Eyeballs, Skulls, and other Anatomy

At long last, my (new IG codex) Veterans are finished! With the completion of these four guys, the squad is ready to go and I can move on to bigger and better things. You'll notice that I went back to the rest of the squad and painted everyone's eyeballs - I figured that since I'm putting in all this time converting my models, I should put in the effort to do their eyes. I think it adds a lot to the models that they might have been missing before - as a result I'm going to paint the eyes of all the models I've finished so far. Luckily I've got it down to a science now, so it should only take a couple hours.

I also received a package from Fortress Figures last week - skulls! Skulls! And also skulls!

That's 132 skulls, for less than $30. Now I can put skulls everywhere. Khornate decorating for everyone!

What else is new? Well, I sometimes feel like I have so many different units on the go, it's hard to keep track.

  • Today I received a package of Tyranid bitz from Col. Gravis, so I can finish my test Loxatl model.
  • 2nd Plt Command (sniper squad) needs green stuff work, then they're ready to paint.
  • Skarwael/Marbo is on hold while I find a good Dark Eldar model to use; I'm thinking of using a regular plastic Raider with extensive green stuff work, or an actual Mandrake model with slightly less green stuff work.
  • I'll have Pater Sin painted later this week, since I managed to get to the store for the right paints.
  • My Hydra Flak Tank is pretty much finished (keep reading)!

If all that's not enough, I'm also finishing painting my entry for Pit of the Oni's painting competition. I'm doing Dark Angels Chapter Master Azrael, for no other reason than he was in my bitz box and he's something that's not Imperial Guard. :) Since it's a painting competition, I want the best photos possible, so I'm getting a professional photographer friend to take the photos with his equipment. He's done this for me once before, and the results were stellar. Look for those on Pit of the Oni next Monday, and if you like my entry, vote for me!

From Only in Death:

"Up here," Hark told them. They'd gone a decent way from the crash site. At his urgings, they clambered up onto a shelving outcrop of rock and got down.
Down below, two Leman Russ battle tanks rolled into view, lamps blazing. Dust wafted from their churning treads. Behind them, a Hydra flak tank, its quartet of long autocannons raised to the sky, clattered to a halt. Figured moved in the dust, infantrymen escorting the armour on foot.
"Fifty-two," Twenzet said. "Look, on the hull! Fifty-two. It's a Cadogus unit. Bless the Throne!" He started to get up. Hark pulled him down flat.
"Look again," Hark whispered.
The hull plating on the tanks was gouged and scorched in places. None of the vehicles seemed to be in the best repair. They appeared to have kit bags or sacking strapped to their prows. Twenzet peered more closely.
The objects weren't kit bags. They were the brutalized corpses of men in khaki battledress, strung across the front fenders of the tanks with barbed wire, like trophies. The bodies lolled and jerked as the tanks ground to a standstill.
The infantry moved on, past the waiting tanks, towards the burning shell of the Valkyrie. The twilight made their long coats and fatigue jackets look mauve.
Twenzet saw the iron masks covering their faces.

This is my Hydra! It was a pretty straightforward conversion; I started with an old already-built Chimera that I got in a trade at some point. I had to chop away the top first, then I filled in the back using plasticard. I added a rear hatch, bolts, and the turret rotating base bit to the top.

Next I built the turret out of plasticard. I did some research on anti-aircraft tanks, and discovered that the Forge World Hydra isn't very accurate; usually AA tanks have both a search radar and a tracking radar. One is the round bit at the front of the turret, and the other is the more traditional-looking radar dish on the top of the turret. To make these, I took the round hatch from the Leman Russ front hull weapon mounting, attached to the back of a searchlight. For the top radar, I used a heavily-cut and modified dozer blade. I also added gubbinz to the top from a junk Land Raider I had.

The parts that connect the guns to the turret are simply Chaos tank hatches, connected through the middle of the turret with an axle made of a long bit of sprue. This way they rotate together, though I had to do some careful cutting to make sure they wouldn't sag when the guns were attached.

The guns themselves posed a challenge, due to their size. For the base, I used a pair of old 2nd Edition metal Sentinel engines. I connected empty pens to these, then capped them with the smokestacks from the junk Land Raider. Finally, I added autocannon ammo drums that I made from plasticard. They don't look much like the Forge World autocannons, but I'm happy with them. I'm also going to wrap them in barbed wire, which should really make them much more interesting.

Once I pinned the guns to the turret, it was pretty much complete! Next I had to add a Blood Pact commander and the poor unfortunate Cadogus 52nd trooper, strung to the front of the tank, as described in Only in Death. Some quick cuts and green stuff had my trooper ready to go, but how to make barbed wire? Well, I found a fantastic tutorial on the Relic News forums. All it took was some wire and creative twisting and cuts, and voila! I've just got to add some more to bind the trooper's arms - making the barbed wire is fairly time-consuming.

I may add another Cadogus trooper bound to the top of the search radar on the top of the tank. It seems like a good spot.

Now, I've got to get back to the salt mines and finish my entry for the painting competition, so that I can get it photographed tomorrow. I want to add the finishing touches to the Hydra this week, though, so I can paint it by the weekend. Since it's freshly looted, it'll be in Cadogus colors - desert khaki, with lots of bullet holes, scorch marks, and blood!
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