Creator Laurence Senter, known online as Baharroth, exhibited this unbelievable 3D diorama of the Coronation of Roboute Guilliman in the Golden Demon competition at Warhammer Fest 2023. Eighteen months of hard work and over $500 of minis were needed to realise the project.
Senter’s diorama is based on The Coronation of Guilliman artwork by Pedro Nunez, a prolific illustrator who made the current Warhammer 40k codex cover artwork for Grey Knights, T’au Empire, and Dark Angels. “It captured my imagination”, Senter says. The artwork depicts the coronation of Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, as the Regent of the Imperium of Man in the wake of the Cicatrix maledictum.
The illustration is inspired by baroque art and packed with characters from the current 40k timeline. “It took me a while to realise Nunez had based them on the current models, and everything in the picture was to scale – when I realised that, I knew that meant it was possible to make it into a diorama’, Senter says.
There was a lengthy planning phase. “I didn’t jump into it straight away – I needed to know in advance who all of the characters were, everything that’s in it”, Senter says. At the top of Nunez illustration is a balcony with a devotional statue of the Emperor of Mankind, flanked by two human nudes: “I realised he based them on Michaelangelo’s carvings of Dawn and Dusk in the Medici tomb”, Senter adds.
Senter spent six months acquiring all the models and bits he needed to create the piece. He estimates he spent $500-$750 (£400-£600): “It was a lot of eBay and trash rescues. I didn’t need them to be complete… I got all these kits, and I suddenly thought: If Guilliman doesn’t work, I’ve wasted a fuckload of money”.
Guilliman is seated in grim repose in Nunez artwork, but that’s not how his Warhammer 40k miniature is posed. “The difficulty with his model is it’s twisted to the side because he’s mid-swing”, Senter says. He adds: “I semi-assembled him and cut every single joint”. Not every piece of the Primarch made it back into the diorama. “Although he looks complete, he’s built into the throne behind him, and I had to remove a few sections. He’s actually missing an arse”.
Sisters of Battle Saint Celestine and Inquisitor Greyfax were the next figures to join the piece. “With something like this you basically can’t subassemble it, each piece is attached to multiple other pieces. Celestine’s wing is attached to the Ultramarines logo and her cap is attached to Greyfax’s hat – that’s what’s holding her up”, Senter says.
It wasn’t possible to reproduce every aspect of Nunez artwork in three dimensions. “In the original artwork there are three or four ranks of Space Marines, and it’s really hard to make Space Marines stand up straight”, Senter says. He adds: “I tried the diorama in a 7” deep box but it just didn’t look right”. The final piece is 4” deep and has fewer marines in the audience.
Senter describes where he deviated the most from Nunez’ design: “In the original artwork there’s an enormous skeleton at the top that represents the Emperor. I got some skeleton sculpts, some Ossiarch Bonereaper kits, but everything I mocked up looked super cartoonish and just…, shit. Because of the scale of it it overwhelmed the rest of the kit, it became the focus of the model.” Senter’s design replaces the skeletal Emperor with a relief that more closely resembles John Blanche’s illustration of the Emperor enmeshed in a web of pipes and cables.
Senter prefers painting miniature with oil paints, “Especially for large objects, the coverage is so good. You can blend it very quickly. They stink though!”.
Senter finalised the piece for Golden Demon in “Two weeks of fourteen hour days… I also had a deadline for an online kit-bash competition…” With the piece submitted to Golden Demon he’s ready to move on: “I’ve spent so long looking at it that it’s very hard for me to think about it objectively. I’m completely sick of it. It’s a mixture of the pressure on it, knowing I was going to enter it into Golden Demon. But once I shut the door, wrapped it up in upholstery foam I was like ‘it’s done, I don’t have to think about it any more’.
As for what’s next, Senter says: “I’m going to switch back to 40k for the Summer and make some memeable stuff. The Angron: The Red Angel novel special edition has lovely artwork, by Alfie Garland. And I can completely visualise how to do every single part of it. It’s Angron, three boxes of bloodletters, XPS foam for the mountain, a backboard painted red, and that’s it!”