Even though most of the pics in this WIP post are of Squad Adamo, my Death Company gang, Squad Zahariel, gets most of the words.
Death Company color guide
For the figures, I liked the tweaks the GW studio guide puts on the usual red and gold used on most of my Marines. I’ve stuck with that scheme for the most part, and the end result is that many colors are handled differently than usual:
Black: Abaddon Black > Dark Reaper > Fenrisian Grey
Red: Khorne Red > Carroburg Crimson > Wazdakka Red > Wild Rider Red
Armor gaskets: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Nuln Oil > Dawnstone
Metal and piping: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver
Jump pack jets: Caledor Sky > Drakenhof Nightshade > Temple Guard Blue > Baharroth Blue
With the Death Company color scheme reversing the usual Blood Angels colors — black dominant, red accents — I wanted to make sure their bases added some pops of color beyond my usual skulls and rocks. Other base elements are as per usual, but the stuff I added to these particular bases is covered below:
Tau scrap: Caledor Sky > Drakenhof Nightshade > Temple Guard Blue
Ork scrap: Castellan Green or Averland Sunset > Agrax Earthshade > 50/50 Castellan Green/Moot Green or Yriel Yellow > Ryza Rust drybrush
As expected, the Death Company color scheme makes a nice palate cleanser after the red, red, red of the rest of my army. Onwards!
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.
With Judgment on the back nine, I got out Squad Adamo — already primed — so I could work in parallel.
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.
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.
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.
On Saturday, I wanted to work on another character. As chance would have it I was just about to paint the black elements on my Sternguard, so I fired up my Chaplain, Arrius, and figured I’d paint everything but black — his dominant color — so he’d be in sync with the veterans.
I love this mini, and while I found resin to be a pain in the ass my guess during the assembly process was correct: That pain faded once I started painting him. It’s such a great sculpt!
I was feeling a bit down, and also a bit out of it, on Saturday — so much so that I completely forgot I always paint bases first. Nothing on his legs would make it risky to drybrush around them, so I wrapped up his non-black colors and switched gears.
As I gain confidence as a painter, I’m also going off-book more often. I love his studio paint scheme, but that’s not a Blood Angel. (I mean, intentionally so; he’s a “generic Chaplain” by design.) I gave him a Blood Angels backpack, but he needed a bit more to tie him into the chapter; I figured a red knee pad with a chapter symbol would do the trick. He also has black armor, which means black suit gaskets aren’t going to read well — not to mention a mix of red elements that need definition and separation.
Which means it’s color guide time!
Chaplain color guide
Black: Abaddon Black > Eshin Grey > Dawnstone
Bone and parchment: Rakarth Flesh > Agrax Earthshade > Pallid Wych Flesh > White Scar
Metal and piping: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver
Armor gaskets: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Nuln Oil > Dawnstone
Leather and piping: Screamer Pink > Carroburg Crimson (skipped on gems) > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
Eyes and tubing: Moot Green > Agrax Earthshade > Moot Green
Book cover: Khorne Red > Agrax Earthshade > Wazdakka Red > 50/50 blend of Wazdakka Red/Kislev Flesh
Knee pad, gems, purity seal wax: Mephiston Red > Agrax Earthshade > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Fire Dragon Bright
Other hobby work swirling about
I also looked at my painting queue for May and decided I wanted to make my stretch goal the Sanguinary Guard — as planned — but that doing Dante and the Sanguinary Ancient (with his massive banner) might be too much of a stretch. Still, having primed Dante, I figured I’d take him through basing.
…And get the Guard and Abaoz through basing as well, so I’d be covered no matter what.
I put in less hobby time than I thought I would this weekend, doing more other stuff instead, but kept my hobby streak up — Monday was day 93! — and laid the groundwork for what comes after my Sternguard.
Wrapping up the Chaplain and Squad Amedeo should definitely be doable before the end of May, and really going beyond that — 1x Rhino, 11x Marines — was a stretch anyway. But I won’t discount the possibility that a couple of banner painting nights sneak in, say, all of Squad Remiel by May 31, either. It happened last month, after all!
Thanks to a generous fellow #warmongers poster on Twitter, I have a stock of old Blood Angels transfers — including some for squads that GW no longer provides on decal sheets (at least to my knowledge). That means plenty of red blood drops for these Infiltrators’ knees, which is good because 100% of them have knee plates that support transfers.
Other than those knees, they follow my usual Blood Angels color guide. The knee pads will be Averland Sunset > Agrax Earthshade > Yriel Yellow. (May 19 update: After shading with Agrax, the Averland was much too dark to read as yellow. I painted over it with Averland, then just highlighted with Yriel.)
Lots of black on these guys — many more gaskets and seals in the Mark X Phobos Armor than in the shorty marine armor I’m used to painting, plus I’ve gone with black for the “soft” items, like the straps, pouches, and holsters. Should look pretty rad when they’re done!
They’re coming along slowly, but I hope to have them finished up this week. That would bring me to almost exactly the halfway point in my current army list, model-wise: 25 marines, 1 Dread, 1 tank. Adding 1 character to that tally would be exactly halfway.
Alongside these guys, I also put the final coat of varnish on the bottom and treads of Relentless. I discovered that all three of my backup bottles of Vallejo Matt Varnish were discolored and an odd consistency, like maybe they’d gone bad. The bit I had to use — because I’d finally exhausted my original bottle — messed up the wash and dried funny where I applied it, so it was lucky that that happened to be the least-visible spot on the whole tank, the bottom panel.
I’ve almost broken off the gunner’s helmet antenna by dropping this tank several times, so there’s no way I’m resting its entire weight on that spot while it cures!
I had the day off on Friday, so I finished touch-ups on Relentless. So far my experience with vehicles — this one and my Dreadnought, so still quite limited — is that they look simple but feel like they take forever.
Unlike a Space Marine, I can’t just shade a Rhino in one go. There’s nothing to hold onto, the washes run, and everything is sticky for a little while. So stages it is!
Honestly there’s no real reason to shade the bottom — or even paint most of it, for that matter. But I knew it would feel incomplete to me if I didn’t do the bottom.
After an hour, the bottom was dry enough to serve as my “handle” to wash the sides.
My stopping point on Friday night was with all the first-order layers done except for the biggie, red. That looked like an easy 1-2 hours of work, and what came next was stressing me out a bit: Do I just proceed through all of my usual highlights, like I would on a Space Marine, or do I attempt “scraped down to the bare metal” sponge-weathering on the corners and other high-use areas of the tank body?
So on Saturday I broke out my test mini, tore off a couple bits of foam from a miniature case (the extras), and tried this on my designated test mini.
I don’t think that makes enough of a difference to be worth the risk, so I’m going to file “first use of weathering” under techniques I’ll try down the road.
Such is the power of edge highlighting that even though I’m not very good at at, the model still looks better with it than without it. Just contrast the highlighted side with the top; the difference is striking.
I wrapped up Saturday night with just the name scroll, decals, and varnish to go.
Come Sunday morning, I had the decals done and moved on to the name scroll. Nothing inspires awe in your foes like the name [Relentless____]. Yeah. So, back to the Rakarth Flesh and the Agrax Earthshade and then another try.
I’ll save the final photos for a separate post, after the varnish dries. This tank was a ton more work than I expected, but I figure I’ll get faster at it the more vehicles I paint.
Rhino color guide
All the colors are the same as any of my other Blood Angels, but there are a few little notes to add (shades are in italics, as always):
Lenses: Moot Green or Caledor Sky > Agrax Earthshade > Moot Green or Lothern Blue
Cog Mechanicum: Abaddon Black/Corax White > Agrax Earthshade > White Scar
As I was trying to remember which color I used to brighten up the white on the cog, I realized I’d done them the opposite of the one on Narses, my Librarian Dreadnought. His scheme came off GW’s page, the studio scheme (skull’s left side white), while this guy’s came off a web reference (skull’s left side black). Poking around, I see that the studio scheme shown in the GW store varies at least some of the time — the Skitarii Ranger 360 model, for example, has the same pattern as my Rhino’s gunner.
Ah well! It’s not the only mistake I made, and it won’t be the last. I’m still pretty happy with Relentless.
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
I didn’t notice Yriel Yellow was a layer paint until I was already applying it, but it’s the color I wanted and after a couple coats it looks good enough for Ork scrap.
I was originally planning to do texture paint next, then go back for the concrete slabs and any molded rocks I wanted to leave in place, but after thinking it through I realized I’d make a mess of that. So instead I went back and painted 100% of what I planned to keep, leaving bare only those bits of molded debris that I knew would be getting buried in texture paint.
This is my first time using a Citadel drybrush paint; I normally just drybrush with whatever color makes sense for the model. But for rust, from what I’ve seen, Ryza Rust is the way to go.
I experimented with it on an area of metal I was planning to cover with texture paint, just in case, and it looked great. When I washed it, it became quite convincing brown rust; that’s something I’ll keep in my toolbox. For Narses, I wanted fresh orange-brown rust on the scrap on his base, so I applied it after the wash — and, funnily enough, as dotted-on highlights with wet paint rather than with actual drybrushing.
Where I’ve overdone it, like on the Ork scrap, it looks orange. But where I went a bit easier on it, like on the missile cover thingie on the rear side of the base, it actually looks like rust. This is cool stuff!
I went back and dotted the overdone areas with a bit of Agrax Earthshade to hopefully tone them down a bit, and then it was on to texture paint. I plotted out my tuft locations in advance and deliberately smoothed out a few spots with those in mind.
After drying overnight, it was on to shading and drybrushing — and then done! Next up is Narses himself.
Dreadnought base color guide
I’ve got two Dreadnoughts in my current army list and a third in my backlog, and while I’m going to take pains to make their bases look different (because they’re 100% identical scenic bases to start with) I still want a reference for the colors I used on Narses’ base.
Shades are in italics, as always, and for most of these elements my final step is a drybrush rather than highlighting/layering.
These color guides are useful now (I refer back to them all the time — even a “standard” Marine uses a lot of colors!), but they’ll be doubly useful if I circle back to a particular type of unit weeks or months down the line — and if you’re reading this while painting your own army, maybe they’ll be useful to you, too.
Over the past few days I worked on my converted Scouts, Squad Cain. The camo cloaks were an interesting challenge, and unfortunately they went from so-so to pretty good for my skill level to destroyed.
These guys are new territory for me: The last time I painted camo was on model tanks when I was like 10 years old, and I wasn’t trying for a pseudo-digicam effect like this. (Plus, you know, I was 10.)
I think my base, Mechanicus Standard Grey, might be too close to the Dawnstone layer in tone. The other layer, Celestra Grey, pops nicely. I’m also not sure if a wash (Nuln Oil because black makes sense? Drakenhof Nightshade to pick up the blue tone in the terrain?) will darken them too much, rendering some/all of this layering work pointless.
I guess if the shading dims things down too much, I can always touch up some of the swatches when I work on other highlights. We shall see!
I don’t like to waste paint, so whenever I’ve got too much of a color on my palette I tackle a small element of whatever mini is on deck — in this case, the parchment and one giant toe on Narses.
Post-wash, the darker camo patches on the Scouts’ cloaks are more subtle than I’d like, but the lighter ones look pretty good. My gut says I’ll mess them up if I try to redo them all, so I’m leaving them as-is.
In hindsight, this is where I should have stopped — maybe, maybe adding a delicate highlight to emphasize that their backpacks are under the cloak, but otherwise not attempting to highlight the entire cloak.
Because after hours of painting these guys . . . my highlighting job basically destroyed the camo pattern. It’s like 11:00 pm as I’m writing this, so I’m too tired and frustrated to make a clear-eyed assessment of whether I can salvage them right now.
To do that, I’d have to either repaint the camo and then delicately reapply to wash, or just base coat the cloaks fresh and redo them completely. Only one of them (the middle guy) looks like a touch-up would save him, so I suspect my options are really 1) live with it and move on or 2) a full repaint, shade, and highlight on the cloaks. That’s a solid 2-3 hours of work, most of it in redoing the camo patches.
On the bright side, maybe I could start fresh with a different base coat color — one that has a logical highlight color — and skip the too-similar camo patches, focusing instead on only making them pop. We’ll see.
Scout color guide
Since there’s no Blood Angels Scout color guide on the GW site or the back of the box, I’m reusing what I can from the tactical squad and making a few choices of my own. (Shades are in italics. I updated this guide after fixing my Scouts.)
Armor: Mephiston Red > Agrax Earthshade > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Fire Dragon Bright
Cloaks: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Dark Reaper and Celestra Grey camo > Drakenhof Nightshade > light Dawnstone drybrush
I painted myself into a corner with my cloak color choices, since I don’t have a logical lighter set of highlight colors to use after the shading, hence the 50/50 blend. I’m not an experienced enough painter to use a blend when I want a consistent color across uniforms — but necessity demands this blend, for the Emperor and Sanguinius!
I stayed up late last night putting the final highlights on two more battle-brothers of Squad Karios.
Then the dog woke me up at 5:00 am, so I figured I’d start on their decals. Knees: trickier than shoulder pads! But Micro Set and Sol are great, just needed a quick second coat on one knee pad and these were good to go.
Then it was on to varnish and Army Painter Frozen Tufts, and now two more sons of Sanguinius are finished!
Bits and bobs
My stash of 40k bits was small, so I ordered a few little piles of basing stuff — rubble, scraps of other models, etc. — to jazz up some of my figures.
There’s plenty of room to play with on 40mm Terminator bases, so I added a couple pieces of scrap (and a skull) to these two members of Squad Ultio. Once I work Astrogranite Debris in around them, they should look half-buried in the plains of Armageddon.
Blood Angels color guide
Mostly for my own reference, here’s the colors and steps I’m using for every element of a “standard” Blood Angel (shades are in italics; everything after the shade, generally, is a layer paint). This is based on — and almost entirely matches — Citadel’s current “parade ready” paint steps for this chapter.
Red: Mephiston Red > Agrax Earthshade > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Fire Dragon Bright
I’ve got a basing recipe in mind for my Blood Angels army, and now I have all the components:
The basic concept is “plains of Armageddon” (an important planet in the 40k universe), which conjures up a sort of Moonscape in my mind — a wasteland of heavy gray dust and dying grass, site of a thousand battles.
This is a spin on my preliminary idea, which I posted about last week, now organized a bit more:
White Dwarf 161 (Nov. 2016) for its Paint Splatter column, which features the Basing Cookbook
I also have Citadel plastic glue (for skulls) and appropriate wash and drybrush brushes.
As an aside, that box of skulls sounded pretty silly until I got a good look at its contents online.
They’re to scale, modeled to GW’s usual high quality, and staggering in their variety: small, large, different species, fresh, half-destroyed, just jawbones, etc. It’s a really cool box of skulls.
Okay, back to the base itself. A deep gray base with dark blue notes sounds like it will contrast really well with my predominantly red miniatures, while also not being too similar to the predominantly black figures (Death Company, Chaplain, etc.). Green is too cheery, brown sounds easy to mess up and wind up with the plains of Poopageddon, and snow is both too Christmas-like with red Marines and — if applied badly — can look like the floor of a porno theater.
Step 1: cut a hole in the box
There are a million schools of thought on how to base, when to do the base vs. the miniature itself, etc. — basically (hah!) every aspect of this process. I just need to start somewhere, so I’ll be trying this route:
Assemble the model and glue it to the base
Glue on rocks and skulls to suit
Prime the whole thing white, mini and base
Paint the rocks/skulls/etc., including wash and drybrush
Apply texture paint with the spreader
Wash and drybrush the texture paint
Wipe the base edge clean before it dries
Paint the miniature
Touch everything up as needed
Paint the edge of the base
Varnish the whole thing, mini and base
Glue on tufts
In that winters SEO video, he glues the rocks to the texture paint before it dries, rather than to the base itself prior to applying paint. I’m doing it this way so I can get primer on my rocks and skulls, rather than painting them separately and then adding them to the base.
Sitting here writing this, I feel like I’m writing a post partly to avoid taking a step that makes me a bit nervous and actually basing a miniature. So I’m going to stop writing and go do that.