Tag Archives: Chaos Space Marines

A Darker World Is Not Far From Us

Chaos has always been portrayed as more than just another enemy. Whilst the Imperium stood at the heart of the 40k story with the xenos races arrayed around it like wolves waiting to pull the big beast down, Chaos was the Imperium’s equal – its dark reflection. One is led to believe that the Imperium could hold back any one of the xenos threats with ease, if only they were attacking it one at a time like bad guys in a martial arts film. The eldar are too few now to present a real danger, the tau too small and isolated. The orks, as is always noted, could destroy us all – if only they stopped fighting each other for long enough to knock over humanity’s sandcastles. Of course we’re told that the tyranids and/or necrons will soon kill everyone, but this is generally presented as something of a “by-the-way” which to me means it has often seemed either a distant threat, or so overwhelming as to make all other faction’s involvement seem pointless.

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Not chaos though. Chaos is in all of us. Every man who marches in the armies of the Imperium could someday turn his coat and fight beneath the eight-pointed star instead. If the Imperium fielded an army of just one man then that man might turn his back on the Emperor and fight instead for the Ruinous Powers. If they sent an army a billion strong to defeat him then they might win… or they might find a billion new enemies marching back towards them. The tau can be eradicated, the eldar driven to extinction, the Imperium brought to ruin and the numberless swarms of the tyranids exhausted, but so long as a single human remains alive in the galaxy Chaos will never die.

Like an infection it leaps from one carrier to the next. No-one is entirely immune, regardless of what the Grey Knights will tell you, and once a person is corrupted they will inevitably seek to corrupt others. Should the right person fall billions more can fall with them. Corrupt a planetary governor and a whole world can tumble. When Horus fell half the Imperium followed.

Fight it head on and you only feed it. Try to ignore it, deny its reality, smash the churches and burn the holy books, and Chaos sneaks back in via the back door.

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We know of course that there are various factions within all of the races, clans of orks, necron dynasties, tyranid hive fleets and so on. You’re encouraged to paint them different colours, and – especially since the arrival of Warhammer 40k’s 8th edition – there are even rules so that they perform differently in the game. The eldar have a bit more depth; there are the craftworlders, the dark kin of Commortagh, the dancing harlequins of the Black Library, the newly formed Ynnari and, for enthusiast convertors, even exodites and corsairs. Really though it’s the Imperium to whom the greatest attention has been devoted. We have six brands of space marine alone, various imperial guard regiments, the wonderfully weird tech-cult of the Adeptus Mechanicis, the towering knights, the golden armoured Custodes, the shadowy Inquisitors, the one man armies of the Assassinorum and those perpetually overlooked nuns with guns – the Sisters of Battle. The thing is, Chaos is always described as having all that and more. Four distinct gods place their influence upon chaos space marine legions, traitor primarchs, rebel guard regiments, beastmen herds, daemonic choirs, fallen knight households and the daemon-smiths of the Dark Mechanicus. It’s as if there was another Imperium, a twisted reflection of the first, a Dark Imperium if you will.

The battle between the Imperium and Chaos then is not the story of the old empire falling to the barbarians at the gates but the story of two equals fighting for dominance. The Empire of the Eye has stood almost as long as the Imperium and its history is just as rich and complex as that of its real space reflection.

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When Roboute Guilliman arrived in the 40k setting earlier this year I was furious. I even wrote a long and extremely angry blog post, which thankfully I never posted, decrying the state of the world and GW’s decision to put profit over quality. To me the daemon primarchs belonged in the setting and their return was welcome but their flesh and blood brothers should have stayed dead. I got over it though. Guilliman may walk and talk but the galaxy is a big place and his presence hasn’t impinged on my enjoyment of the game one way or another. I even read Guy Haley’s Dark Imperium (and, beneath my dwarf-like contempt for this newfangled tinkering with the established lore, secretly rather enjoyed it).

The age of the Emperor ended when he was placed upon the golden throne. This is the story of twin empires locked in a struggle to the death and of brothers fighting over their father’s kingdom.

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Warhammer as was told the story of many races, empires and nations. Age of Sigmar is a veritable soup of them. Nor do all of those stories focus around human protagonists. Central themes in the World That Was included the age long struggle between the self-righteous Elves of Ulthuan and their infinitely superior kin in Naggaroth, whilst dwarves, skaven and goblins battled in the sunless depths without anyone in the Empire or Bretonnia even knowing about it.

Without Chaos however 40k runs the risk of being a one horse town, with the Imperium at the heart of every story. Sure there are epic confrontations going on in the margins, the Eldar battling the Tyranids at Valedor, the Orks also fighting the Tyranids in Octarius, but in the main it’s all been about the Imperium. What’s more, for all the Chaos has traditionally been presented as the biggest baddy of them all, in recent years it’s star had started to wane. Bigger threats were descending on the galaxy, threats which would see all human life obliterated regardless of whether they worshipped a corpse god or grew tentacles from their ears. Either the Necrons were going to wake up and obliterate all organic life with the flick of a switch or the Tyranids were going to eat everyone. Against this Chaos was starting to feel a little weak. To criticise poor old Abaddon because you’ve never read the background and his arms keep falling off has long been akin to waving a flag and publicly declaring you’re an ass but even so one started to wonder if his long war wasn’t taking a little bit too long. Surely if he didn’t crack on his hordes would eventually come pouring from the Eye of Terror only to find a galaxy stripped of life and nothing left to fight but a lone genestealer fighting a broken necron in the ruins of the Imperial Palace. It’s one thing to unite the warring Chaos legions beneath one banner, quite another to take so long doing it that you end up missing the apocalypse you were planning to unleash. Yet whilst Abaddon was running the risk of being the big baddie who get’s beaten at the end of every episode some filthy xenos were about to blow up the whole galaxy – and that would never do.

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Now this isn’t intended to do down the xenos (some of my best friends are xenos) who enrich the setting so deeply or to claim special treatment for my army just because I’m super special myself. Indeed I’d like to see the various alien races expanded upon further and with luck GW are cracking on behind the scenes with exactly that. However when the threat they pose reaches apocalyptic levels it risks becoming too abstract, too overwhelming, to engage with alone. When one looks at the innumerable hordes of the Tyranids pouring in from the depths of space one tends to think that the Imperium might as well just go home and put their feet up, they’re all going to be eaten whatever they do so there’s not much point struggling especially not when they already have a galaxy-sized guass flayer to their collective heads. Chaos though is an enemy you can fight – not just with your bolters in the burning streets, not just on the tabletop, but in your own heart and soul. No-one looks at a Tyranid and thinks “I really understand where these guys are coming from! If I was living in the 41st Millennium I’d want to strip planets of their biomass too!” I can’t put myself in the shoes of a soulless Necron automaton, and even the Eldar and Orks are relatively inscrutable and inhuman to our gaze. Chaos though speaks to us, to our ambition, to our righteous anger, to our will to freedom and self-determination, to our hunger to live, to our moral drives and the very emotions that make us human.

The Imperium needs an enemy we can empathise with, an enemy that speaks to us in our own voice so that we can cringe with horrified fascination as they tear each other apart. Ultimately if GW are serious about the 40k setting evolving then the Imperium needs an equal. It needs Chaos.

All artwork used belongs to Games Workshop and is used without permission as a result of sheer badness on my part.

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Dreadtober – Part 2

It’s been a week since my bold assertion that I would paint a bloat-drone in the month of October and the question on everyone’s lips is; how much have I managed? For the uninitiated October has come to mean Dreadtober as hobbyists attempt to get their unloved Dreadnaughts finished before the start of November. Anything of roughly dreadnaught-sized proportions is welcome, with carnifexs, dreadknights, helbrutes and – in my case at least – bloat-drones all welcome. If you have a dreadnaught shoved to one corner of your painting desk it’s not too late – this could be its moment.

I’ll confess that much as I enjoy Dreadtober I actually hate posting WIP images of part-painted models, especially when they’re frozen in the moment when the first basecoats have been applied but the washes are still waiting in the wings and the whole model is a shoddy mess of flat panels and ugly colours. Nonetheless regular progress updates are very much in the Dreadtober spirit so I shall grit my teeth and reveal the current state of the bloat-drone to the world.

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As you can see it’s not looking its best yet but you can’t pretend I didn’t forewarn you of that!

The khornate helbrute, originally painted for the 2015 Dreadtober, is also at a less than prepossessing stage, its flaying arms repaired and – hopefully – upgraded with garish lumps of greenstuff (hence the black and white image).

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Still lots to be done before the end of the month then but progress is underway at least.


Get Sick Or Die Trying – Part 1

My first two filthy poxwalkers are finished.

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Reinventing Nurgle

Nurgle fans may be excused for being a little excited at the moment – and no, I’m not talking about the decay of western society. Whilst there’s been an understandable spike of interest in the Space Marine side of the new 40k starter set the sons of Mortarion are also getting reinforced with series of fantastic plague-ridden models (plus a weird baby with a fart for a hand). Time for me to cast my eye over my old Plague Marines, to decide which are fine as they are, which are too rough around the edges to easily save and which could be redeemed without too much effort. Enter this chap;

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Of course, you’ll know by now my feelings about Space Marines holding bolters one handed, especially if they’re doing it awkwardly whilst staring off into the middle distance. What was I thinking? Is he inspecting his knife or trying to remember where he left his keys? Time for a freshen up I think.

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By adjusting the angle of the vents on the backpack I was able to create a subtle reflection of Nurgle’s symbol.

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Then we have his colleague who, although a little less awkward in the posing of his gun, is still trying to hold a two-handed weapon single handed and looking daft as a result.

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I didn’t do as much with the paintjob on this one but hopefully still managed to make some improvements into the bargain.

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Then we have this chap who, for the last six months or so, has been waiting patiently for a new base ever since I decided that the little 28mm base he was on was just too small for him.chosen_1 Convert Or Die

Upgraded to a 32mm base he already looks considerably more powerful and should be able to hold his head up with pride next to his new brothers soon to arrive with the Dark Imperium boxset.

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Of course this means I really must get back to working on the rest of his squad mates – although I’m sure I’ll have plenty of Nurgly enthusiasm to carry me through over the next couple of months. Until then, as ever, your feedback is welcome.


In The Service of the Gods – Part 13

Nothing fancy this time, in fact he’s not even converted, just a Chaos Marine who’s been waiting for a coat of paint for far too long. After being away I was itching to paint something and this, admittedly quick and sketchy, paintjob did the business. Hopefully later this week I’ll find a bit more time and get the rest of the undead finished off as well.

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In The Service of the Gods – Part 12

With my second squad of Chaos Marines having continued to grow slowly (it’s most recent member being inducted just yesterday) now seems a good time to see a group shot. Further encouragement for this – as if any were ever needed – came from Heretic30k, the commander of an impressively evil host of his own and a blogger I’d encourage you to check out at once.

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In spite of my tendency to go on a bit about how great it would be to get a new Chaos marines kit I’ve actually got quite a few made from the old kit still kicking around on my painting desk and crying out for attention (in deep, manly voices of course). That being the case perhaps I should crack on and get them painted up before a new kit does finally arrive and distracts me?

And how about seeing all the Chaos Marines I’ve ever painted gathered together? Are you excited about 8th edition lads? Apparently you’ll be getting some Death Guard pals to play with and lots of filthy loyalists to kill. Look how happy that makes them!

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Those who don’t fancy struggling with eyestrain should give the pictures a click to see full sized versions (your optician will thank you).


In The Service of the Gods – Part 11

A new edition of Warhammer 40k is just around the corner and, although I have mixed feeling about some of the changes ahead, on balance I’m pretty excited. According to GW themselves Chaos is on the rise across the galaxy and will soon be taking their rightful place as the key baddies of the setting. Before I get completely carried away with the task of raising my hosts to march on Terra however I’m keen to get my undead collection finished off – at least for the time being – so expect to see more of them over the next few weeks. Before that however I couldn’t resist grabbing one of the unpainted Chaos Marines that’s been sitting idle on the desk and getting him finished off at last.

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Let the galaxy burn (but not too badly!)