Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ultra Flashback

Now we go back in time!

Jay's Ultramarine army! Fully assembled and still ready to kick ass!

While at my folk's house today gathering some old scenery (of which you can see some in the background of this pic), I stumbled across my brother's old Ultramarine army. When we started out playing Rogue Trader: Warhammer 40,000 we started with me playing Orks and he playing Space Marines. He had two of the old RTBO1 marine boxed sets, one of which was painted as Space Wolves (see like, my whole blog) and the other as Ultramarines, his army of choice. I acquired it all since I painted almost all of it and didn't like the idea of all this work and nostalgia just going away. I cut my teeth on these guys, and my brother's Ultramarines were some of the 1st models that I painted that I was actually pleased with. It took me years to figure out the Space Wolves.

Jay (my brother) and I were living in England at the time. My dad was stationed at RAF Woodbridge/Bentwaters (two bases, but he worked at both during this time) however we lived off base. The Doctor and our friends were all into Warhammer 40,000 and we would scrape together allowances or work money or whatever to occasionally venture into Ipswich to visit the game store, War & Peace, where we would purchase Citadel Miniatures and other gaming products. At that time the Pound to Dollar conversion rate was not generous to us, so this stuff was really expensive to us back then (oh, if only we knew...). Yet, somehow, we managed to gather together some impressive armies which only grew bigger when we moved back to the States (and thanked the Emperor that 40k was big -and available!- over here!).

About a year after we moved back, the 2nd edition to Warhammer 30,000 arrived, and this army, Jay's Ultramarines, would achieve it's glory and earn it's laurels. Earlier this evening I sent my brother the pic above with a caption that said "guess what my next blog post will be about?" His response: "I'm guessing it will be about your orks getting their asses handed to them time after time, year after year?" ;)
LOL! Touche!

Anyway, enough of the background, on to the show and tell!

Before there was Codex: Ultramarines for 2nd Edition 40k, all I had to go by for any sort of paint guide was what little info I could figure out from White Dwarf.  There was a booklet that came with the Space Marine paint set that we had too, but it wasn't as helpful as it could've been, though I did wear it out! As the squad above shows, we figured out that Ultramarine squad Sgt's had red helmets. Although we had decals I was always unsure about what to do with them exactly due to the inability to put on the 'tactical' arrows on the right arm, as the studs were on the left. So these guys were never totally finished. Note the red skull on the leg of the sgt. And that is not an official missile launcher by the way, but I still like it! (it was from a Harrier jump-jet model that I had, and one of us thought that it would look cool as missile launcher, plus we needed another one, so we slapped on a com unit and presto!)

These chaps are from the 2nd edition starter box set. When the codex Ultramarines arrived we decided that he needed a Veteran Squad so we painted up there guys. It was probably the last squad of this group I painted for him. I really like how clean they look even still. Even the red guns don't bother me as much... they do for this unit! Wow, that is some serious red. OK, these are not typcial devestator marine models, in fact they are from the Space Crusade game. They have a plug-in option for their weapons, so that they can swap weapons out during the game. Pretty cool concept, and one that almost carried over to 2nd edition 40k. The guy on the far left is the Sgt, armed with a heavy bolter. Yes, they used to just look like a big bolter, not the monsters that they are now. Next to him is a missle launcher (which looks similar to the rocket pod from the 1st squad in pic. 2), lascannon (way big! Especially compared to the Imperial Guard version of the time), a few regular marines (the Space Crusade one have bayonets), a conversion beamer (!), and an assault cannon. The 3 guys in the very back are the 2nd edition models included as unit filler.

Here is an example of the sort of things you could do with the Space Crusade minis. The Tarantula model has a remote that plugs into the pilot's hand, which also attaches directly to it for manual firing in the game. It's pretty cool.

This squad is much like the one in pic 2. I still like the orange missile launcher, and think this contrasts a bit less garishly than the red. Seriously, what was up with Games Workshop's mid-'90's red kick and how did we ever like it?!

The 2nd to last unit I ever painted for this army. I was still sort of figuring out how to paint flesh at this point. These are OK, but I would later learn to deepen the shadows a bit more for better contrast and definition. Still, these guys are pretty cool. Added bonus for having painted bases, which is something I was really leery of for a few years and it took me a while to figure out how to do them. Now, it's almost my favorite thing to do on a model.

Nothing says old school here like this pic! The original plastic Space Hulk terminators, the plastic Terminator Librarian, the original dreadnought and in the background, the Mk1 Landraider! The Librarian is worth discussing: in 2nd edition, psykers were incredibly powerful, and this guy used to kick some major ass! He alone brought victory to this army on more than one occasion against the likes of Orks, Space Wolves, Eldar, Genestealers and Chaos.

Also, I did not paint the dreadnought, it is how it arrived when I won a pair of them in an online auction. The other one was stripped down and repainted and you can find him in my Space Wolves gallery.

The rare mk 1 Land Raider

Ah.... This thing was such a pain in my ass when it hit the game table! LOL! Still, I really enjoyed painting it. I remember painting it in a single day (seriously) and I still think it looks alright.

The even rarer 2nd edition box

A note on the color of this army. We used the Space Marine paint set that came out in '89, and for some reason the base coat from that set has a way of darkening the Ultramarine's blue when layered over on top of it. The newer paints have a brighter hue for some reason and this army looks odd when held next to them. However, to see my point, I put our Land Raider on the box and you can see that the colors are fairly close. You can also see that ours is more kick-ass because it doesn't have fricking RED all over it!

Not included in these pics are the unpainted models, mostly special characters, and a whirlwind that I disassembled to strip and repaint.

This army hasn't hit the table since 3rd edition, of which Jay only played a few games. The total lack of psionics and the radical rule changes between the two editions just didn't excite him anymore. However, we have been talking about playing again someday, and perhaps it is finally time for him to return... in the meanwhile, I am thinking I might experiment with touching a few of these guys up and seeing if I can't bring the paint-jobs up to my current standard (which these guys are just base-coated when compared too) and maybe have them make an appearance down at Hobbytown for bit of a muscle flex. Da Masta Cheef thinks I should use the Forgeworld rules for some of this old stuff. After all, this Codex: Space Marine army is more likely to see the light of day than my Celestial Lions probably ever will! :)

Oh, and I added up the current point value of the Ultramarines assembled in the first pic. Without the Devastator squad they are right at 1500pts. With the devastators (plus a few more wargear goodies) it comes up to 1750 points. That doesn't include his unpainted models, the whirlwind or the special characters. Impressive for a 20+ year army, huh?


  1. When touching them up, you need to paint on a merit badge for longevity on eash these boy scouts!

  2. Good point. I am so glad I don't have any yellow on these models...