+ inload: Hope is the First Step on the Road to Betrayal +

 + Followers of a False Primarch +

+ I want to know. That's at the core of any good tease – and I think it accounts for pretty much the entire appeal of the Lost Legions/Primarchs. Any answer, no matter how well-planned and executed, is going to be a big anticlimax, as it collapses the waveform of possibility into a final, definitive – and necessarily limited – answer. +

+ No, adding questions and leaving doubt; that seemed much more 40k to me. +


+ ... and another thing that's very 40k is integrating older material with a new spin (or as it used to be called, graverobbing). To that end, the off-shoot blog + Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten + (STABLF) [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] will update with a new article on Friday, detailing the Marines Vigilant. +

+ One of the Vigilant +

+ I'm trying to keep STABLF more tightly focussed on lore and organisation than on painting and real-world influences, and so here's a great place to look behind the scenes. The Vigilants are a Marine Chapter that I've come up with for the project that had to fulfill a few different points:
  • To indulge in some winsome nostalgia;
  • To be part of the explanation for how five Chapters defeated eleven;
  • To allow me to paint some one-off marines;
but primarily...
  • To allow anyone to get involved.
+ To that end, I envisaged the Vigilants as a sort of Deathwatch equivalent. Like the Deathwatch, the Vigilants are a militant group of Space Marines drawn from different Chapters that work under the auspices of the Inquisition – in the Vigilants case, the Ordo Astartes; the group tasked with ensuring the Space Marines don't go all rebelly again. +

+ I didn't want them to be a directly correlative group to the Deathwatch – that seemed a bit derivative – and the best way I've found for doing that is to draw a few threads from older material and weave them into the new. In this case, I styled the markings on the Rogue Trader-era Field Police, a concept that has fallen by the wayside; and added a few hints of the retconned older Mentor Legion Chapter background – namely that they use esoteric equipment and work variously in detail and in larger groups. +

'Master' Enoch, one of the upcoming Dramatis Personae, and a member of the Ordo Astartes.

+ The background is, effectively, an excuse. One of the things that most disappointed me about the Deathwatch – an otherwise very cool concept – was the fact that all the amazing heraldry and pageantry of a diverse group of Astartes was painted black, save a single shoulder pad. With the Vigilants, I've inverted that, with the Chapter heraldry of each miniature intact save for a red plate with a yellow and black hazard stripe. +

This member of the Patriarchs of Ulixis shows a red helm with hazard stripe and the old RT Field Police symbol on the hip plate.

+ This simple approach means that anyone who has a single marine can instantly get involved in the project, simply by painting a hazard stripe on them somewhere. I hope that this draws more people in to getting involved – after all, collaboration and discussion is really at the heart of any project. +

+ Before moving on, I just wanted to draw attention to the downside of writing background before trying things out on a model. Trying to paint the complex symbol of the High Lords of Terra (effectively the Other Side of the War of the False Primarch) on a shoulder pad was fun, but a challenge. +

+ I didn't want to make this a stumbling block or excuse for people not to get involved, and so wrote out the idea that all Tactical markings on a marine seconded to the Vigilants were replaced with this symbol. Instead, there's the option for a simpler triangle symbol; or nothing at all. There's the lesson, than – paint the model first, then write your background! +


+ Sundries +

+ STABLF has been monopolising my blog writing time – apologies; though I hope you're also enjoying the material that pops up there. Here are a few pictures that I've been taking, along with some rather off-the-cuff thoughts and notes. I hope they're of interest. +

+ Little more than a test of using a white backdrop, this picture's a nice scale comparison of a Space Marine and unaugmented human. Working from home means that I've got much nicer natural lighting than usual, and that in turn meant I couldn't resist snapping a few things. +

+ A little preview/work-in-progress of the Silver Stars, this 'sample' has quickly expanded into a thirty-man army, complete with tank. I've drawn the line there, for the moment, and am making a pledge here that no further stuff for this lot until they're all painted! +

+ Another marine for the STABLF project, this was an experiment in making properly accurate Mark VII armour (and apologies – I realise that the 'how to make Mark VI' tutorial is still languishing. Promise I'll get it done once I find the damn WIP!). He was also going to be the 'case study' Vigilant, but his pose weighed against him. I like the fact he's sighting down the barrel, but while realistic, it obscures too much of him. He's a good example of a good gaming piece, but a challenge to photograph or showcase effectively. + 

+ The chap next to him is an anonymous scribe at the moment. Whether he'll end up of the side of the orthodoxy or Partisans is uncertain. Fun model, though. +

+ To close, a Silver Star – and in stark contrast to the figure above, he's been deliberately designed to allow close examination of all the bits and bobs that make the Stars what they are. Keep an eye out for a future inload! +

+ inload: [REDACTED] +

+ Conceptinload: Silver Stars +

+ Honestly, I'm impressed with how long I went in this project before giving in to the temptation to have an inload called '[REDACTED]'. The figure above is one of the Dramatis Personae for the Silver Stars – and likely the nearest thing the Legion(?) Chapter(?) will have to a public face. +

+ I've deliberately kept the lids of the other Silver Stars on, in order to make them as anonymous and mysterious as possible. I want to provoke the reader to question 'what's underneath?'. The more questions I pose, without providing definite answers, the better: at least for this early stage. +

+ So why show this figure's face? A number of reason; not least of which is the simple fact that I like painting faces. After completing Volncoscere's own (oh – we haven't seen that yet, have we?), I wanted to play around with the skin mix I'd used. This character's skin is slightly different to the possible-Primarch's, but in the same wheelhouse. The Silver Stars have some Hawaiian/South Pacific island touches, and it was fun to try to bring that out by using more cream and orange in the mix than the yellow and white I would for caucasian tones. +

+ Secondly, this figure is slightly unusual in being a combination of two very old concepts – a Unification Wars model I built a few years back, but never painted, and Ulixis the Black [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], an Ultramarines' Captain based on the legends of Odysseus. I loved the idea of Ulixis as a wily commander, but on consideration, he didn't fit very well within my Praetors of Calth. He has a much better home here, in a possible-Legion surrounded by so many questions, and in a project that is concerned with lies and truth in the 40k setting. +


+ Building and painting the Laka'i +

+ The legs and torso are unmodified – as with all the Silver Stars bar a couple made from Plague Marine bits, he's based on Txarli Factory's definitely-not truescale Crusade Armour [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. The arms are from the original model I had made for the Unification Wars; based on a Forge World Centurion (though I swapped out the power fist for a Mark III gauntlet). I also brought the groin-guard across from that figure, too. Although there are some South Pacific hints about the Silver Stars, I want them to be just that: hints. I've never liked the flanderization of the Space Marine Legions, and like my marines to be marines first and foremost: the cultural touchstones of each should be subtle. +

+ That goes double here, as the Legion needs to retain some level of mystery and anonymity. They need to be identified primarily as 'marines with curiously ancient armour', and so littering them with extras would dilute that very quickly. +

+ It's also worth noting that I find the best army archetypes are those that combine disparate, seemingly unrelated ideas to get a good fusion of influences. I find it helps to prevent an idea becoming kitsch, or worse, offensively stereotypical. To that end, the markings aren't a constructed South Pacific script (indeed, until relatively recently, Hawaiian had no written form), but rather combine alchemical symbols – familiar shorthand for 'esoteric' and slightly sinister to most Western audiences – and cuneiform script. Diligent readers might be able to translate the symbols and numerals about his person – but whether they read into them is entirely up to them... +

[APPENDEDIT]+ I wrote about combining disparate ideas to create a fusion concept a bit more in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], for those interested. +

+ The Chapter/Legion symbol is the 'Silver Star' itself; an intentionally simple icon. In trying to create a Legion that could conceivably have come from the same well as the existing Legions, I wanted to use simple terms – like 'Luna' or 'Night' or 'World', 'Silver Star' has vague astronomical hints, and is also a simple phrase. That's what (well, hopefully) gives it an iconic ring to it. +

+ The colours are unusual for Space Marines. Rose, white and turquoise were chosen to give a vaguely Pacific region/Far Eastern feel – but the placement on the figures is intended to evoke the simple block colours of the 'canonical' Legions. +

+ As a closing note, someone on Instagram commented that the unpainted model looked a bit like Keanu Reeves. I couldn't help seeing it afterwards, and it still makes me grin! Unintentional stuff like that is always fun – and why is a big of why I enjoy sharing my models. Thank you all. +

+ inload: White tutorial: Painting the Silver Stars

+ Painting Silver Stars + 

+ Some things may be best forgotten, but how you paint a uniform isn't one of them. I thought I'd exload my approach to painting the cool white I'm using for this mysterious possible-Legion of Space Marines. +

+ Silver Stars Astartes: painting white +

+ Whether the Silver Stars are a Legion of marines or not, they seem to favour Mark II Crusade Armour. The bodies and legs are from Txarli Factory [+noospheric exloadlink embedded+]; the remainder of the figures from a variety of GW and FW kits. As always, this proves the benefit of a deep bits box: I bought the Crusade Armour bits used here years ago, intending to use them for my Praetors of Calth Ultramarines. One side project after another, I decided that it was a shame they sat languishing, so I dug them out, and was pleasantly surprised to find I had a decent little pile of them – some twenty in all. +

+ Painting Silver Stars +

_1 Assemble your marine as normal. The bases I've used here are from Unreal Wargaming [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+].

_2 Prime using Halford's Grey Primer.

_3 Paint the base colours. I block in the metals with black (though note I've used Dryad Bark for the gorget, which will be gold. You can use them fairly interchangeably, but I think I'll proceed with brown for gold, and black for silver). I've used Sotek Green for the blue-turquoise, which seems to be nigh-identical to the old Hawk Turquoise.

4_I've used 'Mummy Robes' from The Army Painter's Warpaints range [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], a lovely smooth warm white. This takes two layers to get a smooth surface. Once dry, I overlay it with Apothecary White, one of Citadel's new Contrast range of paints. This is a lovely quick way to get some initial shading it – and perhaps more importantly, to help you identify where to pick out later.

5_ From here, it's essentially refining. This is a bit of a jump from the previous stage, I confess! Here, I've gone back over the white with more Mummy Robes, adding Vallejo's Off-White for highlights. I've also used Daler-Rowney's Payne's Grey acrylic ink, diluted with flow improver, to line the stronger shadows. I've used the same combination of colours to add weathering and scratches to the white armour – I suggest you do this sparingly, and don't make them so high contrast as you would on darker hues: white paint is obviously very high in value, and so marks look much more striking and obvious than on a low value hue.

The blue-turquoise highlights are simply Sotek Green with increasing amounts of Off-White. The gold is Balthasar Gold followed by Shining Gold, washed with two layers of Seraphim Sepia, with touches of Leviathan Purple added wet-in-wet. The two washes are also used over Iron Warriors (the modern Boltgun Metal equivalent) for the silver areas like the boltgun and backpack.