Golden Demon – No Trophy, But A Nice Badge

GD Final 2019

To follow on from my previous post, Asurvel Menerrys, LED Harlequin Shadowseer, I can confirm that sadly I did not come home from Warhammer Fest 2019 with a Golden Demon trophy. However I did make it into the finals of the ‘Open’ category, and picked-up this cool ‘Finalist’ pin badge for my troubles. So I’m not disappointed, in fact I’m pretty pleased with that as a first attempt. Besides, there’s always next year!

Thanks again to everyone who had kind words and support to share on Twitter and Instagram. If nothing else, I hope everyone found my explanation of how I made my LED Harlequin interesting!

Asurvel Menerrys, LED Harlequin Shadowseer

Allow me to present my entry for today’s Golden Demon competition at Warhammer Fest – Asurvel Menerrys, Harlequin Shadowseer with LED-powered dathedi holo-suit. Caution: Flashing images in video.

You ask for evidence that the Aeldari are not, in fact, all but dead? Evidence that some of their number deny the future allotted them? Evidence that they laugh in the face of Fate? Then let me speak to you of Asurvel Menerrys, Harlequin High Shadowseer of the Masque of the Obtuse Path.

– Inquisitrix Barbari Kills

Motivation

I had this idea quite a while ago. I don’t collect Harlequins, but they’ve always been my favourite Aeldari faction, so I felt it was worth doing as a one-off piece, just to push the limits of what can be done with LEDs and miniatures. I’ll be entering it into the Golden Demon ‘Open’ category, as LEDs aren’t strictly painting, and the Open is more “anything goes”.

How Was It Done?

In theory, this was a simple conversion. In practise, not so much. The main modification is the front of the torso, which I have recast in resin to make it semi-transparent to light. Before recasting I removed some of the detail, such as the necklace, to give me a nice flat surface on which to paint the diamond pattern.

Painting the pattern was something of an experiment (I did try it out on a spare casting first), and consisted of three stages.

  1. A coat of ‘Ardcoat gloss varnish across the resin. This was to give the following layers of paint something to ‘key’ onto.
  2. A diamond cross-hatch pattern painted in Abaddon Black, but thinned down about 50:50 with Lahmian Medium to make it translucent.
  3. Filling in alternating diamonds with GW’s gemstone technical paints, i.e. Spiritstone Red and Soulstone Blue. While being translucent, they are thicker than glazes and provide better coverage.

I used the gemstone technical paints because they’re semi-transparent, but have better coverage than the glazes. Each of the different gemstone paints allows a different wavelength (i.e. colour) of light to pass through. When the multi-colour LED is the same colour as the gemstone paint diamond on the chest, the paint appears bright as the light passes through it. When the LED is a different colour, most of the light is blocked and the diamond appears darker. This creates the effect of the diamonds changing colour and brightness, and is the basis of the holo-suit effect.

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So what about the actual LED and the wiring? For this I simply used the standard techniques discussed in my LED eye lense tutorial, including the coin cell battery in the base and the hidden wiring in the leg. The only difference was that the LED was in the torso rather than the head of the miniature. But otherwise all the principles are the same.

The wires run up through the middle of the stone ruins, then up into the leg before connecting to the LED in the torso. Drilling these very fine holes and then putting it all back together as though nothing had happened was one of the most difficult parts of the build.

The exact LED that I used was a 3mm Rainbow LEDs (3V ‘fast change’ version) from Small Scale Models. I selected this LED as it was a compact way to provide a range of colours with fast changes between each one. This helps to create the confusing illusion of the holo-suit. The bonus is that there’s no need for any additional circuitry, it’s all contained within the LED. I highly recommend Small Scale Models for miniature LEDs. If you’re in the market for some of your own, you should give them a try.

When originally drawing-up the plans for the Shadowseer, I had intended to also recast and illuminate the neuro disruptor with a nice internal blue glow. However, I realised that I couldn’t be sure that the single coin cell battery could power both the holo-suit and the neuro disruptor for the full 5 or 6-hour duration of the Golden Demon models being on display. So I decided to err on the side of caution and go with the shuriken pistol this time.

Colour Palette

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I thought long and hard about the colour palette for this model. I’d painted one Harlequin before, a Solitaire, for a narrative game scenario. But I’d been in kind of a hurry and the shades of green and yellow I’d picked didn’t really work. I knew this time I definitely wanted to give it more thought.

I ended up chatting with my good friend Apologist. If you haven’t see Apologist’s website, Death of a Rubricist, then you should really take a look. He has excellent articles on painting and modelling techniques, and his conversions are a joy to behold. I knew I didn’t want to go with green or yellow, as they’d bring back bad memories of my Solitaire. Apologists suggested purple, as it’s traditionally seen as quite an ‘opulent’ colour, which is definitely on-brand for the Aeldari.

With purple as my starting point, I now had to select the rest of the colours. I knew I wanted to keep the palette fairly limited – the LED would be providing enough additional colours as it was – so I used a colour wheel (found here) to select analogous colour harmonies. In this case, that means pink and blue.

Why No Free-Hand Patterns?

I took the deliberate decision not to paint any free-hand patterns – such as more diamonds – anywhere else on the model, besides those on the resin chest. As I say in my LED design tutorial, a good LED-equipped miniature is like a slight-of-hand magic trick. Anything that causes questions in the viewer’s mind breaks the illusion. If I’d painted the diamond pattern on the legs, for example, that would raise the question in the viewer’s mind “why aren’t those diamonds changing colour too?”. At that point, the illusion is broken. This is why I kept all other detail – except perhaps for the mask – to a minimum.

Non-Metallic Metal Mask

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They say the reflective mask of a Shadowseer shows the worst fears of any who look upon it. If your worst fear is attempting to paint Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) effects on your models, then in this case I guess that’s true!

This effect is technically known as Sky-Earth Non-Metallic Metal (SENNM) as the impression it is intended to give is showing a reflection of the ground in front of the model stretching away to the horizon, and then the sky above it. It’s actually quite an easy effect to paint, as long as you follow these simple rules.

  1. Start at the bottom with a light brown, then paint horizontally across the visor in stripes, gradually adding more and more dark brown to the mix with each successive stripe.
  2. By the time you reach the middle of the reflective surface, your brown should be dark brown.
  3. Begin the sky next, starting immediately above the centre with a light blue. Again, add more and more dark blue to the mix as you paint successive horizontal stripes.
  4. By the time you reach the top your blue should be dark blue.
  5. Finally, apply a very watered down blue glaze to the entire surface. This helps to tie the blue sky stripes together and also adds a subtle blue tint to the ground, further enhancing the impression of a reflective surface.

Just to note, I added a tiny bit of orange to my brown, since the ground shown on the base was orange! Which leads me on to…

Basing

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So what made me decide on an orange base? Firstly, orange is a complimentary colour to purple, so it helped to balance the whole model while drawing a clear distinction between the Harlequin and his surroundings. Secondly, I wanted to give the Harlequin a truly “alien” feeling, rather than having him leaping over green grass or the grey of a ruined city. Finally, I chose autumnal colours for the ground and the foliage to allude to the fact that we are in the very much in the autumn of the Aeldari’s time in the galaxy.

What’s Next?

This was one of the harder models I’ve made, mainly due to the very fine wiring required to pass through spindly Aeldari limbs! I really like the Harlequin concept, but I couldn’t bring myself to make a whole army using this technique. Maybe a Kill Team, but definitely not an army. I think there’s room for improvement too, I could definitely do a better job next time around. But that’s something for the future anyway. In the meantime, it’s back to the Crimson Fists!

Yniguis Galvez, Intercessor Sergeant

Long-time readers may remember me picking up two copies on Conquest issue 1 – six Intercessors for less than £4 was a bargain, not to mention the paints – and noting that I was going to use them as a basis for a converted squad. Well, here’s the first of them:

Brother-Sergeant Yniguis Galvez is a veteran of the first intake of Primaris Marines created on Rynn’s World. Soon after the Roboute Guilliman shared the secret of creating this new breed of Space Marine with the Crimson Fists, Pedro Cantor dispatched the newly reinforced battle companies to reinforced beleaguered Imperial worlds in the surrounding Loki sector.

The foes were many, and not even a Primaris Marine can be everywhere at once. Eventually the respective company captains found they had no choice but to divide their companies into demi-companies, then squads, and finally kill teams, in order to spread themselves as far as they could. These actions saw Galvez leading his men into battle against Orks, Aeldari, and a myriad of other heretics and xenos who were capitalising on the anarchy that flourished in the wake of the Great Rift.

I knew I was going to have to do some conversion work if I wanted a squad of five distinct individuals. The models six were three duplicate monoposes, two of which are very similar to those found in the Dark Imperium boxed set.

The main areas of conversion are the head swap – fairly inevitable with LED models anyway – the removal of the helmet mag-locked to the hip, the change of the pointing hand to be holding a severed Ork head, and the addition of a sheathed sword. The LED eye lenses were achieved following my standard LED eye lense tutorial.

Galvez favours the ‘Gravis’ pattern helm for his Mark X armour. As both a sergeant and a hand-picked kill team leader, he has a certain amount of leeway in selecting equipment from the armoury. It is likely that he favours the ‘Gravis’ helm for its improved communications suit, it’s intimidating appearance, or perhaps both. With so few Marines at his disposal Galvez knew that psychological warfare, properly applied, could make his meagre numbers seem much larger. After all, even the greenskins respect a brutal and intimidating opponent!

I took some inspiration from the image of the Marine holding a severed Ork head on the classic Rogue Trader cover, without copying it exactly. I went for the ‘Gravis’ helm as I think it looks quite threatening, and I wanted to further enhance the “brutal” look of the sergeant. I’ve always enjoyed the juxtaposition of how Space Marines can look terrifying while still being the “good guys” – for certain values of “good” of course!

I have a reasonable-sized Ork army, and the associated collection of bitz, so digging out a spare head was easy. I selected one that looked suitably fed-up, then sculpted on the hair-squig and the neck (Ork boyz have a hole in the back of their head where they connect to the neck mounted on the torso) using Green Stuff.

As ever, more Crimson Fists are on the way over the coming weeks. But come back here tomorrow for something entirely different…

Imperial Fist Breacher – True Scale

Something a bit different today; I thought I’d take a break from painting Kantor Blue and remind myself of the “fun” of painting yellow! So here’s a Breacher for my Age of Darkness ‘True Scale’ Imperial Fists.

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I started this army back in 2014, when there was no such thing as Primaris and if you wanted an embiggened Marine you had to do it yourself!

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This is my fifth completed Breacher, making the squad half done. Although the other models are at least assembled and undercoated.

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The idea behind this army is that it represents mid-late Heresy Imperial Fists. They’ve seen some action; they’ve been to Mars to recover the prototype MkV and MkVI armour, they’ve completed missions for Rogal Dorn in the Segmentum Solar, but now the Warmaster is closing in and they’re rushing back to man the walls…

Previous True Scale Imperial Fists

My Imperial Fists haven’t really featured on this blog very much yet, so here are a few more pictures for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t seen them before. There’s even more information in this log that I used to run over at the Bolger and Chainsword forum.

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The blue LED helmet eye lenses use my standard method as detailed in this tutorial. In fact these were the first models to pioneer the resin casting technique! Some of them are still on their original CR2032 batteries – five years later!

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The volkite energy flare is one of my favourite LED effects that I’ve done so far. You can see more of my Imperial Fists on Instagram, if you scroll down far enough.

Anatomy of a True Scale Astartes

If you’re wondering what parts I use to build my True Scale Marines, I’ve done a break-down below. This technique was heavily influenced by the work of my good friend Apologist. Check out his Death of a Rubricist blog for more True Scale goodness and general painting excellence.

I refer to this armour pattern as MkVI-S (the S is for ‘Stark’). In my mind it represents an early variant of MkVI. It’s still recognisable, but didn’t quite make it into full production after the Heresy.

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1. Head – MkVI head taken from the Ravenwing Black Knight sprue. Skull badge removed from forehead. Aerial removed from left side and left side re-sculpted in Green Stuff to match right.

2. Torso – Custom Green Stuff sculpt over standard Space Marine torso. Only the neck socket and plug for backpack remain on show and unmodified.

3. Shoulder pads – The left shoulder pad is a plastic ‘blank’ Terminator shoulder pad with the recesses around the edges filled in and studs added. The right shoulder pad is the Forge World Imperial/Crimson Fist Terminator shoulder pad with a lot of the detail (like purity seals) removed and the recesses around the edge filled in.

4. Arms – The arms and hand are a mix of from the Tactical, Assault and Grey Knight Terminator sprues. They have had reinforced ‘cuffs’ added with Green Stuff.

5. Bolter – Forge World Umbra pattern bolter.

6. Backpack – Forge World Legion MkVI power armour backpack.

7. Legs – Forge World Legion Tartaros Terminator legs. The ‘sunken’ panels on the thighs have been filled in to increase the diameter of the thighs and give a smooth appearance. Although if I was starting this army now I’d definitely use the plastic versions!

8. Base – Plastic 30mm rolled shoulder base with milliput, sand and slate top.

Anyway, I hope that’s all been informative, and a fun break from Crimson Fists and Genestealer Cultists!

Goliath Truck with Headlights and Muzzle Flare Stubber

I’ve been working on this Genestealer Cults Goliath Truck for the past couple of weeks, and now it’s finally complete. After painting so many single Space Marine miniatures, this large model was a shock to the system, even if it is essentially the same colours…

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Compared to my Crimson Fists, my Genestealer Cult have relative few LEDs. Well, it may not seem like it when you consider the Patriarch, the Magus and the functioning Mining Laser, but they’re certainly not in every squad. I just wanted to keep it simple for the Goliath Truck, so I limited myself to working headlights and a muzzle flare for the heavy stubber.

In terms of the muzzle flare, I’m (slowly but surely) working on a full tutorial, which will appear in my tutorial section in a couple of weeks. LED vehicle headlights are common conversions, and there are plenty of off-the-shelf kits out there, so it’s probably not worth a full tutorial. I’ll just give a quick summary in this post instead.

First I drilled and cut out the recessed headlights section on the right, leaving the frame around it for support. Then I cut out a thin sheet of plastic card and drilled two holes in it that were large enough to accommodate the LEDs. I took the row of four plastic headlights from the Goliath sprue (these are the ones that normally sit on top of the dozer blade on the Rockgrinder variant) and recast two of them in resin. Then it was simply a case of gluing the recast headlights over the plastic card holes, and mounting the plastic card in the recess where the original plastic headlights had previously been.

Finally I drilled two holes in the back of the resin headlights so the LEDs would sit comfortably inside them and shine through the resin, creating the above effect. The two LEDs were simply wired-up in parallel to a 3V coin cell battery holder and switch hidden in the body of the Goliath. The LEDs were TruOpto 1.8mm White High Power LEDs. I left the front section removable so I could get to the battery and the switch.

Goliath03

The muzzle flare used a 3V Amber chip LED from Small Scale Lights, combined with a custom cast resin muzzle flare shape of my own design. I’ve only started using this LED supplier recently, so they aren’t mentioned anywhere else in my tutorials, but I’ve been very impressed with their range and customer service so far. I think they’re likely to become my main LED supplier in future.

I’ll be talking more about chip LEDs and exactly how to use them to create muzzle flares in my upcoming tutorial, but if you don’t want to wait and think you can join the dots yourself then take a look at the links in the paragraph above and give Small Scale Lights some business.

When it came to the rust and corrosion on the Goliath, I was aiming for a look that suggested ‘this has been used for industrial purposes’ rather than a ‘broken and neglected’ appearance, so hopefully I didn’t overdo it. I did a Google Image search for “industrial truck corrosion” as reference, and then tried to imagine where on the Goliath the corrosion was likely to occur. The answer seems to be anywhere that precipitation might pool, or where mud or dirt might be thrown or accumulate during everyday operation. I used GW’s Typhus Corrosion, followed by a Ryza Rust drybrush for this. It’s quick and easy and actually quite good fun to do. I’m a big fan of GW’s technical paint range, they are definitely worth checking out.

That’s it for today, I hope you found that interesting! Now it’s time to get back to working on that muzzle flare tutorial…

Second Intercessor Squad Complete

I’ve now completed the last two Intercessors from the second Dark Imperium squad. Both of them are wearing relic helms; a Mark III Iron helm and a Mark VI Corvus helm respectively. I think I’ve written about this before, but I imagine that Pedro Kantor, Chapter Master of the Crimson Fists, would have been keen to find a way to integrate the fresh influx of Primaris Marines with the weary survivors of the recent battles on Rynn’s World. What better way to do this than to share some of the Crimson Fists’ illustrious heritage with the newcomers? Or at least any heritage that has survived the recent disasters! That’s where the relic helms come in.

These Intercessor were built using the techniques described in my LED eye lens tutorial. While building the Mark VI, I had the first ever case of an LED breaking once I had a fully assembled and nearly completely painted model! I’m not sure exactly what happened – a dry joint I think – but I had no choice but to open it up. This was a bit of a pain as I had to essentially break the model apart with a pair of clippers, replace the LED, reassemble and then fill in the gaps with putty. Back in school, my electronics teacher once said you me “your soldering is the worst I’ve seen this side of the war!”. I like to think I’ve improved somewhat in the intervening twenty years, but I can’t help but think back whenever something like this happens…

The resin Mark VII helmet the model had was unfortunately destroyed in the repair process, but I think I prefer the Mark VI that replaced it, so it was all for the good in the end.

So here are a couple of photos of the second Intercessor squad (click to enlarge). With 14 models now complete, my Primaris Crimson Fists are slowly but surely starting to feel like a coherent army.

 

Two More Intercessors Fresh From the Gene-Forges

I finished off two more Intercessors from the Dark Imperium box this week, bringing my second Intercessor unit up to three models. “Slow and steady wins the race”, as I am constantly forced to say!

With two young children I don’t get a lot of hobby time at the moment. It generally takes me a full week’s worth of hobby evenings to build an LED model, and then another week to paint it. But I’ll get there in the end!

The problem with these ‘Easy to Build’ models is that, unlike the last squad, none of them are in firing poses, so I can’t easily had muzzle flash flares. I could repose them, but that would be a lot of additional faff, so for the moment I’m content to have a squad that’s not firing. Just two more models to go in this unit now.

If you haven’t seen my tutorials yet and you’re wondering how the eye lenses are done, see my LED eye lens tutorial here.