When the new Space Marine codex came out, I decided to stop working on the Ultramarines and formally begin work on my home-brewed chapter, the Knights Bellicose.
Before I jumped right into gluing and painting models, however, I wanted to do a bit of research first. I've had my test model from a while back, but that wasn't quite enough. How was I going to do the shoulders? How about the bases? There are many different things to consider when starting an army from scratch. In my opinion, it's best to get it all figured out before any real final work begins.Trying to figure stuff out on the fly is the easiest way to end up with inconsistencies in your army.
As you've seen in my recent blog posts, I've been working on shoulder pads, trying to nail down what shapes I'll be using and how the insignia itself will go. I moved the squad numbers up to the shoulder pads (whereas the Ultramarines had it on their legs) to make them easier to see. I've also decided on hand-painting the symbols instead of using transfers, as I think the hand-painted ones look better. Testing out my markings also helps us develop theories on how to paint each symbol. In the case of the assault squad symbol, for instance, I've realized that painting the crossed arrows is far to difficult to paint consistently, so I went with a simple "X" design. Simpler designs seem to work better for me and can look more realistic.
Aside from the shoulder pads, the bases have also been an issue for me. I know that I want to have painted bases, instead of just gluing rocks down after the models are sealed (again, like the Ultramarines). I like the bases on the Eldar, but they won't work either. Since brown is a huge color for the Knights Bellicose color scheme, I'm afraid that brown bases will detract from the overall model. So how do I fix this? Well, I do a test.
I've prepared several bases to test different color schemes The three on the bottom are going to have different sized rocks on the blank spots so I can test out different textures.
Even if you're using a pre-existing chapter, there's a lot to think about. Lets say you're painting Imperial Fists. Yes, they're yellow, but what shade will you be using? What exact colors are you going to use? It's best to make up a few test models to test out all your colors and techniques. That way, you'll know everything you're going to do before hand and you'll be more confident while painting.
As far as painting is concerned, I've decided to make a change to my color scheme. While I like the overall colors, I'm considering changing the colors of the boltguns. Since my current test model is brown, I'm afraid it'll blend into the model too much and make it too difficult to see when I'm playing a game. I like that the Ultramarines have a nice red-on-blue contrast with all their weapons and wargear. I'll be painting several test models to help me figure out how I want to do this.
Also, I prefer to have one beakie helmet in every five helmets. If I was playing something like Raven Guard, however, I might want to have them more often. Also, I like having lots of little details on my models, so I make sure that every marine with a bolter has a magazine pouch to go with it. Its best to write down all the little bits rules you plan on following so that you can remain consistent throughout your army.
As you can see, there is a whole lot to think about whether you are making your own army or building a pre-existing chapter. Stay tuned to see more progress on my research and to see how it all turns out! I should have the results of my base test before too long. After that, I make a few test models and then I'm ready to start painting my first real Knights Bellicose models! Keep checking back to see what happens!