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Blood Angels Space Marines Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: bases and undersides for Squad Ariete, and my 400th post

This is my 400th post on Yore! I considered prepping something specific for the big 400, but decided that this post was more on-brand: it’s about miniatures, it involves some trial and error, and it’s a work-in-progress post full of photos. That’s where my head’s at these days, so it works pretty well for this milestone. Thanks for reading Yore, and here’s to the next 400!

Assault Bike bases

Because of how low the undercarriage is on the Assault Bike models, I changed up my basing approach for Squad Ariete. It worked pretty well, but I definitely learned some things I can roll into my next set of bikes.

Can you see what I forgot to do on these?

Basing differently threw me off enough that I forgot to prime my rocks.

Rocks all finished up, awaiting texture paint
I tried to sculpt in the kicked-up “hills” formed by the bike’s passage, as well as vague tire tread impressions
Texture paint done
Blue-Tack worked well, but it took me some time to figure out how to get it off

Like price tag stickers, the best tool for removing Blue-Tack (which sets up sticky and soft in this context, rather than staying in firm balls) was a blob of Blue-Tack. Once I figured that out, it was easy to get the rest of it off.

Testing my tire placement
The first layer paint to fall in service of my Blood Angels army: Evil Sunz Scarlet
Some touch-ups needed

To my surprise, 5/6 of the tires turned out pretty well on the first try. They matched their “slots” on the base, no unpainted areas were visible, and they looked natural. Not perfect, but not too shabby. The only one that was off was the one propped on the rock; a quick prime/base coat/highlight and it was squared away.

The smear of dust/dirt on the base of the rock (visible in the fourth photo above) was my attempt at modeling the dirt left behind by the front tire as it traveled up the rock, but it didn’t work at all. It was too realistic compared to the rest of the miniature (which, notably, features clean tires without any dust/weathering), but not realistic enough to read as what it was supposed to be.

So I scraped it off with my hobby knife, re-washed and re-drybrushed the rock where it had been, and now it’s set.

Squad Ariete, 3rd Company, 10th Squad, now fully based with finished undersides

These guys are now getting set to one side so I can focus on finishing up the final squad in my initial 2,000-point army, Caedes. When I pick them up again, they should be much easier to paint as I’ll actually be able to fit them into my painting handles.

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Squads Caedes, Ariete, and misc.

Here are some WIP photos from November 7th, with lots on the go:

Squad Caedes, base-coated in every color except the two biggies (Leadbelcher and Mephiston Red)
Blue-Tack marking the “don’t prime me” spots on Sergeant Ariete’s tires and base
Partway through this multi-stage process
The undersides and bases of Squad Ariete primed
My work area covered in units in various stages of priming, painting, and curing

Not sure yet if those Infiltrators are going to be the back half of Squad Dolos or a fresh squad, but I’m torn because to have the minimum number of troops it’s better to split them into two squads…but that sets me further away from finishing the 2nd Company and I’m not sure I want 20 Infiltrators.

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Blood Angels Space Marines Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Squad Ariete, Assault Bikes and an Attack Bike

I got started on my first bike squad, Squad Ariete (“battering ram” in Italian), and despite having the limited options and mold lines of an older kit these guys are fun to build — in part because I enjoy finding ways to give them more personality than they come with.

The actual sprues are super boring: three identical sprues, no wargear options (despite having them in the rules), no arm options — just a dude, both hands on the handlebars, on a bike. What makes this kit work is 1) the bikes are a great design, and 2) they’re dead simple to modify using other Space Marine bits.

As always, I started with the sergeant. He got a Blood Angels pauldron and helmet and a Chain Sword from somewhere. He strikes me as a hard-charging bull of a man, one who uses his bike to blow straight through obstacles (hence “battering ram”) before sawing your head off.

Sergeant Ariete

I knew I wanted one guy to be popped up on a hill, something I’ve seen in photos of other folks’ bikes. I’d originally planned to have him holding the handlebars with one hand and aiming a Bolt Pistol with the other, but I didn’t have any arms that worked for that pose. So I switched him up to having his bike at rest, one hand pointing at something, and an upraised pistol (plus knives from Primaris Incursors strapped to his rear fender).

I was going for a pose that could be “You’re next, peasant!” or “I see the objective, sir!” Hopefully it comes through!

“You’re next!”

This feels like a sergeant-y pose, but I was listening to Dan Abnett’s Brothers of the Snake (narrated by the peerless Toby Longworth, of course) while I built him and the first story is all about the awesome power of…a single Space Marine. Because even a single battle-brother is, canonically, an awesome, terrifying warrior capable of superhuman feats of martial prowess. Plus I like having at least one standout non-sergeant in every squad.

For the third biker, I went vanilla. Gotta have one vanilla guy to make the others stand out, right? Plus it’s a solid basic pose, just straight-on, gripping the bars, unloading twin Boltguns into whatever’s directly ahead of him. (I did add a pauldron, pistol, and grenades from a Tactical Squad box, though.)

A battle-brother of Squad Ariete

I’m not positive I want to do a full, Codex-complaint 10-man squad of these guys — 8x Assault Bikes and 1x Attack Bike, the latter with its 2-man crew — which requires buying another two bike kits but only using 5/6 of the bikes. Nor do I want to worry about whether it’s not a full-size squad when I try to finish the 2nd Company — so I made Squad Ariete the start of my 3rd Company, leaving my other close support slot in the 2nd open (probably for more Jump Pack dudes).

The three Assault Bikes of Squad Ariete, 3rd Company, 10th Squad

To bring them up to 5-man strength, though, I’m going to add an Attack Bike. This kit is thoughtfully designed to include a hidden join between the bike and the sidecar, tucked away on the undercarriage, that should make it trivial to paint it in two halves and then join them together right at the end. It’s in the mail, though, so it’ll have to be a project for a bit further down the road.

Basing steps for Assault Bikes

I didn’t see a way to follow my usual approach to basing with these guys. There just isn’t enough clearance under the bikes to properly finish the texture paint or the undercarriage, so I’m doing them separately.

  1. Blue Tack the tires in place
  2. Prime the base and the bike’s tires
  3. Remove the bike
  4. Prime the bike’s undercarriage (basically everything that will be inaccessible when it’s glued onto the base)
  5. After the undercarriage cures, prime the rest of the bike
  6. Finish the base normally, but leave bare plastic where the tires go — and apply the texture paint such that it looks like the bike has carved a track through it, extending from the front wheel to the rear edge of the base
  7. Finish the underside of the bike completely, including shading
  8. Glue the bike to the base
  9. Pack in texture paint around the tires, if needed, and paint it up normally (shade and drybrush)
  10. Paint the rest of the bike

For the battle-brother on the hill, the only difference is that for the tire-to-rock join I’ll use super glue — and smother the crap out of the rear tire-to-base join, because I much prefer plastic glue to be my anchor for every mini. (Plastic glue melts the pieces together, making an incredibly secure join; super glue does not.)

When my second-wave Indomitus box shows up I’ll be able to do up a squad of Primaris Outriders to keep these classic bikes company!

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Blood Angels Space Marines Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Barakiel, Feo, Caedes, Remiel

Time to clear out the picture roll in my phone, which covers late October and early November!

The final touch-up on Squad Barakiel
Squad Barakiel fully touched-up and ready to shade (I think)
One of my busiest painting areas ever!
Squad Barakiel and their four wash/shade colors
Feo’s texture paint drying (for days…) and Squad Caedes freshly primed
Washing Feo’s texture paint and painting the scenery on Caedes’ bases

November is kicking off with some good momentum, and I have plenty more Blood Angels in the works for December and beyond.

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Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Feo’s base, poop Chiclets, and a big hill

Feo was fun to build, but I was equally excited to work on his base — because at a staggering 90mm wide, it presented a huge canvas (relatively speaking) to tell a little story. So I decided to tell a two-part story.

Part one is the back, where I added the remnants of an overrun Imperial Guard post.

The back of Feo’s base

It continues on the front, with the remains of one of the Marines who came to Armageddon to assist a failing Guard mission (sorry, Astra Militarum — my brain automatically thinks “Imperial Guard”). When I get texture paint all packed in around him, I’m hoping it’ll look like his corpse is half-buried in the dust, with just his back, one Power Fist, and bleached skull visible.

And given that one theme of my army is “everyone wears a helmet,” how did this poor Marine die? From a head wound…because he wasn’t wearing a helmet. (It’s hard to make out, but his skull has a crack down the front.)

Fully assembled, base front
One of my busiest painting corners ever, around the time I finished assembling Feo, with Barakiel on the handles; Judgment, Adamo, and Zahariel curing; and Feo awaiting primer
Shading underway

Mmm, slimy poop Chiclets.

Mostly done, just the decal and final Grey Seer drybrush to weather the various bits of scenery

The sandbags were outside my wheelhouse (nothing in my army is brown…) and required some fumbling, including a full repaint and re-shading job. I eventually realized that it didn’t need a painted-on layer, just base > wash > drybrush > drybrush — and the recipe I used for the stone ruins on my Assault Squad’s bases. Hopefully they read as sandbags rather than stone.

Definitely not poop Chiclets anymore
I’m curious to see how this turns out in the next stage

Next up, adding the texture paint — and building a convincing hill under and around my Ultramarine. This base swallowed the remnants of my second bottle of Astrogranite Debris and a good chunk of a fresh one, too.

I had to break up the line of the hill (which is going to take like a week to dry…), so I made little terraces for tufts and marked them in MS Paint. We’ll see if that does the trick!

L>R: small/medium, large, and small/medium tufts go here
Less critical, but these all seem like good spots for tufts too

I’m not sure how convincing the hill is, and I wish I’d mounted a few skulls on posts to add some variety (building the level up to the skulls, like I did with the fallen Marine’s skull). But I test-tufted it, and held a Marine up in front of it in the same position, to see if it looked like there could be the bottom of a dude under there — and it does seem to work.

Test tufts from “battlefield view”
Test tufts from the front

Redemptor Dreadnought base color guide

Feo’s scenic base uses the following for the non-standard elements (skulls, etc.), as always mostly based on GW’s Parade Ready recipes:

  • Ultramarine armor: Macragge Blue > Nuln Oil > Calgar Blue > Grey Seer drybrush (dust/weathering)
  • Ultramarine white: Celestra Grey > Drakenhof Nightshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar > Grey Seer drybrush
  • Ultramarine gold: Retributor Armour > Reikland Fleshshade > Auric Armour Gold > Grey Seer drybrush
  • Ultramarine metal: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver > Grey Seer drybrush
  • Vox-caster and knife: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver drybrush > Ryza Rust drybrush
  • Astra Militarum sandbags: Mournfang Brown > Agrax Earthshade > 2:1 Kislev Flesh:Mournfang Brown drybrush > Grey Seer drybrush

For the Ultramarine’s pauldron decal, I applied it just like normal but then varnished it before doing the dust/weathering drybrush layer; I worried that drybrushing might tear the decal. When I’m ready to varnish the whole model, that bit will get a second coat (which is fine).

I love how huge this model is! I can’t wait to be able to do the full line-up: old Marine, Primaris Marine, refrigerator Dread, Contemptor, Redemptor.

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Blood Angels Space Marines Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

Five units of WIP, Terminator color guide, and a new painting goal

Lots of ground to cover in this omnibus post!

Post-army painting goal

I’ve been mulling over what painting goal to set for myself after finishing my initial 2,000-point army, and this morning it hit me: a new point total is the perfect goal for me. So that’s my next miniatures goal: paint another 1,000 points of Blood Angels.

Unlike “finish the 2nd Company,” which limits what I can paint (because of the Blood Angels’ force organization), painting another thousand points gives me freedom on that front — but also a manageable, specific goal. At my current pace 1,000 points should take me 3-4 months to complete, and will give me lots of new army options when I can finally play the game.

Terminator Assault Squad color guide

Squad Barakiel includes a few elements I’ll forget in a month, so as always I’m writing down the colors I used for them. This is GW’s parade ready guide with a couple of minor tweaks.

  • Red: Mephiston Red > Agrax Earthshade > Evil Sunz Scarlet > Fire Dragon Bright
  • Gold: Retributor Armour > Reikland Fleshshade > Auric Armour Gold > Liberator Gold
  • Black: Abaddon Black > Eshin Grey > Dawnstone
  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Stormhost Silver
  • Parchment and cloth: Rakarth Flesh > Agrax Earthshade > Pallid Wych Flesh > White Scar
  • White skulls and braided cords: Celestra Grey > Drakenhof Nightshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
  • Hammer grips: Khorne Red > Agrax Earthshade > Wazdakka Red > 50/50 blend of Wazdakka Red/Kislev Flesh
  • Purple gems: Screamer Pink > Agrax Earthshade > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
  • Green gems: Moot Green > Agrax Earthshade > Moot Green
  • Eyes and lenses: Moot Green > Agrax Earthshade > Moot Green
  • Sergeant’s sensor cable: Macragge Blue > Drakenhof Nightshade > Altdorf Guard Blue > Calgar Blue

WIP it good, WIP it miscellaneous

My main project this week is finishing up Squad Barakiel (the last one I need for my first army!), but because I never let my “minis queue” run dry I’ve also got four other units on the go in various stages:

  • Feo, my Redemptor Dread, is getting primed
  • Duro (“harsh” in Italian), my Contemptor Dread, is assembled and awaiting basing
  • Brother Abaoz, my Sanguinary Ancient, has emerged from storage and is getting base-coated alongside…
  • Squad Remiel, my Sanguinary Guard, who I cut from my army when 9th Edition made everything more expensive, points-wise
Squad Barakiel partway through base-coating
Feo, 1st Company Contemptor Dreadnought

The Contemptor is perhaps the cheapest date I’ve encountered yet, assembly-wise — he’s simpler than some of the single Marines I’ve put together! The downside is that he has almost zero posability, which is always a bit of a bummer. But I put him together in under an hour, from sprue to fully assembled; for a large unit that’s pretty minimal.

I have a feeling he’ll be one of those figures that shines once he’s painted, when his boring pose comes to life.

Barakiel (left, on the handles), Feo (front and center), and Abaoz and Squad Remiel (back edge of the mat)
Dang, my lamp is really dusty!
Squad Remiel seeing paint for the first time since…August, I think? Maybe July?

I think of this stage as “a clown ate a bunch of crayons and took a shit on these minis,” because they look so bad when I’m done base-coating them. Then the clown cleans up a bit of his shit during touch-ups — and after that, every stage makes the mini look better and better. Needing to believe in that future while I’m base-coating is part of what makes this stage take so long.

The clown has finished relieving himself — Squad Barakiel is now fully base-coated!

I’m driving pretty hard at wrapping up Barakiel before the end of the month. Will it happen? We shall see!

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Blood Angels Space Marines 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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Blood Angels Space Marines 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!