While painting May’s minis, I’m also building my June models. After my Death Company squad, I decided to tackle more jumpy boys: a squad of Assault Marines.
This is the first time I’ve broken out the bits box to add things to the kit other than basing debris. Everyone’s getting a Blood Angels chapter pauldron, and I’m raiding the greeblies for belt doodads and the like.
As ever, I started with the sergeant, Adamo, and let the character of the squad flow from him. The Eviscerator looks amazing — I’m so glad it’s an option. And the little “leaping into flight” base elements, which come with the kit, are fantastic.
These are great sculpts, too, full of motion and energy — and somehow they manage to convey that, unlike their Death Company brethren, they’re in full command of their faculties. Compare:
Maybe it’s just me? I don’t know. But I see it and I dig it.
This kit is loaded with options, including separate backs, torsos, and backpacks to use if they’re not Jump Pack-equipped; loads of melee and ranged weapons; and a surprising amount of belt bling. I’ve got another box of them in the wings, and I can’t wait to dip into some of the other options — with an eye to intermingling the guys without knee pads between squads (provided I remember to give them the special weapons…).
This past weekend I found myself in a funny spot: Excluding Commander Dante, who’s still on his sprue (I’m not ready to mess with resin quite yet), 100% of my other models to paint this month were drying or curing and couldn’t be painted…but I was in the mood to do hobby stuff.
My backlog has now grown to the point where even if I build my entire current army list, I won’t be short of other things to build when assembly is what I’m in the mood to do with my hobby time — so I started in on my June painting queue. Specifically, Death Company box.
As always, I started with the leader — except that by the rulebook, Death Company battle-brothers don’t really have one, at least not within their squads. They’re generally led by a Chaplain who can manage them on the battlefield. So what to name this squad?
I decided that it would be Squad Zahariel, in honor of former Sergeant Zahariel, a noble and long-lived Space Marine who had fallen to the Black Rage.
I knew I wanted these guys to be leaping into flight — like the Assault Squad, which includes cool little base add-ons that give them some lift — so I dipped into my bits box and came up with some scrap that would work. (Two pairs of legs are posed standing squarely on the ground, so I didn’t mess with those.)
Finding the right pieces, matching them up to the right poses, and making it all work was a lot of fun. I love this aspect of assembly, and even though it’s quite light as kitbashing goes I have to start somewhere. Baby steps!
I also managed to glue 4/5 of their jump packs on, and let their glue set for several hours, before realizing that I’d placed them about 1-2mm too low. With some wrenching and a bit of surgery I managed to sort them out, and any evidence of my screw-up is well-hidden deep in the crevice between back and pack.
This is a great kit, loads of fun to assemble, and it includes a wealth of options, doodads, extra shoulder pads, and awesome Chainswords. I’d gladly build a few more of these boxes.
I finished listening to the audiobook of The Devastation of Baal last week, and then over the weekend — while naming my Sanguinary Guard — realized that I now know something else about my Blood Angels army. Before that I had two bits of lore/flavor around my army:
They all wear helmets, no bare-headed models
Their bases are meant to be the plains of Armageddon
To which, because of the events of the Devastation, I can now add:
My army is post-Devastation of Baal, because it includes both Primaris and non-Primaris Marines
Lore-wise I might be getting a bit fuzzy here, because the only info on post-Devastation Sanguinary Guard — all but one of whom died fighting Leviathan — is on 40k wikis, but that points to the Guard being composed of the lone survivor and Primaris Marines. I see no reason the new Guard can’t be composed of a mix of Primaris and non-Primaris, though, so that’s what I’m going with in my head.
Prepping my May minis
I also found myself on May 1st without a single ready-to-paint model, so I set about getting a few to that stage. That entailed doing the texture paint on Squads Amedeo and Dolos, and priming my Rhino, Relentless.
I soon realized that properly priming Relentless was going to be a two-day job. For day one, I did the undercarriage and both ends; it then sat overnight to allow the primer to cure.
On wings of frustration
As I was listing my May 2020 BGG painting challenge minis, I realized I couldn’t put off figuring out how to name my squad of Sanguinary Guard any longer. They have no sergeant; to the best of my knowledge, Space Marine squads are traditionally named after their sergeant. That’s how I’ve done all of mine.
But these guys are weird. The unit is four, often accompanied by an Ancient — but he’s not part of the squad. He’s a character, he gets a name; that’s Brother Abaoz. But the rest? It seems easiest to name them all and pick the one I like best as the nominal squad leader (since the actual squad leader is Commander Dante): Remiel, Uriel, Zarnaah, and Ballaton.
Squad Remiel rolls off my tongue the best, so Squad Remiel it is. They’re all angel names, which I found by Googling “angel names.” As always, I bounced them off Lexicanum’s list of known Blood Angels names so as to be reasonably sure I’m not claiming someone who already has a place in the lore. (Emphasis on reasonably; I’m going to overlap at some point, it’s almost inevitable — and that’s okay.)
Their wings, though? Most frustrating thing I’ve glued in my two months of building 40k minis. There’s no “mating” joint, no locking nub, nothing to ensure that the wing is in the correct spot and matches its partner. The instructions imply where they go, but even with the angled 360-degree spinning model on GW’s site I still wasn’t totally confident.
It took me 45 minutes to do Remiel, and most of that was his wings. And every time I’d adjust them, his awesome sword-arm pose would slip because of his huge pauldron, and then the other wing would get bumped, and then…
The outcome, though, is a straight-up badass pose. Brother Remiel is winding up for a death blow while leaping into the sky, all motion and dynamism. His wings don’t quite match, and that gap at his right shoulder is going to require a healthy amount of Agrax Earthshade to cover up — but this is a great sculpt, and he should look awesome when he’s painted.
I returned to Squad Remiel on Saturday, armed with a new approach: I came prepared to relax, which sounds funny but can be quite effective; I built in a pause between gluing on their arms and wings, to make sure the arms were fully set; I test-fit the wings before the glue on the arms and pauldrons was dry, so I could nudge them around a bit before it was too late; and I checked both wings from every angle before their glue was fully set, leaving time for delicate adjustments to them as well.
The end result is one of the coolest squads I’ve built so far. I absolutely love these guys. Whereas after building Remiel I was kind of glad I only had one box of them, with the squad done I certainly wouldn’t mind doing another box. Their details, their dynamic poses, the massive melee weapons — I was drawn to them way back when I was choosing a Space Marine chapter, and now I remember why.
Yore also hit a fun little milestone, one I’ve been watching for since I got back into blogging this past February: 500 impressions in a day.
Thank you for reading Yore! I write it because I want to, but I like knowing that folks are reading it — and hopefully getting some mileage out of it, too.
Last night saw Squad Ultio, my first Terminator unit, through to completion. A big part of my motivation to finish these guys in April was my entry in BGG’s monthly painting challenge; once I added Ultio to that list, I was going to do my level best to finish them.
Incidentally, I looked up the proper first layer color for an Averland Sunset base and it’s not Flash Gitz Yellow (as I’ve been doing on Ork scrap on my bases) but Yriel Yellow, so that’s what I’ve used to highlight my hazard stripes. No other color surprises on these guys.
With their 40mm bases they’re a bit much to try to fit into my tiny lightbox, so here are a couple close-ups of the squad in two parts.
Gotta grab an army shot, too. I’m up to 553 points now!
I built my first Blood Angel, Sergeant Karios, on March 10, so this represents about seven weeks of work.
Drinking, writing, and a brush
Along the way, I nearly made a catastrophic mistake:
I also tried a new tool, and a nerve-wracking experiment — both hard to make out given the terrible photo (though easier to spot in the lightbox shots above) — and wrote ULTIO on the banner and BAAL on a pauldron in Gundam marker:
I did learn that if I brush on varnish over the marker, it’s going to rub it out at least partially. I touched up the ULTIO, but it didn’t come out as crisp as it was before. Note to self for next time: dab it on, rather than brushing.
And, as a first follow-up to my long post about brushes, I tried the first of my new Princeton Velvetouch brushes, the 10/0 Liner. After 5-6 hours of layers and highlighting work, the extraordinarily fine tip of this synthetic brush…still looks like it’s brand new.
That’s incredibly exciting, as I’d despaired at the prospect of finding synthetic brushes that could match the quality of animal hair; these look like they’re going to deliver. Comparing this $3 brush to any of my $1 ZEM brushes, which curled in the first few minutes of use, the price difference is absolutely worth it (although crappy brushes also have their uses!).
I also have two rules for all new detail brushes: no metallic paints, and brush cleaner at the end of every session. (That second rule goes for all of my brushes, now.) Those seem to make a big difference!
My painting queue for May through July is just as ambitious (by my standards) as April’s, with 16 + 1 tank on the docket for May and 17 + 1 Dreadnought + 1 large tank for June. I may not hit them both, but I’m painting for the joy of it and joy doesn’t care what month it is.
Which is good, because as of this post’s publication date my family is on day 50 of pandemic isolation/lockdown, and time has become a meaningless smear of present. Stay safe out there!
Since I started my Blood Angels army in March of this year, I’ve had bits scattered across little baggies, the boxes in which they came, other boxes…it was mess. The other night I wanted to add a couple purity seals to my Rhino before priming it, which entailed looking in like eight different places, and in the end I found only one of the three spares I had.
This is a Plano 3700, one of their larger boxes. It probably incorporates more dividers than actually came with it, because I have oodles of Plano boxes of various sizes scattered about the place. (I use them for everything, but especially for board game organization.)
I have bits from non-Space Marine kits for basing, plus the odd thing like Skitarii heads that I use for conversions, but essentially this whole box is for my Blood Angels. There’s no magic to my system, and it will absolutely change as I build more kits, but here’s how it’s organized at the moment (left to right):
Top row: helmeted heads, bare heads, winged blood drop shoulder pads, other shoulder pads, torso fronts, torso backs and backpacks
Second row: single arms/hands and melee weapons, Bolt Pistols and Boltguns, special and weird weapons, heavy weapons, Terminator bits, miscellany (grenades, Iron Halos, belt bling, etc.)
Third row: Primaris heads, Primaris single arms, Primaris bling, Primaris doodads and weapons, parts from vehicle kits
Bottom row: small basing debris, medium basing debris, large basing debris, actual bases
Notably absent, although I have an abundance of them, are arms. This is because they often come in pairs, so 63A goes with 63B, and the easiest way for me to not mess them up is just to leave them on their sprues in their original boxes (which I’m keeping, along with the empty sprues for future use as clutter, etc.).
Once it was all in there, I learned some things. For example, I thought I was low on BA shoulder pads and had considered buying another upgrade kit to get some more — but I have like 20 of them.
It feels good to have a proper bits box in place at last.
Narses has been sitting on my desk, fully painted save for one tiny bit of highlighting in a single color, for several days now. But that last color (Baharroth Blue) finally came, and with that done I could varnish him, glue on some tufts, and add him to my Blood Angels army.
I think the above is his “golden angle,” but let’s give him the full four-way lightbox treatment, too.
Here he is leading my other troops. There aren’t that many of them yet, but the next couple months should see about three dozen more added to my strike force.
He was a lot of fun to paint — which is good, because my current list features a Furioso Dread and I have a Death Company Dread, two Redemptors, and two “almost a Dreadnought” Invictor Warsuits in my backlog! Ditto his scenic base, which was the largest I’ve ever done.
Having worked with the pre-molded Dreadnought base, though, I don’t think I want more of them in my army. I Ebayed a couple 60mm plain bases to use for my other two (and the Redemptors/Invictors come with plain bases), which will make Narses’ “hero base” a nice contrast.
I’ve been making some progress on Squad Ultio, my shooty Terminators.
I decided that I’d lean into silver as their primary accent color, and unify them with silver Crux Terminatus emblems on their left shoulders. Sergeant Ultio is getting more gold, but with silver accents.
I used to start with the most prevalent color and work my way down to the small accent colors, but now I go in reverse. Once it hit me that, for example, the only way I can manage to paint the gold setting for a red gem on red armor is to hit it first — slopping over into what will be red areas — and then circle back with the red, carefully painting right up to the gold, I realized many accents could be painted better and quicker that way.
Reaching the point where what’s left is “just” the red takes some time — probably about two hours, maybe 2.5, for this squad. The red will likely take longer, but blocking that in somehow feels more manageable when I’m down to only one color.
I almost forgot to give them all black left fists (except the sergeant). I know that — like just about all details of chapter paint schemes — that’s optional (and not universal over the past decades of studio paint jobs), but I like it. It gives them a different presence and energy.
Warmed up from some quick basing work (on Squads Amedeo and Dolos), and with a bit of momentum built up, I managed to get two more Termies base-coated on Sunday night. That left about another 90 minutes of base-coating, followed by a couple hours of touch-ups and detail work, before I could move on to shading.
It took me 12 minutes per figure to prime Squad Ultio, but since I don’t love priming I’ve been looking for ways to reduce that time without sacrificing quality. On Sunday I consciously employed a loose, light, feathering stroke — and blasted out Squads Amedeo (Sternguard) and Dolos (Infilitrators) in 45 minutes, or 4.5 minutes/figure.
That leaves just my Rhino, Relentless, and a squad of Sanguinary Guard to prime so I can paint them in May.
I want to do yellow/black hazard stripes on the two Chain Fists in this squad, and I bought some 2mm and 3mm Tamiya hobby tape for that purpose — but every time I look at those tiny chainsaw housings, which wrap around on three sides, I question my ability to actually do it.
But fuck it, I’m going for it. Colors are Averland Sunset/Abaddon Black. (The rest of these guys just follow my usual Blood Angels colors, no surprises in their recipes.)
Step 1: paint the housings Averland Sunset, two thin coats for even coverage.
Step 2 was going to be “apply diagonal strips of tape” until I actually tried that and physics disagreed:
Step 2: apply vertical strips of 2mm Tamiya tape, edge to edge with no gaps (to ensure even spacing).
Optionally, at this stage you can feel free to question the judgment and moral character of the dingus who decided to put a big rock right in front of this Chain Fist.
Step 3: remove every other strip of tape.
Step 4: paint the exposed yellow portions Abaddon Black.
Step 5: remove the remaining strips of tape. Ta-da! Hazard stripes.
Not, I hasten to add, amazing hazard stripes — but better than I could freehand, especially as they wrap evenly around the housing, and easily touched up during the next step of my painting process.
For true old-school Terminators I should have hazard-striped the Fist itself, not the saw housing, and then painted John Blanche’s face freehand on top of the stripe pattern . . . but these will have to do.
I like to maintain my painting momentum by always having something ready to paint, which means planning ahead. Right now my pace is about one miniature every two days, which is a decent data point for building a queue.
I also like to have some options for my hobby time, including a mix of assembly, basing, and painting. I don’t love priming (although I wouldn’t go so far as to say I don’t like it), but that task has to be in the mix as well. Those four activities each have their own appeal:
Assembly: A bit fiddly, but I love coming up with fun poses, choosing wargear, and figuring out who my figures are as characters (especially the sergeants). This is a creative, relaxing activity that can be done any time, including when I don’t have full daylight to work with. I lump the first part of basing in with assembly now — gluing down my rocks and whatnot.
Priming: I want to find a way to derive joy from priming, but there are zero artistic or roleplaying choices to make and it’s fundamentally not a creative activity — it’s just Not Screwing Up. At least it’s reasonably quick, and like assembly I don’t need good light.
Basing: Even though part of it was already done during assembly, finishing the base — which I before painting any part of the model itself — feels like its own thing. And I love it! Super relaxing, creative, and when I’m done the figure feels 50% complete.
Painting: The main event, full of artistic choices and creativity. Relaxing, but still sometimes a bit stressful; I find I hold my breath a lot while working on the final highlights, since one bad slip-up can ruin hours of work. Some stages benefit greatly from a fresh mind and good light, so it’s a bit trickier to fit in sometimes.
That’s why I always like to have a mix of unbuilt, unprimed, and unpainted figures on hand: So when I’m in the mood to do any part of 1-4, or not in the mood for something more intense (final highlights) but in the mood for something casual (basing), or circumstances (nighttime, etc.) rule out any steps, I’ve always got something to work on.
I accidentally put the Chaplain in the back there; that’s supposed to be Commander Dante. My plan for May is:
Paint 5x Sternguard Veterans
Paint 5x Primaris Infiltrators
Paint 1x Rhino
Assemble and paint 4x Sanguinary Guard and 1x Sanguinary Ancient
Assemble and paint Commander Dante
That’s probably a bit of a stretch, but that’s okay. I like to bounce between complex/detailed sculpts and simpler ones, so the Sternguard (detailed) will be a nice follow-up to April’s Terminators (simple); I can follow them with the simple Infiltrators, then the more complex Guard (also a break from painting red!), and mix in the Rhino and Dante when the mood strikes me.
June’s plan is too ambitious, and will almost certainly spill over into July. Nothing here is built yet, so it’s assembly and painting of:
5x Assault Squad
5x Death Company
5x Terminator Assault Squad
1x Land Raider Crusader
1x Furioso Dreadnought
1x Chaplain with Skull Helmet
My guess is that the Dread and maybe part of one squad will land in July, assuming I can keep up my February/March/April pace for another 2-3 months.
But however long it takes me, I’m going to have a blast — and when I’m done, I’ll have a parade-ready 2,000-point Blood Angels army. And hey, maybe by this summer we’ll be able to leave the house again and I might actually be able to play!
And if not . . . my backlog is a massive, joyous hoard of plastic, just waiting for some love. It’s all Blood Angels stuff, and all contributes to my twin goals of having more options for my army (including duplicate units) and painting at least one of every major unit the Blood Angels can field under 8th Edition rules.
Two of the three blue paint pots I need to finish Narses came in the mail yesterday, so I tackled 99% of his highlights last night. He’s so close to completion at this point — but “so close” also equals 18 colors of highlights.
Two hours of layers and highlights later, and he’s nearly good to go!
Up close like this the final orange highlights on his armor (Fire Dragon Bright) read as Way Too Much, but at tabletop distance it looks more natural.
My Cog Mechanicum turned out okay, too!
Meanwhile, I’ve got Squad Ultio on the painting handles, fully based and ready to rock — and as part of the RPGGeek April 2020 Painting Challenge I’m trying to get the whole squad (and Narses) finished in April. That challenge was a tremendous motivator in March, and it’s been a great motivator in April, too. A miniature every two days (on average) would get me to a parade-ready 2,000-point Blood Angels army by mid-July, allowing a bit of slush time for the larger vehicles.
And I built my first Rhino, the designated transport for Squad Karios, so that I can paint it in May.
I made so many mistakes while building this kit: forgot to add the ramp before gluing the sides, glued the top doors on upside down, and glued one hatch to the wrong mount. All fixed before they became permanent, but it was a bit of a comedy of errors.
I’d planned to paint the interior, and assumed that leaving the top off would give me enough room to work. But that’s not the case: There’s no way I can credibly paint, say, the Bolter under the console given how little room there is inside this puppy. Plus my ramp wouldn’t stay fully closed, and I couldn’t figure out why; combine those factors and I decided to just glue this one up and plan ahead for painting the interior of a future Rhino or Razorback. (Which I’d do by priming and fully painting every interior piece before gluing them together.)
All told, this is a really neat kit. I got a good deal on an older Rhino box which, despite including instructions for a Razorback, lacked the sprue with the Razorback turret weapons — and the cool little cargo and tow ropes and stuff. I think it was from back when GW was producing them as separate kits, whereas now a Razorback kit will include everything you need to go either route.
And here she is: Relentless, ready to crush heresy in the Emperor’s name. Or more accurately, ready to transport Squad Karios for said heresy-crushing — while providing a little dakka along the way,
I went with the gunner because 1) he’s awesome and 2) who knows if my next Rhino will take the Storm Bolter option (although for 2 points, it seems likely). This should be a fun one to paint — especially now that I have some larger brushes to speed up the bigger panels.
I think I’m going to have to actually write “Relentless” on the name scroll, too, rather than just scribbling on it like I do with most scrolls. I wonder if Gundam panel-lining markers will work?
Narses finally has his base coat done! I assembled him on March 19, started his base on April 9, finished his base somewhere around April 12, and started painting his body in earnest on the 15th. It’s not that long, but it feels like a long time.
That’s probably partly down to having completely finished him from the waist down before starting in on the rest of him. Painting him that way, while it made sense, has given the process an odd rhythm.
It’s rad to see him with his arms on!
I’ve still got a few smaller elements in need of their base coat — blood drops, lenses, etc. — but they’re so tiny that I’ll just roll them in with the touch-up step. And there are plenty of touch-ups to do!
I even took a pass at the Cog Mechanicum, although it clearly needs some work. And this photo make it pretty easy to see the spot where I broke part of his power plant while assembling him, yikes (top right, silver).
I stayed up too late doing it, but before bed I got Narses fully touched up and shaded.
I can now do everything but the final layer/highlight on his sarcophagus (Calgar Blue) and the two layers on his Force Halberd (Temple Guard Blue > Baharroth Blue), including varnishing his right arm once those highlights are in place. I think it makes sense to do as much as possible before I have to push pause, so I’m planning to do all of his other highlights and just leave those few blues for whenever my paints arrive.