base colour done, the next stage was to wash down the sand grey, I did this by gloss varnishing and then use thinned oil washes to do pin lining and add some modulation to the panels. This did seem to shift the tone slightly green, but I was ok with it. 

Next job was chipping and I used a fine sponge and some careful dabbing at the edges. I went for a dark grey to hint at the factory undercoat for the vehicle and it was a strong contrast to the sand colour. 

It’s best to build this up and not go too heavy or the model can look too beat up, something I was aiming to avoid. Once this stage was complete it’s time to matte varnish and start on the details. I decided to cheat on the decals and used dry, rub down style that are easy to apply, damage and also leave no outline. The finishing touch for the armour, once all elements like IR lamps, stowage and stubbers were complete, was to make up a jar of wash of sand weathering powder, this took some experimenting to not flood all the detail but leave behind enough sand to look dusty. 

One great tip I’ve got from a youtuber called Night Shift, is instead of using weathering fixer for applying the powder, using water means it’s easy to remove and control any patches that dry strangely. You do need to be careful with a gaming piece as handling the model will rub off this process, but as the dust is collected in the crevasses it shouldn’t get touched. Worst case I can always reapply.

The Result

I'm super happy that the final army fits the goals I set myself. What would I do differently? I’d probably resin print my parts, some of my paint processes reveal the print lines. Maybe be braver with the top identification symbols/numbers, bigger or was messing about with the idea of barcoding?? 

Next... maybe a Centaur for the forward air controller (Master of Ordinance) and then maybe a Thunderbolt...

You can find me on Twitter or join my Patreon starting at just $2.40 a month and get lots of WIP pics, ideas that don’t quite make it and just random ideas... It's currently offering over 130 posts and almost 700 images!

Tyler: I want to thank Steve again for taking the time to write this. He really is the master of the narrative, whether it's in the Mortal Realms or the 41st millennium and these Tallarn are looking awesome. They've always been one of my favorite Guard regiments, right up there with the Steel Legion, so I was pretty excited to see that he was tackling them. 

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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