Blood Pact looted Hydra

Well hi! It's been a while. I managed to finish my Hydra and get it painted up. It turned out better than I thought, though the barbed wire was a real pain in the butt to paint. The Imperial troopers that the Pact strung out across the hull are looking good, though.

Well, okay. They're looking good from my perspective. They themselves are probably having slightly less fun.

I didn't go too overboard on the blood, figuring that the Blood Pact probably didn't have time to torture them, so they'd just be bleeding from being beaten, shot, and tied up in razorwire. C'est la vie, eh Guardsmen?

Really, the Emperor appreciates your sacrifice.

The book I got the idea from, Only in Death, didn't really specify what color the Cadogus regiments paint their tanks; but since Jago, the world it takes place on, is a desert world (or at least the parts of it the Ghosts fought in were), they'd be desert camo. I ended up using a 60/40 mix of Khemri Brown/Dheneb Stone. I was aiming for that particular tan that seems to be the primary color for most real-life desert camo patterns, though I think the camera washed out the color a bit.

I also added a lot of bullet and shell holes or dents. The contrast between uniform tan and blackened, scorched holes really makes the tank look like a beat-up piece of crap, I think. The overall image I wanted to project was a tank that was in a battle and perhaps got a track knocked out or was overrun by enemy troops, was looted by the Pact, and then immediately put into use in the same battle against the Imperials. Presumably later on, after the battle, they'd file off the Imperial symbols, paint the tank red, and adorn it with trophies.

Oh, and my wife pointed out that the Pact tank commander couldn't use his binoculars with his grotesk on. I hadn't thought of that. ><

So what's next in my slow (apologies) march to completion? I've got three things on the table:
  • Finish modeling the Loxatl
  • Finish painting Pater Sin
  • Convert & paint Skarwael

Loxatl will probably be first, since I've been putting them off for so long.

I also managed to procure a Mandrake model to use as the base for Skarwael, so he'll be straightforward. Sabbat Martyr describes Skarwael as pale and hairless (sounds like all Dark Eldar!), dressed in black leather, with a cloak of stitched human skin. So I've got some green stuff work to do, but he'll be a blast to paint.

Oh! And I treated myself this week to something I've wanted for a long time: The Paintier 80 paint pot carousel. My wife finally decided she wanted to paint the Baneblade I bought her (she asked for one for our wedding anniversary!), so we needed somewhere to store all the paints so we could both access them. That was all the excuse I needed. ;) The Paintier is extremely well-made and looks great. It rotates on ball bearings, so it's incredibly smooth-rotating. I'm sure it's possible to make something similar, for less money, but I'm a big fan of products that make things easier. The Paintier totally does that.

Also, a tip - if you buy one of these, get it from FRP Games or The Warstore- they sell them for $40 and $45 USD respectively, instead of $50 from the manufacturer's website. Depending on shipping costs (FRP's shipping cost is location-based, while Warstore's is a flat $4.95 domestic), one or the other may end up saving you a bit of money.


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!


Finished Vets, Pater Sin, and more

I am constantly in awe of those who can manipulate green stuff so precisely as to create something that looks as if it were part of the model. I'm not sure whether it's a natural talent, experience and time, or just luck, but after working so much with green stuff, I'm still puzzled at how some modelers achieve such great things. Hair, straps, filling in spliced joints; these are easy to do with a little practice. But masks are something created from scratch - and it's things created from scratch that are the most difficult (for me, at least). I will admit that I am getting a lot better - and faster - at creating these things, though. While I still feel like an amateur in many respects, my newest masks are much better in comparison to my first ones, and I'm now very comfortable creating them. Each one ends up being unique, depending on how the green stuff is moving for me - I can't really explain that, I guess it's sort of like how an abstract painter would describe how they create their paintings. As a result, each Trooper seems to have his own emotions and personality - even if they're all bad ones. ;)

This morning I finished the Hardened Vet redshirts I've been working on, so they're next up for priming and painting (the guy on the far left is my favorite):

Next on the list, as far as troops, is this squad, my second 'static' squad with Plasma/Missile launcher. They're all ready for masks (my hobby life is a never-ending mess of green stuff!), which hopefully I can churn through in the next week. My bitz box is full of chainswords for some reason, so I've been adding more to my line troopers to give them more of a melee feel. Ah! And I just noticed in the picture that the Plasma Gun's barrel needs drilling. Wouldn't want to miss that, it would ruin my OCD streak of perfectionism. Any of you guys ever have to tell yourself, "Put the glue down and prime the damn model already, or you'll never be finished!"? :P

Next up - Pater Sin! I'd thought about making a psyker squad with him at its head, but I didn't really want to go for the psyker squad. I did, however, want the opportunity to model Sin, as he's a very cool character from the Gaunt's Ghosts series:

Once it had become clear that Saint Sabbat was reborn on Herodor, the Chaos forces, led by Magister Enok Innokenti, quickly launched an all-out attack on the planet in the hope of killing or capturing the Saint. Along with the Chaos army came a different force, a group of assassins known as 'The Nine': A marksman; three psykers; three lizards; a phantom; a death machine.

Pater Sin is one of the three psykers, and is described as "A large figure wrapped in silk green robes. Well over two metres, built of corded muscle, with skin, where it showed past the rich emerald silk, decorated with the filthy tattoos of the Infardi cult. An image of the Emperor tortured and agonised was tattooed across his left cheek and forehead, with Sin's bloodshot left eye forming the screaming mouth. Sin's teeth were sharpened steel implants. He smelled of sweat and cinnamon and decay."

When I reworked my list, I decided that he'd fit well as a Priest, since my HQ is close-range/melee-oriented. So, a month back I converted up a model using Catachan arms and head, a skull reliquary stolen from the Black Templar upgrade sprue, the Baneblade Commander body, and much green stuff. I added an Eviscerator (made from two Space Marine chainswords) and called him good. I've got his skin painted, minus the tattoos, and I tried to do a couple basecoats on the robes, but unfortunately I don't have the greens I need to paint it in emerald. After a couple tries doing highlights with different mixes of greens, I put him on hold, hence why he looks cruddy. :P I only have a couple greens (Dark Angels Green, Catachan Green, and Camo Green, none of which are the right kind), so I'll have to pick up emerald of some kind before long to finish him, because I really like how the model turned out, epsecially the Evil Goatee™. He seemed like the type of guy who'd have one.

Lastly: My Loxatl! Unfortunately this guy is also on hold, because I don't have the parts I need to finish him: Specifically, Genestealer hands. My modeling-fu is not good enough to sculpt their claws/hands from scratch, so I figure genestealer claw/hands will work well. But I don't have any! If anyone has a whole bunch of them, and you're interested in trading or selling, let me know! In the meantime, I'll probably finish up everything else - the arms/legs need a scaly texture, the belly needs tidying up, and I have yet to build the flechette blaster.

There's also one more of The Nine that I want to build... the phantom. His name is Skarwael, and he's a Dark Eldar Mandrake who infiltrates his way past the Imperials to assassinate the Saint. In the books, he is a freaking hardcore creepy stealther. And which IG special character is a stealthy, slip-from-the-shadows-and-murderize-you-with-a-knife sonuvabitch?

That's right - Sly Marbo will be making an appearance in my army list, as Skarwael. Imperials, watch out...


New Stuff

In the (oops) month or two since my last post, I managed to get a whole whack of stuff done, but none that was worth blogging about until just recently. So! First off, I completed another squad with a Grenade and Missile Launcher.

After I'd completed my first squad, there were a couple of things I knew I wanted to improve upon - I didn't want the Catachan heads to be identifiable (which meant removing the bandanas and adding hair), I wanted more troops with helmets on their heads (which meant chopping and splicing heads and helmets), and I wanted their masks to have straps instead of just magically staying on their faces (though one could argue that they might bolt them to their faces). This is the first painted squad I have with all those improvements implemented. I've also increased the amount of gear that they're carrying. Here are some front-and-back views:

With the new IG codex, I ended up reworking my list slightly to add in another squad and some different weapons. Now I've essentially got a static infantry platoon with 3x Missile/Plas squads, and a mobile platoon with 2x Missile/Grenade launcher squads in Chimeras. My already-completed Platoon HQ squad will function as the mobile platoon's HQ.

For the static platoon, I went for shooty: JO w/Bolter and 4x sniper rifles, figuring that it'd make for some interesting conversions. I had 4 Scout Sniper torsos left over from making my commander, so I used those and spliced Cadian arms onto them. The one on the left is (obviously) finished, and I'll be giving the others their heads this week. I also have the JO w/Bolter ready for mask-ing.

The other loose end I'm tying up is my Veteran squad. My four redshirts (as it were) are just about ready for their masks and then painting:

I've got some other bits and pieces with pics, but I'll blog about them in tomorrow's post. To finish this post, here's a pic of the completed portion of my Blood Pact army. One HQ, two Troops, two Heavy Supports, and one Fast Attack! Yay!


Death Brigade/Veteran mini-squad

Finally! A rather large last-minute project for work intervened, but I've managed to turn this...

...into this.

My mini-squad (as it were) of hardened veterans is equipped with three plasma guns and a missile launcher. I also added all sorts of secondary and melee weapons to their backpacks, figuring that they'd be extremely well-equipped.

The sergeant presented a problem: In the old codex, he was equipped with a Storm Bolter. However, since Storm Bolters are no longer an option for them in the new codex, I was stuck. To break down the model would take reworking that I didn't want to do, and besides, the model looks neat. So what to do? My salvation comes in the form of Gunnery Sergeant Harker, one of the new special characters. My codex hasn't arrived (though it did ship today from the Warstore), but the rumors spake thusly:

Catachan Devil Gunnery Sergeant "Stonetooth" Harker. Veterans Upgrade. Armed with “Payback” Heavy Bolter. FNP, Relentless, Catachan Devils (him and squad Infiltrate, Stealth and Move Through Cover). His may not take Grenadiers.

Feel No Pain is certainly a Blood Pact-esque trait. And the Blood Pact are highly-skilled soldiers; infiltrating is certainly something their veterans would be good at. But the best part? The Heavy Bolter that he can move and shoot. Not only is it freaking awesome for a shooty plasma Vet squad, but my Storm Bolter Sergeant fits the part perfectly, no conversions required. Yes, the actual model is using a Storm Bolter, but it's more than sufficient to represent a Heavy Bolter in both size and ammo (ever seen the Last Chancer Ox model?). So, I guess Gunnery Sergeant Harker is added to my list! I can't wait to see that squad Outflank in their Chimera and shoot the heck out of the rear of the enemy.

Now, I've still got to fill out the other four members of the squad with shotgun-toting veterans. Here are two that I've put together, minus the heads.

Once my codex arrives (along with heads for the remaining veterans), I'll know a bit more about how to rework my list. In the meantime, I'm going to try and get this Loxatl built.

I've trimmed a lot from his underside, and flattened the shoulders and thighs. Then I added some sprue pieces to use as a base for the legs, though in the pic there's only the upper halves of the legs. I'll be sculpting the shape of the legs onto these pieces, then smoothing out the underside of his belly. At that point he should look something like a very scaly Komodo dragon - then it's just a matter of sculpting the flechette blaster harness and adding the blaster itself.