Craftworlds · Warhammer 40000

[Repaints] The (Dire) Avengers

Next up we have Dire Avengers.  If I remember right, they were my second squad ever, paired up with a squad of Guardians which I would learn were ridiculously fragile.  I mean, I knew.  But it took them keeling over and dying whenever my cousin’s Tau Fire Warriors gave a stern look in their general direction game after game to realize I probably wanted to look elsewhere for Troop choices.  Here’s the first squad of Dire Avengers I ever worked on, which at the time used to come in packs of 10 models for $30 USD.  Now $35 gets you 5.  Pretty painful, considering they’re only marginally tougher than Guardians.  Why, GW?

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Again, I tried going for a darker color scheme, opting not to use Ultramarines Blue which was the “official” primary color.  I think it was Regal Blue, with some of my first attempts at edge highlighting with Enchanted Blue.  The plumes on their helmet I believe were Bleached Bone.  And check out that freehand.  One or two actually came out pretty crisp.  The rest looked like cave drawings…

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I picked up a second squad of Avengers some time later and used more or less the same colors.  I got a little more comfortable with edge highlighting as you can see from the Exarch on the right.  Something terrible happened when I tried to varnish that second squad though:

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I think maybe it was just a little too cold that afternoon.  But when you see all those white specks on a model you worked so hard on, it’s heart breaking.  Luckily it was only 2-3 models, but was definitely another thing that set me on the path to repaint my army eventually.

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And as you can see, I decided to just go for Ultramarines Blue after all.  I actually still had an 8~ year old pot of Ultramarines Blue that was still completely usable.  Years back a Games Workshop employee turned me on to the idea of storing paints upside down so the paint at the bottom would dry and create an airtight seal.  Can’t say it worked for all my older paints, but it certainly saved me some money after a long hiatus from the hobby.  Much like my Guardians, the undersuit was based with Mechanicus Standard Grey, then the armor plates were done like so:

  • Basecoat of Ultramarines Blue (now Altdorf Guard Blue)
  • Wash of Drakenhoff Nightshade
  • Layer of Ultramarines Blue, avoiding darker recesses, or shadowy areas
  • 1:1 edge highlights of Ultramarines Blue and Hoeth Blue
  • A finer edge highlight of pure Hoeth Blue
  • Add a little White Scar to Hoeth Blue and apply to only extreme edges

The plumes on their helmets were inspired by The Soaring Spite Harlequin masque whose primary colors are an alternating blue and purple.  The purple was done with a basecoat of Xerus Purple, layered with Genestealer purple, washed with Druchii Violet, then overbrushed towards the tips with Genestealer Purple with just a bit of White Scar mixed in.  The technique was the same for blues, except it was basecoated with Alaitoc Blue, layered with Hoeth Blue, washed with Drakenhoff Nightshade, and overbrushed increasingly heavier towards the tips with Hoeth Blue and a bit of White Scar.

You might notice I also tore off the banners in favor of sheathed swords on the Exarchs’ backs, cause they just looked cooler.  And again, the gems are something I intend on giving some attention in the future when my painting backlog eases up a bit.  Anyway, I’ll go into how I approach white and brass in future posts.  Til next time.

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Craftworlds · Warhammer 40000

[Repaints] “Guardian Squad, ready…”

Ready for a makeover that is.  It was awhile back, but I *think* I started my repaint with my two Guardian squads — this being one of them.  Only fitting I kick off my first actual post showcasing minis with them.  As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, my original paint scheme consisted of really dark blues (the old Regal Blue and Midnight Blue), with very little edge highlighting over black primer.

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The end result kinda captured the dark and mysterious vibe that make the Eldar, Eldar for me… at least as far as was within my abilities, but let’s be honest — they looked boring.  Fairly clean, but boring.  Even the bases were really subdued.  I was thinking of something like a “night world” to keep the theme dark with Chaos Black to with Codex Grey, then washed with a Blue Ink.  Once dry, drybrushed with Codex Grey and a light drybrush of Rotting Flesh.  It actually might not be a bad idea for the upcoming Idoneth Deepkin, but the bases needed something more for me.  I don’t have any WIP pictures of the Guardians, but after the switch to Iybraesil, this was more or less the final result (of the other squad):

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Still a few gems I want to repaint as either an icy blue or warm purple, but trust me.  I’ve repainted so many gems over the course of this project, I need a break.  A nice, long break.  Sorry Guardians.  Anyway, my approach to the bulk of the armor is much like everyone else’s:

  • Base of Sotek Green
  • Shade of Drakenhoff Nightshade
  • Layer Sotek Green, leaving the shaded recesses alone.
  • 1:1 mix of Sotek Green and Temple Guard Blue for edge highlights
  • Pure Temple Guard Blue for finer highlights.
  • Add a small amount of White Scar to the Temple Guard Blue for only the extreme edges.

If you’re starting with new models, a nice grey primer works best.  Something with a similar color to Mechanicus Standard Grey.  It’ll also give you a bit of a head start on the bases, which after priming, I drybrushed with Dawnstone.  From there, I added small amounts of White Scar and gave a really light drybrushing to any big rocks.  Finally, I used Gryphonne Sepia (currently Seraphim Sepia) mostly to give a bit of variation in color underneath rocks, around Guardians’ feet, and some of the rocks that ended up a little too white.

Another thing I did differently with these Guardians was painting the undersuit Mechanicus Standard Grey, before washing it with Drakenhoff Nightshade.  I’m not a fan of the Citadel approach to Eldar units where their suits are made up entirely of a single color — Iyanden Guardians and bright green Striking Scorpions come to mind.  As for the Guardians, I was really happy with how they turned out.

Also, I didn’t wanna get ahead of myself before I properly introduced them to this blog, but the new Dark Eld– sorry, Drukhari codex was announced today and is coming very soon… Oh no.

Craftworlds · Warhammer 40000

A fresh coat of paint

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“Thin your paints” is quite possibly the single most important piece of advice you could give anyone starting out in the hobby.  It might feel tedious at first, but you’ll thank yourself later.  Also, consider the alternative.  Thanks to the aforementioned paint thinning, and relatively dark (and boring) paint scheme I used when I first started painting my Eldar minis, the new layers of paint didn’t look all clumpy when I set out to redo the army.  Here’s one of the very few pictures I could still find of how they looked around 2008:

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I had a custom color scheme from Dawn of War that I kinda wanted to emulate (pictured up top), but try as I might, making it look as interesting on the tabletop as it was in game was more than I had the skill to pull off.  I couldn’t really highlight, and wasn’t confident enough to go for bolder, bright colors.  If you remember the old line of Citadel paints, it was primarily Regal Blue with some Midnight Blue for variation.  Both are really dark blues painted over black primer.  Needless to say they didn’t really pop, but at the very least I could say I was able to keep my minis looking fairly clean.  I figured purple gems would give some contrast, but not too much, and white helmets just seem to be the thing to do for Eldar.  It was alright for someone without too much experience.  It was safe.

Fast forward a few years later after I’d finished my backlog of Dark Eldar minis.  I’d learned a lot about brush control, highlighting, learned to really appreciate washes (aka shades) and with Citadel’s new line of paints coming out, I figured maybe I could do my old army some justice.  I also took another look at some of the established Craftworlds for inspiration in finding a new color scheme and had my interest piqued by Iybraesil.

Iybraesil is a Craftworld that’s been in existence since at least the 4th edition codex, but was really only ever given a small section in the “Other Craftworlds” section of the book’s army gallery.  Just a short paragraph of lore and a picture of an Iybraesil Guardian painted in very simple turquoise with a white helmet.  Nothing to write home about, until years later when I saw how people online were picking out details to spice up their look a bit.  The primary color always had to be blue anyway, and Sotek Green (originally Hawk Turquoise, and yes it is more of a shade of blue than green) made the models pop much more than they did with my old Regal Blue.

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I’ll get some better pictures of all the units soon, but here’s one I took awhile back, shortly after finishing the Guardians and Farseer — the Wraithguard were WIPs at the time.  I also redid the bases aiming for a brighter, more realistic rocky grey even for the units I hadn’t or didn’t plan on repainting, just to see how they looked together.  I liked what I saw, and went all in with Iybraesil from that point onward.

One last minor tidbit, is that I opted to keep the gems purple as a tribute to the old Craftworld.  The red and yellow gems I’ve seen people use just hurt my eyes anyway, and if we wanna get geeky and inject a bit of our own backstory to it (and we do), one might say survivors from the old Craftworld had found themselves on Iybraesil.  While they’re tolerated, they’re also viewed with some distrust for not being true sons and daughters of the Craftworld.  Hopefully that meets the quota for at least Grimdark-lite.

Craftworlds · Warhammer 40000

Perfidious Eldar!

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I’ve always had a tendency to gravitate towards more mobile, high damage dealing characters in video games.  Not necessarily where high risk = high reward, but where playing with a bit of finesse rewards the player with something a little extra.  Assassins and Hunters in RPGs, and characters like Juri from Street Fighter and Xianghua from Soul Calibur come to mind.  Like many others I know who played through Dawn of War’s campaign with little to no prior knowledge of the massive 40k universe, my first window into the world was through the lens of the poster boys of 40k: The Space Marines.

They are bad ass.  Warrior monks in futuristic armor shouting lines like “And we shall know no fear!” as they faced impossible odds were bad ass.  Captain Gabriel Angelos of the Blood Ravens is still one of the most memorable and inspiring faction leaders in RTS memory for me.  But when the campaign was said and done and it was time to go online, I felt obligated to give the other factions a try.  It’s worth noting in the original Dawn of War’s single player mode, you only ever played as Space Marines.  Chaos Space Marines at the time felt like a spikier reskin of their loyalist counterparts.  Orks were fun and funny, but at times felt mindless.

Then of course there were the Eldar, who if you had played through the campaign you might remember as the guys (and gals) with weird voices who loved to run into  bolterfire and die in droves as much as Orks, but with half the effort.  I still gave them an honest try, and something stuck.  When played properly, they could dismantle armies while taking few losses.  But lose concentration or get flustered and it was easier to put yourself in a position where you couldn’t come back compared to the other, hardier factions.  I liked it.

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When they really settled in and became my main faction, I started reading up on their background.  The more I read, the more I wanted to know; and before long I thought these mysterious, space faring, psychic elves with a bit of Asian influences peppered in were the coolest thing ever.  Inevitably, I started reading more on the setting as a whole and tidbits on other armies and factions in 40k lore and decided it was something I wanted to delve into deeper.  So I picked up the 4th edition rulebook, Eldar codex and a few models, not really caring what what armies were considered strong or not at the time.  I guess the general consensus is that they dragged a bit in 5th, but from 6th onward, they’ve been broken and cheesy.  Oh well.  Something something arrogance matched only by firepower something something.