20 Years Of Coda-ing – A Retro Combat Squad Story. Part 2 – Return Of The Bright Green Paint

Gday fellow web dwellers! With the squad assembled it’s time for the dreaded ‘painting’ step.

If you are stumbling onto this with no context you can catch up here:

Part 0: Intro and dissection of how badly 10 year old me painted the OG squad

Part 1: Where I assemble the new 1998 Combat Squad and muse on plastic kit development

So on we go. Will I over covering them in impossible to remove enamel spray paint? Will my apartment spontaneously combust thanks to my dodgy hot water system, taking the squad with it? Will the world’s supply of green acrylic paint run dry, forcing me to paint with some lesser, non green colour?

Anything is possible, read on to find out the result.

“Oh thank god. I didn’t @*$( it up” – the literal words when I finished painting the squad. Palpable relief was had.


Spoiler. It went pretty ok in my opinion. Squad Chiefly is lookin good!

Brief thoughts:

  1. That boxset could be produced today and be a good kit. They paint up as well as modern marines.
  2. I haven’t been this nervous painting standard marines for a long time.
  3. Green is a super fun colour to paint.

How Did I Do It? Or an idiot with 20 years of experience guide to space marine colour schemes

I think the best way to break this down is to compare the 10/30 year old planning and painting ‘styles’. We’ll also look at the instructional tools available now vs 1998. After this I’ll go into a little bit of how to quickly make a space marine chapter!


20 years nearly too the day separates these paint jobs.


10 year old me’s thought process

  1. Read space marine codex 20 times in the car ride home.
  2. Have many, many questions. Who the hell is Horus? Why was he such a dick to his dad?
  3. Read the ‘how to paint’ bit a few times to figure out what you need to do.
  4. Sound advice. If you have an attention span of more than 5 seconds
  5. After awhile come to the conclusion of “what do these bozo’s know. They didn’t even paint the space marine green, the best colour!”
  6. With that in mind, let’s ignore all the good advice in the 3~4 page “how not to be a hobby idiot” bit in the 3rd ed marine codex.
  7. Looking back on it had the exact advice I needed to not cock everything up.
  8. Decide to paint the squad green, with yellow trim. Like that 3801 steam train which looks baller. This is the coolest thing ever.
  9. Choo Choo! Look at that glorious green!
  10. Be too impatient to buy actual citadel model paints. Use 10+ year old railway enamel paint.
  11. Be told you don’t need new spray paint, just use the stuff in the garage.
  12. Wisely, the adults involved did not trust the 10 year old with spray paint. However….
  13. Spray paint is expired and wasn’t shaken well. This covers the plastic models in a fur like substance and requires paint stripper to get it off.
  14. Receive models back from guardian, semi melted.
  15. No matter, I will just have to be even more awesome with my paint job. I, Coda, will PAINT THE DETAILS BACK ON!
  16. I will win awards for this.
  17. Why isn’t my $2 shop brush pointy anymore?
  18. Wait shit its all going wrong. I have run out of the green paint.
  19. Panic.
  20. Paint them yellow? Yellow is almost green!
  21. Wait, no, someone bought me dark angels green! That’s way cooler than yellow
  22. Ohgodhelp.

30 year old me’s process

  1. Day dream about concepts when you should be doing adult stuff. Like working or paying attention to deadlines.
  2. If a concept sticks in your mind for more than a week, or pops into your head while you’re in the shower, you should probably write it down or generally research it to expand it out.
  3. Once you have a good idea for a scheme/army. Ask someone way more talented than yourself for advice (Hi Booley!)
  4. Remind yourself of the basics, as even after 20 years ‘average to slightly above average’ is roughly where you skill level is. (Hi Duncan!)
  5. Actually listen to advice.
  6. Come up with a bunch of different ways to do it.
  7. It never looks the same on paper but you can quickly rule stuff out. Like the light livery green to the far left.
  8. Whip up some test models.Order new paints and the like if you need them.
  9. I started base coating all of them at the same time, abandoning models at different stages. As you can see the white undercoat – olive green didn’t make it as far as the others, with pale green getting dropped next, then medium olive and finally only the olive green getting test highlights.
  10. Attempt to be patient while your stuff comes in the post.
  11. Paint them, down selecting as you go. Find out all the traps that will potentially screw up your models. In this case my Biel-Tan Green wasn’t mixed properly and was drying gloss. I managed to catch this and fix it on the test models.
  12. Find the one you like the most. Figure out how to speed it up or make it easier for yourself over a squad.
  13. Run with it like you stole it.


I forgot to include the ‘find all the errors you missed’ stage when you photograph the models.


And voila! There you have it. Squad Chiefly, 20 years later and I have finally been able to paint my 10 year old self’s dream marines.

If I ever get a time machine, this ending up in the 1998 era codex for real is how people will know.



A Quick Aside On Making Chapters And Markings





Ok, so I’m still only an ‘okish’ painter, but I can make a force look like a cohesive army, with little features and details to draw the eye in and make people ask questions. The inspiration for this chapter was:

  1. I brought the OG box in 1998 while I was down to see the Australian War Memorial.
  2. I had to be faithful to the 3801 inspired scheme
  3. The olympics was all the rage in Australia, with the build up for the 2000 Sydney games in full swing. Young me definitely thought the idea of a 40k olympics with specially painted marine armies would rule!
  4. The 300 and wonder woman soundtrack, is like, really good to paint too guys. Also those things like the olympics are Greek based!

This is pretty much all the info you need to whip up a quick 5 min chapter skeleton that you can flesh out with more detail over time.

Chapter Name: Australius – Ultramarine Successors
Speciality: Strict Codex adherence
Background: The chapter recruits from prison worlds, mind wiping aspirants and ‘reforming’ them.
Colour Scheme: Green and yellow, like the god damn steam train.
Chapter Symbol: Greek ‘Spartan’ Lambda, Southern Cross/Crux and Commonwealth Star of the Australian Flag.
Squad Marking: Tactical Marines use the broad arrow marking instead of the standard arrow. This marking is still used on the odd moto shirt for infantry units in the Australian Army.
Other Markings: Demi Squad leaders have a single stripe on left knee pad, squad marking and company colour on right knee pad.


And with that, this brings this series to a close. I really hope that you enjoyed it! If you have any advice, questions or just want to see what I end up doing next check out my:


Anyway, happy hobbying chaps, as always I hope you all enjoyed reading these ramblings.