inload: Silver Stars

 + Forbidden, not Forgotten +

+ I've lined up a 'War of the False Primarch' game against Bob Hunk's exceptional Flesh Eaters [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] – so the Silver Stars are back on the workbench. +

+ We're aiming for a 500pt game – and as is traditional, neither of us have 500pts-worth for our respective armies (well, unless you count the is-he-isn't-he Primarch, but I think that might be a little unbalancing, even for our narrative-style gaming!) 

+ As a result, we're frantically slapping some paint on – the pict-capture above shows an array from first colours being blocked in (on the left) all the way through to finished bar the basing. +

+ It's been a while since I've worked on them, which proves just how useful it is to have a blog with the recipes on! 


+inload: Salamanders notes +

+ inload: Salamanders, advance! +

+ Building the squad +

+ Quick build of a second marine, using bits I had lying around – but I wasn't sure the heavy bolter was quite right, so that's been taken off and will likely be swapped for something else. +

+ The arms and torso are made using the same process I used for my Iron Warriors of Officio Monstrosa. The step-by-step tutorial, if you want to have go yourself, is here: [+noospherinloadlink embedded+] +

+ The legs are an iterative development of my old approach for converting 'truescale' marines. Rather than being based on Terminators, the legs use a Heavy Intercessor/Gravis base with greenstuff work (above). I haven't worked up a tutorial for that yet, but if there's interest I'll aim to do one for the next one I make. +


+ Here's a quick comparison of how my older process – the Ultramarine Ancient on the right – compares with the new. This isn't a deliberate decision to simply enlarge models for the sake of size, but rather new materials and my own development allowing me to better capture the image I have in my mind of Salamanders in particular. +

+ That mental image has the Salamanders being notably, but not excessively, larger than most other marines, and generally having a bit more variance in their ranks. This chap is probably as big as they'll get; as I want to be able to mix and match these marines with those based on Primaris etc.. My aim it to give a more custom, artificer-made and personal feel than the very uniform, structured and formal look I wanted for my Ultramarines. +


+ A particular appeal +

+ I like the dichotomy between the slightly more humane attitude of the Salamanders and their monstrous appearance, and this seems a nice way to nod to that – as well as allowing me to be a lot more free with my modelling, and enjoy the creativity. As to the inspiration, I've been gathering my thoughts, so figured I'd tap them out here for discussion and later reference. +


+ Musing on the composition of the army, I thought I'd start gathering some ideas and turning them over. The Salamanders 'thing' (or strategic disposition, if you prefer) during the Second Armageddon War was protecting supply lines and patrolling the ash waste desert: +

While the Ultramarines defended the beleaguered hive cities of Armageddon and the Blood Angels assaulted the Orks head-on, the Salamanders lent their strength to the protection of Imperial supply convoys and refugee columns, ensuring the safety of the civilians caught up in the war. This was a task often neglected by the other Imperial forces fighting on Armageddon. The actions of the Salamanders in defending the Imperial citizens of the beleaguered world from the massive Greenskin onslaught has often been held up as a shining example of the role of the Adeptus Astartes in the protection of the Imperium.

+ ...which could be used as the theme for the force. I rather like the idea of playing against type and having some Salamanders bikes, or perhaps a mounted force – which had been the original inspiration for this army. As it stands, I think small steps are the best way, and constructing a Kill Team seems a modest ambition. +


+ Who's Who in the Second War for Armageddon? +
We've definitely got the 1st, 2nd and 5th Companies to pick from.
  • While the Salamanders don't operate in a fully Codex manner, I think it'd be fairly safe to say that the 2nd Company probably represents the core of the army, with the 1st, 5th and possibly 6th there in support.
  • The 6th Company are fighting in the Tochran Crusade in 943.M41 (i.e. during the height of the war on Armageddon), and are very badly mauled, losing forty Battle Brothers – a third of their strength. It's odd for a Reserve Company to be fighting on its own, so I'm going to guess that the Tochran Crusade involved one of the other Battle Companies (3rd or 4th)
    • We can thus also likely discount He'Stan making an appearance – though it's not beyond the realm of possibility, I do like to focus on lesser-known characters where possible.
  • As Tu'Shan is present, there's probably quite a substantial amount of the 1st, too. So, probably knocking on 200+ Salamanders – a not inconsiderable army.
I'll go with 2nd Company for the first squad, then, but I rather like the idea of having a few 5th Company Reservists somewhere involved...


Potential Dramatis Personae

  • Captain Pellas Mir'san of the 2nd Company, Winter Blade, Defender of Nocturne – Noted swordsman; might be fun to base him on the 3rd edition Captain with power sword, who appeared in Codex: Armageddon. Noted as old.
  • Captain N'Kelm of the 2nd Company – An alternative to the FW and GW studio option, N'Kelm is from Nick Kyme's Salamanders books; he replaced Mir'San in one Codex, but Mir'san later reappeared. I toyed with having him as a Lieutenant, but unfortunately there's a third (deceased) Captain of the 2nd Company mentioned as his predecessor. I think I'll probably square this circle by picturing N'Kelm as being Mir'san's predecessor, and the events of the Salamanders book preceding Badab and Armageddon; an approach which keeps things as internally consistent as possible.* 
  • Captain Mulcebar of the 5th Company –
  • Master Apothecary Harath Shen, Defender of the Final Vault– Another Badab veteran noted as surviving, he's not strictly part of the 2nd Company. Given the Chapter's recent losses, he might be better off staying on Nocturne to oversee the new implantations – but equally an argument could be made 

Pyre of Glory – Battlebarge

An artwork of the period – I'll need to find some orks to scrap with!

It has, however, struck me that you could do a cool whole project based on the Salamanders' lack of successors, and odd contradictions within the lore like this. 

I'm picturing the Salamanders' original role (as part of the 'trefoil legions') being intended to monitor chronological and dimensional anomalies and displacements: those caused by warp travel shenanigans and so forth, and dealing with the various 'time travel' weirdnesses of things like the Hrud, Necrons and Orks.

The forlorn hope/suicidal tendences of the 'Dragon Warriors' are intentionally fostered in order to ensure that things are dealt with there and then, and for the Marines in question to self-immolate (not literally!) in combat to minimise potential problems with polluting the timeline. 

Just as Vulcan was set as a guard on the Imperial webway, so his Astartes are set as guards on time and space itself. Why have they no successors? Simple – they are all present, but slightly time- or dimensionally shifted. 

+ inload: Painting Salamanders green +

+ In The Dust Of Armageddon +

+ Feeling a bit agitated over the weekend, so took it out on this chap, a Salamanders marine who's been waiting patiently for paint. While not finished, he's coming along quite nicely, so thought I'd show him off to garner some ideas and thoughts. +

+ This particular marine has had an odd history of paint, having been undercoated with Halford’s brown and painted with olive green oils; but he has since been left to dry/oxidise, then reprimed with GW’s wraith one spray, a sort of warm off-white. Alas, the can was down to its dregs, so it was a rather patchy and necessarily zenithal coat – that is, largely limited to a top-down spritz. +

+ As a test model, I’m not too fussed about this, as I’m happy to spend a bit more time on him. For future models, I’ll want to streamline the process, so will start from a clean and even base of wraithbone or white. +


+ Painting Salamanders Chapter green +

+ Thematically, the background for this model, and any little force that might emerge from it, is going to be set during the Second Armageddon War (M41.941–943). Not only does this have fond memories for me – being the then-current GW 'thing' as I was growing up – but I've also already got a Steel Legion force and the Blood Angels Third Company, which are likewise eminently suitable for the period. Moreover, plenty of ork opponents! +

+ I had toyed with a Horus Heresy period – you can read about this here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], but I think I'm more likely to be using these in 40k. They can also do double-duty in the PCRC's Badab War Kill Team games [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. It also allows me a pretty full range of armour marks, as Salamanders are famed for their skill with a hammer and anvil, and make their own armour. +

+ This Salamander is clad in the remnants of in a suitably patchwork Heresy suit. While the bulk is production Mark V, there's a Mark II power plant, Mark III vambrace (perhaps some honorific or personalised bit) and a left arm that's more modern – perhaps Mark VII. +

+ Painting the green + 

1_ The green starts as a flat coat of Warpstone Glow – I need to apply around three coats to get coverage over the patchy undercoat. 

2_ This was then washed with Thraka Green.

3_ Once dry, this was re-layered in areas of highlight with Warpstone Glow. The paint doesn't have great coverage, but that actually serves to make a smoother blend.

4_ Highlights were then blended in on areas near the light source using an even mix of Warpstone Glow and Moot Green.

5_Once dry, a wash of Drakenhof Nightshade was applied all over. This blue wash serves to mute the yellow tinge of the Moot Green a bit, and help blend things in.

6_ Once dry, sharper highlights were applied with a ~1:3 Warpstone Glow and Moot Green mix, and followed up with smaller point highlights of the same mix with a little white added.

+ Painting the grey +

+ This isn't yet finished, but since it was very simple, I thought I'd record the first stages here. It's simply Army Painter Dark Stone for the soft joints, shoulder pads and details, washed over with Nuln Oil. +

+ The holster and pouches were a later addition – he looked a little wasp-waisted – which is why they've just got a Halfords grey undercoat. +


+ The heraldry and finishing will take quite a bit of research (and creativity!), I think, but I'm looking forward to populating those big flat plates with various markings. If you've got a favourite Company that you'd like to see me tackle, or have a lore snippet that you think might be fun to see included or nodded to, please do let me know. +

+ In closing, I'll just note that I'm rather pleased with the eye lenses. This is something I toyed with on the lights on my Catachan gun truck, which I painted to look like glass – that is, with greys. +

+ I thought this might suit the Salamanders and help give a 'calm and collected' look to the marines, while also not fighting too much with any bright orange and yellow markings. +

+ I've still not quite decided how I'm going to tackle the 'glowing red eyes' thing, and thought it'd be a fun little detail to have that glow emerging from otherwise clear lenses; perhaps as a bright ember in the very centre. I'll play around a bit more to see how that works; but I reserve the right to switch if it looks a bit duff! +


inload: Catachan Goliath Guntruck complete

+ 'Nutcracker' + 


'The Leman Russ Company? Yer talkin' about using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, Colonel.'

'You have a better idea, Captain?'

+ All polished off +

+ Like Judith Kerr's Mog being given an egg for breakfast, I am very pleased to have this fun project at a stage where I'd be happy to show it off. +

+ Most of last night's efforts were turned towards the banner and the base. I repositioned the awkward branch that was obscuring the technpriest, then got to work with static various grasses, fluffy flock to represent lichen, and birch seeds to look like fallen leaves. These were variously secured with superglue and PVA. For the drifts of birch seeds, I painted on watered-down PVA and sprinkled them in. I'm sure there's a better/more secure way of attaching them, but it's eluding me. I should probably do some research and experiment for future projects. +

+ Perched precariously on the too-small plinth, I'm still hoping the bigger one will both {answerAVL='a') arrive in time, and {answerAVL='b') be the right size. I don't fancy trying to trim the base to size after the fact! +

+++APPENDEDIT – it has arrived. Woot!+++


+ This shows how the moving the branch has opened up the space a bit. I'm a little conflicted on this, as I really liked the look of the tree before – but ultimately, the base needs to serve the content, not the other way round. +

+ I'm still not delighted with the banner, which is annoying as it's one of the focal points, so perhaps I'll refine it a little further. I'm also wondering if those bumps below the rear lights are also intended to be lights. I'd interpreted them as some sort of metal blister or access port, but do they look weird? I don't want them to look like traffic lights... +


+ 2nd Company Command Squad – the crew +

+ In the famed understatement of Mustermaster-General Klous fon Saynt of the Adeptus Munitorum, 'Catachans don't work like other Regiments'. The name of their infamous Deathworld on an Army docket is as likely to be met with groans of frustration as sighs of relief as the Navy or Guard Commanding Officers realise that they will be working with these incredibly capable but frequently truculent – and often deliberately antagonistic – soldiers. +

+ The 634th are an unremarkable Catachan Regiment, combining some 15,000 soldiers that operate across various specialisms. Now designated a 'mixed infantry' force, the 'Ever-Readies' have been fortunate in operating close enough to Catachan to have been reinforced on a number of occasions and remained largely homogenous – never a certainty for an Imperial Guard force. This has meant that the Regiment has benefitted from an intake of – amongst other groups – specialist combat engineers. These Catachan men and women built on their own experience of trapping and wayfaring, and have received specialist training and equipment since induction into the Guard. +

+ The 2nd Company began as a standard Light Infantry force, but has since been equipped to operate as Armoured Cavalry – that is, entirely mounted. Its relatively large cadre of Combat Engineers also means that it is able to function as a pseudo-siege force, and it is to the 2nd Company that the Regiment turns when defence is required. +

+ In charge of these warriors is Colonel Carl Oakland, a number of whose relatives are dotted throughout the 634th. Beneath the Colonel, command is split amongst the Majors and Captains of the various Companies – which are then so diverse as to exclude useful categorisation. +

'The things I seen out there in the green, man... You wouldn't believe half of 'em.'