Friday, February 22, 2013

Defining my Space Wolf Force - Part 1

Hi everyone,

As probably most of you know I am a very big and dedicated Space Wolf fan.  I have been since Rogue Trader with my first army of Space Wolves that were painted up to look more or less like Imperial Fists in camouflage.  That army along with the other two that followed are on someone else's shelf or bits box now.  To be honest I still regret selling my first army, as it was made up of those ultra cool first Space Marine minis the kids like me fell in love with all those years ago.

This is my fourth army of Space Wolves, and before I sat down to design it I wanted to establish a look for each unit, as well as the army as a whole.  Having said that, I did not want to loose focus on why I was building the army - that is to play with it and not collect a new army for the sake of collecting one; painting it up to very high standards and leaving it in the showcase.  I decided to do this by building up each unit on three defining criteria.

The first criterion I would look at was a 'parts concept'.  Choosing the parts would establish the overall look of the marine.  I went about this depending on the function and status of the unit and accordingly build it up from normal Space Marine parts or Space Wolf parts.

The second would be the modelling.  Once again, depending on the function and status of the unit, I would add stuff like wolf pelts, wolf tooth necklaces, wolf tails, belts, skulls and trophies.

The third and final criteria I would employ in designing the army would be the painting.  This concept would also define the look of the army as a whole. 

I decided to make a breakdown of each pack type which I will list below, stating how it would be built up according to the three criteria discussed above.

The Blood Claws
These are the equivalent to scouts in other Space Marine chapters.  They are relatively young and undisciplined and eager to prove themselves in combat. Hence I wanted them to be dynamic without furs or fur cloaks or trophies.  These are trappings they still have to earn.

Parts Concept:- Only use Space Marine legs (majority in running poses) and torsos (with few exceptions). As for backpacks and shoulder pads I only use the normal Space Marine ones.

Modelling Concept:- No modelling except for a 'Rune of Acceptance' on their right shoulder pad.  Unlike the other trophies of other units, Blood Claws strive to have this mark removed and take their place among the Grey Hunters.  I also added blades to specialists to denote their special role.

Painting Concept:-  I wanted to keep the original second edition pack markings so I painted the shoulder pads in red and yellow.  I also added blue warpaint to the Blood Claws' faces and helmets, and painted the hands in red.  This tends to make them slightly flamboyant in Space Wolf terms.

The Grey Hunters
These are a special type of Tactical Squad formation, unique to the Sons of Russ.  Unlike normal Tactical squads that carry Bolters and a bolt pistol, Grey Hunters carry a second close combat weapon.

Parts Concept:- Only use Space Marine legs (minority in running poses) and mostly Space Wolf torsos (with few exceptions).  I also arm them with Bolters and a close combat weapon (usually a chainsword).  As for backpacks I only use the normal Space Marine ones.

Modelling Concept:- Grey Hunters are mature experienced warriors.  As such I model furs, wolf tooth necklaces, wolf tails, trophies and other trappings freely.

Painting Concept:- As with the Blood Claws, I wanted to keep the original second edition pack markings so I painted the shoulder pads in red and black. Under no circumstances did I paint any yellow on them.

The Long Fangs

These are a the long range support for the Space Wolves.  They are in themselves veterans and some of the longest serving warriors in the Chapter.

Parts Concept:- These are the first unit type where I only use Space Wolf legs (majority in standing poses) and torsos (with few exceptions).  This helps show their privileged and respectful position within the Chapter.
Modelling Concept:- Like the Grey Hunters, I freely sculpt all kinds of trophies and trappings on them to give them more character and a uniqueness.

Painting Concept:- Like the other units, I wanted to keep the original second edition pack markings so I painted the shoulder pads in black and white. Unlike the other packs, all my Long Fang packs will have the same pack marking.  This will allow me to freely mix heavy weapons between them without having to magnetise. 

Well that ends the first part on my reflections with my army design.  Next time I will deal with Wolf Guard, Wolf Scouts and Bikers.
Farewell and good health



  1. What a perfect idea. I tried distinguishing my Blood Claws and Grey Hunters with their heads and weapons. Your approach is so effective and true to the character of the Chapter. I love it!

  2. Hey Sigusmund, nice to hear from you. Glad you liked the idea. It's the first time I'm implementing it with a Space Wolves Army. It also saves on costs since I already have so many Space Marine parts :)!


  3. This is a great example of a well thought-out and planned army where background and modelling are integrated together. Also your green stuff work is lovely.

    1. Thanks. It is lot of modelling work taken on an army level, even though the techniques are simply enough, but I think it is worth it in the end.


  4. I am very sensitive to this issue. I would agree to most of the things you say, but trying to be constructive, I have a question :
    Did you have the chance to look at IA 11 The Doom Of Mymeara X (p.112-119) ?

    1. Hi, thanks for leacing a comment. Can I ask what issue exactly are you refering to. Is it something in particular in the article. I ask so I can give you a detailed answer. With regards to No IA11, I don't have it. What's on it?


    2. Hi, you’re very welcome. But thanking you for your post would be more appropriate.

      Sorry for not being clear in my first comment. I was referring to the title of the article : “Defining my Space Wolf Force”. The fact that you “establish a look for each unit, as well as the army as a whole.” And “defining criteria” for doing so. Long story short : making a plan. A plan that will come together. Won’t it, A. Smith ?

      I have the same approach, for my space wolves.

      I’m referring to some illustrations. Can you find IA 11 ? If not, is there a way to send you some pdf ?
      I think that you might enjoy having it. I mean for working purpose.
      I could explain you what I see in it that could fit in your approach, but I would be more interested in having a discussion with you about that, without my idea interfering with your first glimpse. But I will do it if there’s no other way.

    3. Erratum : H. Smith

  5. Here's a link for page 114 & 115, but my offer still stand.

    1. Hi, I am glad you cleared it up for me. I am also glad you share my 'plan' approach. This is my forth Space Wolf army (and last) and the only one I have approached in this fashion. I would love to see your work and your approach to the Space Wolves, so if you have a blog or pics on a forum or site, pls send me the link.

      As regards, AI 11 I have taken a look at the link. I wasn't aware it dealt with a campaign involing the Wolves. So I have sent for it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I like the red mouth piece marking for the Wolf Guard, although the grey armour colour is a bit light for my taste.

      I will take a better look when I get my hands on it. Thank you again for bringing it to my attention.

      Best Regards and pleasant modelling,


  6. Hi,
    You are very welcome. I'm glad to help.

    I'm sorry but I don't have a blog and I generally don't take pictures. I did it once for a skald (rune priest trainee, just in case, sorry) before undoing part of it. I started it years ago, when all was metal. That was my first attempt for a conversion. That's what it takes for me to take pictures...

    If you like Ruschil's helmet, I can't wait for you to see Mardr's. It's a MK IV black helmet with the redmaw marking. I'm loovin' it ! So simple, but so effective...
    By the way, did you receive I.A. 11 ? Then we could start our discussion.

    If you like that kind of war paint on the helmets, you should take a look to the white dwarf number 185 (p.55). It's pretty basic, but I think it's worth it. (Even if the grey armlour will probably be also to light for your taste.)

    PS : Sorry for the delayed answer. Computer disturbances...

    1. Hi ,

      I am going through it at the moment, but I will get back to you soon.

    2. Oki doki,

      I'm waiting for you :-)



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