+ inload: Gaming in the War of the False Primarch +

+ Gaming in the War of the False Primarch – and a Kill Team competition +

+ For those inloaders who aren't aware of this site's sister blog, here's a noosphericexloadlink:

+ Silver Stars Marines +

+ The War of the False Primarch, around which the blog is themed, is a curated and open project that I've been working on for this past year, and I'm happy to say that it's attracted an absolute shedload of talented hobbyists, writers and enthusiasts. It is still open to new contributors, so if you'd like to get involved, an overview and invitation is here. You can also find lots of inspirational pictures and lore of the various forces involved by searching for the tags #thewarofthefalseprimarch and #somethingsarebestleftforgotten on Instagram. +

+ From long experience, I know that hobby projects are easy to begin and difficult to complete, so this was envisaged as a five-stage project to keep it close-ended and relatively compact. The idea was that each stage would spend a month or two looking at a particular part of the War. I built in some slippage, but was rather overwhelmed by the amount and quality of the material that was submitted! Rather than throwing away so much wonderful work, I expanded the scope of the project, so we now have a regular two updates a week on +Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten+ – Wednesdays and Fridays. +

+ Stage III – Invitational +

+ Silver Stars Kill Team Canticle Chamber Vehemence +

+ It's taken rather longer that I'd initially planned to get here, but we're now on the cusp of stage III, the height of the war. The outline for this is below:

III – For the Warrior, the only crime is cowardice

Narrative: Height of the war. 
Works: We present forces (Killteam up to full army) of each of the Partisan Chapters, plus battle scenes.
Tag: #warriorcowardice


+ Event! +

+ ...and as if I were somehow forewarned, what's coming out next week? That's right – the new edition of Kill Team. I'd like to make this a proper six-week event for you to create a Kill Team for The War of the False Primarch. +

+ Here's the meat:
  • Create a Kill Team for the new edition of the game, themed around the small skirmishes that took place during the Sorrowful Years. 
    • A summary is below, but it's detailed more thoroughly here.
  • You can build and paint your Kill team as any Partisan or Pentarchy Chapter – or one of the other forces present, such as Vigilants, Marines Mendicant, Imperial Guard (Orthodox or Partisan), Ecclesiarchy, Skitarii, Inquisition, Annulus Umbra Chapter etc. If it's present in the war, it's fair game.
  • Creativity is king! While I encourage you to make your Kill Team game-legal, don't compromise your vision for it. A bit of counts-as (like the Volkites in my example Killteam above) is perfectly acceptable.
  • Post a picture of – and any lore you've written for – your finished Kill Team to:
  • You can use existing models.
  • The challenge begins on the 1st September at 11:02am GMT, and ends on 11th October at 02:11pm GMT.
+ I'll feature any Kill Teams that are created on the + Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten + blog in a special Warzone article; and there will probably be a couple of prizes for the ones I think best fit the theme. +

[//Pōmaikaʻi iā 'oe!+]

The Sorrowful Years

In the wake of the assembly, the representatives of the Pentarchy returned to their battered Chapters. So began a three-year period later dubbed the Sorrowful Years for Sectors Morqub and Heliopolis. 

With the Pentarchy Chapters turned inwards, primary defence of the region fell to the Extinction Armada and the forces of individual planets. While garrison forces of the Pentarchy continued to resist the gradual advance of the Partisans, none of the Chapters launched any major offensives. Instead, a low-grade war of small probing advances, espionage, strike and counter-strike began between small groups of Marines and special forces on both sides as they sought to undermine the other sides' efforts to rebuild.


+ Photographing your miniatures +

+ One stumbling block for a lot of beginners is getting decent shots to share. Let me reassure you that you don't need professional kit to get useable shots. +

+ Placement and space +

+ Here's a behind-the-scenes of how I got the pict-captures at the start of this article. As you can see, it's nothing more than a few sheets of A4 cartridge paper set up to form a smooth curve. I've propped mine up on a smartphone stand to get the curve (the weight of the figures keeps the paper in place), but you could use a stack of books, or even the wall behind. +

+ The figures are set up near the front of the paper. That's because you don't need much white below your figures, but you do need as much as possible behind, to fill the background. I rest my phone on the window ledge so that it's roughly at the same height as the figures, approximately 8–16in away from the frontmost model. +

+ Composing the picture +

+ I then use the camera app on the phone and physically move the camera until the screen looks something like this. Note that I'm not very close at this point; I will use the photo app on my phone to crop out the excess. The reason for leaving space around is to avoid having a narrow field of focus; that results in some areas being blurry. +

+ Make sure that you get everything you want in the picture. In the image below, you'll see that the frontmost marine is obscuring the central rear one. You should either move them around or simply include fewer models in the picture. +

+ There's a balance to be struck, as if you leave too much space around the group, then you're not getting the necessary detail on the models, so you'll only be able to use the picture at a fairly small size. +

+ Spend some time considering the placement of the individual figures, too. Rotate them on the spot and make sure that you're getting the best angle for the detail you want to focus upon. You may need to raise of lower the position of your camera lens to get details like the the eye lenses below the helmet's brow. Consider each figure individually. +

+ Speaking of focus, make sure your camera is focussing on the right spot. On my phone, it's simply a case of tapping the screen at the point you want in focus. In the example above, I'd put the focus on the frontmost model's chest – that tends to make sure the face and so forth are crisp, even if the gun barrels, backpack or other protruding bits become slightly blurred. +

+ Light – and taking the picture +

+ Finally, and perhaps most importantly, consider the light. The picture above shows the set-up at night – note the dark window! As I do my painting in the evenings, this is usually when I finish. Resist the urge to shoot now, unless you don't have the option. Artificial lights are dimmer and generally warmer/yellow-tinged. As a result, it'll throw the camera off, and you won't get the best results. +

+ Ideal lighting is bright but not direct sunlight that is falling either on the figure's front, or slightly to one side and front. If the light is coming from too far to one side, you'll end up with cast shadows; if from behind, you'll end up with a silhouette. +

+ Assuming you're in the northern hemisphere, a north-facing window is ideal, as this will get even, indirect light for most of the day (use a south-facing window if you're in the southern hemisphere). For clarity, try to arrange your set-up so that the light is falling as evenly as possible on the figures. If one side is in shadow, you can add a second source of light from the other side  (like a lamp) – but you'll get cleaner results by holding up a white reflector – another sheet of cartridge paper is perfectly fine – on the shadow side. This will reflect diffuse light back onto the figures. +

+ Once the lighting's right, take the photograph. If you are holding up a reflector, it can be difficult to hold the phone steady and take the picture with one hand. You can ask a kind friend or relative, deploy a servo arm, or use a timer function on your phone. The latter is a good way to make sure that you don't accidentally jog the camera or shake it as you press the button to take the shot. +

+ The finished photograph +

+ You should end up with something like the image above. All I have done is to crop it – there's no digital alteration beyond that. I do occasionally colour correct or adjust the exposure (again, generally just using the phone's in-built apps), but if you've got the set up and lighting right, you can get decent results. +

+ Other backgrounds +

+ White doesn't always suit; any neutral background should work well. The image below shows a similar figure on a grainy dark grey background, one I habitually use for my Alien Wars project. Personally, I find using a high-contrast background can make white figures look a bit washed-out, but it's very subjective. The image below is perfectly useable. +

+ Good luck, and hope to see your competition Kill Teams soon – I Want To Know! +


+ Catachan Sergeant 'Ripper' Jackson +

+ They make 'em tough on Catachan +

+ I finished painting Sergeant 'Ripper' Jackson and Colonel 'Definitely-not' Carl Weathers a few weeks back – and they've been here been sitting patiently (lying in ambush?) ready to go up on the blog. +

+ Both are absolutely wonderful models; just the right mix of comic-book exaggeration and fluid realism that I think sums up GW at their best. I collected the original Catachan Jungle Fighter models on release (long since gone on to a better place), but rather fell out of love with the range when the plastics replaced the superbly characterful metals. +

+ Time hasn't aged the infantry kit well (though even at the time it had a muted reception), but the command squad and heavy weapon teams are actually pretty good, in my opinion. The release of new characters gives me some hope that we will one day see a new Catachan range, but I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime, I'll pick up fantastic models like this, and hope that one day they'll have some soldiers to boss around. +

+ Since we saw the Catachan Colonel near-enough finished in an earlier inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], we'll concentrate on Jackson here. Painting camouflaged soldiers is a tricky balance. Make the camouflage too realistic and effective, and it'll do its job – leaving your model looking bland or boring. Adding too obvious a contrast can appear jarring. That can work – particularly where the camouflage is heraldic, as on (say) Executioners Space Marines  but here I've tried to strike a balance between a couple of eye-catching areas on contrast and a generally muted tone. +

+ Here, the bandana and light t-shirt frame the face and create patches of tonal and colour contrast with the jacket and skin. The flat area of cloth was given a sense of texture and age with the addition of a touch of yellow ochre (Iyanden Darksun). The same yellow was used for the bandana and also in the first layers of highlighting on the skin, creating a cohesive and warm palette. +

+ Insofar as anyone in the Imperium is a 'goodie', I've always thought the Catachans have a fairly appealing culture of community support, humour in the face of danger and an adventurous spirit. Bringing warmth into the palette by avoiding cold hues except where necessary (metallics, for example) or for intentional accents (green lenses for 'pop'), creates an attractive palette that invites further viewing. +

+ The camouflage patches – Zamesi Desert, Gretchin Green and uh... Battle Green? Or whatever the modern equivalent is – are added over a Halfords brown spray undercoat (from their Camouflage spray range). The pattern matches that used on the Colonel, providing uniformity that makes it clear Jackson's a soldier – even if her veteran status and Catachan demeanour afford her a little personalisation to her kit. +

+ The sword is nicknamed 'amiga' – a little nod to the likely inspiration of the hispanic infantrywoman Jenette Vasquez from Aliens, played by Jenette Goldstein. I very nearly went with an hispanic skintone, but enjoyed painting the warm dark skintone on the colonel (and Inquisitrix Barbari Kills) so much that I decided to use something similar here, too. Imperial Guard are a wonderful place to explore painting different skintones; and the goes doubly for Catachans, with so much muscle on display! +

+ If I find another for a reasonable price, I'll probably work up a conversion – perhaps an homage to Michael Perry and Mike McVey's 54mm Catachan that turned up in Golden Demon years back. +

+ The boltgun and chainsword received the same dull mid-green used in the camouflage patches, and I've highlighted these cleanly to add some harder lines that contrast with the softer blending used on her musculature. +

+ The bionic leg is treated exactly as a piece of military equipment, with the same dull mid-green. I really love the relatively low-tech look. It's a functional replacement for a warrior. + 

+ The dead tyranid on the base was painted red and blue to evoke the hivefleets of the rest of the PCRC, which mostly use these colours. I haven't tried to match any one specifically as they're all done in a lovely vivid, classic 'Eavy Metal style, which would clash with this muted look. To mute things, I added a spot of red to the blue, and a spot of blue to the red. +

+ Lovely sculpt, great model – I can only hope the God-Emperor sees fit to share more lovely Catachan sculpts with us soon! +

+ inload: Goliath truck +

+ Catachan transport +

+ The Goliath truck, released for the genestealer cult army, was far too good not to pinch for my Imperial Guard. Not a hugely involved conversion, this was really a case of getting the posing right on the passengers and crew. +

+ Exploration and trying things as they occur to me – or 'playing', as it's generally known(!) – is a really important part. It's all very well having a precise plan, but sometimes it's fun to have a general idea and explore with the parts you've got. +

+ The gunner here uses parts from a Catachan Command Squad and heavy weapon team. I could have simply done an armswap with the Brood Brother crew body from the standard kit, but it just felt right to make him all Catachan. The body armour is a specific thing I wanted to include; made him distinct from the others. Perhaps Goliath trucks have air conditioning, or perhaps they just suffer from spalling when hit – either way, this chap has decided wearing his standard issue flak jacket's a good idea. +

+ Flags and banners, when added to a diorama or vignette, need careful attention. It's very easy to forget that cloth, hair etc. need to flow in the appropriate direction. Posed on the side, this standard bearer pose reminded me of being on a ferry - a pleasingly carefree contrast with whatever hellhole this group's heading to. +

+ On the back, one guardsman points something out to another. Getting some interaction between the figures is key to making it believable and interesting. (The massive mouldlines on the scabbard, however, are not). + 

+ The heavy bolter is a conversion, combining parts from the Goliath with parts from (surprise!) the Catachan heavy weapon team. An autocannon would have been easier to do, but I do love me my heavy bolters. Much more 40k. +

+ Indirect interaction is possible, too. Note the banner bearer's head is tilted over to the comms-man; as though eavesdropping, or waiting for the radio man to report. I was pleased with getting the hand gripping the railing convincingly. Note also that each guardsman has his rifle close-by, even out of direct combat. Obviously paid attention to their training. +

+ A few final shots to close off the post; hope you like it. +