I haven't done much painting these past few days because I've been on stomach-churning pins and needles waiting to hear back from PhD programs I've applied to. So far, the news has been grim - 2 rejections out of 4 applications. (Yeah, I know applying to only 4 programs was a very dumb mistake. If I don't get into either of the remaining 2, then I'll be taking out a loan in order to pay for a king's ransom in application fees next year. You know the old adage - throw enough "stuff" against the wall...)
I'm certain I'll know for sure by next week. Then after a brief mourning period, I'll get right back to painting. It might be skeletons, Cadian Shock Troopers and Necrons for a while after that, though, because I'll need to make up a ton of ground on my 365 project (which is still extant - never retreat! never surrender!).
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Here's my first attempt at a Genestealer. Overall, I think he turned out okay. He was, as expected, pretty easy to paint. I gave him a Black Gesso undercoat then basecoated him in White. After that, I liberally applied a Leviathan Purple ink wash mixed with Pink acrylic paint and watered down with Flow Improver to get that more pinkish (or as GW calls it Warlock Purple) coloring. When the wash dried, I went over the miniature with White again to bring the basecoat back up then picked out details here and there - the claws with Black and a feathering of Opaque Red; the back spine and forehead plate thingie with Rhinestone Purple; and the gaps in the carapace with Opaque Red and a Baal Red wash.
You'll notice the base is incomplete. I still need to paint it with Dolphin Gray in order to make it match the Termagant base (and to adhere to the rules I set up for myself regarding this project). But, alas, this is a case of expediency trumping principles. I just couldn't wait for the PVA glue to dry before painting the base so I just went ahead and took the photos. As Sophocles wrote in his play "Electra": "The end excuses any evil." Shameful, just shameful. (Apparently, this project is not only making me paint the backlog of miniatures I have sitting on my shelves, but it's also breaking my will down bit by bit. And it's only week 3!)
Okay, up next? Maybe that Tomb Kings Skeleton Archer, but maybe not. I have a day off tomorrow, so I just might paint up something more substantial. Possibly my Guardsman Marbo conversion? Or my Ork Kommando conversion? Or finally that Blood Ravens Multi-Melta Operator who's been sitting at my painting station all primed and ready to go? Who knows?
Heavens to Murgatroyd! Desperation has set in. I missed another day and am now 3 miniatures behind my pace. Thus, you all get another Necron Warrior. It's amazing how hard it is to find the energy, time, and motivation to paint these wee miniatures after a hard day's work (well, for me at least). Plus, the wife insists on quality time together in the evenings. Do her oppressive demands know no bounds?!? Just kidding.
So, Necron Warrior number 2. He was painted in pretty much the same way as my first Warrior - Black Gesso primer, a basecoat of Dolphin Gray, an extremely diluted Liquitex Carbon Black ink wash, then a highlight of more Dolphin Gray to bring the basecoat back up. The green bits were painted with Christmas Green and the eyes with Opaque Red. I then gave him a down and dirty and very quick drybrush with some White for more highlighting.
His base was put together with white talus and a strategically placed clump of dried moss all afixed to the base with brushed on superglue. Normally, I use watered down PVA glue for the basing materials, but I was worried the talus would be too heavy and irregularly shaped to properly bond with PVA glue, so I used superglue instead.
It seems to me that the two easiest armies to paint up in the Warhammer 40k and Fantasy Battle games would be Necrons and Tomb Kings respectively. Taking finances into consideration, I'm sure a person could completely paint a, say, 2000 point army of either of those two factions in a week or so. Especially the Necrons. Looking through their codex, I can't really imagine any models except for maybe the Flayers and the C'Tans who would require more than 1 primary color to basecoat. At least for the Tomb Kings, one has to worry about picking out details such as jewels, armor bits, and decorative stuff on many of their non-core choices. I don't really have a point here, and I'm certainly not bashing the painting abilities of Necron players because I'm sure it would take a long time to paint those models at a higher than table-top quality. I'm just saying.
Okay, another post will probably be coming fast and furious on the heels of this one. I've got a Hive Fleet Leviathan Genestealer completely finished at my painting station who is awaiting a decorative base and then some photographs. After that, I've got a Tomb Kings Skeletal Archer lined up, but I'm almost too guilty and embarrassed to paint him up for this project. But what can I do? The last thing I want is to fall so far behind that this project completely implodes. But I'd also like to spare you all the absolute boredom of 20 consecutive posts filled with Necrons Warriors, Genestealers, Cadian Shock Troopers, and Skeletons.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Well, I had a lot of fun with this guy! Here's my converted Gunnery Sergeant Harker who will replace my current Veteran Sergeant in the "50/50s." I love converting models, so whenever I have the opportunity to mess around with miniatures, I'll do it. Since I've never been very happy with my Veteran Sergeant (in terms of load-out, modeling, and paint job), replacing him with another sergeant has always been on my mind. After re-reading the Veterans Squad section of the Imperial Guard Codex, I realized that not only would replacing my Veteran Sergeant with Gunnery Sergeant Harker improve the offensive capabilities of the "50/50s," but it would also be an incredibly enjoyable conversion job.
My Harker conversion consists of parts from a few differen kits. His head, torso, left and right arms are from the Catachan kit. The heavy bolter and his right hand are from a Space Marine Devastator kit while his legs are from the Space Marine Scout kit. Overall, he was fairly easy to piece together. I was surprised at how well in terms of proportions the Catachan torso fit with the Scout legs considering how much taller the Scouts seem when compared to a standard Catachan trooper. I guess it helps that the Catachan models are so top-heavy and muscular.
When compared to the actual GW Harker miniature, my Harker obviously doesn't quite resemble him. For one, their Harker is much more statuesque and lean; I wouldn't be surprised if placed side by side that the GW Harker would be a bit taller than my conversion. Also, I couldn't quite get the string of bullets effect of the GW Harker. I tried by attempting all sorts of contortions with the Space Marine Devastator bolt feeder, but I couldn't get it to fit well enough. That's probably my biggest regret when it comes to this conversion.
Again, I forgot to do one tiny thing with a model. For this conversion, I kept telling myself I'd free-hand the name ("Payback") of Harker's heavy bolter onto the casing of the weapon after I had highlighted everything, but then...I forgot. I'll have to take care of that later.
Alright, so boy am I glad I didn't resort to painting up a Shock Trooper, Skeleton or Necron Warrior in order to somewhat keep pace with this project of mine. I have my day-off coming on Thursday, so tomorrow I might try another non-rank and file model. I've got a converted Guardsman Marbo waiting in the wings as well.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Well, apparently Necron Warriors are just as easy to paint as Fantasy Skeletons and Cadian Guardsmen. A Gesso Black primer, a Dolphin Gray basecoat, a Black ink wash and then some light drybrushing with Dolphin Gray to bring the basecoat back up. Finally, a bit of highlighting with White along the edges.
I guess I could have painted the Warrior up in a different, more complex color scheme, but I'm the type of person who likes recreating the actual look and feel of the fictional universe I'm exploring. For instance, I originally wanted to create a DIY Space Marine Chapter when I first got into this hobby. And I actually did write up some background fluff for them and even designed multiple color schemes for them using the Bolter and Chainsword Space Marine Painter. (Very cool tool for those of you who aren't aware of it.) But I just couldn't settle on a color scheme to my liking because it seemed like all of the cool schemes had already been taken! So I picked the Blood Ravens and the rest is history.
A good side effect of painting up this Warrior is that I can now add another go-to miniature to my list of "Quick to Paint" models. Of course, this means I'll have to kind of, sort of commit at least partially to building a Necron army - a codex of which I have no knowledge of. Well, the Necron Warrior box comes with 12 of these guys so at the very least they'll give me 11 more easy days (although at some point I might feel guilty over how simple they are to paint I just might consider counting multiples of them as 1 painted miniature).
Alright, still 2 behind. I primed my converted Gunnery Sergeant Harker and my Blood Ravens Tactical Squad Fortis Multi-Melta Operator today so they're technically next in line. But both seem like they would take too much time and effort at the moment, so I just might fall back to painting another Cadian Shock Trooper or a Necron Warrior. (I can't waste these guys though. I have to think strategically to a certain extent and save a handful of these easy miniatures for when I really need them.)
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Cadian Shock Troopers are almost as easy and quick to paint as skeletons! Whoohoo! Now I have 2 fall-back miniature types I can use when I find myself pressed for time.
Again, in my haste, I realized only after the fact that I forgot to paint in his eyes. A few of these miniatures I've painted up in the past 2 weeks have been missing painted bits here and there. I'm really going to have to establish a pace whereby I don't feel too under the clock where my miniatures end up looking like half-painted blobs of paint but also where I don't torture myself over minute details to the point where I refuse to put a miniature down and say it's done.
So, this Cadian Shock Trooper begins my 3rd Squad (the 1st Squad being my Veterans - "The 50/50s" - and the 2nd Squad being a standard rank and file squad with an attached mortar team) for my planned Imperial Guard platoon. He was pre-primed months ago so all I had to do was slap the Cadian color scheme on him and then give him a liberal ink wash with Badab Black, Devlan Mud and Ogryn Flesh followed by highlights of Hunter Green, Fawn, and Dolphin Gray. Well, actually, I replaced the Badab Black ink wash with a Liquitex Carbon Black ink because I was almost out of the GW wash. The Liquitex Carbon Black actually worked quite well...after I mixed it with about 10-15 drops of Liquitex Flow Aid. Without the Flow Aid, the Liquitex ink was not watery enough to slip into the cracks and crevices of the miniature. Instead, it kind of just acted like watered down acrylic paint and clung to the surface. After massively diluting it with Flow Aid, it then began to perform almost as well as GW's Badab Black. It seems like the key to GW's inks, then, is how ultra-watered down they are. I've also picked up 2 or 3 other bottles of Liquitex's inks as supplements to my GW inks mostly because they're much cheaper. I'll still primarily use GW's inks though because, honestly, they're awesome.
Okay, I'm still 2 miniatures behind. I probably won't have time to do another model tonight (the wife and I have to attend a friend's birthday soiree), but I'll try my darndest to get 2 done tomorrow. On the docket: a Necron Warrior (easy-peasy, I'm expecting) and maybe my Gunnery Sergeant Harker conversion if I'm feeling particularly ambitious. If not, then another Cadian Shock Trooper or possibly a Blood Ravens Multi-Melta Operator for Tactical Squad Fortis.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Day 13, miniature 11; still 2 miniatures behind. Hmm, I sense more skeletons in the very near future. No, just kidding.
Say hello to the meltagunner of Tactical Squad Fortis of the Blood Ravens...er...huh, apparently, I haven't considered which company my Blood Ravens are a part of. I'll have to do some research into this. I know they can't be the 1st Company as that's usually the all Terminator veteran company in a standard Astartes force organization chart. They can't be the 2nd Company because they already have a published history (Dawn of War 2). They can't be the 5th Company because according to Blood Ravens fluff, that's the "Fated Fifth," a company that returned from the warp somehow...tainted. They can't be the 10th Company because that's the all Scout company. So that leaves 3rd, 4th, and Sixth to Ninth Companies. Anyone know if according to the Codex Astartes, those remaining companies have any prescribed specialities? In other words, are any of them primarily mechanized companies or jump assault companies or drop pod companies, etc.?
Well, there's really nothing all that special with this particular model. He's the 14th Blood Raven I've painted up, so it's getting rather mechanical painting these guys. At some point I'm going to either buy some blank water transfer paper or learn how to free-hand the Blood Ravens chapter logo onto their shoulder pads though.
Okay, so what's next? I've got a converted Gunnery Sergeant Harker I'd really like to paint but considering that I'm already 2 miniatures behind, I'm probably better off focusing on painting up more rank and file troops. I've still got about 30 more Cadian Shock Troopers to do so I just might go that route and try to pull back to even in my miniature count. But I've also got some converted Ork Kommandos that have calling to me from their place on the shelf. Hmm, well, we'll see.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Woot! This guy was as easy to paint as I suspected. I needed that for sure. With him out of the way, I'm now 2 miniatures behind my schedule. I currently have a Blood Raven meltagunner basecoated Opaque Red sitting at my painting station. Hopefully, the motivation for painting I feel at the moment will help me finish him before bed.
Now about the Ghast - he's actually not from the Games Workshop Crypt Ghoul plastic kit. He's a Reaper Miniature I purchased almost a year ago, back when I first started this hobby. The first dozen or so models I bought were mostly Reaper minis; the detail, diversity, and, most importantly, cost of their line of miniatures really appealed to me. Before discovering cheap miniatures on eBay, the idea of paying MSRP (or even at a 20% discount) for GW minis made me recoil in horror. So I figured I'd ease my way into the hobby by painting some cheaper, moe affordable miniatures that were equal in quality (in my opinion).
I've pretty much segued almost entirely into GW models right now. I'll occasionally buy a Reaper miniature as a stand-in for a Warhammer Fantasy special character/ lord/ hero type because, again, the prices GW charges for these independent characters is mind-boggling. Why pay $50 for a Lord of Change when I can get a close equivalent from Reaper for $15? (In fact, I managed to purchase that exact Reaper minature for about $5 on-line from a secondary retailer.) Granted, the actual Lord of Change is much more detailed and probably larger and taller, but the Reaper equivalent isn't that far off. Or an even better comparison: why spend $20 on a GW Mounted Vampire Lord when you can get a similar figure from Reaper for $12? Now, again, the GW model is much more finely detailed but in this particular case, the Reaper miniature is pretty damn cool too. In fact, you wouldn't know it from the description of the model, but it comes with two heads - the helmeted one you see in the picture and a non-helmeted one showing the Vampire in all his dark majesty.
Just in case you're wondering, I don't work for Reaper or for Miniature-Giant (the on-line retail store I've linked to in the previous paragraph). I'm just a very frugal collector who, as it is, spends way too much money on this hobby. Anytime I can trim costs from this very expensive past time, I will (e.g., buying decorative basing material from general craft stores rather than from dedicated hobby stores/ manufacturers, buying stand-in minis from Reaper or some other maker rather than from GW, using craft paints rather than specialty paints, etc.). At this point, all of those things have served me rather well in terms of producing decent table-top quality miniatures. About the only thing I might replace in the future is my use of craft paints. If I get to a level of painting where I think craft paints are holding me back, then I'll make the invesment in Vallejo or GW or Reaper paints. I'm obviously not there yet.
Finally, a little bit about the paint scheme for the Ghast. I pretty much followed GW's online article on how to Crypt Ghouls - I basecoated him with Dolphin Gray, then gave him a liberal ink wash with Leviathan Purple. After he dried, I went back over the upraised parts of his musculature with a drybrush of Dolphin Gray and also added in some watered down streaks of Opaque Red into some of the deep crevices of his skin to give the impression of infected, torn flesh. The tombstone, by the way, was from a Halloween decorative kit that Michael's was selling over the holidays. I think for a set of 4 or 5 tombstones, I paid about $5. The relief seemingly carved into the front of the tombstone is actually a plastic Empire shield scavenged from the Warhammer Fantasy Giant kit. Overall, it took me about 2 hours to complete the Ghast.
Well, I'm slowly falling behind my goal of 7 miniatures per week. At the moment, I'm now off my pace by 3 models. Boy, this is going to be harder than I thought. As I wrote in the post which launched this project almost 2 weeks ago, I do almost all of my painting either late at night during a workday (after the wife has gone to bed) or on my two off-days. The last two days, though, work has totally sapped my energy, so I got very little painting done Tuesday and Wednesday. However, I did cobble enough time together to paint up this converted Lord Commissar.
The Lord Commissar is essentially a Cadian Command sprue torso affixed to Cadian Shock Trooper legs. His power fist is also from the Command sprue while his bolt pistol from a Space Marine Tactical sprue. He is sporting a Pig Iron head and the tattered cape fluttering from his shoulders is actually a loincloth from the Warhammer Fantasy Giant kit. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with him. He's not as grandiose looking as Games Workshop's Lord Commissar, but that's easily explained away. I'm just going to say that he's been out in the field for months, furiously barking at his men to dig in and hold the line against the xenos scum so reinforcements can drop down from the sky and save their worthless hides. In other words, he's had to abandon most of the shining accoutrements of his office in order to better do his job.
Painting-wise, he's okay, if a bit rough in some areas (my highlights are still too harsh). Turns out this Lord Commissar was easier to paint up than I thought, seeing as how his uniform is black, thus allowing me to basically use the Black Gesso primer as the undercoat and basecoat. I'll probably need to clean up the highlighting around his peaked cap as well as the blotchy paint around and about his bolt pistol, but he's for all intents and purposes finished. I'd like to possibly add a few more fiddly bits to him at a later date - maybe a sword scabbard, free-hand designs on his shoulder pads, and a pistol holster for starters - but that can wait for now.
Well, today is my day off, so if I plan on sticking with this project, I better get cracking on the painting. I've got a Vampire Counts Ghast primed and ready to go at my painting station. I figure he's going to be quite easy. As far as I can tell, VC Ghouls are basically a single primary color (for the skin) plus some contrasting colors here and there for the detail bits. Hopefully, I can get him painted up quickly and possibly move on to another miniature before the day is done. Best case scenario: I'm back to where I started to begin the week - one miniature behind.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Finally finished with the Skaven Clanrat. As I wrote in my previous post, the new plastic Clanrats are very nicely detailed, so much so that it took me completely by surprise at how much fine effort was required to properly paint it up. I've got a couple of the new Stormvermin plastic miniatures laying around as well, and they look incredibly complicated. Considering Stormvermin are also Core units, I salute the efforts of all of the Skaven players who have to paint up 20 or 40 of them for their armies.
Again, pretty pleased with how this little feller turned out, although looking at it now, I probably should've given him a Black nose to make it stand out better. I also completely forgot to ink wash his teeth! Isn't it strange that the miniature with the most prominent teeth is the one I forget to shade while Imperial Guardsmen who have barely visible teeth always get the ink wash treatment? All in all though, I'm seriously considering starting a Skaven army. Aside from 40k Orks, most of my miniatures are human in nature and it would be a nice change of pace to be able to paint up more monstrous creatures. Also, the Skaven fluff is just awesome. How can anyone resist an army of mutated, overgrown rats who's politics are dirtier than our own?
Okay, I'm still 1 model behind in my project. This Clanrat makes it 8 miniatures in 9 days. I probably won't be able to make a serious attempt at catching up until Thursday (my day off). Still, the last thing I want to do is fall behind even further, so I have a couple of options on my docket for tomorrow - a Blood Ravens meltagunner, a Vampire Counts Ghast, or a converted Imperial Guard Lord Commissar. If I find myself really pressed for time, then the Ghast will step up to the plate for obvious reasons. If I find myself for some odd reason with ample time and motivation, then I'll do either the meltagunner or the Lord Commissar.