DOOT DOOT blare the sirens.
Mnemonic psalms resonate from the throats of cyber cherubs.
Hallelujah, it is done. We have our second completed army for the #returntoisstvan project.
Ollie is a well-known face around the UK scene. Painter, gamer, lover…of the lore, Ollie indulges in all aspects of the hobby with gusto. It is my great pleasure to showcase his brutal Sons of Horus. Ollie, take it away!
I’ve been a wargamer since the early 90s and I’ve always loved the narrative element of the hobby. Having read Black Library’s Horus Heresy novels and listened to the audiobooks, I’d started looking at building a themed army for 40k. However as soon as FW unveiled Betrayal I jumped aboard the Heresy train without a second thought. A phrase is all I need to spark an idea for a themed army. The throaty roar of ‘LUPERCAL, LUPERCAL, LUPERCAL!’ sparked the inferno that would become this army.
After 8th Ed 40k hit and some players moving away, our local Heresy scene took a bit of a beating. We’d been talking about starting a slow-grow campaign before the C-bomb decided to lock us down. Having called time on my now-13.5k Iron Warriors force earlier in the year, I’d been toying with a couple of legions to build.
Then whispers amongst some friends leaked out of a group looking to go back to the beginning of the Heresy. It seemed a perfect opportunity to join in the fun, whilst also building a force for the local slow grow campaign.
Given the scope of the challenge, boots on the ground were always going to be the way to go. The ruins of the Choral City seemed a perfect setting to base my army. It’s as much a character as any of the models that would be in the army. Plus I’d been looking for an excuse to use Unreal Wargaming’s urban rubble bases in an army.
Choosing Sons of Horus was actually far easier than you may think! When I jumped aboard the Heresy train all those years ago, I’d built a Death Guard army with a small World Eaters allied list alongside them. I didn’t really want to revisit them, so that removed 2 of the 4 potentials. My ever-supportive wife asked what my choices were.
“Do the green ones, I don’t like the purple ones!”
For the record, she’s been to several Heresy Weekenders and Open Days with me and loved chatting to Alan about his inspirations and ideas. She has no interest at all in gaming, but loves how they build the background story and for some reason has thing against Emperor’s Children.
When building an army, I always pick a theme first, (who are they, where are they, what are they doing there) then write my list accordingly. The centurion rules supplied by the Mournival guys gave me a wealth of choices to further tailor my force.
Having picked the Legion, it was then down to choosing a side. At that point, the traitors needed a hand to balance numbers – easy.
Then came who was going to lead the army, Abaddon was already spoken for and Loken’s on the other side… I knew I wanted an elite section backed up by troops, so Justaerin were the obvious choice. If I can’t have Abaddon, then Falkus Kibre, The Widowmaker, would make an excellent lead alongside his bodyguard of Justaerin.
2 Tactical squads seemed fitting, one armed with bolters, the other as Despoilers with bolt pistol and chainswords. A Tactical support squad with volkite chargers and a Heavy Support squad with missile launchers would provide ample fire support. This left me with just under 500pts remaining. Given these were traitors, they would be able to take advantage of orbital support. A Master of Signals Centurion seemed a good choice, plus he can boost the Heavy support squad. I wanted something else a bit heavier hitting which came in the form of a Contemptor. Finally, a squad of Veterans to bring some extra firepower with their combi-weapons to round out the remaining points. Now, time for the hard bit.
The main problem I faced with this project was starting it! We kicked off in May…. at a time when both GW and FW were in lockdown. Mk4 marines were rarer than unicorn horns, plus I like to use the sculpted pads on my armies. I had to bid my time before splashing out the dosh. Luckily, we only had to wait a few weeks, and all systems go by the end of June! A box from GW full of Mk4 marines, followed by a box from FW with shoulder pads, helmets and Justaerin, let production begin!
I’m a serial army painter, so when it comes to building them I find it’s good to keep things fresh by alternating what you’re working on. In this case, I’ve been building an army for Team Yankee alongside the Sons of Horus, so I’d build and paint a squad, then flip over to the other project and paint some tanks, before coming back and completing another squad. This way you don’t feel the slog of painting the same colour over and over again. I’ve hit the dreaded “painting wall” a few times in the past, and if you’re not enjoying your hobby, you question why you’re doing it in the first place. I learned the lesson the hard way to keep what you’re doing enjoyable.
I have to admit the secondary reason for choosing Sons of Horus was finally seeing a paint scheme that I liked and I could replicate easily….. enter Myles’ Patreon video for SoH Green. Worked wonders for me! *Myles: Cheers Ollie, I’ll bung you the tenner for the promotion.
When it came to the Justaerin’s black armour, I’d been talking to Christoffer (@dornsarrow on Instagram – give him a follow if you don’t already) about his recipe as it gave them a nice highlight without looking washed out grey. After making some minor personal tweaks I settled on a scheme I was happy with.
Ollie’s recipe for Justaerin:
Basecoat with Vallejo Model Air Black, 1st highlight layer of thinned Vallejo ModelColour Luftwaffe Uniform, followed by a 2nd finer highlight of thinned Vallejo Model Colour Blue Grey Pale. These are then glazed together using thinned Scale 75 Inktense Black. Final edge highlights were then added with thinned Blue Grey Pale.
For the red, I used a base colour of Scale75 Deep Red, a mid-tone of thinned Scale75 Blood Red, followed by a highlight of thinned Scale75 Antares Red. Again these were glazed together using heavily thinned Scale 75 Inktense Red.
For the gold trims, I wanted to keep these a bit darker, so used a base layer of Scale75 Decayed Metal, followed by a highlight layer of 50/50 Scale75 Decayed Metal/Dwarven Gold.
Once all done it’s gloss coat, apply any decals, oil wash, cleanup, and matt coat to finish off before picking out any metallic highlights required…. there’s sooooo may studs on Justaerin armour….. especially when doing 16 of them….
The deadline of the challenge was December 1st, 2020 and having some annual leave to use up, I recently had a final push. I’m done with the planned 1500pts ahead of the deadline, but added some extras along the journey. I’ve got a few 5 man units in the list, but there’s no point painting 5 when you can paint a full 10 man squad at the same time! Whilst working on the Justaerin, I remembered I had the Abaddon vs Loken box sat in my pile from a while back (come on, we’re hobbyists we all have “that” pile), so I added Abaddon into the mix, and it would be rude to only do half so Loken joined the fray later on. I also added an extra plasma tac support squad for some extra oomph if needed later on.
So, where do we go from here you may ask? I’ve got a squad of Reavers on the go at the moment and a large pile of drop pods sat nearby from an aborted plan for my Iron Warriors, yes we’re going Orbital Assault. Nothing quite says Speartip than terminators teleporting in and drop pods raining down on the opposition!
However I have to admit, the thought of painting them all does give the eye a twinge…
And of course, the big man himself should be added to the mix at some point too… have a feeling his presence may be required after seeing what a couple of the locals have planned…
Thank you Ollie! If you would like to see more of his work his Instagram account can be found here. An utter joy to follow.