Tuesday 21 October 2014

"Charosian" Horus Heresy Diorama (Completed)

"The conflict on Isstvaan III was the first battle in the history of the Imperium when Space Marines of the same Legion fought on opposite sides. Former comrades and brothers-in-arms became bitter foes. Betrayel and treachery abounded. On the devastated planet it was kill or be killed. No quarter was asked and none offered... " 

- Visions of Heresy, Alan Merrett (2013)

I called this diorama complete today, mainly because I spent the half of my last allocated painting day trying to rework "just one more part" of a rather speedily assembled and painted project. Sometimes you just have to roll with it and call it done, knowing you could spend days repainting certain sections and washing/dry-brushing rocks until you are lost in internet image searches looking for the perfect boulder photo to copy with a certain mix of glazes!

The inspiration from this project came from a picture in the recently released Visions of Heresy, depicting Space Marines of Emperor's Children (the elite "Charosian") and Sons of Horus fighting in the battle for Isstvaan III. The "Eye of Horus" flag is being raised by (presumably) turncoat Emperor's Children over the defeated (loyalist) Sons of Horus who survived the virus bombing and orbital bombardment, represented by the deceased model in the lower left. Technically I should not have included plants as they should have died in the virus bombing, however I felt the basing needed something extra and the story is already quite detailed for what should just be seen as a "cool" diorama.

If I were to make this diorama again I would take more care in detailing the Rhino and Emperor's Children, as I found it difficult to paint in details which would have been present or more crisp on an official model, rather than the green stuff versions I have created. I also set myself a goal of painting the majority of the model using a new (to me) technique of "two brush blending", which I am still learning. Combined with the use of my new airbrush for base coating, it made for a speedy three week painting project with less than 40 hours total time a rough estimate. I enjoyed the challenge, and look forward to spending a little more time painting some upcoming projects, especially a few single model display pieces which I have not really attempted yet using my newer skill set.

You can find all the posts relating to this project by clicking on the "Charosian" tag, or on this link.

You can vote for this model over at Cool Mini or Not.

Monday 20 October 2014

Behind the Scenes (Horus Heresy Diorama #6)

Well I honestly can't believe I only started painting this diorama three weekends ago (having scratch built the rhino nearly three months prior!), and the time has certainly flown by. Tomorrow I aim to finish all the small details and reward myself by heading to the local cinema to see "Fury" (promising myself not to buy any Bolt Action models - Thanks John!) before dropping the model off at the store for judging this weekend. I will be working 7:30am to 6pm on the day of the competition but hope to sneak away early if things are slow. I encourage all painters in Vancouver to head down to Strategies on Saturday before 4pm and check out the great selection of painted models. I love seeing all the different projects folks are working on, whether it be a large model or unit for their army, the first model for a new project, or a once off model created specifically for the competition.

So what have I been up to? Tidying up all the things I rushed in my enthusiasm to assemble and paint this ambitious project. I have had to sand the wooden edges with everything attached (including the three Emperor's Children), paint in missing details which were missed before generously applied superglue left no sub assemblies for easy access, while at the same time ghosting a lot of the top of the tank. I feel like I woke up on the wrong side of bed this week! I pulled the top rail off the Rhino so I could paint shadows more accurately, then half the paint flaked off the brass rod and green stuff banner due to handling. I probably have enough material for a "how not to" blog entry on this model alone. A big shout out to my friend Harry who is working on an air-brushed large model entry, I spent a few hours last week painting at his place which kicked things along nicely.

"The internet never shows you the rear of models..."

Now that the project is fully assembled and nearly finished I am only just beginning to realise what weird colour combinations are involved, and how it doesn't quite work as a complete diorama. The same could be said for the artwork, but buried amongst hundreds of other garishly coloured Heresy artwork it doesn't seem as awkward or out of place. I think this is all 11th hour blues, but the model looks as fitting a representation as I could have hoped without resorting to eBay and Forgeworld, along with almost double the paint time to get things "perfect". With the next few projects already taking shape in my head, who has time to wait for the post when you can just build you own?

Monday 13 October 2014

Scratch and Dent (Horus Heresy Rhino Diorama #5)

For those that can read the scrawl on my painting calendar for this project, you will know that today I should have already finished painting the rubble, Rhino, and both Sons of Horus, and be moving on to the detail work on the Emperor's Children. Alas, I have become distracted in my detailing of the Rhino and moved everything along one day into one of my "catchup" days at the end of the month.

After a great start thanks to the use of my new airbrush to quickly and evenly lay down the base colours, I moved on to the rubble base and other models as I couldn't quite get the level of detail or smooth finish on the large flat surfaces of my sculpted Rhino. After another stall occured when painting the gold edging on the Sons of Horus, I returned to the Rhino and worked on the "Eye of Horus" painted on the door, using some masking medium and the airbush for an even coat of red. It was around this time my camera died, so please excuse the rough snaps!

The eye turned out splendidly, though the level of detail on the scratches and dents on the doors now far exceeded those on the rest of the hull. I had no intention of over-working the model, and was aware of my painting deadline ticking closer, so I moved on to the rest of the models, and even sat on the couch browsing blogs on frustration. It was at this point I stumbled across some excellent non-metallic metal guides (cue further anguish for my basic attempts thus far), but I took a small detail from a Russian blogger's guide to silver and gold, and applied it instead to my Rhino. Using small and thin lines of paint, simply dark and light strokes placed in correct light source order, extra detail could be added to larger areas and break up the colour transitions. 

So I am almost done with the base, having omitted a few of the larger scratches and extra freehand in the artwork as I feel it would look too 'busy', and have started detailing the models both 'on' and 'in' the Rhino. I feel the sword in the centre will be a fitting last detail to paint before I can call it "finished". 

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians out there!

Sunday 5 October 2014

Scratch-built Emperor's Children (Horus Heresy Rhino Diorama #4)

I'm not sure if this counts as "scratch built" but I have been making use of Instant Mold and Green Stuff to make all the extra parts for the models in my current diorama. In August I took a trip to Toronto for a work commitment, and my bits box and tools followed me so I could make the helmets, "eagle" torsos and shoulder pads for my Emperor's Children, though I forgot to snap any photos before starting on the undercoating. I realised then that something was missing, and set about re-creating some of the extra details of the armour on the legs of the models.

I raided my bits box for an approximation of the width I would be needing, after two failed attempts with green stuff or strips of card. A spare dreadnought sarcophagus provided the required piece, which I was then able to copy using Instant Mold. I created various depths and planned to stick to one model at a time, but with my self imposed "start of painting" deadline approaching I ended up making many many copies to glue all in one evening and smooth over the following night with some more Green Stuff.

Pretty soon I had a production line rolling, and for only three models it was quite a quick process barring the usual super-glue-and-fingers swearing! I have always wanted to start an Emperor's Children army (who doesn't want to strike at Initiative 5 in combat? Hello 5th Ed. Blood Angels!) but a project like this gives me a fraction of the effort for almost the same visual reward without doing 50 of these guys and losing my patience with little green strips! After allowing the Green Stuff to dry it was time to clean all the residue from the glues, resins, and so on that might be stuck on the surface which would prevent paint from adhering. A quick undercoat with GW spray and I was ready to choose the right shade of purple.

I haven't been taking many painting progress shots as I change the colours and glazes daily, so any photos may not match future work, though I have a quick snap of the most developed part of the diorama to share with you. It's definitely a work in progress but you can see the final armour I have been putting together using green stuff. This model started life as a 4th Ed Space Marine from my bits box and all the additional parts have been copied from various banner tops (for the chest eagle), Power Fists (for the shoulder guard) and some of the work you see above. I have just started on painting the gold and added the loin cloth to reduce the negative space on the model.

For now it's back to the painting table, though I have also been reading Dan Abnett's "Pariah" in anticipation of a new book in the trilogy this year. Sending you some "get things done" vibes from my painting table Dan!