Legion of the Damned #4: Sgt. Centurius and Legionnaire.

Legion of the Damned, 2nd Edition, Sgt. Centurius

Somewhat recently, I showed off my Legion of the Damned models, updated for 40k 8th edition on nice new scenic 32mm bases. When I took that series of photographs, I somehow forgot(!) to take pics of Sgt. Centurius and the above Bolter Marine. They were residing on a separate shelf at the time, and it was some time before I noticed, let alone got back to take the photos with this pair.

Sgt. Centurius in this case was not painted by myself, but by my friend, Matt F. He was lucky enough to get one from a friend in GW when they were released as part of the “Apocalypse 100” celebration of Games Workshop’s 100th store worldwide, back in March 1996, with rules in that White Dwarf. Of course, there were no GW stores in Melbourne at that time, so for almost all of us, we were SOL. I think Matt was mostly interested in it as a painting exercise, so having done that he was kind enough to pass it on to myself, as I played LotD.

Centurius’ offsider here is another Blood Angels Death Company marine, added to the squad because of the sculpted skulls and scrolls on his armour. (Imagine that! a time where you had to actively seek out Marine models that had some extra skulls and bling on them!~) The flaming-skull shoulder pad is of course freehand. 🙂

The only changes I’ve made to Sgt. Centurius over the years have been to rebase him to fit in with my models (twice now) and replace the plastic backpack with a metal Legion of the Damned one.

The skull-design on the Legionnaire’s MKIV Corvus helmet is also freehand. Corvus helms are my favourite mark for painting Legion of the Damned models. The shape and extra space really lend themselves to the design. The Aquila is a transfer, originally just a white outline, I overpainted it with the shading and details. He has 2nd Edition marine arms and a 2nd Edition Boltgun, which has probably now been retconned into being a Phobos-pattern variant. Pretty chunky!

Unfortunately, Sgt. Centurius today suffers today from being an unavailable figure of a named character from a previous edition of the game. Meaning that there are no rules for him or the Animus Malorum (the skull he he holds aloft) , and barring a remake of him in plastic (Slambo!) there will not be rules for him in 8th edition. With that in mind, I’ll have to “Kitbash” some rules for him, based on the other 8th edition Marine and LotD profiles for use in friendly games here. We’re currently using Power Ratings anyway in a friendly-rather-than-exploitative-way, so niggling over a few points isn’t going to be an issue. I’ll do the same with the Librarian when I finish painting him. Yes, LotD had a full army list – in White Dwarf 224 (August ’98).

To cap it all off, we have a group photo of all of my completed Legion of the Damned models. I’ve got a couple more classic Rogue Trader models on the paint desk to join them one day sooner or later, and once they (and a bunch of the other unfinished Power Armour on my desk) are done, I can look at some of the later “proper” LotD models.

Legion of the Damned #3: Rogue Trader & 2nd Edition

We have another trio of my old Legion of the Damned models today.

The first of this trio, from WD 102 in June ’88 is from the RT103 Space Marine Heavy Weapons set, sculpted by (I believe) Mark Copplestone, as he and the other sculptor listed, Aly Morrison had distinctively different sculpting styles of marine helmet. This one was simply “Gunner 2” and he’s armed with an early model Lascannon, from the relaunch of Imperial Army as Imperial Guard, from a year or two later. Of course, with Index: Imperium 1 being designed entirely around “Models currently available for sale”, the Lascannon option is technically illegal, as LotD can only have Multi-Meltas and Heavy Flamers. I guess I’ll be prying apart my classic model that’s been painted for a deca.. I had you there, huh? Fuck no. I’ll just work out the points difference between the Melta or Flamer and a Lascannon and run it like that. I don’t play in tourneys or even PUGs in game stores, so I don’t have to worry about people being TFG.

Anyway, lots of bone on this guy and a complete lack of flames. A freehand skull on one shoulder, and a ribcage on the other, because why not?

The middle guy here is an official Legion of the Damned model from their first official model release in 3rd Edition, 1998/9. They’re from the days of metal models with plastic arms. The Legion are essentially the late-Rogue Trader (1.5) edition metal-bodied space marines with skully and firey bits sculpted on. I think I managed to purchase them all, yet this guy is the only one of them that I’ve actually painted. Once I get the Minotaurs and Dark Angels I’ve got on the go out of the way, I’ll try and rectify that.

I found this one to be a particularly nice model, I chose to paint it because I really liked the sculpted ribcage. No true freehand on this guy, either. The flames, crossbones and the shoulder pad’s detail are all sculpted.

The final model of this trio is a “Death Eagle” Space Marine, from 1989. These three were released with no real explanation of what a “Death Eagle” actually was. A new chapter? An armour variant? A unit type? What we can see is that Mark Copplestone’s trio are the forebears of MkVII Aquila Armour, predating even the 1990/91 exploration into Archival and Artificer armour variants by a couple of years. Anyway, this guy got inducted into the Legion and like several others had his backpack replaced later on with one from the ’98/99 set. All of his flames and most of his bone work are freehand – with the exception of the bone eagle on his left shoulder – which was the main reason he was chosen for the Legion – and again, I’m quite happy with the ribcage that he wears, this time on his left greave.

I do have a (un)healthy collection of Legion of the Damned models from the various releases through the years still sitting around in boxes, from 2nd Edition through to the newest ones – which admittedly aren’t especially new anymore unless you’re an old grognard like myself. Once I’ve finished rebasing and touching up my old/painted LotD models (there’s 3 more unfinished old-school models on my painting desk right now), the collection will give me another set of models I can paint a few more of from time to time for interest and enjoyment. Who knows, maybe at some point in 8th they’ll become an independent force again, as they briefly were in 3rd via a Chapter Approved supplement? But I guess that would only come alongside a new plastic kit, so less likely than a whole lot of other things…

Legion of the Damned #2: Second Edition

Today we’ll look at a trio of the often-maligned 2nd edition, MK7 “Aquila” Power Armoured models, painted as Legion of the Damned.

2nd Edition 40k Legion of the Damned, Death Company

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!

2nd Edition 40k Legion of the Damned, Death Company

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.

This guy in the middle has much more extensive bonework on him than many of the others, I’m still very fond of the long spinal pattern that runs the length of his left leg.
2nd Edition 40k Legion of the Damned, Death Company

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.

 

Legion of the Damned #1: Rogue Trader-Era

I thought I’d share some more of my older paintjobs today and over the next while – only now “updated” in the past few weeks with new 32mm bases. Specifically, three of my old Rogue Trader Space Marine models painted as Legion of the Damned. As can be seen, these models are from the days before everything was covered in sculpted details, and ironically, before 90% of those details were skulls. Hence, all of the flames and skulls on this trip are entirely freehand. Oh, and I know that their flames “should” be yellow at the base and red at the ends, but on my models it depicts paint on armour, not actual flames (as sometimes retconned in Black Library). I don’t care what was written in an eBook or short story in 2015 or 2016, my guys have a direct lineage to White Dwarf 99.

Legion of the Damned, Rogue Trader, Oldhammer

The first model, on our left has 1987 on his tab, as well as “Medic”. It’s based off of “Brother Harris” from WD 99 in March ’88. The range in this particular advert are listed as having been sculpted by Michael and Alan Perry. Amusingly, Brother Harris in this particular advert is painted as a Legionnaire of the Damned, but I declined to do so myself as he had his helmet off. This model obviously predates the Medics that came later, as it completely lacks any medic gear or even an embossed caduceus on his pauldron, though interestingly there was a designated medic model (via sculpt, as opposed to the ones defined by paint that everyone just copied) from the very early RT01 Imperial Space Marines batch of sculpts.

Legion of the Damned, Rogue Trader, Oldhammer

The central model of this trio is one of the initial range of Space Marine Chaplains, circa 1988/89. Three of the initial six Chaplains had what we know as the Crozius Arcanum, though the other three did not. One having a Bolter and (crazily thin) Power Sword, one with a Bolt Pistol and Chainsword, and this fellow, with what I presume was/is an early combi-weapon. Note the “gatling”-style barrels behind the “regular” bolter detail. His armament, early skull-helm and especially his nifty shoulderpads got this guy drafted into my Legion of the Damned, where he has served as the squad’s sergeant for many years.

Legion of the Damned, Rogue Trader, Oldhammer

Finally, the model on our right. He is listed as Brother A Skull in the advertisement for the RT01 range of Marines from White Dwarf 98 in September ’87, back when they still gave models interesting names. He’s also called “Brother Dixon” in the February 1988 RT01 Flyer, obviously names after Colin. I chose him to be a LotD figure because of his unique, skull-like helmet. Years after painting these guys, I came across the sculpted LotD backpacks from the Second Edition squad box, and so pried off several of the original backpacks that some of my LotD had, replacing them with the skull-sculpted versions.

Aside from the backpacks, Brother A Skull and the Chaplain’s old-school helms, and obviously the Chaplain’s sculpted shoulders, the rest of the skull, flame and bone detail on these guys is all freehand. Even today I’m particularly proud of the pauldron-skulls and the skull-helm that you can see here. And yes, I know that the colours in actual flame work the other way, but here it’s based on contrast and rule of cool. Some of the more recent writers and artists have taken things like the flame iconography way too literally.