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 My Primarch Project & Team North America
 (or how to kick yourself in the ass to do better)


photos courtesy Games Workshop, collage by Wayne Rogers. used with permission


    Back in August 2006, I got an invite from none other than Joe Orteza to join an elite group of North American ( U.S. and Canadian) hobbyists to participate in a goal-oriented project that would try to show the world at Games Day Chicago 2007 that;  Yes, we can paint too!  With no less than six slayer swords spread amongst the group, it was a heck of an honor to be asked to join.

    The goal was for each of us to construct one of the Space Marine preheresy Primarchs (or at least a preheresy character).  The Primarchs are well represented in the four large Horus Heresy art books published by GW's Black Library.  Most of the art was by John Blanche and a select few others.  Other sources included the new Heresy era novels, which contained detailed descriptions of some of the characters.  We had to stay as true to the Warhammer 40,000 world vision as artistically possible.

    So as background; a Space Marine is supposedly about 7 to 9 feet tall, a Primarch is 9 to 12.  Thus these models we were building had to be a fair bit larger than the standard Space Marine.  We couldn't just add a few bits onto some power armour.  It would require a heap of modification to get them the right size.  Legs, arms, armour, weapons, everything had to be bigger.  We were using the Archaon on foot model as a basis for the average size.   This was going to be a helluva challenge for me, since at the time I had problems even doing a decent looking weapon swap!

Below is Dorn standing next to an Emperor's Champion.  The champion is also a millimeter or two taller than your  standard tactical squad grunt Space Marine already.

    Since I joined rather late, my choices were limited and I decided on the Imperial Fists Primarch Rogal Dorn.  I could find only one representation amongst my extensive book collection.  On page 17 of The Horus Heresy Vol I: Visions of War was a full page painting by Blanche.  I started my model off of this and later got a wonderfully detailed description that completed the picture (so to speak) out of the Horus Heresy novel,  Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow.  I probably spent almost as much time with my nose in books about the project as I did on the project itself.    Everything would be heavily researched and also compared to my small collection of first edition models. For example: the backpack, which is a scratch sculpt, is remarkably similar to a first edition backpack, only scaled up to fit the Primarch's size.

    Below is the "green" version of my near full sculpt (85%) of the Imperial Fist Primarch Rogal Dorn.   I had intended to make a 100% sculpt of Dorn but was desperately running out of time.  It was made from Sculpty, Fimo, Green epoxy putty and Brown epoxy putty, and some GW plastic parts.  The GW parts are the grenade, holster, various sword bitz for the chainsword, three different pieces for the gun, the arms from the plastic terminators which were cut , lengthened and partially sculpted over and a few brass bits from Forgeworld.


    Early on, long before the first swirly bits had been added to the armour, the decision was made to paint him in metallics.  This would give him the the gleaming golden god-like presence he has in the novels and yet again push me to do something I would normally not do.  The hair color, armour and red cloak were all pulled from the artwork and book descriptions.  The only thing I guessed was the freehand on the cloak.  The huge flowing cape needed something.  The painting would literally come down to the wire.  The cloak itself had me up all night and would be completed late in the morning of the competition, with me running to the convention center a half hour before the deadline, the glue still wet on the backpack and cloak.

    Of the models entered by our group only one won,  Chris Borer's Primarch Fulgrim  would take the gold and the sword.  The rest, including Rogal Dorn, all made first cut and honorable mention in what was rumored to be the toughest American Golden Demon competition ever.

   Not only were a whole bunch of wild high quality entries on one theme, but we had all come up with the nefarious plan of putting our models on beautiful custom bases by Wayne's Miniature bases.  This generated some (amusing) suspicion on the part of Games Workshop, but believe me, it was just us trying to unify our group project.

   At an after-party we all compared models and were astonished and very proud to see that the majority of the characters came within a few millimeters of each other in height, even though we had all constructed them solo.  An amazing feat, since most group members were distanced hundreds of kilometers away from one another (Or in my case, thousands. :P)

   Because I was essentially learning to sculpt from scratch, the project ate up more than six months of my life.  But the sense of achievement and the skills learned are invaluable.  I hope to put these skills to use in the future.  The camaraderie had and friends I made participating in the group will always be the highlight of this project.  And even now I am already having delusions of doing another ridiculously difficult project.

Even more pics here!


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Website, miniature art, and photography by A. Imrie. 2002 to 2007