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Themed Army Ideas
Fighting Tiger Black Ops

Fighting Tiger Black Ops: Maya   by James Arnold
And so it was that Maya became the next Marine to work on. If you recall in my article about Hadin, things were not looking so ducky after my run in with some bad priming. After an extended hiatus from the project, and from painting in general, I’ve finally begun to work my way back into the groove of things. And, as always, there were challenges to deal with. 

Bio in Brief 
Maya was always a bit of a black sheep…tiger…thing.

While most children would be out playing in the hot Vedic sun all day, the girl would often sit alone in the shade of a tree. For years, she silently wrestled with her own mind, trying to find a sense of peace that so many her age knew. At night, she was haunted by dreams of horrible carnage, battlefields on alien planets, and the screams of the soldiers waging war there. Being the introvert she was, Maya never told anyone about her problems, preferring to fight an inevitably losing battle by herself.

As she grew older, the visions only became more intense, and more graphic. Maya was desperate for a moment of stillness, taking up any opportunity she could for distraction. By the time she was ten, she had become an amazing athlete. Finding peace in the midst of heavy exercise, Maya quickly took up the mantle of any physical activity she could find. From sports, to martial arts, to manual labor, Maya was involved. She worked tirelessly, and blissfully, all day. She had finally found some time when her mind could be at rest.
As she sought greater and greater heights of physical achievement, it wasn’t long until the Tigers took notice. This girl, only fourteen, was unstoppable, and fought like a daemon. When it came time for her induction into the chapter, it was Zaghnal Maratha, the Tigers' most powerful Librarian, that was able to bring some closure to her nightmares. 

Maya was a latent psyker, cursed in that she could detect the disturbances of the Warp but did not have sufficient power to manipulate it, much less shield herself from the horrors that lay beyond. However, her body and mind were still very strong, and Maratha took Maya in as his personal assistant, both on and off the battlefield. He taught her ways to cope with her curse, and gave her shelter in a psychically shielded barracks, where her nightmares could not reach her. Maya slept soundly for the first time in her entire life. 
However, it was one day during the Tigers battle with the forces of Chaos that Maya was to change forever.

The battle was a bloody skirmish on the outskirts of a small town in northern Veda. The Chaos forces were heavily entrenched, and constantly bombarding the Tiger opposition. It was when one of these shells landed a little too close to home that Maya had a premonition. In her vision, she saw the shell striking the Rhino parked next to her unit, and the resulting explosion of shrapnel slicing Zaghnal Maratha to shreds. 

In the split second before the explosion actually happened, she tackled the Librarian, knocking him to the ground, covering his body with hers. The explosion happened as it had been seen, and the shrapnel cut into Maya, leaving Maratha unscathed. Her actions saved his life that day, and won the battle as a consequence, but Maya paid dearly for her sacrifice. The shrapnel severely damaged her body and destroyed half her face. Lying on the field, she felt the soothing peace from the Apothecary who tended her wounds. 

“Sister, do you desire the peace of the gods?”

Maya shook her head. “Not yet, Brother. There is more that must be done.”

It took days of surgery and mechanical augmentation, but Maya lived. In her premonition, she had seen not only how to save the Librarian Maratha, but other things as well. Darker things. Maya joined Janhavi and her unit with little or no explanation as to why, just that she needed to be with them. Maya knew that her service with the Black Ops would get her close to those things that she had seen, and that she had to stop.

Years of combat in the Black Ops have transformed Maya. Wearing a camouflage hood to match her armor, she has become a silent, ruthless killer on the battlefield. Her psychic powers have grown slightly and stabilized. She now has an ironclad grip on the voice that used to whisper horrible things to her. She uses her psychic energy to mask her movements and noises, to avoid detection and infiltrate behind enemy lines. She rarely speaks, and when she does, she means it. She, like everyone else on her team, is a soldier utterly dedicated to the art of stealth and war. 

Bitz and Pieces 
A list of the bitz I used to construct Maya: 

  • Head: From the new Dark Angel veteran box
  • The rest of the bitz are standard issue and can be found in pretty much any Space Marine box 



Conversions: Converting Through Painting
As always, the head presented me with the greatest challenge. Although I purchased three models to use for female heads, one of them vanished. I was back to square one. I still had the one head that I could use for Janhavi, but that left Maya sans noggin. So, it was back to the drawing board. 

It just so happens I’m also working on a unit of Dark Angel Veterans and had the extra heads lying around. (A quick side note: The Dark Angel Vet box is amazing. It’s loaded down with a huge assortment of bitz, way more than five guys worth, and at $22, it’s a steal.) I looked at some plastic Elder heads, but they were so slender and tiny that it looked comical to see them on a hulking Marine body. As it turned out, there was a Dark Angel head that was cloaked and half bionic. Surely if ever there was a chance to fake your way into a sex change, this would be it. 

I didn’t want to try scraping away at the plastic to change the face. The sculpt is nice and smooth and even the slightest dent from a misapplied Exacto blade would look horrible. So, how to change the look without modeling? Paint!

I came up with a mental list of elements that would need to be changed/altered to give the face a female impression through paint:

  • Smoother face lines
  • Softer jaw line
  • Larger lips
  • Smaller nose
  • Razor-thin or no eyebrows
The face sculpt had a rigid line to the side of the mouth to emphasize the screaming pose. I simply ignored it and highlighted the areas that I knew would smooth out the facial expression. The jaw line was well hidden from the hood, so I left it alone to de-emphasize or soften it. The lips were easy to enlarge by bridging (what I assume to be) the gap between the lips and the teeth on the lower lip. The nose was left a shade darker to make it look smaller, and the eyebrows were just nonexistent. 

After a few minutes of painting, I was stunned to find a female face looking back at me. Thank you, Painting 1 and 2 from my first college. You finally came in handy. 


Five and down and one to go. Next up, the boss herself: Janhavi!
 
 

Related Pages
Fighting Tiger Black Ops: Introduction
Fighting Tiger Black Ops: Fiction and Articles
 

Posted October 2007. Used with permission.
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle