All Out War Pt.1: The Nova Albions Begin To Muster

It’s been a little while since my last entry here but that is only because I have some big things in the works that has been taking up a lot of my time. Hopefully come the end of March this blog is gonna have a bit of a makeover but for now let’s dive into one of the biggest projects I am doing for this year.

The Minipainting Discord is one of my favorite places to just hang out with other minipainters, whether it’s to ask for help/advice or just talk and shoot the breeze. They also do a lot of community events like paint-alongs, challenges and even duels which net you points that you use to enter a raffle at the end of the year. This time around they issued a year long challenge where you have to paint an army’s worth of models, I won’t get into the nitty gritty of the challenge and its guidelines but suffice to say is the more you paint the more points you’ll get at the end of it.

Now I had already finished a fair amount of models for my Dark Angels models and since I paint those to a fairly high standard it generally takes me a while to finish them. That meant that I had to procure a whole new army that I can paint to a more tabletop finish so that I could finish it in a decent amount of time. So I went to my Warhammer group and asked if anyone had a small army that needed painting and luckily for me one person was about to start a new Astra Militarum army. This was the same person who let me paint their Valkyrie in the Lamenter’s paint scheme for the Jersey Devil competition at Mythicos Studios (see here).

The army came out to 50 models and was comprised of 42 infantry models, 4 tanks and 4 heavy weapon squads. Also, he had already picked out a scheme which involved a lot of ochre and brown as it was based on the uniform of desert based British regiments from the early 1900s. To make it even simpler for me, my buddy also assembled all the models himself so that he got exactly the look and weapons he wanted and all I had to do was base and paint them.

Once he finished with the assembly he delivered all the models to me and I go started on the most tedious process which was cleaning mold lines and basing. Unfortunately these are one of GW’s older ranges and as such had some pretty heinous mold lines but some quality time with an X-acto knife and some diamond files took care of most of them. After that I had to base them because that is one of the requirements of the challenge. So in order to quickly base almost 50 models to look like they were on sand I busted out Vallejo’s Brown Earth Texture Paste. This stuff is great, I took one of my metal sculpting tools that had a flat end and just slathered the stuff on the base of every model in a fairly thin layer. If too much of it got on the feet of the models I cleaned it up using a damp beater brush I have while it’s still wet. Once the paste dries it becomes rock solid with no need to put on a layer of glue the way I would with sand or other basing materials I have.

With everything cleaned up and based, I decided to start with the infantry models so I hit everybody with black primer followed by white ink from above for a zenithal prime. With everyone primed I then worked in groups of ten where I airbrushed on the ochre color, which was Zamesi Desert from GW, onto all the flak armor, helmets, weapons and base. Once I finished airbrushing the ochre busted out the paintbrush where I painted all the fatigues with Pro-Acryl Dark Umber and all the gas masks in Pro-Acryl Mahogany in order to introduce a little diversity to the browns. All the leather holsters and boots were painted black and all the metallics in Scale 75 Black Metal. Then I painted on a layer of Zamesi Desert over everywhere I hit with the airbrush previously in order to fix any mistakes from the other base coats and to boost the saturation a bit more. The only highlighting I did was some edge highlighting on the flak armor and helmets with Vallejo Dark Sands. If there were any gas masks with lenses I would paint the lenses in with Vallejo Prussian Blue.

The basing was given a layer of Zamesi Desert followed by a light wash of Seraphim Sepia from GW. When it dried I followed up with a drybrush of Zamesi Desert and final lighter drybrush of Vallejo Dark Sands. If the sergeant model had any ornamentation on their helmet I painted it using Pro-Acyl Burnt red so that they would stand out more. Then I went back and fixed up any mistakes and once everything was done I would paint the base rim black.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any in progress photos but considering the paint job consists of base coats there wasn’t really anything to show. At the time of writing this I had already finished two squads of guards so I still have two more squads to go plus the tanks and weapon squads. At this point I have pretty much figured out the workflow for these guys because the second squad took half as long as the first squad to finish. However, I still have to figure out the tanks because those need camo stripes of Dark Umber and for that I ordered some silly putty which apparently works very well as masking I’m told. Despite that I think I’m in a good position to finish the project by the summer and then I can focus on more display level projects and honing in on my blending techniques.

Till Next Time.

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