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.

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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.

Genestealer Hybrid with Functioning Laser

I’m not quite done with my Genestealer Cult yet. Here’s something a little different from my normal LED miniatures – a miniature with a functioning laser!

This is a concept I’ve been meaning to revisit for some time. I made a Space Marine with a lascannon built around small laser diode about five years ago. I won’t share it here there, as the laser was quite bulky and it didn’t look great. I’ve always felt I could do better – and now I have!

Genestealer Hybrid with Laser

So how was this done? Well I’m a little cautious about doing a full tutorial for this one, if I’m honest. In my day job I’m a Laser Safety Officer, so it doesn’t seem right to be encouraging people to go out and play with lasers! The laser diode that it’s built around (the brass cylinder in the WIP picture below) is Class 3R and has an output of 5 milliwatts (mW). This is basically as powerful as it can be while still being appropriate for everyday use. So if you do decide to try and replicate this, please exercise a bit of caution, and don’t expose your eyes to the direct beam!

Genestealer Hybrid WIP

The basic principle of the design is the same as for my LED plasma weapons – a battery in the base, and an optoelectronic device hidden in the weapon, only in this case it’s a laser diode module, not an LED.

You can source 3V 5mW laser diodes similar to this from many electronics suppliers, or simply from eBay. A word of caution though, when sourcing laser diodes I recommend purchasing from a supplier in the UK or Europe. It’s not uncommon for laser diodes imported from elsewhere in the world to be mislabeled in terms of their power output, whether that’s more power or less power. Neither is a good thing for this project!

Once you have the laser diode, it’s simply a case of drilling out the plastic barrel of the laser weapon, carefully gluing it to the front of the diode (don’t get any glue on the diode lens!), and then using green stuff to bulk out the shape of the laser. You’ll the power cord that runs from the mining laser to the backpack are the actual power connections of the laser diode. Sometimes things are best hidden in plain sight! The wires then run down through the backpack, through one of the legs and to the battery in the base, as per the LED plasma weapon tutorial.

So there we have it. I hope you found that insight into miniature laser weapons interesting. Whether or not your Hybrids with mining lasers have line-of-sight to their target will never be in question again!

 

Darrakar and the Nightmare Lantern

Behold, mortals! Darrakar, Guardian of Souls is upon you! Fear his baleful Nightmare Lantern!

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Darrakar is one of the two special limited edition models that were released for a short time to celebrate the recent opening of 500th Games Workshop store. A friend picked him up as a present for me, and as it’s such an awesome model I had to bump him up to the front of the painting/LED queue!

As I discuss in my design tutorial, I always think that the best LED miniatures are like magic tricks. If someone can look at the miniature and it’s not immediately obvious how it’s done, then that produces the best reaction. But, like a magic trick, if it’s super-obvious then it’s less impressive. If you can see the card up the magician’s sleeve – or in this case the wires and battery – then it won’t garner much more than a shrug.

So how was Darrakar’s lantern done? Essentially the basic principles can be found in LED Eye Lens Tutorial, although in this case I was working with a ghostly lantern instead of a Space Marine helmet! The image below shows the lantern switched off so everything can be seen a little more clearly.

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The battery is in the base, as normal. The wires come up through a hole in the middle of the gravestone and then cling to the back of one of the wispy tails and from there run up into the torso. I didn’t try and drill the ethereal wisps. Instead, because they’re very thin wires, they’re glued to the back of the wisp and then further disguised with green stuff.

From there they run through the torso and up to the lantern arm. Darrakar’s original arm was too spindly to hide wires, so I essentially removed the arm and replaced it with the wires themselves. I then extended the sleeve of the shroud with green stuff to hide the wires – in this case the magician really did have something up his sleeve!

For the lantern, everything from the top of the flames downwards is a resin recast. I drilled a hole in this and inserted a green LED. I then cut away the handle of the lantern and made a new handle from the legs of the LED! These then connect to the wires just behind the hand.

So there we are, a little insight into the Guardian of Souls and his Nightmare Lantern. I’d encourage everyone to have a go at this themselves – the Nighthaunt model range are ripe for the use of ghostly green and blue LEDs!

 

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Bristol Vanguard ‘Spoils of War’ Campaign Weekend

I’ve just returned from Bristol Vanguard’s ‘Spoils of War’ Warhammer 40,000 campaign weekend, hosted at Bristol Independent Gaming. This is the second Bristol Vanguard-run event that I’ve attended, and I would definitely attend a third. The games are well organised, story driven and the atmosphere is very chilled. The venue is great too – I’d never visited B.I.G before but I was impressed, especially with the tables and scenery which were all good quality and nicely themed. The attached store offers 10% off RRP on all purchases too.

The plot of the campaign weekend was themed around a Tyranid incursion into the Eastern Fringe, so all of the PCRC took Tyranid or Genestealer Cult armies. I had originally planned to go pure Cult, but failure to paint everything in time meant I had to blow the dust off my retro Tyranids as reinforcements for the first time in 8th edition. I really enjoyed using the Tyranid force with their “new” codex, although did feel that the Genestealer Cult battalion suffered slightly when I used it as a standalone force in the doubles games. Being one of the last Index armies with access to very few stratagems can be a bit painful when going up against full Codex lists!

Additional photography courtesy of Graham Gilchrist.

I may not have won many of the actual games, but I was really pleased to pick up the ‘Best Painted Character’ trophy for my Genestealer Magus! Thanks very much to everyone who voted for me.

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So all-in-all a very enjoyable weekend! Hopefully we’ll make it back again next year.