Miniature of a Different Kind

One of the reasons I’ve been a bit less active with the Warhammer hobby this year is that I’ve been preoccupied with another hobby of mine – computers and gaming. I’ve been building a new computer for myself, and after quite a long while of buying parts and assembling and tweaking, I’ve finally finished the build for the time being. And just to make sure it’s appropriate(ish) for the blog, it’s a small form-factor PC which makes it quite a bit tinier than the average mid-tower 😀

Due to the current situation in the world, the PC part market has been in a sorry state for quite a while now, especially with processors and graphics cards. Because of this, it took me around three months to get my system up and running. I started buying parts on Black Friday last November, and got the final bits ordered (the GPU and some other stuff) at the end of February. Not an eternity in the grand scheme of things, but certainly a far cry from just going to a webstore and ordering all the parts when you feel like it.

Assembly was rather simple for the most part, but I did have to do some rotary tool alterations to one piece. Ended up working just fine! I might try to further clean up the interior at some point, but it’s not hugely important right now. I got the system running pretty much inaudibly under light loads, and even under demanding workloads it’s tolerable. It does run pretty warm though, but that’s to be expected with such a small case.

I’m also really enjoying all the wireless peripherals I’ve acquired for this setup. My headset, mouse, keyboard and the Xbox controller are all wireless which helps cleaning up the desk and allows mobility. I have to plug them in for charging every week or two depending on the use, but it’s not so bad.

Games are running great for the most part (1500+ fps in Doom! :D) and to be frank they have been drawing me in lately more than painting. While you don’t get the same tangible results from gaming as you do from painting up a model, some instant gratification is fun every now and then! But yeah, as I said in my last posts, I’m slowly getting back to painting as well. I’m making progress with the rest of my first Necron squad, as you might’ve spied from the first photo in this post.

WIP: Necron Test Models

I’ve been trying to get my hobby mojo back and during the last week and a bit I think I’ve got it! I’ve had a lot of fun painting the first couple of models from the Indomitus box: two Necron warriors and two scarab swarms.

Now, I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not the most imaginative of artists, and the paint scheme on these guys is no exception. I was pretty close to going with the default Necron speed-technique of wash/drybrush/done, but when I saw Trovarion’s tutorial on “easy 9th edition Necrons” I knew I had to try them out! Trovarion’s own take on the scheme was right up my alley – mostly neutral colors (steel, brown, cream) with one bright and bold accent color (orange). I wonder what the dynasty’s called… Trovakh?

Necron painting tutorial by Trovarion Miniatures

I actually started the models by painting up the bases. The bases I made for the Necrons are once again wasteland-style, but I wasn’t sure on the color. I tried a reddish brown and my usual bone-recipe, and while both of them work (and are surprisingly close to the Necron’s paint scheme), I’ll go with the reddish ones. At some point I might experiment with some orange washes or pigments to make the bases more vibrant, but I think this is my starting point!

A note on making the bases: the idea was first to just do my default “sand and stones/skulls”-type of wasteland bases, but as I had more time during my winter break I thought I’d add “just a couple” of details to suggest a battlefield surrounding. In addition to rocks and skulls I put on various pipes, steel beams and barbed wire. I also had the idea to put on some left-over Necron arms and Space Marine helmets, but forgot about them.. I’ll do those with the bigger character models! But all in all, I’m very pleased with the bases. I think I got a good mix of different textures and details (maybe a few too many pipes if you think about it…) and they didn’t take all that long to make.

Painting the actual models was pretty relaxing, and for the most part didn’t require much accuracy. Two basecolors (steel, cream), some dark brown chipping applied with a sponge, and then a lot of selective washes. After those a few quick highlights and painting the glow-y bits white (a mix of ink and paint makes quick and smooth work of this). Finally quite a lot of layers of orange fluorescent paint and a tiny bit of red (the normal kind) to finish the model off.

I’m mostly very satisfied with the result. More importantly, I enjoyed the painting process, which is great as I now have quite many Necrons to paint. The OSL effects are not quite there yet (which is fine, it was my first try), but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it after a couple dozen models… Now I’ll repaint/finish the bases on these models and perhaps finish a couple more before taking some showcase photos for you guys.

Astra Rodentia Vox-caster; Groupshot

Okay, long time no paint. I’ve been pretty much out of the hobby loop for nearly a month now, so let’s try to get back on track. Once again. Here’s a Vox-caster for my Astra Rodentia, finished back on my winter break.

As I said in my last post, finishing this guy was delayed because I didn’t like my original scratch-built handset on the vox-pack. So I pulled it out and replaced it with one from a Skitarii backpack. I was instantly much happier with this one, I think mostly because the “connector” between the pack and the cable. And the much more detailed handset doesn’t hurt either!

Painting-wise, there’s not really much to talk about – very much the same process as with the rest of the rats. I’m chuffed with the white checkers on his orange cowl, I did those one squeare at a time without the help of a grid. And I meant to paint the vox-pack’s speaker as brass, but should’ve gone with a more yellow, golden color as now it ended up looking like rusty steel. No matter though, looks alright!

Now that I’m starting have quite a collection of these Astra Rodentia (almost a full squad’s worth, hehe!), I thought I’d take a groupshot of them. Even with their mishmash of colors and equipment, I think they look like a cohesive group! For future models, I think I need some more guys with brown/gray armor, so that the sniper and vox-caster won’t look like they’re special..

Astra Rodentia Standard Bearer

The first model of the year is finished and we’re not even halfway through February! Sigh.. But here he is, a standard bearer (/fanatic) for my Astra Rodentia!

He’s been a long time coming, as I built the model nearly a year ago! I guess a big part of why he took so long to get painted was the banner. I had to come up with some kind of a color scheme, something to write on the parchments and then figure out how to do something like NMM on the symbols. The original idea was to also put on a graffiti-style text on top of the design (“Gutter Runners”) to show that these rats have taken some other regiment’s standard and made it their own, but I kinda shot myself in the foot with my chosen color scheme. I couldn’t use yellow, white or red for the lettering, as it would’ve gotten lost and I didn’t want to introduce any further colors like blue, green or pink to the model. Oh well, maybe I’ll get to realize this idea on some other model.

On the whole I’m pretty happy with how the flag came out. The left side of the flag seems to be a bit lighter, I went a bit overboard with the dirt splattering on left side, and I clearly need a lot more practice with NMM, but as a whole I think the banner looks nice.

As for the rest of the model, there wasn’t much that was different from the other Astra Rodentia I painted before. I painted on some wood grain to the banner pole, which was more successful on the left side, and glazed Skrag Brown on the yellow hazard stripes, which looks really nice. One new trick I tried with this model was to use a brush and a toothpick for the splatter effects, rather than a toothbrush and my thumb. Much more accurate! I also used AK’s Ultra Matte Varnish on all the non-metallic areas. It can be used with a brush straight from the bottle and works really well. Maybe a little too well for my liking.. 🙂

Okay, so new year and a new bingo card! Maybe this is the year to complete at least one bingo? We’ll see. I count this model for the “technique you haven’t mastered”.

As a bonus, I though I’d show you the finished bases that I’ve made for upcoming Astra Rodentia reinforcements. There’s the six bases I showed unpainted in the last post and a seventh one (with the T-pipeline and chain) that I built and painted ages ago for my last couple of rats. I’m pretty happy with most of these – the only one giving me pause is the one with the knife. The floor ended up looking too messy – not an unlikely scenario in the real world, but I’d like a little more definition. I might end up repainting it before using it.

WIP: Building Necrons, Industrial Bases

I started my hobby year 2021 by assembling a big bunch of Necrons from the Indomitus box. This was my holiday project – I was on the move and decided that I wouldn’t bring my paints with me and instead concentrate on building and priming some models.

As you can see, I got all of the 20 warriors done, as well as their 6 scarab swarms. They’re all built pretty much according to instructions, the only modification I did was to clip off the blades from the gauss rifles. I’ve never liked them visually, or even conceptually, and there’ll be less to paint. Win-win! Finally, I also assembled one of the characters, the Plasmancer. Señor Skorpekh is cool and all, but for my money this floating dude is the coolest Necron model in the box!

My goal was to base these too and as mentioned, to prime them. As they’re going to be basecoated with steel paint, I decided to buy the very expensive Leadbelcher spray and save myself some time. Unfortunately, my FLGS didn’t have it in stock so the priming had to be put on hold. As I didn’t have to hurry to prime the models, I left the basing undone as well. I’ll continue working on these guys in a month, during my winter holiday.

But even if I didn’t get the ‘crons based, I did work on some bases! I made six new industrial style bases for my future Astra Rodentia models. Overall, I’m really happy with them, especially the two in the middle. Starting to get into real scratchbuilding territory! The bases might’ve used some more wires and maybe a bit of sand, but I ran out of time, and they’re now primed (still have my black can). I’ll probably add some texture during painting..

Okay, now to finish a pair of rats so that the bases will have something to stand on them! And obviously to paint the bases too..

Wrapping Up 2020

Due to my minis being in two different apartments and being away from my own computer and Photoshop  during the holidays I’m a bit late with this post. But better late than never, let’s look back at what I managed to paint in 2020. Here’s the lot:

As per last year, sorry for the image quality – my photography setup is still not ideal for big group photos…

All together they’re 32 models. Quite a bit less than than I imagined I’d paint a year ago, but I’m again very happy with each and every model. And all my painted models still fit in my display cabinet! Just barely though, I think this year I’ve got to start moving some of the older ones to storage.

Here’s a list of all the models above, and links to the showcase posts if you want to take a closer look:

As you can see, last year I painted mostly single models or very small groups of models. The only project with more than three models was the Scout Squad, and that was only five as well. 2021 might see a change here, as I intend to work on the Indomitus box during the year, but we’ll see how it goes. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed painting single minis a lot, and I’ve certainly painted my best work this year, at least technically speaking. Picking a favorite is difficult, but I guess the top three would be Mollog and the two priests. The Ork Boyz and the Cabalists are up there too, though, and the Sentinel from 2019 still gives these guys a good run for the money among my favorite models!

Speaking of the Sentinel, my one regret for last year was that I didn’t finish any new models for my Astra Rodentia. Whereas all my other armies/collections (Space Marines, Underworlds, Orks, Blades of Khorne, Stormcast Eternals) received some new models, and I started working on a few new collections as well (Imperial Cult, Nurgle, Tyranids, Warcry), the space rats didn’t get any finished models in 2020. I did build two, however, and started painting them just before the holidays, so they should be my first finished models of 2021!

So what happened with my Hobby Bingo? Unfortunaltely, as in 2019, I failed to score any bingos. It was a bit of a shame as it would’ve been rather easy to “sculpt something on a model” and “scratch-build a piece of scenery”, but alas, somehow it just didn’t come to be. Maybe this year though!  I did complete one more square than previously, so it wasn’t all bad. I’ll keep trying this year!

One final thing I’d like to address is the state of the blog. As you’ve probably noticed, my posting has been less and less frequent. This is mostly due to work, and partly due to playing video games a bit more once again.. But I’ve been doing some hobbying too every once in a while, so I should have something new to show you before too long! Realistically speaking though, I don’t see the posting speed improving anytime soon, but it is what it is.

Even so, I have to say I’m baffled, flabbergasted even to see that the blog still gets a dozen or so visitors and 20-30 views every day! I mean, it’s not like there’s fresh new content frequently, and I doubt that people would look at a post more than once or maybe twice.. Who are these people and where do they come from? I might never know, but it warms my heart even so. Thanks to everyone who has stumbled upon this blog or has stuck around for longer, and especially to those who have taken the time to leave a comment!

Corvus Cabal Shrike Talon

My Cabal is getting reinforced with another model, as I’ve finished one of the coolest models of 2019! Here’s the Shrike Talon.

As with the Cabalist, I pretty much followed the ‘Eavy Metal color scheme with this model. One of the challenges with the scheme and with this model in particular is the separation of different black elements. Following the painting guide in the assembly instructions booklet (and looking at the studio models), I highlighted the feathers with blue and the hood with brown tones. I’m not sure if the colors still read as blacks, but I’m happy either way! I guess the biggest difference to the studio scheme is that I left out the painted, diamond-shape eyes from the hood. I get why they’re there in the original – to draw attention to the head, but I never liked them that much aesthetically.

I feel some parts of this model were painted a bit sloppily. As I mentioned in the last posts, I haven’t gotten quite as much painting done as I would’ve wanted lately. I noticed that this translated into less accurate painting. After a day or two I seemed to get back to the swing of things though, and the paint started to go where I wanted it to. Last week I made a conscious effort to get back to painting, and decided that I would at least put paint on my brush (if not the model) every day. Every time I did, I ended up painting for at least an hour! Let’s see how long I can keep this up…

Oh yeah, a small PSA: I’ve treated myself to some new electronics which might affect the photos on this here blog. I got a new Pixel 4a phone with that fancy camera software, which hopefully should lead to WIP shots that have much better color accuracy than before. And from the Black Friday sales I bought a new monitor to replace my previous, 10-year-old one. The important bit is that this new one has an IPS panel which is much better with colors than the TN panel in the old monitor. So, chances are that from now on the photos will be a bit less saturated, as I probably over-saturated everything a bit with the old monitor. Shouldn’t be a dramatic change, but just a heads-up if anyone notices it.

Mollog’s Mob

Praise Gork (or maybe Mork?)! New finished models, at long last!

I painted Mollog quite a while back in June, but didn’t have time to paint his minions. They ended up sitting primed until October, when I decided that it was time for them to get painted. I guess Bat Squig counts as my Orktober project?

As with Mollog, I pretty much followed the studio scheme, just altering the colors to be less purple. Because each of the minions has a different color scheme I painted them individually to completion before moving onto the next. This was great fun, and I once again tried wetblending and other more “freeform” techniques. This group was also a great exercise in how to tie the different color schemes together: even with the box art as reference I had to really think about the color choices. I actually ended up repainting the white on Spiteshroom, as the first iteration was too white! In the end I think I managed a cohesive unit, so I’m very happy with the result.

One minor thing that I kind of messed up was the bases, which ended up a bit lighter compared to Mollog’s due to too aggressive drybrushing. And speaking of bases, my word all those mushrooms took a long time to paint!

Update, Still Here

It’s been close to two months since I last posted, and I thought I’d make a small post saying I’m still around.

Now, I’ve actually finished a couple of models since the last post: Mollog’s minions are finally done. I’ll be showing them off soon, but I decided that I’d write this update first. As you might have noticed, my painting / posting has slowed to a very slow crawl. The main reason is that work has been taking quite a lot of my time. Even in the evenings, if I’m not working, I’m so tired that watching Netflix or YouTube is what I end up doing. And so I’ve noticed that I’m only hobbying during the weekends nowadays, which obviously slows my progress.

Of course, I did have that week’s break, but as I travelled to the other side of the country again, I decided that I’d just build, prime and basecoat a few new/old models. Hopefully that translates to finishing some models quicker in the future! I also magnetized the bases of my Underworlds collection.

So what does a man do when he doesn’t have much time to paint anymore? Buys a mountain of new minis to add to the pile of possibility of course! With the impending brexit and whatever it comes with I’ve been stocking up on cheap (relatively speaking) plastic from the UK. If and when there’s additional taxes and more expensive shipping costs to Europe next year, I’m covered! No need to buy any more minis in years! Of course, that never stopped anyone… Nevertheless, the latest additions to the queue are as follows:

  • Primaris Intercessors
  • Battle Sisters
  • Skitarii Rangers / Vanguard
  • Ork Boyz
  • Poxwalkers (from Dark Imperium box)
  • Flagellants
  • Chainrasps
  • Glaivewraith Stalkers (from Soul Wars box)
  • 3 Nightvault warbands

And that made-to-order Indomitus box is being delivered as I write this. Not to mention the previous backlog… But in any case, you might see a pattern here. Aside from completing my Nightvault closet collection it’s just basic troop models from various 40k and AoS armies. I find that often these most lowly of game pieces are some of the best looking models from their respective armies. These were pretty much all bought as painting and modeling projects, they won’t be painted as complete (game-legal) squads. The Intercessors, Sisters and Flagellants for example will be used to expand my “Imperial Cult” collection.

All right, now to write that post about Mollog and his entourage, and get some actual content back to this blog…

WIP: Nu-Marines, More Cabalites; Magnetized Storage; Molds

I’ve been on build mode again, and let me just get on record and say: I’m as slow with my modeling as I am with painting! I had the whole weekend for hobbying, and managed to build a grand total of three and a half models, plus their bases.. I’ve also been working on a storage solution and some rudimentary mold making.

So first up, the new models! Well, new-ish. I bought the ETB Intercessors triple pack (now OOP, it seems) last spring during the lockdown period and even started working on one of the models (the guy on the left in the pic above). I’m not a huge fan of the bolt rifle design, much preferring the old bolters and pistols. Likewise, the mk7 helmets and backpacks look better than mkX to me. Thankfully they’re all more or less interchangeable with the Primaris kit! So yeah, the first guy got his bolter, a mk7 backpack and a custom mk7 helmet. It might not show well in the photo, but I’ve carved the helmet a bit to join the two eye lenses into a single visor. It’s actually a conversion I first created back in my teenage years, inspired by Doomguy (/Doom Slayer).

The second Intercessor also got some mk7 weapons, but a mk3 helmet and backpack. I don’t really care for those on mini-marines, so I’ve still got plenty of them left after building my Devastator squad. They look great on the Primaris bodies though, especially for the more knightly chapters. This one will be a Black Templar! One additional modification I did was shave his chest (:D) smooth for some extra freehand room. (Cawdor ganger for a size comparison.)

I also built two more Corvus Cabalists, this time the characters in the gang – the Shrike Talon and the Shadow Piercer. I think the Talon is one of the coolest models in the GW’s current lineup, and was built accord to instructions. The Piercer received a tiny conversion: I clipped off the tip of her sword to give it a bit cleaner lines. For both of their bases I added some plasticard tiles to hint at a ruined city. The Shrike Talon’s 40mm base maybe could’ve used some more decoration, but I didn’t want to give the model any more height (with cork board or such), as he already towers over his mates. Maybe I’ll add some discarded weapons or other bits before priming..

Then on to the magnets and storage! A couple of months back I decided that it was time to build a magnetized container to store/transport miniatures in. I bought a plastic tub and a big sheet of 0.7mm steel, which I cut into smaller ones at my workplace. I ended up with six 25x33cm sheets, so plenty for future boxes as well. A good thing, as I switched jobs and don’t have access to a proper quillotine anymore! I attached the steel sheets to the plastic tubs with nuts, bolts and some washers (see here for a closer look). There’s plenty of room for “regular” sized models (9-10cm), and taller boxes are available should I ever get myself an Imperial Knight! These boxes are stackable and the lid locks securely with kind of clips, which are easy to open.

I got a pack of 3x2mm magnets from GreenStuffWorld and attached them to models’ bases with Milliput. I’ve seen people do this with Greenstuff, but Milliput is cheaper and can be used as an adhesive itself. I was able to pry of a magnet attached with Milliput, but I’m hoping they won’t fall of with normal use. If they do, I’ll super glue them.

Of course, one always mixes up too much Milliput (/Greenstuff)! I used the extra to finally try out a Blue Stuff mold I made a couple months back. The molds are not perfect (one’s okay, the other pretty bad) and the casting added further imperfections, but I reckon they’ll be fine for some terrain! I think I’ll try to do the wheel mold(s) one more time, but then I really need to take the (plastic) wheel and get on building my final biker!