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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Zahariel and a dash of Barakiel

One of the things that works for me about maintaining my miniature-painting streak (as I write this post on October 17, I’m on day 238) is that “dormant” periods — the days I don’t really feel like working on minis — still involve forward progress, even if it’s minimal. And then when I do feel like painting, it doesn’t feel like I’m grinding the whole machine back into motion — because it never came to a dead stop.

This past weekend, rested up from a relatively light week on the minis front, I tucked into Squad Zahariel in earnest. I spent five hours or so doing their touch-ups and shading on Saturday, which was a blast.

The long road
Oops

Of course as soon as I started working on their Abaddon Black base coat, I realized that I’d paired two Jump Pack tops and bottoms incorrectly, resulting in one with braided cords appearing from nowhere, and another (less of a problem) with them disappearing without an actual termination.

I was long past the point of re-gluing, so I slapped a couple of spare purity seals on the most egregious of the two figures and called it good. Fully painted, I don’t think my goof will be too noticeable.

Painting black over white primer is so fiddly
Roping in Squad Barakiel

I hate wasting paint, so as always I had another unit on deck to absorb any leftover colors on my palette: Squad Barakiel — my final squad.

Zahariel’s base coat finally done, little spots of color appearing on Barakiel
I like the studio color scheme for the Blood Angels Terminator Assault Squad, which is heavy on black and silver and light on gold, because it’s the opposite of my instincts
Zahariel now fully touched-up

I tried out a new Velvetouch size for touch-ups that I absolutely love: 20/0 Monogram Liner. It’s perfect for precise dots of color nestled between other colors, as well as for lines which cross an area of a different color — both of which the Death Company models have in abundance.

…And fully shaded!
My battle station as of this past Saturday night, with all 16 highlights/layers for Zahariel, and their matching brushes, teed up and ready to go

I’ve only painted one black-armored figure for this army so far, Chaplain Arrius, so he’s out as my reference for doing the highlights on Zahariel. The Death Company minis have so many cords, seals, skulls, and other elements which cross over their expanses of black that a fair amount of shading comes into play — which I dig, because not shading the actual black knocks out one of the techniques on which I rely to produce minis I’m happy with.

I feel like Squad Zahariel has had enough WIP shots devoted to them, so I’m going to call it here. Next time they show up, it’ll be in the lightbox.

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: finally finishing Squad Adamo

I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t finish Squad Adamo in September — the first month I didn’t finish any figures for my 40k army since I started working on it in March. But given the state of the world and the stuff I have going on, it makes a certain amount of sense.

Metallics done, other layers to follow
My four main brushes for this stage (L to R): dipping paint, metallics, details, eyes
Three down to just the red and orange highlights
Everyone down to just the red and orange!

This was my first time painting yellow helmets, and Averland Sunset followed by Agrax Earthshade left them quite brown. Even with nearly full coverage on a Yriel Yellow layer, followed by Flash Gitz Yellow highlights, they still looked stained and odd.

So I backtracked and did another coat of Yriel, and then redid some of the highlights, and got a less-poopy look out of them. They wound up sort of flat, though; not sure how to correct that next time I do one of these squads.

At least the yellow is bright!
Man, I pretty much tiger-striped that front left guy…

Like most of my minis, Squad Adamo looks better from a distance than it does up close like this. Lots of flaws!

Sergeant Adamo and one of the battle-brothers completed
Squad Adamo, 2nd Company, 9th Squad

I’d originally had them as down as 7th squad, and was excited to see that the little lightning bolts I needed for their knees were standard transfers — until I looked more closely and saw that the “lightning bolts” were actually wings. A bit of Googling suggested that making them 9th squad (for the yellow wings) wasn’t out of line with the chapter’s force org, so 9th squad they became.

Not my best work, but they’re not awful or anything — and they’re done. I’ll get them into the lightbox in a future post. Onwards!

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Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Feo, Redemptor Dreadnought

Thus far I’ve held strong on my plan to not work on any minis outside/beyond my initial 2,000-point army, but lately I just haven’t been in the mood to paint — and when I don’t want to paint, I assemble. So I’ve started on my first post-army mini: Feo, my first Primaris Redemptor Dreadnought.

Small box, huge figure
Sarcophagus and upper body halfway done

This kit has a ton of movable parts on it: the sarcophagus armor opens and closes, shoulder joints rotate and move laterally, elbows and wrists move, and the front guns rotate. But as with most GW kits I’ve built, I ran into two issues: either the joint was loose, which doesn’t appeal to me for a mini I’m going to transport and use in play, or I couldn’t figure out how to paint the part fully while retaining its ability to move.

Unlike the smaller OG dreadnoughts, even the shoulder rotation comes with built-in complexity: a keyed joint rather than a simple press-fit peg, and huge armor plates that all but prevent arm removal once installed. Seeing that made my course pretty clear. As I’ve done before, I treated all those glorious movable parts as posable parts.

After finding a pose I liked — a lengthy process given the size and posability of the figure — I glued everything in place. The only exceptions are the waist (until he’s mostly painted) and the mount for the primary weapon, which is a nice snug joint and gives me the flexibility of switching Feo to plasma.

Upper body complete, parts arranged for the legs
Ankle nubbins

I screwed up and glued the legs into place too soon, resulting in a marked forward cant to the body — and making the fitment of the ankles a bit sloppy. Fortunately this kit is designed to be modified, with molded-in parts you can shave off in order to achieve running poses, etc. (or leave on for a figure that looks a lot like what’s on the box). So I shaved off those nubbins and got a better fit.

Close enough for government work
Upper and lower body in one of the many stages of glue-curing

A lot of Feo’s components need to be able to hold a fair amount of weight (by miniature standards, anyway!), so the gluing process took me several days in order to allow for 12-plus hours of curing time for each stage. I’ve learned that with GW minis a fussy build process results in a deeply personalized and cool finished product, and that was true here as well.

Brother Feo

I have two Redemptor kits, and initially I figured I’d make one the plasma guy and one the cannon guy. But those parts swap nicely, so I decided to make one Dread — Feo — with his sarcophagus exposed, in a pose that looks like he’s venting heat or taking a breather mid-battle, cannon low and at rest, and the other in a buttoned-up, aggressive posture with his sarcophagus covered and all weapons at the ready. I love the look of this kit with the “jaws” of front plating open; so many cool details are exposed that way.

Who opens their outer layer of armor mid-battle, leaving “only” the Ceramite of the sarcophagus itself to protect them? A fearless Space Marine — perhaps even a reckless one…like a Marine who pushed his limits too far and took a mortal wound, landing him inside a Dreadnought. (Feo was initially named Impavido, Italian for “fearless,” but it was too long to possibly fit on the tiny scrolls on his sarcophagus.)

I’ve picked out the scenery for his base (a half-buried dead Ultramarine and an overrun Guard post) and clipped his Macro Plasma Incinerator, so the next steps are all lined up. But before I really tuck into Feo, though, I need to finish painting my last three squads.

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Squads Adamo and Zahariel

Even though most of the pics in this WIP post are of Squad Adamo, my Death Company gang, Squad Zahariel, gets most of the words.

Closing in a fully base-coated Squad Adamo
Ready to finish their black elements
Chainswords all taped up for hazard striping
Hazard stripes complete (but still needing touch-ups)
Adamo is down to just their red touch-ups before I can wash them, and Zahariel is fully based

Death Company color guide

For the figures, I liked the tweaks the GW studio guide puts on the usual red and gold used on most of my Marines. I’ve stuck with that scheme for the most part, and the end result is that many colors are handled differently than usual:

  • Black: Abaddon Black > Dark Reaper > Dawnstone
  • Red: Khorne Red > Carroburg Crimson > Wazdakka Red > Wild Rider Red
  • Armor gaskets: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Nuln Oil > Dawnstone
  • Metal and piping: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver
  • Gold: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion > Runelord Brass
  • Purity seal wax, braided cords, sword handle leather: Screamer Pink > Carroburg Crimson > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
  • Parchment: Rakarth Flesh > Agrax Earthshade > Pallid Wych Flesh > White Scar
  • Blood drops: Mephiston Red > Carroburg Crimson > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Fire Dragon Bright
  • Eyes: Mephiston Red > Carroburg Crimson > Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • Wings: Celestra Grey > Drakenhof Nightshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
  • Jump pack jets: Caledor Sky > Drakenhof Nightshade > Temple Guard Blue > Baharroth Blue

With the Death Company color scheme reversing the usual Blood Angels colors — black dominant, red accents — I wanted to make sure their bases added some pops of color beyond my usual skulls and rocks. Other base elements are as per usual, but the stuff I added to these particular bases is covered below:

  • Tau scrap: Caledor Sky > Drakenhof Nightshade > Temple Guard Blue
  • Ork scrap: Castellan Green or Averland Sunset > Agrax Earthshade > 50/50 Castellan Green/Moot Green or Yriel Yellow > Ryza Rust drybrush

As expected, the Death Company color scheme makes a nice palate cleanser after the red, red, red of the rest of my army. Onwards!

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: the once-far horizon is now visible

As of September 1, I now have paint on every unfinished model in my Blood Angels army. Squad Adamo is mostly base-coated; Squad Zahariel, my Death Company unit, is primed and fully based; and Squad Barakiel, my Terminator Assault Squad, is primed and partially based.

Starting in on Zahariel’s bases
The tail end of my Land Raider’s varnish-curing period overlapped with both Adamo and Zahariel, making this feel like a proper little painting area
Zahariel fully based, I think (not sure if they were waiting for terrain wash or drybrushing when I snapped this)
Adamo nearly base-coated, Barakiel freshly primed

I’ve painted 15 Space Marines in a month before, so it’s doable for me to completely finish my first-ever 2,000-point army in September. But I think it’s more likely that I’ll finish Squad Adamo and either fully or mostly complete Squad Zahariel in September, leaving Squad Barakiel (and the balance of Zahariel, if any) for October.

Actually playing, which once felt like a possibility at the end of this summer, and then seemed more realistic to imagine in spring of 2021, now — depressingly — feels like it might not happen until 2022. On the flipside, it’s not unreasonable for me to imagine that I could paint another 2,000-4,000 points of Blood Angels in 2021. I’ll take my silver linings where I can find them!

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

Final Judgment WIP, and starting Squad Adamo in earnest

Because I’ve slowed my posting pace and am queuing posts a bit more sporadically, I’ve actually finished Judgment as I sit here writing this post. But WIP posts are neat (I like them, at least), so I’m wrapping up my photo roll for Judgment and adding in a bit of my Assault Squad for good measure.

Prepping for the multi-stage varnish and glue affair to come
Twin assault cannon turret varnished and glued into place
Right-side sponson Hurricane Bolter assembly varnished and glued
…And the other sponson
Bottom of the tracks varnished — now we let it cure for two days
Squad Adamo primed
Adamo now fully based, with base coats going down on the Marines
Judgment fully glued, ready for writing, decals, and the rest of the varnish

I just updated BattleScribe and checked my totals again, and finishing Judgment will put me over 75% done points-wise. Onwards!

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: more Judgment, Squad Adamo

I hit my stride with Judgment in early August, blowing through shading and into layers. That tipping point always feels good.

This WIP post compiles a couple weeks’ work.

Base-coating and touch-ups finally done! This always feels like the stage that takes the longest
Gotta wash the bottom of the treads first
…Then everything else
Ready for layers/highlights
My palette has developed some cute little paint-hills over the past few months
First-layer highlights done!
All of the final highlights done except the orange, which is underway

With Judgment on the back nine, I got out Squad Adamo — already primed — so I could work in parallel.

Primed and ready

I thought a bit about how to handle the ruined stone structures on 3/5 of this squad’s bases, because I wanted them to stand out from the brown/grey stones of Armageddon, and settled on brown. The only brown I have is Mournfang Brown, which looks like poop.

Mmm…poopy

But once the wash is down, it starts to look a lot less like poop — and I had faith in my first layer, 2:1 Kislev Flesh:Mournfang Brown.

I drybrushed on my Ryza Rust this time around, and I like how it turned out
More rusty metal
Basing elements done, ready for texture paint

Assault Squad color guide

Bases are the usual except:

  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Agrax Earthshade > Stormhost Silver drybrush > Ryza Rust drybrush
  • Stone ruins: Mournfang Brown > Agrax Earthshade > 2:1 Kislev Flesh:Mournfang Brown drybrush > light Grey Seer drybrush (dust/weathering)

Ditto the models, except:

  • Helmets: Averland Sunset > Agrax Earthshade > Yriel Yellow as a true layer, nearly full coverage > Flash Gitz Yellow
  • Hazard stripes: alternating bands of Abaddon Black/Averland Sunset > no layers on the black, but on the yellow: Yriel Yellow > Flash Gitz Yellow
  • Eviscerator channel: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil pin wash

This was my first time drybrushing Ryza Rust rather than spot-painting with it, and I like this approach quite a bit. It’s easier to take a light, subtle touch and make the metal look old and rusty, rather than just rusty. Pure spot-painting seems to work well for something poorly made that’s had a few years to rust — like Ork scrap and vehicle parts — but doing it on these metal elements would be overkill.

Land Raider Crusader color guide

As general Blood Angels or Rhino, except:

  • Wings: Celestra Grey > Drakenhof Nightshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
  • Commander’s helmet: Macragge Blue > Drakenhof Nightshade > Altdorf Guard Blue > Calgar Blue
  • Multi-Melta screen: Moot Green > Agrax Earthshade > Moot Green > Caledor Sky symbols

Finishing order is probably also worth noting for Future Martin’s benefit:

  • Front turret and sponson swivel guns, sensor pieces, and bottom attachments were fully painted while detached
  • Main tank body was fully painted
  • Sponson “wells” and front turret pit were varnished
  • Detached bits were varnished
  • Sponson guns slipped into place
  • Sponsor sensor units glue onto gun swivels
  • Bottom attachments glued into place
  • Varnish touched up on all sponson elements
  • Front turret glued into place
  • Varnish touched up on front turret
  • Rest of tank varnished and allowed to cure in two stages (bottom treads; everything else)

After Judgment, just 15 Space Marines separate me from my first full-fledged finished 40k army (say that five times fast!).

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Judgment

I started painting my Land Raider Crusader, Judgment, in earnest back in July. Vehicles are fun to paint because they’re such broad canvases, and I get to break out my largest brush — but they also take me some time to finish! Hopefully Judgment will be wrapped up this month.

Testing to see if the pick-and-pluck KR Multicase tray I chose will hold this beast (it does!)

I can’t paint the sponsons and front turret if they’re glued in place, so I started with them and then moved on to the main body.

Side bits base-coated, tank coming along
Another dead soldier: the second bottle of paint to fall to this army, my “liquid talent”
Sponsons and turret washed, now getting highlighted
All the bits in place to dry, and the body coming along (albeit messily)
Trying to stay consistent with my Rhino, so he’s out there as a reference while I work on details

Painting Judgment has me even more excited to tuck into some of the vehicles I have waiting in the wings once my initial army is done. If I had to pick one right now, it’d be down to a Redemptor Dreadnought, Repulsor tank, or the Stormtalon Gunship I’m going to convert to use the sealed cockpit from the Stormhawk.

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Gunpla Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

A little omnibus WIP post: 40k and Gunpla

When I stopped posting hobby stuff — both here and on Twitter — on May 31, I didn’t stop working on 40k miniatures or building Gunpla. (I did take a lot fewer pictures as I went along, though.) Some time away has made me realize that I miss having this creative outlet and that spending less time on Twitter increases my well-being. So I’m coming back to blogging, slowly, and staying entirely off Twitter. We’ll see how that goes.

To catch the blog back up, here’s an omnibus of the few WIP photos I had backlogged.

Gunpla

MG Astray Red Frame Kai — finally done with the body!
I picked up an MG ∀ kit to work on next (although it got leapfrogged by a cute little HG kit), and the difference in box size between it and my Kai is striking

40k

Squad Amedeo starting to take shape
Amedeo WIP
Nearly there with the Chaplain and the Sternguard!
Chaplain Arrius freshly shaded
My Sanguinary Guard getting their base coats, and the Land Raider Crusader partially primed

I’ve got several posts queued that cover the stuff I’ve finished during my hiatus; those are up next, a couple each week.

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

Painting the weekend away

On Saturday, I wanted to work on another character. As chance would have it I was just about to paint the black elements on my Sternguard, so I fired up my Chaplain, Arrius, and figured I’d paint everything but black — his dominant color — so he’d be in sync with the veterans.

Chaplain Arrius

I love this mini, and while I found resin to be a pain in the ass my guess during the assembly process was correct: That pain faded once I started painting him. It’s such a great sculpt!

I was feeling a bit down, and also a bit out of it, on Saturday — so much so that I completely forgot I always paint bases first. Nothing on his legs would make it risky to drybrush around them, so I wrapped up his non-black colors and switched gears.

Closing in on a finished base — and base coat

As I gain confidence as a painter, I’m also going off-book more often. I love his studio paint scheme, but that’s not a Blood Angel. (I mean, intentionally so; he’s a “generic Chaplain” by design.) I gave him a Blood Angels backpack, but he needed a bit more to tie him into the chapter; I figured a red knee pad with a chapter symbol would do the trick. He also has black armor, which means black suit gaskets aren’t going to read well — not to mention a mix of red elements that need definition and separation.

Which means it’s color guide time!

Chaplain color guide

  • Black: Abaddon Black > Eshin Grey > Dawnstone
  • Bone and parchment: Rakarth Flesh > Agrax Earthshade > Pallid Wych Flesh > White Scar
  • Metal and piping: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver
  • Armor gaskets: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Nuln Oil > Dawnstone
  • Leather and piping: Screamer Pink > Carroburg Crimson (skipped on gems) > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
  • Gold: Retributor Armour > Reikland Fleshshade > Auric Armour Gold > Liberator Gold
  • Eyes and tubing: Moot Green > Agrax Earthshade > Moot Green
  • Book cover: Khorne Red > Agrax Earthshade > Wazdakka Red > 50/50 blend of Wazdakka Red/Kislev Flesh
  • Knee pad, gems, purity seal wax: Mephiston Red > Agrax Earthshade > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Fire Dragon Bright

Other hobby work swirling about

I also looked at my painting queue for May and decided I wanted to make my stretch goal the Sanguinary Guard — as planned — but that doing Dante and the Sanguinary Ancient (with his massive banner) might be too much of a stretch. Still, having primed Dante, I figured I’d take him through basing.

Commander Dante

…And get the Guard and Abaoz through basing as well, so I’d be covered no matter what.

Squad Remiel and Sanguinary Ancient Abaoz, curing overnight
The state of my painting area this weekend
Squads Remiel and Adamo

I put in less hobby time than I thought I would this weekend, doing more other stuff instead, but kept my hobby streak up — Monday was day 93! — and laid the groundwork for what comes after my Sternguard.

Wrapping up the Chaplain and Squad Amedeo should definitely be doable before the end of May, and really going beyond that — 1x Rhino, 11x Marines — was a stretch anyway. But I won’t discount the possibility that a couple of banner painting nights sneak in, say, all of Squad Remiel by May 31, either. It happened last month, after all!