The Lord Captain has forbidden me to write down the events of our journey, but what use is a remembrancer who does not remember? I can only hope that, if we survive, this journal will be a record of victory over these traitors and not an account of the end of our Imperium.

The Emperor protects. ~J

Thursday, 25 December 2014

VIII. Building on a Theme

When I first decided that the Horus Heresy was where my interest lay, I was faced with the problem of having to decide what the ordinary men and women of that time looked like. The release of Forge World's Solar Auxilia has been an absolute godsend in this regard and they have really helped me cement my ideas. I see many people online describing them as having a 'steampunk' look but to me they are definitely more 'deiselpunk'.

It's a slight distinction perhaps to some people and I think often anything with a retro look gets lumped in with 'steampunk', but to my mind the difference in clear. The Solar Auxilia would not have looked out of place in an episode of the old 1930s Flash Gordon. So, out with the 41st Millennium gothic medievalism and in with the Art Deco retro-futurism. Think Flash Gordon and Metropolis with an injection of the grimdark.

Someone on Dakka suggested that I might want to use cataphracti pattern terminator legs to build art scale marines. They were spot on. The cataphractii legs have that wonderful cog pattern running around the soles of their feet which fit perfectly with the Iron Hands. This is where I'm at;

What started as an experiment, seems to be working beautifully. I've hopefully managed to build a marine with the bulk, height and power I was after.

The Quartermaster is getting a bit of a make over too, to fit better with the deiselpunk aesthetic. I've lost track of how many months I've been working on this one miniature, but I want to get him perfect to be the benchmark for everything else I go on to create. Gone are the medieval, ruffled sleeves and the sword (which I was never happy with) is being replaced with an Art Deco looking laspistol. I'm also thinking of trying to remove the purity seal from his waist. Is it just too 40k looking? I don't know; some of Forge World's Horus Heresy miniatures do have what look like purity seals modeled onto them so perhaps I can get away with it.

Thanks for reading and a Very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

VII. Evolution

I’m embarrassed about how long it has been since I posted an update. The truth is that other things kept me away from modelling and painting for a while; I lost all momentum and the muse deserted me. I’ll been 2 months in the hobby doldrums and now I must make an effort to get back.

I have started to make some progress on my cairn wraith conversion. My initial thought with this miniature was that she was going to be one of the ship’s astropaths. However, as I finished working on the conversion I found myself adding more cables and a servo skull and, by pure coincidence I’m sure, was also reading “Mechanicum” by Graham McNeill. Now I’m coming round to the idea that she may be a servant of some Mechanicum Adept who has taken up with the crew of the Euripides. I love how a miniature can evolve as you work on it and how I don’t always know what I’m building.

So having decided on a Mechanicum contingent, I’m thinking of all the weirdness I can make. The Imperial Enforcer who was going to lead the ship’s armsmen may end up being a Mechanicum servant too – perhaps the Adepts factotum or herald?

Something which has troubled me is the thorny issue of scale, or rather the scale of Astartes. We all know that in the background of 30/40k, the Adeptus Astartes are now portrayed as giants; towering slabs of power armour and muscle. The miniatures, sadly, do not convey this. I had hopes to create the illusion of them being towering warriors by elevating them on their bases. It does put their heads above the heads of ordinary men, but I’m still not happy that it works.

Is that man a giant? Oh, wait, no … he’s just standing on a box.

This problem bothered me enormously until I got my hands on Horus Heresy Book 3 – Extermination. This was my eureka moment. Book 3 has rules for Strike Forces … 1 to 3 characters plus up to 350 points of troops, vehicles etc. That’s potentially just a very few models and it means the prospect of creating an art-scale, Heresy period Strike Force is not an impossible dream.

There are several people who have modelled amazing art-scale marines, but I’ve been studying how both Migsula and the Spikey Rats do it. It’s inspiring stuff. I’ve got as far as a simple test using grey knight terminator parts as the base for the marine and I love the height and bulk it gives. Obviously it needs a lot of work, but I’m going to set myself the challenge of making a few art-scale Mk3 Iron Hands.

As always, thanks for reading.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

VI. Oleg Miletus

"Below the embarkation deck lies a small chamber, unadorned and lit only by worklamps. This is where Oleg Miletus spends his waking hours, surrounded by his tools, stripped down weapons and chattering servo skulls. Most call him the Quartermaster and it is Miletus' role to maintain the arms and equipment of the Euridipes' crewmen.

"Oleg Miletus is old. His shaven head, with its hardwired data cable and the servo arm, of his own design, sprouting from his back gives him an odd appearance. Kal opined that Miletus wishes he was one of the Mechanicum. I cannot speak for the truth of that, but he does spend time deep in conversation with the Magos, when he can. At his hip he carries an armour plate from one of Mars' metal men, as though it were a sacred relic.

"It reminds me of what we stand to lose, should we fail", he once told me. 

"Miletus joined the Great Crusade as a young man and has given all his adult life to serving the Euripides, but though his body may be frail, his mind is still as sharp as a knife. He does not rest in his work and the ship's Armsmen often find that Miletus has 'improved' their weapons with his own modifications while they slept."


Sunday, 21 September 2014

V. The Iron Hand

My first Astartes and a test of the paint scheme. I'm trying to avoid just painting the Iron Hands black. Instead I want to suggest black using a dark, slightly slate blue, grey. It just looks better I think and also gives the painting more depth.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

IV. The Astartes Arrive

Work on the Quartermaster is continuing. His face is done and I'm starting on the fiddly details. Photographing him close up has made me realise there's a massive mold line running along his left hand though. Having seen it, I must fix it.

However, work on him was slowed down when these chaps turned up to distract me;

These are the first of the Euripides' Astartes, Iron Hands in MkIII armour. Once the Quartermaster is completed, I'll be starting work on them, probably painting their armour in a similar manner to Q's black breastplate.

And to distract me even more, my lovely over half bought me a present off ebay;

This is the Imperial Enforcer, the Forge World event only miniature from a few years back. Now, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with him, but he's such a beautiful miniature, I'm too scared to hack him up. I can't just go out a get a new one if I balls it up. I've recently finished reading "Battle for the Abyss". This book is really what inspired me, more than anything else to collect the crew of a single ship. "Battle for the Abyss" features the Armsmen, the chaps responsible for maintaining discipline and security among the crew. I'm thinking perhaps the Imperial Enforcer could be the basis for the Captain of the Euripides' Armsmen. I've got a rough idea for a simple head swap, but the difficult part will be working out how to make some Armsmen for him to lead.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

III. The Quartermaster

Sometimes, when I'm kitbashing, I have a definite idea what I'm trying to make but often I just playing around with no idea. There are those wonderful, organic kitbashes where everything just seems to work and then you sit back and try to work out what it is you've actually made. This was one of those cases. A while ago I made this chap;

Then he sat in a drawer ...

Now he's finally starting to get some paint and an idea is forming about who he is. He's still a long way from finished. I'm calling him the Quartermaster, though I don't have an actual name for him yet. He is the one who keeps the weapons and equipment of the ship's crew and he cannot resist tinkering with them, like a far future version of Q from the Bond movies.

Neither FW or GW make rules for spaceship crews and I doubt they ever will, so I'm going to use the Inquisition rules for my crew. The Inquisition is perfect in that it allows me to have a collection of the weird and wonderful that still feels human, far more so than any other published codex. With the Quartermaster I realised I could get a (counts as) Jokaero into the crew. Jokaero's are physically weak but can shoot powerful weapons so the Quartermaster is an old man and his weaponised servo skull provides a rational for his ability to shoot.

Friday, 29 August 2014

II. Work is in Progress

There is more to life than space marines. One of the things I love about the Heresy era is the way that each fleet is a real community. Astartes, Imperial Army, emmisaries of the Mechanicum and the ship's crew all live and work together. So, having blown all my money on massive, leather bound books, I decided to begin on some crew ... while I wait for the Iron Hands to muster.

Lycia Jesh is the youngest, but perhaps most talented astropath aboard the Euripides.

Sooner or later, anyone who likes to convert GW miniatures must make something out of a cairn wraith. It almost feels like a rite of passage. How to make something both interesting and original out of a miniature which has been done so many time before? Well, this is my attempt. I'll write up some background on young Lycia when she's finished.

I. The Death of Hope

"Regardless of where the blame truly resided, many within the Iron Hands Legion, now fatherless, dealt with this traumatic crisis on a personal level in a simpler and more direct fashion; they went violently insane."

- Horus Heresy Book 2 : Massacre

For me, if the Horus Heresy is about one thing, then it is about the death of hope. Mankind stood on the edge of a golden age, a pax imperialis, free from fear, free from superstition; but that fragile dream has come crashing down, and in the best traditions of tragedy, the Imperium contained within itself the seed of its own destruction.

It is a setting that I find perhaps far more compelling than the 41st millennium. Its characters seem more recognisably human and that makes the darkness all the darker, the tragedy all the more tragic.

For a while I had been in a hobby slump that I couldn't shake, this is until I realised that it was indecision which had made me grind to a creative halt. On the one hand, what had enticed me back to this hobby after a gap of over 20 years was the amazing miniatures I had seen coming out of the Inq28 community. So, my first tentative steps to rediscover the joys of painting and modelling revolved around acolytes and death cult assassins and their ilk. On the other hand, I had begun reading the Horus Heresy novels and had fallen in love with the stories and setting.

Yet the Horus Heresy hobby seemed the complete antithesis of Inq28. One was about creating small bands of lovingly crafted conversions, the other about 20 man tactical squads and giant tanks.

The solution was so obvious that I could not at first see it. The novels I loved to read were not just about huge battles; they were also about individuals. They were as much about small bands of Astartes, as much about the ships' crews, the astropaths, the remembrancers as they were about Drop Pod Massacres and Titan Legions.

An idea began to germinate and it has taken a long time to take shape.

The Doomed Ship

"... in the aftermath some Iron Hands units and, in some cases, entire Clans shunned the Medusan Council's assumed authority and went their own way, consumed by their own hatred and need for revenge."

- Horus Heresy Book 2: Massacre

Ferrus Manus was dead. This terrible news filtered through the galaxy, astropath to astropath, until it reached the escort ship Euripides. Now, lost and leaderless, the Iron Hands astartes will have their revenge ...

One ship, its crew; the space marines and mortal men who call it home.