Sunday 16 June 2024

Cheaphammer: A New Chapter

I've been painting Blood Angels for different editions of 40k for quite a while now, and I'm not entirely sure I've ever got to a point where I fully enjoy the process.

This is mainly to do with the rather clunky and time-consuming way I paint the red. It makes painting Space Marines somewhat laborious.

Therefore, I've decided to head in a somewhat radically different direction.

This humble Space Marine is the first I've done from the Astral Claws chapter and is simultaneously a test model for starting a new chapter, but also an experiment in painting silver armour in case I want to do a second legion for the Horus Heresy, because I'm leaning towards the Iron Warriors.

The experiment was a success, as the painting was ridiculously easy to get done:
  • Spray silver,
  • Nuln Oil wash,
  • Retributor Armour and Agrax Earthshade for the gold bits (Ushabti Bone on the skull),
  • Black Template and edge highlight of Administratum Grey on gun casing and pouches,
  • Caledor Sky edged with Drakenhof Nightshade on the shoulder pad,
  • Highlight a few raised a areas in Chainmail,
  • Eye lenses done with white and Hexwraith Flame.
I haven't decided what I want to do with the bases yet.

In fact, the painting was so quick and easy, I thought I'd have a go at free-handing the chapter symbol. More specifically the symbol for the Tyrant's Legion, which is a formation from the Badab War that mixed Space Marines with PDF troops (Planetary Defence Forces who were stronger on paper).

I usually avoid free-handing as I'm just not very good at it. However, I think I made a decent fist of this (pun intended), but not good enough that I wanted to repeat the experience numerous times, and so I opted to paint over it and use transfers.

I currently only have transfers for the squad symbols, and so I got that done and will wait for the chapter symbol transfers I've ordered to arrive.

So with the experiment a success, you might be asking, "why the Astral Claws?"

Well, I'm going to be joining in an upcoming project involving the Badab War in the coming months. I'll not go into details on that yet (as I don't fully know them), but I was really keen to get involved.

The Badab War was first featured in White Dwarf #101, which was the first copy of the magazine I ever bought (I'd recently got 1st Edition Bloodbowl and the cover grabbed my attention), and so the conflict was actually my introduction to the 40k universe.

The double-page spread of the chapters and their frankly outstanding colour combinations involved was utterly baffling to me at the time, and as my interests were more of a fantasy bent, I never really got into 40k at the time (although I did dabble in Epic and Necromunda). However, the Badab War does have a nostalgic place in my heart.

Those with incredible eyesight will notice that the Astral Claws are not actually listed in the original article, and that's because they were a retcon from the original villains of the piece, the Tiger Claws, who looked like this.

I think we can all agree that without the retcon, I wouldn't be touching this chapter with a barge pole.

I think the retcon happened in Imperial Armour 9: The Badab War, which covered the conflict in more detail, and although the Tiger Claws remained a successor chapter to the Astral Claws, I think Forge World, who made the book, went for something simpler to paint to encourage people to buy some of the hideously expensive models they'd made to accompany the release.

And so I've decided to go with the Astral Claws for this project for three reasons:
  1. They're easy to paint,
  2. They are involved in the conflict from beginning to end,
  3. The Tyrant's Legion gives me the opportunity to pivot into some Imperial Guard, which can pull double duty as Traitor Militia in the Horus Heresy.
I'll intend to go full Cheaphammer on this project, so I'll be using Firstborn Marines as I have some lying about and they are actually more appropriate than Primaris for the time period of the war (in fact, spoiler alert, the Astral Claws aren't around when the Primaris are introduced).

However, this doesn't mean that I'll be ignoring my Blood Angels, I'll still keep adding to them slowly.

In fact, I think I'm going to add a few more era appropriate units to the Horus Heresy part of the army - Contemptor Dreadnoughts, Cataphractii Terminators, etc. - and free up some of my existing units to potentially be repurposed into the Astral Claws.

However, when the opportunity presents itself, I'll be adding options, such as this Whirlwind Launcher.

The gun mount is a 3d print Pete kindly did for me that sits on one of my two Rhino chassis, giving this model the option to be used as a Rhino, a Razorback or a Whirlwind.

The style is much more 2nd edition, but again this can be used in all incarnations of 40k, including the Horus Heresy, where it might be particularly useful at reaching out and touching Pete's somewhat evasive Alpha Legion.

Not a lot of progress (I am counting the Whirlwind Launcher as a model), but a new direction and, as is fairly typical, yet another new project.

Acquired: -82
Painted: 280
Lead Mountain: 688


  1. When you first said Astral Claws I was a bit shocked by the colour scheme, thinking it's not what I remember, but see it's another chapter that has a rebranding and new colour scheme as is often the way.

    1. Forge World did a range of models to go with the book. I think they made them really simple to encourage purchases.

      I'm pleased they did, I wouldn't have touched them otherwise