There are lots of things that define the Horus Heresy, but for me it’s the eclectic dreadnoughts that are properly iconic. In the games of Epic and Rogue Trader, the names ‘Contemptor’, ‘Deredeo’, and ‘Furibundus’ first made their appearance. Forgeworld later re-imagined the Contemptor pattern, drawing inspiration from the old Epic plastic version. The Contemptor pattern legion dreadnoughts have become synonymous with the era of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy. They hold a special place within the books, and I can’t imagine a legion collection without at least one of these towering veterans. Therefore, I decided to go all out and assemble a full Ultramarines Contemptor Dreadnought Talon. It’s all about going big or going home.

Ultramarines blue

I want to start by apologizing upfront if your question is about the specific paints I used to achieve the Ultramarines blue. Unfortunately, I cannot remember as it was a couple of years ago, and I foolishly didn’t document it.

There were two reasons for this: Firstly, I used a mix of colors to create the base, which is not ideal when you’re working on more than one piece and aiming for consistency across an entire army. Secondly, I’m certain that the base color I used was one of Games Workshop’s old foundation blues, which have long been discontinued.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be easy or advisable to replicate anyway. This also explains why the two Forgeworld resin Contemptors look significantly different from the plastic Calth version.

In many ways, this serves as a lesson on how not to paint an army. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased with how they turned out as a gaming force, but I realize that adding further units will be a challenge, requiring me to reinterpret the color scheme. The best information I can provide is that I believe I used Mordian Blue (although I’m not entirely sure) as the base and mixed in Wolf Grey to create highlights.

Unfortunately, the exact details have been lost to the sands of time.

I am more certain about the weathering process, which involved using Windsor & Newton artists oils. For the grime, I utilized burnt umber, while burnt sienna was employed for the rust streaks. Applying the lessons I learned earlier with the blue, I decided to perform the weathering on both the dreadnoughts and vehicles simultaneously, in one sitting.

This deliberate approach aimed to ensure that the environmental weathering was applied consistently across the ground forces. By doing so, I aimed to achieve a unified look and mask any discrepancies in the armor throughout the entire force.

The morale of this story is when painting armies, try to stick to out of the pot palettes to make it easier to add reinforcements in the future.

Will my XIII legion force get more reinforcements in the future? Probably, yes. At the very least they will get their Primarch as I do have Guilliman, but I would also like to consider another Centurion as well. As for more dreadnoughts I’m less certain as I have no desire at this stage to add either a Leviathan or Deredeo liking the force size as it is. For now though, I think my Ultramarines have enough walkers to stomp around with.

Painted Contemptor Dreadnoughts in Ultramarine colours