Assault Squad Torsos

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I have completed the base coating and some shading on the torsos of the Assault squad. I thought the torsos were a good place to start because they wont be particularly visible under the jump packs. I am fairly pleased with the way they turned out.

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I began by basecoating in xxxx then applying highlights with 2:1 xxxx to xxxx. Then 1:1 xxxx to xxxx. Then 1:2 xxxx to xxxx. Finally I applied an edge highlight of 1:2 xxxxto xxxx mixed with xxxx.

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The harnesses were painted in Vallejo Model Air Black Metal and drybrushed with  Vallejo Model Air Gun Metal.

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The kneepads were painted in Game Color Iraqui Sand over Game Color Khaki. The white is meant to signify the company, in this case the 4th. The numeral signifies the squad, in this case VII is the first of two Assault Squads in the 4th Company. I used Vallejo Decal Medium and Decal Fix. The decals went on fine but the surfaces were pretty flat.

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Once the basecolors were established I sealed the models with a couple of coats of gloss varnish before I applied the washes. This worked really well. The washed flowed into the recesses and there was little to no staining. The green armour was pin-washed with GW Athenian Camoshade. The harnesses were washed with GW Nuln Oil and the Wings on the chests with GW Agrax Earhtshade. I decided to color the wings gold to signify that they are assault troops.

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I did some light chipping effects with Vallejo Air Cammo Black Brown.

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I am happy with the way they turned out but there are a couple of areas I want to improve. First, the highlights, especially the edge highlights were a bit sloppy. It won’t be so visible on these guys but it’s something I want to do better on the jump packs and definately on the tactical squads.

Second, the varnish. I used a cheap rattle can of varnish from Daiso. It was what I had to hand. It went on really thick which didn’t help the details much. I need to get a better quality varnish, probably something from Tamiya as it’s easy to get here.

Also, the armour lacks contrast. The Cammoshade isn’t dark enough and applying several coats seems like it’d be tedious. So I’ve ordered the Weathering Set for Green Vehicles from AK interactive. It includes the Dark Brown Wash for Green Vehicles which is an enamel wash. I will be able to apply it over a gloss varnish and then remove it with a cotton bud. You can see it in action over Space Marine armour here, on the Dr Faust’s Painting Clinic YouTube channel.

Assault Squad Assembled

As per the plan, I have assembled the first unit of marines. I wanted to start with the Assault Squad because there are only five models. Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, the kit is showing it’s age and I was keen to try out the Vallejo Model Putty.

To keep the squad WYSIWYG I have magnetized some of the models. Two Marines can be equipped with either flamers or chainswords. I used the MKIV flamers because they are more compact. They look like assault weapons. I also like the idea of being able to put down two flame templates and get automatic hits during an assault.

The sergeant also has the option of a power fist. This is just for the sake of the conversion. I don’t really like the idea of putting a lot of points into a model that only has power armour and one wound. I’d rather save the points across squads and take something else. However, if I am anticipating something like a Landraider or monstrous creature the option is there.

The jump packs are not magnetized because I don’t see much point in Assault Squads without them. I spent a lot of time filling and sanding gaps because I wanted the finish to be really smooth and aerodynamic. I left the vent on the top of the intake because it makes sense as part of the engine. I also like the idea of adding soot effects to it later.

You’ll  notice that they are attached to 25mm bases. This is because this is an older kit. I am using these bases for painting. I am planning to base them on clear acrylic when they are finished. The feet don’t offer much of a surface for gluing so I may actually magnetize them to their bases. Otherwise they are going to constantly break.

Here they are after priming:

As you can see the finish…

Vallejo Plastic Putty

I bought a box of assault marines from an ebay seller. The kit is fine, but really showing its age in terms of finish. Compared to the new Space Marine Tactical Squad set the details are a lot less defined. Particularly the legs, where the knee pads meet the thigh armour. This is not a complaint so much as an observation. I still like the kit.

However, the jump packs really do have big gaps. I didn’t take any pictures while I was assembling mine. It’s a bit of a bother to set everything up. But, here is a good example:

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Image from ChestofColors.com

This picture comes from an excellent OSL tutorial from ChestofColors.com, which can be read here. You can see the gaps quite clearly. You can also see how inaccessible those parts of the model are. When I painted my Chaplain, I tried to sand the seams smooth. It didn’t work very well and I was unsatisfied with the results.

I have some green stuff but I’ve never used it before and it seems like an unsuitable application for it. I did some research on filling gaps and decided on Vallejo Plastic Putty. It’s water soluble so it won’t wreck your brushes and can apparently be colored with paint. It comes in a dropper bottle or tube. I bought the latter.

I found it really easy to use. I simply applied it into gaps with a paintbrush and used a damp cotton bud to remove the excess. I then sanded the surface with sanding sticks, then some really fine grit sandpaper and finally burnished it with my nail. I find a soft bristled toothbrush helps polish the surface too. Here are the results:

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It’s impossible to tell how smooth the surface is until it’s been primed. Grey primer really seems to show any imperfections up. That said, I’m very pleased with the results. I was able to fill even the tiny gaps inside the thrusters. The putty sanded well and didn’t seem to shrink much as it dried. I’m not sure if that would be the case with bigger gaps though. I guess green stuff might be a better alternative in that case.

The only niggle was on the underside of the Jump Pack, in the middle, under the vent. I was able to apply the putty just fine, to what was a pretty sizeable gap. But I found it very difficult to sand or scrape away the excess. If I had some of the cotton bubs that end in a hard point that might have worked better.

I won’t be magnetizing the jump packs. I don’t see much point in Assault Marines unless they have them. Eventually, I may decide to upgrade to a Space Marine Bike Squad. I really like the models and they seem like they’d be a solid choice in a game.