Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vindicator #1 - Day 1

About a year ago I started up a day by day painting log for Tyberos the Red Wake.  It went way better than expected on all fronts:  The model got finished, the model turned out great and I got a ton of followers and comments.  It was also notable as the last real effort I made at regular blogging.

The killing blow for writing at the time was probably a combination of a schedule change at work and the fact that the HoP had taken off.  The many halfhearted attempts to revitalize things between now and then but they just never paid off.  But my schedule is back in line with something approaching doable and the HoP is a much more smoothly running machine.  The old itch to write about my hobby has begun to need a good scratching.  I just need the proper implement.

I've been playing a lot of Malifaux lately and I had some grand designs on a multi-part deep dive analysis series.  When I was about half way through the dragging the first post kicking and screaming from my brain, I realized two things:

1) The whole series was really just an effort to sidestep coming off as completely negative about a game I love when all I had wanted to write were some bitches about the Malifaux rule books being worthless and how gross the Taelor model is.  
2) I don't really want to write about Malifaux, I only want to play it.  With 40k, over analysis is almost inescapable these days and it can really suck the fun out of things.  Malifaux is my secret little world in a sense.

Which brings us back to Tyberos and the last time I had fun writing for this bog.  It's time for a painting log!  But not Malifaux related.  It's literally ALL I have been painting since July/August.  I've made some great progress to be sure  - 30ish models (at a high standard), a gaming table and most of the terrian - but burn out is encroaching.  Time for some sci-fi stuff. 

Time for a Space Marine Vindicator.  We begin in earnest.

Day 1
Back during the Tyberos series, I didn't need to do a lot of planning.  The model was a one off and no part of it needed to be recreated.  I don't think I even kept notes beyond what appeared on this blog.  But the Vindicator is another matter.  I've got another two in mothballs sitting next to a ton of other marine stuff.  There's a very good chance I'll come back to it all.  So the color scheme I'm going to go with needs to be recreate-able on some level.  Further, I need to have a color scheme and techniques nailed down BEFORE I paint the model.  So almost all of Day 1 is about getting my ducks in a row to speed up the process down the line AND turn it into a recipe of sorts.

As usual, each post is about the previous day's progress.  Today is a long one, though. So strap in.

Waaaaaay back in 2008, I was under the impression that Dark Angels were awesome and that I should play them.  Pursuant to that goal, I purchased the basics for a small force.  Two Rhino's, a Razorback and enough dudesmen to make 25 marines. I also bought an Apocalypse Siege breaker formation because I was really into Vindicators and this was the first time they were available as a plastic kit.  

Still have the original box today
GW's grand Dark Angels experiment didn't pan out and once the new Space Marine 'dex hit, all the painted Dark Angels hit Bartertown.  But I hung on to my Vindicators since they were (probably) awesome.  So they sat on a shelf gathering dust.

Plus one more on the painting table.

Workspace Considerations
Anytime I make a major shift between projects, I like to tidy up the ol' painting zone. Firstly, it really helps me mentally shift between projects.  I'd explain that better, but I'm not sure I could.  Secondly, the re-organization makes life easier.  Especially important here since my process of painting a tank requires a lot more space than individual figures.

This counts as tidy for me
Color Tests
Step one in my process for creating an army wide paint scheme is to nail down the colors BEFORE I start painting any of the models.  For this project, I decided to go with a nice green scheme loosely based on the Sons of Medusa Chapter (from the IA Badab books) and by Aaron's work over on the Painting Corps.

I'm going to be doing a lot of airbrushing on this project, so Tamiya paints are the order of the day since they're really good for this sort of thing, cheap and readily available.  I already had some of the greens I needed on hand, and a quick trip to the hobby store got me the rest.

You can see my first 'experiment' on the right.
All I had to do then was work out a color progression and ensure that the green's matched and that the tonal differences weren't insane or anything.

Proof of Concept
The next step in the planning phase is to take my color progression experiment up to a production test.  This is especially important with airbrushing as there is a huge difference between painting with a brush and shooting paint our of an air gun.

Base Color
The fist thing I did was to set up some test pieces from the Vindicator leftovers.

Brass rod and sprue left overs used as grabbing points
Once some white primer had dried, it was time to start with the paint.

pre-shading and some airbrush cleaning
This is the base color - in Blur-o-vision 
working the colors up - the gradient is starting to appear

Final coat of opaque paint - the light green + some white

The gradient was too stark, so I tied things together with a coat of clear green

With the green recipe and the technique nailed down (on the first try!), it was time to use one of my test blanks to start in on the weathering effects.

A mix of Sap Green and Lamp Black oil paints was thinned down and applied to the panel lines and around details.

old magic cards make great palettes.
With the details picked out, it was time for the chipping.  In the past, I was strictly using a brush for the chipping.  It's fantastic in it's own right in terms of absolute control, but is extremely time consuming.  There's also something to be said about randomness.  So this time 'round I'm going with the sponge technique for speed.  For this process I went with red chip color to act as a contrast to the green.  Doubly important since the chipping is part of a cheat to avoid having to do line highlighting.

a mix of Dark Flesh and black.  

Then on to some rust streaking with some more oil paint and some pigment.  Normally, for a gaming piece, I wouldn't use the powders since using them to full visual effect precludes touching them once applied.  Not good for gaming.  But the oil paint, powder mix will keep the pigment locked in AND allow me to seal the model without a loss of color.

once applied, a dry bush was used to drag out the paint into streaks
Pretty damn cool so far, but it's still missing something.  I hit the piece with a hairdryer to speed up the oil paint drying time and then gave it a quick coat of satin varnish in preparation for the final weathering layer.

extremely thinned down oil paint flicked onto the model and then softened with thinner
Final Color Test Results
A big part of this color test was how all the layers would look together once it was all sealed with dullcoat.  Would the rust effects disappear?  Would the flat paint destroy the gradient?  I got lucky and things looked great!  The final product will probably use a lot more subtle of a gradient, but I won't know for sure until I'm applying the paint.

The color in this photo is off, as I wasn't going out of my way on the photos
More Assembly and Model Prep
With the colors locked down, I'm ready to move onto full production. Which also means more assembly and some model prep.

Unfortunately, I assembled this model something like 4 years ago and under a much different mind set.  The Vindicator isn't up to my current standards.  So there are some inexplicable gaps to be filled (mostly on the front).  A combination of liquid Green stuff and Apoxie Sculpt tie this up.

the apoxie sculpt in particular is great because it's sandable.
While I wait for that to dry, its time to dig out the rest of the parts for the model and get those ready for primer.

ready to rock!
So that wraps up day 1.  So far so good.  I think the green recipe is a bit time consuming, but is doable over the course of a weekend.  Luckily all the weathering stuff that'll make the model pop are easy peasy.


  1. I love the Vindy model. It just screams "I kill stuff".

  2. Looking really, really good matey. Can't wait to see it finished. :)

  3. Agreed. This is looking fantastic.

  4. ......
    Stupid Imperial Tank.
    I'm gonna read this, but I'm not gonna like it.
    Well...I may like it, but...
    Space Marines still blow monkeys.