Thursday, July 30, 2015

Third ETL Vow

I finally finished my third vow for the ETL IV hosted by Bolter and Chainsword. I was hoping to get two more vows completed, but things have gotten in the way... Anyway, this one was relatively simple, a Chimera and a Deathstrike Missile Launcher. It still took me about two weeks, twice as long as planned.

The Chimera is to be a transport for my soon to be Veteran squad. With that in mind, the Chimera was done up with some slight alterations to show a possible taint by Chaos. The spikes added and the rusty hooks on the side are there to add to the atmosphere. I even painted tiny horns to the skulls of the Aquila on the sides. The silver face is a Mordheim leftover. I am just trying my best to avoid adding any other Imperial symbols to the craft.

I did another variation on the camouflage, a sort of poor man's urban camo. I created my company with an urban environment in mind, hence all the greys I've been using. I also reached a bit further and put a face on the dozer blade. It may be a bit hokey, but there is precedent. During the Korean War, the US Army painted tiger faces onto the fronts of M-26 Pershings, as some of the Chinese were superstitious. In order to make my veterans more fearsome, their tank too received a face!

I just had to add a huge template weapon to my list. The Astra Militarum cannot get any bigger than the Deathstrike Missile! Since I like to paint in pairs or more, I grabbed a Missile Launcher. 
I haven't yet used the weapon yet, but I am dying to see what it does.

The missile was primed white with the warheads masked off. I then used Astronomicon Grey, masked it off and then Mechanicus Standard. 

I made no modifications to this one. The front line troops are the ones suffering the changes. The backline troops have not yet begun the metamorphosis. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Storm Talons of the Scythes

Saving the best of my Scythes for last, I present my Storm Talons. These are the last pieces I have done for my Scythes as of now. Working in my usual style, I built and painted the pair at the same time. The two even are armed the same. Painting is where there are some differences.

Talon number 1 on the left received some stripes and more of a yellow tail. I just wanted to experiment with striping a tad. It came out pretty good. Like all my other Scythe models, they were primed white to give the yellow more of a pop when it gets airbrushed on. Anything to remain yellow was then carefully taped off to completely painted separately, i.e. the cockpit. Black was then sprayed onto them. The black was given a stippling of blue/black that I had to soften it some. I had not yet gotten into using weathering powders yet that can be used to 'fade' the paint.


The cockpit was fully detailed. A Techmarine is piloting the vehicle with accompanying Scythian shoulder pad. The canopy was taped over with the trusty Tamiya tape. Which was then slightly cut away in the corners of the glass to expose the framework. The entire glass piece then sprayed yellow, tape removed, and a clean piece was left behind. Regular PVA glue was used to attach the canopy. Use of superglue or plastic glue can cause the clear pice to 'fog' up, especially if it isn't given the ability to let the fumes escape.

The biggest experiment with these was on the bases. Number 5 was done in normal fashion of glue and sand after placing the wall. This resulted in a very flat piece even with a few rocks on it. On Talon number 1, I put some light modeling paste down (Golden). Wetting it, I added sand to the putty and molded a small crater into the base. This gives the ground a more realistic feel to it. Some undulations and even moving it up against the wall to show the build up of debris as you would see naturally. For large base like the guys use, the light modeling paste was much better in achieving realistic results. 


The only drawback I had was with the clear stand. I taped it up with regular masking tape so I could save my Tamiya tape. During the gloss coating and dull coating, the tape failed in spots. I went ahead and sprayed the rest of it to avoid the splotchiness of the effect. Why not just glue the flying stand on afterward? By getting it attached in the first place you get the strong bond of plastic to plastic melting together. It's more work, but going the easy way in this case would not be the best way. Lesson learned that I did not hold back with the Tamiya tape when I painted up my Ravenwing aircraft in an earlier post.

Each time I do a project whether it be a squad, a tank, or terrain. I always want to add something new to the repertoire of techniques. The technique can be something simple like the striping on here, or using the modeling paste. I recommend trying something new each time you work on a project.

Friday, July 17, 2015

KickStarter Boost!

If you haven't already heard, the guys from Fallout Hobbies are Kickstarting a design it yourself decal sheet! Why am I mentioning this? Well, if you are in any way like me and have a difficult time painting freehand or in a straight line; this could be the way to go. You can make up your own design and request them to make a sheet full of your design!

As they have explained on their site, you cannot print white! There is no standard white colored ink you can use in your regular desktop laserjet or inkjet printer. Without the white as a base any light colored decals you put onto a dark background tend to disappear. You can see an example of this 'fail' on my Scythe's Commanders backpack banner. The strong yellow became quite faded. You may not have noticed if I didn't admit this. This was a decal I printed out for myself. I didn't create it.

If you have ever worked with decals, you may notice that may of the bright colored decals have a white background when you look at the backside. In painting terms, think of this as the base color before the main layer goes down. It gives the light color something to build off of when placed onto the dark colors.

Why am I excited for this? Because the decals I have for my Scythes are a perfect candidate for this upgrade! Here are the decals from the Bell of Lost Souls site. I also created a sheet of generic unit designations too. These would be great in white!

jpeg version
jpeg version

You don't have to recreate the pyramids to take advantage of this opportunity. The decals on the Bell of Lost Souls site are free. You can grab some of the BOLS decal sheets that are in color and have them redone on a white background. It would make it so much easier to build up your Heresy era Space Marines, especially for Ironhands or Raven Guard. Here is a quick link to help you find them faster!

So, hurry now as the Kickstarter ends on the 23rd of July. I am sure you can still order from them afterwards, but I am also sure the cost would be higher.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Scythe Command Characters

The Chapter Master Thorcyra for the Scythes passed during the Battle on Miral at the Giant's Coffin. Most of the Command characters also died during their defense against Hive Fleet Kraken. Their leadership was so broken, only one Librarian survived. With Company Master Thrasius immediately charged with leading the Scythes to safety and rebirth.

My special characters were left for last when putting the army togther. I wanted to have a Sicarius representative. Simply for the fact that he could cause Instant Death with a single strike. A suitable item to use against something like a Carnifex or even against a Hive Tyrant should he survive the original onslaught. The scythe I built was fairly rudimentary, and there are better options out there now (Heresy Death Guard). I like what I created, but I was never really happy with him. I wanted him to have something that grabbed a person's attention with the scythe. But it never really materialized into what I envisioned. He is in need of a rebuild or retirement. 

I knew I wanted to have a Chaplain Cassius, simply for the fluff. A known survivor of the Tyranid attacks. Meet Chaplain Bayne, a metal figure that I filed the Ultramarine symbols off from his shoulder and kneepad. Bayne is a great character as far as Challenges go with his Toughness of six and Feel No Pain. Being part of a squad really weakens him, but you don't want to have him run around alone.

I do have plans to build up a Company Command Squad. Probably around the time I rebuild my Company Master. I sorta have to now that I have an Apothecary, but no squad for him to accompany. This a Forgeworld creation. It comes two to a pack. The other was assigned to my Dark Angels. The fluid jars at the top came out the best. I am really quite happy with this guy. 


Once I get past my ETL vows for Bolter and Chainsword, I plan to add more to the Scythes to make them more complete and competitive.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Scythe's Combat Vehicles

My Scythes are built around an idea of movement. Whether it be in Rhinos and Storm Landspeeders or Attack Bikes and Dreadnoughts being delivered via Drop Pod. It's a concept I am still trying to learn. A theory of move and fire. I only want to engage in melee combat once I know I have the edge. Playing to a theme that each model is more than just a figure, but that each one is a valuable. It is a very conservative notion. Outside of the Ravenwing and White Scars, I am envisioning the Scythes to be a mobile force as well.

To carry on that picture, one of the first units I put together was a squadron of Attack Bikes. Three Bikes each one different in insignia. Allowing for them to be deployed separately, but also enough alike that if they were deployed as one, they would still meld together.

The bikes were modeled in a way that allows for either the Mulit-melta to be used or the Heavy Bolter. I did this without using magnets. Just a simple paperclip and a hole drilled carefully into the waist of the gunners. Much easier than magnets to carry out and a bit cheaper too.

Why even have the Heavy Bolters when all the meta says Meltas are the way to go? This squadron is an awesome anti-horde unit. And they can move and shoot. Able to bring their firepower anywhere on the board. With all the shots, they have the potential to put a wound on any monster that is thrown at the Scythes. Just as well with the Multi-meltas they are a gun target due to their high threat value against everything. Albeit, just one wound at a time if they hit.


If I really need some heavy anti-armor, I just bring in my lone Dreadnought. I deploy him via Drop Pod only. With his HK missiles and melt gun, he can be dropped alongside a tank and cause havoc in the backfield immediately. I have only ever used him with the Dread Close Combat Arm and Seismic Hammer. I just wish the Dread was more reliable. Even with the 13 armor they are still fragile until they can engage in combat. For around 200 points, he is a reliable gun magnet. I love the model and the potential he has is awesome. I must get another two at least.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

ETL IV: The Second Vow

I made a second vow for the Bolter and Chainsword painting contest. I decided to add two more vehicles that had been sitting in my 'to do' box for the last few years, a Stygies Pattern Vanquisher, and a Mars Alpha Pattern Exterminator. Both of these are Forge World items made of resin to add to plastic kits.

Overall, the pieces were in great shape with little to no bending to be done. The lone exception was the auto cannons on the Exterminator looked to be cross-eyed. There were some excessive mold lines but nothing that required major surgery. The rear end, near the exhaust pipes on the Exterminator needed some additional puttying and sanding afterwards, but for the most part the tanks were easy builds.

One of the dust filters for the back end broke at the hose, so it was set aside. I added some extra stowage to the turret from my extensive bits box. These were painted separately and glued on later. This made access to the turret and the bags much easier when painting. More so when it came to the weathering as well. 

When it came to painting, the Exterminator was done up just like the Punishers. Although I did not do the initial fading on the panels this time. What I did do was to use oil paints for the fading. This is accomplished after all the base paints, decals, and gloss coats has been laid down. Using oil paints, you then place dabs of white, yellow, blue, and brown onto the tops and sides of the vehicle (other colors can be used as well to get differing effects). The lighter colors generally get placed in the center of a panel with the darker ones near corners or the base of the tank. Then, with another clean brush dipped in thinner (odorless terpenoid is preferred) mix the colors together. Usually pushing out to the edges so the darker colors gather in the crevices or near the bottom. The lighter colors then do their job and lighten the underneath panels so slightly. This gains you a couple of advantages, one as a filter it can level all the paints and decals beneath it, second with it being washed out with the thinner, the oil paints can change whole tone of the tank. It is a gradual effect. 

There are a few little details added to the vehicle, a burst rivet that has rusted through for example, extra support on the sponsons. The treads had to be done twice. The first time seems to have been wiped out by the final gloss/dull coating. So I redid them and set the powders with water. Things you learn. Oh, you can set weathering powders with thinner. This will allow you to wipe it away later on. If you set them with water, you may not be so lucky. Water tends to make powders permanent. Learn from my mistakes!

The Vanquisher got a different paint scheme than normal. Going through the first Forge World book, I got some ideas. I ended up liking the paint scheme for an Imperial Thunderbolt done in greens. I simply ran with the idea in the greys I am using for my army instead. I will let you figure out the order of colors this time. The darker of the three greys is the Vallejo Black Grey from their model paint range. I love their colors and the dropper bottles. Yet, I've been groomed with the GW colors, and being colorblind... that is another post.

The Vanquisher got the most additions. Just little things I added here and there. The most obvious being the prow and maybe the rucksack in the back. Still, for me, this is one of my better results with regards to painting tanks. Many things came together to make it stand out.

I did not like the empty storage bin that is normally there on the old Leman Russ tanks, so I gave it a lid. Doing that made the other side look empty, so I added one to that side as well, rivets and all. I also added some reinforcing to the front around the lascannon too. The old Russ kits didn't always fit snug and left some gaps. Adding the extra armor strips filled those in while making it look a bit beefier. The ram in the front is from an old Ork war buggy I had sitting around. It looked the part to go with the Kanak style.

With each kit that I work on, I try to add a new trick, or try a new concept. Some work out like the axe handle, some not so much, like the jerry can (not extremely happy with it). But each step gives me an idea of what does and does not work. Or something that I may want to improve upon. Not every painter comes out with award winning items on their first try. They all had their stumbles along the way. I am just trying to get better and with each project. It's good to get out of your comfort zone sometimes.