My concept for the Ultramarines was a simple one. I wanted them to appear parade-ground material, both uniform in appearance through colour scheme and (as they were mostly black-reach models) posture. Despite my love for some of the more retro paint schemes for Space Marines, I much prefer the gold trim and black bolters to the yellow and red of old, although as a homage (and to further distinguish them from tactical marines) I did paint red bolters on the sternguard.
The overall paint scheme was black undercoat covered with a base of mordian blue. This gave the Ultramarines a slightly darker appearance than if I had painted them UM blue from the outset. Instead, I used UM blue to highlight the larger armour plates and space wolves grey for the finer edge highlights. A watered down chaos black was used for the shading. The gold was achieved using a 50:50 mix of tin bitz and Vallejo model colour gold (much better than GW) followed by just gold. The eyes were typically blood red over mechrite red, the gun strap and belts calthan brown washed with devlan mud. I tried freehand painting the UM symbol but ultimately ipted for awkward decals instead. One thing I really liked about the Ultramarines in the recent THQ game was the segmented armour utility belts. I always thought a material belt over power armour looked strange, and a solid belt bland, so I experimented with a bit of shading and highlighting to get the effect. It didn’t take long and adds a lot to the model I think.
Lastly, for the base I decided not to go for a snow base as this was reserved for Space Wolves. Instead, I went for an earth coloured base with both elements of rock, grass and snow, almost like a springtime effect. I added some sand covering about half the base, which was then drybrushed codex grey. The rest of the base was painted with two coats of calthan brown. I then brushed on PVA glue to the brown areas on the flat part of the base and pressed on clumps of GF9 winter/dead static grass. (Note, it’s important to go over the top with static grass then shake/blow any excess off later, don’t try to be conservative or else it will look sparse) I also delicately added a little more PVA and sprinkled a small amount of GW snow to make it look like frost was just settling.
For the raven guard I went for a straightforward scheme. They would be sprayed black with very subtle highlights in 50:50 codex grey/chaos black. The Chest eagle was painted 50:50 SW grey/shadow grey, then SW grey drybrushed over the raised areas followed by skull white. Weapons, undersuit and other notable areas were painted boltgun metal. So as to distinguish them from other black-armoured marines, I gave them yellow eyes rather than red and marked them in their older company/squad designations as per Corax’s teachings rather than the codex astartes. This meant that tactical squads would have green right trim, assault squads red and devastators gold. Brass etch painted the same as the chest eagle provided the chapter symbol and company markings were also added. The bases were very simply medium sand sprayed black and drybrushed with the 50:50 mix of SW grey/shadow grey, to look like ground during the night.