Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Unforgiven: Deathwing Command Squad Banner Bearer

Never Forgive, Never Forget was never so fitting.
One of my biggest accomplishments of last year was starting to assemble a unit of senior members of the Dark Angels’ Inner Circle to serve as a Deathwing command squad. I was extremely happy with how the first two members of the squad turned out, and it really inspired me to start planning the next members of the squad. There was still one element of the unit that continued to give me pause (which was part of the reason for not beginning to build the squad earlier), and that was how I was going to make a banner bearer. I always liked their traditional banner with a broken angel reaching to the sky, and was hoping that the new plastic box would give me a workable version of it. As it turned out, they did to a fashion, but the plastic banner was designed to be mounted on top of one of the terminator’s bodies, admittedly reminiscent of the old metal model, but just not suitable to be held aloft in the unwavering hand of an intrepid hero. With this disappointment, I knew I had to come up with something different. I had long considered some of the plastic banners included in other kits, such as the Space Marine command banner, but they all seemed very rigid and intractable.

At around this time, I was helping a friend assemble Brian Nelson’s wonderfully characterful plastic giant. The kit is worthy of its own post, due to the wealth of interesting components, including little vultures, terrified villagers, and even a poor crushed knoblar. What drew most of my attention however, was a shackled and ironed skeleton that you could hang at the giant’s side. Having just finished the other command squad members, all adorned with skulls, it got me to thinking that the shackled skeleton might serve as the basis to convert a banner for the Deathwing. One thing led to another, and with some brass rods, green stuff, and a Grey Knight halberd, I had assembled a banner.

Ever since I saw this skeleton when the plastic giant was released years ago, I had wanted to find a good use for one.
In the tradition of the other two members of the command, I decided to base the model off of one of Forge World’s terminators. In this case I used Edgar Skomorowski's Legion Praetors clad in Cataphractii terminator armor, his wide stance fitting for a banner bearer. The bulky, and ornate clockwork looking armor fit perfectly with my image of one of the oldest living members of the Inner Circle, continuing his quest to eradicate traitor marines from the galaxy.

The third command squad member in all his glory!
To maintain a level of uniformity with the other members of the squad, I gave him one of the plastic hooded heads with its face carved out. I opted to keep the bionic eye the model had, feeling it fit with a warrior that has spent centuries at war. Unlike the two earlier members of the squad, however, I did not make him a wooden shrine topping his armor. I figured the shackled skeleton was likely enough death displayed by the warrior, but am still not entirely convinced. If you have any thoughts on the matter, let me know!

I had been meaning to add some manner of flintlock pistol to one of my models for quite some time now...
With a little greenstuff work, I was able to give the book a suitable way to be attached to the terminator's side.
To further emphasize his centuries of service to the god-Emperor, I wanted to add some sort of archaic wargear. For this I decided to craft him an archaeotech pistol from an Empire flintlock pistol (to give him a bit of a Predator 2 vibe!) . I added a holographic sight and fashioned some cabling from greenstuff to suggest its origin in the Dark Ages of Technology. To finish it off I added one of Forge World’s etched brass Imperial eagles and reworked the pistol’s trigger guard to actually accommodate the terminator’s fingers.  Additionally I added a book for good measure, recounting names of unrepentant Fallen or some other esoteric facts.

The Unforgiven assemble!
With one more terminator done, I am getting close to having a complete unit. As the rules are written, you can only ever have five terminators in a command squad, which would limit me to only two more, and if I want to make an apothecary and one carrying a heavy weapon (likely a cyclone missile launcher), my choices are rather restricted. With as much fun as I am having making them, coupled with all the untapped wargear options, I feel I might try to make a few more, maybe even shooting for ten of them. After all, you can never really have too many terminators! I will be sure to keep you updated as the squad continues to progress. Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions!

-Adam Wier


  1. Avesome conversion and beutiful command squad characters! I'll take inspiration!

  2. Absolutely brilliant mate - bloody lovely work.

    I think he could do with the back boards like the other two - he stands out as different without it, and its such a cool thing to have added in the first place - brilliant little idea that really adds to the minis.

    I love the use of the skeleton. I've got one in my bits box and had never thought of this - really cool idea - I'm saving this idea away for future reference.

    Any idea what you will use as the base for the next mini - There's the Culln Terminator but he is a bit plain, then the Tartorus and Cataphractii sets but they aren't really individual - theres always Abaddon?

    1. Thanks for the compliments!

      I think I will go back and work on making a little wooden shrine with a skull or two for the banner bearer. He does look a little out of place without one and they are fun to make!
      I am glad you like the use for the shackled skeleton! I think it imparts a really neat atmosphere. Good luck trying to incorporate one into a model yourself when it comes time!

      About what mini I will use for the next terminator, I am still a little uncertain. I have burned through most of the easily usable FW terminator character models. As you mentioned, Culln is still available. I have considered trying to use him, the little scroll and lantern thing on his waist seem fitting. While a little plain, I imagine after adding a robed head and some other small details he would feel right at home. I sadly never purchased him, so I will need to place another order with FW if I want to experiment with him. I do have Abaddon… I will have to look back at him and consider how difficult it would be to use him, ha ha.

      Currently I am thinking of playing around with some of the Legion Tartaros and Cataphractii terminators. The Cataphractii terminators are particularly static, but may work nicely for a heavy weapon terminator.

  3. WOW!! I would be blown away to have that on my tabletop! Great looking conversions, the character and flavor is almost dripping from 'em. cheers

    1. Thanks Beachbum! I am pretty excited to see them on the table for a few games. Thus far I have not had a chance to use any of them in battle.

  4. Really cool conversions!

    How do you make those wooden shrines on the terminators?

    1. I am glad you like the conversions!

      For the first two wooden shrines, I made use of the various wooden pieces carried by the Empire Flagellants (large wooden board with a parchment nailed to it). I simply cut apart the wooden plank and glued the pieces together in a believable fashion. In a few instances I needed to do some greenstuff work to fill seams (mainly where the shrine attaches to their armor). With the wooden shrine made, I found a few skulls and glued them atop the shrine. Hope that helps!

  5. Thanks for the advice. I'll have to try it out soon

  6. Fantastic looking models here. I really like the way you've thought a lot about each model and tried to make it a cohesive unit while each piece is a character in its own.

    I did find myself wondering if the book might look better lengthways on the leg?

    Moar now please :)

    1. Thank you for the kind words! I have put a lot of time into each of the different models in the command squad thus far. I have slightly modified the banner bearer from what is pictured in the post here. I added a little wooden shrine above his head like the two other members of the squad. The shrine also has a little candle on it.

      Interesting thought about the book. I don't remember how much I experimented around with the placement of the book. It might have looked better lengthwise as you suggested...

      I am still in the planning stages of the next member of the squad. He will likely have a storm shield and thunder hammer (likely taken from the plastic model of Karl Franz from Warhammer). I am currently working on too many modelling projects... So I am not sure how long it will be until the next Deathwing member is converted.