Thursday, March 22, 2018

WIP: Custodes Shield-Captain w/Ax, Part 1

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP

Another Custodes character gets a turn in the hobby queue.  This Shield-Captain was built from the Custodian Wardens box set.  He so far my favorite of the available stock plastic builds for a Shield- Captain. As a recap from my prior "on the workbench" post, the initial build looked like this:

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP

The cloak was left unattached for painting, which is quite easy with this model.

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP

He started out in the spray booth for an Army Painter Matt Black primer coat. I normally use Vallejo Surface Primer Black in the air brush, but took a short cut here since I have a large number of rattle cans on hand (preping for Sector Mechanicus priming in the driveway this spring...).  This Army Painter primer used to be my favorite go-to for undercoating and still goes on very well. Prior to priming, The model was mounted on an old bourbon whiskey cork and poster putty was stuck to the attachment points for the cloak for later gluing. I might have mounted the cloak on a holder for painting, but decided against it this time around.  I won't be doing enough painting on it prior to attachment to make it work the time.

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP
Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP

Some eerie nightclub photo effects from the spray booth there to add a bit of character to the post. :) Finally, we have some black spray laid down...ok, nothing to see here...

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP

Once the primer coat had dried, it was time to break out the air brush for a base coat of Vallejo Brass (70.801) on the armor. A few drops of Vallejo Flow Improver were mixed in well to aid in the spraying. I wasn't concerned with being so careful with the airbrush at this stage, but I did try not to go crazy when laying the paint down on the model...

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIPAdeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP

Next up, the cloth got a base coat of GW Mephiston Red with the airbrush.  A little Flow Improver was added here as well since I don't have a pot of the airbrush version for this color currently. This time I tried to be a lot more careful...but I'm not using an especially fine needle in my brush, nor was the air pressure dialed down an much as it probably should have been.  I'm just blocking in colors at this point so I didn't feel it worth the time to get all crazy with the tools and settings.  Here is a shot of the model fresh from the spray booth and back on the painting table.

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP

You can see the base got some love in the booth as well.  A Vallejo dark brown is put down over a black primer.  I then use a Vallejo medium brown to highlight the edges and some projecting flat surfaces to add character. This is generally then washed with GW Agrax Earthshade and highlighted appropriately. Here's a couple shots of the base in progress so far...

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain Base WIP
Everything Glued Down and Ready for Paint

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain Base WIP
Base Color Applied
Following some time in the spray booth, it was time to tidy things up and lay down the shades.  GW Agrax Earthshade was used over the red and GW Reikland Fleshshade for the gold. At the end of the night, here is where things stood so far.

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP
 Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP

Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP
 Adeptus Custodes Shield-Captain WIP

Shade applied, this fella is looking good already!  Stay stunned for the next WIP post and follow the progress as it unfolds.  If there is something I could add to the posts to make them more informative or interesting, don't hesitate to shout out in the comments.  I'm experimenting by painting three models at the same time and working up separate WIP posts for them in the hope of having a little more content (and variety) to share as well as making better progress on a variety of TO-DO list items in parallel.

So look for more WIP posts coming soon that include a Grey Knight Brotherhood Champion and a Deathwatch Watch Captain with jump pack. Otherwise, that's it for now!

Cheers and Happy Gaming.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Adeptus Custodes with Halberds To DONE

Custodian Guard with Halberds Title Image
It's time to call the Custodian Guard with Halberds DONE.  The Halberds got some GW Dawnstone highlights, while the gem sockets got a little touch up with Vallejo Brass (70.801). Then they got an all over coat of Model Master Lusterless (Flat) to seal the work. The final squad looks like this.

Custodian Guard with Halberds

The combined force of Sentinel Blades and Halberds looks like this...

Custodian Guard Group Shot

Custodian Guard Group Shot

That is a pretty good match for being completed a couple months apart.  Here's a close up of the power weapon effect I chose for the halberds.

Custodian Guard Halberd Closeup

I'm pretty happy with it.  I'd be ecstatic if I'd attempted the crackling energy effect...but like with the swords, I chose to leave it off for now. I may come back to it if I perfect something int he future.  For now, I like this effect, particularly how it differs from my other Imperium forces.  The Custodes should stand out.

Now some close ups of each model...

Custodian Guard with Halberd FrontCustodian Guard with Halberd Back

Custodian Guard with Halberd Front

Custodian Guard with Halberd Front

Custodian Guard with Halberd Back
Custodian Guard with Halberd BackCustodian Guard with Halberd Front
Custodian Guard with Halberd FrontCustodian Guard with Halberd Back

All in all, a satisfactory project.   Time to call them done and move one...but what will be next?  I'm putting some thought into that.  I have a Freeblade Knight Paladin to complete, more Deathwatch, Grey Knights and Dark Angels to paint...a DKoK Baneblade to complete...and more Custodes of course!  I think I'll take a break on the Custodes

Check back later to find out! For now, here's a seal of DONE!

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

WIP: Adeptus Custodes with Halberds IV

A short post today to reveal what I've been able to accomplish this week.

Custodian Guard with Halberds WIP Final armor highlights

The squad is looking good. The gold armor highlights are now complete and an initial pass on the blue gems capped the session.  Some little details also got filled in, such as the handles on the misericordia knives. The squad is close to completion now...hopefully just one more session to go.  The halberds require highlights, particularly to the black.  The gems need to be cleaned up with their rims re-painted to cover the blue where it got carried away.

Custodian Guard with Halberds WIP early armor highlights complete
1st and 2nd gold highlights applied
The shot above shows the squad before the final Vallejo Silver (71.063) highlights were applied to the armor. I think comparing the two photos goes a long way to illustrating how the different highlights change the overall look of the armor. In this photo, Vallejo Gold (70.996) was applied as a 1st highlight, followed by Vallejo Old Gold (70.878) as a second.  In the past, I would have stopped there. But having followed many painting blogs and GW painting guides, I now do the silver and welcome the results. The armor is brightened and does seem to have an improved shine to it.

The gems were painted with Vallejo Silver (71.063) and then given a generous dollop of the GW technical paint Soulstone Blue. I'm not convinced this yields the best gem effect, and you have to play a bit with it as it is brushed on to get the thicker, darker paint to fall where the shadows in a gem may lie, but it's quick to apply with a reasonable outcome. 

In all I'm very happy with this lot of Custodes.  Despite coming back to them some months after painting the squad with sentinel blades, they blend and match well with the original squad. I'll do a family shot in the final to-done post to illustrate how the force of ten Custodian Guard and one dreadnought hold together as a fully painted force.  It's fun knowing I can already play them as a patrol detachment. I think they look great on the table.

Best of luck for your own projects, whatever they may be.

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Friday, March 9, 2018

WIP: Adeptus Custodes with Halberds III

Custodian Guard with Halberds WIP on Bases

I'm showcasing more progress on my Custodian Guard today.  I was able to get the models and the bases to a point there I felt comfortable mounting them in their final positions.  The remaining highlighting and weathering should be complimentary and will bind the models into their scene on the base, hopefully.

It all started with some more work on the models themselves. The gloves were highlighted and the weapon blades painted with a power blade effect that I took from Duncan's YouTube video (starting around 10:05) minus the crackling energy, at least for now. The front left custodian also has a pass of Vallejo Gold (70.996) highlights as well.

Custodian Guard with Halberds WIP with power weapon effects

I liked the power weapon effect on the sentinel blades, and I very much like it on the halberds as well.  The effect is bold enough to stand out on the models without over powering the rest of the paint job in my opinion.

Next the bases got some love.  First they were heavily dry brushed with Vallejo Khaki Brown (71.024) and P3 Menoth White Base.  The a heavy wash of GW Agrax Earthshade was applied.  As the washed dried, they looked like this...

Custom Bases for Custodian Guard WIP

After the wash dried, the bases were given another dry brush of P3 Menoth White Base. The skulls were then painted, washed anew with GW Agrax Earthshade and given their own highlights. At this stage I was ready to mount the models.

Custom Bases for Custodian Guard WIP

To build on other posts with regard to custom bases, I thought I'd toss in some detail of the pinning process, specifically what things look like under the bases after everything is glued down. To prepare for mounting, the models were pulled from their corks with care so the pins did not come out of the feet. Each model was then placed over a base where they looked and fit best, and then pressed down hard so the pin would pierce down through the cork leaving a pilot hole for drilling. The pin vise then came out as I drilled a hole straight through each base where the pin would get inserted.  The pins are long and go straight through everything. 

Super glue (I always use ZAP-A-GAP Medium CA+) was then liberally applied to the soles of both boots and the pin itself.  I then quickly push the model onto the base, forcing the pin right through and position the model quickly and carefully. You don't want to spoil the base painting with glue and you don't want things to set before you get the the pin all the way through the base.  Some days this is harder than others as anyone who works with super glue knows all to well.  This can be especially challenging when a fussy pin goes through the cork but refuses to find the same hole in the plastic base. I want a tight fit here so I use a drill bit that matches the diameter of the pin exactly.

Ass seen above, the pins are then cut off once the glue has dried.  I cut the pin close to the underside of the base so the model stands flat and I don't get stabbed by the pins during handling.  But enough pin is left so that I can apply a last generous dollop of glue over the end.  I use ZAP Zip Kicker to hasten this drying process. The result is a hard blob that helps cover and soften the sharpness of the cut pin, and "may" act as a bit of a bolt or head on the pin to prevent it from easily pulling back through the base. Probably pointless, but makes me feel cool. :)

Here's a second base to further illustrate the point.  Here the pin passed by coincidence into one of the old-school Pin holes where metal miniatures were to be mounted.  All the more room to hold sticky glue!

In the end, my models feel solidly mounted and have never come loose. even after a full fall from the table.  The pinning process also helps secure the cork which might otherwise lift of the base. Though I'll say a good wood glue doesn't let go easily, even from plastic base material. Pinning both feet, where possible, would really double down on the security, but I mostly pin only one leg.  It can be fussy lining up two pins and getting the exact position you want.  I like being able to pivot on the one pinned leg during final gluing for an easy last minute adjustment.

Any visible super glue on the painted base is easily touched up with the base color and a careful dry brush around the feet.  I will often dry brush the bases again in any case with an eye towards dirtying up the feet a bit.

I hope this proves a useful method for someone else out there. I think the photo of the mounted squad speaks for itself.  Custom basing can easily add great character to your army at a fraction of the price of resin bases.  And I don't knock on resin bases when I say this.  My entire DKoK army is mounted on them.  But it's nice to have options for all budgets and occasions, right?

Cheers and Happy Gaming! 

Monday, March 5, 2018

On the Work Bench [March]

Custodes Vexilus and Shield Captain on custom bases

Greetings!  With Squaduary complete, I was able to move on with some other projects.  On the work bench today I have some new models for the Adeptus Custodes on my signature custom cork bases. Before building out squads with the new Allarus and Warden kits, I wanted to build the Shield Captain and Vexilus options.  These models can already be used with my existing force of Custodes in a small detachment so I was keen to make progress on them while checking out the new kits.

Having already build a Vexilus with the Custodian Guard kit, I felt I only needed a secondand didn't want the Allarus version. The warden version with the robe/.skirt really stands out and will be less points where that matters. For Shield Captains, however, I felt both the Warden and Allarus versions looked very cool so they had to be built.  My original Shield Captain from the Custodian Guard kit may serve more time filling out a Custodian Guard squad as a result; but no matter.  He can always step up as a third Shield Captain when needed, or replace the Allarus version when the points can't be spared.

Custodes Vexilus WIP

The Vexilus Praetor is built stock from the Custodian Wardens kit with a halberd.  The ax may be a better choice on the battlefield, but I found the weight of it unbalanced the pose of the model. So I much preferred the halberd for the rule of cool.

Custodes Shield Captain WIP

This Shield Captain was likewise built stock from the Custodian Wardens kit. I left the cloak off for painting, which this kit makes particularly easy. I really like this pose and the model quickly became my favorite for the role.  To distinguish his status as my senior (favoritism has its benefits) Shield Captain, I put this fellow on taller base than the rest of the army so far, using two layers of cork instead of just one.

Custodes Shield Captain WIP

The last model is the Shield Captain built stock from the Allarus Custodians box. Given his armor, he should no doubt be the senior captain, however, Custodes traditions seem more based on individual merit and less on the trappings of rank.  So I don't think it'll stand out too much that this Captain is not as highly esteemed. :)  He still looks very cool.

Custodes Allarus Shield Captain WIP

I left the cape and head dress off for painting.  Like the Warden version, this kit also makes it very easy to use these sub-assemblies for painting. I would have left the knife off the cloak as well except that I feared ruing the paint when trying to glue it back on securely after the fact.  Pre-assembled may make it a challenge to paint, but I will have less to worry about later once it is time to reassemble everything.

Custodes Allarus Shield Captain WIP

With the models done, I set about building the bases using cork tile and my usual proprietary mix of various sized railroad ballast and the odd skull glued down for good measure.  Battlefields of the 41st millennium are apparently strewn primarily with just skulls...not sure what happened to the rest of the bones, possibly devoured by flesh-hounds or what not...

Custodes Allarus Shield Captain WIP Basing tutorial

While this may look like standard PVA/White glue, it is actually Elmer's wood glue. Wood glue is thicker, tackier and dries more quickly and with a stronger bond in my experience.  It's certainly gloppy and a bit harder to work with for fine stuff, perhaps, but it can always be thinned with water when needed.

The cork is simply broken off to suit from a cork time.  Tiles of cork in various thicknesses are easily had from and other craft sources.  I avoid any square/flat edges by chipping/breaking pieces off to make an interesting, organic shape.  I shape the cork to be sure the miniature fits on it well.  Not so important for a big piece like this but can be critical for more complex patterns using multiple smaller pieces to form broken ground, steps, outcrops, etc.

I like to leave a little of the round base visible to add layers to the base, though for some bases a do use just a single slab over everything. Honestly, there are no rules here and these bases can be crafted to any taste.  I try to avoid blinging it out too much with other stuff that once painted may over power the model standing on it.  Here, I simply drop on a single resin skull from the bitz box. I like to add the skulls before the ballast.  This approach has the effect of making the skull appear embedded in the earth and not just rolling about on top.

Custodes Allarus Shield Captain WIP Basing tutorial

The cork gets pressed down into the glue, and the excess glue is cleaned up where it invariably squirts out around the base. I feel it better to do this little clean up at the end rather than be too timid with the glue and have things pull apart or chip off the base later. Once the cork is in place, the whole base goes into the tub of mixed size ballast.  For a base like this, it is easy to just press the edges into the ballast without too much fear of unseating the cork.  For more interesting bases, I will sprinkle the ballast over the glue and gently press it down to avoid sliding the cork pieces around.  The cork is "floating" in the glue at this point and will slide around if treated too roughly.

Custodes Allarus Shield Captain WIP Basing tutorial

Below, the models rests on the finished base to test the fit and feel of the piece.  I will install brass pins in the feet and drill holes through the base before painting everything up and ultimately pinned the models in place with super glue. I always make sure the pins go straight through the base, right down through the plastic.  I fancy this sort of "nails" the model down and makes it much less likely that the layers will de-laminate at some point, particularity when using multiple cork layers.

Custodes Allarus Shield Captain WIP Basing tutorial

I hope the extra basing example is useful.  Below is a close up of the three bases completed for these models. It may be hard to make out in the picture, but the base on the left uses two layers of cork in a stepped pattern (a smaller piece on top of a larger piece to form rough stairs). The base in the center uses some smaller pieces to form a bit of broken ground to mix things up a bit.  And of course, all the cool kids get a skull for good measure.

Custodes custom cork bases WIP

So that's what I've been building on the bench in March.  These guys now go back in the cabinet while I pull out and finish up the five Custodian Guard with Halberd models that I set aside at the end of January to make time for Squaduary 2018.  I find it valuable to fill in with a building project between painting projects to give myself rest and refuel my painting mojo. In my next post I will explore the panting progress on the halberd squad. 

Thanks for reading and hit me up in the comments with any suggestions or questions.

Cheers and Happy Gaming!