Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sternguard Veteran Sgt Aristotle

Today I've decided to take a look back and post a model I made a long time ago. Originally, this model was created to represent an Emperor's Champion for my personal brand of Space Marines, back when all chapters were allowed to have Emperor's Champions. But no sooner was it finished than the rule was invalidated, so he quickly became a Veteran Sgt in my command squad.

I started with the Limited edition Black Templars Marshall model. I thought it fitting that a Black Templar limited release model be converted to be an Emperor's Champion.

Many bemoaned my choice of this model to convert, but I think it was worth while in the long run. Plus I happened to have a second copy of the model, so it really wasn't that risky a sacrifice.

To start with, I chopped off the sword blade, and added the blade from the metal Terminator Captain to give the sword the heft necessary for The Black Blade. I chopped off the bolter, and converted a plastic bolter to be master crafted using some wing detail bits on the housing.

I also decided the Champion needed to be a little less bald, so I sculpted on some hair.

Notice the left shoulder pad has also been cleaned of the Templar's cross. I hand filed it to protect the little Terminator honour badge in the corner.

And to give it a more personalised and characterful touch, I sculpted a sword and laurel on his right shoulder pad to replace his normal squad livery. The sword later became the livery for what are now my Sternguard units derived from the Crusading/Questing company.

Originally, when I sculpted in detail for the power sword, I added the cables for the power nodes, but I didn't feel like that appeared like a relic of the chapter, so I shaved that detail off and painted the sword in fiery colours to give the impression that it was made from an ever burning material of unknown or secret heritage. I also decided to use a banner pole topper as the iron halo, which I glued to the backpack to finish off the model.

There's a bit of a bubo here on the left shoulder pad which I have since repaired since the photo was taken. I have also added the chapter badge to the shoulder.

Overall, I am very pleased with how this model turned out, and it was a very characterful addition to my army, leading the Sternguard to numerous victories...and the occasional defeat.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sternguard Heavy Flamer

Here's a model that I converted and completed in April for the Astronomi-con tournament in Toronto.

He was made especially for my Space Marine Sternguard squad, as I team them up with a chapter master and use them as a hybrid shooty/assaulty unit. They are especially good when coupled with Pedro Kantor. The Heavy Flamer ensures horde units are thinned out so that the squad can survive the round of combat, due to reduced counter attacks. But it also means getting in close...and since that is what they intend to do anyway, it works out nicely. Normally I field them in a razorback, but am now considering putting them in a Landraider and expanding the squad.

When I started thinking about how I would make the model, I considered using the Legion of the Damned Heavy Flamer model from GW. But realised it just wouldn't fit in with the original squad, which all wears the MK VIII Errant armour.

So instead I used a plastic heavy flamer arm from the Space Wolves Wolf Guard Terminator kit and converted it to fit this model. I removed all the wolf icons and the terminator arm. Then I grafted it onto a regular marine arm, resculpted the tubes to the back, added a couple of purity seals, some paint and presto blammo, I got a really nice and convincing Sternguard Heavy Flamer out of it. As mentioned already the squad is composed of MK VIII armour. However, instead of using the plastic MKVIII chest piece, the miniature itself is one of the 2nd generation metal MKVIII Errant Space Marine Armour.

I'll be doing another Sternguard with Heavy Flamer, to really put a hurt on horde type armies, especially if that squad escorts a Librarian with Avenger, or to make it even more nasty if I make the Sternguard a 10 man squad with two heavy flamers. For a slight difference, I'll be converting that heavy flamer from a previous generation plastic Terminator heavy flamer, with the conical nozzles.

Here is the foundation model I'll be using for that model.

I started with a black base coat. This model has been spray primed with Citadel Black Primer (yes I still have some). I then add the highlights by wet blending directly from Chaos Black to Shadow Grey. This is done in a single wet blending step for each area of armour. Doing a two colour gradient in a single blend step helps keep the highlight gradient sharp, and clean. Note that the edges are NOT done with edge highlighting, rather, that is the highlight effect I achieve through wet blending and leaving the edge with the brightest colour. Basically I draw the dark colour towards the ridges, and deposit the lighter pigment there, while creating an even gradient. Finally, I give it a black ink wash. This ensures the gradients appear smooth, and the tone is consistent. It also goes on a touch shiny, which I like for marine armour.

The next picture shows work proceeding on the bone armour pieces. In this picture you can see various stages. I took this shot to reduce the number of pictures for the tutorial. Anywhere that I paint bone, I begin with a coat of original GW Bestial Brown. However, that is no longer available, so Khemri Brown Foundation is a suitable replacement. You can also use Snakebite Leather, though it gives a more yellow tint. 

Here you can see the helmet, chest eagle and belly armour in Snakebite Leather, as I could not find my Beastial Brown. The belt, knees and ankles were given a thin coat of Bleached Bone. It should be about the consistency of skimmed milk, and translucent. Apply it so that you are drawing the brush away from the darkest part, to the highlight. This leaves a translucent gradient, and then deposits pigment on the highlight. Repeat several times until the coat is nice and even. The trick to preventing it from looking chalky is several nice thin coats.

Below you can see the model after several thin coats of Bleached Bone. The photo is a little over exposed, so the highlights are blown out a bit, but you can see how even and smooth the bone is without looking chalky.

Once I have an even transition from the brown to the bone, I start wet blending again. I repeat the translucent layer of bleached bone, and blend in some skull white on the highlight. This is done while the layer of paint is wet, and mixed directly on the model. I let it dry, then do this again with slightly lighter mixes of bleached bone, adding white to my mix every layer. I repeat this for several coats until I have a mix of about 50/50 bone to white on the palette, and finally edge highlight with that specific colour. I then add some spot highlights of pure white on points of interest, like the edge of the belt, the head crest, and the eye surround.

I find the most convincing aged bone effect is done by laying this translucent paint over the darker brown, so that you can almost see the brown through the top layers. If you ever look at dried out bones, say after a BBQ of chicken wings, or ribs, you will see that same effect, as the marrow is almost visible through the bone. 

Of course, changing the base colour will change the tone of the bone, making it look more or less age worn, fresh, wet, dried out, etc. Experiment to your personal taste, but I've had very positive and pleasing results doing the same effect over purple, red, blue, black and grey. Green is a nice option too and gives the subject an almost otherworldly effect. You can also make the bone look fresh by using reddish tones, and then giving the area of deepest undertone a thin gloss varnish, to appear gristly and wet.

That's it for now. I'll continue to update this as I make progress on the model.

Hunker in the Bunker

Today I decided to give my tank brush a workout and settle down to painting some basic scenery.

I have some of the expanded foam scenery released by GW over the years. Until now, it was all unpainted, with just the basic Games Workshop primer coat that was sprayed on at the factory. Getting tired of always playing over the flat light grey and green static grass pieces, I decided to paint up a piece tonight.

Here's the before:

And here's the after:

Since the model was already primed grey, I didn't bother priming it.

I started with scorched earth as a base coat for all the earthworks. I then highlighted it with Khemri Brown, and finally added in some bleached bone and a touch of codex grey for the ultimate highlight.

For the sandbags, I did a heavy drybrush of Snakebite Leather, with some scorched brown brushed into the shadows and crevasses. I then added a touch of Bleached Bone and did a lighter drybrush. Finally, I added a touch more bleached bone for final highlight. I didn't want to go too bold with the highlight as I wanted a darker more weather beaten tone, which I achieved with a light dusting of a pale mix of grey.

The timbers and wood were painted with Scorched Brown, then drybrushed heavily in Khemri Brown, and finally in a mix of Codex Grey and Khemri Brown. I did this to make it appear somewhat aged and weather beaten, as wood tends to turn grey when exposed to extreme elements and time. However, I left some of the brown showing through as I don't want it to appear too old.

The drums, metal beams and plates I painted in Charadon Granite. This is a nice dark olive drab type of green, which highlights nicely with a touch of Bleached Bone mixed in. I followed the same aging method by adding in a light grey, to help keep a similar tone across the weathered elements. I then stippled the metals with light grey, followed by several browns, black, and finally with some metal. This simulates a light rust with some ongoing wear and tear, as though it's an old bunker that sees occassional use.

In order to give it a story to indicate why it sees moderate use, I then proceeded to add scorch and burn marks. Particularly around bullet holes, and especially on the communication console in the corner. I stippled this heavily with black and greys to make it look burned out, with a touch of grey wash to show that it has been abandoned, but not too long ago. I then added some scorch marks in the grass and other areas of the bunker to tell a story of how it might have been attacked with a flamer, or plasma weapon, driving the occupants back.

All and all, this piece only took an hour to paint, and I'm quite pleased with the results, and look forward to the next game where it will surely see some action.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Terminator Assault Part 3 - Paint Basecoat

For this update I've got the terminator squad in its basic colours blocked out, minus the weapons. I've also got the bases sanded and added some slate so they don't look too plain. When stood next to a contemporary plastic terminator they look very close to scale, so I'm pleased with that!

Anyway, here are a couple of progress pictures:

Hopefully I can get some more paint on these soon.

That's it for now!