Sunday, June 22, 2014

Carnifex Torso complete

I've completed the carnifex torso entirely to my satisfaction. Have a look:

The carapace detail takes a while. Three layers of detail + all those itty-bitty strokes means some time investiture. Still, the torso has the largest carapace in the model, so my hope is that the legs, head, and arms won't pose quite so massive a project.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Starting the carnifex

The hormagaunts are progressing, and I've started assembling my termagants as well. I also ended screwing up a gargoyle because I clipped it wrong, and I'll need to pick up some green stuff to patch the resulting hole. But largely today's post is about starting my carnifex.

I've got the three main assembly bits put together and glued, but the nature of the model is such that when entirely assembled, it will be far too difficult to paint certain bits; namely, the head and upper arms. To that end, I figured I'd paint the things separately then assemble. However, because the glue has difficulty sticking to paint I had to figure out some way to protect the appendage sockets while priming/painting. It was difficult to get tape into the concave spherical cavities, so I ended up taking another tack. Poster tack, to be exact. See below the torso after priming with poster tack jammed into the cavities:

This actually worked much better than I expected. I'll just pull the tack out with a knife or toothpick once I'm done painting, and the cavities should be entirely bare plastic, ready for glue.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Photo Setup

I had a question about what I'm using for my photo setup. I swear before god, it could not be cheaper. For lighting I'm using a $11.99 (literally, I checked the receipt) battery-powered LED mini desk lamp I got at Rite-Aid on a whim.

Actually, I use this lamp for cleaning and painting the models as well because it's so damn handy. I just place it on my worktable directly under my chin, oriented so the light is as direct onto the model as I can manage, and voilá: no shadows to get in the way of the work. It's awesome. As far as the model photos go, it's pretty much this lamp in one hand, my Samsung Galaxy S4 in the other, and the whole setup taking place on a built-in shelf in my closet:

You may also notice here my pimp-ass pink dress shirt and a lower shelf of god-knows-what. But seriously, this is all I'm using.


All my abject failings behind me, and with several hours of painting advice videos specifically for Tyranids under my belt, I finally managed to produce a hormagaunt that I actually liked. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Craig, first official member of Hive Fleet Ifrit:

Craig's coloring is as follows:

  1. Prime with Mournfang Brown spray
  2. Base coat skin/body with Karak Stone
  3. Base coat carapace/claws with Mournfang Brown
  4. Wash with Agrax Earthshade
  5. Repaint skin/body with thin layer of Karak Stone
  6. Highlight skin/body with thinned Screaming Skull
  7. Correctly apply a hashing blend of XV-88, Tau Light Ochre, Averland Sunset, and Screaming Skull (in that order) to the carapace/claws
  8. Tongue is bright-ass Averland Sunset
  9. Eyes are Ceramite White followed by Guilliman Blue glaze (maybe they're addicted to the spice)!
I really liked how this model turned out. I even finished the base with a few pieces of gravel from my driveway hot-glued down after painting with Armageddon Dust, both to make it more visually interesting as well as help weight the model, since hormagaunts in general and in this pose in particular are horrifically unbalanced and otherwise likely to tip over.

Anyway, now that I have a color scheme I like and can work with, I'm going to start assembly-lining the rest of the hormagaunts at a clip of 4 at a time. It'll probably take a while, but I'm hoping to speed up a bit as I get more used to the techniques I've used. Stay tuned for further progress reports!

P.S. Craig will be the last named hormagaunt. I realize I can't keep this up nor remember all the names in question were I to try to.

Marvin, Morgan, and Jack

Everyone, I would like to introduce you to Marvin, the first unofficial member of Hive Fleet Ifrit to be squeezed out by the hive ship birthing pods.

As noted above, Marvin is an unofficial member because I did not yet have any painting skills and so he was rejected from active duty by the fleet (read: me) for being of inadequate genetic composition. His body ended up too dark from the wash, and I really screwed up the carapace because I didn't have a good handle on the appropriate technique yet. All in all, he looked muddy and splotchy. His paint scheme was as follows:

  1. Prime with Mournfang Brown spraycan
  2. Skin/body basecoat in Zandri Dust
  3. Carapace/claw basecoat in XV-88
  4. Full-model wash in Agrax Earthshade
  5. Skin/body highlights in Karak Stone
  6. Carapace/claw edges in Tau Light Ochre, followed by Averland Sunset
Even disappointed as I was, though, I figured the scheme was fine, I just needed better technique. So, with the same scheme I constructed and painted another - Morgan, Marvin's twin sister in color and rejection:

Morgan was a slight improvement over Marvin in some respects (namely carapace edging technique and paint consistency maintenance), but otherwise suffered the same flaws. Additionally, I realized much later that I had completely forgotten to paint her thigh plates as carapace entirely. Still, by then I had started giving up on the particular scheme in question and decided to get creative palette-wise, giving birth to this godawful monstrosity - Jack:

Actually, Jack's skin/body coloring I quite liked. Still a smidge darker than I was going for, but much closer to the mark. I had started with a base of Karak Stone instead of Zandri Dust, washed it with Agrax Earthshade, then reapplied a thin layer of Karak Stone again to cover up the areas discolored by the wash that I didn't want to be. I then applied some very thin and haphazard highlights with Screaming Skull.

Jack's carapace, on the other hand, was worse than the previous two. The yellow smeared into the black to make a grody greenish color that I just hated. Also, starting with black meant that my options for further shading of carapace recesses was limited, and so I gave up halfway through and didn't even finish painting him. He now lies on a shelf with his other poorly-bred siblings. My next effort, however, would yield actual fruit. Stay tuned for the first official member of Hive Fleet Ifrit!

And so we embark!

So, I've been thinking about getting into miniature wargaming for some time, as I need another hobby like I need a hole in my head and I've always been prone to bad financial and time-management decisions. That said, after doing my research (and on the advice of some friends also getting started in the hobby - check out my long-time friend Stric's progress blog at How Do I ... Warhammer 40K as he builds his force of Chaos Space Marines), I decided upon Warhammer 40k. I probably would've done it sooner, but there's only one game store where I live and it is neither convenient to me nor particularly well-stocked or organized (and the few times I have been there it has been possessed of a noticeable and unpleasant... um, let's call it an olfactory aura), all of which dissuaded me from attempting to pursue the hobby there.

But oh wait! A Games Workshop store opened up in another relatively nearby suburb, and so while on vacation Tuesday I set out down there in the baking heat to see what I could get into. The store itself was splendidly-organized, well-stocked, and immaculately clean. The gentleman manning the storefront, who went by the name of Steve, was friendly, helpful, and full of advice. It has actually been quite some time since I've had quite as enjoyable a retail experience. These factors all culminated in me purchasing a metric shit-ton of crap to get started with my desert-themed Tyranid army, hereby deemed Hive Fleet Ifrit.

For the models, I purchased the Tyranid Swarm model pack (40 termagants, 40 hormagaunts, 10 gargoyles, 4 rippers swarms, and a carnifex), as well as a starter painting kit and some paints for the color scheme I was aiming for (with which Steve was also quite helpful). A quick stop by Hobby Lobby netted me various other associated bric-a-brac such as plastic palettes, jars for water, brushes and soap, etc. Did you know they still put prices into their registers by hand there? It was a trip. Also, the cashier complimented my Bruce Schneier Facts T-shirt, which always picks me up a bit.

Anyway, thoroughly laden down with the materials and tools of the trade, I got home, made a workspace next to my computer, and started out building a hormagaunt. The result thereof will be discussed in my next post, when I introduce you all to Marvin, my very first painted miniature.