Tag Archives: Space marine

In the Service of the Gods – Part 1

I’m needing a break from painting traitor guard so finished this handsome young man as a change of pace. Who knows – this could be the start of a whole new squad. Certainly there’s enough part painted chaos marines kicking around my desk at the moment – maybe the time has come for them to get a bit of attention.

Chaos Space Marine Wudugast ConvertOrDie 40k (1)Chaos Space Marine Wudugast ConvertOrDie 40k (2)Chaos Space Marine Wudugast ConvertOrDie 40k (3)

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.

Space Marine Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (1)Space Marine Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (2)Space Marine Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (3)
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.

Wudugast Warhammer 40k Serf ConvertOrDie (1)Wudugast Warhammer 40k Serf ConvertOrDie (2)Wudugast Warhammer 40k Serf ConvertOrDie (3)Wudugast Warhammer 40k Serf ConvertOrDie (4)
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.

Binary Logic

The story of Warhammer 40k is, and always has been, the story of the Imperium. Until now, however, we have seen only part of it. The alien races add colour and complexity, harrowing the empire of man from its fringes, and of course there is always the great enemy, Chaos, waiting in the wings for mankind’s own hubris to bring him down. The main player, however, remains the Imperium, a toppling edifice of decaying glory and overweening arrogance in the face of a brutal and rapacious assault from within and without.

Here we see the fall of Rome written across the stars. It is peopled by the strange and the mysterious and governed by the mad. Together they grub through the ruins of their own toppled magnificence and believe themselves still to be supreme. Their wars are fought by medieval peasants, armed with weapons far beyond their understanding, holding back the horrors of the galaxy only through sacrifice and attrition. It’s infamous ‘grim darkness’ has been captured by dozens of authors and codex writers, as well as artists including, amongst others, John Blanche and Jes Goodwin (whose images are used – without permission – to illustrate this blog).
John BlancheSomehow I’ve never felt that this was quite captured on the tabletop. The warrior-monks of the Space Marines have often looked too clean. The imperial guard have come to focus too heavily on the Cadians (whose aesthetic is closest to modern soldiers and not really to my taste) and the Catachans (who now seem like a contrived pastiche, glaringly out of place beside the gothic strangeness of their peers). The inquisition are spent force. They might once have been at the pinnacle of grim-dark gothic greatness but today they look old, tired and utterly overshadowed by the creative genius displayed within the Inq28 movement, their own feral offspring. The assassins and ecclesiarchy languish in lumpen disregard.
Today however sees the release of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Since the beginning they have been a part of the background but it’s taken until now for them to emerge. Quite why it’s taken so long is open to debate, the Imperium after all is the marriage of Terra and Mars, yet the red planet has seen next to nothing in terms of miniatures releases.
Exactly what will come next with this release we don’t know yet, although it’s hard to imagine that more miniatures are not on their way. Already, however, we’ve seen the kind of grubby madness I’ve been hoping for since I discovered 40k. Not only do we see the Mechanicus army so many of us have been waiting for but the spares should provide more than enough to add a Blanchien vibe to other imperial models. Of course I still have a host of Chaos projects to work on before I rush out to buy the agents of the Fabricator General but, having waited for them for so long, it won’t hurt to be patient. At least they’ve arrived.

Wherever I May Roam

Working on this Chaos Breacher reminded me of this guy who’s been lingering at the back of the shelf in dusty shame for far too long. He’s a model with a long and storied history but one which never really seemed to find a home in the Beasts of Ruin – until now. In many ways that nomadic shifting as he’s moved from one role to another in the army may have been unconsciously reflected the background I wrote for him.
I decided to make this mysterious killer after reading the description of Wulfrik the Wanderer in the Warriors of Chaos Army Book. Naming him Kogoroth the Faceless I see him as having suffered a similar fate to Wulfrik, cursed by the gods to wander the galaxy in search of fresh adversaries. Hence his striding pose and faceless helm, the aim being to keep him somewhat anonymous, a silent, unknown but murderous figure, constantly on the move in his quest for fresh kills. The mask also serves to reinforce the mystery behind his title “the Faceless” – is it because his face is never seen or does it refer to something fouler hidden behind that steel grill? Or did he once lose face in a more figurative sense – fleeing from a challenge and cursed to wander forever as penance?
At first I intended him to be the leader of my Khorne Berserkers, but he never really fitted there (appearing neither Khornate, nor particularly berserk). I retired the model half-finished and replaced him with Magok Bloodcaller instead.


Given that, especially in the early days, 40k included a lot of elements from Warhammer translated into the far future I kept toying with the idea of making a 40k incarnation of Wulfrik – although, as the Games Workshop designers probably also found, the idea had by then evolved into its own creature. I finished the model off, intending him to be a Chaos Lord, but was never quite convinced by him in this role either. Wulfrik, after all, has a pirate crew to lead and so should Kogoroth be a leader of men – albeit a strange and singular one – rather than a lonely killer. Thus he was consigned to an uncertain fate at the back of the shelf. Some of you may find this a little odd, that my inability to work out a suitable piece of background fiction for a model should see it effectively kicked out of the army. What can I say – I’m clearly a little eccentric!

Anyway, with my Breacher squad I finally had a role for him as their Sergeant. It also adds to the background of the squad, a band of roving mercenaries, serving alongside their Gods-cursed master for centuries – perhaps even since the day they fled with the rest of Horus’s routed horde from before the walls of the Emperor’s Palace on Terra itself? For him Kalamoon Kell and the Beasts of Ruin provide just another opportunity to find battle and seek redemption in their enemies’ blood. Alas the Gods are uncaring and, having turned their backs on him, will never relent. There shall be no daemonhood for Kogoroth, only battle until war at last puts an end to his quest forever.
The end result of this is not only that I have a model, and a story, that I’m really rather pleased with for but also that I’ve started thinking about how other Warhammer characters could provide inspiration in 40k. The story of Vilitch the Curseling is one I especially enjoy, and it helps that I really like the model as well. Sayl the Faithless and his spawn Nightmaw, from the Tamurkhan book, would be pretty fun (what is it with me and treacherous wizards?) Oh and maybe I could build a hugely mutated Ogren King based off Throgg (perhaps with an enhanced cybernetic brain to explain why he’s smarter than the average bear?). Then there’s the question of how one would tackle the likes of Galrauch (mutated Heldrake? Possessed giant Eldar reptile? Twisted wraithbone construct with a Tzeentchian daemon trapped inside?) or Kholek Suneater (maybe an ancient Forgefiend or similar daemon-engine – pre-Heresy of course!) Who knows what the possibilities are?

Have you transferred a character from Warhammer to 40k – or vice versa (daemons don’t count!)? Does Imperial Governor Karl Franz lead the massed forces of the Astra Militarum from atop his cyber-griffon in your army? Do you have an Eldar Tyrion, or a Archon Malekith ? A Von Carstein inquisitor perhaps? How about Ungrim Ironfist leading a Squat army in search of glorious vengeance against the Tyranids or Durthu as a strange wraith-bone construct, grown from the heart of a shattered craftworld? Well don’t keep it to yourself, get your thoughts (and links) in the comment box below!

Once More Into The Breach

Remember this guy? To my slight chagrin I painted him back in June and haven’t added to the squad since.
Shamed into action by the sight of him standing alone on the shelf (and the presence of a big bag of unpainted shields in my bits box) I finally got myself into gear to make a squadmate for him.




breacher-convert-or-die-15Don’t hold your breath waiting for me to rapidly build up the squad (as you may have noticed by now that’s not how I roll!) My current rate of progress means I should have finished the squad by early 2019 so if I can come in a little ahead of that I’ll be rather pleased.

Agents of Brutality Part 3

Having finished off the Orks I wanted to step into the New Year (especially as its already the middle of January) by showing a few older miniatures that have been finished for a while now – thus getting them out of the way and letting us get stuck into the real meat of the new stuff.

To get us started here’s the remainder of my Chaos Terminator squad (some of which have been shown previously – see here, here and here).chaos-terminators-convert-or-die-39





This warped and degenerate fellow is clearly well on his way to becoming a spawn. I blame the unhealthy side-effects of standing too close to that icon of vengeance all the time.




chaos-terminators-convert-or-die-17Alas poor Yarrick… Part of the reason it took me so long to get around to posting pictures of this squad is the trouble I had getting semi-decent pictures of this model. I enjoyed playing with the contradiction between his monstrous appearance and contemplative pose. I wonder what he sees in the skull of this fallen guardsman? His lost humanity or his lost weakness?



Next we have this brutish individual, assembled out of a combination of Chaos Terminator, Possessed and Space Wolf Terminator parts.

Finally here’s a group shot of the whole squad together.
Terminators GroupThose of you who are particularly observant or are big fans of counting will note that although I’ve claimed to have a full squad this picture shows only nine models. There is a tenth model but currently I’ve removed it from the squad – it’s one of my favourite models in the Beasts of Ruin but also one of the oldest. As such I feel it deserves not only an improved paintjob but a squad of its own to lead. Obviously that leads to a gap in the first squad which needs to be filled so expect to see more Chaos Terminators soon.

Destroy All

Dear Games Workshop – if you’d like to earn the lasting support of Chaos fans everywhere there’s one kit we really need. Not the often rumoured Chosen kit (although I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth), or a Cultists boxset (although as we’re talking I’d buy at least 12). Not even decent Noise Marines in plastic (mind you, that would be amazing – all the other cult troops are pretty solid, or can be converted easily enough, but poor old Slaanesh is distinctly lacking). Oh and a new Bloodthirster that doesn’t look quite as lumpen as the current one would be rather nice. However I’m getting sidetracked. What I’d really like to see (arrogantly speaking for my fellow worshippers of the Ruinous Powers as well) are some decent Obliterators. Because – let’s be honest here, we’re all grownups – the current ones are fairly shit.

There are some great conversions out there but, unfortunately, most of them rely on greater skill as a sculptor or scratch-builder than I posses. The problem I’ve had (and I’m sure I’m not alone) is that finding a suitable proxy isn’t easy. No matter how many guns you load them up with a Chaos Terminator still looks like a Chaos Terminator (albeit one which may now be suffering from the same Swiss-army-knife arms that blight the official model). Alternatively a lot of conversions go towards a ‘gun-spawn’ vibe – which can look cool or disastrous with equal ease, and isn’t what I’m looking for either.

Although I like the idea of Obliterators as hulking, warping flesh-metal monsters the current models don’t really convey that. This isn’t really a criticism of the designer as something constantly flowing and twisting is harder to capture in a miniature than in – for example – a painting, text or on film. I imagine that for the average Imperial Guardsman an Obliterator would be quite hard to look at, the sheer nauseating strangeness of it, combined with the heat haze from weapons and the ripples of warp-energy venting from its body. The current miniatures, on the other hand, are hard to look at for quite different reasons (…ooh, low blow…). As I’ve said the best conversions in this ‘flesh-metal’ style were all produced by individuals whose skill at sculpting with greenstuff far outstrips my own. More attainable were those conversions in a ‘dark-mechanicum’ style, Obliterators who clearly took their power from a mechanical source, albeit one still arising in the Warp.

At the moment my favourite contender for the award of “Best Obliterator Proxy” goes to the official Obliterator itself (albeit with some fairly significant conversion) although these ones based on the new Undead Morghasts are extremely impressive. The only other real contender comes in the form of the Space Marine Centurions (40k era Centurions that is, not Crusade era – an important distinction for servants of the Ruinous Powers who, having been immersed in the Eye for ten millennia may still want to party like it’s M.31 – I know I often do).

I know the Centurions have been regularly attacked from all corners of the Internet but I’ll step into the firing line and defend them. Not only do they look cracking as they are but, as many people have already demonstrated, with just a little conversion, they make great stand in Chaos Obliterators.

In terms of the fiction there isn’t really any reason why the Chaos Marines shouldn’t have access to Centurion armour anyway (although weighing in briefly on the debate about whether it should be available in the Codex – I’d rather see cool new Chaos units than re-designs of loyalist stuff. If you want Chaos Centurions, and I do, then convert the miniatures, convert the rules if necessary, and off you go). Any chapters who fell to Chaos after the rediscovery of the Centurian suits following the Age of Apostasy would simply have taken it with them when they went rogue whilst the fallen Legions of the Heresy era would undoubtedly go about capturing themselves some post-haste. Of course, having acquired them they wouldn’t bother with any of that superstitious mumbo-jumbo about not tinkering with them. Once they’d finished making adjustments, allowing daemons to posses the weapons and so on, the result wouldn’t be too far removed from an Obliterator.

With this in mind I took a stab at converting my own Obliterator based on a Centurion. Here’s a look at my first attempt.obliterator_v1_1_



Before I’d even finished him I’d decided I wasn’t terribly happy with him. I gave him a week or so on the shelf with the rest of the collection and he hadn’t grown on me at all (in fact I was getting less and less satisfied – not a good sign). I was once given a great piece of hobby advice by a friend who told me “A miniature is only finished when you say it is. If you change your mind pick it up again. The police won’t come round to your house and take you away just because you thought it was done and changed your mind”. (As a side note his blog is well worth a look). With this pearl of wisdom in mind I picked him up for a second look.

Leaving the shoulder pads off was, I think, a mistake – reducing his bulk a bit too much, the head – which should have added a human touch to the monster – looked insufficiently chaotic, and in general there was a lack of the spikes, mutation and savagery that marks out a follower of the dark gods. Instead of looking like an Obliterator he came across as a Centurion belonging to one of the more barbaric loyalist chapters. Time for a re-think.

Incidentally, one thing I think was a good move – although I can’t claim I did it that well – was to greenstuff over the mounts for the (much mocked) ‘nipple guns’. Even as a fan of the original model I find these a little odd. Unless you’re a follower of Slaanesh of course. Then firing bullets out of your tits is fairly normal.

Anyway, here’s the results of round two.




From an aesthetic (and I stress aesthetic, rather than rules or fiction) point of view the Obliterator and its cousin the Mutilator should bridge the gap between Chaos Terminators and Helbrutes. Indeed, in many ways the evolution of the Helbrute from old Chaos Dreadnaught, has taken away from some of the character of the Obliterator. The Chaos Dreadnaught was always primarily a mechanical walker, a machine, whilst the Helbrute represents a fusion of meat and metal not dissimilar to that described for the Obliterator. Thus the image of a gun-wielding bipedal monster with a tortured human face at its core is now best conveyed by a (highly customisable) Helbrute than by a lumpen, bloated Space Marine caricature with a bitz-box gun-explosion for hands.


obliterator-chaos-convert-or-die-2Am I pleased with the results? Yes and No. He certainly looks suitable chaotic and violent, but on the other hand he still doesn’t really match my idea of an Obliterator. Perhaps I’ll keep trying to think of new ways to make decent looking Obliterators (and Mutilators for that matter) and instead transform this guy into the leader of a squad of Chaos worshipping Centurions.

At the very least though, this is a man who has dedicated himself to war, setting aside all other interests and fixing his thoughts exclusively on the prosecution of battles (even beyond what would be normal for a Space Marine). Whatever his past or present state, this – in combination with his allegiance to Chaos – mean he is firmly set on the path to becoming an Obliterator.

Anyway, as usual if you have any ideas, suggestions, hints, tips or thoughts I’d love to hear them. Cheers!

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.



space-marine-convert-or-die-10Here’s a ‘rear view’ of the models showing the spinal forms growing through their powerarmour.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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

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.

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.


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…