While painting May’s minis, I’m also building my June models. After my Death Company squad, I decided to tackle more jumpy boys: a squad of Assault Marines.
This is the first time I’ve broken out the bits box to add things to the kit other than basing debris. Everyone’s getting a Blood Angels chapter pauldron, and I’m raiding the greeblies for belt doodads and the like.
As ever, I started with the sergeant, Adamo, and let the character of the squad flow from him. The Eviscerator looks amazing — I’m so glad it’s an option. And the little “leaping into flight” base elements, which come with the kit, are fantastic.
These are great sculpts, too, full of motion and energy — and somehow they manage to convey that, unlike their Death Company brethren, they’re in full command of their faculties. Compare:
Maybe it’s just me? I don’t know. But I see it and I dig it.
This kit is loaded with options, including separate backs, torsos, and backpacks to use if they’re not Jump Pack-equipped; loads of melee and ranged weapons; and a surprising amount of belt bling. I’ve got another box of them in the wings, and I can’t wait to dip into some of the other options — with an eye to intermingling the guys without knee pads between squads (provided I remember to give them the special weapons…).
This past weekend I found myself in a funny spot: Excluding Commander Dante, who’s still on his sprue (I’m not ready to mess with resin quite yet), 100% of my other models to paint this month were drying or curing and couldn’t be painted…but I was in the mood to do hobby stuff.
My backlog has now grown to the point where even if I build my entire current army list, I won’t be short of other things to build when assembly is what I’m in the mood to do with my hobby time — so I started in on my June painting queue. Specifically, Death Company box.
As always, I started with the leader — except that by the rulebook, Death Company battle-brothers don’t really have one, at least not within their squads. They’re generally led by a Chaplain who can manage them on the battlefield. So what to name this squad?
I decided that it would be Squad Zahariel, in honor of former Sergeant Zahariel, a noble and long-lived Space Marine who had fallen to the Black Rage.
I knew I wanted these guys to be leaping into flight — like the Assault Squad, which includes cool little base add-ons that give them some lift — so I dipped into my bits box and came up with some scrap that would work. (Two pairs of legs are posed standing squarely on the ground, so I didn’t mess with those.)
Finding the right pieces, matching them up to the right poses, and making it all work was a lot of fun. I love this aspect of assembly, and even though it’s quite light as kitbashing goes I have to start somewhere. Baby steps!
I also managed to glue 4/5 of their jump packs on, and let their glue set for several hours, before realizing that I’d placed them about 1-2mm too low. With some wrenching and a bit of surgery I managed to sort them out, and any evidence of my screw-up is well-hidden deep in the crevice between back and pack.
This is a great kit, loads of fun to assemble, and it includes a wealth of options, doodads, extra shoulder pads, and awesome Chainswords. I’d gladly build a few more of these boxes.
I finished listening to the audiobook of The Devastation of Baal last week, and then over the weekend — while naming my Sanguinary Guard — realized that I now know something else about my Blood Angels army. Before that I had two bits of lore/flavor around my army:
They all wear helmets, no bare-headed models
Their bases are meant to be the plains of Armageddon
To which, because of the events of the Devastation, I can now add:
My army is post-Devastation of Baal, because it includes both Primaris and non-Primaris Marines
Lore-wise I might be getting a bit fuzzy here, because the only info on post-Devastation Sanguinary Guard — all but one of whom died fighting Leviathan — is on 40k wikis, but that points to the Guard being composed of the lone survivor and Primaris Marines. I see no reason the new Guard can’t be composed of a mix of Primaris and non-Primaris, though, so that’s what I’m going with in my head.
Prepping my May minis
I also found myself on May 1st without a single ready-to-paint model, so I set about getting a few to that stage. That entailed doing the texture paint on Squads Amedeo and Dolos, and priming my Rhino, Relentless.
I soon realized that properly priming Relentless was going to be a two-day job. For day one, I did the undercarriage and both ends; it then sat overnight to allow the primer to cure.
On wings of frustration
As I was listing my May 2020 BGG painting challenge minis, I realized I couldn’t put off figuring out how to name my squad of Sanguinary Guard any longer. They have no sergeant; to the best of my knowledge, Space Marine squads are traditionally named after their sergeant. That’s how I’ve done all of mine.
But these guys are weird. The unit is four, often accompanied by an Ancient — but he’s not part of the squad. He’s a character, he gets a name; that’s Brother Abaoz. But the rest? It seems easiest to name them all and pick the one I like best as the nominal squad leader (since the actual squad leader is Commander Dante): Remiel, Uriel, Zarnaah, and Ballaton.
Squad Remiel rolls off my tongue the best, so Squad Remiel it is. They’re all angel names, which I found by Googling “angel names.” As always, I bounced them off Lexicanum’s list of known Blood Angels names so as to be reasonably sure I’m not claiming someone who already has a place in the lore. (Emphasis on reasonably; I’m going to overlap at some point, it’s almost inevitable — and that’s okay.)
Their wings, though? Most frustrating thing I’ve glued in my two months of building 40k minis. There’s no “mating” joint, no locking nub, nothing to ensure that the wing is in the correct spot and matches its partner. The instructions imply where they go, but even with the angled 360-degree spinning model on GW’s site I still wasn’t totally confident.
It took me 45 minutes to do Remiel, and most of that was his wings. And every time I’d adjust them, his awesome sword-arm pose would slip because of his huge pauldron, and then the other wing would get bumped, and then…
The outcome, though, is a straight-up badass pose. Brother Remiel is winding up for a death blow while leaping into the sky, all motion and dynamism. His wings don’t quite match, and that gap at his right shoulder is going to require a healthy amount of Agrax Earthshade to cover up — but this is a great sculpt, and he should look awesome when he’s painted.
I returned to Squad Remiel on Saturday, armed with a new approach: I came prepared to relax, which sounds funny but can be quite effective; I built in a pause between gluing on their arms and wings, to make sure the arms were fully set; I test-fit the wings before the glue on the arms and pauldrons was dry, so I could nudge them around a bit before it was too late; and I checked both wings from every angle before their glue was fully set, leaving time for delicate adjustments to them as well.
The end result is one of the coolest squads I’ve built so far. I absolutely love these guys. Whereas after building Remiel I was kind of glad I only had one box of them, with the squad done I certainly wouldn’t mind doing another box. Their details, their dynamic poses, the massive melee weapons — I was drawn to them way back when I was choosing a Space Marine chapter, and now I remember why.
Yore also hit a fun little milestone, one I’ve been watching for since I got back into blogging this past February: 500 impressions in a day.
Thank you for reading Yore! I write it because I want to, but I like knowing that folks are reading it — and hopefully getting some mileage out of it, too.
I’ve been making some progress on Squad Ultio, my shooty Terminators.
I decided that I’d lean into silver as their primary accent color, and unify them with silver Crux Terminatus emblems on their left shoulders. Sergeant Ultio is getting more gold, but with silver accents.
I used to start with the most prevalent color and work my way down to the small accent colors, but now I go in reverse. Once it hit me that, for example, the only way I can manage to paint the gold setting for a red gem on red armor is to hit it first — slopping over into what will be red areas — and then circle back with the red, carefully painting right up to the gold, I realized many accents could be painted better and quicker that way.
Reaching the point where what’s left is “just” the red takes some time — probably about two hours, maybe 2.5, for this squad. The red will likely take longer, but blocking that in somehow feels more manageable when I’m down to only one color.
I almost forgot to give them all black left fists (except the sergeant). I know that — like just about all details of chapter paint schemes — that’s optional (and not universal over the past decades of studio paint jobs), but I like it. It gives them a different presence and energy.
Warmed up from some quick basing work (on Squads Amedeo and Dolos), and with a bit of momentum built up, I managed to get two more Termies base-coated on Sunday night. That left about another 90 minutes of base-coating, followed by a couple hours of touch-ups and detail work, before I could move on to shading.
It took me 12 minutes per figure to prime Squad Ultio, but since I don’t love priming I’ve been looking for ways to reduce that time without sacrificing quality. On Sunday I consciously employed a loose, light, feathering stroke — and blasted out Squads Amedeo (Sternguard) and Dolos (Infilitrators) in 45 minutes, or 4.5 minutes/figure.
That leaves just my Rhino, Relentless, and a squad of Sanguinary Guard to prime so I can paint them in May.
I want to do yellow/black hazard stripes on the two Chain Fists in this squad, and I bought some 2mm and 3mm Tamiya hobby tape for that purpose — but every time I look at those tiny chainsaw housings, which wrap around on three sides, I question my ability to actually do it.
But fuck it, I’m going for it. Colors are Averland Sunset/Abaddon Black. (The rest of these guys just follow my usual Blood Angels colors, no surprises in their recipes.)
Step 1: paint the housings Averland Sunset, two thin coats for even coverage.
Step 2 was going to be “apply diagonal strips of tape” until I actually tried that and physics disagreed:
Step 2: apply vertical strips of 2mm Tamiya tape, edge to edge with no gaps (to ensure even spacing).
Optionally, at this stage you can feel free to question the judgment and moral character of the dingus who decided to put a big rock right in front of this Chain Fist.
Step 3: remove every other strip of tape.
Step 4: paint the exposed yellow portions Abaddon Black.
Step 5: remove the remaining strips of tape. Ta-da! Hazard stripes.
Not, I hasten to add, amazing hazard stripes — but better than I could freehand, especially as they wrap evenly around the housing, and easily touched up during the next step of my painting process.
For true old-school Terminators I should have hazard-striped the Fist itself, not the saw housing, and then painted John Blanche’s face freehand on top of the stripe pattern . . . but these will have to do.
Two of the three blue paint pots I need to finish Narses came in the mail yesterday, so I tackled 99% of his highlights last night. He’s so close to completion at this point — but “so close” also equals 18 colors of highlights.
Two hours of layers and highlights later, and he’s nearly good to go!
Up close like this the final orange highlights on his armor (Fire Dragon Bright) read as Way Too Much, but at tabletop distance it looks more natural.
My Cog Mechanicum turned out okay, too!
Meanwhile, I’ve got Squad Ultio on the painting handles, fully based and ready to rock — and as part of the RPGGeek April 2020 Painting Challenge I’m trying to get the whole squad (and Narses) finished in April. That challenge was a tremendous motivator in March, and it’s been a great motivator in April, too. A miniature every two days (on average) would get me to a parade-ready 2,000-point Blood Angels army by mid-July, allowing a bit of slush time for the larger vehicles.
And I built my first Rhino, the designated transport for Squad Karios, so that I can paint it in May.
I made so many mistakes while building this kit: forgot to add the ramp before gluing the sides, glued the top doors on upside down, and glued one hatch to the wrong mount. All fixed before they became permanent, but it was a bit of a comedy of errors.
I’d planned to paint the interior, and assumed that leaving the top off would give me enough room to work. But that’s not the case: There’s no way I can credibly paint, say, the Bolter under the console given how little room there is inside this puppy. Plus my ramp wouldn’t stay fully closed, and I couldn’t figure out why; combine those factors and I decided to just glue this one up and plan ahead for painting the interior of a future Rhino or Razorback. (Which I’d do by priming and fully painting every interior piece before gluing them together.)
All told, this is a really neat kit. I got a good deal on an older Rhino box which, despite including instructions for a Razorback, lacked the sprue with the Razorback turret weapons — and the cool little cargo and tow ropes and stuff. I think it was from back when GW was producing them as separate kits, whereas now a Razorback kit will include everything you need to go either route.
And here she is: Relentless, ready to crush heresy in the Emperor’s name. Or more accurately, ready to transport Squad Karios for said heresy-crushing — while providing a little dakka along the way,
I went with the gunner because 1) he’s awesome and 2) who knows if my next Rhino will take the Storm Bolter option (although for 2 points, it seems likely). This should be a fun one to paint — especially now that I have some larger brushes to speed up the bigger panels.
I think I’m going to have to actually write “Relentless” on the name scroll, too, rather than just scribbling on it like I do with most scrolls. I wonder if Gundam panel-lining markers will work?
Narses finally has his base coat done! I assembled him on March 19, started his base on April 9, finished his base somewhere around April 12, and started painting his body in earnest on the 15th. It’s not that long, but it feels like a long time.
That’s probably partly down to having completely finished him from the waist down before starting in on the rest of him. Painting him that way, while it made sense, has given the process an odd rhythm.
It’s rad to see him with his arms on!
I’ve still got a few smaller elements in need of their base coat — blood drops, lenses, etc. — but they’re so tiny that I’ll just roll them in with the touch-up step. And there are plenty of touch-ups to do!
I even took a pass at the Cog Mechanicum, although it clearly needs some work. And this photo make it pretty easy to see the spot where I broke part of his power plant while assembling him, yikes (top right, silver).
I stayed up too late doing it, but before bed I got Narses fully touched up and shaded.
I can now do everything but the final layer/highlight on his sarcophagus (Calgar Blue) and the two layers on his Force Halberd (Temple Guard Blue > Baharroth Blue), including varnishing his right arm once those highlights are in place. I think it makes sense to do as much as possible before I have to push pause, so I’m planning to do all of his other highlights and just leave those few blues for whenever my paints arrive.
Shipping is understandably a bit slow right now, so while I can’t finish Narses until a selection of blue paints arrive I can still plug away at the rest of his base coat. With a dash of good luck I’ll be able to book him in April rather than May.
My go-to Blood Angels accent color is gold, but I pay attention to the studio paint jobs and they often use other colors more often than gold (reserving the gold for veterans, special figures, etc.). I liked how that worked out on Squad Karios, on whom I used black for most accents, so where I’d normally have done all of Narses’ skulls, keys, and whatnot in gold I decided to follow the studio scheme and make them silver and white.
I’m not sure I’ll be able to pull it off, but I’m looking forward to attempting the 50/50 white/black paint job on the small Cog Mechanicum on Narses’ rear armor (currently just bare primer surrounded by red). It looks like a fun challenge.
I wanted to improve my force/plasma blue paint jobs, so I did a bit of poking around and found a GW recipe I like: Caledor Sky > Drakenhof Nightshade > Temple Guard Blue > Baharroth Blue (as seen in my Narses color guide). With 3/4 of those now ordered but not yet arrived — meaning I can’t finish Narses’ base coat, which includes those colors for his Force Halberd and eyes — I spent the weekend bouncing back and forth between him and Squad Ultio.
First up was the little teleport homer, which was a fun warm-up figure. I don’t remember even consciously doing a figure as a warm-up before, but now that I’ve done one I like the concept.
I used this illustration on the 40k wiki as my template, but made the lamp a cheery green and skipped the second light (at least I think it’s a light?). My paint library isn’t that deep yet, as I tend to buy colors I need/think I’ll need rather than stocking up on everything — so for the green, I just used a 50/50 Moot Green/White Scar blend for the layer.
I also got Squad Ultio’s bases completely done (except for tufts, of course) — and I love being able to use the same Citadel painting handles for 40mm bases that I use for 25mm and 32mm.
I think of my minis as halfway done when I reach this point. It’s not accurate — the remaining “50%” is more than 50% — but it feels accurate. To reach this point I had to clean up their mold lines, assemble them, partially base them, prime them, and then finish basing them (texture paint, base coat, wash, drybrush). And those steps include at least three overnight curing/drying stints: glue, primer, texture paint. By that point a nice head of steam has been built up — the rest of the figure feels inevitable!
It hit me on Friday night that since there’s more than one Space Marine worth of painting work in Narses, and since I’m painting him in sub-assemblies, I should just finish each part separately — as in, not base coat them all, then wash them all, and so on, but take each one through to highlights on its own.
So I started with his legs. It looks like if I do the single-color underside of his upper body next, I might be able to glue the waist joint and then be painting an actual Dreadnought rather than his component parts. Which sounds like fun.
This is the first time I’ve been really happy with my first layer on parchment. And when the second layer and text (squiggles) were done, I was happy with those, too — I’m learning!
Once I added the chapter decal and highlighted the black piping (which I forgot to do before taking the photo above), I shaded and highlighted the underside of Narses’ upper body and glued his waist joint. That glue cured overnight from Saturday to Sunday.
I checked beforehand to make sure I had unencumbered access to the rest of his upper body when it was in place before adding the glue, and there’s plenty of room for me to work. Now it will feel like I’m painting a figure!
On Sunday we spring-cleaned the house and I didn’t really feel like painting, so I decided to do some assembly instead. I was planning to build my Sanguinary Guard so they’d be ready for painting on May, but when I checked the kit vs. what I’d specced out in BattleScribe I realized that the kit didn’t come with the five swords I’d planned on; rather, it includes three swords, two axes, and a Power Fist.
I know my 2,000-point army will probably get rebuilt after I get to play my first game — whenever the pandemic is over and going to my local 40k venue is a thing again — but psychologically it’s important to me that I’m working toward a specific army, WYSIWYG, that’s game-legal. I have a huge backlog that will give me lots of flexibility in future army lists, but for now I’m building towards one specific list.
So my choices were 1) Ebay a couple extra SG swords, or 2) tweak my list. I went for #2 and spent a couple of happy hours playing with different options.
Two of my goals while assembling my initial list were to build 100% of each kit (so if it comes with 10 models, build a 10-man squad) and to field no duplicate units (there’ll be plenty of time to paint more identical squads down the road). But I realized that one of those was going to have to go to make a tweaked list work, so I decided to cut Squad Dolos — my Infiltrators — in half.
They’re great sculpts, but not all that diverse in appearance; I’ll use the other five down the road, but I don’t mind setting them aside. Freeing up half their points let me kit out my Land Raider a bit differently, give my Assault squad sergeant an Eviscerator — and add a squad of Sternguard Veterans. I got so excited looking at all their cool bits that I decided they’d be Sunday’s assembly project.
As always, I started with the sergeant and let the character of the squad flow from him. This kit comes with an incredibly badass “one hand on the hilt of his power sword” pose for the sergeant — an easy choice! Thus was born Sergeant Amedeo.
In my quest to bling him out as much as possible, giving him two shoulder pads with wide rims, hoisting his Boltgun, and adding the crest to his helmet, I inadvertently made it almost impossible to squeeze his head in there. I wound up having to swap out his left pauldron for a more subdued model to get everything to fit. He looks like he’s staring imperiously across the battlefield, which feels appropriate for a kit with a very “Roman centurion” feel to it.
From there, it was a fun evening of finishing out the rest of the squad. I love this kit! It’s loaded with details and extra bits (like belt bandoleers of Boltgun ammo and grenades) , and with the addition of the Blood Angels Upgrade Kit shoulder pads they feel right at home in my growing strike force.
After Sergeant Amedeo, the battle-brother on the far left was my favorite to build. I tried to make it look like he was mid-motion, having just drawn his combat knife, about to launch himself off a rock and into the fray. The right arm was intended to hold a strapless Storm Bolter, but it works just as well for one of the Sternguards’ special Boltguns with its strap swinging out to one side.
I wrapped things up by doing the first round of basing on all of them, so that they’d be ready for priming after curing overnight. Which means at the moment May should look something like this:
Finish Squad Ultio and/or Narses, if any of them aren’t done yet
Paint Squad Dolos, 5x Primaris Infiltrators
Paint Squad Amedeo, 5x Sternguard Veterans
Build and paint a Rhino
I’m especially excited to take what I’m learning from painting Narses and apply it to my first 40k tank — and the Rhino is just such an iconic design.
They don’t always turn out how I’d hoped, but no matter what I always enjoy working on bases. This whole scenic base thing is still pretty new to me, and I learn something every time I work on one. Yesterday saw Squad Ultio hit the texture paint stage, which ties the whole thing together — sometimes just right, sometimes a bit off the mark.
The only one that didn’t quite work out is the top left Termie, whose base is bisected by a cool bit of blue Imperial scrap . . . which is so flat that it’s almost entirely obscured by the texture paint, and so dark in color that it becomes even more invisible. The rest turned out how I imagined them; tufts will really seal the deal — sometimes they look off until that stage.
The philosophy of miniature painting
Which, as it turns out, is one of the things I find most fascinating about painting miniatures: You have to believe in the potential of a thing that won’t be realized until several steps — and several hours — down the road. Base terrain looks weird until it’s washed; that’s one step. But the scrap looks weird until it’s surrounded by terrain and accented with tufts — and that stuff doesn’t fully come to fruition until the entire model is complete.
I’m not always a confident painter, so I like that the process itself forces me to believe in the groundwork I’m laying — to see the vision of a completed figure I’m happy with during the stages where it doesn’t look great. I find the philosophical side of this hobby as interesting as the actual painting in its own way — like finding joy in painting for the sake of painting, or knowing my own limitations while simultaneously trying to surpass them.
It’s a rich and varied hobby, and I’m really digging it so far.
Also, Narses now has a base coat on his legs.
I’m back to being a bit intimidated by Narses. I’m not sure why! First Dreadnought? First HQ? Largest model I’ve painted in over 30 years? Those all make sense, more or less — but I wasn’t intimidated last week. I don’t know what’s changed.
With an overnight cure for my primer (might be overkill, but why not be safe?) and an overnight dry for texture paint, I need to plan my miniature queue at least two days ahead of where I currently am. I like to have something I’m painting, something else ready to paint, and stuff to build in the queue. So: time to prime up some Terminators!
It took me about an hour to prime Squad Ultio, which feels kind of slow. But with that done, I could turn my full attention to Narses — my first-ever Dreadnought.
I’ve never worked with sub-assemblies before; I normally just build and then paint. But there’s no way I can do a good job shading and highlighting some of Narses’ elements if he’s assembled, so he’s getting painted in four big pieces.
I don’t think I’ll put him together until the varnish stage — and even then, I’m not gluing on his arms. They fit snugly without glue, and I like the idea of being able to pose him and adjust his arms for storage. That big ol’ waist joint will be getting glued, though.
Librarian Dreadnought color guide
Being this far along with Narses means it’s time to record the paints I’ve used and will be using on him (shades in italics, as always). This is 95% just GW’s studio color guide, except that I swapped in their “cold white” recipe for the white elements and added some accent colors.
Red: Mephiston Red > Agrax Earthshade > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Fire Dragon Bright
Narses is larger than a Space Marine, of course, but he’s mostly composed of big, simple blocks of color. Adding in that his scenic base took some time, and he’s landing somewhere between a single Marine and a squad of five in terms of painting time.
Squad Ultio bases
Come Wednesday evening I wasn’t really feeling like doing serious painting, so I relaxed by working on Squad Ultio’s bases.
The common elements use the same colors as my other bases. The new stuff:
Horns: Mournfang Brown > Agrax Earthshade > 2:1 blend Kislev Flesh:Mournfang Brown
Ork scrap: Two coats of Yriel Yellow > Agrax Earthshade > Flash Gitz Yellow