Archive for the Terrain Category

#HeroQuest2019: Finishing touches

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2019 by krautscientist

With the Sorcerer’s Table and Alchemist’s Bench now officially done and dusted, I was left with two final pieces of HeroQuest furniture from this original set of four models left to paint:

It goes without saying that I remained committed to making each of these pieces as cool as I could — after all, the furniture is one of the things that makes the original HeroQuest boxed set such a classic!

I started with the weapon rack. Now this piece was interesting in that it’s really easy to make it look really dull — after all, the weapons stacked on the rack should be mostly silver, right? And you could even paint the rack itself silver as well and be home in time for dinner…

This was obviously the biggest possible pitfall to avoid here, so I chose to use a few spot colours to make a nice contrast with all of those silver blades. I also decided to paint the rack itself as wood, seeing how the sculpt itself suggested a bit of a wooden texture to the entire thing. I would be remiss not to mention how RemyT’s paintjob once again served as a major point of reference, although I chose to swap around a few colours.

Anyway, here’s the weapon rack with the first couple of base colours blocked in (and most of the wood already finished):

And a bit later, with all of the base colours in place:

This already gave me a good idea of the colour balance, so all that remained were some finishing touches. Unsurprisingly, the whole thing really came to life after the washed had been applied, especially when it came to making the metallic parts look more like metal and less like painted plastic:


From here on out, it was all a question of adding a few finishing touches and higlights, and I took my sweet time with this step.

The obvious problem with the weapon rack, as was pointed out to me by fellow hobbyist Anderas, is that it’s completely out of whack with the rest of the HeroQuest set when it comes to scale: Those weapons are really far too big to be wielded by any model appearing in the game, except maybe for the Gargoyle 😉 But I still cannot stop myself from liking the weapon rack immensely: It’s an interesting and fairly unique addition to HeroQuest’s set of furniture, and it was also fairly enjoyable to paint because it provided the perfect excuse to work with different colours in order to make all those weapons look suitably interesting and exotic.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the finished weapon rack:



And, as an extra little bit of fun, here’s a comparison with my newly painted weapon rack and an older piece still sporting the earlier paintjob from elementary school days:

So, just one piece to go, and this last one represented a bit of a challenge: the Torture Rack:

So what was the challenge I mentioned? Well, as you can see, the stock torture rack has these weird handles that come as separate pieces. Those were missing on my version, long lost to some unremembered calamity (or, more likely, my general tendency for messiness). So I needed to think of a replacement while, at the same time, I really didn’t like the stock version: Those handles have always seemed so weird to me. So why not kill two birds with one stone (or rather, one torture rack) and work on a replacement that would seem more believable (and mechanically sound).

After a bit of scrounging around, I came up with this solution, thanks to some some leftover bits and bobs from my bitzbox:

Those handwheels somehow seemed far more believable to me, and they were really easy to make, too: The actual wheel can be any round slice of plastic, while the handles were made from cut-down spikes from one of those spike racks from the CSM vehicle sprue that any chaos player is sure to have dozens of 😉

The parts where the stock handles normally attach was carefully cut off before the handwheels were glued on, then reattached to work as a kind of spoke for the whole assembly.

I was pretty happy with this solution, and everything came together rather nicely when I undercoated the piece:

The paintjob itself was a fairly straightforward affair, because it was mostly about creating a suitably weathered wood effect on the rough planks of the torture rack, with some metallic accents here and there:

Of course the obvious fun came when the rack had been painted and it was time to crack open the Tamiya Clear Red for some added blood spatter. Take a look at the finished torture rack:


As a tribute to the older “paintjob”, I decided to place the bloodstains in almost exactly the same locations as before, only with a slightly more realistic look.

Before going for the bright, glossy look, I created a deeper layer of stains that look more faded and matte, mostly to hint at the fact that this torture rack has probably been in use for quite some time — brrrr…. 😦

 

And with that, the four missing pieces of furniture were finished. And I am honestly pretty chuffed with each and every one of them, to be honest:


All of this also makes for a pretty productive Easter holiday, if I do say so myself:

Even better, yet, this also marks the completion of the entire set of HeroQuest furniture. Here’s the complete collection, assembled for your viewing pleasure:

The prospect of getting to paint the furniture was what kept me going through some of the more grueling parts of this project — and rightly so, because I truly had a blast with those pieces! If you still have some of these somewhere in your cupboard of shame, I can only recommend giving them a spin — it’s highly enjoyable, and it taught me more about painting wood than my entire 30 years in the hobby that came before 🙂

However, I was so happy with myself about all that painted furniture that I almost forgot a sizeable part of the HeroQuest boxed set that still needed to be painted — the doors!

Because the game comes with 21 bases for the cardboard doors that are such an integral part of the HeroQuest experience, and while those are hardly the flashiest part of the game, I would still need to paint them in order to be able to call my copy of HeroQuest truly painted.

I chose to go for the same stoney look I also used for the bases on all of the hero and monster models:

And while this made for a fairly quick and dirty approach, painting over almost 40 of those bases (because I still own almost two complete sets) took a bit of doing. A fair bit of my last hobby session at my friend Annie’s place was actually given over to the somewhat thankless task of painting, washing and drybrushing door bases:

But I soldiered on, and now the doors are done as well — including quite a few spares:

And last but not least, I was finally able to get my hands on the last component of the game that was still missing from my copy: the four character boards:

Now this was the one instance where I had to venture into the den of madness that is trying to buy HeroQuest items off ebay, but I got an okay deal, the boards got here without further damage, and they are in fairly good condition, considering their age, so all’s well that ends well.

And with that, I have actually completed my HeroQuest set (minus the twelve Men-at-arms, but those will have to wait for a bit yet). And of course I am not entirely without ideas for future additions to my collection.

That will have to wait for a bit, however, as does a proper photographic exploration of the finished set — that’s what you can look forward to for next week’s update. For now, I would love to hear your thoughts about this week’s update, so please feel free to leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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#HeroQuest2019: The end is nigh…

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2019 by krautscientist

Not much longer before I finally own a completely painted HeroQuest set — and it’s probably for the best, too, because my readers are likely getting bored with all of the HeroQuest content of late… 😉

Anyway, last time I blazed my way through some of the more pedestrian parts of HeroQuest’s furniture, painting a whole lot of bookcases, chests and tables:


This left me with some of the more original pieces, and I was really looking forward to getting started. So here’s a look at the four missing pieces of furniture I still needed to paint at this point:

I decided to start with the sorcerer’s table, a nice and straightforward beginning. Blocking in the base colours, then working with washes and a heavy drybrush to create the table’s stone texture was relaxing work.

But that blank page on the right kept teasing me, because I knew I wanted to do something fun with it — on the one hand, simply leaving it blank would have been such a wasted opportunity, but on the other hand, simply adding more scripture also seemed like a somewhat bland solution, so I went for something a little more involved: I figured that whoever the owner of the table might be, they could possibly be trying to summon a dastardly monster to sic it on the heroes, so I did this…

Do you recognise what this is supposed to be…?

Quite right, it’s a miniature version of the Gary Chalk illustration that appears on the back of the monster cards (incidentally, the same creature also makes another appearance on the cards for “wandering monsters”).

If you are familiar with HeroQuest related trivia, you may also be asking yourself: “What about the candles?” Because each sorcerer’s table originally came with two candles (complete with flames) that were, invariably, the first parts to break or be lost, apparently: Nearly every owner of a HeroQuest set has to mitigate the fact that those chandles are likely to be lost or incomplete.

The funny thing is, I actually do have another sorcerer’s table with the candles …mostly intact:


As you can see, it was subjected to an earlier, less sophisticated paintjob, and I really wanted to start fresh with an unpainted piece. Plus I also chose the skull and rat setup for nostalgia reasons: You see, when I received my first copy of HeroQuest, the table never had the candles — either they weren’t included in the box for some reason or (equally likely) my dad didn’t realise what they were and threw them out when he assembled the original game for me. Anyway, I only realised the candles were a thing when buying my second copy years later, so I thought it would be a nice shout out to those golden days of yore to build the table with the rat and skull 🙂

I also made sure to paint the rat with light grey, almost white, fur, as a shout out to the Skaven race, because their Grey Seers mostly have light grey/white fur as well 😉

Anyway, here’s my finished sorcerer’s table:




Next up was the alchemist’s bench, easily one of the most interesting parts of HeroQuest’s furniture set — oh, sure, it may look all boring and angular, but as we’ll be seeing in a minute, this is a piece where you can really give it your best shot as a painter.

Anyway, it was easy enough to get started by blocking in the base colours, especially the wood: Once again, using Vallejo’s Parasite Brown made for an excellent match with the colour on the cardboard part of the bench. Here’s the piece after basecoating and a first pass of washes:


The next step was to take care of the wooden parts of the bench, and I did so with a mixture of drybrushing and freehanding, trying once again to suggest the texture of woodgrain. This was even more important here than on the tables and bookcases, because the alchemist’s bench has some large, flat surfaces that really profit from that extra bit of detailing:


When it came to the desktop, I picked it out in a dark red, to suggest that the surface of the bench has been covered in some kind of felt, leather or rubber, the better to serve as a support for all kinds of chemical shenanigans. By the same token, I made sure to paint on lots of dirt stains and scuff marks, to show how the bench is suitably dirty and grimy:


With that out of the way, the actual bench was mostly done:


This was were the fun started, however, because there were still those nifty extra parts: The scales that go on top of the bench were painted in a heavily verdigrised bronze/copper colour, always a nice little touch:

Most time was actually spent on the little potion flasks, though, in order to turn them into a bit of a eye catcher. This part was also an excellent way of introducing a bit of bold colour to the entire piece:

After everything was assembled, the bench was varnished with matte varnish. Then the flasks received a thick coat of gloss varnish, for fairly obvious reasons. And I also added a last round of glossy “special effects”: Some blood effect on and around the receptacle on the left side of the bench, and some ink splatter around the inkwell, papers and quill. Those last touches really sell the model, if you ask me, because they create that slightly chaotic look that really fits the desk of a mad alchemist. Take a look at the finished piece:




When all is said and done, this was one of the most rewarding pieces in the entire set to paint, and it’s also one of my favourite parts of my HeroQuest collection now.

 

Before we pack up for the week, there’s one last model I want to share with you today — and it has nothing whatsoever to do with furniture. So what is this about?

Of course I do realise that, technically speaking, the hero and monster models are all done and dusted. But there was still one last addition I wanted to make to my collection: You see, there are two quests in the HeroQuest quest book that call for an Orc character, namely an Orc warlord named Ulag and, slightly later, his son Grak. And while the quest book advises players to just use an Orc model with a longsword to represent either of the two, this didn’t sit right with me: I wanted a proper model I could use for whenever the game called for an Orc warlord!

My search for a period appropriate (GW) model led me to this guy:

One of the old Battle Masters Orcs, released only a couple of years later than HeroQuest (and cast in the same green plastic, incidentally). The Battle Masters Orc won out against a monpose Warhammer plastic Orc by virtue of looking a bit more similar to the HeroQuest Orcs, while at the same time boasting a slightly more heavily armoured look that made him seem more formidable.

Now the Battle Masters models are ever so slightly less detailed than the HeroQuest miniatures, but I hoped that a suitably involved paintjob would still make the model look cool enough for the job — oh, and I also spliced in an Evil Sun shield emblem from a slightly more modern plastic Orc kit, for good measure 😉

Applying the same greenskin skin recipe I had used for the rest of my Orcs, albeit with another higlight layer or two thrown in, I was able to create a model that looks similar in hue to my other HeroQuest greenskins, yet ever so slightly stands out as a more important character due to its more sophisticated paintjob.


And something pretty funny happened during the painting process: When I checked out the HeroQuest cover artwork for the umpteenth time, I discovered this guy lurking in the background:

It’s a huge coincidence, obviously, but I still feel kinda vindicated by this discovery 😉

So I So here’s my stand-in for Ulag, Grak or any other Orc Warlord I may need in games of HeroQuest:



Like I said, I think the model works fairly well as a leader for the HeroQuest Orcs: The pose and overall look are close enough, whereas the added armour really makes him look like a leader figure for the lesser orcs. Here’s a comparison picture:


And here are all of my HeroQuest Orcs with their new leader:

This also means that I have completed three “bonus models” for my HeroQuest set: Sir Ragnar (Manfred), The Orc Warlord and the Witch Lord:


It pleases me that I actually have models for these characters now, and it’s certainly a little touch that makes my HeroQuest set just that little bit more unique.

So just a few more pieces left to paint, and then I’ll have completed a project that has been thirty years in the making! For now, however, I would love to hear any feedback or thoughts you may have concerning today’s update! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#HeroQuest2019: Dungeon interior design 101

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2019 by krautscientist

Time for another update from the depths of the dungeon: With the hero and monster models for my HeroQuest set now accounted for,…

…it was time to turn my attention to the furniture that comes with the game.

Now I have been looking forward to this particular part of my #HeroQuest2019 project for quite a while, both because the little furniture was always one of the coolest parts of HeroQuest, but also because the pieces provide an interesting challenge:

At first glance, the task of painting the furniture seems straightforward enough — even moreso since there isn’t even that much to be painted in the first place: Nearly all of the pieces, save the weapons rack, are made up of a foldable cardboard part and a plastic part that holds everything together and provides some sculpted detail. However, therein lies the challenge: While you may or may not choose to make the monsters and heroes resemble the in-game art (or the Mike McVey paintjobs on the box, for that matter), that choice doesn’t really matter all that much during the actual game, where the models basically stand on their own.

Not so with the furniture, because the art on the cardboard parts is always there, so it makes sense to ensure that the paintjob of the plastic part actually fits the art — or even matches the colours employed. This added a fun little wrinkle to the whole exercise, and one that doesn’t usually occur during 40k painting.

Now you could obviously choose a different approach and replace all of the cardboard with new parts made from wood, foamcore or GS — and, indeed, back when I made a short previous attempt at painting my HeroQuest set, that was exactly what I wanted to do, prompted by Damien Thevenin’s fantastic work, among others (his blog is unfortunately defunct, but photos of his work can still be found on various forums, Google, Pinterest and, in fact, on his Facebook page).

These days I feel a little differently about the cardboard parts of the furniture, however: They are really charming, for one. And the match the high level of the rest of HeroQuest’s graphical presentation. So I decided the cardboard parts deserved to be preserved — which, in turn, would require a bit of “Trompe-l’œil painting”, so to speak, to make sure everything fit together from a visual standpoint.

I started with something that I knew would be fun, namely the fireplace and sarcophagus:

I actually made a previous attempt at the Sarcophagus, inspired by a similar piece created by the aforementioned Damien Thevenin. Here’s the stock (unpainted) sarcophagus next to the one I built up using foamcore and some extra bitz:




I still think the built-up piece works rather well — I am only a bit miffed in hindsight that I didn’t give more care to the actual paintjob…

So my second attempt at painting the sarcophagus ended up being a bit more conventional — but also more involved, with the actual paintjob carefully built up over several instances of careful drybrushing. Take a look at the finished piece:



When I was happy with the colour, I added a few lines here and there that might be cracks, veins or fault lines in the stone — they were simply drawn on using a pencil, an idea stolen from a marble base my buddy DexterKong created using a pencil a while back.

The technique worked pretty well and seems like it should warrant further exploration at a later date…

The fireplace was great fun in that it contained a bit of a “special effect”. Seeing how the logs that are part of the sculpted plastic bit are actually a bit farther away from the roaring fire burning in the background, as it were, I decided to go for the look of logs that are starting to catch fire, with their edges beginning to glow. It’s an effect I’ve had to improvise, but I am still happy with the outcome:

I also added several layers of Bloodletter glaze to the stone floor, making it look as though there were heat radiating outwards from the fire — an effect that already came in handy back when I built the base for my Daemon Primarch Angron conversion.

So with the first two pieces successfully completed, I decided to jump right into a bigger task and tackled the bookcases, cupboard, treasure chests and tables next. All of these use the exact same wooden tones for the carboard artwork, so it definitely made sense to paint them back to back:

Now seeing how the plastic parts on these pieces of furniture are so relatively small, you wouldn’t suspect them to be a lot of work, right? I thought so too, but finishing those pieces did take quite some doing!

Fortunately enough, my friend Annie helpfully pointed out that Valllejo’s Parasite Brown is a surprisingly close match for the wooden tone appearing on the cardboard pieces — this made my life much easier during the painting process!

So let’s take a look at the results. We’ll start with the bookcases and cupboard:


The Parasite Brown basecoat really did most of the work here. After adding some Strong Tone wash, the wood on those bookcases was drybrushed, although by being very careful and deliberate about it, I made sure that the bristles of the drybrush actually created an effect similar to woodgrain — a bit of a happy accident, admittedly 😉


The relatively straightforward way of painting the wood left me with enough time to focus on some of the smaller details, such as adding some character to the rats perched on top of the bookcases and cupboard:

Next up were the treasure chests, which should have been the easiest part of painting the furniture, but did take far longer to complete than they had any right to. Once again, I used Parasite Brown for the wood and contrasted it with heavily blackened and worn metal fittings (created by undercoating the metallic area with Leadbelcher, then going to town on it with a heavy wash of Dark Tone and Vallejo Smokey Ink. Some scratches were then sponged and painted on).


The tables followed the same formular, although they were interesting in that they allowed me to experiment with painting on some freehand suggestion of woodgrain. You should even be able to make it out in the pictures below if you squint 😉


Oh, and as you can see, I also painted the little throne. This has always been one of my favourite pieces of HQ furniture, but it turned out to be really straightforward to paint (a small accident with a pot of brown paint notwithstanding…):

Working with these pieces has also made me (re-)discover what HeroQuest already taught us in the gender-stereotypical toy landscape of the 80s and 90s: That it’s perfectly okay to play around with little furniture if you feel like it. Seriously, those pieces are just begging to be used for little vignettes:

Ah, yes: There’s nothing like a comfy chair next to a roaring fire, and with treasure to plunder already in sight — this is the life!

 

Now all of the above actually adds up to quite a collection of finished furniture, if I do say so myself. Take a look:


This leaves only four unpainted parts, and seeing how each of the remaining pieces is one-of-a-kind, this should make the home stretch of the project rather enjoyable. At least that’s what I hope! 🙂


On a partially related note, I have recently upgraded to a new phone, and of course one of the more important things was to figure out whether it was any good at taking miniature photos — so what better test run than to set up some mock HeroQuest game situations? Anyway, I thought you guys might enjoy these as well, and they seem like a nice capstone for today’s post:





For now, these shots are merely a staged affair, but at this rate, it won’t be long before I actually get to experience the fully painted game in earnest — keep your fingers crossed for me! 🙂

And with that, it’s back to the painting table for me! Please feel free to let me hear any feedback or comments you may have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

State of the Hunt, Week 03/2019: Everything but the kitchen sink…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Inquisitor, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, Terrain, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2019 by krautscientist

So here we are, with the old year firmly behind us. I have to admit that I am currently still at the stage, fairly early in the year, where I keep throwing around ideas and messing with different projects until something sticks and I find just the thing to re-start my proper creative process. So for now, I have decided to mess around with some neglected models, seeing how getting long neglected stuff painted was such a successful part of 2018. So let’s take a look at my laboratory:

I. Crash and burn

Here’s the first thing I am currently working on, a contribution for the monthly hobby challenge over at Azazel’s blog, Terrain is the name of the game this time around, which provided me with the perfect reason to tackle something I have wanted to do for ages: Finally getting some paint on the crashed aquila lander from the old Battle for Maccrage boxed set:

I’ve had those pieces for ages, courtesy of my cousin Andy, and as you can see, some of them have been subjected to a prior, mostly unsuccessful attempt at painting them — seriously, what was I thinking?

Now for the second attempt, I’ve made some small tweaks to the piece with the cockpit:

Something that has always bothered me about this otherwise cool terrain piece is its complete hollowness, so I knew I needed to add in a pilot as well as the suggestion of a cockpit, so I whipped something up with a couple of leftover bitz:


It’s not that easy to make sense of what the pilot looks like right now, but I took a lot of inspiration from the pilot morbäck built for his fantastic “Scarabée Intrépide” conversion a couple of years back — I didn’t sweat the details, though, knowing that only a part of the pilot would really be visible inside the finished cockpit. Oh, and while I was at it, I also glued in some bitz to suggest cockpit controls — I’ll show off the whole assembly once the model has been painted!

Anyway, the lander’s complete “hollowness” also leads to the rear of the piece ending in a massive hole. Of course I had to close that off as well, both to make it look less awkward overall and to camouflage the fact that there’s no fully realised interior, nor a full cockpit, as I merely built the parts that you can see from the outside. So I added in a hatch (from an old model truck kit) and tied it into the rest of the design with a few bitz:

While the whole ensemble looks pretty improvised when you look behind the curtain, so to speak,…

…the rear hatch has the added benefit of covering it all up, so when the terrain piece sits on a flat surface, you only really see the elements you are supposed to see.

Everything has already been undercoated, which ties it all together rather nicely:




Now to get it all painted in time for the challenge! I’ll be taking quite a few cues from Ian Wilson’s absolutely fantastic “re-assembled” Aquila lander here, among other sources. Wish me luck! 🙂

 

II. Big time!

And while I was already hard at work breathing some life into ancient projects, I came across another straggler from my cupboard of shame: A couple of years ago, I dug this out of a box of odds and ends over at my FLGS:


In case anyone’s wondering, this is half of one of the old 54mm Inquisitor models that GW released alongside the original game back in the late 90s. The character in question was Delphan Gruss, a Magos explorator of the Adeptus Mechanicus, basically the only AdMech model readily available back then, long before the AdMech became a playable 40k faction. Here’s the complete stock model:


As you can see, the parts I had were in a pretty sorry state (caked in the thick remains of a prior paintjob, and glued together with hell’s own superglue), and the model was also missing its legs. The problem with 54mm models is, obviously, that in order to replace missing parts, you either need a supply of 54mm bitz, or you need to get creative. In my case, I chose a solution in-between those two options, but the model still didn’t go anywhere for years. But after seeing PowerHungryMonkey’s recent Tech-Marine conversion, I somehow felt drawn back to the old model, and have managed to give him legs (and a pretty impressive gun to boot). Take a look:




Did anyone recognise those “new” legs? They actually came from the somewhat infamous vintage Nagash model, often seen as one of GW’s worst models of all time:


I have to admit, however, that I have a bit of a soft spot for the model: Nagash was actually the first big multipart metal model I ever bought from GW, and also the first model at that scale I have ever painted — and for a while there, I thought both the sculpt as well as my paintjob were absolutely rad! I blame my love for Masters of the Universe as a kid — those who grew up oving Skeletor as a villain had no choice but to like a character with a skull face.

And back when I got those Delphan Gruss bitz, I rediscovered the different parts of poor old Nagash in my bitzbox and thought the legs might work — as an added bonus, a conversion using Nagash as a base did indeed appear in the original rulebook…

Another fun fact: I’ve been keeping off this particular project for so long that I have actually managed to obtain a complete, boxed as new Delphan Gruss in the interim — all the more reason, however, to make sure this model looks suitably different from the stock model, eh?

I rather like the more subdued pose, to be honest. Oh, and the backpack is just the strangest amalgamation of bitz, to create something that looks suitably tech-y and AdMech, and at the right scale, no less: Underneath it all is actually a Space Marine plasma gun backpack (from the plasma gunner that came with Dark Vengeance), while the weapon system was simply made by combining half a Heldrake foot and one of the smaller gun arms from the Kataphron kit. And I added some suitable bits and bobs, such as an omnispex array from the Centurions, some cabling, stuff like that.

Even if thi should stay a one-off 54mm project, painting the Magos should still be a rather interesting experience — plus I am pretty sure I’ll get quite some mileage out of that modern AdMech decal sheet 😉

III. Daemonic desktop infestation imminent!

Waiiit, you didn’t think we’d bypass the ruinous powers, did you? No way! Because while I was wildly fluttering around in “crazy hobby butterfly mode”, something unwholesome from the warp has started to “manifest” on my desktop…



Still very early days, admittedly, but this should be interesting as well…

 

So as you can see, I am just trying different things before committing to the next bigger project. So keep watching this place to see those three projects – plus half a dozen others, I’d imagine – take shape. Or not. Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on these current “sketches”, so feel free to leave a comment!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 4

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, Terrain, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2016 by krautscientist

Another look at Angron this week, as we finally put the big red daemon-monster on its own base. Don’t worry, it won’t be nearly as boring as you might think 😉

“But wait! Wasn’t this supposed to be a triptych? Then why are we already on part four of this series?”, I hear you asking. Now I know how to count to three, of course — it’s just that the whole triptych idea refers to the three different forms of Angron I will be working on, while there can (and will) be many more posts than three. There, glad to have that out of the way 😉

So anyway, here’s where we left off last time:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (1)
So far, so good, but Angron needed a proper base, indeed. And this is where things got a bit out of hand. Allow me to explain:

Possibly the biggest challenge was that I had already basically given it my all with the base for my Bloodthirster model, pulling out all the stops and ending up with something pretty ostentatious:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (9)
At the same time, it was perfectly clear that I would need to come up with something even better for Angron, because…well, it’s ANGRON we are talking about here, right?

So I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and then it suddenly hit me: What if I were to base Angron on the big aquila terrain piece from the Honoured Imperium boxed set?

Honoured Imperium
I bought the kit a while ago – mostly for the Space Marine statue – so I still had the aquila piece. I also really liked the allegoric nature of the idea: What better way to base a Daemon-Primarch than on the shattered remains of the Imperium’s most iconic symbol?

The problem was the size of the aquila, because it was considerably larger than the oval base that came with the Bloodthirster kit. This would make gaming a whole lot more complicated, but that wasn’t really that much of a concern to me, mostly because I don’t exactly consider my Daemon-Primarch conversion a playing piece. However, the whole ensemble ended up looking and feeling a bit too clunky, so I wasn’t perfectly happy yet.

When I posted my idea on The Bolter & Chainsword, people were quick to suggest a modular display base resembling the ensembles released as part of Forgeworld’s Horus Heresy Character Series, such as the display base showing the duel between Garviel Loken and First Captain Abaddon:

Abaddon & LokenHaving the bigger part of the aquila as an optional addition that the actual gaming base could be slotted into? That actually sounded absolutely awesome! However, after taking a closer look at the aquila piece and trying to decide where to possibly make the cuts, I was just about prepared to discount the idea as unfeasible…

…and then my buddy Biohazard posted a few ideas about how to make it work after all, and down the rabbit hole I went, eagerly sawing through the thick plastic with my cheap-o hobby knife from the DIY superstore — at the cost of several blisters on my right hand, I might add. But here’s what I ended up with:

Angron's base WIP (1)
Angron's base WIP (2)
That’s the complete aquila, and yet you can already make out the line where I cut a smaller part from the ensemble. Now let’s take the two apart:

Angron's base WIP (4)
And as you can see, the entire left wing and the left head make up a piece that fits fairly neatly onto the stock oval base. Which gave me this basic shape for Angron’s base:

Angron's base WIP (5)
Angron's base WIP (6)
Not bad, not bad at all! Especially since the part still clearly read as a symbol of the Imperium of Man, even though the biggest part of the aquila was actually missing. The part I had cut out also seemed to fit the base almost perfectly, right?

But let’s take a look at another perspective:

Angron's base WIP (7)
Here you can see the huge hole left underneath the (hollow) aquila piece that I needed to fill up with something — and whatever that something would be, it was clear that I would need to pay attention to make sure both parts of the aquila would still line up correctly afterwards.

Even so, I was still energised by this small success. I also made a quick and dirty Photoshop mockup to get an idea about how Angron would fit on the finished base:

Angron's base WIP (8)
The basic idea was to have him charging towards the centre of the aquila — and, by extension, whatever would be added to the other side of the base.

But first, I needed to fill in those huge holes! Thankfully, my good friend Annie provided me with some Milliput for the task, and so when we met for a little hobby session recently, she kept painting away at her crazy-awesome pirate-themed Blood Bowl team (to be featured here on the blog in a future post, scout’s honour!), while I plugged all the holes in the base using Milliput, and added some structure by pressing some cork into the putty after it had begun to dry, stamping a rocky texture onto the surface.

Angron's base WIP (13)
Angron's base WIP (14)
As you can see in the above pictures, some additional detail work also took place during this step. My usual mix of cork, slate and sand was added to the empty parts of the base and sealed with PVA glue and plastic glue. The effect was also used to blend the seams between the different areas and materials together. I also added some skulls to the front of the base, both to make the area look more interesting and also because, well, Khorne! (DUH!). Two spiky poles were used to add even more of a chaos feel to the base.

Angron's base WIP (15)
Possibly the longest time was spent on the missing half of that poor Ultramarine officer clutched by Angron: I used a pair of plastic Mk IV legs and made quite a few tweaks to them to ensure that their position on the base seemed suitably natural and organic:

Angron's base WIP (17)
And with that, the basic setup of the base was more or less complete:

Angron's base WIP (18)
So all that was left before I could break out the paints was a final round of touchups and additional texture. Augustus b’Raass very helpfully suggested applying some Liquid GS to the stony parts of the aquila, in order to create a slightly more believably texture and make the whole thig look less like smooth plastic, so that’s what I did:

Angron's base WIP (19)
And I used some regular GS to tidy up all the rough parts of the Marine legs, filling gaps in the legs, adding flex fitting and a profile to the sole of the right foot and scultping all the gribbly bitz pouring out of the body…ewww!

Angron's base WIP (20)
Angron's base WIP (21)
Angron's base WIP (22)
Angron's base WIP (23)
And with those final details out of the way, Angron’s base was finally ready for painting!

Angron's base WIP (24)
So everything was covered with a nice and even Coat of Chaos Black spray,  which once again did wonders for pulling all of the different elements together:

Angron's base WIP (26)

Now at this point I spent a fair bit of time detailing the other, bigger side of the eventual display base, but I’ll be focusing on that part in a dedicated post. From a purely logical standpoint, it would surely have made much more sense to paint both parts of the base at the same time before adding Angron to the smaller part of the base, but seeing how this whole project had already expanded into something far more involved than I had usually planned, I knew I needed a milestone achievement somewhere in there and decided to focus on finishing Angron his “gaming base” first.

So for now, you’ll have to content yourselves with a teaser picture of the two parts of the aquila in all its basecoated glory:

Angron's base WIP (40)
I added a slightly more controlled spray of Army Painter Uniform Grey on top of the Chaos Black. Now at first glance it might seem as though we were back to square one (the unpainted plastic), but upon closer examination, the grey works really well with the Liquid GS-based texture to create a slightly sandy, stony look on the aquila parts. There’s also a slight shading effect on the areas that aren’t part of the shattered aquila, as a consequence of focusing the grey spray on the actual stone.

Angron's base WIP (43)
So from here on out, I basically used my usual recipe of painting the earth dark grey, then washing and drybrushing the entire thing to bring out lots of texture. I also painted the extra bits, such as the skulls, spiky poles and the legs of the fallen Ultramarine, of course. Here’s what it looked like after this step:

Angron's base WIP (46)
The legs also received some serious weathering to tie them together with the Astartes’ upper half: Charadon Granite was carefully sponged on with a bit of blister sponge, and metal scratches were created with a detail brush and some Leadbelcher. The best part about this kind of weathering is that you can keep repeating the various steps to achieve a more and more battered look, until you’re happy.

Angron's base WIP (44)
And then, finally, the blood came out 😉

I will say that I am probably really, really careful with adding blood effects, especially for a World Eaters player: There’s almost no other effect that is so easy to overdo and that can ruin a model so thoroughly: With too much blood, every model ends up looking cartoony and overly-edgy in a “bad 90s’ video game” kind of way. Only very few models warrant massive amounts of blood, so when in doubt, less is more.

With that in mind, I thought about where the blood on the base would probably come from (hint: the Ultramarine’s maimed remains) and how the blood would behave, given the slightly angled surface. I also remembered that, according to the lore, Astartes blood starts to clot super-fast, so that was yet another reason to go easy on the gore. Then again, there was no getting around the fact that the guy had been torn in half. So with all these factors in mind, here’s the solution that I came up with:

Angron's base WIP (48)
Angron's base WIP (49)
Angron's base WIP (51)
Ultimately, I tried to use as much blood as was necessary and as little as I could get away with. I also mixed a tiny drop of black into the Tamiya Clear Red to create the centre of the various pools of blood, than added pure Clear Red on top and around the darker areas in order to add some depth and tonal variety to the puddles.

One part where I tried to achieve a fairly realistic look was the blood running along the crevices in the stone, with the aquila statue’s features basically acting like small drain channels:

Angron's base WIP (52)

I also think I’ve done a fairly good job of blending in my Milliput additions with the rest of the base:

Angron's base WIP (50)
Granted, the finish could probably have been even smoother, but let’s not forget that it all needed to line up with the other half of the base!

And finally, Auggie’s suggestion about creating extra stone texture with a thin layer of Liquid GS turned out to be golden, as the aquila really looks like it’s made of stone, rather than plastic, now 😉

So all in all, I was really happy with the finished gaming base:

Angron's base WIP (53)
No more excuses, it was time for the Lord of the XII Legion to put his foot on the ground!

Now actually gluing Angron to the base was actually an exercise in frustration, seeing how the point of attachment between the model and its base was so small. And it definitely took a lot of super glue and swearing. But I persevered. And I triumphed. And thus I give you…

 

Angron, The Red Angel, Daemon-Primarch of the World Eaters and the Blod God’s Favoured Son

Daemon-Primarch Angron (16)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (22)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (29)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (26)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (21)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (30)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (31)
Now here’s a closer look at the base:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (32)
As you can see, I have added two more “special effects”: One is an additional spot of blood directly below the Ultramarine’s torso (for obvious reasons). The other effect is something I had never tried before, and I am rather happy with the outcome: I wanted the stone in the direct vincinity of Angron’s right foot (and the flames below it) to look as though it were heating up due to the Primarch’s daemonic presence. The effect was achieved by carefully building up several layers of Bloodletter glaze:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (25)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (27)
And with the model and base now combined, our brave little smurf finally gets reunited with his lower half. Well, after a fashion, at least…

Daemon-Primarch Angron (33)

Daemon-Primarch Angron (24)
I know I am probably boring you to tears by saying this, but I am still so incredibly happy with Angron’s head and face…

Daemon-Primarch Angron (18)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (20)
Here’s a comparison shot showing Angron next to my “regular” Bloodthirster model:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (17)
Both models’ skin tones actually differ far more in real life than is obvious from looking at the picture. However, I do think I’ve done a pretty good job of surpassing the base on the Bloodthirster and of making both models look pretty different, in spite of being built from the same stock model.

And here’s a hint of things to come…

Daemon-Primarch Angron (19)
For now, this has been an incredible ride! I think Angron is easily one of my best models – if not the best model – so far, and while this has project has certainly veered outside of my comfort zone more than once, it has been a blast! Thank you so much to everyone who provided ideas, suggestions and critical feedback! Thanks to those who provided bitz and materials for this project! And thanks to thosw responsible for my main inspirations, Reg’s fabulous, Bloodthirster-based Angron conversion, Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s hugely evocative descriptions of Daemon-Primarch Angron — and, of course, Alex Boyd’s illustration that probably served as the most important reference piece!

Speaking of which, here’s a little something that I made using Photoshop and Pixlr, to celebrate the occasion:

The Red Angel

“It turned its eyes to us. The skeletal landscape of its face turned with a slowness I could only describe as bestial, but it most definitely saw us. The coal pits of its eyes steamed as blood bubbled and boiled in the thing’s swollen tear ducts. Slowly – still so very slowly – its jaws opened to reveal a quivering tongue the colour of spoiled meat, with pinkish saliva roping and stretching between rows of sharkish teeth.“

 

Aaron Dembski-Bowden, The Emperor’s Gift

 

And here’s Alex Boyd’s illustration again:

illustration by Alex Boyd

illustration by Alex Boyd

While my Angron is far from a perfect match (Reg and Rumplemaster score far higher marks on that account!), I do believe he looks like a plausible interpretation of the same character, wouldn’t you agree?

Anyway, I am super-proud of this guy! One down, two versions to go 😉 Until then, however, I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Daemon-Primarch Angron (23)

Making bigger things out of foamcore, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by krautscientist

So what about that monument temple made from foamcore I talked about last week? Let’s find out!

Here’s where we left off last time: The basic assembly is complete and the building has been undercoated in black:

Monument Temple (19)
While everything was drying, I decided to work a bit on the actual monument that was to go inside the temple. For ease of assembly and added flexibility, I wanted the monument to be removable. Here’s the early construction I did for the monument:

Monument Temple (3)
As you can see, it consists of a column that sits in a small basin (later to be filled with water). The basic construction was, once again, done using foamcore. A cardboard loo roll would have worked as well to make up a column, but I wanted a different look this time, so I went for a rectangular faomcore construction instead. Two square WFB base was used for the abacus atop the column. That way, I could be sure it would be easy enough to attach the actual statue to the column later.

The statue itself consists of bitz from the Cadian Command Squad. I decided that I wanted the monument to have been erected in honour of the brave Imperial Guard, so I built a guard standard bearer in parade uniform for the monument — a very straigthforward affair. The model was kept separate from the rest of the monument for now.

Afterwards, the column and basin were undercoated, using the same texture paint I had used for the rest of the building. Here’s the monument after undercoating:

Monument Temple (13)
I then used cheap grey spraypaint (picked up at the DIY superstore) to make the monument look like it was actually made of stone. Take care not to apply too much colour during this step, because some of the darker undercoat showing through in places will actually make the piece look more believable.

Then I thought about how to best represent muddy water in the shallow basin at the bottom of the column. Since this was only a one-off project, I didn’t want to spend money on a huge bottle of water effect, so I had to develop a plan B. In the end, feeling slightly adventurous, I mixed PVA glue with a bit of water that I had in turn couloured using a mix of brown and green hues (mainly GW Gretchin Green, GW Scorched Brown, and some GW Rakarth Flesh). The resulting mix was then poured into the basin — if you’re trying something similar, make sure the basin’s actually waterproof and the stuff doesn’t come out at the seams! The mix also has to be thick enough, so use quite a lot of glue! The water’s mainly there to add the colour and to make everything slightly more fluid.

Here’s the monument after that step: As you can see, the water ended up suitably brackish and dirty — just as planned. I also added some plastic plants that I spraypainted brown to make them look dried and withered.

Guard Monument (1)
The monument was then set aside to allow for the “water” to dry. This took about 24 hours for this relatively shallow basin, so resist poking it to see whether is has managed to set yet! I actually couldn’t wait and made a (very small) indetation into the surface that way. Trust me: You need to be patient for this!

In the end, the “water” ended up looking nicely brackish and with a glossy surface, making it look reasonably realistic. I would have loved the mix to retain some of the glue’s usual transparence, but alas, it was not to be. Still, definitely better than getting some expensive water effect for a simple one shot!

I then painted the actual statue, which was really very easy: The model was undercoated with GW Chaos Black spray, then basecoated with a 60/40 mix of GW Chaos Black and Vallejo Halcon Turquoise. Then I drybrushed the model with a 50/50 mix of GW Skull White and Halcon Turquoise. The raised detail on the regimental flag lent itself especially well to this technique.

Here’s the result:

Guard Monument (7)
Guard Monument (6)
Monument Temple (40)
As you can see, the statue’s surface looks like heavily oxidised metal, just like you might see on a real-life statues you might see in your vincinity. All in all, I was very pleased with the effect. The statue was glued to the column using superglue. And with that, the monument was finished.

Here it is, placed in its eventual spot in the yet unfinished building:

Monument Temple (21)
While I had worked on the statue, the rest of the building had had ample time to dry. So the next step was to add slightly thinned down PVA glue to the nooks and crannies of the building. Then a mix of sand and smaller stones was added on top to represent rubble:

Monument Temple (22)
You can really add lots and lots of the stuff for added realism, plus segments of fallen walls and ceilings. Personally, I tend to go for a less realistic result simply because it’s pretty hard to add multiple layers of rubble and make sure they stay in place. And too much rubble and uneven surface texture can also mean it will be hard to actually place your models in the building during games.

Anyway, a second coat of thinned-down glue was added on top to seal the rubble. Then the rubble areas were sprayed once again with black.

After everything was dry, the building was sprayed with the same grey paint I had used on the monument. Again, go for a slightly uneven approach to create plausible shades and a more realistic looking surface.

Almost done now:

Monument Temple (23)
I also painted the inscription, using one of my regular GW brushes. The letters were undercoated in chaos black, then painted with Vallejo Tinny Tin, then washed with GW Agrax Earthshade. Then I added some light accents, using GW Dwarf Bronze.  And finally, I added a thinned-down mix of Vallejo Halcon Turquoise and GW Skull White on top to represent verdigris:

Monument Temple (28)
And with that, the building was basically finished. Here’s a view from the side:

Monument Temple (30)
I used the grey spraypaint to add some additional accents where necessary. This only took a couple of minutes, though. Here’s the finished monument temple:

Monument Temple (33)
Monument Temple (34)
Monument Temple (35)
Monument Temple (36)
And some additional detail shots of the statue:

Monument Temple (32)
Monument Temple (31)
Looking back now, there’s quite a bit that could still be added: It might look cool to drybrush the tiled floor with white to pick out the contours. Posters and propaganda proclamations could be added to the building, as well as blood splatters, additional damage etc. I am still free to do all of this, however, as the finished build should be easy enough to modify.

Anyway, as you can see, building and painting this monument temple was almost as easy as constructing one of the easier ruined buildings. The scope of the project may be different, sure, but in the end, the techniques are the same. If anything, a larger buildings will give you far more options for adding details and little setpieces- Just make sure you don’t add so much stuff that the terrain piece no longer works during games 😉

To wind up this post, here are some impressions of Inquisitor Antrecht’s warband moving through the ruin, to give you an idea of the scale:

Monument Temple (38)
Monument Temple (39)
In any case, I hope I was succesful in showing you how easy it can be to come up with a centre piece for your gaming table. All C&C are welcome, of course: Just let me know what you think in the comments section!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Monument Temple (41)

Making bigger things out of foamcore, pt. 1

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by krautscientist

It’s been quite a while since I last posted about building terrain, but since the weather has picked up considerably in the meantime, it is now time once more to go outside, hit the tool shed or garage and build some wargaming terrain!

The funny thing is that I am pretty spoiled when it comes to terrain nowadays: There’s some exquisite terrain over at the FLGS, and stuff like Neil101’s stellar Arrke board, most of the stuff used during this years Inqvitational or Chelnov’s unbelievable Sisyphus Complex have taught me that my own meagre efforts at building terrain are already outdated by a pretty huge margin. I am also pretty convinced that I could do better nowadays, but some of my early recipes should still have some merit, especially to those of you who have been putting off building their own terrain for one reason or another.

I already discussed quite a while ago how easy it is to make some reasonably convincing ruined buildings out of foamcore. Buildings like those will also allow you to fill up quite a huge gaming table. But you probably don’t want your entire terrain collection to consist of simple, bombed out hab blocks, do you? Well, here’s the good news: Building bigger and more sophisticated structures can be almost as easy. This two-part post will take a closer look at that!

Everything started with my desire to build a larger building that was to serve as some kind of centrepiece on the table: I wanted something decidedly bigger than one of my ruined hab blocks, but maybe not quite as gigantic as a cathedral. So I decided to try my hand at a temple-like building housing a monument to some glorious achievement or other of the Imperium of Man.

The great thing about this project was that the building’s basic construction was still very much a rectangular box with four walls meeting at a 90 degrees angle. Still, the building ended up looking pretty imposing nonetheless. Take a look:

Monument Temple (2)
The most impressive part of the building is its façade, but this part was actually pretty easy to get right: I just drew a suitably impressive design on a piece of 3mm strong foamcore, then cut out all the arches and recesses with an exacto knife. Pieces of the same thin foamcore were then used to add projections to the wall and give it some depth. And I also added an inscription using alphabet noodles.

Here’s a view that shows the rest of the building:

Monument Temple (1)
The side walls are a very easy construction, with just a number of archways cut out of the foamcore I used. And a thicker kind of foamcore was used as a base for the whole building. The whole construction was very easy to put together, using PVA glue.

The dome you can see on the roof of the building was a readymade styrofoam shape I bought for a song at the DIY superstore. I placed it to be exactly above the monument inside the temple, a mockup of which you can see here:

Monument Temple (3)
In order to make the building look suitably damaged from artillery fire and the ravages of war, I cut sections out of the side walls and dome. Pieces of the dome were then glued onto the floor of the building, to make it look like they had fallen when the dome was partly destroyed.

The most fiddly part of the basic construction was the floor: I cut a lot of identical square shapes from the cardboard of a cereal box and used them as stone tiles to make up the temple’s floor. Glueing them down took a while:

Monument Temple (5)
As you can see, I drew some lines around the damaged wall sections to mark the areas where the floor had been damaged as well. On these areas, I didn’t use any of the floor tiles or at least made sure they looked damaged enough.

Monument Temple (4)
I also made sure the roof would be removable, in order to facilitate access to the building’s interior. This was achieved by adding a very simple foamcore construction underneath the roof that was stable enough to carry the roof when it was placed on top.

Here’s the interior with the floor tiles in place. The empty area in the middle marks the spot where the removable monument is supposed to go:

Monument Temple (6)

You can also see a part of the construction holding the roof in place at the bottom of the picture.

And here’s the same space with the monument’s basic construction in place:

Monument Temple (7)
So the next step was to get the whole building undercoated — definitely the hardest part of the whole exercise! I prepared a suitable undercoat by mixing black and white acrylic paint, some PVA glue and some fine bird sand (to add some texture to the paint and make the building look less like it’s made of foamcore). This kind of paint is really easy to mix and very cheap too. It also works as a sealant, making sure the foamcore’s foam interior doesn’t melt away, once you start using spray paint at a later point.

I won’t lie to you: Getting a building this size undercoated takes some doing (and a pretty large brush). And, please, don’t go using your expensive Citadel brushes for this, you hear!

Here’s the building, partly undercoated:

Monument Temple (8)

Monument Temple (9)
Oh, and another important thing: Make sure to mix enough paint, because there’s nothing worse than having to make some more just for the last corner of the model — I am speaking from experience here… 😉

Anyway, this is what the building looked like after undercoating:

Monument Temple (15)
Monument Temple (14)
Monument Temple (16)
Monument Temple (17)
As you can see, I didn’t paint the areas with the inscription or the empty spot for the monument. This was due to a number of reasons, actually:
I was afraid to damage the inscription with the brush, for one, plus you don’t want any grains of bird sand on those letters: They will have to look like metal later on, so any residue from the texture paint would destroy the illusion. The empty space was left unpainted because the monument should be easy to place, and that wouldn’t work with the floor all roughened up and uneven from the texture paint.

So the final step was to use black spray paint to touch up the unpainted areas as well as any places where the white foamcore was still showing through. This only took a couple of minutes. Afterwards, the whole building was nice and black:

Monument Temple (18)
Monument Temple (19)
And with that, the basic construction was completed. In the next installment, we’ll look at the additional details, the construction of the monument itself and the rest of the paintjob.

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!