Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Guest post: Ultramarines suck and you should feel bad for liking them.

By Gravitas   Posted at  09:32   painting 6 comments

Well no, not really. But for the longest time, the Ultramarines were the boring chapter. While other Space Marines were also Space Vikings, Space Werewolves, Space Huns, and Space ... Crusaders, the boys in blue were.. well, they were blue. They were that straight-laced cop who played by the rules, the one that the sassy partner would team up with in any 80s buddy-cop movie.

GW has done a pretty good job of changing that by playing up the Roman heraldry, as well as the earlier (and not as successful IMO) attempt at flavour via the brutal struggle with Hive Fleet Behemoth, but they're still very much the template marine chapter, just with more bling. Which is fine I guess. Not everyone can be a fantastic-cliche-in-space. Someone has to be the boring one.

And it's totally the Ultramarines.*

So to offset the tide of (very well painted) blue yawn-armor on this blog, I'll occasionally be making posts that have nothing to do with Ultramarines or Warhammer 40,000, though they will still be painting/modeling articles.

However, as a show of goodwill, I'll make my first post Ultramarine related. Late last year a friend invited me to play in an online game of the Deathwatch pen-and-paper RPG. I decided to play an Ultramarine, as a challenge to see if I could make an interesting character without the crutch of X-IN SPACE to lean on. Thus was born Quintus Naevius Valens, the ambitious assault marine, veteran of the Tyrannic wars, with a charasmatic smile and a tendancy to leap before looking.

Of course, being a huge nerd, I had to then assemble and paint the perfect figure to represent him.

From the start, I wanted to ensure that Quintus was still recognisable as an Ultramarine even while wearing the heraldry of the Deathwatch. As I mentioned above, GW have decided that the Ultras love their bling, so the pimped out armor of a Vanguard Veteran was an easy choice for the torso (plus that double-edged chainsword is badass). I cut away the shoulderpad on the sword arm to replace it with one from the Deathwatch Kill Team Conversion Kit. The plasma pistol I replaced with a bolt pistol from the Space Marine Commander set - it should really have a scope for that true Deathwatch feel, but oh well. The Cingulum (front-skirt-thing) is from the same kit, just trimmed down a lot.

The head swap was the most annoying part, mainly because at the time I didn't own a dremmel. I had to carefully remove the head with a pair of cutters, gouge and drill out a depression for the head (which is from the Blood Angels Death Company kit), then build a collar-piece out of greenstuff. Not exactly my best work but it sufficed. The jump-pack is also from the Death Company set, with the iconography filed off and more purity seals added.

The chapter symbols were an exercise in freehand, following this amazing tutorial. It turned out quite well, or so I thought until just after this picture was taken, and I realised that I'd aligned the Omega on the shoulderpad directly towards the ground, and not in the direction of the shoulderpad. Sigh. I dutifully corrected it.. only for it to be mostly covered by the jump pack anyway. Oh well.

I stuck with a very simple color scheme to avoid the whole thing becoming too unfocused. The cool white also suggests the colors of the Ultramarines 1st Company, and the damaged helmet on the base marks his status as a Tyrannic War Veteran.

Painting black was another experiment as I had never painted black on large smooth surfaces before. It's just Chaos Black highlighted towards Codex Grey/Skull White, with a Badab Black wash. I think I could probably stand to push the edge highlights a bit more. The red is scab red highlighted towards blood red, with a thrakka green ink wash to make it stand out. Chrome is Boltgun Metal with a heavy drybrush of Mithril Silver, then a Asurmen Blue wash. The white is just Skull White over an Astronomicon Grey base, with more layers for the helmet. It could definitely be neater, but I'm reasonably pleased with how everything came together.

Right! That was much longer than I expected, but I promise future posts will be much shorter, and also have nothing at all to do with Ultramarines.

*some may say the Imperial Fists are more boring, but they're wrong. So, so wrong.

Thanks to Gravitas for a great first ever guest post. Gravitas is a geek of all trades living in London, where he hates on all things beloved by the Immortal Emperor including Ultramarines and puppies.


  1. I love that head so much. I can almost see his teeth sparkling in the light as he makes a heroic leap into the faces of the nearest alien scum. Naturally their blood will only fall into a few discreet locations on his armour for maximum heroic visibility without ruining any of his iconography.

  2. This is sharp, nice work as always.

    Also, Imperial fists are way more badass the ultramarines.

    "Imperial fists! You have done well! Your reward is 24 hours in the pain chair! ENJOY!"

  3. He's doing his part, are you?

    Looks good. And Imperial Fists are less boring (well, maybe not to paint).

  4. I guess that's the answer to the Fist's space cliche.


  5. Nice use of the old VV minis, I did something similar for my BA second founding and kit bashed it with some of the Sanguinary Guard parts, came out really well. I still prefer those old VV to the new plastic kit.


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