The Warlord Titan Mortis Ventrum is the first engine I’ve painted for Titanicus using a new take on a classic palette of metallic red and blue-black.

Legio Mortis, known as the “Death’s Heads,” is arguably the most infamous of the traitor legions. Their iconic red and black palette traces its origins back to the inception of Adeptus Titanicus in 1988. Alongside Ignatum, also known as the Fire Wasps, they were at the top of my list when it came to recreating legions for the current edition.

From the initial Grand Master release, one of the Warlord kits found its way to Gryphonicus and became the ‘Bellum Justum.’ However, the second kit had to be reserved for Mortis, ultimately becoming the ‘Mortis Ventrum’.

Mortis Red and black

The original Death’s Head palette featured a simple combination of flat black with red trim and white icons. However, updated artwork revealed a more intricate armor design with nuanced shades of red and blue/black. I was eager to recreate this effect, especially now that the newer kits offered larger scale models. To achieve the black armor, I opted for a subtle greyscale approach using dark sea blue and German grey. This resulted in a nearly black shade with just enough grey in the highlights. I then applied a glaze of Games Workshop Incubi Darkness to tint the panels and create darker areas.

But it’s the red that truly sets them apart. I employed the same palette I used for my heresy Word Bearers legion. Starting with a black primer, I created a metallic greyscale by layering gunmetal and chrome. Next, I applied a tint of Games Workshop Carroburg Crimson, followed by several light coats of Tamiya Clear Red. To enhance contrast and intensify the deepest shadows, I utilized Drakenhof Nightshade.

The original game had a remarkable abundance of gigantic banners and heraldry gracing each war engine, making it one of the most captivating aspects. These striking visual elements captured my imagination and remain an essential component as I assemble my new maniples.

Kill banners

When it comes to back-banners, gun pennants, flags, and other devices, I prefer a simple approach. I create them in a graphics package and print them on high-quality matte printer paper. I find that using matte paper, rather than glossy photo paper, actually enhances the impression of fabrics by subtly blurring finer details. Additionally, it makes weathering the banners easier. In future posts, I will delve deeper into weathering techniques as I explore additional maniples.

To mount the banners, I use a combination of fine brass rod and sometimes lengths of fine jewelry chain. If you can find brass or lighter metal options, that’s perfect. Learn from my initial mistake of purchasing a fine steel chain—it may look great and be highly durable, but it’s a challenge to stretch or bend links for small connection points. Basically, it doesn’t work well, so save yourself the frustration.