Tactical Squads Assembled

After a mammoth four day session I have assembled and primed all three tactical squads. I enjoyed doing it but I am also glad it’s over. After all this cutting, sanding and gluing I am really keen to get back to painting. As I mentioned in an earlier post I am modeling the sergeants and specialists with a single weapon option. Chainsword and plasma pistol and  plasma gun respectively. They are intended to be WYSIWYG.

[photos]

That said, the MKIII marines were modeled with chainswords. This is because the Burning of Prospero sprus come with 10, so I thought I’d use them. The marines are all equipped with a combat blade (or sword), grenades and ammo pouches.This makes them quite bulky but I would expect them to be heavily equipped. This also fits my counter insurgency theme.

After looking at them for a while I decided I didn’t like the chainswords on the MKIII marines. They were too big and awkwardly mounted. What really finished it for me though, was the handles. They are modeled with a kind of tab which is how they attach to the belts. Mounted behind the shoulder these tabs had nothing to attach to and would have looked weird when painted.

I wanted to keep the theme of combat blades consistent so I went back to my first squad of tactical marines and removed the 3D printed kopis. A couple broke during the process but that can’t be helped. They actually fit quite well on the the MKIII armor, so no filing was required.

The MKIV and MKVII marines have more conventional combat blades. There is an issue with fit though. I wanted the blades to be mounted behing the shoulder. They don’t fit. Particularly in the case of the MKIV blades. So, I had to file down the back of the torso with a square file to make space. I also had to position the handles to take advantage of the gap in the backpacks between the main unit and the exhaust.

The poses are fairly static due to all the extra bits like pouches limiting articulation. But I like how they look as a group. The MKIII marines look particularly brutal. The most difficult part of assembly was fitting the two parts of the MKIII backpack. It’s difficult not the leave a gap or inadvertently cut into the model while cleaning.

[photos]

As you can see the models are preshaded with Tamiya Dark Grey and then a zentithal layer of Tamiya Light Grey undercoat. I really do think preshading makes a big difference if you can keep your paint layers really thin. The next step will be basecoating. That will be an even bigger job than assembling and priming.

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Sauroter Tactical Squad

First troops choice painted and ready for basing.

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

1-tactical-squad

2-tactical-marine

3-tactical-backpack

4-heavy-weapon

5-flamer

6-magnet

7-melta

8-plasma

9-backpack

10-sergeant

Design

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.

Modelling

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.

Painting

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.

Decals

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.