Saturday, March 29, 2014

Five Nights, One Knight - Another GW Imperial Knight (Titan) Painted

This Knight knows the False Emperor must be stopped...
Here is my painted Imperial Knight - "El Booze" - a Knight Titan in service of the Sons of Horus Legion. This project is inspired by Dallas in many ways - from the purchase, to getting it painted in five days - I have to credit him for really spurring this on.

Sunday afternoon - basic "skeleton" assembled
Monday evening - first coats of paint
Dallas and I ordered our models from the US as soon as they were released by GW (and saved big time doing so - while I have a lot of love for Canadian retailers, GW tries to use our third-world devalued Canadian dollar to rip us off). Dallas got started on his right away, while I dithered, engrossed with my Legion Project.

Late Monday evening - two washes of GW Nuln Oil wash over the basic metal colours

The eyes are painted…man do they look spooky
But there was a clock of sorts running - the local GW store was having a little competition for painted Knight models today.  Dallas worked carefully and religiously to get his done in time.  And it looked awesome! Shamed and inspired, last Sunday I realized I had less than a week left, so I dove into it.

This is Tuesday night…basic colours applied to the plates, and the lower level plates are glued on
Thursday night - now the plates are on, decals starting to come together
 I built the model on Sunday afternoon, and painted over Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The short instructional videos GW put on YouTube about assembling and painting the Knight were excellent guides and really helped out.  I painted the "skeleton" first, leaving the armour plates off.  The skeleton was painted with GW Leadbelcher paint, highlighted with GW Gahenas Gold, and washed with two coats of Nuln Oil.

The finished product from Friday night 
Love that scary chain sword arm
The back story behind the Imperial Knights is, as far as I'm concerned, a bit barmy.  The Imperium's armed forces are replete with a vast array of scary weapons systems, including entire pseudo-fraternal orders of 20-story-tall walking killing machines.  But somehow these Imperial Knights are run as a borderline farmer co-op on some agri-worlds?  Right…

A view of the "skeleton" behind the plates…and hey, the banner is backwards! I'm such a dunce with models sometimes

Battle cannon ready to hunt loyalists on Istvaan III and elsewhere...
So I just ignored the whole Imperial Knight back story all together, and painted this to be part of Horus's 16th Legion.  The Space Marine legions are travelling carnival hordes of weapons and troops - why wouldn't they have a few Knights in the armoury? This way it can be part of the ongoing Horus Heresy action when we start playing some games later in the spring.

I used a combination of washes and sponging to add some weathering to the plates on the armour 

I added some additional weathering to the exhausts at the back
The armour plates were painted a mix of black and sea foam green that the Sons of Horus seem to like, with a few white spots (knee plate, face plate). I used a mix of decals from the Imperial Knight box and a Forge World Sons of Horus decal sheet.

Dallas pointed out these withered eagles on the Knight decal sheet - I'm glad he did!

The "withered eagle" makes a nice commentary for a piece of machinery in Horus' arsenal…
This model is one of the nicest GW has put out in a long, long time.  It was fun to assemble, looks really cool and was a lot of fun to paint. If you look closely at the pictures you will see I put the leg banner on backwards (duh) but other than that I didn't screw anything up too bad. The array of options for design and enhancement in the box is impressive.  I opted for the rapid fire battle cannon, but am kind of regretting it after seeing how cool that melta cannon looks…oh well.

Dallas and I brought our respective Knight models out to the local GW shop for the show today - hopefully Dallas will do a post on the blog recapping that, but suffice to say there are a number of really talented painters in Winnipeg!

And now, back to the Legion project...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Games Workshop's 40K Imperial Knight (Titan) Painted!

File this one under "Latest/Greatest/Shiniest"... the new Imperial Knight (don't call it a Titan) for 40K. Conscript Greg and I each picked up one of these from a mail-order discounter and I went down to Pembina ND to pick them up two weekends ago. I finished this one in record time - there's a "show-off" event at the local GW this weekend and I wanted to have it done in time.

Building this model, like most modern GW kits, was straightforward and mostly satisfying. The worst I could say about it was that some of the parts that were designed for articulation have tolerances that were too close to accommodate dry fitting without glue (head and stubber mount, I'm looking at you). However, these I just glued in place.

As the label says, I built this one as a Knight Errant of House Krast. This noble house has a history dating back to the Codex Titanicus of 1994 - unlike its modern iteration, the historic House Krast colours were blue and yellow, and its emblem a Maltese or Amalfi cross. So this is what I went with.

For blues, I basecoated with GW Regal Blue and highlighted this with Ultramarines Blue. Pinwashes around the rivets were done with Nuln Oil/Badab Black. The yellow is Calthan Brown highlighted with Averland Yellow and washed with Gryphonne Sepia, brushed back up with Averland.

I did some extensive paint chipping with a sponge technique. The colours used were a mix of craft black and GW Scorched Brown. I might have overdone it a bit but I kept other weathering to a minimum and in any event, I like my war machines to look battle-used.

 Greasy bits were painted Leadbelcher (Boltgun Metal), washed twice with Nuln Oil, and drybrushed with with Mithril Silver. Some gold and copper metallic craft paints were used too.

Business end of the melta was drybrushed back with craft black. Note chipping around the gunshield.

I really went to town with the weathering on the heraldic shield. Decals are from Griffon Games (the crosses) and GW. I especially like the decal sheet supplied with the kit - those eagles are a thing of beauty. The decals are thick and durable but settle down nicely with some Microsol setting agent. Mechanicus cog indicates fealty of Krast to the Adeptus Mechanicus, but I liked the Imperial eagle aesthetic better for carapace decals.

Funky little loincloth with coded message! The decals came in real handy for this. Were I to build the kit again, I'd leave this part off and paint it separately. As it was I attached it to the model before painting and that made things harder. I'd built the rest in sub-assemblies per the excellent guide in White Dwarf Weekly and I'm glad I did.

I also did pretty elaborate (for me) groundwork as this will be primarily a display model. Stone piles, two different static grasses, and a variety of tufts. I like the look. But no skulls!

I have to say that I think GW hit it out of the park with this one. So true to the original Jes Goodwin aesthetic from 20 years ago, yet thoroughly modern in execution. Worth the money (at ~40% off anyway) and a satisfying build.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

World Eaters Legion Tactical Squad

World Eaters preparing to share the "Imperial Truth"…for now...
Here is a finished tactical squad of World Eaters Legion Marines from Forge World.  The marines are wearing Mark IV power armour and carrying "Tigrus" pattern bolters.  

I used pigment powders to muck up the white armour a bit
In the Legion army list, the tactical squads are equipped with bolters, and can be as large as 20 marines strong. There are no special or heavy weapons (unless you want to tune up the sergeant a bit) - the special and heavy weapons follow along in their own squads. 

The cast shoulder pads are excellent - fun to paint and they really add a lot to the figures
The squad has one marine with a vox-caster.  I did not put the "vexilla" (a small back banner) on any of them as I find them to be a bit over-the-top, but I'm having second thoughts - I might retrofit one to one of these, or mount it up on a couple of spare figures. It seems silly, but they look kinda neat when I see pictures of them online.  Byron put one on his Death Guard officer and I thought it looked really cool…

The decals (some knee pads and the "XII" on the shoulder plates) are from the World Eaters decal sheet
The Legion marines have some kind of fancy rule that lets them double-fire their bolters under certain circumstances.  I don't know if it is actually impressive, but it certainly sounds kind of alarming in the rule book at least, a sort of minor-league blade storm for Marines.

It was slow going, but these guys were a lot of fun to paint
I have also finished a World Eater heavy support marine carrying a multi-melta.  He is wearing Mark III power armour.  Where the Mark IV armour looks pretty sleek and not too far off from the "current" 40k Mark VII space marine power armour suits, the Mark III almost appears medieval - it is very, very heavy/bulky looking with a lot more rivets and such.  It is much more evocative of the "Crusade" period of the Imperium. I quite like it.

Mark III heavy support marine with multi-melta
The Mark III armour is very, very ornate
I scuffed his armour up quite a bit, figuring it would be pretty old and heavily used by the time of the late crusade/Horus heresy.  He is part of a five-man heavy support squad - all armed with multi-meltas.
Extra ammo attached to the back-pack - you can see the heavy armoured segments a bit on the backs of the legs
Hopefully Byron will post some pics of his Death Guard guys soon - I have seen them WIP and they look great. Let the heresy continue to build…I will move on to my next Legion squad.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Legion Project WIP - Work, But Not So Much Progress

Tactical marines from the 12th Legion - the World Eaters

This "Work In Progress" post on my 40k Space Marine Legion project is mostly work, and not so much progress.  I am trying to get all of the models assembled and primed before I start painting them, but this has created a multi-week absence from painting anything, which makes me nuts. As a result I am doing a bit of both - building and priming a bunch of figures, and then test-painting one or two along the way for a break.

Sons of Horus tactical support marines wearing Mark IV power armour  carrying plasma guns

I have assembled the main chunk of the legion marines - 30 Sons of Horus, 27 World Eaters and 10 Emperor's Children.  I still have to assemble a couple of assault squads, some more heavy weapon gunners and some command figures yet to build and prime.  There is only one vehicle at this point - a Land Raider - but that is going to wait until most of the infantry are finished.  The Forge World vehicles for the Legion collection are, of course, amazing, but costly, so that "part" of the Horus Heresy is going to have to wait.

World Eater heavy support marines in Mark III armour carrying multi-meltas
Besides the initial intra-legion fighting on Istvaan III will be fun to play on the table as a mostly infantry affair.  For those who may not be familiar with the story, Horus' first step in his plan to take down the Imperium was to purge his own Legions of those who it was felt would not back his rebellion.  These "unreliables" from the four legions - the Death Guard, his own Sons of Horus, the World Eaters and the Emperor's Children - were all ordered into the "first wave" of the assault against the rebellious planet of Istvaan III. 

Sons of Horus heavy support marines rocking some heavy bolters
Horus let the first wave assault play out, then cut off communication from the first wave and bombarded Istvaan III with the chilling "life eater" virus.  The population was wiped out in minutes, the surface of the planet all but obliterated in an ensuing fire-storm, but many of the Marines of the first wave, warned by some stalwart loyalists, survived!  And boy, they were pissed off - betrayed by their own! So among the charred ruins of Istvaan III, a second wave descended to the planet's surface, intent on scouring the surviving loyalists of the first wave, finishing up-close what the orbital bombardment had started. The Horus Heresy was under way!

World Eaters Centurion (company commander) in fancy Mark IV armour
I imagine Horus, knowing what he had planned, did not place a lot of vehicles in amongst the first wave of troops - he would want to save those for his later operations. Horus' mop-up operations would likely use tanks and vehicles, but the loyalists were hunkered down in ruined urban areas to hold out, hoping to extract vengeance in a last stand.  For the rebels, there was only one way to get at the hold-outs, and Land Raiders and Rhinos would not necessarily help. So I imagine our first few Horus Heresy games will be mostly infantry vs. infantry, fighting amongst an urban setting so wrecked it makes Toxo IV look like an Amazon Forest nature preserve...and I can't wait!

Test models again - the chap with the crested helmet it the sergeant.  In the Legion army list, tactical squads can be as large as 20 marines!

I have finished five test models so far from the World Eaters Legion. I liked to think I am "used to" painting white (see here for an example) but I have been struggling with it on the Space Marines - power armour is of course very different from 18th/19th century Austrian uniforms. Duh - of course, right? In addition to the Testors Incident with the first model, overall I find the white so far looking a bit "chunky" or "chalky", a product of the thick pigment and (too)quick-drying GW paints on the marine armour.

Another view of the test models - you can see the decals on the shoulder plates a bit from this angle

So I am trying to thin down the paints with some kind of medium/paint extender. This sort of artsy stuff - the stuff most of you out there do routinely, I know - slows down the painting process a lot compared to what I am used to.  I lack the patience, and frankly the skill, to make use of these techniques in a way I feel is consistent and easily repeatable. On the other hand, the only way to learn is to try it out, right?

Comparison photo - I made an effort to thin out the paint layers on the figure on the left; still a lot to practice needed

I experimented a bit on a figure last night. It improved a little...hopefully practice will improve things, particularly the speed!  I believe moving over to Vallejo paints will improve things as well. We'll see!

I know Byron is working on some test models as well (in addition to a couple of final entries to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - I've seen the previews - they will be awesome - congrats and be sure to check out Analogue Hobbies for the final entries!) so watch this space for some spooky Death Guard...

And this project, like a good heresy, is starting to spread amongst other members of the group...I won't give anything away for now, but lets just say I think Horus would approve! Horus for hope (inside joke)! Keep your planning up, gentlemen...we will announce the action at the appropriate time...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sedition Wars Project - Progress Report #4

My Sedition Wars Vanguard faction has increased, with the addition of five more Vanguard Samaritans (three elite special weapons troopers, plus a couple more regular troopers), and a character. I really like Kev White's dynamic sculpting style. Also, it's nice to see female science fiction figures that are actually posed well, wearing decent armour.

Zenithal highlighting: primed with Black P3 spray, airbrushed white highlights. Multiple thin glazes of Games Workshop Thraka Green and Gryphon Sepia washes were laid on. This really brings out the highlights of areas like the tops of the helmets, shoulders and calves, and shadows like the small of the back and underneath the limbs.

The resin/plastic bare heads of the Vanguard Elite Troopers have a surprising amount of detail for figs coming from steel moulds. The flesh tones were first done in Vallejo acrylics, then over-painted  with wet-on-wet tube oil paints. I rarely paint the whites of the eyes any more. At this scale it often makes the figure look pop-eyed; I would rather bring out facial features. The in-game special weapons (from L to R below, a Bouncer Grenade Launcher, a Fusion Lance, and a Reaver Support Weapon) could also pass for a generic grenade launcher, beam weapon, and SAW in other sci-fi or near-future game settings.

The other Samaritans' visors were, this time, under-painted in GW Golden Yellow, Blood Red, and Red Gore, then blended with Cadmium Scarlet and Titanium White oils. This gave more shape to the visors.

Operator Akosha Nama is a very neat casting. I wanted her face and Dioxazine Purple hair to stand out, but otherwise keep her to a more subdued palette than the regular troopers. I gave her a very dark Asurmen Blue jumpsuit, and glazed both her smock and base with Badab Black; I figured her smock would blend in to her surroundings. I glazed the sniper rifle with Devlan Mud, a less contrasting colour than the guns of the others.

That makes 11 Vanguard so far.

Next up, Tech Comm Kara (using Hasslefree's Scout Armoured sci fi female, also sculpted by Kev White), Corpsman Morgan Vade, Captain Kara Black, heavy weapon guy Barker Zosa, and four A.I. drones. The characters' flesh tones, and a few layers of glaze on the drones, have already been painted.

One these Vanguard are done, I can then start on 24 Strain nano-virus zombies and large monsters.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Legion Project - Adventures in Test Painting

World Eater test model - post-Testors-incident

I have recently launched on a "New Insane Project"TM of collecting and painting some Legion models from Forge World's Horus Heresy line. Like many gamers, when embarking on a new project, I like to paint a test model - a chance to see if the colours work, if there is anything I should watch out for etc, maybe I need new paints or new colours etc.  It's fun to work on one figure to iron out the approach a bit before repeating 20 or 30 times.

Legion assembly in progress - figures await priming

So far I have been concentrating on assembling the models, but I couldn't wait to try painting one, so I selected a figure representing a Marine from the World Eaters Chapter and decided to test my approach to his paint scheme.

Mix of World Eaters and Emperor's Children waiting for black base coat

This figure is the first one I have ever primed using an airbrush and Vallejo black surface primer.  Byron has been happily telling me about how he primes and basecoats his figures using an airbrush, avoiding the nasty side effects of trying to use the more conventional spray primers, a particular challenge during the winter (and especially this horrifying winter of 2013-14).

Magic stuff! Just magic!!! I'm now a lobbyist for "Big Primer"
I regard airbrushes as the prima donna tools of hobbying - needing so much to deliver so little - and my airbrushing skills are non-existent.  Airbrushing primer on in the comfort of your own basement sans the issues of spray primer? Sounds too good to be true! But Byron was patient and insistent, and even lent me a workable single-action airbrush to try it out! And it actually works! It even sticks to Forge World resin!

What is ever better is that you can brush-paint the stuff on after to follow up.  I know many of you reading this will be thinking "Greg, you idiot, this stuff has been around for a long time."  And you're right! I just get hide-bound...but for other stubborn people out there - TRY THIS STUFF!! And even try the airbrush!!

More WIP on the assembly - I love the rotor cannon gunners!
World Eater test model - waiting for a decal on the right shoulder.  Note glossy finish to undercoat the decal area and avoid "silvering"

The test figure is a regular vanilla tactical marine in Mark IV armour carrying a "Tigrus Pattern" bolter. I put the basic paint scheme in place, and thought it best to test out a decal on the right shoulder pad.  I plunked a Roman numeral "XII" down on the shoulder plate (the Worlds Eaters were orginally the 12th Legion).  To eliminate the "silvering" from the decal, I had applied a coat of gloss finish in the decal area, and once the decal had dried and set, I needed to knock off the gloss finish with a coat of Testors's "Dullcote".

Another pre-decal progress photo
I've done this for decals hundreds of times...more times that I can count. Testors has never let me down (unlike Krylon - never again Krylon). So imagine my surprise when I saw the Testors had...COMPLETELY F*CKED UP THE FIGURE.  While the gloss finish on the decal had in fact vanished, the Dullcote had also covered the figure in a white, scaly texture - like he fell in a snow bank here in Winnipeg. F*CK!!!!

WTF?!?!?!?! F**K YOU TESTORS!!!!! JUST F**K YOU!!!! A World Eater in a blizzard...where did his drop land?

Sigh.  These Forge World figures are not cheap, and no blog post is long enough to list all of the dark thoughts uttered when I saw what had happened.  Fortunately, I was able to mostly save him by re-painting over the affected front area.  The figure now has a scaly, rough and slightly-over-weathered appearance - forshawdowing, perhaps, the fate of the 12th Legion. But he will be OK, and won't stand out too badly when mixed with a unit.

A re-coat of paint later...looking not too bad

I am mightily pissed, as Testors has never, ever, ever, ever given me a problem like this before.  Cue Byron suggesting I airbrush on the Vallejo matte finish :) Maybe I will try that, but in the interim, I am trying to find a new can of Dullcote...
The finish on the legs is a little rough, but from this distance everything turned out OK - won't be as noticeable when he's with a unit of 10 figures

These Forge World figures are a lot of fun. You can see the posing on this particular figure is not great (he's not holding the bolter in a particularly "natural" combat pose). It took me a while to get the hang of assembling them, but holy cow its fun - once you get rolling.

So that's one figure down...still a long, long way from a game...but progress continues!