Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Fists - That New Car Smell...

Arrived home this afternoon to find the second Box o' Joy from FW awaiting me - always a pleasant surprise when it arrives! Wave one was almost a hundred models while Wave Two consists of, well, six.

But it's a BIG six! A pair of Contemptors with power fists and Kheres assault cannons, a pair of Sicaran Venators (as a pair of Raven Guard Venators straight up took apart my Thousand Sons tanks at the LVO), and last but not least a pair of armoured Proteus land raiders which will tote around the two breacher squads. ...And some Imperial Fist decorative bits to spruce up the tanks a bit, of course!

Had to break out the big bucket to get the two Proteusses into the wash! For big tanks like these I like to do at least two 24 hour soak and scrub passes. There is absolutely nothing more frustrating than sections of paint peeling away on big centerpiece models like this due to insufficient cleaning! Not that that's happened to me more than a dozen times up to and including just a few months ago. Argh.

Speaking of that new car smell, the assault squad is at what I think of as the "off the showroom floor" stage. At this point they'll get a sealant coat before any waterslide transfers and weathering is applied, but as we're in the grip of a typical Colorado springtime (it was 80 two days ago and is supposed to snow on Friday), I need to choose my moment to do so quite carefully!

I agreed with the multiple suggestions that the sandstone bases were a little too light, and as such gave all those areas a bit of a wash - still a little on the shiny not-quite-dry side here. I went in and fixed up the eyes that I'd missed earlier, a quick shade and little white specular dot for each. All those nice wide open yellow spaces are begging for some battle damage - quite looking forward to that!

...And not just to help cover up areas where I got sloppy! Well, a moderate amount of covering up of areas where I got sloppy. :)

I'm considering adding some red diagonal slash decoration to the chainswords, one or two diagonal bands out toward the tip of the weapon housing (as opposed to full-bore hazard stripes) - I think the models could stand to have a little red spot color on 'em as they're feeling a touch monochomatic to me at the moment. Definitely up for suggestions!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Fists - Basing the models

While I was working on the test models, I'd done a test base using the flying stand from the set of resin bases I'd ordered from Fantascape to get a feel for what I had planned would actually look. I wasn't super happy with the grey slate from the test bases, and thought I'd go with a sandstone color instead, but still include a bit of the slate as a spot color on the inscribed areas sculpted into the bases.

I wasn't super happy with the marbled grey slate from the testers, and thought I'd go with a sandstone color primarily, and include a bit of the slate as a spot color on the inscribed areas sculpted into the bases. Add a bit of dark brown dirt in the recesses and we're good to go!

I'm nearing the initial painting stage on the assault marines - still have a few colors to go but wanted to get the bases painted to see how it sets off against the yellow of the models. Reasonably well I think!

I'm finding it's good to snap pics in various stages, as it helps point out steps that I've missed - totally forgot to wash and highlight any of the eye lenses. Gotta fix that in tomorrow's painting session!

I'm trying to decide on what to do on the right shoulder pads. It appears that in most of the color plates in the FW books the heresy-era Imperial Fists tended to bear the fist on both pads, with a single example that I was able to find wherein they bear the "VII" legion numbering - that's what these folks will get. Looks like I'm going to have to order a whole mess more sculpted pads from FW for the next couple units. Here's where not building the whole army at once comes in handy!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Fists - Assault squad painting continues...

Not as much free time today as I'd hoped, but still managed to make some pretty decent headway towards getting the assault squad done.

Turns out the "blacking in and cleaning up" step is definitely going to be the long pole in this paint scheme, taking care not to inadvertently paint over any of the 'good' areas of yellow meant this stage took almost as long as the entire yellow stage up to this point. Oof!

Ended up mixing up a 50/50 bottle of shadow grey and black to use to highlight the black areas, followed by a stone grey spot highlight. Far less drastic than what I'd done on the test models.

Worked a little on the embossed legion symbol on the left shoulder pads, and went with a darker metallic on the various weapons and piping.

Finally I laid in the light blue areas on the eye lenses, power weapons and hoses. Still need to wash and highlight them, but the models are definitely coming into focus now!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Fists - Assault squad painting begins!

So I'm going to try something a little out of the ordinary for me - rather than build everything in a giant orgy of resin shavings, superglue and swearing, I'm going to try and only build and paint one or two units at a time. I find having a huge pile of primered models it a little daunting, and keeping things focused might help me bang out the army in time for an upcoming event in late May. So here goes - time to load 20 assault marines into the batch painting hopper and let 'er rip!

Started off with a black primer followed by a basecoat of Vallejo's Scrofulous Brown.

The models were then given a heavy drybrush of GW Averland Sunset, leaving the brown mostly in the recesses and undersides.

Then a lighter drybrush of Vallejo Golden Yellow, mostly concentrating on the upper surfaces where overhead light would hit.

The penultimate step is a very light drybrush with GW Flash Gits yellow, just hitting the extreme edges and upper surfaces.

Last but not least, the whole model is given a wash of GW Seraphim Sepia, which helps bring it down to a nice mustard-y yellow and helps to blend all the layers together. Once that's done, it's important to let them dry for a good hour or so. So far so good! Next up will be going back in to black in all the various areas that will end up either metallic or black - more pics to follow soon!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Fists - Characters built

Been a hellacious week so I treated myself with a little more build time, rather than getting stuck in on the assault squad straight away. Decided to have a little fun and crank out a few characters for the army.

Started off with good ol' Alexis Polux, and then kitbashed together a model to stand in for Sigismund until/if FW gets around to doing an official model, at which point he'll just become a basic legion champion.

Next up is a bog-standard praetor in terminator plate with a volkite charger and a paragon blade. Hard to go wrong with that load-out, really. The praetor in artificer armor got the Imperial Fists-specific Solarite Gauntlet in lieu of the paragon blade, but kept the archaeotech pistol. A master of signals was required mostly because I love the homage to the old RT era comms officer marine. A pair of artificer armour-clad sergeants round out the group, and will lead the two units of Tac Marines I have planned.

It's supposed to be gorgeous outside this weekend, so I'm hoping to get these (and the assault marines) primed and the base colors laid in. Looking forward to it!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Fists - First wave of models arrives!

Huzzah! The first batch of miniatures for the Imperial Fists have arrived from Forge World and there was much rejoicing!

...Followed by many many hours of soaking, washing and scrubbing, a couple emails to FW about a few mis-packed minis, and a fair bit of swearing as I stabbed myself pretty good with an exacto blade cleaning up some casting gates.

I decided to lead off with the 20-man assault squad, as it is comprised of a set of models I hadn't worked with before - I quite like the sleek look of the Mk IV assault marines, I think they'll be a good counterpoint to the more solid looking Mk III tac marines and breachers. Decided to go with power weapons as the squad upgrade path on these, a pair of power swords, a pair of power axes, and a power fist for the sergeant.

Unfortunately there were several issues with the order that FW sent me - instead of the Cataphractii terminators I got Salamanders Firedrakes, and half of the MkIII Strike Force models were mis-labeled MkIV tac marines. A quick email with some photographic evidence of the issues out to FW later and they've already sent out the proper replacements - say what you will about their quality control, I have never had a company more responsive to email and quick to rectify any issues!

It's supposed to be absolutely gorgeous out over the next few days, hoping to get some more models built and primered so I can get some paint laid on 'em over the weekend!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Fists - Test models complete

Had a relatively free day yesterday and managed to knock out the test models to a modicum of satisfaction!

After the yellow was complete I went back in to clean up and block in any metallic areas with black, as well as the shoulder pad rims and other parts that would end up being black. Tried out the red/white sergeant/veteran helmet option on one of the models and am quite pleased with how it turned out. Gave the dread a little red as well just to break up the vast swathes of yellow a bit.

Tried a bit of edge highlighting on the black shoulder rims and weapons, just a quick slap-on for test purposes, will definitely be taking my time on the resin models! I think I need to mix a bottle of 50:50 shadow grey and black to give myself one more midtone though (and maybe one 50:50 shadow grey and ghost grey as well) - the color contrasts feel a little too stark as it stands, definitely needs a smoother gradient.

A few more washes, some fine detail work and we're pretty much good to go! Overall I'm pretty pleased with the final look - I'll be the first to admit they're a somewhat sloppy paintjob on rather goopy minis but as a proof of concept I'm feeling confident to move on to the resin stage!

Went with my usual blue cabling look, which sets off nicely against the yellow as a spot color. Wanted to keep the bases predominantly light, the ones that will be going on the real models will have a couple different light stone colors. I tried to do a quasi-marbled effect with some washes, but mostly I think it just looks like sloppy application. Not going that route on the final models, but will rather stick to drybrushed stone built up from a cool grey on some parts and up from earthtones on others. Keep it neutral so the yellow of the model really pops!

A definite blast from the past here - This RT-Era Eddy model is one of the oldest in my collection, and was purchased at the very first gaming store I ever went to back in the late 80s. It's been sitting in a box in bits along with his stumpy-legged little brother Chuck in varying iterations of the Closet of Doom ever since!

Way back in the RT era the Contemptor aka "Chuck" class was armed with a pair of power fists and bolters, the Deredo aka "Eddy" had the missile launcher (a bit of a nod to that from FW on their re-imagining of it) and the Furibundus aka "Fury" carried a lascannon. I'm quite interested to see whether FW does a Fury at some point in the future!

Finally, I did a little dabbling on some weathering effects, sponging on charred brown and highlighting it with yellow on the lower edges to try and give it a semi 3D effect. A bit more practice is needed, but I'm sure I'll get my eye in by the time the army's done!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Heresy Era Imperial Fists - Few more test models and bases

A bit more dabbling with the yellow scheme for the Imperial Fists, and I think I've settled on a recipe that is a good combo of looks and speed - Heresy armies tend to be very infantry heavy, and at the moment it's looking like there's going to be nearly 100 marines in the list I have planned, so I did want to keep things relatively simple so as not to lose my mind during the inevitable batch painting process. Speaking of planning, before I buy anything I generally start off by setting up a painting chart to see what things look like - this time around I didn't bother trying to fool myself into thinking "it'll be a little boutique army". Nope, let's plan for a 5000 point monster right out of the gate:

Front and center in any self-respecting Heresy force are a whole mess of objective-holding Troops. The mandatory 20-man blob of Tac Marines, and a pair of 10-man Breachers in Proteus Land Raiders should be able to take and hold most critical objectives, while a 20-man assault squad will act as a mobile reserve or strike force depending on what the situation calls for. I wanted to include both of the Imperial Fists' specialist troop types (the Templar Brethren and Phalanx Warders), both of which are essentially further assault troops so they'll get a pair of Phobos-pattern Mark IIb land raiders to take advantage of the assault ramp lacking on the Proteus variant. I am a huge fan of the models for Cataphractii terminators and Contemptor dreadnoughts, so those units are an auto-include as well. A pair of Sicaran Venators (love the model, been itching to build and paint one!) and a 5-man lascannon heavy support squad will provide some much-needed anti-tank capability to round things out!

The test models got a re-primering and a further test of the color scheme, though they're starting to get a bit gummed up with paint and losing definition - still, that's the point of test models! Going with a Scrofulous Brown basecoat (Vallejo's Tausept Ochre analog) followed by sucessive layers of Averland Sunset and Golden Yellow, a light drybrush of Bald Moon yellow, and a sepia wash. Once that's done I go in and black over all of the armor edging, weapons, and metallic areas - more pics to come!

While rooting around in the Closet of Doom I uncovered a whole mess of bases I'd ordered for a project that petered out ages ago, but think they may be just the thing for the Imperial Fist project! These come from a company called Fantascape, and are from their Gothic Ruins set. The ones on the left are some examples of the 40mm bases, and I quite like the flying base on the right - I'm scheming on using it for one of the upcoming Xiphon Interceptors that FW previewed a month or so ago!

The initial Forge World order has been placed (consisting of the boxes in white in the painting chart above), now just have to wait patiently for the box of joy to arrive so I can get cracking!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Heresy Era... Imperial Fists?

Been feeling a bit rudderless on the hobby front of late, while I've made great strides in clearing out a bunch of detritus from the Closet of Doom (Link to auctions ending today and tomorrow!) I just haven't been feeling the spark of creativity. I'd tried out a couple test paint schemes for the Alpha Legion, but found I didn't much enjoy the results, and as such I went back to the books to see if any other legion caught my interest. I'd been focusing on the 'bad guys' but my eye fell on the boys in yellow and I figured it might be a fun challenge to try out some Imperial Fists! Dragged out a couple test models and took a whack at a couple different ways of painting the base yellow:

First up I thought I'd see if a metallic yellow might work, with a boltgun metal/silver highlight base color being washed multiple times with Cassadora Yellow wash. Interesting effect, but not quite what I wanted, and would be too streaky when applied to vehicles. Next up was a light tan basecoat washed again with Cassadora Yellow which didn't really work at all, just sort of turned into a muddy mess. Next was light tan, followed by a Golden Yellow highlight, followed by the Cassadora Yellow wash again - getting closer, but just not well defined. On a lark I tried a light tan, golden yellow and then an Agrax Earthshade wash, followed by a further yellow drybrush, and I think we might have a winner!

One of the things I'm looking to do is push my weathering techniques a bit more, and really dig in to a dirty/weathered army with painted/sponged chips and scratches, and I'm thinking this might be a great somewhat grimy base color to work from. I want to try one more test model with a more involved light tan/averland sunset/golden yellow/bright yellow/earthshade wash/yellow highlight to see if I can push the initial yellows just a little brighter before it gets darkened down by the wash (in person the model above is a little less vibrant than it appears in the pics). I've been feeling stuck in a 3-stage Basecoat/Highlight/Wash rut for a while, and I think the models could really benefit from a few more color gradients. Definitely worth trying out some further schemes on throwaway models before committing to resin, that's for sure!

Gotta say, I'm feeling the hobby mojo coming back - this could be a fun project!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Malifaux Gang Painted, and some treasures from the Closet of Doom

Real Life(tm) has been kicking my butt recently and I've not had much hobby time to spare unfortunately. That said, over the last week and a half I have managed to squeeze in a few early morning paint sessions and finished up a few of the Malifaux minis I'd won at Feast of Blades last year.

Interesting models, and I had fun painting them up. Went with a very limited palette, lots of browns and greys, and the eerie green flame motif. Rather enjoyable!

In other news, it's tax season again, and as usual Uncle Sam is trying to pick my pocket, so I've rummaged around in the Closet of Doom for a few odds and bobs that I put up on ebay recently (a few examples pictures above). I'm also working on saving up some extra cash for a trip to Italy later in the year, so there's going to be more to come as I work to clear out some of the drifting piles of plastic and resin crack that have accumulated over the years!

>Link to my current ebay auctions<