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Miniature painting Miniatures Painting tools

Princeton Velvetouch brushes for painting miniatures: an update

I wrote about getting a bunch of Princeton Velvetouch brushes back in April of this year, and have been painting with those brushes (and my hodgepodge of others) for the past four months, or about 1,400 points of Blood Angels.[1] I just ordered a second batch of them from BLICK, which is itself an endorsement. I like these brushes a lot.

Princeton Velvetouch brushes: reloaded

My two most-used sizes are 10/0 and 3/0, and both of those finally gave up the ghost about 2-3 weeks ago, with splayed/curled tips no longer able to to detail work — so let’s call their front-line service life about three months. (Now they become drybrushes, get dipped into metallic paints, etc.) That’s not nearly as long as my non-synthetic brushes, but that’s a trade-off I’m fine with.

Before their tips inevitably curl or splay (despite daily washing with brush soap), these brushes paint just as well as my natural brushes. When my natural brushes wear out, I’ll replace them with their Princeton Velvetouch analogs.

Lots of other synthetic brush lines have a couple brushes small enough for minis but are primarily geared for other types of painting. One thing I love about this line is that they cover all of the sizes and shapes I’ve ever wanted for miniatures, from ultra-fine to relatively massive, including the chisel-shaped tips I like for drybrushing.

So: Princeton Velvetouch brushes are excellent, and in my experience especially good as synthetic brushes go.

[1] I started a daily “work on miniatures” streak on February 22, 2020, when I dug out my Space Hulk Terminators and started painting again. It didn’t start as a streak; I was just painting every day because I was excited about it. But I bumped into the idea on Twitter and have had success with using Seinfeld chains for motivation in the past, so it turned into one. Today is day 192.

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Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

My largest painted model to date: the Land Raider Crusader Judgment

I finished my second tank, the mighty Land Raider Crusader Judgment, on August 22. This beast swallowed primer, paint, and varnish alike, and it took me quite some time to get through.

The Land Raider is an iconic model, but what sold me on the Crusader — and on painting one for my first army — was a post somewhere about how utterly intimidating this tank would be in real life when a squad of Terminators come boiling out of it. It’s like a jumbo tank shooting out five smaller tanks!

Light it up, buttercup

The Land Raider is patently too large for my modest little lightbox. No way to hide the seams, no way to make it look like it fits — sorry about that.

Let’s kick off with Judgment‘s golden angle:

Blood Angels Land Raider Crusader Judgment, 1st Company
Front view
Left side

I can’t remember if I ever mentioned it in my assembly post(s) for Judgment, but I bobbed the radio antenna because the original length looked like a pain in the ass to store and use without breaking it.

Rear view
Right side

Unlike the previous shots, this top-down view is kind of like using a light ring: I’m shooting through a hole in the top of my lightbox. It balances the colors a lot better (which a fancier lightbox would do with more light sources).

Top view

Plus a couple natural light/casual shots for good measure:

Pretty happy with how this guy turned out
Rear angle

With Judgment complete, and some sort of minor points update that made Commander Dante 5 points more expensive, my army now stands at 1,581 of 1,996 points painted. I’m getting close!

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

Final Judgment WIP, and starting Squad Adamo in earnest

Because I’ve slowed my posting pace and am queuing posts a bit more sporadically, I’ve actually finished Judgment as I sit here writing this post. But WIP posts are neat (I like them, at least), so I’m wrapping up my photo roll for Judgment and adding in a bit of my Assault Squad for good measure.

Prepping for the multi-stage varnish and glue affair to come
Twin assault cannon turret varnished and glued into place
Right-side sponson Hurricane Bolter assembly varnished and glued
…And the other sponson
Bottom of the tracks varnished — now we let it cure for two days
Squad Adamo primed
Adamo now fully based, with base coats going down on the Marines
Judgment fully glued, ready for writing, decals, and the rest of the varnish

I just updated BattleScribe and checked my totals again, and finishing Judgment will put me over 75% done points-wise. Onwards!

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: more Judgment, Squad Adamo

I hit my stride with Judgment in early August, blowing through shading and into layers. That tipping point always feels good.

This WIP post compiles a couple weeks’ work.

Base-coating and touch-ups finally done! This always feels like the stage that takes the longest
Gotta wash the bottom of the treads first
…Then everything else
Ready for layers/highlights
My palette has developed some cute little paint-hills over the past few months
First-layer highlights done!
All of the final highlights done except the orange, which is underway

With Judgment on the back nine, I got out Squad Adamo — already primed — so I could work in parallel.

Primed and ready

I thought a bit about how to handle the ruined stone structures on 3/5 of this squad’s bases, because I wanted them to stand out from the brown/grey stones of Armageddon, and settled on brown. The only brown I have is Mournfang Brown, which looks like poop.

Mmm…poopy

But once the wash is down, it starts to look a lot less like poop — and I had faith in my first layer, 2:1 Kislev Flesh:Mournfang Brown.

I drybrushed on my Ryza Rust this time around, and I like how it turned out
More rusty metal
Basing elements done, ready for texture paint

Assault Squad color guide

Bases are the usual except:

  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Agrax Earthshade > Stormhost Silver drybrush > Ryza Rust drybrush
  • Stone ruins: Mournfang Brown > Agrax Earthshade > 2:1 Kislev Flesh:Mournfang Brown drybrush > light Grey Seer drybrush (dust/weathering)

Ditto the models, except:

  • Helmets: Averland Sunset > Agrax Earthshade > Yriel Yellow as a true layer, nearly full coverage > Flash Gitz Yellow
  • Hazard stripes: alternating bands of Abaddon Black/Averland Sunset > no layers on the black, but on the yellow: Yriel Yellow > Flash Gitz Yellow
  • Eviscerator channel: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil pin wash

This was my first time drybrushing Ryza Rust rather than spot-painting with it, and I like this approach quite a bit. It’s easier to take a light, subtle touch and make the metal look old and rusty, rather than just rusty. Pure spot-painting seems to work well for something poorly made that’s had a few years to rust — like Ork scrap and vehicle parts — but doing it on these metal elements would be overkill.

Land Raider Crusader color guide

As general Blood Angels or Rhino, except:

  • Wings: Celestra Grey > Drakenhof Nightshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
  • Commander’s helmet: Macragge Blue > Drakenhof Nightshade > Altdorf Guard Blue > Calgar Blue
  • Multi-Melta screen: Moot Green > Agrax Earthshade > Moot Green > Caledor Sky symbols

Finishing order is probably also worth noting for Future Martin’s benefit:

  • Front turret and sponson swivel guns, sensor pieces, and bottom attachments were fully painted while detached
  • Main tank body was fully painted
  • Sponson “wells” and front turret pit were varnished
  • Detached bits were varnished
  • Sponson guns slipped into place
  • Sponsor sensor units glue onto gun swivels
  • Bottom attachments glued into place
  • Varnish touched up on all sponson elements
  • Front turret glued into place
  • Varnish touched up on front turret
  • Rest of tank varnished and allowed to cure in two stages (bottom treads; everything else)

After Judgment, just 15 Space Marines separate me from my first full-fledged finished 40k army (say that five times fast!).

Categories
Finished miniatures Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Blood Angels army update: 9th Edition, now 1,266 points

Setting up the new omnibus page for my finished Blood Angels miniatures got me thinking that it was probably time for some updated pics. As it stands now, I’ve painted 32 Space Marines, 2 Dreadnoughts, 1 Rhino, and 1 Teleport Homer. My army shrank under 9th Edition rules, but I didn’t remove anything I’d already painted. Remaining are 15 Space Marines, 1 Land Raider, and 1 Teleport Homer.

I’m still trying to get the hang of taking full-army photos. This one feels like an improvement over the previous photo just because I took it outdoors in natural light.

My Blood Angels army as of August 4, 2020 (1,266 points in 9th Edition)

Not sure how best to get close-ups with this many minis, but here are two attempts.

The left side; the front row here is Sergeant Karios, a Heavy Bolter Marine, Chaplain Arrius, and Commander Dante
The right side; the front row are the Sternguard Veterans of Squad Amedeo, and behind them is Squad Ultio

As the late, great Stan Lee would say: Excelsior!

Categories
Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Judgment

I started painting my Land Raider Crusader, Judgment, in earnest back in July. Vehicles are fun to paint because they’re such broad canvases, and I get to break out my largest brush — but they also take me some time to finish! Hopefully Judgment will be wrapped up this month.

Testing to see if the pick-and-pluck KR Multicase tray I chose will hold this beast (it does!)

I can’t paint the sponsons and front turret if they’re glued in place, so I started with them and then moved on to the main body.

Side bits base-coated, tank coming along
Another dead soldier: the second bottle of paint to fall to this army, my “liquid talent”
Sponsons and turret washed, now getting highlighted
All the bits in place to dry, and the body coming along (albeit messily)
Trying to stay consistent with my Rhino, so he’s out there as a reference while I work on details

Painting Judgment has me even more excited to tuck into some of the vehicles I have waiting in the wings once my initial army is done. If I had to pick one right now, it’d be down to a Redemptor Dreadnought, Repulsor tank, or the Stormtalon Gunship I’m going to convert to use the sealed cockpit from the Stormhawk.

Categories
Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Turiel, my second Dreadnought

I painted my first Dreadnought, the Librarian Narses, back in April, and it was a lot of fun. Work-wise, he was about somewhere between one model and a five-person squad of Space Marines; I was curious to see how my second one would go.

It felt like it went more smoothly this time around, although with no prospect of a face-to-face 40k game by the end of summer — a real motivator, as it turns out — it still took me a long time to paint him. I finished him on July 19.

Lightbox shots

Turiel, 2nd Company Furioso Dreadnought

Immediately after uploading the photo above, I noticed that I’d forgotten to add the lens flare to the green lenses in his torso. I’ve since dotted that in and re-varnished those two spots (visible in the final shot below).

Right side view, Frag Cannon (I knew I’d be building that version the second I saw it; Rule of Cool, baby!)
Rear view; Blood Angels backpack and Ork scrap debris up front
Left side view, Furioso Claw and Storm Bolter

The kit includes a complete alternate right arm and it seemed silly not to paint that one as well — especially since if I paint it months/years later, the style and skill level (hopefully!) won’t match where I’m at right now.

Spare right arm installed, Furioso Claw and Heavy Flamer

And finally, I’ve learned that while the lightbox is lovely my inexpensive one tends to leave the front of the model a bit shadowy — especially when the figure is a big box like Turiel. So here’s a final shot in natural light.

STOMP STOMP STOMP

WIP shots

Over the course of the 2-3 weeks I spent painting Turiel at a leisurely pace, I tried to remember to snap a few WIP shots.

Base done, lower body mostly done, starting on the upper body
Upper body base-coated
Whole body done, trying on the arms
All arms washed (Narses, on the right, is wearing the spare) and ready for layers

Turiel color guide

I wanted Turiel’s base to stand out from Narses’ base, and to emphasize that Space Marines have fought on Armageddon many times before. While painting it, I decided I liked the idea that the Blood Angels had fought there before and painted the Marine debris accordingly.

Unlike my previous bases, which applied layers only through drybrushing, Turiel’s is a mix of drybrushing and layers/highlighting. Ceramite can’t rust, and Space Marine stuff is just “made better,” so the Flamestorm Cannon and Backpack got the highlights I usually would have applied followed by some drybrushing to make them look (I hope) dusty and weathered — like they’ve languished on the plains of Armageddon for years.

  • Flamestorm Cannon shroud: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion > Runelord Brass> Dawnstone drybrush
  • Black: Abaddon Black > Eshin Grey > Dawnstone highlight > Dawnstone drybrush
  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Agrax Earthshade > Stormhost Silver > Ryza Rust
  • Backpack: Mephiston Red > Agrax Earthshade > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Fire Dragon Bright > Ryza Rust on metal > Dawnstone drybrush > light Grey Seer drybrush
  • Ork scrap green: Castellan Green > Agrax Earthshade > 50/50 Castellan Green/Moot Green blend drybrush > Ryza Rust > light Grey Seer drybrush
  • Terrain: Astrogranite Debris > Drakenhof Nightshade > Grey Seer (drybrush)
  • Skulls: Corax White > Agrax Earthshade > Corax White drybrush
  • Rocks: Grey Seer > Agrax Earthshade > 50/50 Grey Seer/Corax White blend drybrush
  • Edge: Dawnstone

His body colors are primarily the studio colors (which notably use the Dante/Sanguinary recipe for gold, rather than the mainline Blood Angels version):

  • Red: Mephiston Red > Agrax Earthshade > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Fire Dragon Bright
  • Gem setting gold: Retributor Armour > Agrax Earthshade > Auric Armour Gold
  • All other gold: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion > Runelord Brass
  • Black: Abaddon Black > Eshin Grey > Dawnstone
  • Gunmetal: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver
  • Parchment: Rakarth Flesh > Agrax Earthshade > Pallid Wych Flesh > White Scar
  • Magenta: Screamer Pink > Agrax Earthshade > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
  • White: Celestra Grey > Drakenhof Nightshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
  • Frag Cannon tubing: Averland Sunset / Macragge Blue / Castellan Green > Agrax Earthshade > Yriel Yellow / Altdorf Guard Blue / Moot Green

My to-build stack includes another walking fridge of death, which I’ll be building as a Death Company Dreadnought so that I can have a full complement of the Blood Angels’ unique Dreads. I love big ol’ doom-walkers, so I’ve also got two Redemptors, a Contemptor, and two “near-Dreadnought” Invictor Warsuits in the queue.

Categories
Miniatures Warhammer 40k

An omnibus page for my Blood Angels

By default I don’t think there’s a way for folks who follow Yore to get notified — or even easily notice — when I create a page (not a post), so this quick post is a heads-up: I’ve created an omnibus page for all of my Blood Angels progress to date.

Someone over on BGG suggested I update my army to 9th Edition point values, since that would likely shrink my short-term painting queue, and it was a great idea. In the course of doing that I discovered that BattleScribe had erased my “favorites” section…which is where I was storing the names of sergeants, each squad’s place in the Chapter (2nd Company, 1st Squad; etc.).

I needed a home for that info here on Yore, where I decide if/when it goes away, so I made one.

I added a running list of every unit I’ve painted, linked to every blog post showcasing finished Blood Angels, posted my current army list, and threw in all of my color guides to date — hopefully making that page a one-stop shop for my Blood Angels.

Categories
Gunpla

HG MomoKapool completed

I picked up the HG MomoKapool kit as a break from more complex Gunpla (at the time, MG Astray Red Frame Kai) and painting (at the time, Sternguard Veterans and a Chaplain for my Blood Angels 40k army), and it was just what the doctor ordered.

One hour and a couple minutes to go from box of plastic to built and panel-lined, and gosh I just love this adorable little kit.

HG MomoKapool
Penguin buns

My Gunpla to-build stack grew quite a bit in May and June, so I’ll have some more completed models to post here eventually.

Categories
Comics

After 16 years, I was surprised to find myself reading the final pages of The Walking Dead

I’ve been reading The Walking Dead since the first TPB came out in 2004. As soon as the first 12-issue hardcover omnibus was released, I switched to that format and have collected the hardcovers ever since.

This morning, while reading volume 16 in the bath, I realized a major event that had been spoiled for me on Twitter was about to happen — and shortly after that, realized that holy shit this feels like it’s about to end.

And then…it ended.

After 16 years, it ended — and damn did it end perfectly.

One of the best rides in comic book history

Because I picked up a new hardcover every time I remembered to check on them, I was completely unaware the series had ended in single-issue format. From Kirkman’s afterword, it sounds like they solicited fake issues past the end date to pull it off as a surprise — and had been planning it for years.

Rating the final book ★★★★★ on Goodreads, I checked to confirm that my memory of this series being unerringly amazing was correct and was pleased to see that I’d rated every volume ★★★★★.

I can’t think of too many comic book series I’ve read that 1) were this good, for this long, consistently, without missing a single beat; 2) ended when they should have, rather than dragging on; and 3) stuck the motherfucking landing this well.

I don’t know how to feel right now. Mostly good, of course! This was a fantastic run, one of the all-time greats, and there were so many ways it could have gone awry. But it’s also been a part of my life for 16 years. I was reading TWD before I met my wife; I’ve been reading it longer than my daughter has been alive.

If you like horror comics in general, and zombie horror in particular (although this series is about so much more than that), I can’t recommend The Walking Dead highly enough.