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Deathskulls Orks Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Putting my finished Taurox Trukk conversion in the new lightbox

I finished my Trukk! I built Da Fancy Wun back in February, and worked on lots of other stuff at the same time (painted 11 Boyz, built two Kans and a Dread, converted my Warboss)…but it still feels like I’ve been working on this Trukk forever. Back of the napkin, I’d say it took me somewhere between 35 and 45 hours from sprue to varnished and ready for the table.

This is the final post in a five-post series documenting this Trukk. Assembly is in part one and part two, the color guide is in part three, and a few WIP shots are in part four.

Many thanks again to Hobbyistgirl for her conversion (build process and painted Trukk), which was my inspiration to try this and my guide for large portions of the assembly process. Her Trukk is awesome!

Regular readers might notice that there’s no shot of Da Fancy Wun in casual light. That’s because I got a new lightbox (full rundown later in the post), and can now take photos good enough that they abrogate the need for a casual shot.

Da Fancy Wun, my converted Taurox Prime/Trukk, at its golden angle
Front view
Left side
Rear view
Right side
Top view

The Emperor’s eye grows larger

After a year-plus of steady painting, and some struggles with my first lightbox — notably taking photos without the lower half of each mini in shadow, and straining to squeeze full 10-model squads into it — I decided it was time to upgrade. I went from 12″x12″x12″ to 16″x16″x16″, which doesn’t sound like a big jump but is actually so large that I’m very glad it folds up nicely, and from one fixed ring of lights in the top to two repositionable light bars.

This FOSITAN lightbox (paid link) cost about $60 (three times what my smaller DUCLUS box cost), and it’s totally worth it.

Every interior surface is shiny silver, but dimpled so that it provides reflectivity without hotspots. You can shoot from the front or top, and the two light bars can clip onto the edges in either shooting configuration. Those bars also tilt, and if you want to diffuse the light when shooting from above there’s a translucent white square (with a hole in the middle) you can add between the bars and the object you’re photographing.

Unlike the DUCLUS, it doesn’t offer multiple color temperatures — but it does offer a lovely neutral white, and that was the only temperature I used on the old box anyway. The bars are dimmable and it includes several rather nice plastic backdrops; after a few test shots, I’m currently using the lowest setting and the grey backdrop.

I couldn’t resist reshooting Thragg’s Deff Lads, who I felt got especially short shrift in their lightbox session, along with a mixed-unit group.

Thragg’s Deff Ladz
Da Fancy Wun, the Deff Dread “Facepeela,” a boy from Thragg’s Deff Lads (left), a Boy from Skrudd’s Krumpas (rear), and one of Runt-eata’s Grots (right)

The only problem is that now I want to reshoot every lightbox photo I’ve taken, and that doesn’t sound like fun just now. So I probably won’t! But I’m going to enjoy better lightbox pics going forwards.

Da Fancy Wun brings me to a pretty respectable 476 points (9th Edition rules), with 35 models painted (32 infantry, 3 vehicles). Next up is probably two more Killa Kans.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Ripfist, Skraggit, Stikkit, smoother magnetization, endlessly kitbashing Moonkrumpa

I’ve learned some lessons about drilling, magnetization, and efficient assembly over the past 14 months, and I applied all of them to “Ripfist” Gorg, my second Deff Dread for Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas.

Had I done things this way with “Facepeela,” his build would have gone much more smoothly!

Ripfist the Deff Dread and the two Killa Kans I just finished building, Stikkit (center) and Skraggit (left, about to stomp on an adorable monster snail from the AoS Squig Herd kit)

Drill bullet holes before assembly

Yeah, it works fine afterwards — but doing it first allows me to exert as much force as I like on the piece, while holding it wherever I like, without worrying about breaking an assembled miniature.

Magnetize before assembly, too

Soooo much easier this way! It involves drilling, so the above applies here as well. But working with a single loose piece also means less stuff I might accidentally glue together — and I can clean up the inside of the holes before putting the model together. My first Deff Dread, Facepeela, still has a couple shavings rattling around inside his body.

Ensure cross-compatibility

The whole point of magnetizing my two Deff Dreads (two…so far!) is to enable weapon-swapping one each model, but by matching polarities on both models I can also freely mix and match between them. While building Ripfist, I carefully checked (and re-checked, and re-re-checked, and re-re-re-checked) each magnet against Facepeela and the component of Ripfist that I was magnetizing.

I also paid attention to what went where. So Facepeela has his KMB on the right and Ripfist has his on the left. If I want one of them to have two KMBs, they’re both ready to accept that swap.

Facepeela (painted) and Ripfist’s pieces, ready to check magnet compatibility and get underway (and one of my busiest work area pics to date!)

Trim, clean up, glue

With larger models, I’m in the habit of clipping pieces off the sprue, tidying them up, gluing them, and then starting on the next section while the first section dries. But with the two Killa Kans I just built, I tried clipping 100% of the parts, then sanding/filing 100% of the parts, then gluing the model all at once — and dang, but that’s both easier and more fun!

Ripfist trimmed, sanded, and ready for section-by-section assembly

Moonkrumpa: never actually finished

It’s becoming a bit of a running personal joke that I’m constantly tinkering with Moonkrumpa. This time around the impetus was building the other Warboss in my army, “Bigtoof” Skragga (to get a Morkanaut into my list, I needed two detachments), and this incredible, dynamic sculpt screams Warboss in a way that Moonkrumpa doesn’t.

Even with Moonkrumpa 3.0’s height, banner poles, looted wargear, bulk, and customized base, it isn’t immediately clear at a glance which of the two is my Warlord. Based on an idea I saw on Reddit, I starting tinkering with him again.

Bigtoof (left) and Moonkrumpa (right)

Having done more kitbashing — and a full-fledged conversion — since I first built Moonkrumpa, I’m a bit more confident about it now. My bits box has more stuff in it, too.

This kitbash does mark the first time I’ve significantly altered the silhouette of the original model, and you could certainly argue that I’ve strayed from WYSIWYG wargear by adding a second claw — and I’m not sure how I feel about that! The original Big Mek in Mega Armour mini is bulky, but doesn’t have a huge “wingspan,” whereas — by design — my version sprawls to the top, front, and sides.

It’s not “suddenly, he’s Ghazghkull,” though, and it feels consistent with a rule of thumb I saw on Reddit: Your Warboss should be the largest infantry model in your army. To boot, I can always take the stratagem Da Biggest Boss for 1 CP (making him literally a bigger boss), or give him Super Cybork Body to represent the Killa Kan arm in game terms.

More importantly, it’s a fun kitbash, it brings me joy, and it’s exactly what the Mek leader of a Mek-driven Waaagh! should have going on.

Moonkrumpa 4.0

Now there’s no mistaking who’s in charge here:

Moonkrumpa (left) and Bigtoof (right)

As I was wrapping up this revision and re-kitbash, I looked at the time and realized that I’d been at it for five hours! But I couldn’t have done it all up front, when I first built Moonkrumpa, because I didn’t know as much about Orks, my army, or kitbashing when I started this army. Even though it’s meant more work modifying him after the fact, it’s been a fun process.

Hulking update!

My bonsai tree, Hulking, dropped a few leaves during his first couple of days with me — which Alysia said was probably just because he was adjusting to the new environment. She was right. After a little adjustment period, not only is Hulkling not dead, he seems to be thriving.

A freshly watered Hulkling

I’ve had to prune new shoots several times, and more are always popping up. I’ve got a little routine for where to place him during the day for the right amount of sunshine, including rotating which side faces the window, and he seems quite content.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Da Fancy Wun, my Taurox Trukk conversion

I finished Da Fancy Wun last night, so while the varnish is curing I figured I’d post the WIP photos I took along the way.

This is the final post in a five-post series documenting this Trukk. Assembly is in part one and part two, the color guide is in part three, and the finished product is in part five.

Bottoms of wheels base-coated, shaded, and varnished (so the paint won’t rub off the spikes while I work on the rest)
Clown car aesthetic coming together
The Squig is probably my favorite part of this Trukk
Fully base-coated, waiting for touch-ups (with my amateur green stuff kintsugi on the mug in the background)
Touched-up and ready for shading
With vehicles, I always start with the underside

There are three great milestones in any miniature-painter’s life: drinking your brush-rinsing water (I haven’t done this, but I’ve come closer than I’d like), shaking an open pot of paint (check!), and spilling an entire bottle of Citadel shade paint.

Inky ghost says hi
This was the point where I worried I’d gone too dark with my shading
Fully shaded, starting in on highlights

Overall I’m pretty happy with how Da Fancy Wun turned out. There are things I’d do differently on my next Trukk, but that’s always the case. I’m looking forward to getting it into my new, larger lightbox to see what it looks like up close.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Converted Taurox Trukk color guide

This Trukk — Da Fancy Wun — is an experiment in more than one way (it’s my first conversion!), and on the color front I’m trying two things: four recipes for blue on the same model (Trukk parts, Taurox body, the gunner’s armor bits, and the signature blue fender and gunner’s war paint); and splashes of colors that are uncommon or unseen in the rest of my army (so far), like gold and dark red, for a bit of a “rusty, ramshackle clown car” aesthetic.

This is the third post in a five-post series documenting this Trukk. Assembly is in part one and part two, a few WIP shots are in part four, and the finished product is in part five.

Da Fancy Wun fully base-coated and touched up, waiting for shading (March 2021)

I’ve pulled the Taurox Prime recipes straight from GW, twiddled a bit; most of the others are from GW’s site or White Dwarf. As always, shades/washes are in italics.

Worth noting: I painted, washed, and sealed the metal and rubber on the very bottom of all six tires (and let the sealant fully cure) before working on the rest of the Trukk, so as to avoid rubbing off the paint every time I set it down. This proved to be a good idea — and I wish I’d done the whole tire, not just the bottom, because I rubbed all the paint off many of the rivets on the tires over the course of painting the rest of the model.

Also worth noting: I highlighted the rubber portions of the tires before deciding how to weather them, and the weathering approach I chose basically erased all of those highlights. A step to skip next time!

  • Taurox body: Russ Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Thunderhawk Blue > Fenrisian Grey
  • Taurox gold: Retributor Armour > Agrax Earthshade > Gehenna’s Gold > Auric Armour Gold
  • Taurox red panels: Khorne Red > Agrax Earthshade > Wazdakka Red > Squig Orange
  • Trukk parts blue: Macragge Blue > Agrax Earthshade > Calgar Blue > Fenrisian Grey
  • Trukk tire rubber: Abaddon Black > Skavenblight Dinge > Stormvermin Fur
  • Trademark blue fender: Caledor Sky > Drakenhof Nightshade > Teclis Blue > Lothern Blue
  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Ironbreaker
  • Brass/bronze: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion
  • White glyphs/decorations: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
  • Ork gunner: From my Boyz color guide, skin #6 (Caliban Green base), blue #3 (Thousand Suns Blue base), black pants, brown shirt, and Zandri teeth/nails.
  • Squig skin and NOS tanks: Mephiston Red > Carroburg Crimson > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Wild Rider Red
  • Squig eyes: Averland Sunset > incidental but helpful Carroburg Crimson wash when I do the face > Yriel Yellow
  • Squig teeth and nails: Zandri Dust > Seraphim Sepia > Ushabti Bone > Screaming Skull
  • Squig gums: Screamer Pink > Carroburg Crimson > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
  • Fuel tank: Averland Sunset > Agrax Earthshade > Yriel Yellow
  • Headlights: Moot Green or Averland Sunset > Agrax Earthshade > Moot Green or Yriel Yellow
  • Roll bar wraps: Zandri Dust > Seraphim Sepia > Ushabti Bone > Screaming Skull
  • Severed head flesh: Rakarth Flesh > Druchii Violet > Pallid Wych Flesh > White Scar
  • Severed head hair: Dryad Bark > Agrax Earthshade > Gorthor Brown > Baneblade Brown
  • Weathering and embellishments: These steps all happen after the rest of the mini is 100% done (including highlights); not every Ork uses all of them:
    • Checks: Macragge Blue and Corax White; I wrote a little guide for these
    • Chipping: Apply dots of Leadbelcher on the high points, edges, and surfaces where paint would naturally have been worn off
    • Battle-damaged edges: Tiny dot/line of Rhinox Hide > mirror the same shape with a line underneath it of whatever blue base coat I used for that area (Warhammer TV reference video)
    • Bullet holes: Highlight the edges of the hole in the appropriate color (e.g. Calgar Blue), then apply Leadbelcher to make it look like the paint was blown away
    • Built-up rust In spots where it can accumulate over a long period, such as on and around bolts, apply thinned-down Skrag Brown
    • Rusty streaks: Thinned-down Skrag Brown > thinned-down Fire Dragon Bright (like I do on my 40k terrain)
    • Verdigris: Nihilakh Oxide
    • Grime: Sponge on Rhinox Hide
    • Caked-on grime: Typhus Corrosion
    • Dusty, dirty tires: Thinned-down 50/50 Dryad Bark/Zandri Dust > thinned-down Baneblade Brown in the deep crevices > Tyrant Skull drybrush > Seraphim Sepia pin wash to reestablish the crevices (I followed this Way of the Brush tutorial, but modified it based on my colors on hand and used water instead of Lahmian Medium; this approach isn’t ideal for the metal/rubber combo tires on the Trukk, though)

I have to varnish Da Fancy Wun in two stages — tires and undercarriage first, curing for 24-48 hours upside down, and then the rest — so it’s going to be a few days until I can get it into my (new!) lightbox for some photos. It’s been a fun ride!

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Deathskulls Orks Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

At long last, Thragg’s Deff Ladz! Plus six variations on Ork skin

I built the first of Thragg’s Deff Ladz (my second mob of Boyz for my Deathskulls Ork army, Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas) on January 17th, and have chipped away at them slowly but surely for the past two months. Since I’ve mostly painted rank-and-file Orks so far, this 98-point unit brings me up to 356/2,000 points and 34 finished models.

Back in February, after I abandoned the notion that I was going to paint these lads in two batches; painting 11 minis at once kind of bogs me down, but I can’t argue with the logic of it

I’m not painting at the same pace in 2021 that I did in 2020. And that’s okay! Even if I only do 5-10 minutes in a given day, my hobby streak remains unbroken (today is day 387) and those few minutes are still more than the zero minutes I was putting in for many, many years.

Part of it is that after a year in isolation, the prospect of actually playing 40k still seems like it’s probably 8-12 months away. I’m still enjoying miniature painting as a hobby, but now I have one finished 2,000-point army — the goal of finishing a second feels less urgent. So I’m taking it easy, not gunning the engine and risking burnout.

Along the way, I also picked up a second paint rack. My whole paint library is now accessible, with room to spare. I’m an organized person, by and large, and this appeals to me greatly!

Man, I picked a weird-ass angle for this shot

Anyhoo, time for some Boyz! Let’s fire up the ol’ lightbox.

Get stuck in, you gits!

Thragg is in the center; my favorite in the mob is on the far right, biting that Space Marine dagger blade-in because Orks are not so bright
Rear view of the first five
The second batch; I also like the rightmost mini a lot
Rear view of the back six

And as always, a casual shot (a mix of natural and artificial light):

All 11 of Thragg’s Deff Ladz

Ork skin tones

With Thragg’s Deff Ladz complete, I’ve now used all six skin tone recipes that are currently in my main Ork color guide (plus 3/5 of the recipes I use for Deathskulls blue, and both of my teeth/nails options). The Ladz are a mix of two quite different schemes, one based on Castellan Green and the other on Caliban Green. I love the Caliban version; they start out super-dark green (with a black wash) and highlight up to a very cartoony look.

Now that I’ve tried them all, I took four photos showing each of the six colors, all in the same order (which is the order in which they currently appear in my color guide). So in terms of base paint > shade paint, that’s:

  1. Waaagh! Flesh > Biel-Tan Green
  2. Waaagh! Flesh > Athonian Camoshade
  3. Deathworld Forest > Athonian Camoshade
  4. Deathworld Forest > Biel-Tan Green
  5. Castellan Green > Athonian Camoshade
  6. Caliban Green > Nuln Oil
It took some doing to find one of each with no war paint on their left arms!
Same models, but in a full-body view
And again, but this time in a casual shot with different lighting
Same lighting, full-body view

Recipes 1 and 2 are almost identical to one another; ditto with 3 and 4; really, I have four major recipes with two variations. The variations only differ in which shade paint is used, and unless they’re side by side and you know to look for it that difference is hard to spot. But I like variety in my motley crew, and even just counting the four “main” recipes I’ve got quite a bit of it in my army (all tied together, I hope, by their shared palette of secondary colors and especially by their war paint).

Similarly, my blue recipe built on Kantor Blue is quite similar to the default Macragge Blue version (at least the way I wash and highlight them). But Thousand Suns Blue makes for a vibrant and quite distinctive finished product; I really like that one.

Next up is Da Fancy Wun, my Taurox/Trukk conversion, which is currently primed, partially painted, and waiting for the sealant on the bottom-most wheel spikes to cure.

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Deathskulls Orks Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

First finished mini of 2021: Facepeela, Ork Deff Dread

My first mini of the new year (although, having been completed on January 23rd, “new” is a bit of a stretch) is my first Deff Dread, “Facepeela” Snarg. Facepeela is also the first model I’ve ever magnetized, a process that was not without its problems…leading to this also being the first model I’ve ever done that incorporates green stuff (Kneadatite).

Facepeela brings my Waaagh! up to 308 points. Still a ways to go!

I heart big and stompy

“Facepeela” Snarg’s Golden angle
Front view
Left side
Rear view
Right side

I also experimented with using mostly natural light (no lightbox) and just a piece of printer paper as a backdrop. It’s more, well, natural than the lightbox, but I don’t think I have this technique quite figured out yet. Here’s Facepeela’s golden angle shot that way:

Golden angle, mostly natural light, piece of paper as a backdrop

This kit was fun to build and paint, validating my choice to make my first Ork army list about 50% vehicles — including a second Deff Dread, three Killa Kans, and a Morkanaut. Not too surprising, as it’s basically a super-sized Killa Kan — and that’s one of my favorite 40k kits I’ve ever built.

Just for fun, here he is alongside a sampling of the Orks I’ve painted so far:

Facepeela, Mukkit, and a few of Skrudd’s Krumpas and Runt-Eata’s Grots

Green stuff for a green lad

The necessity for green stuff came about when, as I was working on highlights, I noticed that the secure position for his lower saw arm — the position in which it stayed in place the best, resisting drooping — only worked because the arm was braced against the socket, scraping paint off the edge every time I snapped it in place. I tried Blu-Tack, and that was fine, but I didn’t like the idea of leaving a blob of it on there forever.

Blithely assuming that green stuff was just easily-moldable putty that would dry into something about as hard as plastic, I decided to go that route instead.

Turns out, green stuff is incredibly sticky, not terribly easy to work with, and dries semi-soft. But it did the job better than Blu-Tack, as it’s hard enough to stay in place and can be primed/painted/varnished. I didn’t take any pictures of that process (because it was pretty frustrating), but it was basically: apply green stuff in a blob much larger than needed, just in case; let it cure overnight; trim it to fit with a hobby knife, slowly, testing the fit with every trim; prime and paint normally; two coats of varnish (and two in the socket, too).

My second Dread isn’t using this arm, so I might build the arm again, drill it better this time around, and replace the one currently on Facepeela. Or not! It works, and unless you’re looking for it the ugly blob of green stuff isn’t noticeable.

Deff Dread color guide

My Deff Dread’s base includes one bit not found on my usual list. Color-wise, apart from that, it’s just a bigger Killa Kan.

  • Demon skull horns: Zandri Dust > Seraphim Sepia > Ushabti Bone drybrush

I like Facepeela’s static, menacing pose, but I don’t want two of it; my second Deff Dread will probably be posed raising one leg, about to gleefully stomp on something. Not sure what, but maybe a grot. We shall see!

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Terrain Warhammer 40k

WIP it good: puttering

I’ve been chipping away at some stuff, recovering from my sprint to wrap up my Killa Kan by the end of 2020.

Remember when I said version 3.0 of my Warlord, Moonkrumpa, was his final form? I was wrong!

Moonkrumpa 4.0, probably the final version

I realized how off it felt to have the leader of an army of Orks with expressive, fun-to-paint faces be wearing a mask. Since I had a second Meganobz kit on hand (if you build a Big Mek, the two remaining Meganobz don’t comprise a valid 40k unit…), I popped his head off and replaced it with the unmasked version. This might actually be the end of the road, since I primed him shortly after taking that photo.

I’ve also been building the biggest 40k thing I’ve ever built, the Sanctum Administratus.

The incomplete bottom level curing

This thing is massive. The bottom level is something like 8″x8″, and it’ll be around a foot tall when I have the next two levels on there. The multipart walls are a bit fussy, but I thought about it and decided to build the whole level in a rush so I’d theoretically have time to adjust before it all dried. That worked pretty well, although I did leave run of the floor/ceiling about 1mm too high.

More Administratus pieces, my Deff Dread, Moonkrumpa, and a Grot Oiler

Working on this piece prompted me to think about how much more terrain I might need, so I did some digging. After reading (and re-reading) lots of contradictory advice, some of it based on previous editions, it hit me that I could just read the rules and see what they said about terrain. As it turns out, what they say is that I already have almost enough terrain for a 44″x60″ Strike Force board.

All that puzzling-things-out resulted in a major update to my 40k terrain page, which now links to finished scenery and lists all of my pieces in ways that should be helpful when deciding how to lay them out for play. I think I really just need one more large terrain piece, ideally one that ties the Manufactorum and Mechanicus elements I already have together, to have a pretty solid Strike Force set (less the additional boards, which I still need to buy).

Speaking of terrain, I stumbled across a post by GW terrain designer Ray Dranfield on Twitter in which he suggested not gluing the second story of your buildings because the Sector Imperialis pieces are designed to be swappable, and I had a thought:

Imagine these two pieces painted in the same color scheme

I’ll be damned! Fits like a glove. The interior floors look totally different, but the column spacing is identical and the Imperialis column tops and Manufactorum column bottoms are grooved to mate perfectly. This particular pairing doesn’t make a lot of sense (there’s a door to nowhere on the second floor…), but I’ve got some other Manufactorum pieces that would look right at home up there.

Of course, the second thing I thought of was dropping in a few magnets for added stability…

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Blood Angels Space Marines Deathskulls Orks Life Miniature painting Miniatures Space Hulk Terrain Warhammer 40k

My 2020 in miniature painting

In 2020, I became a miniature-painter. Prior to February, I was a guy who sometimes painted miniatures and generally didn’t especially enjoy it. But this year I painted more minis than I had in my 30+ years of sporadic painting prior to 2020 — almost twice as many, in fact. So I’m still a beginner, in many (many!) ways, but not quite as a green as I was before.

All of the miniatures I painted in 2020

Before I get into stats and silly stuff I kept track of, though, I want to pause to write about the pandemic.

Yore isn’t a news or current events blog (there are many better places to go for that sort of info and content), so I haven’t really blogged about the Covid-19 pandemic. This is one of my refuges, and I hope that perhaps it’s been one of yours.

The toll this virus has taken is staggering: over 340,000 dead in the US alone. More than 418,000 Americans died in World War II; that we’re likely to match that total before herd immunity is reached, and with so many of these deaths being preventable, is heartbreaking.

If you’ve lost someone this year, my heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine what that must be like, in the midst of all of this. If you’ve lost your job, your peace of mind, or any measure of stability, I am so sorry for that loss. Whoever you are, reading this right now, I hope things improve for you and yours.

Miniatures by the numbers

In 2020 I finished painting the following models (I’m not counting assembled, primed, or partially painted minis — just varnished and ready for play):

  • Blood Angels (56):
    • 35 classic Space Marines
    • 10 Terminators
    • 5 Primaris Space Marines
    • 1 Land Raider
    • 1 Rhino
    • 2 Dreadnoughts
    • 2 Teleport Homers
  • Deathskulls Orks, Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas (22):
    • 10 Ork Boyz
    • 1 Nob
    • 10 Gretchin
    • 1 Killa Kan
  • Space Hulk (15):
    • 12 Terminators
    • 3 objectives
  • Terrain (4):
    • 1 medium/large Manufactorum piece
    • 3 small Manufactorum pieces
  • Grand total: 97 miniatures

A full quarter of my output was in December, when I set a personal record: 26 miniatures in one month. I know that’s small potatoes for dedicated hobbyists, but it’s a lot for me!

My overall favorite miniature that I painted in 2020 is also my last one of the year: Mukkit, my first Killa Kan. It’s not just recency bias, either; I poured everything I’ve learned about painting into this guy.

Mukkit the Killa Kan

I got out the first miniature I finished in 2020, Brother Scipio from Space Hulk (2/27), and threw them in the lightbox together for a first/last comparison shot:

My first (L) and last minis (R) of 2020

My MVP brush for the year, the Citadel S Layer — which I bought before learning that animal-hair brushes were a thing — finally died at the end of December. I replaced it with a Princeton Velvetouch size 0 Round, an excellent synthetic brush with similar characteristics. This size has become my workhorse, handling everything from edge highlights to base-coating details to eyes.

I spent about 10 months painting 2,200+ points of Blood Angels (November 2020)

I learned a lot about painting this year. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to continue improving upon. Painting was a real source of joy for me in 2020. Capturing that joy and that learning process here, and hopefully in ways that might be useful to other painters, has been a lot of fun as well.

I like tracking stuff

A few other stats I’ve kept track of:

  • Hobby streak: From the day I started painting again to the end of the year, I maintained an unbroken hobby streak of 314 days. Doing at least a little bit of assembly/priming/painting every day played a huge role in keeping me motivated and moving, and in getting this many minis done.
  • Hand-washing: Since mid-March, I’ve recited my Covid-19 hand-washing mantra — the opening narration for Star Trek: The Next Generation — approximately 950 times. (I don’t, like, log this or anything; I’m backing into my total based on an average of 3x a day since March 12, when we went into isolation.)
  • Audiobooks: Having gotten into audiobooks at the same time as 40k, and explicitly as an accompaniment to painting, I listened to 15 excellent 40k books this year (almost all of them by my favorite author/narrator pairing, Dan Abnett and Toby Longworth). Favorite titles include Ravenor (Ravenor v.1), Necropolis (Gaunt’s Ghosts v.3), and Brothers of the Snake.
  • Movies: I watched 183 movies, 44 of which were 2020 releases. Birds of Prey was my favorite 2020 film, and the last thing I saw in the theater; I hit four viewings by year’s end. (I log and comment on every movie I’ve seen on Letterboxd.)
  • Music: I listened to 52 hours of music, all on Spotify; genre-wise, hip-hop and electronica were my top two. My favorite 2020 releases were Birds of Prey: The Album (various artists), HOUSE OF ZEF (Die Antwoord), and BE (BTS), and dang if that isn’t a decent snapshot of my musical tastes.
  • RPGs: I played 87 RPG sessions, 27 of which were solo. I only played one 2020 release, Brindlewood Bay; it’s a hoot. Unusually, it’s the first game I can remember that both of my groups are playing at the same time.
  • Blogging: I wrote 166 blog posts, about 40% of my total output here on Yore since 2012. 2020 also marks the year when Yore crossed the tipping point from being primarily about tabletop RPGs (166 posts as of December 8) to being primarily about minis and my hobby journey (the 167th minis post was on December 8).

Here’s to 2021

While I doubt we’ll get “back to normal” in 2021, I think things will start to look up in the spring and summer, and playing 40k seems like it could happen next winter. (I’m last in line for the vaccine, as I should be, and my family’s bubble, distancing, mask usage, and other precautions don’t seem likely to change for months.) But there’s ample reason to hope for a better year, and hope for it I do!

Thank you for reading Yore. Stay safe out there.

Categories
Deathskulls Orks Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Final miniature of 2020: Mukkit, a Killa Kan

With an hour to spare, I finished a wild push — a week worth of painting in about two days — and wrapped up my final miniature of 2020: Mukkit, one of the Killa Kans in my Deathskulls Ork army.

This is the best miniature I’ve ever painted. It incorporates everything I’ve learned this year, plus a couple of techniques I haven’t tried before, and it features the best highlights I’ve ever done. (I’m not saying it’s amazing, just frankly assessing it against my output to date.)

Light it up like dynamite

I listened to so much BTS in November and December, often while painting, that it’s only appropriate to lead with a BTS lyric (from “Dynamite” on their album BE).

Mukkit, “leader” of Mukkit’s Murda Mob
Left side (Kan Klaw)
Rear view
Right side (Big Shoota)

Plus a casual shot for good measure:

Ready to do the Macarena

Orks being Orks, the 22 minis I’ve painted so far bring me to a whopping…208 points. Down the road, when I paint my Morkanaut, I’ll get to experience a massive completion bump (+340 points, if memory serves).

WIP it good

I don’t usually combine posts for finished minis with WIP photos, but for Mukkit I did a sort of time lapse — and it turned out to be the clearest and most complete set of photos of my process that I’ve done so far. Mukkit was a genuine sprint, although I didn’t speed-paint him; I just did more painting in fewer days than normal.

12/29

I primed Mukkit on 12/28 and started painting him in earnest on the 29th. I wanted to book him by the end of the year, and it seemed doable.

Primed, scenery washed
Partially base-coated
Texture paint applied

This was my first time painting a larger unit with Citadel’s XL handle (which I just got recently), and it’s night and day compared to holding the base. I can’t believe I waited this long!

12/30

Base complete, base coat done
Touch-ups completed
Washed/shaded

12/31

My first time really pushing for thinner (narrower) highlights

In hindsight, the moment I decided to commit to using thinner lines for my edge highlights heralded a sea change. Now that I know I can paint more delicate highlights, and can see the direct line of improvement from the start of the year to the end, I suspect I’m going to use more thin lines in the future.

Fully highlighted; were this a Blood Angel, I’d be done at this point
Grids in place for my checks

Just imagine a photo of my weathering steps here, because I forgot to take one.

And at 11:00 pm on New Year’s Eve, done!

The lighter blue I used for Mukkit’s Klaw — as part of my unifying theme of every model in this army having one blue hand — doesn’t look as different from the other blue parts as I’d hoped, but it is a bit clearer in person.

The Killa Kan kit is amazing. Every part is swappable between Kans, and many parts are shared with the Deff Dread kit, adding even more customizability. There’s a ton of room to add personality in the assembly stage — and the painting stage is just as fun. These models are silly and dark in just the right measure and mixture, and they’re one of my favorite 40k kits.

Up next is probably one of the two Deff Dreads in my current list; I’ve got a three-armed big dude on my desk, mostly still on the sprue. With three Kans, two Dreads, and a Morkanaut (plus “Ork Terminators,” the Meganobz and Big Mek in Mega Armour), this army is full of what I love: big stompy things.

Categories
Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Killa Kan color guide

Happy new year! I’ve got a little flurry of posts planned, and this one happened to be ready first.

My recipes for Deathskulls Killa Kans are almost identical to the ones I use for Ork Boyz, but with some tweaks and additions at the weathering stage.

  • Deathskulls blue armor/plates: Pick a recipe:
    1. Macragge Blue > Nuln Oil > Calgar Blue > Fenrisian Grey
    2. Kantor Blue > Nuln Oil > Caledor Sky (note this is a base paint) > Teclis Blue
    3. Thousand Sons Blue > Nuln Oil > Ahriman Blue > Temple Guard Blue
    4. Hoeth Blue (note that this is a layer paint) > Drakenhof Nightshade > Hoeth Blue > Blue Horror
    5. Thunderhawk Blue (note that this is a layer paint) > Nuln Oil > Russ Grey > Fenrisian Grey
  • Trademark blue “hand”: Caledor Sky > Drakenhof Nightshade > Teclis Blue > Lothern Blue
  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Ironbreaker
  • Dirty metal: Leadbelcher > Agrax Earthshade > Ironbreaker
  • Brass/bronze: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion
  • Skull decorations: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
  • Actual skulls: Corax White > Agrax Earthshade > Corax White drybrush
  • Horns: Zandri Dust > Seraphim Sepia > Ushabti Bone > Screaming Skull
  • Pink missile: Screamer Pink > Carroburg Crimson > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
  • Misc. wires, lenses, etc.: These are a mix of Averland Sunset, Mephiston Red, Moot Green, and Abaddon Black > Agrax Earthshade > highlighted accordingly with Yriel Yellow, Evil Sunz Scarlet, Moot Green, and Eshin Grey; then add dots of White Scar to the lenses
  • Snail on Skraggit’s base:
    • Body: Screamer Pink > Druchii Violet > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
    • Shell: Averland Sunset > Agrax Earthshade > Yriel Yellow
    • Eyes: Moot Green > Agrax Earthshade > Moot Green > White Scar gleam
    • Mushroom stems: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > White Scar
    • Mushroom caps: Mephiston Red > Agrax Earthshade > Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • Weathering and embellishments: These steps all happen after the rest of the mini is 100% done (including highlights); not every Kan uses all of them:
    • Checks: Macragge Blue and Corax White; I wrote a little guide for these
    • Hazard stripes, missile spirals, “hazard cables”: Averland Sunset and Abaddon Black > thinned-down Agrax Earthshade wash if it feels necessary
    • Battle damage: Pick and choose among these options:
      • Edges: Tiny dot/line of Rhinox Hide > mirror the same shape with a line underneath it of Calgar Blue/Caledor Sky depending on the Deathskulls Blue I chose (Warhammer TV reference video)
      • Bullet holes: Some of the Kan parts come with bullet holes in them; highlight the edges of the hole in the appropriate color (e.g. Calgar Blue), then apply Leadbelcher to make it look like the paint was blown away
      • Dirty chipped edges: Sponge the edge with Rhinox Hide > extremely lightly, and using a long segment of sponge, apply Leadbelcher to the same edge; don’t overdo it or it’ll look like you shat glitter all over the model (see the second segment in this WHTV video, or this one around 11 minutes in)
      • Scratches down to bare metal: Line of Abaddon Black > thin line of Leadbelcher partly overlapping it but also underneath it (Brush & Boltgun tutorial)
    • Built-up rust: In spots where it can accumulate over a long period, such as on and around bolts, apply thinned-down Skrag Brown
    • Verdigris: Nihilakh Oxide
    • Grime: Sponge on Rhinox Hide (I mainly do this on blocks of white and portions of the feet)
    • Caked-on grime: Typhus Corrosion, in moderation, along areas of the feet

On my first Kan, Mukkit, I did dirty metal (Leadbelcher/Agrax) everywhere except the weapon arms and the viewport panel, and plain metal (Leadbelcher/Nuln) on those. I thought that might be a fun effect, as the “working” areas of the Kan would be dirtier in real life, but after all the finishing and weathering steps it’s pretty hard to spot unless you’re looking for it.

Like everything else about Killa Kans, painting them is a hoot. This is one of my favorite 40k kits I’ve built so far.