Thought I was well overdue to do a catch-up post on what a crazy five months I’ve had since the last time I wrote anything. Without a doubt, this year has been one of the best hobby years I’ve had in over 25 years and I’ve achieved things that I wouldn’t have even believed possible. Sadly, one thing that has lost out is this blog, I started off really well but limited time and the despicable “real world” have kicked me in the nuts for getting anything new written. Thankfully the rest of the year does seem like it should be quieter – though time will tell!
So, let’s do a catch up on what I’ve been up to over the Crazy Five Months™
And another three weeks have vanished but I’ve clocked up a whopping 89 hours worth of hobby! Project wise I’ve finished my Legions of Nagash army and now taking a break by painting up some old Warhammer scenery pieces that I’ve had for ages. Since my last post, we’ve had the “Beast from the East” sweep across the UK, bringing Siberian temperatures which promptly dumped down substantial quantities of snow. Sadly one of the casualties of this freak weather was the Age of Sigmar Open Day which was cancelled (but will be re-scheduled) and due to the poor travel conditions also meant that I wasn’t able to get to the Season of Sowing tournament up at Warhammer World. Very sad that we had to make that call, but it was a case of better safe than sorry. I still got to give my Legion of Nagash an outing with a three-way game on Monday 5th, so it wasn’t a complete loss.
Well the last three weeks have flown past in a flurry of hobby. I’m pleased to say that I’ve clocked in over 64 hours and well underway on Nagadron, Neferata’s Dread Abyssal.
Because there has been a few weeks since my last post, I’ll go over my last lot of hobby targets and what I’ve managed to get done in addition, suffice to say I feel more confident that I’ll get everything painted in time for the event in ten days time.
I may have underestimated quite how much time 60 Deathrattle Skeletons were going to take to pick out the belts and random bits of cloth and other details that festoon these models!
I’ve managed to clock up a massive 27 hours this past week, despite not having much time over the weekend. What I have manage to achieve though will allow me to field the three units of Deathrattle Skeletons on the tabletop once I’ve done the bases (and shields), so although I was hoping to be further forward, I’m not as far behind as I almost was. Most importantly it means I can park the Deathrattle Skeletons for the time being and move my focus onto the other 1060 points I need to paint up!
So week 4 has come and flown past in a flurry of bones as I’ve worked on the Deathrattle Skeletons horde for my Death army, with the aim of fielding them as part of a new Death army I’d like to run in a tournament the beginning of March.
Because I’m pretty tight on time, I decided that it made sense to bolster my unit of Deathrattle Skeletons from 30 up to 40, so I picked up another box of 10 and added these to the proverbial pile of models I’m working on which has impacted on what I had originally planned for last week.
Last weeks progress
Pick out details on skeleton warriors
Get 34 skeletons ready
Paint bone on 34 skeletons (2 x batches of 17)
Final drybrush on Bloodthirster wings
Horns on wings and hooves
Yeah, not very impressive really despite clocking up 22 hours worth of hobby. Now in reality what I actually got done was to get the bone done on 44 deathrattle skeletons and 10 black knights, including assembling the additional 10 skeletons and 10 black knights (neither of which were on the list). I have also started picking out the details on the first 20 skeletons (more on this shortly), so despite not achieving many of my goals, I did achieve quite a bit and most importantly made progress on my March deadline.
Just to forewarn you, I’m about to vent about the 10 black knights I assembled over the weekend. These have to be the most frustrating kit that I’ve assembled for years. I appreciate that they’re not new models, but the deathrattle skeletons box set goes together far more efficiently (and I’d hazard those molds have had more usage). The hooves on the horses don’t end up square, the armour on the horses has to be glued on (complete with rider legs) before the head resulting in a tricky and awkward paint job and it’s insanely fiddly.
Yes I did get them assembled and the bone completed, however the amount of detail on them is telling me that finishing them for my tournament in March isn’t going to happen if I want them to look good.
Details on the Deathrattle Skeletons
First off I did something a bit different on the additional box of deathrattle skeletons that I purchased. Instead of using the skulls that came in the box, I used some from the massive box of skulls that Games Workshop produces – and would thoroughly recommend everybody does this! You’ve a good dozen and a half different skulls and the casting is superior to the ones that come in the deathrattle skeleton warriors box. Well worth the money – plus some of the skulls will fit on the banners so you could have a plaguebearer skull being carried round 😀
The bone I managed to knock out in about 6 hours or so in total which I felt was pretty decent. I’m keeping the details pretty simple, Rhinox Hide belts, Leadbelcher Swords (with a brassy colour for the spear heads) and purple for the cloth – or at least that’s what I planned. Upon painting the first model using the Naggaroth Night, I realised that it just doesn’t stand out at all, because it’s so dark. I didn’t really want to go much lighter as Naggaroth Night wasn’t happy at coverage over the bone undercoat let alone a lighter colour. Sadly what this has meant is that I’ve accepted that Red is the best colour to do the cloth for my deathrattle skeletons. The coverage is superior and they really pop from a distance. A light Agrax wash and Evil Sun Scarlet should make them look super vibrant (appropriate for Age of Sigmar).
This Weeks Hobby Targets
Details on all 60 Skeletons
OK, that doesn’t look particularly adventurous! This week I’m much lower on hobby time than I have been the past couple of weeks. Both days this weekend are largely busy leaving me with a bit of the evening if I’m lucky, so I’m largely constrained to just a few evenings and Friday afternoon. My ideal goal would be to have the above done by the weekend, but I know that painting 60 tassels of cloth and 60 belts over a light undercoat, without going onto the bone isn’t a task that can be rushed particularly.
If I can get the skeletons done, then I’ve a few choices – I could assemble Neferata (and some Spirit Hosts) or start on painting some characters. Ultimately it depends on when I finish as next week I’ve next to no hobby time as it’s the Horus Heresy/Necromunda Weekender and I’m travelling up on the Friday!
I felt it was about time that I created myself a hobby list to give me a bit of well needed focus on my hobby following Armies on Parade. I can’t take full credit for this as Alex Nygård created one for his backlog the other day! On the subject of Armies on Parade, I have half written a round up to this years competition, but haven’t had an opportunity to pull the photos off my digital camera yet – expect this soon!
The third progress post for Armies on Parade 2017 sees some long overdue work on the guns for my Acastus Knight Porphyrion.
Oddly large weapons are one part of models that I struggled with for inspiration. The engineer part of me wants to make sure that the weapon looks technically feasible, but this tends to result in a fairly plain and boring paint job, going “sci-fi” looks better but I don’t actually like the result. For the Knight Porphyrion I was slightly under pressure due to time limits for Armies on Parade, so I stuck with a more basic style with the intention that I can go back at a later date.
Assembling the Knight Porphyrion Arms
I underestimated how big the Porphyrion Arms are and I mean massively underestimated. When assembled, each gun is longer than a regular Imperial Knight stands tall and took ages to get the barrels correctly positioned. I also make life more complicated by magnetising the “shoulder” joint, meant I could only pin the lower of the two barrels. Overall I’m fairly happy – if you look carefully I don’t think the barrels quite line up as well as they could, but you’d struggle to spot it unless you really peer. One of the barrels also wasn’t quite as well cast as it should have been (I got one replaced) but it was far too late to do anything and it’s not immediately obvious.
Painting the gun
Once assembled they got a coat of Vallejo Metal Colour Gunmetal followed by a drybrush of Rub and Buff silver. This might seem completely random (and you’d be right), but the result is a fairly decent metal effect. By not using a wash, you keep the sheen of the airbrush paint and the rub and buff provides a phenomenally smooth and soft highlight. If I have time I’ll pop an edge highlight on there, but that’s not urgent. The back heatsink got a coat of Vallejo Metal Colour Burnt Iron which just adds a nice variety.
Next up I spent a good three or four hours masking off part of each gun (which I’d avoided dryrbrushing) and followed my usual technique for painting up red. I can now officially say that I’ve used an entire pot of Angron Red… Although this wasn’t a step I wanted to do (it took roughly a day to get the 9 or 10 layers on), I do think it was worth spending the time doing it.
Next up the gold trim got painted up in my usual style and the gloss received an oil wash. I still find this is the best way to add a bit of texture where the trim and armour panel meet.
Painting the pipes
I knew that the pipes needed to done something striking but not too visually distracting so plumped for a really simple Mephiston Red, washed with Carronberg Crimson and then layered back up with Mephiston Red. I think this actually enforces the lethality of the guns a bit more than if I’d done then grey. I’m not confident enough to do yellow and black striped, but guess there’s nothing stopping me going back in the future. Although not shown in the first picture the bands got a Balthasar Gold base coat and wash with Agrax Earthshade. I’ve not done any edge highlights as I wanted to keep the focus on the actual pipe.
Largely that’s all I did on the guns. The big pipes coming out of the rear block were done with Warplock Bronze, an Agrax Earthshade wash and then Balthasar Gold highlight. The lens on the shoulders have been done in my usual style (though a bit quicker than I’d have normally liked – but the look OK). I’ve also done a bit of edge highlighting though may well go back to and improve as the back section hasn’t got as much detail as I’d like. However I’m happy to say the guns for my Knight Porphyrion are finished (for now 😉
In the second progress post for Armies on Parade 2017, I focus on the Imperial Knight Bases for my Questoris Household, it’s something I’ve actually put off for quite a while as I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do.
Armies on Parade Board
I’ve covered this a little more in-depth in a couple of previous posts, but for my Armies on Parade entry I’ve chosen to one of the Forge World Realm of Battle Generatorum Sector boards. This board has a distinctive road section and a number of tiled and raised sections. Although nowhere near as impressive as some Armies on Parade boards that I’ve seen, I feel it’s an improvement over a regular Realm of Battle board section and provides a bit of variety and detail without having to use lots of scenery or build something custom – which potentially will never be used again and will be difficult to store.
Imperial Knight Bases
So, I knew that I had three bases to sort for my Imperial Knight and an extra one if I fancied putting my Dunecrawler in (which it made sense to). My original plan of making them match 100% the board wasn’t going to work – it would be far too time consuming and would look pretty weird when I move the model from their designated spot. So I decided to go for a fairly basic style that should roughly match the road section of the board.
After marking out exactly where the Knights would stand on each base, I applied a thin layer of wall filler with an old credit card, making sure that I got a bit of texture into it. I then used a wet sponge to “dapple” a light texture onto the wet filler and went back in with the credit card to blend it in. The result is an uneven surface similar to the board. This took almost 48 hours to dry properly, after which I covered the whole thing in watered down PVA (not too watered) which soaked into the filler and sealed it without losing any of the texture.
Blitzing through my bits box, I extracted a number of items that would look appropriate as discarded items on a battlefield, so pouches, couple of crates and similar. Copious amounts of PVA, ballast and those items have resulted in little debris piles in a similar fashion to the ones you got on the board. The crates were superglued into place first though most of the other bits are simply secured using PVA.
I felt this was a pretty decent effort, I just need to paint them the same as the road (Skavenblight Dinge, drybrush and some weathering pigments) and jobs a good one! However part of me niggled that they were a little lack lustre, especially to be entered into Armies on Parade. I think part of this was that the ballast I used was overall much finer than the debris on the Realm of Battle board. Then for some odd reason I remembered that somewhere in a cupboard I had a bag of 2mm Talus – very similar in size to the board, so last night I got back out with the PVA and added some of this to the piles of ballast. Much happier with the overall result (wish I’d remembered it earlier)!
It’s been a busy week and a bit, but I feel slightly more confident that I’ll get my entry for Armies on Parade completed. Now it might not necessarily be as completed as I’d like, as with most projects you can always find additional things to do. I can’t see me getting any scatter terrain added to the board sadly, despite making a good start on half a dozen Armoured containers, I just don’t think I’ll have enough time to weather them in without cutting doing something else.
Current Armies on Parade Timetable
Now that I’ve cracked into the project properly I’ve been able to set myself up a fairly tight timetable that should get everything together by the end of this weekend. Frustratingly I’m out two evenings next week and have some preparation for a management meeting to cram in too (which I should have really started much earlier).
This gives me Wednesday evening, Friday afternoon & evening, some of Saturday and a fair portion of Sunday. I think this should be OK although I’m positive I’ll find some bits I’ve forgotten or don’t go very well. I also have an all important contingency of next Friday afternoon and evening although ideally this will be used for packing up my models!
I’m fairly happy to say that two weekends worth of work have got the Forge World Realm of Battle Generatorum Sector board pretty much completed. It’s been washed, sprayed, oil washed, airbrushed and weathered with pigments. I did have one minor panic when I masked off one bit of the road section and pulled off a load of paint (clearly having not washed it as well as I could have). I was using regular masking tape rather than low tack, but ended up using envelopes and a disposable glove to mask off the various areas. It’s going to get a good coat of clear sealer so it’s unlikely to chip off during usage.
One thing that I now have an even greater respect for, is the Citadel coloured spray cans. They’re amazing and sped up the whole process massively.
So the rough process was to spray the board roughly using cans – that’s Skavenblight Dinge for the road, The Fang for the flagstones, Standard Mechanicus Grey for the grey items and then Zandri Dust for the larger platform. Using an envelope and glove you can actually get some really sharp edges. The next job was to use an airbrush to just touch up some of the items that you couldn’t get to, such as the edges of the road and round the piles of debris. Skavenblight Dinge was airbrushed onto most of the rubble piles too. Finally the large platform was giving a light coat of Kharak Stone to remove some of the yellowness.
Using black and brown oil paint, some white spirit and a long thin brush, I painted between all of the flagstones and details. Keep a rag/towel on hand with a clean brush use this to blend and wipe the oils in as you’re going and to add nice streaks on some of the vertical surfaces. If there are any deep divets you can put some in there too. The large platform had this done using just brown oil (no black) and the rest was a mix of brown with a bit of black. You don’t need to be accurate in the slightest and a bit of tonal variety just adds to the overall effect.
Oils take a few days to properly dry so I made sure that I got it done before I was out a couple of evenints. Once cured I was onto what I always feel is one of the more exciting parts – airbrushing Vallejo Burnt Umber wherever there would be dirt, so round the edge of buildings, round all of the dirt piles and similar. This massively changes the dynamic of the board.
Using a 2″ wall brush and a tube of light grey artist acrylic, I gave the whole board a light drybrush to pick out the edges. I tried to focus on the little flecks of debris and just lightly on the bigger items.
Going back to the airbrush, I sprayed Skavenblight Dinge onto some of the cracked road sections to blend them into the brown a bit more and dusted all of the piles. I then swapped to black and added a few bits of light scorching to some areas of dirt, round the obvious shell damage and a few patches here and there. The raised platform really benefits from a few black smears.
To a certain extent it could have been left at this point, I certainly would for a regular board, but as this is an entry for Armies on Parade, I cracked into it with some weathering pigments, primarily two Forge World dirt colours and an AK Interactive black. I used Forge World Solution as my fixing agent which seems to have worked pretty well. A few splashes here and there and then wiped off with some towel gave that rained on effect.
I also picked the details out (such as the missile launcher and bolters) and applied some more pigments to blend them in – I probably should have done this before I started the pigment stage 😀
And that’s pretty much where I’m at with it. The generator needs to be finished off and then everything given a coat of sealer to make sure that nothing is going to rub off during transport. I’m likely going to be very lazy and not paint the doors on it – one set I plan to cover up with a model…
I will say that despite being a pain to flatten out, the board is lovely with just enough detail to be interesting but without being too detailed (which I often feel some Games Workshop scenery is). I’m sure there will be some entries with massively elaborate boards, but it’s not something I’m particularly interested in doing (what do you do with it afterwards?)
I’m going to call it a day with this Armies on Parade update post. The board isn’t going to change much more beyond the little generator being painted and the whole thing varnished! I’ll post up a couple of other updates later on this week.