+ inload: Born for death +

 + Silver Stars Predator +

+ Riverhead commands a Predator forward during the Machinedeath +

+ It's been a long painting drought for me, but I sat down over the weekend and went back to a fittingly forgotten project. I dug out this Silver Stars Predator, which has lurked undercoated and with the base metallics in place, for ages. +

+ Far too many half-finished Silver Stars here! It's been so long since I've painted one that I was glad to have my recipe recorded [+noospherinloadlink embedded+]. Turns out that having the blog as a record is useful after all! Besides this Predator, I've got half a dozen more Silver Stars Tactical marines and a squad of Terminators (you can see one peeking out from behind the Predator above) to paint, some further along than others. Having returned to the scheme after a while, I thought it best to start on something a bit special (in this case a tank) to help get back into the swing of things. +

+ A few minutes allowed me to block in the basic colours. I've seen a few different interpretations of how the Silver Stars scheme can be applied to armour (all of which look great!), but the key thing I wanted with my rendition was to balance the rose and turquoise against the white. +

+ As you can see about, I've laid in the first layer of oils. The base-coated tank was varnished prior to the addition of oils, as described here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. To add some visual interest, and stop it getting too warm, I used a combination of burnt umber and Prussian blue, applying the latter very sparingly, as it proved dominant. +

+ Detail of the oils on the turret. I just love the effect, even at this stage. +

+ Oils take quite some time to dry (well, oxidise), so it's now sitting pretty. The next stage will be to return and paint the metallics. From my limited experience with oils, the solvents don't seem to play very well with metallics, making them dull or lifting them off entirely, so I've opted to add them on top, then weather them down either more sparingly than the rest, or perhaps use some inks in place of oils. +

+ I'll also be re-applying some white to clean up the tank a little – in comparison with the infantry, it's looking rather beaten-up. Of course, that's quite fitting for the article in which it'll be showcased (that of the Machinedeath on Null, in which colossal amounts of armour is destroyed), but I think I've been a bit heavy-handed with the damage at this stage – particularly as I'll be further weathering later on. +

+ There's a balance to be struck here. On the one hand, I always want to enjoy my painting, so I experiment to keep things interesting. That's the way I've found best to stumble upon new techniques and ideas... but it works against a uniform finish for an army. Personally, I don't mind a slight hotch-potch variance (in fact, for some armies it's a positive boon), but I don't want this Predator to stand out too much from the rest of the army stylistically. +


+ Choosing the placement +

+ When working out paint schemes for armoured vehicles, I try to get down to a figure's eye level. It's all very well having a scheme that looks good overhead, but Space Marines are all about heraldry and announcing the Chapter's (or Legion's) presence on the battlefield. To that end, I wanted to make sure that the enemy would see the right balance of the pseudolegions' colours. +

+ I kept a finished marine near to hand for this, and considered the front of the tank as equivalent to the torso. The Deimos Predator happily has a bit of reinforced armour on its glacis plate, which echoes the collar of Crusade armour. That's a perfect spot for the metallics from the scheme, and I think the addition of the brass here and gunmetal elsewhere will go a long way to making the model 'pop'. +

+ As the glacis echoes the torso of the infantry, so the wings of the vehicle represent the shoulders. I toyed with having stripes down the sides, but while this would work well for Rhinos, the sponsons mean it's a bit of a non-starter for this Predator, making things confusing there. Instead, I decided to add a stripe to the wings. Note that I haven't filled the indented area, but rather added a freehand stripe. It seemed a bit too large an area to paint he vibrant, eye-catching pink, and would dominate the more subtle turquoise and white. +

+ If the front is the body, the turret's the head, right? I decided not to paint the whole thing turquoise (my initial plan), and instead go for a more stylised interpretation by painting a strip of the turret. In contradiction to my points above about heraldry above camouflage, having some markings visible from the air/orbit seemed a pragmatic (and dare I say more realistic?) application of the scheme that, crucially, also looked good to me. Sticking with theory's all very well, but don't sacrifice the opportunity to enjoy exploration entirely when you're doing something like this. +

+ At this point, I decided that the sides of the tank didn't say 'Silver Stars' to infantry, as they just showed white and rose. To fix this, I painted the sponson targeters turquoise. Perhaps they're regarded as the machine spirit's helms by the Legion, and thus treated as a helmet? +

+ Anyway, here's where the Predator stands at the moment. The windscreen is orange as an experiment – pre-oils is a perfect stage to test out accents that you're unsure of, as you'll seal it off and can either follow up or cover over as you choose. +

+ Hopefully I'll find some time to make further progress with the Stars soon. +

+ inload: Gates of Antares 2 +

+ Going Beyond +

+ Well, lots going on in the world of wargaming. Squats are back in 40k, a new  edition of the Horus Heresy-themed Age of Darkness game, and after a long delay, we've got the second edition of Beyond the Gates of Antares. +

+ The sad news is that Warlord Games have decided not to support it further – not entirely unexpected, but disappointing. The good news, however, is threefold: 
  • The models will continue to be produced, via a third party
  • The game will continue to be supported by Tim Bancroft and Rick Priestley
  • The rules are largely the same, but laid out a bit more clearly – and they're also completely free!
You can read more about Antares 2 on the new Nexus [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], which is where you can download the rules and army lists, and also read about the universe and factions. +


+ Off to Bootcamp +

+ To celebrate the launch, Tim Bancroft has organised a bootcamp event, which I'll be heading over to with fellow PCRC member, TrojanNinja, who's picked up some Ghar (don't worry, there's a cream for that). +

+ This seemed a perfect chance to finally field my Isorians – Karba's Huntsmen [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] – and learn how to play the new rules. Having gone through the new armylist, it looks like I've got around an 80pt list from which to pick. I don't yet know what we'll need to bring to the event, but I'm fairly confident that'll be more than enough. +

+ There are a couple of tweaks – Tsan Ra (above) are now fielded as standard in fours, rather than threes, for example. There is an option to drop a model, but since I have a couple of spares, I'll likely paint up the additional members to field four-member squads. +

+ Support weapon teams are now accompanied by batter drones (these project a protective force-field), so I'll convert and paint up a couple of those, too. +

+ ...and while I'm planning, I also got my new transport sprayed and ready for paint. It'd be nice to take a vehicle along, so I can learn how tanks and fighting vehicles work – plus it's a cool model! +


+ inload: Age of Darkness +

+ Entering an Age of Darkness  +

+ Burn! +

+ Hobbying has been taking a back seat recently, so apologies for the break in astrotelepathic transmission. In getting back into the swing of things, I've been digging through my backlog. I always find that a better thing to do in the Spring, rather than at the start of the year – perhaps something to do with the better light. +

+ Anyway, on the horizon is a new boxed set for the Age of Darkness – or Horus Heresy setting. Lots of cool stuff that's hitting all the right retrohammer notes, like a sea of beakie space marines. In looking forward to that, I thought I'd dig through some of my work-in-progress Space Marine armies. +


+ Sons of Simargi +

+ Probably the least likely to receive beakie reinforcements are my Death Guard, as they're made up of the gribbly (and awesome) Plague Marine sculpts. These have lurked since the start of the Covid pandemic – I hadn't really felt in the mood to remind myself of plague! – but it was good to go through and see that I'm a bit further along with them than I'd remembered. +


+ Word Bearers + 

+ Definitely set mid-Horus Heresy, during the Battle for Calth, my Word Bearers likewise stalled mid-way through, though here that was due to the scheme being so similar to the Blood Angels I had been working on. I've been tempted to do a bit more red paint recently, so perhaps I'll dig through and start these up again. Oddly enough, I think the principle block is that they're a relatively small project – just ten or so marines and a Dreadnought. Too much for an evening, but not enough to be worth really dedicating myself to. +


+ Salamanders +

+ With plans afoot amongst the Baraqu group for an Age of Darkness weekend over in Cambridge in September, I thought I'd see whether the muse would let me scratch an itch for Salamanders. The figure above is a loosely blocked-in tester for the army, which will use my trusty truescale marine tutorial [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] with a couple of modifications. +

+ For whatever reason, I've always had a vision of Salamanders as being slightly bulkier than other marines, and thought that using Heavy Intercessor legs might help suggest that. They'll require quite a lot of conversion and resculpting, and to that end, I thought I'd give casting a go. Hopefully I'll be able to share my findings here! +


+ inload: Monumentalis – Warmaster Titan +

+ Warhorns +

+ What does every Titan Legion need? That's right, a Custodian Titan to bear the devotional bell and generally be awesome. I treated myself to a second-hand unbuilt Warmaster (a temptingly cheap bargain, as it had no Terminal), and wit hsome additional bits and bobs from Battle Bling [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], got started. +

+ I think basing is incredibly important in Adeptus Titanicus for two key reasons. Firstly, the Titan bases are enormous, and it looks really strange if they're just a flat, uniform texture and colour. Secondly, it's the easiest place to establish a visual scale – that is, you make the Titan look appropriately large by putting small things on the base. +

+ Here, I started by gluing a square of cardboard on one side to act as the pediment of a building. Big skyscrapers rarely rest directly on the surrounding ground, but on their own base. A little border or mount goes a long way to integrating a ruin like this (taken from my dwindling supply of Epic: 40,000 terrain). Once the glue had dried, I used a pair of scissors to trim the excess flush with the top of the base, then repeated the process to make a tiered step. When doing this, I find it helpful to think about the practicalities of scale. Steps that are taller than a human aren't going to be very practical for the inhabitants of the city. +

+ You'll also note the stone formation. I wanted to add some elevation to the base, as this helps with dynamics. I particularly wanted this Titan to be stepping down. The stone formation is simply two small pieces of foraged slate glued together. To help sell the scale, I've integrated them together with textural gel and sand, but left some areas bare. +

+ One key thing that often gets left off Epic-scale ruins is flooring. A little bit of cardboard – like this business card – goes a long way to fixing that.  This is simply glued in place, and a couple of extra bits added on top. Rubble is suggested by some sprue offcuts. +

+ Next I needed to put the Titan on! I started from the feet and worked upwards, dry-fitting repeatedly to ensure I got the pose I wanted. Few things in the hobby are more disheartening than realising you've glued an expensive model together in an awkward-looking pose. +

+ Monumentalis +

+ And talking of awkward poses... while I'm very happy with the overall look, the extreme positioning I'd done with the pistons meant that the smaller armour plates don't fit. [SCRAPSHUNTERRORABORT] +

+ With my other Titans, I'd dry-fitted the armour to avoid exactly this. Here, I'd decided to try some experimentation on painting and assembling. One part of this was the decision to spray the armour separately, to save myself some time later. Unfortunately, as I was under some time pressure, that meant the paint was drying while I was building. +

+ The result isn't disastrous, but I am going to have to go back and make some minor adjustments – frustrating, particularly as we're talking fractions of millimetres here! +

+ On the positive side, the Warmaster Custodiwn already looks the business in bright yellow, and the time I lose on the feet should be made up by the time saved on painting. +

+ In closing, what a glorious kit! As with the others in the range, the Warmaster is a stunningly well-engineered model. +

+ Pictured alongside a Reaver, the Warmaster's physical size is really something +


+ Reaver Titan +

+ Engine kill! +


+ This Legio Validus Reaver is the first new Amber King off the supply lines in a long time; but a surprising lesson in just what you can do in a couple of hours when you put your mind to it. +

+ Start of the evening +

+ Above, the basic colours are in place, and I'd just started painting the panel lines black. +

+ A little while later, the panel lines are done, I've highlighted the yellow, and the base has received a basecoat. +

+ Same stage, from another angle +

+ End of the evening +

+ All polished off bar any final tweaks I decide to make. The great joy of acrylics is that you're able to work back over things very easily. +

+ There was a lot of exploratory painting work here, some very enjoyable 'flow' stuff. The downside is that I didn't really take much notice of what colours I was using, so it might be a bit of a struggle to replicate things for future Engines. Fortunately, I don't think consistency is critical with Titans. They're hundreds or thousands of years old, and as long as the base notes are clear, I think there's leeway for variety. +

+ I was tempted to use oils again here (they were a lot of fun, and I haven't had a chance to use them much recently), but in the end decided to see how well I could replicate them using acrylics. I used spattering and glazing to build up texture, warmth and shading – compare the clean flat shot from the midpoint:

... with the finished piece. You'll see browns and purples apparent in the yellow shadow – the blending executed partially with a big flat brush, and partially with a clean thumb(!). + 

+ I feel there's a story around the figures on the base; perhaps they'll inspire someone to write about an Inquisitor or similar sent to oversee the Legio – after all, that ancient sigil on this Engine's shoulder is perhaps not the best thing to wave around the Inquisition... +

+ Legio Validus always rather suffered from being my 'ideal' legion – that is, I wanted to develop it and build lots of complex lore... and as a rather inevitable result never started. Sometimes it's best just to go for it and see where things lead you, rather than overplanning and undersupplying. +

+ This poor Engine doesn't even have a name yet... + 


+ Illuminations +

+ Few little detail shots. Not convinced about the Eye of Horus shoulder; might swap it out... might build it into the lore... Who can say? +

+ Rear view  +

+ Front view – there's a distinct lack of a Legio symbol here... unless the blue arrow is it? +

+ inload: Epic assistance +

+ Forgotten Kings + 

+ One of the things I wanted to do with the War of the False Primarch was to use it to give depth to some of my existing forces. +

+ As things transpired, I've barely had a chance to keep up with the writing!  As a result, some planned 'scenes' have been glossed over – I had hoped to illustrate the first Siege of Ishim and the Machinedeath with Titans and Epic forces, for example – but simply ran out of time to do so. +

+ I hope to go back and fill in these gaps – particularly for the Machinedeath, which is a pretty key moment in the War. The key notes for the battle are:
  • It's where the Silver Stars are first revealed as being Legion strength
  • It knocks both sides flat, and leads to the Sorrowful Years, where everyone is forced to entrench and rebuild
  • During the battle, we finally see the 'Primarch' himself leading his forces against two Titan Legions – and therefore get an image of what he's capable of...
  • Crucially, the Silver Stars lose virtually all of their superheavy tanks – along with huge amounts of armour – in taking on the two Titan Legions and their allies.
  • The Titan Legions – Legio Punica and Legio Validus – are rendered combat ineffective, and driven back into Heliopolis for repairs.

+ Call for aid! The Machinedeath on Null +

+ If you've got a Titan – or some Space Marine Superheavies, tanks or aircraft – that you need a scheme for, perhaps you'd like to help out by painting some up using a scheme that would fit in? +

+ Primarily I'm after Legio Validus, Legio Punica and Epic scale Silver Stars tanks/aircraft, but if you've got any armour/aircraft of the Pentarchy Chapters (Flesh Eaters, Charnel Guard, Red Talons, Death Eagles I/II, Carcharadons) at Epic scale, that'd also be lovely. Finally, the following Partisan Chapters were also there: Argent Heralds, Inheritors, Riven Lords, Void Barons and smaller complements of Red Fish, Jade Talons and Firebreak. +

+ Any and all models – whether Epic or 40k scale(!) would be very much appreciated. If you want to go for bonus points, the world of Null, site of the Machinedeath, is an airless (though not uninhabited) desert. Blasted sand/dust wastes are the order of the day for basing – but as you can see from my own Silver Stars, far from essential. For painting guidance, the Silver Stars are covered in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]; and here's a quick pic. +


+ The 'Twice-Bound': Legio Punica inspiration +

'Formed in the dark madness of the Horus Heresy, the origins of Legio Punica are lost, save for in the dwindling number of Titan’s machine spirits that have remained in service since the Legion's creation. Only the Princeps and Moderatii who pilot these ancient machines gain access to secrets as they bond with the Titans and are forbidden from sharing them with anyone but their crews. The nature of the inception is not one that reflects well on the Legio – and it is one they prefer to keep hidden.'
[//My Time Amongst the Machine-priests, a Memoir – Howtopher Buxcraft+]

+ Punica are the brainchild of Toby Harris, and very cool indeed! You can see  more of the Legio Punica's colours and read their background in this article [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], but if you fancy a pop at them, here's how awesome they can look! +

+ Legio Punica Reaver by Toby H +

Legio Punica Warlord

+ Amber Kings: Legio Validus inspiration +

+ Despite existing in shared PCRC background since at least 2005, and having had a number of differently-scaled starting points, I've only ever finished one of my Titan Legion – who may be vaguely familiar to long-time readers. +

+ Mercator Stipent +

+ I can hardly ask others to supply me with pictures of my own damn Legio without giving it a go myself, so here's our first WIP entrant. If you fancy giving the Legio a go yourself, the scheme is simple: yellow with silver trim and green lenses. Chequers and the flaming circle (seen above) are common motifs. +

+ As noted at the start, I wanted to use the broader project to help develop my own armies – I write a lot of advice on this noospheric node about creating your own army and lore, but the best thing I can recommend is listening to other people and considering how their forces and stories would impact your own. +

+ Legio Validus, for example, has a fairly dry existing history – supposedly, they were split off from Legio Victorum and settled in Sector Antona Australis. While I don't want to contradict that, I do want to add depth – and thus they've appeared, apparently asynchronously, embroiled in the War for the False Primarch... +

+ I love the secrets and lies of 40k, and felt that perhaps the reason Punica and Validus were the only two Legios sent to the region was that they aren't squeaky-clean in terms of reputation. Punica's background certainly bears that out, and Validus likewise has some secrets. Having those fall into Imperial hands has perhaps altered the political landscape for the Legio. +

+ In short, Validus was one of those Legios whose support for the Emperor in the Horus Heresy was not quite as enthusiastic as one might have hoped. As a result, their parent Forgeworld was censured and has found itself repeatedly deploying Validus in an attempt to demonstrate their (modern-day) loyalty. +

+ The Inquisition finds this 'volunteering' rather useful, and – sure of Validus' discretion – use them for operations that are perhaps best left forgotten... +

+ Orthodox troops follow in the footsteps of the Amber Kings +

+ inload: A visit to Lamb's World +

+ A jaunt to Lamb's World +

+ Ratlings aren't native to Lamb's World, but the nature of warfare in the Antona Australis Sector means that there's lot of cross-pollination in the Guard. +


+ It's raining. It's always raining on Lamb's World. The planet is my own little corner of a little corner of a little corner of the 40k universe, and home to a significant proportion of the Imperial Guard armies I've built over the years and sent out to fight in the name of the Emperor of Mankind (and, thanks to Omricon* – the PCRC member, not the virus variant! – at least one in the name of Chaos Gods!). The first Lamb's World Guardsmen were raised when I was still at school, and I'm still gradually adding to them. +


+ There have been a number of Lamb's World Regiments I've built; with figures drawn from a huge number of ranges; in metal, resin and plastic; and ranging in size from Epic to Inquisitor scale. My favourite (am I allowed a favourite?), however, are the Lamb's World LVth – the Black Hands (so-named because a shipping error left them with no soap on their first deployment), and the dusty desert-fatigued soldiers have been fighting for years. +

+ Victoria MIniatures' Arcadian Guard form some of Lamb's World troops +

+ It's not simply that I like the immediate accessibility of 'soldiers fighting aliens'. A large part of the reason that I like them so much is that Lamb's World allows a bit of gentle humour – from the names of the planet's cities, to scrawled graffiti on the tanks, to their affectionate mediaeval Welsh theming. +

+ Space Marines are all very earnest, which can be dry. The  nature of the Imperial Guard means that there's room to be a bit wry about things. Regular humans, courageous though they may be, can't fight forever – exploring the  soldier's downtime and reaction to the inevitable shortages caused by the Departmento Munitorum is fun. It's nice to think that perhaps some of the Black Hands might one day get to retire back in relative comfort amongst the green hills and valleys of their rather soggy Rainworld home. +


+ Vidscans inloading + 

+ Anyway, enough musing – let's see some pics! +

+ Citadel Rogue Trader-era Officer and Standard Bearer with Elysian arms. His canine companion is from Anvil Industries. +

+ This officer – a Caef (senior officer) in the principal Lamb's World dialect of Low Gothic – and his equerry are relatively recent additions. The first character I ever remember creating was a 'Lieutenant Whittaker' from my long-departed Rogue Trader force. Stuntwedge of the PCRC very kindly gave me this Captain, who has been painted up to be a modern-day Whittaker – presumably after years of fighting! +

+ You can read his exploits against the wonderful Bezoan Skitarii of Lucifer216 in the Neues Tremo War – a campaign I'm keen to pick up again. Perhaps the Gatebreakers will lend the Lamb's Worlders a hand? +

+ Whittaker is a good example of how you can multi-task your models. The LVth Black Hands are led by Caef Terentius Dresden [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], but by swapping out the Officer and standard bearer, it's easy for the troops to be used to represent another of the planet's hapless Regiments. Whittaker is leading the 18th Regiment – yet to earn a nickname – on Neues Tremo. +

+ Composition +

+ The core troops of the Lamb's World LVth regiment are made up of Forge World parts: Cadian upgrade heads (mostly the Respirator ones, but quite a few of the standard Veterans, too) on the Elysian Drop Trooper range – all not sadly out of production. +

I have a dwindling stock of bits to allow for expansion, but happily the nature of the Imperial Guard lends itself to slight deviations from a purely uniform look. Humans, after all, are infinitely variable; and a mixture of wear and tear and patchy resupply means that differences in detail of equipment and fatigues adds to the sense of a war-weary force. +

+ This meltagunner includes a heads taken from an AT-43 figure, for example, and the Victoria Miniatures' figures earlier also show how a colour scheme can cover the differences between ranges. I have some plans to kitbash a squad or two of the Victoria Miniatures figures with some of my remaining Elysian bits to further elide the distinction. +

+ The ogryn's converted from an Warhammer Ogre Kingdoms Bull, the Leman Russ is a Mars-pattern Forgeworld kit, once available as a conversion kit, and I think now slightly recut and redesigned. +

+ This is not a realistic army. It mixes modern-ish looking infantry with WWII-style tanks and – as you can see above – giant space ogres, ratlings, horse-mounted cavalry, robe-wearing priests and all sorts of other 40k weirdness. Nevertheless, I hope the overall impression is one that would be familiar or at least immediately understandable by pretty much anyone. +

+ That sense of 'okay, I understand toy soldiers' goes a long way to grounding 40k. Without the Imperial Guard, a lot of the more over-the-top or flamboyant elements would become over-stylised. It's cool to have weird aliens invading a planet and fighting recognisably human soldiers, as it makes 40k relatable. If everything's special, then nothing is. +

+ I can't imagine my upcoming Alaitoc warhost is going to be too happy with that light-fingered Ratling sniper's bracelet... +

+ A murky, muddy mass of Guardsmen and women holding the line against the worst the galaxy can throw at them – true of the Guard in general, and of the Lamb's Worlders in particular. . +

+ Techpriests, along with preachers, psykers and commissars, are some of the more esoteric elements that help balance that grounding, and make it fun. However you spin it, conflict is horrible, and it's good to remember that you're playing a wargame. Brightly-coloured lunatics with space-axes are hard to take seriously! +

+ Rough Riders are another favourite of mine. I've got five that regularly turn up in my games – and it's another example of how gaming with my mates is a key part of the hobby for me. Rough Riders have appeared and disappeared from the Imperial Guard rules on a regular basis, and the PCRC have always been very happy for me to use home-grown tweaks to allow the inclusion of things like this. +

+ Bring back my horses, Games Workshop! +

+ The figures are Empire Pistolier legs (metal, from the glory days of bits ordering, which gives you some indication of how old they are) together with the same bits used for the infantry. The horses are Wood Elf ones that – as is fast becoming a theme – I think are no longer produced. When I built this army, I was nowhere near as experienced or confident with converting things, but I'm pleased with how the fairly basic tweaks and kitbashing (as well as the decade-old paint job) used for this army still hold up fairly well. +


+ Future plans +

+ In the short term, I'd really like to play The Bezoans Strike Back – a return leg for Lucifer216's Adeptus Mechanicus. For me, having a finished army is something of a pleasure; where it's something to use and enjoy, with the potential for expansion, rather than being a Sisyphean task to continually grow. +

+ With that said, Lamb's World allows me a lot of flexibility to fold various bits and bobs in. I have numerous little squads that could form the kernel of a new Guard army, but I also have the option of painting them up as a new intake of the Black Hands. These include Victoria Miniatures' Arcadians and Elysians, as mentioned above, a few squads of metal Cadians, and some more esoteric things like Squats and Beastmen. Vehicle-wise I have three Chimeras and another Leman Russ that need polishing off... but happily, there's no rush. +