Category Archives: Space Marines

I Am Ironman

Before normal Space Marines become old news and are swept aside by a torrent of true-scale Primaris-based giants here’s an Iron Hand I converted a couple of years back from the Captain in the Black Reach boxset, and finally got around to painting yesterday.

There’s no story or grand plan behind him, just a model I took a fancy to making and, a long time later, took an equally unexpected fancy to painting.

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My freehand skills still leave something to be desired but hopefully its clear enough that here we have a member of the Iron Tenth, grim, relsolute and ready to smite heretics.


Showcasing Sam: The Dark Millennium

When I first got into the hobby one of my biggest inspirations came from my friend Sam, already something of a veteran and a painter of no mean skill. All these years later and he’s pretty much hung up his brushes (the demands of being a responsible adult – I’m told – comes for the best of us in the end). What he’s left with is a cupboard full of beautifully painted miniatures and, after visiting him recently, I couldn’t resist getting some photos so I could show them off to you. In the end I turned up so much cool stuff I’ve split the blog into two parts – expect to see the fantasy half soon. I should also mention that Sam has a blog and, although it’s been distinctly quiet over there lately, it’s well worth taking a look at. Who knows, if we drop enough hints we might even coax him out of retirement. He also passed me on a few of his unpainted models which I’ll be attempting to do justice to, so keep an eye out for them in the future as well.

As usual if you want to get a better look at any of the pictures, just click on them.

Njal Stormcaller
As I’ve mentioned before I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Space Wolves. Njal Stormcaller however remains very firmly in the “cool” camp through his combination of shamanic trappings, psyber-raven familiar and fierce control over the furious Fenrisian elements. Sam’s really brought out the rich colour of his armour, from the hearth-warmth of his shoulderpads to the frosty wolf-grey of his rune-carved greaves. The wolf pelt is also, in my opinion, about as close to perfect as you can get, and the unnatural glow of its dead eyes is a brilliant touch. All in all, one of my favourite of his models – even against stiff competition.Marneus Calgar
Marneus Calgar – the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines and one of the most powerful men in the galaxy. Not my favourite incarnation of him to be honest, compared to the version accompanied by the honour guard this one is really showing it’s age. The model always looks a little squat (by which I don’t mean to imply that he’s actually a space-dwarf – although that would be twist to the 40k story wouldn’t it?). Nonetheless I rather like how he’s been painted, goes to show that a decent paint job can make a world of difference to any model. The ice effect on the base really adds to the model as well.

Trygon
The world of 40k is not all about the Space Marines though (in spite of what you may have heard!) The Great Devourer is tearing its way into the galaxy and though my opinion of the Tyranid miniatures range is mixed there’s no denying the Trygon is an absolute beast. Sam’s painted this one in the colours of Hive Fleet Kraken. Of the three main Hive Fleets I’ve always felt Kraken’s scheme to be the most organic and believable. I want my Tyranids to look like real animals and there’s definitely something reminiscent of a giant centipede about this model.

I’ll admit that, as hinted above, I have something of an ulterior motive here – to encourage Sam to pick up his brushes again. After all, as his friend, I know what’s best for him far more than he does! If you agree with me pop a comment in the box below – and just wait until I’ve sorted out the photos of his fantasy miniatures!


Ransacking the Archives

It sees my lack of fidelity to a single god is a crime from which I must now atone. Having failed to serve Nurgle faithfully he has struck me down with a particularly virulent sickness of the cold/flu/lie around feeling naff variety. Sadly this has made painting and modelling somewhat nonexistent.

Never mind, the show must go on! Whilst visiting my parents over Christmas I found a few old models tucked away that I don’t think I’ve shown before and I thought might be of interest. Before we take a look at them however let me add a quick caveat. These aren’t the best models I’ve made but maybe there are some ideas in here that could be salvaged for future schemes, or which might inspire one of you at some point? Who knows? Either way perhaps if the ideas are shared something might come of them in the future – and if they aren’t at least it fills in the time until I’m recovered!

First off here’s a Space Marine I put together when playing around with ideas for a new chapter.





Overall I’m still rather pleased with him, especially as he’s quite old now. I don’t find gold an easy colour to work with (so quite why I chose it who can say?) and with a critical eye the antlers look a little bit big. He also lacks a backpack (a cardinal sin!) but I couldn’t work out how to attach it without fouling the cloak (which I reckon is probably the best bit of the model). Mostly though he seems a little small. I’m not a true-scaler (total respect to the guys who do that but I’ve never had that much commitment to Space Marines) but I have at times wondered about resurrecting this guy’s chapter (perhaps without quite so much obvious Blood Angels iconography), writing some background for them, and putting together a few ‘actual size’ Space Marines based off this idea. Of course, if I ever did try anything like this, I’d need to create a few chapter thralls to accompany them – which brings us to this second model.


I’m not sure that he holds up as well as the Space Marine does, although there are still elements about him I like. The Bretonnian hooded peasant heads always add an element of rustic grime to Imperial serfs and the banner has held up well. Sadly for him however he was built in the dark ages before the release of the Skitarii when pretty much the only human sized bionics came from ancient (even then) Necron warriors. At the time I also thought I was really pushing the boat out using an Ork axe to make a backpack. Again though I feel there are good ideas here, it’s just that my ability to execute them hadn’t really developed yet. In my defence I was also working with a considerably reduced pallet of bits compared to what’s available now. Certainly were I to attempt this now I think it would be a fairly straightforward model to create, so perhaps there will be a life after death for him after all.

Anyway, hopefully you enjoyed this little look into the archives. All being well, or more specifically me being well, there should be some traitor guard headed this way soon. In the meantime comments are always welcome.


Wake Up Dead

Here we go with Part 3 of this little foray into the archives of my Space Marine collection. Something new next time I promise!
Anyway, (somewhat inspired by all the undead activity going on at the moment thanks to the return of Nagash to Warhammer) this time it’s the turn of the Legion of the Damned. I’m something of a fan of 40K’s most mysterious Space Marines (that’s right, even more than the Dark Angels). Who doesn’t love ghostly warriors returning to fight alongside their brothers once more, then vanishing like smoke when the battle is done? Of course the true nature of the Legion of the Damned is anyone’s guess (my suggestion is the ghosts of warriors from the Great Crusade/Heresy era – after all they’re not called the Chapter of the Damned now are they? Maybe even the spirits of those warriors betrayed to their deaths in the Isstvan system). Wherever they come from it got me thinking about how my Hawkmoths chapter, desperately short of allies, might find their numbers bolstered by the spirits of the battle brothers Kell and his traitors slaughtered, returning in search of vengeance.
Here’s the sergeant in charge of the squad.
space-marine-convert-or-die-14To many it seems that these ghostly warriors share a connection to Librarian Numitor, often manifesting in battles where he is present and lingering around him as they are drawn back into the shadows. Some suggest that the enigmatic librarian has found some way to tap into the psychic need of his chapter to enact revenge, and by this means has allowed his dead brothers to resume their physical form, albeit only temporarily. Yet if this is true then the tainted dead crave vengeance even more so than their living comrades and hunger restlessly in the Immaterium, begging, commanding and cajoling by turns, scratching constantly at the psychic barriers the Librarian has erected between his mind and the Warp.
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space-marine-convert-or-die-10Here’s a ‘rear view’ of the models showing the spinal forms growing through their powerarmour.
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Long term I have a pipe dream of making a whole army of undead Space Marines, complete with some kind of Vampire Lord as a Chaptermaster, ghostly Librarians projecting their spirits from the Warp, and only the Dreadnaughts “alive”, still guiding their chapter from beyond the grave (although this ambition may have to wait until I’m old, decadent and rich). Additionally, although regular readers of the blog will know I rather enjoy painting Plague Marines it was a nice change of pace to try some zombie Space Marines without the influence of Papa Nurgle.
Another idea, linked to the above, came to me when I read the piece in the Legion of the Damned Codex describing the belief held by Inquisitor Quixos that the Legion were the Emperor’s will taking form on the physical plane, in exactly the same way as the daemons of chaos are the manifest will of their patron god. The piece suggested that just as, for example, Khorne’s servants range from bloodletters through to mighty bloodthristers, so there might be larger and more powerful entities in the Emperor’s pantheon of servants waiting to be discovered. I don’t know if I’ll try it but I thought this could be a rather fun project to pursue, perhaps creating a small strike force of Grey Knights to represent these Engels Mortis.

So what do you think? Are they the Emperor’s will made manifest or should I be burned for allowing noble warriors to consort with these dark spirits? Make your feelings known in the comments box below!


War is My Shepherd

Following the Librarian in the last post here’s another Space Marine ‘from the archives’; Chaplain Germanus. This project came at roughly the peak of my sculpting endeavours. After this, perhaps emboldened by these successes, I tried increasingly adventurous projects, over-reached myself, and retreated. For a while I instead chose the somewhat cowardly get-out that I was good at kitbashing but couldn’t sculpt. Obviously this is grossly unfair – my first efforts at painting were sloppy and my early kitbashes were regularly awkward and odd looking so it was hardly surprising that my initial attempts at working with greenstuff often turned out a little rough around the edges. Anyway, I’m trying to get back into using greenstuff a little more now so this seemed like a good moment to show this model, especially as it remains one that I’m rather proud of.
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Rather than re-invent the wheel I’ll not try to explain how I made the skull helm, instead I’ll point you at the tutorial I followed over at the much missed From the Warp. For those of you not familiar with From the Warp (where have you been?!) it was an extremely useful and inspiring blog, full to bursting with helpful tutorials. Personally I most enjoyed the way in which complicated tutorials like the skull helm were presented as straightforward and achievable so that even a beginner like myself could look at them and think “I could do that”. Sadly From the Warp hasn’t been updated in some time but it’s still well worth a trawl through the archives.
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I made the long oath scrolls from paper (thick paper or card works best for this, nothing too glossy or thin). Add a dab of superglue and let the paper wick it up, once it dries the paper will become stiff. Then just glue it in place and add a blob of greenstuff to make the wax seal.
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space-marine-chaplain-convert-or-die-3Here’s a couple of work-in-progress images showing how the model developed. I don’t often show these, not because I don’t like them – I think they’re great and often really useful – but because I tend to get wired straight into painting and then realise part way through (usually before the highlights and details start to go on when the model looks unsavably awful) that I forgot to take any pictures.
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Finally here’s a few other things I’ve worked on recently for the Hawkmoths. The Watcher in the Dark may be a real Dark Angel’s staple (and given their background it’s hard to say why one would be associated with the Hawkmoths) but they’re just too cool not to paint one. Perhaps it’s something to do with Cypher
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Facing What Consumes You

I have a little bit of a backlog of miniatures I finished prior to starting this blog that I want to show off, so whilst I’m busy painting, converting and – believe it or not – handling the other matters of daily life that don’t relate directly to tiny plastic warriors, I’ll keep the ball rolling with a few from the archive. First off we have this Librarian; Numitor of the Hawkmoths.
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space-marine-librarian-convert-or-die-2Back when I built him we didn’t have the Sternguard kit, which has since proved to be a fantastic resource for creating grandiose marines. The Dark Angels veterans kit however provided a solid base model, the flowing robes and hooded head being perfect for a Librarian. The Space Wolf backpack offered a built-in servo-familiar. I imagine that the book contains records of the Chapter proving their history of loyalty and strength in the face of the Warp, a potent psychological weapon against the Beasts of Ruin who despise their own past as faithful servants of humanity. It’s also my way of including a visual suggestion that, although the Hawkmoths have lost much of what once made them such potent heroes of the Imperium, Librarian Numitor still serves as a custodian of their honour and – through his caring for their archives – provides a physical link to their valorous history. Of course, as both a psyker and a scholar Numitor probably understands Kell better than any other loyal member of the Hawkmoths and whatever ancient secret drove him to make his pact with Chaos Numitor will discover it soon enough.
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space-marine-librarian-convert-or-die-3Some of you may be throwing your hands up in horror to see a Librarian without blue armour. In my mind this is quite in keeping with the background of my chapter – although the Codex Astartes is quite strict on the matter the Hawkmoths never held rigidly to the edicts of the Codex anyway. Indeed in many ways their doctrines diverged wildly from Guilliman’s teachings, and this has only increased since the treachery of their brothers shattered their chapter.
Of course this is really just an excuse – as in my personal view a blue armoured librarian looks out of place in an army the main colour of which falls on a radically different part of the colour spectrum – such as the red of the Hawkmoths for instance. He looks like a representative of a different army, specifically a token Ultramarine. Likewise a techmarine in red armour looks jarring amongst their all blue ranks. Not so a black armoured chaplain whose muted armour blends in no matter the colours worn by his brothers. Turns out a preacher in black with a skull for a face looks bad-ass wherever he goes, which as it happens, will be the subject of my next post…


Last of the Free

Robbers of the world, having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion… Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace
Calgacus “the Swordsman”, describing the Roman Empire, as quoted by Tacitus in the Agricola.

So, at last – after rattling on about it for ages now – Kallamoon Kell is finished. Needless to say I’m rather excited. Not only is Kell the warlord of my chaos army but the completion of the model brings to a close a project I started long ago, and which has seen plenty of ups and downs to get this far. I’ll start by talking a bit about his rival, Chapter Master Calgacus of the Hawkmoths, and hopefully upload a post on Kell later in the week.
As I’ve mentioned before one of the key narrative elements that fuels my interest in my Space Marine and Chaos Space Marine collections is the idea of a brotherhood torn apart. It’s the cornerstone of some of the finest storytelling to emerge from the Warhammer 40k background – particularly the Horus Heresy and the Badab War. More than simply the metaphorical or spiritual brotherhood that unites all Space Marines in the Emperor’s service I went for a far more personal conflict, a single chapter divided into bitter enmity. I especially wanted to capture this in the leaders of the two factions, creating two individuals who would be the focus of this background – a pair of characters once united by common cause but now sworn to the destruction of the other. On the one hand we would have Kallamoon Kell, a rising lord of chaos who led his brother space marines into rebellion and torn his chapter apart, and on the other we have Calgacus, the Chapter Master of the surviving loyalists, dedicated to hunting him down and seeing vengeance enacted.
Starting this project approximately three years ago I built and painted the first incarnations of my two central characters. Here’s Chapter Master Calgacus (version 1).
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space-marine-convert-or-die-6And here’s the first incarnation of Kell.
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chaos-lord-convert-or-die-6Of course it’s easy, retrospectively, to pick holes in both of these models. Calgacus V.1 especially was a project which I struggled with, losing faith in it part way through. To my eye it shows in the finished miniature. Attaching the shield was a real nightmare and the tarnished gold of the armour proved to be a series of headaches that left me relieved rather than proud when I finally stuck him on the shelf.
There are some elements I’m rather proud of, for one the skeletal servitor mounted on the top of his armour which always strikes me as the epitome of decaying Imperial arrogance (and is something I’d like to replicate elsewhere – possible as a gun servitor on a tank).
Kell V.1 meanwhile is workmanlike, fit for purpose in my eyes but hardly the tyrant of nightmares I had envisioned. Also, there’s something distinctly Khornate about him (just look at his helmet) which didn’t fit with the vibe I was looking for; a lord grudgingly respected by all four gods. Thus Kell V.1 was demoted, becoming Avar the Twisted, champion of my Terminator squad The Blessed Slaughter. Meanwhile Calgacus V.1 was retired to the shelf and I started work on new versions of both.

In both cases I now had a much clearer image in mind of what I was looking for, a model in keeping with the background I imagined. In the case of Calgacus I wanted a real “working man’s” Chapter Master, not the enthroned master of worlds but a space marine first and foremost, someone unafraid to get stuck in at the speartip of the most gruelling and brutal assaults. I also decided that the Hawkmoth’s Chapter Master had been killed during Kell’s betrayal, thus leaving the field open for a new man to lead a transformed chapter. From being relatively static guardians of territory the Hawkmoths have reinvented themselves as a fast moving, fleet-based strike force, with tactics reminiscent of the Minotaurs, Carcharodons or even pre-Heresy Night Lords. The first step in that rebuilding process must have been the selection of a new Chapter Master. The field however would have been limited, with most of the prime candidates either turned traitor or slain. Thus they would have been forced to select a candidate who, although in keeping with the ruthless, vengeance hungry mood of the time might in another era have been considered less than stable. Enter the pugnacious Calgacus, a fearsome yet loyal wardog of the Imperium.
space-marine-chapter-master-convert-or-die-2To reinforce the idea that this is a man who’s fought at the forefront of numerous battles (and has the scars and cybernetic reconstruction to prove it) I gave him what must be my favourite Space Marine head of all time. With half his skull (and doubtless some of his brain) replaced by a bionic substitute he’s hardly likely to be the most calm and easy-going individual but I’d say it’s a safe bet that he’s handy in a fight. Suffice to say I’m much happier with this version.
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space-marine-chapter-master-convert-or-die-4In my efforts to imagine his background he has come to be representative of his chapter as a whole. His ruthless brutality in battle and black, blood-thirsty rages at other times have led many to believe he is unhinged, and as dangerous to the Imperium he is sworn to protect as Kell himself. As a result his is a fairly dark reputation, though whether the butchery he is responsible for is a result of calculated brutality or berserk rage remains a contested issue. Nevertheless his merciless wrath may be just what the Hawkmoth’s chapter requires for many have slipped into bleak fury since their betrayal and each time Calgacus has dispatched his Death’s Heads to hunt them down and bring back their bones. For those few amongst the Holy Ordos who have tracked the near renegade Hawkmoths into the deep void his methods may be distasteful but, with the Imperium crumbling, they accept that – for now – this baleful and secretive chapter and its rapacious master may be an ally they cannot do without.