Lamenter Comms Specialist

Enemy contacts are inside the perimeter. Unfortunately for them, so are we.

– Brother Ardito, Comms Specialist

Another Lamenter joins my long running Badab War era Kill Team. Brother Ardito is a Comms Specialist, so let’s hope that’s still an option for Adeptus Astartes Kill Teams in the new edition of the game!

Influence

For this model I was strongly influenced by the classic metal sergeant from the old Space Marine command squad box (sorry, this was the best reference image I could find). I didn’t set out to copy it exactly, just to capture the general energy and atmosphere of the model. Brother Ardito is made from the ‘Easy to Build’ Primaris Marine with auspex, although as you can see he’s been heavily altered to change the pose, details and make it appear that he’s wearing MkVII power armour, in keeping with the Badab-era setting.

Effects

The LED effects were achieved using the principles set out in my LED Hololith tutorial, although instead of a wrist-mounted hololith, the LED is mounted in the auspex screen. The LED is a 3V Red Ultra Nano SMD Chip LEDs available from Small Scale Lights, in series with the supplied 100Ω resistor. Although green is often traditional for scanner screens, I decided to go with red to match many of the other LEDs in the team and avoid having a mixture of too many colours.

The wire to the LED runs through the arm, torso and leg to the battery and switch in the base. A more detailed description can be found in my LED Hololith tutorial, as mentioned above. If you want to have a go yourself and you need tools and supplies, you can find them here.

First I painted the auspex screen Citadel Khorne Red, trying my best not to get any paint on the LED. Once the paint was dried I filled the screen area with the ever-useful Water Splash Effect Gel, available from Green Stuff World. This goes on white but is transparent when dried. You will need to apply it slowly and patiently, and use a flat tool to flatten it down. Otherwise you may have a lumpy screen!

Once the ‘screen’ was dry I painted it with two coats of Citadel Blood Angels Red Contrast, allowing the paint to dry between each application. Finally, I painted a pattern of ‘contacts’ on the ‘screen’ with Citadel Wild Rider red. This was more for visual interest when the LED is off as the LED is so bright it has little effect when it was on.

That’s all for today, I hope you found that interesting. Come back soon for more Lamenter action as the Kill Team slowly comes together!

Lamenter Heavy with LED Motorised Assault Cannon

Debate the Tyrant’s cause if you like, but it’s hard to argue with 1200 rounds a minute.

Brother Salvio, Lamenter heavy weapons specialist

This is another model that has been living in my head as a nebulous idea for well over a year. In fact, I’d say my failure to settle on a way to execute this concept for my ‘Heavy’ specialist is why my seven-man Lamenters Kill Team project has currently been running for a year and a half! But now he’s done, so let’s have a big round of applause to welcome Brother Salvio!

Influence

There are a number of sources that I’m ‘riffing’ off with this member of the Kill Team, many of them from video games. The Team Fortress 2 Heavy is an obvious one, as are Halo Spartans carrying turrets (particularly Jorge-052) and even the Call of Duty Juggernaut. What is boils down to is a heavily armoured soldier carrying a large gun that you might normally expect to find on a vehicle! To help sell the theme of heavy armour, I decided on MkVIII ‘Errant’ armour for this marine, particularly as this has the enhanced face and neck protection seen in many of the characters linked above.

If you haven’t been following along with my Lamenters Kill Team project, then I should explain that it is intended to be Badab War era, so these are ‘true scale’ Marines rather than Primaris Marines. Every member of the team so far has been wearing armour appropriate to the era, which so far means MkVI, MkVII and MKVIII. So how did I go about turning MkX armour into MkVIII to match the reference images shown above?

  • Used modelling putty to increase the height of the neck gorget.
  • Selected up-armoured shoulder pads with elbow joint protection.
  • Replaced the skull on the chest with a jewel.
  • Filled in the detail on the wrist bracers to create a smoother armoured feel.
  • Removed the additional protection from the top of the MkX knee pads.
  • Left the MkX ankle joints intact – this was the first time I noticed MkVIII armour also uses them!
  • Replaced the Primaris backpack with a Tactical backpack.

I also added extra ammo pouches and grenades to enhance the impression of bulkiness.

Effects

I’ve just published a full LED Motorised Assault Cannon tutorial on my website here, so I won’t go into too much detail in this post on how the assault cannon effects were achieved. The short version is that I used a 3V miniature motor, a Small Scale Miniatures 3V yellow 0805 chip LED and my Nighthaunt Candle technique to creature the muzzle flare.

That’s it for this week, I hope you found that interesting. Come back again soon to find out if I ever finish this bloody Lamenters Kill Team, haha! Hopefully I will be able to finish them soon, as it looks like we might possibly be in for a new edition of Kill Team.

Lamenter Marksman

The Tyrant sends his regards! *BLAM-BLAM-BLAM*

Brother Quartus, Lamenter Marksman

Here is Brother Quartus, the latest addition to my long-running Lamenter Badab War kill team project. If you’d like to look back on this project then you can search for posts tagged with either ‘Lamenters’ or ‘Badab War’.

Influence

When designing this Marine, my question to myself was “how can I make one of the team’s “filler” tactical marines with bolter interesting?”. In the end I hit upon the idea of loosely copying this classic Mark Gibbons art. I haven’t copied it exactly – for one the marine in the art is a Blood Angel – but I hope I’ve captured the feel, both of the art and of that era of Games Workshop history. Of course Brother Quartus has grown on me over the building and painting process so now I think I might promote him to sniper specialist in the kill team.

“Downgrading” Mk X armour to Mk VII

All my Lamenters are ‘true scale’, that is to say they have Primaris stature but wear period-appropriate armour marks. There was no Mk X used during the Badab War (as far as we know), so I wanted to “downgrade” the base Primaris Intercessor model to Mk VII power armour. The most important thing was to remove the elements of the armour that are distinctly Primaris features. For me this is the ankle ‘stabilisers’, the rim above the knee-pad, the armoured stomach, the forearm bracers, the wide backpack and of course the helmet. An argument could be made that the thigh-plates don’t belong on a Mk VII either, but I think I can make my peace with that.

To remove the unwanted leg and stomach detail I simply hacked off anything that I didn’t want with a craft knife and then smoothed over any gaps with modelling putty, sculpting detail in where necessary. The arms are from Primaris Reivers, which are in scale for a marine of Primaris stature but less armoured than the standard Mk X arms. The helmet and the backpack were straight component swaps for their Mk VII equivalents.

Effects

For the LED effects I simply just followed the steps in my own LED Muzzle Flare tutorial to the letter, using the exact LEDs and components listed there. My Lamenters paint recipe can be found in this post if anyone is interested in how the yellow is achieved. As for the mid-ejection bolt shell casing, I think that’s worth talking through as this is a new technique that I was playing around with for this model.

  1. I started with a 1mm diameter plastic rod, painted the end in Retributor Armour, and then cut off a 2mm length to form the ejected bolt shell casing.
  2. Next I built up the “smoke” around the ejection port using Water Splash Effect Gel, available from Green Stuff World. This gel is white and opaque when applied (as seen in the picture) but dries transparent.
  3. Once the splash gel had dried, I used a tiny dab of super glue to attach the shell casing.
  1. Next I applied another layer of the splash gel around the shell casing to continue the smoke effect.
  2. Once the splash gel was dry I gave it a thin watered-down glaze of Ulthuan Grey. This helps it to retain some transparency while also appearing smoke coloured.
  3. Finally I applied a coat of Lahmian Medium to dull down the shine of the splash gel.

That’s it for this week. I’ll end with a group shot of the kill team so far (minus the Mk VI, who has returned to the chapter forge for modifications). That’s four down, three to go! My aim is to have the team finished by the time face-to-face gaming is allowed again in the UK, so please visit again soon to see how I’m getting on with that!

LED Miniature Design Philosophy

Today I want to share the answer to a question that nobody has asked me – explaining the design philosophy behind my LED miniatures. Actually that’s not entirely accurate. It’s not a question I’m asked directly, but it often comes up tangentially when people want to know why I made a particular choice when constructing my miniatures. If have written about it in brief here as part of my ‘Designing & Ordering’ tutorial, but I thought it was a topic that was worth delving into a little more. Once I sat down and thought about it, I realised there were six clear principles that govern my approach to LED miniature design.

Before I lay out these rules I’ll add the caveat I’m certainly not saying these are the only rules, or that this is some sort of “correct” or “true” way to use LEDs in miniatures. There isn’t a “correct” way to make these models, and even if there was it’s not up to me to decide what that is. This is simply my own personal approach. Hopefully you’ll find it interesting.

1. Follow the art

My first question is always “does this model need an LED?” That may sound a bit rich coming from me, but I don’t put LEDs in a model unless there’s a cool effect from artwork of other GW media that I want to replicate on the table top. Glowing power armour eye lenses, muzzle flares, power weapons, plasma energy, and psychic powers are all good candidates.

2. Hide how its done

I find the best LED effects are almost like ‘sleight of hand’ magic tricks – people are left wondering how you’ve done it! If you have visible wires and giant batteries concealed in oversized bases, then it’s really obvious how it’s done and is less impressive. But if you can hide the electronics in such a way that at first glance the model still looks like the original miniature, only with awesome glowing eyes, guns, or whatever, then that is what will capture people’s attention!

This is also the reason why I often don’t go all-out in converting the pose and equipment on miniatures. If it’s recognisably still the original miniature that people are familiar with then that gives them a point of reference and makes the added LEDs all the more surprising.

3. Be consistent

Once I start applying LEDs to an army, I like to be consistent. What I mean by this is that if one plasma weapon in the army glows – for example – then all the others must glow as well (see images above). Similarly, if one vehicle has LED headlights, you need to think about LED headlights on the other vehicles as well.

Consistency is also about colour choice. Once I’ve picked a colour for a particular weapon or effect in a project, I apply that colour consistently across the whole army. For example, every plasma weapon glow in my Crimson Fists glowed the same shade of pink (again, see image above).

I also try and avoid mixing LEDs with painted OSL effects on the same model as it breaks the ‘illusion’ for the viewer. If I ever find myself with too many lights on a single model and I don’t want to put LEDs in them all, then I always have the option to “cheat” and simply paint the extra lights as though they’re switched off!

4. Consider the passage of time

If your LEDs are flashing or fading in and out then this shows the passage of time. However if the model itself is stationary then this creates a cognitive dissonance in the viewer – time appears to be passing for some parts of the model but not others. This is particularly exacerbated if the model is in an action pose, mid-charge or leaping from a rock, for example. It can be mitigated if they are in a stationary position, such as a heroic command pose or a stoic firing position. This is why I prefer to have consistently on LEDs in my models to represent a ‘frozen’ moment in time. The rotary assault cannon Dreadnought and the colour-change Harlequin shown above are the obvious exceptions of course! In those cases I broke my normal rule as there were specific effects that I wanted to demonstrate.

I should stress that I’m definitely not saying all flashing LEDs are bad, it’s very much a matter of personal taste. If you like them on your models – and I know many of you do – then crack on!

5. Pay attention to your colour palette

Consider the colour palette of your models and also the LEDs. When selecting LEDs for a particular effect, think about whether they will compliment the rest of the colours you plan to use in your paintjob (although your choice may be limited by the colours of LEDs available). I must admit that colour theory isn’t one of my strong points, but when I’ve needed help determining what colours are complimentary with each other I’ve found this website (thanks to Apologist for the link) to be really useful. This helped me pick the colours for my Seraphon, for example.

If a single miniatures has multiple LEDs of different colours then it’s also worth thinking about how these colours will look together. As a rule of thumb I try to limit a single miniature to two different colours at most (again, the Harlequin excluded of course!). You may find that too many colours are complicated by current limitations from a single battery anyway. It is also worth considering the LED colour palette across the whole army. Too many different colours and your army may start to look like its getting ready for Christmas!

6. Make it convenient to use

Although I’ve listed it sixth, one of my most important rules is that my LED miniatures should still be gaming pieces. They’re not designed to sit on the shelf but to be used on the table top. This is why I’ve taken great pains in the past to make sure things like batteries, etc, fit inside the normal sized bases. This also links back to the second rule.

It’s useful to consider how you will turn the LED on and off before and after each game, and also how you will change the battery mid game if it happens to run out. This is why I have all my batteries accessible under the base rather than inside the models (large vehicles excluded). This isn’t so much a concern if it is a display piece, but you don’t want to keep an opponent waiting while you fiddle around with batteries and switches mid-game! It’s also worth considering the convenience of switch placement, particularly if you need to operate it mid-game. For the rotary assault cannon on the Dreadnought, the push switch to activate the effect was hidden under an ork skull on the base so it could quickly and easily be operated mid-game (see picture above).

That’s it for today. I’ll be back with more new models soon. In the meantime, if this has inspired you to create LED miniatures of your own then my tutorials are here. If you need LEDs, tools and other electronics consumables then you can find some recommended items here.

Crimson Fists Eradicator & Melta Weapon Tutorial

If the Emperor had meant us to show mercy, he wouldn’t have granted us the Total Obliteration protocols.

Brother Eliseo, Eradicator

This week I decided to return to the Crimson Fists for a bit. I haven’t added anything to this army since “finishing” them for Armies on Parade. But the still mostly unpainted Indomitus set is nagging at me from my ‘Shelf of Shame’, the three Eradicators in particular. They are one of those units that I had a very clear vision for from the moment I saw the models. I don’t have any other melta weapons in my army, so this would be the perfect opportunity to try out some LED effects on this type of weapon.

LED Melta Weapon Tutorial

So how do we make LED melta weapons? I’m not going to do a full tutorial, as most of the process is very similar to my existing LED Muzzle Flare tutorial. The steps below essentially replace steps 11 – 13 in that tutorial. For this project I used a 3V Blue Ultra Nano SMD Chip LEDs available from Small Scale Lights, rather than the 0805 yellow chip LED mentioned in step 12 of the LED Muzzle Flare tutorial. Also I used a 175Ω resistor in series with the TruOpto 1.8mm red helmet LED, rather than the 100Ω resistor mentioned in step 15 of that tutorial. This is due to the different current requirements of the blue ultra nano LED. All paints used are from the Citadel range. As with all my tutorials, I recommend reading all the way through to make sure you have the necessary skills and tools before you get started.

  1. Begin by drilling the melta barrel. I found a 2.5mm drill bit was just right. You may find it easiest to cut off the wide front of the barrel at the point where it reaches the narrow “neck” with a craft knife and then drill it separately. You can then use a sharp craft knife or scalpel to cut the remaining thin layer of plastic in each of the four vents on either side of the barrel.

2. Now you will need to drill a hole through the gun and arm to run the wire for the blue ultra nano LED. I found a 1.5mm drill bit was about the right size for this. For weapon effects I normally run the wires through the right arm, but in this case I found it easier to go up through the top handle and left arm due to its position and how straight it was. Another valid approach would be to go through the front of the chest at the point where the back of the melta rifle is held against the chest eagle. Once you have drilled your hole, run the wire through. This can be connected to the rest of the circuit inside the miniature as detailed in steps 14 – 17 of the LED Muzzle Flare tutorial.

3. Assemble the model, as detailed in steps 19 of the LED Muzzle Flare tutorial. Make sure the blue ultra nano LED is setting as centrally as possible in the barrel so it can be seen evenly through all vents and also the muzzle. Test that the circuit works and that you haven’t damaged any components or connections during assembly by switching it on.

4. Cover all exposed LED areas with blu-tac (or similar) and then apply your spray undercoat of choice. If you are following this tutorial to the letter then the critical areas to cover are the helmet eye lenses, barrel vents and the muzzle. Once the undercoat is completely dry you can remove the blu-tac. I find either using a pair of fine tweezer or fresh blu-tac can assist with this.

5. I’m just going to discuss painting the melta barrel itself. The rest of the model you can paint to your own colour scheme. Firstly, paint the barrel with Leadbelcher, being careful not to clog any of the vents or get any paint on the ultra nano LED.

6. Shade the barrel with Nuln Oil and edge highlight with Stormhost Silver.

7. Apply a wash of Drakenhof Nightshade starting at the muzzle and going about halfway back along the barrel. This is the start of a ‘scorched metal’ effect that will give the impression the barrel has discoloured due to the extreme heat of the melta weapon. If you don’t want to paint this effect, ignore this and skip straight to step 10 instead.

8. Apply a narrow ring of Druchii Violet where the blue shade stops.

9. The final part of the ‘scorched metal’ effect is to apply a ring of Seraphim Sepia below the violet shade.

10. Now it’s time to build-up the melta ‘flame’ effect. It’s not really a ‘flame’ in the same sense of a flamethrower burning internal fuel. Rather, I wanted to give the impression of the air being ionised by the incredible energies in the vicinity the barrel. Picture the blue flame on a bunsen burner, but taken to extremes. To make the ‘flame’ I applied the ever-useful Water Splash Effect Gel, available from Green Stuff World. There is a small amount emerging from the side vents, but the majority is coming out of the muzzle. This gel is milky-white when applied, but don’t be alarmed as it dries clear. You can’t sculpt the whole flame immediately, it needs to be applied in layers. The product instructions recommend 24-hours between application of layers, but in these small amounts I found that around six hours was plenty. Once it’s clear and hard, you’re good to go.

11. Continue to build-up successive layers to enlarge the muzzle ‘flame’ until you are happy with it.

12. Once the gel is completely dry, you can apply some thin paints to give it a bit of colour when the LED is off. Apply a thin shade of Drakenhof Nightshade and once that has dried apply a light glaze Guilliman Blue (or another watered-down mid-blue).

And there we have it, the finished effect! I hope you found this tutorial useful, or at least interesting. That’s all for today, see you again soon!