February 26, 2013

Rogue Trader - Ultramarines

One of the first wargames I ever bought (after Operation Warboard by Gavin Lyall and Charge! by Brig. P. Young and Lt.Col. J. P. Lawford) was Warhammer 40k - Rogue Trader. Along with White Dwarf magazine, this book was the one that really started my focus on painting models. I had painted Dungeons & Dragons minis in the 80's and some 1:72 WW2 stuff even before that, but the concept of collecting an ARMY and moving beyond simple base coats was spurred on by the photos in this book and the subsequent Warhammer 40k - Chapter Approved that introduced the earliest army lists for the game. 

Anyway, recently my brother came across all of the models I had from that era. Some have been lost, sold on e-bay, and a few take the field in my brother's Eldar army, but there is still a substantial collection. There has been a renaissance of collecting and painting Rogue Trader era minis (see some of the blog links to the left) and I carrying on the tradition I started last year of painting models I already own I decided to mix in some of these old minis among the other projects I have planned for this year.

Of course, I HAVE to start with Space Marines. I have two tactical squads, an assault squad, and a squad of terminators plus some extra marine troopers and characters and a couple of vehicles in the form of an original Rhino kit (still on the sprue) and a Dreadnought. This would have been a substantial force using the 1st or 2nd edition lists - well over 2000 points, but by modern standards is probably closer to half of that. I am actually going to paint without regard to point values as I haven't decided what version of the game to use them with. I may just go old school and simply throw models on the table without regard for lists or points at all. Besides the Space Marines, I have an equally large collection of the original Chaos Space Marines (including a Dreadnought), sixty or seventy Orks, a small group of Genestealers and Genestealer Cult hybrids, and a large assortment of pirates, mercenaries, and various Imperial characters like Inquisitors, Sanctioned Psykers, and Adeptus Mechanicus Priests. I'm going to come up with some sort of narrative campaign that allows me to field various combinations of all of these!

Back to the Space Marines. I had to decide which chapter to paint. My initial instinct was to go with Crimson Fists who are on the cover of the Rogue Trader book, but I already have an army of those.

I definitely wanted it to be one of the chapters from the original book. Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, and White Scars are also iconic and featured more than once in the early books, but in the end I decided to go with maybe the MOST iconic of the Chapters - The Ultramarines. The others have either evolved beyond the concept of the original models (like the Space Wolves) or doctrine of models I have available (like the White Scars). Besides I have always liked the bad pun of the Ultra-Marines (they have to be the best, they're Ultra) and in all the years I have been collection 40k stuff I have never painted an Ultramarine!

Finally after all of the long winded prattle, here is the first of my Rogue Trader Space Marines...

The classic artwork is filled with images of individualized embellishments to the Space Marine armor. In fact, in the Chapter Approved painting section (Battle Colours)  this is canonized by the story of Jon Blanchisan which relates 'the need for personalized iconography on all forms of armour and equipment.' I intend to take full advantage of that with these models and the model above sports a 'KIL KIL' slogan on his shoulder pad, a popular addition among the Adeptus Astartes.

There is no set schedule for this project, but there will always be some of these classic models on my table amid the mix of more modern 40k, Warfare Miniatures, AWI, and whatever else draws my attention. I'll post pics whenever I finish something new...


  1. Great paint job, especially considering how much more primitive those sculpts are, as well as smaller.

    1. They are challenging in some ways but on the plus side the details are very deep, making it easy to paint things like the lenses in the helmet. They also lack some of the intricate patterns found on the armor of the new sculpts which makes them wicked fast to add on the edge highlights!

      Lots more to come...