+ inload: Death Eagles WIP +

 + Deskactivity update +


+ One of the few downsides to running the sister blog +Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten+ [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] is that I made the decision to base it purely on finished miniatures. As a result, there's not any space to post thoughts on painting and modelling, experimenting and (rather importantly!) failing. +

+ Fortunately, the +Death of a Rubricist+ blog here is a lovely place to show my working; hope it's interesting! +

+ #Killthefalseprimarch +

+ Pictured above is the Kill Team I've put together for the Kill Team challenge currently running – which you can read about here: [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +

+ While the challenge is mainly intended simply to give people a road into the broader project, it's also proving very useful in giving some of the less-developed Chapters some of the spotlight. Death Eagles (II) – that is, the black and white ones – have been few and far between. I suspect it's because the scheme is an unfortunate combination of:
  • Involving both black and white, colours perceived as hard to paint well
  • Not as unusual as the magenta and white of their older namesake Chapter
  • Easily confused with the more famous Black Templars.
+ The #killthefalseprimarch challenge gave me a perfect excuse to build and paint a squad to use to illustrate things. It'll also give me a Pentarchy group to use for any Kill Team gaming, too. +

+ Theoretical +

+ At the risk of sounding lazy, I didn't want to get too involved with converting these – six weeks sounds like a long time, but I just knew that I'd get carried away and end up not finishing. Better to set realistic goals for a deadline, particularly when you're organising the event! +

+ A thing I like a great deal about the grey-on-grey civil war setting of the War of the False Primarch is that the sides are so arbitrary. It'd work just as well with (say) the Void Barons as part of the Pentarchy, or the Charnel Guard joining the Partisans. Part of that is in the aesthetic – the core silhouette of an Astartes is universal, and the colour scheme therefore does a lot of work in bringing character to a model. +

+ While I knew I definitely wanted to do Death Eagles, as I was short on contributions for both Death Eagles I and II (though I hasten to say that those I have received have been absolutely stunning!), I wasn't sure which of the dual-named Chapters I'd end up doing. Both are broadly standard in appearance – that is, they're not as varied in appearance as (say) the Wormwood Sons or with the non-standard kit and accoutrements of the Marines Saturnine. This meant that I could build 'em and decide on the paint scheme later. +

+ Practical +

+ The building was very straightforward. Besides a bit of trimming away of details like the ankle bobbles, chest eagles etc., they're largely standard Primaris marines. Swapping out the backpacks, weapons and heads really does the heavy lifting for you in back-dating these to M34. +

+ I primed the squad with white; something I do relatively rarely. This would be useful if I opted for the magenta and white scheme, and would also help the black and bone scheme. Still undecided on how to paint them, I decided to start by tackling the soft armour (Charadon granite) and the metals. +

+ Primed and with the metallics and darks picked out. I also worked up the unhelmed marine's head +


+ The choice of Mark VI and VII bits was intended to suggest the time period. The beakie helms also help to differentiate from Black Templars, which rarely use this style of helm. Along with the pointy Mark IV helm (from the old Blood Angels Death Company kit) on the melta specialist, there's also a 'birdie' feel to hint at eagles. To hedge my bets on which Chapter of Death Eagles I would paint, and to add a little character to the squad, I gave them all a reinforced left pauldron. +

+ I was then forced to make a decision, so taking a bit of advice from the PCRC, I settled on the one that I felt would benefit the project more, rather than the one that – in all honesty – appealed more: the black and bone Death Eagles II. +

+ Why would it benefit the project? Well, the magenta and white Chapter have a couple of very talented hobbyists working on them, while I had to go asking for  permission to use the few black and bone examples I could find. Having my own little squad would give me a few models to pop in the background of battle scenes and things. +

+ Secondly, my primary force in the project is, of course, the Silver Stars. While I like the magenta and white Death Eagles (and intend to paint one up at some point), it struck me that having white, turquoise and rose marines fighting magenta and white marines was not going to be as visually striking as white versus black. +

+ WIP boltgun marine. The Assault Intercessor bodies are – unsurprisingly – great for suggesting movement. +

+ The figures are still work-in-progress, but the white and black are largely in place. Small squads like this offer a great opportunity to experiment with painting techniques, as you rarely need to replicate them. For posterity, and if you fancy having a go yourself, I used a mix of:
  • 1 size 1 brushload of Citadel The Fang paint (a dark blue-grey)
  • 3 drops of FW Payne's grey acrylic ink
  • 3 drops of flow improver medium.
+ The result is a very fluid cool dark paint. I think pure dead black is seen as a hard colour to paint because it doesn't allow you anywhere to shade. There's nowhere to go down in terms of tonal scale. Using a dark like this still leaves you a little breathing room to add shadows and definition. +

+ Now came the fun part. In order to avoid them looking like Black Templars, I wanted to add some subtle colour, so used two layer of Drukharii Violet wash to build up depth of tone and add a little purple hue. +


+ Note the double-headed Aquila icon on the backpack; a little addition to reinforce the Chapter's loyalty to the High Lords. The slightly patchy finish on the black needs some attention; but that may well be a case of emphasising it for weathering rather than hiding it with overpainting. +

+ The same violet wash was used alongside Seraphim sepia. This combination of  yellow and purple washes neutralises each other when allowed to mix on the surface, giving an interesting grey hue. If you don't mix them thoroughly, but apply them more loosely wet-in-wet (that is, applying a dab of one, them a dab of hte others nearby and allowing them just to touch, rather than thoroughly mix), you end up with what I find a very attractive variegated effect that gives a more visually interesting result. +

+ Details like a bionic eye add a hint of variation to the unit. As well as adding character, such easy-to-add details might perhaps suggest a little narrative for an otherwise undistinguished 'third spear carrier to the left', and help differentiative models in-game. +

+ Being neutral, the yellow/purple wash can be used anywhere that you want to knock things back a little, but I suggest you avoid using it all over – you'll end up with a murky result. For the white here – the helm and pauldrons – I used Vallejo off-white, blending it with a hint of yellow ochre (Desert yellow?) away from the light. Once dry, I added three layers of fine 'pin-washes' for definition where the pauldrons meet the trim, working down from the yellow ochre through Scrag Brown (a warm brown) to Scorched Brown (a deeper tone). +

+ CHOMPH! The melta gun sound effect from the Space Marine game came to mind here. +

+ From here, I need to develop the highlights and shading a little further on the black and white, then it's onto the fun finishing touches. The trim is likely to make the most impact – I'm going to run with pure black. That should provide contrast both with the chromatic black and the bone, adding a visual break between both. That decision, however, raises questions on how to highlight it... +

+ Spot colours +

+ The sergeant shows a couple of early colour experiments – I've used green as a spot colour, which seems to work well and is very different to the typical Black Templars scheme, which tends to use red as an accent. +

+ It's worth noting that the green adds me a third colour to the palette: alongside yellow, which is underlying the white, and purple, which is underlying the black. As noted above, it's sometimes tricky to approach white or black, but when you simply treat it as a very dark shade or very light tint of a familiar colour, you'll find it much less intimidating. +

+ In any case, I'll probably pursue a few further experiments with green. Little details like eye lenses are a shoe-in, but I'm going to try using green to highlight the black on the pauldrons. Normally I'd avoid mixing blacks on a Space Marine – that is, once you've decided to use blue-black or brown-black or whatever, it's usually best to stick with it – but here I've got the problem that I want to differentiate between the two black areas. Changing the underlying hue is worth a try here. +

***


+ Catachans +

+ I've been using Catachan models as palette cleansers (ho ho) between other projects. Being the kits that I played games with against my brother's orks, the metals hold a lot of fond memories for me, and I've idly been looking on eBay for select favourite. This comm-link model was always one of my faves, and he's painted up a treat. +


+ If you haven't tackled a classic metal model in a while, I thoroughly recommend it. The unique details of a hand sculpt are always fun to explore one-off, and since they largely lack undercuts, they're very relaxing to paint compared with multi-part plastics. +

+ This sculpt always reminded me a little of Die Hard-era Bruce Willis, for some reason. Need to sort out a base, but haven't yet decided on 25mm or 32mm. Any thoughts? +


+ Mentioning Catachans in passing on a chat, my ever-generous friend Omricon sent me a little care package of Catachans – thanks again, chum! +

+++

+ Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten +

+ Jade Talon +

+ Having left a break in the article between the Pentarchy Kill Team, it's probably safe now to show you these Partisans! These have been sat awaiting paint since (yikes) June, when I did an article on painting the first couple of Partisan Chapters [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+}, which featured Lars J-D's Inheritors and Simon V's Void Barons. +

+ Next up were intended to be Mike F's Red Fish and Cole C's Riven Lords, but I've got something very specific I want to do for the Red Fish and haven't been able to source the parts as yet. As a result, the Jade Talon (a Chapter by Adam S) has infiltrated the queue. I'll write more on him when I come to develop him a bit more. +

***

+ I'll work up an article on how I painted models of both of these charismatic Chapters once I've finished... er... painting them! +

+ In the meantime, here's the WIP Riven Lord, with bronze and green in place. +



+ I really like the Riven Lords descent from bluff but honourable Astartes to increasingly desperate marauders by the end of the war, and wanted to capture some of the rough-and-ready mid-war feel. This marine has supplemented his armour with flak skirting – allowing mortal serfs to advance behind him with some element of protection – and a motely collection of weapons. +

+ He's captured salvaging a much-needed boltgun magazine, presumably from a defeated for. His slung primary armament is hanging from his shoulder, devoid of a magazine – hence his use of a back-up astartes shotgun. +



+ The #killthefalseprimarch Kill Team challenge +

+ Small narrative elements like that on the Riven Lord above are at the heart of the appeal of Kill Team, where every figure you build can be treated like a character. + 

+ Equally, however, there's no need to do so – as the quickly-bashed together Death Eagles above show. The challenge is intended to allow you an easy way into the project, so even if you get just one or two models done, you'll be able to hold your head high! +

+ There are still three weeks to go on the challenge, which finishes on 11th October at 02:11pm GMT. Hope to see you on the other side! +

+ Painting the Marines Mendicant +

+ Or +

+ 'See, that's just what a liar would say' +


'Call that a knife? N-no – wait... argh!' *stabbing sounds*

+ Here you can see one of the Marines Mendicant; a sort of special forces set up by the Partisans during the War of the False Primarch – and if that's all gibberish to you, then why not transferinload to +Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten+, where you can delve and indulge in such depths of lovely collaborative models and background that even Slaanesh might say 'Ooh, not for me; couldn't manage another morsel'. +

+ For those of you who've come here to talk painting and modelling rather than lore, I thought I'd scribble down a few thoughts on painting these marines. +

+++

+ Off-road individualism +

+ Necessity is the mother of invention, and the creation of the Marines Mendicant was very much led by my desire to make the War of the False Primarch as accessible as possible. While there are eleven Partisan Chapters to pick from, along with six Pentarchy Chapters (owing to my desire to square a little circle about the multiple Death Eagles schemes and backgrounds), it was inevitable that some people who might want to get involved would be put off by having to pick an existing scheme. +

+ To avoid this, I created the Vigilants [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], a group of marines a bit like the Deathwatch, which would allow people to bring in one or two models of their favourite Chapter, whether of their own creation or not. Importantly, I wanted to ensure that people could share their Chapters' scheme, and so hit on the idea that the Vigilants simply painted one part of their armour red, with a yellow and black stripe (a nod to the ret-conned Field Police of Rogue Trader). +

+ That simple device means that people can join in with the minimum of effort – just by adding a panel to an existing model. Voila, a perfectly useable Vigilant marine ready to do battle. If that's all you want to do, perfect; but if it sparks a bit more interest, then that figure can be used as the seed of a Pentarchy kill team – or even army. +


+ Of course, what's good for the goose is good for the gander – and it seemed a shame not to let those hobbyists attracted by the idea of following a returned Primarch a similar avenue to get involved. I didn't want to make a direct opposite – that seemed a bit unimaginative, so instead I dropped a few hints into the ongoing narrative about a group called the Marines Mendicant, then let it stew. +

+ As the background of the project – and the Silver Stars – developed, the Marines Mendicant started to take on more of their own form. The results are in today's update on +Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten+ , in which I was able to hint at the Silver Stars' way of working without laying everything bare. +

+ As before, creating a uniform would likely put off as many people as it attracted; and in any case I felt that a single colour scheme would not really reflect the purpose or approach of these special forces/advisor marines. Intead, I picked a logo – the reversed silver star icon of the Legion, and gave some details on how it could be applied. Other than that, hobbyists are free to paint them exactly as they choose. As with the Vigilants, it can be as simple as slapping a silver star icon on an existing figure – but there's also the option of using the rose, white and turquoise of the Silver Stars scheme in alternative ways. +

+ White can be quite intimidating (even with this handy guide to painting Silver Stars [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]), while magenta and turquoise are both beginner-friendly hues and forgiving of mistakes. Allowing people keen on the Stars to get involved without the stress of painting white seemed like a sensible idea. +

+++

+ Putting it into practice +

+ All the well-intentioned lore in the world won't help if the scheme looks crap in reality, so I thought I'd double check that it works. You can be the final judge, of course, but I'm pretty pleased with how he came out. + 


+ I opted for a vertical split, turquoise on the marine's right-hand side, rose on the left. As explained above, this is arbitrary – the Marines Mendicant use highly individualistic schemes (though there's equally no reason you couldn't paint a kill team in a set uniform; that's well within their intentionally contrary modus operandi). +




+ There was an unintentional and unfortunate hint of Alpha Legion about the scheme when seen from this angle. I wanted the project to be a proper civil war; something more grey on grey and akin to the Badab War conflict than the Horus Heresy; and so Chaos – which is too dominant a theme and threat to be anything but the focus – doesn't really fit here. +

+ Secondly, memes have rather spoiled the XX Legion for me, and while I have no problem with planting a seed that 'the Alpha Legion did it' for the whole False Primarch thing – after all, lies and truth are the point of the project – it's also a bit obvious. I therefore used lots of iconography suggestive of the Silver Stars – and also Raven Guard and Carcharadons – to provide some equally plausible other interpretations from this side. +



+ Loads of juicy little icons and symbols here; mostly taken from logic and mathematics. The tau (upside-down 'T') is a logic symbol for 'false' – a little Easter egg. As with everything, background, lore and painting are all great, but they should all take a back seat to having fun with you hobby. +




+ A back shot. Not a huge amount to say or see here, beyond the fact that I've found I really like split schemes. There's something very focussed and rewarding about getting the lines with smooth strokes of the brush. All very mindful! +



+ Chequers helped to detail this side – again, a split scheme from this side looks a bit Emperor's Children. Not as problematic as the Alpha Legion side, but still worth breaking up to distinguish it from any extant force. +

+ Were I to do more Marines Mendicant, I'd be tempted to vary the scheme still more, and make more of the white area. If you're tempted to do a Marines Mendicant (or any other Chapter involved in the War), I'd love to see it. Why not share it with the #somethingarebestleftforgotten and/or #warofthefalsepriamrch tags? +


 

+ inload: Kill the False Primarch – Killteam event +

 + Kill the False Primarch! +

+ Kill Team +

+ The new edition of Kill Team is out! And it's fun! Owning what's teetering on the notorious 'too much' terrain, and with a to-do pile longer than my principal servo-arm, I opted to pick up the books rather than the big box, but I got my first game in yesterday and it's a treat. +

+ My friend and I played what amounted to a mirror match to learn the rules, with five of my Silver Stars marines raiding a Red Talons base (not owning any Red Talons, their part was sportingly played by some surprisingly well-behaved Word Bearers, accompanied by an agent of the Ordo Astartes' Vigilants – Brother Olybrius of the Patriarchs of Ulixis Chapter. +

+ A quick, smooth and enjoyable game followed, and I'm very keen to play more.  I'm aiming to do a battle report or two, and a review of the mechanics from the point of view of a narrative/open play gamer. Keep those occulobes peeled! +

+++

+ Event – Kill the False Primarch +

+ So enthused, in fact, am I about Kill Team that I thought it'd give me a great chance to encourage people to build a paint a few new figures. I've posted repeatedly here about the fun to be had in painting for painting's sake; rather than with an end in mind, and how a little bit of lore can offer inspiration [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] if you want to paint but don't know where to start. +

+ Those who've been following this blog for a while will likely know that I've been running a sister blog + Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten +, which is themed around the War of the False Primarch. That's been ticking over very nicely – and if it's not on your radar yet, I thoroughly recommend it; it's full of wonderfully imaginative and grimly gothic models, lore and ideas from hobbyists of all stripes. +

+ I wanted to tie these ideas together, and invite you (yes, you) to create a Kill Team themed around The War of the False Primarch. There's a lot to take in – so if you want a quick summary, here's the skinny: The War occurs in the thirty-fourth Millennium. Five Chapters (the Pentarchy of Blood) are sent by the High Lords of Terra to destroy a being claiming to be a Primarch and the eleven Chapters (the Partisans) that followed him. Shenanigans ensue. +

+ Despite the marine-centric nature of the top level War, the background that's been developed on this Imperial civil war has huge depth, breadth and complexity, allowing you to explore the  hidden side of the Imperium from Inquisitors to the Ecclesiarchy, and the Adeptus Mechanicus to the Imperial Guard. (There are even lots of minor xenos, should you have an aversion to squishy hu-mans.) +

+++

+ Okay, I'm in; what next? Guidelines +

+ 'Marines do the glory work; the Guard clear up their [+SCRAPSHUNTERRORABORT+]'. +


  • Create a Kill Team for the new edition of the Kill Team game, themed around the Sorrowful Years of The War of the False Primarch:
    • 'With the Chapters of the Pentarchy of Blood 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, a low-grade war of small probing advances, espionage, strike and counter-strike began between small groups of Marines and special forces erupted across both sectors as each side sought to undermine the other's efforts to rebuild.'
  • You can build and paint your Kill team as any Partisan or Pentarchy Chapter, or one of the many, many other forces present, such as a Killteam of Vigilants, Maniple of Marines Mendicant, Squad of 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 is perfectly acceptable.
  • Post a picture of – and any lore you've written for – your finished Kill Team to:
  • Yes, 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.
+++

+ A bit of inspiration +

+ Dennis K (Instagram: @the_iron_within) has made these awesome Carcharadon Destroyer Kill Team – proving that just because you're the 'goodies', it doesn't mean you don't get to play with the fun toys. +

[Pict credit: dennis k/@the_iron_within]


+ ...and on the Partisan side (that is, followers of the definitely-a-genuine-Primarch), we get a sneaky preview ahead of their Index Astartes article, of the Wormwood Sons of Nick T (Instagram: @kordhal). +

+ These atmoic-soured bad-asses are just one of the wonderfully varied and developed 'homebrew' Chapters that you're invited to build and paint examples of. +


[pict credit: Nick T/@k0rdhal]


+ And since I've always thought if you're encouraging other people to give something a go, you should be prepared to do it yourself, here's a Kill Team of my own Silver Stars – the Pacific region-themed curious pseudolegion that the False(?) Primarch himself leads. +

[pict credit: er... me – Edd R/@death_of_a_rubricist]

+ There's also no reason that you have to do it alone – as Killteam Starfall ably demonstrates [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. If you feel that you've only got one model in you, that why not get some mates to join in and create a collaborative force? +

+++

+ GOTO: 10 +

+ Okay, it's over to you! I hope that you join in, that you find it fun and that the event results in you having a kick-ass and highly thematic Kill Team to explore the War of the False Primarch with us. +

+ Good luck – whether you’re fighting for the Orthodoxy or in the name of the Last True Son. +

+ Please do comment below of on the Facebook groups if you’ve any questions; (or just want to enthuse) and please do share as widely as you feel appropriate – everyone is welcome! +

+ 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! +

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+ 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. +


+ inload: Catachan Colonel +

+ Boots on the ground: Catachan Colonel +


+ War of the False Primarch? No. Augustine Crusade? No. Alien Wars? No. Scallop Star Purges? No. Just a kick-ass model that I wanted to paint? Yes. +

+ ...and of course, being an awesome model doesn't preclude him from being used in any of the above scenarios. Themes, campaigns and stories (to my mind at least) should provide inspiration and a broadening of the possibilities, rather than making you feel you can't using your hard-painted models in different ways. +

+ There's a balance to be struck here, between using your models exactly as you want, and the unspoken social contract that is key to everyone having a good time. All participants having consideration for the other people involved, and what they want out of a game, is perhaps the most important bit! +

+ It's worth noting that being a good person to play against (as opposed to a 'good opponent' in terms of the actual game) doesn't involve just rolling over and running with what the other person/people want to do. Be engaged, be active, and everyone will have a better experience. If you're enthusiastic about something, speak up, discuss, and come to a compromise with your friends; or, better still, create a synthesis of all your good ideas. +

+++

+ Some armies lend themselves more easily than others to being involved in different scenarios within the 40k universe. Guard, Orks and Eldar, for example, are hugely diverse and don't really vary much across the timescale of the galaxy. These armies can turn up anywhere from tiny kill teams to massive apocalypse games, and from the Horus Heresy to the post-Resurrection period of M42. +

+ Some armies/forces require either more though to come up with a cool reason why they'd be fighting – or, as a group, you might come to an agreement not to use them against each other. Perhaps most obviously, highly-themed Horus Heresy period armies don't easily fit into games against Tau or Tyranids – but unless you come to the conclusion that you or the other player(s) won't have a good experience, remember that there's no harm in playing a scenario in which the Tau/Tyranids are played as one of the numerous Xenos species encountered during the Great Crusade, or conversely that the Space Marines are a Chapter blessed with huge numbers of Relic equipment. A good story can help fill the narrative gaps. +

+ Above all this, It's also worth remembering that you can just treat things a bit more lightly, and forget the number of rivets (or limbs!) on your models, and simply have a fun game. Not everything needs to be justified. +

+++

+ Enough talk! More action! +


+ Man, I think this model is awesome. A great combo of cheesy action movie  and video game tropes, cool chunky GW details, and a real sense of character. About the only thing I don't like about it is the fact that the first plastic infantry model for the Guard in about two decades was a limited splash release that can't be found for love nor money. I hope that local hobby shops benefitted from GW's largesse (and I do genuinely think it was a nice gesture), because it seems to have caused a large amount of friction and disappointment in the Imperial Guard community. Here's hoping that it gets a broader release at some future date. +

+ Enough grumbling (that's reserved for when the Longbeards get on the painting table!), let's get stuck into definitely-not-Carl-Weathers-from-PredatorThis figure isn't quite finished, but I couldn't resist showing him off at this point. +


+ As noted in yesterday's inload, it's been a while since I've painted up Guard – though a few baseline humans have been sneaking through. This model was a treat to paint, with a mix of smooth fabrics for detailing, nice clean plates for sharp highlighting, and the perennial favourite, bare skin for blending and glazes. +

+ I kicked off with an experiment, using Halford's Camouflage spray paint to undercoat him. I genuinely thought this was an April Fool's joke when I spotted it in-store, but it turns out it's a range of four matt sprays that you use to build up camouflage on (full-size) vehicles. The deep brown is a lovely undercoat that I think combines the best bits of my usual black and grey primers – lots of depth, but not dead. +


+ I started with the base, then moved onto the skin. Once these were complete, I painted the fatigues using a variation on the camouflage tutorial here: [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. The swapped-out colours are pictured above, but note that the brown undercoat is serving as the deepest value. The key thing is to have a deep tone, midtone and light tone. +



+ Bits still to do include the lenses on the field glasses, the eye on the servoskull/banner/aerial thing, and some sort of eye-catching accents – perhaps some bright glowing green xeno blood? +


+ Bright accents don't make much sense on camouflage, of course, but they do make a model more fun. Tasteful and muted is my vibe, but it's nice for special figures to stand out a bit. +


+ The rear detailing could do with some more attention, too. I was toying with the idea of a slight OSL around the backpack generator/battery for the power fist. That cloth could do with a marking or two, as well. +

+++

+ Jungle is massive +


+ One man does not a killteam make (unless you count Marbo, of course), so I've also been working on his squadmates. Sergeant 'Ripper' Jackson, above, was a kind gift from Lord Blood the Hungry. She's coming along nicely, and I hope to finish her off this week. +


+ Vaguely related to this is a Knarloc who's been sitting on my desk for a long while. Kroot are one of those projects that're always the bridesmaids, never the bride. I thought fitting them in with a loose jungle theme for 2021 might encourage me to get some done. +

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