+ inloads: Iron Warriors 'Officio Monstrosa ' army shot +

+ Iron Warriors 242nd 'Footsore' Great Company and the Officio Monstrosa +

+ Is there any greater satisfaction – hobbywise, at least – than seeing an army you've painted laid out, and completed to the best of your ability? +

+ MIssing the tanks, but otherwise complete +
+ I found myself in the (unusual, for me!) position of having finished everything I need for an event with some time to spare, so I decided to double-check everything was complete. I ended up surprising myself with how much I'd done for the force. Because they've developed rather more organically – i.e. with less pre-planning than other armies I've done – I'd quite forgotten some of the models. It was nice to dig 'em out and get some details – I hope you enjoy the show. +

+ Tactical legionaries are at the heart of every space marine force I've ever done. I've ended up with nearly forty, all told. +

+ Perturabo hasn't seen table-time yet. Now the army's 'done' (though is any army ever really finished?), I'll have to twist the arms of Bob Hunk and Stuntwedge to face me with Team Fisto in a suitably large game. Perhaps that cowardly wretch Rogal Dorn will make an appearance? +

+ Zaricus Cjarn has led the force so far. A relatively lowly Centurion, I think he'll end up being superceded by a higher-level officer soon. I won't forget this axe-wielding loon, though. One of my favourite models full-stop.+

+ You see the benefit of 'boring' poses when you set out your models like this. Having more restrained marines helps the more dynamic poses stand out, and makes for a better overall look. +

+ Talking of dynamic poses, I think this chap is my favourite in the force overall. +

+ The stripped-back aesthetic of the Iron Warriors still leaves a little space for details that add a bit of narrative. Here a little wolf token – a gift from the XVIth Legion? A trophy from the VIth? – is there for viewers to pick out. Note also the hazard striping. I've deliberately kept that minimal. It's such an eye-catching device that it can really draw attention away from the metallics. +

+ Freehand banners. A lot of fun, and a good opportunity to practise your brushwork. +

+ New Destroyers. The damaged pauldrons come from Master-Crafted miniatures. The metallics here are ever-so-slightly darker than the rest of the army; to reflect the rad-soaked background. +

+ Multi-meltas – a perfect example of a unit made just for looks. They attract a lot of positive comments, which goes to show a change is as good as a rest, sometimes. One of my favourite bits of the army, they make heavy use of the Blood Angel helmet that I adopted for its sinister eye slits.  +

+ The new apothecary – see yesterday's inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] – was designed to fit alongside the vignette of two injured Marines [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] I made. +

+ Again, a bit of freehand detail really sings out against what is, at root, a super-easy metallic scheme. The little targetting panels were painted with the same blue accent I've used sparingly across the army. +

+ Rapiers are fun – small enough that I enjoyed painting them (unlike most vehicles), large enough to stand out. +



+ ...and back to regular ol' troops to close. Converting every model is time-consuming and sometimes frustrating, but it really helps to make the army feel like yours; adding a very personal artistic touch. It also helps to remind you that even the 'basic' Space Marine is a distinctive hero (or villain), with the potential for own narrative development. This all adds to the enjoyment of every aspect of the hobby; from generating ideas for painting honorifics to suggesting storylines and plots for gaming. +

+ Iron Warriors Apothecary +

+ inload: Corpsemaker +

Respiration laboured. Palliative oxy-haemotics: thirty – no, thirty-five units. Commence auto-leeching to balance the humou- [SMALL ARMS FIRE]  Hmph. [SMALL ARMS FIRE INCREASES] [STATIC] To expedite withdrawal, Palatarch, I can give you three choices – you can detail two of your men to drag him back across the minefield; or I can extract and take back the gene-sperm. [ORDNANCE DETONATION] The third choice? Well, if we stay here much longer, I can take him and the rest of you back in a bucket.

+ A very enjoyable figure to work on; just familiar enough to be relaxing, and just enough extra detail for fun. The variety of lenses and panels here was ripe for experimenting, so I decided to paint the lamp using greys and freehand lines to suggest something like a deactivated car headlamp. +

+ The freehand apothecary symbol on the pauldron is just about visible here, along with the bloody handprint on his shin. +

+ Beyond the standard 'true-scaling', it was a simple conversion. I trimmed the hand from a Grey Knight Terminator apothecary arm (I think), replacing it with an auspex. The cool backpack details are from the Primaris apothecary; while the loincloth and helm are from the Mark IV plastic box. + 

+ I had a bit of fun experimenting with object source lighting from the auspex, too. Fairly subtle, but very easy to do on metallics, as you can simply glaze the colour on once the underlying metals are highlighted properly. +

+ The scheme is deliberately stripped-back. I decided against using an alternative white scheme for this apothecary. The impact of the whole force relies on the anonymity of the figures – no-one's allowed to stand out in Perturabo's army! +

+ inload: Space Marine Destroyers +

+ Officio Monstrosa: Destroyers WIP +

+ With a little less than a week until my troops invade the Deathworld of Akkar [+nooosphericinloadlink embedded+], I'm scrambling to get a few extra figures finished for the Iron Warriors. I had intended to take the Ultramarines (life imitating art here, as the poor Ultramarines get sidelined from all my Horus Heresy gaming!) but there was an imbalance of Loyalists to Traitors, so I offered to bring some baddies to solve it. +

+ With just 2,000pts to bring, I'm not under huge pressure. It's meant that some very patient models have been bumped up the queue, so I'm working on the Destroyers, an Apothecary and a Palatarch (sergeant) for my Basilikoi (Tactical Support Marines). +

+ Here's a few WIPs:

+ After the first few stages, the metal is coming along nicely. Note the marine second from left is complete. +

+ A little further along, the metals are all but complete, while the black gun casings and pauldrons are just blocked in. +
+ And the reason the Destroyers didn't get finished last night is that I was working on a couple of other Marines at the same time. A veteran for the Basilikoi:

+ And a much-needed Apothecary:


'The best parasite remains undetected.'
+ Olympian aphorism + 

As I look over the new intake, I keep my face a blank mask. It is not difficult. Not compared with Olympia. Akkar will test these hurriedly-trained neophytes. Some will live; others die. The thought fills me with as much emotion and concern as might the expenditure of ammunition. It is all part of the mathematics of warfare; their addition or subtraction is relevant only to the correct result: victory.

The jungle. however. That concerns me. It concerns Cjarn, too; though our increasingly mercurial leader grows less and less patient with every battle; every swing of that scavenged axe. It is fortunate that we have been assigned an Episcopi. As Cjarn's patience degenerates, we will have need of a cool hand; and a lifetime of uncompromising discipline has refined Artabas' thoughts to a hard, mirror-like sheen; much like those of his robotic companions.

This Muster was drawn hurriedly from a nameless swamp of a planet. Its children lacks discipline. I lash out with my maul, striking one of the aspirant Phalangites on the hip. Unpowered, it causes no harm – but he adjusts his posture, straightening. If I catch a curse, it is wisely curtailed.

I do not break stride. Nor does my mind pause. There is little enough time before deployment, and the jungle is an abstract and complicating factor. It alters the equation; changes the probabilities. Reaching the end of the hall, I nod curtly to the duty-Palatarch. He returns a crisp salute. As I duck beneath the exodus-bulkhead, I hear the sound of the recruits closing in on their errant Mustermate.


Thick and cloying and aromatic. Akkar is alive. Alive in a way I had forgotten; abundant to the point of choking itself. Branches bend under the weight of wildlife. Fruits hang so heavy they strain the vines; insects form deafening clouds around gaudy, pulpy inflorescences. Such vitality feels sickly and corrupt; an over-ripe fruit bloated with syrupy, over-developed flesh. The hoot-swingers and cacklebirds are swivel-eyed; frantic.

Even the new Iron Warriors are affected. I am pleased the Muster's Palatarch has instilled more discipline in them. Their observable reactions are subtle. Nevertheless, the signs are there, for those that know to look. A flushed look to the skin. Wide eyes. A microsecond delay in response.

The glut of sensation Akkar presses upon you is hard to take in. Doubly so for the intake. Knowing only their homeworld's foetid brown wastes under slate-grey skies, and the spartan lines of our vessel, it is a wonder that they do not behave as though inebriated. Their new, post-human senses hinder as much as help here.

Still. Discipline. Those momentary pauses will kill them as surely as a blade. They have scant hours to adapt. Imperial shipping is inbound. This will be Legion war.


Vox heavy with distortion, words mangled, my orders are necessarily simple. Our new Mustermate, Aftrokratori, gives vox-click assent – assiduous boy, I murmur to myself through blood-pinked teeth. The click is – predictably – all but lost in a haze of static. The others simply tap their pauldrons. I can sense their reactions: disapproval, amusement, mockery.

A moment later, supplementing our battle-sign with a hesitant, embarrassed nod, Aftrokratori taps his pauldron too. Hm. At least he learns. Turning away, I place my pistol on the ground for a moment, flex my heavy gauntlet; test the malfunctioning rotator cuff again. All of a sudden, I feel tired. I feel every one of my eighty-seven years.

My fingers feel thick and clumsy and numb as I retrieve my bolt pistol. My blood fizzes with sickness. Running my tongue over tinny-tasting teeth, I am aware of the gradual, insidious, siege my terrible atomic weaponry places on me.

Aftrokratori will feel its bite soon. Heh.

Perhaps he will regret his elevation to our coterie. Perhaps he will embrace the firesong. I care not.

I ignite my jump pack, feeling the harness tighten and press on my armour. Before the apex of the jump, I jink; already firing down at the defenders, already feeling the sense of weight fall away, already my blood singing.

+ inload; The Hesiod Romantic Rebellion +

+ The Alien Wars +

+ Histories of the Antona Australis sector: The Hesiod Romantic Rebellion +

The Hesiod Romantic Rebellion (M36.398–408) occupies a peculiar position in sector history, as it exemplifies both the zenith and nadir of Imperial politics. Celebrated in local myth and song, the Rebellion lingers in the popular imagination, perhaps owing to the larger-than-life characters on each side, and perhaps owing to the massive structural changes in sector politics. The conflict drew the ancient houses of various subsectors against one another in a massive power struggle that left the sector's political capital on Grovsenor in the Anton Antecedent subsector.

Following the Scribe Wars of the 33rd Millennium (M33.199–802), governance of the sector had been relocated to Hesiod, which cemented its political dominance through being used as the base of operations for elements of the famous Astartes Chapters of the Sons of Spectra, Emperor's Hawks and White Consuls during the War of Heretics. During these centuries, Hesiod and the subsector around it swelled in importance as diginitaries, trade merchants and myriad others flocked to the area. Meanwhile, subsector Anton Antecedent lay in the doldrums, disgraced by the trouble caused during the Scribe Wars and seemingly unable to regain its lost glory. The Siculus subsector, previously a backwater, began to grow in influence thanks to its proximity to Hesiod.

Spin-rimwards of the Antona Australis sector. Imperial subsectors in blue.
Interactive map accessible: [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]
Hesiod bathed in a golden age for a number of centuries, which was crowned by the planet producing a High Lord of Terra. This state of affairs was to change during the Nova Terra Interregnum crisis that gripped the Imperium. Hesiod's government was traditionally based in the teachings of the Ecclesiarchy, and the fateful decision was made by Ecclesiarch Martial II to support Constantium (Nova Terra) rather than Terra; a decision that – while it had few concrete repercussions – officially declared every other subsector as supportive of this move. Outraged, subsector Anton Antecedent rebelled en masse. The pragmatic Imperial Commanders of Anton Antecedent had dwelled patiently and built up substantial political backing, and they led an protest against Hesiod that drove trade away and increased the strain on the Hesiod subsector's income. Even so, the wealthier and more influential subsector would almost certainly have broken the rebellion if it were not for an opportunistic Imperial Commander from Siculus called Sebastian Bachwhit. Bachwhit was an incisive and talented political agitator, and he successfully encouraged the Siculus subsector to secretly undermine Hesiod, by drawing armies away under the pretext of xenocidal campaigns and retrenchment.

Martial II was incensed by Bachwit's furtive actions, but the political weather had changed, and his influence on sectorial matters was shrinking. He was unable to persecute Bachwit as this would risk antagonising his friends in the Siculus subsector; and Hesiod could not stand alone against two subsectors. Frozen into an embarrassing political wilderness, that was accellerated by the defeat of Nova Terra and the re-trenchment of Anton Antecedent as a viable political entity, the centuries following saw Hesiod and the Ecclesiarchy in general shrink in influence during the Age of Apostasy. Senator Luxa Abraxon, the head of the new Grovsenor Consulate, made it plain who now wielded power by proposing a merging of the Hesiod and Siculus subsectors. As Abraxon raised her ally close Bachwit to the Consulate, it became clear that Hesiod would be the junior in the new sector.


+ Escalation +

Matters might have continued sedately if it weren't for the sudden and suspicious death of Sector Ecclesiarch Martial II and his successors as they campaigned furiously against the proposed merger. The Hesiod Epidemic – as the crisis became known – saw seven Ecclesiarchs assassinated in as many years, which caused huge turmoil across the whole sector and brought fresh piety to many. Numerous petty wars and rebellions broke out across Antona Australis as the Siculan, Hesiod and Anton Antecedent subsector governments struggled to assert political dominance or hold on to power.

Under the leadership of Saint Remuel, the world of Hesiod began to gather political momentum once more. With old grudges and political fractures more apparant than ever, and the threat from xenos all but absent from the principal subsectors, the stage was set for an apocalyptic conflict. Inspired by a popular romantic myth of Hesiod as having a divinely-given right to rule the sector, the dashing Marshal Bron of Memini successfully engaged the Ambitine Fleet and forces of Magna Grecia, sparking war between the mighty armies of the Hesiod and Anton Antecedent subsectors. No love was lost between the old rivals; and many millions perished.

Open warfare continued for five years, until the Siculus subsector – previously neutral – entered the war. Having allowed the two more powerful subsectors to break against each other, Bachwit began his own claim for power; assassinating his lover Abraxon and declaring himself Dicator-for-Life over both the Siculus and Anton Antecedent subsectors. He had lofty support, including the Hammers of the Emperor and Stellar Steeds Chapters of the Astartes, against whose forces neither Hesiod nor Anton Antecedent had an answer.

Desperate, Marshal Bron blackmailed Horsa (known as the Oathbound), then-Althing (high king) of the Iron Staff League to join him. Anti-abhuman feeling was high owing to the political winds – the Age of Apostasy was drawing to a close, bringing influence back to the Ecclesiarchy and giving thoughts of 'purity' to the broader Imperium. The addition of the powerful abhuman faction to the war tipped the balance too far. Despite Horsa's determinedly defensive stance, limiting his forces to keeping supply lines open and providing reserves to the Hesiod forces, the governments of Siculus and Anton Antecedent joined forces against Hesiod, resulting in the swift defeat of their armies. Saint Remuel was martyred in M36.405, and Marshal Bron was killed by Captain Titus of the Hammers of the Emperor later the same year. Without their charismatic leadership, the Romantic Rebellion collapsed.


+ Conclusion and aftermath +

Open warfare continued between Hesiod, Siculus and Anton Antecedent until M36.407, when the Diet of Bronnling was instigated by the Inquisition. Intended as a conclave of the various subsector governments to reach a political compromise; Sector Ecclesiarch Martial VI of Hesiod played a brilliant move, turning the Diet into a show trial of Althing Horsa. In one fell stroke, the three simmering Imperial subsectors found a common enemy; accusing the Iron Staff League of orchestrating the whole affair and creating the war. The Althing was found guilty of sedition against the Emperor and executed. The Hammers of the Emperor and Stellar Steeds led the combined might of the sector against the League, removing it from sector politics and allowing the three subsectors a face-saving political climbdown.

+ Sebastian Bachwit and Consule Shm Vin. +
At this point, Ecclesiarch Martial VI of Hesiod, Sebastian Bachwit of Siculus and Shm Vin, head of the Grovsenor Consulate were all relatively well-placed. Thankfully, Martial VI was both a deeply pious and starkly pragmatic man. Recognising that Hesiod's time in the sun had passed and that further warfare served no-one's purposes but the enemies of the Imperium, he graciously withdrew from direct involvement in sector politics – leaving Siculus and Anton Antecedent eyeing each other warily. The stand-off was short lived, as Bachwit – increasingly filled with regret over the cold-blooded murder of his lover earlier in the conflict – committed suicide in the closing days of M36.408, effectively ending the war.

With no political rivals, governorship of the sector defaulted to Shm Vin, whose first motion before the Consulate was to merge the subsectors Siculus and Hesiod into a new combined sector in order to combat the increasing threat of the orks of the Scallop Stars. Linked by a common foe, the two subsectors bonded through blood shed together during the resultant Eorta Crusade and the Scallop Star Purges.

+ inload: Leman Russ Battle Tank +

+ Shades of Father Ted +

+ Having pontificated at length in the last inload about using a paint scheme to unite disparate models [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], I proceeded with panic painting for the event in Bristol... and ended up painting a tank the wrong colour. +

+ The Lovely Girl here was intended to go with the Catipürnan World-Turners and their associated PDF – the neutral black and white scheme I was outlining in the earlier inload. +

+ Not really paying attention, I ended up using (warm) sepia ink instead of (cool) Payne's grey. After working this in, the tank ended up looking like my Lamb's World vehicles [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], and I guess muscle memory just took over. + 

WIP: The sepia ink granulated beautifully; helped along with some granulating medium.
+ Mainly an experiment in creating texture quickly, I wanted to give the impression that the Lovely Girl is an old mothballed tank, pressed into service by the local PDF. To achieve this, I created wells of sepia ink, Scorched Brown diluted to a watery consistency and Chaos Black, also diluted to a watery consistency. I then pulled the wells together in my palette, and added flow enhancer to the freely-mixing colours. +

+ This was then painted liberally over the surface with a 12mm (½in) flat brush. Working wet-in-wet, I rinsed the brush and used it to apply generous amounts of granulation medium, particularly to the flat surfaces. This medium causes the pigment particles suspended in the paint to clump up, resulting in a grainy appearance. It works best with media that naturally granulate, like sepia ink. +

+ I then rinsed and dried the brush, and used it to selectively lift off the wet paint/ink/medium mixture from the surface, by touching the clean dry brush to the tank's flat areas: the brush draws up the paint (just like loading your brush from your palette), leaving an area of clean highlight. +

+ The pict-capture above shows both the good and the bad effects this has. The speckled high-contrast finish produced by the granulation is most obvious around the hatch, and I think it's pretty successful here. The rear of the sponson, however, just looks a bit mucky. It's not a convincing illusion here. The engine block (on the right of the image, above the trailing part of the track) shows the effect of lifting out – the underlying colour is revealed once more. +

+ It also shows off some of the quick detailing – handprints, hazard striping and shading around the rivets. It's a bit crude, but not bad for a speed paint – in all, this took me around two hours from start to finish; so in terms of quick texture, I think I'll count this a successful experiment. +

+ In terms of painting it the right colour, not so much! +

+ Small details like hand prints – presumably a post-battle superstition adopted by the crew – go a long way to personalising a tank, and implies more detail than is actually there. Like the lenses on the turret, and the weathering scratches and dings, they help to break up a surface that can otherwise just look a bit messy or dull. +

+ inload: Using a paint scheme to unite an army +

+ Catipürnan World-Turners +

+ The Silence event, run by Bristol Vanguard, is coming up this weeked [+PROTOCOL: commence calming respiro-stressorcism+], and my genestealer cult/dominated PDF force is... ticking along. Not quite where I'd like to be, but the end is in sight. +

+ Basing still to do +
+ The pict-capture above shows some battle-ready late generation hybrids, toting shotguns and supported by a heavy stubber. While not finished to a great standard, I think they're a good example of how a pre-planned scheme and tonal contrast can give good results. +

+ Theoretical +

+ In any army that contains markedly different aesthetics – such as the Steel Legion guardsmen and xenos genestealers – it's particularly important to have some way of tying the different strands together visually; otherwise it'll just look hotch-potch. To make things more manageable for myself here, I chose to run with a near monochrome scheme of cool off-white and off-black, with yellow-orange accents. +

+ Still WIP; the goggles will be red-orange. +
+ The brood brothers (the PDF that have come under the sway of the Patriarch and his coven) are painted virtually white. Their fatigues are Calth Brown, and their armour and gun casings Charadon Granite. +

+ The genestealers turn this on its head, being mainly black (Chaos Black with a touch of Macragge Blue), with near-white skin – the latter painted with Pallid Wych Flesh, with touches of Screamer Pink and Macragge Blue. +

+ The hybrids sit midway between the two, using elements of both: Calth Brown fatigues and Charadon Granite armour, but near-white flesh and blue-black carapaces. I've used Dheneb Stone hints here and there, too – on the ragged clothing, for example. As a similar near-white hue, it fits in nicely, while not matching the skin. +

+ Practical +

+ This WIP shot shows how I approached painting them – starting from the inside out; by which I mean that I painted the underlying clothing (brown fatigues), then painted the hard armour, then the equipment (guns etc.). The skin is left to near to the end. Because I spend far more time and effort on this, leaving it 'til last reduces the chances of accidentally getting paint or muck on it. Much easier to repaint an anonymous patch of clothing than an obvious focal paint like the face. +


+ Personalities +

+ These two – the cult icon bearer and a PDF ogryn bodyguard – show that a sufficiently flexible scheme will work even for egregious or unusual models in an army. The icon bearer is an earlier generation hybrid; so the skin is closer to the Patriarch's cool blue-tinged hue than the ruddier skintones of the 'normal' humans. Both use the dull grey armour – and this 'neutral' hue is used for both the cultist's banner and the ogryn's shield, too. Both have some eye-catching yellow accents. +

+ Neither is particuarly well-finished (I hope at some point to come back and refine them a little; particuarly the banner), but the strong paint scheme and more attention on the faces means that they will add to the army's overall visual well. Basically I want them to stand out a little – but remain obviously part of the army. +


+ Grandfather Nurgle is whispering temptingly +

+ Plague Marines. Plague Marines! Part of the delay in getting my genestealers done is the steadily-swelling mass of Death Guard lurking on my desk and distracting me. +

+ I showed off this chap last week, but managed to get a pict-capture over the weekend in better light. These colours are a lot more accurate, and help show that even a near-monochrome scheme doesn't need to be flat and boring. Judicious use of yellow and purple pin washes, and warming sepia-based inks help give some interest; helped along with accents like the yellowing ivory spikes and ice-blue vision slit. +

+ Two Plague Marines and their squad leader. The leader's a minor weapon swap, giving him a plasma gun and plague sword in place of the default power fist. The other two are the first multi-part Death Guard I've put together; and proved a slightly frustrating experience. It turns out that the kit has lots of pegs and guides – useful to help avoid poses that won't work without conversion (a boltgun across a chest bursting with tentacles that physically block the other arm, for example) – but an annoyance for more substantial conversion work, as you have to trim them away to free up the limbs. +

+ Nothing dreadful, but worth me bearing in mind. 

+ Poxwalkers are de rigeur, but I quite fancy having some cultists. More recognisably human, they'll provide a good baseline size to make the Plague Marines appear suitably hulking. +

+ inload: Sprucing up second-hand miniatures +

+ Aberrant +

The feared Abominant of the Catipürnan World-Turners Dunpha Gnao (you can blame Warmtamale) alongside some of his less twisted brethren. Not quite at the level I'd normally hope for, but I think he works. +

+ Buying second-hand +

+ Renovating miniatures can be a fun part of the hobby. For single-piece models like metals, it's often a necessity, as they're no longer available directly. There are lots of guides on stripping paint (I use a dwindling supply of Fairy Power Spray, for the record), so I won't dwell on that. Instead, I thought it might be useful for people to see what you can do with second-hand plastics. +

+ The finished Plague Marine from yesterday's inload [ref: pictcapture above] is an example of a second-hand model that I've repainted.  As a point of interest, I thought I'd post up some of the others from the batch, to show what I look for when buying second-hand. +

+ For this example, I worked directly over the underlying paint: buying the right second-hand models can mean the difference between a frustrating strip and rebuild, and a speedy, pleasing experience. +

+ Buying second hand +

+ The things I look for are:
  • Thin paint – details should still be clear. This is less important if you're planning to strip before repainting, but blobby paint is generally a bad sign anyway. It can hide poor construction. If you can, examine them in person, or ask for close-up details.
  • Quality of build – Look for outstanding mouldlines and sprue detritus, plus any nicks, cuts or scrapes. Do always ask how the model has been put together – superglued plastic figures are easily broken apart to rebuild, while poly cemented ones are more labour. 
  • Parts used – This is the big one for plastic kits. Unless the seller is including the leftover parts, you'll be stuck with the options they've picked. Make sure they're what you want; or you can end up with false economy. 
  • Construction – Are they well-posed? Multi-part kits can easily look a bit [SCRAPSHUNTERRORABORT] if they're badly assembled. I prefer to look for ones with more standard posing, as this eliminates the need to break them apart and rebuild.
  • Basing – Although bases are amongst the easiest things to update, the base is something that is very distinctive. If your aim is for the second-hand models to fit in with your army, look for models with bases that match yours  or better still, are unbased.
  • Compatibility –  This is more of an issue if your army is heavily converted or otherwise non-standard; in which case out-of-the-box models can stand out like a sore thumb. The same applies in the other direction too – cool converted models don't always fit in nicely.
  • Price – The price can be the kicker in these deals. A seeming bargain can be outweighed if you can't fix them up to your satisfaction; and equally it's sometimes worth paying near-retail if they're exactly what you want. Do make sure to take fees, postage etc. into consideration. If the difference is a couple of quid, it might be worth just buying retail (or discounted retail) and having the reassurance of the full, fresh kit.

+ These models are a good example of great second-hand models. I paid less than half retail price for them, they're nicely assembled, unbased and have only a thin coat of paint. +

+ In order to fit into my army, I'm only going to need to make minor tweaks – drilling out the weapon barrels, a couple of head and weapon swaps etc. They've been cleanly assembled. +

+ inload: Painting Plague Marines of Nurgle +

+ Painting the Death Guard +

'The living know that they will die, and many know that they will live with disease or other torment, yet they drive this knowledge into a corner of their minds and keep it pinned there with all manner of dreams and activity. Nurgle is the embodiment of that knowledge and of the unconscious response to it, of the hidden fear of disease and decay, and of the power of life which that fear generates. '
Realm of Chaos, The Lost and the Damned page 12

+ This extract underpins Nurgle for me. Like much from this roleplay-driven period of Games Workshop's past, it's a more complex and nuanced definition that explains some of the in-universe appeal of Grandfather Nurgle and his followers, despite their repulsive appearance. +

+ Nurgle is sometimes flanderised into a simple 'god of plague', but like all the Chaos powers, there's a huge amount of depth to explore. +

+ Plague Marines +

+ I'd been trying to motivate myself to paint more genestealers for an event a week on Saturday (eek), but just couldn't get going. I ended up painting this chap, just to lance the boil of Nurgly enthusiasm. Seemed to work alright, as once I'd done that, I was able to get cracking on the genestealer abominant. +

+ Lovely models, the new Death Guard. Size-wise they're akin to Primaris or truescale (i.e. Terminator-sized) marines; slightly shorter but bulkier overall. The proportions remain similar to the older models; I wonder if they were designed at the older size, and rescaled? Digital design would have allowed such tweaks at a later stage, and explain why (for example) the shins are so broad, and collar so large in comparison with the helmet. +

+ Either way, I don't think it really matters. By their nature these models are gloriously over-the-top, and the larger surfaces gives the painter something to get stuck into. +

+ This particular model was bought second-hand – he'd been nicely assembled and had received a simple paintjob (the now-standard light olive green) that I worked over to give him something more akin to the Horus Heresy-era scheme. It's using two colours I haven't used before, Citadel's Pallid Wych Flesh for the off-white, and Death Guard Green for the shoulder pads. Interestingly, this second colour is all but identical to Vallejo's Afrikakorps 773, from their Tank Aces range. #themoreyouknow +

+ I think buying some models second-hand is a great way to try new things out. Not only were these less than half the price of buying the same models new, but they also provided me with some additional challenges. Perhaps most importantly of all, buying pre-assembled means that you avoid any unconscious aesthetic choices I might have made in building  – avoiding certain components, for example. The proviso is that you need to ensure they're well-built; it's frustrating to be doing clean-up and repositioning on second-hand models, and it can become a false economy. +

+ Depth was added across the model using a wonderfully free and variegated combination of sepia ink and various Citadel washes, added both wet-in-wet and overlaid in glazes and pin washes. The ink adds a little welcome glossiness in place. The important thing to bear in mind is that they're meant to look worn-down and covered with the detritus of centuries of war, not a single layer of mud. It's important to keep the tonal contrast and pull the highlights back after shading.+

+ I've used the same dirty metal approach here as I have on my Iron Warriors infantry (and others – it's becoming my go-to technique for metals)  [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +

+ The tentacles, horns and various grotesqueries that adorn the model have been treated fairly naturalistically here, but part of the appeal of this range of models is how I can be quite experimental with details and weathering – they really don't need to look uniform. +

+ I'm fairly pleased with the result. It's perhaps a bit too complex; I would have preferred some more open areas to contrast with the profusion of detail, and to demonstrate some smoother gradients and perhaps some freehand. The helmet's about the only space I was able to to this – even the knee pads have spikes and angles! +

+ Part of the reason for this was their second-hand nature – the previous owner had used two of the (very cool, admittedly) shoulder pads with sculptural detail, and retained a lot of the spikes and growth that I'll be clearing off my own. Those spaces will allow me to get the broader gradients and more controlled weathering – but that's for the future. +