|Original Artwork by Neil Roberts, source: Black Library (used without permission)|
With an epic space battle over the planet Calth the backdrop (thought no actual ships in the "middle ground" between the figures and the planet), Space Marines do battle in zero gravity (rather controversially without helmets!) As I see no reason for hard science to get in the way of inspiration, I have made a solid start to this project which I am delighted to share with you all.
Firstly I created a mock up using plasticard, pieces of sprue, and a spare flying base. I was happy with the amount of "real estate" available to position models, and I had planned to incorporate the planet in the distance as well. Unfortunately this is where the project stalled, gathered dust, and was lost under a mounting pile of Necron sprues. The thought of spending many more evenings sculpting all the little details to match the artwork exactly was quite daunting, and the model lacked height to portray the multi-storey slab sides of a spaceship. I also balked at the price of Forge World models to "correctly" portray the models!
Inspired by the relatively cheap and adequately "old" looking chaos marine mini-box I stumbled across while browsing my local store, I resolved to get back into this project by (relatively) quickly modelling up a much more detailed scene using a Basilica Administratum and some more plasticard tubing and box sections. With a more "rounded" layout I dropped the notion of having the world as a backdrop, added some much needed height, and saved time on the modelling side which I hope to put into crafting the figures and painting the whole thing in the harsh light/dark shading as seen in the artwork.
With the basics blocked out I altered the walled section slightly (read: re-did the whole thing) to give a more 'spherical' look to the diorama to ensure the central point would be the viewer's initial focal point. I am not yet sold on the angle, but nothing is permanent until all the additional models have been added and the overall layout begins to take shape.
As with most of my projects this is a slow burn rather than race to the finish, but I have already started on some very historically inaccurate models to go with the scenery. Is it to be Mk II, Mk III, Mk IV Power Armour? I have no real idea, they all seem to be wearing very intricately detailed Mk II Crusade armour judging by the legs, but Mk IV or V by the helmets floating around! Either way, it's going to be fun.