The countdown clock has been set, muster called and oaths sworn. The seventh company will reinforce their brothers of the XIII Legion on Tarsiss IV for the taking of Nervia Glevensium in September. So I’d better get a bloody hurry-up painting them then.
Yes, I’ve thrown my lot in to commit to painting (at least) 2500 points of Ultramarine Legion for a 30K Horus Heresy two day event in the autumn. Organised by Geno Five Two podcast and to be held at Incom Gaming in Cheltenham this will be the first time I’ve played 40K … sorry, 30K for over a decade. I’ve a bit of catching up to do it’s safe to say. Fortunately the local Heresy scene are a friendly bunch and I’m pretty confident I can get a few practice games in before then to shake the dust off my boots. That is once I have enough of an army painted to get them on the table. And that’s exactly what I will be sharing here to keep myself motivated and productive in the workshop. Just before the end of 2016 the last couple of posts hinted as much but to my shame I’ve not posted anything since. The good news however is although my record keeping has been poor the painting hasn’t been as idle and I’ve been steadily working my way through the Calth boxed set, some legacy components from my initial Ultramarine sortie and at least one Forgeworld requisition. The progress of these I will share here going forward, even if it’s only a ‘wip’. Some you may have seen on Facebook already, so apologies if the first few are repeats but I will by adding a lot more information along with my thoughts as I progress.
So where do I begin? The choice of Legion.
The Ultramarines would never have been my first choice for a heresy army, or second, or even third if I’m being totally honest. That’s because my impression of the Ultramarines was tainted by twenty years of bad 40K background, something that did start to improve a few years back but it’s a tough rap to shake off. Thankfully Black Library and in particular the Horus Heresy series of books painted a far more interesting picture of what the XIII Legion was like under Guilliman and it was that, along with the artwork from Collected Visions that made me consider them. The catalyst however was “Know no Fear” and after that I had a very clear image in my head what I wanted them to look like from a painting perspective. The palette and aesthetic has to be one I feel strongly about or I will never find the motivation to keep painting them. Tip #1 Never paint an army you don’t love the look of, it’s a sure fire way to waste money on half an army that you will probably never complete.
Like most who do the Ultramarines for 30K I concentrated on establishing a palette for three key colours; blue, gold and white. Of these the blue was always going to be the most important as that would set the tone for the 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 detail.
There were two directions I could have gone in, either the classic 40K Ultramarine blue which I don’t like, or the more authentic ‘cobalt’ blue the Legion is often pictured in through various artworks and book covers. No Know Fear being a good example. Although it looks fantastic (check out Tom’s stunning Ultramarines here) I’m not personally a fan of this purely because it’s a highly saturated palette and I ultimately want to save that effect for one of the more candy-metallic legions like the Thousand Sons or Alpha Legion so I have some contrast in my collection. Instead I went for a modified version of the palette I came up with for my 40K Ultramarines in 2012 which was based on a darker blue with a rich gold trim. The base of this is black for all of the infantry and black with zenithal grey for the vehicles to give a base for some modulation (Note: not true modulation which I’d apply straight over black to get contrast through the layers of colour and placement, but a pseudo modulation which is a little more subtle and less jarring).
- GW Mordian Blue (several very thin layers)
- GW Mordian Blue + VGA Wolf Grey (first highlight 6:1)
- GW Mordian Blue + VGA Wolf Grey (second highlight 5:2)
- GW Mordian Blue + VGA Wolf Grey (edge highlight 1:1)
- Lahmian Medium + Asurman Blue + Devlan Mud (Targetted wash (6:2:1) *
- VMC Japanese Uniform + Black (Base for all gold areas/trim 5:1)
I used a discord of Japanese uniform to lay down a cold base for the gold as it really helps give depth to the metallics. After that I just applied various burnished and polished gold metallics over the top. I used Vallejo Game Air (VGA) for these but I hear Scale 75 also do some excellent metallics.
*I mixed a pot of the wash to ensure consistency across the range after I did the first batch. That was a lesson learned at my expense but goes to show every day you learn something new. That being said some subtle variations in armour tones is not a bad thing as it looks a lot more natural to the eye than them all being exactly the same pantone. Variations in manufacture, wear and tear will all add subtle shifts in the colour so I’m not adverse to that in the army. Those tiny differences in markings, equipment or battle damage are what make each Legionary unique as they are not clones and I want to capture some of that character.
Oil and Weathering stages
- After applying decals and some light chipping with the base Mordian Blue and/or AK Interactive Chipping Colour using a small piece of sponge and finished with a fine brush. The entire miniature is given two to three light coats of gloss varnish to protect the underlying acrylics. I used Klear via an airbrush but any good gloss varnish will do.
- The base received a number of pigments (bone, ash grey and aged rust) which I diffused lightly to blend with white spirit before fixing in place with MIG Pigment Fixative. Once dried I picked out edges of stonework with VMC Deck Tan as a light dry-brush.
- The final stage was to apply a pin wash of heavilly thinned Burned Umber and Lamp Black oil paint letting capilliary action pull it into the armour recesses and details. This gave a final warm tone and helped profile the details nicely as well as additional weathering to the armour.
*Note some of the colours might look a little off, it’s because unfortunately my daylight lamp blew when some of these photos were taken so they will have a yellow cast from the spotlights. For up-coming posts I’ll be showing the final images under the same light which should hopefully give a better idea what they look like. But you get the gist.
This is very much only an intro merely to whet appetite as there is still a final weathering stage to apply to all of them, that being the dust and dirt textures. Starting tomorrow (Saturday 11th Feb at time of writing) I will post up the first of the completed formations and the heart of the seventh; the Legion Tacticals and talk about the base choice and textures which will be used to (hopefully) pull together the overall look not just for the Ultramarines, but a few ‘guest’ extras I’m going to throw in periodically to keep the project interesting. September may seem a long way away but 2500 points is also a lot to get through as well. Especially if I get distracted by other shiny resin Forgeworld goodies.
I have a clear goal in mind and and really want to push myself on this project as a launchpad to further Heresy forces so hoping you can join me on what will be an interesting journey. If you are also going to Tarsiss you will even get to see what I will be fielding as it gets painted. Or maybe you won’t *wink*
Check back tomorrow for the first of the completed units. Until then, have a great weekend and get #HardforHeresy