Painting a Black Templar Army: Not Exactly Black and White

This weekend, I did something that I haven’t done in months and months: I actually put paint to miniature. I started working on some test models for my Black Templar army, trying to figure out my paint process (step by step, including the list of paints used – what I generally call my “recipe”) and trying to figure out how I want them to look. I find it’s best to use some test models when you start this process.

An overexposed cell phone photo of the winner of the two paint schemes

An overexposed cell phone photo of the winner of the two paint schemes

For this paint scheme (my fledgling Black Templar army) I grabbed two generic Space Marine models from the 5th edition Assault on Black Reach starter set. These models are generally easy to find on eBay and are great for starter models as they go together very quickly and are pretty easy to paint. I primed them both black with my airbrush (using Vallejo Airbrush Surface Primer) and then dusted them from above at a 45-degree angle with a dark grey of my own mixing specifically for this project (known now as the ’special sauce’). This gives the models depth, as the lighter color of paint lands on all the raised areas and then naturally fades to black in all of the areas that the airbrush doesn’t reach. This makes the model look like the shadows have been painted on, which they have been to a degree.

When I got to the iconic white shoulder pads for this army, I wanted to try a few different options. I didn’t want the white to be a flat, bright white like I frequently see on Black Templar models online. I wanted the white to be either dull or dirty in some way, and this is where starting your painting experiments with several models instead of just one starts to pay off. If you have at least two models to practice on, you can split off your ’recipe’ at some point and see which look you like better. If you only had one model you were testing on, you wouldn’t be able to compare techniques.

At this point, I’m pretty happy with the model seen above. I still need to finish the eye lenses (traditionally red for the Black Templars) and the basing colors (mainly a mud color and some small grey rocks), but once I’m happy with all of it (and have it all written down for posterity) I’ll be able to start working on the actual real models in the army and use the pictured model as an example to paint from. I’m looking forward to it.

New Terminator Leaders

I’ve been doing a lot of building lately, which means I haven’t painted in a long, long time. Like, seriously long. I think it’s been since early last year. Let me reiterate: it’s not that I haven’t been hobbying, it’s just that I built an entire Black Templar army, then started building new Chaos Space Marines units when the new book debuted, and then I got angry at the new Chaos codex and decided to switch back to Templars. And now I’m even building some new stuff for Templars, but the painting will start soon.

Black Templar Marshall in Terminator armor (left) and Sergeant in Terminator armor (right)

Black Templar Marshall in Terminator armor (left) and Sergeant in Terminator armor (right)

So I decided to try out running a Terminator Command Squad. To start that, one must have an HQ unit in terminator armor, so I’ve gone down that road and built a Marshall. I did a bit of kit bashing with him by using a set of the terminator legs from the Dark Angels terminators that came in the new Dark Vengeance box set and then one of the Forge World Black Templar Storm Shields, which are huge and awesome. I magnetized both of his shoulders so I could swap out the Storm Shield and the Lightning Claw in the future.

I also built a Sergeant for the Terminator Command Squad (as he’s a requirement) and I gave him a Storm Shield as well (but not the same fancy Forge World) and a Thunder Hammer. I usually find a guy in power armor or terminator armor without a helmet to be a silly idea, but I’ve been doing it for some of my HQ units just to make sure they’re easy to pick out of the group, visually. I also magnetized his shoulders so he can swap arms and use different weapons in the future. I built him a lightning claw arm as well, so he and the Marshall could be lightning claw bros if they wanted.

Next, I’m going to build some regular terminators to add to the group (including an assault cannon or two), and then they’ll be ready to get their bases textured. I’m hoping to get a lot of my Black Templar bases textured in the next few weeks so I can start priming them. Priming is, as you know, the next step to painting, and then soon I’ll be painting again and trying to re-learn those muscles. We’ll see how it goes.

Switching Armies?

It’s been a long time since I posted here for real (the WordPress auto-generated “end of 2012″ statistic post doesn’t count) and I want to mention exactly why that is, but it’ll have to wait for another post. Soon.

However, I did want to mention some stuff about my recent hobbying, so I figure here’s a good place to do it. Though I’ve been building pretty steadily since my last post, I haven’t actually played a game since mid-December. In that game, Kevin’s Eldar crushed my sad, stupid Chaos Space Marines, and made me take a long hard look at my new codex.

Then the new Dark Angels codex came out.

Google Image Search, you so crazy

Google Image Search, you so crazy

At this time, I’m putting my Chaos army on the shelf. I may sell them, but I haven’t decided yet. I think Games Workshop did a real disservice to the Chaos codex, especially when comparing it to the codex that they published before it (Necrons) and the codex after (Dark Angels). I could get into a long discussion about it and mention stats and force org comparisons and whatnot, but I don’t feel like it at this time. There are plenty of threads at Dakka Dakka and Warseer and other message boards that go over these issues in exhaustive detail, but let me just say that those bits of information are only part of the issue, and the other part of it is highly intangible and emotion-based. I can’t really describe it more than that, and due to this I’ve decided to put them on the shelf (for now) and not just sell the army outright on eBay or Bartertown.

So as it stands, I’m going back to my Black Templars and the allies that I’ve chosen for them, being at this time the Grey Knights and the Ultramarines. I have a game tonight against Kevin’s same Eldar list and tomorrow night I have a game against Jason’s Dark Eldar list. And though I doubt I’ll win either (as they’re both better players than me) I will probably at least feel better about my army, and for whatever reason, that’s pretty important to me.

2012 in Automated Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for me, so take a look at it if you want. I’ll have a more specific end of the year report up soon.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 18,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

More Building Progress and the Apocalypse

Due to the holidays and work and a few other things, I’ve been a bit slow on my posts here. But I have been working on the hobby and trying new things, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

I’ve been building new stuff for my Chaos Space Marine army. Although there are many actual models released for the line (including some new units released in the new book) there are anyways still units in the book that there are no actual models for. Case in point: the Nurgle Chaos Lord on Bike with Lightning Claw and Power Axe. Try and find a model for it on the website; it’s not there. I’ve looked. So I’m making my own.

Greasy Rider

Greasy Rider

So he sits on a Chaos Bike (‘natch) and his torso/head combination is a Forge World Death Guard piece. His lightning claw is from the new Chaos Space Marine Raptor/Warp Talon kit (the first time there have ever been Chaos lightning claws for sale) and his power axe is actually from a Beastman kit in the Warhammer Fantasy line. I made sure to magnetize the two arms so they could be swapped in with other arms when needed. I added some Green Stuff and modeled it to look Nurgle-y, which was fun. He needs a little more work (with some Liquid Green Stuff and maybe a trophy or some spikes, and then some basing) and then he’ll be ready for priming and paint.

And even though there are plenty of models for new units in the codex, sometimes I just don’t like those models and end up building my own. In this case, it’s the new Dark Apostle. He’s like an evil chaplain, and the new model is cool, but he’s made in Games Workshop’s Finecast resin instead of their excellent injection-molded plastic. He had a lot of small pieces and fine parts, and models like that in Finecast always make me nervous. As I’ve said in the past, if he was a Nurgle unit, I’d be fine with using Finecast, as bubbles and imperfections are part of the look, but in other units I’m leery. So again, I made my own.

Dark Apostle Gonna Hate

Dark Apostle Gonna Hate

The robed legs are from the Dark Angels upgrade sprue, the torso is from the Possessed troops, the head is from the Berzerkers kit, the staff is the icon holder’s pole from the regular CSM troop sprues with the standard Chaos icon on top, and the scrolls and books are mainly all from the Grey Knights. I’m going to paint the scrolls and books to look like they were holy Imperial texts and then I will blaspheme them with Chaos icons and such. I’m going to try to put extra effort into this figure when it comes time to paint, and may even attempt a bit of freehand. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m pretty happy with the modeling so far.

Lastly, I played in my first Apocalypse game at Fire For Effect Games a few weeks ago. I brought about 2200 points of Chaos Space Marines and we had me and five other players on the “bad guys” side. We were up against six players on the Imperial side, including a pretty cool Titan model made out of paper.

So many models, and you can kinda see the Titan off in the distance

So many models, and you can kinda see the Titan off in the distance

It was cool to see, but it was a little too much for me. I seem to like smaller games and will probably stick to 1 vs. 1 or maybe 2 vs. 2 in the future. That being said, we did win, however. Suck it, Corpse God!

Issues With the New Chaos Space Marine Codex and a New F(r)iend

So I’ve been pretty busy lately with the release of a new codex for my beloved Chaos Space Marines. I’ve been going through it over and over again, and I’m still up in the air with it. I’m not selling my figures and rage-quitting the codex, but there are some definite things I would have liked to see working differently than they are in the new book.

The main things: I really preferred the old daemon weapons that Chaos Lords could have back in the old book. They were just more variable, more interesting and they had more options, both for gameplay and for modeling. I also think the new Daemon Princes are too expensive for what you get, especially when they don’t get Eternal Warrior. I’m also bummed by cult troops (Plague Marines, Khorne Berzerkers, Thousand Sons and Noise Marines) being Elite choices unless you unlock them as Troops with the proper HQ choice. It’s kind of forcing you into making a mono-list (all Nurgle or all Slaanesh, etc.) and not really giving you a bonus for doing so. All in all, I’ll have to figure out what the best situation for me is going to be.

Towards that end, I’ve played three games with the new codex rules. I played a 1000-point game against John’s Crimson Fists using Space Wolves (aka Space Fists) a few weeks ago. That game I won, though it really seemed like I wouldn’t, early on. I got many lucky rolls with my Mark of Nurgle Terminators (they just wouldn’t die) and one of my Aspiring Champions turned into a Daemon Prince at one point (he never did anything cool, but he soaked an entire round of shooting from John before he finally shuffled off this mortal coil, thereby protecting the rest of my army from a full turn of gunfire) and I played the objectives well, so I pulled it out. Almost immediately after that game, I played an 1850-point game against Mike and his mostly all Space Marine bike list. I lost a lot of figures, but neither of us were able to score an objective properly, and neither of us was able to kill the other’s warlord, and we were both in each other’s deployment zone, so we were tied on primary and secondary points. Except: I had destroyed one of his units early on in the game, therefore I got the “First Blood” secondary objective, giving me a one point advantage, and allowing me to squeak out a victory. Barely.

Then, a week or two later, I played Kevin and his dreaded all-Terminator Deathwing army. My winning streak didn’t hold up.

This is nearly an eighth of the Terminators that Kevin brought to our battle

Long story short: my list could not properly deal with a million Terminators (mostly all with Storm Shields and Cyclone Missile Launchers) Deepstriking “all up in my business” and taking all of my objectives. I know I did make some tactical mistakes in this battle, and there’s also the variable of the dice to contend with, but the Deathwing are just real bonecrushers, no matter what, and this new codex has very little to contend with them. I’ll have to work harder and try to figure out what my best bet will be, as Deathwing is the only army that Kevin has currently. He is working on a new Eldar army, but I’ve had bad luck with them (sometimes) in the past, too. I’ll need to up my game.

Forgefiend with the Hades Autocannons and the “Mr. Licky” head option

In hobby news, I (mostly) finished building my new Forgefiend model. I say mostly because he still needs more work done to his base (maybe a dead guy half-buried in ash, or maybe even a skeleton) and he only has one set of weapons magnetized. I will probably magnetize the other set of guns (the two Ectoplasma Cannons) later, as I’d rather run the Hades Autocannons (seen in the photo) in most situations. Also, I’m out of magnets, but have a shipment coming in next week, so that won’t be a problem for long.

I have a few other built models to show you, and I’ll have more soon, but this is enough for today. Better to spread it out so you don’t get bored with all of my productivity all at once.

Painting Chaos Cultists: Quick and Easy, Part One

So, like many 40k nerds out there, I purchased a copy of the Dark Vengeance Warhammer 40,000 Starter Box, which includes a bunch of Dark Angels (neat looking, but not my thing) and a bunch of Chaos Space Marines (one of my armies) as did my friend Karl (who plays Dark Angels) and then we traded the half of the boxes that we weren’t going to use. Therefore, I ended up with doubles of everything Chaos-related in the Dark Vengeance box. As it relates to this post, that means I have 40 Chaos Cultists to paint.

Chaos Cultists are a new unit to the newest version of the Chaos Space Marine codex, and they are, for all intents and purposes, cannon fodder. However, they’re cheap cannon fodder (in game points) and they can hold and score objectives, so I figured it would be good to include them in my army. I built them all (they mainly just snap together one way, so they were a quick build) and cleaned off the minimal mold lines and then textured their bases. Once they were all prepared, it was time to prime and basecoat them. I usually prime and basecoat with my airbrush these days, but since there are so many of these guys, I wanted to use a technique that would work through these guys pretty quickly. So I grabbed my bag of spraycans and went outside.

All lined up according to the base color I’ll prime them

I used three main primer colors: Duplicolor Auto Red Oxide, Krylon Camo Brown, Krylon Camo Green, and Krylon Camo Black. All of these colors are great one-two punches for getting models both primed and basecoated all in one step. Rather than priming a model black, and then painting the basecoat brown or dark green or dark red, with these cans you can prime and basecoat in one step, which saves time.

A good starter coat of dark brown

As usual, don’t spray it on too thick, but make sure to get even coverage. I kind of split up my figures and tried to make sure that none of the specific poses would get the same base colors, therefore making the group look more like a chaotic group of rabble. I’ll work even more in the future steps to make two figures of the same sculpt look different from each other.

The first pass of spraycan never catches all the underside bits of the sculpts

After they’ve dried a bit (maybe 5-10 minutes, depending on humidity) then it’s best to lay them on their fronts and then prime again, to make sure to get paint on the undersides of the figures. Then, after another 5-10 minutes, flip them over and get the other side’s underside areas. Now you’ll have a completely primed model.

Now, it’s time to add that special something, and even differentiate the paint jobs a bit more. Get out your other paintcans and dust the models from above.

After dusting with different spraycans, this group looks a good deal different

If you dust the models with a lighter version of the base color from above, then they look as if you added in a built-in blended shadow to your paintjob, and they’ll look nicer and they’ll seem to look like you spent more time on them. If you dust the models with a lighter version of a different color from above, then it looks as if the model is being hit from above with a colored light, or it can add some discord to the look of the model, which is totally acceptable when painting nearly anything from Chaos, in my opinion. Therefore, I dusted some of the dark brown models with a tan (Krylon Camo Khaki), whereas others I dusted with grey or even red. The dark green models were either dusted with a light green for a natural look or tan for a touch of visual discord. And lastly, priming in black and then dusting with nearly any other color usually looks pretty good, I think.

The whole group of 40 Chaos Cultists, ready for further detailing

So with all 40 figures primed, basecoated and even shadow-blended, I’m now pretty far ahead for having a big force of tabletop-quality cultists with not much work. Next time I touch on this topic, I’ll show you where you can go from here.


atom smashing

A gaming blog talking about miniatures games, miniatures painting and collecting, game design and other nerdly delights.


The Statistics – 2013

Minis games played:
• WH40k (1850 pts):
   BT/GK vs Kevin (Eldar/DE) LOST
• WH40k (1500 pts):
   BT vs Jason (D.E.) LOST
• WH40k (1500 pts):
   BT vs Kevin (S.W.) LOST
Minis finished:
 none yet
Terrain finished:
 none yet
Cons attended:
 Fire & Ice
updated 28FEB2013

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