+ inload: Tanks across the ages +

+ Armoured Warfare +

+ It's like a psychedelic refight of the Battle of Tallarn on my painting desk at the moment, with tanks of all scales and schemes receiving some attention. +

+ Clockwise from top left, we've got a Silver Stars Predator, a Gatebreakers Land Raider and an Emperor's Children armoured infantry column for the PCRC's 15mm project. +

+ Combining my painting bugbears – tanks and batch painting – proved to be surprisingly productive. Nothing's quite finished, but everything progressed. Sometimes that's all you need to do to get a sense of satisfaction. Above you'll see two Rhinos and a Land Raider. They've received base coats of Screamer Pink covered with Druchii Violet wash, and the 'black' bits are a mix of Incubi Darkness and burnt sienna. The deep green and warm red-brown combine to make a lovely dark neutral. It's just off-black, so you can still shade it. +

+ ...and emerging from the depths of the forges once more is the Gatebreaker Land Raider kindly gifted to me by Warmtamale. The honoured spirit of this ancient beast  has lingered fitfully, half-coloured yellow. I cracked on to get the first layer of green and the metallics to the next stage. +

+ Lots more to do, but given the amount of stowage I've added, there's plenty of fun detail coming up. I'll need to work out what's meant to be in all those boxes! +

+ Lastly, the Silver Stars Predator. There's not a huge change apparent since the last time I posted an update on it, but a surprising amount of ticking around the edges has taken place. +

+ I'm really growing quite fond of the Silver Stars scheme. I managed to find a squad of the new Mark VI Marines that I'll likely paint up to represent the Silver Stars fighting around Coldforge. +


+ inload: White Dwarf 479 +

+ runcycle{trumpet blowing} +

+ inload: Blood Angels Third Company in White Dwarf +

+ What a lovely treat – my Blood Angels are making a splash in the hallowed pages of White Dwarf. Go pick up a copy to feast your eyes on some really lovely pictures of my daubings, which rather flatter the miniatures! My thanks to Dan, Richard and the rest of the White Dwarf team for their kindness, enthusiasm and encouragement. It was a treat to drive up to Nottingham to talk their ears off about the process. +

+ We started discussing this in the dark throes of the COVID lockdown, so it's been quite a while since the army has turned up here on the blog. +

+ In fact, checking back through the archivescreed, I was astonished to see that I'd started building the army way back in M2.000.017 – more than five years ago! The original inload-article is here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. The inload there shows how projects can take new twists – in that first inload, I boldly state: 'I'm not going to be obsessive about the army composition. There'll doubtless be a few nods to old models (I'm particularly keen to have a go at updating the proto-Tycho Blood Angels Captain) and the paint scheme, but the force will be a more general homage to the Blood Angels of the time – so tying in bits from the tail end of Rogue Trader through 2nd edition; particularly the artwork.' – while by the time I'd really got stuck into them, I was making not just a specific copy of the army list, but altering the poses to better match the originals! +

+ If you'd like to read through the broader project, the [+ Insphere contentsieve +] search tool in the right column will help you out – enter 'Blood Angels' into the field, and you'll find all the previous inloads that relate to the army. In particular, here's my approach to painting the red I used [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]+

+ If you'd like to have a go yourself at reinterpreting a project that has particular value for yourself, then I'd thoroughly encourage you to do so. I think everyone has that particular model that has particular nostalgic value for them – and breaking that down and creating your own version is really enjoyable experience. What's yours? Feel free to share in the comments below, or come join me on the +Death of a Rubricist+ Facebook group. +

Brother Engel (Narieal 4:10). The white kneepad is from the old White Dwarf illustration – simply labelled as an 'Honour Marking'. I thought this was fitting for an update of the oldest model in the army.

The original Brother Engel, a relic of the wars of 1991.


+ inload: Various projects +

+ A Gathering of Might +

+ A hotch-potch update of what's on the hobby desk. For whatever reason, the hobby butterfly has been fluttering from project to project and not settling. Rather than force it, I've been doing little bits here and there. +

+ Kroot Killteam +

+ I like Killteam, and I like Kroot. With the new kit coming out imminently, I wanted to get ahead of the game and paint up some of these models. In particular, I wanted to make sure I had some kroothounds sorted out, as I'm not so fond of the previewed plastics as the originals. In terms of paint scheme, I'll be going with brown-oranges for the skin. +

+ I'm always a little sad that the Kroot never got a Codex of their own. Brian Nelson's sculpts are stellar, even now; and the background is characterful and compelling. I think the Kroot could have been a wonderful xenos faction all of their own. +


+ Endworlds and the War of the False Primarch +

+ The Gatebreakers haven't had any reinforcements or attention for a long time – back around the dying months of 2020, I think; but in pulling the Silver Stars out of storage for the long-delayed Stage IV of War of the False Primarch, I ended up putting in a little more effort on the Gatebreakers' Land Raider. Not vast quantities of progress, but I have since the picture below developed the base a little. I think this is one of those deceptive projects which is suddenly going to fall into place. We'll see. +

+ ... and last and probably least, I also pulled the Vrag-Rana out into the light, to carry on with the Kill Team vibe. +

+ Lots to work on – to mention nothing of the 15mm Emperor's Children and Salamanders – but perhaps the best idea is picking one and putting away all the other distractions! 

+ inload: Nyoto of the Salamanders +

+ They that touch pitch shall be defiled +

+ I've painted a couple of Salamanders before – odd one-offs, or parts of my May You Live Forever project, themed around the Isstvan Dropsite Massacre [+noospheric exloadlink embedded+], but fellow PCRCmate Omricon's awesome Salamander Kill Team got me enthused again, and I've been tinkering away, as mentioned in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +


+ Since then I've been working on the greenstuff, using Heavy Intercessor legs as the basis for the conversion. Why don't I just use my existing truescale tutorial? [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] Well, mostly for the sake of experimentation. Trying new things is fun – and where better to try new things out than on the famously master-crafted Salamanders? +

+ Mutatis Mutandis +

+ I'm afraid I didn't make a step by step – mainly because I'm still feeling my way around, but the broad strokes of tutorial linked above still apply – the only real difference here is that I've trimmed away the odd gyroscopic nobbles on the various joints before getting stuck in with putty. +

Work slowly, and in layers. As you can see, I've worked from the 'inside-out' – that is, I've started from the most recessed parts first, and allowed those to cure before moving on to the outer layers. This is the best way to avoid inadvertently knocking or smearing your work as you go. +

+ A neat detail of the Forgeworld Salamanders heads upgrades is that the brow reinforcement is flat, rather than angrily angled like other Legions'. +

+ You'll note that I've retained some of the details on the existing armour – not only does this add some greebling [+vocabref={interesting surface texture}+], but I've also found it a good way to ensure that I don't 'over-bulk' the model. What I mean by this is that the figure needs to look muscular and bulky – a walking tank – but retain structure and form, and not simply look distorted and uneven. Adding bulk to the back of the upper legs and form to the outer front part of the leg (i.e. the hams and quads), while adding only a little to the part nearer the knee makes the leg appear muscular rather than like a simple tube. +

+ It's easy, when adding greenstuff, to lose the underlying shape of the muscle, so I try to work symmetrically – cutting equal amounts of greenstuff and adding them to (say) both upper legs, and refining those. If there's not enough, I'll cut smaller equal amounts and repeat, sculpting first one side, then mirroring it on the other. Working gradually, with small amounts, is the best way I've found. It's surprising what a difference even tiny amounts of putty can make! +

+ Taking a black-and-white pict-capture is a handy way to check form and line. It takes away some of the visual confusion of the various putties and plastics, and makes it easier to judge your work. You'll notice I've added some pipes to the sides of the upper legs – again, to add greebling together with a sense of weight and bulk. Should work nicely to suggest Mark V Heresy armour. +


+ A Tale of Difficult Decisions +

+ But enough of the modelling, what about the lore? There's very little I find more disheartening in this hobby than getting enthused over a story I've come up with only to find I don't enjoy making the characters I've described. +

+ As a result, most of my projects start with models that I want to make and loose ideas that gradually cohere and come into focus, rather than being rigidly pre-planned beforehand. +

+ The background that I've been playing with is thus a bit patchy, and explores a couple of spaces that I find interesting about the Salamanders. Here are my notes:
  • Post-Isstvan Dropsite Massacre
  • The road to hell is paved with good intentions: the force is making some very difficult, arguably dubious, decisions in their search for Vulkan
    • Senior character's opinion is Exitus acta probat; the junior's is more aligned with Vulkan's own teachings and enduring. A clash?
  • Searching for a way to revive their Primarch. Recon/scouty – light vehicles.
  • Olive drab scheme
  • Importance of fire – cultic symbolism: explore the runic incisions in painting.
  • Alliance/associations with similarly morally grey forces – Blackshields and Thousand Sons
  • Vehicle crew – how can I add some flavoursome differences to standard marines
  • Painting-wise: pure oils?
  • Gaming: Something I've never done – differentiated from other forces
    • All mounted? Infantry in Rhinos rather than bikes
    • Perfect excuse for lots of flamers – to the exclusion of other weapons?
    • Concept: each squad is a specialised unit of veterans that works mechanically in Kill Team. Understrength units.


+ inload: Vrag Rana +

 + Hail the Hand of Hesh +

+ The Vrag Rana Kolossan, and other renegades +

A sub-sect of the Vrag Rana, the Kolossan had formed O Colmen Corm's personal bodyguard. Though the bulk died during the Second Invasion, a number of these masterless warriors escaped and came to positions of prominence within the Red Hand. 

Distinguished by crimson armour, the Kolossan were feared and hated by the Imperial invaders, for their resourcefulness and inventiveness as much as their brutality. Serving both as large formations and smaller special forces and honour guard. The sect were frequently deployed as linebreakers for larger Vrag-Rana deployments ahead of major assaults and similar high-importance strategies; and were also used to provide steel to mercenary collations. As a result, they built up a fearsome reputation amongst the line troops of the Augustine Crusade – often their reputation proving as effective as their actual actions.

+ Equid mounts were rare, but well illustrate the resourceful nature of the Vrag-Rana in general, and the Kolossan in particular; using low-tech solutions to continue persecuting Imperial advances without the need for extensive supply lines. +

+ If you'd like to read more about the Vrag Rana, accessinflow this inload: [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]

+ Vrag Rana frontline forces during the Invasion of Slav-Mundi. Note the presence of Kroot mercanery auxiliary. +


+ In case you've been sheltering under a rock (and in which case, probably a good idea to pick a damp one) it's been very hot indeed recently. Amongst other reasons, painting and general hobbying has been on pause – but while idly flicking through some old pict-captures I stumbled upon a package that I received during lockdown, and had never got round to writing an inload about. +

+ These are Heretics from Reptilian Overlords, a company that sells both stl files and physical prints (as above). I ordered these quite literally years ago, for the Augustine Crusade – they were intended as the Vrag-Rana; the non-Imperial opposing force. Now, I'm very happy to cut Reptilian Overlords a lot of slack – it was, after all, a global pandemic that delayed them being sent out – but I would recommend buying the stls over the prints if you'd like a set yourself. +

+ With the delivery speed out of the way, I have no other complaints. I'm absolute delighted with the quality of the prints; a great balance of flexibility and rigidity that I think will serve them well as game pieces. Everything was packed clearly, and the supports were very well-designed, so clean-up took minutes. +

+ I was determined that these weren't going to lurk unpainted, and so began a giant batch paint of my Vrag-Rana infantry a few months back. I got a bit further than this, but they're still not quite done. More to work on at some point soon, I feel. +

+ The recent release of the Chaos Renegades for Kill Team has reinvigorated my interest in the Vrag Rana; and the idea of having to finish off just a few from the giant batch paint is a relief. Above you can see a couple of specialists that I bought as individuals, purely because I love the models! +