A Minor Diversion… Corvus Blackstars — February 14, 2017

A Minor Diversion… Corvus Blackstars

I had intended to switch back to some Grey Knight units – specifically some Dreadknights – after finishing the Deathwatch, but I ran out of some of the paints I used during the first GK’s I painted and had to rethink my plans.

One reason I was building up both armies was to combine them into a 2000 point army for a small, one day tournament to be held in April. Or at least, that’s what I thought, based on last year. When I did get the information about the tourney, it was 1500 points and happening in March. Oh. That meant my plans had to be drastically altered! While I could field a combined army, it would have meant some big compromises, none of which seemed particularly good, so I decided to focus on expanding just one army to fill the points.

Deathwatch required fewer additions to reach 1500 points, so that’s where I focussed my attention. Listing out everything I had already brought me to around 1200 with upgrades factored in. I wasn’t going to have enough points for another squad or Kill Team, so adding one or more vehicles made sense.

Skipping ahead to make a long story short, I ended up reorganising things about to make a Black Spear Strike Force, and by changing some of the upgrades around, I had enough points to take 2 Corvus Blackstars.

I bought and built the kits on Saturday (it’s a really nice kit to build!), keeping as many of the metallic parts separate as I could, and magnetising the main weapon options. From there I painted them much the same as the Drop Pods:

  • Prime black: 2-3 layers
  • Layer with Vallejo Game Air Black
  • Red areas (in this case, the stripes) are given 3-4 layers of Game Air Scarlet Red
  • Mask off the red areas
  • Respray black to neaten up
  • Using heavily thinned Game Air Sombre Grey and a bit of card, softly highlight the edges
  • Neaten up with some black if needed, concentrating on the middle of panels
  • Paint all “working” metallics with Metal Color Burnt Iron, shade with Nuln Oil, then lightly go over with a drybrush of Necron Compound
  • Decorative metals are painted with Metal Color Steel or Metal Color Gold

I do still need to paint the lenses or missiles on the model, but I couldn’t decide how I wanted to do those right now, so I’ve left them undone for now. I’ll get them painted before the tournament. Both Blackstars were 95% finished on Sunday, and the remainder done in a couple of hours on Monday

The Deathwatch – Finished for Now — February 10, 2017

The Deathwatch – Finished for Now

So soon after I finished building them? I’ll be honest, the previous post was supposed to have published 24 days ago. Whoops, my bad. In that time I ended up finishing the Deathwatch. It was one of those projects where I didn’t want to lose momentum, so I didn’t really stop to post WIP details in the evenings. But I did take pictures, so on to those!

I primed the models with grey primer. No, I hadn’t lost my mind (probably) – I wanted to be sure I had a consistent finish throughout this batch, and didn’t trust my eyes to pick out black primer vs black paint by finish alone, with the sometimes questionable lighting in my hobby area.

From there, I airbrushed on the metal arm, and the primary red details (knee, cloths, etc) – in the end I repainted all the reds by brush later on, so I shouldn’t have bothered with those.

Finally, the black armour was basecoated with GW’s new Air-range Chaos Black. I added some drops of Scale 75 Inktense Blue and Inktense Green inks to make it a bit more interesting. This was my first time using a GW Air paint, and it was… interesting. I don’t think there’s as high a pigment:medium ratio in them as there is in Vallejo Game Air paints (for example), so it needed multiple coats. Other than this, it was fine enough. The fact the range is sold in a local store is handy, and obviously colour-matching won’t be an issue, but I think I’ll mainly stick with Vallejo where I can.

Once the armour was basecoated I highlighted it by giving it a zenithal highlight of very thinned Vallejo Sombre Grey. The steel arms received a black/blue wash made from inks.

The Sombre Grey highlight ended up being a little too strong in some areas, and the overall finish wasn’t what I wanted, so once I repainted the red areas with GW Khorne Red, I washed everything but the steel arm with a wash made up from Black and Green inks, mixed 5:1 or so, and heavily thinned. This made the armour really pop, and seemed to give it a very slightly glossy finish.

From there it was mostly blocking in/picking out the details. Red areas were highlighted with Evil Suns Scarlet. Any bone or white areas were based with Rakarth Flesh, shaded with either Seraphim Sepia or Agrax Earthshade, then highlighted up through to Pallid Wych Flesh. Pouches were painted with Rhinox Hide. Golds were Vallejo Metal Color Gold, shaded with Agrax Earthshade. Cables were painted with Incubi Darkness, then highlighted.

Chapter badges were picked out near the end. Every Marine has a unique icon, and I still have many spares from the sprues.

Power weapons were given a fade effect similar to the Force Weapons of the Grey Knights, but this time in blue. The Librarian’s sword were given the purple effect.

Bases and whatnot were painted to match my Grey Knights, and the various sub-assemblies were glued together. 2 weeks after starting and the bulk of the Deathwatch were finished.

Near the start of the project, I had a mishap with one of the Librarians and had to get a replacement. It didn’t arrive until the day after I finished the rest of the project, so I gave myself a speed painting challenge. Some parts (particularly the cloth) are rougher than I’d like, but as a 3 hour paint job it’s fine enough.

2017-01-29-16-50-08

Bonus Round!

Because I was finished this project a lot quicker than I expected, I decided to go all-out and build/paint the drop pod “expansion” I had planned for the army:

I built the pods initially in 3 sections: base + doors, engine, and fins. The lower section and engine received a gloss black primer, before being airbrushed with Metal Color Burnt Iron. The interior sections were then dusted with Metal Color Gunmetal Grey.

From there, I finished assembling the pods, then primed the outside with 2-3 coats of regular black primer. The red areas were painted with several coats of Scarlet Red, then masked off so the black could be neatened up. Finally, I gave the black a highlight using Sombre Grey, using a piece of card to get sharper edges. Once done, I sprayed black in the centre of some panels to re-establish it.

To finish, I neatened up any of the Gunmetal areas that needed it, painted the dome of the central column with FW Clear Green, and finished off by painting the icons with Silver.

2017-02-10 09.43.42.jpg

With these done, it was a total of 3 weeks (almost to the day) to get the entire Deathwatch project – a ~1250 point army painted up. As a reward, I bought another addition to the army, that’ll let me field it as a complete Black Spear detachment. More on that later!

Next up on the table are 2 Dreadknights, which should round out the Grey Knight force. After those, it’s on to… well, I don’t know what yet! I’m ~6 weeks into the year and already through what I expected to take me until the end of April to paint.

Building The Deathwatch —

Building The Deathwatch

I’ll let you in on a secret: I dread starting to build miniatures. Which is odd, because once I get going I find it incredibly relaxing. Possibly more so than painting. But it’s the thought of dealing with all the clipping, mould lines, cleaning, fitting, and glueing that provides a mental hurdle. So the 18 models I had planned for my Deathwatch contingent took a while to get going:

2017-01-15-12-14-32

As I wasn’t “feeling it” at the time, I took a break then went back to it later, put some Tabletop Tactics on the iPad, and got stuck in. On the first evening I built Artemis, the close-combat Veteran squad, and the first of 2 Aquila Kill Teams with Librarians:

As you might be able to see in the last picture, I also scrounged up a second Librarian from my bits box.

On night 2 I wanted to keep things rolling, so I built the second Kill Team, then threw in a Chaplain which will accompany the Veteran Squad (I haven’t decided what type of Kill Team to make them yet)

Both Kill Teams are built with double shotgun and double frag-cannon. The Blackshields are all equipped with two power swords. I have some Drop Pods to build for these squads, but I can do them in a later batch of models.

Artemis is in sub-assemblies, and similarly I have left the shields unattached from the Veterans, for easier access to painting (particularly at the airbrush stage).

Oh, as one last thing – fuck this one bit (from the frag-cannon barrel assembly) in particular: deathwatchvet-23I lost 2-3 of these while trying to clean the parts. It’s only because I bought spares off eBay that I could finish the build at all.

Grey Knights – Finished for Now — January 17, 2017

Grey Knights – Finished for Now

On Saturday night I finished up with the Grey Knights, getting them to a stage I would be happy putting them on the table (this is the first time I’ve sat at the PC in days, for me to catch up on blogging). I intend to go back to them at some point, to bring them a bit further up the quality scale, but that can be done at any point in the future. By getting them to “tabletop” I at least have them available for games.

This ties into some things I’m trying to teach myself this year: it doesn’t have to be perfect, and finishing (to a point) quickly is better than going back-and-forth for weeks on models before abandoning them in frustration.

You may notice I’ve kept a few things very simple: not all the sculpted detail is a different colour to the armour; the heraldry is unique to the squad, rather than the individual; and the bases are done very plain. These are all intentional at this stage – I looked at some Grey Knights artwork, and much of the details were depicted as the same material as the armour, I didn’t want to spend days tweaking heraldry for 10 individuals at this point, and the bases match those of my Sisters of Silence, while still having the metallic Grey Knights stand out from the (mostly) metallic base details. I might add some dark brass/bronze to the some base details, but I’m not yet decided.

So that’s the first 505 points of 2017 in the bag. It may only be 11 models, but to get them done in around 2 weeks is a significant step up in speed for me. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going! The Deathwatch are up next…

Planning for the Golden Troll Painting Competition — January 13, 2017

Planning for the Golden Troll Painting Competition

There’s a yearly painting competition in my area, called “Golden Troll.” I entered for the first time last year, and it was one of the things I built my “Hobby Year” around. Talk has already started about this year’s event, and although there’s not a set date for it yet, I think I need to start planning (and executing!) now.

Last year I didn’t manage to complete all of the entries I planned, and much of the entries I did have I wasn’t happy with, mostly because I ended up up pushed for time. This year I want to do better.

I’m not 100% sure what the categories will be, but I can taken educated guess at at most:

  • 40K Single Figure
  • 40K Squad
  • 40K Vehicle
  • Age of Sigmar Single Figure
  • Age of Sigmar Unit
  • Age of Sigmar Monster
  • Open

I figure there’ll also be something for The Hobbit and Blood Bowl. From these, 40K Single was the most crowded in 2015. 40K Squad/AoS Unit were also very popular. I honestly can’t remember about the other categories, other than the Overall Winner came from the AoS Monster category.

So far I don’t have any fixed ideas for my entries. I need to firm up my ideas first. At the moment, everything is on the table (well, not yet, hah!). That said, I don’t want to go spending money on creating entries unnecessarily; last year my entries were all “outside of my comfort zone,” which meant it was all stuff I wasn’t going to use for anything else. While having display pieces is a nice to have, I’d prefer to have some more stuff for gaming (eventually)!

For example, in Age of Sigmar categories, any entries should probably fit into my plans for Stormcast Eternals. 40K should use up something from my large project backlog. With this in mind, these are the entries I’m leaning towards:

  • Age of Sigmar Single: Stormcast Eternal Knight Azyros
  • 40K Vehicle: Eldar Wraithknight OR Leviathan (or Contemptor) Dreadnought
  • 40K Single: Saint Celestine OR Armillus Dynat OR Alexis Polux

All of these, apart from the Azyros, I already have – and I was planning to get the Azyros anyway. The Wraithknight might be a stretch, due to the size of it, but it’s the idea I have the most clarity on right now. Polux or Dynat would be the most straightforward… I’d maybe just do some minor tweaks to the models and colour schemes.

Thinking about it further, the Wraithknight might have to go into the Open category, due to it being a Gargantuan Creature.

Importantly, the number of models to paint is small. Some models might be bigger than average, but I’m not trying to paint two ten-man units + some characters this year!

(Yet?)

If push came to shove, I could always enter my Leman Russ in 40K single, I guess!

This post turned out a bit more rambly than I thought it would be, but I guess that represents where I’m at with these entries. I’d half hoped writing things down would help me pick, but alas, it’s not to be. As I firm up my plans and start working on the entries, I’ll be sure to post more info!

Masking Miniatures for Airbrushing — January 10, 2017

Masking Miniatures for Airbrushing

When airbrushing miniatures, we often need to mask off different areas to protect from overspray. Working in sub-assemblies often helps, but more often than not it’s still not 100% unavoidable.

I’ve tried various different products and techniques for masking:

  • blu-tack
  • masking tape
  • liquid mask (liquid latex)
  • card/paper
  • specialist masking putty

All of these have their strengths and weaknesses, and are very useful in many situations. But one of my favourites – and the inspiration for this post – is using cling-film (which I think is also known as static wrap?) something I learned from both of the Angel Giraldez miniature painting books. It’s light, cheap, easy to use, reusable, doesn’t leave any residue, doesn’t lift up paint, and with a bit of manipulation can mask surprisingly small areas. That said, I tend to use it for larger areas, mostly for speed/convenience. One thing it’s very good for is masking off the rest of the miniature while poking a sword or other weapon through the film:

When I remember to use it, that is! For some reason it’s something I keep forgetting to reach for when I have a masking job…

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 3 — January 9, 2017

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 3

I’m back to work now, so progress has slowed considerably. Tonight I painted the force weapons on the Grey Knights, and continued chipping away at the red areas such as weapon casings and the Librarian’s robes.

The swords were painted with Forge World’s Eidolon Purple clear paint, over a metallic gradient (Burnt Iron to Silver), focussing the purble towards the base of the sword. Hammers were painted in a similar manner, but with general highlights rather than a pronounced fade effect.

Purple is a common spot colour throughout most of my Imperial collection – the SIsters of Silence I completed in December have purple gems, for example – so I decided to use it here for the swords as a way to tie them in with the rest of my collection.

Stormcast Eternals Army List added — January 8, 2017

Stormcast Eternals Army List added

I’ve been looking at breaking into Age of Sigmar for a while, but I’ve never really found an army that really drew me in. I read an article in the January White Dwarf which really piqued my interest in getting a force put together as quick as possible for the purposes of gaming, while happening to see a Stormcast Eternal colour scheme I actually liked… so I quickly put together a 1000 point list with the aim of actually getting something on the table.

With everything else I’ve got planned already for the start of the year, this list won’t be worked on for a while yet, unless I need a change of project to avert burnout.

You can find the list here.

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 2 — January 5, 2017

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 2

From the base coat of Burnt Iron [which I keep wanting to call “Dark Iron,” because I’m used to that from World of Warcraft :)] I airbrushed Steel, leaving the Iron in the recesses and shadows. The beauty of the Metal Color range, I find, is that a colour might not be all that lighter than the one before it, but because of how it interacts with light, it can appear brighter. In this case, Steel isn’t that much lighter a paint than Burnt Iron, when poured out of the bottle, but it reflects more light, giving it a noticeably brighter finish.

img_1926

I then gave the armour a very light airbrush of Silver, from almost directly above. The swords were given a fade effect, from Steel/Iron at the base, to Silver at the tip. I’m planning to put a Forge World Clear paint over the top, but I’m not sure which colour yet.

The iPhone camera is really struggling with the shininess of the finish, so the pictures aren’t the best.

The last bit of progress I made up to this point is to paint in the various text areas with Metal Color Gold, then block in some of the red areas with Khorne Red (to match my other “Imperial Agents”).

The Gold probably needs a wash over it, to “punch up the colour” and define the text better, but I kinda like the more muted colour as it is, and would just want to increase the contrast/definition. I’d prefer to use Seraphim Sepia, but doesn’t come in a gloss variant, so I’ll need to go with Agrax Earthshade (most likely thinned a bit). The rest of the armour will most likely get a recess wash with Nuln Oil Gloss for a similar reason.

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 1 — January 4, 2017

Grey Knights Work in Progress, pt 1

I’m battling with bronchitis, so I had a bit more of a chance to make progress on the Grey Knights than I expected. (In between sleeping and coughing up large quantities of neon gunk)

Let me just say straight out of the gate just how amazing the Metal Color range from Vallejo is. These are without a doubt the best metallic paints I’ve ever used. They apply so smooth, and don’t look like glorified glitter paint like some ranges. In the hands of someone more skilled than me, I believe they could look like the model was actually made of metal.

The pictures above are the base coat of Burnt Iron, over the gloss black primer. I applied the paint mostly from the bottom-up, so I could be sure of hitting the recesses. The gloss primer really helps the metallic paint shine, so the finish was a little brighter than I was expecting, when held under the painting lamp.