Saturday, June 30, 2018

Alpharius Shoulders

The upper shoulder pads are done! The approach here was to have a little experiment with how I am going to attempt the main body and legs of the model. The undercoat is black to provide dark recesses, followed by a base colour of alpha legion blue that I mixed up a little while ago. 

I then applied some subtle layers and inks of blues and greens to give the shoulders and scales a little bit of a gradient. This is tough to pull off since blue and green are a pair of colours that don't exactly complement each other well. However, I think the blend that I have done here is fine. The scales have been picked out with scorpion green on the top.

The silver around the edges is done with iron breaker followed by an inking of Nuln Oil. The highlights are done with rune fang silver followed by extreme highlighting with white. 

However, once I have glued the shoulders in place on the main model, I will return to the extreme highlighting to ensure that the glints are in the correct places. That is hard to do right now with the pieces off the model. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Pale Spear Painting

For Alpharius' pale spear, I wanted to at least to try to communicate some of the alien origin of this ghastly weapon. As with most hobbyists, my interpretation of the Pale Spear is that it is Necron in origin. Goodness knows how Alpharius got hold of such a relic, but I guess that's a part of his charm.

Starting with a black undercoat, I sprayed some silver on the the spear to use as a reference point for the azimuthal light. However. Unlike for Alpharius' body, I was not very happy with this approach and thought about using something else. Initially, I wanted to paint the blades of the spear in the same manner as a power weapon. Perhaps blues and lightning dancing across the surface. I abandoned this idea early on as I had labelled it as too Imperial looking. 

Instead, I wanted to try my hand at something a bit different. I elected to give non-metallic metals a whirl. Now, I will be the first to confess that I'm not usually very good with this approach. I am much more comfy with flaming swords or electricity dancing across their surfaces. Hence it represented a bit of a challenge for me. All good!

The image below shows the result.

For the non-metallic metal approach, I have wet blended black to white (through grey) on both sides of tips of the spear. However: the blending is inversed for each side and a delimited of white applied between them. The overall approach is sound, although I think I might re-do this on a different day (with a lower temperature) to get a slightly better result. 

The shaft of the spear meanwhile has been picked out in a mahogany and maroon colour around the grip, with a weathered silver approach for the central parts. The hands of Alpharius follow the colour scheme established on his main body.

Its getting closer to the time to glue all the parts together...!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Master Crafted Plasma Blaster for Alpharius

When I started to look at the accessories that Alpharius carries around with him, his main side arm was a master crafted plasma blaster. This was one of those cases that I did not know initially how I wanted to go about tackling. I thought about several permutations such as having a silvered weapon with some red or blue plasma coils. Or how about even brass plasma coils from them being inactivated? 

However, for me, the Master Crafted aspect of the weapon was what swung the colour scheme eventually. Not only is the sculpt of the plasma blaster notable for an upgraded gun handle, but it also comes with some exquisite detail across all of the weapon. I opted for a golden colour scheme for the main part of the weapon itself. This was to reinforce the master crafted aspect of the gun (and potentially remind me on the table top of this). For the plasma coils, I wanted them heated and ready to go. The choices were between red, green, and blue for me. However, since I am opting to have a heavy weapon plasma cannon squad use green plasma, I wanted to coordinate. Hence green was the go-to colour for me here. The end result is below. 

In some ways, it is sad that this side arm is so small! When glued on to Alpharius' thigh, it will be partially hidden. All that glorious highlighting that I've spent so long doing will be hidden. However, that's life. And I wouldn't forgive myself for not doing it on a model as expensive as a Primarch. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Alpharius Cape

One of the bigger components that I've left as a distinct painting section for Alpharius is his cape. Forge World have painted this in a simple manner for their website and display purposes. However, I wanted to do something a little bit orthogonal to this. I have therefore decided to follow the camouflage paint scheme that my scouts have on their cloaks.

The effect is achieved using an airbrush over a stencil from Anarchy. Another example of this approach can be found on my Warhound titan. Here, I have placed the stencil in a number of locations and used a lighter shade of cream, as well as black for making the hexagons. I have applied a further edging to the hexagons in a number of places to suggest the mutability of the cloak's properties. There is still some touching up left to do on the cloak, but otherwise, this is approaching how the cape will look when finally glued in to place.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Alpharius Base

The weather has not been conducive to painting recently (far too warm where I conduct my work basically). However, I have made significant progress with Alpharius' base. The image below shows how it is working out so far.

The base has been painted in a brown base coat and then inked with a darker brown/black mixture, followed by highlighting in almost a creamier version of the brown colour to give it the appropriate texture. 

Meanwhile, the space marine legionary on the base has had their basecoat applied in the same Alpha Legion colours as his master, with silver accents. 

Both the base and the marine still need plenty of work, but it is starting to come together nicely and actually looking like everything slots together well visually. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Alpharius Base Coat

The base coat is now down on Alpharius. 

The painting follows my mixing up of a new batch of Alpha Legion colours to use specifically with the model (and with a Leviathan), and broadly matches my previous methods with this Legion. Some key differences to line troopers here are that I bothered to use a quantum of azimuthal silver to ensure that the top-down viewpoint might plausibly be a little bit more shiny and sparkly than a bottom-up one. 

To get the paint laying evenly on the surface of the model, I used an airbrush and made even strokes across the model with the gunmetal blue colour. I finished up by adding a hint of green in to my airbrush mixture and targeting the lower parts of the scaled panels of the model.

I followed this up by outlining where I wanted the silver on the model for the panel edging. This was done with a mixture of leadbelcher along with runefang silver in moderation. 

This is the undercoat completed for Alpharius. Clearly there is still a whole lot of work left to do. However, I am already pleased with the aesthetic that is coming across with this model. The scales can be seen clearly reflecting the lights in my house due to the silvered-blue nature of the model. 

The only other thing to mention is that I have glued the head in to position as well. I did this using the model temporarily tacked on to the base to get the tilt where I wanted it. Not entirely looking downwards at the unfortunate marine below him, nor ignoring him. Just the right amount of martial contempt, I think. And multi-tasking. I imagine Alpharius speaking orders in to his comm unit whilst dispatching the marine below him, almost absent-mindedly. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A New Batch of Alpha Legion Colour, and a Leviathan

In preparation for painting Alpharius, I needed to make some more of my home-brew Alpha Legion colours.

In some of my previous work, I have experimented with different types of Alpha Legion colours. Some are very blue. Almost light blue. Others are darker, more sombre. Most are metallic, or metallic based rather than non-metal metals. Some have hints of green. Some a dash of purple. Yet in the main part, I have stuck with having metallic blue as my desired colour, and a darker tone of it at that.

In the image below, I have made up a new batch of my Alpha Legion blue colours. Using an airbrush, I have applied a mixture of various metals (rune fang silver mostly) with Vallejo (blue gun metal) and various dashes of citadel greens and blues for different layers and effects.

To be clear - the Leviathan contains several different layers. This starts with a black undercoat followed by an azimuthal application of silver from above. I follow this up with a metallic blue mixture based on the Vallejo gunmetal blue, and then proceed to add a dash of green tint to achieve the final layer's effect. 

Overall, I am happy with this mixture and will be using it as the basis for Alpharius' armour. Given the level of detail with the scales in his armour, I will also be doing a few other steps including highlighting in green, as well as a differential gradient from blue to green across some of the panels. Or at least, that is the plan at present. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Slow Progress

Some slow progress with Alpharius, but progress nonetheless.

The undercoat is now done on all the sub-assemblies. It took some time to decide what sub-assemblies to go with, but I am happy with the choices that I have made thus far. The image shows the undercoat on all of the sub-assemblies that I will be using for this project. 

Of course, some of these choices are obvious. The cape would be un-paintable if I were to attach it right now. The spear would just get in the way completely of the torso. I decided to keep the tabard, grenades, and the side-arm seperate as well. They can be glued on later. Perhaps the toughest choice was leaving the upper shoulder pads as distinct items to paint. It would have been easy to glue them on immediately, but I think I have made the correct choice here as this way I get to paint the visible upper plate of the under-shoulder-pads before attaching them. 

More on Alpharius soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Alpharius Body Assembly

A relatively short update today. This is the body of Alpharius, assembled to the point of having the arms attached and the backpack on. The assembly was relatively pain free, although the arms do have their tabs where they attach to the main shoulders of the body, which required a little bit of knife work to flatten them out flush with the body. 

I am leaving the cape off (right hand side) as I want to paint it as a separate unit. I will dry fit the head before painting the body as well as I want the head angled so that it works both in the scenic display piece, and as a stand-alone miniature facing off other miniatures on the battlefield.

Other than that, I have located a few air bubbles which I have fixed up with some liquid green stuff (see the extreme left hand edge of the cape for instance). 

Alpharius is now ready for undercoating.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

All Your Bases Are Belong To

Alpharius' base is fairly unique amongst the Primarchs. Plenty of the show dead bodies, and the results of their actions. Some are static and show staircases, or in the case of Dorn viewing a battlefield stoically. For Alpharius, he is in the midst of dispatching an unlucky foe (unlucky, because I'm assuming that he didn't see Alpharius coming. If he did, and charged, then he was going to be outgunned as a bolt pistol was probably never going to do the trick ... the bolt pistol lies on the ground next to this marine).

The first image (above) shows how the scenic base all slots together. It too me a little while to figure this out as I was rotating the smaller base around to see which rocks were supposed to slot in to each other. I thought I had it right, but there was a gap at one point in the circumference. 

Slightly perplexed, I decided to instead dry fit the unfortunate marine to the base. The knee of the marine turns out to occupy the slight gap in the circumference and fill in the scenic base. I hope this tip helps someone out! Regardless, the correct orientation can be seen above. 

For the marine on the floor, my original thought was to make this guy in to another Alpha Legion marine. I was going to do this by swapping shoulder pads, or perhaps a different helmet. The sculpt of this marine meant that this would be tough to do. Both the shoulder pads and the head are sculpted together with other parts. Hence, I have opted here to keep the original sculpt intact as it simply makes more sense that way. Plus it retains everything in their original condition. 

About the only this that I did with the base was to score it (picture above). Here, I've simply taken my modelling knife and etched a grid pattern on the bottom of it. The reason for doing this is to ensure better bonding when glued to the citadel base. Other than that, the base is now assembled. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Dealing with The Pale Spear of Alpharius

Crunch time for Alpharius' weapon. Do I stick with the little nib of a joint to attach the tip of the Pale Spear of Alpharius to the main haft of the weapon, or do I drill it to make it that bit extra secure? In order to determine the answer, I looked very closely at what I would have to do if I drilled it. The image below shows the situation.

The drill that I am employing here is about the diameter of a paper clip. Look closely and you will see how finely it matches the tip of the pale spear (upper resin part) and the main haft (lower resin part).

Now, I am no fan of the "nipple joint" (if I may call it that) at the bottom of the pale spear. There is precious little strength in such joins. Hence my immediate thought to drill the bits and pin them together.

In the image, it is possible to see that the tip of my drill bit is only fractionally smaller than the end of the pale spear. It is a close and tight match with almost not margin for error. By this, I mean that if I am going to drill it, I'd better be dead-on horizontal with my drill going in to the tip of the spear. The hand at the lower end of the haft is not as great a worry as there is more diameter to work with in case I drill at a slight angle. But for the tip of the spear, it has to be right.

Given my previous work (some masterworks even) over many decades, I figure that I am comfy giving this a go. Even with this previous experience though, it is a case of measure and line up three times and drill once. I look at it from all angles to check - constantly check - that I am drilling as horizontally as I can get it. Even a small deviation will cause the drill head to poke through the spear's side.

The photo below shows what can be accomplished with patience, accuracy, and constant vigilance.

The head of the drill bit is sunk by almost 10mm in to the tip of the pale spear. This is more than sufficient to create a quality pin for the model.

Below is that final pinned model. The only extra work I did here was to start the drilling on the haft of the pale spear by shaving off the nipple and then drilling in to the fist. Again, the depth was about 10mm. 

Although there is still a little bit of work to do here in straightening out the length of the pale spear, I am very happy with this pinning result. A very fine and delicate operation that took the best part of an hour to plan out and eyeball up. I don't recommend this operation for beginners at all though -- there's far too much scope for even a slight error spoiling the model. 

Good going thus far with Alpharius here though!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Alpharius Unboxing

Following hot on the heels of unboxing the Lernaean terminators, today I wanted to share the photos of Alpharius himself straight out of the box. 

I have to say from the outset that the sculpt is gorgeous. I am hideously biased though as well. The scales on the armour are going to simply be a pleasure to paint when I get around to it.

However, there looks to be a couple of pressure points from my first inspection.
* The pale spear is warped already fresh out of the box. And its not a simple warp either (such as a C shape). It is more like an S shape. I will be using either some boiling water or a hair dryer here to correct the shape back to linear. 
* I am worried about the positioning of the pale spear (plus hands) on to the main body of Alpharius and getting the pose "right". 
* The lower part of the pale spear is a separate section as well. The connection point looks very weak. I am tempted to drill it, but the diameter of the spear partially puts me off doing this. I need to see if I have a small enough drill before choosing to do this. 

Apart from those pressure points, my plan is to have the marine who is on ground in front of Alpharius be another Alpha Legion marine. I am considering swapping shoulder pads perhaps, although on the other hand, the paint scheme and some transfers would do the same job arguably. 

Time to do some clean up and get these parts off the blocks...

Friday, June 8, 2018

Lernaean Unboxing

Excitingly, the delivery is already here! I am now the proud owner of my own Alpharius coupled with the Lernaeans that went on sale today. Forge World shipped this at just after midnight UK time and it arrived late this afternoon to their new home.

Given that many of my readers will have already seen the unboxing of Alpharius and his components elsewhere, I thought I would show some images of unboxing the Lernaeans instead. [Don't worry, I'll do an Alpharius unboxing as well later].

The Lernaeans come in their own big box pictured below. Its about the same size as a Primarch box, give or take a little.

Inside the box, there are detailed instructions to help guide the process of building these marines.

Below are all the components laid out, straight out of the box. Obviously, I've not undertaken any clean up of the components yet, and flash can be seen in many places.

Some immediate notes.

* I will have to make a choice about whether I want one of them toting the conversion beamer or not. There are only ten shoulder pads supplied and eleven possible armaments. Magnetizing would be highly tricky for this.

* There are two axe poses: two with the grip half way up the haft of the axe, and three with the grip right at the top of the haft.

* There are a variety of poses possible here, and the arms can be positioned nicely.

* Heads all look the same. 

More on these marines at a later point! 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Scales of the Hydra

The wait is over! 

Today, Forge World announced that Alpharius and the Lernaeans are now on pre-order. I have been waiting, very literally, years for this to happen. Naturally, I have placed a pre-order for both, using the Scales of the Hydra bundle that puts the Primarch and his elite terminators together in a single order. 

The price point of both are a little higher than I was perhaps anticipating. The most expensive Primarch to date is Magnus. He is indeed a large miniature with a lot of extra things happening on his base (such as the magic stones he appears to be shooting ahead of him). To my surprise, both Rogal Dorn and Alpharius are next in line in terms of price. To be honest, I would have thought either Corax (with his large dynamic pose) or Horus (just because of the sheer bulk of his figure and his base) would be the next most expensive. To be honest, both Perturabo and Mortarion both have a large amount of bulk to them as well, including the base. To my eyes, Alpharius has somewhat less bulk in terms of the sheer amount of resin. However, given that he is new, and that I really like the sculpt (coupled with my statement above about waiting years), I am prepared to pay.

The Lernaean Terminators also feel slightly high. Compare them, for instance, with the Death Guard Deathshroud terminators, or the Iron Hands Gorgons. They certainly look like similar bulk and quantity of resin. Only the Iron Warriors tyrants are more expensive comparatively - and there we are paying for the missiles that they carry on top of their armour. However, seen against the Space Wolf Varagyr terminators, they are worth it. Basically: we get the conversion beamer for free in addition to all the other parts. Or maybe it could be put a different way. Ten pounds for a conversion beamer in comparison to the Death Guard? Once again though, these are miniatures that I have been waiting for such a long time to get my hands on that I was always going to order them regardless. Even if I don't use them as is, I think that they would make wonderful command squad style infantry. 

All that said, I'm really excited! Can't wait to open these guys up when they arrive in just over a week's time. I have waited years. I can wait another week for the pre-orders to actually ship.

[Image copyright belongs to Forge World. Used here under "Fair Use" clause to illustrate discussion above on the new products. No infringement intended on copyright.]
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