Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to Start a New Army

When the new Space Marine codex came out, I decided to stop working on the Ultramarines and formally begin work on my home-brewed chapter, the Knights Bellicose.

Before I jumped right into gluing and painting models, however, I wanted to do a bit of research first. I've had my test model from a while back, but that wasn't quite enough. How was I going to do the shoulders? How about the bases? There are many different things to consider when starting an army from scratch. In my opinion, it's best to get it all figured out before any real final work begins.Trying to figure stuff out on the fly is the easiest way to end up with inconsistencies in your army.

As you've seen in my recent blog posts, I've been working on shoulder pads, trying to nail down what shapes I'll be using and how the insignia itself will go. I moved the squad numbers up to the shoulder pads (whereas the Ultramarines had it on their legs) to make them easier to see. I've also decided on hand-painting the symbols instead of using transfers, as I think the hand-painted ones look better. Testing out my markings also helps us develop theories on how to paint each symbol. In the case of the assault squad symbol, for instance, I've realized that painting the crossed arrows is far to difficult to paint consistently, so I went with a simple "X" design. Simpler designs seem to work better for me and can look more realistic.

Aside from the shoulder pads, the bases have also been an issue for me. I know that I want to have painted bases, instead of just gluing rocks down after the models are sealed (again, like the Ultramarines). I like the bases on the Eldar, but they won't work either. Since brown is a huge color for the Knights Bellicose color scheme, I'm afraid that brown bases will detract from the overall model. So how do I fix this? Well, I do a test.

I've prepared several bases to test different color schemes The three on the bottom are going to have different sized rocks on the blank spots so I can test out different textures.

Even if you're using a pre-existing chapter, there's a lot to think about. Lets say you're painting Imperial Fists. Yes, they're yellow, but what shade will you be using? What exact colors are you going to use? It's best to make up a few test models to test out all your colors and techniques. That way, you'll know everything you're going to do before hand and you'll be more confident while painting.

As far as painting is concerned, I've decided to make a change to my color scheme. While I like the overall colors, I'm considering changing the colors of the boltguns. Since my current test model is brown, I'm afraid it'll blend into the model too much and make it too difficult to see when I'm playing a game. I like that the Ultramarines have a nice red-on-blue contrast with all their weapons and wargear. I'll be painting several test models to help me figure out how I want to do this.

Also, I prefer to have one beakie helmet in every five helmets. If I was playing something like Raven Guard, however, I might want to have them more often. Also, I like having lots of little details on my models, so I make sure that every marine with a bolter has a magazine pouch to go with it. Its best to write down all the little bits rules you plan on following so that you can remain consistent throughout your army.

As you can see, there is a whole lot to think about whether you are making your own army or building a pre-existing chapter. Stay tuned to see more progress on my research and to see how it all turns out! I should have the results of my base test before too long. After that, I make a few test models and then I'm ready to start painting my first real Knights Bellicose models! Keep checking back to see what happens!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Harlequins Uploaded, Research Complete

After way too many hours of staring into a magnifying glass, I'm happy to report that the Harlequins have finally been completed!

You can see them in all their glory over on the Eldar page!

But first, remember this little guy?

Remember me?
This was part of a test I started last week to test out some transfers I wanted to use on my shoulder pads when I started my Knights Bellicose army. If you recall, this is how they turned out:


You can see the film around the edges.
As you can see from these close-up shots, the film is clearly visible around the edges of the water transfer. Also, much of the transfer wouldn't lay flat across the curved shoulder pad. Having decided this was no way to make an entire chapter, I decided that, like my Ultramarines, I would be hand-painting my shoulder insignia once again.

I wanted to make some changes, though. I came to the conclusion that the squad markings that I had placed on the legs of my Ultramarines was too difficult to see when I had multiple squads in close combat, making it too difficult to see who was in each squad. To fix this problem, I'm going to be painting the roman numerals onto the shoulder pads, next to the squad markings.

Lastly, I'll be continuing to paint the colors on the rims of the shoulder pads according to what company they're in, adhering to the Codex Astartes in true fashion. Years down the road, when I've completed the entire chapter, this will look amazing, I think.

So without further ado, here are the results of my most recent painting test:

The whole model

I'm considering using sculpted symbols just
for the first company. I haven't decided yet.

This is what my chapter symbol is going to
look like.

You can see how I'm putting the squad
numbers on the shoulder pad this time.

Sometimes, I had to remove some of the
tactical markings (this one is an assault
marking)  so the squad number would fit.

You can see how I had to remove some of my
devastator marking to fit this number in too.

Scouts don't get a color or a symbol. They just
get a large roman numeral for a squad number.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Knights Bellicose, Eldar Progress

With the release of the new Codex: Space Marine, I've decided to formally begin work on the Knights Bellicose. When thinking about the new army, I've considered changing up some of my techniques. One thing I've considered doing is to use waterslide transfers to apply the tactical markings to my units. To test this, I took a large flying stand and glued a bunch of posts to it. I then hung a shoulder pad from each one of those. I painted each shoulder pad as if it were from a different company, just to see how they would all look. After that, I started applying some waterslide transfers to them, just to see how it would look. Here's how it turned out:

Left: waterslide transfers / Right: hand-painted (incomplete)

You can see the edge of the film pretty obviously
As you can see, the waterslide transfers are far too obvious and would detract from the models. It looks like I'll be hand painting them. When I complete my second test (the one on the right in the first picture), I'll be sure to post more pictures and let you know how it turned out!

Progress on the Eldar army is coming along nicely. The Harlequins are almost done! Most of the models are done and sealed. All I have left is the Troop Master and the Shadowseer. Keep checking back to see how the progress is going, but you can have a sneak peek right now!

The masks really make the model stand out.
So Drew, you're working on three armies now? What? No! Well, kind of.

Since I'm going to start working on the Knights Bellicose, I'm setting aside the Ultramarines. In the beginning, they weren't intended to be a full army anyway. 1,000 points is a nice round number to stop them at for a nice little side project. I'm now going to devote my time to getting the Knights Bellicose up to full strength. I plan on building the entire chapter someday! So right now, the only two armies I'm putting effort into is the Eldar and the Knights Bellicose. I think that if I try to do more than two armies at once, I'll get too bogged down and I won't ever finish anything.

Because of the circumstances I find myself in, I have the opportunity to have a gaming table once again. My awesome father-in-law is helping me build it. That means that in a few months, I'm going to be able to start working on terrain! When that happens, I'm going to devote some attention to building and painting some awesome terrain to play on and take pictures on! I'm going to put as much effort into the terrain as I do the armies I build. Hopefully, we'll have some pretty awesome terrain to use! Keep checking back to see how it all turns out! I'll be sure to post up some tutorials as the terrain happens!

Until next time, have fun painting!