After Calth & Tarssis

///After Calth & Tarssis


My renewed interest in grimdark, or more specifically the infinately more enjoyable period of the Horus Heresy (30K) has been monopolising on what little hobby time I’ve had this week. All work and no play as the saying goes, but unfortunately work I must and it’s been particularly bruising fornight. Some highs but far too many lows. That being said, the weekend is here and my thought’s again turn to Calth and the XIIIth Legion. That’s Calth the boxed set and not specifically the events themselves. Still keeping an open mind how I want to theme my Ultramarines before locking them into a specific timeline of events.

Since I last posted the excellent follow-up to The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth has been released; The Burning of Prospero. Setting both aside as stand alone games for the moment I’m mostly just using them as a cost effective way into 30K via the mountain of plastic Mk III and Mk IV and as I mentioned previously the Vlka Fenryka (VI Legion) are going to be my first themed Legion proper, but not until I see where Forgeworld takes the list in Book 7, which has sadly slipped to February 2017. So, to keep the motivation going the Ultramarines are up first and going to be my “go to guys” to get me back into the gaming. Much like I did for the Vlka Fenryka I did a quick palette test to make sure I could replicate across the entire force. I compared against the Ultramarines I did in 2012 and decided that the palette I used back then was just that bit too dark and didn’t really work well with the weathering. I didn’t want to go with the candy lacquered blue that’s quite popular for the Ultramarine Legion for Heresy because although it really suits the 30K look and is a gorgeous colour I wanted to take the blue intensity and specifically the contrasting metallics in a different direction which would have been less obvious with a lighter blue.

Like the grey used on the Fenryka it also needed to be a quick method that suited batch painting, so I simplified to the following steps:

  • GW Mordian Blue Base (Airbrush)
  • 6:1 GW Mordian Blue + VGA Wolf Grey Highlight #1 (Airbrush)
  • 5:2 GW Mordian Blue + VGA Wolf Grey Highlight #2 (Airbrush)
  • 1:1 GW Devlan Mud + GW Asurman Blue Glaze (thinned with medium)
  • 1:1 GW Mordian Blue + VGA Wolf Grey edge Highlight (brush)

Looks a lot but it’s nearly all airbrush with a simple glaze and a single pass of edge highlighting, so it’s all nice and quick.


Work in progress

For the gold areas and trim I began with a base of Vallejo Japanese Uniform which provides a really nice cool base to start from. This was then layed onto using Vallejo Burnished Gold, Polished Gold and Silver to create high spots. To bring out the warmth in the gold I gave all the metal areas an oil wash of Burnt Umber mixed with a pot of Lamp Black. That is effectively the principle aproach I’ll be using on all of the XIII Legion troops. There will be a few twists along the way as I refine the list and background theme plus some additional weathering, but I’m currently leaning towards a post-Calth list simply because it let’s me introduce a limited amount of armour mixing as the survivors are forced to improvise and field-repair their armour. For that I probably need to get my hands on a copy of Forgeworld’s Book 5 and finish reading “Know no Fear”.

Return to Tarssis IV

Horus Heresy gaming is really beginning to gain traction in my local area, in particular at Incom Gaming who hosted the second round of the Tarssis IV Heresy campaign this weekend. Eighteen Loyalist and Traitor players descended on Cheltenham to fight five battles as part of a story driven campaign over nine individually themed tables.

Run by Tom and Stu from the Geno Five-Two Podcast this was a much more relaxed, story-driven event than the 40K tournaments I’ve attended in the past and in my humble opinion shows just why ‘Heresy’ gaming is growing at a rapid rate, especially with old grognards like myself who’ve found the 40K aesthetic moving away from the gritty brutal grimdark I knew and loved from the Titanicus and Rogue Trader epoch.

Mission One: “Breakout”

The opening engagement of the conflict saw the Loyalist Legions lose key footing at the Starport/Manufactorum district and drop sites. Loyalist Mechanicum made full use of their resilience to hold off the Night Lords speartip of. In the city the Vylka Fenryka were embroiled in a fight for survival with the Traitior Knights supported by milita.

Elsewhere on the planet the Iron Warriors survived a brutal assault from the Dark Angels, but suffered ruinous losses in the engagement whilst their battle brothers held off an equally determined Blood Angel assault drop.

Mission Two. “Blood Feud”

As fighting intensified across the zones the situation for the VI Legion was looking grim. A reinforced Iron Warriors line blunted the Fenryka armoured charge spectacularly detonating one of the Legions massive Glaives with precision artillery salvos supported by a suicidal Iron Warrior charge. The Fenrisian ancient Contemptor was swatted aside without answer, but the Rout charged on heedless of losses smashing into the gun line from Spartan and Rhino. With predictable results as the Cataphractii tore through the Iron Warriors into the Whirlwind exacting revenge for the insult Perturabo’s Legion had inflicted. In response the Traitor’s Fire Raptor banked sharply rolling into the skirmish but before it could line up the Loyalists the Iron Warriors beleaguered Thudd gun crew heroically self immolated their Phosphex shell killing themselves and taking several of the Fenryka with them.

Further along the front the Night Lords ambush caught the Dark Angels completely by surprise, seizing the initiative and savaging the First Legion to further tighten the Traitors grip on Tarssis.

It was the brutality of the Rout’s slicing into Perturabo’s line that achieved the much sought after breakthrough for the Loyalists however, sweeping the siege masters away and forcing the Primarch back, but at horrific cost to the sixth Legion in men and armour.

Mission Three. – Classified!

If you want to find out how events finished up including the days final engagement checkout the podcast Facebook page for a run down on the events.

What’s also been encouraging to see at the Tarssis event was the sheer amount of individuality on display in each army. I’ve attended 40K tournaments in the past and seen some fantastically unique forces, but I think the events of the Horus Heresy stories in particular tap into a rich vein which is fully exploited by the players. Heresy is often criticised as just being “Marine on Marine”, but in reality the variety of style, aesthetic and fighting format of each of the Legions paints a much more dramatic canvas. Throw the Mechanicum and Knight houses into the mix and the visual appeal is cranked up another notch. With the Custodes and Sisters of Silence now entering into the conflict the future has never looker brighter, or should that be ‘darker’ for Forgeworld’s Age of Darkness Heresy series.

You can find out more about events like this through Pork Chop and Incom Gaming ‘s Facebook pages, or just chill and listen to the guys from the Geno Five-Two on Soundcloud. And if that doesn’t convince you, there is the small detail of Incom being based in a pub with a fully licensed bar. What’s not to love?

I’m going to press on with my assembly of the Ultramarines so I can hopefully manage to take part in future events now my grimdark mojo is returning. If nothing else it will be a good prelude for the re-launch of Titanicus and an excuse to tie themes (and scales) together with some of my favourite Titan Legio. Have a great week.


By | 2017-09-13T10:16:36+00:00 November 8th, 2016|Ultramarines|7 Comments


  1. Curis November 8, 2016 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Using Japanese Uniform to basecoat metallics is interesting. Might give that a go. Thanks for sharing.

    • Carl Woodrow November 9, 2016 at 12:09 am - Reply

      No worries mate. It’s actually a good base for a colder NMM gold as well, but I like the intensity it gives metallics.

  2. John November 8, 2016 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Awesome mate

    • Carl Woodrow November 9, 2016 at 12:06 am - Reply

      Cheers John 🙂

  3. Justice for Calth – Studio Dropship February 10, 2017 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    […] entire army, the other colours would work to compliment it. I covered this briefy in previous post here but it’s worth repeating in a bit more […]

  4. Thomas May 1, 2018 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    How have you thinned your gw paints so well for use in the airbrush, ive had real trouble using thinners with the foundation paints especially, any tips.?

    • Carl Woodrow May 1, 2018 at 3:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Thomas, cheers. Just trial and error really. I’ve thinned Foundation paints with their heavy pigment using both just plain water and Vallejo airbrush acrylic thinner, both work fine. If you are finding it’s spluttering or clogging too fast thin more as it’s easier to be lighter on trigger and keep airbrush and model in motion to avoid pooling or spider legs if over thinned. Generally I prefer to have paint too thin than not thinned enough as you can always add more layers. Also worth try’s no on bottom of tank to check if it’s behaving as nobody should be looking at that anyway 🙂

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