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Project Blog by dawfydd

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About the Project

A log for my progress returning to 40K after noping out at the end of 5th but subsequently being drawn back in my 8th edition. The plan is for this to cover how I am re-purposing old armies that never went anywhere, finding better ways to paint mass armies,making units stand out via conversions & kitbashing, and coming up with forces that are fluffy & cool, rather than game breaking. (And I should point out, a good portion of this will essentially be recapping my progress since beginning this project in the months before 40k 8th Edition landed, up to the present day before it becomes a more standard blog updating as progress is made)

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Silent Sisters of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica

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Taking a break from the Wolves and dipping back into the Burning of Prospero box, thought the Sisters of Silence would be a nice change and a chance to try painting gold armour that was distinct from that of the Custodes, with more of an aged look to it,  so put together a squad of greatsword-armed Vigilators.

Silent Sisters of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica

So the steps here were:

  • Prime Chaos Black
  • armour – Balthazar Gold
  • skin – Pallid Wytch Flesh
  • gauntlets – Mephiston Red (a shout out to the old look of the sisters from the Horus Heresy art books)
  • cloak – Xerus Purple
  • sword hilts – Screamer Pink
  • Wash the whole model with Druichi Violet
Silent Sisters of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica

and then to finish up:

  • skin – layer Pallid Wych Flesh, leaving the wash in the deepest recesses
  • armour – highlight with Hashut Copper
  • gauntlets – layer over with Mephiston Red
  • fur – Celestra Grey drybrushed with White Scar
  • gemstones – Waystone Green over Stormhost Silver
  • sword pommels & crossguards – Retributer Armour drybrushed with Auric Armour
  • sword blades – Leadbelcher washed with Nuln Oil, highlighted with Runefang

Later I also did a squad of Witchfinders – who doesn’t dig a whole squad of Flamers? I do want to add a squad of Bolter-armed Prosecuters,  and eventually bump all 3 units up to be 10-woman strong.Would be nice if they got a 40k HQ unit though…..

Silent Sisters of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica

Cool heads and brash youths

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So the Space Wolves have 2 troops choices that differ- much like the rest of their organisation – significantly from those of Codex Chapters:

Instead of putting new recruits into a Scout company they are instead put straight into the ranks of the Bloodclaws, so they can focus the more headstrong tendancies of the Canis Helix that would be unsuited for scouting operations but make excellent assault troops. Equally this is where the Space Wolves draw their biker and jump pack troops from (Swiftclaws & Skyclaws respectively) as the more seasoned members of the chapter know better. Interestingly all 3 unit types can be taken in packs of up to 15 which offers enticing possibilities of powered armour blobs…

After a few years amongst the ‘Claws a Space Wolf will gain promotion to the Grey Hunters, steadfast warriors that make up the Chapters core line infantry, so named as most have more than a few grey hairs. They lack the heavy weapons of Codex Tactical squads, but can take an extra special weapon instead, as well as being able to take chainswords for extra “ooomph” in close combat.

As a starting point we’ll go for one pack each of 10:

Blood ClawsBlood Claws
Grey HuntersGrey Hunters

Lets add a small pack of Skyclaws as well, and we also wanted some characters, so Lukas the Trickster is a fluffy and anarchic choice, a Wolf Priest to combine  the buffs of an Apothecary and Chaplain, and a Wolf Guard Pack Leader for the Skyclaws…

Cool heads and brash youths

Painting went much as with the Wolf Scouts – prime with AP Wolf Grey, block in the details, wash with Aggrax.

Worth spending a bit of time on the characters for a minute.

Lukas and the WGPL’s Frost weapons were based Magragge Blue, highlighted with Hoeth Blue then washed with Guilleman Blue, followed by a heavy drybrush of White Scar once the wash had dried

…Whilst the Wolf Priest’s distinctive black armour was a 50/50 mix of Abaddon Black & Storm Vermin Fur, then a layer with more Storm Vermin added (approx 25/75), before the armour was washed with GW’s old Black Ink.


the Blackmanes so far....the Blackmanes so far....

Getting Vylka Fenryka on....

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One of the units that I’ve been drawn to in the Space Wolf list as they’ve gotten refined over the years was the idea of Wolf Scouts. The whole idea that the Wolves don’t deploy their Neophytes as Scout units, no they put them straight into power armour, give’em a bolt pistol & chainsword, point them at the enemy and say “Have at it!”. Instead the Wolf Scouts are an elite fraternity where the chapter diverts all its warriors who prefer to operate alone with a relish for the hunt and generally like being stealthy sods.

(Seriously, how bad-ass does that look. And the 3 metal Scout Sgts GW put out back in the day brilliantly mirrored this aesthetic)(Seriously, how bad-ass does that look. And the 3 metal Scout Sgts GW put out back in the day brilliantly mirrored this aesthetic)

My only problem has been the models never really meshed with the image that was being put out – the Rogue Trader-era Scouts that were available when the 2nd Ed Codex hit were from the “Mohawks & Puffed-Shirts” phase, although the three bespoke Sergeant models were (and remain to this day) pretty boss, clearly wearing a stripped down power armour. The metal Space Marine Scouts that came out later during 2nd Ed were great, but waaay to clean cut for sons of Fenris, and then the 2 dedicated releases they got for the 3rd and 4th ed Codexes were… interesting? I guess?

Anyhoo, the plastic Space Wolf Pack kit was pretty jammed as GW rammed on several bespoke Wolf Scout heads and other bits that are actually pretty decent for the time, but they still lacked something to my mind. BUT, back when I was on a bit of a tear building Wolves even if not painting the beggars, I saw someone mention that the Chaos Marauders and Marauder horsemen kits were a great source for kit-bashing suitably grizzled Wolf Scouts. Que the plastic!!


Sol there was a lot of fun in building these guys. I’m especially fond of eye-patch dude blazing away with his ready to draw his knife, matey-boy with the axe over his shoulder, and then the sneaky-sneaky stealth-man giving the “move up” signal behind him to the rest of the pack. Did have to get a bit creative as some of the longer moustaches & beards were never intended to mesh with the front of the scout armour….

Oh, and also got to thinking about Wolf Guard Pack Leaders, and figured Greigor Fellhand from the Propsero box would look perfect amongst this band of hard-bitten killers, and be jove he rather does 🙂

(one point ref loadouts – I should probably have gone with something more optimised than bolt-pistols and knifes, but maybe I’ll return to build some more packs at a later date????)


So painting went fairly swimmingly:

  • Primed with Army Painter Wolf Grey spray primer, touched up with the Warpaint.
  • Blocked in the details then washed with Aggrax Earthshade
  • Then went over the weapons with Leadbelcher and washed with Nuln Oil, with some Abbadon Black, Mephiston Red and Averland Sunset for weapon cases.


Now, the WGPL took a couple of changes as I struggled initially to get Greigor painted up, but eventually he did come together:


But in the time between finishing the Scouts and finishing Mr. Fell-hand, I managed to pickup a bit of a rarity off of Ye Olde EvilBay – the classic Wolf Scout Sergeant with Powersword. So,  bit of a re-ji to the Force Org. This chap gets to takeover as WGPL for the Wolf Scouts, whilst Greigor gets a promotion to stand in as a Wolf Guard Battle Leader…..

Right, so that’s the grim hunters sorted, I think we’ll delve into the Troops options for the Wolves a bit next, and some characters….

25 years old and still a bad-ass sculpt....25 years old and still a bad-ass sculpt....

Golden Boys

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So whilst I was working on the Wolves I  was also getting a squad of Custodian Guard built and painted after picking up the Prospero box. now this was before the Custodes Codex was released, so was not exactly optimized going for squad of 5 all armed with Guardian Spears. It was really more of a painting challenge due to the amount of gold and the novelty of painting miniatures I had NEVER expected to get models, let alone a jam-packed plastic kit.

Golden Boys

So as I mentioned in an earlier post these were primed with Army Painter Leather Brown as I wanted a warm base for the golds to build on.  I left the Guardian Spears for the time being and applied Retributer Armour on the armour, a mix of Rhinox Hide & Abbadon Black to any areas of leather and Mephiston Red on the plume & tassels.



Golden Boys

Next, an all-over wash of Reikland Fleshshade. Its rudddy tone is reat a t keeping that lustous sheen you want in the sort of heroic golden warriors the Custodes are exemplifying.


Golden Boys

Couple of things to note at this stage:

  • The red inlay on the shoulder pads is Forge Worlds now discontinued Angron Red airbrush paint. A “candy” colour it’s been applied here using a regular paintbrush, using about 5 coats. Initially it didn’t look too impressive but for each subsequent coat that colour became deeper & more vibrant.
  • The face plates were painted with Army Painter Plate Mail followed by a light wash of Nuln Oil.
  • The armour seals at the joints were painted with another FW paint, Corvus Black, and again washed with Nuln Oil.
  • The spears began to get some colour. The main thing here was the blades as I wanted something different but wasn;t sure how to get an energy effect I liked, so for the time being they were painted Sotek Green.


Golden Boys

Spears done (barring the blades) and the bases have had a decent layer of Stirland Battlemire applied – this has become the unifying feature of my various Imperial forces, meaning I will need to rebase some 200 Guardsmen at some point O_o


Golden Boys

And (for now) that’s this squad of Custodes done. The bases have had a drybrush of Skrag Brown, then the rims painted with XV-88, the eye lenses are picked out with Waystone Green whilst the gemstones on the armour are Soulstone Blue, and there the armour has had a light highlight of Auric Gold.

Overall I was very happy with how these turned out. In stature and the amount of detail Custodes really do stand out.

Next up – from a unit that screams “I am here!” in bright shining gold, to the sneaky covert hunters of Fenris……

A bit of context

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I should probably have mentioned what theme I’m going for with the Blackmanes, and really it’s all about the original shortstory that was presented in White Dwarf, written by Bill King, that depicted Ragnar Blackmane leading a massed drop-pod assault of his Great Company on a Tyranid swarm, so the intent was for this force to deploy entirely via drop-pod and the only vehicles being Dreadnoughts in the FW pods. Now the changes to Deep Strike in the year since 8th released have somewhat put a kibosh on  that idea, but something still appeals about a footslogging force of Wolves (I mean it helps that you can get Blood Claws in packs up to 15….) with some units in pods coming down later.

Right, so this is the Blackmanes as I initially had them, after priming but before painting. A bit of rejigging has led to it consisting of 3 packs of Grey Hunters, 2 packs of Blood Claws, 1 pack of Long Fangs, 10 Wolf Guard Terminators, 10 Wolf Scouts, 7  Wolf Guard in power armour, Ragnar, Njiall Stormcaller, and the other company command.

A note on  the packs – some of these are purely built from the Space Wolf pack kit, but more are amalgamations of parts from several other Marine kits with a dash of Wolfy-ness for flavour. Some of these go back to the original 3rd Edition kits, then there are elements of the Chaos Space Marine and Khorne Berserker kits in there as that more rough & ready, archaic look works well for the Wolves, especially if your trying to do a squad with a bit of history behind it. And there is no greenstuff on any of these, at most there are some weapon swaps and on some of the more obviously Chaos-y pieces of detailing have either been filed down or covered over (plates from the Mordheim Middenheimer sprue were really good for that). Moral of this story? No bits ever go unused, and it’s surprising what you can find browsing parts sites and Ebay for spare lots…..

The Young King's Court

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So this project is going to ramble a bit as we jump around to avoid getting burnt out painting the same colour schemes over & over again, but to start with let’s take a look at scions of Fenris, going back to basics as the Great Company of Ragnar Blackmane (note I did consider going back to my 3rd edition army which was a take on Erik Morkai’s Great Company, but A/ I wasn’t too fussed on the model I had converted up when contemplating returning to them and B/ I was digging the idea of returning to the first special character I ever brought but updating him).


I might try to revisit this conversion a ta later date, but man that Chaos Lord was smaller than I expected him to be....I might try to revisit this conversion a ta later date, but man that Chaos Lord was smaller than I expected him to be....

First step was seeing what was already built from the last time I was bitten by the bug of the Canis Helix. In this case (apart from the aforementioned Wolf Lord conversion) there were a trio of metal characters (the Wolf Guard with Lightning Claws pictured on the right above), the old Gamesday Wolf Priest (why didn’t this ever get a wider release again?) and the Rune Priest with Force Axe, a pack of Wolf Guard Teminators (where sadly the Asssault Cannon-wielding member can no longer be split off to act as a Pack Leader for Grey Hunters 🙁 ), and a heavily kit-bashed pack of Wolf Scouts, constructed from the Scout kit with liberal application of parts from the Chaos Marauder Horsemen kit and various Space Wolf parts

Next up I wanted to see what I could come up with for Ragnar himself. now the standard model was great in it’s day. Sadly that day was 25 years ago and by todays standards is woefully lacking, even when looked at in comparison to the Astartes characters who remain from 2nd Edition 40k (your Dante’s, Abbadons, Biles and the like). Thankfully GW sseem to have anticipated this to some extent, as the current Space Wolf upgrade sprue includes exactly the Frostblade chainsword that is so characteristic of Ragnars design, and the wonderfully dynamic Krom Dragongaze model features a number of elements that echo his fellow Wolf Lord, so that converting a decent stand-in for Ragnar requires a fairly minimal amount of work – swap the Frost Axe for the Frostblade, a head from the Grey Hunter kit for the distinctive topknot (although not as impressive ass it is typically depicted) and a different back-pack (one note I did consider going for the distinctive twin standards but on bast form they have just been a pair of blank banner poles…).

Now there are some things that will be changed during the painting stage, but overall not a bad take I feel at this point.

The Young King's Court

But these need a solid core work around. Well the Wolves are fortunate to have two of the most effective and flavourful Troops options in the game – steadfast Grey Hunters and hot-headed Blood Claws, with fire support from Long Fangs. Now this is what I had from bits I had ben building over the years – 3 packs of Grey Hunters, Greigor Fellhand to act as a Wolf Guard Pack Leader for the Wolf Scouts, and what was a single pack of Blood Claws, but some changes to their weapon options mean the Power Axe and Power Fists will need splitting off


The Young King's Court

For now though this is how  they looked all primed up. In amongst here there are some additional Wolf Guard in power armour, both to serve as WGPL’s and as a unit in their own right, and at the back some primed up Grey Knights and Custodian Guards.

One thing I wanted to make use of in  this project  was coloured primers to try and save time on the painting side as i’d  found the Army Painter range a boon when I was painting up my Infinity forces. inthis case I’ve primed all ofthe Wolves – even the Wolf Priest – in Wolf Grey, the Grey Knights in GW Chaos Black, and the  Custodians with AP Leather Brown to give the gold of their armour a warmer base (but we’ll come back to that later…).


Ok, so these were my test models for the Space Wolves; 2 Blood Claws both painted exactly the same way the none hit with a wash of Nuln Oil and the other with a wash of Agrax Earthshade. Overall I felt that the Nuln came out much harsher whilst the Agrax better complemented the reds & yellows that form so much of the incidental spot colouring on the Wolves.

For now though we’ll call this a wrap. When we return we’ll take a closer look at the Packs from this initial build, have a chat about kit bashing Wolves (and marines in general) and how a pack goes from primed to ready for the tabletop.


Astartes Astartes Everywhere....

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So, after looking at things the forces to build on fall into some broad categories:

Imperial Guard  (nope, never heard of those Astra Militarum chaps….)

  • Jungle Fighters – my old all-plastic Catachan army, built back when there were no plastic heavy weapon kits or plastic special weapons so everything was a conversion or kitbash from Mordeheim & Necromunda bits. Has potential but the paint job shows its age and I’d like to redo it to incorporate Straken & Harker. That means a lot of paint-stripping in the future….
  • Cadians – 2 flavours here as there is the old patrol platoon built using the metal Cadians, and the platoon built out of the plastic kits but only partly finished. Perhaps reassess the whether to carry on with the paint job as it stands? Again there may be some paint stripping in the future but there are also some 50 Cadians unbuilt lying around
  • Stormtroopers – 40-odd of the old metal Kasrkin plus the FW tank commander. More than enough for a Militarum Tempustus detachment in their own right.
  • Command – Kincaid obviously, but I’ve Yarrick and nork around here in metal, as well as a smattering of Commissars of various vintages plus Platoon Commanders and Regimental Advisors.

Space Marines

  • Space Wolves – An army I’ve dabbled in going right back to their release at the tail end of Rogue Trader, up to several packs built for the 4th Ed Codex release but never painted, and a load of sprues picked up over the years. Combo-ing up with regular Marine kits will make the Wolfy bits go a lot further. I quite fancy taking another swing at the Blackmane Great Company, including their Titualr namesake himself, he of the oldest model still available for general purchase, Ragnar Blackmane, with a suitably heroic conversion.
  • Crimson Fists – once upon a time I had it in mind to do a Rynn’s World Veterans force led by Pedro Kantor himself at the head of a force comprised of Sternguard & Vanguard vets with mainly Scouts. Given the fluff the Dark Imperium Primaris kits will thematically fit in neatly here, and will probably bash up a few regular squads of Marines as well.
  • Raptors – parts of squads left over from another early 00’s tournament army. Still on 25mm bases and I think I could paint them better. Alternatively they would provide bodies to bulk out another force. Paint stripping again perhaps?
  • Raven Guard – The last 40k minis I painted in 2008, intended to be Shrikes company (including the man himself) prior to his more recent promotion.
  • Deathwatch – Lots of opportunity for kitbashing Marines from a variety of Chapters.
  • Other Chapters? – There’s enough Chapter-specific bits for at least a patrol detachment of each for the Dark and Blood Angels, and I’ll  admit I dig the idea of fielding competing Space Wolf and Dark Angels detachments. I’ve also got it in mind to build a small detachment where each squad is drawn from a different Chapter, harking back to the lore where seeing massed Astartes on the field was rare, and Crusades were often lucky to get a full squad from any one Chapter except in the direst circumstances. If nothing else it would present a fun painting project….

Knight Houses

  • That renegade box was too good value to turn down….

Adeptus  Mechanicus

  • A Techpriest explorator and his Skitarii/Servitor bodyguard should make a fun diversion. Maybe some robots?

Talons of the Emperor

  • Custodes – 2 boxes can make a HQ plus 3 troops. It’s a starting point.
  • Sisters of Silence – 1 each of the three squad types should offer a decent choice for allies, at least until they get a HQ of their own….

Imperial Agents

  • At least 4 inquisitors – 2 painted from the old armies and 2 of the more recent versions.
  • Enough random Imperial dudes to make some interesting looking retinues.
  • Assassins – Eversor, Vindicare, Callidus. Just need a Culexus (Although these are metal. Perhaps upgrade to the plastics?)

Woof. That’s a list and a half. Effectively here we are talking 10 (!!) distinct forces, potentially occupying more than one detachment each. This may be more involved than I thought,  and mean painting a LOT of power armour….


The Muster

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Something that always intrigued me about the 40k setting were the idea of massed Crusades assembled by the Imperium of Man and their composition. From The Great Crusade to The Indomitus Crusade, by way of The Scouring, The Machirus Crusade, The Sabbat Worlds and various other campaigns in between, huge amalgamations of manpower and resources gathered to wage singular war against the enemies of Man, organised at the behest of The High Lords of Terra and placed under the auspices of one leader, granted the title of Lord Commander or – more rarely – Warmaster.

So as a justification for finally getting through some of my backlog of 40k miniatures collected over the last 25 years, and updating some older pieces to a more modern style, I figure putting them under the auspices of a crusade within the Dark Imperium gives plenty of fluff justification for the varied forces that are getting mustered.

So that’s a pretty varied cross-section right there, with a fair old bit not pictured; Imperial Guard, Space Marinesof varying stripes, Inquisitors and Ecclesiarchy. Wouldn’t take much to add in some Mechanicus, Knights, and Custodes for flavour.

But every Crusade needs a leader, so let’s go with this chap:

Brigadier Mackenzie DugganBrigadier Mackenzie Duggan

I always liked the Creed model but when I was building my own force using the Cadian range I wanted to make him stand out in some way, and a bit of greenstuff to add a big old bushy mustache did the trick nicely to create Brigadier-General MacKenzie Duggan, “The Brig” to his troops, the 97th Askarian Rangers.

As the mortal face of this force  he should more than suffice  (for now)

But what forces are at his disposal?

That needs a little more thought….