+ inload: Truescale Terminators +

+ If you'd like to have a go at building some 'truescale' Terminators, the tutorial is in this inload [+noosphericinoadlink embedded+]. Please do feel free to share your results on the + Death of a Rubricist + Facebook group or on instagram with the #alienwars tag too – it's always nice to see how other autoscribes and datinloaders develop and push ideas in new (and improved!) directions. +


+ A bit of a clear-out last night – some models have languished near-finished for far too long on my station, so a dedicated push saw a few things finally ticked off. First off; Blood Angels Terminators for The Alien Wars

+ Squad Redemptor, First Company +

+ Known more formally within the Chapter as 'Sustainers; First-amongst-equals of the War Eternal under Master Formosus, Lord of the Host, Master of the divided Legion and heir of Sanguinius', Squad Redemptor are the elites of my Blood Angels force. +

+ The minor tweaks are simply embellishments to the underlying shape, which have been in place for ages. +


+ Brother Lesandro (Caranial 6:18) +

+ Brother Martial (Agshekolah 2:09) +
+  The inspiration can be seen below, bottom left. This shot's interesting (well, from a nerd-archaeology point of view), because it's got the Dreadnought in – as far as I know, this is the only time it appeared alongside the army. +

+ A size comparison, showing the size of the Terminators next to a Primaris-sized model. +


+ Chapter Master Formosus +

+ Or, to give him his full title: Master Formosus, Lord of the Host, Master of the divided Legion and heir of SanguiniusLeonid Castivarus is the Chapter Master of the Blood Angels in M35.400 – so who's Formosus? Well, he's my own invention. The Rogue Trader-era Terminator Captain was an iconic model for me, though I never had one myself. This was a fun opportunity to give it a go myself. +

+ Since Formosus is suceeded by Castivarus, Formosus will have to die (or get lost) during the Alien Wars. That suits me. It's nice to create a character with a set 'end date', as it builds its own mini-narrative through gaming. +

+ The colour text below was how I introduced him:


Puglius bears a warning. "The Shint. The Confederacy of Muspa. The bone-eating Brachiacy. The Q'orl. The denizens of Angelis." The Chaplain-sabatine looks out across the vast table at the scanty gathering, which represents the voice of the Chapter. Many seats are empty.

"All recorded extinct since the time of Master Concio." Puglius goes on, his gaze level. "All have appeared in scryomantic reports from the Tower of Buto since the Kolonio last changed."

The Exortio leans forward awkwardly in the Siege Recorda, the throne reserved for the representative of the Librarius at Chapter Meetings. "It is no mark of disfavour that such beings return;  my lord – rather it is more likely a mis-classifi-"

He is cut off by a curt bark from the lone librarian still present in the Monastery, a lowly – and clearly resentful – Lexicanium who looms to one side and slightly behind the oversized throne.

"That remains to be seen."

The Exortio, a serf representing the Librarius at this Chapter meeting in the absence of the Chief Librarian and his Epistolary lieutenants, is uncomfortable, and poor at masking his turmoil. He squirms in the throne, attempting to address the librarian politely without turning his back on the gathered representatives, his face a mass of tics – and his voice an awkward, blurting mix of indignation, frustration, and no little wariness.

"With respect, Lord -"

 "Then grant me that respect; serf, and be silent." The librarian intones. It is clear from his tone that this is a well-worn argument, however new the topic. The Exortio turned back, his face pale and drawn, as the Lexicanium steps forward and addresses Puglius directly. "Xenos are gathering, Chaplain-sabatine, and this is a mark of the Emperor's disfavour-"

"Be silent!" yells Formosus, crashing his fist down on the ancient durwood table. In the hush that follows, Formosus rises to this feet. "This is not a matter of spirituality! This scholastic debate ends here! Now!" His breathing is heavy, his eyes ablaze. "For too long, the Chapter has mired itself in sophism and semantics, shying away from decision and duty."

Tycho of the Third and Abelard, the brevet-Captain of the Fifth, bristle. The Episcopate military-ordinaries who stand in for the eight absent Captains, remain impassive.

Accompanied by a dismissive gesture at the Siege Recorda, whose incumbent shrinks within his robe, Formosus' voice drops to a growl. "On one hand, I am served by withinlookmen, polemicists and navel-gazers." Here, he waves to the librarian, who removes his hands from the table as though it has suddenly become red-hot. "On the other, by intellectual fanatics and firebrands, who would have me turn on the Imperium itself."

The Lexicanium straightens, appears about to speak, but is silenced with a glare as the Chapter Master continues.

"How would you have the Children of Sanguinius serve? That is the question here. That is the only point of relevance. I am not ignorant of the risks and challenges of the twin Imperium; nor am I convinced by either side of the argument. No." His eyes narrow. "We do not shy from risk. We do not avoid challenges. We are the Blood Angels; with a proud history that dates back to the very formation of the Emperor's realms. We stand above these petty arguments; as symbols of something better."

He leans over the table.

"I have reached my decision."

The others, brethren and servants alike, are silent.

"We go to war."

The expressions on the gathered faces are varied; concern, anger, hope.

"I grow not hot with love for the denizens of Terra, nor still Nova Terra – we will not move against them. Nor still do we involve ourselves with the debates of the Ophelian and Terran Churches, however strongly some of you will it one way or the other. No. The place of the Blood Angels is not to determine the path of mankind – neither in spirit nor in body. Our task is to serve. I will not suffer humanity to huddle in its bastions and fastnesses, preparing war against each other; not while the Emperor's realm is cut and torn and raided from outside. Such decisions are not ours to make. Let righteousness lead mankind; and strength gird whichever side is in the right."

Formosus appears poised.

"Our duty is to war against the Alien, as He-on-Earth willed it. We will make a new war; and re-carve the borders of the segmentum. Too long have we fought guardedly, hindered by uncertainty and riven by internal debate. Now we shall fight gloriously."

He glares around the table.

"Such is the will of the Master of the Chapter of the Angels of the Blood; and through him the will of the Old Masters, and the First Angel; and through him alone, the Emperor. If you want an answer to the question of humanity's soul, you will obey me, as we lead by example. We will cast back and darkness and see which Imperium – old or new – and which priests, whether of Terra or Ophelia, follows us in our Emperor-appointed task."

"Thus, I declare the Alien Wars begun."


+ inload: Ork Deff Dread +

+ Fee Fi Fo Fum: The Car-Cemish Campaign +

The Car-Cemish Campaigns were a brutal, dirty war that broke out towards the end of the Nova Terra Interregnum, when the so-called 'Alien Wars' had reached a third peak in activity. It saw the Ironstave League – an abhuman Imperial Dominate in the Galactic East – defending their holds against the orks of Maggrod's Marauders, whose expansionist attacks were becoming increasingly daring and successful following the withdrawal of Battlefleet Potemkin from the region.

The League's mineral-rich Mining Worlds made them a target too tempting for the bloody-handed Maggrod, who invaded Lugnum and the recently-colonised Ichtar VIII in a twin-pronged attack. The squat's calls for aid initially fell on deaf ears from the nearby Imperial Commanders, but as the threat escalated, elements of three Chapters – all freshly drawn from the recent 10th Founding – moved to the support of the embattled abhumans.

Led by the bulk of the Protean Sons; the Astral Claws and Hammers of the Emperor also deployed in Company strength. The campaign was a bitterly-fought affair, with the greenskins forced to assault wherever possible in order to avoid being trapped on the brutally-hostile surfaces of the squat's worlds.

+ Astral Claws desperately engage an ork of the Marauder's specialised Torgox Skwadron, The three pictured battle-brothers were all killed; their remains unable to be retrieved. +
While Maggrod himself was killed relatively early in the war, and the orks largely driven back, one of his lieutenants – the infamous Skakhanak Mad-dagga was able to rally his reeling forces and defeat the Protean Sons in the the Bald Badlands Massacre. With the death of three of their senior officers, the newly-founded Chapter were forced to withdraw from the war, sweating bitter emnity against Mad-dagga's Marauders.


 + (W)ork in progress +

+ The modern Deff Dread – or ork Dreadnought – model is one of those kits that I loved from the moment it was released, but never quite had a good enough excuse to buy. Eventually, I had a spare bit of scratch and took the plunge. So far, I've just been working on the underlying metals; using a mix of browns, black and silvers to give a lovely varied finish. +

+ The plan is to paint the metal plates, then add scrapes, knocks and bumps by using a sponge and back of a paintbrush to remove it while the paint remains wet. +

+ One of those rare kits that I just wanted to build stock, I was very tempted to use the cool ork 'mask', but decided on the vision slit. This is so I can stick with the Alien Wars core concept of 'what would old models look like if they were made now?' and do an homage to the cardboard dreadnought stand-in from 2nd edition. +

+ RARR! *mechanical grinding noises* +
+ You can see I've started by painting in that very 90s bright red front panel. It'll be an interesting balancing act to get it to both be recognisable as the artwork above, and also fit in with my grimy RT-themed ork force. +

+ Even just looking over these, I can see it'll be tricky – I think I'll end up using Charadon Granite (the core grey colour of the palette I used for these orks) as the basis for the black. +


+ ...and for those faithful few, those noble sons of the Homeworlds, I promise I'll be getting round to painting up the squats that I've been saving up. The Car-Cemish Campaign seems a perfect excuse. +

+ Daggerfall – Lamb's World atmosphere piece +

+ Daggerfall +

+ A little story set on Lamb's World; hope you enjoy. +

Sighing down, the rain swept across the moor as indifferently as a charwoman. Gun-arm slung, he cursed softly as his mount placed its foot unexpectedly, jarring him. His companion twisted her head up in askance, squinting into the falling rain, her head canted awkward owing to the slicker's hood.

“To roll one-handed, never the knack I found.” His voice was apologetic. Husky.

“Pass it here.” The man shrugged down the pouch and papers from the arecwid, and his companion haltingly rolled a stick, shielding the thin paper from the rain. “No lho?”

The man shook his head softly, the motion causing gathered rainwater to trickle from the brim of his hat briefly. No lho. No rations. She knew. It was an affectionate tease, in its way. Affectionate, but weary, worn thin. They had been moving on for days. His arm showed no signs of healing. She didn’t seem to have the nous to hunt. They hadn’t eaten.

The stick sputtered as he touched the taper to it, his eyebrows drawing together unconsciously; as though he could keep the rain off with a furrowed brow. He may not have had the ovi-hyrdr’s knack of rolling sticks one-handed in the saddle, but he could at least light one. Drawing in a lungful distractedly, he looked out across the skyline, blued and blurred by the rain. His shoulders were cold under the maud-shawl, as were his eyes when he blinked. He had been looking into the distance for a long time.

He gave the arecwid a gentle chuck with his heels.

“Move on.”

The rider and his companion pulled their shawls closer, and turned into the downpour.


The peat farted. Outdoor fires on Lamb’s World sputtered fitfully at best. Their flames were nearly invisible, and their heat negligible, but the smouldering sward would keep the chill from the hollow as they slept. The companion knew this, and the rider knew this from childhood. He lay uncomfortably on his hip; she with her knees tucked to her chest, and eyes on the flame.


“‘Colonel’, it is.” he replied, not taking his eyes off the horizon. She looked at him with the indignation only a child can muster. They sat in a silence broken only by the hiss and ugly arrhythmic sounds of a mountain woodland in the rain. The arecwid, sleeping, flickered a whickering ear up and then back over its eye, dismissing an irritant. The long-limbed, fleecy creature didn’t have a name. Arecwids weren’t given names, not on Lamb’s World. Names were precious things, and not to be given to soulless beasts. The colonel was an Emperor-fearing man, and he wouldn’t dignify a soulless arecwid a name. The name he hadn’t given her was ‘Ollanine’.

“Kernel?” Her voice held the mellifluous lilt of the Myrrfn.

His eyes stayed tracking the horizon as he replied, his voice terse and edged with fatigue. “Yes? What do you ask?”

“The Walkyr. Is it coming?” He looked across the hollow at her.

“It will be here, the Valkyrie, beloved.” His voice was still rough, but the gentle admonition seemed to have picked up some of the warmth of the peat. “To fear it won’t is a fool’s game.”

She turned. Her eyes met his. In the un-dark of the peatfire, her wet eyes glittered redly.

“Of the yrk, I am afraid.”


He woke with his head resting awkwardly on his forearm. The hunger was not present, and he was glad. He shifted, and blearily rubbed the heel of his hand over his face. The black and gold leafmould stubbornly clung to his cold hand. His face felt hot. He hoped he wasn’t becoming feverish. He rolled over, unconsciously favouring his injured arm. Awkwardly, trying to expose as little of himself to the damp air, he pulled his uniform from the bottom of the sleepsack and dressed. Pinching the sleep from his eyes, he grunted a greeting to his companion, who was tending Ollanine, running her chilled fingers through his sodden mane like a makeshift brush.

The rider, moving slowly to spare aching muscles, collapsed his paratent, then stepped over to the remnants of the fire and stirred it with a nearby branch. He had placed a pyre-charger in the fire last night. The device was metal. Placed in a fire, it gathered heat into itself and – somehow, though the rider knew not – succoured las-magazines placed into it. There was space for six lasquivers; each compartment recognisable to the rider as kin to the underside of his rifle. He snagged the pyre-charger with the branch and drew it out. Before it started to cool, he blew into the recesses to remove stray dirt and began palming his las-charge magazines into the waiting sockets. The casings of the magazine were cold and wet as they slid into the machine. He murmured a litany under his breath to the strength of the spirits.

It was good that they were cold. He remembered that. The tech-anchorite attached to the regiment had intimated to him during additional training devotionals that the machina-penates of lasgun magazines were – as he had grown to understand it – stoic and required ‘little beyond careful handling’ to serve a man, but they were best succoured indirectly through the ugly pyre-charger than dropped naked into the fire. The little man’s clockwork eyes had been unnerving. The rider had tried to conceal his distaste of the anchorite; his cloying oil-stench, his indoor pallor, his nearness and thin, clever fingers.

‘The magazine will charge in a fire’ the little man had said in his strange, toneless voice; and indeed, the rider’s experience told him the machina-penates would grow strong in little under an hour – but it made them lazy. Repeated immersions in fire might lead to their sloth during a tight spot. The rider had fought in many places. He knew tight spots weren’t important in the grand scheme of things. No cynings were crowned with tight spots. Tight spots didn’t hold the stars in the sky. Nonetheless, no sense getting stuck in one if you could avoid it. Tight spots got your head turned inside-out, if you didn’t keep your wits about you.


The kernel was staring at the pyre-charger, lost in thoughts. Siramie didn’t lose herself in her thoughts, as a rule. Nevertheless, Ollanine’s hair felt delicious under her fingers. She missed her own hair, sometimes. She knew the name the kernel had given to the arecwid. She knew its true name, too. She knew a lot of things most people didn’t know; and, sometimes, things people didn’t want her to know. Pragmatism – and a reserved nature – helped such children, growing up. Ollanine bleated wetly into her ear, and she smiled in mock revulsion as he push-pulled his head into the crook of her neck. His wool was matted, but too soft to be unpleasant. Siramie liked mornings. She looked up happily. The rain was, as always, present; but in the daylight it wrapped the woodland comfortably, reassuringly.


Ill, exhausted, he dozed; fitfully. He found himself back in training.

‘The sounding of an obstruent when the anode and cathode are touched to a conducive surface’ – and here the anchorite touched the nubbins of the magazine against the outer housing of the rifle, resulting in a fizzing click – ‘indicates the procedure has been followed correctly and the magazine is fully charged. The rifle can be brought to term by inloading the magazine to the housing while reciting the placatory verses...’ The sound of ten thousand rifles being loaded inexpertly had been accompanied by the susurrus of ten thousand tongues stumbling over the unfamiliar words of one of the numerous litanies of loading. Hard clicks, as the weapons were made ready, overlaid each another in the muggy cantonment.

The blade being unsheathed – inexpertly, far from silently – was enough to snap him back to the present. He spun to see his companion crouched next to the arecwid, the saddle half-secure, her head tracking back and forth, her knife clutched in damp fingers.


+ inload: Badab Fever +

+ Heightened Tension in Badab +

+ The High Lords have sanctioned the Tyrant; and even now Space Marine forces are hastening to battle stations. The belligerents so far are:
  • Omricon – Salamanders (Squad Phoenix).
  • Stuntwedge – Sons of Medusa and Mantis Warriors.
  • TrojanNinja – Loyalist dream team! A mixed Kill Team including a Space Shark, Exorcist, and Fire Hawk.
  • Bob Hunk – Lamenters.
  • Apologist – Astral Claws.
+ I'm looking forward to sharing the others' kill teams with you in a future inload. +

+ In the meantime, you'll have to put up with more of my stuff – and here's another marine. Most likely another Astral Claw (to give some variety and choice when it comes to picking a team), he may end up as another Chapter. Who knows? +

+ The base figure is the slightly awkwardly-posed sergeant from Dark Imperium. A few cuts here and there, in combination with some parts from the multi-part Intercessor kit, and I think we've ended up with something a bit more natural. +

+ I've left the long bolt rifle on here, as I felt the strap added to the sense of motion. It also offers an option of representing a stalker bolter or some similar specialised equipment. +

+ A bit of spare greenstuff has been used to make a few semi-abstract blocks on the ground. When I have some left over, I often use it to help add interest to a base.+

+ But why did I have some spare? Well, I've been trying my hand at simple moulds. The injured Astartes below is the result. Some of the detail is quite soft, but he's perfectly acceptable as an injured figure, I think – more battlefield debris than focal point. +

+ inload: Kill Team Clawthorn completed – part III +

+ Brother Baraqu +

The oldest member of Clawthorn by nearly two decades, Baraqu was ruthless and deadly. His hard-won experience and cold demeanour made him a deadly foe. Known to have survived to the bitter end of the Badab War, he was not counted amongst the dead at the Palace of Thorns. His body may have been lost or utterly destroyed, but it is possible that he lives on in exile with the Tyrant himself.

+ In addition to the tiger's head heraldry, the Tyrant's Star of Badab is used prominently. As faithful followers of Huron, most of the squad wear this in preference to the head. I thought – foolishly – it would be easier than the cat's head, but it proved quite a challenge! +

+ In addition to the Maximus helm, note the preponderance of gold on heat vents and pauldron trim – I thought this was a good way to mark him out as a veteran. +

+ He bears the wheeling sun symbol of the Maelstrom Warders on his knee – perhaps a memory of happier times? +

+ Another angle. Some figures work best from a particular view – the sergeant above is a good example – but the most successful have multiple 'good sides'. +

+ Brother Ahmos Soter +

Surly, uncommunicative and curmudgeonly, Soter was equally feared and loathed by the humans under his command during his time in the Tyrant's Legion. A vindictive streak sealed his reputation for cruelty – but it also made him amongst the most effective heavy weapon operatives in the Chapter, doggedly pursuing his foes to the limits of endurance. Prior to his death at the hands of what proved to be an equally stubborn and hard-to-kill Son of Medusa, he had made seven confirmed Astartes kills.

+ I never need much of an excuse to show Mark V helms. +

+ As seen in an earlier inload, I think he's a good example of trying to be clear-sighted enough to adjust 'completed' figures. By assessing and changing a single unsuccessful figure, I ended up with two I really like. +

+ Nothing hugely exciting here, but it does shows the subtle weathering around the feet rather nicely. Spending a few minutes ensuring your figures are rooted in their world helps to create a sense of realism – even in space knights. +

+ ...and a shot showing the braced pose. +


+ To finish off, here's some shots of the squads together. +

+ Would love to hear your thoughts – particularly for future expansion. What more does an Astral Claws Kill Team need? +

+ inload: Kill Team Clawthorn completed – part II +

+ Brother-sergeant Todros Aldin +

Aldin had been promoted mere months prior to the start of hostilities, and was freshly returned from a stint in the Tyrant's Legion when he was given squad command. Distant, arrogant and aloof, Aldin drew together his squad based purely on observed ability. His lack of interest in his warrior's personalities led to a team that was as fractious and argumentative as it was capable. He was isolated and overwhelmed in combat by a Kill Team of Novamarines during the Xet Offensive.

+ Squad 6 is Kill Team Clawthorn's designation. The Astral Claws had quite an unusual organisation, with a 'normal' Chapter, a fleet-based shadow Chapter, and the Astartes of the Tyrant's Legion; a sort of hybrid PDF in which Lufgt Huron hid more Astartes assets. Rather than a dedicated permanent group, I decided Clawthorn would be an operational command; drawn mostly from Aldin's squad (number 6), but with the potential to include other specialists he requisitions. +

+ The huge axe draws the eye, but the figure has plenty of other bits going on. I was sorely tempted to use a more unusual helm, but wanted to leave some design space for a potential Commander expansion in the future. +

Vici – 'I conquered', his bolter proclaims. Clearly he's confident! +

+ Brother Nmamde Kain +

Excelling in every aspect of fieldcraft and warfare, Kain seemed destined for greatness. Welcoming the Tyrant of Badab's ambition and vision, he threw himself whole-heartedly behind his master with the fervency of the fanatic. Deadly, but not cruel; and fierce, but not dishonourable, Kain was an exemplar of the Astral Claws – and an bitter example of the double loss the Imperium faced when they drove the Secessionists to rebel.

+ I'm pleased with the green lenses. I added a very subtle amount of reflected light to the reflective silver around them, just to help them pop. +

The studded pauldron's the best bit here, I think. I took a leaf from my Iron Warriors in incorporating a broad stripe of colour – blue in this case – down the centre. This sets off the metal bonding studs nicely against the metallic background. +

+ Well-equipped: in addition to a rope and standard frag grenades, he carries some more exotic grenades (from Victoria Miniatures). +

+ inload: Kill Team Clawthorn completed – part I +

+ By Their Fear Shall You Know Us +

+ Giant pic-laden inload today, as I polished off the Astral Claws squad I've been working on. Two in detail today; and the others on Saturday and Monday – keep your occulobes peeled and auspex pinging, troops. +

+ Brother Lyron Acast +

Both pragmatic and cautious, Acest maintained a healthy scepticism of the Tyrant's creation of the Legion; though not to the extent to speak up against it. Loyal to his beloved Chapter above all, Acast maintained the crest of the Astral Claws rather than the Tyrant's own sigil. This was a common indulgence, well-accepted within the Chapter; though such half-heartedness proved no defence in the face of Imperial retribution. His analytical and sceptical mindset proved useful in keeping him and his comrades alive – but not forever. Acast's charred remains were discovered in the wake of the Star Phantoms' first assault on Gonda.

+ Fun with freehand. Breaking down the Astral Claws' original big cat icon was fun. I used off-black and off-white, to avoid it looking too stark. +

+ I introduced a thin wash of the same rusty-red brown used for the base to the lower legs and feet, rubbing it away before it settled. This left it in the recesses, and helps tie the figure to the base. +

+ He may be sceptical, but he's pragmatic, too. He wears the Tyrant's symbol on his right pauldron – y'know, just in case. +

+ Pleased with the freehand here. A very 'standard' space marine, but I rather like the effect you get by back-converting Primaris into classic Mark VII. +

+ Brother Yoruban +

Sharp-eyed and incisive, Yoruban was a popular member of the squad, particularly noted for his wit – and his aim. Fully trained as the squad's support member, his skills were put to use as sharpshooter when Soter – who Yoruban joked needed the practice more – was assigned to the squad.

+ Very enjoyable to get back to some variety in skintones. Most of the recent skin I've been doing has been fairly similar – ruddy dwarfs; so it was fun to experiment with some warm dark skin tones. I worked from a midtone base of even amounts of red, yellow, blue, white and some same red-brown I used for the basing, then worked down into the shades (adding more brown and blue) and up into the highlights (adding more yellow and white). As with almost all the skin I paint, there's a hint more red in the cheeks, chin, nose and lower lip, as these are areas where the blood is closer to the surface. + 

+ I'm fond of the conversion work here, and the paintjob seems to complement it well. The pauldron is relatively simple, bearing the squad number and a campaign honorific. Between the bare head, Mark VI conversion and carried helm, he's already interesting enough to avoid needing help with freehand. +

+ Some gouges were already taken out of the pauldron – I was tempted to develop the weathering a little further, but decided to keep the squad relatively spare for this project. The rest of the PCRC tend to paint very cleanly and neatly, and I want the Astral Claws to fit in. +

+ As well as carrying his helm – really love this bit, taken from the lieutenant model that makes up the basis of Sergeant Aldin – this marine bears a different weapon to the rest of the squad. I think it's an auto-bolter; but that might be what the others are carrying. Perhaps this is a stalker bolter? +


+ inload: Astral Claws progress +

 + inload: Badab painting in progress +

+ Painting continues apace on the Astral Claws. Nothing hugely earth-shattering in the inload today, but a few light notes on some models that are proving a nice change of pace. +The figures below are getting to the fun stage – all the boring work has been done, now it's a case of improvement and refinement. + 

+ First off; let's address the grox in the room. Mouldlines. [+SCRAPSHUNTERRORABORT+] mouldlines. You check and you trim and you file and you... nevertheless see the [+SCRAPSHUNT+] things appear. They seems particularly egregious on the Primaris legs because they run the length of the front of the legs – this is owing to the orientation of the legs in the mould. The set of Hellblaster legs I received were particularly badly affected, and also seem a bit distorted on the rear. +

+ Other than those, I'm pleased with the look of the conversion. Half-tempted to go back and put the cable 'junction box' in the centre of the torso. The cradled helmet pleased me, as it was such a simple change – trim away the Primaris grille and replace with a Mark VII. Turns out the old and new maring helmets aren't as divergent as they first appear. +

+ You can see the odd distortion/dip in the plastic around the calf area here. I'm guessing this is a common fault in the casting, perhaps caused by the thickness of the plastic here, or the sheer amount of casts that must have been pushed through for these cornerstones of the new Primaris army. Struck me as unusual, as GW's plastic manufacturing is normally free of such minor defects. Maybe I've just been spoiled by the flawless engineering of the Adeptus Titanicus Warlord Titan. +

+ With metallic schemes, it's important to build in contrast, or it just looks boring. Worse, it loses verisimilitude. A quick trick is to use different tones for different types of metal. On this Kill Team, I've used a relatively bright metal for the armour plates – i.e. the bits that make up the Chapter's uniform – and a duller gunmetal for the boltgun and backpack. A quick, subtle and simple way to add interest.

+ In the same vein, I've added a blue stripe to break up the studded shoulder pad. The silver then stands out against the blue. Note also the soft armour joints and rope here are painted in a dark green. Since metals are monotone, they can be very boring – introducing some hints of chroma elsewhere help lift the scheme. + 

+ The marine with the Maximus helm shows another way of introducing colour to a metallic scheme; use glazes and touches of coloured wash – I've added greens, blues, purples and sepias across these marines. A lot of this will get knocked back when I build the midtones and highlights back up at the next stage of painting. +

+ The colour blue has been used not just on the pauldrons, but also on pouches and similar non-armour areas, like tabards, knifesheaths etc. +

+ The Astral Claws scheme is a bit unusual in being quite varied – the colour plates in Imperial Armour IX show a variety of colours being used, particularly on the pauldrons, which vary between blue and silver; and with silver or gold trim. +

+ It's all left up to your own interpretation. Mazer Rackham, on the Bolter & Chainsword forum, offered these following ideas, which I rather like:
It's not canon, but I always saw the silver and blue pauldrons of my own Astral Claws company thusly:
  • Silver Pauldrons, the old guard, ones who follow Huron, but did not approve of him and so are herded into the back end of the requisition line.  They have the most banged-up plate, the older weapons, the hand-me-downs and all the pants jobs.  They can be found with the black and yellow lioness, the old iconography.
  • Silver pauldrons, gold rims, Veteran Sergeant of the old guard.
  • One blue Pauldron, silver rims, these are the converts to Huron's cause, they will have the astral claws now familiar star and claw.
  • Two blue Pauldrons, silver rims, veterans and committed to the new kool-aid.  Better gear, better missions.
  • Blue pauldrons, gold rims, Veteran Sgt of the Kool-aid variety, the best gear, best missions.

+ That all seems quite fitting to me, so while I haven't gone into quite as much detail yet, I like the sense of progression and transition. The marine above, then, with his varied pads, is made to look off-balance and uncertain – which suggests some character, perhaps based on a hesitancy in following Huron's cause. It's a nice conceit. +

+ The difference between the metals on the backpack is quite clear here: silver top, gunmetal remainder. Like the pauldrons, the exhausts (the bobbly things on the sides of the backpack) vary in the artwork between silver and gold. Might tweak one or two to reflect this. +

+ Dakka dakka dakka! Heavy bolters aren't Primaris equipment, but rules should always come second to the models you want to build. I've mentioned how I like the echo between the studs on the helm and pauldrons before; I've emphasised this by breaking the trim on the pauldrons into separate areas, which help to frame the head. +

+ I often use purple wash over gold. It's always effective at creating a sense of opulence, and it's great for depth. +

+ Finally, here's the first casualty for the group. I love the idea of casualty markers – they vastly improve the aesthetic of a game, to my mind – and the small size of a Kill Team means that it's realistic to make one for each model. I've left the heads off this figure as I'm intending to try a press-cast. Not only will this make reproduction easier, but it'll let me customise the resulting figures with heads that match the injured marine. +