+ Common Core Concepts +

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

+ inload: A Sense of Dread +

+ Brother Traum +

+ Familiarity breeds contempt. So says the wisdom of the ages; and it is true – using a word too freely of often will rob it of the impact and potency it may once have had. Dreadnought – 'fear nothing'. The term might simply seem a label; a signifier divorced from the sign. In these dark days, when Talons rake their way across the Five Hundred worlds, a demigods clash in battle, we need the simply reassurance that there are fearless heroes that are ranged against the nightmare enemy. +

+ A word of obscure origin, deredeo is mostly held to translate as 'god of destruction'; with 'dere' being an archaic term for damage or harm. It is a fitting title for this heavy support class of Dreadnought. The Deredeo bristles with weaponry, commonly mounting one or two primary weapon banks along with its' torso-held defensive weapons. +

The Deredeo stands apart from other dreadnoughts, (such as the Castraferrum, Contemptor, Adjurator and Leviathan patterns) in that it has a distinctly inhuman profile, with its deep flared hull and lack of articulated upper limbs. This occasionally causes difficulty in acclimatising pilots, who must adapt to the limitations of the structure. This is, however, more than outweighed by the sheer amount of firepower the dreadnought can generate. +

+ Perhaps surprisingly, the pilot's motor functions previously used to control his arms and hands are not commonly slaved to the main armament, but to the torso-secondary bank – an adaptation brought in for nearly all Deredeo dreadnoughts since the earliest iteration. Psy-probes and neural inloadlinks reveal the pilot 'feels' himself in a foetal hunch, his arms and fists clenched protectively in front of his torso; rather than unnaturally displaced when slaved to the main battery. It has been demonstrated that the pilot's proprioceptive homonculus (which allow the neural-web to function as naturally as possible) adapts more quickly and completely to this layout. The main battery is instead directly aimed by the visual cortex and operated via an equivalence of the shoulder and back musculature – an idiosyncracy which gave rise to the informal nickname of 'shrugfire' or 'spinetwister' Dreadnoughts. +

+ Astartes are adaptable and resilient, both physically and psychologically; and those able to wrangle the Deredeo's unusual interface find great reward in the punishment that can mete out to the Emperor's (or Warmaster's) enemies. +

+ This example, Traum, was piloted by former Brother Terminus during the Calth Atrocity. A relative newcomer to the chassis, and barracked with a training corps, he was yet to be upgraded with the top-mounted aiolos missile system that changed the Deredeo from a powerful firebase to a murder machine. His Legion and heavy support designation markings are on his kneepads; at a convenient height for his supporting infantry. +

Friday, December 18, 2015

+ inload: My Armour is Contempt +

+ Brother Lazaron +

+ A native of Corinth, trained on Armatura, and a casualty of the Illyrican Gates War; the resurrected Lazaron – formerly known as Sergeant Iktios Raphanel – is an apt example of the strength the XIIIth Legion found in its broad recruitment base. +

The chequered shoulder honorific marks Raphanel as a veteran of the Trimundi Compliance.  
+ Dreadnought pilots are more than simple drivers. Linked via neural web and largely reliant on the life support systems of the dreadnought hull, the vehicle and Astartes pilot adopt a symbiotic existence. The Legions (and, earlier in the Great Crusade, Imperial Army regiments that utilised Dreadnoughts) had different relationships and philosophies regarding their pilots. Some regarded becoming a Dreadnought as an 'ascension' or 'communion'; a further move towards a superior state. For the Xth Legion (and to a lesser extent, the IVth and VIIth), becoming a Dreadnought was the logical next step in an Astartes' lifecycle; from baseline human to metahuman to post-human. +

+ Others, notably the Vth, VIth and XIth Legions, regarded the life-in-death existence of the pilots as various degrees of abominable; an affront to the dignity and essential humanity of the warrior, and only to be entered into in extremis. Most adopted a balanced – or wilfully blind – approach, keeping the pilots in a hibernating sus-an state in between conflicts. +

+ For the XIIIth, the pilot and Dreadnought were regarded as essentially separate entities. Pilots sus-an coffins were essentially lain to rest detached and honourably interred amongst the dusty racks and shelves of coffins in the Fields of Remembrance – permanent sephulcres of casualties on every major planet in Ultramar, as well as on major battleships. The Dreadnought shells were stored alongside the remainder of the vehicle pool. +

+ The fielding of the honoured dead required a little cognitive dissonance in Ultramarine philosophy to explain the ability of the dead Astartes to influence the living machines – a state that would otherwise conflict with the reductive Imperial Truth. +

In essence, the Ultramarines regarded the Dreadnought itself as the 'being' on the battlefield; a terrifying living machine, with the pilot psychologically relegated to a benign but unconscious influence that brought the heroic dead's tactical nous and knowledge to what would otherwise be a soulless abomination. It is for this reason that the Dreadnought is referred to by its 'hull name' – generally a modification of the first pilot's name – the hull name Telemechrus drawn from its founding pilot Telemacon, is a good example. Such double-think was often required to reconcile the Mechanicum's spiritual doctrines with the secular nature of the Emperor's Imperium. +

+ Occasionally the hull name is drawn from the heroic or classical Macraggian poetic traditions, Ultramarian cultural references, or from more diverse influences. The famed Contemptor Zarathustra, for example – believed to be one of the very first Dreadnoughts fielded by the XIIIth and still bearing the markings of the Ante-Guilliman era 'War-born' Legion – was reputedly named by Malcador the Sigilite himself. +

+ Armed – quite literally – with a standard Tactical Support armament of twin-linked heavy bolter and Sol-standard power fist with in-built combi-bolter, Lazaron has a reputation as a fierce and uncompromising warrior who nevertheless fights with a generous measure of self-control. Roughly a quarter of the dozen or so Dreadnought Talons associated with the 15th Chapter are specialists, while the remainder, including Lazaron's Talon, are designated Tactical support; as shown by the icon on his right kneeplate. + 

+ Tactical Support Talons are deployed alongside infantry to act as reliable bulwarks and bastions for the troopers they work alongside. In turn, the infantry prevent the Dreadnought being overwhelmed by enemy numbers. Generally, two or three of the Talon will be armed with heavy bolters and power fists, while the remainder have anti-tank weaponry – this varies by pilot preference and deployment pattern, and can vary hugely. +

+ Lazaron's hull is simple and practical, marked by additional armour plating and reinforced cabling around the core torso. Decoration is limited to gold trim on the knees and waist, along with bonding studs on the torso and head. Of note is the vox-amplifier set centrally on the chest. Warcries and bellows proved as useful in intimidating enemies and inspiring allies during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy as they had throughout human history. +

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

+ conceptinload: History of the Horus Heresy I – Primarch name origins +

+ Primarch names+

+ This inload started as a reply to a forum post discussing the origins of the names of the Primarchs. I really enjoy etymology, and thought I'd write my thoughts down. +

+ I'll preface this by mentioning that this is all supposition and educated guesses; little more. I'd love to hear from you if you can point to another possible answer, or clear something up – please just leave a comment below. +

+ On Horus, Perturabo, and Magnus the Red +

+ The Latin word Perdurabo translates to 'I will endure to the end', stemming from the Latin word for vigour. Perhaps of relevance is that the English occultist Aleister Crowley took the 'magical name' Frater Perdurabo. This might, of course be a simple coincidence, but the name was used by Crowley as part of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. +

+ This is relevant not only because it has hints of 'magic' and 'evil' around it (the group was fairly famous and notorious in 1970s/80s Britain), but also that it had close ties in organisational style and terms with the Freemasons – including Lodges and ritual titles like 'Frater', 'Neophytes' and 'Adeptus'. +

+ Thirdly, the group had a lot of (then-fashionable) Egyptian stylings and references. Significantly, Crowley declared himself the prophet of a new age – that of the 'Aeon of Horus'... +

+ Quoting from the Wikipedia article (so take it with a grain of salt – though remember we are discussing toy soldiers here!) on Thelema, the religion Crowley developed:
In the religion of Thelema, it is believed that the history of humanity can be divided into a series of aeons, each of which was accompanied by its own forms of "magical and religious expression". The first of these was the Aeon of Isis, which Thelemites believed occurred during prehistory and which saw mankind worshipping a Great Goddess, symbolised by the ancient Egyptian deity Isis. In Thelemite beliefs, this was followed by the Aeon of Osiris, a period that took place in the classical and mediaeval centuries, when humanity worshipped a singular male god, symbolised by the Egyptian god Osiris, and was therefore dominated by patriarchal values. And finally the third aeon, the Aeon of Horus, which was controlled by the child god, symbolised by Horus. In this new aeon, Thelemites believe that humanity will enter a time of self-realization and self-actualization.
(My emphasis) +

+ While far from identical, the inspiration for a lot of the Realm of Chaos material can be seen; with the Aeon of Isis being the peaceful pre-Emperor warp, the Aeon of Osiris being the Emperor's rise, and Horus being (surprise!) Horus the Warmaster, are fairly striking. +

+ If there is a connection with the GW designers and writers having an interest in the occult, there are some other potential tentative links with the Order of the Golden Dawn (and the occult in general). As an example, one of the founders, William Robert Woodman, took the magical name Magna Est Veritas. Not a million miles away from Magnus, particularly when you consider the 'magical' undertones and the fact that any biography a GW writer might have had would have mentioned his membership of the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine. +

+ ...of course, this is starting to sound a little like I might need a tinfoil hat. My point is that the writers would have been in an environment that would likely have known about people like Crowley, and it might have influenced them, particularly when researching for the Realm of Chaos books. +

+ On missing Primarchs +

+ No, not those missing Primarchs. I'm talking about the ones missing from Epic 1st. edition, where the Horus Heresy was first fleshed out from the fairly minor mention in the Realm of Chaos books. It's possible all the Primarch's names and Chapters/Legions (the two terms were pretty much interchangeable at this period – I'll use Legion throughout this inload) were thought up at the same time, but I think it more likely that the list was gradually expanded as it became necessary for a particular bit of colour text or background. +

+ As far as I'm aware, the order of appearance of the Primarchs is:
Horus who is introduced as the Warmaster of Chaos in the first Realm of Chaos title, Slaves to Darkness. Here he is noted as being: 
[...]inducted into a secret warrior's lodge, which proved to be little more than a coven. [...] It is clear that the Warmaster introduced a system of 'warrior lodges' into the five Legiones Astartes Chapters[...]the lodges revealed their true nature and showed themselves to be nothing less than Chaos covens. 
I've already explained my thinking behind Horus' name, though it should also be mentioned that it makes nice alliteration with 'heresy'! +

+ The following Legions (existing as Chapters since Rogue Trader) were also mentioned in this book: Blood Angels, Imperial Fists, Whitescars [sic.], World Eaters, Black Legion (though the earlier names of Luna Wolves and Sons of Horus are also mentioned) and Emperor's Children. +

+ The follow-up title, The Lost and the Damned, introduced the concept of the Primarchs (Horus was previously merely an Imperial Commander at the time), and mentions the following: Rogal Dorn, Sanguinius, Angron, Mortarion and Magnus the Red. A couple of these names look, to me at least, like they were created as puns based on the  existing names of the Legions mentioned earlier:
  • Dorn is Irish Gaelic for Fist (Imperial Fists)
  • Sanguis is Latin for Blood (Blood Angels)
  • Mortem is Latin for Death (Death Guard)
Rogue Trader pre-dated the Realm of Chaos books, so I think it likely that the writers picked a couple of the existing Chapters mentioned there (Blood Angels and Crimson Fists) and used them as inspiration; twisting a few letters here and there. Rogal is more problematic, though if you twist it to 'Regal', you get 'Regal Fist', which is essentially the same as his Legion's name.

+ Similar linguistic twisting turns Sanguis and Mortem into Sanguinius and Mortarion; and 'Angry' into Angron (note the shared suffix with Mortarion). +

+ I have heard that Angron allegedly got his name from a temperamental chap called Ron who the writers knew from the pub – giving us 'Angry Ron'; who was immortalised as the leader of the Khornate Chapter/Legion. Though this may well be an urban myth, it's certainly possible! +

+ So we return to Magnus, who I've argued might have a more 'meaningful' name. He is described in the tome as exceptionally large and with red hair. Magnus is Latin for 'great', or 'big' so his name might simply stem from a quick joke – perhaps an in-joke or something more crude... based on the 'Thousand Sons'. I wouldn't like to speculate :) An alternative and interesting explanation for Magnus' name is that it is based on that of Magnus Maximus, a Roman commander who usurped the Western Roman Emperor's throne. There are some interesting parallels, not least in the religious/magical persecution and the general Roman historical aspect. It's clear from various allusions and mentions (such as the Edict of Nikea, almost certainly based on the historical First Council of Nicaea; and the two missing Legions, anecdotally based on the historical Roman Legions lost or redacted) that at least someone in GW at the time was interested in Roman history, so I wouldn't dismiss that explanation out of hand. +

+ The remaining Traitor Legions – Emperor's Children, Alpha Legion, Night Lords, Iron Warriors – all now appeared here simply as mentions along with banner artworks, with the exception of the Word Bearers. None of their Primarchs are named, as far as I can see. +

+ Epic and developing the Horus Heresy +

+ While the Primarchs, traitor legions and the idea for the Horus Heresy were all introduced in Realm of Chaos, the concepts were fairly loose. They were further developed in the game Adeptus Titanicus and its expansion Codex Titanicus and Epic: Space Marine. The loyalist Ultramarines and Salamanders (again, both extant and undeveloepd names from Rogue Trader) and the traitor Word Bearers were introduced here, along with the first mention of Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines. The Primarchs of the other two Legions introduced at this period were still unknown. +

+ As a name, Roboute Guilliman doesn't seem to have much connected with it. I believe there was a poet by the name of Fran├žois Guillimann; I've heard an anecdote that there was a French monk by the name of Guilliman who wrote a tract on rules for being a monk... but little beyond that. If you'd like to speculate, please let me know in the comments. I would note that 'Ultramarine' is a corruption of 'Outre Mare' – French for 'across the sea' (I believe). This was a term used for the Crusaders, and also the root of the colour ultramarine blue. Their Primarch's name might be a reference to the French root, but that's purely a guess. +

+ As the only Primarch introduced here, it's possible that the writer – Jervis Johnson – took his inspiration from a new source entirely, perhaps explaining why the character has such a different and seemingly unrelated name. +

+ Brothers reunited: the full list +

+ The 2nd Edition of Warhammer 40,000 would give us the list of the Primarchs and Legions with which we're now familiar, so we now get the outstanding Legions – Iron Hands and Raven Guard – and the remaining Primarch names: Vulkan, Corvus Corax, Ferrus Manus, Alpharius, Lorgar, Perturabo, Fulgrim, Konrad Curze, Lion El'Jonson, Leman Russ, Jaghatai Khan. +

+ Who can say whether they were all thought up together way back during the writing of Realm of Chaos, or whether they were simply thought up and jotted down here? Whatever the answer, we can split them into groups:
  1. Puns/translations of the Legion name: Ferrus Manus, Corvus Corax, Alpharius
  2. Mangled literary, mythological or historical figures: Lionel Johnson, Vulkan, Jaghatai Khan, and Konrad Curze.
  3. An existing character re-introduced as a Primarch: Leman Russ was an Imperial Commander in Rogue Trader.
  4. Others: Fulgrim and Lorgar. 
+ To take these groups in turn: 
1_ The easiest group to work out; the new Legions get names that are simply derived from the Legion names introduced earlier – in much the same way as the earlier Sanguinius from Blood Angels etc. Ferrus Manus is Latin for 'Iron Hand'; Corvus corax is the scientific name for a common raven (hence again a Latin translation); and Alpharius is even more obviously derived from Alpha Legion. Perhaps the deadline was coming up! 

2_ The English poet Lionel Johnson, a contemporary and friend of Oscar Wilde, wrote a poem called The Dark Angel. (I have a vague recollection that the character turned up somewhere earlier than 40k 2nd as 'Lionel Gonson' – can anyone help?). This literary link, which seems fairly solid, may give some credence to Guilliman being named after the French poet; particularly since Jervis Johnson was also heavily involved in writing both Epic and 2nd edition 40k. The amphibian, salamanders, were said by Pliny to live in fire; a belief that was further disseminated by Saint Augustine. This association with fire probably inspired their Primarch's name, a simple tweak of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. Chagatai Khan was a descendant of Ghenghis Khan; it needs little change in spelling to arrive at the Primarch. Finally in this group, Conrad Curze is almost certainly an allusion to Joseph Conrad, who wrote Heart of Darkness a novel which included the character of the madman Kurtz.

3_ Leman Russ. First appearing in Rogue Trader as an Imperial Commander, then becoming the Space Wolves' Commander in a later expansion, this name finally became that of the Space Wolves' Primarch. We can say that Rogue Trader had less gothic and Roman influences; and had a more generically sci-fi feel. Some names – like Pedro Cantor – are based on real people (Pete Cantor was a friend of the writers and contributor to the book), others on pop culture (the infamous Inquisitor Sherlock Obiwan Clouseau). Still others have no obvious source besides 'sounding sci-fi'. I suspect Leman Russ was one of these, though I'd be happy to be corrected.

4_ While Fulgrim sounds a bit like 'Fulgor' (Latin for 'bright'), and 'Lorgar' sounds as though it were meant to be associated with 'Lore' (to go with Word Bearer) those origins seem a bit tenuous. This theory is partially strengthened by their similarity in endings with each other; a little like Angron and Mortarion. Since I suspect they were created together, perhaps this link helps provide some limited evidence. Again, anyone have anything a bit more creative on the origins of those last two? +

+ So much has been lost, and forgotten...+

+ In conclusion, my suspicion is that the Primarch's names were a sign of the times in the Games Workshop studio – an odd mix of historical figures, cheesy puns, occultism, and in-jokes; all of which would have appealed to the creatives and their audience. After all, this was the period of 'serious heads', where music, politics and literature would have been deeply analysed and discussed – and mocked, in that very British way  +

+ Whatever the final answer, the discussion is interesting. I suspect ultimately that the Primarch's names are a combination of dashed-off, barely thought-through jokes to hit a deadline, with a great deal of well-researched, wide-ranging discussions based on the writers' broad and shared enthusiasm for historical, literary and oounter-cultural knowledge. A fitting tribute, then, to the fantastic creativity at the GW studio at the time. +

+ I hope you've enjoyed my thoughts on this. If you like this sort of post, I have some similar ramblings relating to the Primarch's homeworlds – let me know if you'd like to see that below, along with any corrections, additions or thoughts of your own on the Primarch's names. +

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

+ inload: Brother Letas, Apologist +

+ A bit of fun here – it was the Ultramarines' turn for the Bolter and Chainsword forum's March of the Legions project in November. This invites participants to create a single miniature from a particular Space Marine legion in a month. I was tempted to do a banner bearer, but I ended up deciding on doing something a bit more unusual and a bit more personal; so I've created an 'Apologist' – a little personal avatar for the army, based on my forum-name. I had a nod at the warning point I have on that forum (for changing my name a few years back), by adding a red helm – a pre-Heresy mark of censure. +


'What could cause an Ultramarine to fall from favour? Did he forget to polish his boots, or just leave his ramrod out of his arse?'
+ Cromac Ord, XIIth Legion; Armaturan Theatre +

+ Infractions, mistakes and failure are met with different approaches in the Legions. Some practise punishment – in various degrees of corporal, psychological or spiritual vioence – while others, like the XIIIth Legion, enclose their Legionaries in a cage of their own devising – simply denying him that which he seeks most of all: honour. Bound by their own inherent discipline, an Ultramarine set apart from his good name endures something worse than any physical or mental trial – which, after all, they have been trained to overcome. +

+ To the legionaries of the XIIIth, to be red-marked is a spiritual statement; an eternal, ineradicable blot on their copybook. Nevertheless, to be an Ultramarine is to succeed, to strive for excellence. Thus, those censured few tend to fight twice as hard; knowing that only through excellence can his brethren forgive him and welcome him back into the legion proper. +

+ Whether he ever can forgive himself is another matter. The red helm of censure may be withdrawn from the Legionary. he may be reinducted to the ranks, and welcomed back by his comrades. But the Legionary will forever be marked by it. +

+ Brother Letas, Apologist of 190th Company +

+ Breacher squads, being the first into some of the most dangerous operations of all Legion warfare, can suffer horrendous casualties. To fight in one is an honour in itself; and thus competition for, and discipline within, the ranks of the Scutum-companies, is exemplary. Conversely, for those who are censured and forced to don the red helm, it offers the best chance of a redemptive demonstration of Ultramarian virtues – if, that is, the Legionary can convince his superiors to grant him the chance. +

+ This view shows the Breacher squad marking – a gladius within the inverted omega of the Legion – as well as the hooped segments of Mark II 'crusade' armour on the legs. His red helm of censure maintains his laurel wreath of victory – a personal honorific that invokes his past triumphs and hope for victory over this present dishonour. +

+ Amongst the fifteenth Chapter, the Praetors of Calth, there is a tradition dating back to the days of the War-Born of Terra. Those found to have erred were branded – sometimes literally – with the sobriquet 'Apologist' as a memorial of their disciplinary infractions. Armed with power-gladius, holstered sidearm and the iconic tower-shield of the Breacher squads, Brother Letas' breastplate has been scoured clean of honour markings and replaced with the mark of shame; making the machine-spirit of the plate is complicit with the Legionary himself. +

+ The Legion symbol remains involiate. Even in disgrace with his brotherhood, Letas remains an Ultramarine. +

+ Thought for the day: Only in death does duty end. +

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

+ inload: Tutorial – building 'true-scale' Astartes part V +

+ This inload forms part of a tutorial, which begins here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] +

+ Part 5: Finishing +

+ Shoulder pads +

+ This is simply a combination of skills you've learned earlier in the tutorial, and still using the Grey Knight Terminator kit as the basis. +

I_ Cut the shoulder pad from the sprue and trim away any overhanging parts. If you're neat, you can save these in your bits box.

II_ Carefully clean up the sprue by tidying any trimmed parts and cleaning mouldlines.

III_ Add a small piece of greenstuff across the gap at the bottom, making a bridging section.

IV_ Secure this piece by drawing it up across the back. Ideally, leave this to cure overnight.

V_ Add blobs of greenstuff to either side. Keep these small and evenly-sized; this helps ensure you get an even coverage, and fill gaps to an even depth. One large blob is harder to control.

VI_ It's now simply a case of smoothing things out using the spoon-ended part of the tool, as you've learned earlier in this tutorial. As shown above, you can leave some elements (such as this scroll plate) visible. Aim for a smooth, domed appearance in order to get that iconic space marine look.

+ Completion +

+ Once you've made a second shoulder pad, this completes all the parts you need... You can now assemble your marine, adding whatever head, hands and backpack you desire. If you've followed the tutorial through complete, you will have something that looks a little like this: +

+ Shoulder pads: other options +

+ Building shoulder pads for 'true-scale' marines is awkward; there's no getting round that. I've tried a number of different ways, and while the above is perfectly serviceable (particularly if you just want to use only the Grey Knight Terminator kit), you can also try the following approaches if you prefer. +

The important thing, I feel, is the smooth dome. This is the iconic part of the Space Marine aesthetic, but if that's in place, there's a lot of room for difference otherwise – studs, rims, trim, decoration... +

A_ You can simply fill the scrollwork, leaving out the bridging piece. 

B_ Using the snap-fit Terminators, you can use the arm to help guide you in filling and smoothing the gaps to extend the pad down as shown.

C_ The very easiest method is to make a slightly shortened pad by trimming away the projecting part of any regular Terminator pad.

D_ You can use pure greenstuff to add trims, as shown in the leftmost column. Similarly, as shown in the central column you can use brass strips (available from lots of model shops or online railway retailers) to add rims and detail. This is a good, if more expensive, way to get evenly-spaced and sized trim. The third column shows some other decorative ideas, made by scoring lines acrossand working greenstuff down to them to create the impression of layers.

E_ The earliest method I tried was to use plasticard trimmed down to 2mm or 3mm strips, as shown here. This is a little more complicated, but gives nice clean lines. 

Bend the strips into hoops, then use polystyrene cement to attach one strip around the bottom of the pad, overlapping the lower edge by around 1mm (the overhanging part in the centre helps support it and will help you get it level). 

Hold this until the glue has dried and it is completely secure before trimming it to length. Next, glue the second strip, starting from the front, making sure it is flush with the top edge of the secured strip. Bend the pad round and trim to fit snugly against the top edge at the back of the pad.

Once this has dried, you can add tiny bits of plasticard behind the join to help secure things and make the bond stronger – just be careful to hold it securely, or the strips will start to come off as the glue re-softens the plastic.
You can see the join of the pads at the front here.

F_ I have also experimented with L-shaped pieces of plasticard, which works in much the same way, but you have no visible join at the front.

3D-printed pads from Customminis
G_ Finally, of course, you can go into purchasing pads. I paid to have some designed and 3D printed by Customminis on Shapeways, but this was a very expensive route, so not really ideal. (Great service, by the way – the designer's very helpful). 

Shoudler pads from Master-Crafted Miniatures
Most recently, I've found a great shop called Master-Crafted Miniatures who, in addition to some cool figure sculpts, produce shoulder pads compatible with GW Terminator arms. These are absolutely ideal, and priced very well – no hesitation at all in recommending them. If you place an order, say I sent you! :)


+ *Phew!* Well, that brings this tutorial to a close. Congratulations if you'd made it this far, and I hope the tutorial has proven useful to you – it's the least I can do for all the helpful advice I've received from the online community. Please feel free to share it, adapt it and use it as you wish. Good luck in your modelling! +

+ I'll be back to semi-regular posting now this tutorial's over. Check back for:
  • Word Bearer painting tutorial
  • Pics of Ultramarines
  • The Dwarfs of the Tallowlands
  • Sundry other bits!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

+ inload: Tutorial – building 'true-scale' Astartes part IV +

+ This inload forms part of a tutorial, which begins here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] +

+ Part 4: Limbs +

+ Left arm +

+ With the complex cuts of the torso safely complete, it's now time to turn to the arms, and finish the legs. As before, you can use any terminator arms for this. It is the left arm that causes most problems, as most Terminator plastics have power fists. Even those that don't require some resculpting work. For that reason, this tutorial concentrates on the left arm first. +

+ If you have bought the Grey Knights Terminator box for this tutorial, it makes sense to use those. If not, then I recommend the Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield arms from the Assault Terminator Box, as these include a left forearm (rather than the powerfist). +

I_ Assuming you're using the Grey Knight Terminator arms, cut it from the sprue and clean any mouldlines as normal. 

II_ Carefully trim away the cable, including the junction boxes where it meets the armour of the arm.

III_ Place a very small ball of greenstuff into the elbow area.

IV_ Gently flatten it into a disc shape, then trim away the pointed part of the wrist and lay a small amount of greenstuff on the forearm in the recess meant for the stormbolter.

V_ Gently smooth this into place, and flatten the ends using the spoon-ended and edged parts of the modelling tool. This completed the left arm (though the version above needs a bit more cleaning!)

+ Right arm +

+ If you're using a Grey Knight Terminator arm, you'll need to trim away the elbow shield. If not, this part is a lot easier. +

I_ Trim the arm from the sprue and clean as usual.

II_ Use the clippers to cut the lower box cable off.

III_ Trim away the cable at the top, so you end up with something like this.

IV_ Use your craft knife to carefully trim and shape the elbow pad, and remove the 'junction boxes' for the cable at the wrist and shoulder.

V_ Trim away the skull, then flatten a small ball of greenstuff as in steps III and IV of 'Left Arm' above.

+ As an example of arms made with other Terminator sets, here's one made from the plug-and-play Terminators from an earlier edition of the Warhammer 40,000 boxed set (Battle for Macragge, I think). I have used Procreate here, hence why the putty is grey – and a bit sharper, as it's easier to file and shape into hard edges than greenstuff, which is a little more elastic. Note also that these arms make the shoulder pads much, much easier to do, as you've got a hard joint to work against. Of course, on the other hand you sacrifice some flexibility. +

+ Kneepads +

+ Not strictly necessary, if you're after Mark IV legs, you'll want to add the kneepads. +

I_ Make sure the existing greenstuff on the legs is fully cured, then simply blob on a small amount of putty (as shown) roughly into place, flattening it with your thumb.

II_ Lay the spoon-ended part of the modelling tool flat against the shin and push gently upwards to create a sharp, flat bottom surface. Mark sure this is straight.

III_ Use the edged end to shape the top corners in the scalloped shape, as shown, being careful not to distort the lower part. If you've used too much greenstuff, aim to get it hanging off the top, then simply use your clippers to remove it and smooth the edge with the modelling tool.

IV Repeat on the other side, allow to cure, then base and assemble your marine.

+ Part V of this tutorial is now available here [noospheric inloadlink embedded]. +

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

+ inload: Tutorial – building 'true-scale' Astartes part III +

+ This inload forms part of a tutorial, which begins here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] +

+ Part 3: Torso I +

+ Preparing and cutting the torso to shape +

+ If you've worked through the earlier parts of this tutorial, you know all you need for this part, which is often the sticking point for true-scale marines. I've made torsos for my marines in a number of ways, but the inspiration for this one comes from an excellent Iron Hand, Legionary Azhuk, made by MonkeyBallistic of Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. +

+ Because this approach uses a grey knight torso, it relies less on free-sculpting, and is thus a fantastic way of making these marines easier to make. It also means that we can make use of the sharp lines of the original sculpt, for a crisp finish. The final part of the choice of the Grey Knight Terminator torso as a basis for this tutorial is expense: if you've bought the box for this tutorial, I'd like to get most out of it we can. +

I_ Assemble the torso as normal using polystyrene cement. Use a knife to trim away the psychic hood, leaving the rim at the height as shown. 

+ While not essential, I prefer to cut away the D-shaped detail on the back behind the hood's rim and scrape out the wires inside the remnants of the hood; just to further disguise the source of the parts. +

II_ Cut away any detail overhanging the edge of the chest plate. Follow the curve of the plate to guide you.

+ Try looking at the chest from underneath if the detail is obscuring the line of the chest plate. It's more obvious from this angle. +

III_ Carefully cut upwards from the bottom of the chest plate to remove the surface detail, as described in part I of this tutorial. As before, work gradually to ensure a relatively smooth finish. Follow the curve of the armour plate, and avoid cutting into the collar. 

IV_ To check you have shaped the piece properly, look at it from underneath. Here, you can see that the curve is not even, and that a layer of what was decoration remains in place.

V_ Continue gradually shaving away layers until the chest plate is correctly shaped in a smooth curve or even depth. You should be able to see the collar, as shown.

VI_ Trim away the belt detail on the back with one smooth cut. If you are careful, you can slip the blade in flat against the bottom and cut upwards without touching the surrounding area. 

+ Again, this is not essential, but removing parts that are distinctive of terminators helps to hide the source of your marine. +

VII_ Cut into the back of the torso, just to the side of the vent detail. Use the curve of the lower corner to help you get a straight line (see the following step for clarity). Press down carefully until the blade sits at the depth shown. 

+ Hopefully it goes without saying that you should be careful, cut away from you where possible and use a sharp – ideally new – blade. +

VIII_ Remove the blade and cut back into the side as shown. 

+ This shot should clarify where the cut in step VII was made, too – a straight vertical just to the side of the vent detail.+ 

IX_ This will cut away a square section from the back.

X_ Make a guide cut near the top of the shoulder joint at forty-five degrees, as shown. Make this cut shallower than the one in step VIII – approximately half the depth.

XI_ Cut in from the other side and trim away a triangular section.

XII_ Round off the corner; either with a file or simply by making a series of additional and increasingly smaller angled cuts.

XIII_ Repeat the process on the other side.

XIV_ Trim away the remaining vent detail, aiming to get the back section as evenly flat as you can. The backpack will sit here eventually. 

+ For a smoother finish, use a needle file to refine the edges. +

+ This completes the carving and shaping of the torso +

+ Torso sculpting +

+ Phew, you can relax a bit. The carving's the hard bit of the torso. The rest is essentially an extension of the greenstuff techniques we looked at in part II of the tutorial. +

I_ Start by rolling a small ball of greenstuff, using the neck of your space marine head as a guide for size. Drop it into the recess in the torso. 

+ If you are working straight through the tutorial from the start, the greenstuff you mixed up earlier will likely still be within its working time. If you are starting fresh from this point, mix up some more greenstuff and let it cure for fifteen or twenty minutes before beginning. +

II_ Use the spoon-ended part of the modelling tool to press the ball down and fill the entire neck area as shown.

III_ Fill any recessed surface detail on the front of the Grey Knight torso as described in steps XVIII and XIX of part 2.

IV_ Roll a smaller ball of greenstuff – approximately three-quarters of the size of the one used in step I – and place it towards the back of the inside torso as shown.

V_ Smooth the ball out with the same circling motions used earlier, to create the basis of the neck piece. It is important that this sits towards the back, against the collar, or your finished marine will look hunched forward, rather than throwing his chest out proudly.

+ Because you are working greenstuff on top of greenstuff, be very gentle. I suggest using greenstuff towards the end of its working time (see the notes at the start of part 2 of this tutorial for more on working time) as it will resist pressure better and not distort. +

VI_ Make another similarly-sized ball and place it on top of the first. 

+ When working layers like this, a balance must be struck in the working time so that the underlying layers resist distortion, but not be so rigid you need to use lots of lubrication – or you risk the later layers simply falling off in future! If this does happen, simply use superglue to secure the piece. +

VII_ As before, smooth it out. This creates a simple internal collar.

+ This technique can be used in lots of places. It's good for ribbing or tubing; such as that used in space marine undersuits. +

VIII_ Before the greenstuff cures, use a spare marine helmet to create an impression in the neck area. Push it down gently until it sits where you want the final head to be.

IX_ Carefully remove the head to reveal a dip that will hold any standard marine head and give your true-scale marine more poseability when you are assembling him. If the greenstuff sticks or starts to come away with the neck, leave it to cure completely and simply remove the head later. 

+ Greenstuff is not a glue, so you'll easily be able to pop the temporary head out of place once cured. +

+ At this point, the torso can be used as-is (once cured, of course), but if you wish to add more detail or make a specific mark of armour, then carry on. The instructions below are for Mark IV Maximus armour. In future, I aim to add instructions for different marks – let me know if there's a particular type you'd like to see. +

+ Mark IV torso armour layer 1 +

I_ Place a sausage of greenstuff across the upper part of the torso, running from shoulder joint to shoulder joint.

II_ Use your thumb or finger to secure it to the surface, being careful to keep it from spreading over the collar or onto the shoulder joints. Use the modelling tool to 'rein it in' or trim if necessary. Use this sticky surface to add a small ball – roughly half the size of that used in step I of the basic torso (above) – in the centre and press that down too.

+ It looks awful at this stage – but don't be disheartened. That's the joy of greenstuff. It's very malleable and will smooth out beautifully. Think of this stage as the messy basecoat when painting. +

III_ Use the now-familiar small circling motions of the spoon-ended part of the modelling tool to gradually smooth out the surface. Press gently to flatten the torso plate to a uniform thickness roughly the same as the collar. You will likely end up with excess putty – simply use the edge of the modelling tool to cut it away, then smooth back over with the spoon-ended part. +

IV_ Use the flat and edge of the spoon-ended part to create a symmetrical shape with curves that lead towards the abdomen. Continue to refine the sculpting until you have a smooth finish as shown.

+ This completes the basic Mark IV torso. I may well come back to refine this at a later date with the distinctive surface detail. +

+ Next up, in part IV of the tutorial, are the arms and assembly of the basic Astartes. Nearly there! +