I was hoping to start the new year posts earlier, but with so much to do and play such hopes become fruitless. It doesn't help that the first week of January was particularly dull and uninspiring on the hobby front. However, Forge World has single-handedly destroyed said hobby slump with their recent release of rules for the Salamander's Master of the Apothecary Harath Shen and the Astral Claws Arch-Centurion Carnac Commodus.
These are both extremely cool characters, but the Chief Apothecary is really the one that got me the most excited. Finally an Apothecary from the Command echelon of the chapter. So of course I must immediately include him in my collection. The rules for him are awesome, his points feel a little high to me, but if you avoid trying to use him as a combat character and use him in say, sternguard, his points are worth it. I lament the fact that he's an HQ choice, but he's for Codex Marines, we're not playing Blood Angels here. I'm lookin' at you Corbulo.
So how does one go about making a Master Apothecary? The important part is to display as much of the tri-helix symbol as possible. Leg greaves and pauldrons are the first targets. In this case, I feel simple is better, using the plastic helix pauldron that comes with the Apothecary and a chapter pauldron. For the greaves, that's a bit harder. A pair of matching sculpted greaves, similar to Corbulo's, or two different greaves, depending on the armour variant, different placing of the icons. However, the imagery should definitely be Apothecary related as opposed to chapter related.
The standard Apothecary body would be the best used, since it already has the Apothecary vials and tubes sculpted on, however I feel that removing the skull and sculpting on the tri-helix would make for a more appropriate decoration of the front plastron. He does have artificer armour, so something has to be done to appropriately display this. Studs at certain points of the armour, particularly at the greaves, best exemplifies this in my opinion.
For his weapons, he isn't a combat hero of the chapter so he doesn't require super fancy weapons. Nothing ornate for the doctor, just give him what he needs. In this case, Shen gets access to the best equipment. My chapter has a particular liking for plasma weaponry, so the plasma pistol doesn't at all clash with my established fluff. Only the chaplains of my chapter refuse them, accepting only a bolt pistol as the divine instrument of the Emperor's judgment. Shen also comes with a power sword, a very nice addition compared to what the apothecaries usually have to suffer. So with these two excellent pieces of equipment from the armoury, I feel there's no reason for them to simply be stuck on the model. I plan on cutting away the open hand on the narthecium and replacing it with the plasma pistol. A simple conversion and that open hand could be useful on a later project. It'll be tricky to remove it cleanly, but a sharp, thin blade should be able to handle it.
As for his special rules, they only present his skills rather than display any specialty of his equipment. They won't require any modelling. I am considering that perhaps chapter displays should be considered for his armour though. For Harath Shen, perhaps a drake scale cloak would suit him. For my currently unnamed character, I was considering a Corvus pattern helm with Corvus pattern greaves. I feel that the regular Apothecary head would be better though, more recognizable and iconic of the Apothecary. It will be the paint scheme that will really make it. I'm thinking either all white with chapter coloured pauldrons, or chapter colours with white pauldrons and helmet. It will take more consideration and outside input.
Commodus is also interesting. More than a sergeant, not quite a captain, he has some interesting rules to him. I don't see myself adding him as a model for my chapter. If I did add him, I would definitely change the wording of the "Cut Them Down!" rule, instead calling it "Suffer Not the Foe to Live", having it read, "(Name Here) is the example of Raven Guard (for my chapter are still faithful sons of Corax) philosophy, allowing no foe to escape his wrath and the Emperor's judgment. He and any squad ...".
It serves no other purpose than to make him sound less of a bloodthirsty hound of chaos and more a stout warrior of the Imperium. I'd of course change the name and history of the chainsword as well, but that's only natural. That covers it for my thoughts and ideas for these two. Whenever bitz sites start getting more bitz in, I might just be able to make this Chief Apothecary. I've emailed several bitz places, and only one actually responded to me. Sadly it will still be two weeks before bitz become available from that sole site that actually responded to me, but at least I got a response. So I'd like to give a shout out to Matt Reed and Model Bits for the quick and friendly response to my inquiry, even if it will be a lifetime before anything surfaces. Decent customer service should be lauded in my opinion, as it seems to be lacking these days. Until I finish something new for the blog