+ inload: The Glory of Macragge +

+ inload: The Glory of Macragge +

+ Banners and standards are something that I always disliked when I played 3rd edition Warhammer in the late 80s and early 90s. They were a faff to paint, always seemed to snag, and toppled over all the time. On top of that, 8-year old me didn't understand why someone would carry a flag instead of a sword...

+ Fast forward twenty years or so, and I really love the concept of flags and banners. They're fun to paint, give great opportunity for details and freehand, and really help to sum up the character of the force they're leading. In the grim darkness of the far future, where the combatants are carrying death rays and megacannons, they're a wonderfully dissonant image that helps to evoke the faded grandeur and lost majesty of the age.

+ They still fall over all the time, though!+

+ My Sons of Horus force had lots of flag banners scattered about. They didn't count as anything, but I really loved how the deep threatening red contrasted with the green of the armour. With the release of Forge World's Horus Heresy series of books, the Legion Astartes list has banners included as items of wargear. 

+ I've based the ones for my Ultramarines on those borne by Roman signiferi, the Legionaries who were singled out to carry the various standards and flags for the Legion. The new marine here carries a squad symbol made up from various icons, rather than a fabric banner (which I'll save for the Legion or Company standard). This approach should make the squad standard bearers stand out without drawing too much attention away. 

+Because I can paint them with the same gold scheme  as the armour, they should fit in nicely. The top of this particular one is taken from a Rogue Trader-era Squat standard bearer – one of the things I love doing with pre-Heresy marines is nodding back to the imagery of the game when I first started playing, and marrying that to the most up-to-date miniatures I can make. It provides a fun dissonance between the new stuff and the old stuff, both of which have bits I love and bits of which I'm not so fond. The bottom part and the arm are from the Space Hulk Librarian. +

+ conceptinload: Flight Risk +

+ conceptinload: Flight Risk +

+ Pict-capt source:

Isstvan V: South of the Urgall Depression +
Tentative ident: sinister–dexter – Brothers Phaestos and Ulc'cagni, XVIII Legion; Braar Taarlach, Iron Tenth. 
Incept-link α:serpens. Contact: Aqua.
+ These three are the first in a mini skirmish team, representing a few surviving Astartes from the Drop Site Massacres during the Horus Heresy. The intention is to allow me to scratch a few hobby itches without committing to big armies.

  • Salamanders and Iron Hands – I've wanted to build some of these for a while, and this offers a great way to build two or three of each.
  • Ultramarine purity – every so often, I find a cool bit that I want to use, but I really want to keep my Ultramarines much more uniform this time round. This hotch-potch group should let me use up those special bits without diluting the imagery on my Ultramarines.
  • Variation – I want to play around with the background, and show that while all the Legions had certain marks of armour in common, there was also a lot of variation in the Legions. Showing Salamanders and Iron Hands next to each other will be a great opportunity to highlight both the differences and similarities.
  • Storytelling – Isstvan V is a great canvas for skirmish games...


+ Setting the scene +

+ These marines are going to be an example of what happened to the survivors on the day after the events at the Urgall Depression on Isstvan V. Because I want to build Salamanders and Iron Hands, I've decided that this group were separated from the rest of the Legion and isolated as the Alpha Legion and Word Bearers pushed forwards into the Depression. 

+ The map below shows the deployment and main thrusts of the various forces. Our lost marines find themselves running south, having been missed between the Word Bearer and Alpha Legion thrusts directly below the Imperial Army symbol (winged sword in the centre of the depression). This point seems sensible to me – the Alpha Legion were notoriously insular and the Word Bearers relatively undisciplined, so a point between the two seems the best place for our marines to have somehow avoided a picket or sweeps during the clash. In addition, both of the Traitor Legions would have been pushing hurriedly into the centre.

+ This spot also means that it's possible for the Salamanders to make contact with the broadest possible spread of loyalist forces, including the Iron Hands, Imperial Army and even potentially Legio Atarus, the loyalist forces of the Mechanicum. This should allow me to play around with various other models.+

+ inload: Flight One +

+ inload: Flight One +

+ An even worse pun than usual in the title today, as it's referring both to a completed model and to a skirmish level concept I'd like to start sketching out. On the plus side, at least I'm not subjecting readers to the inevitable 'Flight of the Valkyries/Apocalypse Now' puns* that accompany images of Imperial Guard Valkyrie transports.

 + I'm in two minds about the Valkyrie model. On the one hand, it's a nice chunky model that goes together very nicely. It's got some cool options and some lovely subtle touches. On the other hand, it's massive, something that is only emphasised by the huge oval base and ugly plastic flying stand.+

+ In terms of realism, it's probably a fairly reasonable size for a flying personnel carrier, but in 40k terms it really dominates the table, to a much greater extent than most tanks (which I'm led to believe are much smaller than their real world equivalents). This scale problem doesn't bother me particularly, but it was the first model I've built that made me really feel 6 x 4ft tables were too small.

+ As it's (in background terms) part of the Guard deployment, rather than an attached Imperial Navy craft, I've used the same scheme as my tanks. It painted up very nicely and quite quickly, too.+

+ Walt and Iax, pilots. Note the kill markings by Walt's nameplate and the personalised helmets. The freehand was rather sketchily done – I never get as enthused over vehicles as infantry, and unfortunately I think it shows!


+Concept inload+

+ Flight One – Isstvan aftermath +

+ I've been reading up about the Salamander Legion recently, and have an itching to build a couple. I thought I might scratch the itch for them and some Iron Hands by building an ad-hoc squad of survivors from the Isstvan Dropsite Massacre; with a view to using them in skirmishy games, but mainly for display. Here's a list of the characters I have loosely in mind, with apologies to TV Tropes and Kurosawa!

  • The Hero – A Salamander trooper
  • The Lancer – Raven Guard marine
  • The Big guy – Salamander heavy weapon operative
  • The Smart Guy – Alpha Legionnaire
  • The Old Guy – Iron Hand
  • The Young Guy – Salamander
  • The Funny Guy – Salamander

* Bugger.

+ inload: Brother Carmadas +

+ inload: Brother Carmadas +

+ 'Belligerent, bullheaded, and with considerably more courage than judgement. It is my estimation that the selectee will either be fêted in Remembrances as a hero of the Imperium, or throttled by his instructors in short order.' So began the recruiting officers rather mixed report on Carmadas being selected as a potential aspirant from the paradise planet Dewfall. 

+ As events transpired, Carmadas proved to be able to rein his temper into check, and became a valued member of the specialised assault formations brought into the Legion in the closing years of the Great Crusade. A natural daredevil with an anti-authoritarian streak, Carmadas came to recognise his shortcomings and – with only the occasional intervention of the Legion's officers – channelled his choleric disposition into being a first-class soldier. 

+ Carmadas is marked out as a Vanguard veteran by his white-faced helm, though the number of honorific Legion symbols (granted as marks of approval after successful void-assault missions) would give away his courage and service even were he to appear bare-faced.

+ Note the inverted Legion symbol on his belt buckle. This was a personal addition to his heraldry added during the hundred days of penitence following his censure during the Abraxine Exterminations. When kneeling in penitence, his head bowed, Carmadas would be confronted with the symbol of his Legion and Primarch in the correct alignment. Captain Yndris, then his commanding officer, allowed it to persist past the hundred days – though his private memoirs indicate he held suspicions that Carmadas' out-of-character request had been equally tongue-in-cheek as genuinely contrite.+

+ This image draws particular attention to Carmadas' choice of equipment, a Tigrus-pattern power glove and Mars IV chainsword. Note the red and white chequerboard effect, a common weapon-casing decoration in the Legion.

+ His shoulder pad is draped with the remains of a back banner; a memorial to his original squad leader Sergeant Rercin, killed during the tunnel fighting following the Calth Atrocity.+

+ inload: Infantry camouflage tutorial +

+ inload: Lamb's World infantry camouflage scheme +

+ This is a guide to painting Imperial Guardsmen with a quick, simple camouflage scheme. The technique should work well on anything that requires a similar scheme.+

+Preparation and priming+

+ I_ Clean and assemble your model/s and stick it/them to a base. I use a mix of plain bases and textured resin rocky ones. This keeps costs down and provides a nice visual mix while remaining cohesive.

Stage III
+ II_ Undercoat the models with a light undercoat of grey. I use Halford's car primer. An undercoat should cover every part and recess of the model evenly and lightly, obscuring no detail.

+ III_ Once dry, give the models a basecoat. For these, I've used Humbrol's Desert Yellow 93 from their Model & Craft Hobby Spray Acrylic range. The important thing for a basecoat is that it covers everything fairly evenly, so feel free to apply yours with a brush. However, if there are a few small recesses that remain grey, that's not a problem. Since both the undercoat and basecoat are mid-toned, it'll blend in nicely and create a natural worn variance in the cloth (the armour, flesh, weapons etc. will be covered anyway). This won't work if you undercoat in a dark shade or bright tint (such as  black or white) unless your basecoat is a matching dark or light tone*.


+ IV_ Once dry, check the models over. If you've missed large areas with the basecoat or the models don't look vaguely uniform, give them another basecoat until you're happy. 

Stage V
V_ Identify the fatigues of the model. Using a small flat brush apply the darkest tone of your camouflage pattern in a broken pattern – I have used Scorched Brown for these. Keep only a little paint on your brush, and dilute it only very slightly: it should feel a little dry and stay exactly where you place it on the model. Try to keep the pattern evenly spaced, and aim to cover one third or so of the fatigues with blotches. Try to make these in thin, broken lines that curve back on themselves, rather than big near-circular patches.

It is important for the effect that the blotches cover the undulations of the surface evenly – they should go into recesses and touch high points equally, so poke the paint on with a slow stabbing motion, rather than with a light, surface-catching drybrush technique.

I tend to use a size 1 flat synthetic brush, as the bristles have more resistance which makes it easier to touch the tip to the model. If you don't have a flat brush, this is a great chance to use that poor split/damaged detail brush you have lying around, rather than retiring it! Since the bristles shoot off in different directions, you'll have slightly less control, and will get a more natural, uncontrived effect to the camouflage splotches.

Stage VI
+ VI_ Once the dark-toned areas are dry, overlay a wash of Gryphonne Sepia (or equivalent) over the fatigues. This will help to bring out the colour of the fatigues and start to develop the shading. 

It's worth pointing out that I also use the wash on non-camouflaged areas of cloth, such as any bedrolls or officers' headgear.

Stage VII
VII_ Using Dheneb stone, add camouflage patches as before. Use a slow semi-stippling motion with your split brush to get the blotchy curved lines and dots. Aim to cover roughly a third of the surface, and – importantly – overlay both the basecoat areas and dark-toned areas. This is a great opportunity to cover up any mistakes made with the darker-toned areas, and also to cut in and reshape any blotches that have got too large or unpleasantly-shaped.

At this point, the surface of the fatigues should be roughly split into thirds: basecoat (midtone), tints (light tone) and shades (dark tone).+

+Weaponry and equipment+

Stage VIII
 + VIII_ With the camouflage pattern in place, paint in all the parts that you want to be metallic using black.

Stage IX
+ IX_ Once dry, paint over the same areas with Boltgun Metal.

+Hard armour and additional fabrics+

Stage X
+ X_ Use a size 1 round brush to paint the shoes, gloves, armour straps (the bits behind the knees and in front of the elbows) and some of the pouches (the ones you want to stand out a little) with Charadon Granite. Once dry, use a size 2 round to give the fatigues of the model a wash with Gryphonne Sepia and allow to dry. Don't worry too much about neatness with this stage – as long as you keep the wash away from the metallics and the Granite areas.

Stage XI
XI_ Switch back to a size 1 round and carefully paint the hard armour areas with the Vallejo Russian Tank Crew II (Catachan Green or Straken Green are good equivalents), including the respirator and any technical widgets and doobries on the helmets.

Stage XII

+ XII_ Use a size 2 brush to add a second wash of Gryphonne Sepia to the fatigue areas, and while it is still wet, use a size 1 brush to drop in a little Agrax Earthshade to the darker areas around the elbows, knees, and groin. Allow the two washes to bleed together a little, then use a clean dry brush to lift away excess wash from surface areas.

Once dry, give the armour, weapon casings and Charadon Granite areas (boots, gloves, etc.) a wash of Agrax Earthshade (or Devlan Mud), allow to dry, and then apply basic highlighting to the plates using a size 1 brush lightly loaded with Camo Green (I think Elysian Green is the new equivalent). 

To apply the highlighting to each section of the armour, pick a direction for the light source (top left or top right), and use the side of a lightly-loaded size 1 brush with a scumbling technique. Start from the direction of the light source (e.g. top left) and scumble the paint towards the opposite side (bottom right). This technique should result in better paint coverage towards the light source, blending away to the base colour about a third of the way across. Note that this is just on average – you'll have to evaluate each plate separately. If the flat of one is pointed directly at the light source (e.g. the top parts of the left shoulder plate), then this will be almost entirely covered with the highlight. Equally, if something is shaded almost entirely from the light (such as the bottom of the codpiece), then this will be almost entirely covered with the base coat.

Once this is completed (the paint should dry almost immediately on application owing to the light loading of the paint and the scumbling technique), add Rotting Flesh to the Camo Green and add some gentle edge highlighting to the sharp corners. Again, apply the paint lightly using the side of the brush, and apply more paint on the edges that face the light source and less paint on the edges that face away – this ensures that you don't get a 'neon glow' to the armour plates.+


Stage XIII
 + XIII_ Use the jewel painting technique (blending from a dark colour towards the light source to a light colour away from the light source, then adding a dot of white in the centre of the dark area) to paint the eye lenses. I used Dark Flesh blended away to Solar Macharius Orange.

Lightly load a size 1 brush with Solar Macharius Orange and draw a vertical line down the shoulder pad as a Company sigil.

Stage XIV
+ XIV_ Paint the model's skin in the manner of your choosing. My skin painting technique is fairly involved, but on models with this little flesh showing, a good result can be achieved by painting the neck, fingers and any exposed skin with the base colour (such as Tanned Flesh), then adding a highlight (such as Tanned Flesh and Bleached Bone), then washing with Agrax Earthshade and lifting out excess wash from raised areas. Paint the eyes by drawing a short fine line of black and allowing it to dry, then adding dots of white, one on either side of each eye. Make sure each dot has a border of black remaining around it. Once dry, draw lines of the skin base (e.g. Tanned Flesh) under and over the eye. 

I like to add diversity to my skintones – they're hugely variable even in an individual: quite aside from big differences such as ethnicity, conditions such as sunburn, sickness or even being out of breath can change people's skin colour quite dramatically. Adding touches of blue to the skin mix for stubble and bags under the eyes, touches of scab red to the mix for lips, cheeks and fresh scars, or a dilute wash of Olive Green for feeling poorly can make the difference between a cool-looking model and a believable individual.

The model itself is basically finished at this point, but I think a good base – even if very simple – really lifts a figure. Apologies that the main picture doesn't really show the skin and eyes; it was a very quick shot! There are some closeup example of skintones to the left.


Stage XV
+ XV_ Use an old brush to apply Armageddon Dust to the base (pictured).  

+ XVI_ Once dry, paint the whole base Khemri Brown. Allow to dry, then drybrush the surface fairly heavily using Dheneb Stone. Finish the base by painting the rim Calthan Brown. 
Examples of completed guardsmen in M41 Lamb's World fatigues

+Optional details+

+ XVII_ Touches of personalisation can add a lot to the final effect, but these are the most fun to think up – knock yourself out! Below are some examples of freehand text, non-uniform bandanas and variant techniques.

Note freehand 'Lobo' personalisation and bandana.

Small black patches were added once the fatigues were completed,
then tiny paired white dots were overlaid.

*Though it's worth noting that using differently-toned sprays can give lovely effects, such as zenithal highlighting. Spray black (or a dark tone), then spray a lighter-toned colour from a fixed point at the top. Bang – instant dramatic shadows!

+ inload: Mortar mortality +

+ inload: Mortar mortality +

+ Sometimes, a picture says it all. Very happy with this angle of a mini gaming diorama. +

+ inload: Brother Isathon of the Zelians +

+ inload: Brother Isathon of the Zelians +

+ Bearing a prototype Godwyn-Daez pattern boltgun and encased in mark IV plate, Isathon was a veteran of numerous campaigns across the Eastern Fringe during the Great Crusade; including the 15th chapters' famed Hypon campaign – as marked by his wreathed skull on yellow field kneepad.

+ A survivor of the dark events of the Horus Heresy, Isathon served with the Zelians during the Great Scouring, and proved a ruthless and unerring enemy for the traitor Legions.+

+ This image shows him during a typical search-and-destroy deployment, his boltgun raised preparedly and his wargear gleaming.

+ His red, white and black personal heraldry marks him as being drawn from Argos, a far-flung world near the edge of Ultramar, which was wracked by warpstorms and isolated for much of the Horus Heresy. 

+ The skull-and-crossed bones symbol is a common decoration used on Argos, which came to symbolise the inhabitants' grim determination to ride out the infamous Ruinstorm and hold true to Imperial tenets throughout. Many, many variants became common after the reunification of the Imperium, including skulls marked with rubricisation, and the bones replaced with weapons from spears and lances to stylised boltguns and chainswords.+

+ Following the Siege of Terra, the Imperium extended outwards from the Segmentum Solar and began to reclaim its supply lines from rebel-held positions – which included many entrenched by the Iron Warriors Legion during the Great Crusade. Forcing the rebels out of these firmly-held and vigorously defended planets proved difficult, as the Imperial Army crashed against intractable rebel lines. There were numerous instances where Iron Warriors or other rebel legionaries themselves were present, and these battles nearly always required the presence of loyal Astartes' to match these intractable foes.

+ Once brought back to Compliance – thought the euphemistic phrase was largely abandoned by the furious Imperial forces by this point – these worlds proved the true value of the Departmento Munitorum, as the motivated and resurgent men and women of the Departmentum ensured that plentiful arms, materiel and other vital supplies began flowing from the newly-regained Mars and vassal Forge Worlds to the newly-formed Imperial Guard – and loyal Astartes. 

+ Mark IV plate, previously siphoned away by the Warmaster to rebel legions, became more broadly available to loyal forces during the Great Scouring; and this supply base allowed the Imperials to begin to capitalise on their superiority in equipment and numbers. Coupled with the refined Godwyn-Daez boltgun, which had a number of subtle improvements over the myraid marks previously used by the Legions – not least of which was ease of repair and replacement – and the punishing power of newly-developed 'venegeance rounds' designed specifically to penetrate power armour, the loyalists were resurgent.+

+ Isathon's equipment is rounded out by a boltpistol sidearm and grenades, but it is the cleanness of the lines and lack of additional webbing and ephemera that marked out Maximus armour. The pure lines and noble curves made this style of armour a popular propaganda piece for the loyal Astartes as they prepared for their changeover from crusading Legions to watchful Chapters.+

+ inload: Breachers +

+ inload: Breachers +

+ Ancient Romans: Legionaries with tower shields. Ancient Greeks: Hoplites with hoplons. Heavily armoured, disciplined, and frighteningly tough to fight if you're not equipped with the same stuff! Both cultures are huge influences on Space Marines in general, and Ultramarines in particular.+

Roboute Guilliman and his Honour Guard hold the breach!
+ I built some Primarch Honour Guard a few years back that were loosely based on pop culture hoplite imagery. While I liked them, they did't quite fit in with the rest of the old army, and I've wanted to come back to them since.

+ Forge World released 'Breacher squads' some time ago, which are essentially assault squads with large shields. I love the look, and thought this was a great way to revisit the idea of marines with shields.

+ To top that off, the new breacher shields have a great clunky sci-fi aesthetic that has some obvious parallels with Roman tower shields. Perfect! Here're three WIP marines:

+ I'm aiming to create a sense of a shield wall – probably not quite obvious with just two in the correct pose here! I think once the remaining seven are added, it should look great on the table. It's worth pointing out that I'm going to build them up with a view towards them working as a squad. This might mean that the individual poses are fairly conservative, but should work better as a whole.

+ Here are a few more 'glamour shots' of the standard marines:

+ ...and the sergeant. Not convinced about the head at the moment, so that might change. On the other hand, sometimes its the things I'm unsure about that actually work best once they're painted, so I might stick with my gut instinct and resist the urge to tweak him.+ 

+ inload: WIP Ultramarines +

+ inload: WIP Ultramarines +

+ A quick update today, showing the painting I got up to over the weekend. I've started a 'production line' approach to get the base colours on to these marines. It's not an approach I favour, but it's excellent for ensuring a consistent approach.

+ So far, the blue basecoat and ink has been applied, along with the Charadon Granite basecoat for pouches etc. and black for metals is complete. Next stage is the metals themselves.+

+ Individual groups +

+ The whole group +