Dark Angels Intercessor Sergeant

I’ve finished another one-off mini, an Intercessor sergeant of the “First Legion”. It’s also a bit of a special model, as it’s the first one I’ve entered into a painting competition. More on that at the end of the post…

For the longest time I’ve had an idea of painting an example of each of the 18 original Space Marine legions, or their 40k equivalents. Not much has happened with the project, other than the retro-scheme Space Wolf. But now I’ve taken a step forward with a Primaris version of a Dark Angel. The model is built with a mix of bits from Intercessor, mk3 and mk7 bits, as well as the DA Primaris upgrade set. Going forward, I’d like to customize the rest of the Primaris Marines in a similar way, but that depends on if I can find some good deals on the chapter upgrade bits.

For painting the figure I mostly followed a Tale of Painters tutorial, but added some extra highlights and a bit more volumetric highlights. The goal was to have a well defined model with high contrast edges á la ‘Eavy Metal, but also explore the volumes a bit more. Now, while my edging is still waaays off of the gold standard, I’m getting more confident with it, and am very happy with the final look. Painting the volumes was also interesting and a learning experience, as I did quite a bit of back-and-forth adjusting the tone by glazing and layering.

While most of the model was painting the armor – a paint-by-numbers affair – I did a couple of freehand details as well. The main one is the company marking on his left knee. As this is just a one-off, I picked what looked to be the most complex one, the 4th company. I got to say, painting it would’ve been a whole lot easier if I’d kept the sword separate. Would’ve also helped with the backside of the sword… The other detail was the “Caliban” text on the left shoulder. I’m still struggling with doing an interesting font, something other than just block letters. Maybe I should practice on paper first? Anyway, good enough I say.

For the markings on the right shoulder pauldron I used transfers. They were from my stock of vintage 3rd edition era Space Marine transfer sheets, from back when they came with more than just Ultramarine markings. The decals still work fine, but the film on them seems to be pretty thick and MicroSol doesn’t seem to get all the wrinkles out of them. I ended up scratching the wrinkles off very carefully with a hobby blade, and smoothing everything up with a layer of gloss varnish. Of course, as there are two decals there on top of each other, it was very slow work setting up those transfers. I might have to look into getting a stronger decal solvent…

There are a couple of things that I’m not a 100% happy with. His one eye is one of the weakest I’ve painted. I think I used a little too thick paint and lost the sculpted detail, not knowing exactly where the eye and the lower eye lid were supposed to be, and that’s why I didn’t repaint it. It’s not horrible, but should’ve been better. (Again, need to leave bare heads as sub-assemblies in the future!) The other thing is the plasma coils on the pistol: I did the contemporary “inverted” glow and like the sides very much, but the top of the coils doesn’t really work. I’m not sure if there’s some way to make it credible, or if the old boxy flat-top coils are just unsuitable for this effect. I left the effect be, however, as the blue color makes a nice triangle together with the bionic eye and the sword’s power node.

Happily, I get to claim another bingo square with this model. There were a couple that would’ve applied, but I went with the “paint a model from a new army or faction”.

Finally, the competition. It’s my old hometown’s game shop’s annual painting competition, which I always missed when I lived there. What better time to enter than now that I’ve moved away! 😀 The comp has two categories (“big” and “small”), and the winners are decided by customers’ votes, so it’s not all that serious. The voting goes on until the end of August, and I’ll go pick up my model then and see how the Dark Angel has done. I don’t know about my chances of winning, but I was really excited to get to show off my model live, and to see what others have done. There were a lot of cool models and a few superbly painted ones. My personal favorites on both categories were converted Nurgle models with awesome NMM effects and really cool display bases.

The “small” models
My favorite of the “big” models

Zarbag’s Gitz

And here’s the whole gang! (more about the squigs in the previous post) When I initially started painting the gobbos I thought they’d be pretty quick to finish. Once again, I was wrong 😀

Zarbag’s Gitz

The main inspiration for the paint scheme came from a classic Adrian Smith painting of Night Goblins. The main take-aways were the blue, black and red robes, as well as the freehand patterns on the hoods. My colors are obviously quite a bit more vibrant and cartoony than the artwork, but I’ve noticed I like my miniatures like that!

Prog da Netter, Dibbz, Stikkit and Redkap

The robes were finished pretty quickly, and painting a rough fabric texture by hashing is always fun. To contrast the robes I tried painting the skin smoother. While the light green paints have pretty bad coverage, I’m once again really happy with how they came out.

Then it was on to the details, of which there were many. Each model also seemed to have their own special things, which made batch painting difficult. But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it! Even painting all the rope textures on the net was quite enjoyable, relaxing even. There were a few details which were a bit more intimidating (those involving blending), but once I started doing them they all came out great! It was funny actually, at first Drizgit da Squig Herder was my least favorite of the bunch (the mushroom on his mouth doesn’t really work for me), but after painting the fire effects he’s one of my favorites.

Drizgit da Squig Herder, Zarbag and Snirk Sourtongue

I quite like the bases on this warband, they have various small details that add to the narrative of the group. I actually started this painting project with the bases, something I don’t often do. As painting the bases was mostly drybrushing, I thought I’d have to repaint a lot less if I started with them (looking at Zarbag and those mushrooms!). Of course, I then had to lightly drybrush the bottoms of the robes after finishing the models, but thankfully that went without issues.

I’ve got one regret with this warband, and that’s not doing gap-filling properly. Thankfully it’s not (very) visible on the photos, but especially on Zarbag’s cowl it’s raining on my parade a bit, after painting him up so nicely. Painting-wise, there’s one or two things that I could’ve improved or added, but as fun as they’ve been to paint, it’s time to start working on something new.

I also get to cross off another square on the bingo card, this time it’s the “warband for a skirmish game”.

Zarbag’s Squigs

After building and priming all those models shown in the last post, I promptly went on to paint something different. So now, more than a year after building and priming them, I’ve finished painting Zarbag’s Gitz. In this post I’ll show you the two squigs, which I painted before the rest of the warband, and in a couple of days I’ll show the actual Gitz.

These two angry red balls were fun to paint, and quite quick as well, with so few elements to them. I tried some new recipes on these, mainly on the red skin and the teeth/bones. I shaded the red with Contrast paints, Blood Angels Red on one and Flesh Tearers (FT) on the other. Not much difference in the final product, FT provides a bit more contrast. Otherwise the process was the same. I used a flesh tone for highlighting, which was a first for me.

I wanted to try something different with the teeth as well, especially to provide contrast between the giant bone and the teeth on Bonerakka. I took inspiration from the studio models and tried Rakarth Flesh (RF) as a basecoat, shaded very carefully with thinned Nuln Oil. Highlighting with Pallid Wych Flesh (PWF) finished off the teeth. The bone was likewise RF, but shaded with Seraphim Sepia. I then layered with Flayed One Flesh and highlighted with PWF. Finally, I glazed on some color with a mix of Reikland Fleshshade and Carroburg Crimson. Very happy with the result!

One final note about painting the details: the brands on the squigs’ sides had me scratching my head for a bit, but happily one of my go-to sources, Tale of Painters, had me covered. Stahly has painted this warband very nicely and provides recipes for most of the colors, including the scarred flesh. Also helped with the mouths! I didn’t get mine to look quite as nice as the reference, but that’s fine.

I’m also sneaking in my hobby bingo card, as a week ago I built two new magnetic storage cases. The construction was exactly the same as the previous ones, so didn’t feel the need to post a picture of them. But with those, I should be set with storage for quite some time!

WIP: Prep Work

Between recent painting projects I’ve been building a lot of stuff in preparation for the “priming season”, which has now finally arrived! I’ll show some of these models in this post.

First up, a couple of Orks. Both of them are something of a bucket-list model for me. The one with the shoota has an OOP WHFB Orc head, which I’ve always loved but didn’t get to buy before it got discontinued. I finally acquired it from eBay, probably for a bit too much money… The big shoota gunner on the other hand has a custom helmet (inspired by a Meganob head). I tried out brown stuff (less sticky than the green), and practiced sculpting a bit. I sculpted the visor shape first, let it dry and then drilled the holes with a pin vise. To finish the helmet off I added some bolts from a plastic rod.

Next up, it’s on to the Indomitus box and its Space Marines. These guys will be painted as Black Templars, something like my test model. I’ve converted these character models slightly with parts (mostly) from the new BT upgrade kit. The Chaplain I left unchanged as I felt he’s an excellent model as is, and wouldn’t be improved by doing a headswap or adding more accessories.

The Bladeguard Veterans and the Lieutenant were likewise built according to instructions. Superb models, though I’m a little concerned about painting the eye lenses on a couple of the models, as the heads pretty much had to be glued on with the rest of the model. The shields however are not glued on yet, should make painting much less frustrating. As a final note, drilling the barrel on the Volkite pistol took some effort, but I think I managed it well enough.

Then it’s on to the Necron side of the box. No real conversions here either, the only thing I did was to clip the bayonet off of the Warden’s gun, as I did with all my Warriors. The models are shown mainly for their bases, especially on the Reanimator. As it’s supposed to be a repair machine of sorts, I thought I’d use the Necron corpse, originally meant for the Primaris Captain’s base, here.

Speaking of bases, above you can see some new Imperial cultists / Cawdor. The models themselves have been done for quite a while, but I finished their bases only recently. The standout features are the resin books and candles I got from Greenstuffworld.

The final group of models is a set of 10 Poxwalkers. Nothing special with these ones, they’re all stock, but they’ve been zenithally primed. I used Citadel cans this time – expensive, but they haven’t let me down so far (knock on wood), and seem to be a bit smoother than the automotive ones I’ve used. I’ll be painting the models with Contrast paints and some additional highlighting, like my previous ones, but this time I’m planning on varying the skin tones and cloth colors a bit more.

To finish up this post let’s return to the hobby bingo card. This is anachronistic as I’ve already shown a more recent version with one more square, but let’s do it anyway… The ork helmet visor scores me the “sculpt something on a model” square. Fairly unimpressive as sculptures go, but it’s something more than just gap-filling, and I’m very happy taking these baby-steps in my sculpting journey.

A Couple More Revelators

Huh… In the last post I said that felt like painting some more Revelators, and I actually ended up doing so. Right away! Odd… But here they are, two mini marines painted much more simply than the Primaris of the last post.

I’ve previously said that I don’t much enjoy painting this scheme anymore. Happily, I had done a large part of the annoying work (carefully layering Dawnstone) previously, so now I got to start with the more fun stuff. Doing just a single highlight on just the upper edges of the model was pretty quick, the metallics were fine and using Contrast paints instead of washes felt like a good call. The yellows were annoying though… Always seem to get some grit in the paint, and don’t really understand why.

Painting the sergeant’s face was the most rewarding bit. Modern Space Marine heads are always a treat to paint – expressive, very well defined and relatively large – and this applies especially to the Primaris ones like on this model. Once again I added some color to the face with thinned-down Carroburg Crimson, but I also tried doing stubble. This was just (very thin) Drakenhof Nightshade, and it worked out really well! I think it’s about the best face I’ve painted. I’ll keep on practicing with the glazes on future heads, and I think the next step will be some tattoos.

The other bit which I thought was successful is the glow effect on the power sword. It was done by glazing with a couple of blue paints and white. I probably should’ve gone even thinner, but I think the effect is convincing enough.

These two marines are not yet part of a larger squad, just two models I liked the idea of and kitbashed. If you know your Space Marine markings, you’ll see they’re the beginnings of a Tactical Squad, though when I’ll get to making the rest of the battle brothers is anyone’s guess. First I’d have to get some more running legs!

Primaris Revelator

After painting the Black Templar I got the urge to paint some more Primaris. Luckily I had one started: he’s now painted up in my Revelators color scheme.

This model was built at the same time as the Templar, and as discussed previously, he’s converted a bit and is a mix of Firstborn and Primaris Marines. I’m very proud of the helmet modification, and now with paint on it you can actually tell what’s going on.

As he’s not a part of my existing army (of mini marines), I painted him a bit differently. I wanted to practice painting volumetric lighting rather than just edge highlighting everything once or twice. It took a bit of back and forth to get the shadows and highlights looking appropriate (ish), but I’m very happy with the result. My goal was to get the armor looking matt, not reflective with the extreme value contrasts of NMM. I think I managed to pull it off pretty nicely, and the gray armor reads more or less as Dawnstone, which was the target.

In addition to paying attention to the volumes, I tried a couple other new things as well. The first was a new recipe for the gold bits. It requires less paints, is more pleasant to paint and, with the additional contrast, looks better too. Needless to say, I’m very happy with the method and will be using it for all future Revelators. Previously I had been using Auric Armour Gold in the recipe, which is just a terrible color. I mean, is it just glitter in transparent medium? I think I can toss the pot now…

The other new thing was subtle weathering of the armor. I’ve noticed that I often go a bit overboard with weathering. Not necessarily in the sence that it would ruin the model or be unrealistic, just doing more than what I set out to do. This time I paid more attention to it, and again, think that I managed pretty well. There are areas that are really nice and some places that are not so good, but overall I like the effect.

Comparison of Revelators painted at different points during my hobby journey.

Huh… Now I feel like painting more Revelators. Funny how inspiration (/hobby-butterflying) works – it doesn’t really matter what I paint, I end up wanting to paint more similar models. I even have a few Revelators models started ages ago that need finishing. But of course, for whatever reason I’ll probably end up picking something different for my next project…

To finish off this post, I’ll claim another bingo square with this model: “incorporate a technique you haven’t mastered”. Volumetric lighting and the weathering both count, as I’ve still got a looong way to go before I start to approach “mastery” in either.

The keenly-eyed among you might notice there’s another new filled square in the card. More on that later…

Black Templar Initiate

I’ve painted my first Primaris Marine! I built this model at the tail-end of 2020, and he finally has his Black Templar livery on.

I started the hobby back in the WH40k 3rd edition days, and like countless others, was awed by John Blanche’s Black Templar cover art. Even so, I didn’t paint my first marines as Templars, and up until now that has continued.

The inspiration and the actual color guides for this model came from Maxime Corbeil (who in turn was inspired by Blanche). I’ve admired his BT army ever since seeing it in a White Dwarf (2017 Tale of Four Warlords), and dreamed of having models like that in my own collection. The black armor and all the edge-highlighting intimidated me for the longest time, but after I decided to just get on with it, I actually found it pretty fun. Highlighting the black armor took around two hours all together. Funnily enough, somehow I spent around 4,5 hours on the rest of the model, and one more on the base…

But even if I clocked in quite a number of hours on this lowly troop model, at no point did it feel like taking very long. Well, other than painting the shoulder pads white. That took quite many layers… Other than those, everything else was rather quick(ish) and enjoyable to paint. In the future I’ll try to keep the pads separate and prime them white to speed up the process.

Now that’s a properly sized marine!

More than anything, this model was a test piece. While I’m extremely happy with how it came out, I do see plenty of room for improvement. Mainly the (spot)highlight placement. I’ll have to study mr. Corbeil’s work a bit more before the next Templar. There will also be a more obvious change with the future models: I’ll follow Maxime’s guide for the bases as well, to get that classic orange-y dirt look (and hopefully a tad faster basing). This model was always going to join my Imperial Cult collection, and hence got the marble base.

I use this model to claim another square in the hobby bingo: paint a model in a color scheme you don’t normally use. Now, as I said, I haven’t previously painted any Black Templars, but even if the scheme was “black”, I would be OK. Ghaz was black, sure, but one model doesn’t yet mean “normally”.

Blood Warriors

Whoops! February went by without a single post. I haven’t been completely idle on the hobby front however, as I’ve managed to finish a project that’s sat on the to-do pile for years. Here are my Khorne Blood Warriors from the AoS starter set!

These guys have been built since 2018, and I laid down some basecoats in 2020, but only now mustered up the courage to properly start and finish painting them. That Chaos trim is notorious for discouraging painters and not without reason! I wouldn’t say it was difficult to paint, just very time-consuming. All together, these five models took around 20 hours of painting time.

The Warriors continue my Khorne army project which started out as a “speedpainting” exercise, though I don’t know if that was ever the right word. “Not-to-the-best-of-my-ability” would probably be more apt. Basically I painted the Reavers to GW’s “battle-ready” standard and the rest of the models more or less “parade-ready”. Heh, I don’t even know if it would be possible to speedpaint the Warriors with all that trim!

So yeah, painting these guys was a bit of a slog. I’m happy enough with the end result, but getting there was a paint-by-numbers affair which got a bit dull at times. Painting the red was probably the most fun, as I tried some very simple volumetric highlighting and subtle gradients. The models would really benefit from from one final highlight on the red (and on black, too), and it wouldn’t have taken much time either. I think I’ll try that with the Lord of Khorne model first and, who knows, maybe I’ll update these models and the rest of the army too.

Speaking of the Lord, it’s the last model from the starter army, which means my Khornates are in the same state as my Stormcasts – only missing the Big Boss. Maybe by the time AoS 4.0 rolls out I’ll be done with the first starter set 😀

My AoS starter set so far

Even More Necron Warriors

In what feels like a record time for me these days, I’ve finished the five remaining Necron Warriors and hence completed the squad. Here’s the lot with the accompanying Scarab Swarms:

The painting went pretty much as with the last batch. The OSL ended up a bit different from the previous ones (again), but I think it’s the best one yet. This time I tried to be a bit more accurate, especially with the eyes, rather than flooding everything with the fluorescent paint. I think I’m slowly but surely getting a hang of how the paint behaves and when to thin it, when not to. I’m still not satisfied with the actual glow on the gun barrels. It’s patchy and rough, which I believe comes from thinning the fluo paint (too much). I might have to try using regular acrylics, as they’re more predictable and easier to glaze with.

While painting these models, I tried something new. Not with the actual painting but I tried out an app called Brushrage. It’s designed to keep track of your painting projects, where you’re going with each and how much time you’ve spent on them. It’s got a bunch of other functions as well, but they’re not currently of interest to me. Now, my reason for taking up the app wasn’t to clock how much time it takes me to finish a certain mini, but to see how much painting time I actually manage these days. Quite a bit, as it turns out. I painted on nine days out of the last ten, around 30mins to an hour per day. Hopefully I can keep this up at least semi-consistently! And of course it was nice to see how long it took me to paint the Warriors too. I hadn’t yet taken up the app when I started these guys, but clocked in just over seven hours on them. I’d estimate that ten hours should be enough for the whole project (after priming, at least), which means around two hours a model. Pretty much what I was expecting, and not bad at all!

I’ll be taking a small break from Necrons now, as I’ve painted all the models that I built back at the start of 2021. I’ll get on building the rest of the Indomitus force before too long, but again, as it’s winter I’m not sure if I’ll get to prime them for a few months.

Finally, as I said in my previous warrior post, now that the whole unit is finished I’m claiming a bingo square with it. “Paint a unit before using it on the battlefield” on this one.

Corvus Cabal Shadow Piercer

After finishing the last five Necrons, I still had a couple of free days before work started. I wanted to work on something that I could most likely get done quickly, and picked up the Shadow Piercer. She took me about a week longer to paint than I’d have hoped, but she’s finished now.

Painting the figure was pretty fun, and largely similar affair to the last two Cabal models. In some ways I still think that the first Cabalist I painted is still the best one, probably due to overall contrast, but I tried to push it here with the clothes and think that the result is pretty good. I’ve improved in painting skin, ironically by reducing contrast there! I even added some light blue to the eye lids and lower parts of the severed head, which I think was successful. Some pink tones could work well to make the (Cabalist’s) skin more interesting, but I have wanted to paint this warband mainly in cold tones. Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind in the future and come back to experiment with these models…

Speaking of keeping the color palette in the blues and blacks, I made a little concession with the Blood for the Blood God. I pretty much had to add it to the trophy head and its sculpted blood drips. I debated on whether to add it to the sword as well, but it seemed appropriate in the end. The additional spot color also works to differentiate the Shadow Piercer as the leader of the Cabal.

In addition to the blood, the other new feature on this model compared to the two previous ones is her armor. This presented me with another dilemma – in the studio version gold is used to separate elements. I was very close to caving in and painting the armor trims and the beak gold, but I think I got just enough contrast in there to make the model not look boring.

For a minute I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to claim any bingo squares with this model. And then I realized that yes, this model too has been in my to-do pile, and even started for more than a year. That’s my hobby bingo card started for the year 2022!