Ancient Santec, Dreadnought of the Fourth Company

This galaxy has a million ways to kill you. I simply never found one that suited me.

Ancient Santec, Dreadnought

Most of my recent posts have started with a lament about how many years a given unit has taken to make and paint. But although this Redemptor Dreadnought has been sat on my ‘Shelf of Shame’ since 2017, once I actually picked it up and started work the assembly and painting only took about three weeks. Behold Ancient Santec, Redemptor Dreadnought of the Fourth Company of the Crimson Fists!

The banner was a little addition to echo the dreadnoughts of the past and give a bit of a retro vibe. I was particularly picturing the metal dreadnoughts with large banners that were very common in second edition Warhammer 40K. The fist on the banner is one of the Forge World Imperial Fist brass insignia set (sadly now OOP I believe), and the banner itself is the company banner from the Company Command box.

‘Onslaught’ Assault Cannon

Of course it wouldn’t be a new addition to my Crimson Fists if there wasn’t some sort of electronics involved. There are the LED lights on the chassis and also the LED muzzle flare which are obvious from the photos. But in addition to these there is also the motorised assault cannon…

So how was this done? I’m afraid the looming Armies on Parade deadline has prevented me from finding the time to write a full tutorial, but perhaps this is something I’ll come back to later. However I have included a quick summary of parts below, as well as a photo so you can see how it all went together.

  • The motor is a 3V DC micro miniature motor (6mm x 10mm) that I picked-up from eBay a while ago. These are the sort of motors used in model helicopters. The supplier I got it from has gone, but a quick search of eBay or Amazon will turn up many similar items.
  • The motor is connected to a 3V battery in the base via a circuit that has two switches in parallel. One switch is a standard sub-miniature toggle switch that I use in most of my projects. This is for turning the assault cannon on for extended periods when it’s on display. The other switch is a miniature ‘push to make’ switch which I added to the top of the base that I could use to activate the assault cannon for a quick burst during gameplay. Activating either switch independently will activate the assault cannon. I had originally hoped to find a latching push switch that would have fulfilled both roles, but I couldn’t find one that was as small as I wanted.
  • A length of 2mm square hollow tube was used to make the lower ‘support’ below the barrels and hide the muzzle flare LED wires. Again, this was sourced from eBay.
  • The muzzle flare was illuminated by two 0805 3V yellow chip LEDs. These are on a separate circuit to the motor.
  • The resin muzzle flare was made using the casting techniques described in my tutorial.

As you can see in the picture below, the ‘push to make’ switch on the top of the base is hidden under an Ork skull. It seemed fitting somehow – if you want the assault cannon to fire, press down on the dead greenskin!

So that is 60 Power of Crimson Fists complete! I’m really pleased with Ancient Santec – not just with the electronic effects, but also the paintjob, which I think is one of my neatest to date. Now it’s onwards to Armies on Parade 2020, and I feel like I’m on the home straight! All that remains is to finish the display board…

Inquisitor Syman Kant, Ordo Digna

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The only thing more horrifying than the Inquisition succeeding in our goals is our enemies succeeding in theirs.

– Inquisitor Kant, Ordo Digna

This is Inquisitor Syman Kant, founder of the Ordo Digna. The Ordo Digna is a (very) minor Ordo of the Inquisition charged with overseeing the quality and purity of religious art in the Imperium. You can read more about Inquisitor Kant in my short story A Matter of Time on the Cold Open Stories website. As you can see I’ve incorporated my usual LED flourishes (more on this below) in the form of a wrist-mounted data slate and a bionic eye for Zelial, Syman’s servo skull.

Influences

I imagine that all Warhammer 40K players have an archetypal Inquisitor that they picture when someone mentions these sinister agents of the Imperium. They might picture Eisenhorn, or perhaps Draco from the Inquisition Wars trilogy, or even the venerable Inquisitor Obiwan Sherlock Clousseau. But for me, it was this anonymous black-clad Inquisitor from the Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader rulebook that really captured my imagination when I first got into the game.

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As you can see, Syman Kant is a reasonably close copy of this Inquisitor, even down to the heraldry. This is a model that I’ve wanted to recreate for years, and now I’ve finally found the time!

LEDs

As regular readers will know, I normally like to build my LED circuits from scratch. But in this case I used a Warhammer 32/40mm Base Lighting Kit. This is a pre-built circuit from Small Scale Lights that they kindly sent to me for evaluation. The kit can be seen in the photo below. It comes with two nano LEDs in a colour of your choosing – the LEDs on the one I received were both red. Both LEDs must be the same colour, presumably this is to keep the circuit simple. It runs from a single CR1220 button cell, which is not included. According to the Small Scale Lights website this battery will power the LEDs for 40 hours. The circuit is switched on and off by a magnetic reed switch, which is a slightly more compact solution than the slide PCB switches I often use. A single 3mm magnet is included to operate the reed switch.

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As the name of the product suggests, it will fit into a 32mm base. That’s what I used for this model. I just followed my normal technique (as seen in my LED Eye Lenses tutorial) of cutting out the top of the 32mm base…

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…and inserting the circuit in the gap.

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Next I used some modelling putty around the rim of the circuit to secure it in place while I made the rest of the model. At this point it’s worth checking two things:

1. That the base sits flush to the table with the circuit in place, the battery inserted and the activating magnet attached to the reed switch (although I understand that the magnetic switch is latching in the latest version of this product and the magnet does not need to remain in place). If you don’t check this your finished model may be wonky!

2. That you have offset the circuit to the side of the base enough so that you can still access the battery when the time comes to change it. This should be easy enough in a 40mm base, but in a 32mm base it will require careful positioning.

Once the circuit was in place I then drilled 2mm holes in the legs, torso and arm of my model to run the nano LED cables through.

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One LED went into the servo skull (the wire is disguised as one of the skulls trailing leads), and the other went into a resin arm data slate that I custom cast. Once I’d finished assembling the model I coiled up slack from the wires beneath the model’s feet, covered the circuit with modelling putty and then basing text medium. Then it was ready for undercoating – but don’t forget to cover the LEDs with blu-tack when spraying!

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Here’s a 360 degree video of the finished miniature. I’m very pleased with the effect. The Small Scale Lights circuit has held up very well so far and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get into LED model kits but doesn’t fancy doing any soldering!

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That’s all for this week, I hope you found that interesting, thanks for reading!

Genestealer Cult Nexos

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Do the unbelievers think that being surrounded by hostile blips just happens? No! It takes skill and dedication to have our brethren coming out of the goddamn walls!

– Kelbrech, Genestealer Nexos

The Genestealer Nexos is a model that I’ve been keen to give the LED treatment since the day it was released. Actually, since before it was released, as this was the one-and-only time I’ve correctly guessed an upcoming model from a Rumour Engine preview (fun fact, the Nexos design is based on an unreleased Genestealer Cult model from the early 90s)!


Nexos LED Hololith

So how was it done? I mostly followed the process detailed in my own LED Hololith tutorial, but with a few differences. I’ve detailed the important changes below.

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1. Rather than resin cast a small section, I found it easier to simply recast the whole top of the hololith map table in resin. If you’d like to know more about resin casting for LED effects, take a look at my tutorial here.

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2. I drilled a number of 4mm holes in the underside of the resin cast to allow the LED to sit snuggly in the component and to ensure the resin was thin enough to allow the light to shine through. This needs to be done slowly and carefully to ensure you don’t accidentally drill all the way through! If you do drill all the way through, then I’m afraid you’ll need to make another cast.

You can see in the image above that I drilled seven holes. This was just as result of my experiments to find the best position for the LEDs in relation to the detail on the map. You only actually need to drill one hole for each LED.

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3. Next I inserted my three LEDs, holding them in place with tiny dots of superglue on the side. At this stage it was important to ensure the legs of LEDs all had the same polarity on the same side, as this makes connecting them easier later. I used TruOpto 1.8mm red LEDs instead of the nano chip LEDs I specify in my hololith tutorial. This is because I wanted a slightly greater brightness and a larger angle of dispersion for the light, plus I had more room to play with on this project.

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4. Next I drilled holes in the plastic base of the hololith map table to allow the LED legs to pass through.

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5. I glued the top and bottom halves of the hololith table together, filling in the very slight gap around the edge with modelling putty. Then I trimmed off the excess length on the legs of the LEDs and wired them together in parallel. Then I attached two trailing leads which will connect the table to the base.

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6. Next I used modelling putty to hide the soldered connections of the LED legs. The putty looks a bit rough in the above image, but I tidied it up later, adding detail so it just looked like part of the machinery of the table.

I removed the plastic ‘wires’ that connect the table to the plastic ‘power pack’ on the model and replaced them with the actual wires. The wires pass out of a hole I drilled in the bottom of the plastic power pack and connect to the switch and battery under the base.

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7. Next I glued the plastic power pack into position and then hid the wires with the base texture material that I use. This texture material is pumice paste, but PVA and sand or any other texture material will also work.

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8. I covered the actual map with a lump of blu-tack and then undercoated and painted the model.

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9. Finally I applied a very thinned down coat of Citadel Contrast Flesh Tearers Red. I was careful to avoid pooling on flat surfaces and to keep the contrast paint in the recesses as much as possible. This is stage is just to give the map detail some definition and make the model look better when the LED is switched off, and shouldn’t actually effect the final brightness.

I’m sure a lot of people know about this fun Easter Egg, but in case you don’t, the hololith map actually shows an aerial view of Warhammer World!

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That’s it for this week, I hope you found all that informative. Revisiting my Genestealer Cult has reminded me that I could do with some group shots of the Cult of Celestial Wisdom, so perhaps that’s something I’ll get around to soon. Please don’t forget that if you’re interested in following my work then you can also find me on Instagram and Twitter where I give regular updates on my various projects.

Nighthaunt Dreadwarden with LED Candles

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A gentle tapping downstairs in the wee small hours,

A whisper in the empty room that’s never used,

A snapping twig behind you on the lonely road,

You are never truly alone in the Tallowlands.

These are the first finished models (unless you count Darrakar) for the small Age of Sigmar Nighthaunt force I’m putting together called “The Uncharnel”.

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Who are The Uncharnel you ask? Legend tells they were a band of mercenaries who betrayed the Duardin of old. They paid a kin-traitor for knowledge of the secret tunnels and vaults deep below Hollow Mountain and sought to steal the heirloom treasure right out from under the Mountain Folk.

But a traitor’s tongue can be bought twice, and the mercenaries were betrayed. In their wrath, the Duardin collapsed the secret tunnels, burying the avaricious humans alive.

And there they remained for untold ages, as unquiet spirits consumed by greed and a hatred of the living, until the fateful day they were released by the Ghoul King of Hollow Mountain. But that’s a tale for another time…

LED Candles

When it came to LEDs in my Nighthaunt, I knew I didn’t want to have them in every model as I do with my Crimson Fists, mainly because it would be so time consuming! But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a few here and there; in lanterns and candles for example.

So how were the LED candles achieved? I’m not going to do a full tutorial, as most of the process is very similar to existing tutorials. For example, my LED Psykers tutorial covers the essentials of inserting a battery into a bases and running wires up miniature arms, so if you’re new to LEDs and want to give this a try then that is your best starting point. As for the candle flames themselves:

1. I used three 3V White Ultra Nano SMD Chip LEDs (note: ‘white’, not ‘warm white’) available from Small Scale Lights.  All three LEDs are connected in parallel to the same battery. The wires are wrapped around the candle holder. The arm was too thin to drill easily so I cut it out and replaced it with the wires, as shown in the picture below. The wires run down to the base along the back of the robes.

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2. Next I built up the candles with modelling putty to hide the wires. I also rebuilt the arm around the wires using modelling putty, and re-sculpted part of the robes to hide the wires running down to the base.

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3. Next I applied Water Splash Effect Gel, available from Green Stuff World, to build up a “flame” around the LEDs. You’ll need to apply it in several layers to build up a flame shape. The gel instructions recommend leaving it for 24 hours between applications to allow the previous layer to dry, but for this small amount I found 12 hours was sufficient.

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4. Continue to build-up layers of splash effect gel until you are happy with the flame shape.

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5. Once the final layer of splash gel has dried, coat each “flame” with Lahmian Medium as a basecoat, then apply two thick coats of Hexwraith Flame technical paint, waiting for each layer of paint to dry. The Hexwraith Flame acts as a filter, making the white light appear green. And yes I do mean thick coats, otherwise it won’t have any effect!

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6. That’s all there is to it really. Just make sure you’re happy that the flames look green enough for your tastes when the LED is on. If not, apply as much Hexwraith Flame as required. Just make sure you don’t obscure the LED completely!

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Painting

Just in case anyone is interested in the paint scheme I used, it’s closely based on the ‘Classic Style’ paint scheme shared for the Emerald Host in the December 2019 issue of White Dwarf. The ghostly ectoplasm is Grey Seer undercoat > 50:50 Hexwraith Flame:Lahmian Medium > thinned Ulthuan Grey > White Scar highlight.

With the bases, I wanted to give the impression of the ghosts being deep underground, perhaps in a crypt far below the Hollow Mountain (more on that another time). The recipe was Grey Seer undercoat > Basilicanum Grey contrast > Administratum Grey drybrush > White Scar drybrush.

I quite like the effect this creates, almost a ‘static’ or low light ‘night vision’ effect, like the only think you can see clearly is the glowing spectre as it drifts towards you, slowly reaching out a withered hand…

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More from the Tallowlands

The Tallowlands is a joint project by my gaming group, the Plastic Crack Rehab Clinic (PCRC) to create our own little narrative corner of the Mortal Realms. If you’d like to read more about the Tallowlands or see some of the other forces being created to inhabit it, you can check out the Tallowlands blog here.

Adeptus Titanicus Knight Lancer & New Energy Shield Tutorial

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The masses have faith in the Warmaster as their shield. I have something a little more potent!

– Omega-78, Shame-Scion of House Perdaxia

Here’s a new idea I’ve been brewing for a little while – an “energy” shield with LED explosion effects. I was quite pleased with how my Lamenter with breacher shield and impact explosions turned out, but I thought the idea could be expanded and built on. The impression that I wanted to give was that the model was protected by an invisible bubble of energy that was suddenly becoming visible as it reacted to an exploding projectile. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out!

As of this morning I now have a brand new LED energy shield tutorial on my tutorials page if anyone is interested in having a go at this themselves. This project has occupied pretty much all my hobby time for the last five weeks. In the Age of Corona, between working from home and home schooling two young children on lockdown, I haven’t had a lot of time to spend hobbying.

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I’ve been interested in Adeptus Titanicus since it was first announced (I used to play a lot of Epic Armageddon) and I’ve had a couple of Titans sat on the ‘Shelf of Shame’ for about two years now! I’m glad that I’ve finally been able to put one together.

 

This Knight Lancer is from House Perdaxia who threw in their lot with the Warmaster during the Horus Heresy. So why House Perdaxia? The Titan Legion I will ultimately be collecting is Legio Fureans – I just love their retro yellow and black flame colour scheme! Plus we already have plenty of Loyalist Titan Legions in our gaming group, so we really needed another Traitor. I chose House Perdaxia for the Lancer as they are listed as one of the Knight House who regularly support Fureans. I was also intrigued by their background – Perdaxia removed their colours and iconography at the start of the Heresy and adopted those of Legio Fureans. The Knight Scions even abandoned their old names, adopting strange code names instead. What led them to do this? What secret shame do they hide? It’s an interesting question that I’m going to enjoy thinking about!

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That’s it for today. More Adeptus Titanicus to come soon – I have to make the other Knight Lancer in the pair – as well as more 40K and Age of Sigmar. See you all again soon.