Monday, February 21, 2011

DIY Vanguard squad and Raven Guard unit

Man, this is tougher than I thought it would be. It's amazing how quickly I can be sucked back into thinking that I can "just do this for a post" and how cool it would be to add this particular element to the site and if I could just upgrade this, then I can add that. Yikes.

A perfect example is the post archives for this site. I didn't have an "Archive" before so I started looking around at was was out there and found a calendar. That's cool I thought, I just need to add this little bit of code to the site and then that modification there... and like that I was back at it again. And then I stopped. I'll just add the basic Blogger widget since there is nothing wrong with it and it will give folks a way to see what I've done so far.
And to make sure I keep on track, I added the one sentence that I can to my header as a reminder for myself.

This first post (outside of the intro) is really nothing more than two finished projects I completed recently... but never had time to post with everything else that was going on.
Believe it or not, I've got a little bit of stuff backlogged that I'll be posting here in the coming weeks as I get caught back up to speed with my current commission work. I'd forgotten how quickly I can progress through things when I can sit down and work on them uninterrupted.

And my Wife is still getting used to having me around and not on the computer all the time. We actually went out to lunch today.

I've had a long standing commission from a friend of mine who gives me plenty of freedom and lots of time. Two things you love to have as an artist. This squad was done to expand his army and I've got another one similar to it that I'm working on now.

They are painted up to a tabletop standard to match both the scheme and quality of all the other models I've painted so far for him. Getting these guys to stand out on the table from the regular tactical troops was done with a simple change in their armour color scheme. The regular guys have purple armour with black shoulder pads. All we did was reverse that here to make these guys look different, but still blend in with the rest of the force.

The Apothecary was fun to do, but I've found that after using the metallic paints on my brushes, they seem to get gummed up quicker. I never really noticed it before, but now that I pay closer attention to my brushes, it dawned on me. The jump pack exhaust vents were given the obligatory soot stains like all things in 40k seem to have. It is a cool effect though for such little work.

I never realised how cool purple marines looked until I started painting these guys way back when. I would have never thought it could look so good, but now I know why people start up Soul Drinkers and Emperors Children armies. I've got a few more models to include a cool conversion I'll be working on in the coming weeks as part of this same army.

And I finally snapped some pics of the Raven Guard squad I've been working on for some time now. I've been posting some pictures of them as I made progress to show people and to get some feedback. These guys are painted up to a higher standard than usual for me. I never realized how much work went into a squad like this. The time involved in painting something to a standard above tabletop is incredible. Once you get into three and four line highlights, shading, blending, etc, the time adds up fast. Faster than you realize sometimes.

In the end, I'd say it's definitely worth it though. When you see the unit all together, they really do stand out as being painted up with an eye for all the little details. Instead of just glancing over them and saying "Oh it's another tactical squad," you stop and look at each guy. It makes me want to start my own Raven Guard army and if it can do that, I figure it's a successful paint job.

If I were going to to Games Day this year, I'd be inclined to enter them as a squad. With a bit more work, I think they stand a chance of possibly picking up maybe a Bronze. But they'd still need some work as I figure they're about half way there now.

Now I have their drop pod to paint up. It'll be the first one I get to assemble so I'm off to find some tutorials on how to do it since I remember hearing that they can be quite problematic if you don't do certain things in just the right order.

I do know of a good site to get a bunch of tutorials from.


  1. Thanks, the Raven Guard are done at this point, but the next DIY squad will be in grey armour along with gold helmets. Should make for a very striking unit in appearance.

    I'm hoping to get one done in the coming week as a test model.

  2. These really do look nice.

    While I've been away your paint seems to have taken on a "cleaner" edge, not sure how else to say it, but its that smooth, powdery finish I associate with really very good painters, yet can't seem to manage myself :)


  3. Nothing slows you down does it fella! awesome stuff as usual man.

  4. Karitas: Wow, thank you. To be honest though, I think it's just the sharpness to the highlights that do it. I really spent a good deal of time tightening up the whole paint job on these guys and they appear much more refined. Maybe it has to do with the scale of things and the highlights being refined now look more appropriate.

    Munky: This is stuff that has been sitting in the hopper. My first new model will come along shortly.

  5. Thanks, for just being regular tactical marines, they've come out the best for me so far.

  6. Ron-

    The squads look great, I think you need to rethink your painting level names as that first squad is much better than "table top", from what I understand "table top" is 3 colors and based without highlights washes and shading. Have you seen what some folks plop down on the table?

    I think you should consider using levels, and would like a breakdown of your different levels and what they entail.

    "Table top" and "High standard" mean very different things to different folks it seems, and I think you are underselling yourself.

    Santa Cruz Warhammer

  7. SC John: I never thought about breaking it down more. I've always looked at it as though I had two approaches. The simple, "tabletop" one where you have your colors/highlights/shading and then your better version where you do the same thing but really go all out to make sure you blend things super smooth, have super crisp line highlights, etc.

  8. I'm with SC John on this one, your painting quality is way above the general accepted level of 'tabletop' quality. In my area (LA), tabletop is also considered to be 3-5 colors, minor highlights, possible Devlan Mud/Badab Black wash. Honestly, if you believe that you'll win a Bronze at the painting comp for GD with only a little work at your tabletop quality, then I would definitely call it high quality.

    However, your work has always looked great to me, especially considering that I can't paint very well.

  9. H.C.118: Thanks. And just to set the record straight, I think I might have a chance at a Bronze if I put a bit more work into the squad. I'm not sure they're there just yet.

    I've been looking at my painting recently and I've noticed a few things that I'll be sharing with everyone in the coming weeks as I can get it all together.

  10. First of all, my high standard is what I currently paint everything in and can be viewed on my blog. I am pretty sure Ron's low standard beats it and I have the sneaking suspicion that I paint "better" than the bulk of the players out there. But technique isn't everything :)

    Ron, I like what you do and what you write. Stop playing around with blogger:) It's like Farmville, a waste of time in the end. Hope you enjoyed lunch :)

    Those one big turbine and two small jump packs looks so very odd to me. It doesn't look right. Makes me wonder how two of them on each side of a trimmed backpack would look like. Remove the inner small ones for a total of four. Sure would look unique :)

    I really like the apothecary. Wish vanilla marines could have more of them as they are quite nifty :)

  11. Flekkzo: You're exactly right, technique isn't everything. You need to have some technical skill, but after that, style beomces a big part of it too.

    Thanks for the kind words. Blogger is what I know at this point. Moving blogging platforms would be a huge amount of work for me at this point since I'd have to learn most everything over again. I do like your analogy though.

    I think your backpack idea would make a huge, rather bulky one that could certainly pass as an early version, maybe just after the heresy timeframe. Would definitely stand out on the table.

  12. @Ron Not just style, but heart. If you like painting, it shows.

    Hehe, I suspect that you've dealt with software enthusiasts too much. I meant stop tinkering with blogger as to save time, not find yet another "tinker toy":)

    I think I am more curious of how such a backpack would look than anything. I tend to share most of my ideas, before I've figured out how good they are :)

  13. Flekkzo: Well said. Heart. How very important.

    My mistake, I thought you meant to get a new platform. I will be limiting myself to the tinkering that is required only. It's a slippery slope... once you get started, it can be hard to stop fiddling around with it as you try and make a better mousetrap.

    I can see what you're talking about as a jumppack. Big and bulky in my mind. Pair it up with the right MK armour, add some extra cables and such for effect and you've probably got killer looking squad.