New to Horus Heresy Painting? Start here.

New to Horus Heresy painting? Start here.

I canvassed social media for the common concerns of new players to the heresy.

What models can I use?

This is a common fear. That you’ll mix in a wrong mark or armour or use an era inappropriate tank. The heresy has an unfair stigma of being full of rivet counters, aggressively chasing people out of games because a knee pad is from the wrong era.

This has never happened to me. I’ve never seen it or heard it. The roots of the Heresy are in historical gaming (we’ve been nicknamed the WWII dads of Warhammer). I’m not sure how to feel about that.

People love chatting about this stuff. Cross-referencing black books, looking up details in the black library books and bringing them to life. Don’t mistake enthusiasm for gatekeeping. The Heresy is full of exuberant personalities that are all too happy to help discuss your force.

What is valid:

Armour marks 0 – 6.

MK 0 “Imperial Armour”

This armour is surpassingly rare but is present during the Age of Darkness. You may get one miniature wearing this armour in an entire collection. This is the prototype of all subsequent Space Marine armour, and I dare say, we may see more toward the end of the siege of Terra . Mark 0 ‘imperial armour’ is famously used by Leetu (the name is an Easter egg – comment below if you know what it is).

MK I Legio Cataegis

Mk1 is Thunder Armour – used by the Legio Cataegis or Thunder-Warriors. You don’t see many of them wandering around the battlefields of 30K – If you’d like to know more read Chris Wraight’s Valdor. Again, not appropriate for your space marine armies, unless you wanted to collect a dedicated Thunder Warrior army.


Mkii is the earliest Crusade Armour and is often seen used by Dark Angels & White Scar armies. Why? Dark Angels were the first legion, and have access to all sorts of ancient technology. White Scars ranged far and away beyond Imperial supply lines and would not have the opportunity to have later marks of armour.


Mkiii is a heavier armour designed for void boarding actions. Heavy, and durable, this mark is great for Imeprial Fists and Iron Warriors. However, it was common to see squads of breachers use this in any legion. Despite popular belief, MKiii did have an assault pack option, although rarely used.


Mkiv is the pinnacle of Space Marine armour design and is the most commonly seen (until the new boxed set drops!) A sea of MKIV is a beautiful thing to behold.

MK V – Heresy Armour.

Mk V (my favourite heresy armour) was mass-produced dross. The underlying materials were so poor that they were often boosted by bonding studs to deflect small arms fire. The bastard child of the Age of Darkness, this armour mark quickly fell out of fashion when supply lines were re-established after the Siege of Terra.

MK VI Beakie armour.

Mk VI is the latest armour mark developed and deployed during the Great Crusade. Its distinctive conical helm has additional sensors, making it the preferred armour for Alpha Legion and Raven Guard. And every other Legion once the new boxed set drops.

But, I must stress – All legions used all marks of armour 2-6 extensively! There is no wrong answer between these marks. You can even mix armour marks in squads and even on the same miniature to represent the attritional warfare suffered by the legions during the Age of Darkness. My personal Blood Angels army mix armour marks, because they are set at Terra.t Recycling traitor or loyalist armour to keep fighting.

Terminator Armour.

Would you like to learn how to paint these models? Check this out!

Terminator armour – Cataphractii, Tartaros and limited quantities of Indomitus were used. However, only the first two have rules. If you wanted to represent Indomitus I’d suggest using Tartaros and letting your opponent know beforehand.


Anything sold by Forge World is era-appropriate. In fact, the only tanks I can think of that wouldn’t be used are the Razorback and the Land Raider Crusader pattern. Everything else is fair game! Granted there isn’t much game with the number of models being discontinued. The Spartan and the Rhino are main stays for any Legion force.

Do I need an airbrush to paint?

No. You absolutely do not.

The Heresy is known to have a specific style and painting process. It stems from military scale modelling, where the use of weathering products such as powder, chipping medium and pin washes are far more prevalent. This is often called the Heresy style – miniatures that aim to recreate a photo-realistic image of the characters.

However this is one style! If you want to use a more traditional heavier metal style: saturated colours with neat edge highlighting – then great! Welcome to the club.

The Heresy community is ferociously proud of its painting standards. But, again please do not confuse enthusiasm with gatekeeping. There are multiple resources to help paint your miniatures – what’s important is that you are painting!

If you wanted a crash course into the wonderful world of weathering check out this tutorial:

Heresy is just Marines vs Marines right?

No, oh no, no, no, no.

But mainly yes.

There are a lot of marine armies! The story revolves around the Warmaster turning a third of the host against the Imperium.

And space marines are awesome.

But no, it’s not just those forces.

Other factions include:



Titan Legios

Solar Auxilia (elite humans)

Cults and militia.

And each of these factions has sub categories like:

Mechanicum: Taghmata or Legio Cybernetica!

At every turn, you have questions presented to you. How do you want to theme your force? At every turn, you individualise your force and create something unique.

I hope this short introduction helps ease you into the wonderful world of Heresy Modelling. That was – New to Horus Heresy modelling? Start here.

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