Red Corsairs – Invitational

Ever since I made the first Red Corsair – Ragal Gair, Champion of the Fleet – back in 2013 I’ve been wondering how cool it would be if that single character would some day be accompanied by a handful of blood thirsty Corsair brothers in a scale of a small army. During the end of 2014 I started to fulfill this ambition by making another Renegade Astartes to sail the stormy Warp next to Champion Gair. But that was just the beginning.

When we announced Iron Sleet’s 1st Invitational I made my decision to focus on my art-scale Red Corsairs army project, not only by adding more characters to the Astartes team but also expanding my vision to the next scale. I wanted to make a hulking Dreadnought to dwarf those giant super soldiers and really add more depth to their ranks. This I did by putting together my version of the Dreadnought + Dread Knight conversion. The key was to make the outcome to match the aesthetics of the rest of the star ship wreckers. The end result should speak for itself…



+ Cristos Savacius +

(Dread Knight conversion, large oval base)

Weapon Master

Murderer of the Prophets

Butcher of Ere’gaz

Like in his brothers case I didn’t want to make the appearance of Cristos Savacius‘ to look too over the top evil. Instead of using grotesque helmet with giant horns I used less provoking Blood Angels helmet, but painted it very weathered, even trying to make it represent the suffering that the character within the machine was feeling. This made the oulook of the helmet look very much lifelike, like a stony flesh, though it is still just metallic head piece painted white with the ash and bone dust.

There are chaos marks and classic symbolism hidden here and there, such as spikes, skull motifs, crown of thorns made out of razor-wire etc. Small details like these give him certain feel of brutality and helps to tie his massive embodiment with the rest of the crew. I had (and still have) great plans of painting something on his loincloth, maybe some sort of iconic painture just to make his psychical stature look even more epic.


+ Elia Ygon  +

(50mm base)

Master Bosun

Wielder of the Phocius

Elia Ygon is more of a straight forward art-scale Renegade Astertes conversion than anything else – terminator legs (with one leg sawn off and replaced with pneumatic peg leg), heavily converted marine chest, terminator shoulder armours and upper arms and basic space marine lower arms and hands. The blade (Phocius) was taken from Beastmen kit and I think it fits very well with the furry loincloth, both giving Elia the much appreciated barbaric feel.

Like with the two previous Astartes my main aim was to add some link to the classic idea of piracy – in this case, the peg leg – and make it look as bad-ass as possible, yet keeping it reserved enough not to jump in your face. Elia is still missing his Red Corsairs symbol, which I intend to paint on his shoulder armour at some point.

One of the carrying themes in my Red Corsairs army is the unique red colour that decorates their armours. The colour, which is semi-gloss, naturally bright yet reserved, is the outcome of a distinctive process, where every step has a meaning. It’s VERY laborous process and I might end up cursing it many times while painting this army (this I realized when painting Cristos Savacius), but the end result is so much worth it. I paint few different layers of paint, take some steps backwards with washes and inks, take a steep turn by using totally opposite tone to make shadows even deeper and finally I give it another layer of ink wash, highlight and make the whole thing crash with a set of weathering effects – it’s like pirate captain’s map giving guides how to find the treasure.



+ Skull Probe mounted with a plasmagun +

(25mm base)

Now Red Corsairs are cunning bastards when it comes to looting and harnessing the technology to serve their plans. Small ideas like mounting an unstable plasmagun to a servo-skull might just save a battle brother’s arm. I have to admit, building this Skull Probe was a “plan B” since I pretty much ran out of time in Invitational’s building phase and had to pull something together for the WIP publication. But hey, X marks the spot, eh?

So there’s my trio for the 1st Invitational. Hope you enjoy watching them as much as I enjoyed building them.


46 thoughts on “Red Corsairs – Invitational

  1. It’s no exaggeration to say that your original Red Corsair is responsible for me returning to this hobby after a break of over 20 years. I happened to come across it on that interweb (which seems to be quite popular these days) and I just thought, “I want to do that!” So, thank you.

    It’s fabulous to see the force growing now.


  2. The third picture in this post should almost be printed and hung on a wall!
    These are the perfect enemy for my green astartes force..


  3. Holy mackerel .. The invitational has produced some new favourite pieces of 40k mythology .. nice work Kari the second crown of thorns to the party .. very passionate stuff..Red or dead..


  4. Fantabulous work!
    No one does truescale pirate chaos marines quite like you Kari…
    Love the little details like the pegleg and the checkers.


  5. I’ve always loved your Red Corsair work, and these continue to be astounding. I’ve taken so many notes for my own art scale project. Glad to more of these guys.


    1. Cheers Odie! Hope my work will help you build your own visions of art-scale marines. I would encourage you to check Migs XX legion project too for more clues how to make proper Astartes (but I bet you’ve already done so).


  6. Amazing! I think Elia Yogon is my favorite yet! The austerely limited red, black, and white color scheme is just so powerful, but a lot of that is due to all of the subtle variations you have going on in the red and whites. Your special red technique is clearly worth the effort.

    Very inspiring.


  7. Amazing and inspirational, I think you are in a league of your own with this dark, painterly style, it’s really striking and unique.

    That red must take ages, but it’s a fun colour to paint I think.


  8. Such an evocative and inspired mix of classic 40k visuals we know and love combined with new idiosyncrasies from a particularly dark corner of the universe.


  9. A stellar entry, and more great Corsairs! The red is truly something special, with its exceptional lacquered/enameled look. I really like how you have continued to expand on the pirate theme, but as always, have kept it very subtle. Marvelous!


    1. Cheers Eric! The colour of the armour is very challenging to photograph. It has, like you said, lacquered surface, yet it looks like if the thing would be wet of air moisture. Maybe video would show it more effectively.


  10. Fantastic looking models! I am glad you stuck with the involved red from your previous Red corsair models. The red color is really unique, and gives the models a grim and gritty realism (and speaks towards chaos without beating you over the head). The continued inclusion of trophy skulls on the models is one of my favorite elements of the models. You have done a marvelous job attaching them convincingly and without making it looked forced.

    Your Red Corsairs continue to be some of my favorite true-scale marines. Keep up the fantastic work.


    1. I’m glad to hear you like them, Adam. At first I was a bit skeptical about the trophy skulls, thinking they might make them look too “Khornish”, but keeping the amount restricted seems to help. There’s even a small story hidden within the skulls 😉


  11. Loved the Corsairs from the moment you posted those wonderful black and white sketches back on the Spiky Rat Pack blog.
    Elia Ygon is simple yet grand, the conversion is reasonably subtle but it’s that amazing red that just makes these Astartes.
    Again, the Invitational has raised the bar…


    1. Ah, the sketches… I might get back to them when I need more juice for this project. Would like to draw a small battle scene from these. There’s more epic entries coming in Invitational, so hold on your hats!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Stunning work! This really is art and an advancement of Warhammer 40k imagery so strong that heads must be spinning in Nottingham. The prospect of your cultist allies built from the new Mechanicus models fills me with absolute joy. 👌


  13. just the usual omenesque raving – but i really think that exposure to this blog is pretty limited in truth at HQ – much to busy plotting and planning ….. serious great group kari …


  14. Great to see them all finished and in one place. As soon as the first one made it onto the spiky ratpack it became my favorite true scale marine. Once I saw the art showing what you had planned for the others I knew they would be my favorite marines period.

    Also that plasma servo is amazing and now I have to make a fleet of killer skulls.


  15. Wow, you have made Chaos Marines look beautiful without going the Slanshi route.

    Personally while I think it’s fantastic that people are converting/scratchbuilding these Art or Tru-Scale figures, I don’t think it’s will ever be something I could do, far to much work involved for my clumsy hands…..

    So I’ll just admire yours instead.


    1. Thanks! The thing is, when you create your first art-/true-scale Marine, there’s really no turning back anymore. I tried it with the Nurgle Marines but didn’t get the same kick out of them like from these Renegade Astartes.


  16. This just blew me out of my chair Kari.

    The Corsairs Astartes are fantastic. The colours full of depth and visual overload – and we have had the great pleasure of the first two before this new addition of three…

    …but the Dreadnought?! Sweet lord Kari. Utterly stunning work.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s