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Monday, September 2, 2013

My Space Marine Summer

by Tom De Mayo

This summer, I painted a lot of Space Marines, something like 4000 or more points.  (I got really sick in the spring, and I missed the start of summer classes. So instead of teaching, I convalesced and painted.)

I've played 40k on and off for about fifteen years now. I find its poor game balance irritating, but I love the background, and I like painting in 28mm.  Especially after a long run of painting Flames of War miniatures the size and color of snot, it's a great relief to switch to bright colors and giant minis.

I've had three Space Marine armies. I started the most recent one about 3 years ago, after selling off my Space Wolves and Salamanders. I was tired of committing to an "official" paint scheme, and getting stuck with whatever rules Games Workshop made for them. So my DIY chapter can be whatever I want: Space Wolves, Dark Angels, etc. I can use any of the half-dozen or so Space Marine codices, which is great, because some of them will be overpowered and others will be crap in any given month's 40k meta.

My color scheme is designed for speed painting. The base color is black. The fields of the shoulder pads are green, and the trim is gold.

So I start with a spray of black primer.  (My paints are mostly GW, since stores in my area stock it.  If I want Vallejo, I have to order it -- which is easy enough to do, but requires planning.)

A Terminator in my DIY Chapter Colors.
The bases are gravel, sprayed black and painted in red.  I do these before the Marines, where I can dry brush the red with abandon, then repaint the lower legs at the same time I correct for primer gaps if they get red slopped on them.

Starting with the armor, I wash some thinned black paint over any gaps and errors. The black is highlighted a dark grey.  Black is a pain in the butt to highlight or shade.  Too much grey, and it's no longer a black model.  It's a grey model.  I use a grey that is just a bit darker than Vallejo's German Grey, custom mixing it out of whatever black and white paints I have handy, Vallejo or GW.  Then, usually, I take a huge GW flat dry brush -- the really big one, about an inch wide -- and dry brush the whole model.  Slop slop slop.  If I'm feeling fancy, I may paint the grey on the edges with a 10/0 brush, but I usually don't bother.

Any cloth areas (for tabards) are a simple dry-brush of several levels of brown.

I spend more time and energy on the shoulder pads, trim and markings. 

An early experiment in weathering.
The field of the shoulder pads is a medium-to-dark green.  I usually use 3-4 layers, applied with a GW Fine Detail Brush or a 10/0 hobby brush, depending on whim.  The base layer is Caliban Green (Dark Angel Green for their old Paint line), the middle layer is Warpstone Glow (Snot Green), and the edge highlight is Skarsnik Green (I think, the old color was Goblin Green).  The difference between the undercoat and the middle is often too great a contrast, so I sometimes add a 50/50 mix there.

Purple Cloth
The trim is just a basic gold, and the metal parts, like joints are a medium metallic silver. Depending on the prominence of the metal areas, and how much quality I want, I sometimes wash the metal areas with a watered down wash of 50/50 Vallejo brown ink and black ink (or a GW equivalent).

Now, the enjoyable part.  I like to paint the regalia and such on my marines: lots of hand lettering and so forth.  I use the new Ceramite White base paint, which has a higher level of pigment.  Then I use a 10/0 brush to paint the company markings, lettering, helmets, &c.  I have settled on a purple color for cloaks, fancy tabards, and other trim that needs a bright, showy color. It looks good against both the red bases and the green shoulders.

I also experimented with weathering on 28mm vehicles.  This is pretty simple.  I apply a silver paint to areas where the vehicle would likely chip or have a collision, like a forward edge.  Areas where the treads might slop mud, get a heavy slop of paint in a contrasting color or colors.  Areas that might collect filth (such as along seams) get a sloppy wash of chocolate brown.

My first summer project was an airforce. GW had just added the Storm Raven as an option for generic Space Marines, and I was tired of being bombed from above, so I painted one Storm Raven and two Storm Talons:
Zoom. Zoom. Zoom.

The Bolter and Chainsword forums had a painting contest, so I did five rounds of painting for them. 

Round One
Round Two

Round Three
Round Four
Round Five
When I finished, I decided I'd take a group shot of my whole collection. I was somewhat frightened to see it all on one table -- it barely fit!

The left side has my bike force: about three and a half squads, plus command, and speeders. Next to that are extra weapon load-outs: plasma guns, chainswords, sergeants, etc.

The center two columns are a complete Battle Company.  For those of insufficient geekiness, that's six Tactical Squads, two Assault Squads, and two Devastator Squads, plus a Command Squad.

The right side consists of veterans and extra character models: Sternguard, Vanguard, Terminators, and such.  Anything with a white helmet is veteran.

Along the back, that's the armory, with vehicles of all sorts.

Suffice it to day, I'm pretty tired of painting Space Marines, which is good, because there's not much left to paint.  Maybe when the next codex comes out, and there are new units and models to try out...

Tom de Mayo is the author of and an associate professor of history at J Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA. Since the foundation of WWPD, his crotch has loomed over innumerable battles and brought terror and war to the fair fields of 15mm France.

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