I finally got around to finishing my Venerable Dreadnought for the Independent Characters painting challenge; he only took me a month and a half to finish (although to be fair, April was a crazy month to try to get even one model painted in). The paint scheme wasn't anything really fancy, but black, white, and gold just the right combination of simple and striking for this guy.
I'm really happy with the edge highlighting I did on this model; I'm really getting comfortable with how the effect looks on black armor, and it's definitely more subtle yet effective on a larger model than it is on a smaller standard marine. The Power Fist looks particularly good, in my opinion.
I also tried my hand at more freehand details on this guy, something I started on my Emperor's Champion. While I'm not ready for full murals (without someone else doing the linework), doing scripting on blank spots seemed a challenge I could handle, so I went for it. On one shinguard, and on his parchment, I did blocks of scripting, complete with a colored, embellished dropcap.
There's one other freehand detail, and that's on his left shinguard - the Templar cross. Originally I'd intended to use a decal, as I did on the left arm, but the decals I had were just slightly too big to fit comfortably, and I didn't want to go with a more generic numeral or skull, so I bit the bullet and went ahead and tried freehanding a cross. Actually, I think it turned out rather well, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat (although I do like the decal on the arm, as it's sharper and cleaner).
I'm taking June off from the Templars, as I have a fair amount of Tau to paint for the Gateway Grand Tournament - 2 Riptides, 3 Broadsides, a Sky Ray, 8 Pathfinders, and 6 Fire Warriors. It's a crazy amount to squeeze in, especially considering that 2 of the Broadsides and the Fire Warriors aren't even built yet, but that's what the Memorial Day weekend is for, right? I think that if I can get everything finished this weekend, I can prime and paint them over the next 3 weeks and call it good. They might not be up to the full standard of the rest of the army, but I can get them close, especially with my spray gun for fast basecoating.
After magnetizing my Riptide more-or-less successfully, it was time to try another model - one of the new Broadsides. I love the look of the new Broadside, and the idea of magnetizing it so I can swap between the two primary weapon loadouts was very appealing. In practice, though... it's a pain in the ass, much moreso than the Riptide. There are two major reasons for this. The first is that the arms are heavy as far as plastic goes, so if you just try to magnetize them at the ball joints with the magnets pointing directly out to the sides, they'll pivot down as they lose the fight against gravity. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution: mount the magnets on the tops of the ball joints:
This leads to the second issue, though: the two sets of arms do not sit at the same angle on the joint. The High-Yield Missile Pod arms sit independently and swing a bit outward, while the Railgun arms join together and angle inward and a bit downward. This leads to some interesting magnet positions inside the sockets, and is really, really easy to mess up. This is one case where I wish I had a larger hand drill, rather than just my cordless Dremel; trying to get fine control with a high-speed drill is not a skill I've mastered. In the end, I had to cut one of the missile arms apart just above the elbow and re-point it because the magnet had it swinging too far inside. The railgun arms had their own issues. For ease of attachment, I had the two separate, with another pair of magnets joining them at the gun - but some excess glue that I thought had already dried stuck the two magnets together permanently, leaving me with glued-together arms. Not unworkable, but not what I wanted. In all honesty, though, the final results, while a bit chewed by the Dremel, aren't horrible:
I also managed to magnetize the back equipment hookups so that I can change up the weapons and wargear as needed. Getting these magnets placed was a bit difficult because of the small area and the necessity of getting them flush. I had to pull out and redo one of the magnets just to get it to sit right. Since I didn't have smaller magnets for the gear, I used my finishing nail trick to put small pieces of metal into their bases. It doesn't "click" as solidly as another magnet, but it works. The Dremel was a big aid here, as I could switch to a sanding bit and grind down the excess nail and get it flush with the plastic.
The question I was left with last night was, "Would I do this again?" The answer right now is, "I don't know". Magnetizing this suit was harder with the equipment I had, and the results weren't what I'd originally pictured in my mind. The time spent in trying to get magnet angles just right and trying to clean up the resulting damage to the plastic, such as filling in the sockets with material to keep the arms from swinging wildly (yes, the top-mounted magnets only worked somewhat) made me doubt that magnetizing the arms was a good idea. If they were a bit easier to do, then sure, but I don't know if I'd want to do it again as they are. The secondary weapons and gear, I might do again with smaller magnets and my pin vice. Still, there comes a point where the time spent outweighs the money saved. I might just make my next 2 Broadsides static.
Without smaller magnets, though, I am not touching any more Crisis Suits. I'm really feeling the limitations of 1/8" magnets, and as much as I love my Dremel, I need the finer control of my pin vice for that task.
After building and painting a lot of 40K miniatures (and I now have bits for 10 Tau Pathfinders queued up on my workbench), it's nice to take a bit of a breather and paint something completely different. I've had my Malifaux crew primed since November, and it's finally time to getting around to painting them. Most of what I've painted has been completely armored, or, in the case of my daemonettes, completely inhuman in skintone. Painting the Viktorias and their crew is an exercise in learning to paint human skin, and, well... I'm getting there. Not there yet, but getting there. The twins themselves actually weren't that difficult, because a lot of their skin is covered by costume, whether it's a coat and corset or just a bunch of belts and swords. Blonde hair, though, is very easy - I paint it much like I'd paint parchment, just with a different density of highlighting.
Lady Hammerstrike, however, was a pain. I've repainted her face and abs once, and while it's still not as good as I think it was going to be in my head, she looks decent. I'm still learning wet blending, so the edges on the highlights are a bit sharper/more stark than I'd like, but she's coming along. The sculpt of her hair had a bit less definition that I'd like, but I think I made do well enough with highlighting.
On the other hand, I'm really happy with how the Convict Gunslinger's skin turned out. The scars were particularly fun to paint; once I had the rest of the body done, I went over/around the scars with a blend of Scab Red and Tallarn Flesh (yes, I'm still using my older Citadel paints until they're gone), then lined over the scar ridges with Elf Flesh. Gives them that nice healing/raised flesh look, and his skin took a wash really well to make sure it was properly shaded.
I've got a trio of Ronin with skin base-coated and washed, but they're not ready to show off, even in work-in-progress status. I also have the Viktorias avatars' skin base-coated, but again, there's not much to show beyond that. That's not saying that I haven't been working on anything else, though. Besides taking small steps on my Venerable Dreadnought, I've also been working on a couple of minis from CoolMiniOrNot.com.
If I wanted skin practice, these two ladies have given me a lot of opportunity for that. I'm planning on using them as objective markers for my Slaanesh CSM army, hence why they're glued onto 40mm bases. They haven't turned out badly, and I was actually working on them before I worked on the Malifaux minis, so I'm surprised that their skin turned out better, but it's all a learning experience. Again, my blending techniques need a lot of work, but I'm getting used to building up the highlights in thin layers. The more I practice, the better I'll get.
And no, Malifaux isn't replacing 40K for me. It's just a chance to paint (and eventually play) something different. Small skirmish-scale games provide a nice alternative to large company-scale wargames from time to time. Of course, with Malifaux 2.0 coming in a few months, there's no point in learning to play right now...
That's right, March. April was so Tau-focused that I completely forgot to post what I'd painted in March on my Black Templars army. First, a group of Sword Brethren Assault Terminators.
I did note that the Terminator in the middle didn't get his tilt shield finished, and I didn't paint the service stud on the bareheaded fellow in front (not a Sergeant, since Black Templar Terminator squads don't have those). Nothing I can't touch up later. Next up, the Emperor's Champion:
I went ahead and used a decal on his shoulder pad, since I didn't think my freehanding skills were sharp enough to make a really crisp templar cross. On the other hand, I did brave putting some extra detail on his tabard, so maybe I shouldn't feel so sheepish.
Finally, a Razorback for the Las/Plas Crusader squad from February:
I don't know if I'd do the black/white color so strongly for future Rhino chassis; it looks a bit more like a police car than a battle tank. Still, this one was fun to weather by liberally applying some Mourn Mountain Snow to the treads. Not a bad look overall, but I do think I'm going to go with solid black next time, or at least less white.
As far as April, well, between the new Tau codex and a lot of life happening, I didn't finish that month's goal of painting up a Venerable Dreadnought. I did make progress, but not nearly enough to finish it.
It's coming along, and I've made progress since taking this picture. I think I can finish it up in May, along with getting a start on some new Tau minis. More about that another time...
Check it out - we've got a new Farsight coming. There's a few things I find interesting about this model and the text in this article. First off, the new sculpt is nice, and puts him halfway between the old blocky XV-8 chassis and some of the Forge World designs. I love the more dynamic pose as well. Second, check out the "power glaive", formerly the Dawn Blade. The power unit near the hilt looks like a standard plasma rifle power unit; is this being seen as Tau technology now instead of an artifact of dubious heritage? Finally, they seem to be playing down Farsight's rebellious history and the Farsight enclaves, instead just mentioning "doubts about his loyalties". Granted, this is just a promotional article and not the codex itself, but are we seeing hints at a partial Farsight retcon? It'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the book itself.
The plastic Pathfinders have a few interesting bits themselves. First off, new drone varieties - I'm very excited to see this being expanded beyond even what Forge World has done in the past. I'm hoping that these aren't going to be limited to just Pathfinder units but can be taken by other units as well. Also, check out the weaponry. Obviously, there's the classic pulse carbines, and a plastic rail rifle (finally!). Check out the first guy on the right page, as well as the close-up in the upper left of the middle block. Is that an Ion Rifle? Are we going to see more mixed-arms units in our Tau army? I see interesting times ahead. Oh, and the drone topping off that Devilfish is intriguing as well.
Obviously, the Riptide has the potential to be a huge truckload of awesomeness, but what I'm noting again is the pair of drones. If you look carefully at the text, you'll see that they are "Shielded Missile Drones", which claim to be able to take hits and return fire. A combo 4++ save and smart missiles? Yes please.
One hope, though, on all these new drones is that the drone rules get revised so that they don't count for casualties when it comes to morale checks. That was always one weakness of going remotely drone-heavy in the past, especially with small units/single "monat" suits. The first time someone loses one of those Shielded Missile Drones and the Riptide jumps off the table, there will be much rage. Let's hope that that has been addressed in the new codex.