“The Knights Resplendent”: An Experiment with Chrome

I’ve been absolutely blown away and humbled by the response to my recent hobby experiment. Upon writing, the Instagram community have watched the short video I posted almost 18,000 times! Never before have I spent a whole day fielding questions and sending thanks. It’s really filled my bitter, grimdark heart with joy.

So I wanted to put together something of a tutorial/review for you all! I hope here I can answer some of the questions that have been flooding my way today.

I present to you: The Knights Resplendent

Chrome Space Marines
The Knights Resplendent in their chromed out glory

Witness Me!

There’s always been a little part of me screaming out for Space Marines that shine. The 41st Millennium is a very dark and grimy place but I think that, somewhere out there, there would have to be a band of super radical, 80s neon-bright warriors taking down the enemies of the Emperor while glittering like a He-Man hero. The release of the new, slick Primaris Marines (which I still refuse to see as a new “species” of Marine, rather an up-sizing for sake of scale), was the perfect opportunity to try bring my vision to life. I just needed the right tool.

I found the secret weapon in the form of a paint marker from legendary graffiti brand Molotow: the Liquid Chrome (20 Years Edition) Marker. I should mention off the bat, I’m in no way connected to the brand, or an “influencer” of any kind (*cough* not yet *cough*).

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Let’s break the marker down a bit, shall we? The marker is essentially a big tube of super shiny, alcohol-based paint that is pushed out by pressure on the nib (which comes in 1mm, 2mm or 4mm sizes). Of course, the bigger the nib, the bigger the pen (thus more paint), but for scale work, 1mm works spectacularly.

My first experiment with this super-pigmented paint was on a Tau Battlesuit, used to decorate the inner metal and icons. When I painted this in Australia, eBay only gave me access to the 2mm version of the pen, which made it difficult (impossible even) to cover some surfaces. In this case, I pushed down the nib into a small groove in my palette to create a pool of paint, which I quickly applied with an old brush. Of course, this method resulted in a lot of lost detail and an rough, bubbly finish.

Tau Battlesuit Chrome
My first experiment with Molotow Liquid Chrome

It should be noted, there are plenty of high-shine paints on the market, and a lot of chrome spray paints, but I was lucky enough to stumble upon this through graffiti culture and find it works very well with a minimum of fuss. No need for buffing powders or anything, just shake well, and apply. The main drawbacks are that the markers are relatively expensive, and would be a bit impractical if used to paint an entire army, as I will explain below.

Chrome Warhammer Space Marines Tutorial
The sub-assembly of the chromed-up Space Marine Sergeant

Putting it into Practice

As already mentioned, applying the paint couldn’t be easier. Of course, it’s best to keep your minis partially un-assembled at this stage because, unlike a brush, the marker is rather thick and will not bend to enter hard-to-reach places. I constructed the bodies of the Easy to Build Intercessors, leaving their arms and backpacks on the sprue until the coat was roughly even.

To apply the paint, simply shake well, press down a bit on a palette to get the paint running through the nib, and then draw onto the surface. Remarkably, the paint smooths itself out really well, flowing across the surfaces as a slightly glittery fluid then congealing as an almost rubbery, smooth mass. Naturally, you can’t really thin this (to my knowledge), so you’ll have to be content with a less-than-totally-crisp look. If you look closely at the photos of my painted examples, though, it hardly overloads details unless over-used or multiple coats are made to correct mistakes … no pressure, though!

I found, on my first try, that drawing over mistakes while the paint is still wet is a really bad move. Because the paint sets completely very, very slowly, drawing on the surface without waiting some hours will result in a rough, damaged and globby surface that is nowhere near as flat and shiny. For a truly mirror like finish, try and get everything painted in one quick go, and if you need to fix things up later, apply another layer only after a fair amount of time has passed (in this case, I only fixed up mistakes the next day or later). This restricts you a bit, and can result in some imperfect results (see, the results of clipping the backpack from the sprue on the image below), so be prepared.

Chrome Space Marines Molotow
A close-up in which you can probably see a bit of “thickness” appearing, specifically in the thick line of the backpack.

Another very important note: keep your grubby mits off the model! While it’s drying, the finish is incredibly fragile and even after it has dried, it remains easy to damage. Simply touching the model (leaving trace body oils) will result in a dulled shine, closer to Games Workshop’s brightest silvers rather than a true chrome. As such, I don’t think I’ll ever risk gaming with these fellows, or extending the project into a full army (because of cost restrictions as well).

Once the coat is on and dried, you can pick out details around (I used a lot of White/Celestra Grey, because dark objects seem to appear as holes rather than details against the chrome). The paint itself dries so smooth and shiny that properly thinned paint simply balls up and separates like water off a duck’s back. Because of this, plan ahead and only paint the areas you want to be shiny. I found that using another art marker (a 0.03 Copic Promarker) actually work better than paint to draw in black lines, such as grooves in the armour or between the shoulder pad and trim.

I have yet to experiment with varnishing these models (to tell you a secret … I have never varnished a model) and so do not know if the coat of protection will affect the shine. My guess, from just touching the finish, is that it probably would. Perhaps a gloss varnish might serve to enhance or alter the effect in interesting ways, but you’d have to take care to not make the whole model glossy.

And that’s about it in terms of tutorial! Elegant, right?

Chrome Space Marines Back
The mirror-like effect is more pronounced on large, flat surfaces. You can see a bit of the yellow tarp I use to protect my painting table reflected in the armour here.

Fact File: The Knights Resplendent

++ 002.M42 ++
++ Database of Potentially Renegade Adeptus Astartes ++
++ File: The Knights “Resplendent” ++
++ Thought of the Day: What fear of death have we who know there is immortality in the great and noble deeds of men? ++

In psychotropic warzones across the Imperium Nihilis, a highly ostentatious Chapter of  Adeptus Astartes have been recorded launching shock-and-awe assaults that have, more often than not, resulted in the total disruption of enemy organisation within hours. The chapter bears no codex-compliant livery upon their armour, and little numerical or rank identification, though all known members operate in armour shined to mirror-like brightness (for reasons yet to be explained to the Adeptus Administratum [file appends: Attempted_Blockade_of_The_Knights_Resplendent]). Though their uniformly dazzling armour is highly conspicuous, The Knights Resplendent are a reserved chapter, operating in secret until their brutal method of warfare (consisting of sudden, excessive barrages of high-ordinance, surgical drop-pod strikes and [REDACTED]altering [REDACTED] [file appends: Weapons_of_Sensory_Overload_and_their_Application]. Further to these troubling claims is the fact that the Gene-Seed source of the chapter has yet to be catalogued and ratified, suppressed by agents of His Holiness, Forge-Lord of [REDACTED], [REDACTED].


Rounding Up

So I think I’ll call this little experiment a wild success! There’s still more to be learned in this process, such as: how varnishes will affect the finish? Will the shine hold for years? How many models can you paint with one pen? Can you paint with a brush straight from the ink refill bottle? (My guess on this last one is: probably not smoothly).

For now, I’m planning to leave The Knights Resplendent here. I want to, perhaps, paint a Gravis Armoured Captain (or better yet… another Dreadnought), but that will be it for the marker I have, I reckon. Apart from Space Marines, I think this ink/paint would look amazing on Necrons, some neon Skitarii (one of my first thoughts when playing with the paint) or any other miniature that is smooth, futuristic and cyber-punkish. Though Infinity minis might be a little small in scale to apply this to, I also reckon the possibilities for use in that universe are endless!

I hope this helps and answers some questions. If you’re keen to see more of my work, follow this blog and my Instagram (@illuminator_hobby) and be sure to let me know if you find a cool application for this awesome marker!

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Inquisitorial Domination Detachment (Warhammer 40,000 – Inquisition/Space Marines/Imperial Knights) 2013 – 2016

Upon the currents of the Empyrean, foul winds sweep through the Imperium. While most cow and grovel, some heroes stand up and take the fight to the seemingly god-like. They are Inquisitors and the human galaxy bends to their will, malefic or heroic.

The Inq28/John Blanche style came into hobby fashion a few years ago, renewed by the appearance of regular “Blanchitsu” articles in White Dwarf. Of course, this gritty, gothic-punk style resonated with me on a deep level. I love a bit of cybergoth horrror.

Creating unique characters and small warbands are my favourite ways to tackle the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It feels a whole lot more personal and creative than building armies of hundreds of faceless goons. And so I decided to hop on the horse of Inq28, creating an Inquisitorial army, along with a few powerful allies.

I ended up going a tad overboard, I admit. I bit of a lot more than I could chew at the time, and so ended up blasting through this army with a very messy style that has aged pretty badly, in my humble opinion. However, there are still a few diamonds among the rough. I hope the conversions posted below spark some new ideas in the minds of fellow Inquisitors.


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Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor Haxa Soothtell and Retinue
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Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Heironymus and Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Gogh and Retinue

A squad of veteran Star Phantoms, painted in late 2015

The Iron Wolves (Warhammer 40,000 – Space Wolves) 2013-2014

Along with the Flesh-Twisters of Krüll and Boo-Ha-Ha Klan Goblins, The Iron Wolves are one of my “main armies”. In fact, they’re one of the most beloved forces on my shelves.

Their saga began shortly after the Flesh-Twisters’ finished. After finishing an army of evil vikings, it seemed only reasonable that the next project would be “good” vikings. Well, “good” in the loosest sense.

The idea of hulking great brutes in beaten metal armour trudging through snow is too evocative to resist. I began with the idea of creating a so-called “Logan-Wing” army, that is a force of Space Wolves Wolf Guard led by the special character Logan Grimnar (in that edition, taking Logan as the leader of your force allowed you to count the super-elite Wolf Guard Terminators as basic troops). This small, elite force gave me the opportunity to really lavish detail and attention onto every model (there were originally only 12 models in the whole army!) and give them each individual background stories, just like Space Wolves should have!

The colour scheme, obviously odd for Space Wolves, is my rebellious attempt at avoiding the default baby-blue that everyone else painted. I just found it an off-putting and inglorious colour, and so instead looked for a way around it. Inspired by this army, I took to work on making super dark and super gritty Space Wolves.

The Iron Wolves are a “historic” army, in the sense that they represent Iron Wolf Lord Ránnulfr at the height of power sometime in the forgotten past, well before Logan Grimnar took reigns as Great Wolf. As such, Ránnulfr counts-as Logan in game.

I used a mixture of Chaos parts, Forgeworld parts and normal Space Wolves bits and painted them in heavily washed Boltgun Metal. In fact, every part of these guys was heavily washed (perhaps too heavily) to create near black shades and brutal battle damage. These guys aren’t gonna be sitting at home polishing their armour, after all, their going to be out there, beating in the heads of giant monsters.

So unleash the Wolves of War!

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The Wolf Guard of Ránnulfr Tribebreaker

The Wolf Guard

Because the Iron Wolves are a bit of a special case (with almost every model having its own name and back-story), I thought, in-lieu of posting a collage, I’d post each photo individually along with their respective Saga. Enjoy!

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Ránnulfr Called the Tribebreaker
Long before the time of Logan Grimnar, Ránnulfr called the Tribebreaker was favoured among the twelve Wolf Lords to be the next Great Wolf. A bloodythirsty and violent Wolf lord, Ránnulfr was the most feared Wolf Lord to have ever taken the World Wolf as his company’s sigil. A long running rumour among the company is that Ránnulfr lost his compassion for humanity when more than half his body was replaced with cold iron.

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Ørnstein Dragonslayer
Thought lost when a great chasm opened up beneath him, Ørnstein returned to The Fang months later bearing the multiple skulls of monsters. Ørnstein claimed that he had been eaten by the World Wolf itself and forced to do battle with the giant creatures that hide beneath the ice of Fenris. His shamanic powers were put to great test, but with the World Wolf’s favour, he emerged victorious.

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Hallbjörn Warsong
He who calls the winds forth and with them his howling brothers. They fight and rip, tearing into the enemies of the Russ. Warsong breathes fire, roars thunder.

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Ingjalder The Blooded
Ingjalder served faithfully by the side of Ránnulfr as he plundered and destroyed his enemies. At the head of his pack, Ingjalder caused great devastation, tearing down tanks and fortifications alike. During a campaign that saw the arrival of Dark Angels on a hunt for the fallen, Ingjalder’s pack was caught in plasma crossfire and was completely wiped out. Ingjalder painted his armour blood red, inscribed the names of his fallen comrades on melta bombs and weapons and set out to find a glorious death against monstrous creatures and Sons of the Lion.
Brutus and Gnarshuk
Ingjalder’s only mortal companions, the two Fenrisian wolves Brutus and Gnarshuk have become mascots of the company. While Brutus is loyal and heroic, Gnarshuk is vicious and wild. The two wolves never leave the side of their master.

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Olov Bloodiedclaw
Olov is the longest serving member of the Iron Wolves Wolf Guard. His favoured Wolf Claws are never far from him. He believes that through these weapons he can summon the ferocity of Morkai and slaughter enemies in his name.
Gudbrand Flamebearer
Once a great smith, Gudbrand favours the holy burst of Plasma weapons. He is a constant worry to his companions as his fervour for melting things is slowly growing out of control.
Isak Steeleater
A young member of the Wolf Guard, Isak is famed throughout the Fang for his ability to chew through metal. As such, he is assigned a Chainfist, all the better to tear apart enemy armour.
Randulfr Siegemaster
Called the Siegemaster for his ability to quickly break the backs of any foe. With his antiquated Storm Shield and Power Axe, Rangulfr always cuts a striking visage as he lops heads off this way and that.
Greger Longreach
Fiercely loyal and protective over his younger brothers, Greger plows down his foes with a rune-emblazoned Assault Cannon. He has been nicknamed ‘The Sweeper’ for his brutal volleys of fire, and also for his almost  fatherly qualities.

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Bjorn Wildcall
Almost as animalistic as Gnarshuk, Bjorn never sleeps under a roof, favouring the strengthening winds of the outdoors. Bjorn and Olov have an enduring rivalry, a friendly competition that began with Olov drinking the entirety of Bjorn’s plundered mead.
Folkvar Foehammer
A notorious tank hunter, Folkvar is never happy until he is charging headlong into an occupied building or rumbling tank. He wears a muzzle in battle for fear that his canine instincts will one day cause him to harm his brothers.
Agni Sharpblade
Agni has been called ‘The Spurned Knight’ for his obsession with chivalry and honour. The other members of his pack constantly berate him over his choice of knightly weapons and totems that he favours over pelts and claws.
Gulltoppr The Young
The youngest member of the Guard, Gulltroppr is claimed to be ‘Touched by the Sun’ for his bright yellow mane. He is feared for his reckless abandon in swinging his Thunder Hammer.
Anvindr Stormwrath
Most tech smart of his battle brothers, Anvindr is the mortal representation of the storm. His missile launcher is an invaluable tool for the Wolf Guard, and has slain uncountable foes.

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Torbjörn The Ironforger
Under the tutelage of Ránnulfr, Torbjörn became the company’s greatest smith and protector. Torbjörn sailed to the Iron Islands to teach new Iron Priests his inherited skills. When Ránnulfr was almost killed in a failed armoured assault, Torbjörn oversaw the rebuilding of his body. Since then, Torbjörn has held an honoured place in Ránnulfr’s Wolf Guard, guiding younger brothers on the path of steel.
Agmundr Brightblade
A personal friend of Torbjörn since even before they were elevated to rank of Grey Hunter, Agmundr has fought by Torbjörn’s side for hundreds of battles. He was involved in the operation to return Ránnulfr’s broken body to the Island Islands, fending off ravenous creatures of the deep as Torbjörn tended to his wounds.
Oddmund the Reviled
Not much can be said about Oddmund the Reviled, as he rarely speaks. There is a rumour among the guard that the ugly Oddmund is just as happy eating human flesh and drinking blood as the others are eating elk and drinking mead.


The Pack

I still had a rather wolfish itch after completing The Wolf Guard of Ránnulfr (perhaps it was fleas), and so I set out to add some more long-fanged brutes to the army. Along with the force below, I also put together 20 Grey Hunters that, unfortunately, never seemed to have found paint.

But anywho, the extra Wolves below are members of the same Great Company, following Ránnulfr through the cosmic wilds. They were painted after the main force of Wolf Guard Terminators.

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The Iron Wolves on the prowl

Exorcists (Warhammer 40,000 – Space Marines) 2008

After completing my small Ultramarines army and my much larger Black Templar successor force, The Sons of Vergus, you think I would have become sick of Space Marines.

Not so! The Emperor’s Finest were the soldiers that introduced me to the world of Warhammer 40,000 and to the grimdark of miniature hobby in general. With the release of Assault on Black Reach, I managed to lay my hands on another wave of marine reinforcements. At that time though, I felt like branching out from my black and red force… by painting a red and black force.

The Exorcists proved an interesting chapter to me. They were gritty daemon hunters, resplendent in blood-red instead of holy silver. Though my painting skills at the time were no where near good enough to get such a bright red to look really great, the process of building and painting this small army taught me a lot about highlighting and shading that I then applied to later Sons of Vergus.

In the same Assault on Black Reach box I also recieved a number of Orkz, which became a sort of side project for a while. These Snakebite Orkz allowed me to practice shades of green and brown, and work with textures that you just don’t find on Space Marines. I think this early branching out definitely helped improve my general painting skills.

Sadly, not many of these original Snakebite Boyz exist. Now they’re stuffed away in a to-do box, to be stripped and repainted later into more Nuka Troopers (more on that army to come!)

But those that did survive (at least in storage) are the mighty and mysterious Exorcists of Commander Panthius.


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Commander Panthius’ Exorcist Strike Force

The Sons of Vergus/Knights of the Ruin (Warhammer 40,000 – Space Marines) 2007

We jump back, through the terrifying vortex of time and space, to the army that started it all…

In 2007, I was introduced to the world of miniature wargaming by a high-school friend. During a day out at the mall, we stopped in Games Workshop where I was treated to a painting lesson from one of the “Red Shirts”. After spending an hour or so, slapping paint haphazardly onto three Battle for Skull Pass Goblins, I left feeling triumphant and excited. The little plastic spears stuck into my leg (I remember I had them in my pocket) and I knew then that I’d be getting stuck into the world of fantasy miniature creation from then on. There was just something so thrilling about bringing these sneaky little gits to life through my own effort.

A few weeks later I splurged and picked up a Battle for Macragge starter set, featuring three heroic Space Marines. One I painted in blotchy, crackling red and gold. The other, I attempted to paint white. The final became an Ultramarine, a true Games Workshop poster-boy.

I built up a small Ultramarines army in that year, however, no photos exist. This is probably for the best.

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Space Marine Captain “Max”, an Ultramarine, and a radical Biker Sergeant

Of course, I wouldn’t be stopping there.

My next army, a ridiculously massive project for such an early point in my “career”, was a Black Templar successor army called “The Sons of Vergus”.

The Sons of Vergus employed an accidentally plagiarised Dark Angel’s colour scheme and a medieval knight aesthetic that I thought was super cool. The then current Space Marine codex allowed for the creation of DIY chapters with different styles of fighting, and so the Sons of Vergus became violent, up-close-and-personal bastards with a deep hatred for Psykers. Bit Black Templary, huh?

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The Sons of Vergus/Knights of the Ruin as they stand now, a shadow of a once mighty force

I remember signing up for a Dakka Dakka account in order to find inspiration and share my projects (which I egotistically thought were pretty bloody spectacular), and then writing a document, of about 4,000 words, detailing the bloody history of the chapter, from their formation under Black Templar Marshall Vergus on the ex-Forgeworld Benedictus, to their shattering at the hands of Necrons. Their later rebirth as “The Knights of the Ruin” saw them become a shadow of a Chapter, destroyed beyond all hope by merciless aliens.

I was a pretty cheery teenager.

So without further ado, here’s the complete gallery for “The Knights of the Ruin”, my first major Warhammer army, and basically, my first miniature wargaming army ever. As a bit of a bonus (cringe worthy though,  I warn you), I’ve attached that background writing that first appeared on Dakka Dakka in a “read more” at the bottom of this post. Read this horrible history at your own peril!

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