Astra Militarum Heavy Weapon Teams – Making A Scene

Checkout some tips for making dynamic and creative posing for Imperial Guard heavy weapon teams.

Now that the Astra Militarum (AM), more commonly referred to as Imperial Guard (IG) have a shiny new Codex and models I thought it would be a good time to talk about getting the most out of a great older kit for the range, the heavy weapon teams.

Some people pose every one of their heavy weapon teams (HWT) like the pictures on the box, but that gets dull pretty quickly. Since I planned to have several in my own AM army I decided long ago that many of them should have some unique posing and scenery to make them more interesting to build, paint and see on a game table.

The kneeling legs and pointing arms that come with the HWT kit are a good start, but being plastic it’s easy to make changes to them or use them in creative ways. It’s also easy to mix and match parts from other AM/IG kits for even more variety. Here are some examples of how I combined these techniques to get a wide variety of looks for my HWT models.

Prone firing poses usually look pretty cool for machine gunners, so I converted this heavy bolter gunner into a prone position. The legs are from a standing pose Cadian Shock Troop model, cut and repositioned slightly to lie more flat on the ground. Notice the shovel leaning against the broken wall behind the team and the unique lasgun-on-shoulder pose of the loader.

The loader’s left hand is resting on the berm behind which they sit as he kneels to get a better view of the situation just before the coming battle. Minor changes to arm positions and thinking of new ways to use existing parts can yield some interesting results that help tell a little story for each HWT.

The loader for this HWT is already in battle position feeding ammo into the hungry heavy bolter as it mows down the enemy. The team is positioned behind a piece of wall from a GW Imperial City building kit. I’ve cut it down to fit the little diorama.

The spotter/loader for this team is carefully peering over his shoulder and the broken wall he’s using for cover while clutching binoculars. I converted the gunner to a sitting position which required a bit of cutting and sculpting to the legs for the model.

Here’s the same HWT from the front. I positioned the ammo box on top of some debris so that the ammo belt would reach the feed port on the heavy bolter.

This lascannon team has a seated gunner and a standing spotter who is using binoculars. I used the same conversion technique here that I used on the seated heavy bolter gunner. Notice the lasgun nearby and blanket roll. Placing soldiers’ accoutrements around in a realistic, scenic fashion turns these models into small dioramas as well as gaming models.

The spotter for this team is resting his hand on the shoulder of the gunner. Again I’ve used a very simple conversion to one arm to give the whole team a unique look and feel from the others in my collection.

This missile launcher team is my little tribute to the iconic Allied bazooka teams of WWII. Neither of the crewman is built from the crew parts on the HWT sprue, so I essentially got a whole additional team from the HWT kit by creating prone crewman from regular Cadian Shock Troop models.

Using standing models and converting prone models from standing models will allow you to get more out of your HWT kits. Each kit comes with several heavy weapons, but only enough bits to create two kneeling crewmen comprising one weapon team. By using models from other related kits like the Cadian Shock Troop box set and the mainly decorative crewman that come with some of the IG vehicle kits it’s possible to get use out of many more of the heavy weapons from a single kit sprue.

You know that arm that comes with the Cadian HWT kit that has a pointing finger? It doesn’t have to always be pointing forward. It could be pointing up or it could be pointing at something nearby on the ground. I even used it on one team to be pushing a button on the battery pack for a lascannon. With a little imagination it’s possible to use stock parts in different creative ways without even converting at all.

Hopefully the examples I’ve shown here will provide inspiration for some of you out there. Kit bash and let your imagination have a go!

My own Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard army was originally built and painted around 2007 and it’s fairly large, but I’m still planning to add a few of the new models to the collection. Those new stormtroopers, the Tempestus Scions, look especially nice. And if I put helmet heads on them I can use the beret heads on Shock Troop models to make Veterans.

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