+ inload: Bearers of the Word +

+ View over the fence: musings on Word Bearers +

Loyalty is the child of belief.
+ Aphorisms, Urka Madis +


+ 'You're that Ultramarines guy, right?' – I've been flattered to have been called so, but I haven't painted one of my Praetors of Calth [+noosphericinloadlinkembedded+] in a long time. Still, I find Calth a very rich setting, so it's been nice to dig back into it, even if it's from the other side. +

+ In building up the background for my Ultramarines, it's been impossible not to read about their rivals – and bitter enemies, the Word Bearers. As with much of the Horus Heresy, their rich background is a tempting rabbit hole – though prior to now, I've largely resisted the temptation. +

+ The release of Primaris marines means that making a small group of marines, with sufficient bulk to look good against my Ultramarines, for the boardgame Betrayal at Calth has become a realistic prospect. Working on them has been a great lesson in different reds. +

+ Theoretical: Painting Word Bearers +

+ The human eye is very drawn to reds. Like its complementary colour(greens), we're very sensitive to slight changes in hue. Coupled with red paints typically having relatively poor coverage, the colour has a reputation for being difficult – both to paint, and to photograph. +

+ Bright red (left) and deep red (centre and right) schemes +

+ The Citadel Colours range has some really nice reds, and while they may take a couple of layers, you can work them right over a black undercoat. The marine on the left was painted with the following process over black:

_1 Mephiston Red.
_2 Second layer of Mephiston Red.
_3 Lining the recesses with Agrax Earthshade.
_4 Layer of Evil Sunz Scarlet.
_5 Highlights of Fire Dragon Bright.
_6 Winsor & Newton red ink glaze.

This gives a nice, vibrant result – brilliant for Blood Angels, but perhaps a bit vivid for the Word Bearers. The others were therefore painted with a more muted scheme, again over a black undercoat:

_1 Gal Vorbak Red.
_2 Second layer of Gal Vorbak Red.
_3 Lining the recesses with Leviathan Purple.
_4 Layer of Word Bearers Red
_5 Initial highlights of Word Bearers Red/Fire Dragon Bright mix.
_6 Secondary highlights of Fire Dragon Bright
_7 Winsor & Newton red ink glaze.

+ The result of the latter is more muted. To be honest, I don't like it quite as much as the Blood Angels scheme, but that's probably working as intended. The former bright red scheme is very warm-tinged – that is, it's based on yellow-biased reds, which means it appears warm, inviting and exciting. The latter muted red scheme is cool-tinged; based on blue-based reds. This means it is naturally less eye-catching. +

+ This may seem a Bad Thing, but sometimes subtlety wins out. By having a more muted wine-dark scheme, it leaves space in the palette for bright vibrant reds to be used for, say, braziers and flames. These wouldn't sing out against the bright red scheme, but should be set off nicely by the deep red. +

+ Practical: Painting Word Bearers +

+ So, how does it look in practice? I got two marines painted up over the course of the evening. Not quite finished – I have the Legion and Chapter symbols to add (once I've decided where they'll come from), and the bases need to be completed. At this stage, however, they're ready to view. +

+ To give the models some character, I've added freehand designs – these astrological/astronomical signs are really distinctive of the Word Bearers, and fantastic fun to paint. They're just small freehand marks of Gal Vorbak Red in lines and curves, with highlights (the same colours detailed above) added away from the light source. When trying this out, I suggest you keep your light source as simple as possible: directly overhead. Once you're confident, it seems like it'd be fun to play with light sourcing; perhaps having the highlights picked up from a hand-held torch, or something.+

+ The silver masks were inspired by the front cover of the boardgame. Lucifer216, the PCRC's resident Word Bearer fanatic, tells me that this may indicate a marine is part of the Chapter of Consecrated Iron, or Vakrah Jal. The Vakrah Jal are an elite group of the Legion, so it's possible that these luckless marines are disgraced members of the Chapter... 

... or perhaps something else. It is heavily hinted in Forge World's Horus Heresy book on the conflict that the Word Bearers sent to Calth included many disguised as different Chapters, in order to help disguise the numbers of the Legion present. The aim was to hide Lorgar's treachery as the bulk of his forces set out on the Shadow Crusade. Thus, these marines may simply have been disguised as members of the Consecrated Iron. Who knows? +

+ Since this force is meant to represent be a fairly rag-tag group of Word Bearer survivors skilled or lucky enough to get into the Calth Arcologies, I'm looking forward to exploring a number of different Chapters. The following Chapters are 'canon': 

  • Asps of the Sacred Sands, 
  • Flayed Hand, 
  • Graven Star, 
  • Inscribed, 
  • Twisting Rune, 
  • Third Hand – from which (possibly?) Kurtha Sedd and the other characters in the Betrayal at Calth game come.
  • Unspeaking.
+ Since I only have twenty marines to paint, I doubt I'll include all of these, but I am keen to develop a couple of my own Chapters: the Blasted Cedar [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], for example. If you'd like a member of your own Chapter to appear, please let me know some details – I'd be delighted to give 'em a go! +

+ Examples of Word Bearer Chapter iconography +

+ The variation this will offer will go a long way to explaining any slight differences in colour and decoration – though at the end of the day, your own models never need any justification beyond 'I like them', of course!. +

+ Besides paint schemes, different parts can be used to distinguish between Chapters. Even early in the Horus Heresy, the Word Bearers offer a great chance to use Chaos Marine bits when building them – as demonstrated by the two marines above: clearly linked, but with distinction between them. This is another rich source to mine. A lot of the M41 Chaos aesthetic is drawn from their distinctive look – they are the ur-example of the traitors.  +

+ Brothers Bac Vorkar of the Third Hand and Vannis Gen of the Inscribed +

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