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Themed Army Ideas
Other Imperial Guard Themed Army Ideas

The Ebon Leopards of Kente
Back in the days of 2nd Edition, I had a lot of Allies. As I like using themes, I wanted to link them to the Fighting Tigers. Rather than paint the allied troops in tiger stripes, I based each unit's theme on similar animals: lions, jaguars, leopards, etc. The Ebon Leopards were a single unit in my 2nd Edition army but would make an excellent full army.

Similar to the Fighting Tigers, I wanted the Leopards to have an exotic, non-European feel. I decided it would be cool to create an army with an African-type background. An all-Ebon Leopards army uses the rules from Codex: Imperial Guard with the adjustments noted below.

Kente is the eighth planet of the Regulus system. It has a hot climate and a single, very large continent mostly covered with dry grasslands. The humans that inhabit Kente have a feudal-level civilization of large tribal nations ruled by hereditary kings. The Kenteans are distantly related to the humans who settled Veda during the Dark Age of Technology, suggesting that their ancestors came during the same period of colonization. As the Kenteans must contend with a harsh climate, wild animals, and raids from other tribes, they make excellent warriors, and at last count 117 regiments, each named the Ebon Leopards of Kente, have been raised over the millennia.

The Kenteans are a proud and fierce people who would rather die than show pain or retreat before an enemy. Their loyalty to the Emperor and their hatred for his enemies is unquestioned. Kenteans believe that using machines to fight is demeaning to the true warrior, so they do not use vehicles of any kind.

An Ebon Leopards army uses the following regimental Doctrines:

  • Ratling Squads;
  • Rough Rider Squadrons;
  • Heavy Weapon Platoons;
  • Die-Hards; and
  • Close Order Drill. 
See pages 55-56 of Codex: Imperial Guard for details. 

An Ebon Leopards Command Platoon may not include Chimeras for the Command Squad, Special Weapon Support Squads, or Sentinel Support Squadrons. Sanctioned Psykers and Priests are not used. In addition, any Commissars taken must be Kenteans themselves.

The Kenteans, like many humans throughout the Imperium, find Ogryns repulsive, uncouth monsters and will have nothing to do with them. A genetic flaw in the Kenteans has produced a tribe of warriors comparable to Ratlings, and the Ebon Leopards use them similarly (think Pygmies!). Storm Troopers do not appear in Kentean armies, and as they do not use vehicles, neither do they have a need for Techpriest Enginseers. 

Ebon Leopards may not use Armored Fist squads, relying on large platoons with many heavy weapons to destroy the enemy. Kenteans do not employ Conscript Platoons.

Fast Attack
Ebon Leopards do not use Hellhounds or Sentinels, but will use Kentean Rough Riders, who ride zebra-like mounts bred larger and stronger for warfare.

Heavy Support
Kenteans dislike machines and will not field tanks, preferring to rely on Heavy Weapon Platoons for fire support.

Modeling and Painting
I used Cadian Shock Trooper figures, but Ebon Leopards would also look good using Mordian Iron Guard, Praetorians, or Catachan Jungle Fighters. An Ebon Leopards army is going to have a LOT of figures, so you want to keep your paint scheme simple. Their uniform, befitting their name, is Chaos Black from head to toe (no camouflage!). I used Bestial Brown for flesh and Dwarf Bronze for weapons.

Instead of using standard Imperial Guard colors for platoons, it would be more in character to use kente cloth designs. Sergeants and other leaders might have a banner with their personal kente design, as in African culture, kente cloth was originally reserved for royalty. Kente designs can be as simple or complicated as you like and look really cool!

How to make a kente design: Although kente designs can be complicated, even simple patterns look good. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to paint a simple pattern.

Step 1Step 2Step 3
You'd be surprised how easy it is to do a good kente design. 
Left: Step 1. Center: Step 2. Right: Step 3

1. Paint a light background: yellow or orange look best. Then paint vertical stripes in different colors over the background as shown above left.

2. Paint horizontal stripes across the image; "weave" the horizontal stripes "over" and "under" the vertical stripes, as shown above center.

3. The finished design will look like the example shown above right.

General Tactics
Hopefully by now you've taken a brisk walk around the block and you're feeling a bit less frazzled after reading that Ebon Leopards do not use tanks. "What kind of dope are you smoking?" you ask. "An Imperial Guard army without tanks--that's not just unthinkable, it's stupid. How in the world is anyone supposed to win any games without tanks?"

Well, let's be honest: the Ebon Leopards, like most themed armies, are probably best attempted by advanced players who don't mind losing a few games before they get the knack of using the army. Once you get past the idea of not having any tanks or Sentinels, you begin to see some advantages: one is the look on your opponent's face when he discovers that he is horribly outnumbered. Another is his confused response as he tries to figure out what part of your colossal army he should attack first.

The Ebon Leopards army is based around my axiom of Don't sweat the big guns, sweat the little guys--and for the Leopards to win they need lots and lots of little guys. By not taking tanks, you free up a lot of points you can spend on Infantry and Heavy Weapon Platoons: with all these squads, you might wind up outnumbering Orks and even Tyranids. Use those numbers--and all those heavy weapons--to your advantage.

Thanks to Ken Lacy for his suggestions on improving the feasibility of this Themed Army Idea.

Related Pages
Other Fighting Tiger Allies
Other Imperial Guard Themed Army Ideas

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© Copyright Kenton Kilgore, January 2000. Revised April 2004.


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