As I have mentioned before, there are numerous ways to build a Horus Heresy era Legion. Many folks are happy to paint standard plastic Marines in the retro color schemes, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. You’d certainly save a bundle doing it that way! However, for many of us, this is an excuse to splurge on something we’ve always wanted, an army of Forge World minis and elaborate conversions.
This approach requires a different way of thinking about your army. For starters, you can’t just run out to the mall and buy a squad of Cataphractii pattern Terminators, nor can you run out and buy the set of Mk2 and Mk4 Apothecaries if you want a little extra protection for your Tactical Squads. Since these models need to be shipped (overseas for many of us), you have to plan ahead.
“Legion” Kits and Bundle Deals
Luckily, the Forge World web store has a few items that help you out, especially if you’re in the early stages of building your army. You can buy in bulk, 20 man Tactical, Assault and Devastator kits are available, complete with weapons and command options. You even get a few different armor marks to choose from, and various weapon combos for the Devastators. If there’s a bundle kit out there that you like, it will save you about £20 regardless of whether it’s a pack of Rhinos, Contemptors, or Marines. Sure beats the one-click bundle deals GW puts up on their site, where all you save is additional mouse clicks.
It’s also worth noting at this point that any infantry squad marked “Legion” is the newer kit, with more poses and variety compared to the original armor marks that they released a year or two ago. The original sets had two sets of legs and one arm and head variant each, meaning you had a lot of very uniform looking Marines. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the new sets have way less repetition, especially in the head and arm area.
In the Legion sets, you get guys holding their guns down by their hips, guns raised to eye level for aiming, and a few in between. Plus some of the heads have minor tweaks, similar to what you see in the plastic Marine sets. The Legion Mk4 sets also has a different backpacks than the regular Mk4 set. I really like super clean look of the original Mk4 set, but I am definitely mixing in a few of the Legion Mk4 squads as well for variety’s sake.
As an added bonus, the new Legion Heavy Support squads have properly detailed arms that match style of the armor type, and also appear to be angled better for easy assembly. The original heavy weapon sets had arms that looked like recasts of the plastic arms, and the 2nd edition style heavy weapons that mount atop the shoulder would often jam into the backpack if you assembled them without modification. This doesn’t appear to be a problem anymore, as the new arms appear to angle inwards slightly, directing the weapons away from the backpack. Nice save, design team.
Customizing Your Legion
Those of us wishing to play the Isstvan III legions (also spelled Istvaan at times, just to make your head explode), namely the Emperor’s Children, Death Guard, World Eaters and Sons of Horus, this is now super easy. There is plenty of etched brass, decals and shoulder pads available direct from Forge World, not to mention some parts that can be scavenged from 40k ranges with their logos and imagery on them.
Fine modelling chain is also a nice detail for a number of these legions, especially the World Eaters, who look good with chains on their weapons (similar to Black Templars). You can also get plastic chain bitz in the Marauder Cavalry and Empire Flagellant kits.
It’s also not that bad for the Legions that have been featured in one of the Imperial Armor campaign books, as there are decals and etched brass available, possibly along with some bitz or upgrade packs. The Raven Guard, for example, have a Venerable Dread and a Mk6 Sternguard upgrade pack that actually isn’t a bad deal at all, when you consider the cost of the shoulder pad and guns available from Forge World separately. All the other bitz you get are just gravy. Several bitz from this kit were used to make the Vigilator pictured above.
If you’re doing fetish marines of one sort or another, you also have the plastic range of bitz to draw from. The Blood Angels kits have more than enough parts to scatter throughout an army, as do the Space Wolves and Dark Angels.
For Salamanders, I personally love hacking apart Dark Elf Corsair kits for their delicious sea dragon cloaks. With a bit of trimming, they can fit underneath the backpacks of Marines in the same way Space Wolves wear pelts. This is great for marking out characters and veteran units.
My Word Bearers will have some bitz looted from a number of sources, mostly Grey Knights for the books, purity seals and little relic boxes to hang from belts. Most of my shoulder pads are also Grey Knight pads with the sword shaved off and replaced with a flame icon, recreating the burning book chapter badge. Not exactly an ideal solution compared to the ready-built ones, but hey it works and I’ll be the only kid on the block with these pads!
For Word Bearers later in the campaign, you would likely want bitz from the Flagellant kits and maybe even some Vampire Counts models. These religious nutters have various torches, banners and little details that would decorate a Word Bearer quite nicely. Ditto the Vampire plastics, which have some more torches and other macabre bitz that would work for a Legion that likes to take prisoners for ritual purposes.
Shout-out to ResinForge.com
At this point I also have to give a proper shout-out to Resin Forge, who I have tapped for a few choice bitz already in building my Legion. Like the plastic bitz off the sprue dealers out there, they have tons of items to choose from and can save you from having to buy a full kit just to get one or two parts that you need. Who wants to spend $30 on a kit when all they need is a spare power axe? Everything is guaranteed original Forge World parts, never recast, and they pick out any miscast parts as well so you shouldn’t ever have to worry about exchanging anything that’s beyond repair.
You can even get full kits from them, or make arrangements to get something they don’t normally carry in stock. You see it all the time on the Resin Forge Store Facebook page, someone requests a specific item or kit and they quickly accomodate. Obviously not everything will be available in this fashion, I mean don’t expect them to part out a Warhound Titan if yours loses a foot in some horrible accident, but it never hurts to ask.
With Resin Forge, which is based out of the US, you also have the advantage of speed. Anything you order off the site is ready to be shipped, and it doesn’t have to cross any oceans to get there, so it’s often cheaper and faster to ship, especially if you don’t need enough models to get free express shipping from Forge World.
I know I’ll be ordering from them again as needs arise, for example, I currently have 4 Cataphractii models plus one built as a Praetor (HQ). Since squad sizes are 5-10, I need at least one more solo to make things legit. If all I need is the legs, torso and shoulder pads, then it’s way smarter to order just those parts than pay for a full set of 5 bodies.
Okay, so that’s about it for today! Work continues on the breakdown of the Horus Heresy Volume 1 army list; I am working on several parts simultaneously but expect Part 1 and possibly even Part 2 by the weekend.