Painting Progress: week 3

Hey everybody!
It’s the third blog of my painting progress series, and this week sees the trend of much smaller updates continue, unfortunately! Let’s take a look:

Hobby Progress 3

Yep, this is pretty much it! After picking up the Deathwing kits in the Black Friday deal, along with Dark Vengeance and some more bits, I spent a few hours over the Christmas period with these guys, but didn’t really get passed the Zandri dust basecoats. Well, that has finally been changing the last couple of weeks, as I’ve gotten them all painted in Ushabti bone, shaded with Seraphim sepia, and then drybrushed back with Ushabti bone. Drybrushing space marines does seem a little odd, perhaps, as the smooth armour panels perhaps beg for a different approach, but I think it works with these chaps in particular as it allows a buildup of the bone colour over the sepia that almost hints at a blend, but not quite. You can’t really see it on the picture above, sadly, but in the flesh, the do look pretty decent, even if I do say so myself!

Hobby Progress 3

The Venerable Dreadnought is a particular pride for me. I’d painted this guy up long before Christmas, using the above recipe, as well as a Leadbelcher/Abaddon Black mix for the metalwork, but I’d not had any idea what to do after the sepia shade had been applied, because that armour is even more smooth than the terminators’ – all those flat panels, eek! However, using almost an overbrushing, polishing action with the drybrushing, it has brought that bone colour back while leaving the hint of sepia beneath for depth. Again, the picture doesn’t really do it justice. I’ve also drybrushed the metal with Necron compound, and got really excited last night when I used Coelia greenshade to paint the “windows” on the sarcophagus. I think the “official” scheme for these uses Nihilakh oxide, but I had the idea of going for the almost bottle-green look to try and tie it into the green aquilas the terminators will have, and generally bring out more of a Dark Angels feel. I’m particularly pleased that my idea for leaving splotches in the shade as it dried has given the impression of old, less-than-perfect glass. Well, I think it has, at least. So overall, I’m pleased with this!

I think the dreadnought is deceptive in how much effort it will take to complete. Realistically, there’s just the plasma gun, the flamer, and then the golden trim and purity seals – that shouldn’t really take all that long to do. I think having done the glass, I can really begin to see the end in sight for this guy!

Hobby Progress 3

The only other thing I’ve done, hobby-wise, is build up three Electro Priests. I mentioned these in my best models of 2015 blog, and managed to get some with a bit of a discount a couple of weeks ago. My plan for these is to have some kind of charcoal-grey skintone, suggesting the idea of the priest being used up by the motive force or whatever, and then the robes being a brighter yellow colour. Such is the plan, anyway! I’m not about to go for another 40k army, however, but just want these guys as allies for my space marines. Whether I get a second box to build Corpuscarii priests as well will remain to be seen, however.

But that’s it for now, sadly! Most of this past week has been taken up with me worrying about an essay I have due next Thursday – though I only actually got round to starting said essay yesterday, having spent most of the week catching up with the course work itself. I blame Christmas. Anyway, it’s due Thursday, so I’m hoping that will mean I will have plenty of time to get more progress in ready for next week’s update!

The Force Awakens (novel review)

"Ah good, new acquisitions…" #StarWars

A photo posted by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

Hey everybody,
So last month, episode VII was released to worldwide acclaim, and at the time of this writing, it’s the third highest-grossing film of all time. I’ve already looked at the film on release day, and you can read that blog here. So, what about the novelization?

Well, it’s pretty much the film – at least, the film as I remember it. It’s been over a month since I saw the movie, so I may have misremembered or outright forgotten some bits, but in a film series where the novelizations often go above-and-beyond to create a worthwhile story in and of themselves, this one is basically the screenplay in prose. That’s not a bad thing, obviously, but it certainly impacts on the necessity of having the novel – at least, from my standpoint. Now, I didn’t follow any of the spoilers for TFA, and in fact it’s a bit weird because I don’t feel the same kind of attachment to it as I have to previous installments, so I don’t know if there were chunks of deleted scenes that could have been incorporated. I’ll buy the DVD and be able to see if all of this is still correct with a second watching, but overall I thought it was a bit of a shame.

I won’t recount the story here, because I’ve done so in the film blog. So let’s take a look at this bad boy. First of all, I’m not an Alan Dean Foster fan. I find his prose too dense – too “hard science fiction-y” for me. I also found this particular book to be often quite dispassionate – particularly in the climactic scene with Han Solo and Kylo Ren. I’ve had the feeling that he was brought in to write this purely for more fan-nostalgia-service. Because ultimately, so much of episode VII is about this.

As I said, the book is basically a straight-novelization of the screenplay. A lot of what I discussed in the film blog applies here, therefore, including all of those maddening details about the lack of history and substance. The one significant scene that was added, that I remember, is that showing Poe Dameron survive the TIE-fighter crash and escape Jakku. Which is kinda crucial to the later storyline, of course!

Star Wars fans are often drawn to the minutiae of a story, and in this respect, I’m no exception. Throughout my reading of the novel, I found myself wanting to know more about the minor characters, and see more of the more extraneous stuff. The New Republic is just as frustratingly absent here as it is in the film, though Foster does manage to create more of an impact for the destruction of the Hosnian system by showing us Leia sending her ambassador Korr Sella to the Republic. Even so, it’s maddening to have such little information on the lay of the galactic land for most of this story! I’d been hoping that the novel would expound upon the film, but sadly not. The Visual Dictionary apparently has a lot more details fleshed out, so I’ll be checking that out soon. However, I hope the next book in this Aftermath trilogy – Life Debt – begins to tell an actual story for bridging the gap, because rather than supporting the tale, the lack of history here is actively hurting the storyline, in my opinion.

There we have it, anyway!