Ultramarine Winter Challenge

//, Ultramarines/Ultramarine Winter Challenge

No, this isn’t some kind of bizarre winter X-games for the Emperor’s finest. I thought I would set myself the challenge of assembling and painting an Epic (6mm) scale Ultramarine force over the winter months. Normally this is a slow period for me painting wise. However, this year I thought I would try to set myself a few goals to get me back into Epic. This is inspired entirely due to the efforts of the guys on the TacCom forums, who have been running their annual “Tale of Epic Gamers” events for a number of years now. If you haven’t followed these in the past, I highly recommend doing so as there are some amazingly creative and inspiring Epic collections on show each year.

I chose the Ultramarines for my own take on the popular series for a number of reasons. First, and probably foremost because I am currently collecting them in 40K and was keen to see how some of the weathering techniques translated across scales. But secondly because I have been on a bit of an Adeptus Titanicus nostalgia journey of late and the Ultramarines feature strongly on the rulebook cover alongside the Fire Wasps Titan Legion. That match up was just too delicious to ignore.

Just as I have done with my Titan Legion mashup, I am going to repeat the same exercise with the Ultramarines and integrate miniatures from all four era’s. So fully expect to see Mk I ‘Proteus’ Land Raiders mixing it up with Mk IIb and Mk IIIc. Not to mention the return of a few out of print ‘Heresy era’ favourites. Any excuse to delve deep into the bits box I say.

There is actually a semi-serious reason for this and that is to prove the point that just because a miniature is from a previous edition, it doesn’t mean it no longer has a place in your collection. This has become a really bad habit I have noticed with 40K in particular. As each race receives a new look from the designers, it is almost like the previous miniatures should be consigned to a dark corner as if they are suddenly some kind of metal and plastic embarrassment. Epic, being out of favour with Games Workshop for so long now doesn’t have the luxury of frequent (or any!) new releases. As such, the Epic community has become phenominally adept at ‘recycling’ older Epic scale miniatures back into their armies whenever they turn up on auction and trade sites. If anything, this has become desirable and older edition miniatures are treated as something more precious because of, rather than despite their heritage.

It is a behaviour I find hugely admirable and is one of the reasons I am continuously impressed with the amount of ingenuity shown by Epic gamers when it comes to integrating older models into new forces.

I digress.

Having selected the Ultramarines as my candidate and sketched out a tentative set of goals, you will see the fruits of my labours here on an ongoing basis hopefully.

Starting off quite simply to get the ball rolling, I put together a standard Tactical Company and Land Raider detachment. To this I would add some additional armour detachments, specialists and of course, at least one War Engine for the “Fire Wasps”. If you have been following any of my Twitter posts, or the Facebook page chances are you will have seen these are actually already well under way. For those that don’t, here are the goals for November.

  • Tactical Detachment (300 points)
  • Land Raider Detachment (400 points)

I am probably going to regret declaring the goal in advance, as it invariably means I will totally fail to hit it, but at least it should keep me honest.

To make the challenge a bit more interesting, I am also going to set myself a few stretch rewards a’la Kickstarter style should I pass each target. Why? No other reason that it adds a bit of motivational fun. If I achieve my November starter goal of 700 points above, then I will add something from the bits box to the army as a bonus before pushing on to the next painting target.

I think I have talked enough about what I ‘plan’ to do, so here is the first group, the Land Raider detachment. These are pretty much all heritage models as I don’t currently have any of the current metal Specialist games ones spare at the moment (they all got drafted into the Salamanders). One is the original plastic Mk I, or “Proteus” if you go by Forgeworld’s classification. Two are the plastic MK IIb from the Epic 40,000 boxed set and the last one is a metal Mk IIb ‘Command’ variant from the same edition.

The objective of mixing them up like this is really to help break up the uniformity of the detachments and create something more interesting for the eye to explore. All have been based on 40mm x 40mm acrylic and textured with fine grade ballast. I know basing vehicles is very much a personal choice and many prefer not to. However I am in the camp of liking the look so literally base everything given half the chance.

Painting wise they are very much a duplication of their larger 40K cousins and kept deliberately simple following only a few steps.

  • Step 1: Prime Black with a zenithal dusting of white to help create a contrast
  • Step 2: Airbrush blue. In this instance it is a mix of Mordian Blue and Asurman Blue wash with Liquitex acrylic airbrush medium.
  • Step 3: block paint detailing, such as tracks, weapons etc, or any markings
  • Step 4: Highlight using the mix from Step 2 with added Wolf Grey. A very light drybrush would work just as well
  • Step 5: Wash overall with 50/50 matt medium/mud wash
  • Step 6: Add any weathering (I’ll talk about that in more detail in a later post)
  • Step 7: Varnish to protect and homogenise the final finish.

I chose this palette very deliberately because I really wanted the Epic force to quite literally look like a miniaturised version of my 40K scale force. It is for that reason you will hopefully notice a lot of similarities in the markings and choice of colour across the two ranges. Still a couple more weathering stages to go plus base garnishing, these I will do once I have finished the next detachment so as to ensure it works across both infantry and vehicles.

Next Update: Ultramarines 2nd Company Tactical Formation “Lupus”

Until then, have a great week.


By |2018-03-17T23:55:19+00:00November 18th, 2012|Categories: Epic, Ultramarines|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments


  1. Iain November 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Fantastic. I am really looking forward to following the progress here. Will you cross-post on TacCmd? I have to admit to having a huge bias towards the original Mk I Land Raiders from the first boxed set. While looking too small by current standards, very few miniatures evoke the nostalgia that these things do, and remind me of both the original game, as well as the boxed sets like the Eldar Legions set, and even the Stompas box. There is just something very simplistic, utilitarian and fun about their design. I agree that mixing miniatures is great – and probably closer to the official background of how Chapters operate…. except second edition stuff…. I dont think that I will even appreciate the flat, featureless vehicles. The ‘shoe box’ Vindicator stands out as a low point, for me. :~)

  2. Carl Woodrow November 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    Thanks Iain. Sure, I will cross post on TacCmd. Nostalgia ‘is’ a big motivator for me on this project, especially 1st Edition.
    I agree totally about some of the 2nd Ed vehicles like the Vindicator. Although for me the Thunderhawk ‘brick’ just pips it. The Predators aren’t ‘too’ bad although a little bland in detail. Have some on the workbench right now with some of the latest and they add a nice contrast. Wheels and tracks look dreadful though. Fortunately you can’t really see them!

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