Plastic to Painted Feature: Super Mortian

XXXL Steel Legion Lads

Ever since I bought my “Steel Legion” Bullgryns from Mortian in Germany, I’ve been salivating over their *truly* excellent tank designs.

Up until recently, I’ve managed to sit on my hands (and wallet) because while excellent, I didn’t see a place for them in my IG army. The original “Mortian” tank was a bit larger than the Leman Russ, but not quite large enough to be a stand-in for the Macharius.

The Mortian “Medium” tank line, seems closer to Leman Russ or Chimera sized, but I already have plenty of Leman Russ’s in my army (enough that it would be a bit absurd to supplement with a comparatively expensive resin kit). However, when I saw the “Super Mortian” pop up on the site I knew they had me hooked.

Photo Credit – Mortian
Photo Credit – Mortian

It’s the same size (roughly) as the Macharius super heavy tank, and since the Forge World Macharius costs an eye watering $220, not including tax and shipping, I could finally justify one for myself. The ordering process allows for a huge amount of customization of the Super Mortian tank. The chassis, tracks, and secondary weapons are all ordered separately, allowing for a *bunch* of potential loadout options. I actually chose a relatively vanilla layout with regular-looking tracks and turret with the intent of using it as a Macharius Vanquisher stand-in if it ever ends up on the tabletop. So I placed the order (making sure to use my water-cooled credit card) and settled in to wait for a lovely resin-filled shipment from Germany.

The kit arrived in a series of well-packed boxes.

Given that this is an *advanced* boutique resin kit, there were no instructions inside, just the parts, packed in bubble wrap. If you’re still at the stage of needing instructions to build a kit, a Mortian tank isn’t the model for you friend.

The kit includes a bunch of different main weapon options, allowing you to customize the turret with different weapon loadouts. It includes a Macharius Vulcan-esque twin gatling (with really cool looking ammo drums) and a Macharius Omega-esque plasma option.

There is also a nice selection of very ornate double sided armor panels in case you want to turn this kit into the centerpiece of your army, or add some extra detail to the sides (or in my case, leave the plain-jane side facing outward).

Interestingly, given the flak that GW got over the hole in the bottom of the latest Rogal Dorn kit, the Super Mortian chassis is completely hollow, and there is no plate over the bottom of the tank. While unexpected, I’m okay with this. Given the size of the model, if it was solid resin it would probably sell for a much higher price. It’s not noticeable on the tabletop, and the model is structurally sound without a bottom plate.

The kit has excellent detail (superior to GW resin in most aspects), but it has quite a bit of flash to clean up. Amusingly, the resin in my kit was several different colors, lending it a bit of a harlequin appearance in bare resin. Some of the components were clearly 3d printed to a high standard, but all the larger pieces are cast resin. 

None of the components were significantly warped, which was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, there were a few areas where the casting mold seemed to slip a bit, and required a good bit of cleanup and shaping. There were also some areas that ended up with air bubbles, making thin spots in the resin, and in some cases cratering the surface.

Thus is life with low production resin kits. I’m sure if I reached back to Mortian, they would replace the affected parts, but I was too eager to get along with assembly, and figured that the issues are minor enough that  I can fix any problem areas with green stuff later.

All clean!

After a soapy bath and an extended de-flashing session, the parts were all ready for assembly.

Assembling the Mortian Tank was a pretty straightforward process for an old Forgeworld veteran. There is lots of sanding, trimming and test fitting with a resin kit like this, and going slowly and repeatedly test fitting parts is the way to go.

I did do some customization of the kit, largely in the form of kitbashing scale model kit accessories to add some fuel cans, comm antennas, tools, rolled tarps, and other greeblies to enhance the otherwise bare flat surfaces of the tank to give a bit of life and scale to the model. I did also grab some surplus accessories from the excellent new Rogal Dorn kit too.

Once assembled, I could do a little bit of a size comparison with some other models in my army. Clearly, this thing is much larger than a typical Leman Russ, and quite a bit larger than the new Rogal Dorn kit. It’s pretty much exactly the same table footprint as a FW Macharius tank, although it looks much larger, for reasons we’ll revisit in a minute. It’s much smaller than a Baneblade (as expected).

The Super Mortian shares a footprint with the Macharius tank, but appears *much* larger. Why is that? The turret! The Super Mortian turret is significantly longer, taller, and all-around bigger in every dimension than the Macharius turret. It lends the Super Mortian a much more modern look compared to the distinctly 40k gothic Macharius. The turret is also centered on the chassis, compared to the Macharius which has its turret set well back on the rear half of the tank and slightly asymmetrical (again, the centered turret is a more modern looking design).

This highlights an issue I’ve always had with GW tank models. I know that Warhammer has always had some wonky dimensions (which is endearing in oldhammer), but many of the vanilla GW designs seemed vaguely wrong to me… just off dimensionally compared to real tanks. The Super Mortian definitely fixed the issue and highlighted what had been wrong all along!

Their turrets are modeled way too small! To be specific, given the humongous diameter of the gun barrels on the Imperial Guard tanks, once the breech of the gun is factored in, there’s barely any room to fit in a gunner and loader, much less a commander!

That doesn’t even account for gun depression and elevation!

Not that kind of depression!

If you consider the gun barrel to be a long tube, some of that tube (the breech) will be inside the turret, and if you make the turret too low profile, the gun won’t be able to aim up or down very much, because the breech of the gun would collide with the turret roof!

You can see this with real world tanks. As the guns got bigger to take out heavily armored tanks (in an ever escalating battle between protection and firepower), the turrets got bigger and bigger too, just so they could fit in the necessary components and the crew to work them.

There are some exceptions, but if you look at real-world tanks, many times the turrets take up most of the body of the tank front to rear (and in most cases in width too)!

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Leopard 2 A7 rigth side

Nonetheless, looking at the Macharius and Super Mortian side by side there are a lot of shared design elements. The overall squared off front armor, the upright driver hatch, the twin hull-mounted heavy stubber. The Super Mortian does lack sponsons, but overall it does fit the 40k aesthetic and will fit in nicely with an Imperial Guard army.

Time to paint it up.

And the finished product!

 I didn’t end up putting the battalion flash on this model (I figure the super-heavies are a separate detachment). I may go back and enhance the paint job later, and put some decals on it. But for now, it’s three color tabletop-ready, and that’s good enough for me.

Is the Super Mortian worth it? I suppose that’s up to y’all to decide. After tax, shipping, and the exchange rate conversion from Euros, it’s about the same cost as the Forge World Macharius equivalent. You get a lot more customization options, and it looks really cool.

*I* think it’s cool. Which is all that really matters after all 🙂. 

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Something of an expert on printing, kitbashing, and hunting for models to keep his beloved abandoned GW factions alive a little longer. Usually finds the bandwagon about 10 years after it left the station. Can usually be found repairing old cameras or rusty hoopties in his spare time. Voted most likely to ask “Can I use this soda-can carnifex?” at an official tournament.

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