Surgeon Acolyte, Minion of Bile

I’ve found one, master, and it’s still fresh!

Surgeon Acolyte

Today we’re looking at the Surgeon Acolyte, minion of Fabius Bile. This isn’t the start of a new army and my fall to Chaos (yet), but part of a birthday gift ‘commission’ for a friend. Fabius Bile himself will be following soon, but I wanted to test the LED technique on the acolyte first. Rather than helmet eye lenses, or weapon muzzle flares, LEDs in this miniature are being used to represent ominous glowing vials of daemonic ichor, super soldier serum, or whatever it is you think are in the glass containers on the acolytes’ back. My friend, who will eventually be the owner of this miniature, specifically chose the blue colour for the LEDs.

Modelling & Painting

As with many of my LED techniques, I was looking for a uniform glow from the point of interest – in this case the ‘vials’. After all, it’s not supposed to be a single point light source that is glowing inside them, but rather every part of the liquid they contain that is emitting a sinister glow. This is why I didn’t simply stick two 3mm round LEDs on the model and call it a day, as in that case all the light would have been coming from one visible point (the p-n junction) in the centre of the LED. I’ve written a short-form tutorial for how I achieved the glowing vials below.

  1. I began by cutting off the plastic vials from the back of the model and inserting two 3V blue SMD chip LEDs in their place. These are connected to a battery in the base following the principles set out in my Simple LED Muzzle Flare tutorial.
  2. Next I coiled the excess LED wire on top of the battery holder and filled in the gaps between the dead space marine and the base with modelling putty. It’s good practice to test the LEDs repeatedly at this stage, just to check you haven’t created an accidental short circuit while hiding the wire.
  1. Next I cast a 2mm diameter circular rod in polyurethane resin, following the principles set out in my Resin Casting For Special Effects tutorial.
  2. I then cut the rod to the same length as the plastic vials that were originally on the miniature. I used a combination of needle file and sand paper to round off one end, to more closely match the shape of the original vial. The other end was left flat.
  1. The next step was to drill a 1.5mm hole in the centre of the resin rod starting at the flat end, being very careful not to drill all the way through to the rounded end.
  2. I made sure the miniature was base coated at this point, especially around the areas where the resin vials would be attached. I knew it would be easier to glue them to a painted area rather than trying to paint the area after they were stuck down.
  1. Next I applied a thin ring of PVA glue to the flat end of the rod, and stuck it in place over the chip LED. I used PVA rather than super glue to help avoid any accidental frosting effects.
  2. Once the PVA glue had dried, I applied a thin blue glaze to the bare resin to give a pleasing tint to the resin when the LED is switched off.

When it came to painting the miniature, I largely stuck to the official colour scheme as I didn’t have any good inspiration for an alternative. I’ve noted a few of the colour recipes below, in case anyone is interested in replicating them, and as a reminder to myself. The model was undercoated with Chaos Black spray, and all colours mentioned are Citadel, unless otherwise noted.

  • Sickly Flesh
  • Rakarth Flesh basecoat
  • Carroburg Crimson shade
  • Rakarth Flesh thin layer
  • 50:50 Pallid Wych Flesh:Rakarth Flesh highlight
  • Pallid Wych Flesh fine highlight
  • Emperor’s Children Pink dots on finger and toe nails
  • Bloodstained Surgical Gown
  • Russ Grey basecoat
  • Drakenhof Nightshade shade
  • 50:50 Russ Grey:Ulthuan Grey layer
  • Ulthuan Grey layer
  • 50:50 Contrast Apothecary White:water shade
  • Skull White highlight
  • Khorne Red applied with sponge as ‘blood splatter’
  • Blood for the Blood God technical paint layered over Khorne Red areas
  • Black Rubber
  • Abaddon Black basecoat
  • Eshin Grey highlight
  • Dawnstone fine highlight

I gave my friend the choice of chapter for the space marine casualty, and he chose Imperial Fists. I think this was a good call as it’s a visually striking choice, plus I have a lot of experience painting yellow power armour. I used my Yellow Armour recipe found in this blog post. I may have actually spent more time painting the space marine than I did the rest of the model!

So there we have it, the Surgeon Acolyte is finished and ready to assist the big man himself! I’ll be back again soon with Fabius Bile, as well as plenty of other LED miniatures. As always, thanks very much for reading, and please don’t forget you can also follow my work on social media at TwitterMastodon and Instagram.

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