Mentor Legion #3 – Tactical Squad III-1

Here’s the next part-painted Squad element of my Mentor Legion. Like the previous models shown, this trio is part of II Company, but this time III Squad.

Of course, with 7 members of the squad missing, these guys are much less impressive, but the important thing is they they got painted and completed – finally.

While I could theoretically combine the two and run them as a single squad (with another proxy thrown in), I think I’ll just get both squads done properly before I let them hit the table. Ordinarily I wouldn’t even show off a trio of Space Marines like this, but… well, tomorrow will explain it.

Mentor Legion #2 – Tactical Squad II-1

The Mentor Legion was always a Space Marine Chapter I was fond of, ever since I first saw them back in White Dwarf 98 during the late 1980’s. When Warhammer 40k 3rd edition rolled a good decade later, in 1998, I decided to start a new army for the new edition (before that was used as a marketing catchphrase) and the Mentor Legion were the ones I chose.

I never managed to completely finish any of the models, though. I had five squads partway painted (2 Tactical, 2 Assault, 1 Scout), as well as a Dreadnought, Razorback (converted from a Predator), Librarian and Chaplain. There were a bunch of models that were all but finished – just needing their chapter badge. Being more interested in the original Mentor Legion with their Owl-head icon than the retconned “Mentors” with red, raptor head icon I tried to make my own Icons via my scanner and photoshop, but the printer paper I purchased from a hobby store did not work as advertised, and the designs ran horribly. I still used the models in games with my regular opponents of the day, but that was the end of trying to finish them properly for over a decade.

Skip forward to mid-late 2017, and I found that 3D-printed icons were now a thing on Shapeways. One designer agreed to make original Mentor Legion owl-head icons, but then took months and created the new raptor-head icons. Obviously only half-remembering and half-paying attention. Another designer I found later was willing to create them, having them ready within a couple of weeks, which has led to me finally being able to complete these figures. First up was the Dreadnought, which after so many false starts, I completed as part of Dreadtober.

Also as part of completing that Dreadnought, I finally got to trying the decal sheets I purchased in 2015 or 2016, after advice from . I’ve now got nice-quality, printed chapter icon decals for my Mentor Legion, for those times when the 3D-printed icons aren’t suitable. Next up was getting some of the infantry done, so I picked out the most close-to-complete models I had from the selection I had, removed ones with metal legs that would require a bunch of cutting to mount on 32mm bases, and set to rebasing them.

This left me with 6 Marines from Tactical Squad II and 3 marines from Tactical Squad III. Naturally, 2/3 of the photos of Squad III were blurry, so I need to retake them, and they’ll be in a separate post. Just as well, I guess. Squad II (they used to have a name) was the first one I started on, and gave them all MKVI Corvus armour (but MKVII pauldrons, since it was 3rd edition – plastics were limited in the extreme, and I wanted to use the space for squad markings and chapter icons anyway!)

When I got to starting subsequent squads, I quickly realised that my initial dream of an all MKVI force (inspired by the illustrations in WD98) was probably not feasable, so they’re in the usual mix of armour types. I’ll manage to finish this squad in type, though. I was not pleased last year when I realised that the original green paints I used had been discontinued without close approximations, but I found very close matches in P3 and Vallejo, so I’m still good once my old hex-pots finish up or dry out.

This brings us to the end of Squad II. For now at least. The Mention Legion plan is to slowly go through all of the old figures, rebase and finish them off – complete with Chapter Icons, before expanding the force with some newer reinforcements. I’m not to touch any new models until the last of the old guard is brought up to modern standards and completed, so probably a few months at best, then! Also – these six don’t count towards February’s neglected mini challenges, since they were completed in January.

Yep, I’ve got a backlog to post up!

Celestial Lions Space Marine Tactical Squad

Assault on Black Reach Space Marines, Celestial Lions

I started painting this Tactical Squad of Celestial Lions on Christmas Day, and was originally on track to finish them before the end of 2017, but then it didn’t work out that way as I ended up busy with a bunch of other things. Still, I managed to complete the squad towards the end of January.

Assault on Black Reach Space Marines, Celestial Lions

The main reason it took so long was actually this pair – the Sergeant and Missile Launcher guy. Compared to the rest of the squad which I was able to pretty much batch paint, these two ended up being much more slowly painted individuals, due to the amount of individual fiddly bits between the pair of them. I also decided to paint the Sergeant’s right Pauldron with Imperial Fists livery – as a heirloom item from their primogenitors. In slightly battered condition.

Assault on Black Reach Space Marines, Celestial Lions

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed by now that these guys lack a squad badge on their tactical arrow. This is by design. My cunning plan is to paint another Lions Tactical squad worth of figures at some stage in the not-too-distant future, and then mix the two sets of figures together.

Assault on Black Reach Space Marines, Celestial Lions

The next 10 marines will be made of a mixture of 2nd Ed metals, multipose plastics, and maybe some FW resin/Calth plastics to give a variety of poses and armour types. I’m using 3-d printed icons throughout.

Assault on Black Reach Space Marines, Celestial Lions

When the two sets of figures are mixed together, it will remove a lot of the repetitive redundancy that they have at the moment, all being monopose push-fit figures from the Assault on Black Reach starter set. (40k 5th Edition starter, 2008). At that point I’ll either organise them into numbered squads or decide to paint a third set of 10 tacticals and really mix things up once they’re completed.

Assault on Black Reach Space Marines, Primaris Lieutenants, Celestial Lions

Here’s the completed squad alongside the two Primaris Lieutentants from Dark Imperium (40k 8th Edition starter, 2017). I’ll have to do some character models and probably a Dreadnought and vehicle – which will then place them firmly in “small playable faction” territory. I’ve got some other marines I want to finish off before I start to do that, though…

WAAAAGH! Pt.9: 40k Ork Slugga Boyz’ ‘Eavy Weapons

And now my final four Ork boyz – from the initial wave, anyway. The first of these is made mostly with fantasy parts armed with Slugga and Choppa. One metal boy with Big Shoota from before plastics were on offer – which is why I converted my others from the plastic boyz.

The other two are a pair of Rokkit Launcher boyz that are also kitbashed from plastic Ork parts with “rokkits” made from some Ork epic parts from the bits box. Their rokkit backpacks were made from greenstuff with some more plastic parts for the spare rokkits. The “rokkit arms” were initially made from fantasy spear arms.

Ork Slugga Boy

Ork Big Shoota Boy

Ork Rokkit Launcher Boy

Ork Rokkit Launcher Boy

While this is the last of the boyz from the first wave. We still need the two Nobz, the Warboss and a whole pile of grots/gretchin to properly complete the first wave – so still at least three posts (and a bunch more figures) to come…

Deathwatch Squad Edinorog: Pt.2

Deathwatch Space Marines

Here’s the completed squad. I managed to get outside today to retake the blurry photos, so here we go:

Deathwatch Space Marine Librarian

This is Librarian Edinorog. He originally hails from the “Monokera Rampant” chapter of Space Marines (both names subject to change). He took fucking forever to paint, because he’s so covered in so much fiddly bling. I painted his eyes in white, and used Nihlakh Oxide to give them that glowing “caster about to do something psychic” look.

Deathwatch Space Marine Librarian

Again, the figure used here is an old one. A Librarian model “Lexicanium 1” from 1995/6, he’s another model who had had a long journey in getting started (around 2006) and another decade on top to be complete (end 2017). Though these days a Librarian would not be a leader (or member) of the squad, so I’ll have to build and paint another Deathwatch Veteran to make this little group legal. Or another six.

Deathwatch Space Marine Librarian

The sword was painted with the bluish teal shade I’ve been using for power swords, but I was unsatisfied with it. I tried to fix it by subtle criss-crossing it with thin lines of silver, but then it just looked messy. So I added a thinned down coat of Transparent Green from Warcolours to try and give it a different look that still fit a power sword. It turned out darker than I’d wanted, but I still think it turned out quite decent.

Deathwatch Space Marine Librarian

Once again, the Deathwatch parts added to the model are the metal shoulder pad and bolter from the original metal add-on bits, along with a current Deathwatch backpack. On this and the other models in the squad, I’ve attempted to very subtly shade the shoulder with a touch of blur, and the arm with a touch of brown. You probably didn’t notice that on any of these models before I mentioned it, but you have now. So job done, I guess.

Deathwatch Space Marine, Flesh Tearer

Here’s another one of the models that started blurry. This model was originally going to be a Crimson Fist, and actually had the Fist icon attached to his gut-plate, but I decided that his armour was a little too feral looking for a Fist, and pried it off, replacing it with a Flesh Tearer icon. The chest and legs both come from the old Khorne Berserker kit and the head comes from the metal Deathwatch parts from the mid-noughties.

Deathwatch Space Marine, Flesh Tearer

I somehow lost the original right arm, and the pad was to be a metal Fists one, so I simply used both parts from the modern kits. All the parts fit in well enough with one another, so it works for me. I also hazard-striped the cable since painting it metallic or dark grey would have been too boring, and dark red is already the weapon colour.

Deathwatch Space Marine, Flesh Tearer

Rear view isn’t especially exciting. Aren’t you glad I took this photo?

Deathwatch Space Marine, Flesh Tearer

The chainsword arm is just standard 3rd ed parts while the shoulder pad is taken (I think!) from the Marine Command Squad sprue. It’s a good example of the way that GW’s plastic technology has moved forward in the past decade, moving from smooth sides here to the sculpted script in the current ones.

Deathwatch Space Marine

Last of all, we have this dude with a heavy bolter. Once again, the weapon is a reflection of the original rules and available models of the day – both arms, the weapon and the backpack are metal while the megs and torso are plastic. Yep, he’s from the days of plastic-metal hybrid kits! The shouty head is the metal one from the old Deathwatch sprue of the day, and obviously the Deathwatch shoulder pad again comes from that conversion set. I think I actually had to use clippers to cut the original right ahoulder pad off so I could mount that Deathwatch pad onto it. Fun!

Deathwatch Space Marine

Despite being such pain in the arse to assemble (I had to do that as part of the recent work, as he’d almost completely fallen apart over the years), he’s come together quite nicely. Even if his weapon isn’t a blinged-out combi-weapon of the modern type.

Deathwatch Space Marine

The shoulder pad had a feline head icon from Shapeways added to it. I do like the effect of sculpted detail of this type on my marine models. Steel Panthers sound ok for a Chapter name? Good. Done. And now that I see this pic, I notice that I forgot to paint a name onto his scroll. I’ll have to bring him back inside and sort that out. Tomorrow. I think I also missed the lights on his backpack as well. And huh. Look at that. Red cable. Ah well.

Deathwatch Space Marine

Finally, the reverse shot. I’m out of interesting things to say about this model. So let’s just admire the work that his powered armour needs to to to carry all that crap around!

While the squad might not be table-legal for the current edition of 40k, I’m still quite satisfied to have taken another group of marines out of that old case and actually finished them off. With only a single marine to sort out to make them legal, I’ll hopefully be able to work around Painting Decembuary to get one done by the end of January. Any more will have to wait until a bunch of other stuff is completed and out of the way, I’m afraid!

Deathwatch Squad Edinorog: Pt.1

Deathwatch Space Marine, Celestial Lions

I’d be showing off the whole squad, but some of the photos turned out blurry. So… half of them it is.

This squad of Deathwatch Space Marines were started sometime after their rules were first published in White Dwarf 306, back in the mid-noughties. As with so many of my projects, I got a certain way through before getting distracted or what have you, and like many of them, I’ve dug these models out of a figure case a few months ago and gotten them finished in the last week.

Deathwatch Space Marine, Celestial Lions

I needed something to work on after completing the pair of Celestial Lions recently, as I needed to have something to continue working on. These had been sitting on my desk for ages, mostly forlorn after being rebased onto 32mm bases, and so they have been my focus in the last few days. And now they’re done.

Deathwatch Space Marine, Celestial Lions

This model originally had a chapter badge from …some transfer sheet or another. A skull with crossed lighting bolts or some such. It was pretty generic, but at least it worked for some Space marine chapter that wasn’t one of the big, well known ones. This model is from 1995/6, known at the time as Veteran Sergeant 1 with Bionic Eye, he’s been given a metal Deathwatch Shoulder Pad and Bolter added onto a 2nd Ed plastic marine arm, and a 3rd ed plastic backpack. The Lion-head icon again comes from Matrillo Y Cola on Shapeways.

Deathwatch Space Marine, Celestial Lions

Given recent events, when I came to try and finish this guy off, he was an easy induction into the Celestial Lions, especially given that his face and hair were already done. In a sense it furthers the tribute but more importantly it makes what was a pretty generic marine a little more meaningful to me – and I’d always liked how his face and complexion turned out, most of which is unfortunately lost in these photos. (It looks pretty average in that top photo!)

Deathwatch Space Marine

This next guy is the first of my Deathwatch that I completed. He was even kinda-completed when I fished him and his brothers out of that figure case, but he then needed rebasing, some additional work on his weapon and re-highlighting on his armour using Vallejo Panzer Aces 309 Periscopes – which is an idea I stole off a guy on Dakka (sorry, forgot the name! 😦 )because his Deathwatch looked great with it as the highlight colour instead of the usual greys.

Deathwatch Space Marine

Periscopes works especially well for me, as I’ve got a few different types of black-armoured marines going now (Legion of the Damned, Black Templars, plus more to come) and it allows for black armour with a very different feel, rather than more of the same. The model here is simply a 3rd Ed plastic marine using the metal Deathwatch parts (head, bolter, shoulder).

Deathwatch Space Marine

As with the Lion above, this guy was originally to be from some unknown, unnamed chapter. I may have come up with chapter and character names, and some fluff for these guys, but as I’ve said, the models were conceived a decade ago, and so that kind of stuff is now lost to time. While I’m able to paint at the moment, thinking up imaginative background isn’t my forte at the best of times, and right now I have no chance of concentrating well enough to create any…

Deathwatch Space Marine

So here we are. If anyone has an interesting chapter name for me to slap onto this guy, I’ll certainly consider it. I’ll try and get some more photos taken of the other three tomorrow, without any blurriness.

Once again my apologies to all who have written responses to my previous two posts. I’m still not up to reading them yet. I tried earlier, but it was …too much for the time being. Still, know I very much appreciate it.

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.