The Ultramarine Blues: Notes on a new edition and a new army

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With the advent of 8th edition 40K, and more importantly the first proper update to Space Marine models since 1992 when the metal body / plastic arms Marines were released near the end of Rogue Trader, one find oneself at a crossroads. With some reluctance I, in the end couldn’t resist and, bought the 8th edition boxed set. My regular gaming buddy will take the unwanted Nurgle models off my hands, so why not? I haven’t played a game yet but some of the rules look good, whilst others look like total garbage. I note that Flyers, which represent about 99% of why I have had no interest in any version of 40K after 5th edition, have become even more stupid, to the point GW seems to have had to tone them down slightly in an FAQ they’ve just released. Also, it was deeply disappointing to see that Codexes are being released as per standard operating procedures. It would have been nice if they could have just reset all of the armies at once and concentrated on models, updating the indexes (which really should be freely downloadable quite frankly) as new models are released. Most of the problems of the last few editions, not that I’m any expert, have stemmed from codex and army list design rather than from anything in the core rules. And, as Shadow War Armageddon seems to have shown, the core rules from 2nd edition are still doing just fine, thank you very much.

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The new Space Marine models are truly excellent, even if the boxed set, easy-to-assemble versions, have some weird elements – some strange poses, some odd undercuts, and so on – they really are good models. And what could be better than painting these new and improved Space Marines in the true colours of the Ultramarines as a homage to 2nd edition?

I don’t know if these new, larger, Space Marines will have a place in 2nd edition. To reflect their stature you would probably need to run them as Terminators, though that brings its own issues. We still plan to keep playing 2nd edition though – 8th for us is a different game, not a replacement. It may allow us to get into the local tournament scene if we build some armies for it, though whether that happens or not remains to be seen (the tournaments, not the armies). In any event, after some indecision I finally decided on some Ultramarines in their classic colour scheme. I have seen one other example of this on the internet, so far.

That decision raised a problem, however. I have always had 2 main inspirations for my miniature painting: Mike McVey, and John Blanche. They are polar opposites in many ways. McVey prefers clean bright colour schemes whereas Blanche’s are dirty and gritty and real (insofar as anything in 40K could be considered “real”). That being said, my favourite ever piece of Space Marine artwork is this one by John Blanche:

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John Blanche – Ultramarines Attack, Codex: Ultramarines, 1995, Games Workshop, ISBN: 1-872372-87-2, page 87.

Problematically, it is not in colour. Blanche is famously averse to the colour blue and this raised a query. If Blanche had to do this piece in colour, what colour would he have chosen? Or would he have chosen a different chapter to draw to avoid painting the blue? Interestingly, in the drawings he made for the 2nd edition Chaos Codex, he renders the Alpha Legion and Night Lords in their canonical blue schemes. So, who knows? Anyway, my Ultramarine features traditional Mike McVey colours, with a few Blanchean touches on the kneepads and shoulder pad. Interestingly, there is one ‘Eavy Metal Ultramarine from the 1990s who features a bit of artwork on his shoulder-pad: the Squad Leader from the studio army Devastator squad. I have not been able to find a photo that shows more than 1/3 of the shoulder pad, but it appears to have a laurel wreath surrounding the squad number painted over the Devastator chevron. Anyway, this Squad Leader and the Blanche artwork are together going to be the inspiration for this new army to be painted in a classic style.

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Codex: Ultramarines, 1995, Games Workshop, ISBN: 1-872372-87-2, page 20-21.

Claudius has a head from the 1998 tactical squad box, which I think dramatically improves the look of the model compared to the Primaris helmet. It also helps one to ignore anything to do with the Primaris storyline, as I am trying to do. I also added a folding stock made from a paperclip coated in green-stuff (kneadatite).

Colours used:

White undercoat.

Armour:

Base Coat with GW Regal Blue watered down and mixed with GW Guilliman Blue wash making sure to concentrate on all the recesses. Then block in the panels with GW Ultramarines Blue. Highlights are applied mixing in increasing white, up to pure white for the last edge highlight. It is critical to go up to pure white; this model looked absolutely crap until I put on the final highlight when the armour finally “popped”. Before the final highlight of white though I glazed the whole armour with Guilliman Blue Wash to tone down the transitions between highlights. Despite it being listed here first, I actually painted the armour last (apart from the Regal Blue basecoat which was done first).

Gun casing: GW Blood Red, shaded with GW Red Ink. Highlights with GW Blazing Orange then glazed again with Red Ink before a final highlight of GW Sunburst Yellow.

Yellow: GW Sunburst Yellow shaded with Orange Ink then highlighted with GW Bad Moon Yellow then pure white.

Eye Lenses: GW Scab Red, GW Blood Red, GW Blazing Orange, then GW Dwarf Flesh, with a dot of white for the light reflection.

Pouches: Cote d’Arms Barbarian Leather shaded with GW Chestnut Ink then highlighted by adding white.

Some bits have a weird sort of cracked texture on the surface (the backpack, over the Ultramarines symbol on the left shoulder-pad, on the forehead of the helmet, and on the backs of the legs), this is due to yet another highly frustrating matt varnish disaster. Anyway, I am trying not to get too angry, as I am trying to get through an army of these guys so I don’t want to get too upset about minor imperfections (though I am upset!); I shall try to be as stoic as the Ultramarines themselves would be in the face of such crushing adversity.

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Hasslefree youth and some pine trees

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Fresh off of the paint desk: Hasslefree Miniatures Albert

He was fairly easy to paint, and I’m pretty happy with him. He stands on a 20mm round base. I copied Orctrader‘s paintjob, with a few of my own touches.

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I also made some pine trees for my Warhammer 5th edition table. Once again I followed a tutorial from the excellent Boulder Creek Railroad site. I will be making some more soon.

2000AD Judge Karyn

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Most recently off the painting bench is this 2000AD Psi-Judge Karyn made by Foundry. I don’t really know much about Judge Karyn as such, but I painted her as a gift for my wife (hence the blonde, instead of whatever colour hair Karyn may actually have… the official Kevin Dallimore paintjob has it as red).

I’m fairly happy with how she has turned out.

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A photo of her side by side with Dredd (painted probably more than 5 years ago) shows just how much brighter and more vibrant my painting style has become.

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Welcome to the Jungle

 

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The new(-ish) table in all its glory – 6′ x 4′ of flock and lumber…

 

Dear Readers, your humble correspondent returns to the intertubes once again with profuse apologies for leaving you waiting so long between updates. I must confess to very little hobby activity across the last 6 months in terms of painting and converting miniatures. This has been the case, however, for the happiest of reasons; I have been playing games!

Across the last 6 months or so, I would have averaged around 1 or 2 games per week of 2nd edition Warhammer 40,000, a few games of Space Hulk, and – across the last month – several games of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, 5th edition (of course).

What hobby activity I have been engaged in has mainly been terrain making to enable all of this gaming to be possible, and it is the results of those efforts which I report to you today.

Some of these elements you have seen before…. the Jungle Trees, the Scatter Terrain, and the Jungle Ruins…. but here they all are incorporated with some newer elements on a full size table.

No 2nd edition 40K setup could be complete without spiky jungle cacti, and so several bases of these were made up. I actually made them quite some time ago and they appear in a battle report on the most excellent Game of Travel blog (where you can see just how long ago they were made!).

The cacti were fairly easy to make, being constructed of Styrofoam balls, toothpicks, and with texture added from filler, sand, and dripping caulk from a caulking gun over them. Paint them before adding the spikes (which you should spray paint red on their own).

Another essential element for that authentic 1990s 40K look is moss covered rock spires, and I have prepared one so far, with plenty more on the way….

 

The other essential element is cardboard terrain. This is the old Imperial Bunker which I picked up on the WargamerAU Buy, Swap, and Sell forum for a good price considering it was in fairly poor condition. I fixed it up, and mounted it on a small hill. I ditched the tower and the forward position as I don’t like them anyway, and they were in very poor condition indeed. It makes a nice centrepiece for games and can be an objective in its own right if desired. It looks fairly good considering it took almost no effort to achieve this…

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I also constructed a kidney-shaped hill (which I made so long ago it still has my old blend of flock on it!)….

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… as well as a hill which has been dug out into a bunker, which utilises some Games Workshop terrain elements, namely the barricades from the Aegis Defence Line.

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Also, I constructed some generic trees, which I think could pass for evergreen European trees on a Warhammer Fantasy table if required….

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I used the method from this excellent tutorial on a great site called Boulder Creek Railroad (well worth a look if you want some tips on scenery making), and made them from old twigs, a plant hanging basket liner, and various grades of flock. They were pretty easy, but messy! They look better in real life than they do in this photo (flash photography… sigh).

Speaking of Warhammer Fantasy, I have been playing a few games of 5th edition, borrowing my gaming buddy’s Empire army, whilst I furiously put my own models together…. more to come soon!

Finally, for those sad pitiable souls interested in such things, here are some shots showing the construction of the table… it is a plywood top supported by pine battens. Pretty easy even for someone totally hopeless at DIY such as myself. It is quite sturdy, but heavy, and you do need somewhere to store it….

 

7th Cavalry Officer

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I painted this chap as part of a paint challenge on the Steve Dean Forum. I’m pretty pleased with how he turned out.

The figure is by Artizan Designs and sculpted by Mike Owen. It is a nice figure and was fairly easy to paint.

The method for the coat and trousers was to paint them in their base colour (Foundry French Blue Base for the coat and GW Electric Blue for the jeans) and drybrush them with the base colour with progressively more white added, up to pure white. I then covered them in a wash of dark blue ink mixed with gloss varnish… it seems to have worked out alright. In particular I am pleased with the face and eyes on this figure!

Mercenary (Rogue Trader Space Marine Scout with shuriken catapult)

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I recently painted this Rogue Trader era space marine scout model. I painted him initially as a bodyguard for a noble civilian for a Necromunda setting (that model is almost finished…) or perhaps a mercenary. I imagine he is a rejected Space Marine recruit who decided he would rather have his freedom than have his brain wiped to become a servitor… and somewhere along the line acquired a rather exotic xenos weapon.

I love the old scout models, but whilst a shuriken catapult might fit in with Rogue Trader, by 2nd edition the fluff is becoming more rigid and xenos weaponry is out – so it doesn’t really fit with my loyal Space Marine forces. For my money, this is the greatest era of the fluff (so I’m not complaining); where things are becoming set, but the background is still fluid (the Horus Heresy largely remains a mystery at this point of the fluff, for example) – whereas Rogue Trader is almost completely foreign to today’s 40K background.

Painting on this was fairly simple and really requires no explanation, but please do let me know if you have any specific queries.

Any colours used were the same as my Estalians, and the grey is just Codex Grey highlighted with Fortress Grey.

The fur is bestial brown with white added to drybrush on the highlights.

The catapult is white washed with Ogryn Flesh Wash then highlighted back up, and the gems on it are as follows: base GW Scab Red, highlights with GW Blood Red, GW Blazing Orange, GW Dwarf Flesh, and a spot of white for the light reflection.

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