Originally I had intended to post every week. The idea was to use the blog to keep motivated for the project. As I got into the habit of painting that motivation became intrinsic. Hence no posts for the past four months. There was a lot of painting though.
I have completed all of the troops for my battle-demi company. Just in time for 8th Edition to do away with formations. Nevermind, I’m not bothered about that. I now have all the troops I’ll ever need for a Sauroters Space Marine army:
Three tactical squads with magnetized special weapons options
One tactical squad with magnetized special weapons and a missile launcher
One five man Command Squad with three grav guns a Veteran sergeant with power fist and a Chapter Champion
One five man Devastator Squad with magnetized heavy weapons
One five man Assault Squad with jump packs
I haven’t based them yet as I am waiting until I complete the 3 HQ choices, so I can do them all at once. All 58 of them. I have purchased some vehicles but I will do them as a separate project. The painting varies slightly from squad to squad but I’d say they’re all a decent tabletop quality and WYSIWYG. En mass they are pretty impressive.
Having finished assembling, magnetizing and priming the Assault Squad I have decided to change the plan. Specifically magnetization. The process is really time consuming but it’s the results that are the problem. With the Assault Squad Sargent I avoided the need for multiple arms by magnetizing at the wrist. However, after letting it sit on my workbench for a while I’ve decided I don’t like it.
I think I’d prefer to have models modeled in one way. In the case of Sargents, chainsword and plasma pistol. In the case of special weapons guys, plasma guns. I’m simply going to make it a theme. The Assault Squad will have no special weapons. This will cut down on the amount of painting I’ll need to do and let me concentrate on results instead.
I have also stripped and reprimed the Chaplin and Apothecary models I had previously painted. I think I can achieve a better result if I try again. I also want to try sealing models with gloss varnish after establishing the base colors and before adding washes. If I’m going to do this I want to keep the process consistent across all the models.
So, having completed forty models and various parts I am no closer to my goal of a full battle demi company. This is due to the fact that thirty of the the forty are Ultramarines and the 10 Sauroters are not quite up to the standard I want. That said, I have learned how to assemble, model, convert and paint to a standard I am satisfied with so I’m now ready to tackle the project. So I’ve made a plan.
The first step was to buy the models I need. From ebay sellers I purchased four tactical squads. Two Betrayal at Calth sprues, one Burning of Prospero sprues and a MKVII sprue. I also bought an Assualt Squad sprue. That gives me enough models for 3 10-man tactical squads, 2 5-man Devastator Squads, 1 Assault Squad and a 5-man Command Squad. The Command Squad was put together by kitbashing leftovers from the sprues plus 5 sets of legs from my original Ultramarines Devastators.
The next step is to clip all of the parts off the sprues and group them into individual sets. As I have mentioned before, I want to be as WYSIWYG as possible. So, I will also need to supplement the sprues with parts from my bits box. The goal is to have a small baggy for each model containing each of the bits required to build it. For models like sergeants, this will include all of the weapons options. The leftover bits will go into my bits box.
Next I’ll need to clean up all the parts. I have heard several people mention how good the GW seam scraper is. I can use a knife just fine but it is a little dangerous and there is always the possibility of cutting into the miniature so I might get one. I am also going to get some Vallejo plastic putty for gap filling, particularly on the jump packs.
After that comes the modelling. I like to use sub-assemblies so I won’t be fully assembling my miniatures. I’ll be leaving the backpacks, helmets and arms carrying weapons of the bodies. These will be mounted on skewers for undercoating. I’ll also need to do the magnetization at this stage. Arms for the sergeants and hands for the special weapons guys. I’ll also be drilling all the barrels on all the weapons.
Everything will be primed with a Tamiya undercoat. I am planning to preshade the miniatures by first priming from below in black and then from above in grey. If I can keep subsequent layers thin, I should be able to achieve a decent look. Preshading is subtle but really does add something to the finished product if subcequent layers are thin.
Painting will be done in batches. I have noticed that I tend to get frustrated and sloppy if I paint for too long. What should be a hobby becomes a chore. My satisfaction really depends on a good result so I will be painting in small batches of 5 for miniatures and 10 for sub-assemblies. I am going to limit myself to one batch per session and concentrate on getting the best result possible.
The final step will be basing the models. As I mentioned in a previous post I’ll be using a base stamp and green stuff for basing. With the assault marines I’m planning to use transparent acrylic bases with black painted rims. I haven’t decided what color to paint the rims of the plastic bases but it will probably be black or grey. Everything will then be varnished with two coats of Tamiya Flat Clear.
How do you stay motivated? Personally a combination of progress and results seems to do the trick for me. Recently I had a real dip in motivation. To the extent that I considered giving up on the whole Sauroters project. I’m not sure why really and it seemed to come out of the blue. That got me thinking.
I tend to do batch painting. I find it quite satisfying as well as a more efficient use of time. I have noticed however, that there is a definite limit to how big batches can be. I have tried painting 10 man squads in batches. I find it takes most of a day to finish. Towards the end it starts to feel like a bit of a chore, rather than a hobby and I tend to make decisions or mistakes that end up reducing my satisfaction with the result.
I also find painting large areas of flat colour very tedious. Consequently, I tend to rush and apply the paint to thickly. Again, this effects the end result. A good example was the Proteus Pattern II missile launchers. They have a deceptively large surface area and I found painting five took a lot longer than I expected. I was really trying to just finish the last couple, add a wash and call it a day. When I came back the next day, to do the highlights, I found the finish was patchy and I had missed some spots altogether.
Although, to date I have completed over thirty Space Marines, only 10 of them are Sauroters. Plus, I am not intending to include that squad in my Demi Company, mainly because they are not quite up to the standard that I want. This means that I haven’t made much progress towards my goal. I think this was responsible for the dip in my motivation.
My current feeling is that the painting I have done up to now was really just learning how to model, paint, convert etc. I am now ready to complete the project to a standard I am happy with. So, I’m feeling motivated again. I think in my personal case there seems to be a sudden hump to get over in any of the projects I do. Once I push through it I’m fine again.
Due to the sudden fall of Sterling I have been able to order most of what I need in one go. From various ebay sellers I have ordered 2 Betrayal at Calth sprues, 1 Burning of Prospero Sprue and one box of five Assault Marines. That gives me enough models to create 1 10 man Devastator Squad, three Tactical Squads and one Assault Squad. I also have a Librarian, a Tech Marine and an Apothecary. I want to replace my Chaplain and add a Captain.
The plan is to clip everything of the sprues and clean them up. Then assemble everything into sub assemblies and prime them all together. Then I’ll batch paint everything in groups of five until they’re all done. Rather than batch paint models I’ll batch paint elements. I’ll do all the backpacks, then helmets, then weapons etc. That way I should be able to get a really consistent look and stay motivated. Personally doing a bunch of backpacks isn’t boring as long as I’m making progress and the finish is good. I’m really looking forward to it.