So some months ago I finally came to the realization that I must heed the ancient call, and get back into 40k.
Although I had thrown away a tremendous amount of hobby stuff years ago when I had been faced with bedbugs in a building I was living in, I had held on to all my finished models, including my old army of Rogue Trader era MkVI "beakie" Space Marines.
Looking over what I had, I was struck with two strong feelings: First a great wistfulness and nostalgia for all those hours I had spent at home working away on these models, at the desk across from my Dad's in the basement. Second an overwhelming sense that although I'd always taken pride in the level of detail to which I had painted these models, that I was a much more capable, grown man now, and could do much better.
I very quickly resolved that I would "remaster" this old army of mine. That I would keep and touch up the best of what was there, put some of the more creatively painted and converted models away as momentos and strip and then repaint the worst of it (along with some squads I had made of some other things for fun such as Mentors and Fallen Angels) bringing it all in line with the new codex structure with the hopes of playing (and perhaps winning) some games with it.
The army was put together before there was any concept of the Codex Astartes in the game, and before the Ultramarines became the embodiment of it it, long before Citadel had produced Chapter-specific paints, or iconography and marking were standardized.. Much like many of the artists GW has employed, and still do, my vision of the Ultramarines has always been somewhat darker than the baby-blue centurions of latter day. They were, after all, the angels of death. I'd taken a lot of inspiration from the art in the very first few rulebooks There are two images that still stick in my mind, and looking back now, I can see I borrowed from them quite a bit.
So much of Russ Nicholson's work was influential on my concept for this army. You can see that from the image I chose as my avatar for this account, and particularly in this image here:
I had chosen a dark Navy for their base color, and had my own, looser though fairly developed concept for the markings and iconography than what is now considered Codex compliant. In addition to all this, the vast majority of the models were in an obsolete armour pattern. I didn't want to loose this character of the army, but I wanted to bring it into the modern era of the game. I needed narrative. With some research, and a bunch of thought, It came together.
There wasn't much written about the 3rd Company which really appealed
to me as I didn't want the baggage of named characters, formations,
etc. What I did find was that the 3rd company retook the polar fortress
in the Battle for Macragge after the destruction of the 1st company,
taking heavy casualties themselves in doing so. I liked how this
mirrored the history of the Ultramarine legion showing up late for the Heresy, and
doing penance by doing the heavy lifting during the Scouring.
story goes that: "As a gesture in honor of the sacrifice the 1st had
made, The 3rd bestowed all of their Mk VII suits and much of their
equipment to the new Captain and newly promoted Veterans of the 1st in
order to help rebuild, as most of theirs had been lost with the battle
brothers of the 1st in the bloody house of horrors that became of the
dark bowels of the polar fortress. Approving of this, and seeing the
need for the 3rd, who had also suffered greatly and fought heroically
in the recapture of the north pole, to be refitted, Chapter Master Calgar
ordered that the Chapter's stores of relic armour be opened to the 3rd
Company, who would henceforth be it's bearers and custodians. A great
deal of Mark VI had been used by the 13th legion in the days after the
heresy, which at that time had technically been becoming obsolete, but
was taken on by the legion so that those other legions who had suffered
so much attrition in the battle for Mars and Terra and the other fronts
of the Heresy, could be urgently supplied with the state of the art
Equipment. Although it was not quite as refined as the Mk VII armour
that had been churning out of the Terran Manufactorums, it was an improvement over the the Mk IV suits that the Ultramarines, relatively
isolated in the Eastern Fringe, had been using since the latter days of the Great Crusades.
the issuing of Calgar's order the Chapter Artificers solemnly prepared
to repaint the relic armour to adhere to the dictates of the Codex. The
tech-priests urgently requested they desist, and requested an audience
with the Chapter Master. The machine spirits of the Armour were very,
very old, and had earned their long slumber. They would be displeased to
be called into service again so many millennia later, but they would be
very angered to have the livery of their former glory so callously
erased. After much deliberation, and great insistence of the Master of
the Forge, with the support of the Chapter's Artificers and Librarians
(who wished to preserve these pieces of the chapter's history in as
original a state as possible), it was decided that since it was not a
functional or organizational deviation from the codex, and the
circumstances were extraordinary, that the ancient power armour would
remain as it was, in the colours, heraldry, and iconography of the Great
Crusade. Any heraldic, campaign or honor badges particular to the
original bearer of the suits would be preserved in the Reclusiasm on
Macragge, and it would be replaced in the way of those times, in order
to appease the machine-spirits, as the new bearers continued writing the
chapter's rich history in blood on the battlefield.
original iconography was quite varied due to the ad-hoc fashion in which
the legion expanded it's ranks in those days, and the variety of worlds
from which they drew their numbers. This made it an even more difficult
decision for Calgar, as he knew that what the Primarch had seen as too
much room for individuality in the legions of the Crusades was believed
to be a weakness that made fertile ground for the taint of treason, and
was part of the reason for the rigidity of the codex in such matters. He
did however appreciate the similarity of the 3rd Company Captain's
gesture to the Guilliman's eschewing of the Mk VII in favor of the VI in
the first place. It was as if a Harmonious chord was being struck from
across the expanse of the Millennia, and allowing the armour to continue to serveas it had been through the ages seemed fitting in that sense."
With that settled, it was time to get on with some painting.