Lieutenant Varras

Alright, let’s get the hobby year 2020 started! I wanted to pick a small project to ease myself back to painting after a bit of a hiatus, so here’s Lieutenant Varras from the Battle for Macragge box.

I didn’t get any hobbying done during Christmas / New Year, due to not being home for the majority of them. But since then I’ve slowly been building and prepping models to eventually paint, and during last weekend and Epiphany Monday managed to paint up one of them. Varras had been sitting on my table for pretty long, and of course he’s been in my possession since the release of BfM in 2004. I had actually painted the model back then, but as he wasn’t really a part of my Ultramarine army, and I was never really happy with how he looked, I decided to strip him and give him a new paintjob.

Painting was rather straightforward, I used the same palette as for my Revelators, with the difference that I painted the pouches and holsters brown instead of black to bring in some additional color. I also tried out Citadel’s new paint triad for dark skin, and am very happy with the result. Definitely using it for some other models as well!

Painting this model pretty much finished the Space Marine side of BfM, as I have already painted the objective markers and a Tactical Squad (will have to do a marine with a flamer at some point). The squad is of course not the one from the box, but that’s fine as, to be frank, the BfM marine sculpts and casts were mostly terrible. I might get to the Tyranids at some point, as I think I’ve got most of the minis still in my possession. I’ve also tried to get hold of the Aquila lander terrain pieces (I still kick myself for binning those as a teenager), but so far the prices have been a bit too much.

Finally, I’ll begin filling the hobby bingo card as well. The card is a bit different than last year, as Rob redesigned it just this month. Let’s see if I’ll do better this time! I’ll cross off the “to-do pile model”, I think Varras qualifies.

Astra Rodentia Sentinel

Alright, I finished the Sentinel that I showed at the beginning of the month, and just in time to enter Azazel’s Mechanovember, too! As I’ve already spoken about building the model, this post is dedicated to the painting.

But first things first! If you read the title of the post, and have seen my previous posts, you noticed that I’ve got a new name for my Imperial Skaven: the Astra Rodentia. This was suggested by amazingturtles over on DakkaDakka, thanks to her! At first I thought it was a bit too noble sounding for this abhuman rabble, but the more I’ve been thinking about it the more sense it makes. Propaganda and all that..

And on to the painting! I’m super pleased with how this one came out! The first thing I needed to do was to decide on a paint scheme. As my rats are supposed to be a ragtag group of fighters using kit from various sources, I could basically choose anything I wanted. I didn’t want to go with the default Cadian scheme, but due to most of my models so far have green flak armor, the scheme could have some green in it. The rats are also fighting in an industrial setting, so some sort of urban camo would be appropriate. With this in mind, the classic Steel Legion vehicle scheme seemed like a perfect fit, and I’ve always liked the scheme too!

It took a bit of research to figure out what colors to use for the gray and the green. Some sources said that the gray was Fortress or Codex Grey, and the green was Rotting Green. While the latter seems accurate, the gray was surely something darker, or something’s up with the old photos of Steel Legion vehicles. But anyway, I used Dawnstone and Nurgling Green for my model, and I think it works pretty well. The camo was painted by first painting the basic shapes on the model, after which the two colors were mixed together and painted on the borders of the two colors to blend them in. The old sources suggested drybrushing for this blending, but the shape of the Sentinel didn’t really work for that so I just painted it in the normal way instead.

In addition to painting a camo scheme on a vehicle, this project was also a great opportunity to practice some new(/ish) techniques. I’m very happy with how all the lights and lenses came out, and had lots of fun doing all the freehand scribblings and weathering. Speaking of weathering, I finally got myself Typhus Corrosion and Ryza Rust (largely inspired by davekay and Azazel), and used them for the exhaust pipes and various other bits. Fun stuff! Painting the base was a bit of a challenge as I wanted to have a bit of color in there so that it’s not just all solid gray, but at the same time I didn’t want the base to steal the show (which a bright red barrel could easily do). Some yellow warning stripes, the red barrel and the wonderful little rat took care of the color, while drybrushing the whole thing with light gray for highlights / dust effects pulled the base together nicely. I also used some other white-ish colors afterwards to introduce a bit of variation, which worked wonders. Now, traditionally speaking, there’s probably not quite enough contrast between the base and the model, but we’re not letting that bother us!

Finally, I’m using this model to claim a square in the hobby bingo: paint a unit and add scenic bases. I’m perhaps cheating a bit, but a single Sentinel can be a unit so I’m counting it. It’s pretty clear now that I wont be getting a single bingo this year. Looking at the grid now, I think I could’ve claimed at least a couple more squares with the models I’ve done so far, but even with those, no bingo. That’s okay though, the card has been a fun additional motivator and I’m sure to try again next year!

WIP: Imperial Skaven Sentinel

After finishing the Orks in my last post I’ve been building stuff for a change. The biggest and most involved piece has been a Sentinel to accompany my space rats!

I’ve always loved the look of Sentinels, but this was the first time that I’ve actually bought and build one. I’d heard about the great posability of the model, and the kit did not disappoint! To showcase the posability, I decided to model the Sentinel descending a ruined factory floor. The right leg is at its shortest, while the left is extended as far as it goes. A “flex” pose if you will. I also cut off and reposed a couple of the toes to better conform the feet to the base. The cockpit was angled down a bit to further enhance the descending motion.

To integrate the Sentinel to my Skaven, I obviously had to convert the pilot into something more appropriate. I cut off the pilot’s torso and replaced it with one of the unused Plague Monk torsos from making the regular infantry (oh yes, a use for them!). This had two benefits: I got the hunched pose that would’ve been lacking with the human torso, and the head fit with without any modifications (I did greenstuff the neck joint a bit after taking the photo). The arms slotted right in like they were made for it, however I did remove the small screen from the other steering stick. I was a bit worried if the Skaven head was going to fit under the cage, but luckily I had zero problems. The pilot fits in with good clearance around him. If I have one regret it’s that I used the original pilot legs for this model, as you can’t really see them at all when the chassis is assembled. If I’d do this again, I’d just put a blob of greenstuff or some other spacer under the torso, and save myself a pilot for some other projects..

Building the base was fun, though I hope it won’t be too far from the infantry bases, aesthetically/thematically speaking. Unpainted it doesn’t look too industrial, but I’m hoping that paint will fix it. Oh yeah, and just before priming the model, I added a giant rat from the Plague Monk sprue to the base!

More Imperial Skaven

Alright, so August was pretty abysmal in terms of painting, but at least I got these two ratmen finished. Still, progress is progress is progress.

I got most of the paint work done during this past weekend, when I got to spent a night on each model. In a couple of hours, I was able to get them from “basecoated & washed” to basically finished. Sometimes it’s nice to just concentrate on one (small) figure at a time: seeing the progress and getting it done quickly is so satisfying.

While painting the robes I learned that you can actually over-thin your paint when doing the toothbrush flicking technique. Because of that, there’s less spattering than on the previous Skaven models, but I think they should fit in quite nicely anyway. I also tried painting the cloth on the rat with the autogun slightly darker than on the sniper, but the effect ended up being too subtle after the washes and the drybrushing. Will have to try other colors next time.

I wanted to try and paint some sort of camo cloth on to the sniper, and as I have gone for industrial basing, urban camo seemed appropriate. I think it came out pretty nicely for a first try, though the wash and the highlights might have blended the colors together a bit too much. What do you think? I also tried to do some intricate freehand work on top of some decals, and have hopefully pulled it off without making a huge mess.

These two models are my submission for Azazel’s Awesome August. I hope that I’m within the challenge parameters – they are a bit on the small and puny side, but are definitely converted models, and a lot of effort went into the painting. Plus they’re sci-fi Skaven, that’s awesome in my book. And hey, with this submission I’ve participated in Azazel’s monthly challenges for 12 months straight! My first, pre-blog entry was for Neglected Model September ’18. A big thank you to Azazel for all the hobby motivation!

WIP: Skaven and Scouts

Okay, definitely too long since last update, and not much to show for it.. But here goes anyway – I’ve built a couple more 40k Skaven, and also begun working on a SM Scout Squad.

First the Skaven. I’ve built a sneaky sniper and another riflerat, though with a small conversion this time. To reflect the idea that these guys are using any old hardware that can be mustered, I wanted some autoguns in their hands. I converted one from a Cadian lasgun by changing the magazine to one from a bolter, and took a barrel from an old Catachan lasgun.

The sniper was a bit more involved conversion. I wanted to use a Skitarii rifle, and with it would come the hands and arms as well. I did want to retain the Cadian shoulder pads though, so I needed to do some cutting. It didn’t go quite as nicely as I’d envisioned, and before greenstuffing I was a bit unsure if I had botched the arms. After the sculpting I reckon he looks good, no need for a redo. Which is good as all the Skitarii rifles are unique, so I couldn’t get the same pose again.

I originally thought that the sniper wouldn’t be carrying a lot of equipment on him, “traveling light” instead. But he seemed to need something on his back to balance the rifle on the front. Happily I recently received my small order from Kromlech (more on this later), and they had put in two freebie backpacks as well. I felt the other one was perfect for the sniper, and it even fit without any cutting.

Then on to the Scouts. I’ve actually had the Scout kit and the Scion heads to go with it for a long time, but before I got to building them, I saw West_minis’ brilliant Crimson Fists Scouts, that used Scion backpacks as well as the heads. Naturally I had to put the project on hold until I could get my hands on the rest of the Scions kit. This happened last week, and I set to work. The shotgunners were pretty straightforward, requiring only cutting down their back humps and a bit of greenstuff on their necks. Though I got to say that the arms were a right pain to get aligned. Still not sure if they’re how they’re supposed to.. I’m pretty sure I won’t be building another Scout squad after this (other than the Sniper squad I’ve got in my pile of shame..).

The sergeant on the other hand required more cutting and fixing, as I once again wanted to retain the original shoulderpads. With a bit of creative cutting and some putty, the Scion bolt pistol and power fist arms fit the Scout model pretty great! He’s also got a regular Space Marine head from the mkIV kit. It took some effort to attach, as I didn’t have a correct drill bit, but I got there in the end. I also cut off the service stud from his forehead.

I’ll have to get on painting these models as soon as possible, as I’ve got to get something done for Azazel’s August challenge. I’ve got three weeks though, minus the weekends, so I should be okay. Even if I don’t get all of them painted, I should be able to do at least a couple.

Imperial Skaven

Okay, back to miniatures! I’ve finished the Imperial Skaven that I built back in March. As I’ve discussed the modelling in the previous post, this one is dedicated to the painting and my thoughts on how these vermin fit the 40k universe.

Painting the Skaven was a lot of fun, and I tried to keep it “fast and loose” (with varying success..). I decided to go with the vanilla Cadian scheme, but make the clothes really dirty and the equipment scratched and worn. I started with the beige cloth, borrowing the idea from Jeff Vader’s brilliant Nighthaunt. The dirt was spattered on with a toothbrush, and afterwards the cloth was drybrushed and washed to give highlights/shadows, and also to further the weathered look.

As I’m doing this project as a sort of a Kill Team, I wanted to further differentiate the models, so identifying them would be easier. I decided to do this by painting the hoods in different colors. I reckoned yellow would suit the leader, and red would fit the flamer. As the plain colors looked a bit boring, I thought I’d do some simple freehand designs on them. Worked nicely enough, even if they’re a bit Orkish.. Good practice for the eventual Underworlds Gobbos!

I used a number of decals on these models, and it was great to see that they worked as they should, considering they were something like 10-20 years old (the “31” on one of the bases comes from a Dark Angels sheet in the Warriors of the Imperium box!). As you might have noticed, there are a couple of different designs on the shoulder pads. I’m not too familiar with the Imperial Guard identification conventions, and went mostly with what looks good to me. I also scribbled some “graffiti” on the models, to hint that the equipment might not be meant exactly new, or suitable for combat..

So what about the “lore”? These days, as far as I know, the Imperium considers nearly all abhumans as abomination to be shot on sight. Nothing wrong with that (narratively speaking), but this was too good a modelling opportunity to pass up. Back in the third edition days, there were mentions about various abhumans serving in the Guard, and I thought that even with the contemporary Imperial policies, there would be some backwater planets out there that would find it necessary to recruit outside the “pure” human genepool. Not many men would willingly fight with the filthy vermin, but they could be given any old equipment that happened to be in the storage and made surprisingly effective fighters, especially in confined spaces.

I enjoyed this little project very much, and have plans for many more figures. I’ve already ordered a couple of bits for the next models, but we’ll see when I get my hands on those. Anyway, my next task will be to delve back into the Underworlds, and to finally start the Nighvault models that have been sitting on my desk for almost a month!

Revelators Captain, Collection So Far

Oh yes, my marine Captain is finally finished! With that, I’ve finished what roughly equates to a Start Collecting! box plus some extras, giving me a game legal army (at least what was legal back in 4th..). I’m not planning on playing any time soon, of course, but that’s neither here or there..

This model was converted way back in November last year, and as those who were in the hobby in the 3rd ed. era might recognize, he’s based on the old metal Captain model that came in the Command Squad box. I planned the kitbash/conversion for a long time, but basically I noticed that you could get the plastic Captain to look pretty close to the old metal one just by finding an appropriate head. I think the one I used is from some Primaris kit. I also did a small alteration to the armor: I added the collar and the studs in it to get a closer resemblance to the original. There are some differences, of course, like the backpack which I like more than the basic design.

As this was a special model, I wanted to do something different with the painting. I’d seen Ben Komets’ tutorial on a 2 hour “tabletop” Ultramarine, and inspired by it I thought I’d try to do some panel modulation on the armor. Nothing like proper NMM, but maybe something shinier than the regular grunts. I also wanted to do something with the cloak, and decided to try freehanding the chapter badge in there. Needless to say, painting this guy took quite a bit more than 2 hours to finish, but I’m pretty pleased with myself anyway. Painting the armor was actually quite fun, and while I suspect it took longer than my previous marines, it didn’t feel like it. One cool thing is that I didn’t use any washes on the gray armor!

I got the freehand on the cloak done without too much issues. I did have to repaint the small triangular rays, as I initially their position was off, but that was pretty much it. White design on black had me worried in the beginning, but starting with Celestra Grey and working up from there seemed to work well. The face was fun to paint once again, and I tried some new things there as well. I tried doing the “eye liner” to define the eyes better, and used dark brown and off-white instead of black and white. I think the result is nice, although in the close-up the eyes look maybe a bit too wide. Good enough, I say!

Above you can see the Captain with his Veteran Sergeant (write-up pending), another plastic tribute to the 3rd ed. Command Squad box. And as I mentioned in a comment on a previous post, I took a photo of my fledgling Space Marine army. They’re starting to look respectable! In addition to the Captain, there’s a Tactical Squad, an Ironclad, a Devastator Squad, the Veteran Sergeant mentioned above and the Sergeant from Battle for Macragge starter set (again, write-up pending).

And last but not least, another square claimed in the bingo card! The Captain was a new version of one of my old character models (see the old version in the post about my Ultramarine army). With his power armor he also counts for Azazel’s Mechanismo May challenge.

Revelators Ironclad Dreadnought

It has been a bit too long since my last update, but I’ve finally got something new to show! I’ve finished an Ironclad Dreadnought for my Revelators. This is my main entry for Azazel’s Armoured April challenge.

I’ve loved the Space Marine Dreadnought ever since I first saw it when getting into the hobby back in 3rd edition of WH40k. While it doesn’t look very functional with those stubby legs, there is something special about the boxy hull and the small vision slit. In the 3rd edition days there was only the standard Dread, I think the Ironclad and the Venerable variants came slightly after my miniature hobby went on a long break. And of course, there’s now countless other Dreads as well, like the Primaris Redemptor and all those weird ones from Forgeworld. I’m not too hot on them myself, but luckily the old Castaferrums are still available. I’ve still got an unbuilt Venerable kit and I’m looking to get the classic Dread into my collection as well!

This guy took quite a bit longer to paint than I though it would, it’s a fairly simple model after all. But I did lose two weekends to travelling, and a couple of days to a flu (insert a Nurgle joke here). And layering the armor took ages! Well, it’s ready now and that’s all that matters. Overall this was a fun project. I tried a couple of new things and learned some important lessons.

This was my first vehicle in my current Space Marine collection, and I thought I’d have to do some battle damage so it wouldn’t look too boring. I’d have to keep it from going too extreme though, as my marines have no weathering. I think I overdid it a bit, again, but I’m happy with most of it. Another new trick I tried was masking: I did the soot on the flamers/exhaust pipes after finishing the (clean) armor, and not wanting to mess up that I tried some Faskolor tape that I have left over from my RC hobby. Worked out nicely!

What did I learn? One important thing: MicroSol softens acrylic paint too! So don’t be lazy like me, and apply gloss varnish before laying down the decals and chemicals! Another thing that I’ll be paying attention to in the future is how to handle sub-assemblies, as now I got some minor metal flakes on the arms by holding them with my fingers. Not super apparent, but annoying.

Modelling-wise, this Ironclad is pretty much as barebones as it gets. The only accessory I put on him was the smoke launcher. I did consider purity seals and other decorations, but I kind of wanted to keep him looking very utilitarian, a brawler without any bells or whistles. The one minor conversion I did was cutting out his “toes” and putting the feet on backwards. If I would’ve thought about it a little sooner, magnetizing some bits could’ve been nice, but I’ll just leave that for some other project. And in hindsight, I probably should have improved the base a bit with some fine sand and such. Well, at least I’ve got an example of the OG (at least to me) pre-molded scenic base in my collection!

I wasn’t too happy with the faceplates in this kit, but as I don’t have any better ones currently, I just attached one with a tiny blob of super glue so that it can be switched later. I think I’ve warmed up to it now though, so it’ll probably stay. In my quest to name all my Revelators units after cool video games, I dubbed the Dread ‘Ruiner’, though part of the name/callsign is sadly obscured by the purity seal.

Above you can see him duking it out with my other Dread, done for last Orktober. Is the washing machine a tiny bit shorter than the trash can? More on the Ork Dreadnought later. And, as with most of my models lately, I was able to claim a square in the hobby bingo: “paint a vehicle”.

Revelators Devastator Squad

Finally! New finished models! Time for some more Space Marines from my home-brew chapter Revelators. A theme for Azazel‘s March hobby challenge was squads, and I decided that it was time to paint up my Devastators armed with heavy bolters.

These guys had been sitting in my project queue for more than a year. The basic models were built, but needed some accessories and basing. Additionally, the sarge’s arms were in a really weird pose, raised up and almost covering his face (what was I thinking..). I cut the arms off and repositioned them, and it made a huge difference! I really love the pose now!

Modelling-wise, my favorite thing about these marines are the accessories that I added. Up until now I’ve pretty much avoided adding anything but grenades and purity seals to the models, as the pouches and holsters rarely seemed to fit, and/or seemed way too large. The trick seems to be that you have to cut one of the pouches off (so that you get one large pouch or double small pouch), and then the bits fit pretty nicely.

Of course, as you’ve probably noticed if you’re familiar with SM kits, I’ve also changed the standard armor bits with this squad. I thought that the heavy mk3 armor would fit the Devastators well, but as I don’t really like the mk3 helmets or backpacks, I decided to go with mk7 bits for those. My “lore reasoning” being that the more modern equipment would provide better optics and more efficient power.

Not much to say about the painting, it was a bit of a slog, the gold shoulder pad trims especially took a little back-and-forth (Auric Armour Gold is terrible..). My Raphael brush that I had been using for general purpose painting lost its tip (or got so bad that I didn’t tolerate it anymore) while I was painting the lettering on the banner, so I pulled a fresh one for the face. Oh my word, I think I never had this good tip on the last brush! Well, I probably ruined it right the first time I used it.. But this was the first time I could paint the eyes without having to clean up the eyelids afterwards! Makes me kind of want to try and do eyes with dark outlines, like the big boys do! Just got to keep this one in good shape..

And to top the post off, I’ll get to mark another square in the bingo card! These were proper neglegted models.

WIP: Imperial Skaven

Another week and no new finished models.. Oh well, maybe next week. But in the interest of showing something more recent than stuff from my teenage years (there’s still some to share!), take a look at my most recent models! I know I said in my first post that I’d only showcase finished models (as in “painted”), but let’s count “assembled” as a finished state, shall we?

A good while ago I came across a a tutorial on how to build a WH40k Imperial Skaven by Eric Sexton. I liked the idea very much and eventually got some Cadians and Plague Monks of eBay. Last week I actually started assembling them, and built three test models: a sergeant, a riflerat and a rat with a flamer. I’m very happy with how the little group came out, I like the poses and the bits that I used, everything fit without problems and the anatomy (neck, specifically) seems pretty natural.

I did have to repose the riflerat’s head, as it was originally too high and looked awkward. It was also facing to the left, which I changed in this second/final version. I did end up sculpting the neck twice, but it didn’t take too long, was good practice, and again, I’m much happier with the result. I’m now debating on whether to resculpt the sarge’s neck and give him a collar like the two others have.

I’ve got bits for two more Skaven, but I think I’m saving those for now. My eventual goal for these guys is to create a Kill Team-sized group, so around 10-15 models. I don’t play the game though and don’t know much about the rules, so they might not be a legal team. “Rule of Cool”. I’ll paint these guys up before building any more (and probably have to get some new bits..). Still haven’t settled on a paint scheme, though I’m currently leaning on something Cadian-esque. I’m open to suggestions!

Oh yeah, what’s up with the bases? With these models I thought that I’d go into a bold, new direction, and would paint the models separate from their bases. For ease of painting I superglued the rats to some spare bases. For the actual bases I wanted to try something other than my goto sandy bases, and went for an industrial look. They were really fun to build, and should be equally fun to paint!

Finally, I’m counting these guys for a square in the bingo card. They could’ve worked for a lot of different squares, but I went with “sculpt something on a model”, as doing the necks was more than just gap-filling (not much, but still).