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Finished miniatures Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Fixed Squad Cain’s cloaks and finished them up

After ruining my Scouts’ camo cloaks with overzealous highlighting, I thought about my options, slept on it, and settled on the path that sounded the most reasonable to me:

  • Repaint them in Mechanicus Standard Grey, allowing me to leave their necks alone and helping hide any areas I miss
  • For the camo, stick with Celestra Grey but switch from Dawnstone to Dark Reaper, since Dawnstone didn’t really work out
  • Wash with Drakenhof Nightshade again; that was solid
  • Do a minimal highlight just in the backpack area with Dawnstone
Step 1: repaint the cloaks

I don’t think I’ve ever tried to fix a substantial mistake at the “finished miniature” stage before. I can recall messing up my sealant a couple of times, years ago, but my “fix” was throwing away the miniature (because I didn’t know better). Fortunately the cloaks are a big, simple shape and I was able to repaint them without bodging paint onto the decals, etc.

Speaking of decals, I forgot to include this photo in yesterday’s post:

These decals just ain’t right

My GW decal sheets have been perfect so far, but these 10th Company ones — from two separate decal sheets — both have a white border. Trying to paint out the border on a pauldron I’d already washed and highlighted sounded like a bad idea, so instead I just did the lone company icon freehand. Gotta love cloaks that cover up shoulder pads, otherwise I’d have had to freehand five!

Anyhoo, they were wet when I dropped them onto my painting mat — so now they’re a part of its story forever.

Dark Reaper and a first pass on Celestra Grey laid in
Final pattern after a second pass with Celestra Grey

And here’s the silver lining of fucking these guys up and having to redo them: I got to tweak the camo colors and pattern based on the first go-round, and I remembered that “minimal highlights needed” is a situation for which I have a tool in my toolbox that I’d been overlooking — namely drybrushing!

So I hit their cloaks and with a subtle Dawnstone drybrush, which turned out well. The Dark Reaper patches basically vanish under the wash, unfortunately, but in the right light you can tell that there’s a second color in there alongside the light gray. They’re not perfect, but the camo looks like camo. I’ll take it!

And with that, my second Blood Angels squad is done.

None can hide from Mephiston’s psychic gaze

Squad Cain, 10th Company
Rear view showing the redone camo cloaks

Unrelated, bit I’m struggling a bit with the lightbox on these guys. It seems to be washing out some of their colors — or maybe it’s the auto-adjusting I’m doing in PhotoScape? Whatever the case, this photo in natural light showcases them more clearly to my eye (and you can see their red eye lenses, too!).

Natural light, messy background

And while we’re here, why not a full “army” shot, too?

And then there were 15

With Squad Cain finished, Narses is next. His base has been a lot of fun to work on, and I’m excited to paint his body.

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Scouts on the painting desk

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.

Squad Cain

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.)

First cloak partially done

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.

Going back and forth between these two, adding swatches

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!

Steady progress on day one
Burned some midnight oil on day one and ended up here
Cloaks on day two, pretty happy with how this pattern is turning out
Day three: base coats done!

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.

Narses is officially on the board!

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.

Camo cloaks after a Drakenhof Nightshade wash

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.

Well, shit

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
  • Clothing: Rakarth Flesh > Agrax Earthshade > Pallid Wych Flesh > White Scar
  • Black: Abaddon Black > Eshin Grey > Dawnstone
  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver
  • Gold: Retributor Armour > Reikland Fleshshade > Auric Armour Gold > Liberator Gold
  • Helmet ventilators: tubing as metal, breather and joints as black
  • Eyes: Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • Scope lenses: Lothern Blue > White Scar
  • Rifle tubing: Macragge Blue and Averland Sunset > Agrax Earthshade > Altdorf Guard Blue and Yriel Yellow

Bases are “the plains of Armageddon,” from my Space Marine color guide.

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!

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: final three in Squad Karios, rolling on Squad Cain

I like being able to roll right from one painting project into the next, so my workflow always has a couple of tracks paralleling the main one — in this case, getting my Scouts fully based so that the models will be ready to paint when my tactical squad is completed.

Squad Cain’s base clutter painted up
Astrogranite Debris applied

I let the texture paint dry overnight, and then usually let the wash dry overnight as well (probably overkill, but hey), so I need to plan ahead as I close in on the finish line for this squad. Speaking of which: that finish line is in sight!

Squad Karios: the final three!

I don’t have a recipe for plasma chamber colors, so I’m going to try Altdorf Blue > Drakenhof Nightshade > White Scar. I might do a thinned layer of Altdorf post-wash, too; I’ll see how it looks first.

Chip, chip, chipping away…

There’s a kind of “nothing, then suddenly something” quality to painting, at least how I’m doing it now. It feels like the base coat takes forever (and it’s preceded by assembly, glue curing, basing, and priming), but after that the remaining steps feel like they go much more quickly.

Base coat: D-U-N-N

And with their base coat complete, I’m really on the home stretch with Squad Karios. I’ve enjoyed the details on this incredibly blinged-out kit, but I’m also looking forward to the simpler Scout figures. They should be a nice palate cleanser — while still presenting a new challenge: their camo cloaks.

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Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Squad Cain, scouts with a head conversion

My working concept for my Blood Angels army is the Faceless Strike Force, with 100% of the models in helmets. I wanted Space Marine Scouts in my army, which posed a small problem: the Scout kits only come with bare heads.

Some Googling turned up two easy options for alternate scout heads: Skitarii Rangers and Militarum Tempestus Scions. The latter looked a bit too “WWII Germany” to me, and the Skitarii had the added benefit of being hooded — a perfect match for my Scout snipers and their camouflage cloaks. A quick trip to Ebay later and I had a bag of Skitarii Rangers heads to convert my Space Marine Scouts with sniper rifles (paid link).

I got a bag of heads!

I talked a bit about the limited uniqueness and posability of the Primaris Infiltrators here on Yore, but these Scouts take that to a whole old level: exactly one bottom half, one top half, and one gun for each model. How will the heretics know they’re Blood Angels if they aren’t dual-wielding 16′ banners and wearing an entire craft store’s worth of bling?!

On the flipside, these are badass models. That’s why I bought them.

All five ready to rock
The Skitarii heads sit too high without some trimming-down

In the photo above I’ve sandwiched a Skitarii Ranger head between two Scout heads. The bottom looks the same, but the Scout heads are designed to sit in a shallow divot on each model; the Skitarii heads sit too high and have “flanges” sticking out of the neck recess.

Ha ha, these minis are like 5 pieces and I still managed to glue Sergeant Cain’s hand on backwards

After test-fitting a couple of Skitarii heads, I decided to build the models and then choose heads based on their poses. On the guys looking down their scopes, the larger respirators get in the way; they need the more svelte heads. Like this guy:

Kneeling for a shot

All of them needed a bit of trimming, some more than others. I experimented with using a file, but quickly switched to my hobby knife and stuck with that approach. Shave a bit off, test-fit the head; shave a bit more, test-fit again; and so on until it looked right.

This was my first-ever conversion project, and even though it’s quite light as conversions go it still took some work. On a couple of these Scouts, I spent as long trimming the head to fit as I did building the rest of the mini — and the more fragile Ranger heads, with the tall antennae, were too delicate for me (I nearly broke one).

Close-up of a converted Scout

If you’re looking for it, you can see the curve of the bottom of this one’s neck nub. But with paint and a wash to fill in the shadows, I think it’ll look solid on the tabletop.

Sergeant Cain (with his hand glued on the right way)

I like that this conversion doesn’t look “off” — the heads are the right size, they don’t give the minis giraffe necks, and while they’re taller than the normal Scout heads they’re not that much taller. They’re still in proportion with standard Space Marines.

Space Marine vs. Scout with Skitarii Ranger head
A Primaris Infiltrator taking his kids to the park
Squad Cain, reporting for duty

Another squad down! The Scout models are super-simple, mono-pose, and a bit heavy on the mold lines — but once built, they’re nicely differentiated from each other. A mini carrying a rifle as long as he is tall is always going to look pretty cool.

I dig how the Skitarii Ranger heads look on them. They’re a bit creepy, which I like, with almost a Jawa vibe, and the hoods go well with their camouflage cloaks — and should go even better once I paint them in the same camo color scheme. They’re a fun addition to my Blood Angels force.