What weighs half a tonne, is made of metal and is a real pain to paint? My Blood Angels Land Speeder for my Horus Heresy/30K force, that’s what. It’s been really fun to work on this, but also a real struggle too because of, well, plenty of reasons that I’ll get to in a short while. Anyway, without further ado, let us take a closer look at the model that I’m calling ‘The Hammer’.
As you may well know, your 30k legion armies can take Land Speeder Javelins and they make an excellent addition to any force. The Forge World model looks amazing and you can take some real firepower with each one. I wanted to add one of these to my Blood Angels force as I felt I needed some Fast Attack, but, you see, there’s always been one type of Land Speeder that I’ve always wanted to paint and play with since I was a wee nipper and you’re looking at it.
I picked this up from Ebay for less than £15 (plus shipping) and I got a pretty good deal as it was missing its weapons – parts I wasn’t going to need anyway. I picked up the pintle mounted weapons set from Forge World for another project (as yet unstarted) and one of the Contemptor Dreadnought missile racks as well. These have given me a tank hunting speeder that can dash into the back lines and start taking apart some armour.
I also used an arm from a 40k space marine, an icon from the Blood Angels upgrade pack, some shoulder pads and some etched brass from Forge World to add some details to the kit. The old metal mini weighs so much that your wrist starts to hurt if you’ve been holding it for more than 5 minutes, but it’s also a little light on details, so these little embellishments helped to bring it up to snuff. They also added to the weight, so a wrist support was used at all times. Seriously, if anyone calls a Stormraven a ‘flying brick’ again, get them to pick up one of these.
I’ve named it the ‘Land Speeder Hammer’ as opposed to the Javelin and I like to think that it’s an experimental mark that the Blood Angels are testing out for the Mechanicum. Also, I’m pretty sure I could use it to bang a nail into a wall. And I’m not talking plaster – I’m talking brick.
So you might have noticed the flames. Yes, they are very cool. I’m really happy with the way they turned out and it really helps to make the model a little less bland. The yellow helmets were something that I ‘ummed’ and ‘aahed’ about for a little while, but they work so I’m glad I went in that direction. That being said, I hate painting yellow – it’s a knack I don’t have yet as I don’t get a lot of practice with it. I also painted the flying stand black. I hate the look of the clear plastic stands and this works fine for me. Will a truly elegant solution ever be found? Well, there’s that guy who used magnets to make his Eldar jetbike float but I don’t think there are any magnets strong enough to lift this thing.
There’s lots of light weathering too. Mainly because it fits in with the army and looks good, but also because it hides a lot of issues with the old metal. Weird lines, lumps and scratches. They don’t build them like they used to, and that’s a good thing. Although the old styling is still pretty boss.
I was reminded again that I hate painting metal minis. I love the nostalgia, but in practice, they’re a pain. When someone says ‘but if it’s got undercoat on it, isn’t it the same as painting plastic’ you may laugh in their face. The brush moves differently, the paint sits and dries differently, and details get lost fast. I’m really looking forward to working on a plastic mini next, and preferably not one with so many hard to reach spots. Half of the parts needed to be attached, detached and reattached all over again just so that I could get to everywhere that needed painting. Not fun. Long live plastic minis.
And etched brass can be a pain too. But even with all of that in mind, it was still great to finally paint one of these minis. I’ve wanted to paint one of these since I was a kid, and I actually love the blocky looks. And I’m thrilled with how the underslung missile pod looks – I love it when a plan comes together. Another childhood dream realised – always a nice feeling.
With that, I think I’m done for the year when it comes to Blood Angels. Well, at least when it comes to posting things up here. Let’s just say that I’ve been scrubbing a bit more resin lately. Anyway, I hope you like the Land Speeder – it really was great fun to see it come to life, even with all of its flaws.
I thought I’d end this post with a group shot of all the Blood Angels I’ve done so far. These have all been done this year, and all of them have been shared here. More will come in 2017, so keep your eyes open for those. All that’s left to do is for me to wish you a very merry Christmas. Onwards!
What’s big, red and smashes through fortress walls that it’s just set fire to? Yup, it’s my Blood Angels Leviathan Siege Dreadnought – the latest addition to my Heresy Era, 2nd Ed Inspired Army. And I’m very happy with this guy. Let’s take a closer look.
Firstly, it’s a lovely kit. Another Forge World cracker. What’s really nice is that it comes with instructions that I sort of followed (sort of). It’s not cheap, but when you see the size of this thing… well, for those of you haven’t seen one in the flesh, this is what it looks like next to a Contemptor Dreadnought:
Yeah. Chunky. As I said, it’s a lovely kit, and so are the weapon arms – also massive. I based him simply on stone/ash that ties in well with the rest of the army. I equipped my Siege Dreadnought with a phosphex launcher, two heavy flamers, the frankly “ridiculawesome” Cyclonic Melta Lance and the Siege Claw with inbuilt Meltagun. So that’s four melta shots, a wall of flame and a claw that will act like a tin opener to most tanks. Not bad, though having worked out the points cost, ‘not bad’ is the least it should be!
While the Contemptor is a shiny, venerable hero of legend, the Leviathan is a hulk that wades into oncoming fire and thinks little of it. For this reason, I haven’t given him any gold trim or intricate freehand. Also, along with the dust kicked up on the lower legs, there’s a lot of weathering throughout, from oil on the metal areas to the black blotches indicating shots that did nothing other than make him grumpy. You won’t like him when he’s grumpy.
The one bit of embellishment that I did give him was the white flames. These are close to the flame weapons, primarily because of this guy:
He’s on the 2nd Ed box art and I really enjoy the idea of everyone in my army using heavy flamers having these white flames as part of their armour. Yes, the guy above is technically using just a flamer, but I intend to have a lot of heavy flamers and I’d like to use this idea for them as if will highlight the importance of this weapon within this legion. On this Siege Dreadnought, I weathered it up a bit too – scorches from the flamers and few points where the white paint has come off to reveal the red underneath – I’m pretty happy with how it looks.
You can see more examples of that weathering here – the kicked up ash, the black marks of gunfire and, in this case, the exhausts. This was done with a knackered old brush applying Rhinox Hide and then Abaddon Black. There are so many details in this kit – it really is a joy to paint, even if its size and intricacy make it seem a little daunting too.
This weapon really is gloriously ridiculous, both in terms of its rules (although 6″ more range would have made it amazing) and its looks. I want to meet the Tech Priest or Magos who picked up a multi melta and said ‘hey, we should strap a few of these together to see what they can do’. That’s my kind of thinking.
So there you have it. Done and on to the next project which, true to form, I have no idea what it will be yet – though keep checking back to find out. My guess is it will still be Blood Angels related but we’ll see. This guy was a treat to paint and I’m very happy with how he turned out. A true monster that can weather just about anything the traitors and heretics of the time might throw at him. And for those of you still trying to work out how big he is, I’ll leave you with a shot of how big he is compared to a standard dreadnought. Onwards!
Another unit all done! Yes, it took me too long, but it was worth it – I love the look of my new Blood Angels Legion Tactical Squad and they’ve definitely got that 2nd Ed feel to them that I was going for. What’s more, you all got to follow along with the tutorial posts which was really fun. Happily, the photos here are a lot better than the ones in those tutorial posts, so let’s take a look at the latest addition to my small, but growing, Blood Angels Legion army.
In a rare feat, I don’t think there’s anything that I really had issues with here. It was a very comfortable project to work on and it all went well. Between now having a grip on the Blood Angels paint scheme that I’m working to, and the fact that this is a relatively simple kit, there just aren’t too many negatives to bring up, and that’s great!
Yes, I still love those reds (how could you not!) so that’s a win. I think I got the eyes pretty much spot on with these guys too, and the bolters, each with their different markings, look really good as well, if I do say so myself.
I still really like the ‘winged blood drop’ shoulder pad from Forge World (used on my despoiler squad) – that gleam from the ‘Ardcoat really brings it to life. And the subtle ‘weathering’ (if you can call it that) – the kicked up ash and slight scratches really do a lot to break up the red armour and add a little bit of recent history to the models.
The kit itself is fun, but I have to say, working on 9 basic bolters can seem a laborious task. It’s amazing how much you miss the occasional melta gun or missile launcher. While those options are both part of the kit, these guys are going to be my most basic troop choice so it’s boring bolters only. It’s a bit of a churn, but it’s worth it to see these guys like this. And the reason, I did 10 and not 20? Well, I’d like to have them riding to war in a rhino one day, and besides, if I were doing 20, I’d be writing this in December! Also, I have plans for the other 10…
There aren’t too many different bits on these guys – I only used a couple of the more basic heads from the Forge World Blood Angels upgrade kit to break things up a little but it still felt like a bit of a slog at some times. The Vexilla was a nice touch to break things up though, and I’m really happy with how this one came out.
The backpacks all have their knives on them – a good looking piece but a tad fiddly to add on to the pack. These were the last things I painted for these guys and while they only took me 30 minutes-ish to paint each, I’m still glad to see the back of them – ha ha.
And I’ve done my first blond haired Blood Angel too – the Sergeant who wields a chunky combi-flamer to further add to the firepower that this squad can bring. Blond is actually much harder to paint than I first thought, but I think I nailed it with this guy. And I still really like the way those black shoulder pads frame the mini. Can’t wait to clean house with this guy on the table top!
That’s that done then. Another squad completed and on to the next one – whatever that may be. In the meantime, I might indulge in a week away from my paintbrushes – just a week – to give myself a little break. I think I’ve earned it. But stay tuned for the next post. Onwards!
Welcome back hobby chaps and chapettes. Today is the last instalment in my very basic guide to painting Blood Angels legion tactical marines and we’re going to be focussing on the backpack and, as an added bonus, I’ve included the Legion Vexilla as well, as this is a fun little bit to paint up.
This week’s photography issue: White balance. I’ll not go on any more about it, instead, let’s dive in.
Oh, but one last thing to remind you of: These are basic tutorials. If you’re looking for something challenging and groundbreaking, you won’t find it here. These are just little guides to help your average painter get something good looking on the table top. And for this tutorial, you’ll need these paints:
Now, I’m not going to go over in too much detail about painting the backpack itself because, if you’ve read the previous posts in this series (links at the bottom of the page), you’ll know all about painting red, silver and black in this style, but here’s a quick refresher for you.
For this, I’m saving some time by painting up the parts on the Vexilla that correspond too. Oh, and remember to keep your paints a little thin, giving them a nice, smooth consistency.
1. Mephiston Red, Abaddon Black and Leadbelcher go down in the appropriate places, before being washed with Nuln Oil. Remember: when it comes to adding the wash to the red, just do the recesses and around the bolts.
2. Evil Sunz Scarlet edge highlight for the red areas, and a Leadbelcher lowlight on the silver – just catch those lower edges.
3. Dawnstone edge highlight on the black, and then zenith highlights of Ironbreaker on the silver, and Fire Dragon Bright on the red. Add just a tiny bit of White Scar to the ‘lights’ in the front of the backpack.
And you’re done! If you’re not doing a Vexilla, you should be able to breeze through this very quickly, but don’t worry if you still like to take your time. Now, onto the Vexilla itself…
Let’s start with the scrollwork. There are other ways of doing this, but this is preferred by me.
4. Start with a couple of thin coats of Ushabti Bone all over the scroll.
5. Wash with a little Reikland Fleshshade – be conservative here and don’t let it pool but get good coverage.
6. Using thinned down Ushabti Bone, give it an edge highlight.
7. Give the top edges a highlight using a thin mix of Screaming Skull.
8. Finally, write something on there using Abaddon Black. Now, script work is something worth practicing even just to get it to a legible state, never mind all those clever sorts who manage to do calligraphy on there! Practice a while on some plasticard or a flat bit from your bits box, and work at it. I went with a simple ‘BAAL’ but you can do anything.
Now, let’s move on to the scriptwork on the banners that hang down.
9. Start by writing everything out very thinly in Averland Sunset – steady hands needed.
10. Then highlight this script with Yriel Yellow. It’s as simple as that, but if you do go wrong, or if you don’t like the look, you can always use black paint to touch it up.
Let’s now go on to the laurel.
11. Start with a couple of thin coats of Warpstone Glow.
12. Wash it down with some Biel-Tan Green to give it a little depth…
13. …before bringing it up again by edge highlighting each leaf with Warboss Green.
14. Finally, give each upper edge of those leaves a little bit of Skarsnik Green.
15. Moving on to the circle at the top, I’ve painted in a black blood drop (these are all over Sanguinius’ armour so I thought it would look good here) using Abaddon Black. It’s a surprisingly tricky shape to paint this, but practice it and you’ll get it in no time.
16. Cover the inner area of that circle (so all the red and the black blood drop) with ‘Ardcoat, and add a little to those two ‘lights’ as well.
17. Finally, stick it onto the miniature, and you’re done!
Not too hard, was it? The three guys above are now done, so I’m not too far off being able to show you the whole squad in all their glory. Hopefully, that’ll be very soon too. I hope this guide has helped you out. Sorry for the photography, but I dare say the gist was got despite the images. For those looking to catch up, the links to the other tutorial parts are down below.
Don’t forget to tell me what you think of this series below. Useful? Interesting? I just hope it’s given some painters an idea of how to get things to look good without too much bother. See you with the finished unit soon. Onwards!
This is the first in a new series I’m going to bring you (whether you like it or not) which is essentially, a set of really simple painting tutorials on how to paint Blood Angels in the same way that I do. It’s all brush-based painting and there’s nothing here that should be too taxing for anyone, while hopefully still providing you with a good looking end product.
These are the guys I’m working on at the moment. The most basic Blood Angel bolt gun wielding 30k tactical squad you can get. And that’s what I’m going to show you how to paint in this series.
If you’re looking for advanced techniques and daring new ideas, this probably isn’t the sort of tutorial you’re after. I’m painting bog-standard tactical marines (albeit the ones from the Calth box) and I won’t be spending anymore time on them than I need to – I just want to get them to the standard of looking good; not breathtaking. So, if you want to know how I do my Blood Angels in the way that I do them, it’s all going to be in these tutorials.
Getting to the start line – what to do first.
So, as you can see from this image, I’ve put the legs and torso together and based my model. For ease of handling and painting, I think this works best – no need to faff around with corks and pins when you’re just doing the basic grunts.
- remove torso fronts and backs, and legs from sprue.
- remove mould lines and any flash that’s come off with the snipping of sprues.
- glue the torso parts and legs, and then add to the bases.
- add rocks, etc to bases with superglue.
- allow superglue to dry, then add sand using PVA glue.
- undercoat with Chaos Black spray and set to dry.
And that gets us to the start line! Let’s start painting.
The Paints You’ll Need:
Steps 1, 2 and 3 – Apply three thin coats of Mephiston Red to the areas of the mini that are going to be red. Don’t worry about going over other areas too much – you can clean those up later (try to keep it neat but don’t panic if you go over the lines). Make sure the paint is thin enough to flow smoothly. but thick enough to hold together. Use medium if preferred but I just went with water. In fact, for all of the steps below, the paint is watered down a little with just some water. You can really see in the first three pictures how it builds up and you end up with a deep, broody red.
Step 4 – Use Abaddon Black to tidy up and coat the black areas. I used it here on the belt, the bit that connects the backpack to that armour on the back and knee pads. It’s also a good idea to use this even if you already undercoated with Chaos Black as the spray is inconsistent and looks quite different to the paint that comes out of the pots.
Step 5 – Leadbelcher. Put down a base coat on the areas that you want to be silver. With both this step and the one above, be careful and don’t go over the lines. If you do, tidy it all up after this step and make sure the right paint is on the right part of the model.
Step 6 – Nuln Oil comes next now that all our base colours are down. Don’t apply this all over, but instead, apply it wherever there is a recess and shadow. Delicately get it into the cracks of the armour and under the knee plate. Run it over the top of the knee plate too. You should be able to see from picture 6 where it’s going. Do the entire model like this. When it comes to the Leadbelcher, apply the wash all over this. For all of this, use the wash sparingly and apply slowly and delicately – you don’t want thick lines of black from this, just shadowy underlines.
Step 7 – Evil Sunz Scarlet is then applied as an edge highlight all over the model’s red areas. Again, slow and delicate – let’s keep the lines nice and thin here.
Step 8 – Put your brush down and give it a five minute breather. Pick up a piece of GW sponge (I use the stuff from the old carry cases) and dab it in a little Abaddon Black. Now dab it out on a sheet of plasticard or paper until there’s almost nothing on it – the black should be very faint – and then apply it to occasional areas across the model’s red surfaces. This is going to be our little bit of “weathering”or effect that keeps each marine a little different and makes them feel like they’re in the thick of battle with smoke and grime and explosive stuff staining their armour. Just pick out a few spots, dab-dab-dab, and you’re done. If it goes wrong and you get too much on there, a quick fix with Mephiston Red will solve it easily.
Step 9 – Now we’re going to do a zenith highlight with Fire Dragon Bright. Very thin, steady lines of Orange on any parts of the red armour that have edges facing upwards (as if the sun is coming down on them. Top of the feet, top of the thighs, the shoulder area… that sort of thing. If there’s a red edge that faces upwards, apply there.
Step 10 – Back to Leadbelcher, you’re going to do an underlight on the harness that crosses the chest/back and also apply some to the rivets on the lower leg/knee. With the harness, just do the lower halves of the straps and edge highlight the lower half of the circle and its surround on the chest.
Step 11 – Now, with Ironbreaker, we’re going to do essentially another zenith highlight on all the silver areas, from the rivets to the chest piece and more. Just make sure the upward facing edges of all your silver areas now have this paint on them. Shiny.
Step 12 – With the silver now done, we’re going to use Dawnstone to edge highlight the black areas like the belt and the knees. Thin, steady lines again here – you can always fix it up with a little Abaddon if you think you’re going too thick.
Step 13 – Right, now for some really steady fingers. Take Averland Sunset, water it down a bit, and, in one smooth motion, painting from the bottom up, a straight line of your paintbrush at a diagonal across that knee. Do this a couple of times to deepen the colour. Now, I do it in one swift motion from bottom to top, but if you’re more comfortable going slow from top to bottom, you do it your way. Whatever works for you. You’re the only person who knows how you feel when you paint so do it how it works for you.
Step 14 – Take Yriel Yellow and apply it to the top half of the line, and make sure you get a bit more on that top edge just a touch.
Step 15 – Administratum Grey is used to just to a Zenith on those knees, and on the black of the backpack connecting bit on his back (I don’t have pictures of that one – sorry). I tend not to bother too much with the belt as it’s so far inset that light probably isn’t hitting the top there.
Step 16 – Back to Ironbreaker. Any little bolt heads and rivets, just very gently give them the tiniest touch of this silver paint.
And that’s you done!
- Keep your paints thinned – a wee bit of water or medium will help them flow so much better.
- Don’t panic if you mess up. Yes, it’s a little annoying to have to go back to fix things, but there’s nothing in this that can’t be fixed easily.
So, that’s the legs and torso done. In the next tutorial. we’ll take a look at some arms and bolters. Stay tuned for that and more. Onwards!
He is complete! My Blood Angels Company Champion from Forge World is now done and standing on his very own shiny display stand. I even think my photography is within 90º of being up to snuff on this one too, so let’s take a look. I hope you like lots of gold and red!
As mentioned in the WIP post last week, the kit is a bit of a classic FW piece with all the usual splits and warps that you’d expect but I think I got all the visible lines sorted, which is always a plus point. I have made a couple of swaps though. Both shoulder pads are taken from the BA Sanguinary Guard kit, and the shiny helmet is taken from the BA heads kit from Forge World. Those swaps helped to make this guy a little bit more of a son of Sanguinius. The gold also helped in that respect.
There are those leg flames, and my favourite belt buckle ever – you saw all of that in the WIP. The sword was fun and I’ve fallen in and out of love with it a couple of times. What I learned is that a couple of coats of ‘ardcoat are better than one – it just evens things out enough to catch the lights just right. One thing I did change from the WIP is the knee pad with the ‘IX’. The old lettering looked a bit like it had just been scrawled on there. I made it a little smaller and added some script to the now empty space. It now looks a little more professional. Much better.
There are some really beautiful pieces in this kit and the Aquila-head backpack is one of them. Not a new feature on space marine kits, but this one really is very nice. The base is a cracker too and was lots of fun to work on, though it was a little bit of a challenge keeping it interesting – I went with a lot of grey (as is my want) and that got a touch monotonous so I had to play around with washes and the like to bring something extra to it. Also, I’m very happy with the various blood drops on this guy, including the on on that shoulder.
Ah, the checkerboard shoulder pad. Yes, I think it looks nice, but boy was I reminded why I don’t paint Lamenters. It’s such a pain on this tiny scale! I’ve done it on Dreadnoughts and Maganobz before but there you have big spaces to play with. On tiny spots like this, it was such a pain. Another thing that was a real pain was the little blood drop design on the helmet’s forehead. I still can’t tell if I got that totally right or not. Thankfully though, it’s not so bad and I think it’s one of those things that the painter notices that hopefully the viewer won’t think about twice. Unless the painter tells the viewer in a blog post like a prat. Balls.
Here are a couple more shots for you to go through…
And that’s that! A second Blood Angels HQ done. Now, given that I only have one troop choice to those two HQs, I’ll have to address that soon. But in the meantime, I shall revel in the fact that I have my Forge World Open Day entry all done and ready for the show. I hope you enjoyed this post, and see you all again soon. Onwards!
How do you come up with a good Space Marine chapter name? In this ‘just for fun’ post, I’ve built you not one, but two name generators to help you bestow a monicker onto your Space Marine Chapter, and also your Chaos Space Marine Warband too! How’s that for a slice of generosity on toast?!
I was talking to a few people about my post from last week where I was listing all the things that I liked about Space Marines (because I’m that sort of annoying person who will write a blog post and talk incessantly about it afterwards). When asked ‘how many chapters are there?’ I replied ‘Well, loads. Like a thousand. Maybe more!’. The follow up to this was ‘Well then, were I to create a new chapter, how would I come up with a name that doesn’t already exist?’ to which I then replied ‘…I dunno…’. The truth is, there is nothing new under the Sol, and the likelihood is that when you’ve come up with a name, someone, maybe even GW themselves, got there first.
But in an effort to improve your odds, I have created the Space Marine Chapter Name Generator. It’s not perfect. If your name is ‘Chris Lloyd’ you will end up with the Celestial Lions, and if you’re ‘Sam Smith’, you’ll get the ‘Silver Skulls’, both of which are definitely already taken (and also, I know people called Chris Lloyd and Sam Smith so apologies to them). The sharper among you will have probably already worked out how this works, so let’s have a look:
Going by the above, my chapter should be the Jade Angels – not bad! What’s yours? Stick a comment below and let me know what you think about it? Also, if you do come up with a name that’s already taken, or if you’re not quite happy with it, try flipping it around and adding ‘of’/’of the’ in the middle. So the Jade Angels become the ‘Angels of Jade’.
But I promised you more, and after making this, with all its noble nouns and heraldic adjectives, the Ruinous Powers convinced me to do the same again, but this time with the Chaos Space Marines. So, for you heretics out there, here you go:
That gives me the Jealous Axes – very Slaaneshi if you ask me. But again, that could be flipped to the ‘Axes of Jealousy’. If you like what you got, stick it in a comment down below. What would your warband be like? Khorney? Nurgley?
And that’s it! No deeper meaning than that – just an excuse to do something fun on a slow weekday, and an added celebration as the Space marines turn 30. If neither of the above are your thing, I did a similar thing for Ork mobs way back when – you can find it right here. I hope you enjoyed them. Onwards!
As Space Marines turn 30 in a few days, I thought I’d put together a list of 10 things that I love about the grimdark’s most famous sons. Now, it should be pointed out that some of these will be sensible and some will be silly. None of it will involve rules – this is more about the idea of the Space Marine as a character and how it has evolved. This blog post is also my way of responding to all the negative neophytes who, whenever some Space Marine related news or rumours appear of sites like BOLS or Warseer, have to chime in with comments like ‘ugh. more Space Marines. Excited NOT. ugh’. I think it’s fair to say that though they may be the most loved faction in the 41st millennium, they probably get the most hate too. But hey, that’s what happens when you’re so popular. Anyway, here, in no particular order, are 10 things that I love about the Space Marines.
1. Pick A Chapter, Any Chapter
In 30 years, the sheer volume of chapters that have been created, and that are being created right now, is frankly overwhelming. This points to two very important things – the scope of the human imagination, and the love people have for the big, power-armour-wearing space heroes. In fact, the above image is but a fraction of the chapters that are already recognised. Furthermore, GW itself has crammed as much info into the relevant codices as it makes sense to do so, allowing you to find the flavour of each one, from the name of their homeworld to notable campaigns. And if you can’t find one that suits, you can create your own and no-one’s going to tell you that you’re not allowed to do so. Yes, the Eldar, Orks and others have plenty of variation too, but no one has the amount that the Space Marines have and that does make them a bit special. They are the poster boys for the game and GW want you to have fun and do whatever you want to them (provided that you buy them at full retail price, of course) and that’s what attracts many people to them in the first place. Choose wisely, but remember that you can always choose something different later.
2. Armour Through The Ages
From the ancient Thunder Warriors to the much-prized MkVIII ‘Errant’ armour, there’s so much to choose from when it comes to designing your force, and this comes from the fact that over the last 30 years, GW have done a great job of fleshing out the history of the Space marines and what they look like. Ok, so it would be pretty tricky to build a Thunder Warriors force (though I have seen a couple of squads before – very cool), but the above models have gone from rare collectors pieces to being widely available from Forge World. When I started out in the hobby way-back-when, everything was either MkVII or MkVI. That was it. That was where variety stopped. Now, the basic tactical squad box contains elements ranging from MkIV to MkVIII and you can go all the way back to MkII with Forge World. How’s that for variety! Not only do these give your armies a great look by adding in all those options, but they also give it a sense of history. You can see the Great Crusade, the Heresy and so much more in your forces now that back RT era wasn’t defined and in 2nd Ed wasn’t available, and that’s just grand.
3. Camouflage And The Space Marine
Ah, the camouflage issue. A long time ago, camouflage was encouraged in your armies. After all, the armed forces that are around today employ camo as an aid to survival, so why wouldn’t the armies of the future do likewise? I wouldn’t mind seeing Dark Angels in tiger stripes, or Ultramarines in jungle green. But I get the feeling the conversations in the future go a little like this…
Sgt: ‘Our brothers are ready to deploy, Captain. What colour armour should we wear for this mission?’
Captain: ‘What do you mean, Sgt? We’re Blood Angels. We wear blood red. It’s in the name’
Sgt: ‘I understand, Sir. But, er… well, this is an ice world…’
Sgt: ‘…well, it’s just that it’s… well, it all white and bluey out there, Sir. Red tends to show up a bit against white.’
Captain: ‘And? Are you fearful of our enemies, Sgt?’
Sgt: ‘Of course not, Sir. I know no fear.’
Captain: ‘Oh, so you’re ashamed of our heraldry then. Is that it?’
Sgt: ‘Of course not, Captain! My breast swells with pride that I’m a Blood Angel! it’s just that…’
Sgt: ‘Well, I’d just rather not get shot straight away, Sir. I’d quite like to be able to see the enemy before he shoots me and he’ll be able to hit me a mile away if I’m dressed like Santa Claus in an Amsterdam window.’
Captain: ‘I see. So that makes you a… HERETIC!!!’
…or something like that. Well, I suppose if you are the Emperor’s finest, and you’re armoured like a walking tank and have no fear, I guess you don’t need it. Also, flat colours are easier to paint and more people will recognise Ultramarines if they’re painted blue as opposed to desert ochre. Forge World has tried to bring this back in a small way, helping those Howling Griffin fans who aren’t so fond of painting quarter colours, but that’s about it. I do wonder if it will ever come back though…
4. You Like Guns? We Got Guns. Really Cool Ones Too.
Now, this is a personal preference, but I’m going to say it: Space Marines have the coolest guns. Like, loads of them. From flamers to meltas, from bolters to assault cannons, they’ve got a bucket load of kickass shooty toys that other armies, stylistically speaking, can’t quite compete with. Yes, the Tau have their massive guns, as do the guard, and the Orks have their originality while the Eldar have plenty of sleek looking weapons, but none of them stack up against the arsenal of the Space Marines. I enjoy a shuriken catapult as much as the next man, but against a bolter, it just can’t cut it when it comes to an iconic look.
5. How To Choose Your Chapter: What’s Your Favourite Point In History?
If you’re ever unsure about which Chapter to work on, you can always just ask the above question. You like, the Romans? Ultramarines for you. Vikings? Space Wolves, my friend. If you want to imagine your Chapter Master kicking a Hive Tyrant off the board while shouting ‘THIS IS SPARTA!!’, you can even pick the Minotaurs. And it’s not just historical references either. We even have Space Vampires! Space Wolves work for Space Werewolf fans too. How about Space Knights? Yep, got a couple like that. GW has used history a great deal to influence the Space Marines and as derpy as this could have ended up, over 30 years, it really has bedded in nicely and many of these chapters now have taken the best part of these influences and dropped the bad. However, there are a few that really show their age, though these have, for the most part been hidden away. That brings me on to the next couple of points…
6. The Fact That The Rainbow Warriors Exist
In 1985, a year before the Space Marines appeared, the French Secret Service bombed and sunk the famous Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace’s anti-whaling flagship while it sat in Auckland harbour. It was very big news at the time and it’s fairly obvious that someone at GW was a big supporter of these particular environmentalists, given that, one of the 12 chapters to feature in colour in the Rogue Trader book were called The Rainbow Warriors. Yes, among the Blood Angels, Dark Angels and Crimson Fists, there was a chapter that sounded like it had been born out of a bronie meetup that got out of hand (not that bronies were a thing in 1985). They didn’t last long and weren’t particularly popular, but it goes to show how cultural influences in the 20th/21st century influenced the 41st Millennium. I think the Emperor can probably do without them on the battlefield – being descended from Greenpeace activists, this chapter probably spent more time trying to raise awareness amongst the others that destroying the Ork was wrong and that everyone should hug the fungus instead. Bloody hippies.
7. Space Marine Freemasons
Yep. I’m guessing we’ve got some funny-handshake-giving members in the design studio. The Genesis Chapter are clearly based on the Freemasons and what’s more, they’re still in the Codex today! It’s amazing that they th… *whispering in ear* …ah, ok. I’m not allowed to talk anymore about this. Moving on.
8. Pop Culture Heroes
Space Marines are the recognisable face of 40k, and as such have entered the realm of popular culture beyond the hobby itself. They are stars in their own right and their popularity has probably brought a lot of new gamers to the table top – certainly more than other races. The fact is that they are now an established part of the Sci Fi pantheon and hold cult status beyond that as well, as the images of Darth Vader and Deadpool above attest to. Go onto reddit or imgur and post an image of a Space marine and someone will comment ‘HERETIC!!’ within about five minutes. They’re the heroes of the hobby (like it or not) and they’ve earned a deserved place at the top tables of the genre. Power armour is extremely recognisable and it’s rare to go to a comic book or Sci Fi convention these days without spotting someone clomping around in a homemade suit. And the fact that cosplay enthusiasts have embraced it (almost as much as Sisters of Battle but that’s because of different reasons) again points to the Space Marines’ secure place in the Pop Culture sphere. Not bad for some 30 year olds from Nottingham who spend all their time indoors.
9. Chaos Space Marines
There’s an old football adage; you can only beat the team in front of you. If the team is bad, no one will give you the credit if you win, but if they’re a great adversary, you’ll get the plaudits. Now, it’s important to remember that I’m NOT talking about rules here. Chaos Space Marines have been the whipping boys of their relationship with their loyalist brothers for a while now, but in terms of lore, style and ideology, the Chaos Space Marines are the perfect adversary. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that without the Chaos Space Marines, regular Space Marines would not have been nearly so popular. Batman needs the Joker, Professor X needs Magneto, Space Marines need Chaos Space Marines. They are the best bad guys out there, and they make the good guys look good. The fact that they also look like the good guys is an added bonus.
10. You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby
Over the last three decades, we’ve been able to watch Space Marines grow from men in space suits to fully fledged space heroes. We’ve also seen their look change in terms of their sculpt and how they are painted, and what a long way they’ve come. The painting standards of competitions and commission painters today is mind-blowing compared to what it was like when I first started splattering humbrol onto un-undercoated lead. The miniatures themselves have gone through such a change from lumps of Pb, through white metal and finecast, to the glorious plastics we see today. Yes, this is true of all the armies. They have all come on leaps and bounds, but always at the heart of the evolution were the Space Marines. They have come so far, and it has been a joy to watch them grow. If Marine Medic Kyle, with his weird little laspistol could see the Sanguinary Priest of today, I’m sure he would be a very proud grandfather.
So, there you have it. You may still despise Space Marines, or you may well be wondering what this article was all about. Was there a point? Not really. I just wanted to point out some achievements, some quirks, and some history of an Icon who turns 30 in just a few days. GW owes its success in many ways to the Space Marine, and they know it too. What’s more, many of us owe our love of the hobby to these guys too – I’ve painted more than a few in my time. Space Marines; here’s to the next 30 years. Onwards.
And so the Blood Angels Command Squad is completed by this, my Chosen (who I was erroneously calling a ‘Captain’ until I checked the big Heresy book) and I’m pretty happy with him. I wish I could say the same for my photography. I checked, double checked and tried to make sure that my setup was exactly as it was last time, and yet the images just aren’t as good! I just don’t have the eye of a photographer, I guess. But never mind that! I think he looks spiffing, so I’m happy enough.
Again with this chap, I incorporated plenty of yellows and blacks into the colour scheme as I’m a huge fan of the look it creates. It also really takes the overall look away from the other red colour schemes of the heresy, namely the Thousand Sons and Word Bearers. And of course it has that 2nd Ed box art look about it which I love. I also like Watford FC football team (Up the Hornets) and my Scottish Tartan is McLeod – go check it out and see why it’s known as ‘Loud McLeod‘. Surely it can’t be a coincidence…?
This miniature presented a number of challenges and though I’m pleased with how it came out, boy, was there some cursing and swearing throughout this guy’s creation. I changed the sword that came with the model for one from the MkIV weapons pack from Forge World. The sword that it came with was fiddly as hell and while trying to free some fiddly cables from some flash, I cut through the cables and into my finger in the process. That was fun. And taking the blade from the flash caused more problems. In the end I scrapped it for this sabre and I’m glad I did. I added some embossing to the blade which turned out alright but that entire arm ended up being one stress after the other.
I swapped out one of the shoulder pads for a slightly more embellished one but between the undercoat going weird (has anyone else noticed this with the recently repackaged Chaos Black spray?) and the details getting lost all over, I’m still not satisfied with it. I may rip that off and start again, but maybe I’ll learn to live with it.
Anyway, enough grumbling (he says and then while proofreading realised that the grumbling continues in the same paragraph)! I Enjoyed adding the various little bits of freehand to the armour, like the black flames and the ‘IX’ on the legs. Though looking at that photo, I’m now seeing a mould line I swear isn’t on the model on the thigh. I swear it’s not there!! Grrrrr…
The black cape was tough too. I’m not great with black cloth in general, but I really wanted it for this guy. I thought about embellishing it with some patterns but decided against it as I really want these guys to be part of a working army, always at war and with little time for such decoration – his dress cape is in a wardrobe back on Baal). I think it worked out ok. I also think the effect of the ash from the base being kicked up onto their boots and the bottom of that cape looks ok too. See, I’m looking for positives!
Other challenges included the eyes of the helmet which I didn’t just to be black, but given that it’s empty, I didn’t want them to be ‘alive’ like they are on the standard bearer. I wanted them to be dull and I settled on a green that works, but again, I’m not 100% sold.
This is the image that tells me this was a good project (or it would be IF I COULD USE A %πΩ£ING CAMERA!!) and the two of them together do look great. They have a genuine air of two leaders barking orders to the troops while accompanying their Praetor to battle. I’m really enjoying painting red, and I finally cracked open the Betrayal at Calth set the other day and took a look at what I’ve got to work with for this project. There should be some fun times ahead. Now I’m off to go find some photography courses and a chill pill. Onwards.