12 June, 2013

Helbrecht Complete!

...well, mostly.  I still have to knock out the scenic base.  I was able to get him done in eight days, in time to enter him at WGC.  Unfortunately, logistics with the painting competition there went south, and results were only read for three categories, none of which were sci-fi.  Prize support, even winners' plaques, was nonexistent except for three categories that received free airbrushes (which were really cool) provided by Grex, and the belt buckle for Best in Show that Goatboy had done for trophies  The downside to that is that they apparently insisted their airbrushes only be provided to categories they chose, and everyone else was left out in the cold.

Since I'm local to the area, I threw my hat in to revamp how it's handled in the future, and I intend to turn the thing around and make it into a feature of Wargamescon, rather than an increasingly distant afterthought.  I've been meaning to get up to Reapercon to compete for a couple of years, anyway, so not being able to compete at home might actually motivate me to make the trip. :)

Anywho, I have some photos of Helbrecht on his temporary plinth for you all.

The back of the cloak seems lacking, but I was pressed for time - I will probably go back and do something on the edges while I'm painting the scenic base.

On to other things;  I'll post again soon!

31 May, 2013

Marshall Helbrecht Painting Time Attack!

Apologies, it's been far too long since I've posted anything.  Daemons have sapped a lot of my interest in messing with the Space Wolves of late, and other things have sapped my time away from messing with Daemons.  On that note, look for pics of the myriad horrors I'm working on for that army in an upcoming post.

Tonight, we're jumping right in with shots of my completed resculpt of Black Templar High Marshall Helbrecht, sans scenic base, which sculptor's block has put a bit of hiatus on.  I know GW has given the old crusaders a cold shoulder lately, but they aren't entirely forgotten.

You'll probably spot a few bits in there from other kits; I used a head from a Space Wolf sprue (and for a time considered leaving the mohawk on).  I pulled several parts from a finecast copy of the stock Helbrecht, but with it being finecast, I still ended up having to remake the candles on his backpack (which is a mark II pack to replace the unusable mk I pack that came with the model) from scratch.  Same went for his sword, which is decidedly small and unheroic - I built a new one using the blade of a Forge World terminator power sword.

On to the first PIP photos from 5/29!  I like to do the heads first on most of my pieces, and with gold featuring so prominently on this model I wanted to make sure my recipe was going to come out well, so I started on his pointing arm.

At this point, I began blocking in colors, since it's hard to get a grasp of the model when it's covered in a gold basecoat.  I've since completed the head in its entirety, but haven't taken more photos yet.  I have barely over 7 days until WargamesCon 2013, and the urge to put a piece in has resurfaced, so we'll see if I can get it done in time!

16 February, 2013

Tutorial: Mark V Legs

I'm back with another leg tutorial for you all!  One of the most iconic pieces of the Heresy is the Mark V armor,  so I'm going to show you how to make your own set of legs using Mark VII legs as a base.I'll open this one with a disclaimer:  my method is cheaper than buying Forgeworld sets (assuming you already have the mk VII legs in a bits box somewhere), but be prepared to spend a little bit of time on each of these.  The learning curve for the project is what I would deem somewhere between easy and medium.  If you know your way around the main tools we're going to use, and are comfortable with a minimal amount of greenstuff use, this project is a breeze.

Let's start off with a tool list:

1. Your hobby knife of choice.
2. Mold line remover.
3. Scribing Tool
4. Pin vise, 1/32 and 1/16 bits
5. Cables.  The size we're using here is .065.  I got mine from Dragonforge, but you can also use appropriately sized guitar wire, or whatever suits your fancy.
6. Microbeads.  For more information on where these come from, as well as a more detailed tutorial on how they are used here, head over to my Studded Armor Tutorial.  You should take a moment here anyway, as the principles used are an integral foundation to this tutorial.

Additionally, we're going to be using some files for cleaning, your glue of choice, a small awl or needle for guide holes, and your sculpting epoxy of choice (for me, the choice is Pro-Create, but Greenstuff will work just as well).  

You will also need your sculpting tools;  For this, I just used a basic flat metal tool, and a couple of small silicon color shapers.

1.  Here we have a stock set of mark VII legs.  I've removed the mold lines in preparation of the conversion.  Out of personal preference, I have also removed the purity seals and gone around some areas (mainly the knee and the foot plates) with my scribing tool to bring some definition back to the model that was lost in the casting process.

2.  The first thing to do is shorten the kneepads, to bring them in line with the mark V look.  I've cut in a little way down on both knees, forming a rounded point as shown.  Cut deep enough that you'll be able to shave the piece off in step 3.

3.  Now shave the top of the knee off.  You should have something like the picture above.  Use your files to clean up the area and round the top of the knee a little bit.

4.  If not already, familiarize yourself with my Studded Armor Tutorial I linked earlier.  Using those techniques, make the holes to seat the microbeads matching the look of the mark V legs.  Disregard those green splotches in the image; I got a little carried away and drilled to many holes, and had to fill them back in!

5.  Using your hobby knife, make some straight cuts in the center of where you intend the thigh cables to sit (the side and front on each leg are typical).  Follow that up by using your scribing tool to etch a wider cut over the initial one.

6. Using your 1/16 bit, drill three holes along the cut, using it as a guide point.  The top and bottom holes should mark the top and bottom of where you intend the cables to run.

7.  Coming back in at an angle, use your pin vise to connect the three holes into one, as shown above.

8.  Repeat until you have all the cable areas recessed out.  At this point, you're done removing parts, and ready to start adding to the conversion!

Above, you can see I've added all the microbeads and cables to the recesses I created.  I also glued the feet to a base at this point.

Now we're to the sculpting part.  I promise, it's actually pretty simple.

9.  Take a small amount (you can see how much above) of your putty and stick it to the top of a cable.

10. Using your tools, shape it around the cable until it fits over and connects nicely to the leg.  Make sure you smooth out any fingerprints!

11.  Here's where you have a choice.  Mark V legs have those square connectors on their cables, but I actually decided I liked a rounder look.  Whatever your choice is, use your tools to shape the putty into the final look you want.  Repeat this process on the bottom of the cable, and then go on and take care of the rest of the cables on the legs.  Let it all cure.

This last step is optional, but I wanted to add some little studs to the connectors for a more finished look.  Make sure your connectors are fully cured, and mix up some more putty.  stick a tiny (like a quarter of the size of a microbead) bit of putty on the connector and push it into the shape of a stud.  Pretty simply, though can be a bit fiddly until you get the hang of it.  Repeat the process across all the connectors.

That's it, you're done!  I added a mark V torso from my bits box (I assume both these pieces probably came from the same tac squad box back in the day) and some stock arms.  He's a Space Wolf, so he got a bolter  and a warbelt from that box to make him stand out.  He'll also get a set of mark V shoulders made for him.

That helmet is a WIP, but I stuck it on as a bit of foreshadowing for you readers, so you can have an idea of what heresy-related tutorial you can expect to see from me next!

14 January, 2013

A mishmash of WIP

Wow, time really flies around the holidays!  Before I knew it, I was way behind on things.  I decided last year that it was time I headed back to school, and my classes have started up for the semester.  Unsurprisingly, my hobby time has taken a bit of a hit.

Nevertheless, I needed to get SOMETHING out for you dear readers, so bare with me as I attempt some semblance of catching back up on things in the Warhammer World.

First up, I have an early photo of a conversion of mine that has been raising a few eyebrows in my local gaming area.  I've since gotten it painted to a 3-color minimum for playing, but it needs more work before I'll be ready to unleash it on the internet.

I present what has been dubbed "The Hive".

It's a pretty simple repurposing of tree bark, a bastion and some milliput.  As a Space Wolf Bastion, it will get a compliment of icicles along the upper cornice, as well as some heroically large banners over the entrance.

Next up, I've got a hot item - a squad of Cataphractii Terminators.  I've added some subtle conversions to make them wolfy, and the painted one is about 90% done to test my scheme ideas and make it all come together.  I am particularly fond of the Reaper Cannon conversion, which was a kitbash of the stock SW Assault Cannon and a Chaos Reaper, all folded into a Cataphract arm.  My love of this kit has gotten me hooked for the Justaerin Terminator set that just came out, so Russ willing, you'll be seeing those converted into a Wolf Guard Command Squad soon.

Lastly, I have the almost completed results of my second foray into reimagining iconic heroes of the 40k universe.  He's also planned to be my primary piece for the 2013 painting competition circuit, which recently grew to encompass another pilgrimage to the US Gamesday in Memphis.  He's got a bit of fine detail left to be hammered out (or chiseled out... who would use a hammer for fine detail?), most noticeably the skulls on his sword and the bionics of the attendants on the base.  There is also some finecast to be repaired (my FAVORITE thing to do), but I guess it comes with the territory for now.  I'm excited to get painting on this guy, and will cover my progress pretty extensively here, so you'll get to see some better shots of all the angles soon... I'll probably make a trip over to the B&C to antagonize the Black Templar members with a PIP thread too, because I'm just like that.

I give you High Marshall Helbrecht.

Well, that's what I have tonight.  I don't intend to leave things as long as I did last time, so we should start to get back to some kind of regular posting interval, especially as I get closer to the summer convention time.

Thanks for reading!

09 December, 2012

Tutorial: Easy Mk IV Space Marine Legs

Long ago, there were about 8 or 10 people doing Horus Heresy related conversions, so the hipster in me had to jump on that bandwagon before it got cool.  This unfortunately meant that I put many hours into doing the various armor marks the hard way, before I began to refine my ideas into what they are today.

But that's good news for you readers, as this next tutorial series will focus on taking many of the signature elements of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, and bringing them to your army with a minimal amount of work, and using bits you probably already have lying around.

I'm starting out with a very simple conversion for you all, maximus pattern legs!

This is a primarily tool-driven project.  No sculpting required, and if you know how to measure, cut, and file, you should have no problems.

First some financial background on the project:  Right now, you can buy 5 Mk IV marines (without weapons) for £23.  for £6 less, you can get a Red Scorpion upgrade pack that includes Mk IV torsos and heads (and shoulder pads, but they aren't going to get use in this project).  When you start thinking about putting 40, 50, 60 boots on the ground, the savings are plain to see.  

But that still leaves legs, something the internet loves to pick apart in the Pre-Heresy genre.  With the right tools and a few minutes time, you'll have a set of legs almost identical to the Forgeworld set.  Let's get to it!

Tools, from top to bottom:

1. Rotary leather punch.  This tool serves me well for a lot of scratch-build projects, getting me rounded cutouts with ease.  The smallest punch is ideal for the curved cuts of the Mk IV knees.

2.  Pink Salon Board.  Get them at your local grocery store.  the fine grit of the pink ones works well for the smoother sanding needed for plastic models.

3. For my harder sanding, I have my trusty metal file.  I also have a round one (not pictured) that I use to clean up where I make cuts with my punch tool.

4.  Tube Styrene.  You can get this at most hobby shops that deal in HO scale trains and the like.  For this project, we're using 3/16" diameter tube.

5. Panel Scriber.  I use this to refine plate lines on the models, but it's optional for this project.

You'll also need your preferred glue, as well as your hobby knife and some form of measuring tool (I just used the markers at the bottom of my cutting board)

Here we've got the results of step one.  Start with a pair of Mk VI legs (the ones without a kneepad).  Please forgive the sad appearance of the legs I used; my bits box is running low on spare legs right now.

Cut any purity seals off, as well as those little cables at the ankles.  Shave off the front of his codpiece.  

I filed away the little grooves and details on the legs, but that was due mostly to the condition of the legs used for the tutorial.  If you look at the forgeworld legs on their site, you'll see you don't need to remove that stuff if you don't want to.

Cut a straight line into the lower legs, about 1/8" from the top of the shin plate.  Shave down that top part, and the file it smooth to create the recessed area in the above picture.  With that done, cut a little bit off the top of the recessed area to make it less than 1/8" in height.

From your tube styrene, cut two straight pieces about 1/8" wide each.

Cut a third or so from each piece.  The larger part will be each of the knees.  Save the best of the two smaller parts, as that will become your new codpiece.

I've used the punch tool to clip the top corners of the knees, cleaned the piece up with a file, and the glued it to the recess. I've also punched out a small bit of the codpiece about half way up, and then cut the piece until it fit properly.  With both, you may need to flatten the styrene pieces a little to get them to fit in place.

That's all there is to it!  So far, you'll have spent about 15 minutes on the conversion.  If you want to clean up more, you can.  Maybe you need to add a bit of soft ribbing where a knee has a harder bend, or if you prefer the less bulky look of the Forgeworld legs, you can go in and file them down to the desired size.

If you like the heresy studs that Forgeworld has started retconning onto some suits of Mk IV armor, just apply my Studded Armor Tutorial to the legs.

I just need to get this guy a new base and his arms and backpack on, and he will join a growing force of Iron Warriors, ready to betray his loyalist brothers at Istvaan V!

05 November, 2012

Space Wolf step-by-step part 4: Bronze, Leather & Stones

Here we go with the fourth and final part on my step-by-step Long Fang painting series.  By now he's looking pretty close to complete, but there are still a couple of little things to do, as well as a component that really brings the scheme together.

My Color List for this tutorial (GW is from the Games Workshop Range, VMC is Vallejo Model Color, VGC is Vallejo Game Color,  P3 is Privateer Press Formula P3):

Black (Primer)

Bronze & Vertigris
VGC Brassy Brass
VMC Mahogany Sand
VMC Gunship Green
VMC Bluegreen
GW Tin Bitz
GW Devlan Mud
GW Thraka Green

Stone Talismans
GW Dawnstone
GW Ogryn Flesh
GW Ceramite White
VMC Iraquian Sand

P3 Bootstrap Leather
GW Devlan Mud
GW Ogryn Flesh
VMC Iraquian Sand

We'll start off with the item I most often get questions about, my bronze technique.

1: I start by basing the bronze with a 1:1:1 mix of VGC Brassy Brass, VMC Mahogany Sand, and GW Tin Bitz.  The Mahogany Sand does a pretty good job of beefing up the coverage of the paint, but some areas might require a second pass to get an even coat.

2: Next, I give the area a good wash of GW Devlan Mud.

3: I then go back with a lighter wash of GW Thraka Green.  If you are not planning to weather your bronze, you can skip steps 4 & 5 and add a simple edge highlight of pure Brassy Brass to some of the high points of the model, but I'll assume most of you aren't reading this tutorial to learn about factory-fresh marines.

4: I start the weathering process with a wash of VMC Gunship Green.  This is simply 4 parts water to 1 drop of paint.  This wash goes on pretty heavy, and I quickly go back in with a clean brush and soak up some of the wash, unless I'm looking to make a particularly heavy verdigris effect.

5: I then add a drop of VMC Bluegreen to my Gunship Green wash, and use that to more carefully add heavier verdigris to deeper areas, or places that would retain more moisture and result in greater oxidation.  Adding more drops of Bluegreen will give you brighter oxidation, but I have a lot of blue OSL in my army due to my love of plasma weapons, so I've toned my verdigris back to avoid the "glowy" look that it can take on (causing the verdigris to look more like misplaced OSL)

6: Finally, we'll go in and edge a few places with pure Brassy Brass.  Skip this step if you're creating a heavier verdigris than what I've illustrated above.

Let's take a quick look at talisman stones.  They frequent a lot of Space Wolf models, but unless I'm painting a competition piece, I like to keep them simple and quick.

1: Start with a basecoat of GW Dawnstone.

2: Wash with GW Ogryn Flesh.

3: Begin lining edges of the stone and the etched rune with a 1:1 mix of GW Dawnstone and VMC Iraquian Sand.

4: Add a bit of GW Ceramite White to the mix for a final highlight over some sharper edges, and to add a bit more pop to the outline of the etched rune.  Done!

Finally, another quick item to knock out is the leather.

1: Base the area with P3 Bootstrap Leather.

2: Wash with GW Devlan Mud.

3: Highlight with a 1:1 mix of Iraquian Sand and Bootstrap Leather.  Follow this up with a light wash of GW Ogryn Flesh.

4: Add a final highlight with a 2:1 mix of Iraquian Sand and Bootstrap Leather.

You're pretty much done at this point.  Depending on your model, you might also have a gemstone or eye lenses to paint.  Base your model to match the rest of your force and you're done!  If you happen to be doing snow-themed bases (and what self-respecting wolf isn't?)  be sure to check out my tutorial covering that subject.  This concludes my step by step Space Wolf tutorial.  Thanks for reading!

27 October, 2012

Space Wolves Escalation Force Update (October)

We're nearing the end of October, so I wanted to sneak in a force update post for the month.  The escalation league itself is dead, as they are wont to do, but I'm pushing ahead on my goal.  Still not sure if I'll push for 3000 points for the Narrative track, or 2000 for the GT for 2013 WGC.  The GT is obviously easier, but I do always have a lot of fun at the Narrative, and get to hang out with the same group of cool people the whole weekend.

My goals for October didn't quite pan out;  I had planned to add a 500 point section to my force, but barring a last minute push to finish my bastion, I'm going to be adding a total of 345 points.  I had to go back and retrofit some models, adding a lascannon to my older dreadnought, as well as doing a bit of work to bring his look into line with the rest of my force.  I also spent some time turning my Wolf Lord's wolf claw into a power fist, something that I've been needing to do since 6th edition came out.

For actual units, I was at least able to get the four Long Fangs from my current series of tutorials painted up, so there's that.

I'm still happy with my progress;  I've got a 1250 point tournament coming up on Nov. 4, and for the first time since I started playing 40k in the mid 90's, I'll actually be playing with a fully painted (by me) army.  It's small (at 19 models), but potent.  If I am able to crank out another dreadnought lascannon arm and paint my bastion, I'll be shifting Bjorn down to a regular dread, and picking up the bastion for the tournament.

Well, that's it for me!  November should be a good month here at the blog;  I'll be finishing up the Long Fang tutorial, as well as showing the final results for my bastion and of course an army update toward the end of the month.  Plus you'll start to see some WIPs from me on my projects for the 2013 painting competition scene.  I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween.  For my part, I'll be binging on store-bought candy and watching old slasher flicks!