I sold some painted models a little while ago – an Inquisitor and retinue. It really made my day when the guy who bought them (who was in the UK) sent me a message on eBay saying he recognised them from Instagram, and liked my work!
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I try to make my hobby and my art self-sustaining. I keep a separate business account (in the case of art) and a piggy bank (in the case of hobby), and only use money from sales to fund further purchases. In the case of the art stuff, professionalism comes first, so I don’t cut any corners with materials and quality. In the case of hobby though, I take it as a sort of personal challenge to be as cheap as possible, sourcing bits from my mate Chris at Bitz Galaxy or from Bitz Box in the UK.
So I used the money from the Inquisitor and his cronies to fund the start of my Blackshields. In case you don’t know, Blackshields are an astartes faction found in Forge World’s Horus Heresy Book VI: Retribution. They’re marines who are victims of the Heresy and have splintered off from their Legion for whatever reason, gathered under a charismatic commander, and become mercenaries, pirates, or guerillas. They’ve obscured their original heraldry and foresworn their former Legion. Some were loyal, some fought for the Warmaster, and some for themselves. The vast majority of them were annihilated during the Heresy, but a few bands eventually fell to Chaos if they weren’t sworn to the Ruinous Powers already, and still kick around as Chaos Space Marine war bands in the 41st millennium. Others may even have evolved into post-Heresy loyalist successor chapters. But yeah, most died like so many others.
I’ve decided my Blackshields are not Chaos worshippers, but reavers and pirates. Their predecessors (and their commander, Captain Chiron) were Terran-born Raven Guard, the last generation of youths from the Xeric tribes of Terra to be inducted before the chapter began recruiting from off-world. Apparently after the Raven Guard were re-united with their Primarch, he didn’t really approve of the the Xeric martial traditions of his Terran legionaries, so he slowly purged them from the Legion. Chiron was a neophyte when he and his majority Terran-born company were assigned to a Rogue Trader on the galactic fringe.
By the time the Heresy blew everything apart, Chiron was one of the last surviving children of Terra in his company, and a Captain of the Legion. He abandoned the Rogue Trader and united his remaining comrades, leading them slowly home towards Terra. His ultimate plan when he reached his destination was unknown, but his band, who called themselves The True Sons of Terra, grew with other renegade and orphan astartes.
The True Sons were not afraid to use prohibited and xenos weaponry they had captured on the galactic fringe, and their tactics were unorthodox, more akin to a band of raiders than a space marine legion. Their small fleet was further bolstered by the remnants of the hive-gang militia regiment the Uruq Immortals, orphaned during the Baylonian Insurrection, who were willing participants in Chiron’s various plots and sabotages. Although Chiron’s loyalties (probably) lay with the Emperor, and the True Sons often fought bravely for the loyalist cause, the fact that they wore no recognisable badge and fought in such a deceptive manner resulted in more than one tragic case of mistaken identity ending in fellow loyalist blood being shed.
The True Sons of Terra are not to be confused with the Chaos warband The True Sons. Chiron and his army apparently vanished during the Age of Darkness, never reaching their destination. The latter are a band of Chaos Space Marines, formerly Sons of Horus, and still exist in the 41st millennium.
So that’s the background for these guys. This is a sketch I did of Captain Chiron, just for some preliminary inspiration. I’m imagining him as sort of Conan-esque, only a Space Marine: