Sunday, 8 June 2014

One Vision, One Purpose


"Stilgar, do we have wormsign?"
The month of May was almost entirely spent painting a fleet for my friend Goth Craig - the Covenant of Antarctica. Amid the steampunk historical theme of the Dystopian World, the Covenant offer something close to true science fiction. I love the H.G. Wells, League of Extraordinary Gentleman feel their background gives off, as well as the directions they have been taken in within the Dystopian Wars background - self-assured of their own superiority, acting often to prolong the war as much as stop it.

Hunted through the ice, the Titan-class Troop Transport can only watch in horror as the Aristotle-class Battleship rises from beneath the waves
The scheme for the Covenant of Antarctica was a difficult decision, and took more than one practise model to work out. Originally, I favoured a scheme close to the Studio - greys, blues, white and the like, with the energy weapons leaking Sturginium and glowing with power, but two attempts left me feeling cold - the camouflage scheme looked too haphazard, and a test model done in plain grey was too dull - that kind of scheme may work for traditional ships like Russians or Danes, but not the science-fiction madness of the Covenant.

Rapidly losing patience and realising I had to get the fleet done before my copy of Operation: Shadow Hunter arrived, I looked back over some previous projects for inspiration...

The Red Viper - Death Bringer-class Submarine of the Black Wolf Mercenaries
When I originally painted the Black Wolf Mercenaries, back in February, I took a great deal of inspiration from the Command and Conquer series of computer games, as discussed in great deal here. Sturginium seemed similar to Tyberium, the Callimachus Time Orb is just a giant Chronosphere, etc. This comparison was one of the ways in which I had tempted Goth Craig in trying out Dystopian Wars, and it seemed fitting that I continued the theme by painting the entire Covenant fleet in a red and black scheme inspired by the Brotherhood of Nod. 

The Red Viper and Covenant allies
Thematically this fitted well as the Black Company are funded by the Covenant of Antarctica, and having visual links between the two fleets would be good for future campaigns and games where they could play together as allies. The bold red and the black Terror Markings were taken from my Death Bringer-class Submarine Red Viper, and work especially well on the sleeker Covenant ships, like tiger stripes. 

Background wise, I justify it by claiming the captain of the Red Viper was a former Covenant military commander, sent to the Black Company for some perceived misdeed or to help train them - keeping his old colour scheme in the mean time. This easy background can help develop a narrative that can drive a campaign and lead to some interesting scenarios and situations, something I intend to discuss a lot more in a future post. 

Sirius-class Submarine Tender of the Commonwealth of Free Australia
With the red and black decided upon, a spot colour was needed, and here the Commonwealth of Australia painted in January came in (discussed here). The gold used for the energy turrets was taken as inspiration not only for the weapons of the Covenant, but their engines and a great deal of other details. This complemented the brown of the decking and the red/black camouflage well, adding a warmth to the models that could have been lost with simple silvers or brass.

Brass was kept for the Screw Drives, glazed with a verdigris wash to give a worn yet somewhat ethereal quality - turquoise being the colour associated with Sturginium in all of the fleets I have painted. This green/blue was also used for certain models where they had visible Generator machinery or other unusual protuberances, such as the Fresnel-class Gunships, the Aristotle-class Battleship and the Epicurus-class Sky Fortress. Lastly, yellow was used for any windows that could be painted, such as on the Heavy Destroyers and Corvettes, or the armoured portholes of the Diogenes-class Frigates. 

Onto the models...


Aristotle-class Battleship
Arronax-class Assault Robot
The maw has been pinned so it can be used closed or opened
Plato-class Light Cruisers
Far less potent than they were last edition, Plato-class Light Cruisers still pack a punch, and will be useful for taking out Small squadrons
Plutarch-class Heavy Destroyers
Now with statistics to match their size, the Plutarch has changed to squadrons of three rather than five
Diogenes-class Frigates
I like their segmented, lobster-like armour plating
Thales-class Corvettes
Capable of incredible speed, the Thales bring some Boarding potential to the Covenant fleet
Fresnel-class Gunship
Their powerful Energy Turrets make for a formidable threat at any Range Band
The Energy broadsides drip with the excess Sturginium
The Gunships are now limited to squadrons of two, perhaps to offset the potential of their massive weapon arrays
Callimachus-class Time Orbs
Under escort, the Callimachus moves slowly through the water
Epicurus-class Sky Fortress
This model was a lot of fun to paint, with lots of gold
The turret has not been glued to aid transport and posing for pictures! 
A rather large engine dominates the rear of the vessel
The assembled fleet - currently standing at 1750pts with upgrades

Since the Covenent force assembled here was originally made with the last edition in mind, it would be nice to update the fleet with some of the new ships - in particular, I have my eye on the new Cleomedes-class Cruisers and Hippasus-class Battle Cruiser. Overall, some more Mediums would bulk out the fleet nicely, as well as another carrier. I'm not a fan of the Diophantus-class Assault Carrier as I find it a bit "busy," so I'll probably pass on the new Naval Battle Group and try to pick up the ships I want on the Parts Store if and when they become available.

Adding some more Aerial models would also be a great step for the fleet, so the Aerial Support Group with the mighty Euclid-class Sky Dreadnought would be an obvious choice. A big investment however, and one that can wait while we play some games with the new edition!

After that, a Dreadnought and some of the Armoured Cruisers would round the fleet nicely and give Craig almost all the options possible. Perhaps not the most organised method of collecting a fleet, but sometimes they just grow organically - then you count everything up and discover you have 10,000pts!

The important thing for me is that the fleet has enough to play some good size games, and the scheme is simple enough that when we eventually do expand the fleet, it will be quick to bash out a few more squadrons. I may have a list of "Works in Progress" longer than my arm, but I can't say I'm not looking forward to painting some more Covenant vessels!

I only hope Craig has as much fun running them in the game.

Thanks for reading,



  1. Red for a nation that comes from ice and water and relies on stealth tactics?

  2. I think they look absolutely fantastic! Just goes to show how effective it can be moving away from what most would consider to be the "standard" scheme for a fleet.

  3. Look very cool. I really enjoy reading your blog and seeing your pictures. My young son also loves reading your campaigns.

  4. I really like your blog and all your articles (especially the AAR). And there can be no doubt that you are an exceptional painter. Wonderful gifted to put paint on small model miniatures and thus allow them to a way. In this case, however, I do not really get the choice of colours. It somehow doesn't look right for the CoA. Initially I saw the Aronax and was delighted.....unfortunately it doesn't work for me with the rest of the army......:). ABsolutely no offense meant and I dare to say that the paintscheme might not be everyone's cup of tea but still a brilliant paint job!!

  5. It's a very unusual scheme, no doubt, but I wanted to try to something different from the usual greys and whites.

    Maybe I went too different... but my client was pleased with them, so that's all that matters!

  6. as always, choice of colours and styles is very personal. Might start with closing and end with miniatures (in our case). if the client is pleased then all is good! And there never was any doubt about your painting skills. :) Maybe they are a very socialist, russian sub group of the CoA!