Greetings Terrans, how goes it? It feels like an age since I last put finger to key for this blog, but really it has only been a couple of weeks! I must admit, I haven’t been doing hobby stuff as frantically as I was beforehand. I was really fired up after completing Kulo, but then I learned that the admins on the OldHammer FB group had taken down my post on him – either because of the Trump thing upsetting someone on that forum & prompting a complaint, (bad), or in a pre-emptive complaint avoidance strategy, (worse). I felt a bit deflated by this if I’m honest – I understand the need to avoid causing offence, and I hate the thought of upsetting someone for no good reason, but I also think it’s a very sad day when we can’t poke fun at politicians & are actively censored to achieve that aim… I found myself caught between being embarrassed & worried on the one hand, and indignant on the other, and I lost the wave of encouragement that I had felt for the project up until that point. Still, it is what it is, and while it took the wind out of my sails a for a good few days, I can’t feel pissed off about it without acknowledging that the post may have pissed someone off. Long story short, I pulled my finger out & made a start on the Space Wolf side of the Wolf Time campaign… Grab a coffee & pull up a chair – there is quite a lot to discuss :-)
Firstly, I want to take some time to articulate what I’m trying to achieve with my Space Wolves – running a period campaign isn’t just a case of slapping some paint on a bunch of minis you know! ;-) My Marines needed to be contemporary to the Wolf Time campaign, way back before GW started to crystallise the Space Wolves into fur-clad, ice-gun toting Werewolf-Vikings in space. This needed some research!
The only valid colour reference material for this time is to be found in the core Rogue Trader book, and in the Book of the Astronomican itself:
First thing to note – Space Wolves of this era are GREY. Not bluey-grey, nor greyish-blue… just grey. The RT image uses a lighter shade than the BotA cover, but that’s fine – Marines were allowed to field modify their armour colours back in the good old days, (even using camo if they felt like it!). Second thing to note is the use of yellow as the spot colour – even (it seems) contradicting the RT claim that troopers get a red stripe on their lids. Third thing to note – no fur, runes, ice weapons, or any of the other stuff that makes the Space Wolves what they are today. They are just plain old Marines that are clad in grey and yellow & just happen to be called Space Wolves! However, we also have some character sketches in the BotA, and these show the very beginnings of the evolution of the chapter into what we know today… Note the canine teeth:
So far, so interesting, and at this point, I felt I had a good idea of how my Marines were going to look. Next, I read and re-read the verbiage relating to the Marines in the Wolf Time campaign:
“Five years ago, Commander Enoch, with nine of the ten warrior companies that comprised the Spacewlves, had joyously begun the chapter’s five hundred and nineteenth crusade. There were few warrior-brethren left now. The crusade was almost at an end. Soon they would return to their own world of Lucan and the formidable fortress-monastery that was their ancient home. Xit would be their final challenge – the last campaign of a five year mission to cleanse the recently discovered worlds of alien occupation.
The years had taken their toll on the chapter’s resources – both human and otherwise. The Restitution’s sister ship, the Vengeance, had been lost in the fighting around Tulwa. Her brave crew and half the fighting contingent died in the burning hulk. Most of the transport still lay immobile and rusting in the swamps of Jytor. It was doubtful if the Restitution was in any condition to fight, twenty seven percent of her hold capacity and thirty four percent of habitable areas were sealed pending major repairs. Over a hundred men had been trapped in the damaged sections when the threat of depressurisation forced the decision to seal. The Imperial edict that began the crusade was an inestimable honour, but its completion would allow much-needed time to rebuild the weary and depleted Spacewolves.”
Later in the Marine’s campaign orders, the book states the following:
“The troops at your disposal comprise the remaining warriors of the Spacewolves chapter of Space Marines. Much of your equipment has been expended during the crusade, and many of your brethren have fallen in battle.”
So, two things to note – firstly, the campaign refers to them as Spacewolves, not Space Wolves (as in RT). Interesting, but not too relevant from a modelling perspective. Secondly, these guys have had a proper kicking during their crusade – indeed, these troops are among the very last of their chapter! In practical terms, I felt this gave me license to be quite eclectic with my mini choice, using odd armour variants, and including specialists like medics and techmarines as regular troops, (there were no rules for these specialists at the time). Also, I figured that I could get away with quite a banged up & weathered paint job – not as grungy as the Orks of course, but not the pristine battle-plate that most people go for either.
Finally I had some self-imposed ‘rules’ that I wanted to follow for this part of the project… Firstly, no plastic minis – lead or dead baby! Secondly, full WYSIWYG, except for a few special exceptions that I’ll comment on later. Thirdly, I wanted to have squad markings that allow for easy in-game identification.
Now that I had my inspiration, vibe and rules nailed down, I got started on the six ‘Combat Units’, (referred to as ‘Howlers’ in the book, but essentially Tac squads). Each combat unit has a Sgt. With Bolter & bolt pistol, three troops with bolter and bolt pistol, and one Marine with a missile launcher and bolt pistol. I wasn’t quite ready to tackle the missile launcher Marines at this stage, (quite a lot of conversion work needed), but I did get cracking on the troops for four of the Tac squads. I also didn’t have anywhere near enough proper backpacks for my Marines, so I went third party & sourced some suitable ones from Spellcrow. I used different colours on the backpack vents to identify the squads – one vent is yellow for Tac squads, and the other shows the squad colour. First up, Red squad:
Here’s a few more angles showing the freehand chapter badges & sculpted bolt pistols.
Next we have Yellow squad – note the shuriken catapult (acceptable in the 80s) & comms Marine. I’ll play the shuriken catapult with bolter stats of course, but this mini is too cool not to include. Bolt pistols are sculpted on where needed.
Next we have Blue squad – note the autogun, medic & chaplain sergeant. Again, the autogun will be played as a bolter because ‘cool’, and bolt pistols are sculpted on where needed.
Finally, Green squad – includes another medic & sculpted bolt pistols where needed.
So that’s it for now! Hopefully this gives you all a clear idea of what I am trying to do & why. I have the rest of the Tac squads almost ready to undercoat, and I’m about to start working on prepping the support & assault units as well. I do need some help from you guys though – one of the cool things about RT Marines is that they liked to add graffiti to their armour, like this guy:
I’m drawing a blank on other pithy one-worders to embellish my Marines with, but if you post a comment below with some suggestions for graffiti, I’ll include them on a suitable mini ;-)
Until next time!
It’s a shame it was taken down, it was done with just the right distance and humour, you might want to ban posting about McDeath or other subjects if you go that way…
Anyway, Those wolves are looking excellent and the colour marking is a clever and elegant idea to ID them easily while keeping a strong visual coherence !
Can I suggest a “BEHAVE” or “HOWL” for a shoulder ? ^^
Thanks man, that means a lot to me. I thought I had the tone right too, and was sad when I found out that I didn’t. These are funny times though, so C’est la vie I suppose :-/
Glad you’re liking the wolves mate – I was quite worried about putting my stamp on something as iconic as the venerable Space Marine, but I’m happy with how they turned out. Consider those suggestions as good as painted on mec, onwards and upwards!
I am do impressed that you red-handed those chapter badges! I have managed to hold on to some of those original decals which I have used sparingly over time. I intend to use them on my RTB01 models when I update them
But freehanding those icon? That would be way too much work I think, but I commend you for achieving it nevertheless !
Cheers dude, glad you like ‘em – they’re not too bad once you get your eye in so to speak ;-)
First off, getting it out of the way, the Trump thing: That’s just crazy that they took it down. I’m offended by Trump on a daily basis and no-one is censoring him on my behalf! Is he known to frequent that forum personally – because if not I reckon his fans need to develop a thicker skin…
Anyway, onto the Wolves! Good to see that old artwork from the RT days, Durlan Ocellatti there serving as a fine reminder of the days when Space Wolves were famed throughout the galaxy for their dance moves. Good to see them in proper grey as well, I’ve never been a fan of the baby-blue Viking look.
You’ve done a great job on these, if I come up with something suitable for a shoulderpad I’ll let you know :-)
Cheers dude on all counts! It is a bit nuts, but I kinda get it & the admins generally do an awesome job, so whatevs :-/
Durlan is actually quite an interesting one, but I don’t think my interpretation will be in Marine armour… or pulling Jazzercise moves for that matter! :-)
I wonder if you’d made an Obama parody if that would have been removed? Reagan? Bush? W? Clinton? Thatcher? I suspect that a *certain* few of those would be allowed to stay, somehow…
More importantly, the models look great – I remember freehanding those same wolf heads onto many a shoulder back in the day myself.. :)
One thing does surprise me though – no plastic? I don’t think you can properly call it an old-school Marine force with out representation from RTB01!
Funnily enough, I did consider doing him as Kim Jong Un – I’m guessing I would’ve been ok there due to the general lack of N Koreans in the hobby to risk offending!
As for the lack of RTB01, well, I’m just not a fan of plastic minis from this period – the quality is invariably inferior to their weightier counterparts imo & just they don’t feel ‘proper’ to me… Plus I’m still sore that the RB02 Space Ork Raiders of my teenage years were so easily and cheaply outnumbered, outgunned and outclassed by my mate’s RTB01 Marines… Cheaty bastards. :-)
Yeah, I think Kim would have been pretty safe there…
The grey and yellow is such a classic but rarely seen combination – a real treat. I love how dirty and battle-scarred these marines are – they give the sense of survivors who really do have little to lose. Fantastic!
Cheers Jon, grey and yellow does work well together doesn’t it? They really knew how to throw down a colour scheme back in the day :-) Glad you like ‘em dude, and glad the ragged survivor vibe is coming across!
Mr Papafakis said:
That is so retarded that an admin took it down. It’s RT at fuck to be topical. Obviously whomever nuked it knows nothing about RT……period! You did nothing wrong Alex, trust me, you’re in the right! I’m glad you were able to get past it though mate. It’d be a shame to let it stop you finishing this project.
Now, those freehand insignia? I don’t know if I should congratulate you or recommend that you see a shrink, I doff my cap to you sir. I tried to do one or two for practice and then promptly gave up and ordered some transfers for mine :)
That’s a very clever way of identifying your squads too. It’ll make them very ready to spot, well done!
Oh, and all bar two or three of mine are all RTB01 placky marines :P
Awesome stuff Alex, keep it coming mate!
Ah, thanks dude – I thought that too… sign of the times though bro, everyone is scared stiff of causing a shit storm these days I guess. No fear of it stopping this project though, I just needed a day or two to get my mojo back 😤
The chapter badge isn’t too bad tbh – the first few attempts were pants, but I got my eye in & was fine after that. Some areas on these metals are too small and fiddly for decals anyhow, so I didn’t have much choice! 😜
Onwards and upwards dude!
Mr Papafakis said:
Oh, I forgot the graffiti ideas!
Rabies, Mange, Lipstick, Stick’s out like, Flea bitten, I’ve got worms!, Fuck the vet! No shots for me! On heat!
I think that will do :)
I won’t lie to you dude, not all of those are gonna make the cut! 🤣
Great stuff. I love the old figs, I even owned a few at one point. The backpacks are very cool and a stroke of genius to do the squad colours as you have on the vents. Unfortunate about your post getting taken down but I can see how admins may choose to ‘keep politics out of our hobby’. Everybody is foaming at the mouth partisan these days so it’d be pretty easy for flame wars to break out. It’d be great if we could manage some reasonable discourse these days but it doesn’t seem to happen much.
Thanks mate – shame you got rid of them! They do have a lot of character & while not the easiest to paint, are certainly rewarding. You’re right, and I can see why it was taken down too, just a sad comment on our times I think. Ah well, such is life :-)
Man that really sucks about the post getting modded, I had some trouble with that a few years back. It really frustrates me when freedoms get infringed on like that, and Like JB said you did it tastefully. But man this project is picking up steam, you knocked the orks out of the park, and am looking forward to the Space Wolves!!!! All excellent suggestions on the graffiti so far.
Cheers dude, much appreciated. It is frustrating, because the last thing I’d ever want to do is annoy someone just for the hell of it, but I get that the admins are just keeping it uncontroversial so that we don’t cause a drama while we’re playing with our man-toys. I can dig it, but man, it’s a sad day when you can’t lampoon a politician of any description! Anyhow, it’s done now. Glad you’re enjoying the project dude – hope to see you in the summer & you can see Kulo first hand :-)
Sweet painting as always. Those old RT pictures certainly bring back the memories, although I’d have to admit that (nostalgia aside) they do look rather goofy for the most part.
I wouldn’t sweat the post on Oldhammer. One of the beautiful things about having a blog is that you can post what you like!
Cheers mate – you’re right of course, but I can’t help but look at these pictures with anything but rose tinted glasses :-) Not too worried about that post – a bit conflicted at the time, but all good now mate
And you call this not being frantic?! :D
I add my support for the moderation affair (I insist, I think it was an Ork who got offended ;) ) and three howls for these gnarly Wolves!
Haha, cheers mate ;-)
Crazy world sometimes! I had a good chortle at the so-called “offending” post and didn’t think there was anything in there to cause a fuss! Enjoyed reading this post as well! Despite my complete lack of WH40K knowledge, I like the older marines with the “beaky” helmets.
Graffiti? “Bite Me!” and “Cave Canem!” OK, maybe the latter should be “Cave Lupum” but my Latin is a bit rusty now and I can’t guite remember how “lupus” should be declined (depending on your age, everything in this sentence after “OK” might not make sense)!
Cheers dude, it’s all just stuff & nonsense at the end of the day – some people seem to be prepared to go a long way for their umbrage ;-)
Thanks for the graffiti too mate – I’ll check the correct declination & include both! Awesome!
Wow, who knew Trump supporters were so one minded and so sensitive haha. Don’t sweat it brother. I get the feeling you wouldn’t hurt a fly so just move on with your chin raised high.
You’ve been busy mate. I don’t know much about the origins of any space marine chapter really and, I guess because I was late to the party, I really like what spacewolves look like now but cool is cool and your Howlers are very bloody cool. The freehubafges are amazing and nice work on the bolt pistols. They all have so much character. You should be proud mate.
Cheers dude, though I don’t think it was supporters… I reckon it just made the admins twitchy is all.
I hope you enjoyed the history lesson mate – I’m always intrigued with the origins of these things, and I’ve enjoy the research on this project as much as I have the modelling & painting tbh!
I enjoy a bit of research too actually. Even though I don’t know all the ins and outs of the grim dark universe a lot of my work will have some sort of link to some historical element of the big story.
Not sure if I’ve told you this before but I got punished on FB years ago for inciting violence haha. It was at a time when terrorism was rife, I guess it still is. I’d put up a comment saying instead of blowing up innocent people I’ll go toe to toe in a ring with one of there’s. I was upset but also meant it as a bit of a joke but sure enough I was suspended from FB. Then when I was allowed back I put the post back up and then quit haha. Never been back. So much for freedom of speech aye? My advice, don’t stop what you’re doing just because someone doesn’t like it. As long as you’re not purposely trying to upset anyone of course which I know you weren’t and would do. Peace brother ✌🏼
Anxiety over causing offence is a thing…
Pete S/ SP said:
Those are simply magnificent. The old school marines are a delight to see again.
Cheers Pete, glad you like’em mate – some of the older ones are a bit soft and goofy when you get them in hand, but they certainly do have character!
Dang, this is a cool project. I’m totally stealing “lead or dead!”
Cheers dude, steal away :-)
Loving this! Shame about the post, but I can understand it. Then again, at Salute we put up a game where one of the characters was “Brexit shitstorm” (and they were literally walking turd piles) – I’m happy that there’s still room for that kind of thing! FB groups can explode over anything though and that often sours the mood.
Aaaaanyway, loving the Spacewolves (Space Wolves?)! I wasn’t aware that the whole viking thing wasn’t there initially, it’s such a staple nowadays. The minis are looking great, those old marines are a weird combination of cool and cute.
As for oneworders: “outlast” (and you can include “outwit” and “outplay”, so you have the whole tagline of Survivor). Possibly “heel”.
And as long as we’re doing the Latin thing, could you please name a character Optimus Puer (Best boy) :D
Cheers mate, yeah – regrettably, it’s all understandable… That Brexit game looked like fun though :-)
Glad you like the pups mate, and yeah, it did take GW a while to start defining the chapters more clearly. The first iteration of Leman Russ came out in 91, and it was 92 before Ragnar, Ulrik, Longfangs, grey hunters etc. started showing up… this was also when the bluey-grey started to be used by the ‘Eavy Metal team.
Interestingly, the rest of the early chapter-specific marines (deathwing, death company, etc.) came after 92, so the Spacewolves really led the way in what became an important time for Marines in general. Some of the sculpts before this time were pretty meh, but they do have a charm & character all of their own I think :-)
Thanks for the graffiti suggestions mate – consider them done :-)
Great write up mate. Love the background detail you have gone into and your desire to be true to the origins of these great looking figures. Looking forward to seeing more!
Cheers mate, I’m glad you’re enjoying the project so far! I do enjoy the background work a lot tbh… it’s all part of the process for me :-)
These are ace, they look proper battle hardened.
Funny how a FB group dedicated to old school Warhammer would censor satirical political commentary, seeing as old school Warhammer was all about satirical political commentary.
Yeah, weird right? I thought I’d be safely on well-trodden ground there :-/ Ah well, such is life I suppose – glad you like my Wolves ;-)
Mark A. Morin said:
The whole Space Marine thing passed me by while I was having kids (2), getting engaged (5), getting married (3), getting divorced (2), and defending the West against Communist aggression. But, your blog always is fun to read and I do love what you’ve done in terms of research and the figures themselves. The sculpting of the pistols is superb, and I really like the way that you’ve painted the colors for game play. Nice. The hand-painted graffiti is impressively done. Kudos on all of this Alex! As for the post being blocked, that’s unfortunate. People of all stripes can be too sensitive, and need to be able to be offended. I detest censorship by anyone – and it hurts discourse. I saw your work on the Trump orc, and respected the work you did – it was your statement, and you had a right to make it. I try to stay away from politics on the web and social media as too many people want to scream and go on tirades. I just live my life, and if someone wants to have a chat about it, I do it in person, preferably over a beer or two. And while I am a Trump supporter as you know, I wasn’t “offended” at your parody (it was well done) – anyone who was needs to grow a pair. (I’m a baby-boomer and proud of my “toxic Masculinity” so I get to say that!). You keep going Alex, love your posts and your work, and maybe someday we can have those beers. I always say you can disagree without being disagreeable. Thanks pal.
Aw, thanks mate, I do appreciate all of your kind words there & really do hope we meet one day. Maybe your robust sense of humour is down to your time in the military? I did the last 8 years of the 90s in the British army, and learned to laugh at just about anything – including (most importantly) myself!
Mark A. Morin said:
Me too. I think that my sense of humor comes from a combination of being from New England (the weather often sucks), being a West Pointer/being in the Army, and my makeup in general. Sarcasm and humor help you manage through tough times, as opposed to whining (or is it whinging as the Hound said on Game of Thrones?). I am sure that you found that you laugh and drive on for the mission. When I was a company commander, and we were deployed out to the Arizona desert to build roads and firing ranges, we were living in tents in pretty nasty summer conditions. We were supposed to have our deployment ended and return home after 3 months, but the other companies failed to finish their missions and I ended up having to pick up their work, and extend the deployment beyond what the troops expected. Considering what deployments are like today, that was nothing, but my troops were not thrilled. I had an operations meeting to share the news, and you could see the faces of my officers and NCO’s that this, well, sucked. I pumped them up with a rallying speech about the mission, and ended with telling them that “the beatings would continue until morale improved”. They died laughing, and all went well. Keep up the fight Alex.
I can’t praise your work enough. I’m drooling all over. Fantastic stuff!
Cheers dude, it’s all starting to come together isn’t it :-)
Great work–I missed Kulo as I was on holidays but he is great too. I personally am not anti-Trump but if you can’t laugh at the man, well then what can you laugh at? Odd decision, especially since most wargamers tend to be fairly “left-wing” I am surprised they were not ok with a Trump parody. Anyway, more importantly the Space Wolves look great! Nice work. Looking forward to more :)
Cheers dude – I reckon they were just being uber-cautious over on the forum, but I’m just relieved that the feedback here has been so positive & cool with the humour!
Glad you like the pups though mate, they’re not my favourite things to paint, but I’m working through them ;-)
Alexis West said:
A great start! I wholeheartedly approve of Space Wolves being properly grey, even if I do prefer them with some pelts and rune-bling and such. The only thing coming to mind right now to maybe add as graffiti is “AWOO”, but that might be too goofy.
And yeah, they were the first Chapter to get a Codex (I think actually the first “Codex” ever! They might have been second after the Orks, tho, I can’t remember), so they were the first to get their various Special Characters and Units written up. And I think a couple of those are still around, probably the oldest sculpts still in production.
OK, there’s getting offended over stuff that matters, and then there’s getting offended because someone’s knee-jerk defensive. But taking stuff down because of the fear of someone getting offended is a big step beyond even that. I’ve read accounts of that leading to things like diabetic kids getting suspended from school for injecting their insulin. Serious BS.
Cheers mate – BS for sure, but very much a sign of the times I’m afraid :-/
Glad you like the Space Pups – I like all the first iteration of Wolfy Spacewolves too, but really wanted to keep this lot retro… Nothing to say I won’t add to the group in the future though ;-)
Alexis West said:
Yeah, you’re doing something very specific here, so it makes sense to stick with that. A bit more like doing Historicals rather than the usual 40K stuff.
Aw man, that makes me sound really old!! :-)
Alexis West said:
Hey, technically, last week is now “historical”. Doesn’t have to be that far back for the label to apply ;)
This is nice to see. I’ve not seen anyone tackle the Rogue Trader era Space Wolves. The difference between them and 2nd edition is huge. Great job, I love the way you kept the shuriken and Autogun. Great free hand too. For Russ!
This was me but I got logged out somehow.
Cheers mate, glad you like ’em! No, I haven’t seen a real RT era Spacewolf army either – I hope I can do these venerable pups justice :-)
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