Sauroter Tactical Squad

Here are some pictures of the first troops choice for my Sauroters Chapter Battle Demi Company:












I have placed the squad number on the right knee plate. In the 30K fluff this is where the Legion number is displayed but that doesn’t make sense to me. It seems more reasonable that the limited space for markings would be better used for a squad marking. Especially as the Chapter Symbol is already displayed on the left shoulder paulron. So, color denotes the Company and the numeral denotes the squad. I will carry on the theme with subsequent squads.


I found the converting a bit easier this time around. I have a bit more experience working with plastic and resin. Also, I found the 30K marines a lot easier to work with. Mainly because of the wrist armour which provides a lot of surface area for gluing. I have also taken to applying super glue with a cocktail stick which is much more controllable. I also invested in an electric drill which made drilling out barrels etc. much easier and consistent.


The basic scheme is green with copper. Blue is an accent color and is used on the eyes and some of the grenades. The squad was batch painted to what I think is a decent tabletop standard. It took a fairly long time but that’s fine. Painting is a hobby for me. I think any subsequent squads will be probably be painted much quicker.

I experimented with pin washing, that is I applied Agrax Earthshade over a gloss varnish coat. I like the effect but it didn’t work particulalrly well. The flow of the wash was insufficient and I pretty much rushed through. Also the pin wash was the last in a lot of layers so detail may have been clogged. Next time I will try with thinned oil paint.

  • Armour ~ Panzer Aces Russian Tank Crew (326). Highlighted with Panzer Aces Russian Tank Crew Highlight (330). Glazed with GW Waywatcher Green.
  • Left pauldron ~ Vallejo Brass (70.801)
  • Bolters ~ Vallejo Black Metal(71.073). Drybrushed with  Vallejo Steel (71.065)
  • Holsters ~ Vallejo Air Cammo Black Brown (71.042). Drybrushed with Vallejo Flat Earth (70.983)
  • Kopis ~  Vallejo Brass  (70.801). Washed with GW Agrax Earthshade
  • Eyes ~  GW Agrax Earthshade. Vallejo Deep Sky Blue (70.844).
  • Right knee pad ~  Vallejo Khaki  (70.988). Highlighted with  Vallejo Iraqui Sand  (70.819)

You’ll notice that they are not based yet. I am not planning to base anything until the whole army is finished. I want to try an achieve a  consistent look and I really haven’t decided how they’ll be based yet.


As usual, I had a bit of trouble with the decal. I want to have a consistent command squad marking for my HQ choices. This replaces the embossed iconography that is very common with GW and Forgeworld. I have seen coflicting advice (icluding on the Vallejo website) about the order in which to use Decal Medium and Decal Fix. It took a couple of attempts to get right.

I started by applying a thin coat of GW ‘Ard Coat to the surface I was applying the decal to. Once it was dry, I applied a small amount of Decal Medium to the surface. I softened the decal in clean water for about 30 seconds. I positioned the decal and then covered it in a thin coat of Medium. Once it was completely dry, I applied Decal Fix and left it to dry overnight. Finally I sealed the decal with matt varnish.

I am very pleased with the overall result but there are a few things I’d like to improve. I had a lot of difficulty with the eyes. I don’t particularly like the finish but it’ll do. I realized too late that I should have started by painting the eyes. It would have been much easier. I also went a bit overboard on weathering the squad markings on the shoulder pauldrons. I was having fun and just got carried away.

My biggest regret is deciding to add the kopis after I have finished painting the models and had varnished them. The gluing didn’t go well, the paint job was pretty sloppy and when I varnished them again, I ended up with slight frosting. They looked a lot better before I went back and started messing with them, so lesson learned I guess.




The horror…

I am no good at freehand and even if I were, I don’t think I’d be satisfied with the results. This means either moulded pauldrons or transfers. For my Sauroters, I ordered some custom 3D printed paulrons from Shapeways. They feature the Chapter symbol in relief. For the squad markings etc. I intend to use decals.

I tried using decals on my Ultramarine as practice. It didn’t go well.

Thinking I was clever, I cut a line from the top center to the middle center. I thought this would make it easier for the transfer to be applied to the curved surface of the pauldron. This led to a lot of the decals ripping. These then needed to be touched up by hand. Vallejo Game Color Dead White is quite thin. It didn’t cover the decal well and ran along the torn edges where I didn’t want it.

In general the decals did not adhere well. I found them difficult to work with and the results were not pretty. I had gloss coated the surface I was applying them to but the transfers just would not adhere to the surface without wrinkling. Often the edges would not adhere at all. A few coats of Lhamian Medium helped but the results were not at all satisfying. After the first couple of attempts I researched a little more.

I was aware of Micro Set and Micro Sol, but had wanted to try without them first. Several sources suggested white vinegar as a substitute for Micro Set. This actually worked quite well. However, without something to set the decal, the results were still pretty poor. Again, Lhamian Medium helped but not much.

So, I have ordered some Vallejo Decal Medium (73212) and some Vallejo Decal Fix (73213). I went with these rather than Micro Sol and Micro Set because I am using Vallejo paints and I have been very happy with the quality of their products. Also, it’s really hard to find anyone who can ship Micro Set/ Sol internationally.

Through this process I’ve learned:

  • A good quality pair of tweezers really helps
  • Sub assemblies would make affixing the decals much easier
  • Some kind of decal fix is required
  • Decals can be softened in just a drop of water on a palette
  • Cutting decals makes them very fragile
  • A cocktail stick is good for moving decals into position

I’m not sure if I hate decals yet. I’m looking forward to giving it another go.