Please leave comments! Too much information? Too little? More pictures? Step-by-step pictures? Let me know what you think, and thanks for taking the time to read this blog. Tell your friends about it!
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
May 29, 2013
I finally finished painting the 28 Forge World Death Guard Plague Marines last Saturday, May 25th, 2013, early in the evening! I’d hoped to get them done last Thursday night, and indeed spent 5 hours working on them then, but ran out of time and steam and had to take the first hour and a half of my hobby time on Saturday to get them completely finished.
These are four units of seven Plague Marines, including two with plasma guns and one Plague Champion armed with a power axe:
· 1 Plague Champion – Bolt Gun, Plague Knife, Power Axe.
· 2 Plasma Gunners – Plague Marine with Plasma Gun, Bolt Pistol and Plague Knife.
· 4 Plague Marines – Bolt Gun, Bolt Pistol and Plague Knife.
This was accomplished with approximately 77 hours of work spread out between Thursday, April 18th and Saturday, May 25th, working many days of each week but not all days (usually every Saturday at least, but never on a Sunday and rarely on a Friday (Date Night)) with a week where I got no work done because I was out of town and another week where I got no painting done for these guys because I was working out how to assemble Plague Drones in such a way that I could transport them while taking up the least amount of space in a foam tray of a Battle Foam carrying bag (I’ll cover that whole process and results in another post).
So that’s 28 guys (including 4 Plague Champions, 8 Plasma Gunners and 16 “regular” dudes) from priming white to completely finished, varnished and based in ~77 work hours over 5+ elapsed weeks, which comes out to an average 2.75 hours of work time per guy. The Plague Champions and Plasma Gunners took a little extra time over the “regular” Plague Marines, but in the end I’m very happy with the results, and very happy to be finally done with these four squads of Plague Marines!
I won’t go into the step-by-step process of how I painted these guys in this post, but I will soon in a future post, like I did for the Plaguebearers. Right now I’m out of town on the other side of the country teaching a class for my employer, so my time is limited, and I wanted to get this post and the pictures I have up on this blog as quickly as possible. Also, while I took some pictures with the crappy little Kodak digital camera (there’s an oxymoron for you) of different stages of the painting process, they came out a bit over-exposed, while the step-by-step photos I took with my iPhone are a bit under-exposed, so I’ve got to decide which are the best pictures to include in such a post and need to be home (and have the time) in order to do that.
For the time being, here are a few more group shots of these 4 units of 7 Plague Marines in different lighting. Please feel free to leave some comments on what you think of them!
Please leave comments! Too much information? Too little? More pictures? Step-by-step pictures? Let me know what you think, and thanks for taking the time to read this blog. Tell your friends about it!
Thursday, May 23, 2013
May 23, 2013
One of the things that I realized I’d need to do in order to get everything painted that I hoped to get painted in time for Valhalla was to make a detailed project plan. Also, I needed to come up with a suitable and fast method of painting Nurgle models that I could follow and repeat if I ever hoped to get everything I wanted to accomplished. The key word there is “fast”, as I tend to be a bit of a pokey painter and quite a bit of a perfectionist.
Enter white primer and Citadel shades. The new range of Citadel paints is truly amazing, and the shades (also known as “washes”) make painting large quantities of models to a high tabletop standard much easier than when I first got into the 40K hobby over 10 years ago.
Also, before I found out about Valhalla, Adam Troke from the White Dwarf team published a “Paint Splatter” article in the March White Dwarf to accompany the release of the new Chaos Daemons codex and army book, and in it he demonstrated his method for quickly painting Nurgle Plaguebearers. This approach looked sound, quick and decent to me, so I used that as my starting point and set about tackling the 20 Plaguebearers (that I had already built) at the end of March.
Here’s the process I followed in early April, which is somewhat modified (enhanced) from what Adam put forth in the March White Dwarf. (Of course, I did a test model first, to get the “recipe” down so that I could follow it for the other 19 Plaguebearers, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll just refer to the entire batch of 20):
1. Primer all 20 Plaguebearers with white primer.
2. Basecoat the “guts” and “gashes” (and any open mouth) of the model with Bugman’s Glow.
3. Paint the “pustules” that occur across the model in various places with a thinned coat of bright Flash Gitz Yellow. Go back over the model and apply more Yellow as it thickens up a bit in order to get yellow on the surface of the pustules, but not so thick that it goops up in the small spaces between the pustules in a cluster.
4. Wash the pustules liberally with Casandora Yellow Wash.
I took some pictures with my iPhone as I was going through the process of building the recipe for painting Plaguebearers, but being a 3GS and doing the painting at Empire Games, the lighting wasn’t great for taking pictures, and the phone doesn’t have a flash, so the pictures are kind of dark. The pictures I took at this stage look pretty good to get the idea across, but please bear in mind that I know that they’re a bit dark and not great pictures.
5. Next, apply Athonian Camoshade wash liberally to the entire model, trying not to get too much on the Plague Sword, but enough to cover the hand holding the sword.
6. Draw off excess wash with the brush so that it doesn’t pool too much in the recesses.
The results at this point should be a model that is covered in the greenish-brownish Camoshade, but which doesn’t have large accumulations of the wash anywhere. The technique I used was to just dunk a Citadel wash brush into the pot of Camoshade and slather the model with the wash from the top down, putting more wash on the brush and moving from top to bottom, back, front and sides as quickly as possible. Then, after rinsing off the brush in clean water, I used the wash brush to draw off the wash where it was pooling and collecting in large quantities, and simply sucking off the wash from the brush into my mouth so that I could draw more wash off the model and move as quickly as possible. Since all Citadel paints and washes are water-based, and I wasn’t putting too much of the stuff into my mouth, I wasn’t worried about any side effects from doing this, and it provided a quick-and-dirty means of getting the excess wash off the model before too much of it dried. Happily, there were no lasting effects, like an upset stomach, from this technique; however, be sure to brush your teeth afterwards!
Continuing on with the recipe for painting Plaguebearers:
7. Layer purple onto the exposed guts and into the center of the various gashes and in the mouth/on the tongue of the model, being sure to leave some of the Bugman’s Glow show through around the edges.
At this point the models looked pretty good, but not nearly Nurgly enough to suit me. The next stage involved putting various amounts of either Camoshade, or a 1:3 mixture of Coelia Greenshade and Camoshade wash to different models in different amounts and combinations, so that the Plaguebearers didn’t look “uniform” across the squads, but each takes on a unique, mottled appearance.
One technique that is helpful at this stage is to just dunk the entire model in clean water and then apply the wash liberally, allowing the surface tension of the water already on the model to draw the wash into the recesses and spreading out somewhat evenly across the rest of the surface of the model. I didn’t do this to every model, maybe a little more than half of them, so that in some cases the wash ended up a little thicker and the model a little darker than on those that got dunked.
8. Apply varying amounts and types of wash (either straight Camoshade or the 1:3 mix of Greenshade and Camoshade) to different models so that they look different from each other, yet similar. Be sure to draw off the excess as explained above, and to not let too much of this wash pool into the open wounds and guts where the Bugman’s Glow and purple have been applied. Apply a bit more on some models, and a bit less on others to vary the darkness of the wash results.
9. Paint the pustule clusters with thinned Flash Gitz Yellow paint again, and wash these areas with the Casandora Yellow wash again.
10. While you’ve got the Yellow on your pallet, paint the eye(s) of the model, being sure to just paint the very inside portion of the eye Yellow. Repeat if needed so that the center of the eye looks a consistent, solid yellow, but not so much that it obscures the detail of the inside of the eye to the outer “eye lid” portion.
At this point the body is mostly done, so I moved on to the Plague Swords. For these, I adopted a technique that I read years ago in White Dwarf by the then-editor of the US version of the magazine who was painting his Necron Warriors to look rusted.
11. Paint the Plague Sword with a very thinned coat of bright orange (I used the old Blazing Orange that I had left over, so I suggest you use the modern equivalent). Be sure to keep this just on the sword and the hilt. Repeat if necessary so you’ve got a consistent coat of bright orange.
12. Lightly stipple Leadbelcher onto the sword and hilt, covering most of the Orange, but allowing some Orange to show through, giving the appearance of rust.
13. Lightly wash the sword and hilt with Fuegan Orange wash, drawing off the excess so that what mostly shows through is the Leadbelcher.
14. Once the Orange wash dries, lightly stipple more Leadbelcher onto the sword and hilt to take the “shine” off from the Orange wash.
Next I focused on those models that had exposed guts.
15. Layer purple onto the various guts and gashes (including open mouths) if too much Camoshade (etc.) wash has pooled into the opened wounds.
16. Wash the entire open wound and exposed guts with Carroburg Crimson wash.
17. After the red wash dries, apply Bloodletter Red glaze to the raised areas of the exposed guts.
However, not all of the Plaguebearers have exposed guts. Some of them have “mouths” emerging from their stomachs.
18. For these I painted the “teeth” white and the fleshy parts around the teeth using the same Bugman’s Glow-to-purple approach as the guts
19. Then I washed the teeth with the Casandora Yellow wash.
20. While you’ve got the Yellow wash out, wash the yellow portion of the eye(s) on the model.
When it pools, the Yellow wash takes on a reddish hue which blends nicely with the surrounding fleshy parts of the mouths in the stomachs of some of the Plaguebearers, as well as around and between the clusters of pustules on their bodies.
21. For any exposed teeth in the head of the Plaguebearer, I picked them out in white and left it at that.
22. I then painted a thin, vertical “pupil” in the middle of the eye(s) of the model with Kantor Blue, using a fine detailed brush.
And that pretty much did it for the Plaguebearers. All that was left was to base them, which I did as follows, and will do for all of my Nurgle models, both CSMs and Daemons:
1. Paint the entire base, top and sides, with straight Mournfang Brown, being careful around the feet, but getting right up to the feet so that none of the white primer shows through.
2. When that dries, apply a liberal layer of Stirland Mud texture paint to the top of the base, again being careful around the feet, but getting right up to the feet. Wipe any excess off the edge of the base, so that there is no texture to the edge.
3. When that dries, lightly dry brush the current equivalent of Bleached Bone over the textured paint on the top of the base.
4. Go over the sides of the base with another straight coat of Mournfang Brown.
5. After spraying with matte varnish and letting that dry, apply ‘Ard Coat gloss varnish to the exposed guts
6. Apply small, random patches of “dead” static grass in a few places on the top of the base.
Here are some shots of the finished products, again taken with my iPhone, but this time on top of my car in late afternoon light, so the pictures are a bit better (or at least, a bit brighter).
[Insert Pics #124.JPG, #125.JPG, #128.JPG and #126.JPG]
Unfortunately I didn’t take a detailed count of how many hours it took me to get all 20 Plaguebearers finished, but I know it took me a total of 7 days of work (over 9 consecutive days) getting in anywhere from 2.5 to 6 hours of work in per day. I’d estimate that the whole process took me about 28 to 30 hours of total work, which comes out to about 1.5 hours per Plaguebearer.
Thanks for sticking with me through this post. I know it was a long one, but I wanted to document the steps I took to get my first batch of 20 Plaguebearers finished up. I’m rather pleased with the results, and hope you like them, too. Please leave any comments you might have below, and thanks again!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
May 21, 2013
As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve actually gotten quite a lot of work done already to prepare for Valhalla this coming August. However, I’m far from finished! I thought I’d use this post to list out for you which units I’m working on, and their status.
Chaos Space Marines – Death Guard & Night Lords
My CSMs are a combination of Nurgle forces and Night Lords. Night Lords were my first 40K army, and what brought me into the hobby (I loved the 3rd Edition Raptor models, and when I found out that Night Lords could take more than the minimum 0-1 that every other CSM army could take, I knew which Traitor Legion I wanted to play). However, since 5th Edition, Night Lords by themselves are not exactly viable. Sure, there’s the “counts-as” version where you use NL models but use the Blood Angels codex, and I’ve considered that, but ever since 5th Edition I’ve really liked Plague Marines as basic troops, and the Mark of Nurgle in general for what it provides units that take it. +1 Toughness is nothing to sneeze at, and Feel No Pain on Plague Marines is awesome. So, my fluff is that my main army is Death Guard, with a contingent of Night Lords providing long-range fire support (Havocs) and air support (Heldrakes). Pretty much everything else gets the Mark of Nurgle, and I often give the Mark of Nurgle to my Night Lord Havocs when the points are available, since they’re usually what my opponent focuses his fire on in the early turns. (Hey, it’s not perfectly fluffy, but I’m forging a narrative here!)
When I knew I wanted to use Plague Marines as my basic troops (with a Lord with the Mark of Nurgle, or Typhus, to lead them, of course and make these Elite choices Troop choices), I had a choice of what to do to represent them on the tabletop. In 5th Edition I had just used my Night Lord troops and declared to my opponent, “Those are Plague Marines; I know they don’t look like Plague Marines, but I paid the points for them, so they’re Plague Marines for the purposes of this game”, which no one objected to. But this time around, with the new 6th Edition CSM codex, I wanted to accurately represent Plague Marines on the battlefield. I could have bought a bunch of boxes of the Games Workshop Finecast Plague Marines, but didn’t really like the look of them, and didn’t want to have to deal with that much Finecast. Plus, at USD$45.00 per box of 7, they’re a bit pricey.
So I turned my eye to Forge World, and found the Death Guard Conversion sets on their website for GBP22.00 for a set of 10 torsos and heads and 20 shoulder pads. That’s around $34.00 or so for 10 guys. Of course, I needed to buy the basic box of 10 CSMs at $37.25, but there are ways of getting around paying full retail, especially when you’re buying in quantity. So for a little bit more money per guy, I went the Forge World route and got 4 Death Guard Conversion sets and 4 boxes of CSMs and built 4 units of 7 Death Guard Plague Marines to be my core troops choices. (I used some of the extra CSM bodies, legs and arms to help me build my Havocs, so they didn’t go to waste, and I plan on moving on to Khorne when I’m finally tired of Nurgle (no end of that in sight at the moment), so the extra legs and arms from the boxes of CSMs I bought will go towards making Khorne troops out of the Forge World World Eaters Conversion kits at some point in the future.) I’m glad I went the Forge World route on the Death Guard, as the sculpts are amazing, and even unpainted I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on them.
So that’s the background of my CSM army. Here’s a rundown of what I’ve been working on for the CSM portion of what I’ll be bringing to Valhalla:
· Typhus (painted by a friend, Aaron Smith).
· Nurgle Chaos Lord on Bike (using one of my old, already painted Night Lords bikers, with an awesome morning star conversion to represent The Black Mace).
· 4 units of 7 Plague Marines (Death Guard), with two Plasma Guns and a Power Axe on the Aspiring Champion.
o Almost finished painting all 28 of these guys...
· 25 Plague Zombies (converted from Cadian Shock Troops and Fantasy Zombies), to be used with Typhus, or as regular Cultists should the need arise.
· 5 Nurgle Chaos Spawn (these run with the Nurgle Biker Lord).
· 2 Heldrakes with Baleflamers, painted in Night Lords colors.
· 2 units of 7 Havocs (Night Lords) with 4 Autocannon.
· 3 Obliterators (already painted, in Night Lords colors).
· 1 unit of 7 Havocs (Night Lords) with 4 Missile Launchers (this is a stretch goal that I may not be able to get painted in time for Valhalla this year).
· Great Unclean One (using the Forge World Nurgle Daemon Prince as my GUO, a model I like a lot better than the GW GUO, and which is much more affordable (and which I like better) than the Forge World GUO).
o I was able to get this guy painted in 3 days back in April.
· 2 units of 10 Plaguebearers.
o I was able to get these guys painted in a hectic week back in March, the first of my Nurgle/Night Lords force's models that I got painted for Valhalla.
Between the new Chaos Space Marines codex and the new Chaos Daemons codex, I’m going to be busy trying out new things and building and painting new stuff for quite some time. However, for the time being, I’m totally focused on Nurgle. I haven’t yet played a game with just Daemons, but I’m hoping to get some in at Valhalla. The way my schedule looks, it’s going to take me right up until the weekend before I leave for Valhalla to get everything I want to bring (below) built and painted.
· GUO (same one used as Allies with CSMs above).
· 4 Heralds of Nurgle, including Epidemius.
· 2 more units of 10 Plaguebearers to go with the 2 units that I use as Allies with the CSMs. (These guys aren’t even built yet!)
· 3 units of 3 Beasts of Nurgle, using the Forge World Plague Toad models in place of the GW Beast of Nurgle models (which just look like big turds to me).
· 2 units of 3 Plague Drones.
· 2 Soul Grinders, using the Forge World Nurgle Plague Hulk models as these are just awesome models and are a great representation of what a Nurgle Soul Grinder should look like (IMHO).
So that’s the lists of what I’m working on to get ready for Valhalla in August. The way I’ve got it worked out, all of the CSMs and Daemon allies that I need for 2,000 points will fit in a single Battle Foam P.A.C.K 720 bag, and all of the Daemons that I need for 2,000 points will fit in a single 720, as well. That should keep things simple in terms of what bags I need to bring to each game that I play while I’m at Valhalla.
Please feel free to let me know what you think of these lists. I’ll get some pictures of what I have painted already posted soon, but I wanted to get this post up on the blog as soon as possible just to keep things rolling along…
Sunday, May 19, 2013
May 19, 2013
Welcome to my blog!
To start with, this is my first blog, but not my first time writing. In fact, I consider myself a somewhat accomplished writer, and I regularly write articles for the financial website Seeking Alpha (www.seekingalpha.com), where I currently have over 1,400 Followers.
But that’s not what this blog is about (although Seeking Alpha (SA) will come up later).
So what do I mean by “The Road To Valhalla”? Why, getting to the three-times-a-year, week-long tabletop wargaming event held in the beautiful mountains of Utah and sponsored by Blue Table Painting (BTP), of course! You can find out more about Valhalla at www.bluetablepainting.com/valhalla, so I won’t go into the gritty details here, but by way of summary it is 6 days and 5 nights of all the tabletop wargaming and food that you can handle, in a fantastic setting at a huge private facility in the Wasatch Mountains just East of Provo, UT. BTP puts this event on three times a year, in early May (this past April 29th thru May 4th), the last week in August (August 26th thru 31st) and late October (October 21st thru 26th).
(A quick note about me: I play Warhammer 40,000 and I currently play Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons. To be specific, I play Death Guard (Plague Marines) supported by Night Lords (air support), and Nurgle Daemons. I have played other gaming systems, such as Warmachine/Hordes and Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but keep coming back to my first love, 40K. At Valhalla, you can play a wide variety of tabletop wargames, and even learn about new ones that are in development or have recently hit the market. Valhalla is not a tournament, but an opportunity to meet and play casual games with games from all over the world, for a whole week, in a relaxed, non-competitive environment.)
I first found out about Valhalla from Natfka’s Faeit 212 blog (faeit.blogspot.com) this past March. After reading the blurb on the BTP website and watching all the videos there, I was really excited by the idea of going to one of these events. At first I thought, “Well, if I budget and save and plan, I can probably go in August of 2014.” One of the reasons I was looking so far out is that you can only play with painted armies at Valhalla (that’s the rule), and I currently didn’t have any completely painted (or painted at all) Warhammer 40,000 armies.
But then I started thinking about it more and more, and realized that, with a lot of effort and discipline, I could probably get enough of my Nurgle Chaos Space Marines and Daemons painted up in time to make it to the August event this year!
Why August? Well, I live in the Phoenix, AZ area, and August can get pretty miserable weather-wise in August. I used to live in the Salt Lake valley, in fact I lived in Sandy, UT for 10 years, so I knew that the weather there in August was much more comfortable than in Phoenix, and that up in the mountains it was a bit cooler and, frankly, quite wonderful at that time of year.
At this point I should tell you a little more about myself. I’m currently 51 years old, and have three kids, a son and two daughters. My youngest daughter is finishing up her sophomore year of high school, so I’m not quite an empty-nester yet. Also, for the past 18 years or so, any vacations that we’ve been able to take have been very kid-oriented, such as going to Disneyland, or family-oriented, such as attending a family reunion on my wife’s side. I really hadn’t had a vacation “for me” for almost two decades, and with my wife and youngest daughter going to New York City this July without me, I rationalized that I was due for a “me” vacation, and that attending Valhalla would be just the thing. Also, thanks to what I earn on the side by writing for Seeking Alpha, I almost had the cost of getting a private room at Valhalla covered already, and was certain that I would have the cost completely covered from writing for SA before the event rolled around this August.
Also, since I live in the Phoenix East Valley, and I’ve made the drive up to Salt Lake many times already, I knew that it was a relatively easy drive for me to make by myself, and that meant that I could transport as much hobby stuff with me in my own car and not have to worry about getting my armies to Utah on an airline. This was a huge factor in making going to Valhalla so attractive to me, although there are folks who attend from around the world. If I had to fly to get to Valhalla, that would’ve been a completely different story, and it probably wouldn’t happen. But as it is, it’s only about an 11 and a half hour drive, and my 2008 Honda Accord is in plenty good shape to make the trek comfortably and safely.
So, armed with this goal and determined to see it through, I approached my beloved wife and raised the subject with her. Her immediate reaction, of course, was, “We can’t afford it!” Now, I keep track of the household expenses and checking account, so I knew that we could afford it, but she wasn’t budging. We went back and forth a few times along these lines for a few minutes, and then I played my ace in the hole: “With what I’ve earned from writing for Seeking Alpha in my spare time, I’ve already got the cost of the Drop Pod option ($950 for August this year) covered,” I said, to which, after a beat, she simply replied, “OK”, and that was the end of that!
(Well, not quite the end of it. I’m in the process of quitting smoking (again), and her condition is that going to Valhalla will be my “reward” for finally quitting smoking, which only gives me even greater incentive to finally quit, since she’ll raise holy hell if I don’t quit well before the time comes around to leave for August Valhalla.)
So, I’m going to Valhalla in August!
But, that means that I’ve got to have at least one army fully painted, which I didn’t have. So I sat down and laid out a list of everything that I would need to acquire and paint in order to have about 2,000 points of CSMs and 2,000 points of Daemons ready in time to leave for Valhalla on August 25th. Once I had the list made up, I broke it up into chunks that I felt I could accomplish on a weekly basis, and plotted out how long it would take me to get it all done. I now have a task plan that takes me right up until the Saturday before I will have to leave for Utah, but if I can stick with that plan, I’ll be able to meet my goal and have plenty of options (at least in terms of 40K) for me to get in as many games as I can take once I reach Valhalla on the 26th.
So that’s the background of this story. This adventure really began in mid-March, and as I’ve been knocking off tasks from my painting project plan, I’ve been keeping a kind of journal on my iPad of what I’ve been able to accomplish each week, and sometimes (usually) by day of that week, and how long it’s taken me to get each task finished. Being a touch OCD, I’ve also recorded in many cases the step-by-step approach that I took, not as a record of what I’ve done so much as a “recipe” for what I will need to be doing, then recording how long it took me to accomplish each task or sub-task.
I really didn’t think about starting a blog about my preparations to go to Valhalla until Jimmy, the manager at Empire Games in Mesa, AZ, where I hang out to play 40K and work on my building, conversions and painting, suggested this past week that I do so and share what I’ve been doing, and what I will be doing, with whomever out on the Internet might find it interesting. (Dammit, Jimmy! Now you’ve gone and done it…)
Well, better late than never, I figured, so here it is, the start of my blog to chronicle my frantic, seemingly non-stop modeling and painting to get myself ready to go to Valhalla this August. Unfortunately, I didn’t take many pictures of what I’ve worked on so far, and those that I did take I did with my old iPhone 3GS, so some of the images are a bit dark. But the wife has dug out an old digital camera and memory card for me to use, so that now I have something with a flash that will take decent pictures, and I will start adding pictures to this blog as I go so you can see the steps that I’ve been taking to get my Nurgle forces prepared and ready for the tabletop.
So, thus starts the adventure! (Actually, thus starts the formal documentation of the already-in-progress adventure, but that’s splitting hairs…) I will make posts and add pictures to this blog as time allows and progress is made. To start off with, after this initial post, I’ll put up some “catch up” posts to let you know what I’ve already accomplished and how I got it done, and then we’ll proceed together down The Road To Valhalla.
Please feel free to leave any comments that you’d like, and check back for another entry soon. I’ll try to keep it current and interesting, and I look forward to whatever feedback, suggestions and advice that anyone cares to offer.