Lieutenant Varras

Alright, let’s get the hobby year 2020 started! I wanted to pick a small project to ease myself back to painting after a bit of a hiatus, so here’s Lieutenant Varras from the Battle for Macragge box.

I didn’t get any hobbying done during Christmas / New Year, due to not being home for the majority of them. But since then I’ve slowly been building and prepping models to eventually paint, and during last weekend and Epiphany Monday managed to paint up one of them. Varras had been sitting on my table for pretty long, and of course he’s been in my possession since the release of BfM in 2004. I had actually painted the model back then, but as he wasn’t really a part of my Ultramarine army, and I was never really happy with how he looked, I decided to strip him and give him a new paintjob.

Painting was rather straightforward, I used the same palette as for my Revelators, with the difference that I painted the pouches and holsters brown instead of black to bring in some additional color. I also tried out Citadel’s new paint triad for dark skin, and am very happy with the result. Definitely using it for some other models as well!

Painting this model pretty much finished the Space Marine side of BfM, as I have already painted the objective markers and a Tactical Squad (will have to do a marine with a flamer at some point). The squad is of course not the one from the box, but that’s fine as, to be frank, the BfM marine sculpts and casts were mostly terrible. I might get to the Tyranids at some point, as I think I’ve got most of the minis still in my possession. I’ve also tried to get hold of the Aquila lander terrain pieces (I still kick myself for binning those as a teenager), but so far the prices have been a bit too much.

Finally, I’ll begin filling the hobby bingo card as well. The card is a bit different than last year, as Rob redesigned it just this month. Let’s see if I’ll do better this time! I’ll cross off the “to-do pile model”, I think Varras qualifies.

Wrapping Up 2019

All right, one final post to finish the year. Let’s look at what I managed to paint during 2019!

Above you can see the tally (apologies for the photo quality, my setup still isn’t ideal for big group shots). When they’re all brought out like this it.. Doesn’t actually look like much. But I’m very happy with each and every one of them, and with space (and wife’s tolerance) being a limited commodity I think my output has been just right!

All in all, I finished 57 models, which was about the same as last year, and more than a model per week on average, which was my target at the beginning of the year. Here’s a list of all the models and links to their corresponding showcase posts:

So yeah, not too shabby. During the past year I’ve embarked on a number of new (slow-grow) projects, such as the Astra Rodentia and Orks. I’ve also continued adding to older ones, such as my Revelators Space Marines, Underworlds warbands and working on the AoS 1st edition starter set. I’ve upped my weathering game and dabbled on more complex freehand designs than last year. I got to say that painting various projects with different color schemes and mixing things up with new techniques definitely helps to keep things fresh and motivating.

Speaking of motivation, there were/are two bloggers that deserve much credit for influencing me to pick the projects that I did and actually getting them done in a timely fashion! One is of course Azazel with his monthly hobby challenges. I did have a little time management mishap and missed one month’s deadline, but for the other 11 I got at least one miniature done.

The other blogger is Rob Hawkins, whose hobby bingo card has been a fun additional game on top of finishing models. Below you can see my finished card for the year. After finishing my last miniature of 2019 I looked at the card and noticed that I had painted some models that hadn’t been used for the card even though they could’ve been. I used the two SCE squads to cross off two additional squares, but even with that I couldn’t get a bingo. No matter though, I’ll try again next year with a little more ambition, and try to get at least that one bingo!

Of course, there’s still one more blogger that I shouldn’t forget when it comes to motivation: me! I started the blog this January, and actually have hard time believing I’ve gotten it this far. Sharing my work here and getting amazing feedback from you guys has pushed me to paint and finish stuff much more consistently than I otherwise would. So thank you, reader, for taking a look and commenting!

Going forward, I don’t think I can keep up the “almost weekly” post schedule for too much longer. This year, pretty much half of my posts have been showcasing my older work from 2017-18, and even my teens. While I still have some of those left, I won’t have many “padding” posts to put in between new finished models. Most likely my posting will just get more sporadic, but we’ll see how it goes in time..

And that’s it for 2019! Here’s hoping for an even better 2020! I already have some great models in the queue and many plans in my head, hopefully I’ll have enough time to transform many of those into finished minis!

Nurgle Lord of Plagues; PSA

Today I get to show a model which I’ve wanted in my collection for a long time: the Lord of Plagues. As he’s a bit of a bucket list model, I’m also entering him in Azazel’s Destino December challenge.

I bought the model last month after a pretty insane work week, deciding I had earned something nice ๐Ÿ™‚ The Lord was on stock in my FLGS, and as the price isn’t as extortionate as GW’s more recent character models I picked him up. I know this model is often used for all sorts of cool (INQ28) conversions, but as the basic model is so close to perfect I wanted this one to remain in stock form. I did however build him a bit more elaborate base to make him stand out a bit more.

As this model was bought purely for painting and not for an existing army, I thought it would be a good platform to try out some new things. Firstly, the model got a zenithal undercoating, which was a first for me. I can’t really tell if it has a lot of effect on the finished model, as I might have still painted with too thick paint, but it certainly helped me to position shadows and highlights more easily. It’s definitely something that I want to come back to in the future though.

Secondly, rather than trying to paint the armor smoothly, I wanted to use stippling both for easier color transitions and to give an impression of the armor being pitted and banged up, which I think work well as there is already quite a lot of sculpted damage to begin with. There’s still room for improvement in my stippling, but I’m pretty happy with the light-to-dark contrast that I achieved.

For the paint scheme I wanted to do something a bit different from the default green. I had seen Andrew King’s rather wonderful blue Nurgle army in White Dwarf, and decided to try something like that. Andrew used Thunderhawk Blue as the basecolor for his armor, but as my local shop doesn’t stock it I used Stegadon Scale Green. The color was a bit more green than I’d have liked, but glazing some Guilliman Blue on top worked out well to correct this.

To complement the colder blue tones of the armor I wanted the base to have warm red dirt on it. Happily, WHTV recently published a tutorial on the new Underworlds Goblin Riders. I used the basing recipe (with some alterations) in it and got a really nice result. Some weathering powders could probably take it to the next level, but I’ll leave experimenting with those for another time.

I’m using this model to claim a square in the hobby bingo: paint a model from an army you don’t already collect. Now, while I don’t expect him to grow into an army anytime soon, I might just get some Plague Bearers for him to broodingly watch over. Or maybe his little brother, the Lord of Blights!

And with that, my 2019 hobby year is pretty much over. I might try to sneak in a bit of building before the new year, but definitely wont be finishing anything. I still want to do a wrap-up post for the year, but in case I don’t get it up before Christmas Eve, happy holidays to everyone!

Lastly, a small service announcement. A couple of days ago Krautscientist pointed out to me that commenting had been switched off for a couple of my latest posts. This was not intentional, and I have no idea why it happened. It’s been fixed now, so if you want(ed) to comment on those recent projects please do!

From the Archives: Ork Dreadnought

So this is a bit of a special one: the last model that I got before dropping the hobby in my teens. And it was a Christmas present too, so it always bothered me a bit that I didn’t finish it. But here it is, in its finished glory, an Ork Dreadnought (yes, from time before Deff Dreads)!

The Dread was completed a year ago for Azazel’s mechanically themed November challenge. It was basically a full build too, as I had hardly started working on it all those years ago. The first thing to do was to make a base as the box didn’t come with one. As you might be able to tell, I used cork and tied to replicate the old Space Marine Dreadnought base design. I did add a couple of details like the tank trap bit and the Ork helmet to add some flair of my own.

After the base was done it was on to the Dreadnought itself. I could instantly remember why I didn’t finish this model: this is a metal model and basically none of the parts fit each other without a lot of filing. I think I spent 2-3 days just fitting and pinning the model together. While I was at it, I magnetized the big shoota so that I could swap it for a rokkit launcha in the future. The burna is glued on as usual due to it’s more difficult position.

Then I had to decide on a paint scheme. I kind of wanted an orange scheme, but painting the whole thing orange would’ve been too much, and I couldn’t come up with anything else that I would’ve been happy with. In the end I decided to try and replicate the box art scheme, which is a kind of first since my teens, and I’m happy that I did since the scheme is awesome, and was very fun to paint! There is absolutely no “standard” edge highlighting on this model, all the edges are defined by sponging or drybrushing. Freehanding the skull design on the front was a great exercise, and I found a pretty good way of painting dark (coated?) metal that’s common in real world guns.

So yeah, this project was a fun one! I think the design of this Dreadnought has held up really well, maybe I’ll get some plastic Killa Kans to accompany it. Some day..

Astra Rodentia Sentinel

Alright, I finished the Sentinel that I showed at the beginning of the month, and just in time to enter Azazel’s Mechanovember, too! As I’ve already spoken about building the model, this post is dedicated to the painting.

But first things first! If you read the title of the post, and have seen my previous posts, you noticed that I’ve got a new name for my Imperial Skaven: the Astra Rodentia. This was suggested by amazingturtles over on DakkaDakka, thanks to her! At first I thought it was a bit too noble sounding for this abhuman rabble, but the more I’ve been thinking about it the more sense it makes. Propaganda and all that..

And on to the painting! I’m super pleased with how this one came out! The first thing I needed to do was to decide on a paint scheme. As my rats are supposed to be a ragtag group of fighters using kit from various sources, I could basically choose anything I wanted. I didn’t want to go with the default Cadian scheme, but due to most of my models so far have green flak armor, the scheme could have some green in it. The rats are also fighting in an industrial setting, so some sort of urban camo would be appropriate. With this in mind, the classic Steel Legion vehicle scheme seemed like a perfect fit, and I’ve always liked the scheme too!

It took a bit of research to figure out what colors to use for the gray and the green. Some sources said that the gray was Fortress or Codex Grey, and the green was Rotting Green. While the latter seems accurate, the gray was surely something darker, or something’s up with the old photos of Steel Legion vehicles. But anyway, I used Dawnstone and Nurgling Green for my model, and I think it works pretty well. The camo was painted by first painting the basic shapes on the model, after which the two colors were mixed together and painted on the borders of the two colors to blend them in. The old sources suggested drybrushing for this blending, but the shape of the Sentinel didn’t really work for that so I just painted it in the normal way instead.

In addition to painting a camo scheme on a vehicle, this project was also a great opportunity to practice some new(/ish) techniques. I’m very happy with how all the lights and lenses came out, and had lots of fun doing all the freehand scribblings and weathering. Speaking of weathering, I finally got myself Typhus Corrosion and Ryza Rust (largely inspired by davekay and Azazel), and used them for the exhaust pipes and various other bits. Fun stuff! Painting the base was a bit of a challenge as I wanted to have a bit of color in there so that it’s not just all solid gray, but at the same time I didn’t want the base to steal the show (which a bright red barrel could easily do). Some yellow warning stripes, the red barrel and the wonderful little rat took care of the color, while drybrushing the whole thing with light gray for highlights / dust effects pulled the base together nicely. I also used some other white-ish colors afterwards to introduce a bit of variation, which worked wonders. Now, traditionally speaking, there’s probably not quite enough contrast between the base and the model, but we’re not letting that bother us!

Finally, I’m using this model to claim a square in the hobby bingo: paint a unit and add scenic bases. I’m perhaps cheating a bit, but a single Sentinel can be a unit so I’m counting it. It’s pretty clear now that I wont be getting a single bingo this year. Looking at the grid now, I think I could’ve claimed at least a couple more squares with the models I’ve done so far, but even with those, no bingo. That’s okay though, the card has been a fun additional motivator and I’m sure to try again next year!

Where It All Started: Deathskulls

This post would’ve been more appropriate last month, but with all the other stuff going on, and me actually having newly finished models to show off, it got pushed back. But no matter, it’s always a good time for da Orks!

After I’d amassed quite a lot of Space Marines, I wanted to start collecting another WH40k army (oh the days of very little pocket money.. No hobby butterflying or hoarding plastic back then!). I decided to go for the Orks, as they seemed like a good opportunity for both conversion work and painting. There was also 16 Boyz to a box back then, a lot more than Marines, so more bang for the buck!

As for the paint scheme, after perusing the Ork Codex (3rd ed.) I settled on Deathskulls, as I liked the idea of looters, and I already had blue paint from painting the Ultramarines ๐Ÿ™‚ Originally I decided to go for a really simple scheme – just green skin, metal and all black clothes, plus a couple of details like teeth, eyes and pearcings. However, after I’d painted some models, The all black clothing started to look too much like it was unfinished, or even unpainted, and I started to sneak in some brown straps or camo pants/vests. These models instantly looked better, but as I didn’t really want to go back and change finished models, I didn’t go full Blood Axes on the wardrobe.

As you might have noticed, the big thing in painting these was drybrushing. I can’t remember from where I learned about it, but as is evident, it was the best thing ever and I used it for everything. Still no washes or highlights, or proper bases (though look at that modern, not Goblin Green color!), but looking at them now, I think they’re not half-bad.

Like my Ultramarines, this army is mostly a collection of models that I could get my hands on, rather than a though out competitive (or thematic) list. That being said, if you don’t count the horrible Gorkamorka vehicles, all the models look cohesive, and pretty much what you could buy today.

Speaking of vehicles, Orks used to have all sorts of upgrades (I don’t know the situation today) which I tried to model on my Trukk and Trakk. The Trakk’s “extra armor” was made from bits taken from a scale model helicopter. The Trukk has a custom built big shoota in the back, which could be used if there was any Boyz on board. They both got some red paint slapped on them, as a “red paint job” gave you an extra inch of movement. Hopefully the rules are a bit more hobby-friendly nowadays, as the red paint didn’t really go well with my overall blue scheme.

Up and below are close-ups of some of my favorite models from the army. All except one have some sort of conversion work done on them. I liked converting models with looted gear, even if they didn’t have any in-game effect. Case in point, a SM power fist withoug power works fine as a choppa for an Ork.

I still love Orks, both the models and from the lore POV. I don’t have any plans to start collecting a big army of them again, but every now and then I’ve been thinking about a Gorkamorka inspired biker gang with a support Trukk. Maybe I already have the first models done?

WIP: Imperial Skaven Sentinel

After finishing the Orks in my last post I’ve been building stuff for a change. The biggest and most involved piece has been a Sentinel to accompany my space rats!

I’ve always loved the look of Sentinels, but this was the first time that I’ve actually bought and build one. I’d heard about the great posability of the model, and the kit did not disappoint! To showcase the posability, I decided to model the Sentinel descending a ruined factory floor. The right leg is at its shortest, while the left is extended as far as it goes. A “flex” pose if you will. I also cut off and reposed a couple of the toes to better conform the feet to the base. The cockpit was angled down a bit to further enhance the descending motion.

To integrate the Sentinel to my Skaven, I obviously had to convert the pilot into something more appropriate. I cut off the pilot’s torso and replaced it with one of the unused Plague Monk torsos from making the regular infantry (oh yes, a use for them!). This had two benefits: I got the hunched pose that would’ve been lacking with the human torso, and the head fit with without any modifications (I did greenstuff the neck joint a bit after taking the photo). The arms slotted right in like they were made for it, however I did remove the small screen from the other steering stick. I was a bit worried if the Skaven head was going to fit under the cage, but luckily I had zero problems. The pilot fits in with good clearance around him. If I have one regret it’s that I used the original pilot legs for this model, as you can’t really see them at all when the chassis is assembled. If I’d do this again, I’d just put a blob of greenstuff or some other spacer under the torso, and save myself a pilot for some other projects..

Building the base was fun, though I hope it won’t be too far from the infantry bases, aesthetically/thematically speaking. Unpainted it doesn’t look too industrial, but I’m hoping that paint will fix it. Oh yeah, and just before priming the model, I added a giant rat from the Plague Monk sprue to the base!

Ork Boyz

Just before Orktober turns to November, I’ve managed to complete the Herculean task of.. Painting two Slugga Boyz. Well, progress is progress, and at least I get to submit a token entry for Azazel’s monthly challenge.

This month the challenge was two-fold: Orks or neglected models. These models qualify for both, as they started their lives quite a while ago. I actually built the models and started painting them around 15 years ago, but as my interest in miniatures was waning at the time they were left unfinished. This was a shame as I thought that these were some of my favorite conversions I had done (especially proud of the helmeted head with an open mouth). Well, last Orktober I set out to paint them. I stripped the old paint off, based and primed them, and started with the painting. I quickly got distracted by another project, however, and despite thinking that I’d go back and finish the Boyz pretty soon, here we are a year later ๐Ÿ˜€

I used the same main scheme that I used on the Ironskull’s Boyz. I think that greenskins look pretty good in orange, and haven’t seen too many examples by other painters. Maybe it’s because orange is a bit of a pain to paint.. If I’d ever end up building a whole army of Orks, I’d probably not go for orange, but for a couple models it’s alright. I did try to speed up my painting a bit, as if to practice painting a bigger group, but also because I was a bit strapped for time this month. All in all, these two guys didn’t take super long to complete by my standards, and were fun to paint. I still have one Boy primed, and a couple on sprue, so sooner or later I’ll return to the orange Waaagh! (working title). Probably in Orktober 2020 ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh yeah, I tried removing the background completely from the photos, to get a true white background. How do you like it?

Stormsire’s Cursebreakers

With all that’s been going on IRL, these guys have taken quite a while to complete. Still, after a month and a half on my painting desk, Stormsire’s Cursebreakers are at long last done.

Model-wise, there’s not much to say as they’re a stock Nightvault warband. Nice models. I had to do some gap filling, which didn’t come out super smooth as I only had greenstuff and it wasn’t ideal for the job. I’ve since bought Milliput, which is maybe better? We’ll see in the future, once I get to try it out..

For the paint scheme I chose the Silverlions, as I’ve done with all my Stormcast, but changed the red cloth to purple, which helps to differentiate the SCE warbands on the board. I also got lazy with the gold, and tried just drybrushing it. This, along with using a brown wash gave a more worn look. It’s also closer to what Thilo Engels did with his original scheme.

Another new-ish thing I tried with these models was to practice blends, mainly with the hair on Ammis and Rastus, and the flame on Stormsire’s hand. I chose to paint the hairdos on Ammis and Rastus differently, again for easier identification on the board. Both started from purple, but on Ammis the color transitions to pink, and on Rastus to blue. I think the colors work pretty well, as they’re found in other parts of the models: blue on the glass vials, pink on the weapon straps. Also, stereotypical boy/girl colors ๐Ÿ™‚

Most examples of Stormsire’s flame I’ve seen have been in some “magical” color. Cheap parlor tricks, I say. I thought that real(-ish) fire would complement the rest of the color scheme best, and I’m pretty happy with the result. To complement the fire, and to draw attention to Stormsire’s head I wanted to try red hair. Not quite as intense color as on dwarfs, but still reading as ginger. The image on my head was of the GoT Tormund Giantsbane, which I think I achieved, as my wife looked at the model and said “looks quite like the wildling boss man from GoT.”

Finally, by completing this warband I also finished my Nightvault core set, and claimed another square in the hobby bingo (“Paint all minis in a board game and play it”)! I’ve done the tasks in reverse order, as I played the game before painting the models, but I’ll still count it. Hopefully I get to play again before the end of the year though!

From the Archives: Grot; A Married Man

To top off Orktober 2018, I painted an old metal Grot from my teenage years.

While I couldn’t quite get the Uruk-hai Warrior painted up in a day, this one I did! It’s the first and so far the only model that I’ve managed to paint in a day (not counting some models in my teens), which makes him quite special.

When painting the Grot, I had two main goals: to practice painting pale Ork skin, and to not use any washes on the metals. As the model is mostly naked, there was plenty of space to practice painting skin. I think I managed pretty well, and painting just one tiny model I had the patience to mix the skin tones and thin them down more than usual to get some nice layering/blending going. Not using washes on the metal was both an attempt to preserve the shine of the metallic paints and to try an old school method of painting metals: starting with a Tin Bitz equivalent and drybrushing silver colors on top. It works fine, but is a bit messy if you’re going for a more refined look.

This was a fun little project and great practice for when I eventually treat myself to Zarbag’s Gits. And I got to say that the sculpt was pretty fantastic: really crisp detail and next to no clean-up needed. I can definitely see why folks look back at metal minis with misty eyes..

But enough about the Grot, and on to the other news. I’m now a married man! I and my fiancรฉ/wife got married during this last weekend, and everything went even better than I could’ve anticipated. Didn’t forget my lines in the church, and the reception afterwards was brilliant. Delicious food and drink, our families and friends, dancing, and the photography left to a professional. A wonderful weekend, and of course the best thing is that I got a wonderful wife out of it!

As you might have noticed, my hobbying and blogging has slowed down quite a bit during September, which was of course due to the wedding planning and preparations. I hope to get back up to speed soonish, though I know that our honeymoon will eat a week of painting time this month. Not the least bit sorry about that though ๐Ÿ˜€ Hopefully I’ll get the Cursebreakers done this week, and an Ork or two before the month’s over.