Ever since I got back into 40K I've loved the Steel Legion figures. When I first started building my Imperial Guard in 3rd ed, it had to feature them. However, being metal figures at the time I could only afford a few squads, and the rest of the army evolved into plastic Cadians and Warzone figures. A few tanks, some Rough Riders made from Warzone figs and old Bretonnian knights, and some Ogryn made from plastic WHFB Ogres followed over time.
|Some of the IG in their old uniforms.|
Gradually I got my hands on enough Steel Legion figures to do the whole army using just them. I could have added them to the existing force, but the army was feeling kind of old and the painting was pretty flat. So, I decided to redesign the force and ended up with the green-uniformed Merkan 76th, using (almost) only Steel Legion figures. The other elements were sidelined or sold off, and the Steel Legion figures and tanks were stripped down to be repainted.
|Alright men - into the Simple Green!|
While there are some tanks (three Russes and a Hellhound) the Merkans are primarily an infantry horde, working on the principle of lots of bodies with guns as opposed to fancy specialist units or walls of transports.
Here they are now, after being repainted and with the mishmash being replaced by more Steel Legion bodies.
|Two normal Leman Russes|
Command squad - vet, Master of Ordnance, Officer, standard bearer, heavy bolter team. Their job is to stand around somewhere the banner and Officer can be close enough to bolster the heavy weapon squads. If the Master of Ordnance hits anything, bonus. If there's a spare order available his shots can benefit from the Officer as well.
Platoon Command Squad. There are two like this in the army. Grenade Launchers to be able to fire on the move, being a second wave to claim objectives and staying close enough to give orders.
Platoon Infantry Squad with Plasma Gun. There are six like this, three in each Platoon. I usually don't combine the squads, instead putting a thin line up front to provide extra cover and assault protection for those behind, and trusting to retaliatory firepower to avenge them.
Veteran Squad with three Plasma Guns and a Power Fist (using a Chaos Space Marine gauntlet). I added the Deathskull blue stripe on the Ork heads to keep the green Ork hide from blending in too much with the Merkan green uniforms, and to tie in with the blue of the plasma coils. These guys are usually held in reserve, sometimes with the big R, in order to really zap some threatening unit like Terminators.
Heavy Weapons Squads. (The shell held by the mortar loader is actually red, not hot pink, but when fixing the picture colors it suffered.) In the 1850 lists I normally run two squads of Missile Launchers, one squad of Mortars, one squad of Heavy Bolters and one squad of Lascannons.
For larger games I sometimes make room for Commissar Yarrick, or Robert T. Frederick as he's called on Merka. He doesn't really add much to the army, but I had the model and the Steel Legion figures seem to like having him around. I may try sticking him in with a blob squad and seeing how that works out.
You can find a number of battle reports featuring the Merkans, and their more generic predecessors on the Battle Reports page or by searching through the tags. They may not always win, but they'll put out a lot of shots before going down!
Some newer additions to the ranks of the Merkan 76th:
|Manticore and Chimera|
|General Starken, Col. Straken stand-in|
|Moe Berg, Marbo stand-in|