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”.

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.

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!

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.