Back in August 2006, I got
an invite from none other than Joe Orteza to join an elite group of North
American ( U.S. and Canadian) hobbyists to participate in a goal-oriented project that would try
to show the world at
Games Day Chicago 2007 that; Yes, we can paint
too! With no less than six slayer swords spread amongst the group, it
was a heck of an honor to be asked to join.
was for each of us to construct one of the Space Marine preheresy Primarchs
(or at least a preheresy character). The Primarchs are well
represented in the four large Horus Heresy art books published by GW's Black
Library. Most of the art was by John Blanche and a select few others.
Other sources included the new Heresy era novels, which contained detailed
descriptions of some of the characters. We had to stay as true to the
Warhammer 40,000 world vision as artistically possible.
So as background; a Space Marine is supposedly about 7 to 9 feet
tall, a Primarch is 9 to 12. Thus these models we were building had to
be a fair bit larger than the standard Space Marine. We couldn't just
add a few bits onto some power armour. It would require a heap of
modification to get them the right size. Legs, arms, armour, weapons,
everything had to be bigger. We were using the Archaon on foot
model as a basis for the average size. This was going to be a
helluva challenge for me, since at the time I had problems even doing a
decent looking weapon swap!
Below is Dorn standing next to an Emperor's Champion. The champion
is also a millimeter or two taller than your standard tactical squad
grunt Space Marine already.
Since I joined rather late, my choices were limited
and I decided on the Imperial Fists Primarch Rogal Dorn. I could find
only one representation amongst my extensive book collection. On page
17 of The Horus Heresy Vol I: Visions of War was a full page painting by
Blanche. I started my model off of this and later got a wonderfully
detailed description that completed the picture (so to speak) out of the
Horus Heresy novel, Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow. I
probably spent almost as much time with my nose in books about the project
as I did on the project itself. Everything would be
heavily researched and also compared to my small collection of first edition
models. For example: the backpack, which is a scratch sculpt, is remarkably
similar to a first edition backpack, only scaled up to fit the Primarch's
Below is the "green" version of my near full sculpt (85%) of the
Imperial Fist Primarch Rogal Dorn. I had intended to make a 100%
sculpt of Dorn but was desperately running out of time. It was made from Sculpty, Fimo,
Green epoxy putty and Brown epoxy putty, and some GW plastic parts. The
GW parts are the grenade, holster, various sword bitz for the chainsword, three
different pieces for the gun, the arms from the plastic terminators which
were cut , lengthened and partially sculpted over and a few brass bits from Forgeworld.
Early on, long before the first swirly bits had been
added to the armour, the decision was made to paint him in metallics.
This would give him the the gleaming golden god-like presence he has in the
novels and yet again push me to do something I would normally not do.
The hair color, armour and red cloak were all pulled from the artwork and
book descriptions. The only thing I guessed was the freehand on the
cloak. The huge flowing cape needed something. The painting
would literally come down to the wire. The cloak itself had me up all
night and would be completed late in the morning of the competition, with me
running to the convention center a half hour before the deadline, the glue
still wet on the backpack and cloak.
Of the models entered by our group only one won,
Chris Borer's Primarch Fulgrim would take the gold and the sword.
The rest, including Rogal Dorn, all made first cut and honorable mention in
what was rumored to be
the toughest American Golden Demon competition ever.
Not only were a whole bunch of wild high quality entries on
one theme, but we had all come up with the nefarious plan of putting our
models on beautiful custom bases by
Wayne's Miniature bases.
This generated some (amusing) suspicion on the part of Games Workshop, but
believe me, it was just us trying to unify our group project.
At an after-party we all compared models and were astonished
and very proud to see that the majority of the characters came within a few
millimeters of each other in height, even though we had all constructed them
solo. An amazing feat, since most group members were distanced
hundreds of kilometers away from one another (Or in my case, thousands. :P)
Because I was essentially learning to sculpt from scratch,
the project ate up more than six months of my life. But the sense of
achievement and the skills learned are invaluable. I hope to put these
skills to use in the future. The camaraderie had and friends I made
participating in the group will always be the highlight of this project.
And even now I am already having delusions of doing another ridiculously
more pics here!