Friday, May 25, 2018

Skitarii Rangers and Vanguard at the ready!

This week started with a Monday off. As I actually had time to take the day, I decided to do a (virtual) arm swipe over the painting table and start fresh.I already have an impulse buy of Belisarius Cawl on the plastic pile and with the Forgebane box getting split up by everybody I took the opportunity to pick up two units of Skitarii and two Tech-Priest Dominus models. I love the Tech-Priests. They manage to combine the character and horror of old school models with all the complexity that makes new-fangled plastic miniatures great (sorry I can't help being a heretic). To add to the challenge I decided to see how fast I could paint two full infantry units to a reasonable standard. Well Thursday morning before work I put the finishing touches on the bases (I globbed on crackle paint) and here is the result.

The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, he said.

The trick to painting armies.... No, let me rephrase that.... My trick to painting armies is to get the large units out of the way first. At the start you still feel lots of love for the army so it's less of a chore to invest time. Also it gives you a chance to make lots of mistakes that will not foul up the bigger models. Regardless of Warhammer 40K edition, infantry tends to get blasted of the table quickly. A few missed brush strokes hardly matter in the long run. First off however, I had to assemble the miniatures.

The painting tray after build always manages to intimidate me a bit. Will it get paint or will it end up in a project box?
At this point I was rather happy to have two sprues of Skitarii available. For starters, a single set of unit sprues only makes one large rifle on a stick available (I'll have to familiarize myself with names at some other point). The codex gives you a maximum of three per unit. My BattleScribe calculations show me I should be able field two. Second I wanted the Vanguard (guys aptly in front on the tray above) to look more mobile than the Rangers. This gave me a chance to swap most static bodies to the sniping Ranger unit and use the running bodies for the Vanguard. Lastly I used the opportunity to go against GW's rediscovered love for mono-poses. I used different bodies for (among others) the rifle on a stick guys.

From grey to red brown to metallic. Mental note: next time prime with a metallic basecoat.
Next up was the basecoat and first layer of airbrushing. I used Vallejo German Red Brown to prime the lot, figuring it would ease the painting of the red coats. After this coat was dry I studied the models and decided that most time consuming brushwork would come from painting the metal parts. They have lots of nooks and crannies. To be honest the average Skitarii warrior has so many replacement parts, he looks like a Necron in a red coat. So I decided to airbrush Leadbelcher on the models, rendering the German Red Brown primer utterly moot (except that using a primer is always a smart move).

Two thin coats of Mephiston Red added to the models.
Next came the hard part. For me that is fighting the impulse to stick with one color and finish it up (wash, drybrush/edge). I desperately wanted to wash and drybrush the metals, but I knew that for a speed paint I would need to block in the other colors first. In this case I used a brush to apply two thin coats (thank you Duncan) of Mephiston Red. Between the two coats the entire speed paint job got interrupted for a couple of hours as it was time to buy icecream for my son and enjoy a nice Ayinger in the sun (or two...hey it was my day off!).

Glossed, washed and drying. Now to wait a bit before going for the next steps.

After applying the second coat of red I airbrushed Vallejo Gloss Varnish on the models. Then I thinned down some Nuln oil with water and a few drops of Liquitex Matte Medium (I haven't quite succeeded in spotting what Matte Medium does, so I just drop it casually in paints hoping to find out). The above shot was the end of my free Monday with a unit well underway.

Crackle paint: ignore two thin coats advice on this one...
Tuesday started with a quick change in pace. Wanting to follow GW's example I bought some Martian Ironcrust crackle paint. Following a tutorial I painted the base of the Tech Priest Khorne Red, coated PVA on that and (after that was dry) applied a thick glob of Martian Ironcrust.

Ladies and crackled!
After waiting a bit I got this base (the skull is one of the fiddly plague grenades that broke of a Plague Guard last year )waste not, want not, and al that)).

I think red on red takes away from the model. Back to the drawing board (or better yet, painting table).
However I was doubtful about the effect. The Tech Priest's red coat seems to blend in with the base. I usually try to go for a bit more contrast, especially with a red that really needs to pop out. My wife (still not fully indoctrinated into the hobby) was rather vocal about this point as well (is the indoctrination taking hold?). Luckily I had two pots of Agrellan Earth left. I bought those for an undead army, but hated the (lack off) effect and stored the paints.

Paint base Khorne Red, glob PVA on the the red (next time wait a bit longer until the red paint is actually dry!)
First off, still following the advice from the local GW I put on a layer of PVA on the test base.

A GW paint pot that failed to keep my paint in good condition? What a.....surprise? 
Unfortunately GW pots don't always keep the paint away from air...Having nothing to lose I just poured in some Vallejo Flow Improver and gave the pot a good shake. It made the paint flow again (queue a vague 'the paint must flow' semi-Dune reference here?).

After a paint rescue mission work with globs of it could resume.
I sploshed (as this was the advice) Agrellan Earth on the PVA'ed base and waited.

And more crackle effects are on display here!
The Khorne Red paint is nicely shining through the crackled earth. The uncracked bit is probably were the half dried out paint was globbed on. I really like this odd red shining through the cracks effect.

Now that is a nice bit of contrast there. I applied some German Grey on the rims of the bases in the end (and failed to snap a pic of that of course).
And there is the contrast I was looking for. So I now knew how to base the army. As you can probably spot by this guys robes (and the PVA drying on the troops in the back) I experimented with the basing during my work days, while taking some more time to paint my troops in the evening (the base pictures are taken out of sync with this story). Tuesday evening I drybrushed all the metal parts. Then I fixed up damaged bits of red (drybrushing is not a precision activity) and finally airbrushed subtle layers of Evil Sunz Scarlet and Wild Rider Red on the robes. I finished off by sealing the airbrush work in Vallejo Matt Varnish. Airbrushed paints tend to come off too easily. Matt Varnish protects (like the Emperor) and it tends to tie colors together. Being tired I completely forgot to take any pictures at the end of Tuesday night...

Boring part of the paint job: smearing PVA on top of bases without flocking.
Wednesday I worked on the details, mostly glowing blue effects. I painted all glowing parts Vallejo Prussian Blue, then I thinned down this paint to a glaze and applied it around all the glowing parts. My attempt at a bit of OSL. That is a hard for me as OSL feels as if I'm just a very bad painter missing the right spots with watery paint. After this glaze I highlighted all the blues with Baharroth Blue and finally a bit of Blue Horror. For some unfathomable reason the Adeptus Mechanicus use wood and leather on their uniforms. After much internal debate I finally relented and painted the stocks of the rifles Doombull Brown with a Mournfang Brown highlight and I painted a few straps on the backpacks Mournfang Brown. I finished the models by applying Vallejo Gloss Varnish to the cloaks and trench coats. The shiny effect makes them look nice and artificial (at least I think it does). The last step was applying PVA to the bases and waiting a day for it to dry so I could add Agrellan Earth. Here is the end result.

Everybody say: 01000011 01101000 01100101 01100101 01110011 01100101*.
The Rangers have two guys with rifles on a stick on bases that are different from the rest of the unit. I think I should figure out something nice to add to these bases as they look a bit bland right now. I added blue tubing to microphone guy (yes I really need to read up on equipment names in the codex.) It will make him stand out a bit on the battlefield. Hopefully I won't forget his special rule for a change (as soon as I've found out what it is).

I want you lot to shoot.....that guy!
I wanted the sergeant to stand out so I gave him a pointing finger. I converted his rifle arm by snipping off the front half (it featured a left hand to hold it). I used a decorative rifle on the sprue to replace said front half. I like the way he's holding his rifle one handed. It has a bit of a western feel to it.

I see an offer of free electricity for live! Run towards it guys!!!
By sticking all the running bodies in one unit the Vanguard really look like they are advancing. I'm very satisfied with that.

I'm really curious as to what these guys will manage to do on a tabletop. Have to paint the rest of the army first.
I'm also quite happy with the glowing blue effect around the headlamps, rifles and eyes. Next up, finishing off the Tech Priest Dominus with a bit more care and starting a build on mr. Cawl. After that  I'll be robbing a bank** to buy the rest of my new Adeptus Mechanicus army.

* Yes I'm a nerd (
** May not involve an actual bank robbery, freelance work is more likely ;)


  1. Nice work; great looking squads. The detailed description of the process has tossed me a few inspirations. Thanks for that!

    1. Cheers! Let me know what the result is of the inspiration.

  2. Great work on those! I have a couple of squads put together and primed and waiting for paint for nearly a year now... Yours are very inspiring, although mine will not turn out as well!

    1. Thanks :) Get them of the shelf and start painting, nothing is quite as nice as finally slapping a coat of color on minis that have been in line for a long time (now lets not talk about my backlog ;) ).