+ inload: Captain Aethon +

+ Captain Aethon, painted +

+ I built this model nearly a year ago; the process being detailed in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. Earlier this month Bob_Hunk told me about GW's #marchformacragge 'event' on Instagram – basically an excuse to paint and show off your Ultramarines (go check out his awesome Rogue Trader-inspired Imperial Space Marine [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. I dug out my marines and – as is the way – immediately decided that I needed to update them. +

+ Let me assure you that this wasn't a full strip-down; the army's taken me more than a decade to paint, and I have no intention of restarting them – I've flirted with that idea before and, goodness, am I glad I didn't. Rather, I contented myself with rebasing them. After all, as I confidently announced back in 2014, this is a quick way of updating things! +

+ Reader, it was not a quick thing to do. I got fed up halfway through, and the army has languished, half on snow and half on rubble, ever since. This time, I was determined to get things done, and really stuck to it over the course of three evenings. Any time I got bored, I'd turn to work on Aethon, or – depending on my mood – tick in some details that, again, I'd been confidently telling myself that I 'd do when the army was finished. +

+ Of course, as no army is ever finished, my poor Ultramarines had been wandering around missing their squad markings – long since revealed in a HH 'black book'. This provided a great opportunity to fill them in. There are a few of the rebased models shown above, but I'll do a proper inload on the army as a whole at a later date. +

+ Y'know, when it's finished. +


+ Captain Steloc Aethon +

+ And talking of unfinished – or to be kinder, not yet finished – projects, my 'truescale' Betrayal at Calth set [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] ticked along just a little with the completion of the Ultramarines' leader, Aethon.

+ A fun little exercise in trying to remember how I painted my Ultramarines, it's proven the usefuleness of having a blog to record techniques, mixes and approaches. +

+ As with most of my recent Terminators, Aethon's converted from a Custodes Aquillon Terminator, giving him what I think is the correct proportions against Primaris or truescale marines. +

+ inload: Updating old models +

+ Remus Ventanus redux +

+ It's not frequently that I go back to old models to update them. There's always more to do, new ideas to explore, and there's also the not inconsequential risk of spoiling the old ones. +

+ No, usually I like to leave things as they were, as a record; or to create a completely new version, as with the second iteration of Roboute Guilliman. Apart from anything else, I like the idea that all the models we see are representations of a particular viewpoint in-universe. Everyone has a slightly different take on a character, whether that's an individual or the broader character of a force. +

+ Theoretical: changing figures +

+ Nevertheless, I do occasionally return to figures to change particular aspects. This is usually when I'm very happy with the majority of it, but a particular aspect has nagged at me. This was the case with Captain Remus Ventanus of the Ultramarines. You can read about the original diorama in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], in which I explain how I converted a scout head. +

+ The updated version uses the head of the Sergeant Jovan anniversary figure. I used the rest in my Word Bearers force [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], which provides a nice symmetry! The idea of replacing Ventanus' head has hung around for a while. I was pleased with the original [VIZREF: below]; don't get me wrong, but when I first saw the Jovan figure I thought it would be an improvement. + 

+ The original, for comparison +


+ Practical: a delicate balance +

+ Stage one was painting up the new head. I did this on-sprue to give me something to hang onto – a technique I've not used much, but have been practising with my Gatebreakers [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], as the armour on this army requires multiple layers of oils and acrylics, with varnishing in between. Since the heads don't, I thought it an unnecessary risk to keep the bare heads on, and have been painting them separately. +

+ In practical terms, I used the techniques covered in my step-by-step tutorial on painting faces here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], and decided to have a bit of fun with using a couple of Ultramarine-themed colours. I started from Calth Brown, and used Macragge Blue alongside Vallejo off-white and golden yellow. A hint of Vallejo flat red finished things off. +

+ A bit of brute force and ignorance took the old head off, and I carefully trimmed down and cleaned up the join before attaching the new head. The set-up above shows how it looked. I was pleased for about five minutes, but then the traditional problem of updating models crept in. +

+ Your painting style – and ability – inevitably change over time. I'd used a loose, painterly style for my Ultramarines. This was partly an intentional decision to match the Visions of Heresy artwork that was my inspirational, and partly my limitations as an artist. Looking back on the figure, there were lots of bits that I'd do differently... and that started to nag at me. I knew I didn't want to completely repaint him. He's from a period of which I have fond memories, and in any case, repainting him would mean repainting the others (or that would nag at me more!), and so forth: 'mission creep'. +

+ In the end, I contented myself with a couple of minor tweaks. The first was a little tidying up of the cables around his chest. These had been particular loosely done [VIZREF: above], and I felt a little tightening would improve the look of things around the focal area without committing me to a full repaint, or markedly changing the style. Secondly, you'll notice the original stance, again shown above, is leaning back slightly. I removed him from the base and slightly carved down are where the front foot stands to sit the figure in a more balanced position. +


+ The revised figure +

+ Here's the finished figure, set up as for the original diorama – itself styled after Neil Roberts' artwork for the Black Library novel Mark of Calth. Details of the individual marines are below: +

+ Sergeant Selaton +

+ Captain Ventanus +

+ Brother Genericus +


+ inload: Bob Olley Techpriest +

Witness the Might of the Mechanicum +

+ Ah, the Adeptus Mechanicus. Since seeing the hugely creepy Giger-esque illustrations of same in the Rogue Trader rulebook, I've loved the denizens of Mars. Having built an entire converted army, the Braun VI skitarii  – now long sold and (presumably) bravely fighting the good fight elsewhere in the galaxy – I've picked up a few kits here and there as one-off painting or converting projects. +

+ Along with various other side-projects, like my collection of Titan crew and the Blackstone Fortress figures [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], I've realised that I've inadvertently created a rather sizeable little expeditionary force – I'll see if I can get a group shot at some future point. +

+ The most recent addition to this is this classic techpriest sculpted by the inimitable Bob Olley, who I was pleased to find out is still beavering away [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. His miniatures are some of the most distinctive and outré in the entire Citadel range, with a very distinct aesthetic. +

+ His sculpting creates pieces that reward a painterly approach, rich with recessed detail and baroque detailing. Many of them include nice clean spaces for opportunities for freehand and special effects, like the object-source lighting on the axe. I very rarely utilise effects like these on miniatures (I like my grimdark space fantasy with a heavy emphasis on grimy realism and dirt), but for this miniature, I felt it was necessary. The shrouded face is a wonderful part of the composition, suggesting deformation or other horror – but it also covers up the usual focal point. TO combat this, I painted the fabric with a yellow-toned cloth, then added blue (yellow's complementary) on the axe. The two thus form a little diad for the eye to bounce back and forth between. +


+ In contrast, this Anvil Industries scribe/techpriestess [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] is a nice, clean sculpt. The eye is drawn up the figure's scroll, across the characterful little feather quill to the head area. It's a lovely little figure that painted up well. It also demonstrates nicely how the nature of the Adeptus Mechanicus means that some quite disparate figures, from different ranges and eras, can fit together nicely. +

+ The robes on both this and the Citadel techpriest were painted very simply, using Gryph-Hound orange over a white underlayer. I emphasised the highlights with cream, over which I worked glazes of orange ink, introducing sepia ink into the recesses. +

+ inload: A constellation of Silver +

+ Look up to the Stars +


+ A quiet few days on the blogging front – though do be sure not to bypass the [+noosphericexloadlink+] to + Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten +, where I've been able to collate some of the amazing work people are conributing. Thanks in particular to those brave datascribes and inloaders who have contributed images and stories from here: they're very welcome. If you would like to contribute, pop over to the Facebook groupnode and I'll let you know how you can. There are no entry criteria beyond enthusiasm! +


While I've been editing and uploading others' material there, I've also got quite a lot of my own painting and modelling done, so thought it'd be nice to show 'em off here.

+ Silver Stars +

+ Firstly, progress has continued on this are-they-aren't-they Legion of Space Marines. As with my M42 Chapter, the Gatebreakers, I'm delighted with the scheme. That always helps with my enthusiasm – nothing more draining than plugging away on a model whose colour scheme you've grown tired of. +

+ The figure front and centre here will be the model used for the Silver Stars' upcoming Index Astartes, which will (partially) explain the meaning behind some of the badges, logos and sigils here. +

+ A very messy shot of the desk that shows a few odd bits that are work-in-progress, from techpriests and Titan Princeps to Gatebreakers and Imperial Guard; not to mention a couple of more esoteric figures. A pile of Silver Stars is on the right of the image, which is the front of the desk. I often keep a couple of odd figures nearby, just to avoid getting burnt out on batch painting. A change is as good as a rest, after all. +

+ ...and the War of the False Primarch is not constrained to one scale – I've been painting up a detachment of Epic-scale marines for use in dioramas and scenic shots, in the style of the very old Adeptus Titanicus promotions in White Dwarf. +

+ Of course, there won't be any reason that I can't use these to play games – and I'm hoping against hope that I'll be able to get some tabletop gaming in against the PCRC at some point. Miss you, lads! +

+ A Deimos Predator – plucked from the Cupboard of Shame Opportunity – has been given a big 130mm base. Bit of a gamble this, but after experimenting with the base on my Blood Angels Rhino [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], I've decided I really like tanks on bases. For whatever reason, it makes me feel that they belong a bit better. Perhaps this'll be something I make a more general part of my planning. +

'We are Legion' [citation needed]

+ As you can see, the Silver Stars are swelling to be quite a force. The scheme [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] is relatively time-consuming, though a lot of this is down to drying times. Those with keen occulobes will spot that I've worked the white up on a lot of there, rather than starting with the black, as I suggest in the linked tutorial. A lot of my 'recipes' – particularly those of Space Marines or other heraldic scheme [+noosphericloadlink embedded+] can be approached in any order, as the parts are effectively separate: you just need to be careful and neat after the first stage is down. +

+ For that reason, I decided to start with the white on the majority of these – because it uses one of the new Contrast paints (Apothecary White), it's inherently a bit messier (as you need to slop it on). Better to go back and tidy any splodges with black and turquoise than add light on dark. +