When Codex: Space Marines was released, I was determined to try out some of the new kits that came with it and, as mentioned in an older post, as I hadn’t worked on a tactical squad since 2nd Edition, it made sense to start here. But me being me, sense didn’t come into it and instead I bought the Lord Executioner model because it looked freakin’ awesome. But what chapter?
I wanted something that I could have fun with, that wasn’t too restrictive and that I could really go to town on. That ruled all of the 1st Founders because we all have a very fixed idea of what they look like and any deviation, while cool, doesn’t quite sit right with me. They can look amazing, but on a purely personal note, If I see an Ultramarine that has a green helmet or purple hands, it doesn’t fit in my fluffy brain.
So it was to be a successor. I got out the above picture that was released some years ago and spent a good week deliberating and contemplating and all the rest. Having worked previously on Grey Knights and ‘Just-post-heresy’ Death Guard, Silver and White were both out. If you’re going to do red, you do Blood Angels (personal opinion, I know, but let’s not mess about), and all black seemed a little dull when I really wanted to push my painting. Some of the more brightly coloured ones looked a tad ridiculous so I managed to cut out quite a lot of options.
I guess the Mortifactors always stood out. Black, Bone and Gold/Yellow. It’s subtle, and yet still striking. And no other chapter seems to have it, so there was some uniqueness, and not many people were working on them either. I had freedom, a cool look to work with and then there was the skull.
If GW like one part of the human/xenos anatomy, it’s the skull. There’s skulls on everything, everywhere. From the Crux Terminatis to the Fortress of Redemption, from Mugan Ra to Mephiston, from the Herald of Khorne to Beastmasters and from Chaplains to the Silver Skulls, they’re all over everything. I therefore assumed it would be pretty easy to put Mortifactors heraldry all over everything, being that their main piece of iconography is the skull.
Of course, GW would do a skull shoulder pad to go with all the other skulls they put on everything, right? No. No they don’t. Well, they do the Silver Skulls pad but that has a very stylised ‘grilled’ mouth. Of all the things they don’t put actual skulls on! So, I was going to have to create my own.
This proved to be a blessing actually. It gave my imagination a chance to really work out and for me to practice my freehand skills. This is what I came up with…
Though the Mortifactors are a successor chapter of the Ultramarines, they couldn’t really be any further removed from them in terms of their actions and appearance. They regard the Codex Astartes as a good start, but have developed their own rules and ideas over the last 10,000 years and believe many of the concepts in that book to be, at best, unimaginative. This allowed me to play around with the idea that they all add their own personal interpretation of the Skull to their armour. Each warrior would send time adding the skull to his own wargear before each battle, mixing their blood and the ash of Posul (their homeworld) into the paints.
I gave different elements of the shoulder pads – of the skulls – different meanings. Adding fire denoted special/heavy weapons specialists. The size of the skull denoted the length of their service to the chapter. Veteran Sgts and 1st Company replaced the yellow banding with metallic Gold. Some would have a bone and/or gold ‘M’ (either on its own or incorporated with the skull) to signify taking part in a specific campaign (as yet undecided by myself). And due to all of that, the below and above pictures should give you an idea of the variety that’s possible and how I’m doing this.
I’ll do another post about the fluff at a later date, but for now, it’d be great to get your feedback, so please leave a comment below. Onwards!