This March I am proud to present an Ultramarines combat squad deliberately contrived to conjure up a very particular point in time – November 1990. It’s March for Macragge.
Tactical Squad Rhenus. Their presence remakes the past.
In November 1990 Space Marine design saw a step change with the release of the RTB15 Strike Force boxed set. The new age of Warhammer 40,000 was ushered in with these brand new metal-plastic hybrid Marines.
It was the transition point from mk6 power armour to mk7 power armour. It was the transition from one-piece metal castings to metal torsos with plastic arms and accessories. It was the transition from Bob Naismith, Aly Morrison and Mark Copplestone designing Space Marines to Jes Goodwin.
There are two versions of each of the Strike Force torsos – the earlier verion had rounded shoulders which made them backwards compatible with the RTB01 plastic arms, and the later version had the shoulders flattened off to fit with the 1991 redesigned arm sprue. The 1990 arm sprue from the Strike Force box was curiously discontinued – if you know why, please enlighten me in the comments.
The 1990s would go on to see the mk7 range fully rounded out with more torso designs, special and heavy weapons, jump packs, and all new accessory sprues. But in November 1990 if you wanted any of that for your mk7 marines you had to use the old mk6 pieces – which is what I’ve done on this squad. The Sergeant’s powerfist and weeny bolt pistol, the rocket launcher, various ammo packs and binox are all pilfered from the RTB01 kit.
The RTB01 rocket launcher (below left) requires a bit of fiddly modelling to get it to work on a Strike Force torso – the arm toting it is a combination of the original RTB01 arm with a Strike Force shoulder pad, and some putty for the wrist armour.
The Ultramarines project means I’m painting three blue Space Marine armies concurrently. I’d be nice to have the three projects more visually distinct, but I’ve got strong emotional reasons for each scheme individually so I will just have to live with a big jumble of blue in the display cabinet. It’s like that Eiffel 65 song. Da Ba Dee. Da Ba Daa.
I’m bursting with ideas for other Ultramarines squads, and while I’m not going to collect the entire Chapter there are 99 other squads to explore with 1990s-themed collecting and modelling ideas.
This squad makes me feel as nostalgically 1990s my other hobby – standing outside derelict Global Video stores.
I’m putting together a full tutorial for Ultramarines power armour which will publish soon. If you head over to the Patreon, there’s already a wealth of tutorials for how to paint Blood Angels, Crimson Fists, Nemesis Chapter, an Apothecary, Deathwatch, gold power armour and battered yellow armour, as well as lots of skin recipes and special freehand walkthroughs.
Coming soon, more blue Space Marines. Ninjabread out!