Read: Dante by Guy Haley

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The Blood Angels have long been my favorite Space Marine Legion/Chapter. Not for the fact that they are VAMPIRES IN SPACE! or that they have some of the most gorgeous models in the game  – rather, I am drawn to them because of their character. Adversity, as the saying goes, teaches us who we are. What more praise could be said of the Blood Angels, who face adversity from within and without on a daily basis, and yet still manage to retain the inherent humanity and optimism that so many other Space Marines have lost or perhaps never had?

I recently dove into Dante by Guy Haley, part of Black Library’s new series of books focusing on iconic members of the Adeptus Astartes. It is a well-written, thoughtful and surprisingly emotional work on the leader of my favorite Chapter.

Haley’s tale interweaves the story of Dante’s recruitment into the Chapter with more current events, specifically the Blood Angels’ defense of their home planet from the Tyranids. Both timelines are engrossing; I am as equally invested in the young Dante’s recruitment and indoctrination into the Chapter as I am with the current day Dante’s defense of Baal. The chapters flow smoothly into each other to depict Dante’s growth and maturity – one chapter he is leading a dozen initiates into a trial, the next he is leading thousands of marines and guardsmen in the defense of a planetary system.

Haley does an excellent job of capturing the very heart of what makes Dante who he is. Every Blood Angel must struggle with the inner Flaw that is the genetic hallmark of their Chapter, but Dante has the added burden of command and the responsibility for the lives of those under his leadership. Added to this is the fact that Dante is old and weary, and must struggle daily with fighting a war he knows humanity cannot ever hope to win. Yet it speaks to his character – and indeed, that of his Chapter – that he continues to do so, simply because it is the right thing to do. Dante wants to walk away from it all, to hang up his axe and pistol and simply let go; but he knows he cannot, because others are looking to him for leadership, guidance, and perhaps most importantly, hope. Haley does an excellent job of capturing this most heavy of Dante’s burdens in the character’s inner thoughts throughout the entirety of the story.

The novel does end rather abruptly, and the chapters detailing his rise in the Chapter ranks once he reaches full brother status are rather quick and lack the thoughtfulness of the first two thirds of the book. The book also leaves out a certain event involving his rank that I had hoped would form the climax of his story, which was somewhat disappointing.

Despite these minor flaws, it speaks to the quality of Haley’s writing that I found myself immediately re-reading certain chapters and passages simply to experience them again – one of the chapters depicting Dante removing his armor and finally finding a fleeting moment of peace is perhaps the best in the book. One of the last chapters involving Dante’s relationship with his personal servant is another highlight. Haley’s Dante is heroic and powerful, but also flawed, jaded, and occasionally even full of doubt – however, like his chapter, he fights on despite the flaws of his flesh and the weapons of his enemies. Not because he desires it, but because others need him to.

WIP: Crimson Fists 30k Seeker/40k Sternguard Sergeant

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Ignore the white spot on his forehead, that’s just the reflection of my lamp 🙂

Happy 2017! A very busy holiday season meant less time for posting, although the hobbying time didn’t decrease; in fact, more time at home and not at work meant I got a good chunk of my Crimson Fists painted. More pics to come. Also received some wonderful hobbying presents that will keep me busy for the foreseeable future, including a giant box of Marines from my wonderful fiance 🙂

Anyway, above is my work-in-progress 30k Seeker/40k Sternguard sergeant. He’s about 90% complete, and requires just some edge highlighting on the black and chapter/company markings, along with some weathering. He’s built using a mish-mash of Mark 3 and Mark 7 parts, along with the bare head from the Ultramarines upgrade sprue. I normally shy away from painting bare heads, preferring the realism/aesthetics of Marine helmets, but lately I’ve been experimenting with using more of them and the results have worked out great.

The trick, I’ve found, is to keep things simple. The above results were made using a Cadian Fleshtone base, an all-over wash of Reikland Fleshshade, then highlights using Cadian Fleshtone again. I tended to overdo highlights on fleshtones in the past, so I deliberately kept them to a minimum with this mini.

The sergeant also illustrates something I’ve been doing to all my Crimson Fists sergeants – giving them personalized heraldry via a backpack icon, then repeating that heraldry on their chestpiece and on the shoulder roundel. For this particular model, I found enough bits to add scrollwork heraldry on his backpack icon and chestpiece – I’ll be freehanding some scrollwork around the skull on the roundel to finish off the model. I find it does a nice job of adding some character and history to the model, because we all know that lets them roll better on the table 🙂

Painted: Crimson Fists Pedro Kantor Conversion

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My fledgling Crimson Fists army needed an HQ choice, and it was obvious right from the second I decided upon the Crimson Fists that Pedro Kantor would be that HQ choice – not only is he the only Crimson Fists named special character, but he’s also closely tied to the Chapter’s recent history, considering his role in the events of Rynn’s World. Taking Pedro would also allow me to theme an army around Sternguard, and we all know how awesome they are.

I’m not overly impressed by the existing GW Pedro Kantor model, so as is often the case with special characters, I decided to convert my own.

More pics and details after the break.

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Painted: Crimson Fists Tartaros Terminators

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I was mostly looking forward to the Mark III marines in the new Prospero box, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how wonderful the Tartaros Terminators are. They have all the imposing, threatening bulk of standard Indomitus Terminators, but with a sleek, clean style that really makes it obvious that they are a more advanced design of armor.

Neither my Ultramarines (no need for more assault units) nor my Sons of Horus (10 Justaerin are enough) really needed more Terminators , so I decided to paint them up in the colors of my newest army – the Crimson Fists. More pictures and discussion after the break.

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WIP: 32k Post-Heresy Crimson Fist in Mark III

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I could have easily used the Mark III marines from the Burning of Prospero boxed set to add to one of four Space Marine armies (Ultramarines, Blood Angels, Raven Guard, and Sons of Horus) that I already have. But because I am a madman that is obsessed with painting little plastic men in different colors, I decided to start up a Crimson Fists army.

More pictures of this utter lunacy after the break.

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Painted: Raven Guard Battle Demi-Company

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In a surprisingly short time frame (a month and a half, maybe two?) I’ve completed my Raven Guard Battle Demi-Company. Assembling and painting them was an absolute joy, and on the board they will form the core of my 1850 point Talon Strike Force list.

My list and a squad-by-squad look (including the online debut of my Chapter Master!) after the break.

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