+ inload: Blood Angels plans +

+ Musings, ideas and plans +

+ One of our datastream exloaders, Paul von Bargen, had a couple of great questions about my Blood Angels that got me thinking; so I'd like to expand a little on my answers here; mainly because I find it fun to overthink these things!
'may i ask why you left the chest bare of any decoration? Especially thinking about the baroque nature of the Blood Angels i would like how you decided upon this?'
+ I replied: 
+ The short answer is simply for differentiation. Since I want the army to be set in M35, I needed to find some visual shorthand to differentiate them from 40k and 30k models; and the chest eagles are an obvious point of differentiation. In terms of the in-universe reason, the eagles have been removed as a mark of neutrality – the double-headed eagle is a symbol of the Old Imperium (as opposed to Constantium's Nova Terra) – and the Astartes as a whole are neutral in this conflict. + 
+ There are some real-world considerations. The original inspiration (Tim Prow's force from WD139) didn't pick out the winged jewels (the equivalent), but painted the torsos plain red. It's a nod to that as much as anything. In addition, the models of the time were much simpler. Since I want to make the force identifiable as the same army, I wanted to simplify the details to aid recognition. +
+ To expand on that, the visual simplicity of the army is part of the appeal, because it gives such immediate impact. It's the very lack of the later ornamentation that helps root the army in my (less spiritual, more Rogue Trader) Nova Terra Interregnum setting. +

+ ...and finally, I wanted to make sure that I left myself some [design] space for veterans, Lieutenants and so forth. These will likely have considerable amounts of freehand. +
+ A shot of the inspiration can be seen above, in conflict with the insidious Eldar; and I think that it shows quite nicely how the impact of the red and black is strong partly because it isn't diluted by a large accent area (the chest eagle). +


+ Blood Angels markings, and painting for the period +

+ In doing some 'research' (browsing the noosphere and asking questions on Blood Angels fora), I've turned over some interesting notes on the markings. Turns out that Blood Angels have some really quite in-depth material on markings, mainly from 2nd edition. By the looks of things, this army, which pre-dated 2nd edition by just a few months, served as a point of inspiration for the more developed guidance on markings. As an illustration, the white skull on black kneepad shown here:

+ ...which is directly taken from the WD139 army and noted simply as an honour marking; turns up in Codex: Angels of Death (the 2nd ed. Codex that contains the Blood Angels alongside Dark Angels) as a more formalised squad designation. +

+ Here it denotes the first squad; while in WD139, it was used for the second. I quite like this inconsistency. I usually try to avoid getting caught up in 'rivet-counting' and slavishly following the suggested paintschemes, but here I'm deliberately trying to emulate a very particular period, both in the real world and in the background. +

+ The schema above appears in the latest Codex, too (see pict-capture below); and it's interesting to see how much the modern formal approach has changed from the WD139 origins, and how much remains the same. +

+ The Codex Astartes dictates that commanders should vary and alter their markings every so often, to throw off the enemy. This serves both as an in-universe 'get out of gaol free' card to let painters do what they like, and is also a nice way of explaining why these Blood Angels (set in M35), differ from the more common M41 period. It's obviously a more subtle difference than between the Horus Heresy (M31) era and M41, but that works well, to my eye. +


Paul also asked how big the army is likely to get. My reply was:

[...]the initial idea is to replicate the army as it appears in WD139; though I've also added a few little bits and bobs that turn up either in pictures of the period, or in the written army list. Beyond that, who knows? +
+ An expansion that I've already included is the Dreadnought; which I've justified as a result of this image (a detail of the pict-capture above):

+ The model there differs from my Dreadnought (owing to the missile launcher and short legs), but I think the principle is there. +


+ A descent into madness +

+ As with all projects, some continue to grow on you. When I first started out, the Blood Angels were essentially an excuse to paint a pile of Primaris I had from the Dark Imperium box; with relatively simple conversion work. As I've carried on, it's got more and more involved. +

+ Last night I bit the bullet and decided to try to emulate the second Devastator combat squad much more closely than I had in the first:

 + Here's the inspiration. +

+ And the resulting figure. He differs from his earlier squadmates in having a properly-sculpted torso (rather than just trimmed down), reshaped kneepads, and his boltrifle has been replaced with a more fitting boltgun (thanks for the boltguns, PCRC squadmates – I'm not sure whether to thank or curse you for indulging my obsessions!). +

A comparison of the other Mark VI marines in the force.
+ This inconsistency could easily annoy you. I'm certainly wavering on whether to scrap/rebuild the existing Devastators with this more developed approach (hell, whether to replace the boltguns across the army), or not. Currently, I'm erring on the side of slightly revising the Devastators, but not a wholesale rebuild. The reasons for this are twofold:

+ Firstly, the mantra 'never let the perfect get in the way of the good'. I'd rather have completed models that I can later supplement than continually cannibalise perfectly serviceable figures – it's demoralising to be breaking up finished figures. Secondly, I'm rather warming to the 'blending' effect across the army that this creates. In the same way that I've added a few Mark IV parts here and there to the otherwise Mk VII Tacticals, having some 'full' Mark VIs along with some hybrid ones helps to soften the complete disjunct in model styles the original army had. +


+ Fire support, now! +

+ Of course, Devastators are mainly known for their heavy weapon wielding soldiers, not their boltgun-armed squadmates. Since I had the time, I also built the second missile launcher marine for the squad last night. +

+ A small part of me finds it slightly galling to spend ages sculpting detail that you then hide (the arm across the chest detail, in this example); but sometimes just you knowing it's there makes it worthwhile! +

+ This shot also shows the difference in size between the Rogue Trader-era power pack (left, in beige), and the more modern ones. The Primaris ones are larger again. +


  1. Just found this blog and an intriguing project! I remember this army being in WD well and, TBH, its kind of the image of how a Blood Angel force should look to me!

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Cheers; and remember, it's all open if you fancy joining in with an alien or marine of your own :)

  2. I'm with Maurice on this too - great project so far and again, this Angel force is why I collected a small squad too in this same format - though with period models (pre 2nd edition metals)

    1. Yeah, spotted those on Instagram – great to see! For anyone who missed 'em, check them out on the incomparable Eastern Empire here: https://www.eastern-empire.com/warhammer-40k-blood-angels-classic-continue/

  3. Cheers, i am happy to incite such musings, Ed.
    "Paul" will suffice though :).

  4. Such a good project. Interesting to read an expansion on some of the thought behind it. I think the regular bolters look a lot better, but I personally wouldn't bother replacing the rifles on the already done models. Some variation will be fine.


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