Table Ready Feature: Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines

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Master of the Five Hundred Worlds of Ultramar

Space Marines are post-human super soldiers that inspire both dread and awe in mortal men. As powerful as a Space Marine may be, they are mere children compared to the Primarchs from which the legions were born. First the Emperor of Mankind created the Primarchs. Fashioned through hyper-advanced technology and amalgamated with questionable warp powers, each child-demi-god was gifted with an aspect of the Emperor himself. For good or ill, and not every gift was as beneficial as the others.

Then the powers of Chaos stole the twenty infant Primarchs from the chamber in which they were formed. Using the genetic make-up of the Primarchs, the Space Marine legions were formed, and used to take back the galaxy. Along the way, the grown Primarchs were discovered, and given control of the legion that was based on their genes. The Great Crusade continued, until it stalled out and the legions turned upon one another in a Galactic scale civil war.

While twenty Primarchs were bred, raised and handed a legion, only eighteen of the near-demigod Primarchs still remained by the closing era of the Great Crusade. They created a lot of drama, with friendships and rivalries sparking off between them. While they may be super humanly powerful, with impossibly sharp minds, and superb physical prowess, they also have super-powered humanity: both the good and the bad aspects of being human are enhanced, sometimes without the ability to cope. Many of the Primarchs have extreme personality quirks or mental issues. Most of them are quick to anger, or are capable of holding grudges. Their obsessions are legendary. They are prone to intense feelings of jealously, insecurity, emotional distress and fear, primarily of failing their god-like father. They are capable of great things, inspiring mortal and immortal men alike to great feats, but, when they let their emotions take control of them, planets burn.

All of the Primarchs are interesting in their own right. I have a few favorites, and one of my most favorite is Roboute Guilliman. It was made obvious across the realm of Ultramar that Guilliman embodied both the Statesmanship and ability to plan with incredible precision that the Emperor displayed in uniting Old Earth and engineering for the Great Crusade.

The Man

Having been cast to the world of Macragge by the forces of Chaos, Guilliman was found and taken in by Konor, a warlord upon Macragge. Under his adopted father’s care Guilliman grew quickly, learned at a superhuman rate and became a superb warrior, master tactician and charismatic diplomat. After Konor’s untimely demise at the hand of a treacherous ally, Guilliman played the part of Avenging Son for the first time, by removing the element that had killed his mortal father and then he took control of all of Macragge.

By the time the Emperor found Roboute Guilliman, he was the master of the Macragge, and after being gifted with the XIII Legion, he ascended to master of the 500 Worlds of Ultramar. Under his supervision, the Ultramarines conquered worlds and left them better than they were before, preferring diplomacy to destruction, but never shirking their violent duties when it was required.

Many of his brother Primarchs believe him to be cold, and overly aristocratic. While Roboute Guilliman is a strategic planner like no other, relying on reason and logic above emotions and preparing an answer for any outcome in advance, he is not without his flaws. Sometimes that planning is taken too far. At one point during the Horus Heresy, having been cut off from the Imperium and fearing that it was lost, Guilliman forged a new empire amongst Ultramar: The Imperium Secundus as it was known. Refusing to take the part of de-facto Emperor, he was joined by Sanguinius whom he placed upon the throne, and later by The Lion, whom he named Warmaster of his little empire. It didn’t last long, for as quickly as it was formed, news of the embattled Imperium reached Ultramar and The Imperium Secundus was abandoned post-haste. He would harbor embarrassment and worry about that little temporary replacement empire, as it could easily be seen as treacherous on its own right.

At least he meant well when he created The Imperium Secundus, refusing to let the ideals of his father disappear in the fires of civil war. This was a calculated decision to hold onto the past, an age of reason, while everything burned around him. There was a time before this that everything around him was on fire, and he didn’t react as well…

Roboute Guilliman. Copyright Games Workshop.

The Myth

There are many well written and exciting books in the Horus Heresy novel series (there are also a few absolute duds, as I have mentioned before, but that’s an article for a later date) but few, if any, are executed as precisely as book 19, Know No Fear. A precision that Roboute would appreciate. The story starts at 136 hours before the Mark of Calth. What is the Mark of Calth you ask?


While the Warmaster is off purging his Legion, and those of his traitorous brothers upon the sands of Isstvan III, the first of the fallen brothers, Lorgar, has been planning his revenge on the sons of Guilliman for following orders and razing the Perfect City to the ground. Resentment has been festering and the Word Bearers have found some unsavory powers that are more than willing to accept some worship than the Emperor was.

Ordered by the Warmaster to muster as much of their legions as possible at the world of Calth in Ultramar, they prepare to battle an ork invasion. While marines and mortals alike mingle upon Calth, the Ultramarines ship their heavy support and supplies into orbit in preparation. While hundreds of ships are armed and loaded for war, a vessel piloted by Word Bearers Zealots crashes into the orbiting ship yards, destroying many ships and sending even more cascading down to the planet below. As the ships come down in a blazing display of treachery, the Word Bearers turn on their brothers in blue and massacre the unsuspecting Ultramarines.

While insanity transpires on the ground, Guilliman is desperately trying to determine what is happening without the use of their communications system. Unable to determine if it was a shipyard accident or an attack, Guilliman is near frantic for information, but manages to keep his cool as only he can. Then his brother Lorgar forces his way through the dark mechanicum ravaged communications and tells Guilliman that this is his doing, that Lorgar is exacting his revenge for Monarchia and that every son of Guilliman is doomed.

As one could imagine, Roboute Guilliman was upset by this information. So furious at the sheer insanity and treachery, the Avenging Son does not notice that the image of Lorgar isn’t really an image anymore, and the daemon that pretended to be Lorgar erupts, annihilating the command deck of the Fist of Macragge.

Here is one of my favorite scenes in all of the heresy novels: while the Ultramarines on the Fist of Macragge rally to fight back the Word Bearers that have penetrated the ship, Guilliman is found outside the ship. Holding his breathe. Bounding across the surface of the ship. Punching Word Bearers to death. So angry is Guilliman, that he has dropped his cold demeanor in exchange for the rage that every Primarch can muster. He has to be dragged away from punching XVII Legion heads off to take command and lead the counter offensive.

Guilliman = Angry. Copyright Games Workshop

And so the Mark of Calth is given, and it will not end until the Word Bearers are made to pay for their transgressions against Calth.

I won’t go into the poisoning of the local star, the underworld wars, of my boys Telemechrus the Ancient and Remus Ventanus here. No, I’ll save that for later.

The Model

Of course the most pragmatic of the Primarchs is also the one with the most ostentatious diorama base. Upon a plinth of marble, decorated with a brace of Legion Standards, stands Roboute Guilliman, in full battle regalia clad in the Armor of Reason, with the Gladius Incandor, and the Hand of Dominion. Ready to wreck face. Yeah, his short sword is the size of a mortal and his power fist is poised to prove his sovereignty. I am not gonna lie, this was an imposing model for me. Least of all because I had to accomplish a non-shitty marble effect in a time crunch while painting the model as well as I could in a hurry. Damn you invented time restraints.

I wouldn’t expect a resin kit from Forgeworld to go together smoothly, but I lucked out. The gladius was a little droopy and one Ultramar banner was a little twisted. I turned on Kera’s Keurig, ran some hot water over both pieces and straightened them by hand. Everything went together without a hitch. I built both parts of the marble base, but left the banners to prime and paint separately. For Guilliman himself, I left his head attached to the gate it came on to prime and paint easily. Additionally, his left arm holding the scabbard and his cloak were left in sub-assemblies to make my life easier.

First off, the detailing on this model is exceptional. After priming and airbrushing the model, the subtle details seemed to disappear. I resorted to a super-light drybrushing, just to capture the details again. In addition, this is the first model I have ever used any sort of magnification to paint. Maybe my eyes are finally going in my old age; while Robert was visiting, he gifted me with a new piece of head-wear that sported multiple magnification apparatuses.

As I am doing with all of my newly painted Ultramarines, I airbrushed him Macragge Blue, then coated him with a contrast and medium mix to liven up the blue, followed by a drybrush of Macragge Blue to tone him down just a tad. Lastly the blue was highlighted first with Caledor Sky and then with Dragon Blue from Reaper.

The leather pteruges were painted white with a few Reaper colors, and then a wash of grey contrast was used to keep his color scheme the same as my Cataphractii squad that I recently reworked. I know his art shows brown leather but whatever, he’s mine and I think it works better with the blue and gold. The cloak was painted the same way.

Retributor gold, man, there was a lot of that applied, several times in thin layers with a small brush, zoomed in like I was a working on fine jewelry. The same care was taken with his face; I am not totally satisfied with his head, and plan to go back at a later date. Eventually, I will feel more confident with faces, right?



Anyway, I am quite satisfied with the final model.

All your base are belong to us

Could I have done better? Sure, but would the amount of time needed to level up the paint job be worthwhile compared to the rest of the Ultramarines waiting for a little love from the paintbrush? Probobaly not, and that’s not even taking into account the greater Pile of Shame/Awesome that is staring at me while I type this. There are a couple more Primarch models in that pile, and a few more I hope to complete soon… Until then, remember to keep the Mark of Calth running.

Copyright Games Workshop

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Obsessive and neurotic collector of little plastic men, novels about the same little plastic men and paints to make the little plastic men pretty. Married to Kera, who puts up with him and pretends that she doesn’t hear him speaking to the little plastic men in between making pew pew noises in the hobby room. Requires adult supervision. A menace to himself but rarely to others. More beard than man

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