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.
Basing differently threw me off enough that I forgot to prime my rocks.
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.
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.
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.
There’s an element of ritual and ceremony to The Building of the First Miniature in a 40k Army. When I started my Blood Angels army, I built Sergeant Karios first (on March 10, 2020). I deliberately didn’t hedge my bets with a vanilla Marine I could mess up — but I also didn’t go straight for a big, fancy figure. It was a perfect starting point for me.
But with Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas, my Deathskulls Ork army, I had to start with the Warboss himself, “Moonkrumpa” Grutnik. Last night, after a rather long day, I assembled him:
No surprise, really, that I’ve essentially picked the Ork equivalent of a Terminator as my starting point! But it makes sense: The rest of this Waaagh! will flow from Moonkrumpa, since it’s his Waaagh!. He sets the tone.
The Meganobz kit is an excellent and involved one, with plenty of customization options. From sprue to fully assembled, it took me about two hours to put Moonkrumpa together. (The other two models, both Meganobz, will stay unassembled until I buy a second one of these kits, as their minimum unit size is three and I’ve just peeled one off as a Big Mek.)
I’ve left his two wargear choices, the Tellyport Blasta and Kustom Force Field, off so that I can — probably — make them a magnetizing project sometime down the road. Because while I wanted to build Moonkrumpa first, to mark the official starting point for my Ork army, I’m not going to paint him first.
That first will go to Boss Skrudd, leader of Skrudd’s Krumpas, closely and some of his Boyz. I need to practice my Deathskulls color scheme, get used to drybrushing again, try out some weathering techniques, and consider whether this army will have a unifying mark that ties them together (beyond Deathskulls colors) — and then I can start tackling bigger, fancier models like Moonkrumpa.
Let the krumpin’ begin.
December 19 update: I kitbashed Moonkrumpa into a more Ork-y and Warboss-y 2.0 version.
Here are some WIP photos from November 7th, with lots on the go:
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.
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.
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!
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.)
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).
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.
Blue Tack the tires in place
Prime the base and the bike’s tires
Remove the bike
Prime the bike’s undercarriage (basically everything that will be inaccessible when it’s glued onto the base)
After the undercarriage cures, prime the rest of the bike
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
Finish the underside of the bike completely, including shading
Glue the bike to the base
Pack in texture paint around the tires, if needed, and paint it up normally (shade and drybrush)
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!
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.
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.)
Mmm, slimy poop Chiclets.
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.
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!
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.
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)
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.
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
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
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.
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.
I’m driving pretty hard at wrapping up Barakiel before the end of the month. Will it happen? We shall see!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Like most of my minis, Squad Adamo looks better from a distance than it does up close like this. Lots of flaws!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.