Space Marine Diorama – Raise The Aquila High!

Space Marines of disparate chapters often work together to defend the Imperium and nothing captures that spirit better than this classic model from Games Workshop.

It depicts a Blood Angel, Dark Angel and Ultramarine raising an Imperium Aquila flag together over rough ground strewn with skulls.

About 14 years ago Games Workshop made this Space Marine Flag Raising model inspired by the famous photo of U.S. Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima during WWII.

It was a promotional model which I was lucky enough to receive as a gift all those years ago. I sadly let it sit for many years until a diorama contest at a local GW store around the time the Warhammer 40,000 Honoured Imperium scenery set was released got me thinking about finally getting to it.

The contest was to use a piece from Honoured Imperium in a diorama and I immediately thought how great it would look to see Space Marines raising their flag over a war-torn shattered Imperium Aquila like the one in Honoured Imperium.

The first matter of business was to assemble the mildly complex pewter alloy Space Marine model. The parts are a bit fiddly to line up just right and pinning the arms on the Space Marines to ensure they stay together securely made it even more challenging to line up properly. After much wrangling I was able to get the model together.

The next step was to get the metal model attached to the plastic broken Aquila from Honoured Imperium. I did this with super glue, then sculpted in around the gaps between the metal model and plastic Aquila with Apoxie Sculpt. The scenic base of the metal model already nicely matched the gravel and skull littered broken stone modeled on the Aquila. GW’s consistency in their imagery after all these years made it easy to meld these two models together into a single diorama!

Now we’re ready for painting. I primed the whole thing flat black and then set to work painting the metal model first, then the Aquila beneath it. I added the deceased Ork off to one side to imply that the Space Marines were reclaiming shattered Imperium territory after a fierce battle against Ork invaders. Dioramas by nature are static, so it’s important to tell a little story through the context of the imagery used within them.

Here’s an overhead view of the completed diorama providing a good perspective on the model as a whole. I deliberately painted the Aquila in subdued neutral tones to contrast with the brightly armored Space Marines. This makes the Space Marines the main visual focus of the diorama.

A reverse view of the diorama from the Dark Angel’s side of it also gives a better view of the Ultramarine from the front.The reverse of the battle flag displays the names of famous Warhammer 40,000 battles in the history of the Imperium.

I enjoyed building and painting this for the sheer fun of it and it was a nice break from my usual Warhammer army painting.

This model is currently on display at the Games Workshop Bowie store in Maryland. It was also featured on the Games Workshop website in their May 4, 2010 What’s New Today blog post.

I’m currently working on finishing up my Lord Of Skulls. Though I began painting that last summer I got sidetracked for many months by other projects like my Ork Big Mek Stompa conversion, Ork Warbikers, and some Ogre Kingdoms troops, but I’m finally giving the Lord Of Skulls its finishing touches. Skulls for the Skull Throne!

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