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.

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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.

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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:

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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…

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.

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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.

Building the Grey Knights, pt. 1 — January 1, 2017

Building the Grey Knights, pt. 1

Once I had my plan set out, it was time to build. At first I was struggling with motivation to build the Terminators, but once I kitbashed the Librarian leading them, I got into the swing of things:

The Librarian is the Deathwatch Librarian, with a head, shoulder pad and weapon swap, plus the Blood Angel symbols filed off.

I wanted the Terminators to look a bit more sleek than the default build, so I didn’t add much in the way of “extras” (pouches, relics, etc) and I left off the small shields that attach to their shoulder. The Justicar is built to look like he’s manifesting a psychic power – I’ll paint an OSL effect on his hand.

The remaining 5 Terminators will be built tomorrow, and I’ll hopefully get the whole lot primed as well.

A Cunning Plan —

A Cunning Plan

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I wanted to make an early start on my Hobby Resolutions for this year – start as you mean to go on, and all that – so I took an hour or two to think about how to tackle my hefty backlog in manageable chunks.

My basic plan is to paint in roughly 500 point “blocks”; aiming for a block per month as probably the least likely to provoke burnout. If I can paint more than that some months: fantastic. If not, I’m not going to stress about it. Conveniently, 500 points per month is the goal for the local “New Year, New Army” event at my local Games Workshop store,

With that out of the way, it was then a case of “where to begin?” The vast majority of my backlog is made up of various sub-factions of Warhammer 40K Imperials, so it makes sense to start there. In December I finished a formation of Sisters of Silence + a Culexus Assassin, then built an army list around the theme of “Imperial Agents” – the SoS, Assassins, Grey Knights, and Deathwatch, possibly led by an Inquisitor. I figured that this might be the more interesting way to go, as it was more varied than Yet Another Space Marine Army.

Looking at the (rough) list I put together, the Grey Knights stood out as the obvious place to start, because: a) I had 1x character and 2x troops already, to meet a minimum CAD; and b) because the elements I already had came to almost exactly 500 points – 505, to be exact! 11 models also seemed like a nice, reasonably easy amount to kick-off with.

The Deathwatch will be split over 2 months, as the entire “sub-list” (of which I have all but 1 Drop Pod) comes to just over 1000 points. It is relatively small though, at 21 models, so I might get through it faster

There are some elements to add in – 2 Dreadknights for the Grey Knights, for example – but after these forces are done, I “just” have a Space Marine Skyhammer Annihilation Force to add in for the main segments of the army.

So that’s the plan for now. It might change slightly over the next few weeks, as the Fall of Cadia stuff is revealed and released (I definitely want to add the Inquisitor Greyfax model!), but as long as I stick to some semblance of it I should be fine… should.

Hobby Resolutions 2017 —

Hobby Resolutions 2017

  • Finish more models than in 2016 (i.e. more than 77)
  • Reduce my project backlog considerably1
  • Complete at least one large project (i.e. finish a playable army list)2
  • Step out of my painting comfort zone more often
  • Play more games3

  1. Most likely way: restrict new purchases to 1:X painted models. 
  2. Could be something started previously, the important thing is to finish it
  3. The rumoured 8th Edition of 40K might be a good excuse.