- 10 Sep 2019
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The noble Ultramarines remained loyal to the Emperor throughout the Horus Heresy and fought in some of the war’s most brutal conflicts. Today Adam Trpcevski takes us through how he built up his legion as a bulwark against the traitors.
Ever since I picked up Codex: Ultramarines in the second edition of Warhammer 40,000 they’ve been my favourite loyalist Chapter.* Their blue colour scheme is instantly iconic, and it looks great on the tabletop.
Even though I already own a huge Ultramarines army for Warhammer 40,000, The Horus Heresy gave me new and interesting ways to reimagine them on a completely different scale and during a different time period. This has proved to be a refreshing challenge and has offered a new level of immersion into both the story and my own hobby.
From the moment I opened Horus Heresy Book V: Tempest and saw the rules for the Ultramarines, I was hooked. Here is a play style I really enjoy – a game based on tactical decision making by using all your units to full effect with a ‘teamwork’ mantra.** I also spent a LOT of time poring over the amazing Ultramarines artwork in Tempest, which I used to inspire the look of my army.
I wanted to break up the blue paint scheme with another colour that would both look good and also feel classically ‘Heresy’. I ended up choosing a stony grey colour which offered a more militarised aesthetic, which I thought would be fitting for the large-scale Legions of the time. I also added a subtle wink to previous editions of Warhammer 40,000 with the coloured lascannon barrels.
To reflect the brutal nature of warfare during the Age of Darkness, I made sure to add weathering to my models – I find this an extremely fun process, which can really make the miniatures come to life. I used some old pieces of figure case foam dipped in some Rhinox Hide for the chips and some oil paints for the rust and oil streaks. I also added some weathering powders to the bases and boots for the final effect. I chose a reddish, dying earth colour to represent the battered surface of Calth, which complemented the blue armour.
In an effort to push this force in a more unique direction, I took the time to make each Legionary a distinct soldier in their own right. This was a time before the strict Codex Astartes was written, so my Ultramarines have taken a more casual approach to decorating their armour, with a selection of grey armour panels or individual detailing on their trim to set them apart as individuals.
There are a number of subtle conversions across the entire army. For example, my Contemptor Dreadnoughts are a mixture of parts from the Relic, Imperial Fists and Death Guard Contemptors in order to create distinctive models.
One of my favourite conversions is the Praetor wearing Cataphractii Terminator armour. He’s armed with a thunder hammer and equipped with a boarding shield, purely because it looks cool! He’s mostly based around the Asterion Moloc model.
Being inspired by Ultramarines forces from old codexes meant that I definitely needed to add a Thunderhawk! I really like the silhouette of the Fire Raptor and I wanted to bring the Thunderhawk more in line with its smaller cousin. This required a considerable amount of heavy conversion work. I scratch-built a new tail, guiding fins and armour plating with plasticard, and inset two ball-turrets from the Fire Raptor – I’ve dubbed it the ‘Hades-pattern’ Thunderhawk.
No army in The Horus Heresy is truly complete without a Primarch to lead them! I started with the awesome model from the Horus Heresy Character Series but replaced the head with that of the Warhammer 40,000 Roboute Guilliman model. For me, this head perfectly captures the traits of this noble leader. The model also offered a great painting challenge where I tried to push my blending techniques.
I’m really happy with how the army has turned out and I would love to add more units to it, including a heavy boarding action force – think loads of Invictarus Suzerains, supported by Praetorian Breachers armed with power swords. Right now I’ve been distracted by another Heresy army though – the Thousand Sons! I just couldn’t resist the tempting whispers of Tzeentch as Magnus draws ever closer to the Siege of Terra!
Thanks, Adam. Although we’re not sure how Roboute will feel about you turning Traitor! Theoretical: you want to start your own army for The Horus Heresy. Practical: grab a squad of Mark III Space Marines – they’re ideal whether you want to begin a Loyalist or Traitor force.
* Way back in 1995 – Ordo Chronos
** Practical: Teamwork makes the dream work.