02 July 2019

Star Wars Legion ATST

At last I have a finished model to show you all. The speed at which I paint and never finish anything has become a standard joke in these parts, so I feel super accomplished that I finished something – even moreso that it's this monster of a model.

Standing at 190mm (19.5") on a 100mm base, the Imperial AT-ST for Star Wars Legion is a beast. I was given it as a Christmas present by Bull, after our Legion exploits at Awdry Towers earlier that month, and it sat languishing in a box (as most of my models do alas) for several months. Something inspired me to dig it out a few weeks back and I became addicted to painting it, and also my wider Imperial snow-based army.

I glued it together and pinned it to the base, adding several 2p coins to ensure it didn't fall over! It got a basecoat of GW Mechanicus Standard Grey from a can, then I airbrushed some loose highlights with P3 Cryx Bane Highlight. I gave it a liberal wash of GW Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade. I then used more of the Bane Highlight with a sponge this time, experimenting as I went.

I lost track at this point of how the colour scheme evolved, although I remember applying GW Celestra Grey to the edges, and liberal amounts of GW Typhus Corrosion for the rust.

Whilst all this was ongoing, I came across talk of the 501st Legion from as far back as the Clone Wars (following Anakin Skywalker) through to being Imperial Troops (following Darth Vader). I loved the idea of this as a basis for my army so decided to add some markings to the AT-ST hull.

The black stripe down the front was easy enough – masking off the area and using a sponge to apply paint, touching up with a brush – the side markings were a little more tricky as it involved an Imperial symbol. My freehand painting is pretty rough these days, and I was not happy with the result (and didn't want to wait for a mail-order decal), so used the sponge to fade it back to obscurity. I like to think that they are always in some battle or other and things are getting worn out!

Once I got into the detail I got really addicted. More and more highlights and washes, till things were getting out of hand. I decided to call it a day and finish it all off.

My army is to be based on an ice planet (so I can build my Hoth table) so some resin rocks and liberal amount of snow was the order of the day for basing. I added patches of snow elsewhere on the vehicle, even going so far as adding icicles with Woodland Scenics Water Effects.

This one is now officially ticked off as complete. With so much else to paint I'm spoiled for choice, but this model has inspired me to crash on and paint an army and gaming table that would make Mr Awdry proud!

11 June 2019

June Update

Wow – it's been over two months since my last blog post, and what a crazy time it's been. Aside from mundane things like decorating and major earthworks that have eating into down time, the hobby is very much alive and kicking.

To begin with, though it seems a lifetime away, I had a cracking visit to Salute. I haven't been for a couple of years so was really looking forward to it – normally the kiss of death. However, I didn't hold back this time around and came home with a boatload of loot, chatted to quite a few people about their projects and products, and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

After my game of Kill Team with Bull, back at the beginning of March, I was buzzing for my Crimson Fist marines and (more so) my new gaming board and terrain. I has quite literally become an addiction, and I have been building lots of Sector Mechanicus bits and pieces to create the ultimate skirmish environment.

Once done I had some time to ponder and ripped half of it apart and rebuilt it _ with magnets galore –  in a more modular and funky way. This felt a bit mad at the time, but has proved to be a genius move as the set of terrain I have is looking awesome.

Very happy bunny indeed. Most of it has a base coat, whilst some has been lavished with shade and even highlights. More on this another time.

My son even got in on the action, taking the time to construct a battlescape one afternoon, using lots of my 40k models. It was a good opportunity to dust a few old bits off and assess the model collection. I think I need more.

I managed to get a fantastic 2-day gaming session in with Bull at the end of May. Instead of picking up the Kill Team again, of which he wasn't really a fan, we took another look at Shadespire. I think it's fair to say that this definitely ticked a box for Bull, to the point I did think he might go out and make a rather large purchase of everything related (but he held his nerve!).

I had a bit of a lull after this marathon gaming event, but my son persisted with the big 40k displays. It got my enthusiasm back up again, and I've been spending my evenings building lots of Space Marine models I'd bought and had sitting in a box.

This last weekend was something of a highlight as I took him to his first ever wargame show – Broadside 2019 in Sittingbourne. Despite not being a fan of all the walking, and the fact he was a little short to see what was going on most of the time, he loved it. His biggest highlight was a demo game by Friday Night Firefight Club of Dinosaur hunting, using a modified version of the Congo rules. Of course, having been reminded of that amazing game we had at Awdry Towers, I had to buy the Congo rulebook!

30 March 2019

Crimson Fists Kill Team – Part 2

So as we head into the end of March, I thought I would sneak in an update on the Crimson Fists' progress.

I had raced ahead with my Comms marine, even getting so far as to test some red and black out the blue overspill. This did however leave the rest of the team lagging far behind. I got the bulk of them up to a basic blue coat, but it took a while for the Veteran Sergeant (with all his greenstuff additions) to catch up.

Last night I put in a shift to make sure they were all finished with the blue, with final highlights (I may got back with a touch of white at the end) and ready to see red! With the grinding bit over I'm looking forward to getting stuck into some details to bring their characters to life. Alas, with Easter fast approaching, my wife has decided that now is the time to tackle the redecorating of the living room – the second largest room in the house, and the one we've been putting off since we moved in five years ago.

With that in mind I expect progress to be slow, but I hit my self-induced deadline of the end of the month for the armour to be complete. OMG, I may actually painting some models here people – I may actually be able to tick something off the Hobby Bingo list (soon)!

24 March 2019

Kill Team – Crimson Fists Primaris Sergeant

The image above is the one you've already seen of Primaris Veteran Sergeant Vorn. He is the last of my 7-man Crimson Fists Kill Team to see any kind of undercoat, the reason being that I wanted to adorn his armour with a few unique elements so that he stands out on the tabletop.

Now I've not done any greenstuff sculpting for a very long time, so my skills are quite rusty, but I had my list of additions and gave it a go.

First on the list was a loin cloth. I wanted to add a bit of movement to the model and another colour, as they are turning out to be very blue! I supplemented this with some purity seals – on the belt and the shoulder pad.

I managed to find a rather nifty skull with roman numerals etched into it from the Primaris Apothecary model, so I added that to the shoulder pad first. I then also sculpted a (crude) skull to the opposite knee pad. I like the idea that this is some kind of icon for the team – Skull and VI – so may have to use it on the other models in various forms.

He is now on the painting table and should have caught up with the rest of the team's completed blue armour in the next couple of days!

20 March 2019

Painting my Crimson Fists – Blue Armour

After the success of my terrain sponge painting, I pondered the prospect of using the same technique for painting space marine armour. The 7 members of my Crimson Fists Kill Team were the perfect opportunity to give it a try!

I picked out two extremes from my team – my Comms Intercessor and one of my Scouts. This should give me an idea of whether the sponge technique will work for models or not.

Step 1
As always, a spray undercoat was the first order of business. In this instance I chose Chaos Black as I wanted a dark feel to the armour.

Step 2
A solid base coat of Kantor Blue, applied as several thinner layers, came next. This should give me a sound starting point for my experiment.

Step 3
Next came a liberal coating in Drakenhof Nightshade – my new favourite wash! It gave the blue armour a boost in saturation as well as darkening the whole model and settling in the recesses.

Step 4
Now, this was the fun bit. Unlike my previous sponge experiments, I used a very small piece of sponge (which pretty much meant it went all over my fingers!). I started off by putting the smallest amount of raw Kantor Blue onto the palette and dabbing it around with my sponge. I then dabbed a large proportion onto a wipe, so the application on the model would be subtle. I then slowly build up the layers of Kantor Blue until I had a nice balance. I then mixed in some Alaitoc Blue in with the colour still on my palette and continued the process. Finally I used pure Alaitoc Blue in some key areas.

What I find interesting is that the sponge physically won't fit into spaces that would naturally be in shadow, so it's pretty hard to go wrong. The only mistake I made initially was too much paint on the sponge and it swamped the model. The effects look a little bit like dry brushing in these close-up photos, but from the tabletop it looks quite smooth.

Step 5
Finally I added some edge highlights with a fine brush. I started with Alaitoc Blue and moved on to Lothern Blue. I may go back a do a couple of tiny off-white highlights. I was also considering pushing the highlights back a bit with another wash before re-applying Lothern Blue to the most prominent edges. We will see. 

Again, the colours seem rather extreme close-up, but it looks quite smart on the table. My problem in the past has always been that I'm too subtle with the highlights – they look great up close but non-existent on the tabletop.

And that is it for the armour.

The whole process took about 15 minutes for these two models (excluding drying time for the wash). I just need to rinse and repeat for the other five members of the team and I can move onto some red, or rather crimson, fists!

17 March 2019

Painting my Kill Team Terrain… with a Sponge!

Having acquired a rather large amount of GW's Sector Mechanicus terrain for my new Kill Team board, I had to face the task I normally fail at – painting it all!

I no longer have access to my airbrush, so I needed to find a quick way to get some colours down that would also satisfy my nitpicking attitude towards details and 'looking cool'. I decided to go down the route of the sponge technique I'd used on my board.

I spray undercoated everything with Leadbelcher (what an awesome spray can that is!). Immediately things looked better. I then painted the area I wanted to colour up un Rhinox Brown. A couple of thin coats later we were ready to rock and roll.

I started by mixing Rhinox Brown and Mephiston Red on my palette and began sponging the colour on, subtly at first but then I got bolder. I added more Mephiston Red and let the sponge do the mixing. The colour was beginning to focus around the central part of each segment, leaving wonderful dark shadows at the edges.

I gave the red areas a wash of Baal Red (now sadly no longer available) then, once thoroughly dry, applied more Mephiston Red, moving up gradually to Evil Sunz Scarlet and even a little Wild Rider Red.

I retired the sponges and tried out some edging colours with a fine brush, going through my cycle of reds, and things were starting to look good. However it was not dark or dirty enough.

Next I touched up the Leadbelcher where the sponge had contaminated the metal with red, and washed the metal areas in Nuln Oil then, once dry, the whole thing in Agrax Earthshade, concentrating on the recesses and clearing the glaze away from the central highlight areas almost completely. Understandably I had to leave it 24hrs to dry!

I was very happy now, but felt I needed to highlight the individual plates within each segment. Again, I cycled through my reds, but pushed on to a Fire Dragon Bright and even touches of a flesh tone (don't recall white one – Kislev?). I finished with some Agrax Earthshade in the recesses between the plates to add contrast to the highlights.

I'm calling these red sections done, except for maybe a huge stencilled number and sone distressing at a later date. The plan is to approach the metal parts in a similar fashion, getting the overall highlights to a mid-tone then some edge highlights quite bright.

I'm just happy that I'm close to my first piece of painted terrain in almost 15 years!!

28 February 2019

Collecting Kill Team Terrain

Preparation of the Kill Team board continues, as time has become generally limited to finish my team. I'll admit this is probably the most expensive route to go, but the hope is that I will have a decent set of terrain that works well for both Kill Team and Necromunda.

I started with the Ryza ruins from GW, which are relatively cheap and provided a good basis. I then bought in to the idea that I was creating an abandoned/ruined manufacturing zone, and things started to… erm, escalate. I love the look of the Manufactorum (above in grey plastic) and it would also bring height to the table (which is always a double edged sword!).

By this point I was bitten by the terrain bug. I have always loved the Armoured Containers, and they would be perfect for my setting, so they were next on my shopping list. I only have one built at present, but there are two more waiting in the wings.

Then came the 'pièce de résistance'. An Adeptus Mechanicus specific kit, I found it lurking away from the other terrain in my local GW store. It is an absolute beauty, and makes an awesome centrepiece. The fact it cost less than the Armoured Crates was a bonus.

So that is the collection so far. All lacking a bit of paint, but that will come – I'm very much looking forward to getting some colour on this lot and creating an awesome gaming environment in which to play Kill Team.

Stay tuned for more Kill Team!

15 February 2019

Making a Kill Team Board

By way of a side project, alongside my A Tale Of 3 Armies kill team building, I decided to make a Kill Team board and have some new terrain for it. I haven't managed to complete my last two board projects, but somehow this one seemed very do-able, even given the limited time I have these day. Once I'd started I got the bug to get it done. I took inspiration from the Malifaux board I made all those years ago, mimicking the potato printing process to create patterns and textures.

I bought a piece of 4x2 6mm MDF and cut the length down so it was 30cmx24cm – slightly wider than the 'official' kill team size of 30cmx22cm (which is a really odd size and surely just so it will fit in a box), but I'm ok with that. I bought a trolley full of tester paint pots at the same time, in a variety of colours, and chose a dark brown to base coat the board. I used a roller so that I would get some subtle texture, but not too much – I made the mistake of using some filler to texture my Malifaux board, and it proved to be quite an issue.

I gave the base coat 24 hrs to dry thoroughly (not a quick process in a cold garage). Then came the fun part!

I cracked open the other tester paint pots and found myself an old car washing sponge. I used a fork to rip up the surface of the sponge so it was very ragged but in a random, natural way, filling the floor with bits of sponge in the process!!

I went back to my original dark brown paint and dabbed it quite heavily over the basecoated board, to fill in any bits I'd missed and to add more texture.

Whilst this initial pass of brown was still wet, I poured different tester pot colours into my paint tray and used the sponge again, letting the colours mix naturally as I dabbed, trying to keep the coverage as random as possible. There were blues and greys and browns and greens, and gradually they began to mix in the tray and on the board, so each application got more subtle. I tried to keep the lighter colours concentrated near the centre of the board, as that is where most of the action would take place and it would become the natural focal point.

After tidying up the incredible mess, I left the board for two days to dry in the chilly garage – even that was only just long enough (the paint on my sponge was still very wet!). I brought the board indoors to put some terrain on it and photograph it, thinking it was done. But something didn't feel quite right – it felt too light in colour, not grungy enough.

My solution was quite extreme.

I managed to find some old bottles of Windsor & Newton ink – Nut Brown and Black. I mixed the two in a bowl, with only the smallest amount of black, as I recalled it was very strong. I added some water and a bit of old matt medium and washed the entire board using a sponge, making sure as best I could that the coverage was even and there were no lines. The board was almost black – I could hardly see any of my sponged on patterns!!

With the ink still wet, I got a clean sponge dipped in water and started dabbing it lightly and quickly around the centre of the board to thin the ink coverage. It was a very gradual process. I kept going until I felt I had the right balance and the results were looking grungy enough for me. I then (gingerly) brought the board indoors to dry thoroughly in the warmth.

I have to say I love the final result. It has surpassed my expectations and I have created a new board process along the way. I will probably add some furniture pads underneath to protect whatever surface I'm playing on, but aside from that (and a coat or two of protective varnish) we're done.

I did consider adding scenery elements (skulls, discarded weapons, etc.) to the board but I want this to be easily stored, so purposefully kept it as flat as possible. Similarly, I thought about printing tyre tracks, footprints, explosions, etc on there, but again decided to keep it neutral so it can be used for any game. The scenery placed on top will create the real atmosphere for the gaming and I wanted the board to be nothing more than a backdrop for that.

Expect to see this board a lot on the blog in the future!!

13 February 2019

Crimson Fists Kill Team – Part 1

With my Kill Team list in hand I sat down with a box full of plastic sprues to construct my first ever kill team. I have built all seven members of my team to an initial stage, and will now go back to each and give them some extra bits to flesh out their individual characters. So with this first stage of building complete I thought I would take the opportunity to introduce them.

This is Gunner Marine "Dutch". He was part of the rebuilding of the Crimson Fists, after the Rynn’s World invasion by Waaagh Snagrod that left chapter numbers decimated. During his time as an Astartes he has seen many a battle, not least the second invasion of Rynn’s World, this time by Daemon Prince Rhaxor. Dutch faces all these conflicts with the same dry humour and unflinching calmness.

This is the first model I built, mostly from Sternguard Veteran bits. It was the first time I’ve put a space marine together in a while, so was a great first experience. Given that there are Primaris in the group, who do not have the same connection to the chapter and Rynn’s World as the regular marines, I want these veterans to be oozing character and Crimson Fist-ness.

This is Gunner Marine "Fury". Another veteran who has seen his fair share of wars, he too was part of the rebuilding post-Waaagh Snagrod. He is a bit more cynical than Dutch, as well as being rather hot-headed for a Crimson Fist marine.

This is another Sternguard model, with bits coming almost exclusively from that box set. I wanted to add a couple of marines with their helmets on, so this guy was a good candidate.

Crimson Fist Scouts "Reese" and "Hicks" are my light troops. Recent additions to the ranks of the Crimson Fists, they both showed remarkable promise, so have been given the task of surviving some covert missions with the rest of the Kill Team. They both tend to be a little rash at times, but full of enthusiasm and always volunteering for the crazy plans.

These guys are standard Scout models aside from their head swaps (which involved a lot of drilling into the body piece to fit!). The only other bit to note is that Hicks on the right has bare arms! I used the arms from the Heavy Bolter Scout model (in lieu of any Necromunda Goliath bits) to match my vision from my favourite scout pic. Needs tidying up with some greenstuff, but came out ok.

This is Primaris Gunner "Bane". Like the rest of the Primaris in this Kill Team, he is quiet and stern. Never feeling the need to talk a lot, he just goes about his job, firing his Auxiliary Grenade Launcher and taking down the bad guys.

A very straightforward model to build, using bits from the Intercessors box set. I hope to add a little more character, but not too much.

This is Primaris Comms Officer "Vector". Cold and calculating, with an acute aversion to unnecessary risks. He is likened (by the more cruel brothers) to a droid in his demeanour, lacking empathy to those around him, basing many a decision on logic and mathematical probability.

Another model from the Intercessors box set, except for his head which is from the Primaris Medic. I want to do a bit more to this guy to emphasise the comms officer role he has – unique version of armour, antenna, etc – it needs to be obvious what he does.

This is Primaris Sergeant "Vorn", and the Leader of our Team. He feels an immense sense of responsibility to the Chapter when commanding, and has no time for joking around. This dour attitude affords him few friends, but his leadership abilities in a firefight afford him complete loyalty from his troops. They trust his judgement implicitly.

I used the body from a Primaris Sergeant model in the Easy-To-Build kit as the starting point, using Intercessor bits and a chainsword from the Blood Angels Primaris upgrade sprue.

These casualties will make great Objective markers. It's a pity that GW don't do more of these as they're quite awesome. The one on the left came from the Primaris Medic and the one on the right came from Haarken Worldclaimer, both exotic basing elements.

So that's the team. The next stage will be to add some more bits and greenstuff to draw out their characters more, then it's on to paint!!