Inspired by Lee's Rogue Trooper, I decided to go "Rogue Trader". Over the years I have managed to accumulate a small pile of Rogue Trader era Warhammer 40k figures. While the original Rogue Trader rules had many issues, a Rogue Trader game is gaming paradise compared to the current excrement pile that passes for the current 40k rules. Our group in Winnipeg has played Rogue Trader games fairly often, and I'm quite chuffed about my small collection of old Imperial Guard figures. This submission includes 10 28mm scale Penal Battalion troops and an Imperial Guard Lieutenant.
In the grim darkness of the far future, a lot of things could happen if your'e bad. Or you might just get transferred to the penal battalion! And not just any Penal Battalion, but the one where you are "equipped" with an explosive collar around your neck that your officers/social betters will use to blow the heads off of you or your companions should your unit falter in battle! Gotta love the dystopian world of the Imperium of Man…
These models are from the late 80s/early 90s. My favourite feature on the penal battalion troops (not really visible in the photos) is the inscribed belt buckles that read "PB". As if the explosive collar and shaved head weren't enough, at least you get a pimped out belt buckle, right? Consistent with my other plastic guardsmen I equipped them with lasguns from the current range (after scraping the stupid skulls off of the guns). It's far from a perfect fit, but they look a lot better than the old lasguns.
The Penal Battalion squad was an option for an Imperial Guard player of the Rogue Trader/Compendium era. They were armed only with lasguns, the collars and could also have drug dispensers to whip them into a suitable emotional state for whatever mission they would receive. These squads did not have squad leaders per se, so I did a rough conversion on one fellow to have one stand out from the rest, which sadly suffer from monopose syndrome.
The officer is a Lieutenant. Like all of the beautiful officer figures from this lost era, he wears a breastplate as a symbol of rank. Rather than arm him with a pistol I gave him a full-on regular lasgun in the hopes of giving him a bit more of a frontline vibe. A platoon commander, he's still close to the frontline action. For example, he'll need to keep an eye on that Penal Battalion squad…
As I always say, there's no school like the Old Skool. I remember these models very fondly from my salad days. I owned a hobby store in my early 20s when this figure range first came out and I recall the sale of them financing many illicit habits. :)
These lads will give Greg 55 points. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Greg!