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Blood Angels Space Marines Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: bases and undersides for Squad Ariete, and my 400th post

This is my 400th post on Yore! I considered prepping something specific for the big 400, but decided that this post was more on-brand: it’s about miniatures, it involves some trial and error, and it’s a work-in-progress post full of photos. That’s where my head’s at these days, so it works pretty well for this milestone. Thanks for reading Yore, and here’s to the next 400!

Assault Bike bases

Because of how low the undercarriage is on the Assault Bike models, I changed up my basing approach for Squad Ariete. It worked pretty well, but I definitely learned some things I can roll into my next set of bikes.

Can you see what I forgot to do on these?

Basing differently threw me off enough that I forgot to prime my rocks.

Rocks all finished up, awaiting texture paint
I tried to sculpt in the kicked-up “hills” formed by the bike’s passage, as well as vague tire tread impressions
Texture paint done
Blue-Tack worked well, but it took me some time to figure out how to get it off

Like price tag stickers, the best tool for removing Blue-Tack (which sets up sticky and soft in this context, rather than staying in firm balls) was a blob of Blue-Tack. Once I figured that out, it was easy to get the rest of it off.

Testing my tire placement
The first layer paint to fall in service of my Blood Angels army: Evil Sunz Scarlet
Some touch-ups needed

To my surprise, 5/6 of the tires turned out pretty well on the first try. They matched their “slots” on the base, no unpainted areas were visible, and they looked natural. Not perfect, but not too shabby. The only one that was off was the one propped on the rock; a quick prime/base coat/highlight and it was squared away.

The smear of dust/dirt on the base of the rock (visible in the fourth photo above) was my attempt at modeling the dirt left behind by the front tire as it traveled up the rock, but it didn’t work at all. It was too realistic compared to the rest of the miniature (which, notably, features clean tires without any dust/weathering), but not realistic enough to read as what it was supposed to be.

So I scraped it off with my hobby knife, re-washed and re-drybrushed the rock where it had been, and now it’s set.

Squad Ariete, 3rd Company, 10th Squad, now fully based with finished undersides

These guys are now getting set to one side so I can focus on finishing up the final squad in my initial 2,000-point army, Caedes. When I pick them up again, they should be much easier to paint as I’ll actually be able to fit them into my painting handles.

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Blood Angels Space Marines Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Squad Ariete, Assault Bikes and an Attack Bike

I got started on my first bike squad, Squad Ariete (“battering ram” in Italian), and despite having the limited options and mold lines of an older kit these guys are fun to build — in part because I enjoy finding ways to give them more personality than they come with.

The actual sprues are super boring: three identical sprues, no wargear options (despite having them in the rules), no arm options — just a dude, both hands on the handlebars, on a bike. What makes this kit work is 1) the bikes are a great design, and 2) they’re dead simple to modify using other Space Marine bits.

As always, I started with the sergeant. He got a Blood Angels pauldron and helmet and a Chain Sword from somewhere. He strikes me as a hard-charging bull of a man, one who uses his bike to blow straight through obstacles (hence “battering ram”) before sawing your head off.

Sergeant Ariete

I knew I wanted one guy to be popped up on a hill, something I’ve seen in photos of other folks’ bikes. I’d originally planned to have him holding the handlebars with one hand and aiming a Bolt Pistol with the other, but I didn’t have any arms that worked for that pose. So I switched him up to having his bike at rest, one hand pointing at something, and an upraised pistol (plus knives from Primaris Incursors strapped to his rear fender).

I was going for a pose that could be “You’re next, peasant!” or “I see the objective, sir!” Hopefully it comes through!

“You’re next!”

This feels like a sergeant-y pose, but I was listening to Dan Abnett’s Brothers of the Snake (narrated by the peerless Toby Longworth, of course) while I built him and the first story is all about the awesome power of…a single Space Marine. Because even a single battle-brother is, canonically, an awesome, terrifying warrior capable of superhuman feats of martial prowess. Plus I like having at least one standout non-sergeant in every squad.

For the third biker, I went vanilla. Gotta have one vanilla guy to make the others stand out, right? Plus it’s a solid basic pose, just straight-on, gripping the bars, unloading twin Boltguns into whatever’s directly ahead of him. (I did add a pauldron, pistol, and grenades from a Tactical Squad box, though.)

A battle-brother of Squad Ariete

I’m not positive I want to do a full, Codex-complaint 10-man squad of these guys — 8x Assault Bikes and 1x Attack Bike, the latter with its 2-man crew — which requires buying another two bike kits but only using 5/6 of the bikes. Nor do I want to worry about whether it’s not a full-size squad when I try to finish the 2nd Company — so I made Squad Ariete the start of my 3rd Company, leaving my other close support slot in the 2nd open (probably for more Jump Pack dudes).

The three Assault Bikes of Squad Ariete, 3rd Company, 10th Squad

To bring them up to 5-man strength, though, I’m going to add an Attack Bike. This kit is thoughtfully designed to include a hidden join between the bike and the sidecar, tucked away on the undercarriage, that should make it trivial to paint it in two halves and then join them together right at the end. It’s in the mail, though, so it’ll have to be a project for a bit further down the road.

Basing steps for Assault Bikes

I didn’t see a way to follow my usual approach to basing with these guys. There just isn’t enough clearance under the bikes to properly finish the texture paint or the undercarriage, so I’m doing them separately.

  1. Blue Tack the tires in place
  2. Prime the base and the bike’s tires
  3. Remove the bike
  4. Prime the bike’s undercarriage (basically everything that will be inaccessible when it’s glued onto the base)
  5. After the undercarriage cures, prime the rest of the bike
  6. Finish the base normally, but leave bare plastic where the tires go — and apply the texture paint such that it looks like the bike has carved a track through it, extending from the front wheel to the rear edge of the base
  7. Finish the underside of the bike completely, including shading
  8. Glue the bike to the base
  9. Pack in texture paint around the tires, if needed, and paint it up normally (shade and drybrush)
  10. Paint the rest of the bike

For the battle-brother on the hill, the only difference is that for the tire-to-rock join I’ll use super glue — and smother the crap out of the rear tire-to-base join, because I much prefer plastic glue to be my anchor for every mini. (Plastic glue melts the pieces together, making an incredibly secure join; super glue does not.)

When my second-wave Indomitus box shows up I’ll be able to do up a squad of Primaris Outriders to keep these classic bikes company!