Skitarii Vanguard: Part 1 – the basics.
I have not died, in fact. I’ve been a bit under the weather, and then I was dreaming in the wonderful worlds of Skyrim and Dishonored 2. Belisarius Cawl woke me back up, though, and I’ve been hard at work on painting up some Skitarii Vanguards. I’m starting with two 5-man squads, one with arc rifles and one with plasma culverins. I armed the Alphas using the Rule of Cool, so I have no idea if they’re optimized. I also decided NOT to magnetize these guys, because I want to actually finish them at some point instead of being in limbo forever. I already had the scheme worked out from a test model I painted a while back, and I knew it would be a bit of a slog. Some of the paint recipes were many steps long, whilst others were deliberately kept quite simple.
Painting Skitarii in subassemblies
There’s no easy way to paint these guys (and gals, presumably). There are SO many details, little bits of off-texture material over and around the larger flat areas, and just tiny tubes, purity seals, cables, ports and jacks and lenses and rivets… If you’ve never dealt with them, it’s hard to describe how complicated they are. That means it’s very hard to airbrush or rattle-can a base color on everything. The inside and outside of the robes are different colors. The guns are different than the arms, etc. The only things that were easy to spray were the head and backpack, to be honest. Maybe the legs. But there’s a lot of brushwork involved as well.
Keeping your subassemblies in order
Unlike Space Marines, the arms, legs and bodies are all supposed to be matched and paired up in a very specific way. You don’t HAVE to stick with this in all cases, but oftentimes you do. Many of the arms have sculpted details that conform to a specific body, for instance. This complicates the subassembly process tremendously. Since I was batch-painting these, I knew I was going to run into issues keeping them all together. I remembered a tip someone shared on Twitter a while back, using an egg crate to keep the bits together. I thought it was brilliant, so I decided to try it out. I assembled the bodies, glued the legs to the base, and glued some arms on as long as they didn’t cross over the torso detail. Most of the rifle-carrying models had just the left arm glued on, so it would be easier to pose them later on.
I kept the models in these crates all throughout the process until almost the very end, when just the arms were left. Yes, it was a bit more fiddly than leaving them all out, but I have a cat and it’s such a pain to match them back up that the small amount of time spent fishing them out of the individual wells was worth the effort. It was SO much easier to pick out the details when they’re in pieces, but even still I kept finding details that I had missed earlier. This is where a wet palette comes in handy, since I didn’t need to mix up a new batch of paint every time I saw these missed bits.
Batch painting requires a lot of mental discipline, but it’s all-but essential with models this fiddly and detailed. Painting ten at a time is a lot of work, but the progress really does add up quickly. I watched a bit of Warhammer Live while I was at it to help the time go by.
I still have one level of highlight and shade to go on the blue, a highlight on the tan inside the robes, a wash and highlight on the weathered brass, and a highlight on the copper. I also need to finish up the glow effects and the lenses. Add decals, base, and Bob’s your uncle. I think that’s it. I’m pretty pleased that I can’t really tell they were painted later than the test model. I’m glad I wrote down the paint recipes so clearly.
How about after that?
I’ve assembled a set of Ruststalkers that I’m really happy with. I tried to make them a little different from the Infiltrators I did before, which required a leg swap on the Princeps. I decided not to do any crazy running or jumping poses because, frankly, they are way too delicate with their tiny legs. I still feel like the Infiltrators could break even though their pinned and everything now. Anyway, I opted for this loadout since it’s more versatile and only very slightly weaker than the two-sword version. The Princeps has an ‘extra’ sword just for cosmetic effect, but I may cut the blade and replace it with another razor. I do like his pointing hand, and the extra twist in his waist adds a bit more dynamism to the pose.
Of course, I’m still working on recording and editing episodes for my upcoming podcast, but being sick my voice was pretty funky and I was coughing a lot so that got put on hold. I’m ready to get back into it, though.