Friday, November 22, 2013

Astral Claws

So I don't know when I got so bad at this updating my blog thing, stupid day job. Let me appease you with some Astral Claw loveliness.

I have painted quite a bit of stuff since my last post actually and maybe I will get to posting all of it within the month, we shall see. I figure the best place to start is my current obsession, my Astral Claws. Now I have been painting these guys for over 2 years now, I just go very slowly and occasionally am distracted by another cool looking mini or my other 40k love, the Death Guard.

Since the new Space Marine codex came out I have gotten a whole 2 models painted for them! I know, impressive. I have glued and converted a lot for them though and made a few art related pieces to sell the feel of the army.


Zaidu has served with the Astral Claws for just under 200 years, but in that time he has made a name for himself as a cold, ruthless, cunning yet highly skilled Space Marine. He cares little for the average mortal and instead only fights for the thrill and to hone his craft. Unlike most Astral Claws from the Badab War he does not see humans as servants or lesser beings, he simply ignores their presence all together, as they are to far below his notice for mention. After Lugft Huron's rise to power and reorganization of the Chapter began Zaidu was a natural fit for the Retaliator squads. Here he flourished even more, and became quick friends with his squad mate, Balathu, a younger addition who showed great promise. Zaidu took him under his wing and showed him everything he knew and in return Balathu helped him hone his blade craft with a knife. It was not long before Zaidu surpassed the younger astartes in his knife wielding skills and they soon parted ways after Balathu lost a leg to a greenskin and was reassigned to a Tactical squad. After this event their relationship soured as Zaidu saw him as unworthy due to his apparent lack of ability. As the Badab War started in earnest many of the Retaliator squad were issued Sternguard gear and ammunition to better fight their fellow Space Marines. This is where he found his true passion as nothing even came close to the thrill of taking the life of a fellow Imperial Space Marine. Throughout the war he maintained an exemplary kill record, participating in numerous boarding actions. During the final stages of the war on Badab itself he was last seen separated from his squad, stalking through the blasted ruins of his home world. While it is not known what fate befell him, numerous Loyalist forces reported individual members of their squads missing, usually those on the rearguard. Several of these astartes were later found with multiple stab wounds or slit throats, their bodies hidden and out of sight.

Post-Badab War: While the fate of Zaidu is unknown there have been several reported instances of a marine in the Red Corsairs forces matching his description. This has been contradicted several times as he has also been purportedly seen fighting with the Black Legion, Alpha Legion, and Night Lords. Perhaps most disconcerting of all is the report of a Blackshield reporting to a Deathwatch fortress under the name Zaidu in 924.M41 where upon he served for 8 years. Several fellow Deathwatch at the time described the marine as "slightly unstable with a tendency to use excessive force and a general disregard for civilian lives," however a Flesh Tearer stationed with him said he was "an exemplary Marine and noticed nothing troubling about his behavior." Whether any or all of these possible fates are true only Zaidu knows for sure.


Ira served with the Astral Claws for close to 3 centuries, his story is one of remarkable skill and unwavering loyalty, first to the Imperium and later the Tyrant. During his time in the 4th company he was noted as being particularly loyal to the Imperium and the Emperor and was even marked out as a potential candidate for the ranks of the Chaplains. The only thing that held him back was a underwhelming sense of leadership. In fact he never obtained the rank of sergeant or progressed past being a tactical marine for close to 200 years. Eventually his remarkable marksmanship saw him promoted to the ranks of the 1st and attached to the Sternguard program. Ira was staunchly loyal to his chapter but always harbored a kernel of bitterness for what he saw as a slight to his honor by never being granted a command of his own. After Huron's rise to power and restructuring of the chapter Ira was quick to switch his loyalties to the Tyrant first, Imperium second. Despite this he always believed that what they were doing was for the better of the Imperium. All they were trying to do was get the autonomy and resources they needed to scour the Maelstrom once and for all and secure the Imperium's borders. With the onset of open hostilities against the so called "loyalist" forces Ira was furious, he did not understand how the Imperium could betray them. This triggered a change in his personality as his long suppressed bitterness was turned against the Astartes they fought and the mortals they protected. He began to see humans as weak and unworthy of their attention, a trait shared by much of his chapter. After fighting several boarding actions against the Fire Hawks early in the war he switched out his standard bolter for one with an auxiliary Gravitron gun. He did this as much for effectiveness as for the sheer joy of seeing his enemies crumple in upon themselves, crushed by their own armor. Where Zaidu had a certain nihilism to his actions, Ira persecuted the Badab War with an honest conviction in the Tyrant's right to rule and the righteousness of their cause. As the war dragged on he became increasingly more unhinged and began to enjoy the act of killing as much as Zaidu. During the siege of the Palace of Thorns he became separated from his squad during a particularly brutal close quarters fire fight with a squad of Caracharodons and later found his way to the Tyrant's side in the tunnels below. After Huron was mortally wounded by the melta blast Ira ensured that his lord's broken body could be saved, covering the rearguard as they retreated and ultimately making it off planet with Huron's personal retinue.

Post-Badab War: Ira is documented as having been seen in the personal company of Huron on several battlefields. It is assumed that his actions defending their retreat on Badab earned him his lord's favor and he later obtained the rank of "chosen." The last recorded action of Ira was at Vilamus, with the raid on the Marines Errant's monastery. His body was recovered from the debris and review of camera footage of the raid shows his death is largely the result of the Corsair's Night Lord allies abandoning him to ensure their own safety.

Well those are both of my painted models and their fluff. Now for some of my grey plastic.

Most of these are from my second tactical squad and the Librarian obviously. I really like these new plastics and am trying to go for really original poses on the them.

Now here's my favorite part, my artwork related to the army.

That's all for now, its late and I'm tired. I will try and maybe get some of my Nurgle stuff up here soonish.

If you live in or near the Austin area you can see both my Golden Demon winners from this and last year as well as all my 2013 finalists and a few from 2012 at the Brodie Oaks Games Workshop in South Austin.

~Tyler M.


  1. Inspiring stuff, great to see the new plastics in such animated poses!

  2. Absolutely fantastic stuff here mate - the two together look the right business.

    You've pulled of the best metallic armour finish I have seen outside GW 'Eavy Metal guys - brilliant.

    The mods to the Librarian are very cool and reminiscent of the old school models - is that a classic power axe I see there as well?

    The running guy is simply brilliant - You got some awesome posability from the mini.

  3. Some really inspiring models, im loving the metalics. Im feeling the draw of the claws myself at the moment and would love to know how you achieved such a good finish on the armour.

  4. Man, this two dudes are amazing, I´ve tried to paint blues and golds and I´ve never achieved such a clean and brigh result.

    Can you tell me how did you painted the golds and blues, please?

    Looking forward to see more of your astral claws (apart from the ones you´ve already posted, of course :D )