+ inload: Epic basing +

+ 'What is this – Warhammer for ants?' +

+ Basing Epic-scale miniatures +

+ What is Epic-scale? +

+ While idly assembling some miniatures, I thought I'd put together a little tutorial for basing Epic stuff. The phrase 'Epic' or Epic-scale' in wargaming terms is probably familiar to most inloaders, but for anyone unsure, Games Workshop used to support a companion game to 40k based around larger conflicts on a slightly more abstract level than 40k. The figures were roughly a quarter of the size of their 40k-scale equivalents, meaning infantry are roughly 6mm tall. + 

+ This has caused no end of online discussion about whether the modern Adeptus Titanicus 'scale' is the same, or slightly different. That's an discussion for another – less hot and sunny – time, so here we'll stick with the practicalities and just refer to any roughly 6mm-sized figures as the numberless 'Epic-scale'. The instructions below will work for any comparably-scaled game, such as Adeptus Titanicus, 10mm: Dropzone Commander or Games Workshop's Warmaster. +

Epic Marines alongside a 40k scale one.


+ Theoretical +

+ Since their introduction in the original Epic: Space Marine game, infantry have been fielded, usually in groups of five, on specially-designed 25mm (1in) square bases with recesses to accept the built-in 'plugs' on the feet of the figure. These were later joined by 40mm x 10mm strip bases with similar recesses. 

+ Both styles of GW official bases are long out of print. They're not particularly hard or expensive to buy second-hand or find on auction sites, though this obviously makes them less reliably available. Vanguard Miniatures do a nice selection of circular and strip equivalents in plastic [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] if you want a nice clean base to work on. +

+ Players usually flocked and painted the bases using sand or similar. Have a look at a Tactical detachment from my Ultramarines army below for an example. These were based on some 1mm ply wood that I had drilled to provide the recesses. As a result, all are grouped in the same ring of five. Not a problem in itself, but the downside of using pre-made bases is it that it can look a bit dull. +

Epic Ultramarines 

+ I wanted to show a method that allows you to add a bit more character and variety to the bases. Adding little touches like this will go a long way to adding character to your formations – and from tabletop distance, it will help to make your forces look like scale figures in combat, rather than abstract gaming tokens. +

+ Practical +

+ You won't need a lot of specialist equipment here; about the only thing you'll need is a fine texture gel or medium. I used Winsor & Newton's Galeria Sand Texture Gel, available at your local art and craft store, but there are lots of equivalents. The important bit is that it is finely textured and holds its shape. +

1_ With your figures prepared, take a 2p coin – or anything roughly 25mm (1in) in diameter, and squeeze on a blob of the texture gel in the centre. 

2_ Use your modelling tool to loosely spread it around, keeping it off the rim of the coin.

3_ Optionally, embed a small piece of gravel, or similarly-sized detail. Offcuts of sprue, small pieces of terrain etc. also work well. This'll end up looking like a piece of cover and create some variation in height. More importantly, it will create something for your figures to interact with. Use the modelling tool to draw the modelling gel up and around any natural elements (like boulders); it will help integrate them and look much more natural. Depending on the effect you want, you can leave some bits exposed, or cover the whole thing.


4_ Take a moment to consider what simple story you want the vignette to tell. This doesn't have to be involved or complex – something as simple as 'moving up quickly' or 'warily patrolling' or 'taking cover' can work. Here, I've opted for three figures huddling around the rock, providing covering fire for two who have started to redeploy.

Considering the pose, place the first figure, leaving space for the others. Push the figure firmly into the gel and use the modelling tool to work the gel over and around the tab, hiding it.

5_ Repeat with the other figures. It's usually easier to work from the centre of the base outwards, to avoid the risk of knocking them. Use a damp old brush to clean any excess gel from the figure's legs.

6_ While the gel remains wet, you can now sprinkle some fine sand over the base. I use 'play sand', as it's fine, and clean. Odd bits of grit work well at larger scales, but at Epic-scale it can be a bit jarring. Leave the gel to dry overnight to finish, ready for painting. 


+ Additional cognition +

+ As you can see, the addition of a bit of height to the base itself helps to create the impression of a more natural, believable surface than the level plains of Planet Bowling Ball. However, it's not entirely necessary. The combination of gel and sand creates a subtly varied texture in itself, as you can see below. A few small (2–3mm) static grass tufts can add a bit of height and interest to the basein the same way as the pebbles/scenery: you just need to plan it a little in advance. +

+ Note here that the Rhino and Dreadnought are also mounted on bases. I think the adding bases to tanks hugely improves things, particularly in Epic. Mostly, I try to build up gel on one side, so that the vehicle is at a slight angle, and occasionally slightly off-setting the vehicle on the base – it goes a long way to giving them  some dynamism and prevent them all looking identical. +

+ I usually mount Dreadnoughts and upgrade characters on smaller pennies – approximately 12mm (½in) across, as this prevents them looking lost. + 

Silver Stars marines and Contemptor support.

+ If you want to, of course, you can take this much further, creating a mini-diorama. The thing to bear in mind is that we'll need to hide any built-in 'tab' bases, particularly on infantry but also frequently on cavalry and artillery. Adding too much addition 'stuff' can lead to a crowded base that doesn't work so well. If you really want to get involved with more complex things, I suggest using slightly larger bases – around 32mm would work well – or altering the number of figures on the base. +

+ If you're intending to play the most recent iteration of the game, the much-loved Epic: Armageddon, it's worth nothing that the rules allow for a great deal of flexibility in basing, and in my experience the relative advantages and disadvantages of different shapes and sizes all balance out:

1.1.2 Stands
As previously noted, a unit can be a single vehicle model, or a stand made up of several very small models grouped together and glued to a small base. Stands usually represent things like infantry, where moving the individual models round on their own would be very fiddly with Epic scale models. All the models glued to a stand count as a single unit as far as the rules are concerned. The size of a stand and the number of models glued to it are left pretty much up to the player to decide within the following limitations:
• A stand may be no more than 40mm and no less than 5mm across in any direction.
• A stand must be at least 20mm across in one direction (ie, a 5mm by 5mm stand is not allowed, but a 5mm by 20mm stand would be okay).
• Stands representing infantry units must have at least three infantry models and may not have more than seven. Infantry mounted on bikes or horses must have between two and four models mounted on each base.
• Stands representing artillery must have between one and two artillery pieces and up to six crew models.

+ This can be used to good effect. While I like the look and idea of five marines on a base – it fits with their disciplined nature and their method of using five-men combat squads – the freedom to play around offers lots of potential. +

+ Eldar, for example, might look good scattered a bit more sparsely on bases – perhaps just three or four figures per base, to suggest an elite, thinly-spread Warhost. Conversely, hordes of Orks, Tyranids or Necrons would look great more densely packed – whether in loosely roaming packs or serried ranks. +

+ More 'small-c chaotic' forces like Orks or Chaos marines would look great with varying numbers of models, and the addition of odd one-off bits like stray gretchin or cultists alongside the main infantry. +

+ As a final point, these techniques can of course be used for Adeptus Titanicus models, too. In fact, I think practising exercising your brain in creating a story with infantry can help to build your skills and creativity for the larger space of a Titan base – and what better than a cohesive Epic-scale army led by a Titan or two? +

+ inload: Painting the Partisans

+ Partisan Chapter paint schemes + 

+ The War of the False Primarch is in full swing over on + Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten + and I've been painting away. This shades-of-grey civil war is being fought between those who follow a mysterious figure hailed as a returned Primarch, and those who follow the edicts of the High Lords. It's open to anyone, so if you want to get involved, the info is here [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] +

+ The Chapters following the False Primarch are collectively termed the Partisans, and a very diverse bunch they are; from the stable and orderly Marines Orcinus – or Red Fish – to the rad-haunted Wormwood Sons. I've been painting up examples of each to help illustrate the Index Astartes articles, and thought I'd add some notes on how I approached them. I've tried to keep things simple and quick – each of these was painted in under two hours – just to show that getting involved isn't a huge time sink. +

+ If you're interested in giving any of them a go, we'd be delighted. It'd be lovely to see some more shared on the +Death of a Rubricist+ Facebook group or Instagram (with the #warofthefalseprimarch, #somethingsarebestleftforgotten and #partisanchapters tags). I've included the original creators of the Chapters so you can get in contact with them on Instagram to ask any questions; or you can leave a comment below and I'll do my best to get you in touch. +


+ Inheritors +

"We are your shield, we are your sword, we are the light in the darkness."
+ These suspiciously handsome, white-haired and violet-eyed Space Marines are the creation of Lars J-D [+Instagram handle: @lars.j.dahl +]. They have lovely Slavic/Sikh inspiration to their background, are classic Paladin-style goodies, and the scheme is both striking and simple. What's not to like? +

+ I used Vallejo Cold White (GW: White Scar) for the pauldrons, helm and boltgun casing, building up from Halford's Grey spray primer. These areas also received stripes in Vallejo Flat Red (GW Mephiston Red). If you don't feel confident with painting clean stripes, then rest assured that: 
The helm colourings vary a great deal; with a reversed scheme – white faceplate on green helm – a common variant. Likewise the red stripe is frequently split in two, decorated or missing altogether, according to the whims of the squad sergeant. Some encourage individuality amongst their troops; others demand a uniform approach.
+ I'd suggest painting the whole of the helmet crest red if you want to include it in some way: painting to edges is easier than freehanding. +

+ The bulk of the armour is sea green. I used Vallejo 'Highlight USMC Tank Crew 70323', from their Panzer Aces historical range. (The nearest GW equivalent is probably Gauss Balster green, or perhaps Sons of Horus green mixed with white.) The green base was shaded with the addition of Thraka Green, an old GW Wash; though I'd suggest using GW's new Coelia Greenshade, as that's a cooler blue green –  I simply didn't have any to hand. I added highlights with the simple addition of Vallejo Cold White to the tank crew paint. +

+ I used a nice dark metal base – GW Iron Warriors mixed with Abaddon Black – for maximum contrast with this high key scheme, and washed this with Seraphim Sepia and Druchii Violet Shades wet in wet. The gold areas were based with GW Rhinox Hide, then painted with Balthasar Gold, highlighted with Retributor Armour. +

+ Tactical markings are dark grey – I just added a touch of white paint to black for mine. The Chapter Badge is identical to the Astral Claws, so if you don't fancy freehanding it, you can use transfers – and keep an eye out for these, as a little cyber-caryatid suggests that transfers for all the Partisans and Pentarchy Chapters might be available at some point... +

+ You can read more about the Inheritors here on Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten. +

+ Void Barons +

"Who holds the stars? We do!"
+ Spiteful, unsentimental and pragmatic boarding specialists, the Void Barons are headhunting space buccaneers in racing team colours; and absolutely fantastic fun to paint. High impact and – besides the Chapter badge! – surprisingly easy. These are the brainchild of Simon V, part of the @heresyhobbyheadquarters collective on Instagram. +

+ A base of Macragge Blue had Drakenhof Nightshade added to the recesses for shading, and I used my old standby for highlighting blue, Space Wolf Grey (I think Fenrisian Grey is the modern equivalent). The pauldrons and helm with painted Vallejo Off-white, then washed with Gryph-Hound Orange contrast paint; fast becoming a favourite of mine. +

+ Once dry, I touched some Agrax Earthshade in the recesses of the orange areas to deepen the tone further, and highlighted with a rather awkward mix of Vallejo Flat Red and Winsor & Newton Cadmium Yellow Deep. This was purely because I don't own any bright oranges, and would suggest that you use GW Jokaero Orange, Trollslayer Orange or equivalent bright orange paint, to make things still easier. +

+ Metallic areas were treated as with the Inheritor above, and here boltgun casings, chest eagles and pouches were painted with GW Charadon Granite; but any dark grey would suffice, and highlighted with the addition of Off-white to the same grey. The pauldron trims were painted flat Abaddon Black, which both helps neaten the edges and really delineates the break between blue and orange, helping to further heighten the impact. +

+ The markings were made in Vallejo Off-white before being outlined with Daler Rowney sepia ink (you could just water down a little Rhinox Hide or similar dark brown paint). The Chapter symbol is an Off-white rectangle on top of a Macragge Blue circle, with the legend 'GVLF' written in orange. I'd suggest that you add a little red-tinged brown paint, such as Bugman's Glow, to help with contrast and legibility. +

+ You can read more about the Void Barons here on Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten. +


+ Silver Stars +

+ The cause of all this fuss. There's an article here on the basic paint scheme [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], and one here on the markings [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. I'm always very pleased to see other Silver Stars pop up, so if you do give it a go, do let me know!

+ Three new Silver Stars, polished off last night. + 

+ While the bulk of my hobby time has been taken up with Titans and writing, I've been working away slowly on these chaps, and they're starting to look like a cohesive force. After the highly varied mongrel armour mix of the Gatebreakers [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], it's been interesting to rein in my urge to personalise, restricting modelling differences to the occasional set of pteruges and crests. A uniform sea of Crusade armour – variously from Txarli Factory and Tortuga (c'mon GW, make Mark II available again!) – has a striking effect en masse. There are another nine in various stages of painting, and twenty being built... so much for side projects! +

+ The False Primarch and his warriors. +