Striking Gold with Knight Titans

When we last left off on my Knight Titans, it was back in June and I was still working on the knee-caps.   It’s been more than two months delay since then, but a lot of things have happened.  First of all, the Apoc game that was the initial inspiration for these models transpired (though I still haven’t finished the write-up on that), and then some family time, vacation, etc.

Heck, 8th edition came out since then!  I spent more time writing up battle reports for that then I did focusing on my Knights.  Plus, I had started a series of reviews on the Tyranid index in 8th edition (that was back before I learned that they were going to immediately replace it with a codex, which has put the reviews to date on ice).

Well, hopefully I can get back on track and catch up with some of these missing posts.  Luckily, I left myself a bit of an outline to cover the various progress steps I had made.  Next in line: Gold.

For anyone who has seen my armies, you’ll notice that I don’t incorporate a lot of metals into the schemes.  This is, in part, due to the fact that Tyranids have no metals, and my Ultramarines follow a 2nd edition yellow scheme.  But, since I was painting my knights as if they were from House Terryn, it meant that I was going to have to mix a little gold into the palette.

My typical gold scheme is to paint a base of Brazen Brass (or, if you’re not a dinosaur like myself, Vallejo’s “tinny tin”) and then highlight up from there.  In this instance, I opted to try something a little different.  Instead of starting with Tinny Tin, I gave it a coat of P3 Blighted Gold and gone over the recesses with a mixture of that paint and black (watered down).  This gave a similar effect, but it kept everything in the gold scheme.  From there I highlighted up to P3 Brass Balls (which is my normal highlight for gold).

In effect, this just gave me darker darks, which really helps to make the gold stand out (well, at least it does in my opinion).  It almost looks like I went overboard with the black, which I think was likely because I was painting in a room that wasn’t particularly well lit, but in hindsight, I really do like it.

The edge highlighting with Brass Balls is a little stark, and a little sloppy, but the contrast against the black really helps it to stand out.  From a distance, the gold on the models really pops.

There was a non-trivial amount of gold to paint though, and I took a surprising number of photos (more than I can sensibly use within this blog post), so I’ll just pick a few that I think show off the effect best, and then scrap the rest.


Kneeding Closure: Knight Titan WIP Update

Yup, that’s the title I went with.  “Kneeding Closure.”  I was trying to come up with a suitable knee-related pun, but now think that the extraneous “K” might come across as a Knight related pun.  In the realm of Dad jokes, that really is a two-for-one.

If you haven’t guessed, this post is going to be on the knee-pads of my knights.  It might seem odd to do an entire post focused on just their knees–especially because I’m not particularly known for doing WIP posts at all, and to date I’ve milked these guys for four posts already (and trust me, there are probably half a dozen more where that came from).

I’ve decided to stretch this out because these guys are taking a long time, and I’ve actually been taking more work in progress photos throughout the process.   My goal on the photos hasn’t been to create content for the blog, but rather to send them to my friends in the hopes of inspiring them to paint things up for our next Apoc game (spoiler alert, that actually just happened last weekend–expect more posts on that to come up soon).  I’m not sure how much it really inspired people to paint, but me talking about it and sharing progress truly does help me to keep motivated to finish the project.

So, knees…

They’re not an overly interesting part of the model, but they’re significant because they’re really the first time I played with many of the base colors that would be dominant through the figures.  My last post on the subject covered that I had already committed to going with House Terryn, so I knew that the scheme was going to be primarily blue, red, and white (maybe I should’ve saved this post for Independence Day?).  With the basic idea of the colors chosen, I needed to figure out what shades I was going to use.

If you recall, my goal was to make them look relatively cohesive with the Ultramarines units I already have, but also to make then distinct enough that you could tell they’re from a different army altogether.  With the blue, I opted to shade them darker than I have with the normal boys in BLOO, so I took the same tact with the red, adding black into my base mix to give it a more stark contrast.

Searching online, it appears that House Terryn, like most knight households, seems to use a lot of checkerboards and other classic heraldry from medieval times.  I suppose that makes sense, given that they are knights afterall.  I’ve had some practice with checks and the like because I used to have a Harlequin army (actually, I’ve owned several over the years, all of which predate my blog entirely), and to a lesser extent, with my Ultramarines.

I tried to find some photos of the checkers on the marines, but there really isn’t a lot there.  I don’t know why I’ve been so remiss with posting pictures of the BLOO.  I really need to get better at that.  You can see at least a glimpse of some of the checks on one of my dreadnoughts in this battle report.

With the marines, I’ve traditionally shaded the white with blue.  It works great, and keeps a consistent theme going, however, for these guys I wanted to go with a brown shading.  I’d done brown as a shade for white years ago, but it’s not something I’ve revisited in a long time.  The basic recipe isn’t anything terribly fancy: paint white (in multiple layers because white is finicky that way), and then paint the edges with bleached bone (or, in my case, a craft paint equivalent), and shade with GW’s old flesh wash.

For the checks themselves, I marked them off with a micron pen and painted them in.  In retrospect, that black really could use a little highlighting as it’s too flat for my likes.  Oh well, a painter’s work is never done…

I’m going to take a break from the Knight Titan WIPs for a while and work on a recap of the Apoc game, but I’ll come back and revisit these afterwards–likely starting off again with my new recipe for painting gold…

Knight Progress: Color Choices & Missing Handles

When assembling my Imperial Knights, I found that my sprues didn’t seem to contain all of the required bits.  In fact, each of my most recent two nights were missing two of their five handles that go on the top hatch.  Come to find out, this isn’t all too uncommon of a practice–as my friend Sam reported the same issue when purchasing from the same vendor years ago.

Well, rather than let it stop me in my tracks, I looked for a solution.  Rather than going the route that Sam took (and just skipping the “extra” handles altogether), I opted to take 5 out of the six handles I did have and build a single “complete” model, but that left me with one that had but a single handle.  I opted to glue that lone handle on the left side of the carapace, but that left four very naked spots on the right side.

When I started the process, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with that, but I knew I had to do something about it–as it looked tacky.  I figured that I might just putty over them and leave that hatch completely smooth (which would’ve been a totally acceptable solution).  Whatever I was going to do, I knew that it wasn’t going to include sculpting four more handles from scratch.

I eventually opted to find a spare piece of Ultramarines brass etch and affix it to the carapace.  It did a reasonable job of covering most of the holes and I felt that the single Omega on it was not overly obvious (well, at least it wouldn’t be if I didn’t bother to paint it that way, right?).

Then it really came down to color scheme.

House Terryn became the defacto house for me based upon a few facts:

  1. The scheme of red/blue/white would work well with my Ultramarines and keep things from looking too outlandish
  2. House Terryn seems to have worked with the Ultramarines, at least according to this wiki article
  3. It’s the one house that Forgeworld makes resin options for–so, no free hand!

With that in mind, I started painting the carapace blue.  But, since I didn’t want it to match my ultras exactly, I opted to go with a darker base and not quite as bright of a highlight.  The result here is that the schemes look relatively close (And honestly, they don’t look as good from afar without the bright edge highlights), but still look different enough to pass for a different force.

Well, I’m not 100% sure about the last part.

I’m also not a big fan of gold traditionally.  I know that in “recent” editions, Ultramarines’ second company has switched from yellow to gold, but I’m still a big fan of the primary color scheme.  As a result, I don’t incorporate that many metals into my figures.  However, House Terryn clearly uses them, and it was a chance for me to add a little extra differentiation between them and the armies of Ultramar.  Though it’s not typically my thing, I think I kind of like it–you’ll see why in my next post on the subject…

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.