Legions Imperialis Thunderhawk

The Thunderhawk gunship is my favourite kit to be released for Aeronautica and now Legions Imperialis. All of the flyer plastic kits are great boxed sets, but the Thunderhawk is one that just stands out, not only because of its size and being such an iconic design, but just the staggering level of detail that’s been captured in a model one quarter the scale of its larger cousin.

Whilst I appreciate the draw of ‘apocalypse’ sized games in 30K/40K scale, Legions Imperialis and Epic scale is, in my opinion, the best way to really capture the scope and visual impact of combined arms warfare. A massed infantry air assault led by multiple Thunderhawks and other transports is an amazing sight on the table top for the Horus Heresy. Although I started my White Scars with a modest single transport, I honestly wasted no time adding more, they are just too cool not to. I have a third Thunderhawk on stand by, just haven’t decided if I want to add it to the White Scars straight away, or retain it to do in the scheme of the Imperial Fists. I will make that decision post release when I start selecting formations and detachments for some early games.

Painting White Scars scheme

Although a significantly larger model than the aircraft I have done to date, I made no changes to the painting process and followed the exact same method I used on the Xiphons. A base of Blue Horror mixed with Ulthuan Grey followed by a mix of the base with increased amount of the grey and finally a top highlight of thinned Tamiya flat white. The fine pigment and translucency of the Tamiya white lets the blue grey of the base colours show through giving the model a nicely modulated finish to work from.

Reds as before are Game Air Scarlett Red and Games Workshop Mephiston Red, shaded with Drakenhof Nightshade.

For the metallics I used a similar process to what I did with the war engines and started with a textured base of metal series dark iron highlighted with exhaust manifold and finally duraluminium. These were given a wash of thinned sepia mixed with acrylic varnish to create an oily sheen to the engines.


I added the markings over the lighter base colour as it’s generally easier when masking to apply darker colours over lighter ones. Adding red over the off-white gives it a good strong value immediately without needing too many coats. The most time consuming part with all these models is meticulously applying the fiddly masking tape to create the designs and patterns. The end result however is completely worth it.

Next time

Based on my experience painting the first Thunderhawk, I left the landing gear off during painting for the second one. Painting around the lowered gear was a frustration, especially doing the lower half of the engines. From now on this will be my standard approach as it was super simple to paint the gear separately and no issue attaching them at the end.

I’m pretty confident these will not be the last Thunderhawks I do for Legions Imperialis. This kit is just far too cool in epic scale.