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:

jump-pack
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:

[photo]

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.

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The Plan

hi001693955.jpg
Another missing Primarch?

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.

 

 

Paints

Vallejo Metal Color.jpg
Image from Amazon.com

One of the more important and expensive choices for the hobbyist is what kind of paints to buy. Back in the day I had some GW paints. I disliked the white rubber tops. I found that the hinge tended to break and the lids became encrusted with dried paint. When I got back into the hobby I discovered that they weren’t the only game in town.

The majority of my paints come from the Vallejo range. I really like the dropper bottles. Not only do they contain more paint than the GW pots, there is less wastage. I can control how much paint I put on my palette easily. For the same reason it’s easier to mix paints too. Also, the dropper design exposes less of the paint to the air, keeping the bottles cleaner and the paint viscous.

Initially I bought a small number of paints. I wanted to be able to paint a full range of colors but not have to buy too much up front. I started with some vauge notion of being able to mix colors from the primaries and did some research. The best guide I found was on theback40k. That site recommended the following as a good (GW) starter set:

  • Blood Red
  • Blazing Orange
  • Sunburst Yellow
  • Snot Green
  • Ice Blue (a light cyan)
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Liche Purple
  • Warlock Purple

Also black and white. I simply used a conversion chart and bought the Vallejo equivalents. I can honestly say that this was a great starter set. But what to add next? Here is what I suggest:

  • Metallics
  • Browns
  • Greys

I quickly added some metallics to my collection, although for smaller scales like 15mm, I’ve read that non-metallic metallics are better. Using grey for steel and yellow for gold etc. I bought the Vallejo Model Air set. It contains:

  • Silver
  • Steel
  • Gold
  • Bright Brass
  • Copper
  • Blue Metal
  • Gun Metal
  • Black Metal

The quality is great although I do recommend using medium rather than water if you want to dilute them. Although, they are very thin paints so you shouldn’t need to thin them much. I really like the Bright Brass and Black Metal colors. I have used them extensively on the Sauroters project.

As for browns and greys, they are just really useful. Especially browns. Used as undercoats they give a lot of variety to the same colors. The greys help you to desaturate colors. This can be aceived with black and white but having greys make consistent mixing easier.

Washes are great too. I’ve heard them described as liquid talent. They certainly help a lot. Black and brown are all you need to start with. You can use other products like oil paint or woodstain to wash miniatures but if you are a beginner I’d recommend acrylic washes.

I also like glazes. They stay on top of a surface, contrary to washes which seep into the recesses. Glazes help blend colors together giving a smoother overall blend. They are not essential but are very useful. It’s worth getting say a green glaze, if you are painting a lot of highlights on a smooth surface, say power armour. Not worth getting if you are a complete beginner. Stick with the washes.

I have tried some of the GW Technical paints. Specifically the Martian earth paint and Lhamian Medium. They are a lot of fun but I don’t have much use for them at present. I may get some if I have a particular project I want then for in the future. Again, probably not worth it for the beginner.

All in all, for the beginner I’d recommend the 10 paint starter set above with a black wash, a brown wash and a steel, bronze and gold metallic. That should cost about 50 Euro in total. Not cheap by any means but about as reasonable as it’s going to get. You should be able to paint just about anything with it.

When I was researching about paints I spent a lot of time thinking about agitators (e.g. the little steel ball in rattle cans). Eventually I settled on glass beads. Once you start using up the paint they become very effective. The sound is also oddly satisfying.

Devastator Helmets

devastator-helmets

I really like the paining aspect of the hobby so I tend to break models down into sub assemblies. It makes batch painting more enjoyable and less frustrating. It’s so much easier to edge highlight a helmet without a body getting in the way.

I have chosen to paint the helmets blue, partly for variety and partly for fluff reasons. The Sauroters are an Ultramarine successor chapter and that’s how the Ultramarines do it. Also, I like paining blue and it fits with my analogous color scheme.

This is actually the second attempt at these helmets. The first was OK but the blending on the tops of the helmets and the eyes weren’t good enough so I stripped them and started again. Second time around however, I over sprayed the undercoat and cloged some detail on some models. Nevermind; next time.

While I was paining I found the Vallejo Ice Blue really thin. To the extent that it was hard to paint with. I tried shaking it real good but to no avail. I considered thickening it on the pallette by using dry retarder but decided I should probably try to just fix the problem. I tried using a glass bead as a paint agitator. It seemed to do the trick.

As always the eyes drove me nuts. The best method for me seems to be basecoating and shading as normal and then adding a thin line of white. This needs to be thinned down with some medium. Then a glaze over the top. I find it impossible to do anything else consistently or well.

I am using 30k Tactical Marines from the Betrayal at Calth boxset. This is because I have bought some resin heavy weapons from Forgeworld. The static poses suit the heavy weapons and I much prefer the MKIV marines to the MKVII devastators. I like the crenelations on the latter’s armour but they are just too ostentatious, the weapons in the box set look stupid and there are only five in a box.

By next week I hope to have finished the armour.

Sauroter Apothecary

1-front

2-narthecium

3-chainsword

4-back

5-helmet

Modelling

  • The body of the model is from the Forgeworld Apothecary Set.
  • The right shoulder pauldron is from the Betrayal at Calth boxset.
  • The left shoulder pauldron was a custom order from a Shapeways seller.

The cast of this model was a little rough. Some of the detail was a little blurred and it was sometimes difficult to decide whether something was a mold line or the edge of an armor plate. That said, there is a lot of great detail. I particularly liked the multi-lens eye piece which has a cable running down the back of the helmet.

The model features a lot of cabling. The moulding is interesting. The pipes and cables are often in high relief.  It’s hard to explain but the cables have more depth than meets the eye. Often extending far back into the body of the miniature.It makes sense really. It would be very difficult and fragile a detail was not attached to a miniature all along it’s length. In these cases I simply painted the extra resin with Vallejo Air Cammo Black Brown to create shadow.

I decided not to use the Forgeworld shoulder pauldron. The iconography is way over the top. As with the Chplain I have decided to leave it blank. The color of the armor and the equipment make the specialization obvious without the need for Desperate Dan style wings sticking out of the side of the model’s shoulder.

Painting

The basic scheme is a warm white. Dr Faut’s Painting Clinic has a great tutorial on painting white. This model doesn’t have any grenades so I painted some of the cabling blue, the accent color for the Sarotuer paint scheme. I used different metals on the various bottles and canisters to try and provide a bit of variety.

I was particularly pleased with how the large lens on the helmet turned out. It’s a great part of the model and a bit of a focal point. I have struggled to get a result I am satisfied with in past attempts with other models. I now have a technique I like.

First I base coated the lens in Vallejo Iraqui Sand. Then applied Vallejo Dead White leaving a small ring of Iraqui Sand. I then added GW Waywatcher Green Glaze. I quickly dried my brush and used it to remove some of the glaze from the center of the lens. I glazed over the center with Vallejo Flat Yellow and then added a dot of Dead White to the top right of the lens. Finally I carefully added some GW Nuln Oil to the inside edge of the lens casing.

  • Armour ~ Vallejo xxxx ().
  • Left pauldron ~ Vallejo xxxx ()
  • Plasma Pistol~ Vallejo Black Metal (71.073). Drybrushed with  Vallejo Steel (71.065)
  • Medicae-Systems ~ Vallejo xxxx ()
  • Leather~ Vallejo xxxx (). Drybrushed with Vallejo xxxx ()
  • Narthecium ~  Vallejo xxxx  (). Washed with GW Agrax Earthshade
  • Eye ~  GW Agrax Earthshade. Vallejo xxxx  ().
  • Right knee pad ~  Vallejo xxxx  (). Highlighted with  Vallejo xxxx  ()

You’ll notice that it is 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.

Also, the model has a kind of peg on the bottom of one foot. This is the attachment for a kind of rubble element he is standing on. I will probably remove it and have the model’s feet flush on the base but I haven’t decided yet.

 

Sauroter Chaplain

1-chaplain-front

2-chaplain-plasma

3-chaplain-crozius-arcanum

4-chaplain-back

5-chaplain-back-magnet

6-chaplain-front-jump-pack

7-chaplain-plasma-jump-pack

8-chaplain-crozius-arcanum-jump-pack

9-chaplain-back-jump-pack

 crozius-arcanum

Modelling

  • The body of the model is from the Deathwatch: Overkill boxset.
  • The helmet is from the Betrayal at Calth boxset.
  • The jump pack is from the Vanguards Veteran set.
  • The left shoulder pauldron was a custom order from a Shapeways seller.
  • The backpacks are magnetized using 1 x 3mm rare earth magnets.
  • The right arm is from the Betrayal at Calth boxset.
  • The plasma pistol is from the Tactical Squad boxset.

I found converting the backpacks relatively easy. I used two magnets for the backpack and three for the jump pack. I find the easiest method is to drill a hole and glue the first magnet. Usually this is the magnet in the body of the miniature. Next, I put the second magnet on the first and drill the hole in the secondary piece. Then, I apply glue to the second magnet using a cocktail stick. Finally I offer up the secondary piece to the second magnet. When the glue is dry I can pull the pieces and the magnets apart. This way the magnets will sit flush and I am less likely to get the polarity wrong.

Painting

The basic scheme is black. I went about it by applying very watered down coats of black over grey primer. Detail which then showed through was either left as it was or picked out in GW Eshin Grey. The armour was then tidied up with Vallejo Game Colour Black.

  • Armour ~ Vallejo Black (), highlighted with Eshin Grey
  • Left pauldron ~ Vallejo xxxx ()
  • Plasma Pistol~ Vallejo Black Metal (71.073), washed with GW Nuln Oil, highlighted with  Vallejo Gunmetal Grey (71.065)
  • Crozius Arcanum ~ Vallejo Brass (), highlighted with Vallejo Gold () and Vallejo Silver()
  • Leather~ undercoated with Vallejo Cammo Black Brown (), washed with GW Agrax Earthshade and Highlighted with Vallejo Flat Earth () mixed with white.
  • Book~  Vallejo Hull red (). Washed with GW Carrobourg Crimson and highlighted with Vallejo xxxx ()
  • Eyes ~  Vallejo xxxx  () sheded with GW Agrax Earthshade.

 

Overall I’m pleased with the result. I particularly like the way the handle of the Crozius Arcanum came out. It looks like soft leather. I regret not spending a bit more time and care on highlighting the wings of the Crozius Arcanum though. I feel I could have done a better job. I’m also not satisfied with the eyes. I have since developed a method I’m happy with, when I was painting this model I couldn’t do anything I was satisfied with so I just did almost solid red.

I have decided to make it a rule not to go back and add anything once a model is varnished. I’d prefer to just try to improve on the next model. In this way I hope to see a solid progression in the quality I can achieve. It’s also motivating to try and get it right the first time. I rushed through the Crozius Arcanum because I was tired and wanted to get it finished. I would have been better off simply stopping and picking it up another day. It’s a hobby after all and should be relaxing not stressful.

You’ll notice that it is 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.

Also, I haven’t painted the detail he is standing on. Partly this is because I haven’t decided on a basing scheme but mainly because I will probably cut this piece away. I want to have a base where he is running up stairs. This should give a more dynamic look. Especially with the jump pack attached. It will also break the monotony of all the HQ choices having one leg up on something.

Sauroter Tactical Squad

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.