Wednesday, September 27, 2017

DreadTober 2017 is Upon Us


It is time once again for the DreadTober challenge.  I am pleased to join in the fun again this year by pledging a Grey Knight Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight.  This is a new unit in the 8th edition Grey Knight codex which released in August.  I have assembled and primed already two nemesis dreadknights, and this new HQ model will round them out nicely.  I will need all of October to paint the darn thing so I'm getting a leg up by assembling and converting (lightly) the new model in advance while I also try to finish my Deathwatch Captain w/Jump pack.  So far I have the knight's legs assembled.  I need to put some thought into the conversions I want to manage in order to make this new model stand out as a Grand Master of the Grey Knights.

I have the recent White Dwarf where a studio conversion is described using the torso and head from Voldus.  I have the actual Voldus model already built and based however, and I don't to carve that model up nor have his doppleganger in the dreadknight suit.  So I'll go another route for my conversion.  The studio conversion still serves as some inspiration though.

In spite of the conversion challenges, I'm excited to join in this fun challenge once again. I had a great time last year with my Deathwatch dreadnought. This year's challenge will help me get a kick start on my Grey Knights who have languished built, primed (in most cases) and unused in their foam trays for the better part of a year or more until some recent work on new characters from the recently released codex.  The dreadknight GM appears to be a strong HQ choice for the army as well as a fun centerpiece.  There must be a cool custom base...with more cork! :)  I'll be busy.

Hang back with me in the coming weeks to find out more on how the progress continues, and hit up the DreadTober 2017 blog to check out all of the fun as well.  And if you are so disposed, think on joining up with the challenge while there is still time...

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

WIP: Deathwatch Watch Captain w/jump pack - Part 1

For my next Deathwatch character, I chose a captain with jump pack.  This character will use his mobility to back a unit of Vanguard Veterans, or simply to move about the field of battle as necessary to bolster troops, turn back assaults, etc. where needed most. He's armed with a combi-melta and xenophase blade.  I'm not sold on the xeno-tech, but its a solid sculpt and will be a fun painting challenge for me.

Deathwatch Watch Captain with Jump Pack WIP primed

I have elected to leave off the jump pack during painting, especially since this is a character and I want to do a good job and not be hampered by trying to get under and around the mounted pack. Visible in the picture below, I used small blobs of blu-tac (or any wall mounting putty) to cover the mounting points on the jump pack and model so that they may be properly glued on with plastic cement once all is done.  I find this to be superior to super gluing painted parts together.  In my experience, the super glue does well enough, but the underlying paint all too easily peels off if dropped or handled roughly allowing the pieces to separate, and sometimes peeling/chipping enough to hurt the paint job to surrounding areas.  As these are meant to be gaming pieces, I expect such rough handling to be inevitable.  It's a small thing, but easy to do before priming and I think it pays off well in the end.  The pack is simply mounted to a piece of wire set in a wine cork for handling while painting.

Deathwatch Watch Captain with Jump Pack WIP Left Arm

First up after an airbrush priming with Vallejo primer black...the signature Deathwatch silver arm! Nuln Oil Gloss was applied over Vallejo Steel.  Vallejo old gold was applied followed by a pin wash of GW Agrax Earthshade applied directly to the gold only, allowing some to pool around only the gold details.  The gold doesn't cover the best over the silver and gloss wash in places, so more is added as you'll see below...

Deathwatch Watch Captain with Jump Pack WIP Front metal details applied

With the arm out of the way, it was time to set about the rest of the metal and gold details.  I moved to Vallejo Brass for the gold because of its richer, more yellow hue. Vallejo gun metal was used for the remaining metal parts.  Just visible in the picture below, the putty has been removed to reveal the clean grey plastic underneath.  At this point, there won't be any more rough painting so there is no worry that the bare plastic should get covered over to prevent plastic cement from doing its job later. Also, I hadn't mounted the backpack very well on the wire, and the whole assembly became too fussy.  So I have removed it and will use a latex glove while handling the pack during painting to avoid any natural oils for my fingers spoiling things. 

Deathwatch Watch Captain with Jump Pack WIP Left side metal details applied

Then some work on the right shoulder where a Deathwatch space marine is permitted to present the colors of his home chapter, in this case the Blood Angels. No shading has been applied at this point, but the blood drop has some simple highlighting towards orange. I thought it fitting to have my particular force of Deathwatch commanded by the original Angels of Death (Dark Angels and Blood Angels).  No offense to any Blood Angels out there, but the Dark Angels were my first true love among the space marines, so they get seniority in this project. :)

Deathwatch Watch Captain with Jump Pack WIP right side chapter icon

Next up, the cloak and remaining details...then on to the shading and highlighting.  I hope to have this character to done by the end of the week. Some routine family-wide "back-to-school" illness and other business has kept me from making more progress to this point; however, several other Deathwatch characters wait in the wings, their silver arms already painted as I managed a good batch painting session during last Sunday's football (that's american football for those friends across the pond...). 

So there should be a good run of characters making an appearance here if I hold true to the progress thus far achieved.

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Watch Master to Done!

Deathwatch Watch Master Amiel close-up front

Last night it was time to put the brushes down and call the Deathwatch Watch Master done.  I see lots of more highlighting and fine tuning to be done, but he's already at a level well beyond good enough for the table top and certainly respectable for my collection at large. He's not entering into the Crystal Brush after all, and so it was that I decided not to let perfect be the enemy of good in this case.  I have many more projects for the year to get done!

After much consideration, I chose his background to be with the Dark Angels and named him Watch Master Amiel.  The Dark Angels have been my long time 40K army passion in the fluff if not always on the table top.  I have collected their model line since 3rd edition, when I dumped the unpredictable Orks of 2nd edition for something more...well predictable!

Here is a brief showcase of the finished Watch Master Amiel!

Deathwatch Watch Master Amiel front

Deathwatch Watch Master Amiel left side

Deathwatch Watch Master Amiel back

Deathwatch Watch Master Amiel right side

Still loving how the signature silver Deathwatch arm came out. But perhaps I am too easily amused...

Deathwatch Watch Master Amiel close-up left side

A little pen work with a very fine marker to ink the name in.  I don't love it. But after a few tries, I was going to have to live with it or strip the scroll and start over for fear of building up a ridiculous amount of paint on there! :) It is totally better than ANYTHING I was going to free hand.  I am no 2D artist...more a 3D paint-by-numbers type. I was very pleased with the decal which came from the large 8.5" x 11" decal sheet GW produced for the Dark Angels.  I'm not sure if it is still in print. This became a bit of a hunt while choosing chapters.  I wasn't going to try to freehand such a small icon, ans the space on the pauldron there is quite small for standard shoulder pad decals.

Deathwatch Watch Master Amiel close-up right side

So that's it.  My first completion for the 2017/18 Hobby Season..  I'm calling him DONE.

Image courtesy of

I'd love to hear any feedback you'd care to share, good and bad! Drop a note in the comments below.

And as always,

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Friday, September 8, 2017

WIP: Deathwatch Watch Master


I decided to kick off the hobby season with a Deathwatch character, the Watch Master.  I enjoy the detail on this model and he certainly seems to hold up on the battle field.
I started out with the stock build on a home-made cork base to give the model some extra height and presence on the battlefield.

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

Pretty straight forward so far, no magic yet.  He is based with Vallejo black surface primer using an airbrush.  I am just loving the airbrush for that purpose.  I can base any time of year on any day without driving the family out with the fumes.  In my basement hobby room, I have a near constant, comfortable temp and the air is relatively dry thanks to the judicial use of a couple dehumidifiers when needed.  Perfect primer coats every time!  No rattle-can-dust-disasters here.

My choice of colors is pretty stock here as well.  I made some subtle choices here and there in the details that depart from the official GW pics...but nothing to crow about, just personal preference. In the first session, I got to work roughing out the armor, nailing down the silver arm and filling in the obvious details.

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

For the metallic colors, I am using Vallejo exclusively...Oily Steel and Gold here define the areas nicely.

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

I just love a nicely painted Deathwatch silver arm.  On the watch master, I started with a Nuln Oil wash to define the details.  I'll come back some blue later to brighten things up after some highlighting over the Nuln Oil wash.  This session is all about blocking in the colors and getting the feel of the armor going.   

During the second session, it was tie to get the tabard and cape colored in along with some other details that use the same colors.  Man did I mess up not starting with at least the inside of the cap and tabard.   I was in full despair as I watched many of the first session work botched by brush mistakes as I did my best to get to the inside around the legs without ruining everything.  But with some studious and careful cleanup, you wouldn't know from the pics.  All is well in the end here.

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

The cloak is done in GW colors, with a dark foundation base coat and and a brighter scarlet on top.  I finished things off with a GW Agrax Earthshade wash for this session.  More shading and highlighting to come. The bone also started with a darker base over painted with a lighter parchment color to avoid being muddy over the black primer. A GW Reikland Fleshshade wash went over the bone colors. 

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

Boy did I do lousy painting the cape trim.  I think it came out well enough in the end, but I spent A LOT of time on it to get to this point...most of the session in fact.  The pattern is in raised detail which I thought would be quite easy....not!  I am grateful to my Winston-Newton series brushes for getting me through this trial. Again, we're blocking in the basic look here...this will all get more time and attention in the next sessions.

Session three brought more time and attention to the details.  All of the primer is covered now...the base is well in hand, the halberd looking trim...and by the end a face emerges!

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

Since the model is posed at rest, I am opting to avoid painting a power weapon glow on the blade. It clearly isn't energized as he stands coolly by surveying a scene. That said, I did still want to put some work in so it looked sharp and oft-used. :)  With at least one more session to go, I don't consider this done, but the halberd is respectable at this point in any event.  I should note that I have studiously avoided much of my highlighting and final shading to this point. Still just blocking in the colors and ht overall basic look of the materials and surfaces.

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

Still loving the silver arm work! Some verdigris goes in the funky arm weapon to give it a decent sense of age and uniqueness.

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

Added a couple different color green spot washes to add a less blasted/wasted look to the terrain and to add a contrast to the red. I think it works...if I'm wrong, sing out in the comments! I expect to pick out a few stones and add some other highlights to the base...maybe in a spot of turf if I get to it. The model is looking "correct" to me at this point with all the colors blocked in with a basic shading and some simple highlights here and there.

Deathwatch Watch Master WIP

And here we are at the end of the third painting session (each being only a couple hours a piece) with a close up. I was really liking the head by the end of things and put more work in there than on any other area to this point (though the hem of the cloak is at a close second!).  The light box is washing some out, but I like the colors and contrast in there.  So far, I'm opting for a grey eye area to give the impression on the eye while avoiding the "bright over staring eye syndrome" I typically end up with trying to get a realistic eyeball in there.  

For the next session, details like lenses have to go in...and yes, I have to get the the highlighting...especially the edge highlighting I love so much with the Deathwatch.  You would be right if you believe I have procrastinated on that to this point.  I'm also still deciding on his original chapter so I can put something appropriate on the right pauldron.  I'd like to put some text on the scroll, and a suitable chapter icon on the circle plate left for the device.

I'm well on the way to completing my first Deathwatch character.  I'll wrap him up and then get on to the watch captains I have prepared.  Then librarians and chaplains I expect.  Miked in, I'll have to start in on the Grey Knights as well.  Should be a fun fall.

Cheers and Happy Gaming! 

Friday, September 1, 2017

My 2017-2018 Hobby Season To Do List

Image courtesy of

It is time to post my 2017/18 Hobby Season to Do list and kick off the new season.  This season I'm officially catching on to the coat tails of 40kaddict and joining in the hobby season fun. My 2016/17 hobby season was inspired by this approach but I had not officially declared as part of the community effort.  No so this year! :)

[UPDATED: 08/05/2018]

My To Do List for the 2017/18 season:

Adeptus Custodes
  • Custodian Shield Captain w/sword and shield - DONE
  • Custodian Warden Shield Captain w/Ax - DONE
  • Custodian Guard (Vexilla w/shield) - DONE
  • Custodian Guard (3-man sword squad) - DONE
  • Custodian Guard (5-man halberd squad)
  • Custodian Venerable Contemptor Dreadnought - DONE
  • Captain-General Trajann Valoris
  • Allarus Custodian Shield Captain
  • Shield Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike
  • Custodian Guard with Halberd (1 more model)
  • Custodian Wardens (9 total, 1 w/Vexilla)
  • Allarus Custodians (5 total, 1 w/Vexilla)
  • Vertus Praetors (3)

Dark Angels
  • 10 model Hellblasters squad - DONE
  • Dark Angels Primaris Lieutenant
  • 3 characters (at least 2 should be HQ) - DONE
    • Watch Master
    • Watch Captain w/jump pack
    • Librarian w/jump pack
  • 10 veterans w/storm bolters
  • 10 model primaris kill team 1
  • 10 model primaris kill team 2
  • 10 veterans
  • 2 terminators
  • 5 vanguard veterans
  • 3 bikes
  • 2 transports
Grey Knights
  • 5 Characters (at least 2 should be HQ) - 3 DONE
    • Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight armor
    • Librarian
    • Brother Champion
  • 10 model Terminator squad
  • 10 model Strike squad
  • 5 model Purifier squad
  • 5 model Interceptor squad
  • 2 Dreadknights
  • 2 transports
House Taranis

  • Armiger Warglaives (2) - DONE
  • Questoris Knight Paladin
  • Questoris Knight Warden
  • Questoris Knight Gallant
  • Questoris Knight Crusader
  • Cerastus Knight Castigator
  • Armiger Helverins (2) - Built

Imperial Guard
  • Complete Death Korps of Krieg Baneblade
  • prime sector mechanicus terrain - DONE
  • Sector Imperialis terrain
Items in italics are given priority.  Bonus items listed below are reserved for those distractions that get completed despite the list. To be fair the main list is changing through out the season and several items that should have been bonus have become part of the main list (I'm looking at you Custodes and Imperial Knights!)

  • 4 Assassins (already built and primed)
  • Chaos models from Execution Force boxed game (already built and primed)

Cheers and Happy Gaming!