Painting Dark Angels with Robin Fitton

For those that haven’t heard of the awesome Robin Fitton, he’s the genius behind Gruntz 15mm. If you haven’t heard of the game flagellate yourself then click here.

Robin has been working on a new Dark Angel army for Warhammer 40k and he asked me if I would mind posting his progress on The Shell Case. All too happy to oblige, here’s the first part in his journey to a horde moody green Space Marines…

Phase 1 : Initial construction and base spray coating on a Dark Angels force.
I recently bought the Warhammer 40K Dark Vengeance and decided to build a Dark Angel force using the models in the box as a base. The chaos models from the box set were sold to a friend but I was sad to see them go because the detail level was very good.  I have 30 years experience of painting and playing wargames but have not played 40K since the days of Rogue Trader rules, when I had a mix of Imperial Guard and Space Marine models.  Now drawn back to the game with this latest set of rules I decide to follow the guides provided by GW for the paint work.  I am following the “How to paint Dark Angels”  iPad book from Games Workshop and I am going to use almost exactly the technique they suggest in the guide.
The Citadel paints from the new 2012 range will be used for all the paint work with the possible addition of the odd non-GW paint, thinner or wash where appropriate. The iPad painting guide is straight forward with some nice stage by stage images, however the first 3 stage images on of the Dark Angel space marine is very “Dark” and considering that I am viewing on a super sharp iPad retina display I would like to think that they could have done a better job of the photography. It is interesting how they suggest airbrushing them in the guide to complete a base coat but they don’t provide any tips on how to do it. I have been airbrushing for about 6 years, so I am familiar with the technique and it would have been great to see at least a photo in the iPad guide of the airbrushing or painting stages.  There are also no tips on actual brushing in the guide with no video content. It just shows you what sized GW brush to use and the only video is a 3 second Games Workshop logo that appears when you open the iBook.
The construction of the miniatures from the box set was very easy. What I did not factor into the time frame was the amount of mould lines on the models that would need cleaning. They have done a good job with the models and a lot of the plastic lines are hidden behind joins but I boosted the basic set with 10 tactical squad members which added to the clean up.  The main clean up locations on a space marine are the outside and inside legs,  arms (wrists), the rounded exhausts on the back packs, the top of head seam, the weapon seam (down the centre line of the bolters) and last but not least the top of the back pack. The top of the backpack is an ugly spot. It is slightly recessed, so you can’t easily get a knife in to clean it up. If it is a model that you are adding a plastic symbol to you can hide the top of the back pack.  All of these lines were cleaned up using a fresh sharp blade and I use  a subtle scraping action along the lines to scrub them off, rather than cutting a hack through them.  I then finished off most of the tidy up with some ultra fine sandpaper from Tamiya. This is made for plastic manga kits and does a great job of cleaning up the edges and seams without making them rough.   Weapon barrels were all drilled out and the bikes had their exhausts drilled (photos of bikes in next phase).
I took a lot of care and about 3 weeks to slowly prepare the models.  This was completed in front of the TV with the family and was probably about 12 hours total prep time over the course of 3 weeks.  There are an additional 5 terminators and 10 space marines plus a dreadnought in this prep.  Despite the hours and effort I still missed the odd line or edge on the models, but I am happy with the overall result.
Before priming I based the models using a mix of coral sand, GW gravel and other chunks of slate. I use neat PVA glue to stick on the sand, then once dry it gets a water thinned extra coat of PVA to seal the sand onto the bases.  Sealing the sand makes it rock hard, like mini-concrete bases and won’t rub off.
For the base primer spray I used Tamiya fine grey, instead of the black from GW. The black would not take the dark green very well when airbrushing and I prefer to be able to see the colour going onto the model when airbrushing. So the mid tone grey from Tamiya is perfect for me.
I always lay them down for a final spray to make sure the primer has got in all the nooks and crannies.
I used the Valejo airbrush thinners with the Caliban green from GW and it thins it down perfectly.  I was worried the thinner would react with GW paint but it was spot on and mixed up well with a cocktail stick before poor the result into the airbrush. Getting the mix right to thin the thick GW paint takes some care and I end up with a liquid with the consistency of milk. You can watch my airbrushing tutorial at the bottom of the page.
It can take a little while to dry…

I was impressed by the speed of the new GW painting guide, it is all about getting the best tabletop look to the model but with minimum time. However if you want to follow the guide fully for the Dark Angels you need about 35 pots of the new paint which is expensive and in many cases they appear to switch to a different grey or brown colour on some details which you could get away with using a similar colour on, rather than buying about 40% of the new colour range.

The line up: Small team of 5 veterans on the back row, Middle row tactical squad from the new 40K box set, Front row addition tactical squad. And as an added bonus a close up of my Belial conversion…

 

 

Unboxing Dark Vengeance

I know more than a few unboxing articles and videos have been done by now for the 6th edition but I wanted to add my thoughts to the mix all the same. And all with my unique blend of sarcasm and bitterness.

So here we go, the unboxing of the 6th edition Warhammer 40,000 boxset; Dark Vengeance.

The first thing that stands out is the uncharacteristically minimalist box cover. I actually quite like it but it almost seems a shame that the cover art for the book wasn’t used because it’s absolutely stunning. It’s also an interesting contrast compared to the bright and colourful Warhammer Fantasy boxset and, interestingly, the 40k rule book is at odds with WFB’s minimalist hardback book. But on to the best bit; breaking the seal…

I have bought a lot of Games Workshop boxsets over the last 23 years and one of the best bits is the smell of the box when you open it for the first time. The smell of plastic and cardboard and untold possibilities. On that front Dark Vengeance was was a little disappointing, not because it lacks plastic – although compared to the likes of Necromunda and Warhammer Quest it does – but because the bits of paper in it are so ink heavy it over powers that lovely plastic fragrance.

In the box we have 4 sprues (although really only 3), the limited edition chaplain, bases, templates, dice and a big stack of paper. In terms of gaming forces you get a Dark Angels Chapter Master, a Librarian, 5 Deathwing Terminators, 10 Tactical Marines, 3 Ravenwing bikes, a Chaos Lord, 6 Chosen, 20 Cultists and a Hellbrute.

The Space Marines are a big improvement on those in the Assault on Black Reach box, which is saying something because they were of a pretty good standard. Although the sergeant looks a bit shit as have all Dark Angel sergeants since the dawn of time. The main thing is the variety of poses, particularly the terminators. There’s also a slight improvement on detail. Especially the terminators. Although quite what the one with the assault cannon is doing I have no idea but that crap wouldn’t fly in the Ultramarines, no-sir!

The Chaos faction is the star of the show, however, because no matter how cool the Dark Angels characters or the Deathwing look they’re just nothing compared to level of awesome of the Lord, Chosen and Hellbrute. Because the big coup is that Games Workshop are finally producing Chaos Space Marines that don’t look like regular marines with spikes stuck on.

Now I’ve always been of the opinion that there still needs to be an element of that because renegades or the recently corrupted aren’t going to be that Chaosified (it’s a word!). The Chosen and the Hellbrute on the other hand have embraced the dark gods and all their gifts so, quite rightly, their armour should look utterly mental and as organic as it does mechanical.

The Hellbrute is the replacement for the Chaos Dreadnought (according to my sources) and lives up to its name. The exposed head makes it a little comical but overall it’s a fantastic kit, intelligently designed and in game terms makes everything go splat.

The cultists however are really special. It’s not that they’re the best sculpted models in the world but they’ve got bags of character and lend themselves massively to conversion. I particularly like the unit leader with the Blood Pact mask.

However, it’s not all good news. I say 3 sprues because two of them are duplicates.What this means is that of the 10 Dark Angel tactical marines only the sergeant and plasma cannon dude are individual. This also means that of the 6 Chosen and 5 Deathwing, who should all be very individual looking, there are 2 duplicates. The same obviously goes for the cultists but it doesn’t matter quite so much.

The result, however, is that the majority of the boxset are duplicate models which is a far cry from the 3rd editions multipart loveliness but as 2nd, 4th and 5th edition had no shortage of duplicate models it’s hard to moan about it with any legitimacy, it’s just disappointing for the amount of money you’re being asked to part with.

Although a portion of that coin is going on the small forest worth of paper in the box. There’s no denying the quality of production, although the building instructions is printed on staggeringly heavy stock and this unnecessary cost will have inevitably been passed on to us.

That said that Dark Vengeance booklet looks ace and is well written and it’s the first time since GW started doing narrative driven boxsets that I’ve actually bothered to read it. This, I assure you, has nothing to do with the Dark Angels being my very first Space Marine army all those many many years ago. Promise.

The mini-rulebook is equally plush in its production with lots of original artwork and illustrations. When I think back to 2nd and 3rd editions it sill seems a bit mean that you only get a stripped out version considering the outlay but in truth a mini book is ace for gaming and it’s well made so will take the rigours of the game. I’ll be doing a separate review on the 6th edition rules but I’d like to get a look at the full book first. Mainly because I want to read the ‘new’ fluff.

I’m not entirely sure how balanced the two factions are as the cultists will be quickly reduced to smears and if the Deathwing can grapple with the Hellbrute then it’ll be over very quickly. Especially with the woeful new hull point rules. But it’s a well presented set with some really nice models within – duplications aside – and an array of nicely presented printed materials. Relatively the boxset is good value as just the space marine faction alone would cost around £95. All in all, it looks great, the models are class and it’s got all you need to get playing, or playing the latest version. So you can colour me impressed.

The limited edition Warhammer 40,000 Dark Vengeance boxset is available from Firestorm Games.

Dark Vengeance Reveal Trailer

Games Workshop have posted a Dark Vengeance reveal trailer showing all the models painted and close. If nothing else the close-ups of plastic soldiers with the dramatic backing soundtrack will make you giggle.

Dark Vengeance Teaser Trailer

A teaser trailer for the Warhammer 40,000 boxset – Dark Vengeance has hit the interwebs. The trailer doesn’t really show anything or tell us anything other than the release date – the 25th August – giving gamers a whopping 8 days to set aside an unknown amount of money to buy a set. Genius.

40k Box Content

Beasts of War have released the contents of the Warhammer 40,000 box set, known as Dark Vengeance. I have, quite simply, robbed it and up it up here for your reading pleasure. So, what do you get in the box…

Chaos

The Dark Vengeance boxed set will have 2 units of 10 Chaos Cultist models, one armed with auto-guns (with a shotgun & CC weapon for the leader and a Heavy Stubber support trooper) and one with auto-pistol & CC weapon (with 2 CC weapons for the leader and a Flamer support model).

The Chaos Cultist look like everything you’ve ever wanted for Chaos. They’re bound in rags, with metal half-masks and weapons that suit the cobbled-together, improvised look that you expect from the dregs of Chaos.

But that’s not all for those naughty Chaos worshippers; they’re getting a unit of 6 Chosen…elite Chaos Space Marines, armed with a variety of Power Weapons (a Maul on the Sergeant, a Power Fist, a Chain Axe and a set of Lightning Claws by the look of things). The remaining Chosen are armed with Boltguns, but this bodes well for the potential that these exemplars of Chaos might get some more customisable options in the upcoming new Chaos Marines codex.

To lead your forces, you have the obligatory Chaos Lord, armed with a Power Sword & Plasma Pistol. His pose is a bit static, but that is only in comparison to the much more animated Chosen.

Lastly… what would Chaos be without something big and menacing to bring to the table? Well… how about a brand new model… the Hellbrute!

The massive Hellbrute model comes equipped with a Multi-Melta & Power Fist. Suggesting that this isn’t a Dreadnought replacement, but is in fact a huge suit of specialist armour crewed by a Chaos Marine (or more likely a Champion). Actually, the model resembles a huge suit of Terminator Armour with lots of cool Chaos gribbly bits… I’m hoping for a Monstrous Creature that acts like the Dreadknight… what about all you Chaos fans? What would you like it to be?

Dark Angels?

They haven’t been left wanting and with a new codex (no doubt in their future) there is quite a bit to have a look at.

Firstly, they wouldn’t be Space Marines without the obligatory 10 man Tactical Squad. However, the Dark Angel Tactical-Squad has a twist… it’s got Plasma!

The ordinary Space Marine grunts come sporting a Boltgun, but the squad also has a Plasma Gunner and a Heavy Plasma Cannon model giving support… and just to round out the theme… a Plasma Pistol/Chainsword Sergeant.

Looks like that squad will be getting hot!

The Tactical Squad also has a mixture of poses, this time around. Some of the Bolter-totting Marines are holding their ubiquitous weapon at jaunty angles to make the squad look a bit more animated… and it works too… good job GW!

The Marine side wouldn’t be Space Marines without a smattering of Terminators… so you get a squad of 5 of them. It’s a pretty standard squad, with Stormbolter/Power Fist, with a Power Sword Sergeant. However, you do get an Assault Cannon and Chainfist option and true to previous form… the models now come in a variety of more dynamic poses with the squad sergeant even sporting Wings but thankfully no nipple armour!

The last squad in the box is a unit of 3 Space Marine (or Ravenwing) Bikers, with Sergeant and one Biker sporting Bolt Pistol/Chainsword and the third Biker packing a Plasma Gun. The models look similar to previous Ravenwing Bikers (with that big wing banner on the back) and are probably the least inspiring out of the box.

But let’s not end on a low… let’s talk about the Dark Angel Triple Whammy… 3 Heroes!

The box will contain a Dark Angels Company Master (Balthasar) resplendent with his erect Power Sword!

A Dark Angels Librarian with a slightly less impressive looking Force Sword and a limited edition Interrogator Chaplain, who’s Power Armour (including smoking exhaust details) and embellished robe might be the most ostentatious model in the box!

That’s all the models in the box but what about the Rulebook?

I know many of you have been planning to buy the box (price TBC) in order to get your hands on the smaller rulebook. So rest easy there will be one in the box.

There will also be templates and a new How to Play Dark Vengeance booklet, that allows you to jump right into the action.

So there you go, start saving because I expect it to be £60+.