Friday, June 11, 2021

Here Come The Summer Sons - 30k Thousand Sons Marines

Reinforcement for the XV Legion Astrates, the "Thousand Sons"

More 30k? Why, of course - more 30k. Now that I have gone and opened up the 30k box from the move, and pulled out the many treasures inside, I am tempted to finish off the many previously-primed-but-not-yet-painted bits found therein. Here we have a veteran tactical squad for the XV Legion Astrates, the "Thousand Sons", wearing Mark IV power armour. With a single exception in the unit, they are painted in a different fashion from my previous units for this Legion - I have started to experiment more and more with GW's "Contrast" paint range, and these figures represent some early results.

Thousand Sons Armour: New Painting Approach

On the left, the painting approach from 2017. On the right, the new approach, using GW "Contrast" paints.

I first painted some XV Legion units back in 2017, for the GW boxed game "The Burning of Prospero" (which turned out, in fact, to be an excellent game, especially for quarantine times). The Thousand Sons' forces in that box game are not large in terms of overall model count - two 10-marine veteran tactical squads, a five-marine squad of terminator marines in Tartaros pattern armour, and a hero - Azhek Ahriman, to lead them. This small force will allow you to play the campaign included in "The Burning of Prospero" box set, and when you consider that all of these Space Marines would be psykers, and that Ahriman is a pretty powerful character, it gives you a nice little starting force to play Horus Heresy games in general.

Another comparison shot - 2017 on the left, and 2021 on the right.

I recall at the time seeing the Thousand Sons figures painted by the GW studio artists (as well as many others online), and one thing that stood out was the armour - a really, really cool metallic red. At the time in 2017, achieving something like that would have required an airbrush and use of glazes and other tricks, and that is beyond my skills. There was, however, a great GW tutorial suggesting how to paint the models using a nice mix of red paints - it did not get you that metallic finish, but it still looked really nice. I used that method to paint Ahriman and his colleagues, and I was pleased with the results. 

Some of the tactical marines in Mark IV armour.

Since 2017, I have built up my VI Legion forces a fair bit, and in that time it has been in my hobby mind to bolster the Thousand Sons as well (and yes, in general, I can never have enough Space Marines *shrug*). In or around the spring of 2019, I built and primed a squad of plastic Mark IV armoured marines as a step in this direction, and painted a single test model using the same techniques and colours as I has in 2017...but then my squirrel-hobby-brain went to some other interest, and this squad was placed in storage, waiting for a return of my 30k interests...

Another view of the tactical marines.

Special weapon troops...plasma gun and heavy bolter.

In the interim, GW released its new "Contrast" paints. You can find better evaluations from better painters elsewhere online, but while the breathless marketing exaggeration you see from some folks about these paints makes me laugh, they ARE a neat tool to add to your painting kit. I have been looking at different tutorials featuring these paints, and I came across this one from GW...a chance to get a metallic red without an airbrush? THAT is worth a shot! I pulled out this assembled-and-primed squad of Mark IV marines, and designated them for experimentation...

The Sergeant at mid-stage in the painting process...just covered mostly in "Retributor Armour", the figure feels like it is ruined, but...

No need to go over the specifics of the method in this post (the GW video provides a better explanation that I could regardless), but in general it involves use of the Contrast "Blood Angels Red" applied over a base of "Retributor Armour" (a very bright gold). I can say that at the half-way point in this painting process I was SURE I had ruined the figures - a just a Space Marine covered in gold paint...but in the end, it comes together nicely, and I really enjoy the results. 

Completed Sergeant with one of his troopers.


Rear view, showing the power packs and combat blades/swords.

So, what to do with the test model from 2019, the one painted using the previous non-Contrast approach? I considered re-painting the figure, but that seemed like bad luck or I just left him as-is...he pretty-much-mostly blends in...besides, the ways of the Thousand Sons are mysterious, so perhaps this lone guy will contribute to some kind of numerology-omen or something...

Let the defence of Prospero begin!

There are still some kinks to work out - for example, I find the paint-on gloss to be too thick - if I want the armour to shine, I'm going to need to find a thinner gloss finish that the GW "Hardcoat". But overall, I am enjoying this new look, so watch this space for some more XV Legion characters and units to arrive over the coming summer. 

Thanks for visiting!


Dallas said...

Wow, those guys look great! I'm coming close to trying contrast, you really did these models justice. And if you're looking for a thinner gloss coat, you could try thinning the 'Ardcoat somewhat with water or acrylic medium. I've had to thin mine and used water, it came out fine and thin.

MFraser said...

That's creative use of contrast and looks great on these guys. I'd be cautious using it on vehicles like the rhino however. I've found the contrast paint isn't well suited to flat surfaces. Although maybe using a heavy mixture of contrast medium would help that a bit. You would probably need to add a few coats though.