Hi guys, Vredesbyrd here.
This month in the Display Case we present the Praetors of Calth
's fantastic Ultramarines army. Many of us have watched this army grow from the first tantalising pictures that appeared here on The Great Crusade, and I'm sure I'm not the only one a little awestruck by this army.
Without further ado I shall hand you over to the man himself, Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Apologist
+++++'A time of hidden conflict and secret warfare; when battle-lines were drawn and re-drawn between brother and brother. This is a record of those times, set forth by autolocutor Apologist.
The ancient and crumbling Apocrypha of Davio, a relic of the Second Founding, lists eight successor Chapters to the Thirteenth Legion.
The later Apocrypha of Skaros states there were twenty-three successors to the Ultramarines, but does not list them all...
Herein lies the tale of the brethren of the Praetors of Calth...'
So began my painting log all the way back in May 2006, and work on what's my favourite army still continues apace. As of this point, I'm planning on adding a couple of new squads, and there're a couple of oddments here and there that I'd like to put my own spin on. With 3500pts in the bag, I'm going back and tweaking the bits I'm not happy with, and occasionally adding new bits.
First off, I'd like to answer a question I get a lot: why Ultramarines
, of all things?
There's definitely something about the Ultramarines that inspires a lot of heated feelings amongst players – some love 'em, some hate them. At the very least, they've heard of them, and almost everyone's got an opinion on the boys in blue. They're the Chapter that's had the most information given on them in 40k, and that's offers a great opportunity to really stick closely to the canon – or in my case, riff off it. I really enjoy the background of the game – it's a rich and developed universe that nevertheless offers endless creative avenues.
The Ultramarines seem to have gained a reputation for being hidebound, dogmatic and traditional; and that's not how I see them at all. They're not a closed-off, parochial Chapter in the 41st Millennium – they're a dynamic, self-assured and faithful force that represents everything a Space Marine should be. That's what I wanted to represent in my Pre-Heresy army: a Legion that's mindful of the means as well as the results; above but not beyond the mass of humanity.
My initial inspiration came from the Horus Heresy
artbooks. The Heresy's had a hold on my imagination since the old Adeptus Titanicus
game, and I flicked through the books with a big grin on my face at all the cool oddments and weird variants. Techmarine Arius was a fun exercise in copying an artwork – see if you can find him!
I'd had a bit of experience at sculpting when I made my Adeptus Mechanicus force, and so I was ready to tackle something more challenging. What better challenge than building a small force of 'true-scale' marines, using a variation of Doghouse and Synapse's approaches? I added my own spin on the technique, by adding the huge rims that characterise my army, and with the variant helms that I dubbed 'Macragge-pattern', but kudos ought to go to those (very nice) fellas who pioneered the technique, rather than the butter-fingered followers like me!
A scale shot:From left: Dreadnought, Primarch, Astartes, unenhanced human
I was keen to record how I made the army. I think that a generous approach to the hobby is something to be encouraged, so I tried to record how and why I'd built certain things, and made a note when I ran into problems and difficulties. Having a record of the techniques, paint mixtures and so forth was a real resource for me, and I got so much useful critique and feedback that the army is really a bit of a community project! I hope that my log provided some help and inspiration for other people, much as I've been inspired and helped by other people's logs and pictures. As the army grew beyond its initial plan of a tiny elite force, my enthusiasm was buoyed up by the announcement that the Tempus Fugitives were running a series of pre-Heresy campaign weekends, and this really kick-started me into growing the force.
Of course, it'd all be a bit dry if it were just descriptions of what I did, so I had a great time making up background for each of the models, fitting them into named units, like heroes of old. Squad I – Locrians
:Squad II – Apaesians
:Squad III – Ciconians
Plundering freely from Classical and historical documents, as well as obscure 40k texts, I really enjoyed bashing Greek, Scottish, Roman and a myriad other sources together to create something I hope is unique. Those toy soldiers really take on a character as you build and paint them, and I loved the idea of an army of heroes. Some of my favourite models really came together at the painting stage: Sergeant Santiagon, for example, was a fun chance to really stretch my freehand skills, and his receding hairline and bald spot give him a lot of character. He's probably the best example of a traditional Ultramarine: courageous, honourable and so forth.
Kaeso and Telacos, on the other hand, really pick up how scary Astartes should be, and I think they've got some great dynamism to their poses.
It's no coincidence that my favourite models are the bare-headed ones. Skin is my favourite part of painting, as it gives such opportunity to create character. I don't pretend to be anything than a journeyman painter, but I think that solid techniques combined with imagination can lift anyone's work – just find something that inspires you, and enjoy the process!
I was very flattered and honoured to be asked to appear in the Hall of Honour, so I'll hand over to the mods to show the rest of the pictures – hopefully they've got their own favourite miniatures amongst my army.
The Praetors of Calth
The Primarch, Robute Guilliman
Standard Bearer, with the Standard of Calth.
Close up of the banner.
Captain Orar and the Zelians.
In closing, I'd like to reiterate that I hope my work provides some inspiration for other hobbyists, and would just like to take this opportunity to thank my friends in the PCRC, who provided endless ideas, support and cups of tea during the army-making process; to Elusive71, Synapse, Doghouse and others for direct inspiration; and to thank everyone at the Great Crusade, other forums and the Tempus Fugitives, who've made building and playing with my toy soldiers a lot of fun!