+ inload: Hyperanalysis of Legions Imperialis +

+ Legions Imperialis +

+ Forebears – the very first Epic Space Marine sculpt +

+ Every so often, I sit back in an outdoor seat, perhaps cradling a mug of tea, recaff or a glass of synthale in my manipulators, and look out at the garden. I see the fresh air, the green grass and branches of the ash swaying gently in the summer breeze and think, 'There's more to life than toy soldiers.' +

+ Today, however, is very firmly not one of those days. I make no apologies for the thoroughly nerdy nature of today's inload as we dive into the murky world of previews and glean, techpriest-style, what we can divine about the new version of Epic  Legions Imperialis. +

+ If – like me – you're at risk of getting a bit too enthused by the news that Epic is coming back and have been scouring the noosphere for more news, I hope you'll find today's hyperanalysis soothing... + 


+ Looking closer +

+ Warhammer Community [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] has been exloading articles about the upcoming game, and you can read quite a bit between the lines. The most recent article showed a lovely pile o' sprues. We'll see what we can see about the other, but most clearly visible is the Space Marine infantry sprue. +

+ I've marked up the image with some dots to help discuss this sprue – but please note that this is all conjecture based on what has thus been revealed – along with a little bit of reading between the lines. +

  • Orange – Contemptor parts. I'm reading the two bits at the top left as the front of the waist, but unsure. The twin-lascannon is in two parts.
  • Red – Missile launcher support squad: each marine in two parts (body and arm with gun). I'm fairly sure there are 6 missile launchers, but can only see 5 bodies – perhaps the sixth body (sergeant) is cropped at the bottom. 
  • Yellow – Cataphractii Terminators. 6 of these.
  • Blue – Plasma Gun support squad. Tentatively marked 5 of these, but the arrangement seems odd. Not beyond the bounds of reason (technical necessity/filling in available space).
  • Green – Tactical Legionaries. 20 of these.
  • Purple – Assault Legionaries. 5 of these.
  • White – other/unclear. These are undoubtedly the Command squad and sergeants, but it's too unclear for my tired ol' occulobes to make them out with any certainty.
    • The white spot on the left-hand side, about halfway up, may be the sixth variant of the plasma gunners. Could be something to do with the Heavy Support, but looks to have a rifle of some sort.
    • There's a white spot at the upper right of the sprue, which could be something to do with the Contemptor. 
+ Besides the simple assessment of numbers, there are some other lessons to mark from this sprue pictcapture: +
  • Confirmation that there's no integrated round base insert on infantry.
  • Single attachment point to the sprue is very welcome – means you'll be able to spray (even paint) on-sprue easily, as the only attachment point is hidden.
  • Eight legs across two Contemptor Dreadnought bodies means lots of variety in posing – though only one of each gun (twin lascannon and assault cannon) on each sprue.

+ How tall are the models? +

+ With some nice close-ups, we're able to estimate the actual size of the figures much more closely, by using the base as a measurement. This is confirmed as 25mm – though there's a little leeway in that: is 25mm the bottom or top of the bevelled base? For the images here, I've assumed the bottom – that is, the widest point, which seems to be the common way for GW to measure their bases. +

+ I've isolated the front two figures to account for a bit of variety in pose. The red line is 25mm, taken from the widest point of the base. I've then reduced this to 12.5mm (yellow); 10mm (green); 8mm (dark blue) and 6mm (light blue) to account for a few common/familiar sizes. +

+ Nominally, older Epic models are 6mm tall (light blue), so you can see that the new Epic scale is considerably larger. The models stand almost exactly 8mm to the eye, and 10mm to the top of the figure. Your mileage may vary, of course, but for me there are a couple of big positives to this: 
  • Consistency  It is clearly a substantial jump from the old figures, but as existing Epic collectors will attest, we've played with rather dubious relative measurements for a long time – just compare the old Tactical marines to the old Scouts. Having all the new models – Titans, aircraft, vehicles and infantry – in a new, consistent scale is a plus point.
  • Greater detail  While less detailed than their 40k-size counterparts, this size of figure means that the sculptors can include more detail. I'm delighted to see the variety of poses; and interested to see how the greater size translates to painting – I suspect it's going to be a bit easier to get good results very quickly.

+ Can I use old figures? +

+ Composite image taken from WarCom for direct comparison +

+ Whether you're happy to use older Epic figures alongside these models or not is, of course, going to depend on the individual (much as with the new Marines in 40k), but I'd note that tabletop distance is going to make the apparent jump in size between old and new Epic less relevant. +

+ In mechanical terms, infantry are going to be unaffected. Epic Armageddon demonstrated that the difference between strip, square and round bases is largely irrelevant, so infantry are going to work just fine. In terms of vehicles, if we take the statement that the models are one quarter the size of their 40k counterparts literally, we can estimate the length of the new models. Rhinos (and Predators etc.) are ~120mm long in 40k scale, which translates to 30mm long in the new Epic scale. +

+ Clockwise from top left: Epic: Armageddon (E:A) era Land Raider; Epic: Space Marine (1st ed.) (SM1) era Rhino; Epic: 40,000 (E:40k) era Dreadnought; E:A era Rhino. +

+ The pict-capture of some older tank sculpts above shows that the models are likely to be within spitting distance – around 5mm shorter – so while you might choose to go with all-new sculpts, I don't think there will be any particular mechanical problems with using old Epic armies. +

+ What about the Guard? +

+ Happily, Leman Russ tanks are the same length as the Predator, so again they should be 30mm long. +

Clockwise from top left: E:40k era Hellhound; E:40k era Leman Russ; third party 'forumware' Leman Russ; E:40k era Leman Russ (again).

+ Again, these look pretty close to me. Perhaps mixing old and new sculpts will make the differences more stark, but I think the main reason to be looking at the new models is that they're nice models in and of themselves, rather than because they have somehow made your existing collection obselete. +

+ Pew pew! Kaboom! +


+ What else is in that sprue picture? +

+ I think I can make out:
  • Space Marine infantry sprue
  • Sicarian sprue
  • A second Space Marine infantry sprue
  • Predator sprue
  • Two Warhound sprues
  • Solar Auxilia infantry sprue (the one at the back, with ogryns).

+ ...And what does that tell us about the release model? +

+ Firstly, while we have mixed infantry sprues – that is, we have Terminators, Dreadnoughts and power-armoued marines on a single sprue – the vehicle types look to have been kept separate. This bodes well if you're after just one type (e.g. Predator). +

+ Judging them against the Warhound sprue size, I think all of the Epic sprues are smaller half-size sprues – akin to the other Boxed Games releases, like Blood Bowl, Warcry etc. My guess is that we'll see GW release boxes of two identical sprues for ~£30. My hope is that they'll be a little cheaper, to take account of the fact that the game supposedly demands multiples (as opposed to the other Boxed Games, where one box is typically the default for a side). +

+ I think it's notable that all the marines are in Mark VI; and am hoping that we'll see other marks of armour being introduced through follow-up releases. GW will be unlikely to want multiple identical boxes cannibalising each other, so I have a few related predictions:
  • The pictured infantry sprue will be sold as Legionary Tactical detachment (or similar). The box will contain two identical sprues.
  • Follow-up releases will contain a similar mix of figures, but in different marks of armour, and with options. They will be marketed as (e.g.) Legionary Recon detachment, Legionary Siege detachment. These will include just one or two Tactical (boltgun-armed) stands in the appropriate armour, and instead include Recon/Breacher marines. This model will be how things like Tartaros Terminators are released. The Contemptor Dreadnoughts will vary in armament or be replaced entirely.
  • Note that the heavy weapon arms are separate from the figures. This is undoubtedly for production reasons, but it also means that other interchangeable weapons (such as lascannons or multimeltas) could be present on follow-up sprues. The theoretical Siege Marine release, for example, perhaps replacing the support squads with melta gunners and lascannons.

+ In terms of quantities of sprues, I'm anticipating the box will contain:
  • Two Space Marine infantry sprues
  • Two Solar Auxilia infantry sprues
  • One Predator sprue
  • One Leman Russ sprue
  • One Sicarian sprue
  • One Malcador sprue
  • Three Warhound sprues (or possibly four, if they include the old guns alongside the new ones).

+ ...And what does that tell us about the rules? +

+ Here's where the speculation might get a little bit wild-eyed, so buckle up (or don your tinfoil hat). With that said, the following is not complete wishlisting – it's based on what has been stated by GW. + 

+ Note the weapon options. Almost all the releases so far previewed include two options. Tanks, Dreadnoughts, static artillery... +

+ Perhaps it's purely aesthetic, but given the statement that Legions Imperialis :

'Warhammer has previously made several games in epic scale, and we’ll be taking a look down memory lane later this month, and this new game system is based on the best bits of previous incarnations of these epic scale games – while adding lots of cool new elements.'

... I think it likely that these reflect in-game mechanics. Looking at the options they've chosen, most fall neatly into 'anti-infantry' or 'anti-tank'; which was how Epic: 40,000 and Epic: Armageddon divided things. + 

+ Plasma is an arguable exception to this distinction – and it's common: we see it on the Deredeos above, as well as the Support Squad infantry and Sicarians. I think this may have the niche of 'mid-range all-rounder'; and it's notable that the Space Marines have it in abundance, while the Solar Auxilia have not a jot. That all-rounder theme is backed up by the Space Marine infantry sprue, where we see the Missile Launcher and plasma gun – neither obviously anti-tank nor anti-infantry. +

+ The Solar Auxilia, in contrast, show less flexibility. Their infantry are armed with anti-infantry axes and flamers, while their tanks don't appear to have specialist anti-infantry options. +

+ Night Lords from the latest terrain preview +


+ Hold on a second... +

+ These themes – generalist and adaptable Space Marines formation and inter-reliant Imperial Guard is in line with previous editions of the game. If this is the case, of course, this is a pretty decent counter-argument for my guess that we'll see more specialist releases that blur these lines. +

+ After all, if the Solar Auxilia are defined by very fixed, specialist formations, and the Space Marines by being 'jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none', then releasing specialist formations for the Marines seems a bit odd. +

+ I'd agree; though it's also worth noting how much GW has emphasised that we'll be able to make our existing armies in miniature. I can't see them leaving out things like armour marks – and the opportunity to sell rulebooks and expansions that explore the differences between the Legions. New infantry in different armour marks and with different weapons just seem too tempting as a release option. We shall see, no doubt... +


+ To close; I hope the rather tenuous connections I've made here have been interesting to read – and do feel free to exload a comment if there's something you think I've missed, would like to discuss further, or perhaps explain your guesses for the future of Legions Imperialis. +

+ In the meantime, I shall continue to anticipate the welcome return of Epic to the world – and perhaps enjoy that quiet cup of tea in the garden after all... +


+ inload: Boom-bang-a-Badab +

+ Reports from the front +

+ Who dares disturb the Tyrant's slumber? +

+ Back from a glorious weekend of gaming with good friends, the PCRC was out near full force. In amongst some fun boardgames (a crystal-gathering one called Centruy: Golem edition was great) we also played some skirmish-level wargaming, with Omricon and Stuntwedge battling it out between the evil Darth Maul and the uh... not-yet-evil-but-showing-signs-of-going-full-Herod-in-a-few-months General Skywalker in Shatterpoint. Fun looking game – lovely (if fragile) models, and it seemed to capture the high adventure, low risk of death feel of Star Wars well.  +

Lord Blood the Hungry had painted up this fantastic team of Minotaurs in the Rogue Trader scheme – aren't they awesome? Note the unfortunate Mantis Warrior helm at the feet of the sergeant (centre front). +

+ The modern scheme is almost purely bronze, but the original scheme was an infamously complex and unusual combination of red and yellow:

+ As you can see, Lord Blood the Hungry has done a great job of reproducing the scheme, making a couple of tweaks (such as horizontal rather than diagonal banding on the leg) to better suit the modern models. I think the inclusion of included individual back banners to make it clear to the enemy who they're facing is a particularly brilliant touch. These are even magnetised, so they can be retracted into the backpacks – though I suspect even this concession to camouflage is unlikely to make them too well-suited to infiltration missions! +

+ Four years (yikes) after we first started our Badab War gaming, Killteam Clawthorn of the Astral Claws came out to defend their territory from the invading lackeys of the High Lords. +

+ Early in the battle +

+ A swift and brutal conflict (using the modern Kill Team rules) followed, with Clawthorn coming back from an early casualty to contest the centre. Alas for the Tyrant of Badab, the Minotaurs proved more determined. With just one battle brother remaining from the Minotaur's Kill Team (to the Astral Claws two), Lord Blood the Hungry clinched a well-deserved victory. +

+ Kill Team is a quick, fun game, and always seems to throw up fun little surprises, so even if you're on the back foot, there's still space to come back. +


+ Warhammer 40,000: 10th edition +

+ And one other game that's worth noting was our first game of 10th edition 40k. Here, the Silver Stars defended a shipping port on Pao Fung from a Flesh Eaters' assault. + 

+ I'm working this into the narrative over on + Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten + [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], so keep an eye out for that over there. +

+ Without giving the game away, we played a 500pt patrol mission of securing objectives – Bob Hunk's amazing Flesh Eaters can be seen (along with the list) on his noospheric node here [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], while I took a simple list of three squads of five Pseudolegionaries (Interecessors) led by a Lieutenant and supported by a Predator Destructor. +

+ My take-aways from the game were:
  • Overall, it's quick and simple – and more importantly, fun.
  • The reference cards are a great idea – but since we didn't have them, there was lots of consulting of dataslates. Think I'll buy a set of cards for next time, once they're reprinted.
  • Predator Destructors are having an edition in the sun – yikes, they're scary against Space Marine infantry!


+ inload: Defenders of Nocturne +

+ A batch of basing +

+ The Salamanders continue to emerge from grey plastic, taking on their adult coloration. The zenithal priming approach is a really quick way to get some basic colour down; and I keep having to stop myself from fiddling too much with it. +

+ These were sprayed with Halford's brown camouflage paint all over. Once dry, they were then hit with Halford's camouflage green with the can held at 45 degrees and from a foot or so away. Having allowed that to dry, I repeated the process with Colour Forge's Salamander green spray [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. This is explicitly matched to GW's Warpstone Glow, so it's a very handy colour to have for Salamanders. +

+ From there, I've simply done the basing with Winsor and Newton's Galeria Sand Texture Gel [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], which was successively drybrushed with Skrag Brown (or Calth Brown) and Balor Brown, before the base rims were painted with a dark brown (Rhinox Hide, I think). +

+ Once that was completed, I used Abaddon Black diluted with a little flow improver and water to paint the weapons, pauldrons and metallic areas. I find adding both helps for basecoating, as the altered surface tension helps it flow. +

+ As to the rest of the force, there's been little substantial progress on the marines beyond painting their gauntlets. This little detail, however, substantially improves the look, as does the basing. Little steps build up to big adavances – but you've got to keep making them! +


+ Legions Imperialis +

+ ...and so to the return of Epic. Warhammer Community must be doing something right in their communications, as the more I'm reading about it, the more enthused I'm finding myself. +

+ The most striking thing here for me is how much better everything looks when it's designed as a coherent range – rather than bit by bit over the years, as with the old Epic range. There's a clear internal consistency of size, scale and aesthetic for the new models, even if – as with the Traitors – GW seem to have chosen a scheme that makes it all but impossible to make out. +

+ Death Guard versus Iron Hands in urban combat – or light grey versus dark grey on grey – strikes me as an... uh... interesting way to catch people's eyes with a new scale. Just compare how the detail – soft as it is – of the older sculpts on the left with the new ones on the right. +

+ This new size is quite hard to compare from the image published on WarCom, so I've done a crude Photoshop job to put one of the old Mark VII plastics next to the new Mark VI. Assuming that the composite image is made up of models taken at the same angle and distancethe size difference between the old models and the new looks quite marked – I'd guess the new Tactical Marines are going to stand around 9mm tall, though this is a bit of a guess. +

+ While the old Epic scale was nominally 6mm, this was notoriously variable, and the Space Marines were notably small when compared with some of the later releases. I'd guess that the Mark VII model here, for example, was barely 6mm when including the round base insert. When removed, the model's probably only 5mm tall. Older Epic models are thus going to look quite puny when pictured in comparisons like that above, but given the sweeping scale of the game, I don't think this is going to be very noticeable at all during a game. +

+ I think rescaling or establishing a 'new normal' for an ongoing Epic line was fairly inevitable, and given the difference in quality, I'm not going to gripe too much. Since I doubt a 'true line of sight' approach will be used, there's nothing stopping people using their old models beyond personal preference, so it's down to the new models to grab people and pull them in. Personally, I'm looking forward to both using old model to try the game out, and to painting  and playing the new ones. I've enjoyed painting 15mm models a lot [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], and think these 8–10mm models are going to hit a lot of the same buttons. +


+ One final picture for a bit of fun... +


+ inload: Converting Leviathan +

 + Converting Leviathan Terminators +

+ I've spoken very little about the new 10th edition of 40k, though I'm looking forward to trying it out at the next meetup of the PCRC gang. I didn't end up getting a copy of the box – my poor benighted Necrons remain lurking semi-painted; the Death Guard from the previous box too – and I just couldn't face further piling up the cupboard of opportunity with Tyranids, too. +

+ In the end, I'm quite glad I just bought the bits I wanted from box-splitters – the rulebook, mission cards and transfer sheet, plus a few of the marines. In particular, the rulebook and mission cards have since been released separately – but the separate mission cards apparently contain errors not in the Leviathan ones, and the separate rulebook contains none of the Leviathan lore – you have to buy a separate supplement. GW seem to be having more and more problems (or making customer-annoying decisions) with their non-model releases. I hope they  manage to pull things together a bit. +


+ Onto the Terminators +

+ Coo, what lovely models! Half-tempted to build them completely as stock, I couldn't resist adding a few little tweaks here and there to make them fit the Dust of Armageddon project. Happily, they convert well, despite being easy-to-build. Much of the 'converting' here – and I use inverted commas because it's so minor – involved nothing more than chopping off the additional 'stalks' of plastic that help guide the builder to the default build. +

+ Other than that, it's just a case of altering the direction of the heads, swapping the arms around the kit and chopping up 'Garran Branatar' a plastic Salamander Terminator released as part of the Deathwatch: Overkill boxed game.  Various parts of his are dotted here and there, diluting out the super-Salamander theme of the original model across the whole squad. + 

+ While not a direct copy of the GW studio Salamanders from Codex: Armageddon, the scheme here is what I'll aim for; and it's nice to see quite how closely the new models hew to the original design. It really feels like the best sort of iterative design, giving them a bit more heft and finer detail without throwing out the baby with the bathwater. +

+ Speaking of heft, I thought I'd show the inevitable scale comparison with the various models I'm using. There are lot of very useful examples across the noosphere comparing the Terminators with the old Terminators or Primaris, and they really look the part there. +

+ In comparison with the Fummelfinger sculpts on the left (and printed at 100%, for the record) and my Gravis-based conversions (in the centre), they are perhaps a hint shorter than might be ideal, but I certainly don't think you'll notice on the broader battlefield. These figures really are beefy! +


+ Exhibit 1 uses none of the Salamander character bits, so is a good 'neutral' example of how these figures look with minimal tweaking. Here, I've used the sergeant's outstretched gun arm in place of the assault cannon, turned the head from the default pose and used one of the other marine's power fists. Half-tempted to convert this into a chainfist to balance the pose a bit more. +

+ Next up a storied old veteran, who has Brantar's helm and back-mounted brazier. He's going to act as the spiritual heart of the squad. This was probably the most complicated conversion, as it involved trimming the head off carefully from the torso front, and removing the 'halo' of armour common to all Terminators. Had I planned things a bit more carefully, I might instead have trimmed this bit of the new Terminator – but the key thing to take away is that the older heads are perhaps a hint larger than the new ones, but fit in nicely. +

+ Our sergeant – and cause of the conversion, as I just didn't like the default pose. Here, I'm going for a stoic, considering posture – the idea being that he's the protégé of the chap above, a rising star of the Chapter who has been marked for promotion and preparing for a command post. +

+ The pose is not hugely exciting, but I think it suits his cool-headed character. Brantar's tilt shield/heraldic charge is used here as a nod to the RT-era sergeant shield. +

+ I really wanted to put the assault cannon on – it looks awesome – but in the end just couldn't resist the draw of the flame. The use of Brantar's heavy flamer is probably the most obvious alteration in the whole squad, and the only one with an in-game effect. +

+ This model required more work than the rest all put together, but to put that in context it was still pretty easy. The arm piece is peculiar in combining the gun, forearm and shoulder pad, but having a void where the elbow, upper arm and shoulder should be. I glued in a spare shoulder trimmed from a Terminator lightning claw arm in my bits box, then packed the void for the upper arm with sprue off-cuts. The pose disguises the additions, with only the shoulder being visible from outside. +

+ And finally we have this chap. Again, no bits from Brantar here. He was the last one built, and as often happens with this approach, having cherry-picked the best bits for the earlier models, you end up with some unpromising bits left over. Happily, here I was able to make a model that I really like by cutting the stormbolter arm where it met the shoulder and rotating it. The result is a cautious advance suggested by the slightly off-balance stride. The flexed fingers suggest he's caught scent of his prey or is expecting an ambush. +

+ I opted to use the unhelmeted head here as an opportunity to paint the inhuman black skin of the Salamanders veterans. The more thought I put into deciding how to paint the skin, the more I think I want some variety. To that end, my head-canon for this project is that the Salamanders' stone-black skin is going to be a gradual process. +

+ Scouts will have human skintones; mostly darker tones like sub-Saharan African, but perhaps one or two lighter tones to represent unusual individuals, like recruits from planets other than Nocturne/Prometheus, or those who – for one reason or another – haven't been exposed so much to the Chapter planet's radiation. Such exceptions will be mainly to allow for narrative notes to explain retconned bits like the light-skinned marine on the cover of the Battle for Armageddon boxed game, or the sergeant from Codex: Armageddon. +

+ By the time marines reach Veteran status, however, the geneseed and effects of Nocturne's radiation will have caused all marines' skin to become like anthracite in colour (and in some cases texture). The Terminators and officers will therefore have very these strange colours. +

+ In between we have the battle brothers from the Battle and Reserve Companies. Because the anthracite skin is the new canon, I think I'll take that approach for the majority of the Battle Company marines – that ensures the overall effect of the army leans towards the modern (or arguably very retro indeed) appearance. For the Reservists, I'll perhaps try to find a midpoint, or have more of a mix. I really enjoy trying to square circles in the lore, and this is a fun opportunity to demonstrate what we mean when we say everything you have been told is a lie! +


+ inload: The culture of Nocturne +

+ Prelude to Armageddon +

The wind brought the tang of chemicals. Even this far from Acheron, on the Deep Roads, the ash-desert surface was laced with production run-off. It gathered in the depressions, where lurid yellows, magentas and cyans had formed cleanly-distinguishable layers.

Elsewhere – including the rudimentary road along which Magnificence grumbled – the landscape was a uniform dirty grey-yellow. The sky was the same grey-yellow, tinted by a dirty haze. Through this haze a dirty white sun scowled unmercifully down on the convoy.

Four vehicles, a handful of outriders, and nothing else but dunes from horizon to horizon. 

Somewhere ahead – far ahead – was the Plutus river. The vast plain between Acheron and Infernus hives was not conventionally attractive, thought Numatone, whatever that aesthete Tarsidemi said about chem-rainbows at sunset. It was bleak here, with little to commend the outlands of Armageddon to anyone.

Numatone's thoughts darkened. Anyone but the gurm kenndh, that is. Damnable orks.


+ Language and fantasy +

+ In the last inload, I listed the names of these marines, generated with a very cool name generator – go check it out! Musing further, I want to take the project beyond pure fantasy, and start to root the Salamanders into the broader Imperium a bit more. I've therefore appended the names with concepts, which  will be further developed. Perhaps these are the Salamanders' birth-names; some form of patronymic (or matronymic), or honour names – it'll be fun to find out. +
  1. Nomix Nor'jargan – shja'eanh (courage)
  2. Illor Hak'phast – aandh ngura (foresight)
  3. Cassax Fo'ken – 'edalt (justice)
  4. Adrak Ush'en – rhmt (mercy)
  5. Vor'ord Grorn – mhbt(temperance)
  6. Atanarian Sepor – khrdmnda (sagacity)
  7. Typhak Numatone – brtra (supremacy)
  8. Iaptane Greon – swd rsana (benificence)
  9. V'reth Tarsidemi – mn'ekes kenndh (pensive)
  10. Volkaeus Orurr – kewtah mzaj(short-tempered)
  11. Skatar'tarro Clysis – ()
  12. Mulbaku Numek – ()
  13. Dakad Ka – ()
+ While I'm happy with pseudo-Latin names in places, I felt that this didn't really capture the Salamanders' peculiarities, so had a bit of a ponder. Eventually, I decided that sticking with the Classical period had an obvious alternative source – the Punic Wars. +

+ The Punic Wars were fought between the Carthaginians, a North African people who spoke Punic, a form of Persian. Alas, I have no arabic, so I've been doing a bit of a clunky multiple conversion – translating the English into Farsi with Google Translate, then using this useful tool to Romanise the text [+nooshericinloadlink embedded+] to make it render to an ignoramus like me. +

+ The results aren't going to fool any scholars, but that's not the intention. I simply want a non-Roman starting point that I can then develop; which I hope will result in a distinctive (if necessarily shallow) sense of a culture that's distinct from the broader Imperium. +

+ Since Salamanders are 'goodies', I started by listing fairly universal virtues like courage and mercy. Hiding virtues in the names seemed to make a nice little Easter egg. After a while, I swapped in some rather less attractive qualities to avoid me thinking of Salamanders as absolutely incorruptible. I want them to seem even-minded and virtuous, but not flawless. They are arguably the most human Chapter, and that allows for flaws and shortcomings, too. +

+ All the better, the Promethean Cult might suggest, for one to have hurdles to overcome... +

+ Finally, I've left some blank, to be filled in later. I find doing this helps to create a natural variety – some ideas come in a flood, others just need some fertile space to grow into. + 


+ Painting is ticking over, as well. Worked a little more on the soft armour, and adding black to the boltguns. Details are starting to be picked out. +

+ inload: Basing, oils and transfers +


+ Experimental techniques: Salamanders +


+ The problem with batch painting is that everything moves in lockstep; there are few rewarding stages where you start to see how things are progressing. One advantage, however, is when you're trying out new things – or combining things in a new way, as I am here. +

+ Basing +

+ The bases are a fairly obvious development since last time. These were coated with pumice gel for texture and allowed to dry. They were then coated with burnt sienna oil paint. Why oils for basing? The short answer is to see how they worked. The tubes of burnt sienna I have contain far more paint than Citadel pots, so it's quicker, cheaper and easier to mix up a big fluid pool. As I'm doing this in relatively short bursts, I don't mind the additional curing/drying time of oils over acrylics. +

+ Secondly, touching the (dry) textured base with a little thinner causes the solvent to instantly flow outwards into the recesses, so when the oils (themselves diluted with Sansodor solvent) are added, they likewise flow. It's all very quick and clean, and I found it much easier to avoid accidentally getting paint on the model. +

+ Finally, I was planning to use this colour as the oil wash on the figures – and since it would be in the recesses anyway (representing dust and trapped dirt), it nicely suggests how the environment is affecting the marines, tying them in. +


+ Transfers and washes +

+ More subtle additions are the transfers, which were applied just prior to the base texturing. I've not used transfers much, but after seeing so many used so nicely at Golden Demon, I thought perhaps I'd been a bit unfair to them, and figured I'd give 'em a try. +

+ They were applied using water, then allowed to dry. At this point, they stood out as shiny and not sitting quite flat – the problems I'd faced before. Enter two new products to me: Microset and Microsol. These are brushed on (Microset first) and allowed to dry. They soften and slightly dissolve the transfer sheet, leaving the printed pigment in place. I've found they take a couple of coats, so patience – or batch painting – is useful here. +

+ As you can see, a couple of coats of Microsol followed by Microset goes a long way to settling the marking itself nicely, and avoiding the shiny 'stuck-on' look. It does, of course, also influence the style available – I think my usual painterly, grungy look is going to look odd; so a slightly cleaner style is going to be necessary to avoid the transfer sticking out like a sore thumb. +

+ And speaking of transfers, if anyone has some yellow flames (as shown by the sole remaining example on the third line down, just below the Veteran markings) that they don't want, please do get in touch; I'd be happy to buy 'em. +


+ Oil lining +

+ Before on the left, after oil lining on the right +

+ Sometimes called a 'pin wash', oil lining relies on the low surface tension of the solvents to cause the paint to flow down recesses. It's quite a striking (and fun!) effect to watch: you take a brush loaded with the thinned paint to the model, touch it to a recess such as a joint in the armour or panel line, and it rushes out along the line, instantly creating a visual break between the two. +

+ You can do it with any colour oil paint; the important thing is to dilute it to a very fluid consistency with thinner; closer to whisky than milk. I've used burnt sienna for the reasons outlined under basing, above – and note that this warm brown contains a reddish tinge. Red is the complementary colour to green, so it combines to form an attractive neutral, and stands out nicely. +


+ In the Dust of Armageddon +

+ Defenders of Nocturne – 2nd Company Salamanders +

+ An experiment in speed-painting +

+ Well, here we go in earnest! Fresh from the forges of Lucifer216 are some of the designs of the absolutely tip-top chap, @bolterjugend. Pictured above is one of his takes on Mark VII armour, pictured alongside my clod-fingered conversion. As you can see, @bolterjugend's models are very nicely proportioned, with a real feel of 'walking tank'. +

+ The whole gang +

+ And since they're very nicely 3D printed, I had thirteen of them cleaned and part assembled within an hour of opening the parcel. They then received a series of priming sprays. The boltguns, backpack and shoulder pads (plus bare heads) were sprayed with Halford's black primer; while the bodies (all one piece, together with arms) and helmets were primed with Halfords camouflage brown all over. +

+ Once dry, the bodies were glued to bases and sprayed from approximately 45 degrees off horizontal with Halford's camouflage green. This left a little brown in the recesses and lower areas. The process was repeated with Colourforge's Salamander Green spray – something I picked up recently and with which I have been very impressed – to give some very simple zenithal shading. +

+ While the marines are considerably bulkier than Primaris, they've been designed with a lot of consideration for kitbashing, so – as you can see here – GW and FW heads fit nicely with no adjustment. +

+ After leaving them to dry (and not really long enough, if I'm honest – I was just very excited to build them! You should leave them overnight between each spray to de-gas, if possible), I used superglue to assemble them. This involved nothing more than gluing on the heads, backpacks, pauldrons and guns, and took about ten minutes. Reminiscent of nothing more complex than the push-fit marines from 2nd ed. – rather fitting for this Battle-for-Armageddon-themed project. +

+ The results, I'll hope you agree, look very effective. I can't quite put my finger on it, but they remind me of the best bits of the 2nd edition marines. It's more than just the armour mark; there's something about the cleanliness of the lines. Anyway, I'm really pleased with them. My plan is to supplement these marines with my own conversions, getting the best of mass-production and hand-crafting. +

+ On reflection, I may have rather rushed through the building of these – perhaps I'll pop back and swap out some hands for special/heavy weapons before painting them all. +


+ Roll call +

+ And so to the lore. The Dust of Armageddon project is themed around the Second War for Armageddon, and so I've been doing some research. There's not, in truth, a great deal of specific information on the actions of the Salamanders beyond the fact that their Chapter Master, Tu'Shan, was newly-invested, and ceded command to Dante of the Blood Angels. +

The Salamanders took upon themselves the essential but neglected task of protecting the supply convoys, fighting rearguard actions against the Orks' advances and escorting refugee columns.

+ The artwork of the period mostly shows the Salamanders Second Company, the 'Defenders of Nocturne' – white Salamander on a black field. Although this is pretty much the 'default' Company colour (in the same way as ninety percent of Space Wolves armies use the Blackmane Company markings), it looks good and I'm happy to use it as the basis for the scheme here. +

+ Happily, in terms of timeline, we find that the Second War occurred about thirty years after the Badab War – and which company fought there? That's right, the Second Company again. Nice – so there's a lovely narrative opportunity to have this army include a substantial proportion of Badab veterans, along with a new intake from the Reserve Companies. +

+ These Marines will be that recent intake. Far from being inexperienced, they are fully-fledged and battle-hardened Salamanders, but Badab proved a brutal war, and the Second Company was sorely depleted. +


+ Who's who? +

+ I stumbled upon an awesome name generator on Realm of Plastic [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], and thought I'd use it to work up some names for these thirteen lucky warriors who've been promoted to Captain Mir'san's Company. +

+ Selected for promotion are:
  1. Nomix Nor'jargan
  2. Illor Hak'phast
  3. Cassax Fo'ken
  4. Adrak Ush'en
  5. Vor'ord Grorn
  6. Atanarian Sepor
  7. Typhak Numatone
  8. Iaptane Greon
  9. V'reth Tarsidemi
  10. Volkaeus Orurr
  11. Clysis Skatar'tarro
  12. Mulbaku Numek
  13. Dakad Ka

+ My conversions (left), will serve as the Company veterans etc, but I'm looking forward to painting up the @bolterjugend sculpts. +