20 Years Of Coda-ing – A Retro Combat Squad Story. Part 0 – An Intro And Some Really Badly Painted Dudes

Sup my fellow nerds.

November 2018 is my 20th year in this hobby, so in a fit of slightly tipsy nostigala I picked up this a few months ago.


The stuff of dreams right there people. I like the meeting point of tailend 2nd Ed scheme with modern-ish looking marines.

Oh yeah it’s the OG Space Marine Combat Squad in all it’s 1998 spec glory. It’s even still in it’s shrink wrap for extra legit-ness.

If you have read this far, you are probably asking questions like “Why Coda, did you buy this vastly out of date box for a wildly inflated price?” and “Why Iam I still reading this and not literally doing anything else?”

Well prepare yourself and ready your eye bleach for 10 year old Coda’s finest creation. The Emperor’s Swords that became Imperial Fists that became Dark Angels.

“killll meeeee now” – them and probably your eyeballs.


So there is a lot going on here with this paint job. Let’s break down the sequence of events that created these abominations.

The Setting:

  • 10 year old me, much like 30 year old was an idiot that had literally no fucking idea what he was doing.
  • “Ultramarines, but you know, green like the 3801 steam train and therefore cool and good. Also the coolest power ranger is green and so are cool army tanks als-” was the entire thought process for the paint job.

The build/painting prep:

  • I did not use clippers, a knife or any other tools. I lost one of their bolter arms and replaced it with sprue. The fact you can’t see any burrs from being twisted out of the spures or mold lines is a testament to the paint coverage.
  • The boltgun pistol grips are not cut off. This is a pro move that all pro modelers did in 1998 fyi.
  • My guardian, a man that disliked any hobby I had that wasn’t NRL football or NRL football adjacent (this was in fact all of my hobbies) helpfully undercoated them with grey spray paint.
  • The paint was expired and put fluff all over the models.
  • It was also thick and not in the cool thicc way.
  • He removed said fluff with paint thinners.
  • I may or may not have almost cried at this point. 10 year old life is tough yo.


  • Citadel made a line of just above garbage paints at the time. I did not have access to these immediately after building the squad. I did have access too was my departed old man’s old model train paints.
  • Lucky for 10 year old Coda this contained a half empty pot of 3801 green. Score!
  • Unlucky for 10 year old Coda this was not enough paint.
  • I would discover this 80% of the way though ‘painting’ the squad.
  • But i had a lot of yellow. Yellow is cool right? So now they are imperial fists. What a genius move.
  • But not enough yellow. Fuck. This was discovered about 50% of the way though.
  • But someone brought me Dark Angels Green at some point. This is good because we all know that Green is way cooler than ‘yellow’.
  • ???
  • Profit.


Its fucking sand and pva. How I fucked this up I have no idea.

So what now? What is this series of posts going to be all about?

  1. I’m going to “go back in time” and produce the models that 10 year old me wanted.
  2. I’m going to take some cool photos of the box and write about said photos, comparing them to the MKIV marine kit in order to see how far GeeDubs has come in 20 years.
  3. Investigate the difference in educational materials for painting/modelling compared to 20 years ago. I.E what the 3rd Ed Space Marine Codex and that combat squad had to teach a young stupid kid vs a literal 10 second google search today.

What’s Next?

This roughly the standard I can comfortably paint line troopers today. I’m no golden demon winner but I’m hardly creating abominations anymore.





The Swords Of Davion are the realisation of 20 years of ‘this is the marine chapter I really want to make but never could’ . Their roots are directly tied to the model on the left.


10 year old Coda: “That is a cool dude but have you thought about changing out the blue for you know, green?”



With that in mind I’ll need to start working on a paint scheme.

This is what 10 year old Coda wanted in his mind’s eye:



So the question that I have for you lot/myself is:

A: Do I do this verbatim or attempt to modernize it (ie. yellow trim to gold)? On that note do I roll with red guns or black?
B: 3801 NSWGR Special Green is a shitty colour to colour match. I’ll need to find a replacement. I do have some goblin green Instar Vintage reproduction or I can use modern CPS or Vallejo lines.
C: What content do you want me to cover with this?
D: I’ll need to cook up a chapter logo/name for these dudes. The Aurora chapter is similar enough to the scheme if I wish to go with something existing but it could be cool to think up something 10 year old me would appreciate and tie it into the Imperial Davonic Republics fluff 30 year old me has been generating.

Happy hobbying chaps, I hope you all enjoyed reading these ramblings.


Read the next part where I put the dudes together here:

Read the last part where I paint them here: