Tuesday 7 July 2015

30k - Heresy - Sons of Horus Centurion and Painting Tutorial

Those of you who read my blog frequently may remember that back at the tail-end of last year I started (yet another) project, in this case my goal was to build a force of Pre-Heresy/30k Sons of Horus Legiones Astartes for use in playing Horus Heresy themed battles. I initially churned out a ten man squad of Tactical Marines clad in Mk III battle-plate from Forge World. As these models are comparatively detailed and expensive I made sure that I spent an inoridnate amount of time on painting them and finally I produced what I consider to be my best work yet:

Anyway after this first squad was finished I moved onto other more pressing projects and they were pushed to one side and relegated to my niche models shelf. However recently my girlfriend has started collecting pre-heresy Space Wolves and I decided that I would expand my own 30k forces in tandem with her so that we would have roughly equal opponents to face! With this idea fixed firmly in my mind I decided to get to work on creating a commander for my Cthonian warriors...

Sons of Horus Centurion

...the end result was this fine fellow, a company captain/centurion armed with a fairly substantial power axe and a boarding shield for close assault devastation. I have a fair selection of resin models from Forge World that I could have used for the model, however I wanted something fairly unique and so I rustled this guy together. His body, which is clad in heavily-customised Mk III armour is one of the 'Masters of the Chapter' models released by GW back in 2006 and is a nice weighty model made of white metal and possessing sufficient proportions to stand comfortably alongside the slightly larger models that FW produce.

I opted not to use the head that came with the model and instead dug around my bitz box to source this helmetless grilled-visage. I really like this head as the top-knot is very Cthonian in nature and is reminiscent of the one worn by Abbadon thus creating a natural tie to the Sons of Horus's lineage. It's small touches like these that really give some personalisation to both a model and the wider army to which it belongs.

Overall it took me arond three days to convert, paint and complete this model and it was a real joy from start to finish, I really do enjoy the standard that can be reached when focusing on producing one model at a time as opposed to churning out entire units.

Again in this paint job I went for the lighter sea-green tone that GW used in its earliest artwork for Horus's legion after their evolution from the Luna Wolves (i.e. Index Astartes c.2002). I have included a stage by stage process below for anyone who wants to achieve a similar outcome with their own forces. The techniques described can be used with any legion, all you have to do is swap out the appropriate armour colours.

Painting Tutorial:

Preparation: Once I had cleaned up the model and glued the main body in place I then gave it a black spray undercoat ensuring that I covered the entire model and left no annoying areas of white metal showing through the paint.
Stage 1: Pick a colour roughly 2-3 shades darker than your final desired result. In this case I used Waagh Flesh and liberally applied it to cover all the main power armoured areas. I thinned the paint down very heavily with Lahiam Medium which meant a few coats were needed, but the extra time is well worth the additional control that thin paint provides.

Stage 2: Work up from the base tone with progressively lighter shades of the same colour. Again you need to really thin the paint out with medium until it is almost milky in consistency. You can then apply this in progressively heavier layers on the armour plates, leaving the darker base tone visible in the recesses and the joints. I worked through Warboss Green and Sybarite Green before applying a final edge highlight of Nurgling Green. Once you are happy with the primary power armour colour then you can tidy up the rest of the model by reapplying Abbadon Black in those areas that it is required.
Stage 3: Flesh: Everyone has their own favourite flesh techniques and tones, so this is very much down to personal preference. Personally I started with a Vermin Brown base coat before adding progressively lighter layers by mixing the paint with Dwarf Flesh and Bleached Bone, this is particularly time consuming but worth it in the end. I personally don't rate washes on flesh as they tend to give it an unnatural shine and so are generally best avoided.

Stage 4: For the inside of the cape I mixed Charadon Granite with equal parts Regal Blue and then applied this to the model using a number of thin layers, this was highlighted by adding increasing amounts of Codex and Fortress Grey to the mix.

Stage 5: I achieved the rich lustre on the main cloak by applying multiple layers of Khorne Red, when this was dry I then filled the creases with heavily watered down Chaos Black. This was then touched up with Khorne Red again before being highlighted by adding increasing amounts of Vermin Brown to the red base colour.

Stage 6: For the leather I simply painted the appropriate areas with multiple layers of Scorched Brown until the colour was sufficiently deep, I then highlighted this with Bestial Brown and Snakebite Leather.

Stage 7: The ceremonial cord was undercoated with Codex Grey and then highlighted with Fortress Grey and Skull White, I took time and care over this particular area of detail as its position on the chest will draw the eye to it.

Stage 8: The golden areas were given a base coat of Balthasar Gold, the coverage over black isn't great so it took a number of layers to achieve the desired result; this was then highlighted with Shining Gold and Runefang Steel before being given a heavy wash of Seraphim Sepia.

Stage 9: The Crux Terminatus was given a deep base coat of Codex Grey before being given a heavy wash of Nuln Oil, once this was dry it was highlighted with another layer of Codex Grey followed by an even finer highlight of Fortress Grey

Stage 10: Bone areas were given a coat of Khemri Brown followed by a wash of Nuln Oil, when this was dry a progressively lighter mix of Khemri Brown and Bleached Bone was repeatedly applied using blending techniques and very thin paint.  The final highlight involved adding a tiny amount of Skull White to the formula.

Stage 11: Purity Seals/Oaths of Moment: The parchment was painted with Dheneb Stone, washed with Agrax Earthshade and then highlighted with a mix of Dheneb Stone and Bleached Bone. When this was dry small lines of text were painted on with Scorched Brown. The wax was painted Screamer Pink, washed with Nuln Oil and highlighted with Emperor's Children Pink.

Stage 12: Metal. The metal areas were all given multiple coats of Leadbelcher to build up a strong base layer, when this was dry the majority of metallic areas were given a wash of Agrax Earthshade whilst the axe blade was washed with Guilliman Blue Glaze. Once the washes were dry they were all edge highlighted with Runefang Steel,

Stage 13: The gems were given a basecoat of Khorne Red which left a small amount of the black undercoat showing in the top left corner of the jewel to give them an illusion of depth. The bottom was then highlighted with Windrider Red and Evil Suns Scarlet before a couple of tiny Skull White dots were applied.

Stage 14: I then carefully painted the word 'TERRA' to the honour scroll on the model's right leg armour, this required a very steady hand and very thin black paint.

Stage 14: Everyone bases their models according to their own preference, in this case I just chose a simple muddy brown which I felt would contrast with the relative brightness of the model's power armour.

Stage 15: As I painted the model's main body I left the shield and backpack off so that they wouldn't hinder my efforts to paint those assorted hard to reach areas. However I made sure that I painted them simultaneously in order  to ensure a consistency of colours over the whole model.

And voila....there we have it, one Sons of Horus Centurion is now ready to walk astride the battlefields of the 31st Millennium. I thoroughly enjoyed painting this model and I can't wait to see it smashing through its foes on the tabletop with that massive axe,

If I had one tip for you then I would say please, please, please thin your paints...thin them as much as possible, whilst mutiple layers may take more time to paint the results you can achieve are notably superior!

I hope that this tutorial has been some help...or at least of mild interest!! If you found it useful please let me know and I will try to do some more! 

Right...now onto my next project...my girlfriend's Space Wolves!!


  1. Absolutely great. The head swap changes the mini and the attitude. Well done, seriously :)

    1. Cheers mate! I am really surprised (and pleased) how profoundly the simple head swap changes the dynamic of this miniature!

  2. Brilliant work :)