Monday, March 5, 2018

On the Workbench [March] - Adeptus Custodes

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!


  1. These look like some fantastic models. Great job on the bases.

    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to getting some paint on them.