+ inload: Notes on finished Epic Salamanders +

+ Battlefield ready +

+ Permission to make planetfall requested. +

Phew – over the finish line with a little grace to spare. There are some further refinements that could be done, but I think my Salamanders army is ready to spend the weekend searching for Archaeotech on Nabed-Palae, the Forge-throne of Legio Maximal. +


+ Markings and details +

+ As well as polish off the tanks and transport, I've finished the Thunderhawk and big guns – and spent a few minutes adding some banner detail to this Command stand, too. +

+ Being themed around Armageddon, I took a little inspiration from the boxed game cover [+vizref: below+] and used the shoulder pad on this marine as a prompt for the banner. +

+ Detail from the Battle for Armageddon box set front +

+ It's easy to just go with the most modern reference for a sense of accuracy or canonicity, but early references often include really cool details that have been lost or forgotten over the years as the aesthetic of 40k in general, or a faction in particular has developed. Apart from anything else, moving away from the studio standard is a great way of setting your army apart, while still fitting well into the universe. +

+ The heraldic patterning here is a perfect example – chequers are still 'peak 40k', but the interesting wobbly lines at the bottom ('shallow nebulé' in heraldic terms, so I understand) not only look great, but evoke the patterning of real-world salamanders. The idea of Salamanders  might have moved away from the mythical fire-amphibians towards GIANT VOLCANO DINOSAURS in modern 40k, but they both evoke the period and look fittingly knightly. More importantly, they're fun to paint. +


+ Another old reference here, a couple of friends, online and off, suggested I use the Salamanders markings from an old White Dwarf article [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. I have slightly adapted things – Assault squads can no longer go in Rhinos, and I've used the spades suit device rather than hearts, but the yellow on black doors show how effective simple symbols are. Good advice is good advice, even if it's twenty-odd years old. +

+ Of course, a few late nights meant that I wasn't concentrating perhaps as hard as I should have been, and so I've got seven of one icon and nine of the other... If I get a spare minute or two, I'll repaint one of the diamonds to a spade, just to make the niggle in my head go away! +

+ Thunderhawk inbound +

+ Perhaps my favourite bit I polished off last night was the Thunderhawk, which needs a suitable name. The base isn't very visible here, which is a bit of a shame as I was pleased with it. It uses a Maximal Fire crate, as a bit of a nod to the event at which it'll get its blooding. Anyway, I'll get some better pic-captures another time – for the moment, suffice to say that it's a 90 x 52mm oval, rather than the standard 40mm base supplied. This might have some game effects, so I'll keep a spare 'proper' base handy. The reason I went for a bigger base was primarily visual appeal (a bigger base gives a bigger canvas), but also for stability. I glued some tupenny bits to the underside to give some weight, too. +

+ Finishing the Thunderhawk was an exercise in speed against effectiveness. I like the weathered, painterly feel of the rest of the army, but as a focal point, I wanted this to look a little cleaner and take it a little further. Besides, as an aircraft (even a 40k one), the same sort of dusty weathering wasn't as appropriate. This had to be balanced against the time available. +

+ To that end I added some tighter, harder edge highlighting. For panel-laden Space Marine vehicles, I find the challenge is in knowing which edges to highlight. Too many make the model appear to be glowing; while too few, or in the wrong places, simply look odd. +

+ The zenithal basecoating I'd applied helped here – anywhere that had deeper recesses naturally created bigger contrasts, so these prompted me to push them a little more. I also looked at reinforcing the overall 'outline' of the Thunderhawk, so you can see that parts within the form are emphasised less than the leading/trailing edges of the wings, or the pointed prow (is that the right term for the front of a Thunderhawk?). +

+ You'll also spot the marine leaning out of the open hatch. Observing? Preparing for landing? Simply taking in the view? Who knows – but he adds both a little narrative and draws the eye to the Battle Bling open hatch. You can read my review and step-by-step on this upgrade set in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +

+ The marine is a spare Apothecary left over from sprues. You'll probably end up with a little pile of extra Command models, and adding them to add flavour to focal points in your army is a nice way to make use of them. I trimmed off his sword so he could be gripping the edge of the hatchway. +

+ Visible in this picture is the 'club' symbol of Assault Squads – while I don't want to treat this as a dedicated transport, it seems most likely that it'll be used aggressively to deploy troops. This, along with the black bars and bronze/gold trim, helps to tie it in with the rest of the army, despite the slightly different painting treatment. +

+ The blue plasma glow of the upgraded turbolaser didn't come out as clean as I'd like – and that's down to me putting on blue contrast paint too early. The white hadn't quite dried, which meant I had to start again. The lesson here is 'more haste, less speed'. A few extra seconds waiting would have saved minutes repainting, and given a better result. +

+ The front shows the white flame markings – an attempt to move the model a little away from 80s hot rods – and the lenses of the targetting systems above the cockpit. +

+ I was pleased with how the cockpit glass came out. I used orange, which always works well with green, and painted a very simple landscape on each pane. Two things to remember for this effect:
  • The sky is dark at the top and gets lighter towards the horizon, while the land is darkest at the horizon and lightest in the foreground.
  • The glass is at different angles, so (unless you've modelled it in a very steep dive!) the front panes won't be reflecting the horizon halfway up the glass, but rather near the bottom. Likewise the top panes of glass won't be reflecting the ground at all, but instead show the darkest tone of the sky across nearly the whole panel. 
+ Ultimately, what is being reflected is a single continuous thing: the surroundings. Each pane of glass is reflecting just a portion of it – so make sure that's all you paint. +

+ If you're unsure, I suggest starting at the panes at the side of the cockpit. Not only are these slightly less obvious if you make a mistake, but they're also near perpendicular to the ground. This will allow you to establish the horizon, and the tones you're using. Treat the other panes as extensions of that – so you can continue the line of the horizon round to the front, for example, or use the tone at the top of the side panel as your starting point for the upper panes. +



Suber said...

While I always think that your output is magnificent, that Thunderhawk is truly something else. Wow, what an icing for the cake. Awesome work!

(Kym) + Warburton + (Classic40K) said...

Great stuff!