During one of Games Workshop's open days, they had a very impressive diorama of the Siege of the Imperial Palace:


You will notice that the Chaos Marines in the foreground are in the Black Legion livery.

However, according to the Index Astartes, Horus' legion was still the Sons of Horus in the repainted armour after the Ullanor crusade but before Abaddon renamed them the Black Legion:

Sons of Horus

Abaddon knew that the memory of the Warmaster shackled his Legion to the failures of the past, so his first edicts renounced the name of Horus and the ancient title of the Legion. Taking their last surviving battle barge, he led them in a lightning raid that destroyed the Warmaster's body and the whole cloning laboratory complex. For this action and in every subsequent sighting, each Space Marine's armour was painted black. Since this time, Abaddon's 'Black Legion' has raided the Imperium, sowing havoc and misery on every world it attacks.

My questions are:

  • Is the paint scheme in the diorama incorrect? Has Games Workshop ever acknowledged this?
  • If the paint scheme was correct, when was the Sons of Horus scheme retconned into the canon?

Edit. Here is a closeup image:



2 Answers 2


Black was always the signature color of some units in the Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus 1st Company (which as was typical for the legions contained their elites). Both the Justaerin Terminators and the Catulan Reavers wore all or mostly black; it may also have been used by the company as a whole. It would hardly be surprising for the Sons of Horus to want their most elite troops at the vanguard of such a critical battle. However, I can't say for sure whether those are supposed to be Justaerins, Catulans, or some other elite unit without seeing them up close. (Honestly from that image I couldn't even tell if they are Sons of Horus.)

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Catulan Reaver on left; Justaerin Terminator on right. These units are described in the first two Horus Heresy rules supplements, Betrayal and Massacre, which depict the Legion as it existed just as the Heresy was beginning.

  • Thanks for your answer (+1). I've edited in a closeup of a traitor marine. I'd be interested to get your thoughts. Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 19:18
  • @ACcio_Answer It could go either way. The helmet plume on the center model and the chest straps on the right-hand one match the Catulan armor, but the detailing is wrong and they don't use the green or red secondary colors the Sons used. Of course Reavers are supposed to be more individualistic, so more personal and squad variations would be to be expected. I can't make out any particular weapons aside from bolters, but Reavers were diversely armed in any case, so that's no help. (They're definitely not Terminators, at least.)
    – Cadence
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 21:01

The diorama was made in the mid 90s, way before they fleshed out the story of the heresy and details like what the pre-heresy colours of the legion were.

You can't expect something 25 years old to perfectly reflect the modern lore of 40k. I mean... Did you see the duel of the Emperor vs. Horus diorama by Mike McVey while you were there? That's another example of 90s goodness, and completely insane painting skills. Emps also has white(!) armour, and sanguinius is super skinny and has no armour at all. They hadn't made up all that stuff yet. Just enjoy it for what it is.

  • 1
    This doesn't exactly answer the question...
    – user112267
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 23:01

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