Ghazghkull Thraka

WAAAAGH! I’ve finished my Ghazghkull, appropriately for Orktober! If I’m only going to finish one model this month, I can think of no better one than him. I got the model as a birthday present from my wife and started working on him in June. So yeah, it took quite a while to finish (to be fair, there were a couple of other models in between, as well as some other distractions:)), but I couldn’t be much happier with the finished model! I think it might be my best work yet!

There were quite a lot of firsts and otherwise experimenting with this model. The biggest one was the black armor with multiple edge highlights, but using glazes to alter colors for fades and weathering were pretty new to me, as were the subtle OSL effects. Not to mention that this was the first model to be completed after the birth of my son!

For the color scheme I tried to replicate the studio scheme. As Ghazghkull is a legendary Goff character I wanted him to keep the black armor, but I also wanted him to tie in with my “orange orks”. That’s why I replaced the red accent color for orange on my model. I also used the same recipes that I’d used on the boyz for the skin, cloth, leather, and of course the wasteland base.

For the black armor and the metal bits I followed the recipes from “Painting Ghazghkull” article found in White Dwarf #453. That involved some paint mixing (purple-ish highlights for the armor and a brownish basecoat for metals), which was interesting and not all that scary in the end. Just for the convenience though, I’ll probably be using paints straight from the bottle for my future black armor highlighting needs. But yeah, I’m loving the final result! While painting, I thought that the highlights on black looked a bit too much like TRON, but when the model’s all together the armor looks black as it should. The highlights are a bit too chunky in places, but I’ll improve my highlighting game with future models!

The orange presented me with a peculiar challenge that I hadn’t really noticed before: orange is a color that doesn’t have a lot of tonal range. There is no dark orange like there is dark red, for example. Dark orange is brown! In the ‘Eavy Metal version the power klaw (and the glyphs) are dark red, but I didn’t want mine to be brown. I had to leave these bits more vibrant so that they would read as orange, so in that way the studio model is stronger compositionally, but I did try to punch the highlights on the iron gob so that they would draw the eye towards the face.

Ghazghkull towering over the boyz.

Weathering was done by glazing various brown tones on the crevasses and the lower parts of the armor plates. Scratches were painted pretty much only on the freehand patterns, otherwise I ended up relying on the modelled damage. I considered doing some sponge weathering as well, but in the end I left it out. Mostly because I thought the model looked great already but I was also feeling a bit of painting fatigue.

A lone Space Wolf about to be pooped on.

There are still quite a number of things that I could improve or add to the model, but I’m calling it done. Seriously, I think the more time I spend painting a model, the more I notice places where I could do better if I spent the time! My original goal was to give this centerpiece model the paintjob it deserves, but it’s not a competition piece so I’m not sweating over every tiny detail. I’m super happy with how it came out and proud to have painted such a big, initially very intimidating model! Next up, something much smaller!

Last but not least, I’m one square closer to scoring that elusive bingo. Ghazghkull qualifies as a monster, which means that I only have to build a piece of scenery before the end of the year! I’ve been thinking about going into build mode for a bit now that I’ve finished a major painting project, so maybe I’ll have a simple piece of scenery in my hands before too long!

Space Wolf Grey Hunter

After a week or so of painting, I’ve finished the Space Wolf Grey Hunter that I built in honor of our firstborn, due in a month or so.

The whole model was built and painted around the idea of “baby blue”, and as WH40k already has an excellent baby blueish color scheme on the Space Wolves, I thought I’d make a model out of it! (read more about the build in a previous post) The main color of the armor has changed somewhat during the years, from a blueish gray to a more neutral one, but I tried to go for a second edition look that in my mind is quite iconic with its happy, bright and bold colors. Of course, I did mix in some more modern elements like the base color scheme and some minimal weathering of the lower legs to tie the model to the base, but overall the goal was to paint the model very cleanly and neatly.

Unfortunately, painting the model started with almost ruining the model, as the automotive can of white spray primer I tried to use had gone bad and the model was blasted with gritty paint. Thankfully I didn’t spray it on too thickly and was able to brush and poke almost all of the unwanted paint specks off the model. I then bought a can of Corax White which, while expensive, worked perfectly. After the priming the painting was enjoyable if a bit time consuming. I’m not in a hurry to paint any more Wolves in this scheme, but I’m very happy with how this one came out!

For the armor I followed another tutorial on Tale of Painters (thanks Garfy!). It uses the same basic paints as in the Games Workshop’s guides, but is lighter. The process was also a bit different than the default basecoat-wash-layer-highlight, so I got to try my hand at recess shading a Space Marine armor. I don’t know which is faster, all-over wash and re-layering or just recess shading, but the recess shading didn’t feel too tedious. I kinda have a hankering to paint some other marine scheme with this method! Maybe get that “walk of the legions” project going! If nothing else, I’m sure my brush control and edge highlighting skills would improve.

I spent quite a bit of time on the face, trying to incorporate some color on it – a bit of red on the nose, cheeks and ears to suggest a colder environment and a bit of blue-gray on the eyelids for that weariness. I think the face could still use some more definition, but it’s good enough for now! I was also happy to be able to use an old water transfer on the left shoulder pad – the decal comes from the same box as the bolter. It took quite a lot of decal softener to get flat on the pad, but I think it came out great in the end!

The only thing on the model I’m not super happy about is the freehand on the chainsword. I thing the triangle motif is more appropriate for the Wolves than the hazard stripes, but with the orange shading on the yellow the sword reminds me of cartoon tigers! Oh well… Let’s call the model done and get back to Ghazkhull.

Necron Plasmancer; More Scarab Swarms

It’s been quite a couple of weeks as me and the missus moved to a new town. Everything’s slowly finding its place and perhaps most importantly I’ve got the painting area set up. Yesterday I finished my first model in the new home: the Necron Plasmancer from the Indomitus box!

As I’ve probably mentioned once or twice, this is probably my favorite Necron model from the box. He’s like a techno Cairn Wraith, many of which we’ve seen from the INQ28/blanchitsu community. I painted him sort of as a treat after finishing the Warrior squad earlier in the spring.

The painting was largely the same as with the Warriors, I just used thinned down Contrast paint for the black bits instead of multiple Nuln Oil washes. There were of course a couple of things which do not feature on the more basic troops, mainly the power weapon and the ribbons. I didn’t really want to use gold for the ribbons, but I think I got just about enough variation on them with the small gradients. In hindsight a few cream colored squares could’ve looked cool too, as with the hidden ribcage and no gun case the model features very little cream.

The power glaive was a first for me and I pretty much tried to copy the light placement from the boxart, just with orange instead of green. It ended up a lot brighter than the green one, but I suppose it’s an okay first attempt. I think I managed to keep it looking mostly orange instead of red or yellow, and more or less in keeping with the other orange lights. I wasn’t too concerned about smooth blending as I’m trying to keep these relatively quick to paint. And in any case I’ve got plenty of models to practice with!

I’ve also finished another trio of Scarab Swarms. I didn’t use the previous ones as reference, so the lights ended up a bit lighter. I think they look good though, I might even prefer these ones as the OSL is more subtle.

“Go forth my minions and do my evil bidding!”

In the interest of claiming every hobby bingo square I can, I’ll use the Plasmancer for “completely paint a unit before using it on a battlefield”. Feels a bit like cheating with only one small model, but it does count as a unit!

WIP: Space Wolf

A quick post today to show you a model I started working on – a Space Wolf Grey Hunter.

Now, I’m not going to start an army of Space Wolves, this will most likely be a one-off. But this one’s a bit special for me, as it will be in honor of our firstborn, due in around two months! My wife actually gave me the idea, as she asked if (or what) I’d paint baby blue for our baby boy. A great idea, I thought, and after giving it quite a bit of thought (I thought a blue-skinned cherub would’ve been too macabre and a grot might’ve sent the wrong message..) I realized that this would be the perfect opportunity to paint a second edition-inspired Space Wolf!

I spent quite a lot of time planning and building the model, but I’m happy how it turned out. Most of the build time went into “refurbishing” and attaching the second edition bolter on to his arms. I still have a couple of these bolters from one of my first kits that I bought, and I thought one of them would complement the second edition paint scheme really well. To be honest, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t ever use them on anything, as they’re showing their age a bit, but after seeing OSJC using one for his Space Sharks I knew I had to borrow the idea! Obviously, the scale is better for primaris marines, but it’s not bad for mini-marines. The conversion is pretty simple, if a bit time-consuming: the main body from a second edition bolter, the hand, magazine well and the nub over the barrel from a mk7 bolter and the magazine from a mk3 one. As the body of the gun is quite a bit thicker than the modern ones, I had to do some cutting with the hand. The anatomy is not the greatest, but will do.. As for the rest of the model, it’s pretty much a standard mk7 tactical marine. I don’t have many Space Wolf bits, but found an appropriate head for him at least (is that Paul Sr. from American Chopper?), and to top the model off I gave him a mk3 chainsword. Kinda looks like a furry tail! 😀

I’ll use this model for the “conversion” square in the hobby bingo. Since the last post I’ve also crossed off another square by making a few storage boxes with steel bottoms in anticipation of the upcoming move.

WIP: Astra Rodentia Reinforcements; Imperial Pilot

After finishing the Necron Warrior squad, I switched to build mode. Other than some basing work, I hadn’t built anything after the New Year’s, so it was about time! Not that I had painted a huge lot, either, but that’s neither here nor there… Anyways, I’ve now got three more rats queued for painting and joining my Astra Rodentia force. Also, I built a disembarked Imperial Guard (Sentinel/tank) pilot.

The three rats that I built were some more specialists: a shotgunner, a plasma gunner and a medic (inspired by Pomander Cask’s medic model). The ‘gunners got different body armors, to reinforce the idea of a ragtag group also in modeling in addition to painting. Of course, rules-wise the plasma rat could be used as a Scion. I’m pretty happy with each of them, though there are a few nitpicks. The biggest of these is the weapon sling on the medic. I practiced greenstuff sculpting but this wasn’t one of my better attempts. Still, it’ll probably stay like that and in any case it’ll hardly even be visible in photos 😀

From the rear you can see some of the equipment I once again stuffed on their belts and backs. I think it adds a lot of character to the models and also helps to blend the body and the legs together (though there’s not much to hide – the join is really clean). One bit I’ll note is the backpack on the plasma gunner. The Scion bodies have big square slots in their backs, and my original plan was to fill it with putty. Of course I forgot to do it when filling the other gaps, so I thought I’d hide the slot with equipment instead. As the original Scion backpacks were used for my Space Marine Scouts, I grabbed a resin one from Kromlech. I got two of these as a freebie a long time ago (the other’s on the Astra Rodentia sharpshooter), and they fit really well. They even have camo cloaks strapped on like the Scion packs! Still, I made a slight modification: the original had a couple of grenades and a canteen hanging of the backpack – I cut these off and changed them to GW bits. It’s not a big change (the GW parts are just slightly larger), but I think it keeps the aesthetic closer to a GW model this way.

Then on to the Imperial Guard pilot. As I have quite a lot of IG leftover parts from making the Rodentia, I thought I’d use some of them for a one-off “marker” model, kind of like Lieutenant Varras. I imagine his ride got destroyed or disabled and he was injured in the process. After bandaging his arm and fashioning a sling he’s looking for a way back to a friendly outpost. The bits are mostly from the Cadian Command Squad. The head and the holster are from a Chimera, I think. I thought of a neat trick with the holster: after removing the pistol handle I carefully cut under the holster flap to make it curl a bit, like it was open. I’m sure I wasn’t the first to come up with this, but I think it’s pretty cool! The model still needs basing, probably similar to the ones on my Necrons. The paint scheme will most likely be Steel Legion inspired.

I’m claiming another square on the hobby bingo with the medic model. It’s the “sculpt something on a model (other than gap filling)”, and while the weapon sling is so shoddy I feel a bit guilty about this, I have to score squares where I can! Might have considerably less time for it soon!

Finally, I’ve made some hobby acquisitions. Yesterday I received a package from Japan, containing a Tamiya pin vise and a side cutter. I’m yet to give them any real action, but I tried them on a piece of sprue and they’re definitely an upgrade over the Army Painter pin vice and Citadel cutter that I’d been using before. I’ve also bought a pair of X-acto-type knives with #11 blades to see if I like them better than retractable Stanley-knives. And finally, for my birthday my wonderful wife surprised me with “something small”, which turned out to be the new Ghazghkull Thraka model! That thing’s huge, I tell you!

Necron Warriors; RL Developments

I’ve finally managed to complete some new models! I haven’t painted a complete squad in ages, but here goes, the first 10 Necron Warriors and their Scarab Swarms from the Indomitus boxed set.

These guys were an attempt at a good-looking speed paint and I think the project was a success. While it took me close to two months to finish these (ouch), I only managed to paint on weekends, and not even all of them. In total I probably spent 2-3 hours on each of them, but the process felt pretty quick. I noticed a couple of places where I might be able to streamline it a bit for the next batch of models, too.

I’m not going to go in-depth on how these guys were painted, as I already talked about it in my previous post. Of course, all credit for the scheme goes to Trovarion and his tutorial!

Compared to the two original test models, I think I managed to get pretty similar results with the eight following models. The one thing I have to pay attention to with future models is that I overshaded the sides of the heads a bit with the “production” models, the test models look better. Not a big problem, and I’m not going back to fix it, but I’ll try to do better with the next ones. There’ll be plenty!

I got to cross off another square from this year’s bingo card: paint a model from a faction I didn’t already have painted models for. Oh boy, the year is half-way through and I’ve just got two squares! Not only that, the total number of finished models for the year is 15! 2021 hasn’t been too productive for me…

…and it probably won’t get much better any time soon. But I’ve got reasons! I got a new job starting in August as a teacher. And not a substitute either, this is a permanent(-ish) job. I’ve got a week left at my current gig before the summer holiday, which is exciting! I’ll probably be able to do some hobbying during the two months off, but of course there’s plenty of spending time with the missus, our families and friends. Also, we’ll have to move, once again, during the summer.

But, I’ve got even bigger news than the new job! Or, smaller, depending on your point of view… Me and my wife are having a baby boy! We’re about half-way through with the pregnancy, his estimated time of arrival is in mid-September. So, quite a bit (/everything) is going to change in a couple month’s time, but it’s something that I’m very much looking forward to. Here’s hoping that I get myself a tiny painting buddy in a few years 😀

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..