Thoughts on the painting of, and playing with, toy soldiers.


Salamanders Deimos Pattern Predator Infernus

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I am quite pleased to have finally (after 9 months) completed this model, as it’s been a complete pain in the arse. The cast was fairly poor (bad enough that I could probably have got a replacement if I’d wanted) and I struggled with the paint job, thanks to my bad habit of assembling the model too much before painting (specifically, the exhaust pipes on the side) which meant that I had to mask off and respray a few areas to cover up the places where I’d got paint where it should not have been.

I magnetised all the weapons, so I can swap the Flamestorm Cannon for a Magna-Melta, and maybe also change the sponsons if I pick up some alternatives at a bits site or elswhere. I’ve also made some plastic doors that fit into the sponson and turret sockets, so I could even use it as a Rhino or Razorback if I wanted.

More pictures below.

Kavan Bor’seth, Chapter Master of the Salamanders, Regent of Nocturne (M35)

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Kavan Bor’seth was Chapter Master of the Salamanders during the 36th Millenium. After a distinguished career as a Sergeant in the 3rd company, he was elevated to the ranks of the Firedrakes, ultimately rising to lead the First Company and assume the mantle of Regent of Nocturne. He was presumed killed after many years of service, when his strike cruiser Sentinel of Hesiod was lost in the Warp en route to the Diadin sector.

Bor’seth wore a legendary suit of Artificer armour dating back to the Great Crusade. The suit was the subject of many legends: some say that it was wrought by Vulkan himself for one of his favoured commanders, others say that it was claimed as a trophy from the decapitated corpse of a traitor legionary during the Scouring. Alas, due to the loss of the Sentinel, this relic of the chapter is now lost forever, taking its secrets with it. The suit’s backpack includes an integrated auspex and teleport homer – technology once common during the Great Crusade but since lost to the Imperium.

Bor’seth’s preferred armament was a finely-wrought Thunder Hammer (with a similar pedigree to the armour he was clad in) and a regulation combi-melta, a weapon he grew fond of during his time in the Sternguard squads of the Firedrakes.

As soon as I saw it, I realised the conversion possibilities of Armillus Dynat (from the the Horus Heresy Character Series) and decided that I wanted to give it a go. The scale-pattern of the Heresy-era Alpha Legion works just as well as drake-scale in my opinion. And given how distinctive (and expensive) the model was, he couldn’t just be a veteran sergeant or company captain, so I decided to write a biography for him and place him far enough back in history as to avoid any conflicts with canon.

More pictures below.

Bray’arth Ashmantle, Venerable Dreadnought of the Salamanders

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It’s kind of silly that it’s taken me more than four years to paint this model, but I’m so glad that I finally did! Soon after I bought it, I primed it using Army Painter Army Green, the same as all the other models, but I quickly realised that it was a mistake and that I should have primed it black instead; and it’s taken me this long to get round to stripping it and re-priming it using the airbrush.

Bray’arth is a great centerpiece model and counts as an HQ choice for Salamanders army. I’ve designed my Salamanders army around Vulkan He’stan in that I have a lot of meltas, but there’s no reason why I can’t take both models as long as the points limit allows.

More pictures below.


Puppets War Missile Turrets

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The Mark II Missile Turret from Puppets War does a pretty good job of turning a Rhino/Razorback into a Whirlwind. The design would work quite well on Deimos-pattern Rhinos.

More pictures below.


Salamanders Storm Eagle “Vulkan’s Wrath”


This is the Salamanders Storm Eagle Vulkan’s Wrath, the personal transport of Captain Dac’tyr, Lord of the Burning Skies and Captain of the 4th Company.

As is common among Salamanders vehicles, Vulkan’s Wrath has been modified by its master, who added a stabiliser wing with forward-facing flaps to function as an air-brake: this allows Vulkan’s Wrath to rapidly decelerate after a high-speed orbital insertion.

More pictures below.


Vulkan He’stan, Forgefather of the Salamanders

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This model is a real bugger to paint and he’s not turned out anywhere near as good as I’d have liked. It’s the first model that I actually wish I had in Finecast instead of metal. The quality of the cast is actually fairly poor, and all the spiky bits and sharp edges are a recipe for having the paint chip off, and to try to prevent that, I’ve had to overload on varnish. Plus, I made the mistake of assembling him before painting, meaning that it was much harder to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Anyway, he’s done now, and while he’s not as good as I’ve liked him to be, at least he’s tabletop standard.

More pics below.

Salamanders Rhinos/Razorbacks

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Here is a pair of Rhinos which can be converted into Razorbacks. When played as Razorbacks they use kitbashed weapons: a twin-linked Heavy Flamer (ideal for Salamanders) and a twin-linked Assault Cannon.

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The side doors on Number 1 are magnetised: I’m planning on kitbashing some sponsons and a turret so that it can be converted into a Predator.

More pictures below!


Salamanders Tactical Squad #2

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Here’s the second Tactical Squad. As with the first squad, the models have a mix of modern Mark VII, Rogue Trader-era plastic accessories, and Mark V armour from Forge World.


Salamanders Tactical Squad #1

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Here’s the first Tactical squad. As you will notice, the Marines that form this squad are equipped with a variety of different types of armour: I mixed in some old Rogue Trader-era plastic components as well as some Mark V bits from Forge World.


Salamanders Assault Squad

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I wasn’t planning on building an Assault squad for my Salamanders army. I bought a box of Assault marines because I wanted to mix the legs and torsos into the Tactical squads to make them a bit more distinctive.

But I had some spare bodies — Rogue Trader-era metal Mark VII marines — so I thought I’d try fitting the modern arms and jump packs on to them to see how they’d turn out. The end result is pretty good I think. The Sergeant is a modern plastic miniature who’s carrying a Chapterhouse Studios thunder hammer and storm shield.


Salamanders Apothecary

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Here is an Apothecary for my Salamanders army. The model is a 1990s era(?) 3rd or 4th edition that’s still available in Finecast: I picked this one up, in metal, for £2 at a local wargaming store.

He was painted along with two Tactical squads and an Assault squad: I painted them all in a production line rather than one at a time, and have therefore managed to 26 models in the same time that it previously would have taken to paint two Terminators.

I’ll be posting pictures of the Tactical and Assault squads soon: keep ’em peeled!

Salamanders Tactical Test Model

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Here’s the first completed model from the two Tactical Squads I’m working on for my Salamanders army. He was painted in basically the same way as the Firedrakes: Army Painter Army Green basecoat, washed with a mix of Thraka Green and Devlan Mud, edge highlighted with AP Army Green, and so on.

There are a couple of points to note:

  1. Despite several attempts, using both Revell Decalsoft and Microsol, to apply the Games Workshop Salamanders logo to the shoulder pad, I couldn’t get the transfer to apply smoothly without wrinkles. I blame this on the crappy quality of GW’s transfers. Therefore I’ve had painted the logo, which looks pretty crappy, but hopefully my freehanding skills will improve as I’ve got another 24 to do!
  2. Realising that a simple green and black colour scheme would look boring, I painted a flame effect on the other shoulder, which seems to work quite well.

More pictures below.


Salamanders Terminator Assault Squad


I’ve finally finished the second of three Terminator squads in my Salamanders army. The first took about a year, painting one model at a time. I chastised myself for not using a “production line” which would have saved me a lot of time.

So of course, the second squad, which I used a production line for, still took about the same amount of time, thanks to the disruptions of a new baby, moving house and prevarication (due to the amount of work required).

I think I’ll leave the last squad of Terminators until later. I now have two ten-man tactical squads and a five-man assault squad to do. I think these will actually be easier as although there are more models, there are fewer details.

More pictures below the fold.


Salamanders Land Raider Redeemer

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Here is a Land Raider Redeemer for my Salamanders army. Normally, a Land Raider is the centrepiece for any Space Marine army, but in this case I actually painted it as a test model, in order to develop the painting technique before using it on the Stormeagle that’s currently sitting in a box at my in-laws. The reasoning being that if it all went wrong, it would be a £50 model I was wrecking rather than a £100 model.

Fortunately, no such disaster occurred, although I did make a mistake when I tried to fix a pool of wash and ended up creating a nasty tide mark on the top of the model. This was fixed fairly easily, fortunately.

You can see that I’ve upgraded the model using Forge World resin pieces and etched brass. If you’re creating an army with a rich visual style, such as the Salamanders, these are a bit of a must.

Now that I’ve successfully finished the Land Raider, I’m dying to get on to the Stormeagle! But you will see from my next post that there’s another large model that’s also taking up my attention…

Salamanders Firedrakes Sergeant

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Here, finally, is the Sergeant for my first squad of Firedrakes Terminators. This chap has taken quite a while since it features two of my weak spots: faces and banners. My reluctance to get stuck in and actually have a go at painting them meant that this miniature spent several months on my “to do” list.

I am planning on having a stern word with myself as it’s taken me nearly a year to paint six terminators (this squad and a chaplain). This is because I broke one of my own cardinal rules, which is always use an assembly line. If you want to get an army finished, you divide your labour and do the same thing to every model at the same time. This is something I intend to do with the next two squads which will be painted all together.

Here are some more pics of the finished squad.

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Firedrakes: First Production Model

After finishing the test model I moved straight on to do another “production” model – that is, now that I’m happy with the paint scheme, I wanted to see how quickly I could knock out another model using that scheme. The test model took about 3 hours to paint, but this one took much less: no more than 1.5 or 2 hours.

I am now painting two more models in a batch as I think that will also save time. Then I only have to paint the sergeant and I’ve finished the first squad, or one third of the final army.

Firedrakes Test Model

Here’s the first of the Firedrakes Salamanders terminators. I’m pretty pleased with it overall, although there are a couple of issues: firstly, I decided to use the Army Painter spray as the base colour based on their “100% match” with their Warpaint paints: unfortunately this is not the case, which means that cleaning up mistakes is much trickier as I have to mix the right colour to match the base coat.

The second issue is entirely my fault: I left the model under a hot lamp too long which caused the model to warp. Fortunately I caught it before it got too bad, but I’m annoyed that the first model I painted for this army has such a visible and unfixable flaw which you can see in the photo below.

I used a couple of techniques that I haven’t really used much before at this scale: I used line highlighting which is pretty standard for painting Space Marines (but I’ve never tried before) and I also used some of Forge World’s weathering powders to weather the boots and greaves. I used two different powders (Light Earth and Dark Earth) layered one on top of the other to match the colour scheme of the base.

More pictures below.

Firedrakes, Part 1

Fire Drakes Terminator Squad

I’ve spent much of the past week working on the first few units of my previously-mentioned Salamanders Firedrakes army.


Bray'arth Ashmantle, Venerable Ironclad Dreadnought of the Salamanders


My Hobby Plans For 2012

2012 is almost upon us! The last twelve months have been a period of diversification for me in hobby terms: I delved more deeply into 15mm SF stuff, finished my first 40k army in 15 years, and discovered In The Emperor’s Name.

I thought that it might be fun to post my plans for 2012, so I can look back next year and see how I did.