So what we are looking at here is a small army of Pre-Heresy Custodes, the Empire’s personal bodyguard. I have been in love with the Legio Custodes ever since I read through German WD 112 (from April 2005): Not only did it feature rules for a Horus Heresy campaign, but it also marked the first time I ever saw Dave Taylor’s spectacular Legio Custodes army. There was something about those guys that really clicked with me. And even now, quite a few years later, Dave’s Custodes are still easily one of my favourite armies ever.
So the seed was planted, and some time ago, I took a look at all the fantastic new Space Marine kits, and my love for the Legio Custodes was rekindled. I wouldn’t even have to work nearly as hard as Dave, since all the cool new bits would allow me to build the models by mostly sticking to kitbashing. So I did a bit of research and discovered some more great Custodes armies (Kaleb Daark’s Custodes thread on B&C and Hashashin’s blog The Buddy Times come to mind, above all else). And so everything was in place.
To make things a little more challenging, I wanted to kitbash the entire army from GW (plastic) parts. I also wanted to explore several different unit types: The iconic Praetorians with their conic helmets as well as Custodes in older pattern Astartes armour (again, a callback to Dave’s army), Cataphractii Terminators, jetbikes and maybe even Sisters of Silence.
I started by building a small squad of Custodes Praetorians, using parts from the Grey Knights, Dark Angels Veterans and the Sanguinary Guard (and the occasional Tac Marine bit). I also used heads from the WFB White Lions of Chrace:
As you can see, this recipe allowed me to create a couple of pretty convincing Custodes models. Here’s a look at the whole squad:
As my next project, I started building a squad of Custodes in regular power armour. I am not sure whether there is any precedent for this in “official” HH artwork, but the fact that Dave Taylor had also done a squad like that was definitely a good enough reason for me ;-)
I tried using different plastic parts to make the armour resemble various, older patterns of power armour that would have been widely used during the Heresy. My background for this squad is that they are basically “field-testing” different marks of armour before they are adopted for mass production for the Space Marine legions (and they sticking to their older armour even after the testing phase is completed, as a way of showing the pride they take in their task).
First up, a model in armour resembling the Mk. III “Iron” pattern:
Next, a model wearing armour resembling the Mk. V “Heresy” pattern:
This next model was rather easy to complete, wearing straight up Mk. VI “Corvus” armour:
There’s no actual precedent for the next model’s armour design. Still, I think the rather classical, almost "hoplite" look, makes it fit in rather well:
And finally, the squad leader in mastercrafted armour (actually measly Mk. VII, but that hadn’t officially been invented during the Heresy, so…):
All of the models in the squad were built using parts from different Marine or Chaos Space Marine kits, with a bit of deft cutting involved in places. Here’s the finished squad:
Putting these guys together proved to be so much fun that I decided to add additional models to the squad until every armour pattern from Mk. I to Mk. VI was represented. Here’s a sneak peek at some additional models:
A Custodian in Mk. I “Thunder” armour…
…and another model wearing nonspecific, older-looking armour. The model was originally a DA tactical Marine from the Dark Vengeance boxed set, by the way.
After having built these two squads, I wanted to add a commander to make the models I had so far