Sunday, 19 June 2016

Brother Orlando - Rainbow Warrior

This week I've been painting a classic RTB01 Space Marine in the style of the Rainbow Warriors. A much maligned but endearingly remembered chapter of Space Marines from the Rogue Trader era that, for various reasons one might imagine, was phased out as the Grimdark (tm) descended.

I'm not painting it because of that though.

Asslessman from Leadplague started a brilliant tribute idea on the Oldhammer fb page for the community to paint Rainbow Warriors to show our support for the LGBTQ community in the wake of the hate crime (I hesitate to call it a terrorist incident, although that has clearly been an aspect of this case) of the massacre at the Pulse Nighclub in Orlando last week.

I was immediatley on board with this, but I have to admit I struggled a bit with the inherent and potentially distasteful irony of painting a man with a gun to commemorate and show my support for the victims of a mass shooting. I took the opportunity to ask my mum and her partner for their reaction when we saw them briefly for a family event this weekend.

My mum has been out for over 20 years. She is one of the bravest people I know. Her partner (her wife and my step mother) is an ex-Church of England minister. They have both suffered homophobic abuse and institutional prejudice in their lives and careers. They put their love first and they got married, but they had to leave the Church to do so. That broke their hearts. Gladly they have now found semi official acceptance from the Church, an acceptance they always felt was there from their congregations and communities... at least some of them. They've also spent their lives supporting the downtrodden and marginalised in various ways. I felt they were well placed to give me an honest reaction to this idea for a tribute.

Their reaction was positive. They immediately recognised what I was trying to achieve and it was me who quickly brought up the contradiction at hand. They agreed, but my mum very clearly said that her first instinct was that she was glad that the community was responding in this way. We talked about ways that I could have made the tribute more poignant. Removing the gun, placing it at his feet etc.

I also talked about my other idea for a tribute. If I had not gone with Brother Orlando, a close rendition of the picture from teh Rogue Trader rule book, I would have gone with a metal Mk6 Sgt. and called him Sgt. Stonewall, in honour of the struggle that the LGBTQ community have had to fight to get this far. They have had to fight, but they've never had to resort to terroism to get the message across. Love is winning them the struggle. Love is what is going to win against terrorism and hate, and that's what painting Brother Orlando was all about for me.

The pose is as close as I could get to the original picture in the RT rule book

The banner is not a faithful recreation, and was mangled by my 3yr old son before I even managed to get a pic, but I'm calling that wear and tear from the Love Parade. That gun fires party foam by the way.


  1. Wow, this is really moving to read how close this one resonates for you mate. I have to say that stupidly enough, the gun issue never occured to me and I only realised it after the question was raised. If that helps, I think it's got its place to show the LGBT community does fight everyday against prejudices and that some like me who aren't part of it in a way or another do feel concerned and will fight as well.
    Love is indeed a good cure to stupidity.

    1. Thanks man. I agree there is defintiely a resonance with the ongoing fight, and any tribute or commemoration has it's issues and potential contradictions. The most important thing was that our community responded in a way that meant something to us, and this was a great idea to do just that :)

  2. Nice Marine dude, and massive respect to your Mum & Stepmum for their courage and conviction. One day, society will look back on this time as an age of heroes, with people of tolerance and compassion leading the charge against hate and prejudice. We all have a part to play, however small and humble.

    1. Thanks! - and I couldn't agree more! :)