Although the Catachans are great fun, the real elbow in any Imperial Guard army (in my fluff-addled brain) simply must be the Commissariat. I’d originally bought several Commissars for my floundering Valhallan army that is sitting patiently in the margins. I’ve neither abandoned nor forgotten them, but figured that one less Commissar in their ranks would not be missed and might actually improve morale a tick.
Perhaps oddly enough, the Catachans don’t intuitively lend themselves very well the Commissariat theme, which made this connection a hard sell for me. After all, those sloppy uniforms and irregular gear are sure to raise an eyebrow, if not a bolt pistol, here or there.
Moreover, just as I wanted to rethink my Catachan coloring, I wanted to move away from the SS disposition of the standard scowling Commissar. Sure I wanted him to be willing to clip a trooper’s ear as well as the next fellow, but I also wanted to imagine his motives for doing so a bit differently.
So I got to thinking about how I might fit what I want into what I know, and the red that I mentioned yesterday was the key to my puzzle. Instead of creating a Commissar that looked quite traditionally like a WWII Gestapo agent (all black and black and black with red), I tried to reach back a bit further to WWI (and force the red to complement some other colors as well). In this sense, I’ve tried to tone down the black and to pick up some of those standard military greens and khakis, as well as that red.
Although not nearly finished, I feel the coloring is coming along quite nicely in conjunction with boots and the riding crop behind his back, all to make him seem more like a WWI Ace than some surly bureaucrat. And indeed, I’ve imagined that he is a pilot, a commissar, a double agent, as well as a descendant from a storied and noble house on his homeworld; the Catachan rank-and-file are compiled from several of the more trustworthy and notable peasantry from his familial estate. If he has to shoot one in the back, well, he would do so from a resigned sense of noblesse oblige moreso than from some radical imperial devotion. And like an ace of old, I imagine he drinks mightily with his men the night before a mission knowing full well that most of them would not be sitting in the hall the following supper.
…now for a name.
Oh, and then there's this guy. I suppose he represents one of the hands from the farm (I've always wanted to paint one of these guys).