Archive for the 'Painting' Category

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.

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.

Some Games and Some Dullcote

I’ve been pretty busy, hobby-wise, since my last update. I’ve done the trifecta: I’ve built models, I’ve painted (the last step of painting is sealing with Dullcote, so it counts), and I’ve played some games. Let’s get chronological:

Uncle Tickles, the Chaos Rhino, and Ol’ Drippy make the worst boy band ever

There was a very pleasant day recently with almost no wind and low humidity, so it struck me that I should probably be sealing some models. I generally use Testor’s Dullcote, which is frequently hard to find here in town. The two places that carry it (Hobby Town and Hobby Lobby) are usually out of stock. I would think they would order more so they can actually make some damn sales, but what do I know? Therefore, when I can actually find it, I tend to buy it so I have it when I need it. Luckily, I had some when this lovely day came along, so I was able to seal and finish Uncle Tickles, my Chaos Rhino, and Ol’ Drippy. Drippy actually isn’t completely finished, as he needs a little bit of gloss varnish on his drippy parts, to make them look wet, but he’ll be done soon. I’ll have to take some real nice GlamourShots of them when I get my photo rig set back up again.

This was the only photo I took during this game because it was the only good thing to happen for me during this game

I recently played a big 2000-point game against Kevin down in the Nerd Bunker. I used nearly every Black Templar model I had, and Kevin brought a combination of Deathwing Terminators, Ravenwing Bikers, and an ally force of Imperial Guard consisting of some I.G. guys and two Vendetta flying gunships of death. All in all, my bad dice and his superior list contributed to me getting thoroughly destroyed, although at least I wasn’t tabled. There isn’t much more to say about that, but I do have some better ideas for strategy next time. Hopefully this trouncing will cause me to remember these new lessons when the time comes.

These guys are planning to go and squash those bugs… the bugs have other ideas

Then, this past Saturday, Ben and Josh (and later Tom) came over and we played some games. It was Josh’s first games of 6th edition, so we started with a game of Josh and I (running 500 points each of Imperial Fists and Black Templar, respectively) against Ben and 1000 points of his mean, hurtful Necrons. As you might be able to tell from my subtle and masterful foreshadowing, we didn’t win that game. Honestly, we didn’t win the hell out of that game. Then we ate some lovely chili and chatted about nerd topics for quite awhile. Afterwards, we decided to switch it up a bit, and then Ben and Josh brought 500 points each of Necrons and Tau (respectively) against my 1000 points of Black Templar. Again, the Necrons won that game as well (I harmed way more of Josh’s Tau than I did Ben’s Necrons) and then we all (including my wife) went to eat burgers and prime rib. Other than the Necrons, it was a pretty good day.

Lastly, as of the last few days, I’ve been working on the Chaos forces in the new 6th edition Warhammer 40,000 “starter box”, Dark Vengeance. At this point, I’ve built six Chosen and seven Cultists, and I still have a Chaos Lord, a Hell Brute and 13 more Cultists to build. Then, I have an entire second set of Dark Vengeance to build, as my friend Karl and I each bought one and I’m trading him my Dark Angels from the box and he’s trading me his Chaos Space Marines from his box. It’s a pretty good deal, if you ask me. I’ll post about them when I get the first set built.

Proper Photos of My First Chaos Space Marine Squad

I took these photos of my finished Chaos Space Marines quite some time ago, but they’ve been sitting on my hard drive, unedited, ever since. I’m not sure what took me so long, but it’s probably one of those “out of sight, out of mind” issues. The photos were in a folder and I nearly forgot about them.

The big class photo

As you can see, I went with a Black Legion paint scheme. I worked hard to make the black not too black, yet also not grey. I also wanted the black to be a “warm” black, instead of a “cool” black. A quick rundown of my process: I prime them black, then dust them from above with a layer of medium grey. This builds in some highlights and shadows. Then I drybrush Codex Grey on the upper bits to add even more highlights.

Three Chaos dudes with bolters

I then put a GW Devlan Mud wash over the whole model to darken up the armor, and it also adds a “warmish” cast to the dark areas. This warmer cast mixes quite well with the gold trim and the bone-colored horns and whatnot. The trim on the legs is mainly all GW Bolt Gun Metal, which is a dark silver metallic.

Two “special” troopers (plasma and melta) and a regular one in the middle

The metallics are all washed with either Devlan Mud (mainly for the gold) or Badab Black (for the silver trim on the legs and the silver on the weapons) and then highlighted with the same color again after the wash dries. I’m still a pretty slow painter, so it takes me a long time, but I’m pretty happy with the results.

Three more “regulars”… a bit boring

I finish up with the same basing technique that I’ve used all throughout this army project. It ends up being a bit of a “cooler” grey ash effect with some jagged rocks thrown in for good measure. These guys have served me well since September 2011, when I actually got them finished in time for a Combat Patrol tournament. It was mainly my own forgetfulness that has kept these finished photos off of the blog until now. Unfortunately, I’m in a bit of a holding pattern on painting my Chaos Space Marine army right now, because the new edition of Warhammer 40,000 will be coming out in early July, and a new codex book for my army should be coming pretty soon after that. The issue is that I don’t know if they’re going to disband any of the units I currently use or add crazy-useful new ones or what. Therefore, I pretty much wait. And play games. And build more terrain.

The Start of a Dreadnought and a Nurgle Daemon Prince

Just a quick post to show you a few photos of two bigger projects that I’m working on: a Chaos Dreadnought converted from a Venerable Dreadnought that I picked up on eBay; and a Nurgle Daemon Prince made out of Finecast.

My converted Chaos Dreadnought, nicknamed “Zoidberg”

I wanted to field a Chaos Dreadnought (even though they used to be super-unpredictable in the rules but were recently fixed some) but the current model is terrible: it’s metal, so it weighs a ton; and it’s prohibitively ugly. Really, really ugly. So I figured I’d convert a loyalist Dreadnought and say that it was corrupted by Chaos, etc. I found a mostly built Venerable Dreadnought on eBay and picked it up. All it really took was a good deal of work with my Dremel to properly pit and corrode the model and then adding in the tentacles that are escaping from the inside of the vehicle, and boom: Chaos Dreadnought. Lastly, I primed and highlighted it with my airbrush and now I’m starting to lay down a very dark blue with Secret Weapon Miniature’s line of washes. Once that’s done, I’ll move onto metal details.

The Finecast Nurgle Daemon Prince, before priming and shading (left) and after (right)

The Nurgle Daemon Prince is something I was always interested in, but again, he was always metal and the last thing I want is a metal model that’s the size and weight of a baseball. However, he was recently re-released in Finecast (Games Workshop’s new resin line of models) which is lighter and a bit easier to work with, but the models are usually poorly cast and filled with pits, bubbles, and other surface imperfections. But, since he’s a Nurgle Daemon Prince (who’s already covered in boils and other horribleness) I figured that being a poorly-cast Finecast model wouldn’t matter. This was mostly true, but I did have to use my heat gun to straighten out his sword, which came to me pretty bendy. He went together pretty easily and I added some tiny little skeletal wings to his back, because a Daemon Prince without the Wings rule is like a day without sunshine. I’ve started to paint his skin a bright green color (using “Fallout” and “Green” washes from Secret Weapon Miniatures again) and look forward to trying some rust and corrosion techniques to his sword and armor.

I’m really looking forward to getting him and Zoidberg all finished up. After these guys are done, then I’ll either be moving on to some more Plague Marines or (more likely) some vehicles, like my two Vindicators. They need to be painted up so they start working better in my battles. Everyone knows that painted models work better, so once all my Chaos Space Marine force is finished, I’ll be nigh-invincible, I assume.

Uncle Tickles Revealed

So, the dread Chaos Lord Avunculus Titillacus (Uncle Tickles for short) was introduced during the battle against Kevin and his Ultramarines a few weeks ago. I liked him so much, I decided he needed to get painted as soon as possible. I’ve been working on him the last few nights and a bit of last weekend, and here are some preliminary shots of him 99% finished.

Preliminary photos of Uncle Tickles

I think there might be another touch up or two here and there, and of course he’ll need to be sprayed and sealed with Dullcote if the humidity ever drops below 80% outside, but otherwise I think he’s done. I like how the lightning claws turned out. I painted them a color called ‘Sky Blue’ (either Vallejo or Reaper paints, I just remember it was in a dropper bottle) and then used my airbrush to do a white fade from the tips. I’m pretty sure that’s how I’m going to do all of my lightning claws from now on, and may try to use the same effect for all power weapons (except power fists, probably) going forward.

He was a fun model to build and paint, and I want to thank my good friend Eric for getting me the kit for Christmas. I have another one to build, and I’m trying to figure out what kind of specs I want him to have. I’m kind of thinking of making the next one a Chaos Terminator Sorcerer, and maybe make the new one a little more Thousand Sons themed perhaps. Or is there something better to do with a Chaos Terminator Lord kit? If you have any ideas, I’d love to see them below, and I’ll get proper fancy lightbox photos of Uncle Tickles and Ol’ Drippy maybe even this weekend.

Nearly Finished Nurgle Chaos Lord

Just a quick Sunday post about some progress I’ve made on my Nurgle Chaos Lord that I started last year. He’s nearly done, so here’s a sneak peek:

My nearly finished Nurgle Chaos Lord, "Ol' Drippy"

I’m pretty happy with how the paint came out, and he’s “nearly done” only because I haven’t decided if I’m interested in adding a blue-green “patina” wash to his backpack or not, and I still want to coat his leaky gut bits in a gloss varnish after I spray him with the Dullcote to give him a matte finish.

He was fun to model and paint, and when he’s completely finished he’ll spend some time in the lightbox for a proper photo shoot. However, until then you’ll have to make do with the above cellphone photo. I was also working on a Berzerker Skull Champion (nearly done) and good old Uncle Tickles (a little over half done) so I’ll get photos up for both of them soon.


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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