Space Marines: Introducing the Stark Crusaders

Stark Crusaders

The Stark Crusaders are a successor chapter of the Iron Hands. They have very much continued the Iron Hands belief that the ‘flesh is weak’ and embrace bionics, mechanical enhancements and of course, dreadnoughts. The Starks’ dreadnoughts are often chapter relics of the old Contemptor, Furibundus and Deredo classes.

They also revere ancient power armour, terminator armour, vehicles and weapons, believing they have served the chapter well for millennia and should continue to do so. As such, a force of Starks will often include a mix of power armour variants, commonly MkVI alongside the more common MkVII, even within the same unit, as well as vehicles that have long since been superseded by newer models.

Much like the Iron Hands, the Starks have a close bond with the Adeptus Mechanicus, which is often reflected in their colour schemes, combining the metal/silver of the chapter’s colours with the red of the Adeptus Mechanicus. This bond has also helped them to keep their ancient vehicles, weapons and equipment in action for millennia.

Building my Stark Crusaders Army

Blood Angels

I have a bunch of old Blood Angels that I started collecting in the early 90s, starting with Rogue Trader and moving into 2nd ed. I was a kid, so I make no apologies for the state of them. At the time I only had access to Humbrol enamel paints, so they’re pretty badly painted with unsuitable paints. Apart from being badly painted, they’ve also taken a beating whilst being kept in cardboard boxes with little protection for the last 15-20 years or so, including moving house at least 3 times (I’ve moved more times, but I don’t think they came every time).

There’s about 2000 points worth, including two Rogue Trader style Dreadnoughts (anyone remember Contemptor “Chuck”, Furibundus “Fury” and Deredo “Eddy” before Forge World got their hands on them?), a mix of MkVI and MkVII power armoured marines (the MkVI coming from that old late-80s/early-90s plastic set of 30 or so marines), an old Land Speeder and Rhino etc, etc. My plan is to ‘upcycle’ these – strip the paint, re-assemble, kit-bash, and from that create my own chapter of marines, painted to a reasonable standard. This is no small project (and I’ve not finished my Eldar army yet!), but I reckon I can build a decent SM army without having to buy any (or at least not many!) new models.

Blood Angels

You can see from my introductory fluff that I’m looking for ways to keep using my old models. Rhinos haven’t changed a huge amount, but my MkI Land Raider and old dreadnoughts are very different to the current models, so I’m looking for a good reason to keep using them. I felt like an Iron Hands successor chapter gave me a good reason to use these old dreadnoughts and the like, plus I quite like the ‘mech’ and ‘flesh is weak’ themes.

‘Stark’ is a nod to Iron Man and the fact that the Iron Hands’ primarch, Ferrus Manus, is literally an iron man. But as Stark sounds like Dark, I couldn’t go with Stark Angels (too much like Dark Angels) or Stark Knights (too much like Batman!). I’ve played around with Stark Blades, Stark Warriors, Stark Hunters but (for now) have settled on Stark Crusaders.

Stark Crusader

Stark Veteran

The colour schemes are going to be largely metal/silver (probably boltgun metal on a black undercoat/base coat) with red accents. I might need to think of something different for weapons to stop them all looking too metal. Maybe the red can come in on the weapons too. The pictures to the right are just some ideas at the moment.

The first step is to get about 50 marines, 6-7 termies, 2 dreads, 2 tanks, 2 bikes and a land speeder stripped of paint and rebuilt, maybe with some modifications here and there. I might also take this opportunity to upgrade them to 32mm bases. Unfortunately, my trusty Fairy Power Spray has had its formula changed, so it’s no longer as effective at stripping paint off models. I’ve got a little left, but probably not enough for the whole army (DakkaDakka article on Fairy Power Spray).

I’ll keep posting updates…

Terrain: Manufactorum

Manufactorum

I wanted a terrain piece that would be fairly dominant on the battlefield – impassable and tall, so as to offer some real cover/a hiding place, and also be able to split the battlefield in two if placed fairly centrally. I decided to go with a large building, as I could also flip it over and use it as a box to store other terrain when not in use :). Thus the Imperial Manufactorum was born.

Manufactorum

It’s made from 5mm foamboard that was initially made into a basic box measuring 12″ x 9″ x 8″ high. Before gluing the sides together, I cut out a large hole for the large front roller-door, as well as holes for windows and the two personal doors. Using the foamboard I cut out for the windows, I made little sills for them, then backed them with card (so I could later black the windows out).

Manufactorum

I used an old Necromunda style plastic bulkhead for the back door. For the other doors I added a card frame (simply folded round the hole in the wall) and stuck card on the inside of the wall to give a recessed door. For the large front roller-door this card was corrugated, giving the look of a door that could roll up.

I then added more features to the building by adding more foamboard to the walls, making it more of a structure and less of a box! I then added some pipes (drinking straws), a chimney (random plastic tube), a large tank on the roof (top of a CD spindle) and a few bits of card – a rectangle on the roof that would become a landing pad, and a round one on the side for an Adeptus Mechanicus symbol later.

Manufactorum

Before spraying the whole building black, I added a few bits of battle damage – bullet holes and other battle scars – with my modelling drill.

Manufactorum

The walls were simply painted grey (using my trusty cheap Rymans craft paint). I gave it three heavy drybrush coats, as I didn’t want a fully even coat – all the bullet holes and damage needed to show up and any unevenness in the surfaces just added features. There was a risk of it becoming just a massive grey blob otherwise!

Beyond that it was a case of adding details. Lots of sepia and umber wash – especially in joins, under windows, around doors etc – helped break up that vast greyness, as well as all the other little features…

Manufactorum

These pipes are pretty clearly bendy straws, simply glued to the roof and CD spindle tank on top. There’s a small piece of card on the tank where the pipes go in as well. There was plenty of wash applied here to make them look rusty and leaky, including a green wash, suggesting something pretty unpleasant is getting out!

Manufactorum

More pipes on the back wall, with more wash, including green wash for the seeping green liquid oozing out! The bulkhead back door was drybrushed boltgun metal, with some of the pieces done in gold (same old gold technique as always – so much better than a flat coat). There’s also a ‘Caution’ sign that I got off the Internet and simply printed out. I just gave this a little bit of the sepia treatment to age it. I’m pretty pleased with the result!

Manufactorum

The bullet holes on the front are fairly standard – just a bit of sepia running from them.

The blue graffiti was my fiancee’s idea. I intentionally didn’t want to use words, as it needed to be in keeping with the building (i.e. not an Orky-style “Orkz Rule!” or something). So I think what I’ve done can be a local gang tag or something. Maybe it’ll make an appearance again on more scenery pieces…

Manufactorum

The roller door was a simple drybrush in boltgun metal, with a bit of sepia washing. For the surround I started by painting it all white (it was undercoated black, so the yellow wouldn’t work well straight on that) and then drawing in pencil the diagonal lines. I created a small template from card for this, so all the stripes are uniform (or at least should be!). I then painted the yellow stripes, going over the lines. The pencil lines showed through the yellow, so I could then just fill the gaps in black. I then used sepia wash (obviously!) and also ‘dabbed’ some black using a sponge (as I did on my ammo dump) to give wear and damage.

Manufactorum

Here you can see the landing pad – a simple boltgun metal over black, with lots of wear and damage, and the same yellow and black stripes as around the front roller door. The tank on top is mostly boltgun metal, with a gold top (just to add some variety!). You can also see the Adeptus Mechanicus symbol. This was printed off the Internet and glued on to a piece of card that I’d already stuck to the building before undercoating. After painting the walls grey, I re-painted the card circle black, to ensure a sharp edge, then just glued the symbol on.

Manufactorum

Manufactorum

The side door is a simple piece of card stuck to the back of the wall, furnished with a few old bits from my bits box – a set of lights off an old Rhino and a ‘keypad’ that I think was originally from some really old MkVI marines. To give the door the appearance of sliding open sideways, before gluing the door in place I scored a line down it, starting in the middle at the top, then going left at 45 degrees, down, right at 45 degrees etc, until I was back in the middle at the bottom. This means when I painted it, the score line remained black whilst the rest is blue, making it look (hopefully) like it slides open, splitting in the middle.

I’ve now used this in two battles, and it did just what I was looking for – a big line of sight blocker in the middle of the battlefield, cutting out a lot of long-ranged shots. In the second battle it was square in the middle of the table and really cut the battle into two halves. Whether that was good or not is open to debate!