Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Horus Lupercal, Warmaster

"Let the galaxy burn..." Horus Lupercal, Warmaster, Primarch and Master of the XVI Legion. Figure from Forge World.
Another fun bit of summer 30k painting to share.  Here is Horus Lupercal, Primarch of the 16th Legion, Master of the Sons of Horus, Warmaster of the Imperium, leader of the rebellion against The Emperor and instigator of the Horus Heresey. Can't have a Horus Heresy without Horus, right? I painted him in 6mm...why not try the "28mm" version?

The sculpt is from Forge World, part of their "Horus Heresy Character Series".  Forge World started this series years ago, and there are figures available now for just about every Legion Primarch (I think they have them all covered...?) as well as a few of the notable special characters from the long series of Horus Heresy novels. 

I had assumed that any model of Horus from GW would be covered in all sorts of Chaos nonsense, but I was wrong. This sculpt certainly portrays the Warmaster as a menacing fellow, but he is not obviously gone over to the dark side - he could just as easily be leading his Sons of Horus during one of the final battles of the Great Crusade, as opposed to coordinating his attacks in the Isstvan system and beyond during his revolt.

The figure is very large - Horus himself is a Primarch, much larger than an average Space Marine, which in turn is already a lot larger than an average human. He is made even larger by his custom suit of Cataphract Terminator armour, and his personalized special weapons - and then there is the huge base he is standing on.  Overall, the effect is of a figure from another scale. While this rendering of Horus is meant to co-exist (in theory) with the other "28mm"-sized 30k models, the effect is much closer to a larger scale diorama figure, 40mm at least.

The larger the figure, the greater the amount of detail, and the sculptors at Forge World did not scrimp on detail.  From the intricate symbols on the armour, to the detailed weapons, to the face, to the elaborate base, there was a lot to ponder from a painting perspective when considering how to tackle this project.  My painting techniques are pretty basic ones, and I found this figure very intimidating. I wasn't sure how much I could push my basic approach to painting...but what the heck, you have to try sometime, right?

The Base

So much detail on this very elaborate base."Aquila Eterna" heh? Not so much...
The Primarch figures all have elaborate bases, and the scenic base for Horus is particularly, well, cunningly devised, IMO.  It sort of has three "strata" - there is a fallen imperial eagle head, presumably from a statue or monument.  There is a staircase with cool faux-latin terms etched into the stairs. The final, bottom layer of the base, is more general rubble, but still has detail - metal bars, a few Mark III armoured shoulder pads, and of course a couple of skulls, all mixed in.

Early WIP photo of the base.
I just find this base fascinating. What happened to create this scene?  Did some Imperial building get damaged in some fighting, and just happen to fall in a pile like this, one that Horus would find convenient to hop on top of so he could direct his Marines or make a speech?  Or did Horus knock all of this stuff together - beat up some building and toss the components on to a pile of rubble, so he would have a handy, home-made vantage point?

The finished base, with Horus removed.  Note the crushed Mk III shoulder pauldron at the bottom under the rubble...wonder what happened there?
Another view of the base...more smashed marine shoulder many possible stories spring to mind...
The base is so clever in that is sets Horus in either the pre- or post-heresy time frame too...Horus might be fighting amid Imperial-themed rubble to defend the Great Crusade...or, his rebellion is already underway, and these symbols of his father's rule would make a handy jump off point...oh, did I smash that Imperial eagle? Pity...

The Warmaster

Humanity's last hope, Horus Lupercal...hey, this eagle seems pretty handy....
Horus himself, as you might expect for someone of his rank, has some pretty swanky wargear, and you can see it on the figure.  The huge mace is "Worldbreaker". On his right hand is "The Warmaster's Talon", a custom combi power-claw/bolt-gun deal.  Together with his super-tough looking armour - adorned with the pelt of a wolf and requisite fancy cape - Horus Lupercal, Warmaster, is well-equipped to deal with combat matters personally, should the need arise.

WIP - the beginning....
The Sons of Horus are notorious for their green armour.  But Horus himself is often depicted wearing black armour - in fact, the studio painters in GW did this, and many other versions of Horus I have seen online have as well.  I considered trying to copy this approach myself, but in the end I wanted to stick with the green armour used on the bulk of his Legion's marines and vehicles.  I think it looks a little cooler. Plus, Horus' custom armour has a name, "The Serpent's Scales", which made me think even more that it should be green. So I stayed with the green.

The base mostly finished, some basic colours in place on Horus.
The hardest part of painting this model was the face.  It's the focal point of the figure, crying out for some attention, especially on a model of this size.  I tried my best here, using a lot of thinned-down coats and other things I don't usually bother with for a 28mm figure.  I'm pleased because I achieved more of an effect than I usually can achieve, but at the same time, it still looks a bit off - the tones are not...smooth enough.  Horus Lupercal is big and terrifying (especially in his "work clothes"), but he is also a "smooth" political operator, as adept at flattery and rhetoric as he is at smashing things to pieces using "Worldbreaker".  I got some OK definition on the face, but it still looks a bit too rough - too much warrior, not enough politician.  Oh well. 

Basic greens in place, base of red on the cloak.
The toughest part was the eyes. Oh, I hate painting eyes! I seldom find that painted eyes look right on a miniature. But in this case they seemed so big that it would be worse not to try...sigh...not my finest work, but not the worst either - at least he didn't come up cross-eyed :)  I sort of wish I did not bother with the eyes, and almost painted them over, but in the end, I just decided to keep them as I had finished them.

Armour mostly finished, base coat on the face.
The finished Warmaster.
Another view of Horus, directing...something.
The face on a figure like this is something where the more advanced painters around here in Winnipeg would really have gone to town.  For example, I can only imagine how cool Dave V. would make this rendition of Horus look using his oil paints, careful glazes and other techniques. But at the end of the day, I pushed myself a bit, and improved a bit.  Painting this fellow was fun. That's the whole point, right?

Horus On The Gaming Table

Horus "detached" from the main base, in theory for use in a game.
Make no mistake, painting this figure was mostly just to have fun. I already have a large collection of Sons of Horus marines for 30k, and I thought it would only be appropriate to have Horus himself to inspire them along.  This model is intended to sit and look cool on the figure display shelf - with that elaborate base, I expect the Forge World sculptors assumed the same. You would be hard-pressed to move this huge pile of figure around the table in a game where every other infantry model has a simple, round base.

And can detach Horus (a bit, at any rate) to theoretically use this model in a game.  He's still huge because he's a Primarch, and even detached from the bottom section of the base, he is standing on the head of a huge eagle statue, but there are stats for Horus Lupercal to be used on the 30k gaming table if you want to play a game where Horus personally goes to battle.

And...he's scary! In the 7th edition of the 40k game (which is still formally the "current" edition of 30k because GW), Horus has a basic stat line of a train at full speed...ST of 7, T of 6, with a base of 5 attacks and 6 wounds.  His save is 2+, and 3+ invulnerable....on and on.  His weapons, as you might expect, are fantastic. Oh, and he can call in an off-table bombardment.  In the fan-made 8th edition of 30k, Horus has 7 attacks, 9 wounds...oh man. No matter edition of the game, this guy would bash an entire Space Marine squad to pieces every turn - and would probably be able to rip up vehicles and dreadnoughts too.

"Let's Make the Imperium Great Again"....
So would we put this guy into a game? Well, you never know :) It might be fun to try sometime - "fun", that is, for whoever gets to use Horus. My gaming group is a lot of fun and tolerant of the odd whacky scenario.  But Horus himself seldom seemed to go into battle once the Heresy was under way, running things instead via his minions and directing affairs from the bridge of his vessel, the Vengeful Spirit. I expect the same for this figure - he will hopefully inspire his minions from afar on the display shelf, as opposed to getting directly into the battle with them on the table.

Steve B - Thanks!

Just wanted to add a special thanks to Steve B in Winnipeg! He put together this figure, as well as the two Land Raiders I painted earlier this summer.  Much appreciated Steve!!

That's all for now - thanks for visiting.  I hope you are having a great summer, wherever you are!


Dallas said...

Dude - WOW. Amazing work!!

DaveV said...

Great work, dude! He'd be an awesome sight on the tabletop...

john de terre neuve said...

Beautiful job, Greg

MFraser said...

He looks great! Nicely done.

Moiterei_1984 said...

Utterly bonkers but just as impressive!

Curt said...

Beautiful work dude! I really like the nested the 'tiered' basing and you did a fabulous job on his face. It would be fun to have a game with him just to witness the carnage...

JamieM said...

Lovely work, you’ve really captured the evil genius in him.