Tuesday, March 8, 2011

DIY Honor Guard and Deathwing Squad

I started work on these guys the other week and I managed to get the last of them finished up this past weekend. In a previous post, I mentioned the chalice conversion I did for one of them.

I had to email my friend and ask if he was part of the same squad or if he was attached to a different one and how he would be painted up. Turns out he was part of the Honor Guard squad and needed to be painted in a similar fashion.

This guy here got a little bit of
freehand work on his shield to make him stand out. Even when you paint your squads up to tabletop standard, if you can spare an extra detail here and there, it will have the effect of making the squad look better overall. It's a trick I use all the time.

And here's the squad minus the "Junior Apothecary" as my friend and I called him in our emails. They're painted the same grey as the other Elites are in the force. Similar to the Terminator squad below that was done a while ago for the same army.

The Apothecary model is not the same as a regular one in my understanding, so we elected to paint him a bit different. On top of holding the chalice, he is sporting a modified color scheme to separate him from the rest of the Honor Guard members.

He doesn't have the traditional markings of an Apothecary so went kept the gold helmet and instead made his left arm white along with his left kneepad. He also got a white stripe on his right shoulderpad.

Once he is promoted to the full rank, he'll be able to wear the white helmet and have both shoulderpads be completely white.

Painting Gold
The gold on these guys is completely different than the
method I used on my Blood Angel Vanguard Sergeant. This is much less complex for two reasons.
1. They are tabletop quality.
2. It matches the previous work I'd done on the army. I can't just go changing things mid stream and expect it all to match up.

The gold starts out as a basecoat of dark brown over the black primer. This makes it easier to get a good layer of gold down in one pass and not have it affected by the black undercoat.

The gold itself is GW Shining Gold. Once it's down and dry, it's a quick wash with GW Devlan Mud.
The next part I had to add in order to bring the gold back to life. If I were just painting spot elements, the previous two steps would be plenty. But since these guys have fairly large features that are gold (helmets), I needed a way to add some contrast back into the sections.

I did this with a Bright Gold craft paint. Similar to how I painted my Grey Knights before, I just take it and almost do a heavy drybrush where I want the highlight to be. It blends in fairly well with the original gold but has the benefit of creating some depth to the areas and reinforcing the shiny metallic feel of those spots.

Deathwing Space Hulk Cleansing Squad
I've recently picked up a project to paint a single Deathwing squad for display purposes. My friend has asked me to paint them up as though they had just boarded a derelict Space Hulk and are about to begin the cleansing process.

While it's not the glamorous part of the process, how you start your models can make a big difference when it comes to how they turn out in the end.

I clip everything from the sprue. I used to use a knife and sort of cut them away, but I found that even that method can damage certain pieces depending on how they are attached to the sprue itself.

If you've never tried it, I highly recommend picking one of these clippers up. Mine comes from Privateer Press. I only use it on plastic too. I don't use it on metal so that I don't run the risk of damaging the blades. It might seem like a bit of overkill, but when you want you models to look top notch in the end, you really do need to start out in the beginning on the right foot.

Since I'm just starting this squad, I cut everything off the sprue and made five little piles of bits. One pile for each guy. I made sure I had everything I needed for each guy and laid them out each with their correct shoulderpads, weapons, arms, etc. This way I have everything I need for each model when it comes time to assemble them.

I know some people do this with craft storage boxes when they have lots of models to get ready. I did it when I built my Lustwing way back when and I wanted to make sure I divided the conversion bits up evenly between each squad and I had equal distribution of certain element throughout the entire force.

I've decided on the Flight Deck bases for these guys from Secret Weapon Miniatures. There are tons of "space hulk themed" bases out there and they all have their merits. It really comes down to what you're looking for.

In this case, I wanted some bases that were free of the clutter and "space junk" you sometimes see littering this style of bases. It's not wrong, but I wanted that open feeling for this squad. With some careful painting, I'll be able to add some nice effects and go back in and add some of my own debris as I see fit in the end.

My biggest complaint with some resin bases is that there is so much on them that they detract from the model and can be overly busy. Keeping these simple and dark will allow the models in their bone colored armour to really stand out.


  1. I think you have a good point about the bases. While cool they can be a bit much. Would be nice with a selection that is a bit more muted.

  2. Flekkzo: It can be a downright pain sometimes when you have to match particular guys to particular bases because of what's on the base.

    That tells me there is too much and when the thing was made, not much consideration was given to placing a model on it.

  3. That's the same way I did the gold on my Dreadnought you commented on a few mins ago.

    Simple but effective.

    As for the bases I have been looking into trying to create a sort of cracked, baked desert feel and came across this:


    That's how I'm going to make mine, again simple but effective!!


  4. Nice work Ron!
    Are you painting the wings separate?

  5. Love the freehand work Ron.

    Do you have a link to any post you know for explaining how to tackle freehand for the first time?

  6. MC Tic Tac: I saw that post when the Colonel posted way back when and I loved it then. The idea is so simple and effective.

    Solid_Smurf: The wings on the storm shield?

    Steven: Thanks, I've talked about it before, but I could stand to do something a little more basic to help people get started with it. Let me see what I can come up with.

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  8. That apothecary conversion looks absolutely fabulous! Loving it.

    And I wish I could freehand like that one day... Really great work.

  9. Thanks Ergotoxin, it's my friend's idea, all I did was make it come to life for him.