23 May 2020

Random Space Marines vol.2

Another month, another trio of genetically engineered and heavily armed super soldiers. From left we have a Celestial Lion, a Flesh Tearer and a Space Shark Carcharodon.

I'd never heard of the Celestial Lions until I read the Black Library novels Armageddon and Helsreach a couple of years ago, which chart the chapter's near-destruction at the hands of orks and the Inquisition. What prompted me to paint one was this awesomeness:

Gold and blue can't be that hard, right?

For once I was right. Although I'm not a fan of painting metallics (along with flesh tones, whites and browns — the list gets longer) I duly basecoated the Marine in Citadel Abbadon Black and applied Army Painter Greedy Gold (these days I'd use Vallejo Filthy Brown as the base for the gold). Three coats later, he looked like the victim in a James Bond movie. After a liberal coating of Strong Tone, he was highlighted with more Greedy Gold.

His shoulder pads, helmet and kneepad are Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue highlighted with Army Painter Crystal Blue.

The chapter emblem on his shoulder pad is another 3D-printed one from Shapeways. As you can see, I'm still in my "CORK BASES RULE" phase here, although I should really have been slicing them in half horizontally so they weren't so high. The II on his kneepad was painted on, and is a classic example of why I bought transfer sheets of Roman numerals as fast as I could.

Unlike the others on this page, this Marine is a basic model wearing Mk.VII armour. Celestial Lions are one of the cooler chapters, not least because they're black (actual black, not the shoehorned genetic weirdness of the Salamanders), which makes a nice change from the acres of pasty whiteness that is WH40K.

I like to mix and match my Marines, so the Flesh Tearer is in Mk.V armour with a Mk.VI helmet and Mk.VII shoulder pads. I wanted this one to be more of a veteran or commander-type figure, so he got a powerfist, embossed shoulder pads, Beakie helmet with a blood drop and a whopper of a weapon.

Flesh Tearers' armour is described as being the colour of dried blood, so I bought Vallejo Burnt Red and Black Red for this figure. He was basecoated with Burnt Red, washed with Army Painter Red Tone, shaded with Dark Tone and highlighted with Black Red. Everything else is Vallejo Black highlighted with Army Painter Uniform Grey.

The insignia was surprisingly easy to paint. The Imperial emblem on his powerfist and all the studs were given a drybrush of Vallejo Brass to continue the "not your basic Marine" theme. His helmet lenses are Army Painter Crystal Blue to provide a contrast.

The base is CORK! again. Looking at it now it's too much and, like almost all the others, should have been sliced horizontally to make it thinner. No, I had to add another chunk to double its height and add a tuft. I went for a desert look to contrast with the red and black of the armour.

The gun is ridiculous. It's what's called a combi-weapon; a plasma gun and bolter in one convenient package. The blue bit of the plasma gun was painted Army Painter Crystal and Electric Blues. There is a way of painting them to look like they're giving off a glow, but although it's effective I'm not keen on it. The strap is an interesting addition but its thickness is way out of scale.

His right shoulder pad has an embossed skull and leaf decoration just to add to the "this bloke's important" vibe. I do like the red and black colour scheme. I've read a couple of Flesh Tearer novels and it has to be said that, although they're awesome fighters, they're total cocks.

This is what the Space Sharks look like now. Well, actually they look a lot better than my one. The Sharkies first appeared in the Warhammer 40,000 Compendium, which came out in 1989. This is their colour scheme 30 years ago:

Basically silver with the Imperium's worst insignia. The camo version isn't that much better. I remember a friend saying at the time that you knew Games Workshop was out of names when "Space Sharks" seemed like a good idea.

At some point they were rehabilitated, renamed the Carcharodon Astra and given a new paint job of grey and black. They're also in two novels, Red Tithe and Outer Dark, both of which are well worth reading. Carcharodons are pretty violent killers who are on very close terms with their chainswords and have one of the most interesting Chapter histories of the game (in a nutshell, either Raven Guard who got lost in space or Night Lords who remained loyal).

Anyway, back to the mini. I wanted to do mine to look like he's wearing scavenged, older armour, which according to the novels is what the Carcharodons use as they have no access to newer stuff. I used a Mk.III helmet, Mk.VI shoulder pads and Mk.V torso and legs.

I wanted a muted colour scheme, so the majority of him is painted in Vallejo Dark Grey. His left shoulder pad and lower legs are Black and his helmet faceplate, right shoulder pad, torso and chainsword are Dark Blue Pale. Once painted the whole figure was plastered in Army Painter Dark Tone.

Drybrushing brought out the highlights and gave the armour a weathered look. The Carcharodons have a chapter badge and it's awesome, but the chances of me being able to paint it are zero so I just daubed on some random markings in red and white.

His base is — YES! — cork. I sliced it into a slope and painted it yellow, then added washes of Army Painter Red Tone before highlighting it with Lava Orange and Fire Lizard. The bright base is a better contrast to the grey armour. Once again I dipped into the Citadel Box of Skulls to add the decoration.

More gun toting space monks coming soon!

Vol. 1 is here.
Vol. 3 is here.


  1. Nice job on all. I played Ultramarines, back in the day when they were like any other marine chapter and had no special rules. Several years ago I saw the Forge World Carcharadons, andI wasalmost tempted to buy them. Then I remembered they were from Forge World and I don't play 40K anymore, so taking out a second mortgage to afford them didn't seem practical. But they had plenty of rippy melee options, and, like you, I loved the chapter badge.
    Great work on these, Matt!

    1. Thanks, Keith! I too was an Ultramarine player, back in the Rogue Trader days. I picked the Ultras mainly because I liked the blue colour and none of my friends played them (they played Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Eldar and Blood Angels).

      You're not wrong about the Forge World stuff — beautiful figures but come on, how much for toy soldiers? A while back I almost bought some 3D printed Carcharadon icons as I fancied painting a squad but decided to stick with painting random figures instead.

  2. I really like all three, though I don't play any GW games I have been tempted to buy a box of marines just so I could paint up each one in a different chapter scheme. I started out with a box of the original plastic marines back when I first started gaming (30 for £10.00, wow they prices have really changed since then!!), and painted them "rubbish'ly" (some things however don't ever change!).

    Cheers Roger.

    1. I used to buy that boxed set — RTB01 — and I think I had six of them, and a bunch of metal marines. Thirty marines for ten quid! It's amazing to think they were so cheap, until you remember that one metal Terminator was 75p.