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BattleTech Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures

Second lance of Long Nights ‘Mechs

Today I finished painting my second lance of ‘Mechs, two heavies and two mediums for my Long Nights mercenary company.

No outdoor shots today, just the lightbox — but I remembered to use my grey backdrop this time!

L to R: Rifleman, Warhammer, Phoenix Hawk, Blackjack

I sometimes regretted combining two colors that are notoriously difficult to paint — white and yellow — in the Phoenix Hawk’s color scheme, but I’m happy with how it turned out. Walking the line between looking like an anime mobile suit and looking like a BattleMech without being too twee about it was an enjoyable challenge.

It also gave me a chance to try Soulblight Grey, GW’s new grey wash, for the first time. It’s interesting stuff, almost feeling more like a contrast paint than a shade paint; it’s kind of milky. But it walks a pleasing line between no wash and a black wash.

Butts

I’m not sure how long it will last, but my goal is to never repeat a paint scheme. “They’re mercenaries” is a great excuse to just experiment and have fun painting whatever feels right at the moment.

Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
Categories
BattleTech Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures

My first lance of ‘Mechs in 16 years

Today I finished the first ‘Mechs I’ve painted since 2007.

L to R: Valkyrie, Archer, Marauder, Wasp

This lance for my Long Nights mercenary company is full of firsts: essentially my first time doing camo (I was about 10 for my actual first time), pin washing, flocking, detailed glass, and really pushing for subtle edge highlights.

Natural light close-ups

Sigourney “Lucky” Long’s Marauder
Ragnar “Night Sweats” Thorpe’s Valkyrie
Gabrielle “Dozer” Baudin’s Wasp
Ishida “Beef” Toyokazu’s Archer

Lightbox shots

These didn’t turn out as nice as the natural light shots above, but I took ’em so here they are anyway.

The whole lance
Marauder (my favorite angle)
Marauder front
Marauder rear
Valkyrie front
Valkyrie rear
Wasp front
Wasp rear
Archer front
Archer rear
Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
Categories
Deathskulls Orks Finished miniatures Kill Team Miniature painting Miniatures Tyranids Warhammer 40k

My 2021 and 2022 in miniature painting

In early 2021, I did a year-end retrospective photo for 2020 — the year I got back into miniature painting. I painted 97 miniatures that year, and I had a blast; returning to an old hobby I’d never quite clicked with (it’s complicated) was a perfect lockdown activity.

By contrast, 2021 saw my enthusiasm flagging. I started the year strong, but finished just keeping my hobby streak alive. I didn’t do a year-end photo.

2022 was about the same as 2022. I wasn’t planning to do a photo for last year, either, for pretty much the same reason: I figured it’d be disheartening.

But in December I got back into BattleTech, and also saw how close I was to finishing some killer 40k terrain pieces, and got excited to crank some stuff out. So I finished the year stronger than expected, and that led me to get off my butt and take retrospective photos for 2021 and 2022.

Everything I painted in 2021

In 2021, I painted Deathskulls Orks for my Waaagh!, Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas

I painted 15 models in 2021: two Killa Kans, Skraggit (left) and Stikkit (right); a Deff Dread, Facepeela; my Taurox Trukk conversion, Da Fancy Wun; and a squad of Boyz, Thragg’s Deff Ladz.

2021 was my first time trying an ambitious conversion, mashing together a Taurox with an Ork Trukk; I documented the whole process in a five-post series. (Here’s part one.) 2021 also marked the first time I used green stuff as well as the first time I magnetized any models. (Facepeela’s lower arms are magnetized.)

As I got these minis off the shelf for their photo, it was like seeing old friends. I’m not an amazing painter, but every mini I finished in 2021 brought me joy — and they still do. Skraggit and Da Fancy Wun are two of my favorite models I’ve ever painted.

Everything I painted in 2022

I set out to finish a Kill Team board’s worth of terrain in 2022, and while I didn’t quite get there I came pretty close.

All of the 40k terrain I painted in 2022, plus five Genestealers and a mantis

In 2022 I painted 25 models: 18 pieces of 40k Kill Team terrain, 6 Genestealers (for Kill Team), and a giant mantis as a Christmas gift for Lark.

Terrain feels all fast and exciting at first, with a big ol’ sprayed-on primer and base coat in one, and a big ol’ wash. And then the details start to add up, and add up, and it’s not a breezy summer morning anymore. But it’s still fun!

I enjoy painting terrain. It’s a great palate cleanser, with big brushes and bold sections and — with the vibe I’m going for — plenty of excused to weather with gusto.

It was also fun combining two 40k terrain lines, Manufactorum and Mechanicus, into what I think is a cohesive dystopian manufacturing facility. Both incorporate tea/bone and dark red, and I’ve built all my stuff to be durable, interoperable, and still offer a decent amount of customization for layouts and variations.

Here’s a top-down shot showing one possible layout.

Most of my finished 40k terrain

All of the walls/railings on the gantries are placed so that pieces can still connect in a couple places. Ladders are placed and oriented with the same goal in mind. And all the ground-level pipe connection points are tea/bone, so (hopefully) the two terrain sets blend into one another.

I guess technically I’m combining the Munitorum line as well, but those containers, crates, and barrels are so plug-and-play it hardly counts. I do them in colors not present in the other stuff, so they’ll stand out.

I’m glad I got all this stuff out an photographed it. 2021 and 2022 combined didn’t match my output in 2020, but I painted some stuff I’m proud of — and hopefully I’ll get to use it eventually.

And I got a surprise in January: Lark expressed an interest in playing 40k and Kill Team. I’m pretty sure I can cobble together two Kill Teams or two 500-point armies, so if I finish my last few pieces of terrain — a huge gantry/tank combo, another ruined building, a sacred radiator, and some scatter terrain — the two of us could get some games in this year. That would be awesome!

Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
Categories
BattleTech Miniature painting Miniatures

Pour one out for my first camo ‘Mech

Well, shit: I just ruined a fully painted miniature by using the too-thick dregs of my varnish bottle and completely fogging it out. I haven’t done that in years! Not since the last time I used spray varnish, at least a decade ago.

I should have trusted my impression that it looked a little thick, but I’d used the same bottle a couple weeks ago with no issues and I was in the groove.

That’s several hours of work — on a model slated for a first game of BattleTech with my kiddo next week, and a ‘Mech I was happy with — just wasted.

This little Stinger, an STG-5M piloted by Ozan “Gatling” Almaz, was the first ‘Mech I ever tried to paint in a camo scheme. Here he is after being base-coated:

You will be missed!

Luckily I’ve got a Wasp partially painted, so I can scramble to finish that one and slot it in for the match Lark and I were planning on next week. If I grind hard and don’t paint anything else at the same time, I might even be able to finish it only a couple days behind when the Stinger would have been done.

It’s a silly thing to be bummed about, but I get invested in the minis I’m painting.

Update 1/8: As luck would have it, I had a light ‘Mech — a Wasp — already primed and fully based, so I spent a chunk of today finishing it up as a replacement for the Stinger. I’d forgotten how quickly this can go when I’m painting a ‘Mech, not a 40k model, and just painting one model, not several. It was a fun day.

Then, after testing my varnish on Brother Test-Mech first, I varnished the first lance of ‘Mechs I’ve painted since 2007. They won’t be done-done until a couple days from now, when I add flocking to their bases; I need the sealant to be bone-dry and fully cured for that step.

First lance WIP, freshly varnished (and still shiny): Marauder, Wasp, Valkyrie, Archer

It’s a real joy to be painting ‘Mechs again!

Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
Categories
BattleTech Miniature painting Miniatures

The best mini I’ve painted (so far)

This unassuming little Valkyrie represents a lot of firsts:

  • The first ‘Mech I’ve painted in 16 years
  • The first ‘Mech in my Long Nights mercenary company
  • My first time pin washing (instead of all-over washing)
  • Also my first time attempting proper edge highlighting
  • My first time trying to do a detailed pane of glass (the cockpit)
  • And currently the best miniature I’ve ever painted
Still needs decals, weathering (maybe), grass flocking, and a painted base rim

I started with the Valkyrie because it’s the plainest of the lance I’m currently painting, and the one I cared about least. I figured I’d goober some stuff up here before moving on to something cooler.

I’m taking a more subtle approach with my ‘Mechs than I generally do with my 40k minis, but I suspect this approach will bleed back into my general bag of tricks for painting. Patient pin washing following by equally patient edge highlighting is a really neat one-two punch.

In the Long Nights, this Valkyrie is piloted by Ragnar “Night Sweats” Thorpe, and I feel like I did him proud!

Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
Categories
BattleTech Godsbarrow Miniature painting Miniatures Miscellaneous geekery Old school Old School Essentials Tabletop RPGs Warhammer 40k

2022 end-of-year hobby wrap-up

2022 has thrown the Ralyas a couple pretty hard curveballs, but so far we’re doing [whatever you’re supposed to do in baseball when someone pitches you a curveball] and managing pretty well. I usually focus on hobby stuff here on Yore, though, so I figured it was time for a little 2022 wrap-up — all highlights, no lowlights, and a few surprises.

The Unlucky Isles

One of my biggest hobby milestones for 2022 was starting up Halfbeard Press and publishing my first Godsbarrow sourcebook, The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link]. I’ve never had a well-developed fantasy campaign setting of my own before (which has always made me feel like a bad gamer), and having Dormiir to work on and explore and expand has been a delight.

The Unlucky Isles print proof

I work on Godsbarrow every single day — sometimes just a word or sentence or two, sometimes much more — and have been doing so since March 16, 2021. I’m often hard on my own work, so I’m honestly still a bit surprised I still love this setting as much as I do. (Hell, I’m more jazzed about it now than I was when I started out.)

I’m proud of doing as much of the work on The Unlucky Isles as possible myself, which was one of my goals; I did everything but the artwork. That includes some stuff I’ve notably never done in a professional capacity, like layout and cartography.

And I’m not sitting still: I’m about 25% done with the manuscript for Godsbarrow Guidebook 2: The Gilded Lands. It’s a little while away yet, but it’s coming!

Two Godsbarrow campaigns

Hobby-wise, the only thing that tops publishing a Godsbarrow book for me is running two campaigns set in Dormiir. This is one of those quintessential GMing experiences — designing your own world and then running games there — that I’ve just never had until now. I’ve run games in homebrewed settings before, but those worlds were never more than a sketchy map and some rough concepts; Godsbarrow is much more fleshed-out.

Both of these games are ongoing, and I’m having a blast with both of them. The first Godsbarrow campaign started up in July: a Dungeon World [affiliate link] hexcrawl set on the island of Bal Acar, which I’m running for two of my best friends, Rustin and Greg — the first explorers of Godsbarrow. This game feels like all the best parts of exuberant high school D&D — just weird-ass exploration and shenanigans, all signal and no noise.

Our Google Jamboard map from the first couple sessions

In November my kiddo, Lark, expressed an interest in playing D&D — a moment I’ve been preparing for my whole life. Lark picked Godsbarrow as our setting, and after some discussion we landed on Old School Essentials [affiliate link] for the system.

Lark and I starting up our Godsbarrow campaign

It’s impossible to overstate how cool it is to be gaming regularly with Lark. We’ve previously played a couple of sessions, but nothing ongoing; I never wanted to push this hobby on Lark. We’re having an absolute blast — and, again, I can’t overstate how much that means to me. (This is also another of those quintessential gaming experiences that I’m just chuffed about.)

Wargaming

Lark and I have also been playing Car Wars 6th Edition — Lark’s first proper wargame — and having a great time with it. I pitched CW because we’ve played tons of board games together over the years, and I thought the minis and zaniness of Car Wars would interest Lark. Sixth Edition is superb, and just the right rules weight for us.

That’s led me to delve back into my wargaming roots, which stretch all the way back to having huge naval battles with my dad, all spread out on my bedroom carpet, when I was maybe 10-12 years old. I re-acquired Renegade Legion: Centurion, which was one of the first full-fat wargames I played (circa age 12-14), because it seems like one Lark might enjoy.

And then, to my complete surprise, I stumbled across an RPG.net thread about BattleTech just the other day and learned that 1) there’s now a fast-playing alternate version of the rules, Alpha Strike, and 2) there’s also a huge range of plastic ‘Mechs available. After a bit of research I pitched that one to Lark, got an enthusiastic yes, and ordered the core AS box.

My old BattleTech minis from the 1990s and 2000s

This hasn’t been a banner year for miniature painting, which is understandable given my focus on Godsbarrow and real-life stuff. With 40k (and Kill Team), my motivation has been sapped by not wanting to play with strangers during the pandemic, so I’ve done tons of painting and never gotten to use the fun toys I’ve painted. Even the return of my beloved space dwarves, which were my intro to Warhammer 40k many years ago, hasn’t shaken me out of my painting doldrums.

I’m hoping that some comparatively easy-to-paint BattleMechs, which — and this is key! — I’ll immediately be able to use in a game, are just the shot in the arm my painting hobby needs at the moment.

Ranma 1/2

No segue, but I can’t do a wrap-up post without noting that this was the year I finished Ranma 1/2, one of my all-time favorite manga series — which I started in 1992. I’ve read a shit-ton of manga this year, which has been a lot of fun.

Revisiting the Star Wars prequel trilogy

I decided it was time to revisit and reevaluate the prequel trilogy, all of which I previously rated ½ (which I think marks the first time I’ve voluntarily rewatched any ½ films), for three reasons.

One, I was surprised how much I enjoyed the first couple episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I wanted to see if I might like the prequels now, decades later. (Andor had the same effect, but for Rogue One.)

Two, I’ve based some of my identity as a Star Wars fan on hating the prequels. I wanted to try to appreciate them on their own terms rather than, when they clash with my expectations, simply assuming my expectations are perfect and therefore the films are the problem.

And three, 20+ years later I’m a different person, I love the Star Wars universe even more than I did back when these films came out, and my appreciation for the Republic Era has grown. I’ve spent dozens of hours playing Star Wars: The Old Republic and engaging with prequel content in other media, and I’ve enjoyed it.

I wound up liking or loving all three prequel films. Reviews/comments, with spoilers, are on Letterboxd: Episode I, Episode II, Episode III.

Mastodon

I said earlier in the year that Mastodon felt the most like Google+ of any G+ replacement I’ve tried, but it wasn’t until the first Twitter exodus that it really took off. My feed is full, it lacks virtually all of the toxicity of Twitter, I’m having fun gaming conversations and learning about cool stuff there — the whole nine yards. It feels like it’s going to stick for enough folks to provide a real hobby haven, too.

#dungeon23

The #dungeon23 challenge doesn’t kick off until January 1, 2023, but it was — thankfully! — announced much earlier, giving me time to noodle about it, decide to do it, and come up with a framework I think will help me succeed.

Dungeon23 logo created by Lone Archivist and released under a CC BY 4.0 license

I’m going to write Godsbarrow’s first dungeon, the Black Furnace. I’ve got my ducks in a row and I’m excited to get rolling!

Yore’s 10th anniversary

This blog turned 10 years old back in August, making it my the longest-running ongoing thing I’ve ever done online. My quiet approach, erratic non-schedule for posting, and eclectic mix of hobby stuff haven’t done wonders for attracting an audience — but I write Yore primarily because I want to write it, so that’s okay by me.

At the same time, I’m thrilled whenever anyone mentions enjoying Yore, comments on a post, or uses what I’ve shared here. If that’s you, reading this, thank you! Knowing Yore is useful to other folks is a big part of why I keep at it.

Here’s to a 2023 with more hobby milestones, and maybe — hopefully! — with fewer curveballs. Happy holidays!

Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
Categories
Leagues of Votann Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Testing basing schemes for my 40k Leagues of Votann army

Lo, the fated day has arrived: The Leagues of Votann army box is finally available! Once I had my preorder in, I started considering paint schemes in earnest.

As soon as I saw the Trans-Hyperian Alliance color scheme — orange Void Suits with accents, grey clothing, tan soft goods — a few days ago, I was 99% sure that I’d be making a THA army. Orange is one of my favorite colors (the other is purple), and I haven’t painted an orange army yet — not to mention it’s a pretty uncommon 40k color, until now. On top of that I like the lore for the THA (adventurers and explorers, sort of a nomadic League) and this scheme is the “NASA-punk” concept that originally piqued my interest when folks on Reddit first suggested it.

Favorite fantasy/SF species + favorite color + perfect colors for a blue-collar spacesuit aesthetic = rad. And if the allure of making a custom League is too strong, I’ll just make my Kin a THA-affiliated League and tweak some element of the core THA paint scheme to reflect that.

Basing

There are already two great WHTV videos for the THA, one apiece for battle-ready and parade-ready, and they use an Armageddon Dunes (tan) base — which looks awesome.

But my Deathskulls Orks are on tan bases, and for some reason I just like putting my armies on different bases. Grey moon dust would pop against orange, but my Blood Angels are on grey bases. Someone on Reddit mentioned purple-tinged grey — sort an eerie moon dust color — and I liked that idea, so I decided to split the difference.

Here’s my first test base, a 50/50 because I didn’t feel like making two of them. (I really should have divided each rock like I did with the ground, but meh.)

  • One half is Astrogranite Debris > Druchii Violet > Genestealer Purple drybrush
  • The other half is Armageddon Dust > Reikland Fleshshade > Ushabti Bone drybrush
  • The small rock is Zandri Dust > Seraphim Sepia (I stopped when I saw this test wasn’t going to work out)
  • Large rock is Eshin Grey > Nuln Oil (ditto stopping here)
Nope!

That tan recipe isn’t the one in the WHTV video (which uses the more logical Agrax Earthshade as its shade), and it isn’t the one I use for my Deathskulls (which uses Agrax and Tyrant Skull). I guess I could also differentiate the tan from my Orks by using Dunes instead of Dust, or the grey from my Angels by using “plain” Astrogranite instead of Debris.

But at the moment it’s a moot point, because this is a failure on both halves. My tweak to the tan is neither interesting nor distinct enough from my Deathskulls’ bases, and the purple is kind of neat but looks like insulation foam or some truly alien world — and nothing like eerie purple-tinged moon dust.

I think where I went astray on the purple half was using a purple wash. I’m pretty sure I’ve never tried Druchii Violet before, and it’s a serious purple. But based on what’s opposite orange on the color wheel — blue and purple — I still like this direction.

My Blood Angels’ bases are Astrogranite Debris > Drakenhof Nightshade > Grey Seer drybrush, and maybe just changing that final layer will do it. Here’s test number two with four possible drybrush colors. Starting at 12:00 and working clockwise, it’s in quarters: Fenrisian Grey, Russ Grey, Calgar Blue, and Baharroth Blue.

Now we’re cooking

I like all four options. They get steadily more distinct from my Blood Angels’ bases. Side by side, Fenrisian Grey isn’t different enough, but the other three are. Baharroth is a bit much, and Calgar might be a bit too little.

How about Calgar Blue with a follow-up Baharroth Blue drybrush, just kissing the high points, and a Russ Grey base rim?

Test number three

That’s the one! It doesn’t scream blue, but in person it’s distinct from my much greyer Blood Angels bases — and the blue-grey base rim seals the deal. It’s also dark and fairly subtle, so it should provide a nice contrast with the vibrant orange of the Void Suits.

Orange Void Suits

I’ll probably test out two orange armor recipes a bit later on, as the GW color guide uses Fuegan Orange as its wash while the WHTV videos use the new Magmadroth Orange contrast paint as a wash. It seems like they’d look pretty similar, but you never know.

Tidy time

I spent a couple happy hours yesterday tidying and reorganizing my workspace so I’d be ready for the incoming LoV box. Clearing out a good chunk of my RPG collection has freed up plenty of shelf space, so I’m putting it to good use for more minis storage and display.

I can’t wait to see what the Kin look like in person!

Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
Categories
Miniature painting Miniatures

Edge highlighting: mind go boom

So I was browsing Reddit before family movie night, clicked on a post about edge highlighting and how difficult it is, and had my mind blown by this comment (emphasis mine):

So it looks like your paint may be too thick and that you’re trying to highlight using the tip of your brush instead of the edge. Try thinning your paints down a bit more. Dip your brush in the paint, and then wipe it on a paper towel to get most of the paint off. Then take the edge of your paintbrush and run it along the edge of whatever you’re trying to highlight. Use just enough pressure that the bristles have contact with your mini, but no more than that. Go slowly and carefully if you need to.

Greystorms on Reddit

Another commenter mentioned a Zumikito Miniatures video demonstrating this technique, and man does that video seal the deal. It’s basically like a more precise, localized version of drybrushing, except the brush isn’t dry and the end result is crisp.

I’ve painted dozens and dozens of miniatures over the past couple of years, and never once considered edge highlighting with the edge of the brush.

My edge highlights are serviceable, at least for my “looks good at arm’s length standard,” but they’re rarely more than that. They’re thick lines, with point highlights for the second layer color (also fairly thick/chunky), and that’s okay…but they could be better.

My Land Raider Crusader Judgment, painted in 2020
Mukkit the Killa Can, also painted in 2020

I can see how this use-the-edge approach would be leaps and bounds better. And I can imagine the brush in my hand and how it would feel to highlight this way — and, unlike many other painting techniques, it actually seems like I could pull this off at my current skill level.

Now I’m excited to paint something with lots of edges, so I can give this a shot!

Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
Categories
Kill Team Miniature painting Miniatures Terrain Warhammer 40k

40k Sector Mechanicus terrain color guide

I started my 40k terrain collection with pieces from the Manufactorum line, and then added a bunch from the Sector Mechanicus line — enough stuff that, if I built all of it, I could kit out a 2,000-point 40k board. My plan has always been to find a paint scheme that unifies these two themes, and after looking at lots of possibilities I settled on this one.

My goal here isn’t to replicate the studio paint schemes for Mechanicus terrain (although they’re great!), it’s to make my bombed-out table full of a mix of Manufactorum and Mechanicus pieces looks cohesive. I’ve gotten ideas from Warhammer TV videos and Google searches, referenced Citadel’s mini-guides for specific colors (e.g. Deathworld Forest), and used my Manufactorum color guide as my baseline.

In the dark future there are no bare bottoms

Tying Sector Mechanicus to Battlezone: Manufactorum

My approach is to follow these steps in this order. That entails a rattle can primer/base coat, tackling the biggest sections, completely finishing everything but the tiny details (pipes, plaques, handles, screens, wires, and the like), then doing those details (with no wash/highlight steps for them!), and lastly weathering the whole piece.

  1. Spray everything Leadbelcher. Tackle each piece in two stages: broadly, top and bottom. Flip them over and wait 15 minutes before spraying the second stage.
  2. Big stuff:
    • Stanchions and gantries: base coat the tops of the gantries Deathworld Forest (over the existing Leadbelcher primer/base coat); touch up any overspill with Leadbelcher; wash the stanchions and both sides of the gantries, starting with the undersides and waiting an hour before doing the rest; and then completely finish these sections (all the way up to top-level drybrushing). That way I can be messy with my washing and drybrushing before painting the other elements.
      1. Tops and edges of gantries: Deathworld Forest > Agrax Earthshade > Elysian Green drybrush > light Screaming Skull drybrush
      2. Undersides of gantries: Agrax Earthshade
      3. Stanchions: Agrax Earthshade > Ironbreaker drybrush > Necron Compound drybrush
    • Red metal (large plates, tanks, doors, some pipes): Khorne Red > Nuln Oil > Wazdakka Red drybrush > very light Squig Orange drybrush
    • Railings and large pipe joints (compatible with Manufactorum pipes): Wraithbone > Seraphim Sepia > Agrax Earthshade pin wash along seams/wherever they’d be really dirty > Tyrant Skull drybrush > Praxeti White drybrush, focusing on the high points and edges
    • Bare metal (ladders, chains, hooks, etc.): Agrax Earthshade > Ironbreaker drybrush > Necron Compound drybrush
    • Bronze: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion on the relief elements
    • Big 3-D Cog Mechanicum: The metal elements are already done (silver spray, wash, drybrushes).
      • White: Corax White > Apothecary White contrast paint > light Praxeti White drybrush
      • Black: Corvus Black > Basilicum Grey contrast paint > light Eshin Grey drybrush
      • Eye: Corax White > Khorne Red > Evil Sunz Scarlet
    • Small Cog Mechanicum: The metal elements are already done (silver spray, wash, drybrushes), and these are all too awkwardly situated for me to do much else to — so I keep them simple.
      • White: Corax White > thinned-down Agrax Earthshade wash in the recesses
      • Black: Abaddon Black
    • Hazard stripes: Averland Sunset/Chaos Black (use 3mm Tamiya hobby tape to mask them off) > very thin Agrax Earthshade wash to dial them back a bit
  3. Little details (wires, conduits, screens, etc.): Base coat in a single color (Averland Sunset, Macragge Blue, etc.) and vary these choices across the terrain pieces (especially duplicates!); it sounds like heresy, but these truly don’t need any follow-up coats/layers/etc.
  4. Weathering:
    • Rust: Thinned-down Skrag Brown > thinned-down Fire Dragon Bright
    • Verdigris: Nihilakh Oxide on bronze elements
    • Bullet holes: Shade them with the rest of whatever surface they’re on, then at this stage just fill them with Leadbelcher
    • Chipping and damage: Sponge on Rhinox Hide, focusing on the blasted edges and torn-away elements, but also randomly putting it everywhere that feels right

If you like this color scheme/approach, there’s nothing about it that’s unique to my setup; it should look dandy without the Manufactorum pieces to complement it.

Note that during assembly I’ve added battle damage and decay to my Mechanicus pieces: holes in gantries, missing ladder rungs, bullet holes, smashed railings, etc. My rules of thumb are: no section of gantry intended to mate with another at the table should be too badly damaged, as that would look weird if the other side didn’t match; and don’t overdo it. These aren’t ruins, like most of the Manufactorum pieces, but they have seen some shit.

Drilling holes and taking big bites out of my gantries (April 27, 2022)

My hope is that the mix of ruined and intact pieces, which is common to both terrain themes — out of the box in the case of Manufactorum, and added by me in the case of Mechanicus — will make the whole battlefield cohesive, immersive, and fun to look at.

Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.
Categories
Kill Team Miniature painting Miniatures Terrain Tyranids Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Tyranid Warriors and terrain

I’m currently working on three things in parallel, all at different stages: my second Hive Fleet Balaur unit for Kill Team, three Tyranid Warriors; a batch of Manufactorum terrain; and a couple of larger Sector Mechanicus terrain pieces.

Tom Servo of Finland watching over three freshly-glued Warriors

These guys were every bit as fun to build as my Genestealers. And despite having no names, no personalities, no quirky equipment — none of the stuff I’m used to using as my roleplaying hooks for how to assemble and paint an interesting figure — these models are packed with opportunities to convey intent (nom nom nom), motion, and character.

I’m honestly surprised how much I enjoy building and painting Tyranids.

My Tyranid Warrior Fire Team: Venom Cannon, leader, and weapon beast

Since I’m combining pieces from two lines, Manufactorum and Mechanicus, for my table, I started out with the Mechanicus stuff by just faffing about and seeing how it looks alongside my Manufactorum pieces.

I love how modular the Mechanicus terrain is

Alongside creating interesting terrain, my goal is to balance the modularity of the Mechanicus kits with a desire for durable, functional pieces I don’t need to fuss with.

These kits can be painted in pieces and assembled at the table, then broken down and reassembled a different way the next time. But some of the elements, like the railings, are going to mar whatever you attach them too — and in any case, that level of modularity seems like overkill to me.

So instead I built four anchor pieces, all of them fully assembled and glued — and all of them capable of being combined in lots of different ways. I left space for a Ferratonic Furnace under the octagon at the back, but glued my second furnace to the platform up front. The long gantries can each accommodate one or two of the larger Mechanicus tanks being slid under them, and almost all of the “mating” ends of the gantries and platforms can be mixed and matched.

This took a couple of hours, but I’m happy with how my pieces turned out.

My four anchor pieces (just press-fit at this stage, not glued)

After sleeping on my choices, I tweaked a couple things here and there, picked two to start with, and got them glued together.

The Ferratonic Furnace and platform will be glued together after I’ve sprayed them both (to make it easier to reach all the little crannies behind the ladder, cables, etc.)

Then I shifted gears and did the first wash on four Manufactorum pieces I’d previously primed, with an eye to finishing a full Kill Team board worth of terrain as soon as possible.

I’ve yet to figure out the secret of not being messy with terrain washes

It’s a weird angle, but this is my current overflowing work area: freshly washed Manufactorum pieces at the bottom, a mix of finished and WIP Tyranids and terrain in the center, and my first two huge Mechanicus pieces waiting for a dry day so I can spray them.

My desk hasn’t looked like this in months, and I love it!

Shifting from working on 2,000-point 40k armies to Kill Team squads has been just the ticket for getting me jazzed about painting again. It’s also helped me find something to focus on with terrain, since I’ve got a much shorter-term goal than filling a Strike Force board: one Kill Team board, which is maybe 4 large pieces, 2 medium ones, and a handful of little bits.

Out now: The Unlucky Isles

The Unlucky Isles [affiliate link], the first system-neutral guidebook for my Godsbarrow fantasy campaign setting, is now on DriveThruRPG.