That is the question, isn’t it? This past week, I managed to grab an older plastic Leman Russ and a Basilisk for my IG army, and as I work on ideas for it I find myself second-guessing my original ideas. Originally, I’d been thinking about converting the army into a sort-of Armageddon Steel Legion army. However, as I go through the overall look and the logistics and such, I’m wondering if I just shouldn’t go with the standard Cadians.
It all comes down to look, personality, and long-term ease of expansion. Cost isn’t too much of an issue, although plastic Cadian heads are somewhat cheaper from bits vendors than the Pig Iron heads (it’s something like $6 for 20 Cadians versus $10 for 20 Pig Iron), although you get more variety in the Cadian heads, including unhelmeted heads for sergeants and commanders. Look, though, is huge. The Pig Iron heads do not look like Steel Legion heads, no matter how much I’d like them to. Also, I can’t sculpt worth beans, so I’ll never make the Cadian bodies look like they have longcoats and gloves. At best, they’ll look like bad knock-offs. They won’t look bad on their own, but they’ll never look like Steel Legion troops. Would I rather have Cadians that definitely look like Cadians, or not-Cadians that don’t look like anything in particular?
Confusing the matter more are these guys:
I have a squad of 10 of the Forge World hostile environment Cadians, presumably to use as Storm Troopers or Veterans. These guys fit the Cadian look far more than the Steel Legion look (because they are Cadians), and don’t look like the Pig Iron heads at all. I can’t head-swap them, either, because the heads and torsos are one piece. To keep the look of the army generally more coherent, that puts points in the Cadian side of the equation.
As far as Personality, well, the Pig Iron heads kind of lack that entirely. Oh, they have a very definite look, with a distinct WW2 German helmet-plus-gas-mask feel. The problem is, though, that they’re all the same. Every single one of them is identical. I already have one army of faceless, identical infantry (Tau Fire Warriors, anyone?), and I don’t know if I want a second one. Cadian heads, though, at least vary somewhat. Sure, there are only so many options, but that’s still more than “one”. I kind of like the idea of my IG troopers being semi-unique people; even my Black Templars get to have different helms spread across the army. Sure, it means painting a little bit of fleshtone, but I can live with that.
Finally, there’s ease of expansion. I can take Cadian kits off the shelf and use them as-is without having to worry about whether I’ll run out of heads and need to order more. That makes shelf-to-tabletop time a lot shorter and the process a lot easier.
So… am I bailing out on this too easily? I mean, this isn’t my primary, secondary, or even tertiary army, so I’m not deeply invested in it. I can still use my DKoK Quartermaster as is, I think; company commanders can be geared out however they’d like. Or he could just be a display piece and I can use standard Cadian commanders. The more I think about it, the Cadian solution seems to be the way to go for a consistent-looking army with some personality. There’s nothing saying I can’t change up the color scheme from the standard green-and-khaki, of course, to make them unique.