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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.

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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 > Teclis Blue
    3. Thousand Sons Blue > Nuln Oil > Ahriman Blue > Temple Guard Blue
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    • 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.

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Finished miniatures Miniatures Terrain Warhammer 40k

First larger Manufactorum ruin finished

I’m in my sprint to see how many minis I can book in 2020, and this ruin — the largest piece of terrain I’ve ever painted (although it’s a medium-sized piece) — brings my December total up to 25.

I’m not sure how best to photograph terrain. My lightbox wasn’t going to work because the ruin’s floor would block the light — so I took it outside for some shots in natural light.

Exterior, long side
Exterior, short end
Floor from above
Interior

I started this piece back in November, and it took me so long to paint the details that I took a break…during which I assembled oodles of models and painted 11 Orks and 10 Gretchin. So not a short break. But, recharged and refreshed, I pushed through the final details and then the weathering — and on the whole, this was a really fun project.

Painting this piece also helped set my expectations for painting more terrain, notably in that I now know just how long it will take me to fill a 4’x6′ Strike Force-sized board. I’m going to start with trying to fill a Kill Team board, then a Combat Patrol board, and then see where that takes me. There’s no pressure, really; the odds I’ll need it in the next 12 months are slim, I’d say.

Next up is a Killa Kan, and I’m pushing to see if I can finish it by 12/31. This Kan, Mukkit, was primed on 12/28 and based and partially base-coated on 12/29, so it might be doable!

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

Runt-Eata’s Grots finished up

I wound up working on a box of Gretchin at the same time as five Boyz (not my usual approach; it’s too many at once!), so they got wrapped up on 12/27 as well.

My usual process is 5 or 6 at once, not sure I’ll do this again!

Do Gretchin know they’re adorable?

Runt-Eata’s Grots (I can’t afford the Runtherd in my current list, so I’ll build him later on)
Rear view
Casual shot in natural light

Like the Orks I painted at the same time, these Grots use three different skin recipes (1, 2, and 3 on my current list). I can’t wait to see how this approach looks across a larger force.

Everything I’ve painted in December (so far!)

I love these models, and they’re quick to paint up. Every step feels like it takes about half as long as an Ork Boy, so a box of 10 (excluding the Runtherd) takes about as long as a unit of 5 Orks; that makes doing 10 at a time pretty manageable.

Gretchin color guide

For simplicity, I treat Gretchin just like Ork Boyz, with only one addition:

  • Gretchin goggle lenses: Averland Sunset > Nuln Oil > Yriel Yellow

With these 10 Grots plus 3 small terrain pieces and 11 Orks, December’s tally of 24 models is my new record. I think 16 was my previous record, and the Grots being so small helps a lot here. (And who knows, I might sneak in one more terrain piece this year; I have one that’s pretty close to done.)

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

My first full Ork unit finished: Skrudd’s Krumpas

Having made the questionable choice to work on the “back five” of Skrudd’s Krumpas at the same time as an entire unit of Gretchin, 12/27 was a record day for me. (The Grots have their own post, just to keep things organized.)

15 at once is probably too many for me, but kind of fun at the same time

Wot’s dat funny light?

First, the new five on their own:

Five more of Skrudd’s Krumpas
Rear view

And then the whole mob, including Skrudd and the five I painted up earlier this month.

Skrudd and 10 (possibly all?) of his Krumpas, my first Ork Boyz

There are three skin recipes in this mix (1, 2, and 3 on my current list of Ork recipes. My hope is that sticking to a single recipe for war paint, which every model in Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas wears, will unify the larger army.

It’s hard to get 11 minis in frame, apparently

I overcooked the weathering on a few bits on these guys, notably the checked shoulder pads. I wound up repainting those, which is never my first choice, but it was worth it. I’m pretty happy with them overall — I just need to remember to go easy on the grit and grime!

Orks are as fun to paint as I’d hoped. I enjoy having multiple recipes for their skin, Deathskulls blue, etc. — and the mix of skin tones works as well in practice as it did in my head. I’m not sure my attempts to punch these five up (more checks, more blue and white, more lighter-colored boots for contrast with the terrain, etc.) were as successful as I’d hoped, but it feels like I’m moving in the right direction.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Painting tools Warhammer 40k WIP it good

A wall-mounted paint rack and some WIP miscellany

Currently working on a few too many Boyz and Gretchin at once, so I’ve been taking breaks to do some assembly.

First up, a Killa Kan:

Mukkit, leader of Mukkit’s Murda Mob

Mechanically, Killa Kan mobs don’t have a leader, so perhaps it’s more apt to say that Mukkit considers himself the leader.

I’ve heard these are terrible units, but damn this is an incredible kit. 100% of the parts are interchangeable, and they ooze character from every rivet. I was going for a sort of “Rarr! Mukkit stomp you!” pose, but wound up with more of a Macarena/posing for a tourist photo kind of deal…and I’m not even a little mad. Love this dude.

Alysia got me an Age of Sigmar Weirdnob Shaman for Christmas, so I spent a couple of pleasant hours today figuring out how to kitbash him into my Weirdboy.

Age of Sigmar Weirdnob Shaman + 40k Ork bits

On the AoS model, I test-fit the cape to see which of my arm swap ideas might work, and I trimmed off the smoke and shaved the spot under it flat. Everything else stayed.

I used the arm from the standalone Mek kit, which I snipped at the wrist; a standard from the Meganobz kit, which I stuck where the smoke used to be; two shoulder pads from the Boyz kit, which I used to camouflage the kludging I did around the smoke; and a jaw plate from the Nobz kit, which I used exactly as Gork (or is it Mork?) intended.

“Warpmek” Nakk, Weirdboy of Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas

As befits a Deathskulls army in general and Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas in particular, “Warpmek” Nakk is both a Weirdboy and a Mek (achieved by taking Da Fixer Upperz for him).

Since I’d destroyed the Mek kit’s clamshell packaging to steal one of his arms, I decided to just slap him together as well.

“Sawfasta” Grunk, Mek

Alysia also gave me a new paint storage solution, a nail polish rack that can swallow 100% of my current paint library. I believe it’s this model on Amazon (not a paid link), and as the reviews show it’s been battle-tested by fellow hobbyists. I can confirm that it does a bang-up job of holding Citadel paint pots.

Nail polish rack = Citadel paint library

I’ve seen folks organize their paints by color, but I alphabetized mine by type instead. I mainly follow GW recipes, so this makes the most sense for my approach. The top row is Technical paint and some non-paints (glue, etc.). The second row starts with shades/washes on the left and then jumps into base paints, which run another full row and the first couple slots of a third. After that come all of my layer paints.

I’ve mounted it with room for a second one, which I’ll need at some point. (I’m currently storing all my backup pots somewhere else.) I loved my previous paint storage solution, but my paint supply had outstripped its slots and I wanted to free up that corner of my desk.

Having started my paint collection back in February with the bare minimum I needed to do parade-ready Blood Angels, it feels funny to be actively using 85-90 paints now.

Happy holidays, merry Christmas, and I hope to be back in a few days with some finished Orks and Gretchin.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: modifying Moonkrumpa, Lootas, and Grots

I kicked off my Waaagh! by building my Warboss, Moonkrumpa, back in November, and ever since then I’ve been noodling about how to make him more Mek-y and Warboss-y (and whether or not to magnetize his wargear options). This morning things finally shook loose, and I busted out my bits boxes and kitbashed Moonkrumpa 2.0:

“Moonkrumpa” Grutnik, who once krumped an entire moon
Ork booty

I used a Killa Kan pauldron, a Blood Angels Dreadnought arm plate and Blood Talon, the light from a Space Marine unit (Dread or tank, I don’t recall), and two boss poles from a Nobz kit. He has to compete with an actual Warboss model (Grukk), so my goal was to make Moonkrumpa unmistakably Da Big Boss — but without meaningfully changing his silhouette, or doing anything that could be taken as modeling for advantage.

Not being able to fit the pauldrons under the sides of the Tellyport Blasta was what sealed the deal on 1) not magnetizing him, and 2) committing to the Kustom Force Field. Now all I need to do is practice a bit more armor-weathering — probably on Killa Kans — and I’ll be ready to prime and paint him!

Over the past couple of weeks, I also built a mob of Lootas, Gark’s Git-Blastas:

Gark’s Git-Blastas getting their parts lined up
The assembled Git-Blastas, with Gark (the Spanner) in the center

Getting their massive backpack/frame/gun jobbies to stay put for gluing was a bit fussy, but apart from that they’re a fun kit. And there are enough bits left over to build Burnas (by adding torsos and legs) or make a nice deposit in the ol’ bits box.

I also assembled my first Gretchin, Runt-Eata’s Grots, who are just fucking adorable:

Not pictured: Runt-Eata, my Runtherd, who I can’t afford to put in this army (because I’d rather spend the points on Mek-y stuff!)
So adorbs

I’d normally grumble about the number of mono-pose minis in this kit — three mono-piece Grots and six mono-pose models, leaving just 1/10 with minor posability — but they give you a ton of extra heads and the models are so cute that I don’t even mind. I might mind if I needed to paint more than 10, but even then the heads and paint jobs would provide a decent amount of variation.

The Grots came up at the same time as I was touching up the rest of my first mob of Boyz, Skrudd’s Krumpas, so I decided to break with tradition and paint 15 models at once. They’re actually almost done at this point, so I should be able to book them all this month.

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

Finished up my first Orks, Skrudd and five of his Krumpas

As I did with my Blood Angels army, I started Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas off with the backbone of any Waaagh!: some Ork Boyz. Six minis at once is about all I can handle, so I painted Boss Nob Skrudd and five of Skrudd’s Krumpas. I finished these Boyz on December 8th.

Krump dat lightbox

5/6 of Skrudd’s Krumpas
Rear view

As an added bonus, my casual shots can now incorporate a play board and terrain!

Skrudd’s Krumpas on the plains of Armageddon

The real Orks were the Orks we made along the way

On December 6, I retired my workhorse brush, which no longer has enough bristles to perform any meaningful service. It now rests in a place of honor, cradled in Wolverine’s arms atop the base of my painting lamp.

This brush is most likely seven years old, as I recall buying a pack of Armory brushes back in Utah when I needed to paint some Mercs minis in 2013. (If not, then it’s even older than that.) It’s served me well primarily as my paint-dipping brush, but it’s also done a ton of base-coating, painted the base edges on 50+ Blood Angels, been poked into crevices, and done every job a brush can do.

This brush gave every bristle of its life in service of my painting

Before I lose track of it, I want to recap my half-assed method for quickly doing Ork checks. First I establish the grid using 2mm Tamiya hobby tape, and paint whatever’s showing Macragge Blue.

Step 1

Then I peel away tape and hit either more Macragge Blue squares or the Corax White squares, whichever color is showing.

Step 2

I don’t have a photo of step 3, but it’s just freehanding the missing squares once all the tape is gone. Every square gets two coats of paint.

A more time-consuming, and neater, approach would be to re-tape and only paint masked-off areas, but I discarded that as too fussy. A steadier hand than mine could use Warhammer TV’s approach, marking the edges of the grid with pencil, then filling in the lines, then painting those squares. But I need the steadying influence of the initial masking-off, and then of the “virtual” grid — and in any case I don’t see how pencil is going to show up on metal or black, which is what I checked here.

Step four is a thinned-down Agrax Earthshade wash, as recommended in White Dwarf #454 (don’t want those checks to be too clean!).

The four Krumpas I checked

Reflections on painting my first Orks

It was a weird feeling hitting the point when a Blood Angel would have been done, ready for varnishing…and still having checks, rust, chipping, different rust, verdigris, and dirt/battle damage to go. On the one hand I’m setting myself up for work I could certainly get away without doing. On the other hand, I only need to paint them once but I have to look at them forever.

All of my possible weathering and embellishment tools/colors

And, more importantly, all those extra steps were a lot of fun. They really only added a couple of hours, maybe three tops, to the finishing process (total, across all six Orks).

I learned a lot along the way, and I see plenty of room for improvement. Here’s what jumped out at me:

  • My freehand Krump glyphs are terrible, no surprise there; that skill will improve with practice.
  • I’m pretty happy with my checks; although they could be tidier, at the moment they feel the right amount of messy.
  • I exercised what I hope was the proper amount of restraint in weathering steps. I’ve seen plenty of Orks online that just disappear under chips and rust and clutter, no longer readable in the way I like my minis to be readable. I want green skin, blue war paint, blue gear, and checks to be what pops, not weathering (or the bases, or clothing).
  • War paint on arms feels like a struggle, but hands are pleasantly simple — and faces are surprisingly fun.
  • I love the signature that ties all of Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas together, the single hand painted blue. That felt right at the idea stage, and it feels right now that I’ve painted it on my first six Boyz.
  • Ditto the looted Space Marine wargear, although I’d like to branch out into other factions for variety.
  • I need to mix blue into my clothing options (and dirty white into my options for boots), and not hesitate to add more blue to my Orks in general. It’s their signature color, it pops — and since they feature lots of browns and their bases are brown, that pop is important. These first six could use more blue.

My initial 2,000-point list is still in draft form, but currently it only features 30 Boyz and 10 Gretchin. That feels light on Boyz for a horde army, but I’ve got so many Mek-y and Deathskulls-y units to fit in that I’m not sure how I could pack in more Boyz (and, after all, these aren’t the kings of the horde, the Goffs; they’re Deathskulls, the kings of Mek stuff). We shall see!

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Miniatures Warhammer 40k

A strong contender for a third 40k army, Necrons, and a Yore milestone

Picking up a second-wave Indomitus box marks the first time since I got into 40k minis that I’ve bought models outside one of my chosen factions. I know I could Ebay the Necron half of my set and plow those funds into Orks or Blood Angels, but I’ve been looking ahead to 2021 (much of which seems like it’ll be a lot like 2020, isolation-wise) and thinking that a third army might be enjoyable to paint.

And it’s not just the convenience of already owning 36 Necron models: When I was choosing my second army, Necrons were a strong contender based on their sculpts and lore. While the notion of having one force from each umbrella faction — humanity, xenos, and chaos — is appealing, when I browse the chaos units (as I’ve got humans and xenos) I’m not blown away by some of the figures.

By contrast, virtually every current Necron model looks amazing. Based on the pre-refresh sculpts, I’d largely dismissed them; painting the same robot skeleton over and over sounded dull as dishwater. But these evil mofos look like a blast to paint — and they’d have a different aesthetic, vibe, and process to my Angels and Orks.

So while I’m not ready to commit to Necrons, nor give them a page of their own here, I do want to list what I have on hand for future noodling and/or Kill Team use:

  • Indomitus:
    • 1x Overlord
    • 1x Royal Warden
    • 1x Plasmancer
    • 1x Skorpekh Lord
    • 20x Necron Warriors
    • 2x Cryptothralls
    • 3x Skorpekh Destroyers
    • 1x Canoptek Plasmacyte
    • 1x Canoptek Reanimator
    • 6x Canoptek Scarab Swarms

If my pace holds steady with Orks, it’ll be 10-12 months until Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas are all painted up — plenty of time to ponder a potential army number three.

167 v. 166

Incidentally, this post represents the first past a tipping point on Yore: It’s my 167th post about miniatures, surpassing my 166 posts about RPGs. (As is traditional for Yore milestones, it’s just a plain ol’ post.)

I play/run RPGs twice a week, loving every minute, and if anything I’m more engaged with actual play than I was when I started blogging about RPGs way back in 2005. During those 15 years, I’ve written something like 1,500 blog posts about RPGs, mainly GMing topics.

I’ve found that some topics, especially perennial ones like fudging die rolls or player personality types, just don’t interest me anymore. I’m open to new ideas, but I know where I stand and why I stand there. I haven’t written a dedicated RPG advice blog since 2016, when I left Gnome Stew, and Yore’s occasional forays into advice tend to be one-offs written when some topic really grabbed me.

All of which is to say that I think the joke I made in February that got me back into blogging — about turning Yore into a miniatures blog — has borne fruit. I’ve kept Yore on the web even during its many fallow periods because this is the blog I come back to — the place where I write about whatever I want to write about, usually hobby stuff, and in the past that’s most often meant RPGs. These days, it’s minis.

Next month, or next year? Who knows! I sure don’t. But I hope you’ll stick around, and I appreciate your readership. Thanks for reading!

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Miniature painting Miniatures Terrain Warhammer 40k

Hazard stripes on my Manufactorum ruins

While puttering away at this terrain, I stumbled across a battle report in White Dwarf #456 which features this same Manufactorum line. The view from above, unlike the photos on GW’s website, finally showed me what was going on with the middle of each ruined floor: hazard stripes!

I laid down some 3mm Tamiya hobby tape and got to work.

Let’s get stripey
One down

After two thin coats of Averland Sunset, I peeled off the tape and drybrushed the entire floor with Celestra Grey (stripes included).

Two down, and both weathered with a Celestra Grey drybrush

I didn’t worry too much about lining things up perfectly, or the difference between the “horizontal” and “vertical” portions (a natural consequence of my taping pattern). In the grim darkness of the far future, a Manufactorum would be a dreadful place — and an imperfect one.

When I started this terrain, I was listening to Dan Abnett’s Ravenor Returned, a portion of which takes place in an Administratum facility. Alongside the general impression of how miserable the place was, there was a bit where a character complains that his cart has a dodgy wheel — and his supervisor tells him that if he works hard for 10-12 years, he’ll merit a better cart.

That sequence colored my approach to this terrain, just as Brothers of the Snake (another excellent Abnett book) did with Squad Ariete. Those happy coincidences are one of the joys of listening to 40k books while I paint.