Inspirational Images – Chapter Review
So, my girlfriend suggested an idea for a series of regular posts on this here website: I’m quite a visual person (despite having literally zero talent in any of the visual arts. Seriously – my stick men are out of proportion) and few things get my imagination fired up more than a really great image or movie. So, twas suggested that I bring some of these to the fore, maybe getting them out to a broader audience and saying a bit about why and how they inspire me. Seeing as how this is an excellent idea, I humbly present to you the first of what I hope shall be many Inspirational Images.
Pretty cool, huh? In fact, I would go so far as to say epically, mind-bogglingly cool.
I got into Warhammer 40,000 at university, devouring a loaned pair of Dan Abnett omnibii before being lured down to my local GW hobby shop and splitting the purchase of the 4th edition starter box with a friend (he took the Tyranids, and proceeded to forge an army that was the bane of my poor home-brewed chapter from day one). This image was nestled in the Space Marine codex as a double-page spread, and it (like so much of the Warhammer artwork) complete grabbed me. Here was the scale, grandeur, intimidating sobriety, and just plain badassery I had imagined while reading, made evident on the page.
More than anything else, I love the scale. The best Warhammer artwork, for me, is that which captures the colossal size and scale of the universe. As the foreword in each novel says, to be a man in such times is to be one in untold billions, an infinitesimal speck in a galaxy of war. The Adeptus Astartes (I much, much prefer ‘Astartes’ to ‘Space Marines’, in the same way that ‘Vlka Fenryka’ is much cooler and more authentic than ‘Space Wolves’) are demigods of war, angels clad in metal and armed with righteous fury – and here is a thousand of them, lined up like statues. Imposing doesn’t begin to describe it.
The artwork itself is really something. Alex Boyd’s style is, as I described it on Twitter, brutal and authentic. Simple, clear lines, beautiful shading (there is a colour version of the picture out there, but I couldn’t find a link to a copy of sufficient quality), and impressive attention to detail – note the differences in helmet detailing on the Astartes in the foreground, and the creepy tech-magi fussing over the Dreadnought on the right hand side.
In the fiction, it is rare for a gathering such as this to take place – the galaxy is a big, big place, and the Emperor’s Angels are constantly in demand – which is why, I think, this picture gets my imagination firing. Why have they been called together? What foe are they preparing to face that it would call together an entire chapter (the Ultramarines, no less. I know a lot of people have quite entrenched views regarding the Ultrasmurfs, but I’m happy for them to be the poster boys of the 41st Millenium; the introduction of Cato Sicarius was a great move to help combat the practically-perfect-in-every-way image GW had cultivated for them).
I like to write about scenes such as this – gatherings of rare precedence; the collective might a mere echo of what their Legion forebears had once been; a living statement of righteous authority and intimidating power in a galaxy beset by enemies. The picture does nothing to try and soften the nature of the Astartes – they are bold, uncompromising warriors; the ultimate defenders of humanity who are so very far from being human themselves.
Anyways, it is a mighty fine piece of artwork, and Mr Boyd should be proud.
EDIT: A good friend of mine has used his Google-fu, and uncovered a good quality colour version of the picture. Behold!
That, I think you’ll agree, is the definition of epic.
Please feel free to chime in below with your thoughts on the picture, and with links to those images that get your imagination going. The whole point of this series of posts is to share with you artwork that inspires me, in the hope that it will do the same for you. Please do share those that get you fired up as well. Also, don’t worry, there will be more than just Warhammer artwork – there are all manner of images and other things that I can’t wait to share.