Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Dragged into Turbolasers Episode 75: The evolution of Space Marines, from True-scale to Primaris

A true-scale Space Marine (converted from a Primaris model) between an Imperial Guard and a Inquisitorial agent.

In this episode we are joined by our friend Brad Smith and talk about how there has long been a disconnect between the caricatured Space Marine models and the towering warriors portrayed in the artwork and lore, and how this led hobbyists to create true-scale Space Marines. We discuss some of the early efforts in this space, like Migsula’s Alpha Legion, and how everything changed with the release of the better-proportioned Primaris Space Marines. Finally, we talk about some of the different approaches hobbyists are currently using to create true-scale Space Marines, including the traditional method of adding spacers to the legs to older Space Marine models, and sculpting them from the ground up.

The cover to the 2nd Edition of Warhammer 40,000, and what introduced us to Space Marines.

The height of Space Marines has forever been a debate, likely due to this sketch Jes Goodwin did, where the scale is mislabeled.

An iconic piece of art by Kev Walker.

Karl Kopinski has illustrated some of the best Space Marines ever, although his iconic Crimson Fist Space Marine's head is far too small (left), something he seemingly acknowledged (and corrected) in all his subsequent art, like the Ultramarine pictured to the right.

People to follow, based on how they create true-scale Space marines:

Leg extensions and other modifications to regular Space Marines:

Anvils of Konor


Primaris and primarch models for Space Marines:

Werhner’s Black Templar


Created from the ground up:



Watch the entire stream on YouTube:

Or listen to the recording:

- Eric Wier


  1. Great episode as usual guys. I strongly agree with Brad that actually Space Marines were never the problem...the problem was the human models were too big. Everything was sort of in scale with itself and with other manufacturers (that is, an IG mini would look ok next to a WWII mini) until the IG Regiments were released in 2nd ed 40K (when IG went from Imperial Army in RT to having Cadians, Catachans, Mordians, etc) because the Perrys sculpted them bigger than the Space Marines, and bigger than any other 28mm miniatures in the entire wargaming market. (They did the same with WHFB Empire humans in 4th/5th ed and corrected it when they sculpted Dogs of War in a realistic 28mm scale.) That was never corrected but Space Marines stayed the same.

    Personally I won't buy Primaris, and I'm not interested in true-scale. The reason is, even though they are objectively "better", they are too big. They take up too much space on the table. I want actual 28mm models, and the old womble marines are better for that despite their faults.

    It has never been explained though why they have always been made so that they are all squatting. There was never any technological issue that necessitated it, it's always just been a weird design choice to have them all look like they need to go to the toilet.

    1. The scale creep certainly is a major issue. It would have been great if the human models were smaller, but it was not to be... And as you said, it sure is odd that the squatting pose became such a big part of GW's model lines.

  2. I'm still not convinced why sm Guns should need shrinking though...
    Shouldn't you be able to carry as much as you want when you're wearing Power armour? Do we even know what metals weigh in the 41st? Maybe they're far lighter! Isn't there something called "plasteel"?
    Anyway, nice episode! Still a fascinating topic. I Do think gw has just never thought of realism as such an important topic. They always went for emotion or mood rather than accuracy. It's a little like fighting over Jack Kirby's or Frank Miller's drawing style.

    1. Yeah, you are right that GW has never really focused on realism with their models, so it is not surprising the proportions are a little odd. You are also right that Space Marines would not be too concerned with the weight of a bolter, regardless of how large it is, and that maybe there is less dense, but resilient metal in 40k. The main reason I think they would want them to be smaller is so that they are less cumbersome. Their current size would make them really awkward to handle and use.

  3. I know you're primarily focused on modelling and painting but in a future episode could you talk about your approach to gaming and setting up a game/campaign? From prior episodes I gather you are more narrative and less rules focused.

    1. This is a great idea for an episode of the podcast! We will try to make one!

  4. where is the "guard" on the left of your first image from?