Monday, 29 April 2019

Mechanicus approved, hard-shell, hazard-zone, close-protection servitors

Occasionally you see a model, and you just have to have it. No matter that it doesn't belong to any of your armies. No matter that there are no rules for it in your games systems. No matter that it has practically zero crossover with anything in your collection. 

And sometimes you see a model, 
like these Grymn Walkers, from Hasslefree Miniatures, and you just have to have two of them.

In situations like this I like to come up with a few ideas as to why these models should be on the same shelf as my other miniatures. In this case I felt they would be perfect for my city project. They would be close-protection gun-servitors, sealed for operations in hazardous environments. And they would probably belong to an individual, or perhaps a faction, rich enough to afford them, but not wanting too many people in their employ. Like a Rogue Trader who wants to keep his crew light, or a gang boss who doesn't want his grunts getting too close.

I liked the models so much that not only did I buy two of them, but I left them largely unconverted. I hardly touched them at all – building them almost entirely as they came. I think my only deviation from the kit was to add some spacers between the guns and their shields. And that was only to offer a little more strength and stability. In fact, if truth be told, I think I did more assembly and conversion work on their bases than I did on the models themselves. For example, on one of the bases, to add a bit more variation, I cut out a small section to create a recess in the ground. I think it could be a trick worth pursuing on other models in the future.

Once everything was constructed I decided it would be cool to try an urban camouflage scheme. I laid the original colours down quite some time ago, so I can't remember exactly how I did this, but the following steps seem to make sense. 

1) Spray the whole of each model with Mechanicus Standard Grey, followed immediately by a heavy zenithal highlight of Corax White. The speed allows the two colours to mix a bit, and the heavy zenithal highlight means the darker colour only remains on the hard to reach undersides that would naturally be in shadow. 

2) Make a cup of tea while both models dry thoroughly. Because we are about to stick things to this surface, it is vitally important that the paint is as tough as it can be. I think I left mine overnight, just to be sure.

3) Cut out tiny geometric shapes of masking tape and cover roughly one third of each model with them. A random third that is. A bit here, a bit there. I only did this to the armour panels where I wanted the camouflage pattern. I didn't stick any tape to the weapons or other areas that weren't getting the camouflage scheme.

4) Spray again. This time with a mid-tone colour. I probably used a directional spay of Chaos Black from beneath, followed quickly by Mechanicus Standard Grey from above.

5) Don't remove any of the masking tape yet. Instead leave everything to get really dry again. Maybe go to sleep for a bit. Or paint a different model.

6) Again, leave the tape on. And then start cutting out more pieces. Use these new bits to cover another third of each model. The new tape can overlap the previous bits of tape, but try to ensure that roughly an additional third of the armour is getting covered.

7) The final spray was a mix of Chaos Black (for the undersides) with Death Guard Green everywhere else, and a final, very light dusting of Chaos Black (everywhere).

8) Again, show some serious restraint by not removing any tape too soon. I don't know what would happen if you did, as I just walked away, but my worry is that it could create a bit of a mess that ruins all that hard-fought progress.

9) Once completely dry spend ages finding and removing every last scrap of tape.

10) Sometime later, once you're halfway through painting the finer details, discover several bits of tape that you missed in stage 9 and remove them too.

Those steps were the bulk of the work, but they only really got me as far as the base colours. To finish these off I painted the weapons, grills, lenses, markings and metallic areas, added a tiny decal to each model, edge highlighted some of the armour, washed some of the recesses and gave each model a smattering of weathering to tie everything together.


Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Addressing the undead battle mammoth in the room

Let's face it, I am neither a great painter, nor a quick one. I started cleaning and assembling the above model about halfway through last year – probably something like May or June. And although I whizzed through the preparation and construction phases, it's fair to say the painting has taken a little longer than expected. 

This model was one of two skeleton war mammoths, designed by Grenadier, that I've had lying around since probably not long after their release in the 1980s.

I wanted to add them to my Undead skirmish force as twin centrepieces – un-living battle tanks, able to plough through ranks of infantry, tearing the enemy apart with their sheer size and strength.

But there was something about them that immediately threw a spanner in the works. Instead of swiftly completing these and moving on to something new, I lost focus and started fiddling around with other projects. And to make matters worse, because I knew I was meant to be painting the mammoths, none of the other projects got my full attention either. I just kind of dithered. Meandered from one non-committed project to the next. Dilly-dallying. Exactly the kind of hobbying that gets you nowhere, fast.

Or even slow.

The other mammoth is still very much a work in progress, but I painted the crew from both beasts' howdahs at the same time.

Sadly, after all the work I've put into this – or more accurately all the time it's taken me to do that work – it's still only one completed model to knock off the list, so my Addiction Challenge score is looking remarkably un-dented. Hopefully with a little luck, and a little focus, some of that dilly-dallying will pay off later this month.