Blackstone Fortress · Boxed Games · Warhammer 40000

[Blackstone Fortress] Negavolt Cultists and Rogue Psykers

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Here we are almost nearing the end of the hostiles for Blackstone Fortress.  The Negavolt Culstists were one of the standout hostile models for me for a few reasons.  As far as I know, this is the closest thing we’ve seen to a representation of Dark Mechanicus in model form in the past couple decades, if ever at all.  It’s also just a really cool model.  The Adeptus Mechanicus could already easily be portrayed as an evil faction, corrupted by their obsession with machines in many other fictional universes, but this being 40k, you can always take it a step further.

Well, they took it a step further.  The whip-like tentacles coming out of their skulls, metal plates giving only the basic outline of a human face fused to mask their actual faces give even Electro Priests a bit of a run for their money when it comes to the creep factor.  Much like the Traitor Guardsman, there is a bit of a scavenger vibe to them as well that I like, and the power coils on their backs wouldn’t look out of place at all on an Ork Mek.

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Speaking of the power coils, I saw them as a great chance to practice object source lighting, aka OSL, again.  I wasn’t a fan of the orange coils Games Workshop used in the official paint schemes, so I went with good old blue plasma.  Warhammer TV has a basic tutorial on how to paint the plasma on plasma guns, and that’s a good starting point.  To sum it up:

  • [Base] Kantor Blue
  • [Layer] Teclis Blue
  • [Layer] Baharroth Blue on the raised coils
  • [Layer] Thinned down White Scar in patches around the raised coils to give it a more white-hot look

Next, if you’re going down the OSL route, you’re going to want to have the metal done first, as the glazes are meant to be applied over them.  The metal’s nothing special — the same technique you’ve seen a thousand times:

  • [Base] Leadbelcher
  • [Wash] Nuln Oil
  • [Wash] (Optional) Agrax Earthshade — helps break up the uniformity when applied to parts, (example: the shaft of the batons).
  • [Highlight] Leadbelcher
  • [Edge Highlight] Stormhost Silver

With that done, you’ll be thinning down Teclis Blue pretty heavily with Lahmian Medium, at least 2:1, to create a glaze.  You want to build this up slowly on the metallic surfaces where light from the coils would catch.  Remember, you can always add, but you can’t subtract — at least, not without a lot of effort.  Next, do the same with Baharroth Blue, but bring it in a little closer to the light wherever the light would be stronger.  I also used Stormhost Silver to reapply an edge highlight to the metal, but you could try playing around with White Scar as well.

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I don’t have much to say about the Rogue Psykers but here they are.  They were only a little more interesting to paint than the Traitor Guardsmen, but the callback to the old Daemonhost model, being shackled to weights, was a nice touch.

A lot of the techniques used on these guys I’ve already detailed in other entries, like the fur pelts which also appear on Traitor Guardsmen and the flesh which I took a very similar approach with as the Chaos Beastmen.  I wanted a bit more of an unnatural tone to their skin and didn’t want to just make them look pale like the Negavolt Cultists.

Next up for Blackstone Fortress, the Black Legion Marines and Obsidius Mallex.

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Blackstone Fortress · Boxed Games · Warhammer 40000

[Blackstone Fortress] Chaos Beastmen and Small Tweaks Making a Difference.

Work continues on Blackstone Fortress despite a lack of blog entries.  After finishing the Traitor Guard, I decided I wanted to start working on some of the more unique models found in this set, starting with the Chaos Beastmen.  These actually weren’t too bad, as a lot of the colors combinations I just lifted from my Traitor Guardsmen, and if there’s one thing that slows my painting down to a crawl it’s trying to figure out color schemes on the fly.  Indecision is really one of the banes of my hobby life.

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Much like the official paint schemes I made heavy use of blacks and greys with spots of red and earthy colors to break things up.  The only thing that really took a bit of experimenting on was the flesh.  …And somewhere in Commorragh a Haemonculus just cackled.  Anyway, what I settled on was this:

  • Basecoat of Rakarth Flesh
  • Wash of Reikland Fleshshade
  • Layer in slightly thinned Rakarth Flesh leaving the wash in the recesses alone.
  • Build up the previous layer with Flayed One Flesh thinned down with Lahmian Medium.*
  • Mix Flayed One Flesh and Pallid Wych Flesh 1:1 and highlight the contours of muscles, fingers, raised areas of the face, etc.
  • Fine highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh on the most prominently raised areas like the tips of the ears, just above the eyebrows, knuckles, etc.

As a quick note (*), I found the transition from Rakarth Flesh from Flayed One Flesh to be more harsh and unnatural looking than usual, so thinning the paint down with some kind of medium to build up this layer is important.  Regular water doesn’t really thin the paint down in a way that gives us the result we want.

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And a WIP image with the first test model front and center.  One of these days I’m really going to have to figure out how to take better pictures, since as this blog has gone on I’ve noticed how inconsistent the lighting can be.

Finally, as you might have noticed, the bases on the finished models look a bit different.  I initially went with a very basic, shades of grey color scheme with splotches of Gryphonne Sepia to add a bit of flavor.  And those look fine when you add a bit of flock to them — it’s basically how I do a lot of my Craftworld Eldar bases, except maybe I went a little too heavy on the white with these.  Anyway, they don’t look right on these models and it’s been bugging me since I started painting them.

Luckily I stumbled across this tutorial on How to Paint Shyish Themed Bases on YouTube by Xenus Minis.  The change is small, but made enough of a difference I felt compelled to go back and redo all of the bases on my Blackstone Fortress models.  You start with Mechanicus Standard Grey as usual, but when you shade with Nuln Oil, you use patches of Nighthaunt Gloom as well to create an eerie, otherworldly glow.  A small detail, but very fitting for the setting.

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Where I deviated from the video was going heavier on the Nighthaunt Gloom, and instead of drybrushing with Rakarth Flesh and Pallid Wych Flesh, I used Dawnstone and Administratum Grey.  Rocks were painted with Dawnstone, given a wash of Coelia Greenshade, then drybrushed much like everything else.  I also used Ulthuan Grey to pick out edges on rocks to make them really stand out, and sparingly in patches on the ground just to add some variation.  Above, you can see the test base on the left, and a after a bit of practice, where I kinda settled, on the base of my WIP Kroot Tracker.

That’s it for now.  Negavolt Cultists and the Rogue Psykers are next.

Blackstone Fortress · Boxed Games · Warhammer 40000

[Blackstone Fortress] Traitor Guardsmen

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These guys have so far been the biggest hurdle for me in trying paint my way through the Blackstone Fortress.  Most of us learn pretty early on in our hobby careers that painting groups of infantry in a sort of assembly line is generally the way to go.  Taking my Dire Avengers as an example, you might basecoat, wash and highlight the undersuit on the entire squad before moving on to the armor plates, which you would again finish on every model before moving on to the next detail whether it be the helmets, weapons, etc.  It saves paint, keeps colors more consistent, and is arguably just a much more efficient way to work through a squad of models rather than painting the same model over and over again from the beginning.

But that’s something I had trouble doing with these Traitor Guardsmen.  These guys are no longer a part of any “official” military force and a lot of their gear is obviously scavenged.  It’s also pretty easy to imagine that a lot of them come from different regiments or worlds so there’s probably very little uniformity in their clothing.  This is something I wanted to work into their paint jobs despite knowing that it would take a little extra time and effort.  And that goes without saying, I know — but I can’t be the only one who gets a little antsy when there’s still dozens of models waiting to be painted from the same set.  Right?

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The Guardsman on the right served as the sort of test model for everything else.  You get two identical models for every type of Guardsman, and one of the things I wanted to do was make sure each was distinct from the other.  The official GW color scheme ties them all together with black armor and I liked that look, so things like their clothing, capes, arm and leg wraps, fur coats, shoulder pads, etc. would be where I would try and mix things up.

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Here’s one half of the lot.  The black armor, dark reds and generally drab colors keep with the dark atmosphere of Blackstone Fortress, but they’re still identifiable as people who were, at least at one time, Imperial Guardsmen.  The paints used for the different fatigue colors was minimal, and the process for painting them was simple and the same throughout.  The first color is your basecoat, which you then hit with a wash.  Once the wash is dry, build the basecoat back up, leaving the darkened recesses alone, then finally highlight with the last color.

  • Grey : Mechanicus Standard Grey, Nuln Oil, Dawnstone
  • Tan (Cadian) : Zandri Dust, Agrax Earthshade, Ushabti Bone
  • Light Tan : Karak Stone, Agrax Earthshade, Screaming Skull
  • Sand : Balor Brown, Agrax Earthshade, Ushabti Bone

Just mix and match the pants and coats and you’ve got one way to add variation to your group of Traitor Guard.  Here’s the second set:

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The fur pelts were also something that gave me pause for thought, but Warhammer TV once again had a few really good tutorials on them.  The guy with the flamethrower up top is a good example of the following technique for grey fur:

  • Basecoat Mechanicus Standard Grey
  • Water down Administratum Grey to about the consistency of a wash and apply it towards the top third of the pelt
  • Use Nuln Oil to shade the bottom third
  • Once everything’s dry, use White Scar to lightly drybrush the pelt and tie all the colors together

Brown fur you can get a little more creative with:

  • Basecoat with Mournfang Brown
  • Use Zandri Dust to paint patterns into the fur like stripes, or just different colored patches
  • Wash all over with Agrax Earthshade to tie the two colors together
  • Once dry, use Tryrant Skull preferably to lightly drybrush the fur, though Ushabti Bone can work as well

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I’m probably still going to go back and add more scratches and maybe freehand more Chaos symbols into their armor before I varnish them, but for now these guys are pretty much done and I’ve moved on.  I hate to admit it, but as I make my way through Blackstone Fortress, hobby fatigue has started to kick in, which I might touch on in another post.

Up next, Chaos Beastmen.