Saturday 28 March 2009

103 Painting By Numbers Part I

This is a post about really basic painting.

I noted before that I take very a basic approach to painting the massed ranks of the (soon to be reorganised) 2/24th Cadian. This post constitutes the first part of a step-by-step to explain how I do this. This (below) is the first stage of two - painting the model:
Over the last year, some folks have been kind enough to note that my army looks okay. I reckon it does too, with 'okay' being the operative word. Someone pointed out that two feet away was the optimum distance for viewing, and my boys look fine from there: all based and uniform. If you're a new convert to Guard and a faster painter than me, this is a stonkingly simple paint scheme. Please excuse the photos: some were taken at night with a flash.

I use the following colours for the painting stage; more-or-less in this order:

Chaos Black spray primer
Catachan Green
Dark Angels Green
Bolt Gun Metal
Tallarn Flesh (foundation)
Skull White
Shining Gold.
First, the models are assembled and undercoated, using Chaos Black spray. I don't currently base them first although I know I should. That's in future plans.
Next, all cloth, webbing pouches and rifle furniture get painted Catachan Green. I'm not too particular:
Then all the armour, helmet, shoulder pads and greaves are painted Dark Angels Green - a little more neatly:
Bolt Gun Metal is next. I use it for rifle details, chest/helmet aquila, belt buckle and the buttons (etc.) on webbing pouches:
Then it's the marvellous Tallarn Flesh foundation paint: hands and face:
Now we go back to black and tidy up boots, webbing straps/belt/buckle, rifle stock, muzzle; sometimes an opened mouth:
Details now: Skull White for eyes and teeth:
And the final stage: small dots (blue/brown) for pupils; maybe a slightly darker flesh tone for the bottom lip (if I can be bothered); Shining Gold for the rifle aquila, and - importantly - I go back and tidy the Catachan and DA Green bits:
And there you have a basically painted Draxian infantryman. I know there are better/faster ways and means, but I've done half the army like this now, and I'm loathe to change (except maybe for earlier basing).

By the way - since taking the final photos of this process (eg: the first one in this post) I've noticed that the helmet aquila and the muzzle (not shown) needed tidying. They've been done now.

Thanks, all,

- Drax.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

102 Bookkeeping

[Interestingly, one of very few words containing three consecutive double letters.]

Hey, all.

I've been working on the step-by-step of how I paint my guardsmen (!) but until that little gem is ready, please let me share part of the Draxian thought process with you.

This is the Fourth Book of Arcane Scribblings. Books II-III, you may note, are bound to it:
Each volume is an exercise book (nicked from work) in which I try to write all GW-related thoughts, and where possible, I always use my trusty collection of Bic 0.7mm propelling pencils - seen above (covering my contact number) and below, tucked into the flap of the plastic protective jacket, alongside a handy flexible protractor and ruler and some odd notes:The illustrations in the remainder of this post are simply purposes.

Now some of you may have seen my scribbling book before, but I was discussing the forthcoming codex rumours with Col. Corbane earlier, and mentioned that I loved the paperchase involved in organising and reorganising my tabletop forces [this is not yet the time for my half-baked speculation, but I've a feeling the Cadian 24th will undergo significant restructuring]. This in turn led me to thinking about what it is I scribble, and why and how I do it.
Why and how I do it:

I use my book of scribblings to keep my thoughts in one place. Certain pages are earmarked, and certain others (eg: those with my standing OrBats on) are used constantly for reference. I'm usually out at work from 0730 to about 1700-ish, but by the nature of my job (teacher) I tend to work after dinner - usually until about midnight. Because work takes up a vast amount of my thoughts (I guess, teachers are notorious for having difficulty 'switching off',) I really, really like to empty my head before going to sleep.
So I go to bed (trying not to wake Mrs. Drax), light a candle, re-arrange the dog so I have at least some space to myself on the bed, and then I settle down to scribbling and I empty my head. I like rules, lists and numbers (I'm a boy) and I can quite happily fiddle with such minutiae until I start to nod off - usually about 0100-ish. That way the thoguhts in my brain as I doze are happy ones of numbers and FOC permutations rather than about the kid in my year group (grade) who's just been kicked out of home, or the vast amount of marking (grading) I have yet to get done.
The 'how' is everybit as important as the 'why', and it's a lovely pattern to be in. As for the 'what' - well, I cover all the following: post-battle notes; force organisation plans; painting records; future plans; army lists, wish lists; conversion sketches and plans; minor fluff; painting ideas; missions; house rules and clarifications. Some of this stuff can be seen on the images herewith.
Until I moved to Devon, I also played D&D once a fortnight with the world's best DM, and just as with my GW stuff I must've read and re-read the beautifully produced D&D v.3.5 rulebook time and time again before bed.
The books have been all over the world with me; they travel very well and the earliest entry in Vol II is 28/09/06.
Does anyone else do anything similar?

Pure escapism?

Convenient scribblings?

Mindless ramblings?

Thanks for indulging me.

- Drax.
(who should've got more work done tonight!)

Sunday 22 March 2009

097 Here At Last...and ultimately disappointing.


I used the objective marker that I was going to save for this post in my last one, Post 101, so Now for Something Completely Different.

This post is not 40K related.

Whilst I was in the middle of posting yesterday, I was interrupted by the two young lads from the cottage next-door-but-one asking if they could play with Cadfael. As I stood out in the garden watching them exhaust my poor old hound, I asked them if they had any pets (we don't see them much). It turns out that at their dad's house they each have a guinea pig.

The guinea-pigs' names?

Squeaker and Bonecrusher.

- Drax.

[Normal service resumes later this week.]

Saturday 21 March 2009

101 Fantastic Guard Objective Marker...

...and - naturally enough - it's not mine.

Check this out for a great piece of conversion. I recommend clicking on the pics to get the detailed view - I didn't want to lose the beautiful texture from the flagstones in the photos:
Okay, that looked good, but check out the hand grabbing the collar - perfect:
You can just imagine the sergeant: "C'mon, Trooper - hang in there..."
And just look at that bandaged stump and the clutching hand:

This objective marker arrived when an eBay seller generously threw some bits in with an order a couple of years ago - he gave me my D Coy's command squad and this objective marker below. On the offchance that you're the bloke who made and painted this: thank you, and thanks for popping by.

I was going to share it for my belated post 097, but I'm way too impatient and I haven't anything else yet, so I promise that my next post will be the errant 097. Honest.

And because it's such a beautiful day here in sunny Devon, here's Cadfael enjoying the daffodils:

- Drax.

PS: I was going to entitle this 'Objective Markers 101', but that's a reference mostly lost on my wider British readership.

Wednesday 18 March 2009

100 Drax's Guard Army

Are you sitting comfortably, boys and girls?

- Then I'll begin.

As it's my first century, welcome to my entire force...more or less:
Wondering what everything is? Well, this is the general guide:
And here are some specific units of note:

Is it all there?

No. I've fifty-odd stormtroopers, most of which are beret-wearing old-old-style models. I also have some more metal veterans (mostly old Cadians, left over from my Armoured Fist platooon) and a 15-strong high command echelon, some members of which I outlined here. Plus I have an ogryn squad, seven converted Cadian rough riders, and three old-style sentinels to boot.

Here though, I present an armoured column from 1/24th Cadian Mech Inf; B and D Coy, 2/24th Cadian Light Inf; support from IVth Cadian Armoured Regiment, and the attached baneblade, Zarathustra. Individual units are linked to in the right-hand column of this page:

First, the light infantry. I should point out that I've a lot of painting yet to do (I'm slow) and that it's not going to be completed soon:
A slight change of focus:
Next, the mechanised infantry, with their attached supprt from Cadian 144th Field Artillery Regt:
Finally, the armoured column from the Cadian IVth, Zarathustra and my snipers and veterans:
I should point out that - although I know it doesn't look like there's an awful lot of infantry on the table, there really is: almost three hundred and tightly packed.

In total, it's about 6000pts on the table, from c7000pts in total.

I figured I should present the whole lot of 'em before my beautiful light infantrymen are scuppered by new codex changes. I'm interested to see what the new structure will hold...

Thanks for indulging me,

- Drax.

PS: If any of you were wondering what happened to Post 097, well...I omitted it. Sorry. But I have something special in mind for it when it arrives, which'll be soon.

Monday 16 March 2009

099 Future Intentions: Drax, Nork et al.

Well, I've a special post planned for my first century, but I thought I'd share with you some of my plans for the future of my Guard - especially with the advent of their new codex.

Firstly, here is my supreme commander - I've not yet assigned him a rank, but it'll be higher than a full colonel, as he has command of both battalions of the Cadian 24th. I don't yet know whether to keep it real-ish or more 40K-fluffy:
He's the splendid FW Cadian commander, and is from one of my few unassembled squads (the whole squad is FW), but then, I'm awaiting the new codex for fresh options. As it is, I LOVE the Chapter Approved rules for Guard High Commanders published in UK WD during the Eye of Terror campaign (albeit with the explicit caveat that they're legal for general play) but haven't yet fielded them. Mind you, I've a nice collection of interesting figures to populate the commander's entourage. Here's one, my self-build:
He's almost certainly going to become the artillery liaison officer in the new codex. Next is my Nork Deddog conversion, from way back:
I've always loved his rules but - again - never fielded him. He's saluting, as per that great story in the 3rd Ed Guard codex. Finally, allow me to present Admiral Drax himself:
Yes, he's the Weissmann model from FW's original special edition baneblade, Arethusa - my version of which can be found below, along with a detail of her anti-aircraft autocannon. She's called 'Zarathustra' - which seems suitably bombastic:
Yes, I know I have some painting to do, but it'll have to wait, damnit.
Post 100 to follow soon!

- Drax.

Saturday 14 March 2009

098 Troop Manoeuvres

Hey, All!

I don't often get the chance to take my models on a trip and game with them...but if I did, this is how they'd travel:
First up, here's the infantry:
In the first four compartments in each of the top three rows, there is an entire infantry platoon of 40 pax. Each of the compartments along the bottom row contains a heavy weapons platoon of 23 pax - fire support platoons in the left- and right-hand ones, and my mortar platoon in the centre. On the right are a couple of inverted sentinels, two lascannon squads, and two company command squads. There are some snipers in there too - and a regimental mascot! That's all of B Coy and D Coy with their respective command HQs and some support: I make that a total of 220 pax, 2 sentinels and a dog. Luckily there are still a couple of compartments spare...!

And the light vehicles. This one is only two-thirds used so far:
In the photo above, there are four chimerae and a salamander in the left compartment; two hellhounds and a earthshaker cannon in the centre; an AF squad and some bits on the right. I've rearranged it since the pic was taken though: now the centre compartment holds two hellhounds and two griffon mortars. I've never yet had any breakages of note.

These cases cost me twelve quid each - money very well spent as far as I'm concerned. Having a largely varnished and largely plastic army helps too - as does trying not to care too much about my paint jobs. There are vast swathes of my army not to have any transport of yet, but with a carry case each for my detachments of the 1st and 2nd/24th, I think I know what I'll do when it comes to moving the tanks around!

Have a good weekend, everyone,

- Drax.

Thursday 12 March 2009

096 Guard Objective Markers

Hullo, All.

I have a couple more of these, but I've been meaning to share since I finished. Here is one objective marker for my lads:
And here's another, W-i-P:
Nothing special, but dead easy in each case (though I wish I'd painted the lasguns before stacking them!).

Technically, the completion of the 'grave', above, earned me another five Painting Points too, so I've added those onto my counter (left), but with a honeymoon now booked for the Easter holidays it doesn't look as if my hobby will get much investment until my bank balance recovers! If only that new Guard codex weren't coming out...

Cheers all,

- Drax.

Saturday 7 March 2009

095 Mixed 1500pt List Vs Necrons


Well, I had another blinding game against Fallen 73rd on Vassal (online) again this Monday, and he fancied sparring against me in preparation for a forthcoming fight, so I fielded an unusually mixed force against his killer-skeleton-robots-of-death. 73rd had the opportunity to try some new units and tactics, and it was also a chance for me to roll out (albeit digitally) some of my Leman Russ tanks, rather than my standard infantry-only or light mechanised lists.

The game rolled was annihilation (gulp!) with 'spearhead' deployment; I won deployment and - unusually for me - opted to move first. The game was stonkingly enjoyable, and I even squeaked a win, after six turns, of 6 kill points to 5. Huzzah for the Guard!

Here's my list:

1500pts Mixed Vs 73rd


Heroic Snr Officer, P/wpn, bolt pistol (bp), ID, with M/vox, medic, standard bearer and plasma gunner (133pts)
A/P Squad (3 heavy bolters) LI (90pts)

7 Hardened Veterans (shotguns) w. 2 melta guns and 1 plasma gun
Plus Vet Sgt w. Honorifica Imperialis, P/wpn, bolt pistol, melta bombs (135pts)

1 Pl (306pts):
HQ sect: Jr Officer w. P/wpn, bp, ID; Vox, medic, 2 x grenade launchers
1 sect: Sgt, vox, plasma gun
2 sect: Sgt, vox, melta gun
3 sect: Sgt, vox, gren

2 Pl (346pts):
[As 1 Pl, but with Light Infantry doctrine @10pts/unit = +50pts]

L/Russ MBT w. 3 hvy bolters; smoke (158pts)
L/Russ MBT w. 3 hvy bolters; smoke (158pts)
L/Russ Demolisher w. hvy bolter and 2 plasma cannon; smoke (178pts)

All have ‘Drop Troops’ doctrine. It’s free.

= 1504pts

Things different to my normal lists pretty much boil down to the following:

1) Leman Russes - and boy, were they effective!
2) The hardened veterans - I love my models but the vets don't often make it into battle. Here I'd intended to challenge their deep-striking anti-tank capability, but 73rd didn't take any monoliths in the end - much to my ultimate relief. Still, they did secure my left flank by blowing up a heavy destroyer.
3) Fewer fire support (heavy weapons) squads and - by extention - fewer junior officers in command squads. I thought I'd feel their absence far more than I actually did. That makes me wonder...

So it's official - I can field a mixed list and still stand firm for the Emperor!

Thanks, as aye, to 73rd. Top fun to play against - a real gent!

- Drax.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

094 Painting my 'Average Guardsmen'

This is by way of a short ramble away from today's excellent tutorial post by Fade74 on Bell of Lost Souls.

It's entitled The Average Guardsman and it's a guide to basic assembly, simple conversion and (ultimately) 'average' painting: something I believe is easy to overlook. What follows is my take on it.
I have a few problems with my army - specifically the sprawling mass of infantry I call B and D Coy of the 1/24th Cadian:

1) I'm not a particularly good painter;
2) I'm not a particularly fast painter. Scratch that: I'm really slow.
3) I don't have (or make) a great deal of time for painting. In a good week I might get an hour -and-a-half in; in an amazing week I'll get in an afternoon at the weekend.

So in the past, I've looked into painting services, just so I could get a game-legal force on the table. I might still be interested in it this year, but here's the problem:

I just require basic, functional painting!

My troops are painted in flat colours. I use none of the following on my miniatures:

-- highlighting
-- shading
-- drybrushing (except on the rubble basing)
-- inks
-- stains
-- washes
-- blended colours
-- mixed colours
-- subtlety!

Why? Because (a) my earlier efforts would look pants by comparison, (b) I don't have ANY eye for colour, (c) I haven't enough skill to make it worthwhile, and (d) I don't have the time. All my paint goes on straight out of the pot, the transfers go on painstakingly slowly, I spray-varnish the miniature for protection, and then I base it.

Yes, I know that the new washes could be ideal for my Cadians. Yes I know that it makes sense to put the rubble on the base early on, but I want them to look uniform, and I'm a stubborn old fool. This is why I enjoyed Fade's post today: it aimed for good, achievable, 'average' effects - and that's what I aim for. I'm not saying my models are bad: I'm saying they're functional.

So why, when I've emailed very nice people to enquire about paying them to do my hobby for me (an odd situation by anyone's standard!), have they always stated something to the effect of, "Our basic standard involves upto three layers, basic highlighting and shading, and we'll even base it for you." I'm touched, but confused.

Is it beneath artists' pride, maybe, to offer such basic functional painting services? Is it a bitter pill to swallow, receiving an email from someone saying, "Please would you tell me the cost of painting ten plastic models badly"? - Because I'd certainly never mean it in an insulting way: I think the work these guys do is amazing!

I often feel like some sort of pariah for choosing not to highlight or mix my colours, and there must be others like me. Are we all ashamed? Is GW's awesome Golden Demon hegemony so overpowering that to use their paints straight out of the pot for anything other than Assault on Black Reach Ultramarines is heretical? I don't know.

But thanks to Fade for keeping it real in his first post. By the quality of the minis in the pictures, I've a feeling his painting will impress me regarless of the techniques he uses, and I look forward to reading it!

Thanks for bearing with me. I've lost my voice - maybe that's why I'm writing so much tonight...

- Drax

PS: In case this hasn't bored you enough, I'll be doing a self-indulgent step-by-step of my painting process soon. Thrilling, huh?