Finally! My Blood Angels Veteran Tactical Squad is, at last, done. The Horus Heresy now welcomes Squad Castor – The Black Helms, 1st Squad of the XIIIth Chapter of the IX Legion. It’s a bit of a long title, so let’s just call them the Black Helms, shall we? It’s taken me a couple of months to find the time to finish them, but I’m happy I took the time – not too shabby looking, and certainly unique, even if I do say so myself.
This marks the last bit of the Betrayal of Calth box and the penultimate unit of ‘Phase 1’ of my 30k Blood Angels Legion project. And boy, do these chaps like setting fire to things. I showed them off in the WIP from last month, but you can see better above that these guys are certainly packing plenty of templates (which should still be around in 30k for a little while at least, even if they’re not long for 40k). Let’s take a look at the rest of the squad shall we?
So, why the black helmets? Well, I initially planned to paint them gold, as per the conventions regarding Blood Angels vets, but for whatever reason, this didn’t sit quite right when I was imagining them. This project, as long term readers will recall, has drawn a lot from the 2nd Ed 40k box art from John Blanche, and there’s not a whole lot of gold going on there. I guess there could be, but there isn’t and the effect felt a little alien to the rest of the army’s aesthetics. Then I realised that, without the Death Company around in this era, and with no other unit claiming the colour for their helmets, I thought; why not? I used mostly Forge World upgrade BA heads and I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. Also, this can add to the unique narrative I’m forging for the XIIIth of the IX. Black means death to the Blood Angels, and maybe these warriors have cheated death for so long, that they wear its own colours in defiance. Something like that, anyway.
I also wanted a bit of yellow throughout to make them pop. Maybe this shows off that they have the ability to operate as assault vets, though on this occasion they’re favouring a tactical load out. The knee pads, and yellow blood drops on their shoulders help to liven them up a bit, and help to tie them in to the themes of my army as a whole.
You’ll notice that my Legion Vexilla is a little different for this squad too – a piece borrowed from the Sanguinary Guard kit that helps these guys to both fit in and stand out in the army. The heavy flamers are a great looking bit of kit but if you want to avoid hobby-inspired rage, you should be warned that fitting the fuel line from the tanks on their backs to the weapons can be a nightmare. They actually led to me thumping a model with my fist (don’t worry, I pulled the punch) for the first time in decades. “Fiddly” doesn’t begin to describe it. But hey, that’s what super glue, green stuff and therapy are for, right? Oh, and as with other minis in this army, heavy flamers mean white flames and their shoulder pads do help them to pop a little more.
I’ve given the squad a bit of height and variation with some very simple but effective basing too. Half on slate, half not – it’s a very easy way to keep things interesting and it takes very little effort to do. Oh, and the sergeant is wearing the Master of Signals’ backpack. It was meant to be the nuncio vox upgrade from Forge World, but I mixed them up, and in the end decided to stick with this. I’m not intending on using my Master of Signals any time soon, and it does look rather fancy – again, it helps to make him a little different from the other sergeants.
Speaking of the sarge, meet Sergeant Castor. He’s got his black flames, yellow cloth, and even a golden Sanguinius mask to be getting along with. He also has his trusty hand flamer and a stonking great power fist for no other reason than it looks cool, and when you’re packing a squad like this full of bells and whistles, the additional points involved with power fists… well, you just think ‘Why not?’. And there’s the “SaOlNpS hOaF lHeOgRiUoSn” (read the caps and lower case letters separately) helmet on his base, with its bolt hole. I’m really happy with various parts of this particular mini. The power fist looks good, it’s one of the best bare heads I’ve done, and that’s some of my best ever script work on both the fist and his shoulder. Winner.
And there you have them! All done, and on to the next project. Which will definitely not be another 10 man squad. Not for a while at least. No, I think these guys need a unique and fancy ride… but more on that later.
Was a pleasure working on these, and I hope you like them too. Any comments, or questions, just let me know in the section below. I hope your own hobby efforts are bringing you plenty of satisfaction. Onwards!