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Vengeance is Ours - The Avalon Crusade


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My first foray into 40K started in 3rd Edition.  One of my friends showed up at school one morning with the Big Black Book, and soon we were all hooked.  The model lines being what they were at the time, four of us started Space Marine armies.  The fifth, always having to be different, started Tyranids and kicked off uncounted nightmares of being jumped by Genestealers in close combat.




I, being a particularly lazy teenager, picked the simplest color scheme I could find.  A coat of black primer, a few details in Boltgun Metal and Skull White, the mandatory Goblin Green base, and done!





Black Templar fluff at the time was rather sparse - in 2nd Edition they were listed as a Codex-compliant Chapter, but started gaining character when they were featured heavily in the early 3rd Edition artwork (most notably, the cover of the BBB above).




Then, in 2000, Codex: Armageddon was published and sparked a deep and lasting love of my Space Crusaders.  It also presented a few problems - the Black Templars were now an assault-focused army, which necessitated some changes to my collection and tabletop tactics, and required an Emperor's Champion to field.  The only model at that time was the limited edition 25th Anniversary miniature, which was near-impossible to find.  After a year of proxying various Sergeant models, I tackled my very first kitbash.



Yikes.  Not having a digital camera, or home internet access, I resorted to using a scanner at my local public library.


This was also my first attempt at writing backstory and fan fiction.  Most of the story behind my Black Templars have been lost - my early years were spent on Portent.net (which has long since vanished) before transitioning to B&C in 2002 (before the Great Crash of 2004).  That's probably a good thing - I didn't know nearly as much 40K lore as I do now, and my early writing suffered accordingly.


University was upon me soon enough, and with it several new things to keep my attention, and I quickly lost interest in 40K.  I got rid of my collection, except for a few choice models, and quit the hobby entirely.  There was an aborted attempt to get back into it in 5th Edition, but I just didn't feel the same draw as before.  The release of the Imperial Knights in 2014 reignited that fire in a massive way and I've since spiraled back into madness.



Prepping part of my AdMech army for a yearly Apocalypse game


One thing has stayed constant since my hiatus - after fielding and fighting (almost) nothing but Space Marines for an entire Edition, I absolutely refused to go down that path again.  Oh, there were little cheats here and there.  I split a Dark Imperium box with a friend who wanted to try out Death Guard, and squirreled away my portion of the Primaris sprues in my hobby room.  But no, never again would I paint a single Space Marine.


All the while, this image was clawing at the back of my mind:




What would my Black Templars look like now, after 20 years?  Surely they would be much better than before, with a wider selection of components and hobby supplies.  And, you know, finally having learned how to thin my paints.


And then, the final push over the brink:



I'll echo what many commentators and B&C posters have said - now these are Astartes!  This was enough to finally rekindle the old fire, and earlier this week I dug out those neglected Primaris sprues.  Time to own up to my past and accept my destiny - ✠ZEAL✠ is back on the menu.




The Avalon Crusade

Edited by CommodusXIII
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Welcome back brother, truly these are dark times, but also those that bring great hope! Many a lost crusade has returned and the Emperor is pleased as his sons gather their strength for the coming storm.



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I'd tossed around a few different names for my first army, and after fully digesting Codex: Armageddon and the Index Astartes article in White Dwarf #248 I settled on the Avalon Crusade.  In retrospect, I may also have been influenced by watching Dragonheart far too many times for one summer.


In the following years I would try my hand several times at crafting a backstory, but I never quite got it down.  As my main opponents were three other Loyalist Chapters, there wasn't much conflict to drive a story beyond honor duels.  The only surviving element is that, during his vigil, an Initiate named Constans received a vision from the Emperor in which he was directed to the planet Avalon.  After this he was anointed as the Emperor's Champion, and the Crusade would eventually locate the Caliban-esque death/feudal world and claim it as a recruiting world.


I've been thinking about how to bring this fluff into M42.  Fortunately, I'd stayed in the hobby long enough to take part in the Eye of Terror worldwide campaign.  The Avalon Crusade had answered the call to support Cadia and, in the original ending of the campaign, the Imperium was relatively victorious.  In the new ending, the Avalon Crusade was all but wiped out when the planet was broken.  Avalon itself was also destroyed when the Cicatrix Maledictum expanded across the Imperium.


The few survivors of the Avalon Crusade decided to risk the Rubicon Primaris as test subjects - what more did they have to lose?  Only a handful would survive the procedure; among them Athelric the Pure of Heart, their Marshal; Talbot the Righteous, their Reclusiarch; and Constans the Ever Vigilant, their Emperor's Champion.  With their command structure (relatively) intact, the Avalon Crusade could begin replenishing its numbers with new Neophytes and Primaris Initiates.


(Fitting for the era, the honorifics of the first two may or may not have been inspired by Wierd Al Yankovich.)


The Rubicon Primaris is an agonizing process.  True to their lineage to Rogal Dorn, each brother of the Avalon Crusade met the pain with silent, though fervent, prayer and meditation.  As Constans slipped into death during the final stage, he once again received a vision of the Emperor.  The exact details are kept between him and the Reclusiarch Talbot, but the experience has once again set his brethren on the path of the crusader.  The Avalon Crusade is now one of vengeance, named for a home long since lost, and waged to bring justice to the foes of the Imperium.




This history is evident on the Crusade Banner, born by Ancient Lothar.  Central to the banner is the burning world of Avalon, broken and lost within the Great Rift.  Below the tapestry is the personal heraldry of Marshal Athelric.  Each Initiate of the Avalon Crusade wears his own heraldry but, following tradition, Athelric's is considered the official heraldry of the Avalon Crusade.

Edited by CommodusXIII
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Thank you!  The Primaris Ancient banner made selecting the Crusade's heraldry much easier.  Hopefully I can wrap up the first few Marines in the near future - I've been busy with the Apocalypse game, and a lot of bits are delayed in customs with the continuing government shutdown.

Edited by CommodusXIII
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I really like what you did on the banner. Not too bright, just enough to give it life, but very realistic looking. Bravo!


I've been busy with the Apocalypse game,



Our group loves Apoc, please do share any batreps and pics.


I'd stayed in the hobby long enough to take part in the Eye of Terror worldwide campaign.



<fist bump on Eye of Terror campaign> Those were very interesting times indeed.

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Our group loves Apoc, please do share any batreps and pics.



Well, it may be a bit anticlimatic.  Each side brought 40,000 points to the table.  I brought 12,000 in Skitarii, Knights, and Titans.






I deployed across from a large Chaos contingent, including a Slaaneshi Warlord.  In the first turn, the Chaos players took down my Warhound.  In return, I took down the enemy Warlord with two volcano cannon shots (72 Damage total).






Unchecked, my Warlord continued to pick off the rest of the Titanic units on the table.  Meanwhile, my Knights and Dunecrawlers were completely hemmed in by terrain and struggled to escape my deployment zone.  I finally broke out onto one of the main objectives, but it was held by a Ripper swarm with ObSec.  Even the Warlord failed to dislodge them.  In the end, though, my team won 120 VPs to 96.

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With my original Black Templars army, there were three things in particular that I really hated about painting.  I was no good at them, and it's hard to enjoy something that you're not good at.  Surveying the first batch of Marines for the revived Avalon Crusade, I think I've improved in the interim.






My original attempt at basing was limited to a heavy coat of Goblin Green.  Funding was tight as a kid, so I didn't even use the ubiquitous golf course green flock.




Near the end of the first era, I repainted the edges of my bases black.  It wasn't a huge improvement.  When I came back to the hobby with my AdMech collection, I began basing with sand and a heavy wash of Agrax Earthshade.





For my Kill Teams and other small projects, I began experimenting with Sector Imperialis bases.


Sometime it the past few years, someone gifted me a set of Sector Mechanicus bases.  I remember thinking that they were beautiful, but anyone who spends the time to base an entire army with them must be mad.  There's just too much pipework detail.  Well, I've finally gone around the bend.




Continuing the theme of cleaning out my collection of unused bits and kits, I decided to use them for the Avalon Crusade.  First, the Black Templars are a fleet-based Chapter that excels at boarding actions, and these could easily pass for deck plating.  Second, most of the local hobby stores have moved away from the traditional grassland/wasteland boards to Sector Imperialis and Sector Mechanicus terrain, so they'll fit right in.


I'm mixing my bases about 50:50 between Sector Mechanicus and Necromunda.  Between the two of them I can cover just about any infantry base size.  Also, I'm splitting my units between the two bases to make it easier to differentiate groups of models - the number on the right knee will identify the unit, and the type of base the combat squad.




I made extensive use of transfers with my first army.  However, I didn't have the wealth of hobby supplies and experience that I do today.  They never sat flat on the curved pauldrons, and tended to rub off or tear during transport.  They just looked... cheap.


The experience was so bad that, when I restarted with Imperial Knights and Skitarii, I insisted on hand painting all of my symbols.  I'm definitely not good at freehand, so that didn't turn out very well, either.  Again, starting with some of my smaller Kill Team projects, I've experimented with different techniques to improve my transfers.  I had to make some adjustments when tackling Space Marines again, but the results are much better than expected.




First I had to decide which transfers I was going to use.  I really wish that I'd stocked up on Forge World's old sheet, but that's the way it goes.  I tried out a few candidates from the Forge World Imperial Fists sheet and the traditional Games Workshop sheet. I settled on the decals from Ginfritter's Gnomish Workshop, sold through Armorcast.  They're a little smaller than GW standard size, but I barely notice - and they'll also work well for Scouts, then.  I chose the version with a red border, as I wanted a splash of color to break up the relatively monochrome scheme.


These transfers aren't pre-cut like the ones from GW or FW, so they're a little more difficult to apply flat on curved surfaces.  I made a cut between each arm of the cross to allow it to flex, and applied it over a light coat of 'Ardcoat.  Once dry, I gave it two coats of MicroSol to soften the decal and make it conform to the curvature.  I then gave it another light coat of 'Ardcoat to seal it onto the model, and then three heavy coats of Lahman Medium to remove the shine of the gloss.  After washing the entire model with Nuln Oil, it blends right in.




A comparison between the latest model and my original Marshal demonstrates why I hated painting faces for so long.






I waffled a bit on the hair.  I didn't particularly like the military high-and-tight haircut of the Primaris marines, but I also didn't want them all to be bald.  I settled on the "tactical tonsure", which works well for transhuman warrior monks.


In my first batch I've finished 7 Intercessors and 3 Hellblasters.  The rest are waiting on some additional bits to arrive, and I have a second full set of Dark Imperium Primaris to pick up from a friend.  I've also been making slow progress on piecing together my new Emperor's Champion.

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I was in such a rush to finish the first batch of marines that I forgot the tilt shields.


Each Initiate of the Avalon Crusade bears his own personal heraldry on this small plate.  Heraldry is passed down from Initiate to Neophyte, with small additions and modifications with each generation.  I wanted this heraldry to be unique, so I drew up a total of 63 combinations.  I then randomized the list and assigned one to each marine that I've completed.




The shields themselves were sourced from the Primaris Intercessors and Grey Knight Terminators kits.




Besides a touch of individuality and another splash of color, I like that the shields bulk out the Primaris marines even further.






Up next is the first of two Lieutenants/Castellans.

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I have a few days off work, so I took the opportunity to finish up the Lieutenants/Sword Brethren/Castellans:






It turns out that the red cross decals from Ginfritter's Gnomish Workshop don't have enough pigment to show up over a black background.  So, I used white decals instead and painted over them.  I also added back banners from the old Black Templars Accessories sprue.  I didn't particularly like banners when I played in 3rd Edition, but they've since grown on me.  They also fit the imagery of the Black Templars and help identify aura-casters on the tabletop.


I've also made progress on both the remaining Intercessors and Hellblasters, the first squad of Inceptors, and the nascent Emperor's Champion.  Next up, though, is the reimagined Reclusiarch Talbot the Righteous.

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Thank you very much!


I lost track of time last night and ground on through Talbot the Righteous, the Reclusiarch of the Avalon Crusade.  Here is a comparison of the two incarnations:




The Primaris Chaplain model was... busier than I'd like, but I needed some parts for my Emperor's Champion.  Talbot was also a lynchpin of my original Black Templars army - the Chaplain was the only other source of a reliable invulnerable save, a very important survival tactic in a power weapon- and lascannon-heavy meta.  I'd considered adding an aquiline head to the Crozius Arcanum, in place of the spiked skull, but didn't have anything handy in my bits box and was too impatient to wait for yet another shipment.  The pimp cane will have to do.


I had also considered both white and red robes, but felt that black would set him apart from the Initiates and Sword Brethren (respectively).  I've taken to varying by one shade when painting cloth versus armor (dark red, cream, and charcoal grey for the former) so that the two can be easily distinguished from each other.




Like his fellow Black Templars, Talbot bears a tilt shield on his left shoulder.  However, because there are exceptions to every rule, his is not adorned with his personal heraldry.  The Chaplains are the embodiment of the Imperial Creed, and thus represent the Emperor Himself - they are no longer concerned with their own honor.  Talbot simply bears the red cross of the Sword Brethren (as a member of Marshal Athelric's retinue) and the skull of his office.  He also wears the white cross on black, the traditional marking of the Chaplain.  None of that "Fire Support" nonsense.


Next up is Ancient Lothar, Sword Brother and bearer of the Avalon Crusade Banner.

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including a Slaaneshi Warlord.  In the first turn, the Chaos players took down my Warhound.  In return, I took down the enemy Warlord with two volcano cannon shots (72 Damage total).



When I first read that, I thought, "Man why would you waste volcano cannons on some guy with a snake body?"


Then I read it again and went, "Oh wait, he means a titan Warlord."


Never mind me, it's been a long day.


Thank you for sharing.



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I swear, I'm honestly trying not to spam my own thread.  I've finished Ancient Lothar, and this will likely be the last completion for a while:








I still really like this banner.  Many of the elements will be repeated in other models, so it does serve to tie the entire army together.  In particular, the white skull with iron halo is seen many times on the Primaris Chaplain model.  The skull with green laurels will turn up in the future, as well.


This was also my first experiment with tabards.  This one is from the Spellcrow Templars Tabards set - I also picked up a pack of Standard Tabards to mix in.  This is what's been holding up the remaining Intercessors and Hellblasters - now that the bits are in, I'll get back to work on completing those squads next week.

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1. Your thread, you can't possibly spam it. People post at their own cadence. You keep doing you, it's all good.


2. We like what you post, you're doing good stuff. Why stop? :)


3. Have you thought about putting any weathering powders on your bases? Just a thought, but sometimes that "grit" adds another level of realism.


Play on good sir!

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Then continue I will!


The spellcrow tabbards fit the model well?
Any idea how it would fit oldmarines?


They did, but I had to choose a specific tabard for each Marine.  I also dipped them in boiling water and molded them to fit the dynamics of the models.


I think they'd fit oldmarines even better.  The Primaris are posed more... realistically, and lack the squatting posture of the older models.  That leaves less space between the legs for the tabards.  However, these tabards might be a bit too long for the older models - Spellcrow also sells short tabards, but I think that those are meant for Scout-sized models.


3. Have you thought about putting any weathering powders on your bases? Just a thought, but sometimes that "grit" adds another level of realism.


I paint my Sector Imperialis bases in a similar fashion, but I tend to go back over them with a heavy grey drybrush to weather them.  I left these unweathered and, now that you mention it, I may experiment with some rust powders...




Another shipment of bits came in today, this time a pack of candles from Anvil Industries.  When I first considered tackling a Primaris project, I was drawn to the Sons of the Phoenix.  I didn't necessarily like the paint scheme - I really hate painting large areas of white - but I did like the use of candles.  Despite the common theory that they're secretly founded from Emperor's Children genestock, officially they're a crusading Chapter of the Imperial Fist lineage.  That's close enough for me to steal the visual concept.




Besides an additional bit of character, the candles have another purpose.  While the shields and red-bordered decals were chosen to add a touch of color to an otherwise monochrome theme, the candles add a touch of light amidst all of the darkness.




I started with a couple trial models, and liked the effect so much that I rolled it out to the rest of the army.  About 80% of my Black Templars will end up with devotional candles.  In my headcannon, the STC was originally meant for emergency/survival situations - candles that are almost impossible to snuff out, and can even burn without oxygen.


Back to the Intercessors!

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Something to consider, candles are very, very easy to make from scratch.


You just need some plastic rod cut to the length(s) you need, a small gs blob to represent the melted wax, pushed down  the side of the candle (if you want), and  then just a simple blob shaped like a flame.


It's actually simpler than the description. :)

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