Knight Titan Base Coat

I own an airbrush.

I really do!

Of course, if you saw my armies, you wouldn’t exactly have reason to believe me.  The thing is, that I like how airbrushed models look, I even went to town using it on my Imperial buildings and other terrain.  I even like how it looks on models–particularly how great it looks on power weapons.

But it doesn’t match what I’ve done on my existing armies.

It always looks so obvious when I see some models painted with an airbrush next to those that aren’t.  Since armies are all about cohesiveness–and I have zero interest in going back and repainting everything I’ve already done–it just doesn’t make sense for me to use the airbrush to paint my Tyranids or Ultramarines.  Sure, I use my airbrush for some basecoating, but that’s because I’ll wind up hand-painting over that.

But my Imperial knights?  Well, that’s a completely different story.  Sure, they’re allied with my marines, but my goal is to paint them up as House Terryn–which have a similar–but not exactly the same–color scheme as my Ultramarines.  To add to it, they consist of large armor plates and other sections that would be perfect for airbrushing.  But when it came down to it, I just didn’t bother.

Drybrushing them silver was going to give me the desired effect that I wasn’t sure I could pull off with a compressor, and I lack the skill/patience to properly do detail work.  If I had to guess why, I’d think it was something to do with me being loathe to change.  Yes, I love the effect that the airbrush adds (not to mention the amount of time it saves), but some part of me held firm on hand-painting them.

Maybe I’ll go back and hit these with a layer of shading from the airbush.  Now that’s something I could see myself doing.

The color scheme on these guys is a little varied.  The first Knight was sitting on my shelf for years with a drybrush of boltgun metal on him, whereas the second two got a treatment of Vallejo’s Gunmetal (which is a fair bit darker–I’m not sure if that’s because the first became sun-bleached, or it’s just how the color is).  I wound up hitting them all with a fainter drybrush of Mithril Silver to hide the differences, and that turned out ok.  Then, so they weren’t all exactly just big silver necrons, I picked out some areas in Tinny Tin or various golds I had laying around.  Much of this will be obscured by the armor plates when they go on, but it gave them a little extra depth.

But not at the moment–right now, I have to go back and talk myself out of painting the carapace by hand.  I’m not so sure I’m going to be successful…





Knight Titan Ankle Joints

My last post concerned repositioning of the Knight titan’s knees and uncovered an issue with his ankles as well.    The issue was that the knees on the model are static, and so are the ankles, so when you reposition one, you naturally need to reposition the other (and, to some degree, that’s also true with the hips).  I had no idea that this would be turning into a major conversion project, but I’d already started down the road and figured I might as well keep following it.

I won’t lie though–I did consider just putting the legs back together the way they were originally, but then I was out the $18 on the jeweler’s saw for nothing.

After sulking for a bit, I was back to scouring the internet for answers, which lead me to Adam B’s article at The Dice Abide.  His solution was quite simple: replace the ankle joints with beads of the right size (12mm apparently).  So, I was off to the local superstore and picked up some beads in the craft section for $.98, trying my best to eyeball their size (they didn’t have any measurements on the bag, but they looked about right when I lined them up on the ruler in the fabric section).

When I got home though, I quickly learned that the beads sold at Walmart are made out of unobtanium–or some other insanely dense material.  I took my 10k Dremel to them and managed to cut a faint line in the bead.

Well, cutting is not technically accurate.  It would be more appropriate to say that I melted a line into the bead.  Both the blade and the bead were glowing red, and the air started to fill with noxious gas.  Given some of my hobby experiences like this, I’m fairly certain that I’ve shaved a few years off of my life.  Between toxic smells and resin dust, I’m likely going to die well before I finish painting my armies.

I should mention that I do try to wear proper protective gear whenever I can: eye protection, masks, etc.  I just didn’t bother to wear a mask when cutting a bead because, c’mon, is it really necessary?

The answer is probably “yes.”

Anywho, with the bead not working, I had to come up with another solution.  The answer was to simply make a press mold of the bead and use that to shape green stuff to replace it.  I have a few sticks of the blue re-usable molding compound and it really works like a charm.  After heating it up and setting two beads in it to harden, I broke out the green stuff and filled it up.

Once that dried, I cut that down and sanded it off to act as the ankles.  It took a little bit of trial and error, but I think they look relatively accurate enough.  When doing it, I wasn’t following any specific guide, so the feet don’t sit perfectly level for either knight, but I’m planning on fixing that by giving him some unlevel basing materials to walk on.  That won’t be until after the Apoc game though, because I don’t think I have enough time to do it before…

EDIT: Jeff from Tibbs Forge was goodly enough to stop by and remind me of his blog as well.  During my research for this conversion, I did glean insights from him as well, but I just forgot to bookmark the link.  His blog contains perhaps the most detailed walkthrough available on how to convert and paint a Knight Titan–spread out over 37 posts.  If you’re looking for real insight on how to complete this conversion, you’re on the wrong blog.  You’ll want to go check out Jeff’s write-up: you’ll be glad you did.

Do those Knight Titan Legs Go All of the Way Up?

With an impending Apocalypse game as my inspiration, I needed to find something to work on for the game.  As I said in my previous post, I’m not exactly sure what army I want to play–but I am certain that I need to make some hobby progress, so I grabbed the nearest thing to me, an Imperial Knight, and started working on it.

My first issue was that I wanted to reposition the legs, so I delved into the depths of the internet for just how to accomplish that.  With a little digging, I found a blog series by Quindia Studios on how he used a jeweler’s saw to reposition his legs, so straight to Amazon I flew.  About $20 later and two weeks later, I wound up with a saw in hand and got to hacking.

Note: I say “about $20,” but if you know my blog, you can always go check up on my Frugal Gaming page to keep me honest.  In this case, it was $18.08.

Anywho, with the saw in hand, I got to work.  When I opened it, I noticed that it was very slimy, as if coated with fresh oil.  I found it unappealing and had to wipe the whole thing down before using it.  The saw blades that came with it were tiny and a little fiddly, but they worked like a charm.

I started by assembling the legs first, so that I would reduce the number of cuts by 50%–and that seems like the right thing to do, even in hindsight.  Cutting through the leg joints was amazingly easy, and I only had trouble with one of the knees (remember: I did two knights, so four knees total).

When I stayed focus, I could saw through a single leg in under a minute with relatively little issue.  The one time I wasn’t really paying attention though, the saw seemed to take an awful long time, and far more work than the other cuts.  Well, that was because I had inadvertently slipped the blade down the leg slightly and was cutting into the “gear” of the knee and not just the small crevasse.  Thankfully the blade is rather small and I’m not terribly picky, or this would’ve been a real problem.

Like in Quindia’s post, I used a spacer to cover the hole left in the leg and provide a little extra depth (not shown in the photo).  Sadly, I also ran into a problem with the ankle joints caused by repositioning the legs.  But more on that in another post…





What to Work on for Apoc?

With an impending Apocalypse game approaching, I really need to get off my duff and paint up something new for the game.   I don’t always make good hobby progress throughout the year, so I try to use Apocalypse games as inspiration to do a little something out of the ordinary.  Last year, I used it to paint up my Imperial flyers (see links here, here, here and here), but this time I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to paint.

Hell, I don’t even know what army I’m going to play!

Genestealer cult seems fun and I have much of the army painted–plus it’s relatively new in the grand scheme of things (and probably the first/only apoc game I can play with them that uses their codex–as it’s scheduled to be invalidated in June).   I don’t have them all painted (namely the abherrants, heavy weapons guys, and the HQ’s), but on the plus side, painting them all up is part of my new year’s resolutions for the year.  Then again, so are the imperial fortifications that I’ve been procrastinating on for years…

Tyranids are always a good fallback too, because I have so much painted.  I could dust off and finish my Tyranid Bastion (which is dire need of some love), plus I have a few extra Malanthropes (purchased specifically for Apoc).  So right now, I’m in limbo and don’t know what to paint.

So, I just grabbed something nearly at random and started working on it: Imperial Knights.

I’ve had one knight assembled and painted up silver lording over my board game/dinner table for the past three years or so, so he was the easiest thing to grab.  I also picked up two extra knights from a less-than-reputable reseller that could escort this guy.  My first thought: why not assemble those guys?

I’ve seen people who have armies of knights all in the exact same position and it looks rather dull.  The thing is that repositioning the legs doesn’t seem like the easiest thing to do.  In fact, from what I’ve found online, it seems downright convoluted.

When I pulled out the sprues, the first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t going to be easy to cut the leg joints for repositioning.  I found a blog post by Quindia Studios that recommended using a Jeweler’s saw, which I picked up from Amazon for this purpose.  We’ll see what that’s like when it comes in though… until then, I should probably find something else to work on…

Apoc is less than a month away!

You say Smurf Village, I say Goblin Huts

I don’t have a category on my website for Warhammer Fantasy.  Heck, I still call it Warhammer Fantasy, and not Age of Sigmar.    Those two facts should go a long way to underscore how much of that forsaken square based game I actually play.

Yes, I know that they don’t use square bases anymore.

But I do have quite a collection of the stuff.  The vast majority of my stuff falls into one of two categories:

  • Skaven
  • Night Goblins

The Skaven are are a remnant of the Lost & the Damned list from the Eye of Terror codex back in 4th edition.  My sharp Google-fu tells me that was back in 2003, so a good 14 years ago.  I had the notion that I was going to make a chaos army themed around rat men.  I collected various iterations of these guys to use:

  • Skaven – Mutants
  • Rat Ogres – Big Mutants
  • Rat Swams – Nurglings
  • Doomwheels – Sentinels
  • Necromunda Ratskins – Guardsmen
  • Great Horned Rat – Greater Demon

I’m sure there were more options in the mix, but I don’t remember all of the options in the list.  Over time, this dream has dwindled, but I still have a ton of skaven models.  Part of me has aspirations to use them as demons still, but I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen.  I also still have 50+ Ratskins if anyone really wants to play Necromunda again!

The other army I have is Night Goblins.  You may be tempted to call them “Orcs and Goblins,” but I stayed fairly true to the Night Goblin theme.  This was a result of me seeing deals for greenskins that were just too good to pass up.  When the Battle for Skull Pass was in high production, I recognized the insane value of the night goblins in that box. A total of 72 goblins (including 10 on spiders) and a Troll, and the prices were insane.  I wound up picking up 10 or so boxes worth of figures for $20-25 each.  Though I never really had any intention of playing the game, I knew that if I ever did get back into it, greenskins would be my jam.  Plus, the deals were so great that surely I’d be able to turn them for a profit one day if I so choose.

Well, I haven’t so chosen–at least not yet.  In fact, I’ve even tried to get my goblins painted at one point (which ended in disaster).  But should I let the fact that I don’t play the game, and have no real intention of ever doing so prevent me from adding to my army?

Of course not!

Well, when McDonald’s new line of Smurf toys hit the happy-meal shelves last month, I started asking all of my friends (and family) with kids to collect them for me.  Mushroom houses aren’t technically what Night Goblins would live in (I know this because I have 10+ tents that came from Skull Pass!), but I’ll be damned if they don’t seem to fit the bill.  I’m not sure that they would take to the same level of window gardens as the Smurfs did, but the size and general theme seem perfect.

So, to go along with my 700ish figures, I now have a dozen or two smurf houses to use as terrain.  Maybe one day I’ll actually make progress in painting these up–though I can’t see why I would do that if I’m not painting up (or even playing) my goblins.  Still, it seemed like a good idea, and didn’t cost me anything, so why not?

Now I just need to find a place to store these damn things…

EDIT: Updated to include a scale comparison with some AoS figures and a shot of the houses I managed to collect.