Army Showcase: Drybrush Threepwood’s Flesh Tearers

The Player: Mike Roberts
The Codex: Space Marines (Flesh Tearers)
Points: 4,500ish
Collecting Since: January 2021
Instagram: drybrush_threepwood

The Past

There’s something about an unreasonably belligerent post human psychopath hurling themselves forward with the intent to perform unspeakable violence that tickles a special place in my brain. Amit’s angry sons are everything I want from a Space Marine chapter – they’re entirely uncomplicated with no pretensions about what they are, and I’ve tried to convey this simplicity and purity of focus with my take on the chapter.
This army is actually my second take at the Flesh Tearers. They were the first army I began painting when I got back into the hobby in 2018 after not touching a paint brush since I was a teenager. I ended up amassing 6,000 points of them at the time before becoming dissatisfied with the paint scheme, particularly with how flat my blacks were, the lack of volumetric highlighting, and having tied myself to using printed icons instead of transfers.
After unexpectedly finding myself with far more free time than I had ever had before back in March 2020 for obvious reasons I spent some time experimenting on different armies and chapters to hone my skills with an airbrush. What finally got me back in was actually Mighty Brush releasing their Flesh Tearers transfers, which gave me the missing piece I needed to have another crack at the boys in red! While I ended up selling my original army I held a few models back as a reminder and have repainted some of my favourites in the updated scheme you can see here. If you’d like to see how I do my minis I wrote a guide for Goonhammer a while back, and I’ve stuck to it for almost every model since.

The Present

Flesh Tearers Vanguard Veterans. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

These are the first minis I painted using my updated scheme, and they hold up pretty well next to the more recent ones. They are of course the ubiquitous Vanguard Veterans with lighting claws and shields, with the sergeants carrying Thunder Hammers and a Captain with the Flesh Tearers relic chainsword, Severer. The weapons here are all from Shapeways, another invaluable resource and I don’t think I’d have had nearly as much joy bringing the army to life without the numerous bits I’ve found on there.

I’ve chosen to use Reiver bodies here with the classic Jump Packs as I wanted to give myself room to expand on the theme as the army grew. I also felt that if you’re going to be blasting through the sky at high speed, you’d most likely pick the lightest armour you could for it. One challenge I had with the new codex is that we’re still missing heraldry for what denotes different ranks for the Flesh Tearers, so to help the Sergeants stand out I’ve gone with the classic approach of leaving them unhelmeted (All the better to below your rage at the enemy) and giving them fancier shoulder pads. The rest of the squad is left as unadorned as possible – Seth’s gang care not for frippery.

I like to paint a character to go with each type of dude I have in the army, and I knew after finishing this squad that I was going to have a lot of fun with this scheme. They’ve put in some admirable work on the tabletop, and I’m always pleased when people notice that yes those are in fact Chain Shields.

Flesh Tearers Death Company. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Ten Death Company marines, five with Bolt Pistols and Chainswords, five with Thunder Hammers, and accompanied by a Death Company Captain with Relic Sword and an Inferno Pistol. The captain here is painted to look as much like the one from earlier as they’re intended to be a before and after falling to the Rage model for use in Campaign – similarly I wanted my Death Company to look like a hastily stripped down and repainted version of the VanVet squad, as though they’d succumbed on the eve of battle. The Reiver heads are perfect here, really selling the look that something has gone wrong with these guys and tying them in to my other Death Company models as you’ll see later.

Flesh Tearers Assault Intercessors. Credit: Jack Hunter

Assault Intercessos! The quintessential Flesh Tearers unit, never leave home without them. The unit as they come are perfect for how I want to present the chapter. The Gravis Captain here was actually painted at a much later date, but I’ve included him here as much like the intercessors he’s the physical embodiment of everything that makes the chapter for me – big, brutal, bloody and with a massive chain weapon. What’s not to love?

Flesh Tearers Death Company Intercessors. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Death Company Intercessos! A similar approach here, these guys were intended as replacements for units that fall to the Rage in campaign games. While I’ve not actually managed to play any yet I have given them a go in Tempest, and while they’re neat I’m not sold that they are worth the elites slot.

There’s some old art out there showing Flesh Tearers with chainaxes, and this squad felt like the right place to work that in. The Chainglaves here are from ForgeWorld and are proxies for Thunder Hammers, and you can’t quite see it but the Chaplain also has a Jump Pack and I gave him the head from the Biker Chaplain to better tie him in with the DC boys.
Fun fact – that guy you see on the bottom left getting ready to hurl a grenade is a homage to my very first game of Warhammer back in 8th ed, when my my friend Tim lent me 5 of his OG lead Death Company and one in this exact pose heroically held the line solo for three combat phases against a squad of gaunts.

Flesh Tearers Sanguinary Guard. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Five Sanguinary Guard, all with axes and bolters and accompanied by a Sanguinary Ancient. This squad was undoubtedly the hardest to bring together. The challenge I set myself was to update the classic models using Primaris bodies, while staying true to the things that made them stand out – wings, abs, and nipples.

These are based on Assault Intercessor bodies, using the bulkier armour to denote their 2+ save vs their reiver bodies vanvets, with the torsos sawn off and replaced with sculpted ones from Shapeways. The heads are from the Eradicators box as I wanted something with a bit more beef to them and the gas rebreather really suits a unit that blasts through the sky at high speed. The hardest part here was actually the bolters, they have all been carefully carved from the Sanguinary Guard arms and placed on arms that would be wielding Chainswords that have been filed away to fit the bolters. Much blood, sweat and cursing was involved in this process.

I’ve gone for blue power weapon glow here to indicate that they’re relics from their parent chapter and help them stand out against the green power weapons you’ll see coming up later. The Ancient is based off the Blood Angels lieutenant with the Bladeguard Ancient’s helmet. I tried to include a banner here but it just didn’t work with the pose, and I always thought the idea of a guy with a jump pack desperately trying to hold on to a flag pole as he’s flying through the air seemed a bit too silly so I’m not sad to see it go. A bit of extra trim and a touch of gold here helps him stand out while still looking like he belongs with the squad.

You can’t see it in these pictures, but I used some very hard to come by official Flesh Tearers transfers here on the squads legs. In particular each right ankle plate has an individual name, something that I would come back to further down the line.

Flesh Tearers Company Veterans. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Company Veterans with claws and shields. You’ll notice these guys have somewhat different heraldry to any other squad, and there’s a reason for that! These are loosely based off the old Rogue Trader scheme, and when I painted them I’d just finished listening to Devastation of Baal and had fallen in love with the idea of including a squad made up of survivors from the Knights of Blood.

On the tabletop they act as a bodyguard for Seth, with the Sergeant carrying a Mastercrafted lightning claw. Tasty if it gets there, particularly with Seth’s +1 damage on wound rolls of a 6 trait, but sadly they rarely get there and have mostly been staying on the shelf this edition.

Flesh Tearers Bladeguard Veterans. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Speaking of Seth, here he is – having freshly crossed the rubicon Primaris and accompanied by 15 Bladeguard Veterans.

This is the real meat of the army. They’re durable, mean as hell, and with a few adjustments suit the look of the army perfectly. I went with black tabards and shields here as the more a Flesh Tearer rises through the ranks the closer they get to falling to the Rage, and I felt that adding more and more black to the scheme would help reflect that. I wasn’t a fan of their backpack icons as I felt that it distracted from the streamlined look I was aiming for, and doing so both helps the Sergeants stand out on the tabletop and further highlights the extra regalia that Seth has earned as their Chapter Master.
I spent a long time deciding on the right base for Seth here, and very nearly went with Ragnar’s updated model. Eventually it was the cape on the limited edition Captain with Power Fist and Plasma Pistol model that sold me on this one. The torso here is again from shapeways, and there was no easy way to go about adding it to the model – what I ended up having to do was file the thing down along the back half until it slotted in. It took a while but was absolutely worth it in the end! The only parts from the original Seth model here are Blood Reiver, his backpack icon, and the flesh tearers icon on his shoulder wing – the rest are from various Blood Angel specific bits with the head from the Indomitus Chaplain here giving him just the right amount of furious bellowing to match the original.

Flesh Tearers Incursors. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Incursors – everyone needs em, here are fifteen of mine accompanied by a Bladeguard Ancient. I skipped out on the usual blood splatter for these guys to show that they’re backline troops, and you can see a difference in how I approach basing here. The squad on the left are much more recent than the one on the right, and I’d stopped adding grey to the rocks and weathering pigment to the legs as I just couldn’t get the effect to look how I wanted it to.

The Ancient here was partly borne out of necessity – I’d already used the base model for my Sanguinary Priest so instead this one is based on Captain Lazarus, a model from everyone’s least favourite chapter who I won’t mention in this article. The angel and sword motif really tie in well with the Bladeguard’s whole thing, and while he’s not the most useful I’m really pleased with the paint job here.

Flesh Tearers Whirlwind and ATVs. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Sticking with the theme of converting models to be Primaris, this is a Whirlwind using the Impulsor frame along with three ATVs and hoo boy were these models a mistake.
Now that’s not to say I don’t love them, because I absolutely do –  pulling sick jumps off a dune while blasting away at terminal velocity with minimal shielding is absolutely a vibe that I appreciate, however I had desperately misunderstood how these guys would work on the tabletop. This is mostly my fault as it wasn’t until a few games played that I realised they do not, in fact, have the CORE or VEHICLE keywords, and thus can’t receive chapter master rerolls and don’t benefit from Big Guns Never Tire. If you’re reading this and are labouring under the same misapprehension – stop what you are doing and put them back on the shelf where they belong.

The Whirlwind is similarly past its prime with the changes to non LOS shooting, but I had a lot of fun with this one trying out oil weathering effects and I’m sure he’ll see some use again.

Flesh Tearers Redemptor Dreadnought. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

El Redempto, I knew after listening to the excellent audio drama Hunger and I had to bring brother Medrion to the tabletop and here he is.
I’m not 100% satisfied with the plasma glow on this one, it was my first attempt at it and didn’t quite come out how I wanted it to (later test bits have come out much better). What did bring me joy was the weathering and working as much Death Company stuff into the model as I could without it getting overly baroque. Mighty Brush’s transfers came in use here on the plasma arm, and full credit to Novus Sanguine for the inspiration and plasma tutorial.

Flesh Tearers Terminators. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Continuing with the regular stuff made to be Death Company theme, these guys are based off the Contekar Elite from Forge World with arms from the Tartator terminators box.

Now, I’m sure some of you will be thinking “but Drybrush, a set of Terminator armour is a priceless relic and far too valuable to put onto a marine afflicted with the Black Rage! Besides, how would you even get them inside of it?” To which I say shut up, this is my narrative and I’m forging it and also I would refer you to the Death’s Cowl, because unlike other chapters of the blood the Flesh Tearers have a standing force of Death Company ready to be unleashed from their battle barge at a moments notice. Somewhere in there I’m sure Zuphias has a squad of the company’s most venerated fallen warriors, and this is them baby.

There’s also some old rules for the Flesh Tearers that allow them to take Grisly Trophies, and uh yeah this squad sure is that.

Flesh Tearers Death Company Dreadnoughts. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Death Company dreadnoughts Metraen and Sepharan alongside Librarian Dreadnought Astramael. Remember those name plate transfers I mentioned earlier? You can get a much better look at them here.

These are the most recent minis I painted, and I really whole arsed them. I’ve wanted to pick them up ever since the Incaendius was announced, and finished the lot in a week of feverish excitement. Everything I learned over the course of painting this army is on display here, they’re utterly useless on the tabletop but I love my three idiot sons all the more for it.

And yes, I’ve not painted the scrollwork on the Librarians chest, because I suck at it and am a coward.

Flesh Tearers Characters. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Various characters I couldn’t fit elsewhere;

  • Jump Pack Librarian, made using Tigurius with bits from the Blood Angels Terminator Librarian and the head from the Indomitus Captain. The axe here is a wonderful part and I had to find a way to use it, similarly this head was a joy to paint
  • Primaris Chaplain on Bike – some slight mods with bits from liber daemonica here, this is the character I’m least fond of as he doesn’t really stand out and the basing wasn’t up to scratch, which is annoying as he’s a beast on the tabletop
  • Terminator Captain with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield – using one of the SM heroes models here, I painted this up for use with the relic the Crimson Plate and is actually a test model with a slightly different scheme. Yet to be used as I just can’t justify him over Seth
  • Chapter Champion – this guy fucks. With the Blade of Justice and Imperium’s Sword he’s an absolute beast and amongst his accomplishments is single-handedly taking down a whole ass riptide.
  • Sanguinary Priest – taken with the Teeth of Terra, I’ve used the Bladeguard Ancient as the base model with various bits from liber, the base sanguinary priest, and the primaris apothecary. A more hopeful mini with a heroic pose that is the perfect counterpoint to the rest of the army.

The Future

So there you have it, 101 Angry Men. Barring any new releases this is the end of the road for my Tearers for now. I’ll probably paint up another 5 Sanguinary Guard just in time for them to get nerfed again, but other than that after a year and a half of painting red, black and white I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to with this army and it’s time to move on to something new, with my black, white and red Space Marines or possibly my white, black and red Chaos Space Marines.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did putting it together. This army started with a Goonhammer article and I’d like to say a huge thanks to the team for their excellent content and the extraordinary community they have built. You guys are the best.

Bonus photo- capes!


God I love painting capes.