Monday 30 April 2018

'nids part 251 - Tyranid VSG

Almost two years ago now, there was another one of my 'honestly not' diversionary tasks while the Dark Angel drop pods failed to motivate me. But what a task to get distracted inspired by - the Tyranid VSG. Although don't get too excited I haven't touched it since, I just got sick and tired of seeing the two posts about it permanently in 'draft' status.

Anyway, this was just two nights work in 2016 as I endeavoured to fill out some of the fibrous musculature on the containment spine. First of course I had to do spikes which were sculpted to match the Capillary Tower spikes on the Skyshield. I probably should have checked that post before beginning, it might have reminded me how fiddly DAS can be, even when applied to the curtain hook core. The clay kept slipping all over the place and it was extremely difficult to bring to a sharp point it just wouldn't play ball. I'm sure Milliput or even green stuff would have rendered better results with their adhesive properties.

After the two nights of effort progress stalled. The plan was to at least get the fleshy bits done, possibly the battlements too. However, I planned on doing a 'how to' video of the fibre sculpting and for that I need a willing child to hold the phone while I sculpt. The eldest helped with my infamous Chitin panel sculpt that I finally posted regardless of it's 'adult' nature.but I haven't been able to cajole him to repeat the process. The upside of losing interest in the VSG was renewed vigour on the Ravenwing Dark Talon, then 31 Genestealers, Land Speeder Typhoons, my Imperial Knight and finally back around to the drop pods, ultimately seeing them through to completion. So despite the distraction it actually kickstarted my efforts in the task I was actually trying to avoid... eventually!

Hopefully I'll one day film a set of fibres being sculpted, but finding time to do it is tricky and I'm otherwise occupied [as I have been for almost 2 years!!!]. Then I can move the spine onto completion and worry about sculpting the battlements or do the interface with the ground...

Tyranid Void Shield Generator Chapter 1. part 1. | part 2. | part 3. | part 4. | part 5. | part 6. | part 7. | part 8. | part 9. |

Tyranid Void Shield Generator Chapter 2. part 1. | part 2. | part 3. | part 4. | part 5. | part 6. | part 7. | part 8. part 9. | part 10. | part 11. | part 12. | part 13. | part 14. | part 15. | 

Friday 27 April 2018

'nids part 250 - Tyranid Void Shield Generator - how to sculpt a chitin plate NSfW!

To celebrate my 250th Tyranid post I thought I'd finally publish this 'draft' post officially to the world. I originally sculpted and filmed this almost 2 years ago but I know what it looks like and just couldn't bring myself to share it publicly. I've speeded it up to try and make it less 'inappropriate but dirty minds will out.

All it really is for is helping folk understand that sculpting these plates is not difficult. It takes 10 minutes to do each one and then it's left to dry overnight. I was also doing a couple of other plates on the sides so a half hour sculpting session in total. It's not a huge investment in time and as you can see the technique is not difficult but I think the results turn out pretty cool.

The VSG is in hiatus at the moment, I do have a follow up post to this to show the sculpted fibrous inner musculature on the tower. I actually wanted to film that too but haven't yet but one day I'll get back to it I promise, until then you now know the secrets of it's xenos construction.

Tyranid Void Shield Generator Chapter 1. part 1. | part 2. | part 3. | part 4. | part 5. | part 6. | part 7. | part 8. | part 9. |

Tyranid Void Shield Generator Chapter 2. part 1. | part 2. | part 3. | part 4. | part 5. | part 6. | part 7. | part 8. part 9. | part 10. | part 11. | part 12. | part 13. | part 14. | part 15. | 

Wednesday 25 April 2018

'nids part 249 - Biotitan Tyranid Hierophant pt.6 - Chitin highlights on the body

You're all going to have to bear with me at the moment, chitin highlights seems to be a theme to these posts but unfortunately there's no getting away form it. As a record of progress it's helpful but I appreciate it's not a captivating update. However, these four carapace plates took over an hour to do, I was utterly spent and demotivated at the end of it as I envisaged the remaining plates taking forever.

But it would appear I was just trying to be really neat and tidy as my next session managed to do three of the biggest plates, with cysts and one side of the big vent and the side vent too. Again, this will be helpful in estimating time to do the other half of the Hierophant and then repeating it with second highlights.

There are still the spots to do, which will help bring it all together as it currently looks a little spartan at the moment. The irony is that despite the tedium and 10-20 sessions I envisage remaining on the chitin once it's done the Hierophant is almost complete. After the turquoise and bone there's not a great deal left to do [there is but I'm going to stick with my perception because it's optimistic].

I followed up the 3 big plates with two more, the right sides of the dorsal vents along the spine and then both ventral [?] vents on the sides.

I think I got quite busy with the striations on the dorsal vents, not much room for spots, c'est la vie. Which leaves me 5 or 6 significant carapace plates on the back with 7 dorsal vents and then quite a few little plates down the tail. 2 to 3 more sessions to complete this half of the beast and then I get to repeat the process on the other side!

I might do a bit more shading on the Razorback before that, just to stave of the tedium. I've already done some, but foolishly stopped about 75% through. But the Biotitan is definitely a slog, it's not beating me though and I'm not disliking the process but currently the reward is the progress I've achieved not act of doing it.

Monday 23 April 2018

Terrain is everything - Ferron Fire Firs

The other week I had a day off, mainly to attend a funeral but afterwards I was productive in moving a lot of logs created from my mutant Sycamore tree I had to cut down - it was starting to move the foundations of my garden fence. Having put the wood at the front of the house for a neighbour who has a log burner I Found time to follow up on one of my extra tasks and tackle my Lemax trees. I'd already added shade washes to their bases but this was after the Vermillion drybrush.

A few hours later I came and did the Gamboge highlight.

Then it's the Yellow Mid

Which leaves me with this. Again these paints are really fun as they're thick and gloopy but are slightly translucent in use so it's a bit difficult getting the right colour. I'm still not sure if I've worked the bristles enough to be 'yellow' trees. But with so many to do and the need to get them done I'm not really that fussed.

They look pretty cool, I just need to decide if enough is enough? There are a few that don;t have as much Yellow Mid so they're a slightly different tone, I might even do some with a white drybrush for 'white hot'. Some of the more squashed bistles will get a quick black spray and dry brushed to be already burnt.

Then it's on to the Red Planet BASE! I'm not looking forward to that at all, the Bonewhite chips will be so tedius :(

Meanwhile the Lemax set that I bought two of above, is currently available for £10.99 [plus postage] at

Friday 20 April 2018

'nids part 248 - Biotitan Tyranid Hierophant pt.5 - Chitin highlights again

Apologies but this is going to appear a little tedious for a while as I fill in all these chitin bits. The top leg is complete [as may have already been said in the last post, it's all a blur]. But the bottom leg has one side done.

The other side has just been outlined, in my fit of 'misdirection'. Completing this leg will be one more session.

Back leg is also complete for the first set of highlights.

Both sides too.

The other leg has it's shin plat complete and just the edges and ridge highlights done.

And with the other side that's another two sessions then comes choosing what to do next...

... do I chitin highlight the body - then everything is at the same point, or do I 2nd highlight the legs [beware my OCD] or first highlight the Bonewhite?

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Whats on my palette?

Bless me readers for I have sinned, it's been over 2 months since my last confession.

It might seem a little odd to ask what's on my palette at the moment because it's currently well documented what I'm working on:
  • Tyranid Hierophant
  • Forgebane Warglaive Armigers
  • Old Skool/Nu Skool Razorback
And with those 'big 3' projects I'm pretty much set for what to do, I can't imagine anything gatecrashing this party. However, it has made me think about what I want out of the remainder of the Hobby Season. In my last 'confession' in January I had these on the cards out of my To Do List:
  • Ferron Fire Firs
  • Dark Angels Rhino [aka. Old Skool/Nu Skool Razorback]
  • Dark Angels Predator 
  • Land Speeder Dark Shroud
As you can see the Predator got done and Rhino/Razorback is almost complete but the Fire Firs are still a Season goal, as is the Dark Shroud [although I'm less committed to it's completion by Season close]. Obviously I already have a To Do List that should point me in the right direction but I have a clearer perspective of what might be achievable at this stage. Strangely enough that includes adding some things to my list:
  1. Build the last 3 Future Containers
  2. Build/paint my 0.5 Armies on Parade/display base
  3. Build my Sanctum Imperialis
Number 1. is borne out of what I already achieved before AoP this year. I have the three Mentos Cubes boxes left, I want them done so I can start painting them - two mustard and one bright orange. I keep visualising doing them but I can't until I've added all the bit's or card 'reinforcement' at the very least.

Number 2. I have a number of 18"x18" sheets of hardboard that have an embossed and gloss coating that make them look like ceramic tiles. These were in my Aunt's house when we cleared it after she died a few years back. I think one would make an ideal display board for tournaments and a little easier to transport than my 2'x2' AoP boards. I hope to have this done for Double Trouble as 750pts will look even more lost on 2'x2'. But that is a challenge to get it done while still focussing on my 'big 3'.

Number 3. I've had the kit since I got the Imperial Knights Renegade box set. I need to build it at the very least. It is actually on my Big Build To Do List so it's 'sin free' but I want it done and possibly primed which might encourage me to paint it alongside the existing bit of Sanctum Imperialis that I already have and awaits painting.

I'm not 100% convinced this is all achievable by August but getting it all done would be a massive achievement. If I only managed my 'big 3' I think I'd still be satisfied with my 2017/18 Season, theres lots of quality, a wealth of 'mass' not so much quantity but two out of three isn't so bad. I know a lot of folk say you should enjoy the hobby and it shouldn't be a chore but this definitely feels like tasks that need completing. That's not a bad thing just the only way to get them done is throwing time, effort and focus so I can be as productive as possible. There's always enjoyment in achieving goals, even if the process can be tough, I just need to knuckle down and get stuff done.

Monday 16 April 2018

'nids part 247 - Biotitan Tyranid Hierophant pt.4 - Chitin highlights

If you recall in the last Armiger post I reached a hurdle with the metallics and promptly shifted to the Hierophant. Alongside my Razorback [shading] these three projects all have elements that are far from unpleasant but they always retard my progress somewhat. The Hierophant is at the highlight stage and I figured the aspect preventing progress is just the scale of the task ahead. Really it's just a lot of striations on the Chitin and the only way to resolve that is just getting it done.

So, both sides of the rear shin of one leg took half an hour to do. This is a metric I can begin to use to my advantage - if I create a task list for it's completion. Having a timeline for these sorts of big jobs can be really helpful, particularly as I don't have a deadline or target for it to be completed for. Knowing how long something takes reduces uncertainty and can help demistify the task at hand, making it less scary and easier to approach. Given I have to do this again on the other leg and yet again with the second highlight on both knowing that's 90 minutes work.

I can then decide how that's split between sessions. It's certainly achievable in one concerted effort but also two or three depending on when I get into the shed and how focussed/relentless I am in getting it done. As you can see from my record below a session is usually an hour, so I've been at this for at least 10 hours so far [couple of half sessions in there]

It's also worth noting that those were just the shin piece of six plates, both sides; lets not forget there is still the thigh plates, this is what I achieved last night in almost one session. despite the muscle memory after a bit those striations get a bit more wobbly/chunky so more than an hour at a time can be counter-productive. But I had momentum at this stage and decided a little misdirection would be helpful. Having only revisited that post for Old Stuff Day it was a handy trick, although I'm not so sure its technically misdirection in this instance. I painted the central line, edges and any raised 'thorns' on the reverse of this thigh, the other thigh and both forelegs

Now it doesn't feel like much but if that took me 15 minutes to do that was 15 minutes that it was always going to take, even if it was absorbed among completing a whole plate or leg. Everything about painting this Hierophant currently is 'bread and butter' things that have to be done and there are no shortcuts or tricks, just creative labour. That's not to say it's unpleasant, it is what it is and a project of this scale ends up being a monumental task, thankfully it's not a chore.

Friday 13 April 2018

Imperial Knight - Warglaives in manufactorum pt.3 Red Planet BASE!

Having made the chassis and legs bronze I suddenly recalled I usually paint the base first. I had a bit of black between the legs that I definitely had to cover up with Vermilion and overall it started to tie everything together with the way my models usually evolve.

Three highlights later and the base is mostly complete. I have to pick out some of the debris on the base and the Wraithbone chips but this is what I consider 'to done' for basing, so expect another 'Big Build Big Gamboge Stamp of Approval at the end. Balthasar Gold will be next but the metallics always prove un-appealing, I still don't know why. They were so rewarding the first time I ever did them and the stipple effect achieves such wonderful mottling it feels really creative, but just not something I 'want' to do... So my three projects all have elements I'm reluctant to continue with for various reasons so I jumped ship and did some Chitin highlights on the Hierophant which I'll share later and no doubt when that gets tiresome I'll force myself to tackle one of the other jobs.

Interesting to see this size comparison against my Tervigon - just to point out how big the Tervigon actually is. For all the shiny coolness of the Armigers, lets not forget this 'little' lady, she really is very impressive in her own right.

I did warn you!

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Imperial Knight - Warglaives in manufactorum pt.2 Big Build TO DONE!

With some concerted effort I was able to finish the conversion work on these two and add the base material.

However, as they'll be painted in sub-assemblies it's somewhat a misnomer to describe them as 'built'. All the armour pieces were primed Red Oxide, while the chassis was matt black.

I held a piece of card in front of the legs so I could prime the base red too. Then it was stippling Vermillion onto the red armoured areas.

I ended up using a sponge to do this rather than a paint brush as I'd had a little more success in creating consistent texture with it on my Dark Talon. Washes will be next on the red areas but before all of that i need to do all of the metallics, which I should probably have done before the red.

 I honestly thought I painted over the Vermillion with Khorne Red on my Cerastus at this stage but it appears that wasn't the case. It's handy having that reference to look back on - the purpose of the blog afterall and something I often fail to take advantage of.

Armour plates are also done, not sure why they look less orange than the previous pics but it'll be Warplock Bronze on all the trim and the chassis next. Then the rest of the brass/bronze effects as usual and I'll wash the lot in one go with sepia and then Strong Tone.

I get the Big Build Big Gamboge Stamp of Approval for building, even if there are still bits to be built...

Monday 9 April 2018

Rise of the jetbikes

How long ago did the Custodes get their Codex now? It feel like ages but it was only February[ish]. I recall almost immediately the Vertus Praetors jetbikes became a 'thing'. We were just about to go to GT3 and I recall on the Friday on our journey down saying to Otty how good/bad they were and G.O.D. help any of us who went up against them as their speed and durability seemed unmatched.

Image © Copyright Games Workshop
Fast forward to the end of the tournament and Otty had had one game in particular where he said to me "two words - Custodes Jetbikes" I think he lost and they had played a deciding factor. But there was another issue for those of us who run the First Legion that these jetbikes raised - what of Sammael and Corvex - the last of the jetbikes? Suddenly our special character wasn't so special anymore, these golden upstarts swooping in all shiny-like!

Image © Copyright Games Workshop

But once the righteous indignation wore off, Dark Angel owners suddenly saw the unexpected boon of this release - they were ripe for conversions both for creating the Grand Master of the Ravenwing and also the newly created Talon Master role. Of course we'd already seen a slew of Land Speeder Conversions with Ravenwing Command guys standing on the foot plate, or Land Speeder Storms where he was mounted in the Scout transport area but suddenly you could have a really cool new model that only required minimal conversion work.

Bish at Chamber42 had one of the best examples I saw with his step-by-step guide to converting  Vertus Praetors into a Ravenwing Talonmaster here: and there's also a Sammael conversion here:
Seeing how straightforward these are I definitely earmarked them for future consideration. The other key factor is the cost - a box of 3 Praetors is £35 from GW, Sammael is £30 on his own with all the joys of Finecast thrown in for free! For just an extra £5 you can make up another two Talonmasters so why wouldn't you?

Probably because why not just keep them as Custodes? They're so good in their natural state, they seem relatively easy to add to any Imperium force, why would you then nerf them by making them handy alongside your Dark Angels but less effective units in their own right? Every time I contemplate this question I come back to the cost effectiveness versus the Sammael model which results in the conclusion that I'd want to buy two boxes of Praetors - one to convert to Ravenwing and another to use as Custodes.

Man this plastic crack really is the good stuff this time! Then again, there's nothing like having the original model... dammit!

Friday 6 April 2018

Imperial Knight - Warglaives in manufactorum pt.1

As mentioned in my Hierophant post the Warglaives have taken most of my attention since Forgebane arrived, which was to be expected really. These two beauties can provide me with a Super Heavy Detachment alongside my two Knights so it was imperative they get a head start. I got the bodies built up.

Did a lot of the weapons and hips. I eventually magnetised the weapons and arm joints because we know those new weapon options will be sweeeeet when the proper Warglaive kit is released.

And then the big delay - the pose. In reality these are not the poses I was after. I wanted something more full-tilt motion, even to the extent of having one leaping off a shard of slate. Unfortunately the hock [the reverese knee joint] was problematic so I opted to just 'manspread' a bit and clumsily greenstuff some extra pipework between the hip joint. I also had to add some extra metal rod to the piston connecting the pelvis to the inside leg. You can also see I decided to add sprue to the waist ball joint so I could 'lock and key' the body to it.

Best laid plans - I had to hold the body on the left as the ball joint stud provided so much movement the body won't stay upright. I removed the sutd on the left Warglaive but it's still free to move and there needs to be some friction to keep it in place, I may have to glue it if I can't solve the problem.

As you can see one of these Warglaives has been very naughty and daren't look us in the eye.

Basing next, solve the waist problem and prime them, busy, busy lots to do!

Wednesday 4 April 2018

'nids part 246 - Biotitan Tyranid Hierophant pt.3 - washes done

I'm sure I had a pet name for this at one stage but I can't remember what it was, it might have been Brenda, for reasons but I felt in the world of binary genders it was actually he-titan. I don't know so much now.

I don't want to be taking too many of these full body shots but the completion of the washes felt like a significant milestone to warrant the effort. I've even painted the [our] left front talons/spikes and [our] back right talons/spikes black but I'll save doing that for the other parts until after highlights.

I'll probably end up flitting between stages next - doing a chitin highlight here a bone highlight there, anything to prevent it becoming monotonous. Luckily I have three exciting project on the go so I can easily shift focus should it become a chore.

I know it's not colour accurate as I added a filter to my pics but I love nids at this stage, especially the bone colours. At some point I think I need to try and paint just with washes and basecoats - maybe one day if I ever decide to do an inquisitorial band or some other small grimdark unit.

I need to get some Army Painter Skeleton Bone paint for the next highlights. I'm not a particular fan of it, but it's darker/yellower than my Valejo Bonewhite and I thinkk in this instance it could be effective in settign up a three way highlight which might make him [see I called it him] look darker and more aged in appearance.

Not sure the raw red flesh bits inside the rib cages will be as visible as I'd hoped but maybe some careful application of Tamiya Clear red X-27 might solve that.

The Forgebane Warglaives have jumped the queue on this now it's at a 'savepoint' but they've been built and based, just need to prime and then I'll start on the highlights and potentially find out hiw daunting the task is ahead.

Fingers crossed it won't be too bad but I'm well aware of the pitfalls and finally ready to tackle it :)

Part 1. | Part 2. |