Painted Spears of Mawdryn Space Marine Scouts! (WIP)

Finally, after some time, I have the first painted Mawdryn miniatures to share with you all. They are still work in progress, but by the time you read this blog post, most of the work should have been finished....

Setting the Scene

These are the converted Scouts of my custom Space Marine Chapter, the Spears of Mawdryn. Just as a recap, and for the uninitiated, they have nothing to do with Peter Davison or Doctor Who, but the name is a not-so-subtle homage. The Chapter is based on Arthurian/Romano-British and Celtic historical elements, with a few nods to Arthurian myth and legend thrown in the pot too. They're not glorious heroes, nor are they particularly renowned throughout the Imperium; they're pretty scruffy underdogs that perhaps certain Chapters might look down their noses at.

In true Arthurian/Celtic fashion, their Librarians and Chaplain-Apothecaries are two different Orders of “Druids” and like the Late and “post” Romans (although this is being debated) they use rather a lot of cavalry – translated to Bikes for 40k purposes – and naturally the Honour Guard gather for councils of war at a very circular table... Second in tactical and social importance within the Chapter are the Scouts.

As mentioned in my previous post, the Scouts of the Spears of Mawdryn come in two forms
Accepted GW-issue fluff suggests that fully fledged Marines can, and occasionally do, deploy in Scout armour and act as Scouts (in addition to the veteran Sergeants and other training personnel presumably with them). It makes sense to me. So, as such I have the traditional newly recruited Neophytes acting as Scouts, these are known as Saethwyr, and take a role on the field closer to skirmishers/light infantry rather than elite infiltrators. This more elite, sneaky, stealthy role is taken by the Helwyr (just as I'm sure the British Army wouldn't send our chaps in Basic out to do the job of the SAS). The Helwyr are the scruffy lot often on extended deployment and are meant to look like they're living off the land – see my last post for more. The Helwyr are the Marines that have chosen to continue within the ranks of the Scouts, and are often those from the tribes of the mountains and foothills – mirroring history again.
Chap at bottom is a key inspiration*

The Scout Snipers of the Helwyr are best known beyond the Chapter for the “Mawdryn Shot” (this is my mirroring of the Welsh use of the longbow from the early iteration of the Chapter which was more medieval Welsh than early dark ages). The Mawdryn Shot is the tactic of the snipers which involves using their rifles at close range, with a home-brew modified round (much like the Germans of WWI) as an anti-tank rifle – using the power of the rifle to penetrate armour rather than flinging the bolt several miles.

The Miniatures 

Well, here they are at long last. They're still a little rough round the edges, but hopefully that can be tidied up, or masked with the weathering and damage that Mawdryn Marines were always going to have - these chaps in particular. I have been involved in this wonderful hobby of ours on and off for 17-odd years. In that time I have painted embarrassingly few miniatures (you could count them on a Tyranid's fingers). I have long had "Painting Doubts" myself, have never felt particularly good at it, but the more I do it the more comfortable I feel and the more I enjoy it. For more on this, look out for tomorrow's post for my paint-based philosophising (titled "Painting Doubts? Give it a go!").

Anyhoo, as I say they're a little rough. The webbing, small pack and boots of one of the chaps only has  Bubonic Brown basecoat. The green armour is Snot Green on Dark Angels green. I experimented a little with a hybrid of layering and wet blending on the shoulder pads, which hopefully I can get a done a little better on the next batch of three/four. I did feel the green was a little more luminous than intended, and will be trying Knarloc and Catachan, er, sorry Loren Forest and Castellan Green on the next batch. One reason I chose to paint the Scouts first was that they are meant to look rather ragtag in an already ragtag looking Chapter, so switching from old to new paints within the same unit wasn't going to pose too much of a problem (theoretically). Mostly on this models I have used entirely old paints, the only new one being Agrax Earthshade. This is the first time I have attempted to use a wash in about a decade and this time I went swimmingly well. The last attempt was the use of Brown Ink on something and it didn't go well and scarred me for 10 years :p Again more in tomorrow's post. The Earthshade did the job pretty well on the cloth sections, which had been based with Bleached Bone over Graveyard Earth, and was highlighted after the wash with more Bleached Bone, and Bleached Bone/Skull White mix.

For the webbing on the other chap, I may go with the new "XV88" just to get a bit of a mix and match with the ammou pouches and what not so they don't look identikit. With the blanket rolls on top (rolled up Camo Cloaks) these will be painted in the individuals tribal plaid. The knives will be a bronze/brass colour, although my Celtic influences are Iron Age, I thought the use of bronze weaponry throughout would make the look more "Not Medieval." The same with the bolt pistols, the metal sections (barrel, magazine etc) will be bronze but the outer case a more standard black. Gauntlets and belt will be Blood Red on Red Gore, and the hair colour will be anything but "orange" (I may be using Space Wolves components, but want to distance myselfs from them). The Scout that currently has basecoated webbing/pack may have some tribal tattooing painted onto his face if I feel up to it.

Even the clinically unobservant will have noticed that I undercoat in a dark brown (Scorched Earth). I first tried this many moons ago with some Copplestone Siberians and it seemed to work well with the slightly more organic look I prefer. The relatively few things I've attempted to paint since have used the same undercoat (including my Gladiators). Though now I'm not so sure whether it really makes a difference, or is something of a painting superstition. Any thoughts?

As mentioned previously, tune in for tomorrow's post in which I consider my thoughts and feelings about painting miniatures. Hopefully not as painful as it sounds..... That's all for now folks.

Useless Mawdryn Factoid #1
In the tongue of Mawdryn (er... Welsh, with bits of Breton and Cornish), the word Mawdryn itself should really be pronounced “maow-drin” rather than “morr-drin.” In Welsh, the "Y” in a word is usually “uh” ("a" in UK English "about") and pronounced “i” if it's in the final syllable. 

Despite that, I think “morr-drinn” actually sounds better and that is how the Chapter name shoud be pronounced.

* Image Credit: This is a British hill-tribe skirmisher taken from a plate by Angus McBride from Osprey's Arthur and the Anglo-Saxon Wars


  1. Nice work! I'm curious to know what went so wrong with the Brown Ink last time though... And what are your plans for the flesh (not a euphamism)?

    1. I think I either used too much or too little, I don't remember but the results were... awful. I think the ink may have been a little old when I tried it so that didn't help. I can't even remember what it was I was painting, it was just such a traumatic experience that I have tried to paint everything without using washes since lol. Which may explain why I disliked painting for so long, talk about adding obstacles. If I had started with Devland Mud, maybe my Damascus experience would have happened sooner.

      For the flesh, which thankfully is only the face (the gloves have been done the same way as the webbing), I was thinking Dwarf Flesh for the base, keeping it quite dark, and probably a bit of stubble on the chap who doesn't have a beard. Just generally grubby.

  2. A good start. Not know why you have this poor opinion of your skills, just from the care you've taken and the way you've described your colour use, I think you have a good enough level of skill to end up with some lovely looking figs mate.

    1. Thanks very much Dai, hopefully I can speed up a bit on the future batches and get more stuff on here soon. Love the Rogue Trader beastmen you posted up yesterday by the way!

  3. I like the backstory for these chaps. One opf the attractions for W40K fluff is the idea that in all the human worlds of the Imperium, there could still be definite ethnic and linguistic identities under the superimposed layer of Imperial culture and religion.

    As for the paint job on these guys, I agree with Dai. Are they painted? Did you give it your best, with some creativity and thought? Seems like the answer to these questions is check. Therefore, nothing to be ashamed of. I think painting is a lot like running, some blokes are faster/better and that's just the way it is. Paint your own way, run your own race, try to get better if you can and keep on trying.

    Keep up the good work!


    1. Thanks Mike, I love that fact about 40k too. I'm particularly into the Ecclesiarchy who seem to allow quite a bit of flexibility of manifestations of belief as long as they are seen to generally worship the Emperor.

      My views on painting are generally very similar, today's scheduled post on that subject should be up now

      Thanks again for the kind words

  4. An Awesome read!
    Firstly it has to be said, your painting is really nice. There is no way that any of my stuff is better. I'll except that we might not win Golden Daemons, but that being said you obviously have skill - because they are looking cool (even at this stage). Get em based and add all the details and they are going to be something to look out for.
    Lovely fuff, as always. A massive thanks for the pronunciation at the end. I was reading it maow-drin and not really sure how accurate that would be. I couldn't help but past Saethwyr and Helwyr into Google translate (it spat out an obvious meaning, that I probably should have guessed). It appears that I had never seen Welsh written down prior to reading your blog. The words were doing my head in.
    Overall, the best line was this: "They're not glorious heroes, nor are they particularly renowned throughout the Imperium"
    You just know that they are going to be the most charismatic group when you read that.
    I had another point but its been forgotten now with all my rambling... :/
    so I'll just say well done.

    1. Thanks Colonel, very nice of you :)was just reading your latest fluff post and very much looking forward to seeing more yet.

      Got a few ideas for the bases that should hopefully look half decent, I'm scouring the local model shops for various basing materials to stock up on at the moment. Was discussing with Scipio that idea of doing a comparison post on various bases and whatnot, might still do that if I get the chance.

      I'm trying to put the more detailed fluff together in a form fit for public consumption lol. Haha, I would have done the same, Saethwyr doesn't quite fit now as fluff has shifted but I've kept old names, but I like the sound of it :P

      I should have a warning sticker "May Contain Welsh" - it is just awkward enough to be a pain in the arse. U is often pronounced as "eye", eu as "ee" - bloody awkward buggers.

      I do like the underdog, and Ultramarines soak up the praise of the 999 other Chapters.

      Glad you like the idea of them though, hopefully will have some more substantial fluff to share soon


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