Hobby Progress, week 39

Hey everybody!
We’re swiftly approaching the end of the year now, and I’ve been thinking on how I actually want to make some effort to finish off some projects that have been started this year, so that I’m carrying over a minimum of bare plastic, though this hasn’t actually seen much fruition this week! But you should all probably expect this by now!

So what have I been doing since the immensely productive week last week? Well, not a great deal!

First of all, let’s talk about my board for Armies on Parade this month. I’ve been trying to get the effort to paint this bad boy for pretty much two weeks now, having sprayed it Zandri Dust and pretty much done nothing else! While I was off, I painted the cracks with Naggaroth Night, and the metallic circles there with Warplock Bronze, but that had been the extent of my work on the thing really. So after casting about for some inspiration, I recalled that Duncan has done a video on exactly what I’m trying to produce with the exact board! I’ve therefore decided on a bit of a scheme for it, and have now painted all of the paving stone areas with a mix of Karak Stone and Baneblade Brown – that is, some are one colour and some are the other, mainly to add interest. I’ve also shaded the metal areas and all of the skulls with Agrax Earthshade, which alone has allowed me to feel much further along with it than I have been!

Parade Day is less than two weeks away now, though, so I need to make sure I can actually pull my finger out with this!! At least I have some Tomb Kings to put on the board, and the main feature is my Stormcast, which of course have all been finished already! I still have no illusions of winning anything, but I do think my army can look quite effective when it’s all on the board there, so we’ll see!

I’ve been building more than I’ve been painting, otherwise – starting with more Alpha Legion chaps! Last weekend I decided to look at my current batch of legionaries in terms of what I can do with them in the game, and have worked out that I needed the four pictured above in order to create three actual squads of five-man Veteran Tactical Marines:

So, all together I have 610 points of Alpha Legion – or I will have, when these last four are painted. Let’s take it clockwise from the top-left then:

Squad One has the sergeant kitted out with a combi-flamer (+10 points) and another marine has a meltagun (+15 points) Total: 150 points

Squad Two has the sergeant wielding a power fist (+15 points); one legionary carries the legion vexilla (+10 points) and another is wielding a missile launcher (+25 points) Total: 175 points

Squad Three has the sergeant wielding a plasma pistol and power fist (+30 points total), and another marine is using a plasma gun (+15 points) Total: 170 points

The Centurion has been upgraded to a Chaplain, who is wielding a plasma pistol (+15 points) and crozius arcanum (+15 points) Total: 115 points.

I’ve still got the Contemptor Dreadnought waiting in the wings, but that’s roughly 200 points from what I remember, so I’m hoping that by the end of the year I will be able to have 1000 points ready so that I can start playing games with them, so stay tuned for that!

Speaking of buiding more marines:

I’ve had these other five marines waiting in the wings since I built up the five Novamarines at the beginning of the year! So I’ve taken some time to kinda kitbash some really fancy-looking marines together: most obviously, the sergeant out front has got the power fist from the Devastator kit, and the power sword from the Ultramarines upgrade kit. That upgrade kit is widely-used for shoulder pads on the other guys, too. I’ve already talked about using Devastator parts on the missile launcher guy, who has been built up a few weeks ago. The only other bits are a right arm from the Vanguard Veterans kit that allows the marine on the right to wield his boltgun one-handed.

I’ve also finally built up the apothecary that I’d started to work on months ago, but couldn’t find a right arm that I wanted. Well, once again the Devastator kit has come through for me, there! What an awesome and versatile kit that is!

So I have five fancy marines that I’m thinking I might field along with the Novamarines, if they do indeed make a legal squad – there’s every chance they won’t, so more thought might be needed here! But still…

While I’m still on the subject of Ultramarines, I thought I’d share this picture that I put up on instagram last weekend – it’s the tactical squad I posted about last week, but arranged around the novel Nightbringer, which I did purely for a bit of fun, but has swiftly and inexplicably become my most-liked photograph on instagram in the history of me!

So there you have it! Other building projects from the week consist of:

The Genestealer Patriarch from Overkill is a lot of fun, even if it is the third iteration of this pose in, what, eighteen months – I should try to get my Space Hulk and Shield of Baal Broodlords together with him for a comparison… But it’s still a badass model, and I’m looking forward to getting it painted up along with the rest of my cult.

As I said in yesterday’s blog, whereas I’ve dabbled with models like the Electro-Priests or the Grey Knights, I’m actually going to build a Genestealer Cult army, so that will be (eventually) three full armies for 40k. Hopefully, by the time I retire I’ll actually have them painted up, too!

Building more #TombKings today, after some luck on ebay! #Warhammer #AgeOfSigmar #SkeletonHorsemen

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

Finally, I started to build some more Tomb Kings last night, after winning some lots on ebay! I’ve got two done thus far, and while they are fairly simple to put together (the horsemen themselves have a body that’s all-in-one, so that’s useful) I’ve only managed this pair. I’ve had to leave the slotta bars on the horse feet, as the surface area is otherwise too small and I’d worry about them. I’m confident that I can built it up with basing material though, so they won’t be obvious! I don’t know if I’ll be pushing my luck to get even these two painted up for Armies on Parade, but it would be kinda cool… We’ll see!

So that’s the extent of my progress for this week! I’m planning to focus my attention on the board, with the Alpha Legion marines for a bit of light relief, so hopefully in next week’s blog, there will be some exciting times to talk about!!

Hobby Progress, week 38

Hey everybody!
I had the week off work this week, and it has been awesome for my hobby-time! Prepare for one of the most exciting and prolific painting progress blogs since I began this series back in January!

Hobby Progress 38

To start with, it’s the Skeleton Warriors that have been featured in previous installments! These are the first Tomb Kings models that I’ve actually managed to finish, and while they won’t be winning any competitions any time soon, I’m really happy with them! That said, they are actually going to form part of my Armies on Parade display – my Stormcast will be invading Khemri/Realm of Death!

I think I’ve mentioned some of it previously, but let’s talk about the scheme in its entirety here – mainly because I’ll probably forget otherwise… So the models were sprayed with Corax White, and the bone shaded with Seraphim Sepia. For the gold, I’ve used Balthasar Gold, shaded with Agrax Earthshade, and drybrushed with the new Skullcrusher Brass. The shields were actually more complicated than I’d expected: painted with Teclis Blue, shaded with Drakenhof Nightshade, and lightly overbrushed with Lothern Blue. I’ve then shaded them again with Agrax Earthshade, then finally overbrushed some Macragge Blue at the top near to the gold trim. The result is almost a blending look, though was arrived at pretty much by accident! The headdresses were painted with Macragge Blue, and shaded with Nuln Oil. All of the spear hafts were painted with Dryad Bark and shaded with Agrax Earthshade, and the spear tips were done with Leadbelcher and shaded with Nuln Oil gloss, which hasn’t ended up with as glossy a look as I was expecting. I kinda like the idea of having a more obsidian look to those, so I might go over them again. The strips of cloth on the standard, and trumpet thing, as well as some of the shields, were basecoated with Rakarth Flesh, and then shaded heavily with Reikland Fleshshade – because I want them to look more akin to flayed flesh than cloth. Finally, the bases were painted with Blackfire Earth, which I’m upset to report my pot has dried out, so I had to mash it up with a lot of water to get it going. I think I’m going to have to invest in some more for all of the Tomb Kings I have, though! Also, the rims were painted with Dawnstone.

Phew!

Hobby Progress 38

I’ve also painted up some more Horus Heresy legionaries, further expanding my Alpha Legion! I’ve actually merely finished them off, as the armour and some of the silver had already been started. But it’s always good to get things actually finished! Following the main scheme for these guys, the skin has caused me a lot of trouble. In the novel Legion, the marines are described as having coppery skin, so I’ve wanted to emulate this, but didn’t really have much of an idea of how to do that. So, I initially painted their heads – lightly – with Balthasar Gold. You know, for literal coppery skin. I then went for a bit of an overbrush technique of Doombull Brown and Wazdakka Red in a roughly 2:1 mix. While this worked wonderfully for the chap on the right, the chap on the left didn’t seem to come out looking that great. So I went to the usual Cadian Fleshtone and lightly brushed that onto the one on the left, making him a bit paler than the other guy. But I guess it all adds for the variety! Again, they’re not going to win any awards up close, but I think they look pretty good when they’re in the middle of the other guys!

Hobby Progress 38

I’m really happy with how my Alpha Legion has been growing so far this year, and while it has been fairly slow to get anywhere, I think that’s the best for me!!

On Wednesday, I gave myself a bit of a painting challenge for the afternoon, seeing how far I could get with the unit of Vanguard Veterans. These are the guys, three of which I’d attempted to paint as Scythes of the Emperor, decided better of it, and stripped them before spraying them with Macragge Blue. At some point in this process, the finish on these models has become a bit rough and uneven, and I’m left with some chaps that are less than ideal, if I’m honest, but seeing as how I actually want my Ultramarines to be 4th company anyway, I’m treating these almost as practice miniatures – their armour is sufficiently detailed that I’m trying to make a good job of them with some different effects or whatever, but I won’t be too torn up if they turn into an absolute mess.

The challenge lasted four and a half hours, anyway, and in that time I think I’ve done a pretty good job on them! I have done more work on them since, of course…

While I’m not sure if I’m calling them finished, I think I’ve done as much on them for now that I can. I’m still not happy with them, and I’ve been thinking a lot about stripping them again if/when I get an ultrasound cleaner, as I expect that would be a much more thorough clean. And speaking of models that I’m also unsatisfied with…

Hobby Progress 38

The five assault terminators that I’d started ages ago! I don’t know what it is, but these models just feel really horrible to paint right now, like the previous layers of paint were applied too thickly. If memory serves, I sprayed these with Macragge Blue and, while the original batch of space marines didn’t seem to be too badly affected, it feels a bit like that has obscured too much detail for me. Again, I’m really not happy with these, and if I do go down the route of an ultrasound cleaner, I’ll be throwing these guys in there as well.

But to finish, I’ve been working on yet more space marines – it’s the second lot of ten from that first batch of marines I built up late last year! Including Captain Ventris and Sergeant Lysane!

Hobby Progress 38

These guys have been a lot better to paint, and over the course of Saturday afternoon, I got them done. The gold bits I’ve done slightly differently to my usual scheme, in that I used Reikland Fleshshade to shade it, rather than Agrax Earthshade, then lightly drybrushed with Golden Griffon. The green trip for 4th company is just three thin coats of Elysian Green, and the bolter casings are done with Abaddon Black and washed with Nuln Oil, as are the silver bits. Ventris’ face has caused me a lot of concern – it’s the usual Citadel scheme of Cadian Fleshtone, Reikland Fleshshade, and Kislev Flesh, but I think that last looks a bit too weird somehow. I’m still learning faces, of course, so I might change this soon. I still want to do something with the power sword, Lysane’s flamer I want to try and do the muzzle burn thing on, and I should probably add some decals to them too, so they’re not quite finished yet, but in the main, they’re done! I think the tactical squad looks great so far, anyway!

Hobby Progress 38

Shamefully, this is the extent of my Ultramarines army right now, also! I do have a lot of half-finished things on the go, of course, but still!

Going back to what I was saying about faces up there, I’ve also been painting a couple of others:

Hobby Progress 38

The two Dark Angels here are probably the easiest to talk about, as their faces are really hidden and stuff, so only the suggestion of skin and they look okay. The Blood Ravens librarian in the centre, however, has been more of a concern because his head is much more prominent! Again, it’s the same scheme as Uriel Ventris described above, as I was doing all of these chaps at the same time, though I’ve also put some Celestra Grey onto his eyes – some figures like the librarian here have more pronounced eye-bumps, while others like the captain actually have pronounced cheekbones, hiding the eyes. For the librarian, I’m going to paint his eyes vaguely glowing, so it isn’t a problem, but I think having the grey there looks a bit weird…

Unless it isn’t obvious, since the last time the librarian appeared in my progress blog, I’ve done a lot of the tan colours on his body – all Zandri Dust, though the tabard and shoulder pad have been shaded Seraphim Sepia, while the purity seals and librarian skulls have been shaded Agrax Earthshade. I’ve also painted his power sword, with a weird mix of Balthasar Gold and Leadbelcher. I basically wanted to see what happens when you mix these two paints, and it looks kinda nice, so I thought, why not?

Finally, I’ve been working on the Knight-Heraldor, who will be joining my Stormcast on the board for Armies on Parade next month!

Hobby Progress 38

He’s pretty easy to paint, actually, for all that he’s a character unit. The armour is Balthasar Gold, shaded with Agrax Earthshade, and drybrushed with Golden Griffon; the silver bits are Leadbelcher, shaded with Nuln Oil, and drybrushed with Necron Compound; the purple bits are Naggaroth Night highlighted with Xereus Purple, and the plume is Celestra Grey shaded with Drakenhof Nightshade. The pennant coming off the trumpet is Thunderhawk Blue, shaded with Drakenhof Nightshade, and lightly drybrushed with Celestra Grey. All I need to do is paint the hilt of the sword, and he’s finished! So that’s been surprisingly easy, anyway – I think it helps I used him to break the monotony of painting so many marines this week, which has certainly helped!

So, all in all, I feel like I’ve made some excellent progress this week!

As I said above, I’m going to abandon those veterans and terminators for the time being, while I figure out whether I want to actually keep them or strip them. It’s currently no great loss, of course, because my Ultramarines are hardly a force that just needed one of those units to tip them over the edge, but still! I think it’s shown me that spraying Macragge Blue might be best left for vehicles or larger things, and otherwise I’m best off just painting it on with a brush.

Getting those five tactical marines finished – pretty much in a day – has got me back in the mood for painting marines. Painting these faces, especially the Deathwatch Librarian, has got me back in the mood for painting more Deathwatch. So maybe next weekend, I’ll have some more of those chaps done! That said, I’m also feeling a bit in the mood for more instant gratification, so I might build some more 30k marines for my Alpha Legion. I really should try to work on my board for Armies on Parade. But all this talk of Genestealer Cults has got me thinking about making a start with those guys, as well! What to do, what to do…

I’ll probably end up painting something completely different to all of that, anyway!!

Hobby Progress, week 33

Here we are again, folks! Week 33 of my hobby progress blog, well and truly on the slide down to Christmas! I’m actually really surprised I’ve managed to keep this up all year – not that I really expected to abandon it, of course, but more because I hadn’t thought I would actually be doing something hobby-related for all 33 weeks of the year so far! But anyway.

I managed to get two days off work this week, and the weather was correspondingly awful, so I have quite a lot to talk about!

First up, Deathwatch. It’s on everybody’s mind, no doubt, due to the ongoing releases coming out of GW. I’ve got ten of these guys on the go right now, five from Overkill and the five Veterans from Death Masque. Having primed them Chaos Black, I’ve been intending to follow Duncan’s tutorial and so painted the armour Abaddon Black, then highlighted with Eshin Grey and Fenrisian Grey. First of all, painting black on top of black has always made me scoff – I’ve never had to do it, but I’ve never really seen the point. Having now done this, I am a total convert to this idea! In many of the videos from Warhammer TV, they say how Abaddon Black has a different finish to Chaos Black, but they don’t tell you that Abbadon Black has a much nicer finish, which is what I find. It felt a bit foolish at first, but I could definitely see an improvement after doing just one marine, so eagerly did the others!

Eshin Grey has proven to be an extremely subtle highlight, while Fenrisian Grey has gone over it far too brightly, so I’m really not happy with the look of these. I think I might need to start over, but I might try a much darker grey, maybe Dawnstone, rather than the Fenrisian they tell you to use.

That said, I’ve tried edge highlighting in these as an attempt to begin to level up my painting, and my first attempts have not been a success! A lot of these marines have therefore been carefully, lightly drybrushed to highlight them, trying to only hit the edges and not the whole armour. At any rate, I don’t think they look all that great, so it might be back to the drawing board. We’ll see.

Hobby Progress 33

Next up, the Vanguard Veterans I mentioned last week! Having rescued them with dettol, I’ve re-primed and sprayed them Macragge Blue, then drybrushed with Chronus Blue and washed them with Drakenhof Nightshade, as is my standard Ultramarine scheme. It could be my imagination, but the second paint job here doesn’t seem to have taken quite as I’d expected – the marines appeared to be shiny even after the primer, and I’m not entirely sure why.

That said, I’ve had the worst luck with sprays recently. The weather, as I mentioned, has not been great – it wasn’t too bad when I was doing all my spraying on Thursday, however, but the primer and the spray base colour both came out really powdery and rough on every marine I painted this way. So I’ve taken a toothbrush to them and tried to brush it all off. For the most part, this has worked, but it left a lot of guys – particularly the blue ones – quite shiny, too. Maybe I’ve made a mistake here? I don’t know. I certainly made sure the can was warmed up, and shook it for at least two to three minutes each time. I do wonder, though, if priming them indoors might not be the best of ideas. There was a lot of particulate matter in the air after doing that, and they were in that environment to dry, so maybe I should move them away to dry…

Anyway, onwards!

Hobby Progress 33

The four Alpha Legion guys have been base coated, washed and drybrushed with my usual scheme as well, so they’re coming along nicely. I’ve been thinking quite a bit how I’ve found these chaps really quite painless to paint, but for my Ultramarines, I seem to take a lot longer and agonise over the details – but they’re essentially very similar! Hopefully I can speed up with my Ultras, therefore, as I have rather a lot of them on the go in various stages, and would really like to have them finished soon!

I’ve been building a lot of models this week, as well – Necrons, Terminators, Librarians, and more marines in general. As I said last week, it’s the time of year where I start to plan for the winter and, if I can get stuff primed when the weather is consistently good (well…), I will do! So let’s take a look at some new stuff!

Hobby Progress 33

First of all, more marines – this time, Terminators! I love the Terminator kit, and even though it’s a fairly old sculpt now, I still think it holds up. There’s something of a classic look here that I really enjoy, anyway. They’ve had the same treatment as the Vanguard Veterans, so they’re ready for details to start being added in.

Hobby Progress 33

Last week’s nostalgia prompted me to build up five Lychguard, who also turned out powdery and awful, but I think I’ve managed to save them with copious amounts of Nuln Oil! I think I’ve talked about this before, but as the Lychguard were the first Necrons I’d put together, all of my subsequent builds have seen me try to match that first paint job, and so I’ve never really had the chance to progress. These chaps, however, I’m hoping to see myself do something not necessarily wildly different, but I’m going to really try to make a good accounting of them. I still have five more with warscythes hanging about from earlier in the year that are also unfinished, and five with sword/shield from last year that need some work, so I’m going to be working on those side by side and see how they all turn out. I think I could do with going through a lot of my Necrons and trying to improve them – the Triarch Praetorians, in particular, never ended up exactly as I’d have liked.

Time for stuff that I’ve built and not yet primed/painted! Let’s start with the Librarian from Dark Vengeance. I’d bought this box back before last Christmas, built the five Deathwing Terminators, and sold the rest. I had thought about keeping the librarian, but didn’t bother in the end, and have periodically regretted it since. So I did a search on ebay for him recently, just out of curiosity, and found I could get one for £3! (I also saw the five Deathwing guys for £8, which bummed me out). Turmiel arrived on Thursday while I was priming guys, so I built him up and primed him, as well. Seeing as how his backpack was completely separate, I decided to make him more Dark Angels-y than he is, and gave him an ornate one from the DA Veterans kit that I’d bought specifically for the censer bits. While I now have a backpack with a librarius skull on it, I feel I may have a use for it further down the line…

Going through the DA Veterans bits had inspired me, however, to start building more Deathwing Terminators! The chap on the left has a storm bolter that has the Deathwing sword strapped underneath it as well as a shoulder pad from the Veterans box, while the sergeant on the right has the power sword, as well as a censer hanging from his belt. The Standard Bearer has a little shield thing with feathers also from the Veterans kit, but is otherwise pretty standard-fare.

My original five Deathwing Terminators I built and painted earlier in the year are a mix of regular guys and Command Squad guys, and reading the DA codex, I think I need to make all five from the Command Squad in order to field it, so I’m trying to build marines that will allow me to bulk those five out into two separate squads. So the plan, ultimately, will be to have three squads of the terminators, one squad of the Knights, Belial, the Venerable Dreadnought, and a Drop Pod and Land Raider. Though I’m seriously thinking about making at least one more dreadnought. I’m not going for the whole Dark Angels force, as I only want the Deathwing because the colour scheme is one of those 40k schemes that genuinely excites me. But anyway!

What else have I been building? Oh yeah!

Having built up three Devastator marines back in the spring, I’ve finally built the remaining two – and the armorium cherub! I don’t know why I seem to build things in threes, though painting the Maximus marines has shown smaller numbers tend to focus me somewhat. Anyway, I’ve finally got the five done, and I have to say, the Devastator kit is absolutely incredible for the number of spare bits you have in there! I put a photo on instagram (if you don’t follow me there, why not?!) that shows the sprues as they are once all five marines are built, and it’s incredible! So many weapons options for the sergeant alone! But so many spare heads, hands, it’s all just amazing! I reckon all you’d need is some legs and backs from a bits seller and you could make at least three more marines out of this kit! Totally awesome!

I have no idea if the Ultramarines use cherubs in the fluff – they always seem to be a Blood Angels thing in the artwork we see – but built one simply because I could. I also want to challenge myself to paint more flesh, so it’ll be a good thing for that.

But speaking of Blood Angels…

I’ve finally started to build stuff from the Shield of Baal box! (Well, I suppose the Genesis Chapter terminators I’d done over the winter were the sprues from here too, but anyway). There’s a lot of convoluted reasoning going on here, so allow me to begin…

Blood Angels have rarely interested me, as a colour scheme. I don’t think I’m very good at painting red, and I find that the colour is far too strong sometimes for its own good. The lore of Blood Angels is somewhat interesting, but I don’t find myself drawn to it in the same way I am to the Ultramarines, which might sound odd to anyone familiar with the lore, but anyway! Reading the Shield of Baal novellas almost two years ago was a lot of fun, though, and given that box came out very soon into my hobby career, so to speak, I do find myself quite nostalgic for Blood Angels because of that.

I’ve also recently found myself thinking about trying a different marine force, just to keep my motivation going. In that respect, the Deathwatch have come along at a good time, as I had been looking at the Start Collecting box for the Blood Angels. Much like the Space Wolves, I like the idea that the kits they have are full of chapter-specific sculpts, rather than the more generic stuff that you can buy upgrades for. It’s really only those two chapters who have this as well, as the Dark Angels, for all the fact they have their own Codex and the like, the marine kits are generally the standard line. Anyway, I’m kinda rambling here. The main thing is, I liked the idea of having a really customised-looking force.

This is kinda what got me looking at the Shield of Baal box, and the Death Company sprue inside. Those marines are basically a Space Marine Assault Squad kit, but totally made for not just the Blood Angels, but very specifically for the Death Company of the Blood Angels. I thought that was incredible at first, and looking over the sculpts, I was blown away at the level of detail on those guys. So I decided to build some up, especially seeing as how I’m already painting black marines for the Deathwatch, and see how they turn out! I think it could be a fun little side project, and might even field them alongside my Ultramarines when the time comes for me to finally get some games in! I’ve got two built so far, so hope to get the rest done soon, and then I’ll probably work on them over the winter…

So that’s been my week! Pretty huge, I have to say, but enjoyable, as well. The primer issues I’ve had have caused me to lose some faith in my painting in general, but I’m powering through those currently. I really want to just keep painting, and try to get to the continuous improvement stage where I can try new things and, as I mentioned, really level up my painting skills.

Next weekend is the Bank Holiday weekend, and I’m hoping for more fun and frolics with painting miniatures there, as well. Then for September, I have a sort of mini-project planned, which I hope will be very exciting indeed! So stay tuned for that!

Battle for the Abyss

Finally! Let's continue the heresy! #HorusHeresy #Warhammer40k

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

I’ve been continuing the Heresy this week, with book eight in the series from Black Library: Battle for the Abyss! This book was fairly interesting, though also really quite sad. But let’s talk story first – and please beware, I will be talking spoilers!

The book is the first since Fulgrim to actually continue the story of the Heresy, though rather than returning to any of the Legions we have already been introduced to, we’ve moved to two that are new to the series but, arguably, two of the biggest Legions involved in the Heresy. First of all, the Ultramarines finally make it into the story in a big way, and secondly, we have the original heretics, the Word Bearers. I know First Chaplain Erebus plays a significant role in turning Horus traitor in the first three novels, but we finally get to meet his Legion, and they’re all as crazy as he is…

The book begins with the enormous starship Furious Abyss being launched from orbit around Saturn, with the mission to destroy Macragge. Encountering and destroying an Ultramarines ship at the beginning of its maiden voyage leads to a rag-tag coalition of Astartes from four different Legions following the immense ship into the Warp – World Eaters, Space Wolves, a Thousand Son, and a small band of Ultramarines, led by Captain Cestus. The main part of the book is therefore a short battle, then a chase into the Warp, before another short battle during a stopover, before a second chase into the Warp and a concluding pitched battle above Macragge. I actually thought I was going to be annoyed by this structure, as it seemed to be really narrow in focus, but given the large canvas of characters, it makes for a pretty interesting story!

I’ve mentioned it before, but something I enjoy a lot about these novels is discovering how each Legion is different from the others, despite essentially being a collection of Space Marines. While we don’t really get a lot of that with the Ultramarines, enough is sketched in – along with details of the Space Wolves and Thousand Sons – while the Word Bearers are investigated quite closely.

I’m not a huge Space Wolves fan, and the World Eaters are frankly boring, but something I was hugely interested by was the Thousand Sons lore we get along the way here. The XV Legion, the Thousand Sons are essentially a Legion of psykers, censured under the Edict of Nikea that forbade the use of psykers in battle, and so regarded with some suspicion by their brother Astartes. Mhotep, the lone warrior we follow, says he wishes to re-establish a measure of trust with his comrades, but as the story moves along he is forced to use his psychic ability to save his battle brothers time and again, while being regarded with hostility at best. It’s a deeply sad tale, and I find it interesting when we see the wider lore of the Thousand Sons essentially wanting to be a Loyalist Legion, but being shunned by the rest of the Astartes. Mhotep is a new favourite character of mine, not only because he’s like some kind of Jedi badass, but because of the stoic manner in which he accepts his brothers.

The Ultramarines come across a little, well, boring here. Despite having Cestus as something of the central character of the story, we don’t seem to get a lot of information about them, which is a little symptomatic of the Warhammer universe at large – Ultramarines are so often equated with generic Space Marines that it takes a very specific writer to really make them interesting (that writer is, more often than not, Graham McNeill).

Battle for the Abyss

At any rate, the book feels a little like a slog at times, but the conclusion is just epic! The loyalist band manage to board the Furious Abyss and, after all manner of horrible things happening, destroy the leviathan by blowing its main reactor. I thought it was quite poignant to see the marines whittled down until we had just the captains of the Ultramarines, Space Wolves and World Eaters left, and seeing the three of them work together to destroy the Word Bearer’s plans – knowing the World Eaters are a Traitor Legion – was really intriguing. I believe we get to see more of these types, such as Nathaniel Garro and Garviel Loken, marines who refuse to turn traitor along with the rest of their Legion, so that should be good!

Unfortunately, I felt incredibly bummed-out after finishing this novel. I warned you about spoilers, so don’t blame me when I tell you this: everybody dies in this book. All of the main characters. Some of them quite awfully, as well. Brynngar, the Space Wolf, jumps into the reactor. Skraal, the World Eater, is stabbed through the eye lens (that happens a few times, actually). Cestus kills the Word Bearer admiral, Zadkiel, only to bleed out from several wounds he received during the final battle. However, the saddest of all, for me, was the death of Mhotep, who gave his life to keep the Word Bearer’s Warp-spawned demon Wsoric on the material plane long enough that it was weakened, enabling him to stuff a grenade inside the demon’s body. He dies saving the Imperium from the predations of the Warp-spawn, but nobody he has encountered during the course of the novel is remotely grateful for his intercession. Just so sad!

You should definitely read this if you’re interested in the Horus Heresy, because it’s a great character-study of the different Legions, and sets up the climactic Battle of Calth between the Word Bearers and Ultramarines, famous – among other things – from the recent Horus Heresy boxed game. It’s a bit of a slog, and definitely something of a downer, but it’s one of those books you read for the small things…

Hobby Progress, week 16

Well folks, it was bound to happen at some point, I know, though part of me was hoping it wouldn’t come to pass – last week, I didn’t paint a single model. I’ve still done some hobby bits and pieces, which I’ll show off here, though I’ve only picked a paint brush up to move it off the dining table. I’m quite sad by this, as things had been moving pretty well up to that point! But anyway, let’s take a look at what I have done…

I had three days off last week, ostensibly to get caught up with the degree I’m still in the throes of doing. Well, catch up I did, but I’d also planned to get a few models finished off. Unfortunately, I seem to have been hit with a severe bout of lack of motivation, so to try to combat this I started building up some Devastator Space Marines. I’ve currently got three built and primed, including the sergeant above, but haven’t really been in the mood to do anything with them. That said, they are really nice-looking models, the heavy weapons being a nice change from the usual bolters of the tactical marines, and a chunky reminder of the almost gothic-punk origins of 40k.

Still lacking motivation, I spent Friday thinking about what I would like to paint, but came up dry so instead thought of building something that might inspire me, and started building Genestealer Cult characters from the Deathwatch: Overkill game. They are very nice models, and not all that daft to assemble like some of the character models from these games (Kurtha Sedd, I’m thinking of you here!) That said, I hate it when they sculpt cloaks in multiple parts, and the join isn’t easy to scrape over to smooth it. Anyway! I didn’t think I’d be doing anything with that game for a long time, so I suppose it’s good to have made a start on some of it!

I’ve also built up a Space Marine bike, one from the kit I bought back before Christmas in celebration of my promotion in work. Bikes look hilarious to me, and I’ve often thought about getting lots more, but for now have just the three. Anyway! I don’t know if I’m actually going to glue him to the base looking like that, though I thought it looked particularly hilarious, both for its own sake, and also because the Genestealer Magos looks like he’s using the Force on it or something in the photo! I want to try and get a greater degree of customisation out of the next bikers I build – in particular, I’d like to get one shooting a bolter or something, rather than merely holding onto the handle bars. Not sure how to accomplish that, really, but it’ll be an interesting experiment!

Finally, in search of motivation yesterday, I bought something fairly out of the blue for me, in an attempt to perhaps spark off interest in the hobby anew. I’ve been listening to a lot of the Vaults of Terra overview videos on youtube (they’re really great, incidentally, highly recommend giving him a follow, such informative videos!) specifically the aspects of 40k lore that I don’t know a lot about, and I was really intrigued by the Grey Knights lore – definitely watch the linked video if you want to know more, there!

As with the Deathwing and Mechanicum Electro-Priests, I’m not intending to make a whole new army here! I’ve been looking into getting to my local GW for some 40k, and much like with the Age of Sigmar scene, it seems Chaos players are very prevalent there (and Eldar…sigh…) So I thought it could be highly thematic to have a squad of Grey Knights tagged onto my Ultramarines (whenever I manage to get that army built!) and go against the powers of the Warp together! Of course, thematically, the Grey Knights would then just destroy the Ultramarines survivors as well, but we won’t linger on that for now!

So there we have it anyway – 15 weeks of painting progress, then a week of just nothing. Of course, this has happened in the past, so I’m not really concerned that I’m losing interest or anything, more just accepting it as a natural part of being a hobbyist I guess! I do have a lot of other stuff to keep me going, anyway, including a few boardgames that I’d like to try out or get back to, so expect some interesting game day blogs coming up in the next few weeks!

Hopefully week 17’s update blog won’t be quite so sad…

Hobby Progress, week 14

We’re sure in the thick of it now! Week 14, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s going to be another short blog because I haven’t really done a lot this week, unfortunately! Work was just awful, so a lot of days I was coming home and didn’t really have the energy to move as much as painting with a paint brush allows, but it did mean I got to finish Legion, which was a stunning book that I can highly recommend to anyone looking for a good book set in the Warhammer universe.

So, what have I been doing this week? Marines! Let’s start with the ongoing Novamarine project…

Hobby Progress 14

These guys are not turning out as I’d hoped, though the important thing to note here is that they are turning out, all the same. Most of the stuff this week has been the metallics, which never seems to turn out as nicely on a white undercoat as it does on black. I’m probably going to have to give them another coat, at least, but slowly these chaps are getting there. I feel a bit more confident doing the eyes now than I was last time – particularly important on the white side, after all! – so after these, I moved on to the other five Ultramarines that I have on the table!

Hobby Progress 14

These chaps have been drybrushed Chronus blue, then washed with Drakenhof Nightshade, which has made the picture turn out a lot darker than they currently appear. The four chaps along the back have then had the eyes of their helmets painted and shaded, so already there’s not a lot else left to do now! The captain out front – Uriel Ventris, if you remember! – is another story. I have still not really attempted to paint Caucasian skin yet, so I’m a bit nervous about trying it out here. But I’ll just give it a go and see what happens. Stay tuned for that, anyway!

I’ve also done some work on the two dreadnoughts that I have on going from last week. The Novamarines dreadnought is annoying me, particularly the quartered greave there, which just looks silly. But that’s what the official scheme looks like, so… yeah! I don’t quite know what to do with all of the white – I’ve experimented on the power fist painting a thin coat of Nuln oil over it, which I’m then going to try to overbrush with Ceramite white to pull it back, but hopefully leave the depth there, etc. Stay tuned for that!

The Ultramarines Venerable Dreadnought is just slow-going, with the gold bits painted and shaded, but nothing else to report as yet. I’ve already drybrushed the main body as I did the tactical marines, so in theory it should be well on the way, but I just don’t know at the moment…

To try to alleviate some of these worries I’ve been having, then, I have begun to work on something new! Yes, my dining table still has some space remaining, I must fill it! I bought the Treeman Ancient miniature back when I was first getting into the hobby, as it’s a beautiful model and I had been inspired by the videos on the GW youtube channel, but had always been really put off by how fiddly he looks. Well, having done eight dryads, with four more waiting in the wings, I’ve been thinking a lot about building him up and giving it a go, as the winter scheme I’ve gone for with them is really quite easy to do. Obviously, it’ll require more of an effort for such a centrepiece model, but I’m really looking forward to trying it! Stay tuned for that one, anyway!

I seem to have done so many marines of late, I feel it’ll be nice to change the pace again soon. I’m hoping I can get a lot of these things finished in time for the anniversary next weekend, then maybe look at doing something different, maybe some Stormcasts or Ogres. In doing the golds on the Ultramarines dreadnought, I used the paint left on the palette to make a start on basecoating the Protector-Prime that I’ve had hanging about for a long time, so it might be sooner rather than later!

I’m also really excited to start work on yesterday’s Seraphon, as well!

Hobby Progress, week 13

Here we are, folks, week 13 of my hobby progress! In the spirit of end of the month and end of the quarter, there’ll be a bit of evaluation coming up here for you all to enjoy. Let’s dive in to the progress!

Hobby Progress 13

I’d started some Novamarines last week, and felt a little dejected by them after the first blue base coat. Well, I’ve since done a little more work to them, and I do think they’re slowly coming together! Firstly, I’ve worked the blue up through Alaitoc blue to Hoeth blue, which was the plan last week of course, and that looks pretty good, I think. I sometimes think it might be a little too bright – the Novamarines art I’ve seen has more of a blue-grey, Space Wolf-ish look to it, which makes these guys look more like Sons of Guilliman. But in the absence of any official scheme, this is my Novamarines, so yeah! I’ve also painted the purity seals (having done that to all of the Space Marines I have on the go right now, as you’ll see) and base coated the aquilas and belts Abaddon black, shading with Nuln oil. While I had the wash paint out, I also shaded some other areas to help when I come to apply some darker paints, which I’ve noticed have a tendency to go on too brightly when painted over a white primer, hence why some of those bits might look a little weird. I’ve also done a second shade of the white armour, as the earlier shade had dried a bit too grey-ish for me. I’m going to drybrush or overbrush some white over this, so it looks a little messy right now, but won’t be a problem. Oh yeah, and I’ve painted the bases, as I feel it makes them look that much more complete!

Hobby Progress 13

Speaking of Novamarines, though, I bought a Dreadnought yesterday to support this three-man squad! This is the first time in a long time where I’ve bought something, built it up and primed it in the same day. It would be even better if I’d have started painting as well, but we can’t have it all. The Novamarines Dreadnought colour scheme is a lot simpler than the Marine scheme, anyway, so I think that’ll be fairly straightforward to get done. Of course, I say this now… I’m looking forward to it though, which is the main thing! I have to say, though, I was surprised at this kit. I’ve only built Venerable Dreadnoughts previously, and those kits are great to work with, but while this is broadly the same thing, it nevertheless feels a lot older and stuff. Not particularly impressed with the quality, unfortunately, so while I do have another one from the Demi Company box, I’m not all that enthused about building it.

Hobby Progress 13

My Ultramarines were going absolutely splendidly, until I decided to apply some transfers this morning. I’ve never done transfers on models before, but had the GW video on, so knew what I wanted to do, and went for it – and could have cried! It was awful. Some of them are passable – the ones in the above picture – but the other two are awful. Aside from the fact that each one is at a slightly different point of the shoulder pad, they’ve gone on too bumpy, even with slitting the middle to aid the curve. I’m really unhappy with these, and feel like I’ve ruined an otherwise nice tactical squad! Very sad. I asked for any tips on facebook, and so far all I’ve had suggested is using the sculpted pads from the Ultramarines upgrade kit – which would mean a lot of upgrade kits, given how many tacticals I have to do! Not sure what to do yet – though I’m fairly sure I’ll be attempting to freehand the arrow on the right pad… Stay tuned!

Hobby Progress 13

Speaking of Dreadnoughts, I’ve also resurrected this bad boy! I’m not quite sure when it was I built him up now, though this post on instagram would suggest around Christmas/Boxing Day. I’ve merely sprayed the armour Macragge blue, but already it’s looking a lot easier to work with, so looking forward to getting that one done!

Hobby Progress 13

And speaking of resurrecting models, I’ve once again returned to these guys! Again looking at instagram, I’m guessing it was about October when I last did anything to them, but have now got them on bases and done the purity seals. The bases are a bit of a nightmare – on reflection, I wish I hadn’t done scenic bases like this, but I’ve kinda shoe-horned them on, and while they look good, the agrellan earth has been really spooned on to help build up around the resin, which in turn makes the cracks too big and it literally cracks off. Might be re-thinking some of these soon, then. But in the meantime, I’ve got them now where I can start to work at getting them finished, so that’s exciting! The most exciting/worrying thing about this is that the sergeant of this little band, who you can see at the back in the above picture, is actually bare-headed – his head is currently stuck to a cork, having had some Reikland fleshshade over some Bugman’s glow. I’m really concerned about my ability to do a good job here, but I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes – practice makes perfect, and so forth! I’m hoping to really get into this faces-painting thing, though, as the other five tactical marines are awaiting paint, one of whom I modeled after Captain Ventris, so he’ll need to look pretty decent!

Hobby Progress 13

Finally, I’m about calling the Deathwing finished. There are still some bits and pieces left, such as the decapitated Chaos Marine on the base of that chap on the right, but otherwise, I feel that I’ve done all I can for these now, and I’ve reached the high-point of my skills for the time being. They’re most definitely playable right now, I’d say, so I can look at getting them into a game at some point (once I learn how to play, of course!) and when I come to do some more soon – both normal Deathwing terminators and the Deathwing Knights I build up over Christmas Eve! – I can always return to any bits that need finishing then.

I’m really happy with them, anyway, and have really enjoyed painting them, but this is getting on for three months of slowly chipping away at things now, and there comes a point where you just need to say, I’m done! So, I’m done!


 

So like I said, we’re at the three month mark here, Q1 of 2016 has now elapsed, and it’s time to take some stock, I think!

I’ve really enjoyed writing these posts for the past three months, because it has really helped to give me a focus in what I’m painting. I know it may not seem that way, because I’ve largely taken something of a scattergun approach and have been working away at a broad range of models, but I think that way is the best way for me, as it keeps me focused on the overall task of painting, rather than risking getting bored with one miniature/squad and just packing up the brushes. So I definitely think I’ll continue in this vein for the time being.

While I’ve not really finished a lot of miniatures in this time, I have managed to get the White Scars done, I’m calling the Deathwing done, and the first five Ultramarines are done except for the transfer mishap. Earlier, I’ve also managed to get a couple of Stormcast miniatures finished. I’ve also recently done a whole lot of basing, applying the finishing touches to several Necrons that had been languishing for an age.

Since looking at the waiting area at the end of February, I feel that it has also helped to focus me on only working on what I have. I only bought one kit in March – the Dracothian Guard; I’m not counting the Deathwatch game as ‘a kit’, really – and haven’t built anything new, but have been working away at the stuff that I’ve had built for weeks or months. Over the last couple of weeks, in fact, I’ve come around to thinking that I really ought to get some of the stuff finished that has been hanging around, such as the aforementioned Necrons.

I’d say this has been an extremely positive few months, where I’ve been doing a little, often. I’ve forever been an up-and-down painter, sometimes going weeks without doing anything, then having a splurge on a dozen models or more, I think this regular thing is much better. I’m really pleased with the progress that has been made, anyway, and I’m especially pleased that I’m feeling confident enough as a painter to try something like the Novamarines scheme! That it currently seems to be working, as well, is even more exciting!

Let’s see how much I can do in the next quarter!