+ inload: Legionary Ahluic Xbalanque +

+ Legionary Ahluic Xbalanque +

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
+ John Donne +


+ Theoretical +

+ When painting, it's good to start by working out what you want the result to be. For me, at the core of the Grave Stalkers is their isolation. They yearn to be included and embraced by the Imperium they helped to build – but ultimately fall to corruption and lose any hope of brotherhood. Any paint scheme would have to suggest this bitter mournfulness, so I decided to work with a mainly cold scheme – a misty grey that I would make look colder by including a few contrasting spots in a complementary warm accent colour. +

+ Practical +

+ The colour scheme for the Grave Stalkers [+noospheric inload link embedded+] is grey and bone. I ended up creating mixes for the basic colours to help ensure that the result would not look like one of the existing canonical Legions – always an important point to bear in mind when coming up with a new scheme. +

[APPEND: For those interested, the grey was a roughly even mix of Vallejo White, Vallejo 70.329 Highlight Russian Tank Crew I and GW Fenrisian Grey. To shade, I applied a mix of GW Liche Purple and GW Mordian Blue that was heavily diluted with flow medium. Further white was added to the base mix for highlights. The bone mix was mostly Vallejo White with a touch of GW Iyanden Darksun. ~APPEND TERMINUS]

Bone and grey are two light-toned colours that caused a little consternation when I tried to use them in combination – low contrast schemes tend to lack impact. To offset this and create some visual interest, I included some deep metallics, rich shading and incorporated deep red as an accent colour. Red was already used in the Legion symbol, so it made sense to extend across the armour in places. +

+ This marine was an exercise in freehand detailing to create more of a sense of shape to the very pale, plain silhouette. I took some inspiration from Mayan border designs to add red markings across plates of the armour – most noticably on the torso and shoulder pad here. The faceplate has a skull honorific – as I understand things, the bone faceplate of the Legion is intended to reflect an old practise of using warpaint. I decided this marine would be a veteran (perhaps a Seeker specialist?) and developed the colour into a specific marking. +

+ The Mayans also provided the inspiration for the squad symbol I added to the left forearm – this is a numeral for 13. Grifftofer, the creator of the Legion, specified that the Grave Stalkers would duplicate their Legion symbol over their primary heart (the left side of the chest), which was an enjoyable challenge. It's quite an intricate design, but a clenched fist is so iconic that it still reads well at a small size. +

+ My first attempt at the pauldron simply didn't read as anything identifiable, so I took the liberty of simplifying the dripping blood on the Legion symbol into a single droplet. I hope the new version captures the spirit of the original design. I also added a 'XV' numeral above it on the pauldron and, as mentioned, incorporated some red border designs to help frame it and set it off against the surrounding areas. +

+ As noted earlier, the general colour scheme was a challenge. Neutral grey is a rather dreary colour that sucks the life out of a miniature, so I incorporated a little blue and a little green; creating a cooler grey intended to evoke mist. This also contrasted a little more strongly with the warm yellow bone on the shoulder plates and face. Note that I've added heavy borders between the bone and grey in the form of deep metallic shoulder trim and a near-black outline around the skull honorific. Sepia ink was also used to add depth and a hint of dirtiness – the Grave Stalkers look after their equipment, but are resupplied infrequently. I wanted to reflect this by having them look a little battered. +

+ The figure was still looking a bit muted at this point, and the trophy decorations (skulls and bones) weren't helping matters, as the bone white blended in with the rest of the figure. I had a brainwave and decided to try them in the red accent colour – perhaps they are ceremonially dipped in red ochre, painted or otherwise coloured as part of a lodge ritual? +

+ The rear of the figure shows more of the dull, muted metallics and shows a cleaner side. I like the tribalistic feel of the front – it gives a hint at the Mesoamerican influences without going all-in; and remains feeling more 'Space Marine' than anything else. +

+ I hope Grifftofer and the rest of the Bolter and Chainsword's Brotherhood of the Lost team like him – he was an enjoyable diversion from my main projects, and a great opportunity to try new things. +

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