How I paint my Space Marines, by Dame Emma Thompson

WHEN I’m in my trailer between takes on Cruella or Last Christmas, I settle my nerves and concentrate my mind by painting a Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour Space Marine. Here’s how I focus myself. 

Source your materials

It’s crucial to begin with the right materials. So visit the nearest store for models, paints, brushes, glue, flocking and base sprays unless you want your towering transhuman defender of the Imperium to look like a half-baked piece of shit. Christian Bale uses Humbrol and his Necrons are a disaster.

Pick a Chapter

There’s more than one flavour of Space Marine, and with chapters from the Adamatine Lions to the Wolfspear, don’t rush this. Choose what’s right for you. You might like the look of the Blood Angels or the Void Daggers, but don’t forget that the colour scheme you choose affects gameplay. I was filming Sense and Sensibility when I settled on the obsidian hue of the Iron Fists, and their badass chapter gives my artillery better daemon engine support.

Apply an undercoat

Boring but it’s got to be done. Skip this and the colours will look dull and crap. You can apply by hand if you’re a fucking mouth breather like Richard Curtis but a spray can gets it over and done with in the time it takes to have a fag. We kept losing the light in Love Actually while he added another coat to his Ordo Reductor.

Layer the colours

Work from dark to light and paint your whole squad in one go rather than individually, otherwise you’ll be doing it for twatting months, and we’re not all filming Avatar sequels like fucking Winslet. Try not to let the tip of your brush leave the model or it’ll streak. And for Christ’s sake sand your sprues down. This isn’t backstage at Pontypool Dramatic Society.

Don’t forget to drybrush

The toughest skill to master. Knighthood or not, Ken never did. Load your brush, wipe off the excess, lightly run over the armour. The raised area will catch the paint and look fucking boss. Then you just need to slide on some transfers, flock the base and you’re ready for battle in a dystopian future. Oh, I should mention I’ve got a film out.

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Sally Rooney: why she's boring as f**k

SHE’S the literary sensation of the century, but are her books understatedly fascinating or remorselessly banal? The latter. Here’s why:

Fuck all happens

Marianne and Connell fancy each other, shag, break up, go to university, shag other people, Connell goes to New York, the end. Sorry, spoiler warning. Frances and Bobbi meet Nick and Melissa, Frances and Nick have an affair, break up, Frances and Bobbi get back together or do they? Who the fuck cares? More happens in Aliens Love Underpants. 

The characters are tedious bastards

If you give a shit about the inner thoughts of messed-up self-obsessed millennials, get on Twitter where they spew them live. Five minutes and there’s been more going on than in 12 f**king episodes of Conversations With Friends. Gerbils have more emotional depth and chemistry than these monotonous, personality-free middle-class pricks.

She writes the limpid prose of an instruction manual

Rooney’s spare, minimalist prose has seen the hyperbolic compare her to Ernest Hemingway, but his books at least had war and bulls in. Can you really justify wasting your life reading sentence like ‘Felix found a solution for the issue with the shower unit’? Your dishwasher manual is equally stultifying and comes in 12 languages.

Even the titles are colourless

Normal People. Conversations With Friends. It’s the crap you say when being overzealously interviewed by a boss asking what your friends are like and what you do to socialise, because you can’t say ‘Total Nutters’ and ‘Do Ketamine in a Quarry’.

We only went mental for Normal People because of lockdown

Normal People came on the BBC in April 2020 and people were obsessed. Other obsessions of the time: baking banana bread, washing the shopping, Zoom quizzes, hoping Boris Johnson would live. There was sod all to do. A blandly handsome man gave PE lessons and we lost our minds over it.

You aren’t allowed to not like them

What, you didn’t like the books where conceited twats meandered aimlessly around their unexpressed emotions while at dinner parties? What’s wrong with you? Didn’t you get it? Are you semi-literate? Do you hate Millennials? Would you prefer a Jilly Cooper novel with a higher shag-to-page ratio? Yeah, who wouldn’t?