After wrapping up assembly on Judgment, I had just one squad left in my current (and first) Blood Angels army list: Squad Barakiel, my close combat Terminators — for whom Judgment will be the designated transport.
I started with the sergeant, of course, and then made little piles for each Terminator based on whatever felt right (“skull-covered legs, must love skulls; he gets the skull hammer”) — but this kit has some pretty specific suggestions about leg + hammer pairings.
They are just suggestions, of course, but every time I tried other variations and then the suggested one, I could see why they were paired the way they are: The studio poses look awesome.
The thing is, I’ve got two more boxes of these guys (plus a box of generic close combat Termies). One will be an all-Lightning Claws squad and the other will be 3x Thunder Hammers/2x Lightning Claws, so that I can mix and match. (For example, swelling the ranks of Squad Barakiel with three more hammer boys fills a Land Raider Crusader to capacity.) So to avoid duplicates I’m going to have to go off-book at some point, no matter how cool the studio poses are.
Partway through, I realized that this kit was even more specific about its poses than I first thought: each torso/head piece is matched to a particular body/leg piece. I was building the banner guy when I noticed that the guide had his head turned, which made no sense because 4/5 of the heads are pre-molded…until I figured out that it meant he needed Torso X to match his legs and pose.
I went with “Barakiel” because the random website I often use for angel names said that was the angel of lightning — which is a perfect name for the sergeant of the forthcoming all-Lightning Claws squad. But the one I’ve just built are all armed with Thunder Hammers and bearing Storm Shields. What do you get when there’s a storm and thunder? Lightning, of course!
Plus I wanted a “B” name and it sounded cool.
In the end, I mostly went with the studio poses and leg/torso/hammer pairings, mixed it up on the shields, picked tilting plates and other bling to match, and tweaked a couple of the poses just a hair (far right’s hammer is much higher; the sergeant is in more of a “come at me, bro!” stance; etc.). Second from the right is my favorite: hammer at ease, but ready. What at badass pose.
With Squad Ultio wrapped up, I can now do a comparison I thought might be interesting: Terminators I painted in February/March of this year versus Terminators I painted in April — same figures (more or less), same chapter, same color scheme. Which means it’s lightbox time!
Let’s start with the closest apples-to-apples pairings, the ones with similar sculpts and wargear.
How about three direct comparisons of aspects of each model?
And here’s my favorite paint job from each group, the Librarian from Space Hulk and one of the Chain Fist brothers from 40k:
As I was packing them all up again, I realized it might be good to toss in one more photo — five vs. five, but just a casual picture in natural light.
A bit of context
With my Space Hulk Termies, I was working with years-old primer, over-sprayed, and thick base coats of red. I made the conscious choice to stick with the techniques I’d used a decade ago on my Genestealers, so my whole set would look alike; that meant sticking to one post-shading step, drybrushing (with occasional bits of edge highlighting). My April Termies got two layers after shading, and no drybrushing save for the bases.
I also switched over entirely to Citadel paints, rather than my previous mix of Citadel and Privateer, and started using GW’s parade-ready guides for my color choices. The difference between starting with Mephiston Red, a dark red/crimson, and starting with P3 Khador Red, a scarlet, is pretty striking. The scarlet base coat doesn’t leave much room to go “up” in shades.
Overall, I can see that my painting has improved since I started up again. The more recent paint jobs are objectively better, even though they contain plenty of flaws and could absolutely be improved in a myriad of ways.
I tend to be quite hard on myself, especially about things I’ve done which aren’t perfect where I can clearly see that they’re not perfect. (As I type this, I’m literally thinking, “Crap, these felt like they were so much better but the difference just isn’t that dramatic.“) I know I’m not alone in this because I see lots of other miniature painters online who are hard on themselves; after hours of working on a model, it can be tough to see anything but its flaws.
It’s good to be able to see some improvement. The hours I’ve put in are paying off — and I have so much more to learn!
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 appreciate that resin allows GW to keep niche models in profitable, appropriately limited production, but having just built my first two figures — Commander Dante and Chaplain Arrius (“Chaplain with Skull Helmet”) — I have to say that it’s annoying stuff to work with.
It’s flaky, and decidedly more fragile than modern GW plastic kits. It’s prone to bubbles and “frayed” edges. Instead of clear, easily-addressed mold lines it’s studded with flashing from the molding process. And it doesn’t take plastic glue, so instead of near-instantaneous bonds you’ve got to contend with the sloppiness of superglue.
I don’t think the fussiness of resin will keep me from buying more resin figures, but I will think twice before doing it. The sculpts are great, but there’s no joy in the assembly process.
That said, I suspect that once the minor annoyances of assembly are behind me, they’ll prime and paint up just like any of my other figures — and I’ll wind up liking them.
My first 40k tank is also my first completed model in May: Relentless, the designated transport for Squad Karios, 2nd Company. It’s my first partly because it just plain took me longer than I expected, but also because I spent at least as much time assembling minis as painting in the first week or so of the month.
Here are its two golden angles:
And the full lightbox treatment — including my first use of the little hatch in the top of my cube, since this model has a top worth showing on its own.
I’ve mentioned before that there are stages of the painting process when the miniature starts to come alive — the wash makes it look real, the highlights give it life — but with Relentless was surprised to find that that stage was the very last one: the livery. Putting on the decals makes it feel like a vehicle in a larger force, like a part of the Blood Angels chapter. I dig that.
I always forget that “generic” Space Marine kits assume you’re building Ultramarines, so I’ve probably put the gunner’s Cog Mechanicum pauldron on the wrong side. But hey, it’s not like it’s perfect apart from that! Loads of little mistakes abound.
Nonetheless, I’m happy with Relentless and excited to have completed my first 40k tank. I’ve got one more in my current army list, the Land Raider Crusader Judgment, plus a few more in my backlog. Painting them should get a bit smoother every time, and before I know it what seemed difficult on this one will just be routine.
With my Rhino, Relentless, mostly base-coated, it was time to do the hazard stripes before moving on to a second coat of red.
I love hazard stripes, especially how they pop against red, and they make sense for the rear drop-door: “stay clear or this massive slab of Ceramite will crush you and then a 10-man squad of Space Marines will grind you into jelly as they charge into battle.“
I did the hazard stripes the same way I did them on Squad Ultio: two coats of Averland Sunset on the whole surface, cover with Tamiya hobby tape (3mm this time), remove alternate strips, paint those areas Abaddon Black.
I figured the areas with the bolts would be more likely to let paint “bleed” under them if I left them taped (since they prevent the tape from seating fully). By happy accident all three bolts fell on alternating strips.
I recommend skipping the bonus steps I added: “Realize trying to use up the last of the black that’s drying out means you’ve just gobbed on quite thick paint,” and “notice you’ve missed a bit and have to backtrack.”
Like Ultio’s stripes, they’re not perfect. But they’re better than what I can do freehand, and should be fairly easy to touch up when I reach that stage.
After painting down to the top edge, I realized I had no clear demarcation for the bottom edge. I tried a few tape lines that incorporated the door pivot/axle thingie, which is cylindrical and therefore annoying to tape up cleanly, and eventually decided that the bottom edge should align with the bottom of the frame instead.
I thought this would be a piece of cake! So much easier than wrapping a symmetrical pattern around three sides of an object, like I had to on Ultio — right? Narrator: Wrong.
But now I’ve got a pretty good template to use for my next Rhino/Razorback!
I reorganized my pile of 40k kits and my hobby space, and when I was done the simplest option for keeping things tidy seemed to be building the remaining kits for my current 2,000-point Blood Angels army list.
I started with Turiel, a Furioso Dreadnought of the 1st Company. I also built his alternate arm (Furioso Fist and Melter) but forgot to include it in the photo. He got a plain base to differentiate him from Narses, and to give me a blank canvas for creating a little landscape around him.
From there I moved on to my second 40k tank, the Land Raider Crusader Judgment. This thing is huge!
Just as I did with my Rhino, I considered painting the interior but decided to seal it up instead. There’s a ton of detail in there and it’s barely visible through the (totally awesome) front doors — plus, sealing it up gave me some cool spare parts for my bits box, like the engine plate below.
One of my favorite details in the Land Raider kit is that every 13th tread plate is the imperial eagle, so this sentient war machine can stamp the mark of the Emperor on every world where it fights.
In the photo below, Judgment is almost complete. I’m going to leave the foreground items — the pintle-mounted Multi-melta, the twin Assault Cannon, both sponson Hurricane Bolter elements, the lower sponson housings, and the sponson cameras — unglued and paint them as sub-assemblies. I’m not sure yet if I’ll glue the sponson guns or the pintle gun into place, freezing the entire tank into one immobile object, or leave them as moving parts.
It took two full evenings just to build Judgment — and I still have decorations and a hull-top choice to make and add to it. Actually painting this beast feels like at least a two-week task.
After Judgment is assembled, though, it’s on to my final squad, some close-combat Terminators (squad name TBD), and then the two resin characters I currently have soaking in soapy water: Commander Dante and my Chaplain, Arrius.
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.