Marius Gracchus, Standard Bearer

The third member of my Ultramarine Command Squad is now complete. Yes, I've finally finished off the Standard Bearer, Marius Gracchus:

Here's his backstory:
Standard Bearer Marius Gracchus, "The Youngling." Marius is one of the youngest Marines ever selected to bear a company standard. His youthful features and penchant for humor hide a warrior who is capable with a chainblade and a masterful shot with a pistol.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how he turned out. The only disappointment is with the banner pole and the back of the banner itself. I had drilled a paperclip into the mounting point of the pole so I could hold the banner during painting. It worked, but when I was removing it last night, I tried to file away the excess paint. That went ok, but when I finished, I blew on the area to get rid of the little grains of paint and plastic. My hand took that moment to lose strength (hooray for carpal tunnel syndrome) and I dropped the banner on the floor. The top ornament broke off, and the paint was a little scuffed near the folds of the cloth. Then, when I was trying to apply liquid plastic cement to the area and affix it to the pole, I dropped it again with glue in the channel. That picked up some dust, so I had to fiddle with it again. The cement refused to hold, so I had to settle for super glue. After I got a scare when a drop of superglue rolled out of the tube and just missed the edge of the banner (landing instead on my pant leg), I got it held in place and decided to take the rest of the night off. I know by now that when my hands get weak like that, I need to stop.

Now that Marius is complete, I can turn my attention to the Demolitionist/Tank Hunter I'd shown earlier. I've only got a quick coat of blue on him right now, so nothing special to share in that regard. He'll be a pretty simple job once I'm not bouncing back and forth between the banner and the Tank Hunter, and picking away at my Vindicator (remember that project?). I realized just a moment ago that I've been screwing around with this Command Squad since April or thereabouts. Seven months for three models thus far, with a little work on a drop pod and a Vindicator snuck in there. Yikes.

Once I get beyond these Ultramarines, I can start thinking harder about my Raven Guard. I'm still hemming and hawing over what wargear to give the Captain, or whether I want a Captain at all. Maybe a Telepathy Librarian would be more interesting. Then there are Scouts, Vanguard Vets, and Assault Marines to think about. I'm burying myself under a mountain of planning again. Add onto that the thought that maybe the Command Squad would like to have a new HQ model to lead them, and I'm swamped with ideas, but not with spare time.

I bit the bullet and ordered three new brushes, Raphael 8404s. Two size 0s and a size 2. I previously used inexpensive Loew Cornell red sable brushes from AC Moore. They were about $4 each, and held up pretty well. But neither AC Moore nor Michael's carries the line anymore. They seem to have shifted heavily towards synthetic brushes, which I just can't use anymore. With my old brush line extinct, and being on my last brush of the type, I had to get new ones. I bought them via Amazon, directly from the distributor. Delivery estimate is 4-6 weeks. OUCH. Thankfully, my last remaining brush should hold up that long. I'm hoping these new brushes are worth the money.


  1. He looks great. How did you do the red on the tabbard? I like the look and the shading on there. Also, what color is that on the back of the banner? It's a great contrast to the rest of the model.

    I can't count how many times something horrific happened to a model when I was done with it and usually it's the same thing, I drop a model, though not from carpel tunnel. My luck is I drop it on my wet pallete or I drop a brush with paint on it that lands on the model. It sucks and I feel your pain.

    1. The red is a Reaper Master Series triad: Bloodstain Red, Clotted Red, and Carnage Red, with a final highlight of Phoenix Red. There's a bit of a Devlan Mud wash in there as well, but that was mostly to cover up the piss poor Thraka Green wash I'd used and that left rings of bright green on the model. The model's not as stark in person. The photo lighting makes that deep shadow and bright edges.

      The back of the banner is MSP Amber Gold, then a Devlan Mud wash, which ruined it, then back to Amber Gold, Linen White, which was far too bright, and then back to a thick wash of Amber gold, spot washes of Gryphonne Sepia, and then Linen White on the raised folds. It was one of the hardest things on the model to paint because nothing was turning out right.

      I drop my brushes all the time as well. I'll be painting along and the brush will just pop right out of my hand, or I'll fumble it while rinsing or reloading with paint. Thankfully, I was able to repair the broken parts pretty seamlessly.

  2. Wow! That freehand is amazing! The really impressive part is how smooth you get your paint with minimal use of airbrush (if any).

    1. Thanks. Freehand seems to be my strongest skill lately.
      No airbrush on my infantry. Just vehicles, and even then only the primer and first coat of paint.

  3. It's an awesome skill to have, still working on developing mine. Coming out of Maine I realized that the awesome paint jobs (many of them) are airbrushed. It's like seeing your favorite radio DJ or discovering the trick behind a magic trick and being disappointed. A lot of stencils and masking putty that, while it is still impressive, it doesn't hold a candle to actual freehand. So, yeah, amazing job man!