+ conceptinload: Primaris, truescale and size +

+ Theoretical +

+ Vaguely apologetic babble +

+ Games Workshop are releasing a new range of Space Marines – the Primaris Marines – next month, and the first thing you notice about them is that they're bigger. Considerably bigger. Those poor benighted folk who have been doomed to read this blog can hardly have failed to notice that I build a lot of larger marines, and a couple of people have asked what my thoughts are. +

+ I've long been a bit wary of the terms 'truescale' or 'artscale' when describing my marines, as they've got some slightly snobbish connotation. I prefer to just say 'enlarged', as I've never wanted to imply that any model is wrong or better than another – as the old saw goes, 'one man's feast is another man's poison'. +

+ Nevertheless, truescale is probably the best-known term to describe the various methods of enlarging the standard marine kit to match the background and artwork more closely, so it's the one I'll use in this inload. +

+ Along with a few other hobbyists, I've been converting truescale marines for a few years, and have always been surprised by the feedback I get on them – they seem to catch some people's imagination and they really like 'em, others have a real aversion – even anger, on one memorable occasion – to the truescale technique.  +

I find it unlikely that GW have never seen an example, as it's clear the staff keep an eye on the noosphere and forums etc., and there are quite a few hobbyists who have been plugging away at the technique. Anyway, perhaps something about the concept caught on at GW, as the new Primaris marines are much more imposing than the older models. +

+ First impressions +

+ First and foremost, I think they look great. The proportions of a lot of the elements from the standard marines that truescaling attempts to alter have been changed: The legs and torso are longer and broader; and the abdomen and thighs in particular have changed. These adjustments – which are fairly subtle – make the models look more imposing and closer to human proportions. +

+ As you can see in the crude pict-manip below, the proportions and height are surprisingly close in proportion to the Terminator-based marines I make: 

+ Scaling is based on the width of the bases, which I'm assuming are 32mm +
+ I'd certainly like to get my servo-augmetics on some to make some in-hand assessment and comparison, but by the looks of things, these'll fit right in alongside my existing troops. If anything, it's slightly peculiar to see quite how closely they fit; which of course is very pleasing – I'll have an army all ready to go. +

+ What next? +

+ Perhaps the best thing about this for me is that my truescale marines will now simply be 'marines', and they'll be a bit more anonymous on the table. This may sound a bit funny – after all, it's always nice if people are kind enough to admire your army – but I sometimes worry that the truescaling can seem a bit gimmicky, and detract from the impact of the army. +

+ Will I swap over to just using the Primaris marines? Likely not. While they certainly look promising for parts, I enjoy converting stuff too much to build almost anything straight from the kit! My immediate plans are to convert them to fit in one or more of my Age of Darkness armies – the Iron Hands, Iron Warriors or Ultramarines – but I do have a small hankering after a Blood Angels force set on Armageddon; an homage to the 2nd edition boxed set. This would, oddly enough, involve converting them back to Mark VI or VII! +

+ I am planning to pick up a copy of the new boxed set, so I'll do a review when I get the chance. +

+ The models certainly seem to be causing a lot of discussion; I'd love to hear what you think. +

+ inload: Murder in the Dark battle report +

Forget the promises of the Imperial Truth; it is a veil for the weak.

The steps of Olympia have moved us beyond the potential of reconciliation. And why would we seek such a path? Reconciliation is wormed through with admission and forgiveness; as hollow a concept as could be found. Reconciliation is at the root of all lapses in duty.

From truth comes betrayal, from betrayal comes retribution, from retribution comes vindication.

+ Meditations of Koronos, vol II +

+ Tallarn. It's had a place in the PCRC's noospheric net for a long time. When the concept of Team Fisto came about – long before the Games Workshop Studio or Forge World books – we were all on tenterhooks waiting for the Black Library to release a book on Tallarn, so we'd get some info on the Imperial Fists. +

+ Now, that never happened, but the concept of a burned-out wasteland and fighting over precious bunkers is an awesome one, so Bob Hunk and I decided to start a little campaign set on the dead world, using the Victory is Vengeance rules. +

+ Bob Hunk's force of Imperial Fists Survivors is holed up in one of the anonymous Imperial bunker systems, and my Iron Warrior Exterminators have forced their way in. We played a simple mission fighting across an Imperial Army vehicle depot, with both of us using the Supply Raid and Murder Raid objectives. In short, we needed our forces to kill each other and claim a number of objectives. +


+ Opening moves +

With a slight advantage in numbers, the Iron Warriors push forward into the  to make the most of their short-ranged weapons. Lieutenant Çjarn waves his mean forward. Seeking absolution for his part in the Olympian Purges, he wears the penitent marks well-known to the Imperium.
+ During this campaign, I want to explore the background of Çjarn, who becomes a blood-soaked, idealistic lunatic by the time of the Siege of Terra, warped by the daemon blade he carries. Tallarn, of course, is set before Siege, so here he's simply another line-officer. I decided that he would have had regrets over the events of Olympia (the Iron Warriors destroyed their homeworld when it rebelled), and gave him the Martyr trait. This boosted his Action Point total when he is hit or taken out of action. +

Basilikoi advance behind the cover of a refuelling Valkyrie.
+ The Basilikoi are represented by a Legion Tactical Support squad with volkite chargers. +

Sergeant Yce and his Breacher teams thunder forward, determined not to cede an inch of ground to the Warmaster's forces. 

+ Bob Hunk had selected a simple Breacher Sergeant as his Hero, and granted him the Paragon trait. Yce may be a reluctant hero, but the shaken forces under his auspices look to him for inspiration – and what Imperial Fist would allow desire to overcome duty? Certainly not the stout-hearted Yce, who steps up and leads from the front. +

Crewless tanks, supply crates and other detritus offer dense cover for the clashing forces.

Long-range fire from the Fists pick off two or three unfortunate Legionaries of the IVth.

+ Mid-game +

The Rapier crew draw to a halt and prepare to fire on anything that hoves into view.

Çjarn's advance through cover falters as more and more of his men are picked off by sharp-eyed Imperial Fists, while his forces' powerful Martian deathrays and bolters fail to inflict a single casualty.

Called in to bail out their Lieutenant, the Iron Warriors on the right abandon their objectives and race over.

Yce confronts Çjarn, but the Fists' firepower falters at a critical juncture, causing no wounds...

Honoured Aedard, the Fists' Dreadnought, is hit by the Rapier's graviton cannon, but shakes it off. Returning fire, his quad autocannons hammer one of the Iron Warriors to the floor, sobbing blood from great rents in his armour.

+ Clash of arms +

The heroes meet! Three Iron Warriors make their way through the Fists' reaction fire, though Çjarn sustains a wound as he over-reaches to shield his comrade.

From the Valkyrie's wingtip pict-thief, the Iron Warriors predicament is obvious.

Before he can bring his axes into play, Çjarn is cut down by Yce's glittering power sword. His men fall shortly after, battered to the ground by the surviving Breachers.

The supporting Iron Warriors halt in dismay as their leader falls, and begin a punishing barrage of fire.

It's not all going the Fists' way, as the Rapier team tracks round...

... and hits Yce and his men with a physics-distorting wave of power. Straining to remain standing, Yce watches in dismay as two of his comrades are flattened in their armour. Nevertheless, it's too little too late, and the Iron Warriors are forced to retreat.


+ Post-Action Report +

+ Ha! That could have gone better. Don't think Perturabo will be particularly pleased with Çjarn after this one. The final result was an embarrassingly large margin of victory for Yce and his victorious brethren. Bob Hunk can give the precise results (he took notes on the final result as we packed up – I had to dash), but it was something like 30 Supply Points (SP) and 3 Victory Points (VP) for capturing three objectives, plus another 14SP and 7SP or so for the kills... Meanwhile, I'd managed the grand achievement of 0 objectives – foolishly abandoning the two I had claimed in order to try and bail out Çjarn – and only managed to take out four of his men. Imperial Fists are serious business! +

+ I can't blame bad luck, as Bob Hunk was equally unfortunate with his ammo rolls and pinning checks, his men uncharacteristically disorganised – perhaps the Iron Warriors assault had caught them off-guard? +

+ The Iron Warriors were left in a parlous state; unable to spend sufficient Supply Points from their meagre haul to maintain any of the Armour, Ammunition or Personnel levels – all of which dropped to Lacking. I'm in trouble for the next game... Çjarn, fortunately, escaped permanent negative effects from his injury, and picked up a personal objective to fulfil next time. +

+ The Fists, meanwhile, were flush! The Survivors start off on at a disadvantage to the Exterminators, but Yce has turned things around nicely, managing to spend enough Supply Points to bring everything up to the Plentiful level.  +

+ It was, despite the result, a lot of fun. The small scale of the Victory is Vengeance games made this tense and swift, and the additional rules (once we'd deciphered them, that is – there's a lot of needlessly complex explanation and the rules are scattered about all over the place in the FW books) were fun additions that didn't slow things down. +

+ I'm already looking forward to the next game. +

+ inload: Cataphractii armour plate III +

+ Theoretical +

+ Coo, this is turning into a bit of a labour of love. Some rather unforgiving pict-captures below, but I'm broadly pleased with the detailing. The shoulder plates are not shown here, but I have smoothed those out to make them more anonymous, too. +

+ What's been done since last time? Well, a lot of minor polishing. The most obvious additions are the rivets, but there's also quite a bit of refinement in terms of detail and sharpening of edges. I'll do another pass of this to further tidy things up, and then it'll be largely finished. +

+ I've left the head as it is in order to make it as versatile as possible. In the configuration shown, any head can be added. The odd little half-heads that the plastic and resin Cataphractii use will need a little greenstuff filling, but it's much easier to fill than remove. +

+ Practical +

+ It was a pain in the [SCRAPSHUNT] to add the rivets, but they go a long way to suggesting detail. +

+ As mentioned, the turbine exhaust fans have been reinstated. I've placed them midway between the waist and the rest of the detailing in order to help the illusion of the proportions (rather than having them too near the original position, which would have make the chest look too short and the midsection too long). An arseplate has also been added. +

+ Next to Tithonus, we get a sense of the bulk and size of the Terminator. +

+ inload: Constructing Tactical Dreadnought Armour part II +

+ The forges burn hot... +

+ The Terminator I started yesterday continues:

+ Dry-fitted, I think he's coming together pretty well. I've filled out the legs, raised the torso slightly (you can see the gap between legs and body now)and begun adding some additional shaping on the torso. +

+ Quite an intimidating appearance, I think you'll agree. The reason for the oddly-spaced legs also becomes a bit more apparent – compare the be-loinclothed (yeah, it's a word) chap above with the stripped-back version below. +

+ While he looks a bit odd here, the proportions match the standard-sized models better – which ties back in with what I was saying in yesterday's inload about balance between looking proportionally correct and correct in-context. In addition, on a very practical level, there's space for the pteruges. +

+ Being able to retain some elements of the standard-sized models – head, weapons and, in this instance, pteruges, is what helps sell the altered proportions, rather than simply creating a differently-scaled model. +

+ The head can be swapped out. Currently it's got a fitting suited for the more usual Space Marine head fitting, so the flat-bottomed Terminator and Cataphract pieces sit a little too low. I think I'll make a 'booster' section for these for greater versatility. +

+ Still a little crude – I don't claim to be a master of greenstuff, but practise makes perfect – the details above and below shows the shapes tightening up on the torso, and the hooped detailing on the legs. +

+ Scale shots +

+ A couple of pictures showing the Terminator next to some power-armoured marines. I had a comment that the Terminator's torso was a fraction too short – and indeed it was, so I cut at the waist and raised it a touch, which I think improves the result. It's very helpful to get these comments at the early stages; it's easy to get too close to a figure and lose the overall sense. +

+ inload: Constructing Tactical Dreadnought Armour +

+ Building Cataphractii plate +

+ I've built Terminators in 'true-scale' (though given the models from the upcoming new edition, that term might be pretty obsolete soon) before, but have never quite got them as I wanted them. I thought I'd give it another go, and decided to be more ambitious and tackle Cataphract armour, aiming to create a model closer to the original than my previous attempts, which had always been something of a compromise. +

Modern, 'Indomitus' Terminator plate, alongside an enlarged marine. Built c.2010

+ Theoretical +

+ Terminators offer more of a challenge than power armour when scaling them up. Not only are there fewer large models to act as a base – equivalent to using Terminator legs for truescale power armour – but those models are often expensive and require far more conversion to appear correct. A further challenge is that the already-exaggerated proportions of Space Marines are stretched to the point of disbelief. +

+ Now, I think basic Terminators look cool; and fundamentally I'm always more interested in 'cool' than 'realistic' when it comes to space war, but when making a conversion, viewers aren't going to be as forgiving as when they see a stock model. Unfamiliarity often provokes rejection – just look at the reaction resculpts or updates of new models get from manufacturers – and the very fact of presenting a conversion to someone is, in part, an invitation to critique. +

+ So, excuses made and out of the way(!), it's on to planning. A solid plan saves a lot of effort later on. I dug out my previous attempts and looked at what I did and didn't like:

A previous attempt – Erasmus Golg

+ My most recent attempt was the special character Erasmus Golg. He was working pretty well, but I rushed the end. As a result, while the legs were pretty much how I wanted them, the core of the body ended up too small. He's big, but not substantially bigger than the marines around him, and I wanted to get that sense of a walking tank. In addition, he looks a little wasp-waisted to me here. +

Built by the inimitable EdT
+ This version was created by a hobbyist called EdT, who sent him to me when he retired (hopefully temporarily) from the hobby. Again, I really like the limbs, and the bulk is starting to be there, but the design – based on the 'peahead' Exoarmour prototype – is not what I was after. +

+ At this point, I decided I'd go back to the root of things, and looked at the artwork, rather than miniatures. This proved very useful. Rather than looking at compromise solutions for parts, I just found something that I liked the look of:

+ I found this rather awesome image of Cataphract plate, by David Sondered [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]:

+ This had everything I wanted: solid, believable proportions and a sense of weight. Combining the parts I knew were successful previously, I began work. +

+ Practical +

+ So, here's the start. This represents the basic bulking out of the figure, aiming to emulate the silhouette of Mr. Sondered's awesome artwork. The lower legs are from a second-hand Obliterator (for all its faults, Finecast is great for conversion work – easy to cut and solid enough to take a pin). The right foot (left in the pict-capture below) needed to be cut and repositioned, which proved to be a much easier job than I'd anticipated. +

+ The upper legs and groin are from a Privateer Press Khador Man O' War model – again, bought for a song on eBay, as the set was missing some parts. No matter to me! This shot demonstrates the first 'cool/realism' problem – namely, the spacing of the hips. There's no way a human would fit in there, but the silhouette works to suggest the existing models in a way that closer legs would not. This will be ameliorated to some extent by a small amount of bulking on the upper legs, and the addition of pteruges, but it'll still be apparent. +

+ At the end of the day, I'm content that some people will like my stuff, other won't. The core thing is that I'm happy with 'em – it's very easy to end up disappointing yourself and building something by committee, which takes a lot of the joy of creation away. +

+ The torso is heavily bulked up with greenstuff, but the underlying core is a Grey Knight terminator torso back with a Cataphractii back attached. I used a spare Forge World piece left over from another conversion, but it'd work just as well with plastic. The front is a Grey Knight terminator torso front – a small spacer is set between the two standard parts – and the curved 'hood' of the plate is made from the trimmed-down front of a Tartaros Terminator. This all probably sounds a bit esoteric, but it's all leftovers from my bits box. +

+ The back here shows crude bulking. Note I've used the edges and sides of the existing kits where possible – I find it easier to use these to create the straight lines, then blend the edge between them, than it is to sculpt the sharp lines from scratch. In any case, using the existing bits like this 'spreads out' the detail. You'll notice I've trimmed away the circular fans from below the pipes on the back – these will be reinsated later on to detail the greenstuff area and help the visual flow. +

+ The head is a temporary placeholder, used to make sure the placement is correct. The shoulderpads are similarly there just for sizing. That said, I quite like 'em – they look about the right size to me, so they may end up having their detail filled in and being pressed into service. + 

+ What next? +

+ Once the greenstuff has cured properly, I'll be going back to sculpt the detail – filling in the legs, adding a gorget and generally creating the distinctive banding and detailing of the armour plating. +

+ The following shots show him next to a few different models, to give a sense of scale and size. I checked him back and forth quite a few times while I was working – there's actually quite a slim margin between 'not big enough compared to the power armour' and 'ha-ha that's far too big'. +

+ I'd love to hear your thoughts on the model at this stage before I go much further. +

+ inload: The Immortal +

+ The Immortal +

'Rest? We were not made to rest; we go on, unflinching, unstoppable, unending in our strength. The Emperor did not make us for such mortal concerns as hearth and home, vanity or contemplation; we are his engines of war, his hammers, beating out the fabric of existence into a vessel fit for Mankind to inhabit.'
attr. the Primarch Ferrus Manus in The Shadow of the Gorgon, by Czel Atternas

Turn the eyes outward.

That is the only direction for peace.

Even then, it is only the cold comfort of stars – and one could easily find himself lost in those. Staring out from the Nereid, my thoughts wandered to a lecture on void warfare strategy that Legion Master DuCaine had given, not long after Ferrus Manus had been found. It had been intended as an honour, a demonstration that the worthy once-leader remained vital, remained a part of the Legion now he had been sidelined by the Primarch, his superior in every respect.

The lecture was simple. Childishly simple. 'Look between the stars. That is where the enemy will reveal himself.' he had begun.

It was the lesson of a Terran, advice borne from experience in spotting the enemy up-close; from a man born and raised with his feet rooted firmly on soil. We had waited for him to expound upon this, to reveal some insightful twist that applied such advice to the complex multi-dimensional warfare of space.

He had demurred. His lecture was close-sighted; the tale of a man slightly out-of-time and out-of-step with the movements of the Imperium, but who was allowed leeway for his capability elsewhere.

'The void is – famously – immobile to the eye of man. All the wheeling of the spheres happens across vast timescales; any apparent movement of the stars can be owed to atmosphere.'

As he went on, and it became gradually more clear that his lessons were embarrassingly shallow, I looked about at the impassive but unimpressed war-leaders and specialists ranged about, gathered out of respect to hear their sidelined Legion Master once more. Not one showed a flicker of approval or contempt; which to me seemed all the more damning. I had cringed inwardly.

Of course, who was I – who am I – to judge the Legion Master?

As I looked out over the blank starfields of this backwater void, I mused on his words. They had, after all, come in useful on occasion. Though he had no fondness of me – in truth, I doubt I registered on him beyond our shared homeworld heritage – I had a certain regard for him, above and beyond by dutiful obedience. Piloting shuttles relied mainly on instrumentation, but the mark I eyeball – or at least, my occulobe-enhanced base biology, I reminded myself – was still reliable for those occasions when instruments were out or needed to be damped.

On this occasion, his simplistic advice may have saved our lives. It was purely because I was looking outwards, lost in thought, that I did catch something moving. A wrinkle; a twitch.

'The void is – famously – immobile to the eye of man.'

I raced down the black wood of the stairway, barking at the Dead Reckoner to confirm our location while pointing a steelshod finger at the navigatrix to hold her attention. Her already star-pale skin blanched further, her eyes wide. The Watchmaster, to his credit, did not bluster or demand an explanation. Without seconds, the ship was wheeling about, its movement shown through the shadows and highlights on the glittering dragon-prow.

The Immortal, however, did his duty; barging me to the floor with his shield and pinning me to the deck with a heavy mag-enhanced stomp, his blaster aimed levelly at my bare head.

'Explanation, Brevet-Lieutenant.'

His words were seemingly without rancour, but I was a better reader of men than most of my brethren. There was more than surliness behind that blank mask; more than the over-literal and bullying application of his role as bridge guardian. On a more personal level, he didn't like me.

I guess not even the retreat from Isstvan was going to weld us all together.


+ The Medusan Immortals +

+ Owing (I suspect) a great deal of inspiration to the Spartans, one of the Iron Hands' special units is the Medusan Immortals, a band of dishonoured warriors who throw themselves into the most desperate fights as 'forlorn hope' troops. I like the imagery, and the concept is at the heart of my May You Live Forever project [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]: offering an alternative answer to the question 'how do the Iron Hands react to the death of Ferrus Manus?' +

+ The narrator, a born survivor, answers that by burying and refusing to confront facts; Medardus with contemplation and withdrawal. The Immortal, already dishonoured and ashamed, finds a sour glee in the belief that all of his Legion are now fundamentally as damned as he is. After all, the Immortal corps is intended to offer a slim hope of redemption – but what purpose does it serve if the judge is dead? +

+ The paint scheme is nigh-identical to that for the rest of the force – a tutorial can be found in an earlier inload [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] – though I'm not so happy with the application here; I went overboard with the weathering and smeared a flattening grey-brown over the subtler highlights. Not everything goes to plan! +

+ The main difference is in the lack of honour marking and Legion detailing, for background reasons: his Clan markings have been replaced with the large X (neatly, the Tenth Legion's numeral also represents a crossing-out or negation), and his boarding shield is devoid of ornamentation beyond the massive slab of the Legion symbol. This leads the model to being even more muted than the rest of the force, only his volkite charger and eyes being picked out in grey-white. +

The grey scheme extends to the shield's inside screen – predictably, as the part of the model of which I'm most proud, this is, annoyingly, the least visible! 

+ The conversion was a minor variant of my usual Astartes conversions [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]; using a torso plate from Games Workshop's Kataphron Servitors – kindly donated by my chum Lucifer216 – and a backpack from Forge World's Mark III techmarine. I was lucky enough to grab three of these in a second-hand bundle, so I'll be able to keep a little uniformity to any future Medusan Immortals I make for the force. +

+ I deliberately avoided using loads of bionics. I like the idea that Iron Hands in 30k go some way to cladding their bionics in power armour plate to further drive out and hide weakness. While I have used a few here and there, most bionics added before Isstvan are sufficiently advanced augmetics that they can be hidden. This enables me to show later injuries with bionics, as the resource-poor survivors are forced to make do with lesser equipment (e.g. on the narrator himself). +

+ This also leaves me with crude bionics available as a visual identifer for my Iron Warriors... +

+ inload: Iron Warriors on the workbench +

+ Work in progress +

+ There's not a huge amount to say about these beyond 'you can blame the PCRC'. Enthusiasm is a funny thing – I thought I was all set with the Iron Warriors, but give me a couple of giant robots [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] and suddenly I'm all enthused again! +

+ As you can see, I've been on a bit of a building spree. As long-term followers of the blog (thanks all!) will know, I tend to jump from periods of building to periods of painting – mainly owing to the fact that my workspace gets cluttered with either paints or bits. Inevitably, as I start to clear up, I spot something and start fiddling around with that. I find it a nice spontaneous way to work. +

+ Breachers! Giant-shield-bearing robots (that's giant robots with giant shields) deserve some shield-bearing infantry to accompany them. As with the others in this inload, I should probably have photographed them when primed grey, rather than sprayed black, but you get the idea. There are ten here, including a vox-link bearer and a Basilikoi sergeant (front row, second from right), marked out by his spiky shoulder pads. +

+ A destroyer. I've been hoarding a load of jump packs for ages – being as rare and expensive in the real world as they are during the Heresy, I've been saving them up for... some mythical perfect project. After being earmarked for the Ultramarines, then Imperial Fists, then an Iron Warrior assault squad, I've finally bitten the bullet and decided to just use the [SCRAPSHUNT] things on a set of Destroyers, a unit type I've never explored, but one that I think fits with the Officio Monstrosa project nicely. +

+ I'm very tempted to magnetise these Destroyers' backpacks, so that I can swap back and forth between loadouts. I really like the idea of Destroyers running through Zona Mortalis games, so I want that option too. +

+ These two Basilikoi above, like the three Legion Tactical marines below, are reinforcements for existing squads. I've been working in a very organic, unplanned way with the Iron Warriors, building and expanding the force as I go. It's a nice way to work; there's no sense of things being incomplete. +

+ inload: Honour to the Dead +

+ Sergeant Aquila and Brother Septival +

'Hope is but the first step on the road to disappointment, brother. You can fight for hope if you wish. I will fight to bring honour to the dead.' 
Sergeant Tulian Aquila – from Honour to the Dead

+ I spent a pleasant – if occasionally frustrating – evening finishing off the Ultramarines detailed here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. +

+ A bit like my Mark of Calth [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] and Horus Rising dioramas, these are an homage to Gav Thorpe's short story Honour to the Dead, available as an audio drama [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] or as part of the Legacies of Betrayal collection. These are slightly different in execution, as the others were based on Neil Roberts' artwork, whereas these have no artwork associated with 'em. +

+ This created its own challenges, as there was very little detail on the Ultramarines (who are, in fairness, playing second fiddle to the Titans and civilians in the drama). Aquila is mentioned as having dark hair, and you got a bit on their weaponry, but little else. As a result, I decided I'd use these marines as an opportunity to try out some ideas that I've wanted to explore, but that may not have fitted in with my existing army. +

+ Sergeant Tulian Aquila +

+ A project like this is an enjoyable excuse to re-read books and scour them for little hints that catch the imagination. A little research from Horus Heresy V –Tempest gave me some ideas on the standard Ultramarines markings. These weren't around when I started my marines, so it's nice to apply them 'from the book' for a change. +

+ As mentioned above, there wasn't a huge amount of specifics on the appearance of the characters. The challenge then became making figures that are identifiable as the characters, rather than being generic. I contacted Gav to ask whether he had any preferences and, lovely chap that he is, he came back with some helpful and interesting notes. In short, he'd intentionally left them fairly open, but was happy for me to pick a Chapter, which he'd add to his personal 'head-canon' – great to hear! +

+ Tempest gives some information about the Legion's disposition at the time of the attack on Calth, including which Chapters were where on (and off) the surface. Of relevance here, it states:

  • 17th Chapter, 18th Chapter, 23rd Chapter and 4th Chapter comprising those chapters whose order of battle included large numbers of armoured vehicles, especially the 4th, known as the 'Aurorans'. These chapters were assigned to muster in the largely uninhabited continent of Ithraca.

+ Given the location of the story – Ithraca (which Gav tells me was included in Tempest as a nod to Honour to the Dead, showing the inter-connected nature of the setting, along with the mutual enthusiasm and support of the writers) – it seemed that one of the Chapters above was the best bet, so I was all set to paint. However, the next paragraph gave me pause:

  • 20th Chapter and 21st Chapter - known informally within the Legion as 'The Eagles' and 'The Hawks', the 20th Chapter having trained extensively for void combat and the 21st being renowned for the skill of its pilots. These two chapters were assigned to security duties among the orbital platforms and docked warships in Calth's local orbit.

+ Tulian Aquila is also mentioned in The Returned, a 40k-era short story by James Swallow, in which it turns out he becomes the first Chapter Master of the Doom Eagles successor chapter. This was too good a detail to ignore, so I decided that the 20th were the final choice – the name made it too good to pass up. My rationale is that Aquila and his men were part of the 20th's shuttle security; conducting monitoring duties between Ithraca and the space docks, when the attack occurred. They thus got stranded on the surface, where the tale begins to unfold. +

+ As a reference to this, I incorporated the Doom Eagles' heraldry – a skull-headed eagle – into Aquila's armour as an honorific on his bracer; which you can see above. +

+ This rear shot shows the all-silver backpack, a Rogue Trader-esque element I wanted to incorporate. I think this looks pretty good; and subtle enough that I might extend it to some of my 15th/190th marines. +

+ Just to hammer the identity home, I added the sergeant's name on his pauldron. He is, after all, still a fairly anonymous figure. Note the use of the most recent tactical markings, detailed in Tempest. I've used a variant of the 40k-era markings on my other Ultramarines, so it's nice to have the opportunity to do something more official (for whatever that's worth). +

+ Brother Septival +

+ 'Ain't got time to grieve.' +

+ Ah, rotary machine guns. Is there anything simultaneously more awesome, more 80s and more impractical? I think not. Septival was, in great part, the motivation for this mini-project. I had no great desire for a squad of rotor cannons, but a one-off was too good an opportunity to miss. +

+ Whirr-dakka-dakka-dakka-dakka-dakka-dakka! +

+ Largely standard otherwise, Septival was a nice chance to use some of the new Heresy-era plastic bits – the head and forearm here are spares from the Betrayal at Calth and Battle for Prospero boxes. Expect to see more of these in future builds; they're really useful and considerably cheaper to source than the FW bits I usually use. +

+ Again, a nice silver backpack. The design of the Forge World Mark IV backpack is a nice homage to the common plastic ones I remember from my earliest games. +

+ To match the sergeant, Septival shares the same tactical markings and Chapter numeral; along with his name beneath. +


+ What next? +

+ These two were the simplest of the set. It's going to be a lot harder to convert Gaius the third marine, Varinia the mother and Pexilius the baby, but that should make them all the more rewarding. If anyone's got any clever ideas for base figures for any of these , please do feel free to let me know in the comments. +