I Painted Something!

Whoa, sorry about that hiatus there. I had to deal with, y’know, the real world… but we’re back! And guess what – I painted something!

If you’ve been reading Save vs. Blog, then you know I avoid painting for no good reason. Earlier this year, I started to really push myself to paint, and I’ve been pleased with the results. Well, while I haven’t blogged about it, I’ve still been doing nerd stuff in the time I have. One thing I’m doing now is starting a game of Deathwatch, the Space Marine RPG from Fantasy Flight Games. I really wanted to have nice miniatures for my players to represent their characters in the game… and that means painting minis.

To get back into it, I decided to paint up an Inquisitor who will be an NPC in the game. Plus, when he’s not pulling NPC duty, he’s a great Inquisitor for use with my Grey Knights. While I figured this would just be a practice run, I’m happy with the finished product. Let’s check him out!

Inquisitor Primed!
Here he is after priming. His hat, as always, is casting his face in shadows. Foreboding, right?

First, I sprayed him over with good old-fashioned automobile primer. These spray primers are much cheaper than the ones you’ll find in a gaming store… and since I really like to start from a neutral color, rather than black or white, being able to use gray is strongly preferred. So far, they’ve worked out just fine.

Now, the real problem wasn’t painting – the real problem is that I still don’t have a macro box set up to take pictures of miniatures. These pictures, as a result, have awful lighting. You have my sincere apologies.

Bad Lighting Inquisitor
Yuck. I tried to light it with an LED, and man, this picture is gross. Unfortunately, I don't have time to take a better one right now.

Terrible picture, but you can still make out the color choices, the shading, and other detail work… it just looks awful in this picture, is all.

Power Sword!
A nice picture of the painting of the power sword. I'm not 100% satisfied with this, but it's my first attempt to do lighting effects on a power weapon. Not bad, all things considered.

I love the way power swords are painted nowadays – where once, everything was just metallic, now it’s all blazing energy or electrical lighting. So, I decided to go for that effect on the Inquisitor’s sword. I give myself a B-, but I think I know how to improve.

Reverse Angle on Inquisitor
Another terribly lit image, but you can still make out the important bits.

In the reverse angle, you can see the Inquisitor’s power pack and some of the highlighting on his clothing. I’m happy with that. His inferno pistol also looks a little better in this picture.

Close-up Inquisitor!
A closer look at the Inquisitor. For some reason, the lighting worked out alright this time.

Alright, it’s finally a good picture! Here, you can see finer details, like his glowing eye and matching cybernetic eye. I’m happy with the red trim on his coat and the graying locks of hair. I’m not completely satisfied with the face shading, because it doesn’t really pop like it should. I’m not going back in there with the brush, though, so it is what it is.

There you have it – I’m painting! Overall, this figure is too dark in shades, which hides a lot of his detail in normal lighting. I need to use bolder colors to contrast with the black coat and hat. Still, I’m excited – I don’t have much practice at painting, but my earliest work shows a lot of promise.

…I mean, if I do say so myself.


Storm Eagle, Part 4

Partial assembly!

Now that I’ve painted the interior roughly to my satisfaction, it’s time to cobble this sucker together! I used the bulkhead as a guide to square the bottom and left side first:

Left side, bulkhead and top assembled
Of course, as I stare at the model more and more, I become less and less satisfied with the painting work. It's on the interior, though - I'll do a better job on the exterior, right?

This shot makes the interior look better, so I’m including it, too:

Interior, front view
Yay! I love that bulkhead.

I then said a fond farewell to the interior and popped the right side and bottom on the model:

All four sides are on
This is a nice shot of some of the underside details, too, like the wells for the landing gear.

Unfortunately, as I was just getting some momentum, I discovered that Forge World had packed two of the left canard and no right canard! I know a lot of you have probably not experienced “double canard shock,” but it’s pretty brutal. Luckily, Forge World (and Games Workshop) have pretty great customer service when it comes to missing bits, so a new canard is on its way!

Here’s a shot of where I had to stop:

Mostly assembled! Double left canard!

And another shot:

Assembled 2!
Oh my! It's missing a canard!

These shots don’t provide you with a good look of all the places where patching and filling are necessary. That’s the nature of the beast – if you plan on building a resin model, have a plan for filler and patches. Green Stuff, Liquid Green Stuff, Green Putty, and Apoxie Sculpt are all good for different reasons.

I used Apoxie Sculpt so far on the Storm Eagle, but I think, in some places, I would have been better off with Green Stuff and Green Putty. Liquid Green Stuff is perfect for tiny gaps and bubbles. However, there was a big chunk missing from the front of the left side. I don’t know if I accidentally broke it or if it came that way, but for that part – which was a straight, flat part – Apoxie Sculpt worked perfectly. I’ll try and get some pictures of that for the next (and last) assembly post. After that… painting!


Storm Eagle, Part 3

Now for some painting. I know, you’re surprised. Painting never happens on this blog! Well, I’ve been doing more painting and I’m really happy with the results. That means I’ll actually start posting about painting.

Now, my painting method is “Base, wash, layer, layer, layer.” This is the method that’s in the new Citadel painting guide, “How to Paint Citadel Miniatures.” After reading through the book and watching the DVD, I decided to try it their way – previously, my method was more “Layer, layer, layer, layer, etc.” The improvement in my painting was instantly recognizable. I didn’t really expect this (expensive) book to be a big help, but I really hadn’t felt like any advice or other tutorials had helped me. I mostly bought the book because my wife was interested. Meanwhile, I am totally getting my money’s worth.

Back to business – I had to paint the interior before I glued the Storm Eagle together. I started with some really messy and poor methods, and that shows somewhat in the first few pictures.

Starboard interior
This is a wide shot of the interior on the port side.

In general, the paintjob is mostly messy, but I wasn’t really doing it right. It was suitable for the internet, and the contrasting colors will be fine when someone looks up inside. But I was pleased with the control panels up front:

Screens shot
I don't know what these screens are for, but they're turned off, I think.

Thanks to the wonderful point on my Vallejo Kolinsky Sable brush (and a semi-steady hand), this was actually very easy.

Here’s a (poorly lit) shot of the starboard interior, close in on the opposite control panels:

Starboard interior
Control panels look good, but the rest is so-so.

I wasn’t too happy with the finished products, but I was still kind of feeling my way through it. Then I had to paint the bulkhead. This time, I basecoated it with gray, then put a black wash in the crevices, then layered gray over it. On the lights, I based with a dark red and highlighted with a pink color to make it appear lit. I put an icy blue on the two lights overhead, then edged some things in a light gray. I even went for the gold and did the door frame on the front side with warning stripes!

Bulkhead, rear side
This is the rear-facing side of the bulkhead.
Bulkhead, front side
This is the front-facing side of the bulkhead.

Of course, when I then test-fitted the bulkhead into the model, I realized almost none of this is visible in the finished model… so… enjoy the pictures, I guess!

More to come… including some sidetracking on the new Storm Talon Gunship!

Storm Eagle, Part 2

One great thing about the newest kits from Games Workshop is that it seems like they’re doing a lot of things with magnetizing in mind. Of course, the tight-lipped folks at Games Workshop, who are adept at underselling themselves for some dumb reason, don’t ever mention this. But kits like the plastic Venerable Dreadnought, the Grey Knights Dreadknight, and the Storm Raven really lend themselves to magnetizing.

The Storm Raven is a bit odd – the front turret isn’t too bad for magnetizing, the hurricane bolters aren’t too difficult to magnetize, but the easiest part to magnetize – the missiles under the wings – don’t have options, so there’s no reason to magnetize them. With the Storm Eagle, it looks like someone noticed and put a weapon in there.

It didn’t require any cutting at all to magnetize the wing weapons – I used Apoxy Sculpt to sculpt some anchors for the magnets. Check it out:

Magnet mounts
Using a lump of apoxy sculpt, I mounted the magnet inside the weapon compartment on the wing. The green color is liquid Green Stuff I painted on to double-secure the magnets.

I didn’t need to cut the guns, though I did have to trim the tab on the lascannons to make them fit just right. I super-glued the magnets, then slapped Apoxy Sculpt around them and a little bit over them to really secure them.

Magnetized guns
Hooray for magnets!

And here’s how well it works:

Magnets work!
Rare earth magnets hold very fast, of course.

Next, I’ll paint up the inside before assembling the Storm Eagle!

Storm Eagle, Part 1

As mentioned previously, my Storm Eagle has arrived! I immediately dug in, opened the bags, pulled out all the pieces and started playing with them. As such, I didn’t get a good shot of the parts and some of the early assembly… not that there was anything too exciting going on there.

The Storm Eagle is, of course, built on the Storm Raven chassis (so to speak) – the kit includes loads of resin parts, but also about two-thirds of the Storm Raven kit. The Storm Eagle, though, is much more sensibly proportional, leaving the Storm Raven looking even more goofy in comparison. The Storm Eagle is bristling with weapons, with two sweet missile racks on top, lascannons on the wings, and the same turret as the Storm Raven up front. Thankfully, they left off the hurricane bolters that make the Storm Raven look even more like an overstuffed turkey. (Not only that, but the hurricane bolters line of fire doesn’t even make sense.)

Let’s see how far I’ve gotten – here are some shots of the hull:

Hull shots
Port interior, starboard exterior... it's a starship, so you've gotta use boating lingo.
Top and bottom hull
The inside of the top (which is a combination of the resin and plastic components) and a new resin floor piece.

That’s all for now, but in the next part, I’ll get into some magnetizing!

Achilles Progress

Just an update of what I’ve done on my Land Raider Achilles! When last we left it, I had placed the decorative plates into the sides of the tank, but there were still big, uneven gaps between the plates and the hull. Using the magic of Green Stuff, I sculpted a frame for each of the plates. This sort of precision work is not my forté, but there’s no way to get better at it without practice. Here’s a shot of the sides:

There was unevenness in the front of the Land Raider as well (that’s just how it goes with resin bits, really), so I pounded some Green Stuff in there too. This is a picture of the rough work (before I trimmed and sanded it):

With the Green Stuff initially in place, the Achilles is really starting to come together. (I should come up with a name for it, like uh… Death Skull Angel Death… that might be too long, though).

So, then I cleaned up the Green Stuff and fitted the guns on. I glued the sponson (the side gun) mounts into the door holes, but the multi-meltas, the Thunderfire Cannon, the sponson top, bottom, and sponson gun pole are not glued in place. It’s too hard to paint in those crevices.

This thing looks great! I am going to put a magnet under the hatch before I glue it on, then I’ll magnetize the storm bolter and HK missile in case I care to stick them on at some point in the future. (I don’t really see that happening, given that the thing is bristling with firepower already, and 10 points for a couple bolt shots isn’t usually going to be as good as the same 10 points spent somewhere inside a Tactical Squad.)

So, it’s nearly ready to primer, and then the painting can start!

Edit: I forgot to note that, with the reaper decorations in the front nooks, the armor plating that is hanging out over top of the tracks had to be trimmed down. This trimming is imperfect, so before I paint, I’m going to try Squadron’s “Green Putty” in those gaps. This will be the first time I use Green Putty as opposed to Green Stuff, so it’ll be a fun experiment (as soon as my Green Putty arrives)!

Back in Action

After making my own custom miniature (my daughter, born on September 18th!), I’ve been out of commission for blogging purposes. But now I’m working my way back into action! So let’s see a few things I’ve had time for.

First, I’ve been putting together some bits from Scibor to decorate my Land Raider Achilles. These beautiful pieces are decorated with the Grim Reaper, complementing the commander who rides in the Land Raider, Captain Tharsis the Grim. Here are some photos…

I had to cut a big hole in the side of the Land Raider first:

Then I placed the (50mm square) reaper plate in the hole (this is the opposite side from the previous photo).

I glued sprues across the back, providing both a glue point and a way to keep the plates basically straight:

Here’s a shot of the Land Raider sides and top (with additional reaper plates, which did not require cutting big holes in the Land Raider):

Of course, I need to put some Green Stuff borders around the big plates – there are big gaps (neither my knife nor Scibor’s plates were perfect) and the plates obviously don’t match the contours of the tank. I debated cutting the back corners of the big reaper plates to match the angle of the back of the Land Raider – that might have looked better, but I think framing the square plates will look good.

If I did this again, I would consider trimming off the “background” of each reaper image and rounding the sides and bottoms of the plates. This might make them stand out, kind of like statues more than engravings. Then I could just smooth down the Land Raider and glue the “statues” to the sides. That might fit onto the tank better. Still, cutting out the plastic means the plates sit into the sides of the tank, rather than sticking out of the sides. I do think a clean border around the “plates” will look great… all I need to do is be skilled with my sculpting!

Second, I worked on two more Captains for my Space Marine army. I’m pretty keen on heavily customized Captains… and when I run out of Captains, I’ll do Honor Guard. And when I run out of Honor Guard, my sergeants are going to start looking real good.

Introducing Atlan the Doughty, Captain of the Immortals (1st Company)…

Atlan is a Scibor body (looks kind of like an Adeptus Custodes to me!) with Scibor shoulders and Grey Knight Terminator arms. He is “counts as” Vulkan He’stan, so that’s artificer armor, a relic blade, and a heavy flamer.

Alongside him is Ptolomaeus the Unyielding, Captain of the 3rd Company…

Captain Ptolomaeus is blurry, but he’s basically a Force Commander kit with some Green stuff on his legs and arms from Sanguinary Guard. I love the Sanguinary Guard bits, so you’ll see them scattered around as I work my way through the box. I also did some work to add wings to his helmet, which doesn’t look great here. He needs a bit more work, but he has artificer armor, a power sword, and a plasma pistol (and he “counts as” Cato Sicarius).

Clearly, I need to take better pictures, but I don’t have an ideal setup right now…

And… I should really be painting, but uh… I avoid painting like the plague. I think my fear that my painting isn’t good prevents me from painting, which means I don’t get practice, which means I don’t get better. I just need to sit down and do it… but I haven’t yet!

Thanks for reading – more to come soon!

We’re Back for Round 3!

Moving is done. Kinda. I mean, the basement is a shambles, but I have cleared and moved enough that I can work on minis again, and play games again!

Here’s where I picked up!

This is Tharsis the Grim (Tharsis being a big plateau on Mars). Tharsis is the Captain of the Second Company of my homebrew Space Marine Chapter, the Basilicans. I would describe Tharsis as dour and thorough. Tharsis likes firepower. Wait till you see his signature land raider.

Anyway, Tharsis is a resin sculpt from Scibor’s Monstrous. Expensive? Yes. But I fell in love with this mini when I saw it, and I cannot be denied little space men whom I love. Tharsis came with a sword and shield, but if you look at your Space Marine Captain entry – you have the codex handy, right? – you’ll see that doesn’t work with Terminator armor. But of course, you knew that. So, using a hammer from MaxMini (all the best bits come from Europe), I gave him the old Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield look. Here’s Tharsis first assembled:

Tharsis the Grim

Ah, Tharsis the Grim has the iconography of the Grim Reaper. Clever. So this is a great miniature, Scibor is a great sculptor, he runs a great web site full of great things, and this is all great. Two problems – first, possibly because I cleaned too aggressively, the left hand isn’t flush against the wrist. There’s a huge gap. Second, the hammer, which I drilled out and pinned, of course, doesn’t line up too well with the pole that the hand is holding. Actually, I pin everything, including the hand to wrist and arm to shoulder in this miniature.

Tharsis the Grim
Green stuff to the rescue!

Continue reading We’re Back for Round 3!

Jump Pack Chaplain

I finally have the time to update!

Here are some pictures of a jump pack chaplain I’ve customized for my Space Marine army. The winged jump pack is from a Blood Angels figure, the helmet is a fantasy Chaos helmet, the mace (I mean Crozius Arcanum) is from the Dark Angels veteran box, the chest and legs are from the Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard. Pretty awesome stuff slapped together to make a pretty awesome chaplain!

Jump Pack Chaplain 1
Jump Pack Chaplain 2

More to come – I’ve got a Defiler conversion and more daemon prince pics on the way.