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.

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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.

 

Blackstone Fortress · Boxed Games · Warhammer 40000

[Blackstone Fortress] Ur’ghuls & Spindle Drones

I finished my first batches of Blackstone Fortress models starting with Ur’ghuls.  I’m pretty sure these are the first new Drukhari-related minis that have come out in years, and they just so happen to be in a release that has nothing to do with the Dark Eldar.  They’re also not generally considered a competitive addition for any army builds, but y’know?  It’s nice when releases like this include things that overlap with your existing armies.

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I hate to admit it, but my mentality has kind of been getting the “chaff” out of the way so I can really take my time and enjoy painting The Explorers and Chaos Marines.  In years prior when I had more time, I would’ve probably tried to give each set of models my undivided attention, but now I just have to settle for “good enough” to keep things moving.

That said, these did come out looking good enough, and because they don’t have all sorts of extra details like the armor, capes, lasguns, grenades, bottles, etc. on Traitor Guardsmen, they went by really fast.  I should probably take note of the exact paints I use from now on for the sake of this blog, but it wasn’t too dissimilar from what’s on the back of the Blackstone Fortress manual:

  • Basecoat of Stegadon Scale Green
  • Layer of Dark Reaper
  • Start picking out raised areas of muscle with Thunderhawk Blue
  • Pick out raised areas like the ribs, fingers, kneecaps and prominent muscles with a highlight of Fenrisian Grey
  • Selective edge highlight of Ulthuan Grey to add more depth to the Fenrisian Grey.
  • Wash of Druchii Violet on the hands from the fingertips up until somewhere below the elbow.

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Next were the Spindle Drones.  The biggest challenge would be finding a quick and efficient way of achieving that bluish-grey metallic look on the carapace while still keeping it presentable.  Outside of terrain and sometimes metallics, I don’t really make use of drybrushing, but it was perfect for what I was trying to do here.  So for the carapace I went:

  • Basecoat of Stegadon Scale Green
  • Layer of Russ Grey
  • All over wash of Coelia Greenshade
  • Heavy drybrush of Russ Grey focusing more towards the top to create a transition of colors.
  • Light, but still liberal drybrush of Ulthuan Grey to pick out the details and simulate light reflecting off the carapace.
  • Edge highlight of Ulthuan Grey across all the panels and edges.

If you’ve ever handled this model, you know how fragile the legs connecting to the slot feels, so when you’re drybrushing, make sure you’re holding the model from just behind the “neck”, or the section above the legs but below the carapace.

The lenses I’m actually not satisfied with, so I’ll probably go back and touch that up a bit, but they are basecoated with Screamer Pink then Pink Horror in the center to simulate a focused light.

To achieve a glow, which can be used as an effect on anything from eyes to plasma guns, you start with Lahmian Medium, and mix about 5:1 to 4:1 with the relevant color.  In this case I used Screamer Pink, though maybe a lighter pink would’ve worked better.  Regardless, you really want to dilute it to the point where there’s very little change in color when you apply the Lahmian Medium mix to the mini, and continue to build on until you feel happy with the intensity of the color.  It’s easier to add color than it is to take it away.

Next up from the Blackstone Fortress and incidentally what’s actually on my table right now: Traitor Guard.

Craftworlds · Warhammer 40000

[Repaint] Be Still my Walkers of War.

“The soul stones will be ours.  Then you shall have your revenge.”

When it comes to the larger Eldar models, War Walkers admittedly rank somewhere at the bottom for me as far as looks, but 24 S6 shots at 36″ was scary enough at the time for me to justify putting together a squadron.  While they keep that curvy Eldar aesthetic, unlike the similarly bipedal Wraithlords, they look like a stiff breeze from the side could potentially topple them over.  Can you imagine the poor Guardian trying to flip one of these back upright in the middle of a battle?  Granted, this being the Eldar, there’s probably some heretical xenos tech that allows them to not only stay on their feet, but do somersaults and backflips as they fade back into the Webway.

It didn’t help that assembling them was just not fun.  I don’t know if the batch of Citadel plastic glue I was using at the time was somehow defective (can that even happen?), but I had trouble putting together the cockpit on one, and the foot on another is no longer attached to the base.  Some of the ankle joints were really finicky too.  Real weird for glue which is supposed to fuse plastic together.  Incidentally a squad of Guardians I put together with that same bottle of glue would have pieces fall off real easy over time.  I’ve since moved on to using Armskeeper Maxi-Cure glue for plastics and haven’t looked back since.  It’s also about half the price and doesn’t smell as strong.  Incidentally, these were also some of the first models I tried magnetizing.

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As you can see from these pictures, my old approach of using Alaitoc Blue as a base and layering on Hoeth Blue looked especially bad on the War Walkers and gave them more of an unintended pastel tone, especially after a matte varnish.  I didn’t get around to finishing the gems at this stage since those get hit with a gloss varnish and get saved for last anyway.  Still, you get a good idea of how they looked before repainting.

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I tried to break up the Sotek Green with bronze metallics and black wherever I thought I could fit them.  I’m still not 100% happy with the result, but they are at least a little sharper after the repaint.  Also, using a bit of a thinned down Drakenhoff Nightshade around the bases of each gem helps make them stand out a bit more which is something I didn’t do with the original paint job.

I kinda wish I could go back and redo the black bits, since using shades of blue for highlights gives them a much cleaner look as is befitting Craftworld models that aren’t heavily weathered.  Varnishing them again would be a pain though since you’d risk fogging up the shield; a mistake I’ve made in the past despite my best attempts to wrap that section up in foil. This should be fairly obvious, but the black sections above were done as follows:

  • Base of Abaddon Black
  • Highlight of Mechanicus Standard Grey
  • Fine Highlight of Dawnstone

However, more recently I came across a method of painting black in the back of the Blackstone Fortress manual that’s used prominently on enemies wearing black armor:

  • Base of Abaddon Black
  • Highlight of Incubi Darkness
  • Fine Highlight of Thunderhawk Blue
  • Edge highlight of Fenrisian Grey

It helps that I’ve greatly expanded my collection of paints as the years went by because  Incubi Darkness and Thunderhawk Blue aren’t what I consider essential colors for any of my prior projects.  Sometimes it’s really just what you’ve got on hand that can dictate the direction your paint schemes go.