Tuesday, 30 October 2012

How I Paint: Mantis Warriors

"The winds of the desert care not for whose bones they scour clean." - Endymion Proverb

Mantis Warrior Captain

I'm not actually sure what it was that drew me to the Mantis Warriors. Usually, my little projects have a very stark defining moment of inspiration that draws me to them, but for these guys, it was much more of several little things...

I'm not much of a loyalist collector, I'll be frank. Whilst I like the background of the Imperium, being a part of it and defending it have never been much my thing, it doesn't quite gel with my personal style. A perfect example of this would be my Space Wolf army.

Back in the winter of '10, when I worked in Games Workshop Kingston, my manager challenged me and several other members of staff to start up a new project, and to write about how we did it; similar to "A Tale of Four Gamers" or the recent, and rather good, "A Call To Arms" (which has a fantastic Twitter feed too which you should really check out). As it happened, I was the only one to actually do it, but regardless, it was a lot of fun.

Mjordin Stormbreaker - Wolf Lord

I picked Space Wolves as I'd always really liked the idea of space vikings, and flicking through the Codex, I loved it. Also, the choice was heavily based on what I could get to start out. We had to start with a Battleforce, and I'd worked out that one Space Wolves Battleforce would easily make the 2 Troops and 1 HQ I'd need to get started (Wolf Lord, 9 Grey Hunters, 9 Grey Hunters, 1 Wolf Guard, 5 Wolf Scouts and a Drop Pod). I had great fun building and painting the guys, and I hope I'll eventually get back to them one day; but that's my point. I just couldn't stick with them. I loved the models, I loved their story and theme, I really enjoyed playing them and painting them... I just didn't enjoy fighting for the Imperium and doing His bidding. I don't know, it sounds weird, but that's honestly what I put it down to.

Similar happened with my Raven Guard. With the release of the Stormtalon Gunship, I just had to paint one and had toyed with Raven Guard before. It seemed perfect. Two units of scouts, a razorback with Sternguard Veterans and a Librarian later, I sat at 1200 points and decided to focus elsewhere.

Wings of Deliverance - Storm Talon Gunship

Now, I'll likely add to both of these armies again eventually, but until then, the first you'll really hear is likely another "How I Paint" article.

But with the Mantis Warriors, I have a theory this may be different. I always wanted to do a Badab War force, but my original choices of Carcharodons and Minotaurs were so damn popular and sprung up all over the place that I utterly lost interest. I'd liked the Mantis Warriors in the book though, and for some reason, despite really sympathising with them, kind of glossed over them.

That was months ago. Since then, I got a pet Mantis (called Tang) and that sparked my interest again, nearly. But not quite enough. I looked through Imperial Armour 10 and 11, but found myself still drifting from them, as I knew they reverted to being 'loyalist' after the Badab War. Then one line stuck in my head. They were forced onto a penitent crusade, their entire cluster of homeworlds weren't put aside like many of the other Secessionist Chapters suffered, theirs were slaughtered, destroyed.

I imagined a group of guys who had fallen in with the wrong crowd, the consequences of which left them utterly shattered, everything they knew taken from them, and then forced onto a penitent crusade which would, likely as not, see them wiped out regardless... all at the hands of the people they had once sworn to protect. I imagined them being pretty upset about that, but kind of having to deal with the cards they had been dealt, out of pure need for survival.

I imagined the Mantis Warriors fighting, not to be re-embraced back into the Imperium, but because they had no other choice. As a Chapter, they're described as being born survivors, each astartes being a natural hunter and survivalist, making his own way... and thus was born the image of a Chapter clinging onto the edges of a personal extinction, being forced to fight for an oppressive Imperium, given the alternative of damnation and obliteration. My team of guys weren't going to be shouting "FOR THE EMPEROR!" unless a Chaplain or Inquisitor happened to be close by, and I loved it.

So I began painting. Again, these guys were a very different style for me. Much more muted and toned down than my often brighter, cleaner painting style. I referenced the "Aurora Chapter" Painting Guide (page 92-101) in "How To Paint Citadel Miniatures" quite extensively - it's the best Power Armour painting guide ever.

Here's how I did it.

Mantis Warrior Space Marine

Green Power Armour:
Basecoat: Castellan Green - Large Drybrush*
Wash: Agrax Earthshade - Wash Brush**
Layer: Loren Forest - Standard Brush
Layer: Straken Green - Fine Detail Brush
*As usual with my power armour, the basecoat is a drybrush all over.**I waited until I had done stage 1 of the Green Power Armour and Ochre Detail before this step, then washed everything.

Ochre Detail:
Basecoat: Dryad Bark - Basecoat Brush
Wash: Agrax Earthshade - Wash brush**
Layer: Balor Brown - Standard Brush
Layer: Zamesi Desert - Detail Brush***
Layer: Ungor Flesh - Fine Detail Brush
***This was a layer towards the highlighted areas, so the Balor Brown still showed on the lower, more darkened areas.

As on page 94 of "How To Paint Citadel Miniatures"

Black Armour and Joints:
Basecoat: 50/50 Dryad Bark/Abaddon Black - Basecoat Brush
Layer: Eshin Grey - Detail Brush
Layer: Stormvermin Fur - Fine Detail Brush

Aquilla and Crux Terminatus Details:
Basecoat: Dryad Bark - Basecoat Brush
Wash: Agrax Earthshade - Wash Brush
Layer: Gorthor Brown - Detail Brush
Layer: Baneblade Brown - Fine Detail Brush
Layer: Rakarth Flesh, thinned with a little Lahmean Medium - Fine Detail Brush

Eye Lenses:
As on page 95 of "How To Paint Citadel Miniatures"

As on page 95 of "How To Paint Citadel Miniatures"

Purity Seals - Parchment:
Basecoat: Dryad Bark - Basecoat Brush
Layer: Steel Legion Drab - Detail Brush
Layer: Ushabti Bone - Detail Brush

Purity Seals - Wax:
Basecoat: Mephiston Red - Basecoat Brush
Wash: Carroburg Crimson - Wash Brush
Layer: Wild Rider Red - Detail Brush

Base Texture:
As on page 95 of "How To Paint Citadel Miniatures"

That's one hell of a symbol to freehand...

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