+ inload: Dwarfs of the Tallowlands +

+ inload: Dwarfs of the Tallowlands +

+ Shieldbearers +

+ This piece looks slightly comical without the dwarf king on top. Either they've been very careless – 'Ooh-eck, Lundi, where's the chief gone?' – or they're nicking his shield. +

+ Either way, I'm pretty happy with how they've come out. Since the models seem to be almost all metal or beard, it's quite tricky to pick out the details in such a way that makes the most of the sculpt. Fortunately, it's inks and washes to the rescue! I painted everything except the beard and shoes black over a grey undercoat, then worked boltgun metal in while the black was still wet, working up from the bottom. That way, by the time you reach the top, the colour is drier and shows more. This creates the start of a gradient effect. +

+ I then built up the colour on the armour with boltgun metal and various washes (ultramarine ink, ogryn flesh and badab black), using different combinations and amounts to create different effects. For example, the chainmail is a mix of blue and black over boltgun metal, then another light drybrush of boltgun metal and black worked into the recesses. The brass/bronze effect on the helmets is somewhere around three layers of ogryn flesh over increasingly small areas of boltgun metal. + 

+ For the great shield itself, I was half-tempted to paint it using colour, but I stopped myself. For a start, if it's bright and gaudy it'll draw attention from whoever ends up on top. Secondly, I think a dwarf would be more impressed by the great age of a huge bronze shield. I can imagine it mounted over a dwarf hall, the rich bronze glowing ruddily in the firelight, the fine filigree gleaming and ancient. I used a couple of layers of gryphonne sepia over boltgun metal, and dropped diluted sepic ink into recesses while the wash was wet in order to strengthen the contrast in these areas. +

+ With the metal complete, I was not really very happy. Most of the miniatures were complete, and I really hadn't differentiated them from the orcs they'll be fighting beyond cleaner and more varied metal. I played around with coloured gloves and boots, but they just ended up looking too perky, and drawing the eye too much. I replaced them with earthy buffs and browns. + 

+ As I started painting the skin and beards, I felt much more satisfied – these were some significant areas of different colours, and they really helped the overall figure. It was a bit awkward to paint the faces with the metallics in place as the details are quite recessed and small. The realistic (well, hopefully) hues and range of tones in the beards gives them some individuality, and stops the dwarfs from looking too much like robots or automatons. +

+ Before basing, I went over to do the final details, picking out rings and inlaid detail on the helms and hammers with gold. Dwarfs love gold and admire craftsmanship. I can't imagine those honoured with carrying the chief would bring anything other than their best weaponry and armour. I picked out some jewels with blues and turquoises to contrast with the warm-hued armour and finish them off. +


+ Throngsman +

+ Blimey, if the faces on the shieldbearers were hard, this more modern sculpt is a real challenge. These were bought second-hand. While very nicely-assembled, the shield was in place, and it made getting in to paint the face and eyes a bit of a struggle, made no more pleasant by just how small they are! I'm far more used to the 1980s dwarfs, which had sharper, more exaggerated detail by virtue of being metal, and really struggled to get the eyes set correctly. The rest of the model was more straightforward. He was painted in much the same way as the shieldbearers, as he is similarly very heavily armoured. +

+ These models are lovely – I really like the heavy-set look of them, and I think they'll make a great core to the little force. +

+ inload: A Scyld fit for a Cyng +

+ inload: A Scyld fit for a Cyng +

+ These little chaps arrived over the weekend. Good old dwarf steel (well, tin alloy, anyway) gives them a nice heft, and it put a nostalgic smile on my face to be building dwarfs for the first time in more than a decade. +

+ The sculpting and detail on these is exquisite (I suspect a Colin Dixon sculpt, but would be happy to have that confirmed or corrected), and it almost seems a shame to cover up that beautifully detailed shield with a dwarf personality. In any case I'll be painting these separately from whoever eventually ends up on top, so I'll have a picture or two of the shield before the Chieftain clambers up there. +

+ The model was an ebay score. The figures came with some very gungey glue in recesses (I suspect some sort of two-part glue, like Araldite), which required some careful picking out with a craft knife. Once cleaned up, I trimmed away the tabs and mounted them on an oval base, which I think fits them nicely.+

+ Talking about bases, here's my latest Land Raider, perched atop an MDF base the same size as GW's Knight base. I'm ummed and ahhed about putting tanks on bases before, so it's nice to simply jump in and have a go. This size base is big enough to fit the model's footprint, but small enough that it won't cause movement problems. While it's not really applicable here (since the Land Raider is such a chunky block of a vehicle), having a base is also nice to give something to measure from and towards, rather than the rather vague 'hull'. +

+ Practicalities aside, the main reason I want to give tank bases a go is for aesthetics. It makes things more consistent – flyers and bikes look better for having bases, so it follows that a uniform look will help other vehicles, too. Having it raised by the same amount as the infantry makes sense to me, and I think it's going to allow me to frame the piece a bit more nicely. By that I mean I can set the tank at an angle, or build up the base a little to add some movement and dynamism to the vehicle. For vehicles with more space on the base, there's also the potential for mini dioramas, tyre tracks, corpses, spent ammunition and the like: all grist to the mill of suggesting a live battlefield. +

+ inload: Tallowland Marches +

+ inload: Tallowland Marches +

+ It is said the Star Giants drew their plough across these lands long ago; before even the raising of the Hold. The land buckled and melted in the heat, and the bones of the earth themselves grew soft and flowing. For two wholemoons the skies rained ash and fire as the plough drew slowly through the groaning ground. All who stayed on the surface perished. + 

+ As the Giants passed, the land grew cold once more, and the mountains set into the soft rolling hills you see now. The great King-before-Kings came to explore the furrow they had ploughed. As Nog reached the edge of the blackened land, he saw a long scar in the earth. It sank deep – deep beyond his sight – and was seeded with gems and ore to delight a thousand lifetimes. +

+ Nog knew then that he would raise a hold. A Hold of a thousand – ten thousand! – families. He and his kin would steward these new Tallowlands. And so it became. A fort was raised; and then a keep. Over five manling lifetimes Nog laboured and sweated to bring his hold to reality; while drawing the richness of the furrow to himself. +

+ Then came the nomads. Then came the orcs. +


+ More orcs on the painting desk. As mentioned in the last inload [noospheric link embedded], these Black Orcs were second-hand. The image to the right shows the colour scheme they came with. Second-hand models often come painted. A lot of the time it renders the model unpaintable owing to obscured detail etc., and they require stripping, but in this case the paint's serving as a nice basecoat – thin enough not to obscure detail, it's acting a bit like a nulti-coloured primer. I'm simply painting right over the top. +

+ That certainly makes things nice and quick, and the heavily-armoured nature of the models means that suits them well. They paint up very effectively with minimum time – perhaps an hour for each model. +

+ The orc on the right is still on the original base. They'll be moved to round bases (30mm) as I prefer the frame that creates, but it's an interesting comparison. +

+ There are another six in the process of painting (an unusual batch approach for me), and roughly thirty more either basecoated or primed. I'll probably reserve the remaining unbuilt plastic ones for my 40k orks (more on those in the next couple of months), but I do have some other fantasy models on the way. My plan is for two self-enclosed forces of what I regard as the iconic fantasy battle – dwarfs vs orcs. Keep yer eyes peeled! +

+ inload: Tallowland Nomads +

+ inload: Tallowland Nomads +

+ Feral ork from the dark millennium, or proud noble warrior orc of the lamented lost world? (for certain values of noble. And probably scabby and belligerent rather than proud, too.) I'm not quite sure, but he was good quick fun to paint. I've had a pile of around forty Black Orcs lurking in the attic for a couple of years now, following an abortive foray into Warhammer Fantasy. +

+ This fellow was a good excuse to play around with metals, inks and washes. Aside from the skin and a few earthy areas of leather and bone, there's not a lot more to the model than armour plating, so he was a lovely distraction from bigger projects. +

+ Big cleavers benefit from a thick blood spatter – made by roughly stippling dark brown on the blade, then drawing some thick blobs of Blood For The Blood God – a paint with a name so over-the-top that I can't help but love it – across the area, working from the sharp end of the blade backwards. +

+ The back of the model has some nice detailing to the armour. I added some patches of orange to a few recesses in the armour to suggest rust, but most of them have been lost in the sepia ink. I don't think he'll be winning any painting prizes, but a gritty messy look fits my view of the Warhammer World like a (spiky, blood-filled) glove. +

+ I won't wax lyrical about the new version of Warhammer, but will note that (with the caveat that I haven't played a game of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar yet) 
1_ The new setting seems interesting, but I have fond memories of the Old World, and was sorry to see it be supplanted.
2_ I haven't played Warhammer since 3rd edition, and this has got me painting. 
3_ Ease of entry with free, simple rules and no convention on a size of game (hence I can play with just five miniatures to give it a go) has a thumbs-up from me. +

+ In any case, I fancy painting up a few models to give it a try. As I mention, I have a load of orcs that'll let me give it a go, but may well build and paint a few dwarfs, as they were the army I played back in my childhood. +

+ inload: Practical – painting marble +

+ inload: Practical – painting marble +

+ Following on from the theoretical inload [noospheric link embedded] last week, here's the practical side to painting marble effects on your models. I've opted for a plaque on the side of a Forge World Land Raider, which is large enough to show the effect, while also including some interesting details to show how you can help set off the marble. +

+ Practical +

+ Before you begin, make sure you've got your reference close to hand. This might be an image you've sourced from the noosphere, but I do recommend trying to see some marble in real life before you begin – local official buildings and statues are a good way of finding it. There's nothing quite like seeing your reference first-hand. +

_ 1 With the area cleaned, prepared and undercoated (I used Halford's grey primer), dilute some dark-toned paint to a watery consistency. A good way to test the consistency is to tip your palette up to around forty-five degrees from horiztonal. The pool of prepared paint should begin to drip. 

Paint this over the whole area, keeping your brushstrokes at a consistent angle. The image to the left shows I have worked from top left to bottom right. Allow the paint to dry to being merely damp (not wet), then reload your brush and draw some fine wavering lines that follow roughly the same angle. Vary them a little for interest. 

_ 2 Allow the previous layer to dry, then tint the mix by adding a fair amount of white (or other light colour, if you are painting a differently coloured marble) until you have a very light tint, just off-white. Again, dilute the paint to a watery consistency.

Paint this mix over the area in the same way. You are aiming to glaze over the underlying colour to soften the hard lines. 

Note that you can still see the marks you made in the earlier stage.
 _ 3 Allow the paint in your palette to dry a little, then use the point of your brush to draw in fine wavering lines of the light tint, exactly as you added the dark strokes earlier. 

It's tempting to say that you should reinforce/avoid the dark lines you can see through the glaze; but if you want a realistic effect, you need to avoid the temptation to stylise things. Just work naturally.

Check your reference image throughout. You don't need to reproduce the marks exactly, but it'll help you make sure that the marks you're making here look right.
 _ 4 Change to your lightest tint – pure Vallejo white in this case – and draw in some highlighting lines. Once again, follow the rough direction of the stone (top left to bottom right here). Try to get the lines as fine as you possibly can, and don't be afraid to branch out the lines a little. Again, check your reference if you're unsure.

This essentially finishes painting the marble. It's a relatively simple effect in itself. The important things to remember when painting is translucency – keep your paints thin; especially the initial layers. 
 _ 5 This tank was second-hand, and came with brass detail plaques in place. This gives me an opportunity to show you some additional tricks to set off your marble. 

Generally, you should avoid putting two similar tints next to each other, as they bleed into one another. To avoid that here, I've used a craft knife to carefully scrape away the marble effect paint from the rim of the brass. This reveals a different-toned border which helps set off the neutral white marble against the white paint behind.

_ 6 Your marble can be given additional depth with inks, washes or glazes of dilute colour. While not as effective as building up the colour through transparent glazes, this is a quick way to get coloured marble if you're unconfident about mixing hues. 

Simply build up the marble as above (using hueless greys and white), then glaze the colour over the top. Here I've used Seraphim Sepia to suggest a warm marble which complements the brass rim and sets the area aside from the white on which it sits.

+ The finished article. To finish off, I used Daler Rowney sepia ink to overlay the legion symbol. +

+ inload: Land Raider WIP +

+ inload: Land Raider WIP +

+ Work stalled on the tanks (ho ho ho) after the markings on the last Rhino. They looked too cartoonish, so I've been swilling neurons around the brainpan to come up with a different approach. Last night saw a bit of a breakthrough and I sat down to tackle the vehicles again, with the idea of using a much grimier approach; and building up the armour to look a lot more like the infantry. +

+ I utilise a lot of washes for the infantry, and rely on the predictable qualities of the various consistencies to get the right gradients and effects. This wouldn't work on the larger vehicles, as I don't have sufficient control to paint it all at once (owing to drying times). As a result, I threw in lots of acrylic mediums, inks, washes and all sorts of other materials to get what I think's working out quite nicely. +

+ Sprayed black, I worked Necron Abyss over the blue areas, then painted the metal areas – exhausts, tracks, weapons etc. – with a mix of Vallejo Smoke, Vallejo Scarlet, Vallejo white (to mute the colours), and sepia ink. I added the Citadel brown texture paint to the mix and painted the tracks while they were still wet. Once dry, I added Boltgun Metal and more of the brown texture paint to the mix and went over the tracks once again. This completes the base-coating of these areas. +

+ With the metal areas mostly done, I painted the blue hull with Mordian Blue, leaving Necron Abyss in the deepest recesses. This was then drybrushed in about five or six layers with successively more Fenrisian Grey added to the mix. +

+ Once dry, I made a dilute mix of sepia, Vallejo smoke and Leviathan Purple wash and painted over all the whole tank. This was very wet and very quick – drops of the mixture were going everywhere! Once covered, I held the tank the right way up and used untextured kitchen paper to dab away the excess lightly. On the flanks of the tank, I used downwards movements to help draw the effect down. +

+ Once dry, I made a new mix of Mordian Blue and Fenrisian Grey and used the edge of the brush to carefully highlight edges that caught the light (both direct and reflected). The effect can be best seen in the picture above on the weapon cowlings and the area near the front of the hull. I added Vallejo white to the mix and refined the highlights in areas that were in direct light. +

+ Metallic areas were then picked out with boltgun metal and washed with a mix of sepia ink and Vallejo Smoke. +




+ inload: Theoretical – painting marble +

+ inload: Theoretical – painting marble +

+ Part one of a marble tutorial. This part's the theory; I'll follow up with a step-by-step of the nitty-gritty next week. +

+ Marble is a lovely effect, and great for adding interest to large flat areas on your figures and terrain. It's also quite a forgiving way to practise your freehand work as there's no 'right' way for the result. This is because marble is a very varied stone, which can be found in all sorts of colours and arrangements, as you can see below. Of course, that's not a good reason not to put your best effort in – but be reassured that even if the results aren't perfect first time, you'll have some great practise work under your belt. +

+ Where to start? +

+ As you can see from the examples above, the first choice to make is to decide what sort of marble you want to paint. Not all marble textures and colours will translate to miniatures well. The one on the far right is a little close-textured, and at a small scale will simply look like dirt or fur. The one second from right has some lovely striations, but is a little pale and insipid. +

+ Colour-wise, it's well worth thinking about the colour scheme you're using. White marble is probably what most people think of, so that's the default. It's also good for most colour schemes as white is a neutral hue, and will go with just about anything. However, as you can see from the two examples on the left above, marble comes in an array of different colours, so the effect will work with any hue you choose – pick something that'll go with the rest of the scheme. If your colour scheme is already very complex, stick with either white or black. If it's simple, then play around with complementary or harmonic colours. +

+ Finally for your preparation, I really suggest you pick up some reference material. A quick search online will reveal loads of lovely marble textures, and of course you can go outside and have a search yourself. Very little will help your understanding of a surface or an object as much as inspecting it close-up. +

You don't need to go to Rome to see marble, but it helps! Just check out the swirling patterns in those columns.

+ The difference: Painting marble, and painting marble in miniature +

+ A general note on freehand at this scale is to remember that, generally speaking, you're aiming for effect more than photo-realism. This is because the areas you're covering are very small. Once you've added the artificial highlighting and shading – which is what creates the impression that the miniature is something life-size but far away rather than small – you may find that very subtle effects are almost lost. + 

+ To help avoid this, you can exaggerate the tonal range: i.e. make the light areas in the marble lighter than they really are, and the darks correspondingly darker. You need to find a balance between making the effect visible to the viewer, and over-egging it. If you're painting a centrepiece model intended to be picked up and examined, you can be much more subtle than with a gaming piece intended to be viewed at arm's length. +

+ Where to use it? Focal points and special effects +

+ The next stage is to work out the part or areas of the figure you want to paint with the marble effect. As with much in life, it's easy to have too much of a good thing, and using too much of a 'special effect' – or putting it in inappropriate places – can spoil the result. A good example might be using a marble effect on a Space Marine. The torso or pauldrons are good places for the effect – the chest and shoulder are symbolically martial and masculine, and therefore good for warlike honorifics. The effect thus becomes a boast or display of prowess and strength. Conversely, a foot, groin or backpack painted with a marble effect will appear odd to most viewers, as it doesn't fit with cultural expectations of honorifics. As a result, the impact will be lost. +

+ Special effects – whether marble, object source lighting or anything else – will naturally draw the eye. They therefore work best to create a focal point on the figure, or frame an existing focal point. +

With the face partially covered, the figure's traditional focal point is partially lost. High impact freehand chequers beneath the area help to draw the eye back to the area and act as a frame for the head, restoring its position as the main focus. A marble effect would achieve the same effect and work well on hard armour, but is obviously inappropriate for the cloth here (as well as being a bit poncey for ded 'ard Goff like this!) 
+ For single infantry models or other small figures, I suggest erring on the side of caution with adding marble effects. Suggesting a lone marble foot on an otherwise 'normal' marine is an extreme example of inappropriate placing, but the same also applies to painting the whole figure with the effect. Nothing ruins the impact of a good effect than over-use, because this dilutes the effect's ability to draw the eye to the focal point. +

+ As a general rule, marble effects work best on large, smooth surfaces as there's sufficient space for the effect to be seen, and they won't be lost or confused by other textures. I also suggest that you start out with areas that are near the surface of the figure (i.e. not in recesses.) The advantage of this is twofold. Firstly, on a practical level, such areas are easier to reach with the brush! Once you've practised a bit, you'll soon be able to get the effect elsewhere, but getting the basics down well is always worthwhile. +

+ Secondly, these areas will be seen. There's a certain Quaker-like pleasure in knowing that you've painted something properly (like the inside of a vehicle) before sealing it away from the light forever, but marble areas on infantry figures will almost always serve a ceremonial or honorific purpose – and thus be intended for display. + 

+ Some suggestions for likely areas:
  • Reliquaries or similar objects
  • Weapon hafts – or blades
  • Torso and shoulders
  • The figure's base
  • Any large smooth area, such as an Eldar Wraith-construct's head, plates affixed on top of a Warjack's hull
  • Areas underneath a scroll or other decoration (the scroll itself will look nice in a contrasting metal)
  • Shields. Perhaps not hugely realistic, but a perfect surface. Likely more promising for sci-fi or advanced cultures/magical warriors rather than low-tech barbarians.
+ Some areas to avoid:
  • Helmets – although this may seem a good idea, as the traditional focal point, there tends to be too much sculpted detail and texture on helmets and head to allow these to work well. 
  • Functional areas. Any part of a figure that requires post-battle maintenance or is 'teched-up' is likely to be made of more sturdy, simple materials.
  • Very thin or small parts. Shoulder trims seem like a good place for the effect, but the effect may be visually confusing or ineffective. 
  • Textured areas. As well as obvious furry/scaly/chainmail-covered areas, keep an eye out for rivets at the edges of otherwise promising areas. It's often a hint that the area is functional rather than decorative.
  • Any areas that are already busy. This may be owing to the sculpt, or due to other freehand decorations. Don't gild the lily. 
+ There are exceptions, of course, for both areas to avoid and those to focus upon. Ultimately, trust your instincts and aesthetic sense – only you know what you're trying to achieve. +

A good example of ignoring rules in favour of a good result. Here, the marble effect is set on a studded area, and it meets with a freehand chequers. However, note that I've balanced this by making sure the plate is non-functional (it overlays the functional ceramite pauldron beneath), and that both freehand effects are relatively subtle (the chequers are in a thin strip, and the marble itself is both neutral in hue and subtle in contrast). The trim on the shoulder pad itself (studded part at the top) has been left blue rather than receiving further complex detail; and bot the marble and chequers help to lead the viewer's eye to the focal point of the figure: Guilliman's face.

+ Larger Figures +

+ Models like tanks and Dreadnoughts, being larger than infantry, can stand more special effects. In fact, being made up of larger, less textured surfaces, they're great for trying out the technique. However, as with lone figures, be wary of going overboard. Here, the skill of working out where to place the marble is more down to working out where it shouldn't go. +

+ Again, try to think in terms of the model as a real thing. Even the lunatics of the 41st Millennium are unlikely to carve a whole tank out of marble; but it's entirely feasible that part of it could have an overlay of fine marble. Again, think of the purpose of the marble as honorific: to terrify the enemy and inspire your allies. A I mentioned in an earlier inload, the placement of markings and decoration should serve an in-universe purpose. Make sure the marble is facing the enemy, or in the eyeline of the friends you want to inspire. +

+ Even on unusual figures like the Mechanicus war machine below, making decisions that make some sort of real-world sense will improve the result. Here, the marble is used to frame the focal point: the tech-shrine at the heart of the machine. The apex of the arch also leads the eye to the secondary focal point (the driver/pilot/instrumentalist). To the Adeptus Mechanicus, the machine is holy. They wouldn't mess with the Machine Spirit itself, so the functional-looking parts such as the big wheel thing at the bottom remain undecorated. A protective decorated metal plate has been fixed on top of the device, and the whole thing has been encased in an exotic green marble. +

+ From a real-world point of view, the functional part remains inviolate, and thus appears more realistic. You can imagine the whole piece being lifted out of the ambulatory engine for ritual maintenance, or the metal plate being taken off to get to the important parts beneath. + 

+ Note that the marble's green colour complements the overall red scheme, drawing the eye to an otherwise large and complex area and establishing it as the focal point. The marble trim covers a relatively small area of the model's surface, but there's no doubting the shrine-engine is the most important part of a visually quite confusing model. +

+ Summary +

+ Coo, quite a little diatribe about marble painting threory there. As I mentioned at the start, I'm planning a follow-up on the practical aspects of painting marble, so keep an eye out next week. +

+ As always, if you've any questions or suggestions for improvement, please do let me know in the comments. +

+ inload: Armour variants +

+ inload: Armour variants +

+ Last night saw some progress on the Calth front. Here are a few more WIPs: +

+ Mark II power armour; 'Crusade Armour', Praetor variant base +

+ The de facto 'standard' armour for my armour, Praetor pattern is a Mark II variant, the most distinctive part of which is the helm. Forge World have recently released a pack of the helms, but since I'm quite happy making them from plastic, I'll probably just stick with sculpting my own. +

+ Originally (for the 15th Chapter), each marine had slightly different armour – both to help keep my interest up, but also due to a lack of confidence in being able to create uniform results. My sculpting is still not fantastic, but I'm more comfortable with being able to replicate the basic shapes. As a result, the later marines (of the 190th Company) are considerably more uniform. With forty or so of them now completed, I'm going back to adding in some distinctive touches for future marines; just to break up the monotony and give me some extra incentive to paint. Here I've added an additional breathing grille to the helm, and incorporated a Legion symbol around the central point of the torso. +

+ Mark III power armour; 'Armorum Ferrum', Mon Balis variant +

+ The torso of this style of armour is based on a Grey Knight Terminator torso. It was inspired by MonkeyBallistic, of the ever-excellent Those Whom The Gods Would DestroyThe legs are from Death Guard Grave Wardens (with the loincloth removed and codpiece resculpted), and I've added Mark III bracers to the upper parts of Terminator arms. This chap needs some additional greenstuff work on his left elbow (missing, as it's from the Grey Knight Terminator set, which has recesses for the plug-in weapons) and on the torso itself. +

+ I really like the Tigrus-pattern boltgun. Were I to start the project again today, I would likely have used them throughout. However, with so many Phobos-pattern boltguns across the army, I'll simply dot the Tigrus-pattern throughout for variety. +

+ Mark III power armour; 'Armorum Ferrum' Sol Primus pattern, breacher support variant +

+ I see a lot of people asking for 'canon' examples of things, as though there's only one way of making armies. While there's a lot of appeal in creating an homage to a piece of artwork or story that has inspired you, I always like to see people colour outside the lines a little rather than falling into worrying about rivet-counting. The Heresy period in particular provides a huge amount of freedom for making your armies because the Legions are so large! In 40k, a lot of the Chapters have come to be defined by their archetypical units – all White Scars are on bikes, all Blood Angels have jump packs, etc – but 30k encourages the use a much greater variety. Importantly, it brings the classic units so iconic of Space Marines in general much more into focus, meaning that artists can invest their Tactical Marines with the same amount of care and attention as the specialists that create the later Chapter archetype. +

+ The marine above will be a Rapier crewman – a nice excuse to play with Mark III armour and make him stand out slightly. +

+ Mark II power armour; 'Crusade Armour', Praetor variant +

+ Leg up on a Rapier assault gun, this marine is as close to the original Praetors of Calth marines as I've made for a while. The backpack is Mark IV (I originally envisaged what I termed Macragge-pattern armour as a Mark IV variant). The legs are a split combination of a Space Hulk kneeling terminator and the Blood Angels Terminator Librarian from the clam pack. Quite a mix of bits! While I was building him as a Rapier gunner (hence the pose), I can't decide whether the Rapier crew should be a little more uniform and all use the heavier Mark III plate above. What do you reckon? +

+ inload: Ultramarine infantry +

+ inload: Ultramarine infantry +

+ Eheu, Fata innatura! June was not a productive hobby month, and July's not shaping up much better. I think it's the heat – makes it far too nice to sit inside and paint. Nevertheless, there are some meagre movements and plans afoot... +

+ The above shows the state of my desk – liberally scattered with Terminator legs and Grey Knight terminator torsos. Eventually, they'll be built up into figures like this chap:

+ This armour variant is likely going to represent a version of Mark III; or perhaps simply an alternative Crusade Armour pattern. Taking a closer look at the big picture above, here are some details and plans. +

+ These legs make a lot of sense to me as some Mark III variant, with their heavy reinforcing plates and rims. The segmented loincloths, while a bit odd, look cumbersome and distinctive, and will look great for Rapier crew. Rapiers are assault guns, so some heavier armour makes sense to protect the marines while they push through tunnels and ship corridors. +

+ These legs will be used for regular marines – the top ones are from Lufgt Huron (leftover from a conversion), while the lower two are from the Death Guard sets. I can't remember off the top of my head whether they're Grave Wardens or the other type, but in any case, I'll be trimming away the chain-loincloth and resculpting the codpiece. This is shown on the lower right. Note that while I've removed the crossed scythes on this set of legs, I've tried to leave the belt plate intact, as it's a nice detail. Bits like this provide some interest without detracting from the uniform feel. I think that can be quite a difficult balance. +

Note studs and banding on knees
+ The Death Guard terminator parts are particularly good as they have additional banding and 'molecular bonding studs' which match the Visions of Heresy artwork a little more closely than both the plastic Terminator legs and the Cataphract/Tartaros legs. +

+ This pict-capture detail shows a Rapier gunner (leftmost legs and torso). It also contrasts a standard marine using Cataphract legs and a 'standard' torso (centre) and one with the new style torso on the Death Guard terminator legs. Note that the rightmost marine combines some of the aesthetic of the older marines in my army:

Note lack of loincloth, and presence of kneepads.
+ ...with some aspects of the newer marines:

+ This should mean that everything blends together visually and coherently, while having enough variation for interest. +