Wednesday, 29 July 2015

"Tell them ruin has come to their world. Death, despair and red war...Tell them their hopes and pride have come to nothing. Tell them their empty whispers fall upon deaf ears - their gods are dead, human reason has killed them. Tell them the Angels of Death have come. Tell them nothing can save them now."
— Attr. Perturabo, Primarch of the Iron Warriors Legion

Paints used: Vallejo, Reaper Master Series, Games Workshop Washes, Com Art Medea Airbrush
Paint Brushes: Rosemary & Co. Raphael 8040, Broken Toad Brushes

Monday, 27 July 2015

On collecting Legion Blood Angels

I like typing up a design brief before I start each project. This mission brie helps me refine my initial inspiration for the project, allowing me to review it over the years and stay on track. Here are my design notes for Legion Blood Angels. 

1) No Saltires. “The Death Company is arrayed in black armour upon which are painted red saltires, crosses of blood red which symbolise the sacrifice of Sanguinius.” 

Some artists have done a fantastic job putting the saltire in a different context, but this image is so closely intertwined the Death Company and the 41st millennium that I can’t bring myself to incorporate it in the Heresy era force. 

2) Angelic over barbaric. I have a fan theory why Blood Angels drink blood and it has to do with the little talked of ability of a space marine’s ability to absorb surface memories by eating flesh. 

Why do they drink blood? 

"It’s invigorating. We absorb memories, and those memories are…intoxicating. As Astartes we have to kill our humanity in order to ascend to the Host. I have felt the fear of a thousand men, tasted the last panicked moments of their existence. I have experienced their love, lust and those few precious moments of hope granted in a life time. I’m not ashamed to admit that the death I taste is as sweet as the memory of life. 

By imbibing blood we are able to partake in the humanity that has been denied us.

Our brothers in the medicae purify our Blood between compliances. Although rarely discussed the mode of our transubstantiation must be constantly monitored; our bodies purified. Some would call this a flaw in our genetic make up, but what machine was ever so constructed to endure such hardships as we that didn’t need repair? We are all born base, our bodies marked by Baal but we are transformed like no other Legion by the grace of the Angel. The living Blood of Sanguinius sustains us in more than a spiritual sense."

Remberances of Terra. Collected Visions. attributed to Sgt. Raphaeno, 3rd company. Blood Angels. 

The sanguinary priesthood post heresy are injected with the blood of Sanguinius to keep it vital and living, to be injected into other blood angels. I believe that more than a way of triggering the geneseed that this process actually helped smooth out the underlining flaws of the IX genetic make up. While Sanguinius was alive he was able to mitigate the worst of this flaw with his own blood, or merely his presence was enough to some how psychically smooth over the black rage. 

I always liked the idea of the Black rage being a form of racial post traumatic stress disorder suffered by the Blood Angels in the wake of the Horus Heresy. But this idea was put to rest in Fear to Tread. The flaw was present before the Heresy. 

3) Chalices & tear drops. 

A chalice is used in Fear to Tread to denote fraternity. Squads of marines drink the blood of their brothers from a chalice. Putting aside the sanitary concerns of such an act for the moment, the Chalice is a potent symbol within the Blood Angel legion; it is a metaphorical link between brothers, and to their Primarch. A chalice would make an excellent Legion Vexilla. 

The tear drop motif was first seen in the aftermath of Murder when Sanguinius marks his face with a single tear drop. This melancholic symbol could represent many things within the symbolic language of the Blood Angels but is no doubt a potent and easily recognisable symbol. 

4)  New-school BAs - Red, Bone, Green. Old-school BAs - Red, Black, Yellow 

5) Red armour should have a shine on the surface, not towards the edges, so effectively gloss, as opposed to matte.

6) Blood drops & gems blue + Purple. 

7) Black details, contrasting black armour plates, black flame details.

8) Latin & Italian Names - still frequently seen in BA armies, but things these days are usually trending towards the greek, and even then more common in ultramarine armies.

9) Be mindful of painting Powerfists & Gun casings in yellow - like the second edition box cover. 

10) Detailed personal heraldry & squad markings

11) All blood angels hair BONE WHITE, not blonde, and Black.”

Although it is fair to say that the latest incarnation of the Blood Angels really indulges the romanesque aspects of their character, I would argue that their initial, and strongest, influence comes from renaissance art.

I've been rooting around for a apt summarisation of the Renaissance movement, this is the best I could find:

"The Italian Renaissance had placed human beings once more in the centre of life's stage and infused thought and art with humanistic values. In time the stimulating ideas current in Italy spread to other areas and combined with indigenous developments to produce a French Renaissance, an English Renaissance, and so on.

The term Renaissance, literally means "rebirth" and is the period in European civilisation immediately following the Middle Ages, conventionally held to have been characterised by a surge of interest in classical learning and values. The Renaissance also witnessed the discovery and exploration of new continents, the substitution of the Copernican for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the decline of the feudal system and the growth of commerce, and the invention or application of such potentially powerful innovations as paper, printing, the mariner's compass, and gunpowder. To the scholars and thinkers of the day, however, it was primarily a time of the revival of classical learning and wisdom after a long period of cultural decline and stagnation."

Dante, the Chapter master and writer of the Inferno, Erasmus (possibly inspired by Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, a Dutch Renaissance humanist) Tycho (possibly Tycho Brahe, astronomer), and supporting fluff that claims the Blood Angels armour is amongst the most finely crafted pieces in the universe; all these details reflect enlightenment ideals. In fluff terms, the Blood Angels still embody some of the humanistic principles, and optimism of the Great Crusade. To boil it right down, you have to be a bit of a romantic to play Blood Angels and enjoy painting red. 


Project update. The test model has gone well and I have my red. Painting en masse has begun. The next article will focus in on how I painted this red with step by step pictures. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

My first bust from Infamy's excellent range of miniatures. I wanted to riff the mad hatter vibe so I bought playing cards from eBy with these amazing images on. And I burnt them. 

I wanted a darker vibe with this miniature so I used the notes written by Grant Morrison in the back of Arkham Asylum concerning the Mad Hatter. I painted the irises in different colours with a purple undertone to the flesh, as if the blood weren't quite a healthy red. The more I painted it the more it resembled Arsene Wenger! But with a parrot and a capuchin! 

Paints used: Vallejo, Reaper Master Series, Games Workshop Washes, Com Art Medea Airbrush
Paint Brushes: Rosemary & Co. Raphael 8040, Broken Toad Brushes

Thursday, 23 July 2015

These models were part of the Kislev war band that was released through the Fanatic magazine. A rare treat of a commission for a wonderful set of miniatures. 

Paints used: Vallejo, Reaper Master Series, Games Workshop Washes, Com Art Medea Airbrush
Paint Brushes: Rosemary & Co. Raphael 8040, Broken Toad Brushes

Monday, 20 July 2015

Post 3: The Economics of Empire

Scrolling through the Forgeworld website and adding stuff to the cart is one of my internet sins (although not the worst if you talk to my web browser…). 

I’ll just add a Sicaran to the order, and a contemptor - every legion needs a contemptor and I must order a few arms for him so I can magentise them and swap them around game to game…and maybe a legion praetor to treat myself. Oh, if I add a set of shoulder pads I qualify for free shipping. Again. 

It’s no secret that Forgeworld goods are a luxury niche item. You can make the argument that scuba diving is a much more expensive hobby, or that golf course fees alone would cover the cost of several legions, but it doesn’t hurt any less when click that buy button. Where to start is a big question that many people stumble over when they first consider taking the plunge into a Heresy collection. You don’t want to spend several hundred pounds on miniatures that you would only feasibly use in apocalypse games, or be sequestered to the draw once your legion finally gets its upgrade packs and rules. There are a few simple guidelines you can follow to help you over this hump and make your first purchase. 

1) Analyse your intentions. 

What is the primary reason for buying this force? There are probably multiple but it helps sharpen your reason if you just choose the one. Are you buying this force to play with? Do you have an active gaming club in your area that you would like to introduce to Heresy? If so write a list (around 2k points that can scale down to 1500 ideally) and start buying toward that. Do you wish to recreate a specific moment in the Heresy? The mass assault of the Empreror’s children on the Laern home world, or the spear tip of the Luna wolves make excellent themes. Thankfully the rules have been written to make such ‘historical’ list competitive in play so you will not feel like you have sold stymied your chances of winning in game. Do you just like the models and want some cool frigging miniatures? Then go buy that super model - if you save up during the month even a minimum wage income will be sufficient to buy these. 

2) Plan a budget and save. 

The Age of Darkness podcast have an excellent episode where they budget out a 2,500 point force and whatever advise I give here would be a reiteration of that. It’s episode 5 - go check it out. 

And there's always pride of the Legion. A couple of Terminators squads, a Land Raider and a Primarch will give you a cheap force that will get you gaming quickly. 

3) If my legion hasn’t been released, keep it simple. 

One of the major barriers to entry is that your preferred legion has not been released yet. How disparaging would it be to paint up 20 tactical marines only for Forgeworld to release an awesome shoulder pad with legion iconography? Well every legion runs tactical squads. Every Legion has multiple heavy support options (even those with limited amounts of super heavies will have at least some. So, keep it simple. Buy yourself a tactical squad in a rhino with a commander to lead the force. Buy a land raider and some terminators. These units are ubiquitous and will be used in some capacity in your collection even if their role becomes limited later on. 

Thankfully Forgeworld are releasing rules of the remaining legions (save space wolves and Thousand sons) by the end of the year so you will have a clearer idea of what you would like to include in your force. 

4) Don’t be afraid of what Forgeworld may release in the future. 

Across the legions there are a myriad of different fighting formations and warrior clans. If you have a cool idea for a conversion in your head - do it. For example I have the idea that Sanguinary guard operate in a very different way in the Heresy. In my minds eye I imagine them to be mobile breachers, using shields to get in close to lacerate their foes with short encarmine blades. If the rules do not reflect this once the rules set is released - no big deal. I’ll adapt them and use them as something else. 

So with the best of intentions I start buying. As a Blood Angel player I can expect the list to reflect the IX love of swift assaults on enemy positions. But I wish to theme the force as if it were fighting on the ramparts of terra. So my first purchase is a good trusty unit of 20 Tactical Space Marines armed with bolters. I mix the armour marks to represent that supply lines to loyalist forces have been cut a long time ago, and older marks of armour as well as the infamous mark V, have been pressed into front line service. I have also assembled the marines to have mixed armour to show that they have had to scavenge  the battlefield for working copies of battle damages plates.

Knowing that these marines will be on Terra I make the decision to model the bases with fallen masonry, statues and destroyed architecture. The phrase “The final battle of mankind is fought across the million, million statues of Empire” has stuck with me, and I’d like to go about representing it. 

My second purchase is a Legion Champion, which handily comes with a master of Signals. These purchases with form the corner stone of any legion force and will let me play small engagements, or Zone Mortalis. 

“Per sanguinem angelus"

Sunday, 19 July 2015

A Collection of Horus Heresy characters I have painted. The character series offers the opportunity to refine some techniques. The Alpha Legion armour was particularly difficult to produce a strong contrast with metallic paints and washes. 

Abaddon and Loken still remain one of my favourite pieces prodcued by Forge World and seeing Sevetar in model form is an absolute treat. Roll on Argel Tal!

Paints used: Vallejo, Reaper Master Series, Games Workshop Washes, Com Art Medea Airbrush
Paint Brushes: Rosemary & Co. Raphael 8040, Broken Toad Brushes

Thursday, 16 July 2015

He is handsome, in a plain way. He is handsome the way a regent on an old coin is handsome, like a good sword is handsome. He is not handsome like a ritual weapon, the way Fulgrim is. He is not angelic, like Sanguinius...
There is a dutiful line to his jaw, like his good brother Dorn. They share a nobility. There is the great strength of Ferrus and the vitality of Mortarion. There is, sometimes, the rogue glint of the Khan in his eyes, or the solemnity of the Lion. In the architecture of his nose and brow there is, many claim, the energy and triumph of Horus Lupercal. There is none of the bitterness that shadows Corax, or the persecuted despair that haunts poor Konrad. There is never any of the deliberate mystery that obscures Alpharius or Magnus and he is more open than that buried soul Vulkan... He never displays the pitch of fury found in Angron, nor do his eyes ever ignite with the psychotic gleam of Russ...
He is a high achiever. He knows this about himself. Sometimes it feels like a fault that he has to excuse to his brothers, but then he feels guilty for making excuses... He writes a great deal. He codifies everything. Information is power. Technical theory is victory... He uses a stylus by choice, recording in his own handwriting.
He has been writing notes on T'Vanti war practices for seventeen minutes, but he has still noted and marked fifteen hundred data bulletins and updates that have tracked across the secondary screens to his left. He sees and reconciles everything. Information is victory.[8a]

Paints used: Vallejo, Reaper Master Series, Games Workshop Washes, Com Art Medea Airbrush
Paint Brushes: Rosemary & Co. Raphael 8040, Broken Toad Brushes

Friday, 10 July 2015

Collecting a Heresy Blood Angel force proves a problem as the imagery we know of this Legion is deeply entrenched in the 41st millennium. Death Company, Sanguinary priests, Chaplains, Black and red Saltires - all hallmarks of post Heresy Blood Angels. We know very little on how the Legion was organised, how it deployed, fought or looked during the Great Crusade. ‘Fear to Tread’ offers few details to chapter disposition and legions markings. Do assault marines wear yellow helmets, or is that a condition of the reforms instituted by the index Astartes? Beyond Sanguinary Guard what formations existed in the Legion? What role did Sanguinary priests (were they called this) play in the Legion?  

You can either see this as a problem - that the legion of your choice is unsupported and that any collection you build now will have to be rebuilt once they do get done - or you can see it as an opportunity. Crisiunity!

With the decision made to go with the Blood Angels it was time to look around for source material. Visions of Heresy is a fantastic resource for Pre-Heresy and Heresy era armies. Images of Blood Angels are rather sparse. The 2nd edition Angels of Death Codex is a constant source of inspiration as well as the gold mine that is the 2nd edition source book. Aaron Dembski Bowden has built a career from this thing and god bless him for doing so. Ah memories. 

This blog post is to outline all the interesting images and visual images I’ve found to inspire the look of the force. 

As a forerunner to the collection i’ve knocked together a couple of tester mini’s. I’m trying to hit the mark between Angels and Monsters - playing with angelic iconography and the savagery of the siege of terra.