Age of Sigmar · Chaos · Slaanesh · Warhammer 40000

Seekers of Slaanesh and Finding Uses For Contrast Paints

While the models for Seekers themselves are definitely showing their age especially compared to modern Games Workshop offerings, I think they still have a place at least visually in a 40k Daemons of Slaanesh army. Being a purely painting project, I can only assume how they function in game; and that is stupid fast, but with the durability of wet paper. I ended up with ten of these and while they weren’t one of the kits in this army I was particularly looking forward to working with, I’m still pretty happy with the end result. There’s something cool about Daemonettes riding in on these serpentine, alien looking creatures, while holding banners and playing music– as if heralding the coming of Da Purple (and Pink) Tide.

The other thing about these models is that since I wanted to get through them as fast as I could, I figured they’d be the perfect ones to finally break out the “new” Contrast Paints for and do some experimenting with. Special mention to some of the most amusing promos Games Workshop has ever done. The Conan parody especially got a good chuckle out of me.

I remember Contrast Paints being scoffed at by portions of the community (as we tend to do with new things), and in some ways undeservedly. I think a lot of people’s first introduction to them were these “leaked” pictures floating around the internet of individual Space Marines, each looking like they were slathered in one of the many to-be-available colors. While they did do a great job of showcasing what these paints could do straight from the pot, parts of the community started seeing these as a lazy shortcut that would keep new hobbyists from learning how to paint properly. Add to that, when applied heavily, Contrast paint can pool into crevices a little too much, making recessed areas look less shaded and more gunky or chalky. It had a very distinct look to it that wasn’t too great if used lazily. For awhile there was also a hyper focus on Contrast-heavy tutorials on the Warhammer TV YouTube channel and in White Dwarf for what felt like a good year as Games Workshop pushed these paints hard.

That said, I would rather set up across from someone whose army made heavy use of Contrast rather than bare grey plastic. Even for someone who tries to go for a little above tabletop standard quality, I think Contrast Paints will be an invaluable addition to my hobby toolkit as I make my way through future projects and more importantly, help whittle away at my pile of shame. For example, I find straps and pouches incredibly boring to paint on rank and file troops, and if I could make just a single pass at them and be done with them I would. I’m probably not alone since colors like Snakebite Leather were constantly out of stock for the first few weeks. I would have loved to have a pot of even that one color while I was repainting my Ork army.

As you can see above, the Seekers themselves were done almost entirely in Contrast (apart from the pink hair and fins), though I did a bare minimum of layer work on the flesh to make it pop a little more. I based the entire model in Grey Seer, and used Black Templar on the scales, and about 1:1 of Space Wolves Grey and Contrast Medium for the flesh. I touched up a bit on it again with some Grey Seer to make the larger, smooth areas of flesh look a little less dull too.

And speaking of pink, I also came up with a method of doing pink hair that I used across the army. It took a bit of experimenting, but Dechala Lilac ended up being just the right color for the pale pink that you’ll see across the range.

  • [Basecoat] Dechala Lilac
  • [Wash] Carroburg Crimson
  • [Layer] Dechala Lilac
  • [Highlight] Dechala Lilac + White Scar (2:1)

Being a cavalry model, they benefit from painting the mount and rider separately. The Daemonette riders I didn’t use much contrast on beyond their claws, and were painted pretty much exactly like I painted my rank and file Daemonettes. Again, not sure how effective they are in game, but they look cool when set up alongside the rest of the army.

Definitely more to come.

Age of Sigmar · Chaos · Slaanesh · Warhammer 40000

Daemonettes: Purple and Pink Is In This Year.

I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the original depictions of creatures you’d find in fairy tales. Things like elves, dwarves, and of course fairies, were mysterious beings believed to live deep in the forest and were often thought of as, at the very least, mischievous. Unlike the friendly and often helpful variety we grew up seeing in cartoons, these beings could also be much more malicious as well, stealing away children or leading travelers astray, never to be seen again. TVTropes has an article on that flavor of fairy tale creature, titled The Fair Folk, that’s worth a quick read. In fact, about a decade ago during a round table interview, Jes Goodwin and Phil Kelly mentioned the Dark Eldar’s redesign was inspired in part by those old fairy tales. That’s one thing that originally drew me to the Druhkari’s fluff, but honestly they’re much closer to space pirates than evil Fae creatures (not that that’s a bad thing). Slaanesh Daemons on the other hand fit that style much better, especially with all the new models, and that’s kind of the general mindset I had as I worked on this army– as if they were coming out of the forest in the dead of winter to do very bad things.

First off, I didn’t know I was signing up to paint another horde army when I started this project. At the end of the day, I don’t regret it, especially since this army was also partially a way to get into Age of Sigmar, but it was rough going partway through. I’m just a few years removed from repainting my entire Ork army mind you; something that made me swear off ever taking on anything that required painting mobs of cheap units ever again.

Well, as the fall to Slaanesh does, it started off innocently enough– just a single box of Daemonettes that I thought would be fun to paint a fresh color scheme on. Then the Wrath and Rapture box came out and I was able to get the Slaaneshi half for cheap. Having a small army for low point games seemed like an easy side project worth pursuing. Then more new models came out, like the Contorted Epitome and Keeper of Secrets. Before I knew it I was in too deep, and as I’d learn quickly, I’d need more Daemonettes too. A lot more.

The “humble” Daemonette also happens to be the first model kit I want to talk about. Just to get this out of the way, they are some of the most spindly and fragile infantry models I’ve ever worked with (a theme with this model range). In particular, the amount of surface area that attaches the elbow to the rest of the arm is really small, so as reliable as the plastic glue I use is, I just have a feeling I’m gonna be dealing with arms falling off over the years. Being as thin as they are means they don’t have much heft to them either, so during the priming and varnishing process, it was annoyingly easy to knock them over with a blast from a spray can.

Since these latest ones came out, they’ve been the subject of quite a bit of controversy too. I think a lot of people interpreted the move from the older Juan Diaz models to a more “modest” design as Games Workshop caving in to parents who might be concerned that some models in this new game their kids were bugging them about were a little too sexy-sexy. Yeah, maybe… but I also think they’ve had it in mind for awhile to make Slaanesh stand out as more than just the Chaos God of naughtiness. There’s more to excess and perfection than that after all.

The crab arms though… those took me awhile to get over. In all fairness, when you take a look at some of the really old metal models from Fantasy, you can see what they were going for. A design that paid homage to that era of Warhammer history, while going for a less monstrous, more androgynous look. The only thing I’d really complain about now is just how static the poses are for beings that are supposed to be graceful, yet inhumanly fast. That might have been out of necessity back from when Warhammer Fantasy had you setting up units in tight blocks though.

Being the first models in this army, naturally there was a lot of experimenting that would have to be done. In particular, I knew I had to get a shade of skin I felt I felt 100% happy with to use across this entire range because I’m just the kind of person that will repaint every model if I have to if I find a technique that just works better for me. At first things were too purple. I started off with the more pastel colors like Slaanesh Grey, but the end result wasn’t what I was looking for. A lot of the stock images of Daemonettes have them with really light grey skin, but straight greys were even more boring.

What I ended up doing was starting them off with a base of Celestra Grey, then creating a wash from a watered down mix of Druchii Violet and Lahmian Medium in a spare pot that became invaluable as I made my way through this army. I wish I could remember the exact mix, but it was very close to 1:1 or even 2:5, since you really want to take the edge off what is a very dark wash. Layering on lighter greys gives us this really cold looking skin tone with just enough color that I thought would compliment the snowy bases I’d add later. The final process is as follows:

  • [Basecoat] Celestra Grey
  • [Wash] Diluted Druchii Violet mix
  • [Layer] Celestra Grey
  • [Layer] 1:1 Celestra Grey + Ulthuan Grey
  • [Fine Highlight] Ulthuan Grey

A few other details are their teeth which I painted really carefully with White Scar and the eyes which I painted with Corvus Black. As a finishing touch on the models I went back and added small amounts of Carroburg Crimson into their eyes, since a lot of art depicts them as either having red bruising or having something that looks like runny makeup. It also makes the eyes pop a little more.

While I’m continuously learning, one of the biggest things I’m walking away from thanks to this project is actually having an idea of how to blend better. After experimenting over the course of about 60 Daemonettes and various other units with riders and what not, I would hope I learned something. When I get close to running out of Lahmian Medium, I’m definitely going to look for a better, cheaper alternative, because that stuff has been invaluable for getting paint to apply in a certain way that I find easier to work with than just water sometimes.

And finally here’s a parting shot of what a blob of (almost) 30 would look like. I’ve painted 59 Daemonettes total so far, and the 60th is a standard bearer I wanna try doing a step-by-step guide on some time in the future. I think I’ve found a happy medium between quality and ease of painting these and I am actually happy with the end result. I know some people can churn out models like crazy, but I think anything with a high model count is just a hard no from me from now on.

Boxed Games · Personal · Slaanesh · Warhammer 40000

Back From a Break, Finishing a Side Army, and Hobby Thoughts

Hey again. It’s been awhile hasn’t it? It’s also been a rough year-and-a-half for the world since my last entry and I’ve had to take time off the hobby due to unrelated personal reasons that we need not get into. What we ought to get into however, and something that I’ll be posting more about in the coming weeks are the Slaanesh Daemons aka Hedonites of Slaanesh that I just finished up. Though this took probably double the time it should have due to the fluctuating amount of attention I’ve given the hobby in the last two years, it’s been a weight off my shoulders to see it finally done, minus a certain large centerpiece model. What helped a lot was having a new permanent and dedicated hobby space outside of my bedroom that wasn’t cramping up the place. What didn’t was me not realizing I was signing up to paint essentially another horde army.

What I had intended to be a small 500-750 point side-project from the Wrath and Rapture box ended up becoming a whole collection unto itself. The new kits that came out around this time — the Infernal Enrapturess, Fiends, and the Keeper of Secrets — did a lot to sway me, as did the thought of being able to take on a color scheme that was completely different from anything I’d painted in the past with purples, pinks and shades of grey. There was a lot of experimentation I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing on my main armies too. For example selective usage of Contrast Paints that Citadel was hyping up at the time and finding the right mix of products that would give me a look for snowy bases that I’ve always felt could be taken up a level. I’m pretty proud of the results, and I feel like I walked away learning a lot from this project.

That said, even as I churn through an entire army, I feel like I’ve only begun my journey towards managing my “pile of shame”. In my earlier 40k days I dreamt of having a sick gaming board that was packed with terrain. Well, in the last 3-4 years I’ve just been hoarding kits when deals that were too good to pass up presented themselves. Some of them I knew weren’t going to be around long, like the Kill Team and Warcry terrain boxes, and some of them I just found for surprisingly good deals at my LGS like the Imperial Sector box. Sadly though, they’ll probably just continue to sit in a closet for awhile longer since I really want to get back to painting some Drukhari or Craftworlder Aeldari. Sometimes you just gotta go back to your roots, you know?

As far as the Sisters of Battle, what can I say? I’d been waiting a solid decade for them to make the jump to plastic, and when they finally did, they were everything I’d hoped they’d be and everything I’d feared at $60 USD for a basic squad (I know it was $80 for a metal squad, but that was never on the table). I’m not sure when I’ll start working on them, but the lower model count puts me at ease and with the ever increasing cost of Warhammer I’ll probably get those kits done before I overwhelm myself with too much too soon… again. What I have picked up so far is stuff I know I’d want in any Sisters army I’ll ever run, and should (at least in my mind) always have a place as I expand. I’d really like to experience a slower process of building an army again, unit by unit, like when I first started. You could actually enjoy the process of building and painting every kit a little more when you didn’t have half-a-dozen others, primed and waiting to be painted off to the side of the table.

Even more.

Of course Warhammer proper isn’t the only thing I’ve amassed over the years. There’s a lot of boxed stuff that I’ve picked up that honestly I might never get to. Of the stuff pictured, Warcry is the one I’ve been the most hyped for, just because the setting and overall vibe of that game is dark as hell– not unlike something you’d expect from the Berserk anime/manga. It’s pretty high on my list of potential next projects to tackle. Kill Team you might notice is already open, but my main reason for buying that was the terrain, game board and rulebook… By the way can you imagine that thing was $130 when it came out? By today’s standards that’s an absolute steal.

Looking back at Blackstone Fortress, I learned that the sheer amount of models and especially variation in them that you get from the dungeon crawl style of boxed games tends to not just slow me down, but actually kinda kill my enthusiasm. Not that the models aren’t great — quite the opposite really — but I want to spend as much time as possible putting brush, to paint, to plastic. Every new set of models I’d go through the same process of thinking about how to approach it, then second guessing my color choices way too often. When you don’t have that unifying set of colors to fall back on that tie a lot of armies together, and you’re going from drastically different models like Traitor Guardsmen, to Negavolt Cultists, to the individual explorers, the whole process can start to drag, and at least for me, I’d experience sessions where I felt unproductive when I just wanted to start playing the game. Granted, I could’ve done that any time after assembly, but playing with painted models is just the way to go.

For that reason though, stuff like Silver Tower and even Cursed City, had I even had a chance to buy it, would probably feel like chores to get through unless they were literally the last things I had left to paint. The other thing that wears on me is knowing that there are a ton of other things to paint and limited time to do it. I planned on doing a whole blog post about the problem that many long-time hobbyists face: an ever growing “pile of shame” and the hobby fatigue it can induce. I canned it because it felt like more of a rambling mess than usual. Suffice it to say, painting while under pressure sucks, and that’s something I’m gonna try and be more mindful of in the future.

Finally, I checked out the Warhammer Merch website around the time it launched and was pretty horrified at how bad a lot of the graphic-tees were. I’m not generally a fan of wearing graphic-tees but will pick them up if I think they’re tasteful, and to me less is more. One of the biggest turn offs for me is just the inclusion of text in a lot of them, like this Lelith Hesperax shirt or even worse, this poster that’s now looks super cheap entirely because of it. The poster in particular is a real shame, since I would’ve 100% gotten it to help spice up my new hobby space. What I did pick up though were some phone cases. I gotta represent my armies somehow, even if it’s on the down low. Also a shirt with the Kabal of the Black Heart logo overlaid on one of the more recent, but iconic depictions of Commorragh. There’s nothing to identify what it even is, but those who know will know, and that’s part of the fun.

Anyway, just felt like doing a bit more of a traditional blog post and rambling before I get back into the swing of things again. Til next time.

Boxed Games · Warhammer 40000

Some Thoughts on the Release of Indomitus and an Unboxing


You know what sucks about being into Warhammer? You’re bombarded with so much cool stuff that sometimes you struggle to keep up with all the releases that are relevant to your interests. You know what’s awesome about being into Warhammer? You’re bombarded with so much cool stuff that sometimes you struggle to keep up with all the releases that are relevant to your interests. Of course with so many boxed sets being hyped up only to sell out within an hour of going up for pre-order, FOMO (fear of missing out) has become kind of a way of life for those of us invested in this hobby.

Such was the case with this special set Games Workshop had been hyping for weeks in celebration of the 9th edition of Warhammer 40,000. We even got a sick cinematic trailer to kick everything off. But those of us that remember what went on with releases like Carrion Empire and Looncurse knew what to expect when pre-order day came around. Games Workshop wasn’t ignorant of this and tried to assuage the community’s fears citing the literal boatloads of Indomitus that were being shipped around the world. Still, what we figured would happen happened. It sold out immediately and within hours copies went up on eBay with anywhere from a $100 to $300 markup.

I was able to get my copy from my FLGS, but the damage was already done for a lot of people and they were pissed. But then something happened. Games Workshop acknowledged the shittyness of it all and did something they’ve never done before. They made a limited edition boxed set available as a Made to Order product, which amusingly screwed over the hoarders that still had a hundred or so boxes they were trying to sell on eBay. Obviously, Games Workshop has every reason to want to be the one that sees as much of the profits for its own product as possible, but it was still a widely appreciated move on the part of all the people who are just looking for something to play, paint and collect, even if they had to wait months to get their copy.


Anyway, upon opening the box you’re greeted with a really cool bit of art featuring Space Marines just doing Space Marine stuff while looking cool and heroic. I’m honestly not sure what’s going on in this scene, but it seems to be standard practice to include these sheets of cardboard to protect the other items in the box from the pointy bits on the sprues. The one I got in Blackstone Fortress wasn’t in the best shape thanks to that, but these ones were in good enough condition to potentially have framed and hung on a wall.


…And the obligatory shot of the face full of sprues you you’re presented with once you get past the art sheet. Uncovering this many sprues never gets old, though at this point in my life it’s a mixture of “Whoa, cool,” and “…How much time is this gonna take me to paint.”

Here’s a quick look at some of the sprues. It always amuses me how much more stuff gets packed into them compared to some of the stuff we had in the early 2000s. Not a complaint of course.


Obviously the Space Marines are the star of the show. You get a hefty amount new units and therefore, new models in this set with the standout for a lot of people probably being the Executioner Blade wielding Judicar. Otherwise the new units are kind of just Primaris-ed versions of already existing Space Marine units like Chaplains, Bikes and shield wielding Veterans. As a whole, the Space Marines force has more of a melee bent to it than they’ve had in older starter sets.

For the Necrons, we get a preview of what an all but guaranteed revamp of the Necron Warrior kit will look like, as well as introducing the Skorpekh variants of Destroyers and Lords. These clamor about on three legs and honestly look more menacing than the floating Destroyers with all that junk in the trunk. There’s also the Canoptek Reanimator which reminds me of Striders from Half-Life 2 or some of the machines from The Matrix, and easily towers above anything else in the set. The Necron side of the box is easily much more interesting stylistically as a whole and was the main motivator for me to pick up Indomitus. I especially like the grungy, battle-worn look they’re trying to incorporate to these new models.


Finally, you get a full art copy of the 9th Edition rulebook, a campaign book designed for Indomitus and all the bases you need for all the models. I liked how the rulebook was kind of cradled and protected at the bottom and the presentation of it all. It’s like discovering a tome on an ominous looking shelf, or it would be if the art on the book wasn’t so bright and colorful. Not a complaint by the way. The cover of Abaddon and Guilliman facing off is incredibly epic. As with every Warhammer rulebook, it’s hefty, and considering the $60~ USD it’ll cost by itself, cuts the approximate cost of each army to about $70 USD.

I would’ve recommended this without hesitation for existing fans of 40k who either wanted access to the new units, or wanted a small force of either Necrons or melee oriented Primaris Marines. For newer players, one of the three starter sets that came out recently are probably a better experience. You get a lot of similar units, but also get a smattering of terrain and a board to play on for a bit more of a complete experience.


So, as a bit of an addendum, will Games Workshop implement Made to Order for future limited edition boxed sets? I’m not sure. This box had a few things going for it. It was massively hyped and was kind of a celebration of a new edition. It’s full of units we’re not likely to see get individual releases for who knows how long. They’re also mono-pose, so they’re not undercutting an already existing product in their model range. Plus, just the inclusion of Space Marines meant it was going to put Indomitus on the radar of a large chunk of the 40k fanbase, and likewise, a lot of people were going to be upset when they got beat out by all the scalpers again.

I would love for this to become standard practice, as it’s probably hard to gauge the interest in any given non-Space Marine release. Something like the upcoming Shadow & Pain box interests me, but given the much narrower potential audience for something like Daughters of Khaine vs Hedonites of Slaanesh, one would think the print run would be much, much smaller. That said, I really dislike the feeling of urgency in picking up these boxes since I’m not hurting for things to work on at all. In fact, my pile of shame is becoming something more akin to a large hill, and I’m not eager to drop $200 USD just to make that hill a little taller. If I had to guess, boxes like this probably won’t get the Made to Order treatment even if they sell out of pre-orders, since besides two hero models a side, the rest of the models are already available to buy individually, and I’m sure Games Workshop would rather you buy those at full price. I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong on that though.