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Deathwatch Kill Team

One of my current motivational techniques is to have all my assembled models on display in my cabinets, even if they aren't finished. This makes the unpainted ones stick out like sore thumbs, and shame does the rest of the work.

Thus, shame has pushed me to complete the first usable squad for my small Deathwatch collection.

I think of these space bros as recent acquisitions but as we all know, time accelerates with age. When I happened across the photo below, the SD card told me it was taken over two years ago. Gods dammit. At this rate, when I'm eighty, I'll be referring to President Donny 'Fart Horn' Trumples as "that guy who was in office the other month."

Dear gods, please let that not be literally true when I'm 80. He'd only have to change the US presidential term limit and drink so much Diet Coke that he discovers its hidden embalming effects to prolong his existence.

Right, back to the 41st Millennium. At least that's comparatively uplifting. What I was saying is that the models were assembled so long ago that, well, just look at the phone in the top left of the picture.

With the obligatory prelude concerning shame, time, and existential dread out of the way let's talk painting. My main objective was to not slack off. So many of my recent projects came with a "just get it done" ethos, and while this has got lots of things to a tabletop standard, there are surprisingly few models in my cabinet I'm particularly proud of. Now I don't for a second believe these space bros will blow anyone's mind, but I have at least done a non-slack job, and I'm pleased with them.

Painting black armour

What with the Deathwatch having black armour, highlighting is basically mandatory. One might instinctively use grey as the highlight colour, but grey can be surprisingly hard to work with. One can use a blue mix, but I normally mix a bone-colour paint with black, giving a more soft and neutral tone. A wet palette would probably be useful for the 2-3 highlight stages, since they're all custom mixes, and it's bloody warm in the UK right now.

The amount of bone you want to use in the black is really a matter of taste, but my final highlight stage had more bone than black in it.

The squad

Ganzorig Ovog Nerg├╝i of the Storm Bringers
Right, on to the individual d00ds. First up is the marine Jeff has played in both of our Deathwatch scenarios so far: Ganzorig of the Storm Bringers. He made the chapter name up, and it turns out someone else has a home-brewed chapter with this name on the intertubes, so while we certainly took some inspiration from that page we also didn't let it constrain us. Ganzorig brings his  brand of cheerfully fatalistic humour to any tussle - desperately needed when dealing with a dour Dark Angel, a taciturn Raven Guard, a stoic Scythe of the Emperor, and a quiet Space Wolf.*

Also, he's got a purity seal right next to his codpiece, so you know he doesn't have space syphilis.

Ganzorig's custom stalker bolter is a normal bolter with the barrel extended using a component from the power armoured Grey Knights box with a few holes drilled in it. Some of you might be raising an eyebrow at my decision to combine a sniper rifle with a jump pack, but Jeff saw where I was headed: sniper recon. Get to the high ground, shoot important people, then bugger off when people reach your position.

Unik Besytter of the Vlka Fenryka
I love the Space Wolf in the Deathwatch: Overkill box but his mohawk is a bit much, so he got a haircut. And a helmet. My housemate Jon wrote Unik's character, and has played him in both of our Deathwatch scenarios. He's a grey hunter who, whilst away from his pack, is a quiet and self-sufficient marine who instinctively lopes off on his own then surprises the foe from the flank. With explosives. And a chainsword. And a knife. In that order.

Raan Usharis of the Dark Eagles
Raan has probably been sent to the Deathwatch because the Dark Eagles, being a successor chapter of the Raven Guard, have little fondness for someone who excels at running into the unknown with guns blazing, and then enjoys improvising his way out of it. As such, he's found a natural home in the Deathwatch, and probably won't ever leave unless someone makes him. Outgoing, enthusiastic and keen to get stuck in since "no plan survives contact," he definitely rubs some people up the wrong way.

Let's also just take a moment to enjoy the fact that a successor chapter of the Raven Guard called the Dark Eagles have a bright green colour scheme with a big white symbol. It's enough to lure their primarch Crowy McRaven back just to howl in rage then sink into despair and pootle off again without even a single Edgar Allen Poe-ism.

Jughal Hes of the Iron Hands
He's cheerful, he's jolly, he's got a book full of knock-knock jokes. Who am I kidding, the dude's an Iron Hand. This bionic apple hasn't fallen far from the tree, and he buys right into the mental discipline of trying to be a cogitator and giving zero f---s about your feelings. He judges anyone with a sense of humour as not taking their duty seriously enough. He is absolutely not someone to invite to a drinking contest ("this is a waste of rations"), dinner ("I have bone starch and vitamin pills for this") or Morris dancing ("My combi-melta and I would love to attend"). The captain hopes Jughal will grow as a result of hanging out with people who aren't Iron Hands, and in the interim, he is at least tactically astute and capable of doing entertaining things with his signature weapon.

Laertus of the Imperial Fists
Meticulous while planning and dreadful at admitting defeat, Laertus is very much a product of his chapter, although he did once get into a duel with a Black Templar following an argument over the acceptability of psykers, their usefulness, and the observation that the Emperor is one of them. Sons of Dorn being what their are, Laertus and the Black Templar had to be separated and chastised by their commanders, and Laertus is attempting to atone for his ill discipline by serving in the Deathwatch. He does, on occasion, seem a little too excited to find a noble death and often has to be dragged out of unwinnable fights by his squad mates.

The thing about trying to do a decent job with these models is that they took a surprising about of time, and an equally surprising number of paints. When I worked for GeeDubs, I was often asked "why does my little Timmy keep asking me to buy him more paints? He's collecting the blue ones, right? Surely he just needs blue?"

Well on Laertus alone, I used 31 paints. 31! Actually technically it was 33, but I forgot about the greys on the base when I took this next photo as an extremely belated response to Little Timmy's mum.

Future plans

Since right now I have a storm eagle to transport just 5 guys, I clearly need to add more bros. Next up is either a captain or a librarian, which will turn this fledgling collection into a patrol detachment. Then, I'll add a terminator to the unit for some serious fire support, and after that... well, I guess we'll see. The Deathwatch squad box has been sitting on my shelf for ages, so clearly something must be done. But then, since they're still on the sprue, they're not filling my cabinets with shame. I guess something else will have to come first...

*The squad I'm describing is the squad we've used in our Deathwatch skirmish-RPG, not the squad in this article, which is about the models I own personally, rather than the ones Andy, Tom and Maisey all painted. See the post on the fall of Kursanov Prime for more about them.


  1. Pretty sure "Raan Usharis" cannot be a true son of Birdy McBirdface since, not to get too space racist, his skin hasn't bleached into corpse-pallor. Maybe they sent him to Deathwatch before he notices he's the only person in the Chapter who can spit acid and doesn't need to wear sun cream and starts to realise he's adopted...

    1. According to the ever-amusing 1D4chan, Raven Guard skin grows paler as they age, so if this guy's a new marine, he's probably just a wee bit lighter-skinned than he was originally.

  2. Nice painting, soured by needless TDS. Time flies, you'll barely notice the next 6 years pass.

    I'm with you 100% on mobile snipers. The first thing I thought of when I saw a 40k photospread of a 'battle' was putting the devastator guns on the assault marines. Marines are not Tau, but they have all the potential in the world to fight more conservatively, with teleporters, pods, aircraft insertions and jump packs. I have a 1k son warband member(not original legion) who uses jump pack and plasmagun in a similar vein.

    You can handwave Raan's healthy glow to a consequence of the populace the Dark Eagles recruit from. Some swarthy space Conans (the barbarian, not O'Brien) as a genetic base could produce a different result than Deliverance's pallid miners.

    1. I needed Urban Dictionary's help to decode "TDS" to establish that you were in fact suggesting a hobby blog is for escapism rather than political whining, which is probably true. Not that I promise that'll stop me in future ;P

      Re: jump devastators, I guess we finally got them in the hands of those primaris dudes, albeit short-ranged ones. I do wonder if a normal astartes jump pack could handle the weight of a marine AND a lascannon, but a regular plasma gun seems a solid choice :)

      You also make a good point about recruitment worlds. Plus there's inherent comedy to be had by confusing the ka-kaw bros with un-pasty successors.

      With the warband you mentioned, is that being used in 40K, or some sort of skirmish ruleset?

    2. It's your blog, don't let me stop you :P

      It was for a stalled Heralds of Ruin kill team campaign. I was working on converting loyalist marines to rubrics closer to the original 1k son test model, then the new plastics hit(and my daughter was born)

      I had already worked a 'prodigal son' (Blood Raven) in as a bolter armed unmarked traitor marine, but wanted the raptor to be a bit more ambiguous. He wears the ordinary colours of the band but has black pauldrons where there should be heraldry.

      The idea was that the plasmagun would give reach and killing power and the jump pack would allow him to position such that he would only be visible to his intended target (ideally) The fact he also had a chainsword and boltpistol and grenades meant he was quite flexible, in a list that featured too many slow guys with magic boltguns.

      Alas I haven't had time for 40k in well over a year- I hobby vicariously through blogs like yours and BL novels.

    3. Clearly I'm too much of a filthy loyalist to have thought of doing something like Deathwatch but for the Heretic Astartes. I think you've given me a few nifty ideas... ;)


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