Thursday, July 23, 2020

Adeptus Astartes: Iron Snakes Space Marine

Never break the chain.

To commemorate the release of the new edition of Warhammer 40,000, I converted a Primaris Space Marine into a regular true-scale Space Marine. With the new edition coming to stores this weekend, I wanted to get the model painted in time. Being a fan of the Black Library author Dan Abnett, I decided to paint the model as an Iron Snake, one of the Chapters he created. This also gave me the opportunity to experiment with Vallejo Metal Color acrylic paints. I had heard a lot of very positive things about the paint range, particularly their smooth application straight from the bottle via brush and airbrush. I was surprised to learn that they have a staggering 17 different metallic paints in the range, most being different silvers.

The Vallejo Metal Color metallic worked brilliantly on the silvers of the Iron Snake power armor.

For the Iron Snake, I started by airbrushing the model with Gunmetal Grey (77.720) over a black basecoat. Next I did a subtle zenithal highlight of Duraluminium (77.702) with the airbrush. From here, I darkened some of the shadows with a combination of Black Templar Contrast paint and Black oils. With the brush, I further highlighted areas of the armor with a succession of light and lighter silvers: Duraluminium (77.702), Pale Burnt Metal (77.704), and Aluminium (77.701). Overall, I was really impressed with the Metal Color paints. All of the colors I used had great coverage and applied smoothly directly from the bottle. The wide range in silvers also made it easy to get a full range of highlights without mixing paints.

The model’s base was created by modifying a Necromunda base with a thin piece of photo etch.

The model also afforded me the opportunity to practice my free-hand painting. The Iron Snake chapter symbol is typically depicted as a blue serpent on a white background. After looking at some reference pictures of various snakes, I painted the head of the chapter’s serpent to look like a viper baring its fangs. I also painted a small serpent in white on the stock of his rifle. The chapter commonly uses the motif of a chain, so I painted one on his left knee pad. To represent that the marine was part of a tactical squad, I painted the characteristic arrow motif on his right shoulder guard.

This model was a great opportunity to practice my free-hand skills painting his shoulder pads.

An Imperial Guard, next to the Iron Snake Space Marine, followed by an Inquisitorial agent.

It was fun painting a Space Marine again. Although the process took longer than I anticipated, I think the scheme would be a good one for creating a Kill team, due to the excellent Vallejo Metal Color acrylic paint line. If I build another, I will likely experiment with converting another bolter variant! Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated!

- Adam Wier


  1. It's an awesome paint job Adam. Lovely freehand and the metal really looks pitted and scuffed.
    The photo etched mesh really does a good job of changing the appearance of the necromunda bases, I might consider picking some of that up myself. Although it might end up getting lost under the layers of rust, grunge and filth I like to add to my bases :D

    1. I am glad you like the marine! It is nice to finally have the model painted, seeing as I had him since the release of the last edition of 40K...

      You should get some photo etch to add to your bases. They really go a long way!