Legio Mortis, or to give them their cognomen the “Death’s Heads” are probably the most well-known of the legions who turned traitor. The Death’s Heads iconic red and black palette can chart it’s heritage right back to the inception of Adeptus Titanicus in 1988 and alongside Ignatum (Fire Wasps) are right at the top of the list of legions I first wanted to recreate for the current edition.

Out of the initial Grand Master release one of the Warlord kits went to Gryphonnicus and the ‘Bellum Justum’, but the second had to be for Mortis and became the ‘Mortis Ventrum’.

Red and black armour palette

The original Death’s Head palette was a flat black with red trim and white icons. Updated artwork however revealed a much more nuanced red and blue/black armour which I wanted to try recreating now that the newer kits were much grander is scale. The black armour was a very subtle greyscale of dark sea blue and german grey. basically a near black with only enough grey in the highlights to provide something that I could tint with Games Workshop Incubi Darkness. This is what I used as a glaze/tint over the top to create the darker panels.

It’s the red however that really makes them stand out and this is based on the exact same palette I used on my heresy Word Bearers legion. Over a black primer I start by creating a metallic greyscale starting with gunmetal and ending with chrome. Ove this I initially tint the greyscale with Games Workshop carroburg crimson before applying several light coats of Tamiya clear red. To create contrast and intensify the deepest shadows I used drakenhof nightshade.

One of the greatest aspects of the original game was the incredible profusion of  gigantic banners and heraldry adorning each war engine. These more than any other feature was what made Titanicus capture my imagination and continues to be a ‘must have’ as I work through my new maniples.

Kill banners

For back-banners, gun pennants, flags and other devices I favour a simple approach, which is basically to create them in a graphics package and print them out on quality matt printer paper. I prefer this to a glossy photo paper as the subtle ‘blurring’ of finer details actually aids to the impression of fabrics. It also makes it easier to weather the banners and this is something I’ll talk about more in future posts as I move onto additional maniples.

For mounting the banners I use a mix of fine brass rod and sometimes lengths of fine jewelry chain. If you can get a brass or lighter metal then that’s perfect. Don’t do what I did originally which is buy a fine steel chain. It looks great and is super durable, but is a devil to stretch or bend links to work with the small connection points. Basically, they don’t so save yourself that frustration.