By far my most ambitious piece to date, this diorama took something like 400-500 hours of painting over about 8 months.
Blood Angels have always held a special place in my heart since those halcyon days of 40k 2nd edition when my brother and I used to battle over my hotly contested bedroom carpet. I think the artwork that GW were putting out was what won me over to the chapter. Dave Gallagher’s image of a golden commander leading the Blood Angels against some genestealers remains one of my favourite pieces to this day, and was very much in my mind when I conceived this piece.
The GW plastics are universally excellent, but I had a real struggle finding a suitable miniature for the commander. I had already rejected a couple of finecast Tychos when the limited edition captain was fortuitously released and I realised that it would be a relatively simple matter to convert him for my purposes.
I spent quite a lot of time faffing around working out the best positions for all the minis and deciding how many to commit myself to painting. I only wanted to use flavours of Blood Angel that would have been around in 2nd edition, so no Sanguinary Guard (even though they are really cool). I knew I wanted a Terminator and couple of Death Company alongside the commander, so I needed to include enough tacticals to balance it out.
Painting-wise there was nothing particularly revolutionary here – just hour after hour of glazing. I stuck to a tried and tested triad of ochre, red and cyan and used my standard techniques for painting shiny armour (which I intend to cover in a future post). There are quite a lot of freehands throughout the piece: every marine has a name painted on him somewhere and I remember taking quite some pains to try and make sure that the chapter icons on the tactical marines shoulder pads were as near to identical to each other as I could make them. I suppose I could have used transfers, but that’s not how I roll.
I always had the slayer sword in mind when I was working on this, as I’d previously had feedback from the judges that I should do something bigger than my habitual single miniature entries at Golden Demon. Of course, I hadn’t realised that 2015 would see a series of ‘mini demons’ rather than the full fat event, so I ended up taking the sword at Golden Demon: Space Marines. It was indeed a proud moment but I do still have a nagging feeling that I need to go back at some point and try and win a ‘proper’ sword…