Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ultramarines (again)

In between trying to get a decent paint job on my Perdita Ortega mini, I've also been faffing around with space marines again...

Old school

I thought I'd try my hand at turning out a full space marine squad.  This time I didn't use any zenithal highlighting or fancy techniques at all, I kept it 'old school'.  What you're looking at is essentially a base coat (albeit with an airbrush), a wash or 2 and a couple of passes of drybrushing.   I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the results.  Ok, they're not slayer sword material but that wasn't the point, I wanted a cohesive unit of Ultramarines and I feel like I achieved that.  I did apply some 'wear and tear' to get rid of that 'showroom fresh' look and to tie the marines to their bases a little bit but that's the look that I like.  Otherwise there's just too much BLUE going on...


One specific goal I did want to reach in this mini project was to get over the mental block I had concerning decals...especially space marine decals...especially Ultramarine decals.  My past attempts had not gone at all well and I just couldn't make it work.  The main problem is that decals don't really like going around curved objects.  That problem is doubled with a space marine shoulder pad as it curves in 2 directions.  Cue lots of swearing.

Thankfully 2 articles helped me in this regard (although there's many more around the inter web) and I include the links here:

Of the 2 links, the From the Warp blog post helped me the most. Ron writes and illustrates his tutorials so well that I always feel like I can have a go myself and more often than not, as in this case, it works out pretty well.

I did damage a couple of the decals when I was applying them but that didn't worry me too much as I wanted a worn look anyway.  In fact to enhance the effect I ended up deliberately damaging some of the decals and enhanced that effect further by painting on some paint chips too.


Prime: Vallejo Black Surface primer

Basecoat: Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Dark Sea Blue
Wash: Badab Black with a spot of Dark Sea Blue (just recesses)
Drybrush 1: Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Dark Prussia Blue*
Drybrush 2: VMC Prussian Blue (top of model only)*
Paint chips on decals: VMC Dark Sea Blue

*I used I used the Citadel Large Drybrush to get as much coverage as possible

Weapons: Black primer then Boltgun metal drybrush

1.Various grades of sand/gravel mixed together and glued with PVA glue
2. Basecoat Graveyard Earth
3. Wash with Devlan Mud
4. Drybrush (with smallish old brush) VMC Brown Sand
5. Wash with Badab Black
6. Drybrush with VMC Iraqi Sand

The splattered mud was applied using an very old brush using the same colours as for the base.

Let me know what you think!

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  1. Thats a very nice looking tactical squad. I like the battle damage. As for your problem with decals, you are not alone. Even after using micro sol and micro set I could still never get those pesky tactical squad markings to go on properly! In the end I gave up and painted them on!

    1. Cheers Snake : ) After completing this squad's tactical and chapter insignia I actually feel pretty confident with decals now. I reckon if i can do space marine shoulder pads I can I put decals on anything! I didn't use micro sol/micro set at all in the end as I didn't have any.

      Instead I brushed a little gloss varnish on the shoulder pad before laying the decal on. When it was in position and I'd brushed the air bubbles out and made any necessary relief cuts (see Ron's excellent blog post) I dabbed it down with a bit of kitchen paper and then brushed on some Vallejo decal medium. After it had dried off a bit I brushed on a little more medium, waited for it to dry and brushed on a little more. Bit of effort required but well worth it I think.

  2. Sharp looking squad, I think I prefer these to squad with zenithal HL. Also really like the blues you chose, darker than what I typically see on Ultras. Looks like they're up to serious business. Will you hit them with matte?

    Ps. Funny, I think read the same sources for help with decals

    1. Hi 40kG, thanks for the comments. I like the darker blue too and it contrasts well with the lighter coloured base. Not sure about the matte as I usually leave mini's unvarnished. I'll give it some thought if I do another batch.

      Those decal links really helped to get me going. It's still fiddly but the results are much better than I anticipated.