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

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”.

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.

More Necron Warriors

I had some time to paint during the holidays, and managed to finish five more Necrons. These guys narrowly missed the New Year’s Eve deadline to be counted for last year’s minis, but now they provided a great start for my hobby year 2022!

Not much to say about the painting that I haven’t said in the previous Necron posts. The painting felt quicker than with the last squad, which of course was welcome. When I compared these new ones to the previous squad, the paintjobs are pretty much indistinguishable from each other, apart from the OSL effects. On this new batch the light is brighter, less saturated. I think I had a better idea about what to do now than before, and went a little easier with adding red. I still have ways to go with OSL, but I think I’m going in the right direction.

Hopefully I’ll make short work of the remaining five warriors too, though I’m taking a quick(-ish) detour to work on something else before returning to the robot skellingtons.

Sadly no bingo square with this lot – yet. I’ll claim one when I finish the other half of the squad.

WIP: Ruins; Bingo!

Merry Christmas everyone! Today I’ve got something a little different to show you. It’s not a finished model, that’s for sure, but a piece of terrain! It’s basically my first try at scratch built scenery, and I went with the most classic of subjects – a corner piece of a ruined building.

I’m a sucker for good DIY-scenery, but haven’t really tried doing it except for a couple of very humble attempts in my teens. Of course, me being primarily a painter, I don’t have much use for scenery, at least for gaming purposes. Display boards, dioramas/vignettes or photography backdrops would be really cool however, so I thought I’d see what scratch-building was like.

As you can see, I decided to start my terrain-making journey with a staple of scratch-builds, the ruined corner piece. I’m not super happy with the result, but that’s fine as first and foremost this was an opportunity to try out different materials and see what they’re like to work with. For the building I used XPVC sheets for the walls and the tiling, cork for the floor bases and some ABS pipes and paperclips for detailing. Greenstuffworld putty was used for some gap filling. The base was made out of foam board, some sort of wall filler and sand.

Trying out all the materials was an educating experience: if/when I make more buildings like this, I’ll probably use foam board for the building and XPVC for the base. XPVC doesn’t warp and it’s great for making bullet holes and such details, but it’s too hard to cut the main shapes. That being said, making tiles from it was great and I’ll be using it for basing in the future, instead of ABS plastic sheets!

I wasn’t too happy with the GSW putty, I felt it dried way too quickly. I don’t know if Tamiya or any of the other alternatives work any different, but I might try another one some day.  The wall filler I used to smooth the base on the other hand worked pretty well – it’s super light, didn’t shrink and dried quickly (but not too quickly). It was pretty expensive though, at least if I don’t end up using the rest of the jar…

So yeah, not a complete success, but I think I learned a lot. I also feel like the build is missing some crucial elements, mainly heaps of rubble and broken tiles around the base of the building, but it’s finished for now. I can always come back to it later, but if I’m being honest, I’m not sure if this model is ever getting painted..

But again, it’s all fine, since the second reason for building this piece was to score one more square on the hobby bingo (“scratch-build a piece of scenery”). Even if the build is not a triumph it counts, and the square doesn’t say anything about painting! With that, I’ve finally scored a bingo! 😀 This is the third year I’ve attempted it, so it took some time, but it’s done now. Let’s see if I can repeat the feat next year!

Makari

It has been a while! After Ghazghkull I had an urge to build something (more on that soon, I hope), but it also made me want to paint all kinds of models. Painting time being at a premium these days, I decided to work on something small so that I’d have a chance to finish before the holidays. It started to look like this would be a close one, but I got Makari finished!

I think I started working on him around a month ago, but only got to work on him during some weekends. Still, I’ve put at least five hours of work on him, which is probably more than a model of this size should take. I enjoyed every bit of the occasional hobby getaway, however, and am very happy with the end result!

As with Ghazghkull, I followed the studio scheme pretty closely, just replacing red with orange. The one notable omission are the white dags on the banner flaps. I left them out partly as it cut down the painting time (though not by much, I reckon), but mostly because I don’t like them that much. For pretty much the same reason I changed the yellow glyph a bit: I didn’t like the tiny black-and-white dags, so I used a “bad” glyph transfer instead. The rest of the glyphs are also transfers; I thought about freehanding them, but transfers were the faster option.

Makari with my old metal grot. The proportions of these guys have changed!

I used quite a bit of glazing on the model, much like with Ghaz. The big horns are based with silver and colored with Nazdreg Yellow and Guilliman Flesh. The white skull is glazed with Basilicanum Grey and the bone with Snakebite Leather. I even used some OOP Bloodletter for Makari’s nose!

I’m using Makari to claim a cheeky square on the bingo card: paint a unit with unique markings to be your general’s retinue. I suspect this isn’t quite what the original intention of the square was, but I’m saying it counts! I tried to mirror some of the color scheme elements on Ghaz to Makari, such as the orange to black gradient, orange teef and white skull, yellowish bone and the use of blue as a very tiny accent color. Of course, much of it is down to following the studio schemes, but when the end result works, it works! Honestly, painting Ghazghkull and Makari has been a superb exercise both for learning painting techniques and color composition.

I think this was good practice for the eventual Zarbag’s Gitz (or Rippa’s Snarlfangs), but as much as I’d like to start painting them they’re yet unprimed and I don’t know if I’ll be able to spray them before spring. Of course, it’s not like I’m running out of things to paint! I think I’ve got a couple dozen models in various stages of completion, so with the hobby time I manage these days, I’m probably set for next year as well 😀

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!