Return to Isstvan Spotlight: David Taylor

Holy hell do we have something special to showcase today! A feast for the eyes, the soul, and the fingers (because we paint – that metaphor didn’t work did it?) David Taylor has been a diligent student of the Patreon and it’s been my immense pleasure to watch his skill grow.

He’s flexing here. David, go full peacock. Show us your plumage.

I first started to see the hashtag #returntoisstvan being used mid-way through 2020 on Lil Legend’s video tutorials, then later on Instagram. I didn’t really pay much attention at first, as I had been focused on my WFB Empire army at the time, and to be brutally honest I wasn’t interested in the Heresy at the time.

However the more I saw the incredible work being produced, the more enthused I got. There was just an outpour of amazing armies, miniatures, painting, and artistry. I needed to be swept up in this myself!

With my interest piqued I wanted to create a Sons of Horus assault marine as a bit of casual Sunday hobby to satisfy the itch. After completing the marine I posted it to my Instagram and 1 comment came through which stuck with me. “Love it, why not create an army? ”. It was Lil Legend. At first, I dismissed it saying I didn’t have time, I want to pursue other projects, I pretty sure Myles gets kickbacks from Forge World, etc. This was mid-November and I knew the deadline was 1st of December.

But the seed had been sown. My mind went into overdrive. Should I paint a Sons of Horus army? I checked my backlog of miniatures. I had more than enough to get the project started along with a big baggie of SoH torsos, shoulder pads, and helmets from an abandoned project a number of years ago. My #returntoisstvan journey had begun.

So Why the Sons of Horus? Since discovering the Horus Heresy, they have been a legion that I’ve wanted to paint and collect. They were the first legion I was introduced to in Horus Rising, and Horus was the 1st Primarch I painted from Forgeworld. I’d painted a few squads throughout the years but never to had a fully playable army. This project was the perfect opportunity to build the army I’ve always wanted.

When it comes to building a legion first thing I do is look at the models. Do I think they are cool? Then I’ll go and check out paint jobs. Instagram is a great place for this, with so much great hobby being produced. After that, I’ll read up on them in the black books or through the novels of the Black Library. I’ve fallen foul of being stoked on models and paint jobs, but the Legion itself just doesn’t capture my imagination, leading to project abandonment. With the Sons, I was already hooked: I like the models, I like the lore and there’s plenty of amazing armies out there for inspiration. So I jumped on to Quartermaster and started drafting lists. The idea is to have a playable force at multiple point values from 1000 all the way up 3000 +.

The SoH green is a tricky one to get right: there are so many variations of it!

I’ve tried several times over the years to crack it, but for whatever reason, I never quite got a version I was happy with.  It was one of the main reasons I didn’t do them as my first Legion and went with the Deathguard. For this project, I was fortunate enough to get some help in the way of Myles’s SoH masterclass series and Cristoffer (dornsarrow) painting guide. These have been the 2 biggest inspirations putting together this scheme and I have drawn influence from both of them and mashed them into my own style. For the basing, because the army is set on Isstvan III I decided to take the easy route and went for Unreal Wargaming bases.

I had thought about making my own to save some money but I’m happy I didn’t. They are awesome and a whole lot easier and quicker than making your own. Painting wise I used washes of greys with touches of greens, purples and browns to create the rubble-strewn streets of Isstvan III.

When theming an army I always return to the lore. Tiring of the drawn-out conflict Isstvan III is becoming The Warmaster tasks Abaddon to form a spear tip to break the deadlock. As the army evolves I’ll be adding Abaddon and his Justaerin in keeping with the narrative of events that played out. I’ve also got some jet bikes and a javelin, I’ll be painting up alongside a contemptor to bulk the force out to 1500 points

The end goal is to be able to play through the missions in books 1&2 and with the prospect of a gaming weekend at Warhammer world, it’s something that gets me really excited for the project and will keep me motivated moving forward.

The photos were inspired by the 30K channels excellent setting the scene videos. It’s been tremendous fun to play with lights, generating an atmosphere for my work.

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