Today we’ll look at a trio of the often-maligned 2nd edition, MK7 “Aquila” Power Armoured models, painted as Legion of the Damned.
The first model on the left is the 2nd Edition starter box Space Marine trooper. A simple, push-fit model made of the same three parts (bolter, backpack, everything else) that even the most recent of his kind, the marines from Dark Vengeance 6th/7th edition are. These guys are looked down on today mostly because of the rather static pose and the complete lack of variation in their pose. Yes, all 14 of the basic troopers were identikit models, the specialists were the same model again with a flamer instead of a bolter, leaving the two sergeants and two missile launchers for “variety”. Truth be told, I quite like the Missile Launcher guy, and think that model stands up quite well even today. The trooper is pretty workmanlike, and I feel can most effectively be used as a single model mixed into squads of other marines that have a lot of MK6 in them. Like this Minotaurs squad that hosts two troopers and a Missile Launcher from the 2nd Edition box.
Anyway. One guy in my LotD. I gave him fingerbone gloves before they were cool, shaved the skull off his forehead (little skulls were hard to get back then!) and went with an all-bones, no flames motif on his armour. I think the freehand skull I painted on his shoulder looks cooler than the sculpted one on his battle-brother, though!
The next one of our little friends, in the middle is one of the first multi-part plastic marines since the venerable RTB01 box. Space Marines: Warriors of the Imperium was released in ’93-94 and was the direct precursor to the 3rd edition MK7 multiparts, and therefore, to all modern Space Marine infantry kits and even the Forge World HH infantry kits. Basically, six models made of one repeated torso, two leg sculpts – again repeated, and a couple of the 2nd edition metal marines’ Backpacks-and-bolters-and-shoulders, and arm sprues. Pretty bloody simple, but well enough for making some troopers. I only got one of those boxes from memory and never even painted them all, but one of them is here. I replaced the left shoulderpad with a “proper” Legion of the Damned one after that boxed set was released during 2e (pried the old one off his arm) – so the scroll and skull are sculpted, but the “kill” is freehanded onto the scroll.
The final model of this second triptych of the Damned was originally a 2nd Edition Death Company marine. Released in late ’92 or early ’93, I never got around to painting or using any of them as Blood Angels. Instead a couple of them, with their death iconography got drafted into the Legion. Some blood drops carved away and others repainted as bone charms. In the second picture you can see that the skull on his right shoulder is a little different. A nod there to the Legion’s past, and specifically the one that appeals to me the most. The right shoulder on two of these guys is an attempt at a flaming tactical arrow, again a nod to their past. The break-up of the upper triangle’s shape may have been too much and rendered them a little too subtle, which is why I bother to point it out here.
A big part of updating my old Legion of the Damned has been rebasing them onto 32mm bases. Their previous 25mm bases were in my usual “brown dirt and static flock” style, and so I wanted to go a bit more extreme with these ones. A bit of slate, two types of GW “cracked earth” paints, drybrushed and washed and some tufts. I also went to town with skulls on almost all of their bases. I usually try to avoid the overuse of skulls everywhere, as I typically find it rather silly and more than a little camp in that GW way.
In the case of Legion of the Damned though, I felt it appropriate. Perhaps their sheer presence on a battlefield somehow adorns it with the skulls of the truly damned, their past opponents, or those who have died before on those same battlefields. Do the skulls appear when the Legion arrives, only to disappear when they suddenly depart? Well, these skulls do.