Everchosen – 3rd Place at Warhammer Nottingham

I’m pleased to say that my Reiver Sergeant picked up enough votes to come in third place in the Everchosen contest at the Warhammer Nottingham store this weekend!

Everchosen

Sadly not enough to progress to the next round, but to be honest the quality of entries at the Nottingham store was so high that I was honoured to place in the top three at all! Thank you very much to anyone who was there and voted for my miniature, if you happen to be reading this!

Nottingham isn’t actually my regular local store, but I was in the area visiting family, so it was the store I was closest to on that particular Saturday. I must say I enjoyed the Everchosen experience; it’s quite different to Golden Demon with the public vote and different rounds. The atmosphere in the store was very friendly – while I was there at least! I hope Everchosen goes on to becomes an annual event. In the meantime I’m looking forward to casting my online vote in the next round!

Conductive Paint – New Product Coming Soon From Green Stuff World

The guys at Green Stuff World, providers of many useful hobby supplies, will soon be selling a new Conductive Paint, and they got in touch to ask if I’d like to try it before it goes on general release at the end of August. Of course this is right up my alley, so I said yes please! Full disclosure, this article isn’t a paid add, but they were kind enough to supply the bottle for free.

ConductivePaint

So what is it?

As the name suggests, Conductive Paint is a paint that conducts electricity, which is useful for either creating electronic circuits from scratch or repairing gaps in existing circuits. So how does it work? Detailed ingredients aren’t listed – fair enough – but it is apparently water based and also contains silver particles, so I imagine it’s simply a high concentration of silver particles suspended in an acrylic paint medium. It seems quite similar to ElectroDAG or silverDAG, if you’ve ever used those, which are basically conductive adhesives.

Conductive Paint 02

The only GHS symbol is ‘Harmful to the Environment’, which stands to reason. Although it’s not listed as ‘Irritant’ or ‘Harmful’, I can’t imagine you’d want to get this in your eyes, so do be careful! During the course of testing I got a bit on my skin, but it easily washed off with soap and water.

One word of warning – this product is supplied in a dropper bottle. I gave it a good shake before removing the lid, and attempting to dispense some of the paint. Only a very small drop came out, so I assumed it was quite viscous and squeezed harder, at which point the spout of the dropper bottle flew off and the paint splashed everywhere! So please exercise caution when dispensing. As an aside, if it gets on your clothes, you can rub it off by hand scrubbing it in water when it has dried!

Conductive Paint 03

Testing properties

My background is in science, so the first thing I felt compelled to do was test the properties of the paint. I painted two lines on a 10cm strip of plastic card – one over bare plastic and one over an undercoat spray. This was intended to check whether the paint needed an undercoat to key to and if not having an undercoat effected its conductivity.

Conductive Paint 04

The lines are a bit wonky as I used an old brush. I wasn’t sure how easily this stuff would clean off and I didn’t want to ruin any of my good brushes. But as it turns out, it cleans off very easily under running water. Just be careful about cleaning it in a water pot, and then using that water again with normal paints, as you’re likely to contaminate your brush and the other paints with the silver particles.

Once the paint had dried I measured the resistance with a digital multi-meter. It averaged at about 5.5 Ω per cm of track. This will obviously vary with the thickness that the paint is applied.

What can we use it for?

Basic tests out of the way, what can we actually use this conductive paint it for?

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It can definitely be used for completing circuits and connecting LEDs. The LED shown above is simply held in place by applying the conductive paint thickly over the legs and allowing it to dry. No solder used!

Conductive Paint 06

You can also use it in place of solder to connect wires to a battery holder, again applying a thick layer of the paint. The LED shown above is a blue Nano Chip LED from Small Scale Lights.

Conductive Paint 08

It can also be used for mounting tiny chip LEDs without any wires. The chip shown above is a Kingbright KPHHS-1005PBC-A Blue Low Profile LED mounted in a standard 0402 chip package from Rapid Electronics. These things are small, in case that’s not clear from the photo. Each chip is 1mm x 0.5mm x 0.5mm, so make sure you have some very fine tweezers handy if you’re going to be working with them. These chip LEDs have pads on the bottom at both of the narrow ends, so you just need to leave a break between the two sides of the circuit that is slightly narrower than the length of the LED, then press the chip into the conductive paint while it is still wet. When it drys, it will hold the chip in place and complete the circuit. In the image above I have added the chip to the palm of a plastic space marine arm and then attached two wires using the conductive paint, one on either side of the arm.

Conductive Paint 09

Combing these tiny chips and the conductive paint with a bit of resin casting, you could potentially use this to make cool effects like magical flames, psychic lightning or Iron Man style hand blasters, for example. On a complete model, the connections between the conductive paint tracks and the wires could be hidden inside the body. It could probably also be used as an alternative method of completing a LED muzzle flare circuit, rather than drilling out the barrel of the gun and passing wires through.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I really like this product! It’s certainly not a magical solution to all my circuit needs, but it definitely is a useful tool to have at my disposal. The ability to use it to mount chip LEDs and using it to make solderless connections is especially handy.

Where it doesn’t compare to solder is in long-term durability and strength of the connections, but in effect you’re trading that off for the speed and convenience of applying the paint.

The other potential downside is the resistance. The 5.5 Ω per cm may not sound like a lot, but when you compare it to the resistance of 0.1mm copper wire, which will be about 0.02 Ω per cm, it soon adds up. When I first started testing the conductive paint I envisaged using it to mount LEDs on a model – such as the chip LED mounted on the arm shown above – and then painting tracks all the way down the side of the model (hidden under the top paint coat) to connect it to the battery in the base. However on reflection that might be tricky, as if you layer on the conductive paint too thick then it will be hard to hide under the regular paint, but if you make it too thin then the resistance could be too great. It would effectively be like adding a 50 or 100 Ω resistor into the circuit, which would be a problem.

Having said that, it definitely seems to work as intended for short connections, and I’ll certainly buy more when my free sample runs out! Conductive Paint will be available from Green Stuff World at the end of August.

Sergeant Bast, Reiver Squad Leader with LED Muzzle Flares

SgtBast02

I only have two answers for the question of heresy, and both of them are fully loaded! – Reiver-Sergeant Bast, on the eve of the Jotun Offensive.

Reiver-Sergeant Bast is the second member to be completed for my Reiver squad, and also my entry for the Everchosen nationwide painting competition that Games Workshop are running tomorrow.

The role of the Reiver has two aspects, just like our skull helms and the human faces underneath. One is the stealthy infiltration of our targets. The other is the application of instant and overwhelming force. – Reiver-Sergeant Bast, squad initiation.

When I was first planning how to assemble this unit, I decided I wanted to go for very dynamic and aggressive poses. I was imaging them deploying via their grav-chutes, opening fire on their targets before they were even on the ground.

This conversion may look a little complex, but it was actually fairly simple. There is no left-handed bolt carbine on the Reiver sprue, but I simply cut the hand from the right-hand from bolt carbine that doesn’t have a hand on the forward grip, and then glued it onto a left combat knife arm. The LED muzzle flare effects were achieved as described in my tutorial here. Both LEDs are connected to the same battery in parallel. As they are identical LEDs there is no need for any additional resistors (the current draw is obviously the same for both). There’s no actual in-game effect for having two bolt carbines on the model, it’s just for show!

SgtBast06

The image above shows the model with the LEDs switched off. Normally I leave the resin unpainted, but that of course means the muzzle flares are resin white when the LEDs are not on. As an experiment for this model, I painted some Fuegan Orange shade into the recesses, and then painted the whole muzzle flare with Lamenters Yellow glaze. As you can see above it makes the muzzle flare resin look better when the LEDs are off, but doesn’t seem to effect the brightness at all, since the shade and the glaze are both semi-transparent. I’m so pleased with this look that I think I’ll go back and apply this to all previous muzzle flares.

More Reivers to come soon, and I’ll post an update over the weekend about how Sergeant Bast does in the Everchosen competition!

Primaris Reiver and New LED Muzzle Flare Tutorial

Reiver 01

In a change of pace from my Intercessors, here’s my first Crimson Fist Primaris Reiver. I’ve had the concept of the model in my head since 2017 when the PCRC bought me the Reiver box and the Aggressor box for my birthday. So it’s good to finally get this model out of my imagination and into the real world!

I wanted to give the impression of an intimidating killer; someone who is taking down enemies with short controlled bursts from his bolt carbine before confidently striding forward towards his next target. Hopefully I’ve managed to get that across!

Reiver 04

As I was working on this model I also took a lot of work-in-progress images to finally put together my LED muzzle flare tutorial, which you can now find on my tutorials page if you feel like having a go yourself. This is a bit of an extended tutorial, as I specifically cover the casting of the resin muzzle flare as well as the electronics aspect.

I’ve recently gained a new LED supplier – Small Scale Lights. If you’re at all interested in using LEDs in miniatures then you should check out this supplier. They have a great range and excellent customer service.

Reiver 05

Here’s a comparison shot with the LEDs turned off, so you can see what the model looks like under normal lighting conditions.

Reiver 06

And of course, I can never resist a quick improvised diorama!

Reiver 07

TARGET ELIMINATED! ADVANCING.

That’s it for today. Don’t forget to check out the new tutorial. I’ll be back again soon with more Crimson Fists. Hopefully I can get the rest of the Reiver squad out of my head too! Remember, you can always catch me on Instagram or Twitter in the meantime.

Golden Demon – No Trophy, But A Nice Finalist 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.

Harlequin06

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…