Tuesday, April 17, 2018

NOVA 2018 Charity Army painting - Iron Warriors ahoy!

I was honored to be asked to participate in one of the NOVA Open charity army projects again this year, and as is my wont I took on some of the more 'boring' units and let the more talented folks do the cool stuff. That means that I'll be putting the 30 Dark Angel tac marines aside for a bit to work on er, 30 Iron Warriors tac marines. Oof. ...Well, technically 20 tac marines and 10 veterans, so that's way easier, right?

As part of the project, I was sent the raw materials to make the models - Included in the box o' joy were a mess of Mk.IV marines, some Secret Weapon urban bases (interestingly the same ones I used on my Sons of Horus recently) and a bunch of Mk.III shoulder pads. I rummaged through my bits boxes to come up with the appropriate matching Mk.III left-hand shoulder pads which gives the models a bit of a heavier look which befits the Iron Warriors. The sergeants get the usual power fist/bolt pistol combo and I made a couple little tweaks to make them a bit more dynamic.

The brief for the Veterans was to have a couple guys with power swords, including the sergeant, and while it plan was to have it be an 8-man squad without any special or heavy weapons, there were enough bits and bases that I went ahead and banged out a couple meltagunners to round the squad up to 10.

The plan is also for the vets to use the Marksmen special upgrade, and in an effort to help distinguish them from the vanilla tac marines I dug up sufficient scopes for the bolters which I think turned out pretty well! Working out the paint scheme with the project lead, and if all goes according to plan I'll get stuck in on these in the next week or so!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Heresy Era Dark Angels - Tactical Squad Batch Painting Madness!

In any army project I tend to prefer to get the requisite Troops choices out of the way early on while enthusiasm for a project is high, and save the more interesting and exciting models for later on as rewards for doing the mundane stuff. That meant I was staring down the barrel of 30 tac marines - My penchant for batch painting meant that I figured I could knock them all out at once with minimal trouble, right? ...Right?

Based on the fact that I haven't posted in a week and a half could tell you that 30 guys is probably too many to do at once. Oof. Nevertheless, I persevered and have been documenting the process as I go along. There's finally been enough forward motion to warrant a post about 'em, so here goes! Started off by doing all the fiddly edge highlighting for the paint scheme - Thin edging with GW Kabalite Green, followed by an extreme edge highlight of Sybarite Green, and the right shoulderpads got a pass with Vallejo Black Green and a highlight of Sybarite Green, to denote them as filthy traitorous Calibanites.

Once that was done, all the weapon housings and wings got a pass of Vallejo Gory Red, followed by a wash of GW Carroburg Crimson to give it some depth.

Once the wash had thoroughly dried, the red edging was picked out in Vallejo Hot Orange to bring up the colors a bit and make them pop. At this point I also laid in the fleshtones on the sergeants, starting with Vallejo Dwarf Flesh, a wash of GW Reikland Fleshshade, then highlights of Vallejo Elf Flesh and Bonewhite. Still some final cleanup to do on the faces, could stand a little more work.

Next up was all of the steel, using Vallejo Gunmetal, a Silver highlight then a wash with Army Painter Dark Tone here and there to pick out some details. The gold followed using Vallejo Brassy Brass, Glorious Gold, and a wash of GW Reikland Fleshshade to give it some depth. Can't have a unit go by without my usual blue on them somewhere, so the Calibanite Warblades got the treatment.

The final step in the process (so far) was to get some color on the bases. Especially on models that are predominately black, doing so really helps the models pop! Started off with an all-over pass of Vallejo Earth, then the rocks were highlighted up with Khaki, Bonewhite and Pale Sand, after which the whole shebang got a mopping of Army Painter Strong Tone. At this point they're left to dry overnight, and will be ready for the next dozen or so steps before they're actually finished. Oy...

Of course, can't let too many posts go by without some spreadsheet porn! The army list is coming into final focus at this point. I've settled on trying to do the Ironwing Protocol Rite of War which means the force needs to have an equal number of Tanks to other units - I was initially planning to have a mess of Rhinos, but with the recent release of the Termite I knew I had to get my hands on them. I figured with the Dark Angels predilection for using unusual weapons and vehicles they'd fit in just fine aesthetically, and I'm really looking forward to building them!

Still only three models fully complete for the force, I'm working on getting a mess of models all up to the same stage then doing a bunch of heraldry and weathering at once to keep them consistent. Time will tell if that's a good idea!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Heresy Era Dark Angels - Land Raider off the factory floor

Quick hit this morning - Spent some time working on the first of the Land Raiders after work yesterday to try out the paint scheme on a vehicle. I've definitely found that sometimes a paint scheme that works well on an infantry model doesn't translate well to a large vehicle (and vice versa), but overall I'm glad to say that this scheme seems to work okay!

Still a lot of work to be done on the tank of course, all of the heraldry and weathering has yet to be applied, but in general I really dig the subtle greenish cast the edge highlighting gives and I think it's subtle enough that it doesn't become too distracting. I will say that pushing the edge highlights to be a little thicker and maybe using a more neon green and it would veer into Necron territory. Of course, that does half tempt me to do some Necrons now (no, stop it, no more new projects!)...

The addition of some red slashes, some black-and-white checkerboard patterns and a fair bit of battle damage, dirt and dust should give the tank much more personality, but as a proof of concept for the underlying paint scheme I really couldn't be happier! Looking forward to working up the other Land Raider and the Spartan in the same scheme soon!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Heresy Era Dark Angels - Characters and plasma repeater support squad(s) painted!

Got a fair bit of brush time in over the last few days, as well as some cool new gear - A good combo!

I wanted to do a few placeholder character models for the Dark Angels while I await whatever new models may drop with the release of the next book, Malevolence. The two Dark Vengeance models got a helmet swap and some Mk.III backpacks to heresy them up a little, while the chaplain basically just got painted as-is. Even so, they're a little over-blinged which reads as a bit more 40k in general. Nevertheless, quite pleased with how they turned out!

The plasma support squad was the initial test of the paint scheme using the Vallejo range of substitute colors for the armor, and while they worked out reasonably well, I ended up buying some Incubi Darkness and Kabalite Green which are both about a step darker and will hopefully not be quite so stark on future models.

Still researching how I want to do the heraldry thing with the models. As a nod to the fluff, all of the models in the army will have the green right shoulder pad to represent them being Calibanites (and as such filthy dirty traitors, as the situation demands). I'm thinking of going with a common heraldic design to denote squads, with some additional personal heraldry on occasional other areas of the armour. Most of the color plates seem to suggest a mix of red slashes, black and white checkerboard and bone, so will have to experiment with various combinations thereof! So that said, the two squads above aren't done per se - still a fair bit of work to go, but as a proof of concept I think we're on the right track!

You may have noticed a bit of an increase in the quality of the photos due to the acquisition of a proper light box (finally). I've been experimenting with backdrops and techniques over the last several months as you may have noticed, and finally broke down and bought a Foldio 2 based on the comments and reviews of several fellow bloggers - thus far I have to say I am quite impressed! The adjustable overhead lights make getting good bright white light at the intensity desired, these were taken at about half brightness as the full chat was blowing out the pics. The translucent material of the box itself means that I can position my stand lights to either side and get some nice secondary diffusion. Now if only buying new gear automatically granted a commensurate boost in  painting skill! Hah!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Heresy Era Dark Angels - A tidal wave of resin and plastic!

Earlier in the week the first wave of bits and kits for the Dark Angels arrived, and after a flurry of soaking, scrubbing, rinsing and drying I've been merrily building stuff for the force!

All sorts of goodies await - Several tanks and a whole mess of infantry upgrade kits! Everything went into the wash and was laid out to dry, then it was all whisked up to the hobby loft where I couldn't wait to get cracking!

While it's tempting to jump in and build all the "cool stuff", I try to get the basic Troops choices out of the way up front, and save the more interesting models for later on once I've gotten my eye in on the builds. So, first things first - cranking out thirty Tac marines. Oof.

Once I got rolling they went together very easily. I had spent a bunch of time clipping and organizing several sets worth of plastic bits from the Betrayal at Calth and Burning of Prospero boxes a while back and it's made it a snap to build infantry. The sergeants were pretty fun to build, going combi-plasma and Calibanite warblades as a change-up from the usual Powerfist-and-boltpistol loadout. May not be as effective, but feels more aesthetically pleasing!

Dun dun DUNNNN! I've been dreading this moment. The last Spartan I'd built back in 2014 was a copper-plated bastard of a build and was, until I had the 'joy' of building a Storm Eagle, the least fun I'd had building a Forge World kit to date. I'd heard they'd re-sculpted the kit and approached the box with trepidation...

The re-cut model looked promising, I'll admit - Though there was some wonky bending to some of the pieces, my trusty heat gun sorted them out right quick. I'll tell ya, when it comes to working with resin, this heat gun was the best $30 I've spent on hobby tools. Highly recommended!

Turns out my fears were unfounded, and the kit went together incredibly quickly! The addition of some Dark Angels doors and magnetized sponsons were the only real tweaks of the model - I'm not a huge fan of the "put masonry and candles on everything" aesthetic of the modern-day Dark Angel vehicles, and plan to keep the builds a bit more restrained on the Heresy side.

Still undecided what I'm going to fill it with, I'm hesitant to build terminators for the force, knowing that once the book drops they'll likely get a bespoke terminator unit. In the interim it'll likely sit on the sidelines, or perhaps ferry a full 20-man tac squad around.

I had picked up a trio of the new wrap-around track upgrade kits form Blood and Skulls Industry, originally planning to use all three on the Sons of Horus. While the spiky "Oppressor" pattern treads worked well for the traitors, I thought I'd save the "Liberator" pattern sets for a future project. I had forgotten that I'd already gotten the track housings about 3/4ths done when I made the call, so they were a snap to finish off!

Having built one for the Sons of Horus already, I had a good idea of the challenges and pitfalls of the kit so the following two flew together! I really like the look of the Mk.IIb Land Raider, and wrap-around treads really give it that Heresy vibe.

Managed to get all of this stuff primered after work and am looking forward to getting some paint on 'em!

Updated the painting chart - It's getting colorful now! Started the test painting on the squad of Plasma Repeaters but it's too early to tell how they're going to turn out. Also got the next batch of bits and kits on order from FW - Some more shoulder pads and heads (mis-counted what I'd needed in the first order), the Volkite Calivers for the second support squad, and a pair of special weapons variant Sicarans, which I think fits in with the Dark Angels using rare and esoteric weaponry in the Heresy. The plan has already gotten out of hand on paper (5500 points is a little excessive), so some of this may get dialed back, likely starting with the Glaive. While I'd love to build and paint one for the force, I don't really ever play games where a Superheavy is required...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Heresy Era Dark Angels - Vortigern's Lost Lions army planning

With the successful sale of the Thousand Sons and Spireguard, I had some funds to spend on a new Heresy project. Initially I had planned to do some more Imperial Fists, but thought it would be a better exercise if I tried a legion I've not dabbled in before. After reading Black Legion, I figured it could be entertaining to build a force around the idea of Vortigern's Lost Lions, a group of the Fallen that survive the heresy and end up joining up with Abbadon following the scouring and the Legion Wars. Figured I'd do a force representing his warhost during the heresy, but generally run them as traitorous Calibanite DA. Not a whole lot done beyond planning and the first few test builds so far, but I have a whole raft of packages arriving over the course of last week and this week!

The plan - Keeping things fairly generic while awaiting the actual book drop later in the year (fingers crossed), in the interim I figure one can't go wrong working on the basic troop types while waiting to see what specialist units the new book will bring:

Knowing that the Dark Angels are known for using a lot of old, dangerous and esoteric weaponry, I did figure on doing a couple Tactical Support Squads, one with Volkite Calivers and one with the DA-only Plasma Repeaters. In order to differentiate them from the ordinary plasma guns, I figured I'd use the recent Primaris Hellblaster guns. A little trimming was required but they fit onto the Mk.III plate reasonably smoothly. The addition of some FW shoulderpads and heads and the first squad is coming into focus!

I'm leaving the backpacks separate for painting as a change, and am scheming on doing some experimentation with some new painting and weathering techniques on the force - Haven't fully decided on what exactly, but may try out some weathering powders and/or some of the technical paints from GW for mud and slop. Also scheming on doing some greenish-tinged black with the hope that it won't go full Necron/Tron on me. I rather liked the look of the end result on the youtube tutorial here and am looking forward to giving it a try! ...Well as soon as the weather yo-yo's back up a bit warmer, got a lashing of snow and cold over the last few days. Ah well, more time to build stuff, right?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Exodite Eldar - Wasp Assault Walkers Built!

Quick hit today, with the addition of a trio of new models for the Exodites - Counts-as Wasp Assault Walkers, using the Forge World rules.

The initial intent was to use the Stormcast Vanguard Palladors to do jungle-cat-based War Walkers, but I just couldn't figure out a good combo of bits to make the combo work. So, inspired by a fellow Exodite builder on Instagram I utilized the Blight Drones instead, which in the end I think will tie out with the giant spider quite well. I used some greenstuff to fill in the more egregious open sores to de-Nurgle them a little, and the end result is both creepy and fitting!

Once the first one was built, the following two just flew together (pun definitely intended)! Really looking forward to getting started on them, though a new project is also underway behind the scenes, following the successful sale of the Thousand Sons and Spireguard. Woohoo!