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My Journey Through the Horus Heresy and Beyond: Painting, Reading, and Embracing the Grim Darkness of Warhammer

Today, I'm thrilled to share a monumental project that merges both passions: the painting of the iconic Horus Heresy diorama, capturing the climactic showdown between the Emperor of Mankind and his traitorous Warmaster, Horus Lupercal. Additionally, I'll reflect on my three-year odyssey through the 66-book Horus Heresy series, and outline my reading journey as I venture deeper into the Warhammer 40K timeline.

The Artistic Challenge

The Horus Heresy is one of the most pivotal and dramatic moments in Warhammer lore. It culminates in the final battle aboard the Vengeful Spirit, where the Emperor confronts Horus in a desperate bid to save humanity. This diorama, inspired by Adrian Smith’s haunting black-and-white artwork, captures that intense moment when Sanguinius, the noble Primarch of the Blood Angels, lies slain at their feet.

Taking on this diorama was both a dream and a challenge. It was also my first diorama and was a lot of fun. I used Adrian Smith's artwork closely as a model for the painting. I wanted to paint it as close to the original picture as possible. I also took the opportunity to try out Green Stuff World's Gold Pigment on the Emporer (after Vince Venturella convinced me in his video) and I have to admit it's phenomenal. The shine and the color tone come very close to the look of real gold. Plus, the opacity of the color (you mix the pigments with a medium) is pretty darn good!

Enough words, time for pictures:

Horus vs. the Emporer. The Emporer of Mankind battles his Warmaster, Horus Lupercal, at the climax of the Horus Heresy. At their feet lies Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels.

Horus Lupercal killed Sanguinius

The Emporer of Mankind

The Emporer, back

Horus vs. The Emporer by Adrian Smith 2004

Horus vs. The Emporer by Adrian Smith 1990

Reading the Horus Heresy: A Three-Year Epic

Three years ago, I embarked on a literary journey through the 66 volumes of the Horus Heresy series. It was my first foray into the Warhammer 30K/40K universe, and what an epic voyage it has been. The Horus Heresy series explores the tragic downfall of Horus Lupercal, once the Emperor's most beloved son, and the galaxy-spanning civil war that ensues. Each book dives deep into the complex characters, their loyalties, betrayals, and the grim, dark future that awaits humanity.

The Horus Heresy is more than just a series of books; it’s an intricate tapestry of heroism, hubris, and heartbreak. It has left an indelible mark on my reading life, shaping my understanding of the Warhammer universe. I've never read anything anywhere near as epic and grand as this series.

Looking Ahead: Exploring the Warhammer 40K Timeline

With the Horus Heresy behind me, I’m ready to dive into the Warhammer 40K timeline. The future of this grim universe holds countless stories, and my reading list is packed with thrilling adventures and deep lore.

Here's a glimpse of my reading plan for Warhammer 40K:

  • Eisenhorn Series (Dan Abnett): Following the exploits of Inquisitor Eisenhorn, this series promises a blend of detective noir and the dark, gothic horror of the Warhammer universe.
  • Fabius Bile (Josh Reynolds): Delving into the twisted experiments of the mad scientist of the Emperor’s Children Legion. As a Followe of Slaanesh this is a must read for me!
  • Lucius: The Faultless Blade (Ian St. Martin): Exploring the life and battles of Lucius the Eternal, a notorious duelist in the service of Slaanesh. Hope GW will produce a new Lucius miniature soon for my upcoming EC project!
  • Black Legion (Aaron Dembski-Bowden)
  • Vaults of Terra Series (Chris Wraight): A deep dive into the politics and secrets of the Imperium’s heart.
  • Watchers of the Throne Series (Chris Wraight)
  • Dawn of Fire Series (Various Authors): A new saga that sets the stage for the current era of the 41st Millennium.
  • Dark Imperium Series (Guy Haley): Following Roboute Guilliman’s return and the challenges facing the reborn Imperium.
  • Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work (Guy Haley): Exploring the enigmatic tech-priest’s grand designs and their implications for humanity.
  • Gaunt's Ghosts (Dan Abnett): The beloved series about the heroic exploits of the Tanith First-and-Only.
  • Soul Drinkers (Ben Counter): Focusing on a renegade Space Marine Chapter with a tragic history.
  • Ciaphas Cain (Sandy Mitchell): The humorous and thrilling adventures of Commissar Cain, the “Hero of the Imperium”.
  • Night Lords (Aaron Dembski-Bowden): Delving into the dark and brutal lives of the Night Lords Legion. As a Chaos-Follower this is a must read as well. At least that's what I heard.


Painting the Horus Heresy diorama and reading through the entire series have been transformative experiences in my Warhammer journey. They have deepened my appreciation for the lore and artistry that make this universe so compelling. Stay tuned for more updates and happy painting!


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