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Crimson Fists - project completed on 8/31/10

By now most of you have probably looked around my site a bit and come to the conclusion that I'm a bit of an Ork fanatic. I only have one thing to say to that... guilty as charged.

So what the hell am I doing painting Space Marines?!

Well, to answer that, we'll need a bit of a history lesson. As I indicated on the About page (for those of you that read it), I got into 40k when it first came out. The very first mission I ever played was the one in the main rulebook, called Battle at the Farm.

The mission was a skirmish between Orks and a small force of Space Marines from the Crimson Fists chapter.

The Crimson Fists were a small, desperate band holed up in an abandoned farm trying to evade the Ork patrols scouring the area. The background for the mission and the Crimson Fists chapter in general, painted them as the classic underdog, fighting against overwhelming odds.

Because of that game, in addition to the awesome cover art on the rulebook (see the picture on the left), I've always had a soft spot for the Crimson Fists.

So I decided to get off my butt and paint up a Crimson Fists army, something I've been meaning to do for a very long time. In 2009-2010, the guys over on Warseer are put together a Tale of 40k Painters thread, where participants painted a 2000 point army over the course of a year. This was the perfect opportunity to get this project in gear. The threat of internet shame seemed to keep me on track. :)

Army Progress

Here's the first tactical squad, assembled and ready for primer.

The marines are armed with bolters, a missle launcher and a flamer. The sergeant is also armed with a powerfist.

Most of the marines are wearing Mk 7 "Aquila" pattern power armor, but there are also a couple of marines in the older Mk 6 "Corvus"suits (studded shoulder pads and 'beakie' helmets). Having various types of armor adds to the veteran feel of the squad in my opinion. The sergeant is wearing the newer Mk 8 "Errant" armor.

Next up, here are the models all primed black and good to go. I made sure that the primer coat was nice and even, using a brush to touch up areas that got missed with the spray.

From here on, I'll go into step by step detail on the painting process using an example miniature or two from the squad. Once they're all completed, I'll take a group shot and move onto the next unit.

STEP 1: Base Colors

After primer, the first step was to block in all the base colors.

The armor got a coat of Regal Blue, while the metal areas were painted Boltgun Metal.

Any areas that are going to be either bone, leather or parchment (skull icons, ammo pouches, and purity seals respectively) got a base of Bestial Brown.

I also painted the eyes, lenses, and left hands with Blood Red.

STEP 2: Shading

After basecoating, it's time for the shading. For this step I'm using the Badab Black Wash, concentrating primarily on the metal areas and a bit around the eyes.

It really darkens the model as a whole, but the highlighting step (coming soon) will help to lighten things up a bit.

STEP 3: Highlighting

The next step is to brighten up the dark colors a bit, and give some definition to the model.

Before the edge highlighting, I finish up the eyes. That way I wouldn't have to redo the highlights if I get the eye colors on the lower parts of the helmet. It's always a good idea to work first on the deeper recessed areas (eyes, chest eagle, etc.) and work your way out to minimize the amount of touch up work.

I'm using Ultramarine Blue to highlight the edges of the armor plates, and Mithril Silver for the the metal areas. I also use a little Codex Grey to highlight the edges of the Bolter housing.


STEP 4: Final Details

This stage and the previous one kind of blend into one another. I'm basically putting the finishing touches on the model.

Ammo pouches, purity seals, and chapter iconography all get done at this stage. For the pouches I highlight with Snakebite Leather and then an edge highlight of Bubonic Brown.

The parchment on the purity seals and any skull emblems get a highlight of Bubonic Brown with a final highlight of Bleached Bone. The purity seals then get touched up with some thinned down Chaos Black to represent script on the parchment.

The chapter and squad iconography on the shoulder pauldrons are the final details. I use the Crimson Fist waterslide transfers for one shoulder.

Waterslide transfers are a real pain in the butt to put on a curved surface. Once I place the transfer on the model, I use Solvaset to soften the transfer film and help it conform to the curvature of the shoulder. It's a pretty fiddly process, but it comes out pretty nicely.

Transfers are often too shiny compared to the rest of the model, and tend to appear dusty after a coat of varnish is applied. To avoid this, I paint the iconography on the shoulders, using the transfers as a guide.


And here we have the first Tactical Squad, led by Sergeant Tirion, all finished up and ready for the tabletop.

Now I just need another 1,300 points or so for a decent sized game...

... oh man, what did I get myself into?

EDIT: Since this picture was taken, I have added scorch marks to the muzzle of the flamer.



Update 10/01/09:

Here's the second Tactical Squad, all good to go.

They are armed identically to the first Tactical Squad, with the exception of Sergeant Hadren. He's got a bolt pistol instead of a boltgun.



Here are the first two Tactical Squads posing for a glamor shot.



Update 11/01/09:

Next up for the Crimson Fists we have Chapter Master Pedro Cantor, spelled the way it was back in the days of Rogue Trader.

While I absolutely love the Pedro Cantor mini, I'm not a huge fan of his back banner. I decided to swap it with a plastic one from one of the Space Marine boxed sets I had lying around. I made the back banner removable for storage purposes.

I also cut his left foot away from the tab that fits into the base and shoved a small chuck of slate under his foot.

I painted him in pretty much the same way as the rest of my fists, but with a lot more embellishment on all the 'fiddly' bits.

Here's a shot of him from the back.

I'm pretty pleased with how he turned out.

This month, I also built and painted a Rhino APC for one of the Tactical Squads. The vehicle is pretty much stock, using only the parts in the plastic kit.

The majority of the model is painted Regal Blue with an edge highlight of Ultramarines Blue. The metallic areas are done in Boltgun Metal with a Badab Black wash.

The Rhino, like many vehicle kits, has a lot of large flat surfaces. These areas are pretty easy to paint, but it's a good idea to add some details and weathering to liven things up a bit.

I added the Crimson Fists Chapter Symbol using the same technique I used on the Marines themselves, painting the symbol using a waterslide transfer as a guide.

I also added weathering to certain areas of the tank as well. I used Boltgun Metal to create the "chipped paint" effect. When adding chipped paint, don't go overboard. Try to concentrate the effect in areas that would receive a lot of wear, like the edges of doors and so forth.

The smoke stains around the exhaust vents were done by applying a Badab Black wash. The dust and dirt along the bottom edges of the vehicle were done using a Bestial Brown paint wash to get into the recesses. Once the wash was dry, the area was the drybrushed with Bestial Brown, followed with a very light drybrushing of Bleached Bone.

I also wanted a Chapter Symbol for the top doors on the tank. Since the boys at GW don't make a transfer large enough, I had to freehand this one. I used a standard 25mm round base to trace the circle, then painted the fist symbol inside of it.

Here's the army as it stands right now. I've got 2 Tactical Squads, one with a Rhino APC, and Pedro Cantor to lead them.


Update 12/01/09:

This month I painted up a small squad of Sterguard Veterans. The squad consists of 5 veterans, one with a combi-melta, led by a Sergeant with a powerfist.

The models are nicely detailed, with a ton of fiddly bits. I'm happy with how they turned out, but they are by far the most time consuming models I have painted for this army.


First up we have the Sergeant armed with a powerfist. The left shoulder pauldron is similar to the ones in the rest of the squad in that it is too small for waterslide transfers.

Hence, the small chapter symbol on the shoulder was painted freehand. As ar the rest of the chapter symbols in the squad.


Next we have the guy armed with a combi-melta. I really like how the chapter symbol on the tabard came out.


Another Veteran. The banner on the left shoulder pauldron reads "Rynn's wrath", pretty tough to get on there, but I think it looks cool.


Another veteran.


This last Veteran had no room on either pauldron for the chapter symbol, so I decided to paint it on his kneepad.


Here's the Razorback transport for the Sternguard squad. The painting technique is the same as I used for the Rhino.


Another shot of the Razorback.


Here's a bird's eye view of the Razorback. I decided to paint a chapter symbol on the top hatch, complete with scratches along the door edges.


The army at this point consists of 2 Tactical squads, one with a Rhino, a Sterguard squad in a Razorback, and Pedro Cantor to lead them all.


Update 1/12/10:

This month is all about vehicles. First up is a Vindicator, running pretty much stock from the kit.

I love the pug-nosed, brutal look of this thing. It's not a fancy, finesse type of tank that uses fire-and-manuever tactics. This thing is just an "in-your-face" hammer.


I used the pretty much the same painting techniques for the Vindicator that I used for the Rhino and Razorback.

I went a little heavier on the dirt and weathering on this guy than I did on the other tanks. Reason being, this thing is always in the thick of it, it's going to catch a lot more flak than the other vehicles.


Up next is the Landspeeder, armed with a Multi-Melta and a Heavy Flamer. This is probably one of the most versatile vehicles in a space marine army.

It can move quickly to bring it's weaponry to bear or contest objectives, and the weapon loadout can take down tanks as well as roast swathes of enemy troops.

Hmmm, I may have to grab a couple more of these. :-)


I used the same painting techniques as the tanks for this guy, with one exception.

The weathering is done in a 'directional' way. A flying vehicle isn't going to collect dust and grime the way a tank would be slogging through the mud, and any wear on the vehicle is likely to come from the front.

The scratches on the paint are centered primarily along the leading edges of the vehicle.




In places where the weathering does go over onto the flat areas of the speeder, such as the wings and tail, it's done in a 'streaking' pattern starting at the leading edge.

The stock GW flying bases are one of the worst designs out there, constantly breaking where they connect to the vehicle.

To alleviate this problem, I attached rare-earth magnets to the bottom of the speeder and the top of the flight base. Now the base is removable for storage purposes and has a drastically reduced chance of breaking.


Here is the army shot thus far. The force totals about 1000 points, and is now respectable enough to be called an 'army' in my opinion.


Update 2/14/10:

Just one model for this month's update, but he's a beast!

This is Brother Orion, my Vererable Dreadnought.

While l do think the new Venerable Dreadnought is cool, I much prefer the sarcophagus-style faceplate of the standard Dreadnought kit, so that's what I used.

I added a few more purity seals as well as the back banner from an Ironclad Dreadnought.


The painting technique on this guy was pretty much the same as my other vehicles, albeit with a bit more dirt and grime on the legs.

I armed this guy with an Assault Cannon and a Heavy Flamer. You may read some tactical advice on some internet forums spouting the virtues of other weapon loadouts, but this combo has always served me well.

Besides, just watch this movie from the Dawn of War video game and tell me the Assault Cannon isn't wicked cool.


Here's a shot from the side showing some more wear on the dread.

The dings and scratches on the Powerfist as well as the scorch marks on the front of the Heavy Flamer make it look like this ol' guy has seen his share of action.


I'm particularly proud of the freehand back banner. I added a purity seal to the stock Ironclad banner and then proceeded to paint the chapter symbol and the 'Crimson Fists' scroll along the bottom.

Once all that was painted, the banner still looked a bit dull, so I decided to paint the starfield on to add some interest. I added the star symbol with the "I" in the upper left corner to indicate the Dreadnought belongs to the first company, i.e. the Veteran company.

Sorry gang, no army shot this month. It's been busy around here.


Update 3/14/10:

This month I've got a weird combination of units in the update. The first unit is lightest unit in the army, a squad of 5 scouts with sniper rifles.

For these guys I used the same colors as my normal marines for the blue armor bits. The fatigues are done with a basecoat of Codex Grey, followed by a highlight of Fortress Grey and then given a wash of Badab Black.

The cloaks are done in a similar way. Codex Grey basecoat, followed by geometric shapes painted in Fortress Grey and Chaos Black respectively. Finally, a wash of Badab Black to tone down the colors a bit.


The second unit is the heaviest in the army, a Land Raider!

I used the same technique on this guy as my other tanks, just a lot more of it. This thing is a monster to paint.

I made sure to run the weathering all the way up the front assault ramp. That's what it's for after all, rolling up into somebody's face and dumping something really nasty right in their lap.


Here's the big boy from the opposite angle...


... and from the rear.

I love the powerplant on this thing, probably because it bears a close resemblance to a dreadnought powerplant... on steroids!


Here's the top of the assault ramp.

I'm designing this army to go up against Orks. Given the history between the Crimson Fists and the greenskins, I figured "Vengeance" was a fitting thing to write on the front of a Land Raider.

And an army shot for this month.

The lighting was playing tricks on me, so the highlights are bit harsh in this shot.

The Fists are at about 1500 points. About time for a game methinks.

Update 5/6/10:

Next up is a squad of Terminators. As nasty as Assault Terminators are with Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields, I decided to go for regular Terminators, and not just for their tactical flexibility.

These guys are Crmison Fists after all, it makes sense that they should be armed with fists. I've given the squad an Assault Cannon for some extra firepower and a Chainfist in case they run across a tank they need to open like a can.

Paintwise, they follow the same scheme as my boys in power armor.


Here's a close up of the sarge...


... A couple of Terminators, including the Assault Cannon guy...


... and two more, including the guy with the Chainfist.


And an army shot for this month.

Only about another 250 points to go and this army will be finished. Another month or two, tops.


Update 8/31/10:

For the last 250 points I went for something expensive, and not all that effective in the current 5th edition ruleset.

Assault Marines are pricey and don't have near the punch they should for a dedicated assault unit. However, just like the rest of this army, I picked them more for flavor and fun than any tactical advantage.


To lead the Assault Marines, I decided to add another HQ choice to the army. There's just something appealing to me about some deranged zealot rocketing into a group of baddies and laying waste to all and sundry.

"You will have faith in the Emperor, even if I have to beat it into you!!!"

Back in 4th edition (and earlier for that matter) a Chaplain with a Jump Pack was absolutely savage for the points. Now... not so much.

But he sure looks cool!


Here's a shot of the 'chappy' from the side. It's a bit tight in the shoulder pad area, so I handpainted the chapter icon.

I also like the danger stripes around the edge of the jump pack thrusters, just adds a bit more interest to the model.


And here's the entire army, 2000 points of Crimson Fists.

Stick a fork in 'em, they're done!