Categories
Life Miscellaneous geekery

My bonsai tree, Hulkling

Back in 2009, when we still lived in Utah, I fulfilled a longtime dream by buying a bonsai tree. I named him Elkhorn, after the dwarf from the D&D cartoon.

Elkhorn in April 2009 (Utah); if memory serves, he was a Dwarf Hawaiian Umbrella

I’ve never had a green thumb — quite the opposite, really — so I put my heart into trying to do everything right with Elkhorn. Despite my best efforts, he died in 2011.

We were buds (no pun intended), and I felt terrible that he’d died under my care. It wasn’t until this year — 10 years later! — that I felt ready to try again with a new tree.

This little Chinese Elm arrived on the 13th, packed so well by Eastern Leaf that not only was he upright, intact, and unperturbed by the journey, his soil was still thoroughly moist after several days in transit. I’m still trying to decide which is his front view, but it feels like it’s probably this first one.

The likely front view (Seattle)

I’m not sure if the broken-off root or branch in the foreground is a mistake or part of a bonsai style I just learned about, where dead wood is created intentionally for aesthetic reasons (jin is a bare branch, shari is a stripped portion of trunk). Given the wire scars on the trunk, my layperson’s guess is that it’s a growth/pruning mistake, but I don’t mind it.

Here’s the other view, the one I was initially drawn to before I’d given them both due consideration.

The view I initially thought was the front view (still deciding!)

After sleeping on it, and casting a wide net for possible names, I decided to name him Hulkling.

I like Hulkling as a character (I have a slabbed Hulkling cover, Young Avengers #9, hung on the wall); he’s smaller than Hulk, and working in a size joke is traditional; he’s a prominent gay character; he’s impulsive but easygoing; and he has an inner grace to him that I feel is reflected in this little tree’s sinuous shape.

Categories
Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Converting a looted Taurox Prime into an Ork Trukk, part 2


Part one
covered measurements (Trukk vs. Taurox), most of the cab, the chassis, and the axles and wheels. As before, the foundation of, and inspiration for, this conversion — my first — is the excellent work done by Hobbyistgirl on her Taurox Trukk conversion. I’ve diverged a bit from her build, and I’m diverging from it more in this second post.

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

I want my converted Trukk to still look ramshackle (an actual game mechanic that means you can only do so much damage to the vehicle, as it’s so full of holes and gaps already), despite the pristine armored compartment for the driver. That starts with the engine compartment, which I’ve built around the idea that my Meks chopped off the front end of the Taurox and slapped in a big-block engine with a blower.

My finished Taurox Trukk conversion

Let’s get choppin’

First, I shimmed the spot where the engine will sit to make it the right height.

I think this shim is a piece of Trukk chassis
I added the exhaust pipes on the right side of the Trukk engine, but not the left

Then I cut and weathered the Taurox engine compartment panels and glued them in place. I used the Taurox exhaust pipes on both sides; on the left side, they’re intact. I also used the Taurox light on the left side, since I like asymmetry in my Ork stuff.

On the left side, I was able to keep the whole Taurox exhaust assembly

I didn’t notice the cool NOS attachment that’s supposed to go on the left side of the engine until it was too late; I’ve already partially blocked that spot. (No worries, though; I trimmed it a bit and jammed it on there later.)

Right side attached
Top of the engine compartment attached, and now you can’t see inside so there’s less to paint

I covered the unsightly gap, and the shim, with a bit of trimmed-down Trukk scrap.

Corrugated Ork scrap

Then I roughed up the grill from the Taurox and stuck it to the engine, alone with the Trukk bumper (attached exactly as the kit intends, since I left the front of the Trukk chassis intact in part one).

Taurox grill, Trukk bumper

I like the idea of my Orks being like, “Oi, let’s put dis bit back, hurr hurr,” and then sticking the grill back on because it’s funny.

Next I added the bed sides, armor, and roll bars per the Trukk instructions.

Stock Trukk bed parts, assembled per the instructions

DakkaDakka lists the Trukk’s height as 3″, and my converted Trukk is already 3″ high at the roll bars. I wasn’t sure I liked the boarding ramps, so this is a great excused to not use them as they’d make the Trukk much too tall. So instead I chopped them to roughly match the height of the bed sides.

Ork OSHA does not approve of these side panels

Next I added the turret, gunner, and Wreckin’ Ball. This pushed my Trukk up to about 3 1/2″ tall, which doesn’t seem like a huge deal. I forgot to take a photo of that stage, but I built those bits just like the stock Trukk; the Trukk turret is exactly the same diameter as the hole in the Taurox roof.

After that, it was time for greeblies, covering up holes, creating new holes, and weathering the Taurox bits so they don’t look too pretty. I also added a Squig, because I love Squigs and empty truck beds on miniatures look weird, and I stuck a sign with the Ork glyph for “danger” just below him.

Right side of the finished conversion
Front
Left side
Every pickup truck needs an angry dog in the back, right?

This was a really fun conversion, and a good choice for my first. Thanks to Hobbyistgirl’s WIP pics and guide, I had the confidence to give it a shot and a basis for diverging from her build where I wanted to achieve a different effect.

It’s about 1/2″ taller than the stock Trukk, but it’s the same width and length. The silhouette is roughly the same, although the cab is certainly more solid. I tried to make that section look as ramshackle as possible while still being recognizably a Taurox Prime. All in all, I did a pretty good job of hitting all of my initial design goals — not perfect, but I’m digging it.

After a bit of thought, I’m naming this Trukk Da Fancy Wun.

Categories
Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Converting a looted Taurox Prime into an Ork Trukk, part 1

One of the things that drew me to Orks for my second 40k army was the conversion potential — which goes double for the Deathskulls, who are notorious for looting stuff before the battle has even ended. When I was looking for Trukk conversion ideas that I thought I could pull off, I came across two awesome posts by Hobbyistgirl where she converted and then painted up a Trukk built around a looted Taurox.

I’ve dabbled in kitbashing but never done any proper conversion before, so this project was a bit daunting — but also quite exciting. Uncharted waters!

This is the first post in a five-post series documenting this Trukk. Further assembly is in part two, the color guide is in part three, a few WIP shots are in part four, and the finished product is in part five.

Spoiler alert: this photo is from the end of part one

Gits love maffs

Grab a shaker of salt for this bit, because holding pieces in place to measure things isn’t the most exact science, and I’m not building a stock Trukk and Taurox just to have them on hand for easy measurements. That said, my measurements/notes for the salient dimensions are as follows:

  • Length:
    • Trukk maximum (ram in place) is 6 1/8″, but the ram is optional so 5 3/8″ is also a legal size
    • Taurox with bumper but without rear door (which I know I wouldn’t be using) is 4 1/4″
  • Width:
    • Trukk measured at the widest point on the side armor plates is 3 1/8″
    • Taurox at the rear bumpers (skipping the tread units because I know I won’t be using the rear ones) is 2 5/8″
  • Height from bottom of wheel/tread to top of chassis:
    • They’re damn near identical at the highest point in the rear, so I didn’t measure

The beauty of Hobbyistgirl’s conversion is that she neatly solves two problems at once: Since the Taurox is too short, lengthen it with the Trukk bed; and since it’s too narrow, widen it by including the stock Trukk bed’s side armor. The height difference is negligible, so that’s not a problem.

I want an Ork instead of a turret, so my Trukk will be about 1/2″-3/4″ higher — in the cab area only — than a stock Trukk. The tallest parts of the stock Trukk are the roll bars and raised boarding ramps, and those will still be about the same height as usual.

As always, my goal is to do nothing that could be considered modeling for advantage. My aim is to preserve the dimensions and silhouette of the Trukk as closely as possible, and if in doubt to err on making it too large (which is a disadvantage, as it’s harder to fit behind cover).

Commence flailing about

It took me a surprisingly long time to actually glue two things together and start this project, because one significant screw-up could mean wasting two costly model kits on a failed project. I did a ton of noodling, test-fitting, measuring, and fiddling before putting glue to plastic.

When I did start, though, I started with what I knew and loved about the foundation of Hobbyistgirl’s conversion: the Taurox cab.

Taurox cab and chassis plus Trukk bed

I cut the sides of the cab at the same point she did, and then I roughed them up a bit so it would look like the Orks had done a crude chop job. I left the engine housing off because I’m doing it differently than she did; that step comes later.

I used the same two Trukk bed pieces she did to seal the open back of the cab (I have no interest in painting the interior), and snipped what I suspect is the same chunk out of the top one so I could “slot” the Taurox roof right into it. The bottom one needed a bit of shaving to sit flush. (Later on, I’ll cover the gaping holes with Ork scrap.)

Trukk bed pieces, with the top one modified to accommodate the Taurox roof
Top view showing how the Taurox roof slots into the Trukk bed

I played with tons of ways to attach the wheels, and ultimately decided that I didn’t like the idea of this fairly heavy kit being held on by tiny contact points on the chassis. So I settled on combing the chassis from both vehicles.

By cutting the Trukk chassis in half, removing most of the lateral supports from the center, and then flipping the Trukk axles upside down, I got the height and amount of glue contact I wanted. Mind you, this Trukk now has the ground clearance of an overladen minivan…but then again, 1) it’s Orks, 2) it just has to look right, and 3) Orks have a unit that’s a teleporting dragster with basically zero ground clearance. It’s fine.

I started by filling the gap between Trukk bed and Taurox chassis with a couple of Taurox bits I’d trimmed off earlier.

Does it look like crap? Yes, indeed it does

Then I added shims of scrap plastic (center supports from the Trukk chassis) where the rear portion of the Trukk chassis was going to go.

I circled the bits of shim that I added to the chassis

Next I glued on the chassis, then the axles (upside down, relative to how the Trukk kit wants them used).

Shimmed rear portion of Trukk chassis with Trukk axles flipped upside down

For now, the wheels are just friction-fit; I’ll glue them on later so I can position them correctly — because, unsurprisingly, with all the shit they have bolted onto them they’re not uniformly round.

I wanted to keep the oil drum, and it fits, so I glued the front Trukk chassis in place with that bit intact. (I also left the front ends untouched, in case they’re helpful in mounting the bumper later on.) Then I dropped in the front axle, picking the orientation that made it level with the rear wheels (even though the mechanics of this piece now make no sense in the real world).

I had to shave the boxed area with my hobby knife to get it to sit snugly around the protrusion on the Taurox chassis

I set it down to make sure all six wheels touched the level countertop, and that the Trukk itself was reasonably level (it’s not perfect).

We’ve come full circle

I wanted zero chance I’d break anything off while fiddling with my next steps, so at this point I let the undercarriage dry and cure overnight.

Next up is the front end, which I’ll be building around the big-block Trukk engine. The bed will be framed out per the Trukk kit, and I’ve already test-fitted the Ork gunner, his pintle mount, and the Wreckin’ Ball, so that should be pretty straightforward as well.

Categories
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!

Categories
Gunpla

Best Hit Chronicle 1/1 Cup Noodle

The best Bandai kit ever made finally landed at my house today:

DO NOT EAT

Yes, it is indeed a 1:1 scale model of a sealed Cup Noodle.

I love the warning labels — “don’t eat this,” of course, but also “don’t pour hot water into me.” I also love that it’s not in any way a Gundam model, not even slyly; it’s just a Cup Noodle.

Although 40k minis completely sidelined my Gunpla hobby activities from March 2020 onwards, I preordered this kit back in October because it’s a thing of motherfucking beauty. I know the bug will bite me again, and when it does…Cup Noodle will be waiting for me.

Categories
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…

Categories
Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k

WIP it good: Moonkrumpa’s third iteration, first time magnetizing a miniature

Even though I built Moonkrumpa on November 16, I held off priming him because I couldn’t shake the feeling that he needed a bit more…something. That proved prescient, as I kitbashed him to good effect in December — but he still didn’t feel 100% done.

Moonkrumpa 1.0 (November 2020)
Moonkrumpa 2.0 (December 2020)

Last week, I read a comment somewhere (Reddit, I think) to the effect that you should be able to easily spot your Warlord/Warboss because they’re the largest infantry model in your army. Despite 2.0’s added bulk and height, Moonkrumpa’s static, lumbering pose and masked face don’t make him stand out — and even bulked up, he’s not that much larger than a regular Meganob (which I also have in my current army list).

So I did a bit of surgery. I bent and snipped his base until I could force a razor blade under his feet, cut him off the remnants of the old base, and built a fresh base with some height and some scenery. This time, I’m calling him done!

Moonkrumpa 3.0, the final incarnation (January 2021)

Da Deff Dread

I also built my first Deff Dread over the weekend. What a great kit!

Tons of options (and pieces)
My initial building push, one session just for the body and base

While working on my Killa Kan, I watched a YouTube video in which the hobbyist drilled their own bullet holes to add a battle-worn look. It seemed simple enough, and I loved the look of the bullet holes in the Kan, so I gave it a shot. It is indeed dead simple.

Drilling more bullet holes

After waffling about it, I decided to take the plunge and magnetize the Dread’s lower arms. The first pairing went swimmingly, with 3mm x 1mm magnets, super glue, and a couple of quick shots with my cheapo hand drill.

One KMB and one arm slot magnetized!

After that, though, I messed up just about everything it was possible to mess up. I glued my fingers together (I hate working with super glue…). I glued magnets in backwards even after testing multiple times, because the little fuckers are so small that they flip around on you if you’re not careful. I also glued magnets to my fingers and to one of my assembly tools. I shot bits of plastic into the holes in the Dread’s body while drilling, so now he rattles.

All of that I chalk up to teething. This is still new, it’s all good; I’ll improve. The only real problem I ran into was weight. After messing up the first arm I tried to use, a smaller one, I switched to this larger one. But the magnets weren’t strong enough to support it, so it drooped.

Saggy arm

Later on in the process, I realized that I could have glued a stack of 2-3 magnets together, carefully inserted them into the body hole, and possibly gotten some extra oomph out of them. But at that point it was too late.

Magnetizing 1/4 of the possible slots felt like a waste of time, though; I wanted to be able to switch freely from 3 melee/1 ranged to 2 melee/2 ranged. So I chopped away at the small arm and made a flat spot that held a magnet at the right angle, and on my third try I got it right. A firm shake will make it swing down, but I can move the model around and it stays in place. Sold!

The first two of many arm options

Given his two saws and jumbo claw, I’m naming this dude “Facepeela” Snarg,

My finished Deff Dread, “Facepeela” Snarg, ready for an overnight curing session before priming

I might hold off on painting all of the other arm options (2x Big Shoota, 1x KMB, 2x Rokkit Launcha, 1x Scorcha) until I’ve built the second Dread in my list. I don’t know 1) how much swapping I’ll actually want to do, or 2) whether the extra options that second Dread — whose lower arms I’ll also be magnetizing — puts into the mix will really be all I need. Something to sleep on, I suppose.

Anyhoo: rad kit, magnetization is a struggle but also a skill I can work on, and I can’t wait to build the next big stompy thing!

Categories
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
  • 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.