Saturday, 7 April 2012

Beyond The Iron Sky

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a good game in possession of a post-1930 setting, must be in want of Nazis. They are the perennial villains - no-one minds how many are slaughtered in game after game because you know that they are utterly, utterly Evil. And yet they are villains with class, sporting crisp, stylish uniforms and slick eye-candy technology to go with them.

As the newly released 'Iron Sky' shows, we still haven't had our fill of Nazi villains, even in a future setting.

In most post-WWII settings the premise is that, somehow, the Nazis were prepared for the end of the war and had men and material spirited away to somewhere secluded where they would bide their time, gather their strength and rise again. Popular choices for this hideaway are Antarctica or the Moon. The Moon? Well, yes. After all it is a True Fact that the Nazis had flying saucers so space-travel was well within their capabilities.

Flying Saucers
Combine the two and you have ... Antarctic Space Nazis. A phrase ripe with possibilities!

So where is this going in terms of HOTT? After all, HOTT is nominally a game for fighting battles in a fantasy ancient or medieval setting. Antarctic Space Nazis couldn't fit into that could they? Well, let's not forget the other thing Nazis are remembered for - magic. Dark, evil magic. Meddling with Things Man Was Not Meant To Know. This, then, gives them a foot (or tentacle) in the fantasy door.

So what if there was a setting that provided an ancient/medieval-style background filled with magic but with room for awesome technology (and designer uniforms) as well? The Antarctic Space Nazis could find a home as a HOTT army there, couldn't they?

If only such a setting existed.

Of course it does. Readers of this blog, and anyone who know me, will know that one of my favourite HOTT settings is the grim darkness of the 41st millennium where the only reality is constant war - the world of Epic 40K. There's no getting around it - Antarctic Space Nazis would be right at home in the Warhammer 40K universe.

OK - perhaps if you take the Games Workshop fluff as gospel it's obvious that they'd be a small, and easily gutted, fish in a big pond. But fluff can be ignored or fiddled with. After all, at the end of the day we just want to get great figures on the table to fight great battles, and if the 'history' has to suffer in the name of a good game, who cares? This is HOTT.

How did they get there, though? After all, the gap between 1945 and 41,945 is quite big. They couldn't really have hidden on the moon or on Antarctica all that time, could they? Someone would have noticed. Well, do you know what? I have no idea. They're there. They're in the 41 millennium, and they're ready to fight. Perhaps they travelled in time. Perhaps they have been hiding out in a parallel universe. Or perhaps they are a joke being played on the rest of reality by a Chaos lord.

All of the Antarctic Space Nazi tropes can be re-skinned and modified to fit the Epic 40K universe without losing their essential Naziness. What we have is something with the combined-arms military approach of the Imperial Guard, but with weirder science and access to the kind of dark magics you'd expect from a Chaos force. Slick technology combined with Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know. We can assume that since WWII they have kept abreast of technological innovations - or have learned fast - but have put their own design stamp on everything.

Since they are a remnant, perhaps they have the limited population problem of the Eldar as well. Maybe they only have a limited number of well-equipped and motivated troops of their own, but are backed up by hordes of ... something. Subject races could be one possibility, but more in keeping with their nature would be - undead. The awesome Antarctic Space Nazi combination of technology and sorcery means that if you die fighting them you are likely to be reanimated, given a gun and sent out to fight for them in the next battle. And the next. And the next.

So, what would we have? I will apply the same criteria for HOTT classifications that I used for my canonical Epic 40K armies.

Infantry - The remnants preserved for thousands of years are going to be the best of the best, equipped with the best of the best and led by the best of the best. They're Blades. But not too high a proportion. To make up for their low numbers, we also have the undead. They'd be Hordes.

Super-Heavy Tank
Vehicles - There's no reason to assume that the late-war obsession with big tanks would have gone away, so super-heavy Behemoth vehicles are a must. But 'conventional' Panzers would also be present as Knights. And a proper military force - and such they are - would have reconnaissance units we can rate as Riders. The Knights would obviously be the commonest type.

Artillery - Take your pick; from field guns to siege guns to death-rays,  you could have the lot.

Iron Sky Concept Art
Aerial Elements - The Nazis escaped to the Moon in flying saucers, so their air-arm can be based around those. True we could have all kinds of gorgeous aircraft as well, but I think deep down it's the flying saucers that would give the correct look and feel, and would be classed as Flyers. Armoured airships, akin to those used by the Squats, can support them as Airboats.

Battle Robot
Weird Science - The Death Rays were mentioned above, and we can safely assume that the conventional infantry have been tinkered with to give them a survival advantage. Indeed just about anything listed so far could have benefited from Weird Nazi Science. But how about the fruits of some extreme genetic tinkering, producing a true Übermensch? They'd be a Hero, of course. And let's not forget a giant robot or two as a Behemoth.

Secrets Man Was Not Meant To Know - This opens up all sorts of possibilities. Obviously an element of dark sorcerers can be included as a Magician. Indeed Hitler himself, either as a clone, a robot or a saved brain in a jar, could be included as part of the element, making it the general. Werewolves or summoned nasties could be included as a Warband or Beasts, but the obvious candidate for this category would be a Dark Elder God. 

So, in keeping with my usual format for Epic 40K armies (12AP of compulsory troops, plus 12AP of options) we have:

Antarctic Space Nazis

3 Blades (Infantry) @ 2AP
2 Knights (Panzers) @ 2AP
2 Hordes (Undead) @ 1Ap

Plus: Knights (Panzers @ 2AP, Behemoth (Super-Heavy Tanks or Giant Robot) @ 4AP, Riders (Bikes or Light Vehicles) @ 2AP, Magician (Sorcerers) @ 4AP, Artillery (Guns or Death-Rays) @ 3AP, Hero (Übermensch) @ 4AP, Flyers (Saucers) @ 2AP, Airboat (Airships) @ 3AP, Warband or Beasts (Werewolves) @ 2AP, God (Elder God) @ 4AP

So what about suitable figures? My personal choice would be to go for retro-1940s vibe - a triumph of style over the intervening 39,000 years. So having things look as close to WWII kit as possible is a must.

For the infantry you could just 6mm WWII figures, although something from a sci-fi range in power armour might work as well. For the undead just use WWII troops; lots of them. Tanks in Epic 40K tend to be over-scale, so it's probably best to look at 10mm vehicles. Obviously start with WWII German kit, and then give them some radical sci-fi conversions - ray-guns and extra pointy-bits. You can play up the sorcery by making a demon/tank hybrid. Armoured cars converted to hovercraft might make nice Riders. Be careful not to hack the six-wheeled armoured cars about too much, though, as this can be considered heresy in some quarters*.

The aerial elements can be cobbled together from various toys or items from such games as Aeronef or Dystopian Wars.

Demon Panzer
As for the other bits - a suitable Elder God figure can be sourced from just about any 28mm fantasy range. After all, what does an Elder God look like? Just make it look nasty and/or other-worldly and you're sorted. Epic 40K Eldar or Chaos figures would make good sorcerers. And some kind of clunky robot toy would be suitable for the Battle Robot - you can still (at the time of writing)  find some Transformers capsule toys in slot machines that might work well at a pinch, although I'd want something Old Skool clunkier.

So, there you go - you're now ready to see if the year 41,000 is the year that that the Fourth Reich begins ...

*Local Club Joke

1 comment:

  1. I thought the Death Korps of Kreig, or Armageddon Steel Legion would work for the Nazi's in spaaaaaaaaaace! After you file off the Aquila symbols of course!

    Maybe the Nurgle Plague Marines with a modded breather pack would work for Ubermensch, provided the pox marks are filed/minimised to "Bad-ass bullet holes that'd kill anyone but him."


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