Raise the colours high, Ancient Harlon! Let the enemy see who comes to claim their lives!– Flesh Eaters Chaplain Uriah Grimm
Allow me to introduce Brother Harlon, Flesh Eaters Ancient. This model is my entry into the Golden Demon painting contest this weekend at Warhammer World.
The Long Road To Golden Demon
I know I say this increasingly often, but this was one of the most fiddly LED projects to date. I had already planned to make this model for my Flesh Eaters army project, but decided it might make a good Golden Demon entry. I was lucky enough get a Golden Demon ticket in the first round at the start of August, so I had a little time to plan and think. My initial idea for what I would build and submit was actually not part of the Flesh Eaters project, but I couldn’t get the prototype of the circuit to run for long enough off small batteries. With the current multi-day format the model will be on display somewhere between 24 – 36 hours, so it had to be long lasting. Unfortunately the prototype for my original project only lasted a mere 5 hours! So I decided to put that one on the back-burner (no details yet, as I may revisit it later) and instead tackle the Primaris Ancient. So with one project abandoned and two weeks in August “lost” to a summer holiday, I didn’t properly start the Ancient until the 1st September.
My initial iteration of this project involved using filament LEDs to represent energy beams lancing past the Ancient and through the banner. You can see some WIP shots of this version below. Unfortunately there were two drawbacks with this version:
- They required a 12V battery, which meant a different base design.
- The ends of the filament were not illuminated. No matter what I did to try and hide this they drew the eye and spoiled the effect.
- They were ridiculously bright! So bright in fact that I couldn’t take a decent photo and it was difficult to see the details of the paintjob.
I tried my best to persevere, telling myself it would all come together when it was finished, but I had my doubts. Finally, when I accidently snapped one of the filaments while making fine adjustments two days before the contest, I finally said “screw it”, and removed both filaments and the 12V battery from the painted model! Making such a huge, fundamental change to a competition entry just 48 hours before submission was the stuff of stress-dream nightmares! But I managed to do it after a couple of hours and without inflicting too much damage on the paintwork.
Painting & Modelling
The standard bearer in picture above is one of my primary influences for this piece. This photo is taken from one of the colour sections of the ‘Rogue Trader’ first edition Warhammer 40,000 rulebook. I’ve always thought this was a really cool model.
The base model for my version is a Primaris Ancient. As you can see in the images below, the model required some serious reposing. I wanted to banner to be on the viewer’s left as they looked at the model, while the stock Primaris Ancient holds the banner to the viewer’s right. The reason I wanted to change this is two-fold: one was to emulate the pose of the model that inspired it, the other was because when humans view an image their eyes start in the top left and track down diagonally to the bottom right (interestingly this is regardless of cultural influences). So I wanted the visual story to begin with the banner under fire, followed by the Flesh Eaters heraldry announcing who you were looking at, then on to the heroic Marine himself with the glowing eye lenses firmly in the centre of the image. Finally, the eyes take in the second round of incoming fire and the damage to the pauldron, bookending the visual story with the fact that this is a Marine in the heart of battle!
In the end the LED effects were achieved using some of my standard techniquies. The green eye lenses were achieved using my LED Eye Lens tutorial and a Green 1.8mm Tru-Opto LED. The bullet impacts were achieved using my Simple LED Muzzle Flare tutorial, only with two Yellow 1.8mm Tru-Opto LEDs connected in parallel. You can see some WIP pictures of the bullet impacts below.
To paint this model is used my normal red armour receipe, but with a few extra steps; a Rhinox Hide glaze shade at the bottom of large panels, a Trollslayer Orange point highlight, and a Bloodletter glaze. I wanted to do an extra nice paint job for Golden Demon, while not having the model look out of place with the rest of the army. If you look at the close-up shots then hopefully you’ll notice some subtle battle damage as well.
For the banner, I was trying to emulate the look of the banner from the Rogue Trader book. I decided not to extend the chequered pattern the whole way around the border. This was partially to save time, but also because I thought it would draw the eye too much. I thought it was worth adding the chapter name as the Flesh Eaters are relatively obscure and some viewers may not recognise the chapter symbol alone.
The final thing to talk about is the display plinth, seen in the picture below. I went for a transparent Perspex base, rather than the traditional black, to demonstrate that the miniature was entirely self-contained. This way you can see that there are no batteries or circuits hidden in the plinth.
So there we have it! Of course I will keep you all updated on how it goes. It would be weird for an LED model to win a painting contest, so I’m not holding my breath for any trophies, but it’s the taking part and the fun of being there that counts! As ever, thanks for reading, and please don’t forget you can also follow my work on Twitter and Instagram.