Painting Metamorphs

makingmetamorrphs-1With my metamorphs made, it’s time to get back down to the business of actually painting models.

These are interesting figures to me, not because of the models per se (which are interesting in their own right) but because they don’t really fit into either of my traditional painting motifs.

You see, a long time ago (back in the days of 3rd edition), I had decided to start playing with painted models.  In order to do this, I identified an army (Ultramarines) that I wanted to play, and was going to try to paint them to a reasonably high standard.  Progress was slow going, because I really didn’t enjoy painting at the time.  I always had some aptitude for it, but just derived no pleasure from it.

makingmetamorrphs-2For the record, that has changed a bit.  I don’t truly love painting, and would generally rather be doing something else, but it doesn’t bother me to the same degree as it once did.  I’m not sure if that’s because I’m not trying to paint to a high standard, if I’ve just gotten better/faster, or if I’ve mellowed out in my old age.  Most likely, it’s some combination of the three.

Anyway, while I wanted to have a painted army, I didn’t institute a prohibition against playing with unpainted models until sometime after this blog started in 2009.  I was working towards it heavily, and that’s really why I have a Tyranid army at all.  Because I knew that if I was going to have a painted force, it would surely happen first if I had a set of models that I could dip.  Tyranids were an army that looked reasonably good painted in that way, and one that I’d liked since the days of 2nd edition (especially Genestealer Cult…. RIP).

makingmetamorrphs-3By having one army that was dipped, I could achieve the goal of always playing with a painted force and still also have another army painted to a higher standard.  Of course, anymore, I get far more compliments on my Tyranids than I do on my marines (dipping is just that cool, I guess), so I kind of shot myself in the foot there.

The point of all this is that I have two basic painting styles: Ultramarines (which are slow and higher quality) and Tyranids (which are barely a base coat and a heavy coat of dipping).

Enter the Genestealer cult.

These guys I plan to use as allies for my Imperial models–and at other times–allies for my Tyranids.  So, what kind of paint scheme shall I follow?

makingmetamorrphs-4Granted, these guys are cheap, throw-away units that I’m likely going to field in large numbers, so I don’t plan on painting them with any exceptional level of quality.  And I already have an example of this for my imperial forces: My Imperial Guard.

Still, while not particularly high quality, these are a cleaner paint job than anything that’s dipped.  Since stain is so messy, and I don’t want to stain the entire figure, I eventually opted to go with a “clean” style paint job, covered (as necessary) with a brown wash (technically a Sepia Ink Wash from Vallejo).

The end result I think turns out to be a model that generally fits well with either of the two armies.

Of course, these guys are just a work in progress.  At this point they have their base coats on flesh, carapace, weapons, and squad markings.  They might not look like much at this point, but there are fifty of them being batch painted at once, so it takes a lot of work.  More to come on these guys in the future, I’m sure…




Genestealer Cult: Squad Identification

Though I like a uniformity throughout an army, it’s not always easy to pick different squad members out of a lineup.

cultcolors-1For my Ultramarines, I went with the official codex solution of giving them smallish squad markings in roman numerals.  While that’s canon and they look cool, it does make them a huge pain to differentiate.  Even with each type of model (assault, tactical, dev) having a different shoulderpad and each squad having an individualized marking, it’s still quite hard to differentiate them on the battlefield (or even putting them away).

EDIT: For some reason I still have never done up posts for my older Ultramarine stuff that predates the blog, so I don’t have good pictures to illustrate that point.  You can make out some of the detail in this photo, but the squad markings are so small, you won’t be able to really tell them apart.

For my Tyranids, I took a more obvious approach, having learned a lesson from my Ultramarines.  Each squad is differentiated by colored flares on their head and/or tail to make them stand out.  Those worked well because the stain tones down my color choice, and they’re just a small splash on an otherwise identical palette.  The problem there is that they are, again, a little too subtle.  At times, it can be difficult to tell which model belongs to which squad–especially when viewed from directly above.  A good example of their color markings can be found here.

For my cult, I’ve taken a different tact.  For better or for worse, I’ve opted to go with a more noticeable marking in painting the pants of the unit in an entirely different color.   That should help them stand out a bit more–and frankly, if you look at my acolytes, it definitely does the trick.  I do find myself wondering though if it’s the right answer.

But I feel like I’m pot committed at this point, so I’m going to continue the scheme with my Metamorphs.  To prepare, I’ve marked the bases of each model to break them into five man units.  Each unit contains at least the following:

cultcolors-2Well, that was the original intent (And what you should see from the photos).  I have actually since gone back and changed the membership up a bit by taking the four Neophytes that had “skirts” covering their pants and made those all the blue squad.  This was because they had so little of their pants showing that it was going to be difficult to identify their squad marking.  The end result is that one of the squads has 80% of them with the exact same body.

It’s not ideal looking, but I’ll try to use them less frequently to make up for it, so the only time that they’ll really see the table is when I have at least 40 other metamorphs out there, so they’ll easily get lost in the shuffle.

For colors, I went with much the same colors that I went with on the Acolytes, but also expanded it a bit.  The only ones that are dangerously close are the deep/bright red and maybe the purple/pink.  Each one of those is essentially a pair of colors that I use for a base/highlight, so the lighter version of each just gets an extra layer of highlight–with the base color being a little more covered.

It’s not an excessive amount of progress, but considering that my blog has been quiet as of late, I’m going to take what I can get…

Making Neophytes into Metamorphs

The boxes of Metamorphs from GW contain five guys and enough bits to outfit them as either Acolytes or Metamorphs.  That’s all well and good, but all of those extra bits mean that I’m paying about $8 per model on those five guys.  They also come with at least one spare body and an truckload of extra heads, plus an ample amount of arms.

prepaintmetamorphs-1In told, I figured I could stretch the bits in each box to cover ten guys, and drop my cost to about $4 each (well, more in the long term, since I had to also find bodies, green stuff, etc.)  Whatever the case, it was going to reduce my investment, and I’m all on board with that.

In my earlier post on Making Metamorph Claws, I detailed which parts I was trying to extend with green stuff press molds (in hindsight, that is an eerily similar title to this one–perhaps I should’ve called that one, “molding metamorph claws?”).  This is the point where I started actually getting off my duff and assembling the guys.

I’m happy to say that the green stuff worked–largely in the way that I expected it to.  Granted, they’re not perfect, but they’re cheap and easy.  And, most importantly, it’s a way to get extra claw bits without spending $40 each on them.  I’ve already dropped money on four boxes of these guys, so I don’t really need any more (well, to be honest, I got three of those boxes as Xmas gifts, but still…).  The only real issues that I had with the green were two fold:

  1. metamorphsThe molded torsos didn’t have enough room for the necks.  I resolved this in two separate ways: either cutting down the necks of the models and/or cutting out the top of the torso to make room for the existing necks.
  2. There were some issues with assembling the right-arm claws that come with the box on the figures.  Not all of the bodies have enough room for two arms on each side (in fact, most only have one or the other–I just lucked out that the one body I had chosen to green stuff matched up with the arm).

prepaintmetamorphs-2I also had an issue with not having enough patience to green stuff enough guys.  So, rather than spending more time making bodies and torsos, I picked up some Neophyte bodies to use as metamorphs.  They’re not perfect, that’s for sure, and honestly I thought I was picking up Acolytes from a bits seller, but I had misread the listing.  The good news is that the heads are fairly compatible–and don’t look too out of place on the smaller bodies.

The bad news?  The arm slots for the neophytes are compatible with single arms, but not the double-arms.  They just don’t have enough room on the body carved away to attach the double arms to them properly.  A true artist would’ve bothered to file them down and/or build the bodies around them.  Since these guys are fodder for an army that I essentially dip, and are 9 points a piece, I didn’ bother with that step.  I figure that the throng of limbs and bodies would obscure the detail on these sufficiently to make them look decent in my army.

I guess time will tell once I get to painting them, eh?

Genestealer Daemonettes?

When working on stretching out dollars spent on genestealer cult figures, I managed to take twenty purchased Metamorphs and stretch them into fifty total models through the use of some creative green stuff and bits purchases.   This lead to resource scarcity issues with bits like autopistols (sure, each box of purchased metamorphs had a full ten pistol arms, but half of those had flamers attached to them–and I honestly don’t see myself purchasing that upgrade very often), but the real problem is with the metamorph claws, as each box only has one inside it.

claws2Normally that equates to 20% of your models having claws, but when you stretch each box from 5 models to 12.5 models, that makes it more like 8% of the models come with claws.  Sure, green-stuffing had proved relatively efficient to date, but I don’t want to keep up the assembly line–nor do I think it would look right to have every model in the army have the same right hand.

I learned that mistake from the days of 2nd edition where every Blood Angels Death Company Marine or Eldar Harlequin had the same powerfist/chainsword combination (though I seem to recall that Death Company couldn’t parry, so I believe they were powerfist + bolt pistol).  It doesn’t leave a very pretty looking force.

So, I needed to come up with a way to count them as having claws.  One possibility was to just say that they have claws.  My friends are easy going enough, that I don’t think I’ve have much issue going that route.  I could just say “hey, all of these guys count as having claws,” and I don’t think anyone would mind–especially if I did so consistently.  The problem is that I was raised in a WYSIWYG household and firmly believe that you should model your figures correctly.  I know that I’ve faced off opponents who were proxying weapons and played poorly because I judged them to have a multi-melta when it was really a lascannon (or things of that nature).

So, I had to come up with a way to include claws on the figures, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money or leave them all with the defacto claw.

That’s when I stumbled upon another local gamer using Daemonette claws on his cultists.  He purchased some bits, chopped them off and glued them to the arms of the Metamorphs.  Frankly, they didn’t look half bad.  So I found some arms (plastic, of course), at and ordered two sets.

cultclawsWhen they came in, they were smaller than I had expected them to be.  I was originally hoping to be able to use just the claws, but it turned out that I had to use the entire arm in most instances.  Daemonettes, it seems, are considerably smaller than metamorphs, so their entire arm is roughly equivalent to the forearm of a cultist.  The claws are almost universally smaller than the proper GW provided bit (the exception being for those that come on the Daemon champions), and when they get installed, they basically have to be glued in on weird angles (due to the inclusion of the forearm), but the end result isn’t too bad.

In most cases, the bands on the daemon biceps lined up with the bandages on the wrists of the cultists, so I don’t think they look too out of place.  They’re not as massive as the other claws, so it’s not as obvious, but what is obvious is that I went out of my way to convert them–with GW parts no less.  So, that should allay any of the issues my opponents may have with facing my figures on the table.

The sad part is, now that these guys are all assembled, I have no more procrastinating left to do–the only thing left now is to paint them.

Anyone want to paint my figures for me? ….. Anyone?


Genestealer Cult Acolytes – Work in Progress

wh39kacolytewip-1I’ve been razzed in the recent past about not having enough Work in Progress posts, so I figured I’d start out the new year with one of those.  That way, even if I don’t do another for the rest of the year, I can at least point at this post when the nay-sayers say I haven’t posted any WIP content so far this year.

I kid, of course.  The comments about WIP posts come from the discussion in my year in review from last year.  In those comments, Thor (of Creativetwilight fame) and Daggerandbrush both suggested that I should include more WIP posts in general, so why not?

This year’s hobby progress starts off with some more of my Genestealer Cult.  In the past I had painted some neophytes, whereas this post is on the acolytes.  I haven’t gotten around to assembling the boxes I had purchased last year of these guys, and am still only painting the contents of the Deathwatch: Overkill boxed sets I picked up.

wh39kacolytewip-2The paint scheme is much the same as I had done before, but this time I opted to vary the coloring of the garments so that I could easily identify squads on the table top.  In the end, I’m not overly happy with the scheme as it’s certainly not as a tight as it was in the past, but it should make it quite easy to differentiate between these guys on the tabletop.  In the end, that’s a bit of a wash.  Part of me wants to go back and paint them similar so they look more cohesive, but the more realistic part of me knows that I have far too many units to paint to justify repainting freshly painted models.

These guys aren’t done though, so repainting might not be the right word.  It wouldn’t be a total repaint, but we’re still talking about painting several layers over on 30-35 models and that just doesn’t sound like fun.

With any luck, I’ll have these guys done shortly and can move onto the heavy weapons and characters.  Then, one day I may actually be able to field these guys…