Celestial Lions: A Parting Gift

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I’ve been a bit cryptic recently, regarding some real-life unpleasantness. Well, here it is. It’s a long one, and it gets pretty dark in places.

That’s a thumbs-up from her, there.

This is my mother. She is in her late 70’s, and she will most likely be dead before this week is out. It might be next week, but it’ll be soon, regardless. She sadly has a terminal condition, which I have no intention of going into in any detail, but she’s weaker and weaker each passing day. She’s been pretty much immobile for 3+ weeks now, and has been in and out of hospital over the last month+. She reentered hospital at our urging a couple of weeks ago, and she will not be returning home. Ever.

So far, so fucking depressing.

Anyway, while I was sitting next to her last Thursday evening after work (yes, I kept going to work until the end of last week, in an attempt to get shit sorted out for the end of the year and to retain some of my own sanity in the circumstances. I’ve finished for the year now, using a combination of carer’s leave and what will soon be bereavement leave. hm.)

Sorry, lost my train of thought, and fuck it, I’m going to write this one as more of a stream-of consciousness and less carefully edited as I usually do.

So anyway, I was sitting next to her, and a thought came into my head. I should paint something for her. Now we take a brief tangent of an equally depressing nature:

Anyone who has been around this blog for some time may remember this post from last May. In it, I talk about being on the phone to my sister, spotting them on the shelf and not really being up to painting zombies at the time. I was on the phone talking with her about the recent (at the time) death of my oldest brother when I spotted the slayers. The growing horde of slayers in a sense became a tribute to my brother. Fitting really, since he was a bad-tempered prick of a drunk with a ginger beard. We canonise our dead, but that description is the truth. We never became friends as I grew older, which was a shame, but by the time that friendship might have been possible, he was too much of an uneven and unpleasant drunk, and frankly – fuck that noise. I’ve got no tolerance for that level of bullshit, and I haven’t been willing to tiptoe around other people’s stupidity for quite a long time now. Still, he was my older brother, and his influence is still strong in me with an interest in WWII, history, as well as musically. Try to take the good and leave out the bad, basically.

So that’s one brother.

Then there’s my other brother. Also an older brother, just a touch younger than the oldest. Without any risk of overstatement or exaggeration, he was the single biggest influence on me in my life. He was the cool older brother that you wish you had. He introduced me to fantasy role-playing at around the age of five in the 1970’s via a mixture of make-it-up-as-you-go-along storytelling, and Tunnels & Trolls solo dungeons, which he’d read to me and act as “DM”. He gave me a copy of Lord of the Rings which I read in Primary School/Grade 6. As the years progressed, he went from older brother to best friend. He was also the one who got me into miniatures, with his collection of Fantasy and medieval-history Minifigs which were eventually given to me shortly before I discovered Warhammer 40,000. My Humbrol enamels came along with the Minifigs, and in turn they were used on my first Space Marines and Imperial Army and Space Orks.  We played T&T for years together with a few others until we ended up segueing into computer games, playing games like EverQuest and Battlefield 1942 together for years. This finally came to an end in 2005 one Saturday evening, when I went to his place to see why he hadn’t been answering his phone and found his dead body on the floor of his kitchen.

Yeah, I said this one gets dark.

He apparently had a congenital heart condition, and he wasn’t the best at taking his meds. Not sure if that’s why he had the massive heart attack that killed him, but at this point it hardly matters now, eh?

At the time he passed, I was painting Orks. For that 500-pt combat patrol as per 4th or whatever was current at the time. These Orks. For reasons that should be obvious here, when that happened, I downed tools for quite some time – and it took until recently for me to be able to face the Orks again.

So what I’m saying here is that the resurrected Ork army is both a group of models that are hopefully cool and good looking as well as a tribute to my departed brother. I had planned to write this up in its own post sometime in the near future, once I completed the “original” force I was working on in 2005, but I guess my mum has forced my hand on that account, eh? Thanks, mum!

So back to the story. While I sat next to her in her hospital bed last Thursday, I had the idea of painting something for her as a tribute – in the same way that the Slayers and Orks had unintentionally turned out to be. Well, except intentionally this time. So I told her the stories that I’ve recounted to you all above. About the phone call and the slayers. About the Orks and downing tools and them sitting in a case for over 10 years before I could get back to them. And then I told her that I’d like to paint something for her as well. Obviously, you already know what I chose to paint for her, but not the why – because Space Marines? Really?

Yeah.

As the regulars around here know, I like to paint different Marine Chapters. Celestial Lions are one of the many who have been “on the list” to do at some stage. I chose them for her because:

  1. The colour scheme looks good.
  2. They have an “African” flavour to their background, and my mum has always liked African people (and African-Americans, Māori… )
  3. Celestial – because, well, she’ll be gone soon. And while I’m not religious, I appreciate the connection between looking at the sky/towards the heavens and respecting my ancestors.
  4. Lions – the most important, actually. My mum is a Leo. And while she’s never been “into” horoscopes or any of that stuff, she’s always really loved lions.
  5. I’ll find an appropriate actual lion model at some stage. I’m sure Reaper or someone like that has something. I can even incorporate a lion model in with the Celestials as a pet.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines WIP

Overnight, I had another idea: Why wait? If I really pulled out all the stops, I could try to have a model painted for her before she goes, so she could see it. Touch it. Hold it. When I woke up on Friday, I went outside to the War Room, found the open sprues of Primaris Marines from the 8th starter box, came inside with the one with the Lieutenants on it, clipped both of them off and bagged them, and took them to work – trimmed the flash during my breaks – went straight to the hospital from work for a few hours, and she was much worse – tired and not all there – when we left, we stopped to see my dad for a couple of hours on the way home – and then once home I assembled them, let dry, and spray primed over several drying-breaks until about 1am. Woke at 6am on Saturday and got to fucking work.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines WIP

If I had more time, I might have replaced the bare head with a different one, or added some “flavour” parts from my Warlord Games Zulu models. But no time for that. Standard builds – just get the paint done! Turns out that they’re “supposed” to be on 40mm bases as well, rather than 32mm ones. I guess it works to distinguish them on the table. Ah well, tough luck on that one. These models aren’t being rebased.

I didn’t get them entirely finished in time, because as the hours ticked by on Saturday, so my anxiety level raised – I desperately wanted her to see them before she went back downhill. So when they were a good 80% done – finished to the point where I was satisfied that they were good enough to show her, it was time to go to the hospital. I also took a few of the Slayers and a few of the Orks. I started by mentioning the models I’d talked about the other day, and showed her them, one by one. Because a model in the hand to look at is obviously much better than a photo on a mobile phone’s browser.

Once she had looked at the Orks and the Dwarves, I showed her the almost-finished Lions. Naturally, she loved them. She’s my mum, so what else is she going to do? But she also knew well enough that if I didn’t think they were up to scratch that I would not have brought them to show her. She said something about her living on forever through them, and while “forever” is a long time, the figures should certainly outlast my own existence, so good enough.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

And here we are. The completed figures. Final details done less than an hour ago. The next step is to pack them up again and head out to the hospital so she can see the final completed models.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

I’ll throw some painting notes in here, just because, and because I’ll paint up a bunch of these at some stage in the future – and I’ll really want these models to be consistent. Base coats were all sprays, followed by an all-over wash of Reikland Fleshshade Gloss. Armour drybrushed with Retributor Armour then Liberator Gold and then a tiny bit of Model Air Gold mixed in. Blue panels painted with Vallejo “Ultramarine” blue coloured surface primer, washed with thinned down Vallejo Game Air 72.720 Imperial Blue, then re-highlighted with Vallejo Game Colour Ultramarine Blue, then highlighted with thinned VGA 72.724 Electric Blue.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

Aquilas done with Vallejo Model Colour Dark Grey, then highlighted with a couple of greys, washed with Nuln Oil Gloss then highlighted again on the edges with Army Painter Warpaints Ash Grey. Weapons done with Dark Grey, then edge highlighted with Citadel Incubi Darkness, washed with Nuln Oil Gloss, then re-highlighted on extreme edges with Incubi Darkness again. Probably too subtle to actually see, but it is what it is. Leather done with VMA 71.042 Camo Black Brown spot washed with Nuln Oil Gloss, then highlighted with That VMA brown I use for everything and the code and name have worn off the label. I know which one it is, though.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

To designate the models as Lieutenants, I used VII Legion decals from the Imperial Fists HH transfer sheet on their right kneepads. I also added tiny “Fists” shields to their left pauldrons, along with a Maltese Cross on the right pauldron of one, and the backpack of the other, to represent their brotherhood with the Black Templars. The Lieutenant’s helmet stripe I left without the white bars to show consistency with the Crimson Fists style of helmet stripe.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

The lion-head Chapter icons came from Matrillo Y Cola on Shapeways. They’re not nearly as detailed in hand as they appear on the webpage, so I had to paint in the dividing line between the lion’s chin and their mane, and also the eye. Still, they work well enough and give consistency better than freehanding the icons would.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

Since I have also been painting Minotaurs, I wanted to ensure that the Celstial Lions were as easily distinguished from the Minos as possible. To that end, the gold here is much brighter and “oranger” – and washed with Fleshshade than the pale brass of the Minos, which is made from sepia washes over silver, later washed with green. The “dark grey” aquilas could easily have been done in metallic tones, but again I went with non-metallic greys as the Minos have theirs in metallics.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

I’m out of words on the painting process and thoughts behind it, so I’ll just leave the final images to speak for themselves.

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

Celestial Lions Primaris Lieutenant Space Marines

Now, I don’t usually share much in the way of my personal details on here, and I’m completely aware of how much of an infodump this is. So why?

Well, my mum is dying, and I’m trying to cope with that. Painting is my Yoga, my Gardening, my Zen. It’s what I do to relax. This has given me something to work on, concentrate on over the last few days. I’m also completely powerless to do anything about her situation, so again, this is something I can do for her. Blogging about it all? Like I said, I’m trying to cope with what’s going on, and we’re past the “hope” stage of medical intervention, so now it’s just a waiting game.

In the end, this is a thing that we all go through – We bury our parents. Unless your parents end up being the ones to bury you. I’m working through the process in my own way, and since I paint, this is part of my process. I just hope these models are good enough as a personal tribute.

From the Painting Desk #15 – Ork Killer Kan WIPs

40k Ork Killer Kan WIP

I haven’t finished anything recently. It’s been the busiest month of the year at work, and there’s been a lot happening outside of work. We’ve just finished the longest, hottest streak of November weather in Melbourne’s recorded history which is in the midst of concluding with 2 months worth of rain over three days. While Pyro and Orez and a third friend helped to sandbag the entrance to the garage, which has a real danger of water entering, the constant rain has naturally, finally overwhelmed my roof, so I’ve got one bucket set up, catching water from the first leak, and a second bucket set up in preparation for when the second one starts dripping through the dark, wet, shiny patch in the ceiling’s plasterboard. I expect it’ll start in the next couple of hours. As fucked as all this is, the weather is .. it just started. Much worse than the first one. if they weren’t coming through the down light shafts and dripping off the actual light fittings I might not be quite to stressed about it all.

But… there’s nothing I can do about it. The Bureau of Meteorology has described the heat and following rain as an unprecedented weather event, and it’s not like the hurricanes and tropical storms that others have had to endure recently – or even nearly as bad as initially predicted (for Melbourne, at least). It’s just another stressor, and assuming that we don’t have an electrical fire – could almost be described as the least of my current concerns. Though that electrical risk certainly does stress me the fuck out. I won’t be using those lights for several weeks at least, even after everything dries off and we get the roof looked at. Meanwhile, the buckets fill up drip by drop, and the road outside slowly morphs into a river…

40k Ork Killer Kan WIP

So, miniatures. I’ve had this trio of Ork Killer Kans for a few years. Purchased from eBay already assembled, I sprayed them in metallics some months ago, and they’ve sat in a tub waiting for me to finish the actual Ork force first. Since I’m stressed as fuck lately, and probably not going to be doing my best fine detail work, I’ve decided to work on broad details on these larger models to keep my mind occupied.

40k Ork Killer Kan WIP

So today I’ve added discolouration to the metal. Purple, blue and sepia washes, as well as some drybrushing of a mix of Vallejo black and silver primers mixed with Model Air “Rust”. I’d previously washed all three with Nuln Oil Gloss which is what picked out all of those dark details, and picked out the odd bit of metal in another colour.

40k Ork Killer Kan WIP

Now as effective as the discolouration looks, I’m not sure what to do next. Which is another one of the reasons these figures have sat for awhile. While my force is pretty much “Camo/Military/Blood Axe” themed, I’ve also been leaving metal items and armour bits unpainted so far. I’d most likely be painting some of the panels on the vehicles when I get to them, and even with these walkers darkened and dirtied-up some more, they could well still look a bit too “Rainbow Brite” if left untouched.

So I’m stuck again. Trying to decide if I should paint some panels, and if so, how many, which ones, and using what colours? Desert Yellow/Bone? With or without camo? Spray-paint-style lines for camo in the style of German WWII armour? (Because how would Orks paint vehicular camo – with a spray can?) or something just as simple but in a different style, like British EW Desert camo?

Or just desert Yellow/Bone, heavily weathered?

Oh, three new dark patches have appeared on the ceiling. Above Marouda’s desk, computer and printer. Time to move a whole lot of stuff and remove power boards entirely…

WAAAAGH! Pt.8: 40k Ork Slugga Boyz – Autumn Platenenmuster Style #2

Warhammer 40k Ork Slugga Boyz

So here’s the next trio of Orks. As I stated in the previous Ork-Post, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how the Autumn Platenenmuster camo from the video guide came out, and while I was poking around the internets, I found another method detailed on Warlord Games’ site, which provided me with the basis for what you see here.

Warhammer 40k Ork Slugga Boyz

I haven’t attempted to minimise the size of the dots in the camo pattern here – instead going for a slightly larger size that suits these particular models.

Quite different, as you can see in this comparison shot – and distinct enough so that I can use both on my Ork force going forward in order to keep up that variety of camo patterns across their “uniforms”. This leaves me with only 7 more Orks left to go from this 500 (or 600?) point combat patrol force that I started in 2005. Two Rokkits, one Big Shoota, two Nobz and a Warboss. Plus a squig, and a whole lotta grots. The grots are well on their way, but need to be rebased to match the Orks… (groan!)

 

 

 

 

WAAAAGH! Pt.7: 40k Ork Slugga Boyz – Autumn Platenenmuster Style #1

Warhammer 40k Ork Slugga Boyz

Yeah, more Ork Slugga boyz. That’s how it works, I guess, when you’re painting a horde army yet wanting to make every model pretty unique. Once again we have a mix of Fantasy and 40k Ork parts that built these four. Several of these were painted black, and it looked decent, but… I was thinking that I should probably save the black (and black camo types) for the Kommandos and similar elites.

Warhammer 40k Ork Slugga Boyz

So they sat again in limbo while I tried to figure out how to paint them. Who should come to my rescue but Warlord Games – in one of their recent newsletters on the 2nd November, they featured a tutorial video by The War Gamer on painting German Plane Tree Autumn Camo. After a few days I got around to watching it, and decided it looked distinct enough from what I already had – and importantly – distinct from the green Ork skin, so worth giving a shot, especially since I picked up the full range of Army Painter paints recently, so I had all of the colours.

Warhammer 40k Ork Slugga Boyz

As you can see, it worked out… reasonably well. Not as nice as I’d hoped – and my concerns about the washes muddying the detail indeed came to light. Still, it looks decent, and so I’m happy enough with it. I also found another method to paint the same camo, also on Warlord’s site – which I have been using on the next batch of Orks. Finished soon (probably).

Warhammer 40k Ork Slugga Boyz

In some fairly pleasant news, after painting these four, I’m almost down to single digits on the number of Orks outstanding from my initial combat patrol force from 2005. Of course, that includes the Nobz and Warlord, so they’ll take a little longer. And not counting the grotz…  and then there’s plenty more Orks to paint after that!  But them ones following will be “new” ones joining the force, and some more Oldhammer Orks. Maybe I should get onto the Diggas I started back in the day and get them finished before starting a whole lot more new stuff?

Warhammer 40k Ork Slugga Boyz

A note to Ann – this is what I mean by washes over the top muddying up the camo (there’s an actual pattern under there). Still, these guys were essentially following the directions for a recipe, and I was taught the first time that you follow the recipe for something quite new, to follow them precisely – and then very it to taste the next time. Funny, the other guide from WLG has resulted in a pattern that looks NOTHING like this, despite them both being for Autumn Platenenmuster…

Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marines – Obliterators #2

Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine Obliterator

Obliterators.

They’re not good models, and we all know this. The current models aren’t that old, but they’re old enough to have been retired and replaced with models that aren’t shit. These models are less shit than the original ones – those are really shit, but these ones are shit too. Just less so. Still, I updated/resurrected my original pair just over a year ago, and they’re obviously a thing in the new Chaos army, just as they were before, so I finally forced myself to find and dig out another one of them to complete the squad, since these days they’re entirely bought in sets of three.

I did change out the head (again) in order to make the model look a little more “Iron Warriors” and a little less “hot garbage”. This is a MKIII head from Forge World. I think it was from an Iron Hands kit. I do think it improves the appearance of the model significantly.

Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine Obliterator

Just as I mentioned last time, I really dislike the random weapon-spam look of their arms, and so just as I was a bit more judicious with the others I assembled over a decade ago, I was again with this one. Twin-linked bolters on one arm, with ammunition magazines sticking out of the side. (Wait.. so how does he reload? Shh.. don’t think. The model is awful. It’s a meat-man. Don’t think. Don’t use your brain here…)

Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine Obliterator

There might have originally been a decent sculpt underneath all of that, before the sculptor covered their sculpt in too much greenstuff. I will say that I think painting it like meat makes it look less bad than GW’s go-to of pinkish flesh. Which isn’t to say that this is good looking. If you look carefully, you can see the dented left shoulder where I accidentally dropped the model wen in the final stages of finishing it. Somehow it dented the shoulder without damaging the paint. It’s certainly a heavy hunk of metal, in any case.

Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine Obliterator

…and the left arm. Again I’ve gone both minimalist and attempted to make the arm look less rubbish. In this case by using two melta barrel ends I found in a bits box – from converting metal Imperial Guardsmen back in the 1990’s. It actually kinda almost looks okay here, and as I’ve mentioned I’ve been practising a few times lately – another couple of heat-discoloured weapon barrels.

Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine Obliterator

So now I have a trio. The three models required to legally field the Obliterators as a unit in 8th edition Warhammer 40,000. I’ve got more of these models. A bunch of finecast ones bought cheaply secondhand. I planned to make them into Mutilators, but I’m not sure if:

a) Mutilators are worthwhile in 8th

b) I can really be bothered to build and mildly convert them into something passable. I guess I have some spare parts from Ork Mega Armoured Nobz.

c) Which army to build them for. Despite the confluence of the Iron Warriors and the (groan) Obliterator Virus in the lore, I feel like they’re a bit gribbly for my Iron Warriors. Or to have to many of in my Iron Warriors. I’ve also got all those Dark Vengeance models that are a bit too …Chaosy for my Iron Warriors, so I need to decide on a Non-Mono-aligned Fallen Legion to go with my Traitor Legion. Which I guess will be Word Bearers, since I’m disqualifying the four Chosen Legions, I already have the IW, I have specific plans for a small force of Alphas and Black Legion, and I don’t really connect with the Night Lords (and they’re in many ways more murder-y than chaos-y).

If I loved the models, then a) and b) would not be an issue. As it happens, it’s much more the case of “I’ve got them, let’s see if I can be motivated to assemble and paint them.” So… yeah.

Orktober 2017 Finale: Group Shot!

Rogue Trader-era Kev Adams Space Orks, Oldhammer, Brian Nelson 40k Slugga Boyz

A quick and dirty post today – Just something fun to show off all of the Orks that I’ve recently painted in a group shot. Da Boyz are certainly back in town! By the time their codex comes out, I’m hoping that I should be well on my way to a small (points-wise) but playable force. I’m quite pleased how well the Orks from such different eras work together as a group. Consistent basing and an overall shared palette/theme really make a difference!

Orktober 2017 #6/WAAAAGH! Pt.6: 40k Ork Slugga Boyz.

Warhammer 40k Ork Slugga Boyz

And yep, another three Orks today. I figured that I could have shown all six in one post on a 2-day turnaround, or just post them three at a time over two days. So I’m doing the latter to give them all a bit more space. Besides, they took me long enough to get finished, so I’m good with giving them a bit more individual showcase. It’s not like it’ll happen for these models again as any new posts with them will either be much larger group shots or battle reports, so I’ll give the hours of work these guys took their moment in the spotlight. 😛

Warhammer 40k Ork Slugga Boyz

As with yesterday’s camo schemes, we’ve got British Desert DPM and three variations on that Yugoslav “puzzle” pattern, all with different palettes. The idea is that when these Orks are all mixed together, they’ll all be unique yet unified by their camo gear. Besides, even with Blood Axes, I can’t see Orks being better at wearing unified camo than, say Russian troops. 😉