Archive for astartes

INQ28: Hear Me Roar!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2018 by krautscientist

More Deathwatch for today, as I have been plugging away at my Primaris based true scale killteam for another week. Allow me to share the results with you:

First up, there’s the Celestial Lions Astartes I have already shared with you in WIP form. Like I said, my main influence for choosing the chapter was the African influence (although the fact that the Lions are a chapter from a later founding also helped a bit). However, I also discovered that the chapter and the Inquisition have a bit of a troubled history, as outlined in my previous post — to the point where Inquisitorial operatives seem to be actively hunting for the chapter. Ouch! So would a Celestial Lion actually be part of an – Inquisition-sponsored – Deathwatch killteam?

Fortunately enough, I realised that I am in the clear on that front: The chapter’s trouble with the Inquisition only really starts in 948 M41, whereas my INQ28 narratives are set some 200 years before that, so everyone can still be BFFs in my headcanon ๐Ÿ˜‰ That being said, I did decide to include a shout out to the chapter’s eventual fate, as per Aramis K’s excellent suggestion of featuring the notorious “Ork Snipers” that wipe out a part of the Celestial Lions during the 3rd War for Armageddon, in some way.

But back to the actual model: This was the Celestial Lion in his first draft version:

As you can see, it’s a very straightforward conversion, mostly based on a Primaris Reiver. I liked the idea of including a stealthier Astartes wearing sleeker armour, and the “Easy To Build” Reiver bodies were really perfect for that. The most involved parts were to add a lion bit (from an old WFB Empire cannon) as a belt buckle and to kitbash another Deathwatch sensor array for the backpack (using a shoulder-mounted lamp from a Genestealer Hybrid and – once again – some auspex aerials).

Then fellow hobbyist euansmith helpfully suggested to maybe turn the model’s head a bit, in order to make it look more sneaky and agile. I complied with his idea, and – sure enough – it made a world of difference!

When it came to painting the model, I actually broke with my usual routine and decided to start with the one part I thought would make or break the model — the right shoulder pad. Because I realised with some nervousness that I would actually have to freehand the Celestial Lions chapter badge, as there are no readily available decals for it (and my idea of maybe using a similar decal as a base went nowhere either). Azrael’s quite excellent Primaris Celestial Lions here (that were also completed for a very personal reason, it must be said) use some very cool shapeways chapter badges, but I didn’t really go through the hassle of ordering bitz like that — so I decided this was the time to buckle up and force myself to do something I had shied away from in the past. Freehand designs.

So here’s the design I chose as my main reference material (inverted, of course, because it would go on the right pauldron):

And here’s what I came up with, using my smallest brush, a drop of Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver, and reserves of patience I really didn’t know I had:

Of course I didn’t see the huge splodge of wash towards the lower rim of the pauldron until I was looking at it blown up by several hundred percent on a screen — the area has been cleaned up since. Oh, and ‘Aren’ is the name of the battle-brother in question, by the way.

Anyway, I was incredibly happy with the finished freehand — and I can safely say that this has to be one of the most extravagant pieces of detail work I have painted in the last couple of years. I realise that this must be fairly basic bread and butter stuff for talented painters, but to me, it certainly felt like a rather big adventure ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, after getting the freehand right, the rest of the paintjob almost seemed trivial. That being said, I also discovered a fairly nice and simple recipe for black skin: GW Doombull Brown makes for a very good base colour, and already looks very natural after a wash of Ogryn Flesh (or Reikland Fleshshade). I only followed it up with some very subtle highlights, and ended up with a skin tone I really liked, as you can see yourself on the finished model:

 

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Rudisha Aren
Brother of the Deathwatch
Celestial Lions Astartes Chapter





Here’s a closer look at the left shoulder pad, now finally in its intended place:


Seriously, though, did I mention how happy I am with that freehand…? ๐Ÿ˜‰


As for the base, if you look closely, you can make out the barrel of a – suspiciously Imperial – sniper rifle, but there’s also part of an Ork jaw — Ork snipers, anyone? ๐Ÿ˜‰


Granted, this is a bit of a tongue in cheek joke about the chapter’s eventual fate, but it still matches the overall basing theme without lookig too out of place. So that’s the next finished member of Killteam Ulrach for you:

 

Speaking of Ulrach, while I was working on Brother Aren, I decided to give the Iron Hand that last round of tweaks as well — and the full photo treatment, of course, playing cards, keys and all ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Vorlik Ulrach
Brother of the Deathwatch
Iron Hands Astartes Chapter








You already know this guy from last week, of course, and most of the finishing touches are pretty subtle. But it’s nice to have all the models finished and photographed in the same style like that ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and since someone over at the Ammobunker asked how I had achieved the glowing blue effect on some of the members of the killteam, I thought it would make sense to feature my recipe over here as well — if, indeed, you can even call it a recipe, as it’s almost trivially easy. The one thing I would really recommend, however, is to get some Vallejo Magic Blue: While there may be a similar GW colour, I have yet to see another blue that pops quite as nicely as Magic Blue. So for this recipe, you’ll need the blue and any kind of white. And some water. Here’s what you do:

  1. Paint the center of the area you want to glow (the lens, the gem, the button — whatever it is) with pure Magic Blue
  2. Thin down your Magic Blue with water so it becomes semi-translucent. Then glaze the area around the part you have just painted with it, building up the actual glow — you can do this in several steps to get it right. With larger areas, the effect should grow more solid towards the center, obviously.
  3. Go back to the (undiluted) Magic Blue and keep adding more white to it, and create smaller and smaller highlights at the center of the effect. The last stage should basically be almost pure white. DONE!

The blue higlight on the axe head (as well as the soft glow around it) are a perfect example of the effect in question.

 

So here’s an updated look at Killteam Ulrach:

I think these guys really work rather well as a group — and you can almost guess at the different characters and combat roles just by looking at the models, wouldn’t you agree? In hindsight, maybe the models are almost a little too vibrant, in a style slightly reminiscent of 2nd edition 40k, but then it’s an almost perverse pleasure to find out how visually striking I can make a squad wearing predominantly black armour ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now any future additions to the team will have to wait for a bit, as I have depleted my supplies of Deathwatch parts and Primaris Marines, respectively. That being said, fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass is awesome enough to send me another Primaris, and I have just picked up the Rodricus Grytt model on ebay. Combining both will allow me to build a stoic, fatalist brother of the Lamenters wielding a massive frag cannon — it’ll take a while before I can start the conversion, so take a look at aย  – really primitive – mockup of my planned conversion:

Beyond what you see in the mockup, I will be going for a heavset look with some slightly archaic, Mk. III-ish touches here and there. It’ll be an interesting balance to maintain, as I don’t want the model to clash with the Deathwatch’s sleek Black Ops look, but I’, confident l’ll be able come up with something.

And as it happens, I also have a pretty cool idea for the Castigator — although I’ll need to get my hands on this particular Primaris Sergeant from Dark Imperium first, in order to make it work…

Until then, however, I am pretty happy with Killteam Ulrach as is — and as these guys are very much ready to rock, I hope Azrael will count them as another entry for this month’sย “June-Unit” community challenge!

So that’s it for today’s update. I would love to hear any feedback you might have, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Killteam’ — oh wait, there is!

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2018 by krautscientist

For this week’s update, let’s return to the wonderful world of true scale Astartes for a bit: While I am not exactly a fan of how their lore seems to have been wedged sideways into the 40k background, there’s little doubt that the release of the Primaris Space Marines has provided us with an excellent way of building decently proportioned true scale models for INQ28 without having to spend ages on getting the basic build right. For instance, I had lots of fun building and painting the most archetypal, 2nd edition-style Space Marine I could come up with a while ago, Brother Arcturus Diomedes of the Ultramarines:

Back when the Primaris Marines were released, I picked up the box with three “Easy To Build” Primaris with the plan of eventually turning them into more Deatwatch Marines and end up with small a true scale killteam for my INQ28 collection — even if an entire squad of Astartes would be complete overkill in an actual game. The project just seemed too interesting to get hung up on the practicalities — well, that and true scale Deathwatch Marines have been a bit of a hobby horse for Commissar Molotov, one of the godfathers of INQ28, so working on my own killteam would also be a nice tribute to his own work.

However, progress with the actual assembly of the killteam’s members turned out to be slower than expected for two particular reasons: One, it did take quite some time for me to choose which chapters to go with for the members of the squad. In theory, their chapter identity is only really shown on their left shoulder pad, admittedly, but I really wanted to include various callbacks to their chapter of origin on the rest of the models as well. And while it felt tempting to just go with all the classic First Founding chapters, it would also have been a bit lazy — there are 1,000 chapters in the galaxy, after all. How likely would it be, then, that any given killteam should only feature members from the original Space Marine legions/chapters?

The other difficulty came in the form of the seriously weird poses on some of the snapfit Primaris — I only have myself to blame for that, however, as I could simply have purchased the “proper” multi-part kit.

Anyway, the first additional member for the killteam was converted fairly quickly last year: A Watch-Brother hailing the Iron Hands (and possibly the Killteam’s squad leader):


We’ll be seeing this guy again in a little bit…

And then the rest of the team just somehow refused to come together for the aforementioned reasons — until I had an idea recently: How about going with a Crimson Fist as one of the next members? And how about building him as an homage to this particular piece of artwork by Karl Kopinski:

Artwork by Karl Kopinski

Building models to resemble artwork has become a bit of a sub-hobby of mine lately, and so the task quickly drew me in. And I made this guy:




Granted, I had to simplify some parts of the illustration – mostly due to the fact that, funnily enough, even the Primaris’ bigger scale does not allow for all the detail present in the art – and I also made some minor adaptations, allowing for the fact that my version is intended as a member of the Deatwatch, but I am pretty happy with the kitbash — if nothing else, it definitely does mitigate the stock model’s super weird pose.

The conversion is also a bit of a lesson in thriftiness, as the model uses leftover parts from a plastic chaplain Cassius I picked up a while ago to build a (30k) Word Bearers chaplain. That project left me with Cassius’ left arm and right (Deathwatch) shoulder pad, and ultimately both the shoulder pad and his left hand (complete with snazzy Deathwatch bolt pistol) were grafted onto my Crimson Fist.

I also didn’t have any proper Deathwatch backpacks left, so I had to kitbash one using a regular Space Marine backpack, a sensor array from a Terminator torso front and some small aerials painstakingly shaved off a Space Marines auspex.

So that left me with three members for the killteam, at least:

And I was also really in love with the Crimson Fist conversion, so I decided to paint him right away.

One thing that I decided fairly early during the painting process was that I wanted to use a different skin tone this time around, due to the fact that the Crimson Fists seem to have a distinct Latin American/Hispanic element in their background. So I decided to forego my usual recipe for baseline (caucasian) Astartes skin and go for something slightly different. And in a flight of fancy, I decided to use some very old GW Bronzed Flesh paint that must be more than 20 years old at this point:

And it still worked just fine, too! Most importantly, though, it made for a slightly different skin tone, which seemed like a good way to introduce some much needed ethnic diversity and also underline the fact that all members of the killteam hail from different chapters and, by extension, different planets as well.


As you can see, my Staedtler pigment liner really came in handy once again, and I really went to town on all the little pieces of parchment ๐Ÿ˜‰ The bottles of Microsol and Microset I picked up in Amsterdam last year, also ended up being supremely helpful when it came to making that Crimson Fists decal conform to the shoulder pad’s curved surface.

As for the armour, I followed the same approach I had developed for Brother Diomedes: Cover up any sub-par edge highlighting with sponged-on scratches and damage — fortunately enough, the resulting look really fits the Deathwatch rather nicely, if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

So after another round of fine tuning, and after completing the base, the killteam’s next member was finished:

 

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Vargo Diaz
Brother of the Deathwatch
Crimson Fists Astartes Chapter






As you can see, he does have one …erm crimson fist, at least.ย  I did consider painting the power fist red as well, but then the arm would have ended up being predominantly not-silver, when a silver arm is such an integral part of the Deathwatch livery, so limited the use of red to the right hand.

There’s also another little element I wanted to include: In the original Inquisitor rulebook, the 54mm model for Brother Artemis (basically the forefather to all Deathwatch Marines) had those little rectangles on his bolter designed as displays/buttons for the different kinds of ammunition stored in the weapon:

so I thought it might be fun to include this in a bit of a shout out to the classic model and its paintjob. So I put some Roman numerals on the panels: The right side side has ‘I’ and ‘II’, as shown above, the other one has ‘III’ and ‘IV’:



When it came to basing Brother Diaz, I went for the same basic look I had already used on my first Deathwatch Marine. I included an ork skull this time around, however — I think it’s an entertaining little meta touch to feature an alien skull from the respective chapter’s nemesis Xenos race, so Tyranids for Ultramarines, Orks for Crimson Fists and a Necron head for the Iron Hand. Speaking of which…

There was still this guy:



And, still feeling motivated after my quick completion of Brother Diaz, I decided to paint him as well. After all, I am still very happy with the conversion, based on combining a snapfit Primaris with quite a few parts from Ennox Sorrlock, from Deathwatch:Overkill…

…as well as a new breastplate and left arm courtesy of the Kataphron Destroyers.

Anyway, I quickly got to work and dressed the Iron Hand in the same kind of scuffed black armour as his peers:



In this case, the paintjob also had the added benefit of tying together the various parts of the slightly more eclectic conversion.

According to the underlying basing theme, I also constructed a base, featuring a half-buried Necron skull and spine this time around:

Remembering the (brilliant) alternate history Dornian Heresy and the various more or less obvious parallels and connections between the Necrons and Iron Hands, I decided to mirror the blue glow I used on the Iron Hand in the eye of the Necron skull — it seemed like a nice tongue in cheek meta joke ๐Ÿ˜‰

The model’s arms and backpack were painted separately, for the most part — although I couldn’t really help myself, as usual, and had to glue everything together, even while the last few painting steps were still happening:



Putting the finishing touches on the model turned out to be quite a bit of fun, however, so I already have the (mostly) finished model to share with you:

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Vorlik Ulrach
Brother of the Deathwatch
Iron Hands Astartes Chapter






I really like the model, and I think his armoured bulk works really well now that he’s been painted — both for an Iron Hand and for the leader of a Deathwatch killteam!

And there’s more, as I have already started assembling yet another possible member for the team, provisionally from the Celestial Lions, wearing a suit of Recon armour:


Yeah, I know: Technically speaking, the model is basically a Primaris Reiver. But after seeing a particularly nice Reiver-based Deathwatch Marine converted and painted by Jeff Vader, I realised that the stripped-down, sleeker armour matches the “Special Ops” look of the Deathwatch rather nicely — I also think it makes sense for the killteam to have a recon expert.

As for his chapter, I chose the Celestial Lions mostly because they have a bit of an African influence, and I had originally picked up that particular head for its decidedly non-caucasian feature — once again, in an attempt to make my collection of models a bit more ethnically diverse than your usual gang of bald, white Astartes. That being said, I realised too late that the Lions have a bit of a history with the Inquisition — oh well, I’ll find some kind of explanation for it, I am sure — in fact, fellow hobbyist Aramis K brilliantly suggested over at The Bolter & Chainsword that this member of the Celestial Lions might be a specialist for hunting down “Ork Snipers”… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Going forward, there are a few chapters I would definitely like to feature: Right now, I have plans for three more members for the killteam: A Carcharodon, a Lamenter and one of Commissar Molotov’s own Castigators, as an additional shout out ๐Ÿ˜‰

But that’s a story for a future post. For now, here’s what Killteam Ulrach looks like right now:

And seeing how I am actually working towards the completion of a squad here, I think these guys make for a fairly cool contribution to Azazel’s current “June-Unit” community challenge as well! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once again, I would love to hear any thoughts you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

INQ28: Suffer Not The Alien to Live

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Inq28, Inquisitor, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2018 by krautscientist

Back when the Primaris Marines were first released, I got myself a single snapfit model from the Dark Imperium boxed set to take a firsthand look at the scale and experiment a bit. Those early experiments were both interesting and educational — but of course I at least wanted to get a finished model out of it all. So after a bit of thought, I came to the conclusion that it might be fun to make my first modern Primaris Marine into the most archetypal Space Marine I could possibly come up with.

It was also clear to me that the model would become a part of my INQ28 collection, so I thought about what kind of Astartes would make sense. I already had two members of the Golden Legion, my DIY chapter (the finished model for Praetor Janus Auriga and a converted Chapter Master), so I wanted to try something different. And then it hit me — why not turn this guy into a Deathwatch Marine?

Now the 2016 Deathwatch craze left me mostly cold back when it happened, but there were still several reasons for going with a Watch-Brother: Tying Space Marines into Inquisitor can be a slightly delicate proposition, but the Deathwatch, with its direct Ordo Xenos affiliation, would at least provide a decent excuse. I also fondly reflected on Commissar Molotov’s work, that is his original Deathwatch Marine (created many years ago) as well as the kick-ass Deathwatch killteam he has been working on for years.

And finally, let’s not forget that one of the most iconic models of the 54mm Inquisitor range was a Deathwatch Marine as well:


That’s right, dear old Artemis! In fact, the model actually checked several boxes: He’s an Inquisitor character, he’s a member of the Deathwatch, and he also has that clean, 2nd edition inspired look that seems so archetypal of the Space Marines to me. His hairstyle alone instantly recalls this old chestnut here:

There’s a certain nostalgia about the Space Marines from those years, especially about the plastic models from the 2nd edition starter box, with each of the officers impeccably groomed like a news anchor. Unfortunately, the 2nd edition plastic Marine models haven’t really aged all that well, and the only time I’ve ever used one of those was for a rather depressing piece of terrain:

But I thought that it might be fun to channel this older look for a change, while also creating something that drew from the classic Artemis model at the same time. So I picked up some Deathwatch bitz and also had a scrounge through the old bitzbox. And after a while, I finally came up with a version I liked:


Everything I wanted to do was basically already there: the boltgun as the iconic weapon for a Space Marine. The 80s news anchor haircut. And a bit of bling that sells the model as a brother of the Deathwatch.

I still made some final tweaks before I was completely happy with the model, though: The original Primaris backpack was replaced with an actual Deathwatch backpack, I added a helmet clipped to the model’s belt and tweaked the arrangement of the various gear until I was happy — I actually love how the extra space that comes with the bigger Primaris scale allows for adding a more realistic amount of gear to the models without the Marines looking overcluttered!

Anyway, here’s the completed build I went with in the end:




I went with an Mk. IV helmet, both because I love the design and because I wanted to make it clear that, “in universe”, the model isn’t actually a Primaris Marine, but rather a regularly sized – if true scaled – Space Marine. As for the gun, after a bit of hemming and hawing, I ended up not replacing the bolt rifle with an actual Deathwatch bolter, mostly because I really liked the way it looked on the model. It’s also arguably hi-tech enough to serve as a suitable standin for the kind of weapons used by the Deathwatch, even if it’s not quite the genuine article. Apart from that, I tried to incorporate all the gear that would make sense: The Marine has a boltgun, a helmet, a combat knife, several grenades, and even some alternate ammunition (for those especially pesky aliens, you know? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

And while it would only affect his right shoulder pad, I also needed to decide which chapter of origin to go with. I thought back to my original mission statement: the most archetypal classic Astartes imaginable — and what could be more archetypal than the Ultramarines?

To be perfectly honest with you, I also felt like I needed to cut the XIII Legion some slack after draping so many dead or dying Ultramarines across the bases of my 30k World Eaters ๐Ÿ˜‰

When it came to the actual paintjob, the black armour was a concern, obviously: Use dark grey as a base colour, and the armour wouldn’t end up looking black. Use pure black and it would look as though I’d forgotten to paint that area. In the end, I mostly played it by ear and combined edge highlighting with a bit of sponge weathering — carefully and selectively sponging on some Leadbelcher added visual texture to the armour and also had the added benefit of drawing the eye away from my sloppy line work ๐Ÿ˜‰

During the painting process, Jeff Vader’s Deathwatch Marines were an invaluable source: There’s one older pre-primaris model and one guy converted from one of the new models. and I kept looking at these for reference while painting. Now I’ll never be ableย to paint like Jeff Vader – not by a long shot – but having the inspiration there was a huge help, indeed!

Speaking of Jeff Vader, I also nicked another idea from him: A while ago, he mentioned that he was using an ultra thin pigment liner for some of the symbols and freehands on his models, and after unsuccessfully experimenting with several pens, I ended up getting the one he had recommended, a Staedtler 0,05 mm pigment liner:

The tip is so thin that it’s really easy to add rather elaborate designs to your models. The ink is also waterproof — although I found that it’s really easy to rub off with your fingers, so I added a layer of thinned sepia glaze on top to seal the ink.

As my first proper experiment with this new tool, I carefully drew an Inquisition symbol onto the model’s right kneepad and also added the tri-barred ][ around the skull on the tilt plate. The pigment liner is also an awesome tool for adding fine script to purity seals!

Anyway, here’s what the mostly finished model looked like at this point:



When it came to basing the model, I decided to go with something pretty simple that would fit the lion’s share of my INQ28 collection (i.e. brownish and slightly underhive-y). I also wanted to include some Xenos related touches. Now for an Ultramarine, what would be more appropriate than some Tyranid remains, right? Good thing the new Citadel Skulls kit features lots and lots of beautiful gaunt skulls, among others — I may not be all that interested in Tyranids as a faction (the creepy awesomeness of Genestealer Cults notwithstanding), but I do love those gaunt skulls! The tip of a Termagaunt weapon was also added to the base to represent something glistening and Gigeresque.

So, without further ado, here’s the finished Watch-Brother:

 

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Arcturus Diomedes

Brother of the Deathwatch
originally of the Ultramarines







This was my first experience with painting a Primaris, and I have to agree with the prevailing opinion I’ve seen online: These guys are pretty fun to paint! I am also really chuffed with how the model has turned out!

Here he is next to my first truescale Marine, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion:


As you can see, Janus is a fair bit bulkier and also slightly taller — in all fairness, I had little to work from in pre-Primaris times, so the model was really a bit of a proof of concept. He still holds up rather well, though, if I do say so myself — I’ll just need to go with the old “tall, even for an Astartes” clichรฉ. Plus, in any case, Brother Diomedes certainly reads as a true scale Astartes when placed next to a model of “regular” human size:

As for how Diomedes ties into the Velsen Sector’s background and my overarching INQ28 narrative(s), that remains to be seen: I’ll happily admit that this was a case where I simply wanted to build and paint a character for the pure joy of it, then ask questions later. I am fairly certain he’ll end up as a member of a small Killteam, however — in fact, a second member from the Iron Hands, possibly even the killteam’s leader, has already been built a while ago:


There are also ideas regarding a Xenos-cultย (“The Children of Imago”) knocking around in the back of my head, so it stands to reason that Arcturus and his buddies may have to defend Velsen against the abomination of the alien at some point. And since fellow hobbyist PDH is currently working on some rather beautiful Deathwatch Marines as well, it looks as though I’ll have enough ideas to “borrow” for the foreseeable future ๐Ÿ˜‰

For now, however, I am really happy with the finished model. I rarely ever paint loyalist Space Marines, but when I do, I want to make each and every one of them count! ๐Ÿ™‚

As usual, I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The Big One: A look at the new Space Marines

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on September 4, 2013 by krautscientist

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last fee weeks, the relentless barrage of Space Marine related rumourmongering cannot have escaped your notice. And now, the cat is finally out of the bag: The new Space Marines are here in the kind of ‘no holds barred’ release that I would have loved to see for chaos as well. But let’s not get bitter here: The Space Marines are undoubtedly GW’s most recognisable property as well as a cornerstone of both the 40k universe and, one would imagine, GW’s business. So it’s no surprise that they should give it their all this time around.

With the new models now upon us, it is once again time here at Eternal Hunt to take a closer look at the release, point out the good and the bad and, of course, think about all the delicious conversion opportunities that arise from this release. Let’s go:

Space Marine release (1)
The book itself once again features the kind of cover artwork introduced by the last releases. Unfortunately, the art itself isn’t quite as awesome this time around, if you ask me. But that’s not really a problem, because if you’re fast enough, you can order yourself a special edition in almost any colour of the rainbow:

Space Marine release (1b)
Seriously, though, offering separate covers for some of the more influential first and second founding chapters is certainly a nice touch and a bit of fanservice! Plus it may actually make the Black Templars players around the world a little less grumpy. I mean, yeah, they folded your army back into the Marine Codex, sure, but at least they’re throwing you a bone. I, for one, am still holding out for those rumoured supplements detailing the mono-god traitor legions.
Funnily enough, of all the different variants, the Ultramarines art appeals most to me for some reason, and I am certainly not a huge Ultramarines aficionado. In any case, the price for these editions is just silly, so I think I’ll pass…

It goes without saying that the contents of the book will be passionately discussed for the weeks and months to come: Already, cries of outrage can be heard all over the hobby scene, since it seems like Marines do it all — and better. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how all of this plays out eventually. In any case, we’re not here to talk about the rules, so let’s take a look at the models already:

 

Space Marine Centurions

Space Marine release (2)
Ah, yes: The elephant in the room. The kit everyone already loves to hate. Let me start by saying that having to wedge completely new Space Marine units into an already meticulously defined lore and game system cannot be an enviable task for a designer. Last time around, they took the safe route with the Sternguard and Protector Guardย  – basically regular (Assault) Marines in blinged out armour – then they got a little more gutsy with the Stormtalon, and we all know how that went. So this time, the Space Marines get what basically amounts to loyalist Obliterators.

I’ll be honest with you: At first, I was less than impressed with the models. In fact, I was prepared to cry blue murder, along with the best of them. But then something funny happened: The more I saw of these guys, the better I liked them. Oh, make no mistake, the sculpts are not without their problems (the legs still look too clunky for me and will probably take a lot of getting used to, for instance). But for some reason, I find these guys rather fascinating.

Now I don’t have any idea yet how these were retconned into the existing fluff: I guess they’ll either pretend that these existed all along, or have them be based on a rediscovered STC design. But for one crazy moment there, I thought to myself: I get it. The Astartes have seen what the Tau can do with their crazy combat suits and are now saying: We want a part of that.

I have no idea whether that’s actually where the design came from (probably not), but if seen from that perspective, the models suddenly make a lot of sense: They really look like Tau suits reverse engineered by way of the clunky Imperial technology.

I also like them not so much for what they are but for the conversion potential: As somehow who has always disliked the rather unwholesome looking Obliterator models, I cannot help feeling that the Centurions could finally be a perfect way of converting some truly awesome Obliterators for my army. But more on that later…

The one thing I really dislike about the models is the look of the CC option that comes with the kit:

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Those siege drills really don’t work for me. Maybe it’s because they look too much like something you would find at the dentist’s. Maybe it’s the fact that these guys seem to fill a slot that didn’t need any filling in the first place. In any case, the artillery option makes more sense and looks better, in my opinion.

Let me just point out a couple of small details that occured to me:

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One, Dave Thomas, the designer of the kit, pointed out in WD that the Marine piloting the suit has his arms crossed over his chest. While that sounds like an enormously uncomfortable position to hold for an entire battle, I really like how the Centurions’ dedicated unit badge reflects that small bit of lore.

I am also fascinated with the helmets, halfway between a regular power armoured helm and that of a Terminator. Oh, and it seems like that helmet crest (seen on the right) is an optional bit. Very nice! I also think the bare heads that come with the kit (and that do look slightly silly on the heavily armoured models) could work great for World Eaters with their extremely angry expressions, shouting mouths and head implants that would make for fairly convincing Butcher’s Nails.

I also like the fact that the back of the leg is really similar to the legs of a Dreadknight:

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A very nice bit of visual consistency there!

So, all in all, I started out hating these, but now I am beginning to grow rather fond of them. A sign of my rampant fanboyism, perhaps? Maybe. But even though these guys may not be for everyone, at least the designer wasn’t afraid to try something new, and I can always appreciate that!

In closing, let me get one small nerd gripe off my chest: Centurion was an actual commander rank during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, right? Now why would they call a completely unrelated combat suit by the same name 10,000 years later? Couldn’t they have come up with a different name? Couldn’t they have been called Colossus, for crying out loud? Yeah, I know, I need to get a life…

 

Space Marine Tactical Squad

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Well, this one was possibly overdue: Even though the old tactical sprue had been slightly touched up for one of the last Codex releases, the tactical Marines were pretty much the oldest kit still in existence, having originally been introduced at the start of 3rd edition. So now they finally get a true update. And, well, what did you expect? These guys still look like Space Marines, that much is for sure.

Seriously though, instead of just adding some inconsequential decoration, the designers seem to have gone for some serious re-engineering this time around, making sure the tactical sprue – certainly the bread and butter of every Marine army – now boasts lots and lots of options.

For Marine players, the most important ones will possibly be the weapons options, complete with new grav weapons, although the improvements don’t stop there: For one, it seems like some of the models now boast a somewhat more upright pose due to their legs. This is a very welcome change, since the notoriously crouched legs really get old once you have built about a hundred Astartes models.

We also get a bigger variety of parts from armour marks, among them some Mk IV legs and a full suit of Mk VI Corvus armour:

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For someone like me, who has been experimenting with kitbashing older armour strictly from GW plastic parts for my Legio Custodes project, this isย  a very welcome addition indeed! And call me a little weird, but my favourite parts in any Marine kits are usually the bare heads:

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I love building my (traitor) Marines bareheaded, because (while it makes no sense from a combat perspective) it’s a great way of adding individuality and character to the models. And the new heads certainly don’t disappoint: The one on the left with the slightly gladiatorial mohawk would be great for eather a World Eater or a Custodes model, while the rebreather mask is awesome (and would work like a charm on a champion of Nurgle, if you ask me…).

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With the old tactical Marines slowly beginning to show their age, It’s also interesting to note how the new kit seems to be all sharp lines and crisp detail:

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This is especially evident on the new Corvus helmet that now seems to have some murch sharper lines as well (almost making it look a little duck-like…):

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Anyway, having a new version of this kit probably was a sheer necessity, and GW did a nice job ofย  making it as comprehensive as possible. At 35 Euros for ten Marines, this is also possibly the best bang for the buck out of all the new kits, although the new Marines are still more expensive than their older incarnation. On the other hand, they do come with lots and lots of options. With the new design, these can finally hold their ground against kits like the Space Wolves or Blood Angles Death Company again. Nice job, GW!

 

Space Marine Sternguard:

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Wow, this kit is certainly one of the stars of the show for me! While nice, the old Sternguard models always seemed a little conventional to me. But the new kit not only provides a way of building plastic Sternguard, but should also be a great kit for simply adding a little oomph to your commanders and squad leaders and basically for building badass-looking models.

Once again, the kits comes with lots and lots of options. And once again, it’s the heads that I am drawn to first:

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The head on the left has to be one of my favourite Astartes heads ever: It looks just as grizzled and noble as befits an honoured warrior of the Legiones Astartes. That makes it a perfect fit for chaptermaster, a Legio Custodes character or even an Inquisitor. The head on the right is not quite as awesome, but it also gets the grizzled veteran look right, at least.

It seems that providing lots and lots of modelling and equipment options was once again the order of the day. And while Space Marine players will be happy with the many equipment options (especially the combi-weapons, I imagine), it’s bitz like this that make me stupidly happy:

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When it comes to the models themselves, the greatest things about them are the highly ostentatious pieces of armour as well as the added bulk when compared to normal Marines:

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You instantly know that these guys are bad news. Also, that power fist is looking fantastic…

All in all, I expect this kit to sell like hotcakes: Not only does it offer the option to build plastic Sternguard, but it looks like the new go to kit when it comes to making awesome character kitbashes. Definitely one of the high points of the release for me, and possibly one of the kits I might purchase myself.

 

Space Marine Protector Guard

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You can’t have one without the other, so we get a Protector Guard kit along with the Sternguard. And while it’s great to get yet another unit type in glorious plastic, I somehow think these are less impressive than the Sternguard. Maybe it’s the fact that they look like a similarly impressive unit could be built by simply using some additional bitz on a regular squad of assault marines? Maybe it’s a problem with the picture, though, because the alternate squad of Raven Guard built and painted by the GW studio looks awesome:

Space Marine release (17)I especially love the sergeant’s helmet!

Still, while the last incarnation of both unit types had the Protector Guard looking much cooler, the roles are reversed this time: The Protector Guard looks nice enough, but I feel the Sternguard takes the cake. However, I suppose this kit will be similarly succesful, since the amount of bitz makes it a useful purchase.

 

Hunter/Stalker

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There’s also a new vehicle combi-kit, albeit one based on the trusty old Rhino. The kit may be assembled as one of two tank variants, the Hunter or the Stalker. The design is nice enough and some of the visual touches (like the stabilisers) are nice, but you’ll probably forgive me for being unable to get excited over yet another Rhino variant.

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In all fairness, though, the Space Marines have received a couple of rather more interesting vehicle kits out of turn in the past, so it’s really not that much of a problem that this release doesn’t bring us a spectacular new vehcile kit. Moving on.

 

Characters

The Space Marines also get some new characters, and the most interesting thing to note is that they’re all plastic models. Are we seeing a change of strategy regarding Finecast? In any case, let’s take a closer look at the new models:

 

Space Marine Commander

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This guy certainly looks the part! But is it just me, or does he look like a slightly rejigged version of the Commander from the Assault on Black Reach boxed set? Here’s a comparison photo for you:

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Nope, definitely not my imagination: They seem to have used the same base model and then slightly redesigned it. Which, in all fairness, doesn’t have to be a bad thing: I have always liked the Black Reach Commander, and some of the added detail is really cool.ย  The fact that you get a crested helmet with the kit also means that you can build a plastic version of Captain Sicarius on par with (if not better than) the slightly malproportioned FC version.

The kit also gives you a different head option…

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…which is standard, slightly constipated looking Marine fare. Still, it’s good to have the option!

A look at the sprue reveals that not only should the model be easy enough to customise even further, but some of the bitz (like the heads and backpack) can easily be used on different models as well. I like that!

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The model is nice enough on its own, and I think it can be made to really shine with a bit of work. Here’s the catch, though: Seeing how this is basically a Black Reach Captain 2.0, the price point of 25 Euros seems particularly egregious in this case. If I wanted to build a new Marine commander similar to this one, I’d simply get a cheap Black Reach mini online and kitbash it into something on par with the new model. And there’s always the multipart Space Marine Commander as a cheaper option (although that one is slightly hampered by the fact that it is based on pretty standard Marine physiology and posing). Anyway, considering the price, there are lots of alternative options that will give you an equally impressive model.

 

Space Marine Chaplain

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Seeing how this is the first vanilla Marine chaplain available in plastic (the Dark Vengeance S.E. chaplain obviously doesn’t count), this is a nice addition to the Space Marine catalogue. However, the chaplain is only available as part of the Reclusiam Command Squad:

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While this makes lots of sense from a business perspective, using the new model to give the older kits in the set a bit of a leg up, it also seems like a bit of a dick move on GW’s part.

However, their website has this to say on the matter:

This includes a new plastic Chaplain, armed with a crozius arcanum and bolt pistol, which is currently only available with this box set.

That sounds like a separate release somewhere along the line isn’t totally out of the question, at least. So in case you don’t need that additional command squad and Razorback, I’d probably hold my breath for now, if I were you.

The model itself is pretty nice, but not really all that spectacular. The skull mask even looks silly in a slightly Skeletor-esque way, if you ask me. Fortunately, the kit also comes with an alternate head option that is much cooler (and seems like a shout out to a great 2nd edition metal chaplain):

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But a chaplain always looks more like a chaplain with a deathmask. Just sayin’…

A look at the sprue shows that it should once again be easy enough to use the different parts of the model for different projects as well.

Space Marine release (32)Again, considering the price, this is another model where it’s quite possible to kitbash something similarly impressive with existing bitz. But I appreciate the option of fielding yet another HQ option in plastic, even if it’s far too expensive ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Space Marine Librarian:

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Now we’re talking! This guy is certainly the best of the new characters, and maybe even my favourite part of the entire release. It’s great that Space Marine players now basically have plastic versions for all of their generic HQs, but even beyond that, this guy really shines. I especially love the fact that they have moved beyond the smooth shaven look for the Librarian’s face:

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His bearded face has an almost Merlinesque quality to it, and is a great fit for an experienced psyker. The head would also look great on a GK character or an Inquisitor! And in any case, the model is basically worth it for the creepy little cherub alone! One of the best bitz in GW’s entire catalogue!

The sprue picture also reveals that the Librarian should lend himself rather nicely to conversions:

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As you can see, it should be easy enough to swap in different legs or arms, which is brilliant. And both the head and cherub are separate pieces! Awesome!

From among the three plastic characters, this is the one I am almost guaranteed to purchase at some point. Sure, the price is just as high as that of the Commander, but the model is by far the most exciting and unique sculpt out of the three plastic characters. Defintely one of my favourite Space Marine models, hands down.

 

Conversion potential:

Right off the bat, I’ll happily admit that I may be slightly biased this month: With two of my hobby projects (my World Eaters and my Legio Custodes army) partly or mostly based on Marine parts, it goes without saying that the new stuff from this release would be easier to put to good use than, say, a Lizarman or Tau model.

That said, flexibility is one of the greatest strength of GW’s marine based kits: The fact that most bitz can be merrily mixed and matched makes kitbashing (traitor) Astartes models both one of the easiest as well as one of the most satisfying hobby activities for me. It goes without saying that the new kits bring lots and lots of interesting bitz to use for all kinds of conversion projects. Indeed, Marine players will probably have a field day with these, kitbashing and splicing bitz into their existing forces with gusto.

For me personally, I am really interested in some of the bare heads. This seems a silly detail, to be sure, but those faces should be great for adding some character to my armies, and some of the heads would work perfectly for both my World Eaters and Custodes.

The most interesting infantry kit would be the Sternguard, since the partly robed bodies seem perfect to build Custodes Praetorians or veterans of the Legio in older marks of power armour. For the other kits, I will probably try to stick to ebay, bitz sites and bitz swaps for getting my hands on some of the interesting parts.

Regarding the characters, I think I’ll pass on the commander and chaplain: The former is so similar to my already painted Black Reach Captain that I don’t see any room for yet another version of the model. And the latter, apart from being part of a pretty expensive boxed set for now, isn’t all that fantastic — I’d rather kitbash my own model if I ever had to. The Librarian, however, is truly awesome, and I will certainly get one at some point. I expect he will end up as some kind of Inquisitor, though, since neither my World Eaters nor my Custodes seem like ideal employers for a psyker.

And then there’s the one kit that really has me thrilled. The one kit everybody seems to hate: the Centurions. I know they are goofy. I know it will be a lot of work. But I have half a mind to use these as a base for converting some Obliterators for my World Eaters. Already, ideas are beginning to form in the back of my head. And what is there to lose: They probably won’t end up looking as horrible as the existing models, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Anything else?

Actually, yes. It may feel like beating a dead horse, but I can’t wind up this review without talking about the price of some of these kits. I realise that GW’s pricing is a highly controversial subject, and I certainly won’t go into economics here. That said, a certain divide is evident with this release’s pricing:

The tactical Marines come at 35 Euros a pop. While that’s more expensive than the older tactical squad, the new kit looks sharper and features lots and lots of bitz. So in the context of GW’s overall catalogue, paying 35 Euros for a highly customisable infantry squad of ten doesn’t really seem so bad.

The Sternguard and Protector Guard are quite a bit more expensive, coming at 40 and 35 Euros for five models, respectively. Once again, I am inclined to let it slide, because the amount of (really useful) leftover bitz you’ll end up with even after completing the squad manages to sugarcoat that particular bitter pill for me.

The Centurions are a problem, though: 62 Euros for a squad of three? Whoa, that is a pretty penny! Sure, these guys may be big, but given the fact that the sculpt doesn’t seem to be all that popular, GW had better hope this works out for them (it probably will, though: I bet these will be super effective on the table, making them an auto-include). Still, even though I am interested in using these for a conversion project, the price tag is giving me pause.

The biggest problem for me, though, are the characters: For WFB, the plastic characters are usually a great – and fairly affordable – purchase. For some reason, however, 40k plastic characters are much more expensive than their WFB counterparts right off the bat. And 25 Euros for a standard size, single pose plastic model does seem pretty egregious — all the more so if it’s simply a touched up starter box model (the original of which can be had for a song on ebay). It’s true, in my opinion, that GW still produce the best 28mm plastic models available, but they also charge us rather outrageous prices for the benefit of using these delicious pieces of plastic, and it’ll be interesting to see how long this will realistically continue. Regarding the Space Marine characters, I’d advise you to check if kitbashing isn’t the more sensible option – apart from that Librarian, of course: That guy is wicked.

 

In closing…

All in all, this is certainly a rather strong release, but what did you expect? Space Marines continue to be GW’s most successful product, as evidenced by their site crashing under the onslaught auf pre-orders. The release provides Marine players all over the world with some fantastic new toys, and seeing all that beautiful plastic crack turn up in all kinds of different army and conversion projects will be a lot of fun. You’ll have to pay rather handsomely for the benefit of getting to play with the new stuff, though, so even the most diehard Space Marine fans should carefully consider which of the new kits are essential purchases. So, long story short: some fantastic models. Some not so fantastic prices. Business as usual in the 41st millennium.

 

So, what do you think of the new release? Are you itching for some Astartes goodness? Or are you foaming at the mouth when looking atย  the price tags? Or both? And do you love or hate the Centurions? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!