Friday, April 30, 2010

Men of Tanith, do you want to live forever?

Let me begin by thanking those who came out to my Pre-Heresy Space Marine clinic at GW White Marsh last night. I was fun to go through the process again and chat to those who were truly interested in learning more and sharing ideas.

I know there are a few of you that do not live close to Baltimore and couldn't attend something like this. While it is true that I could put together a lot of tutorials to cover the basics of Pre-Heresy Space Marine modeling, I would much prefer to point you in the direction of The folks who put this together have done a lot of comprehensive work on PH SM armor styles, something you can check out here. I tip my hat to them, great work guys.

On to the next job!

It has been quite a few years (11 or 12, I think) since I last worked on my Tanith army. That was way back in the day, before the plastic Cadians. I spent a lot of time converting them and painting them to match my idea of the Ghosts at the time.

Now, all those years (and many more books) later, I'm tackling the Tanith again. I have a client who want's an entire army of Tanith infantry, including approximately 20 named characters. Fortunately I've have some time to build and paint them (ie. no deadline...currently).

I am starting with a Scout squad (Veterans with camo cloaks). The client has a list I'm working to, I just need to develop the right style for the Ghosts. These pics are all very WIP, with a lot of work still to be done to give them all cloaks.

Scout Sergeant Mkoll, is first up. A tightly wound, silent man with the best scouting skills in the entire Crusade. He carries a lasgun, because he is always described that way in the novels. Anyone remember the time he killed a rampaging Chaos Dreadnaught with his lasgun?

Meltagun and two scout troopers.

Two snipers and a vox operator.

The final three scout troopers. I was kind of thinking of Wes Maggs as I worked on the guy in the middle.

The army will eventually be a "best of the Ghosts" kind of force, characters from different warzones all appearing in the same list (like Bragg, Cuu, and Maggs). Should be fun and no-one gets left behind. So the men of "Tanith" really will get to live forever.

I hope you like them.



  1. what a daunting job Dave! Knowing the ghosts inside and out, I am worried all their body types will turn out the same if you us the cadian torsos. Maybe use some flagelants or other types to create skinnier guys. Gaunt himself is pretty skinny and there are more guys that I picture that way, full of muscle with no fat..
    I am looking forward to the updates..
    Santa Cruz Warhammer

  2. These are awesome! A few thoughts:

    No camo-cloak for Mkoll? A bit surprising.

    Maggs is looking suitably ready to shoot something. That figure in the middle could almost work for Rawne, also (the beret, especially).

    I was thrown by the shortsword for a bit, but then I realized that the warknives need a bit more heft than the piddly little things the Cadians carry. These are Tanith work after all!

    Looking forward to see the finished men of Tanith (and men and women of Verghast, and Belladon...). Especially Rawne; the sneaky bastard's my favorite of the Ghosts.

  3. Awesome, I'm really looking forward to seeing you make an entire army of these guys! A tanith force is something I've always wanted to do, but I lack your awesome skills.

    One question I would raise is the use of helmets. For me it just doesn't work. I believe there is a set of Guard scale Beret heads out there somewhere, so they could all have that infamous black beret. Just something to look into :)

  4. Other then Mordians, Tanith are an army I would love to do. I will be keeping watch on this one!

  5. Oh wow, this is a task that has taunted me over the years. I love the Tanith and have read and own all the books. I just never knew where to start converting them up.

    Some feedback on yours. Helmets don't do it. I remember in all of the books and on the cover art the most they ever wore was a beret or a hood, otherwise bare headed. They're light infantry, so I wouldn't even expect to see carapace armor like on the Cadians.

    I'd expect the camo cloaks to look a bit more ragged at the edges, both from the descriptions in the books and the pics. These guys carry those cloaks through everything, sometimes tearing off pieces to bandage wounds or as a tourniquet.

    I'd expect more long hair and more facial hair. The Ghosts have a rugged celtic woodsman feel to them. Clean shaven guard don't seem to fit, unless it's for the younger members. Always imagined Cafran as clean shaven.

    I have the set of metal Tanith as well as Gaunt that GW put out and I think they're awesome models. Just too expensive to build a whole army out of. Have a look at them for some ideas too.

  6. Very nice, I love the straight silver. What bits are those blades? This makes my Blood Pact sit up and take note. I'd love to play a game against a Tanith force, especially one with allied armor. Straight out of the books.

  7. "They're light infantry, so I wouldn't even expect to see carapace armor like on the Cadians."

    I thought the Ghosts carry flak armor like the Cadians?

  8. That's weird, I picked up 'The Saint' last night for the first time in six months and started reading about the ghosts again, and today, they're here on your blog!

    Those cloaks are excellent, how do you do them?

  9. Ahh, fantastic! I always loved your Ghosts army from back in the day, used to pore over the pics and I think your name was one of the first I Googled to try and find more! Sadly it was only ever the odd thing here and there until this blog :)

    Love the camo cloaks - I'm restarting my Guard soon and will be returning here for continued inspiration!

  10. Hi guys

    Some very good comments here!

    I think I'll start by saying that translating our impression of the written work into 2D or 3D "art" is always a fun adventure. Different things in the written word speak to each of us differently, so there should be no surprise when we each walk away with different things of importance to us.

    I'll try to touch on each commenter's thoughts.

    @Mike - yep, different body types will be a bit of an issue. While Gaunt and Bragg and Mkoll can all be obviously different, it's the female troopers I'm a bit worried about. While variances of a few inches in real life are obvious to us, that scale is completely thrown out when you head down to 28mm size. Should be an adventure.

    @Allandaros - These are still WIP, everyone in this squad will be getting a camo cloak, including Mkoll. ; )

    @sovietspace - I used a lot of helmeted heads in my old army and was happy with how they looked (metal Cadian heads grafted onto plastic Catachan bodies). I think this will be a case of "It doesn't look right" until I get a few more squads done, then everything will fall into place. As an aside, the helmets with greenstuff on them will be painted as though they have a cover on them made from the camo cloak cloth (say that ten times fast).

    @Beltayn - With a name like that I knew you'd find "something awry" ; )
    I think this is a case of where different folks have taken away something different from the novels. I'm of the opinion (and it's only that really) that the Tanith do use helmets and body armor (both are mentioned numerous times throughout the novels), and also that with their designation as "light infantry" they are equipped the same way as "line infantry", but it is their training and typical battlefield role that differs. Much the same way that light infantry companies of Napoleonic regiments were trained not only to fight in standard line formations, but also to scout, skirmish, and forage, making for a more elite and well-rounded soldier.
    On the cloaks and long hair, as I said earlier, work in progress.

    @Rabidchild - the scabbarded blades are from the new BA sprues. Unfortunately they're ultra tough to come by, only one per box : (

    @Colonel - thanks mate. They're done a bit differently to your Harker, I probably should do a tutorial some in the nearish future.


  11. tanith first for the win! these models are looking amazing dave! i cant wait to see what you come up with as time goes on!

  12. And i just started reading Ghostmaker (again) last night lol. It'll be intresting to see how you handel the differences between Tanith, Vergast and Belledon. Sorry i ment Vergastites they get annoyed being called Vergasts :) One very little thing i'd suggest is carving off the nobbly bits at the end of the lasgun stocks on Tanith troopers, maybe thin them out too as there ment to be carved from Nalwood, not stamped out in a factory like Vergastites lasguns. Looking forward to seeing this develope.

  13. "the scabbarded blades are from the new BA sprues. Unfortunately they're ultra tough to come by, only one per box : ("

    As someone who just failed his Willpower roll and bought wayyyyy too many Death Company/Sang Guard boxes, what box are they in? I probably have a few/four/five.

  14. really really like these guys. Big conversions are always cool. But little, minor conversions add so much to a unit!

  15. These are looking mighty fine - I love the edits you made to the pistol on the vox chap!

    Thanks for the link back!

  16. Dave, great stuff...I have a large assortment of the old metals including the female models. Escher gangers would be good replacements for those, especially for Tona Criid and the deaf Stubber team (the names escape men ATM).

    Fantastic that you are doing this...I would love to know how you did the cloaks as well as I will need to do quite a few of them.

    Hopefully once my bugs are done, I can really start working on mine. Kudos, sir!

  17. Great stuff dave, I would say this army will help you go far in replacing the hobby fund:). Now are you taking any other commissions while you do this or just trying to keep your sanity with this cool one?

  18. ?? the helmets look a bit off as in ALL the covers they are bare headed wearing vests/cloaks.

    bur some good news you get 2 sword/blades in the sanguairy guard box the gw pic is wrong :P

  19. Hi guys

    @dave stolarski - any more work on the ink?

    @blitzspear - consider it done!

    @AgeofEgoes - I thought it was one on each of the DC and SG frames, but Fuzzbucket says there are two on the SG frame : )

    @Rusty Dice - No worries.

    @Lee - I think some Escher heads may be appropriate, I'll have to check them out a bit more. Thanks.

    @AkersMinis - I'll be doing others too. I just have to wrap my head around when to fit yours in ; )

    @Fuzzbucket - That's where it comes back to that artistic interpretation thing ; ) In my mind they do wear them, but often times it appears more heroic (and identifiable) if they don't.
    Good news on the blades too, thank you.

    For the other "Not so sure about the helmets" guys commenting, I've pulled a few off this squad and will be adding a few hooded heads. The helmets will still be present across the army, as will long, unkempt hair, hoods, tattoos etc ; )

    Keep the comments rolling!


  20. Hiya!

    Female Troopers: Micro Arts Studio puts out some nice baseline female torsos and heads for conversions. As for legs.... hmm.. you might try basing them on the more lithe Eldar legs, maybe?

    Keep up the good work. Looking forward to seeing the guys in plastic, especially Larks and Bragg (Cuu I wouldn't miss). Does that mean we'll be seeing Blood Pact characters (like the rest of the Nine, Innokenti, or Sek) soon, too?

  21. I started messing around with the idea of a Tanith army a while before the new Codex came out (at which point it was abandoned) and found that Catechan arms look a hell of a lot less stupidly out of scale when there's a big cloak on the model. Mostly a bit of a greenstuff square and a bit of hair or a beret sculpted on was all that was needed. For female troopers Escher gangers fitted in nicely, since they all have that same halter-top thing that the Catechans and metal Ghosts do (some of which I was lucky enough to have lying around).

  22. I have to say your work is an inspiration. I especially like your blood pact, and can't wait to see what you do with the Ghosts.

    Just thought i'd inform you that at some point, someone got annoyed with the lack of female guardsmen and made some resin casts. Pictures of them can be found on the Dakka Dakka forum, if you are interested. i'm interested to see what kind of solutions you can come up with.

    keep up the good work

  23. Hey dave I have an understatably large amout of ig bits I will never use that may help you if you want them their yours for free.

  24. hey dave! i love the idea of the hooded heads & tattoos as well! i cant wait to see what you come up with! about 8 weeks ago i got the blood pact trooper's head colored in on my arm! :D i'm still waiting to get some more cash before i go in for another session haha. your blood pact tattoo looks amazing also!

  25. Well, if you want a few I'm sure I have them then Dave. If you give me an addy, I could probably throw a few/four in the post. g e i l e r AT s t j o e l i v e DOT c o m

    With no spaces obviously, just keeping the bots away :)

  26. They do indeed wear standard kit. In the beginning of the trench war novel, Caff is being described in detail waiting for the train, flack vest helmet and all. I was reasearching descriptions when I painted my own.

    For my scouts, in order to differentiate them, I gave them watch caps(black beanies). It might be something worth thinking about. I do think it unlikely that the scouts wear helmets (at least in my head), but certainly the line ghosts can.