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Kill Team Miniature painting Miniatures Tyranids Warhammer 40k

Tyranid Hive Fleet Balaur color guide

I’m far enough along with my first Fire Team for Hive Fleet Balaur to need to take stock of my paint library, so it’s time for a color guide!

Hive Fleet Balaur Genestealers (April 24, 2022)

As always, this guide is drawn from a mix of GW material (White Dwarf #463 and a Warhammer TV video for the Leviathan scheme, Warhammer TV again for their classic Warriors video), YouTube tutorials (Doctor Faust and CatgutPainting for the mottling), and my own spin on things. Washes/shades are generally in italics, and my notation is base > shade > layer > layer for Citadel’s Parade Ready approach.

Bases

  • Terrain: Stirland Mud > Reikland Fleshshade > Astorath Red drybrush
  • Rocks: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Celestra Grey drybrush
  • Skulls: Corax White > Agrax Earthshade > Corax White drybrush
  • Horns: Zandri Dust > Seraphim Sepia > Ushabti Bone drybrush
  • Base rim: Doombull Brown
  • Tufts: Army Painter Wasteland Tufts

Models

My Tyranid Kill Team only has two units as of this writing, Genestealers and Tyranid Warriors, and Tyranids tend to be pretty similar faction-wide, so this is pretty much my guide for all Hive Fleet Balaur Tyranids. Balaur is a splinter fleet of Leviathan, so the studio scheme for Leviathan was my starting point.

Paint steps vary slightly from my usual approach because the full-body drybrush is messy, so it has to come before most of the other steps: Prime and base coat with Wraithbone spray, shade the skin, drybrush the skin, deepen the wash in the vents/joints, apply the texture paint to the base, and then do everything else.

  • Body/skin: Wraithbone spray > shade with 1:4 Carroburg Crimson:Lahmian Medium all over > Screaming Skull drybrush > Carroburg Crimson wash in the vents/joints > Pallid Wych Flesh drybrush > Pallid Wych Flesh on high points
  • Carapace: Naggaroth Night > Druchii Violet > Xereus Purple edge highlights > Genestealer Purple edge/point highlights > Genestealer Purple mottling (larger dots), size of model permitting > Fulgrim Pink mottling (smaller dots)
    • Mottling: Apply dots of thinned paint with dotting tools, in varying sizes
  • Claws: Incubi Darkness > Nuln Oil > Warpstone Glow > Sybarite Green on tips/edges
  • Weapons larger than claws: Incubi Darkness > Nuln Oil > Warpstone Glow glaze > Warpstone Glow edge and tip highlighting (as if the glaze weren’t there) > Sybarite Green on tips/edges
    • Glazing: 1:6 Warpstone Glow:Lahmian Medium, 7-8 layers, starting with almost the entire weapon and covering a bit less area every time, working from the base towards the tip; the end should be pretty close to pure Warpstone Glow, but not quite as bright
  • Fleshy bits and tongues: Bugman’s Glow > Reikland Fleshshade > Kislev Flesh
  • Teeth: Screaming Skull > Agrax Earthshade > Screaming Skull
  • Eyes: Averland Sunset > Casandora Yellow > Flash Gitz Yellow
A WIP Genestealer from my first Fire Team (April 9, 2022)

Notes

I’m still pretty new to using Lahmian Medium, and my first attempt for the main body/flesh wash — 1:3 Screamer Pink:Lahmian Medium, my best guess at the ratio used in White Dwarf #463 — went on more like a base coat than a wash. So I switched to using my shade brush, Carroburg Crimson, and a 1:4 ratio, and that went much more smoothly.

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Kill Team Miniature painting Miniatures Tyranids Warhammer 40k WIP it good

Testing Hive Fleet Balaur color schemes

After an evening of assembling Genestealers and thinking about paint schemes, I spent the rest of last night leafing through back issues of White Dwarf for Tyranid content.

My initial idea for Hive Fleet Balaur’s color scheme was the bi pride flag: pink, purple, blue. Along with the symbolism and the colors, I also like that it includes 2/3 of the classic Genestealer colors.

But the more pictures of gorgeously painted Tyranids I looked at, the more I found myself drawn to Hive Fleet Leviathan’s paint scheme: off-white body with unsettling pink undertones, like a snake’s belly; deep purple carapace; and dark red claws/weapons. No surprise from GW, but that is an outstanding color scheme with fantastic contrast and perfectly matched tones.

This gorgeous spin on Kronos on DakkaDakka gave me the idea to try green weapons/claws. A CatgutPainting video on patterned Tyranid paint schemes sold me on mottling, which I first saw on Javier Del Rio’s stunning Hive Tyrant in White Dwarf #463:

Miniature painted and photographed by Javier Del Rio, from White Dwarf #463

So I started pondering making Balaur a splinter fleet of Leviathan, and using Leviathan’s colors as my starting point. GW has done Leviathan at least two ways for their studio paint jobs, so I blended ideas from both of them for the body and decided to test Wraithbone base > 1:3 Screamer Pink:Lahmian Medium shade.

Still thinking about bright colors (something I haven’t yet done for 40k) and wanting to see how that would look next to a vibrant purple carapace (with pink dots/mottling still in my brain) and medium-to-bright green claws, I slapped some paint onto a piece of terrain. (I’ll be repainting this area whenever I circle back to terrain, and conveniently it’s already primed with Wraithbone spray.)

Here’s Wraithbone base coat, the Screamer/Lahmian wash, Xereus Purple, and Warpstone Glow.

Test colors

And here it is with a quick and dirty Screaming Skull drybrush over the body color, bringing the body closer to Leviathan:

Getting closer to “snake’s underbelly” whitish-pink

Now to test out mottling the carapace. I did some research and found that some folks do this with a toothpick or a dotting tool; this Doctor Faust tutorial is a good demonstration of one approach. My kiddo has a stash of dotting tools, so I borrowed a few different sizes.

Small and his buddy Real Small

Here’s a Genestealer Purple base mottled with Genestealer Purple and then Fulgrim Pink, with purple done using the larger of the tools above and pink done with the smaller one:

Mottling

Genestealer Purple isn’t much of a contrast (although for adding depth to mottling, that’s probably good), but Fulgrim Pink sure pops. It’s also clear I’m not good at this yet! But I do like the effect.

I threw Khorne Red into the mix and polled my wife and kiddo, and we all liked both options (red or green) but agreed they each give the model a different feel.

(optometrist voice) Green, or red? One, or two?

The more I look at the toxic green, the more I like it. The Leviathan lineage is clear from the identical body color and the mottled variation on the carapace color, the toxic green (coupled with the mottling) cements Balaur as its own thing, and the whole scheme should contrast nicely with my basing recipe: Stirland Mud texture paint, Reikland Fleshshade wash, Astorath Red drybrush (from the ever-amazing White Dwarf Basing Cookbook in the November 2016 issue).

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Adeptus Custodes Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Adeptus Custodes Dread Host color guide and painting steps

There are relatively few Adeptus Custodes units, and from what I’ve seen they all use pretty much the same colors (adapted per one’s shield company) — kind of like Deathskulls Orks. So I have a feeling one main color guide will cover most of my army.

Bases

As ever, I’m using a recipe from White Dwarf 161 (Nov. 2016) for the terrain, and washes/shades are in italics.

  • Terrain: Stirland Mud > Agrax Earthshade > Golgfag Brown drybrush
  • Rocks: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Celestra Grey drybrush
  • Skulls: Corax White > Agrax Earthshade > Corax White drybrush
  • Nameplates: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver on the letters only
  • Base rim: Dryad Bark
  • Tufts: Mix of Army Painter highland and mountain tufts

Trajann Valoris has two additional elements on his base:

  • Demon skull horns: Steel Legion Drab > Agrax Earthshade > Ushabti Bone drybrush
  • Stone platforms: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Grey Seer drybrush

Custodes

These recipes cover the basics for Dread Host Custodians, and in general they come straight from Citadel (with a few tweaks). I default to Citadel’s Parade Ready steps (base/shade/layer/layer), but with these guys I’m mixing in a bit of drybrushing as well. Gems are a big deal for Custodes, so I’m going to attempt a more realistic and detailed approach on those.

  • Armor: Retributor Armour spray as both primer and base coat > Reikland Fleshshade > Auric Armour Gold > Stormhost Silver
  • Dread Host black:
    • Left pauldron: Abaddon Black
    • Robes: Abaddon Black > drybrush Eshin Grey > very lightly drybrush Dawnstone (follow option two in this excellent Artis Opus tutorial)
    • Weapons: Abaddon Black > Eshin Grey > Dawnstone
  • Dread Host gems: Stegadon Scale Green > Coelia Greenshade > Sotek Green in a crescent from 2 o’clock to 8 o’clock > Temple Guard Blue in a smaller crescent over the Sotek Green area > dot of White Scar at 11 o’clock
  • Dread Host eyes: Sotek Green (note this is a layer paint) > Temple Guard Blue
  • Blades: Sotek Green (note this is a layer paint) > Coelia Greenshade > Temple Guard Blue drybrush on the high points along the flats, plus the edges > Fenrisian Grey drybrush on same areas > dot of Fenrisian Grey on the tip and the power nodules
  • Dread Host pteruges: Celestra Grey > Drakenhof Nightshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar > dots of Stormhost Silver on the studs
  • Gloves, weapon grips, and other leather: Doombull Brown (note this is a layer paint) > Nuln Oil > Wazdakka Red > Squig Orange
  • Plumes, tassels, cords: Mephiston Red > Carroburg Crimson > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Wild Rider Red
  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver
  • Armor joints and leg/boot tubes: Abaddon Black > Eshin Grey
  • Parchment: Rakarth Flesh > Agrax Earthshade > Pallid Wych Flesh > White Scar > Eshin Grey for the writing
  • Cartridges: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion
  • Trajann’s unique elements:
    • Cloak exterior, and his robe: Mephiston Red > Carroburg Crimson > Evil Sunz Scarlet drybrush > touch-up the gold portion
    • Cloak interior: Doombull Brown (note this is a layer paint) > Nuln Oil > Wazdakka Red drybrush
    • Lion pelt: Dot black in for the eyes, nose, and claws; for the rest, it’s Zandri Dust > Agrax Earthshade > Ushabti Bone
    • Feathers: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Ulthuan Grey > a few dots of White Scar

Painting notes

The Codex’s guideline for robes (they generally match the shield company’s color, so black or black/white for Dread Host) doesn’t match the lone Dread Host mini pictured in the Codex, whose robe is red outside/white inside. I went with black because it seemed like the better approach for emphasizing that this is a Dread Host force.

I repainted, and then re-glazed, and then repainted (etc.), the first batch of Sentinel Blades several times, including multiple botched passes at freehanding a “crackling lightning” effect, before realizing that I just don’t have the skill and brush control to pull this off. It was becoming a bottleneck and making me not want to finish the first squad, so I went back to basics.

Painting steps

For the early steps, I’m painting my Custodes like I paint terrain, rather than figures — and there’s no touch-up step. That plus doing primer and base coat as one, with no overnight cure time, should make them significantly quicker to paint than my other models.

  1. Assemble: Build all of them at once, then spray them all (rather than having parallel tracks for assembly, priming, basing, and painting on multiple units).
  2. Primer and base coat: Spray the whole mini with Retributor Armour, which also only needs 15 minutes to cure (rather than curing overnight).
  3. Base: As per usual, but apply the texture paint carefully around the feet so that the model is clearly standing atop, not mired in, the terrain.
    1. Base rims: Paint as usual. (I normally do this last, to mark finishing the mini, but with the nameplates in the mix I want some wash in the crevices where the plate meets the rim, so the rims need to be done now.)
    2. Paint the nameplate: Just my usual steps, but extra careful around where the terrain meets the top edge of the plate.
  4. Gold touch-ups: I inevitably get a bit of Stirland Mud on what should be gold, so just fix it up with Retributor Armour. Check for little nooks and crannies that didn’t get hit (or hit hard enough) with the spray, and touch those up as well.
  5. Shade the gold: Wash all the gold areas in Reikland Fleshshade. Doing this now lets me get into all the hard-to-reach crevices without worrying about messing anything up.
  6. Paint everything except gold and gems: Approach this whole process like I do with terrain: with the care of highlighting. I’m not bodging on paint and fixing it in a touch-up step; I’m carefully painting details surrounded by areas that are at a different stage of completion. The goal is to avoid needing touch-ups (or at least needing as many as I usually do).
    1. For Custodian Guards, my order is: black, bronze, silver, blades, eyes, pteruges, tassels/plumes, gloves.
  7. Finish the gold: Highlights, plus any gold touch-ups prompted by the previous step.
  8. Paint the gems: Base coat, shade, highlight, as per usual — but “think like terrain.” These can be simple details; a gem the size of a grain of salt doesn’t need shading, and may not even need a highlight. A bigger gem deserves the full treatment. Keep the flow fast and loose.
  9. Seal: No weathering or decals for these lads, so just my usual Vallejo matte white sealant.
  10. Tufts: As per usual; apply with white glue.
  11. Glue the flight base pegs in place: I did this before sealing, without thinking about it, but this really should be the final step. If I’d sealed the bases first, I could have slathered on my sealant with reckless abandon without needing to carefully avoid the clear pegs.

When I started out, my plan was to batch-paint every step across the entire army. I wound up doing that for priming/base-coating (the gold), bases, and nameplates, but thereafter I switched to working squad by squad — my usual approach. It might technically be more efficient to batch the whole army, but I need the dopamine hit of finishing minis to give me momentum for the next batch. (And I’m not entirely convinced messing with 26 figures at once, all cluttering up my desk on improvised hand-grips, is more efficient…)

I always like to use a new minis project to build on existing skills and knowledge (e.g., painting these Custodians like I learned to paint terrain) as well as learn new ones, balancing the latter with not overwhelming myself and risking burnout. For my Custodes, realistic gem shading and more detailed fancy blades — glazed with the aid of Lahmian Medium, which is new to me — are my stretches. I’m also hoping that a whole army painted without a dedicated step for touch-ups will help me paint more precisely across the board.

Categories
Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Deathskulls Ork color guide

Compared to my Blood Angels, there are a staggering number of colors that could go into painting any given Ork. So much variety!

Status and randomization

In general, the lower the status of one of my Orks, the worse his wargear will look: rustier, more weathered, etc. Boyz are just one step above Gretchin, so their stuff should be rustier and less well-maintained than a Nob’s stuff.

After painting my first batch of Boyz, I updated the guide below to be more clearly a mix-and-match affair. I choose skin color, Deathskulls blue recipe, teeth/nails recipes, and clothing colors randomly for any given batch of Orks, ensuring that the whole army doesn’t look uniform (yet also doesn’t clash).

War paint (currently) doesn’t get randomized, because my thinking is that just before a battle the Gretchin mix up a big batch and everyone daubs themselves with it. This also means that the most significant color, and the one that pops the most, is consistent across my whole Waaagh!.

Color guide and paint steps

As always, this is mostly GW’s studio paint guide with some tweaks; in this case I’m also working from White Dwarf #454, which has a whole Paint Splatter column devoted to Orks, and a couple of excellent Warhammer TV videos. (Also as always, washes are in italics and specific techniques like drybrushing are generally called out.)

  • Skin: Pick a recipe:
    1. Waaagh! Flesh > Biel-Tan Green > Warboss Green > Skarsnik Green
    2. Waaagh! Flesh > Athonian Camoshade > Warboss Green > Skarsnik Green
    3. Deathworld Forest > Athonian Camoshade > Elysian Green > Ogryn Camo
    4. Deathworld Forest > Biel-Tan Green > Elysian Green > Ogryn Camo
    5. Castellan Green > Athonian Camoshade > Loren Forest > Straken Green
    6. Caliban Green > Nuln Oil > Warpstone Glow > Moot Green
  • Deathskulls blue: Pick a recipe:
    1. Macragge Blue > Nuln Oil > Calgar Blue > Fenrisian Grey
    2. Kantor Blue > Nuln Oil > Caledor Sky (note this is a base paint) > Teclis Blue
    3. Thousand Sons Blue > Nuln Oil > Ahriman Blue > Temple Guard Blue
    4. Hoeth Blue (note that this is a layer paint) > Drakenhof Nightshade > Hoeth Blue > Blue Horror
    5. Thunderhawk Blue (note that this is a layer paint) > Nuln Oil > Russ Grey > Fenrisian Grey
  • Clothing: Like should never abut like (e.g., no brown pants next to a brown belt); mix and match at random:
    • Black: Abaddon Black > Skavenblight Dinge > Stormvermin Fur
    • Brown: Dryad Bark > Agrax Earthshade > Gorthor Brown > Baneblade Brown
    • Dirty white: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
    • Deathskulls Blue: Pick a recipe above, but consider using Agrax Earthshade or Drakenhof Nightshade for the shade/wash
  • Straps, armbands, belts, cord wraps, etc.: Like should never abut like (e.g., no brown pants next to a brown belt), and dirty white looks off on belts and straps, but other than that mix and match:
    • Black: Abaddon Black > Skavenblight Dinge > Stormvermin Fur
    • Brown: Dryad Bark > Agrax Earthshade > Gorthor Brown > Baneblade Brown
    • Dirty white: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
    • Deathskulls Blue: Pick a recipe above, but consider using Agrax Earthshade or Drakenhof Nightshade for the shade/wash
    • Tan: Zandri Dust > Agrax Earthshade > Ushabti Bone
  • Teeth, horn, nails: Pick a recipe:
    • Zandri Dust > Seraphim Sepia > Ushabti Bone > Screaming Skull
    • Rakarth Flesh > Agrax Earthshade > Rakarth Flesh > Pallid Wych Flesh
  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Ironbreaker
  • Dirty metal: Leadbelcher > Agrax Earthshade > Ironbreaker
  • Brass/bronze: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion
  • Mob glyphs: Macragge Blue unless it’s on a dark background, in which case it’s Corax White
  • Eyes: Khorne Red > (incidental but helpful wash when I do the face) > Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • Skull decorations: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
  • Actual skulls: Corax White > Agrax Earthshade > Corax White drybrush
  • Tongues/insides of mouths and pink topknots: Screamer Pink > Carroburg Crimson > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
  • Orange topknot (hair squig): Mephiston Red > Carroburg Crimson > Troll Slayer Orange > Fire Dragon Bright
  • Bullet belt links: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Nuln Oil > Dawnstone
  • Weathering and embellishments: These steps all happen after the rest of the mini is 100% done (including highlights); not every Ork uses all of them:
    • Stitching: Pick whichever of Zandri Dust or Dryad Bark contrasts best with the clothing item and do a single coat, no highlights
    • War paint: Caledor Sky > pin wash in the crevices with the same shade used for the skin (Biel Tan, etc.) > Teclis Blue (Warhammer TV reference video)
    • Checks: Macragge Blue and Corax White > very thinned-down Agrax Earthshade wash (or use the armor’s base color in place of Macragge, e.g. Kantor); I wrote a little guide for these
    • Chipping: Apply dots of Leadbelcher on the high points on armor, etc.
    • Built-up rust: In spots where it can accumulate over a long period, such as on and around bolts, apply thinned-down Skrag Brown
    • Surface rust: For something that’s just a piece of rusty crap, drybrush Ryza Rust
    • Rusty hot garbage: Typhus Corrosion > Ryza Rust drybrush
    • Verdigris: Nihilakh Oxide
    • Weathering/general grunge: It’s easy to overdo this and darken things up too much, so go easy; sponge on Skavenblight Dinge

As I wrote this post, it felt like a lot. Compared to my basic Blood Angels color guide, it is a lot — and it’s a lot for what’s ostensibly a near-throwaway unit in a faction that’s supposed to be quick to paint up.

But at the same time, on relatively simple models, these steps are what convey the essentially Orky nature of Orks: poorly maintained wargear, random items of clothing, rusty guns that somehow still shoot, and so on. My hope is that, as with Marines, I’ll get quicker at tackling all of these steps on my Boyz as I paint more of them.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Orky proofs of concept

Ever since I built my first Ork — Moonkrumpa, the Warboss of my Waaagh! — on November 16, I’ve been nervous about actually painting my initial mob of Boyz.

Which sounds kind of silly after I’ve just spent nine months painting 2,200 points of Blood Angels, right? Especially considering that Orks are a faction for which folks regularly kitbash stuff out of toilet-paper tubes? Well, yeah…except that Orks require a lot of painting techniques with which I don’t have much experience, including some — like freehand — that I’ve assiduously avoided attempting.

Getting the Boyz up on the handles for the first time to work on their bases

But at the same time, I sensed that I was stalling. So I took stock of what, exactly, I was nervous about trying and then decided to see what shook loose while painting one Boy.

Texture paint drying on bases

Here’s the list:

  • Freehand checks and dags
  • Freehand glyphs
  • Getting skin right
  • War paint
  • Weathering
  • One shade of blue vs. several shades of blue
  • Mixing layers and drybrushing on the same figure
  • Not yet having a brand/spot color that identifies Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas as my Orks

That last one was the biggie. I’ve seen two fantastic examples of personalized Ork armies in White Dwarf, one Goff army where every Ork has a red stripe painted across one eye, and one Freebooterz army whose theme is “rust and hazard stripes.” Both are brilliantly simple choices, allowing room for creative expression and variations between models, and neither requires any real additional steps (green stuff, adding bits, etc.). I’ve had a few ideas, but none have felt like The One — and this is an important conceptual step for me.

So I went into my test Ork hoping that the big question mark would sort of shake loose as I painted — and figuring that even if it didn’t, I could resolve some of the other list items in the process.

Putting paint on my first Ork, one of Skrudd’s Krumpas

Freehand…yes?

A few months ago, I read a heartening comment (I can’t recall where) about freehand that was along these lines: People will respect your attempt at freehand even if it’s not great. To which I’d add, maybe more importantly, I will respect my attempt at freehand, even if it’s not great.

With that in mind, I tried freehanding the glyph for “krump.” (I used a Princeton Velvetouch #1 round for both glyphs.)

The “krump” glyph

That’s…not terrible! Separate the two elements a bit more, and it’d be totally serviceable. It looks like I tried, and didn’t just phone it in. What the heck, can I do “moon” so I can have moon + krump on Moonkrumpa’s banner pole?

The Naz glyph (“moon”)

Yes, apparently I can! Again, not going to win any Golden Demons here, but it gets the job done.

War paint…also yes?

Bolstering by not embarrassing myself with the glyphs, it hit me that my simplest idea for establishing “Waaagh! identity,” painting one hand white on every Ork (as white is a Deathskulls accent color), had a logical iteration that was better in every way: paint one hand blue.

It’s the Deathskulls’ primary color. There’s a Warhammer TV video that features Duncan doing blue Deathskulls war paint, so I have a guide. It fits their lore, as they often apply blue war paint before going to battle. And, for good measure, testing out blue war paint would also help me answer the question about mixing shades of blue on the same model.

Caledor Sky war paint and Macragge Blue helmet

Well, shit: check, check, and check in my book. Even with only base coats — no washes, highlights, or weathering — that reads as war paint, and the clear difference between that blue and the darker tone on his helmet feels like an appropriately Orky mismatch (it’s not like these guys are nipping down to Pottery Barn with fabric swatches to get the blue juuust right; they’re kicking the nearest Gretchin and shouting, “Oi, make dat blue or I’ll krump you.”).

And fuck my ass, I even like the blue hand. Really like it. I’m going to add it to the bits of lore I’ve written about my army: Moonkrumpa’s original tribe was the Blue Handz, and their tribal identifier became a mark of membership in his Waaagh!. This is seriously as big a moment for me as coming up with Moonkrumpa; it’s the missing piece of the puzzle that clears my path to painting Orks that feel like mine.

How’s the list looking now?

  • Freehand checks and dags
  • Freehand glyphs
  • Getting skin right
  • War paint
  • Weathering
  • One shade of blue vs. several shades of blue
  • Mixing layers and drybrushing on the same figure
  • Not yet having a brand/spot color that identifies Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas as my Orks

Based on how freehanding glyphs went, I’m no longer nervous about checks and dags, either. My first few won’t look great, but I’ll improve with practice and experience. Ditto weathering, which I may also get a crack at on my terrain before I try it on my Boyz.

I have a hunch that skin and mixing layers/drybrushing will sort themselves out, too. Skin is basically cloth, and there’s an excellent article in White Dwarf #454 to use as a step-by-step reference.

Skrudd and half of his Boyz with their green, blue, and brass base coats done (plus some other random colors)

So all in all, I’m feeling pretty good about my list, much less nervous about painting these Orks — and downright excited to see how they turn out. Sometimes you just gotta paint it and see what happens.

Categories
Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k

The Waaagh! is in the mail

After doing some serious noodling yesterday, I decided today to start a second 40k army to paint alongside my beloved Blood Angels — and after much decidedly un-Orky consideration, I chose Deathskulls Orks.

Why Deathskulls?

Lots of reasons! Some are purely practical, like not wanting to paint a second red army (ruling out Evil Sunz) and having some reservations about painting yellow (striking out the Bad Moons), but most are all heart.

One, blue looks like fun to paint and isn’t the color I see most often on other folks’ Orks. “I like painting red” was a gut-level motivator that helped me pick Blood Angels for my first army, and it absolutely applies here as well. And two, I love these filthy looters and their fascination with stealing, using, and converting other factions’ stuff — so many opportunities for kitbashes and character!

There’s also a sentimental reason, one that I didn’t even realize until I’d already mostly made up my mind about my clan choice: White Dwarf #121, from 1990.

My copy is in storage, so this stand-in image will have to do

More than perhaps any other single factor, this issue of White Dwarf is responsible for me starting my first 40k army — albeit on a 30-year time delay. (It’s also a big reason why I dreamed about Space Hulk for that long, and eventually painted my set — which is what got me properly into miniatures.) It features many of my favorite models in the 40k universe, and I spent literally hours poring over this issue as a wee lad — heck, I even brought it places, like the theater, so I could read and reread it while I was supposed to be paying attention to other things.

Look who’s on the cover. Deathskulls Orks! Thirty years later, it was meant to be.

Orky plans

Still a draft, and I still have plenty of paint to order, but if I don’t write this stuff down it drifts away into the ether.

Bases

To contrast with my Blood Angels, because the Ork figures have so much character (and I’m planning to customize to my heart’s content), and because Orks somehow just look right to me on dusty badlands, I’m going this route for their bases:

  • Armageddon Dust texture paint, an Agrax Earthshade wash, a Tyrant Skull drybrush, and Baneblade Brown for the base rim — a recipe that comes straight from the same excellent White Dwarf basing cookbook (#161, Nov. 2016) as my Blood Angels bases
  • Limited clutter, mainly Army Painter swamp tufts, small rocks, and the occasional Citadel skull or piece of scrap too rusty for even the Deathskulls to loot

I’ll probably glue my good buddy Mr. Test ‘Mech to a base and subject him to this color scheme to see how it looks, but in my head it seems solid.

Deathskulls blue

Based on a Warhammer TV video, I’m going to test out this recipe:

  • Macragge Blue base coat
  • Agrax Earthshade pin wash (not my usual all-over wash)
  • Chronus Blue drybrush
  • Weathering with Rhinox Hide, dots of Leadbelcher, and possibly Typhus Corrosion and Ryza Rust (not all at once, of course)

I’ve also got a weird idea rattling around in my head about Ork skin: adding a random splash of a lightening or darkening color each time I base coat a new batch of Orks, to ensure that their skin is both consistently green and varies the tone a bit between figures, just like real skin.

Da first Boyz

I’m starting my Waaagh! — still unnamed, haven’t even picked a leader yet — with three kits: Ork Boyz, of course; Gretchin, of course; and a recommendation I gleaned from Reddit, Warboss Grukk’s Boss Mob, which gives me five Nobz and a plastic Warboss with a great sculpt (unlike the other options). From reading folks’ recommendations, Boyz + Nobz will provide tons of options for kitbashing and customization, which I’m quite excited about.

I fiddled with some Kill Team lists and found that a leader, some Boyz, and some Gretchin seemed like a fine starting point, so that second track is also supported by these initial 40k Ork kits. By the time playing either game is an option, I’ll probably have more Orky options ready, too.

I’m considering “horns” as a theme for my warband, but I need to bounce my ideas off of the Codex and that hasn’t arrived yet. But if I go that route, I’ll probably convert the Ironjaw Warchanter or Weirdnob Shaman, both from Age of Sigmar, as a Weirdboy. I’ve got some conversion ideas for looted Marine vehicles which count as Ork Trukks, too, and I’ll probably build one Trukk kit without a looted vehicle so I can make sure that the looted ones are roughly the same size (for matched play fairness).

And now…it’s time to paint some more Blood Angels!

Categories
Blood Angels Space Marines Miniatures Painting tools Warhammer 40k

Cooking up a basing recipe for my Blood Angels

I’ve got a basing recipe in mind for my Blood Angels army, and now I have all the components:

All in one place, this seems like a lot!

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
  • This winters SEO video on using texture paints
  • Texture: Astrogranite Debris
  • Wash: Drakenhof Nightshade
  • Drybrush: Grey Seer
  • Base edge: Eshin Grey (or maybe Mechanicus Standard Grey? not sure yet)
  • Citadel Skulls (paid link) for clutter
  • Gale Force Nine Rocky Basing Grit
  • Army Painter Frozen Tufts for grass
  • Blunt tweezers for applying tufts
  • Citadel Texture Spreader (paid link) for the texture paint
  • White glue for tufts
  • Superglue for rocks

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.

So, so many skulls

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:

  1. Assemble the model and glue it to the base
  2. Glue on rocks and skulls to suit
  3. Prime the whole thing white, mini and base
  4. Paint the rocks/skulls/etc., including wash and drybrush
  5. Apply texture paint with the spreader
  6. Wash and drybrush the texture paint
  7. Wipe the base edge clean before it dries
  8. Paint the miniature
  9. Touch everything up as needed
  10. Paint the edge of the base
  11. Varnish the whole thing, mini and base
  12. 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.