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Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: modifying Moonkrumpa, Lootas, and Grots

I kicked off my Waaagh! by building my Warboss, Moonkrumpa, back in November, and ever since then I’ve been noodling about how to make him more Mek-y and Warboss-y (and whether or not to magnetize his wargear options). This morning things finally shook loose, and I busted out my bits boxes and kitbashed Moonkrumpa 2.0:

“Moonkrumpa” Grutnik, who once krumped an entire moon
Ork booty

I used a Killa Kan pauldron, a Blood Angels Dreadnought arm plate and Blood Talon, the light from a Space Marine unit (Dread or tank, I don’t recall), and two boss poles from a Nobz kit. He has to compete with an actual Warboss model (Grukk), so my goal was to make Moonkrumpa unmistakably Da Big Boss — but without meaningfully changing his silhouette, or doing anything that could be taken as modeling for advantage.

Not being able to fit the pauldrons under the sides of the Tellyport Blasta was what sealed the deal on 1) not magnetizing him, and 2) committing to the Kustom Force Field. Now all I need to do is practice a bit more armor-weathering — probably on Killa Kans — and I’ll be ready to prime and paint him!

Over the past couple of weeks, I also built a mob of Lootas, Gark’s Git-Blastas:

Gark’s Git-Blastas getting their parts lined up
The assembled Git-Blastas, with Gark (the Spanner) in the center

Getting their massive backpack/frame/gun jobbies to stay put for gluing was a bit fussy, but apart from that they’re a fun kit. And there are enough bits left over to build Burnas (by adding torsos and legs) or make a nice deposit in the ol’ bits box.

I also assembled my first Gretchin, Runt-Eata’s Grots, who are just fucking adorable:

Not pictured: Runt-Eata, my Runtherd, who I can’t afford to put in this army (because I’d rather spend the points on Mek-y stuff!)
So adorbs

I’d normally grumble about the number of mono-pose minis in this kit — three mono-piece Grots and six mono-pose models, leaving just 1/10 with minor posability — but they give you a ton of extra heads and the models are so cute that I don’t even mind. I might mind if I needed to paint more than 10, but even then the heads and paint jobs would provide a decent amount of variation.

The Grots came up at the same time as I was touching up the rest of my first mob of Boyz, Skrudd’s Krumpas, so I decided to break with tradition and paint 15 models at once. They’re actually almost done at this point, so I should be able to book them all this month.

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Miniature painting Miniatures Terrain Warhammer 40k

Hazard stripes on my Manufactorum ruins

While puttering away at this terrain, I stumbled across a battle report in White Dwarf #456 which features this same Manufactorum line. The view from above, unlike the photos on GW’s website, finally showed me what was going on with the middle of each ruined floor: hazard stripes!

I laid down some 3mm Tamiya hobby tape and got to work.

Let’s get stripey
One down

After two thin coats of Averland Sunset, I peeled off the tape and drybrushed the entire floor with Celestra Grey (stripes included).

Two down, and both weathered with a Celestra Grey drybrush

I didn’t worry too much about lining things up perfectly, or the difference between the “horizontal” and “vertical” portions (a natural consequence of my taping pattern). In the grim darkness of the far future, a Manufactorum would be a dreadful place — and an imperfect one.

When I started this terrain, I was listening to Dan Abnett’s Ravenor Returned, a portion of which takes place in an Administratum facility. Alongside the general impression of how miserable the place was, there was a bit where a character complains that his cart has a dodgy wheel — and his supervisor tells him that if he works hard for 10-12 years, he’ll merit a better cart.

That sequence colored my approach to this terrain, just as Brothers of the Snake (another excellent Abnett book) did with Squad Ariete. Those happy coincidences are one of the joys of listening to 40k books while I paint.

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Finished miniatures Miniature painting Miniatures Terrain Warhammer 40k

My first finished terrain pieces

Today I wrapped up three small terrain elements, a ruin and two pipes, from the Vertigus set — the first terrain I’ve ever painted.

A ruined wall section
Interior view
The panel on the right, covered in rust and verdigris, is my favorite bit

Weathering is a hoot. Applying Nihilakh Oxide for a verdigris effect just makes me happy. Rust (thinned-down Skrag Brown followed by spots of thinned-down Fire Dragon Bright) is surprisingly interesting to work on.

Weathered on the right, not-yet-weathered on the left
Coming along nicely

Adding chipping/scorching/blast damage with a sponge (loaded with Rhinox Hide), though, feels like sorcery.

Sponge me, daddy

It’s also more freeing than I expected. I was nervous at first, as usual with techniques I haven’t tried before; intentionally “ruining” something I’ve worked hard on felt funny. But once I was rolling, it was surprisingly easy to pull off a decent job, and it felt organic. Alysia commented that this process seemed “very Bob Ross,” and that was definitely the spirit in which I tackled this stage.

What fell magick is this?
Fell magick (interior view)

I have my first two larger ruins about 60-70% done. I’m finding that after the initial one-two punch of prime/base coat in one plus a wash — after which they look pretty danged good — the rest of the steps go much more slowly. But I’m hoping to finish those two pieces later this month.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Terrain Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Manufactorum terrain, more Ork Boyz, more storage

Over the past week or so I’ve been busy with Orks and terrain.

I started off my building the rest of my first 10x Ork Boyz, the “back five” of Skrudd’s Krumpas.

Boyz 6-10

I finally found a head that worked for my “pauldron as a hat” idea, which looks just the right amount of goofy for Orks.

Pauldrons: not just for shoulders
Skrudd’s Krumpas

After Thanksgiving, I saw that more sunny days might be in our future and hustled to build my next batch of Manufactorum terrain. Until I put them together I didn’t realize quite how large the two show pieces in the Vertigus box really were.

More Manufactorum terrain (and leftovers!)
My spray booth filled to capacity

After spraying all of these pieces, I’m down to three sprues in my Vertigus box: two buildings and a bunch more pipes. I’ve been mulling over ways to combine some of GW’s other industrial terrain, notably the Sector Mechanicus stuff, with my Manufactorum pieces so that they look like they belong in the same place. About half of the Mechanicus stuff looks like I could blend it in pretty well by anchoring the color scheme with Wraithbone/Khorne Red.

With terrain comes the need for more and different ways to store my 40k stuff. I thought about my needs: primarily at home, modular, capable of holding the largest pieces on my radar, not too pricey. Where that landed me was plastic storage tubs and acoustic foam.

6x 19-quart storage bins

The listing for the bins was a bit misleading, as it made it look like the bottom was 12″ wide — perfect for my 12″-wide foam squares — when in actuality that was the width of the top. But a gentle curve to the foam lining the bottom, or a quick trim, should sort that out.

12x 2″-thick acoustic foam tiles

The tiles come vacuum-packed in a foil bag that doesn’t look nearly large enough to contain them. Unpacked, they smelled dreadful. But after a couple days in the garage, they’ve expanded to full size and no longer stink.

Back to the actual terrain, my pot of Nihilakh Oxide arrived, so I got to experiment with applying a verdigris effect for the first time. Like every Citadel technical paint I’ve tried so far, this stuff is great.

Nihilakh Oxide is awesome!

Over the weekend, I finished the outside of one Manufactorum ruin (plus three smaller pieces) except for weathering. I’ve never painted terrain before, and I started with a good set; it’s been a joy to paint.

Nearly finished side wall
So close to done!

These pieces mark my first foray into contrast paint (on the Cog Mechanicus), the first time I’ve used two washes on the same area of a single model, and the first time I’ve consistently drybrushed stuff twice as well. After the crisp, polished aesthetic of my Blood Angels, painting a run-down, timeworn building has been a lot of fun.

I’m looking forward to applying blast damage with a sponge and making some rust streaks — and finishing the inside, of course.

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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
Miniature painting Miniatures Painting tools Terrain Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Manufactorum terrain

On Sunday morning, I picked up where I’d left off with my terrain on Saturday: Wraithbone done, all-over Seraphim Sepia wash. Next up was a pin wash with Agrax Earthshade.

The pin wash is subtle, but I like the effect. Both of these pieces have had their all-over Seraphim Sepia wash, but the one on the right has had some grimy areas pin-washed with Agrax:

Before (left) and after (right)

I used a cheap #5 brush for the pin washes.

Pin-washed sacred pipes
Dang but I love this terrain! The sculpts are great
Bunging Leadbelcher into the holes in the flooring

I was a bit nervous about doing a full-coverage drybrush over my precious washes…but it turned out to be no biggie. And as the video notes, it looks quite subtle at first but it does actually make a difference.

I used my giant flat-edged 5/8 brush (the cheap one I used for the washes) for this messy, brush-killing job.

Pre-drybrush on the left, post-drybrush on the right

My buildings are noticeably darker than the ones in the video at this stage, which I think comes down to the thinned vs. straight wash. I dig it. Next up, a lighter drybrush with Praxeti White, same brush and same circular motions.

This is subtle, too, but in this case I’m just not that confident in my technique. Both the amount of paint and the weight of my brushing make a difference, and I’m not there yet in terms of experience — but even so, it’s a nice effect.

Praxeti White drybrush on the left half, but not on the right half (yet)

And that’s the stone done! (Except for, maybe, a final weathering step of some sort.) Warhammer TV didn’t steer me wrong: two washes and two layers of drybrushing really does tidy things up and produce an organic, lifelike weathered stone — and surprisingly quickly, too.

Next up, Mechanicus Standard Grey on the floors (top and bottom), applied with an inexpensive flat-edged #5 brush.

Floors mostly base-coated, above and below

That’s where I ran out of steam for the night, after a pleasant Sunday spent almost entirely working on this terrain or futzing with my Orks’ basing colors. Next terrain-painting session, I’ll finish the edges and borders on the floors, wash them, drybrush them, and then move back to the walls to work on details.

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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.