Friday, March 21, 2014

On the Cat(apult) Walk- 28mm Battletech

Phew! Finally completed the Catapult in all its glory! Between all my different projects, and the long time I spend painting such large models in general, it’s taken me near a month to complete this thing.

The Catapult is a long-time favorite of mine, and finally getting my hands on a large-scale battletech model of this caliber is a dream come true. This is one of Scott Murphy’s kits, and he was generous enough to sell me his last one and even provide me the parts that were missing from what he initially shipped. I already covered my build of the kit in this blog post, so now on to the painted final product!

In keeping with the rough-n’-ready concept, I painted the catapult heavily with weathering effects and plenty of wear-and-tear. I decided on a reddish-brown Terra-cotta base, with wisps of sandy tan camouflage. This basic scheme however is barely visible beneath a heavy coating of sand-colored pigment.

Weathering pigments are one of those “instant professionalism” products that many companies sell. Like washes or shades, they provide an easy way to coat an entire model to provide a specific effect- in this case, sand built up over many long patrols. Luckily, pigments like these tend to catch on the edges of the model in a realistic fashion, making a miniature model start to look like a ver small, real vehicle!

To contrast the darker reddish tone, I applied a very bright, nearly fluorescent green color to the cockpit canopy. This is, unfortunately, the one part of the model i’m not satisfied with. I tried multiple coats of thinned-down paint, glazes, washes, thicker paint…nothing I used made me happy with the final result. Like 99.999% of Battletech players, I can’t get cockpit jeweling right and it’s frustrating. Oh well, i’m still pretty happy with the overall model. For further contrast I painted the barrels stowed behind the cockpit assembly a beaten, weather-worn yellow shade.

Lastly, I applied some decals to the rear sections of the model. I’m a bit low on decals since Piranha Games isn’t very chatty these days, so I had to make due with some 40k transfers. I used the two arrows to mark out the ‘mech’s vent outlets. And added some decorative kill stripes to the rear sections of the LRM launchers.

All in all, the kit is a fantastic build and an absolute pleasure to paint. I only wish my skills with the brush were better so I could do it justice.

Stay tuned folks, I should have more models in progress soon! And Tim Fusco’s Mad Cat MK II should be back from the casters within the month.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Warhammer 40,000- Imperial Knights

So….remember those Imperial Knights? Well I bought 3 of them, and spent the weekend assembling the models. They are massive plastic kits with almost 150 pieces, including two different weapon options and 3 masks that go over the head’s sensor array. I built two of the models as Knight Paladins with battle cannons, and the third as a Knight Errant with a thermal cannon. While the kits have quite a few options and a ton of little fiddly bits, I should point out that the lower half of the model is stuck in one pose unless you want to cut and trim quite a bit….which I did.

Now these pictures are of the models about 90% done. I left off most of the armor plates, because I am going to paint the skeleton and joints before attaching and painting the armor.

The first Knight I built is the Errant with the thermal cannon, going literally by-the-book (and then adding a few little detail bits). What you see here is the basic leg pose that all Knights are pretty much forced to take.

These kits are relatively easy to built….but take a long time to do it. You have separate sub-assemblies for the legs, arms, and torso, with many separate detail bits that you could miss completely if you don’t follow the instructions. Even after building three of these things I had to refer to the manual for where certain bits went.

Now what’s interesting about the Imperial Knights (aside from their awesome, flavorful background fiction), is that they can be fielded as an ally to your existing Warhammer 40,000 army, or as an army of 3-6 Knights on their own! I don’t have much of a playable 40k force anymore, so I plan on running these 3 Knights as my own army.

The second Knight- this one a Knight Paladin- required major repositioning and conversion work. I posed him mid-charge, wielding his giant chainsword as he tromps towards the enemy. The front foot is balanced on only two toes, while the back foot is off the ground entirely, in mid-step (there’s a small bit of plasticard tubing holding that foot up).

I’m very happy with how this one turned out, and I went the extra mile adding battle damage to his cowling and shield, as I imagine charging forward with reckless abandon takes precedence over taking cover or avoiding enemy fire.

I actually added a bit more to this guy’s base in the end too (not pictured), including a bit of piping and some heavy bits in back to counterbalance him.

The third Knight is by far my favorite. He is intended to be the Warlord of my army, and I put an entire day’s worth of work into building him!

The pose was my first priority. I knew from the start that I wanted his Knight to be standing with one leg atop a dead Tyranid beast. I cut and trimmed the leg and the knee, with the toes in front and back conforming to the slope of the alien’s dead body (i’ll take pics from another angle soon). The other leg required just as much shaving and reposing, mostly of the hip and ankle joint so that it stood correctly.

Whereas the other Knight Paladin has a heavy stubber on the left torso mount, and the other heavy stubber sitting coaxial to the battle cannon, I decided this one should have both on the torso, pointed downwards to ward off advancing infantry (like swarms of Tyranid gaunts). It gives the sense that the machine is sort of on auto-guard mode, standing aloof and at the ready.

The pilot is my favorite part of this model. As the cockpit hatch is a separate piece of the miniature, and the torso is entirely hollow inside, I took the opportunity to completely model the interior with details (pics in the next post soon!). I glued the hatch open, with some extra brass-etch details, and built my pilot out of a Death Korps of Krieg miniature from forge world, with the head of a Warhammer Fantasy Empire model. The way I see it, his Knight is triumphantly standing atop a vanquished foe, guns at the ready, while he surveys the battlefield before him.

Some last minor details included heavy-guage wire antennas in a cluster near the cockpit.

All in all, these three models are the core of my new army, and after I finish basing them and get the last scraps of work done, I will be painting them so I can finally play Warhammer 40,000 again.