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  • Writer's pictureMatt

A Thousand Sons

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

The Thousand Sons are my all time favourite army; I’ve stuck with them far longer than other races in the 40K universe and have many different generations of models in the force. They are also the inspiration behind my gamer tag, but who are they?

Well they’re bad guys, used to be good guys but they made a mistake, wasn’t even much of a mistake really. They foresaw genuine bad guys doing bad things, told the good guys about it but kind of got lumped together, shooting the messenger sort of deal.

So The Thousand Sons are reluctant bad guys who are mostly Psychic, which is 40k’s way of saying they’re Mages.

Most of them are now spirits bound inside their armour. Each Space Marine legion has their own genetic quirk, with the T-sons that’s unexpectedly turning into horrible flesh monsters... To cure them of this they cast a spell called the Rubric, the aim being that they would never mutate again. To the Rubric’s credit they don’t anymore, as they’re dead (ish).

Because you can’t have an ancient Egyptian themed army without the undead I guess.

There are also a decent amount of novels written about the T-sons, one of the best things about the 40k universe is the amount of lore available.

To understand the origins read A Thousand Sons and Prospero Burns, both Horus Heresy novels. The former book from the Thousand Sons perspective and the later from the Space Wolves point of view. You don’t need to read the second book, its mostly the word wolf before any noun.

Space Wolves are the army who invaded the T-sons home world, ruining everything, burning books and ultimately forcing the Thousand Sons into a life of crime, the Space Wolves are still considered good guys despite this and [are probably the most over represented army on the table top] nobody likes them.

Then its worth reading the Battle of the Fang, basically the T-sons turn up to the Space Wolves home world and get their revenge.

Lastly I’d recommend reading the Ahriman novels, Ahriman was their first captain but after the failed Rubric he was banished. Wandering the stars like an eight foot super human psychic hobo he starts to gain followers with the aim of winning back the Thousand Sons favour.

My collection all started with this image from a old Chaos Space Marine codex. I saved up my wages from the paper round I had at the time and i'm please to say I still have the models, although one has gone walkabouts.

Now they don't have the same paint job from my teenage years but the models are still quite outdated. I’d consider repainting them but I like the fact they are a sign of an earlier time. They are a little top heavy as a result of the heads being white metal, back then the basics of the figure were plastic and anything with increased detail was cast in metal.

Then there are the really old figures, I didn't have these as a kid but i'm aiming on getting a unit together one day. These models are the reason the army only consisted of bolters for all those years i'm sure.

My Thousand Sons army is pretty unique in the fact it started out unmodified. As a result I set out to not include the same unit more than once, I started scanning the net for conversion parts and I've ended up with the squads below:

Forge World

An older kit but when I bought it I owned the squads above. It was nice to have something Forge World, it was like the high end show piece of an army back then. People who had Forge World models had made it in life, this was a time well before you had much option in third party figures lol

The Kromlech Squad

Kromlech offer a nice range of conversion bitz and mainly focus on Ork parts. The helmets and legs are less detailed (not in a bad way) than other Thousand Sons parts, as a result I used Tactical Squad bodies as a base.

To order you own parts visit:

One piece of lore I've added to my army is the ability to reinforce. Space Marines can only be created by the distribution of Gene seed, as the Thousand Sons are now all dust in suits there isn't any Gene seed left. I've gone with the idea that Blood Ravens learnt of their founding Chapter and turned. This will explain the armour and gives me a credible reason to include "living" models.

The Sorcerer, a heretical Space Marine Librarian appears to have a Pre-Heresy T-Son logo on his left shin guard too, just under the scroll.

Their Rhino Transport

Again the conversion parts are from Kromlech, I've kept the paint scheme in keeping with a recently turned squad of marines with the tactical arrow on its roof.

The MaxMini Squad

MaxMini are another great conversion site, a lot of head swap options. This unit would be classed as Raptors, or Assault Marines in the Pre-Heresy era. They are based on the Blood Angel Sanguinary Guard due to the sculpted muscle chest plates, I felt it went well with some of the MaxMini heads. The Jump packs are also very "pre-heresy" and you could imagine them being the original equipment taken with them when they fled Prospero. I touched on it before but I cannot understand a reason in the fluff Thousand sons could not use a jump pack. The lore I've read states once a Sorcerer is near they start acting like a regular Space Marine, only when the link with the Sorcerer is broken do they return to their dormant state.

The MaxMine site can be found here:

The Wargames Exclusive Squad

This unit acts as my Devastator squad or Havoks to use the Chaos term. These heads, bodies and back packs from Wargames Exclusive. Check out the parts for yourself here;

I've used a lot of Space Marine parts, mainly for the Devastator poses but also due to allied Chaos Havoks being alive, more Traitor Blood Ravens?

I also have a set of parts for Chaos Terminators from the same site, i'll get these painted one day.


Scibor is an unbelievable sculptor and when I bought these models he only made two figures in his Sci-fi Egyptian range. That kinda suited me, I have this need to collect every version of something at times, I was happy I owned everything Egyptian from him. Now there is a whole range of stuff!

Check it out here:,shop.php?group=171

They are a little bigger than the standard GW model, although probably on par with the new Primaris Space Marines. As a result they act as HQ choices.

Spire Guard

In a couple of the novels the Spire Guard are mentioned, never with any real description of armour or dress code however.

Pre-Heresy they were the human army of Properso, the Thousand Sons home world. They fought in the burning of Prospero against the Space Wolves and it is unlikely any survived.

Later on in the time line they are mentioned in the Battle of the Fang, human traitors sent against the bulwark that is the Space Wolves home world [Wolfy McWolf world] Fenris.

To create them I merged a Necron chest plate with a Cadian body, once completed I made a mold and cast them in resin. Anyone who wants to start using resin I find Easyflo 60 to be a good start. The heads are various Imperial Guard bits with Bretonnian man at arms helmets, aiming for that tomb guard look. Lastly I've added some Tomb Kings of Khemri bits.

The *new* only army book

Each army of 40k had their own army book, with the Thousand Sons you had to build an army from the generic Chaos Space Marine book. For two decades Thousand Son players made do, so when Games Workshop finally announced a Thousand Sons book I was ecstatic.

However it didn’t really live up to twenty years of expectation.

The biggest flaw in my opinion is that the codex appears to be Thousand Sons & Friends rather than a pure T-sons list. It is almost as if GW updated the two Thousand Sons units and said what else can we include? *providing we already have the models in the existing range we can bolt on*.

Like the book has Chaos Cultists as there are models for them already, missing a perfect opportunity to include Spire Guard. A human unit mentioned plenty of times in the lore.

We also have this Rhino, see the art work GW commissioned (left), now compare it to the model they painted (below). It’s just a blue tank, nothing custom really, nothing particularly interesting. Certainly not a tank you would associate with an army who are basically a parody of their former selves with regards to the ornamentation on their armour.

I had hoped to see something new, actual Thousand Sons but with heavy weapons, jump packs or maybe a squad of junior psychics. There is a counter argument regarding new units like Thousand Sons Havoks I've heard before, it's basically that T-sons can’t have them! "Where is it mentioned in the lore?" the Games Workshop fanboy might say, "only things already mentioned can exist in this Sci-fi realm".

Two points to that argument, firstly what happened to all the heavy weapons the legion would have had? All the jump packs, bikes etc. Did they leave them on Prospero, only having the time to take the bolters and terminator armour, maybe some flamers too.

I’ll tell you want happened, the whole army has been based off one model with a bolter. Which leads me to the next point, I remember a time where T-Son terminators wasn’t a thing, a time before T-Sons Dreadnoughts. Evidence that the army has evolved against the existing lore.

Despite the above grumble I am still positive, we have a codex when we didn’t before. We've had some fantastic undated mini's too. Maybe next time, when the book is due a refresh of rules we get something unseen before.

Those new models

Again the new models we did get are outstanding! The previous version of the Rubric marines being released in the 90's.

I remember a few years ago a Space Wolves unit getting a Thousand Son helmet in the set for base decoration. Boy was I annoyed, waiting all that time for new models and the bone GW do throw us was a dead guy for our enemies base.

The wait was worth it in the end, i think at least.

Rubric Marines

Rubric Terminators

My gold technique

Painting Tip: When painting anything Chaos start with the trim colour. I find it so much easier painting the armour around the trim than the trim over the armour.

To paint the gold as seen above I start with a base of Balor Brown, It used to be Snakebite Leather. Its a pretty good gold base.

Then cover the model in Gehenna's Gold, followed by a dry bushing of Auric Armour Gold.

Next mix a small amount of Runefang into the Auric Armour Gold, dry brush sparingly.

Now dry brush the edges in Runfang, once dry apply a wash of Agrax Earthshade.

Anyway thanks for reaching the end and hope you enjoyed it.


24th of March 2019

So those terminator parts mentioned earlier in the blog have finally been put to use, in fairness it was probably a good thing I waited. Had I built them when I first bought the parts, I would have used the standard Chaos terminator boxset. I think they look a lot better with T-son terminator parts.

Got to finish that Land Raider next!


3rd of April 2019

Land Raider all finished, I wanted to reuse this old Rogue Trader era model as it matches the sort of vehicle a legion like the Thousand Sons would still use. Check out the custom build here!

Next up on the list to complete is another a Rhino, I've seen another set of custom T-Son Rhino doors I want to get my hands on. Watch this space!


2nd of June, 2020

I can't believe it's been a year since I added to this blog. Who would have thought that the next time I finished a model for this army, we'd all be stuck indoors during a pandemic?

Anyway, I've built a couple of Rhinos using 3rd party doors and the first one if finished.

The cupola pieces are not glued in place and the storm bolter in the image directly above can be turned upside down if i'm using the Thousand Son marine piece. For the storm bolters themselves, I carefully modified Thousand Son Terminator weapons to fit the Rhino gun mounts.

The 3rd party doors and front plates can also be found here;

This was the first model I tried painting non-metallic gold. Fairly happy with how it turned out. If you would like to see how I did it, you can watch my tutorial here;

As for the second Rhino, it's mostly built but I've run out of the small Chaos bits to finish it off. Better start scouting ebay again!


13th or February 2021

Reading the entry above, I can't believe this tank sat in my paint queue for all this time. I know another Rhino isn't the most exciting addition to the army, but I just can't help myself apparently when I find another set of custom Rhino doors. This time they're from Tabletop Art dot eu, linked here.

I also tested out a new (for me) technique when painting the blue. The pre shading was added to my YouTube channel and you can watch it here if you're interested.

So now I've got 3 Rhinos, painted across a few different years. Would be nice to find a custom Rhino front panel without matching top and side doors to be honest. I really want to add a Predator to the army but don't want to not use part of a set...


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