Crusade takes your fresh-faced and eager troops and throws them into the maelstrom meat-grinder of the far future. Before long – they will be tough and grizzled veterans, with epic war stories and scars that speak of a legacy of battle, carnage and heroism among the stars.
But how do you represent their growing rank and stature on the tabletop? There are as many answers to this question as there are gamers, but let’s take a look at a few ideas to pique your interest.
Paint ‘Em On!
This is probably the easiest and most obvious option, but for many armies it also makes the most sense from a narrative perspective. Let’s say your Genestealer Brood acquires the Grizzled Battle Trait…
You can show they’ve been around the block a few times with some chips and scratches on their chitinous armour, or paint a distinctive brood pattern on their backs or heads to make them stand out.
Or perhaps one of your Ork Boyz has shown a commendable capacity for violence. Add some checks or dags to encourage more of that sort of thing in the future.
” ‘Check’ out my new paint job!!”
In addition to painted markings, have a look around your unused sheets of transfers. Most of them include lots of optional extras, which means they can signify whatever you choose!
Veteran Skitarii are rad
Start Clean, Get Mean
Nearly every box of models comes with loads of optional extras on the sprues. When you’re starting your Crusade army project, consider saving some of these bits from when you first build your models. That gives you the option to add them on later to honour their deeds!
Let’s say you’ve decided to add a Primaris Invictor Tactical Warsuit to support your budding Primaris Vanguard force. After a few games, the twin ironhail autocannon might gain a Weapons Enhancement like Master-worked.
Bonus purity seal for effort
Use one or more of the kit’s several purity seals to make it clear this potent weapon has received special attention from a Techmarine! Nearly every kit has extra relics, badges, and icons that can be added to help tell their continuing narrative. Adding trophies, such as the heads or helmets of worthy victims…
Collects enemy helmets – still isn’t wearing his own…
… or symbols of purity like a trail of devotional incense…
… are a fantastic way to remember their heroic deeds and commemorate important victories.
Poke ‘Em Inna Eye
The Emperor’s Pointy Sticks don’t have exclusive rights to this manoeuvre and, unfortunately, some of your units might take a palpable blow now and then during the scope of your Crusade. When that happens, you have some amazing modelling opportunities ahead of you.
If one of your Characters suffers from a Battle Scar like this one…
… well, you know what to do. Not every faction has the capacity to graft bionics in an active war zone. Gouging out an eye or lopping off a limb are relatively easy, if grisly, conversions.
Some kits even include battle-damaged or walking-wounded models, like the new Necron Warriors you can find in the Command Edition box. The variety of heads means you can choose the more intact options in the beginning, and swap in the more heavily damaged bits as you go to show how they fall apart over time.
While the concept of deliberately defacing your models might seem a bit much, you’re guaranteed to get a reaction from your mates when they see your handiwork. Nothing brings a group together quite like a shared narrative.
Get Back to Bases
Another very simple trick is to beg, borrow, or buy bits and kits from the armies you fight most and decorate your bases with them. The odd smashed helmet, discarded weapon, or icon of the enemy, trodden underfoot, is a classic psychological power move.
Many kits include a decorative base, but you can easily change up certain elements to represent the ruins of your favoured enemy. The best thing about this is that they’re a simple addition after your model is finished. Simply glue the extra bit onto the base, paint it up, and you’re good to go!
Have Fun With It
The Crusade system is ideal for people who like to make their army unique and full of character. A little planning early on will help your models come alive as they transition from green recruits to gnarly veterans.
Now, get out there and grab a new Start Collecting! set or box of troops, and get building – there’s a war to be won!
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