Crimson Fists: Archetypal Marine Chapter Primaris Intercessors, now with Added Reivers.

If there is a pulsing heart to the Lead Mountain, it is a grimy skull-encrusted engine of brass and oily metal, serviced by choirs of robed and chanting acolytes. There is no break room here (hah, as if the widow would allow malingering like that), but when the minds of the priests wander, they might will envisage one. In among the Forbidden topless calendars of Miss Cypra Mundi M41, chipped ceramic mugs of glutinous Caffeine and A4 typed proto-memes this image is definitely pinned to the notice board, like an aspirational Grimdark cat poster.

MK6 Corvus Armour Embattled Crimson Fists Rogue Trader Cover Art John Sibbick

So it was inevitable that, when this sonorous acolyte felt the urge to return to  painting marines once more, his mind focused immediately on the Crimson Fists.

A box of Easy-to-Build Primaris Intercessors was swiftly acquired, (probably smuggled in by Bothans). They are, it transpires, very easy to build, and ridiculously cheap as these things go, and thus prime(aris) for experimentation. Unlike their Infected opposite numbers, they are also laid out in such a way that it would be easy to convert them.

3 Primaris Marine Easy To Build Intercessors in Crimson Fist Livery

Here’s how they were done:

After clean-up and assembly, the marines were sprayed Generic Poundshop White (just go to a Poundshop and buy it) the better to show up missed mold lines and other errors. These corrected, they were then undercoated Abaddon Black, and drybrushed with Dark Sea Blue, Macragge Blue, and Caledor Blue.

Crimson Fist sergeant Pointing

A wash of Nuln Oil/Vallejo Gloss Varnish/Drakenhof Nightshade mix (like the wash here, but with blue, not sepia) was applied to all the blue surfaces, followed by another light drybrush of Macragge, concentrating on edges and upper surfaces to give a touch of zenithal lighting. Fine edge highlights were added then toned down with a mild glaze of Drakenhof, and the gaps between panels black-lined or recess washed with either Abaddon Black or Nuln Oil, depending on how shallow the edge looks.


Fine slate was glued to the base, which was painted black, then drybrushed in patches with grey, then brown, then lighter grey, chosen at random. This was also allowed to creep onto the boots and greaves. The whole base was washed with Vallejo Sepia, with small patches dashed on the legs too, then roughly drybrushed again with the same light grey.


The Aquila on the chest (and rifle) were re-painted black, then lightly dry-brushed using silver grey, washed with Army Painter Soft Tone, and touched up with Ushabti Bone.

The decals are very old and prone to crumbling so extra battle damage was added.

A determined burrow through piles of old transfer sheets produced a single page of mixed-chapter Icons of which there were 5 Crimson Fist logos. A dab of Humbrol Decalfix was applied to the pad, the transfer applied to that, and another dab of decalfix added to soften the decal. After 3 or 4 minutes, it was soft enough to be roughly shaped to the curve of the pad. Any furrows were cut into with a very sharp scalpel and pushed flat. Due in no small part to their advanced age, there was some cracking.

Crimson Fist Intercessor Sergeant
The small bolter shell on the belt is traditionally an honour awarded for marksmanship.

The sharp scalpel was used to chip the armour, scraping down to the white undercoat layer with minuscule dents and prangs on prominent edges, and larger cuts where the decals had separated, or scuffing on the odd knee-pad. Then a tough of orange highlight was added to the markings, and the whole shoulderpad was given a small coat of Matt varnish to take away the worst of the shine.

Traditionally, leader miniatures are pointing to indicate a target or destination. This Brother-Sergeant is however clearly pointing at his next victim

The fists were based in dark red and highlighted up with bright orange, then washed with red tone and a little Casandora Yellow. The eyes were picked out in white and dabbed with Hexwraith Flame. Once dry, this was also chipped and scraped in a couple of places

The only way Fists ever deploy is in the ‘Engaged on All Sides’ Combat Stance.

Finally, a light dusting of orange weathering powder was applied to patches of the base, and in a moment of inspiration, a couple of patches were added to the leg armour. (You can use chalk or artists pastels for this). The purity seals were given a coat of Vallejo Dark Sand, edged with Ushabti Bone, and lightly glazed with sepia, and a bit of Retributor Armour added to the various relics on the Brother-Sergeants belt. And somehow, these marines are now more grotty and grimdark than our rather clean and tidy Plague Champion friend, visible here… Ideally the whole miniatures should be sealed with a coat of varnish, if only to stop orange dust getting everywhere, but the scribe isn’t sure he’s actually finished just yet…

At this point, this scribe is also unsure whether he wishes to expand this collection to field a Killteam, or even bite the bolt-shell and gather a larger force for 40k, (although the full scheme may be a bit involved for 50 or 60 figures). It may even be the case that further marine painting will drift into other chapter schemes. Whatever the choice, there are at least 3 Easy-to-Build Reivers lurking in the wings, although sourcing more Crimson Fist transfers may prove difficult, as they appear to be long OOP. Suggestions for sources are welcomed…

The scribe is ever avaricious for suggestions as to what might be added to a miniature to make it even better. Tips and suggestions are welcomed…

Edit: Let it not be said that your heroic Battle-Typist shirks his duties, for the Easy-To-Build Reivers mentioned above have now been added to the slowly growing Combat Expedition. After much soul-searching, fretting and endless pouring over ancient codices, the decision was made that these fellows would also join the Crimson Fists, and that the force in general would at least expand to a squad-sized unit of each troop type before there would be any consideration of painting up other chapters.

Art Crimson Fist Marine Rogue Trader
Codex Approved Filthy Boots and scratched-up paint job.

A (very) brief history which might get expanded as we go and may or may not be totally accurate. We shall see.  

The Crimson Fists are a Second Founding Chapter, derived from the Imperial Fists, who originally appeared as part of a scenario in the original Rogue Trader rulebook; The Battle at the Farm. As with most Marine Chapters, they started out numbering approximately a thousand, but a nasty incident with a missile and an armoury rapidly reduced them to barely a couple of hundred all said. They have survived through all editions of the game, and most recently have seen their ranks expanded with the introduction of Primaris marines, who are apparently a new larger breed introduced by the recently returned Ultramarine Primarch Roboute Gulliman, or so this scribe is led to understand. They are described as generally sticking to the Codex Astartes (basically the guidelines for how to paint Marines), with some exceptions, often brought about by their reduced numbers. This leaves a fair amount of flexibility for combining newer Codex-approved details with older edition ideas in the painting.

The Reivers

Cursory research tells us that the Reiver wears MKX armour, with specific adaptations for the role of Terror-Troops: Infiltrators who emerge from the shadows to commit savage acts to disturb and unsettle the enemy. They appear to be classified as Assault troops, and thus these ones were given the ‘Assault Squad’ designations (generally speaking some form of ‘X’ shape.) and in this case the squad number ‘7’. As mentioned above, time has not been kind to this particular sheet of transfers, so further battle-damage was the order of the day.


3 Crimson Fist Primaris Reivers, side on view showing left-hand shoulderpad iconography
The two remaining Crimson Fist decals appear here, and have weathered the application process a little better than the Intercessors did. Also, not all of the Crimson on those fists belongs to the Marines… 

Unlike the first three Brothers, and in keeping with their intended role, the Reivers have had a generous application of gore added to their combat knives, with a few splashes extending up on to their armour using Citadel Blood for the Blood God technical paint (which is actually more like goo than paint.)  Otherwise, damage was mostly rendered with the same scalpel technique as described above.

3 Crimson Fist Reivers 3 Crimson Fist Intercessors
Both groups together, demonstrating that the paint scheme can be applied consistently, even with a break between painting sessions.

The skull-form respirators were painted in the same manner as the chest-plate aquila of the Intercessors. Likewise kill-markings and equipment pouches were kept the same, to maintain uniformity.

It is this Militant Scribblers philosophy that no part of an army-in-progress should really be considered finished until every member of the force is present. Subsequently, several things have been left undone on both squads. Firstly, an army badge.

2nd Edition Leman Russ Battle Tank
An army badge visible here on the sponson of a 2nd Edition Leman Russ tank
A variety of potential army badges. The Skull/Diamond is the same as appears on the Leman Russ, and is relatively common on 2nd Edition transfer sheets.

Commonly this is applied to the left greave on a Marine, and is a field sign added to all Imperial units participating in a given campaign, be they Astartes, Militarum, or whoever. As many campaigns involve fighting against renegade Imperial units this makes eminent sense.

Like as not, this symbol will be culled from whichever logo is most numerous when more transfer sheets have been acquired. It will certainly fit on the Intercessor legs, but there may be trouble ahead finding room on the Reiver ones.

Other potential markings include various honour badges, further kill markings, and perhaps a spot of graffiti like the Rogue Trader marine above. Also, the more this itinerant wordmonger thinks about the ‘Terror’ aspect of the troop type, the more it seems apt that the miniatures would be well served with additional emblems on their brutality.

Crimson Fist Intercessors, Reivers + Inquisitor
The retinue of Inquisitor Vidua as it currently stands.

Although the Easy-Build range suffers a little from limited pose-ability, the sculpts are otherwise of as high a quality as the normal (Hard-to-build?) variety of miniature. Their limitation lies mostly in the variety of equipment. The full box allows for the construction of grav-chute equipped troops, and a further variety of weapons. The Grav-chute is a nice retro call-back to 1st Edition, being essentially a quieter version of the standard marine jump-pack, more suitable to stealth insertion than two huge turbines.

With the decision made to expand the force as a single chapter, this means that a standard colour scheme is now decided. Work can begin on the next addition, which might be a Primaris character, such as a Lieutenant (of which there are famously far too many) or Librarian,

Space Marine Primaris Librarian Box Art
Codex Approved fashion suggests Blue armour, with a single shoulderpad in chapter colours, referrred to hereafter as the Friendly Fire Scheme. (Think about it…)

which leads to a thought/paint challenge of its own, as Librarians are traditionally blue-armoured, regardless of Chapter. Alternatively, some Easy Build Aggressors appear to have ended up under the mountain too.

Easy To Build Primaris Aggressor Art
Those giant fists call out to be painted Crimson

These appear to be the new Terminator marine, so it will be interesting to find out how they fit into chapter structure. Watch this space.

*The scribe has a singular visceral and seemingly completely irrational hatred of the word ‘crisp’ when it is applied to anything that is not actually a fried wafer of potato, or frosty morning grass.

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9 thoughts on “Crimson Fists: Archetypal Marine Chapter Primaris Intercessors, now with Added Reivers.

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  2. Max Musial

    I probably have a stack of Transfers somewhere if your interested. Not sure what the postage on an envelope is to the UK from here.


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