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:
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:
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?
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:
Having 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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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!
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
I also think I’ve done a fairly good job of blending in my Milliput additions with the rest 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:
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
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:
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…
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:
“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:
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!