The Joy of Kitbash part 4: Reposing Limbs

For the penultimate part of this series, I’m going to look at something a bit more complex, reposing limbs. It’s something that I’ve done a few times and it can be very, very frustrating. On the other hand, it gives a unique pose. I have to admit that the example shown here was not my most successful attempt, I used Tactical Marine legs (as that’s what I’ve got at the moment) rather than the running legs available in the Space Wolves Pack kit, and not only is the Tac Marine pose a bit weird it’s a bit of a nightmare to repose as I had to adjust the ankle as well as the knee and hip joints. I suppose that my first bit of advice then is to try to pick a limb (or set of limbs) that is as close in shape to the final pose as possible.

The second thing to look at is the material from which the limb is made. Oddly enough, given its reputation, Finecast is easier to work with than plastic in this case as limited reposing can be done using a hairdryer. All you need to do is heat the limb for about thirty seconds (hairdryers vary so I’d recommend heating then testing every few seconds) before gently bending them to the right shape. I had to repose a set of Shining Spear legs this weekend and it took seconds in order to pose them. If they had been plastic it would either have relied on judicious shaving of limbs and mount or several hours with wire and scalpel and if they had been metal, well, I’d probably have ended up sitting on the floor rocking back and fore trying to figure out how to jam them together.

For this article I’m going to start with reposing legs. I’ve done this a few times now (well, at least four) and it’s fairly straightforward, it just requires a bit of work, some planning and a lot of patience. As I play a Space Marine variant army I’m going to use Marine legs to do this. It should also be possible to do something similar with other races but you’ll need to think about how you’ll model the joints as power armour has convenient corrugated bits at the joints (can’t think of the proper name for them right now). You will need:

  • a set of Tactical Marine legs. Other variants are fine. In fact it’s probably easier to use running legs as I did for my Rune Priest and this Swiftclaw.

unposed legs

  • Green stuff
  • Some fairly stiff wire (~1mm in diameter)
  • A scalpel
  • modelling tool with a pointy end
  • file
  • wire clippers
  • drill bit (slightly wider in diameter than the wire)
  • Super Glue
  • A plaster/bandaid (at least if you’re me)

The first job is to stop and think. I’m serious, honest! Before you cut anything you need to consider what pose you’re planning and how you’re going to do it. Are you just shifting one knee so that the guy is striking a heroic pose or are you going to have to move every joint? Is the pose anatomically possible? I have been known to try and pose heroically on a chair to try and figure out what I’m about to do. Fortunately my boyfriend hasn’t taken any photos as I don’t do heroic particularly well!

The next job is to cut up the set of legs. I use a scalpel rather than a razor saw as it removes less material (if somewhat more finger). If you’re going to be doing a lot of joints, you may want to label them.

reposed legs cut up

Then you need to drill through the cut up pieces. If a piece needs connecting at both ends (such as the thighs of the example), drill all the way through, otherwise drill deep enough into the plastic to hold the wire securely just as you would when pinning.

Then thread the wire through, gluing it in place. Leave enough space at the joints so that you keep the model’s proportions once it is posed. Using wire lets you repose the model a bit, so that you can get it just right.

reposed legs wired

Next up, you need to use green stuff to fill in the joints and tidy up any mess you made when cutting up the model, such as with the ankles on the example legs, which had to be dug out rather than cut cleanly. Please take your time when doing this. Do one joint at a time and wait for it to be set before starting the next one. I’m serious. If you store mixed together green stuff in the freezer it will stay soft for about a day and a half. Simply warm it in your hands for a minute or so before using.

reposed legs greenstuffed

File or sand any rough edges and your reposed legs should be ready to use. I’ve used the same technique to repose arms too.

reposed legs and arms

A simpler way to repose arms is to play with how the limb connects to the body. You can trim and file the joint before filling in any gaps with green stuff. It’s much simpler than making a new joint but is only really suitable if you just want to tweak a pose slightly.

reposed bloodclaw

There’ll be one last post in this series but I need to find the bits, something which is turning out to be harder than I thought.

L.o.F.

On the twelfth day of Christmas the hobby meant to me…

Twelve Space Wolf Great Companies…

So this is the last post in this series, normal service will shortly be resumed. This post took longer than I expected, sorry. The reason why will, hopefully, become clear soon enough.

Today I want to talk about my army. The picture below describes my army as it is. I’ve arranged it mostly in the same way as the Force Org although you may notice that there are four Heavy Support slots drawn in. That is because I have a Land Raider to paint one of these days as well as another pack of Long Fangs.

Great company coloured

My Wolves are part of the Great Company of Ælthere Greatpaw. I wanted to give my guys a Viking raider feel, so I’m going for lots of Fast Attack in the form of Swiftclaws, Land Speeders and Fenrisian Wolves, although I’m not impressed with the Landspeeder so far. The bikes are cheaper and survive a little bit longer (if more by luck than any special ability). I don’t like Thunderwolf Cavalry, don’t ask me why, I just don’t, so I’m avoiding them.

I have three HQ choices at the moment and I’m not planning on any more for now. As well as Greatpaw himself, who is a Wolf Lord in Terminator armour, I have Alvaldi Ratatosk, the Rune Priest, and Hildólfr Deathmask, the Wolf Priest. I actually have two models of Deathmask, one in Terminator Armour and one on a bike, as I wanted a more mobile HQ choice to go with my Swiftclaws.

Oddly enough, although this is Greatpaw’s Company, he’s the one guy for which I have least fluff (beyond the fact that I imagine him with a broad Yorkshire accent. My imagination is weird some days). Deathmask though is explained in detail in two posts here! The symbolism on Ratatosk is mentioned in my original post on him. I like trying to add symbolism to my figures. I find that it helps me to paint them if I have a sketchy idea of name and personality. Sometimes this personality doesn’t develop until I paint them (I have a Blood Claw with an axe who looks like he hasn’t had an original idea in his life), sometimes it never develops at all, but I find that a model with a sketchy back story gets painted far more quickly than one without. Oddly enough I forget all about this as soon as I field them in a game!

For Elites I currently have Wolf Guard Terminators (three for now, but hopefully more will follow in time) and a mixed bunch of Wolf Scouts. In future I’ll be adding a Dreadnought to the list, but he’s still in his box and desperately needs assembling and painting. I like Dreadnoughts, I’m just not sure how I want to build this one though.

My troops slot still has plenty of room to expand. I currently split the ten man packs into two but what I really need to do is build more. I’m working on it, honestly! The Space Wolf Pack boxes are almost too detailed. It takes a long time to paint each guy properly and that makes painting new Grey Hunter and Blood Claw packs a little bit off-putting.

I’m still building up my Heavy Support choices too. I have one complete pack of Long Fangs and another partly painted pack. The rest are in need of assembly and my Land Raider needs painting. It’s just a little bit daunting! I’m also a little bit nervous about putting too many points into this slot as my Long Fangs have seen very little action so far.

Anyway, that’s the last of this series. I hope that you enjoyed them. I’ll be back to my usual schedule (hopefully) on Tuesday. I have plenty of non-numericially themed posts waiting!

L.o.F.

…Eleven months of blogging…

…Ten thousand years past…

…Nine different tools…

…Eight books to look at…

…Seven days of hobbying…

… Learning sixth edition…

…Fifth Edition!…

…Four more excuses…

…Three things to think of…

Two different opinions

And a gift under the Christmas Tree

Concepts

I meant to do a lot of painting this weekend but I just couldn’t get the enthusiasm up. I did read Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, which was absolutely awesome, but I just didn’t want to paint.

What I did instead was think about how I’m going to paint my Long Fangs, or rather how I want to paint their shoulder pads.

I like to think through how I want to paint shoulder pads before I actually start applying paint to models. I did this for my Blood Claws and I’ve started his for my Long Fangs.

What I do is draw a bit of concept art, although art is probably a bit of a strong word here. It’s a larger scale drawing which I use to figure out how I’d really like to be able to paint shoulder pads (if I had steadier hands, a very, very fine brush and a strong magnifying glass). I then use the design as inspiration for the actual models.

As an example, this is the design I did for Blood Claw pack Nóh.

And these are some of the actual shoulder pads. Please note that I still haven’t highlighted most of these guys yet so they’re still work in progress (even if the progress seems to be on a geological timescale recently!)

The concept used the target shape in conjunction with the Anglo Saxon “gar” rune (gar being the rune for spear). For one of the models I used a simplified version of that design, but I also tried other runes and on one figure I painted a dagger on top of the target instead. For most of the models though I just stuck with a plain target as painting circles turned out to be frustrating enough without embellishing them.

For the Long Fangs I wanted a design that incorporated a fang (sorry). I fooled around with doodles for a while until I got an idea that seemed to work, which I then made into a neat version. I chose a black background with a white fang. Oddly enough, the cured shape of the fang will probably be easier to paint than the concept was to draw, because of the size difference. I decided to divide the fang up to give it an edge. I’m not sure whether adding a sawtooth pattern will be practical in the end, but I’ll probably try on at least one model. Likewise the runes I added to the pad to represent fallen brothers may be represented by a few blobs and lines (I am not even going to think of painting on real runes that small!).

The checked bit at the top will hopefully be on all of the models. There are bits of the Space Wolf fluff that don’t work and one of them is that Astartes stay in the same pack from the first day that they become a Blood Claw until they die. Not only is this stupid from a logistical point of view it’s also daft as not all Astartes will develop at the same rate. You really don’t want to give a truly loopy Blood Claw a boltgun and some responsibility, likewise a Blood Claw that is ready to become a Grey Hunter is wasted in a Blood Claw pack. For Long Fangs there is also the bit in their codex entry that states that the oldest Long Fang is squad leader, which contradicts the whole sticking in the same pack thing. I’m going to use this to say that my Long Fangs aren’t originally from the same pack and that they have added some of their old pack insignia to their new insignia in order to remember their old packs.

So that’s the plan for the shoulder pads. It’ll be a few weeks before I can implement it, but I’ll hopefully have some incentive to strip, reassemble, undercoat and splash blue on the models now!

L.o.F.

Power Axe Painting Effect

Just a quick aside, there should be a longer post later, but I was quite pleased with this guy’s power axe. I’m not entirely happy with the model as he’s a bit wobbly in places and something went badly wrong with the wash but the axe looks quite ok. I wanted to give the effect of a glowing power axe. Maybe blue would be more appropriate for a frost blade, but as this guy’s a Blood Claw he can’t take one anyway, so it shouldn’t cause confusion. The axe is painted using Boltgun metal, highlighted with Chainmail and Mithril Silver (I don’t know the new paint names yet). I used the new Citadel Guilliman Blue glaze for the effect, which, although I can’t get it to work in the photo, does change intensity as the light direction changes.

And some more painting (I wish)

Well, I got something done over the past few days, if not as much as I’d hoped. I got nothing done yesterday but on Friday I managed to finish the Pack and Great Company markings and started adding details to faces. I think I’ll be working on Chainswords and bolt pistols next, starting with the non-metal bits, before using Bolt-Gun metal on the shinier parts. I’ve decided to avoid dry-brushing bolt pistols as they are just too fiddly. I’ll then do a bit of work on the piping and a few details before FINALLY painting the gold and tidying up… Then it’s on to washes and highlights. Here’s a quick progress picture. I’m afraid it all looks a bit of a mess at present, it always does at this point! One guy’s even missing a pauldron because it fell off and I felt that it’d be easier to leave it off until I tidy up the difficult to reach bits!

I’m not doing much today hobby wise, as I’ve had my parents round all day and I’m now under the influence of a couple of glasses of wine.

I’m trying to figure out how much I can get done before next Friday, and, having got it ready, what’s the point cost. At present I’m still a bit below 1k, with a mammoth effort I may just scrape the 1000 point mark by next weekend. The trouble is that I just don’t paint fast. I tell myself that I’m going to paint x, y and z today, then I get distracted by y or w, or even zzz and I only realise several hours later that I’m now Behind.

I have managed to finish Firedrake, but the book deserves its own post (it’s good). I’m now making headway through Fulgrim. I’m having the same trouble re-reading this as I did with False Gods, in that I know what’s going to happen and I don’t want it to!

I picked up a couple of the new paints yesterday but I haven’t used them yet. I think the Imperial Primer will get an airing soon though as the metal meltagun for one of my Blood Claws hasn’t undercoated particularly well.

My Mum brought me over a bunch of information on Sutton Hoo as my parents stopped there for a visit and I have Plans to use some of the patterns seen there on some of my models in future. First though I have eight Blood Claws to finish!

L.o.F.

Blood Claw pack Nóh

In my introductory post, I mentioned that I have a slight problem with painting troops. It’s the size of the unit I think: ten Blood Claws is a good few weeks solid painting and although some things are faster when I can do them in batches (mixing and splashing on the blue for the armour comes to mind), I am a little bit fussy and I want all of my guys to be painted to the best of my ability. However, I have just lost three 500 points games in a row and something that I realised (and that has been pointed out to me) was that my list contains two Independent Characters, an elite slot (either a Lone Wolf or Wolf Scouts) and only two packs of five Grey Hunters. I really need more troops!

So I have put the half-built Land Speeder to one side, and left the new box of Scouts on their sprues and am about to start on Blood Claw pack Nóh (Target).

Now, when I was starting my army I looked around and saw that people were saying that Blood Claws “suck”. However, I like the guys, they are young, rebellious, totally flipping crazy and, to be honest, I’m never going to be a tournament player, so I can make a fluffy list that feels like what I think Space Wolves should feel like. I’ve always had a vague interest (and admiration) for Vikings and, as mentioned in my introduction, Prospero Burns really inspired me to start this army, so I want to have a touch of the raider in my army, with lots of Fast Attack (but not Thunderwolf Cavalry, thank you very much). Blood Claws fit quite nicely into this theme and would make my army feel more complete. Besides, if they are totally awful all I have to do is paint over their shoulder pads and, voilà, instant promotion to Grey Hunter.

So I am about to start Pack Nóh, which, as far as I can tell, I’m not a speaker of any Nordic language, means “target”. There is a reason for this. My first game was a doubles game in my local Games Workshop store with a Space Marine player against Orks. As my guys were getting slaughtered I joked that I should paint a target on each of them and this blossomed into the idea of building a Blood Claw pack called well, Pack Target. A bit of quick research with Wiktionary and Google Translate gave me “Nóh” as the closest translation for target.

I always name my guys, so each Blood Claw will be named as I paint him, I won’t know until then what name is best, so at the moment they are just “guys”, or “models” or “*&^%ing bits of plastic” or even “little men” depending on just what mood I’m in, and what I’ve done wrong this time.

At the moment they’re glued together and (mostly) primered with Chaos Black. They’re just models from the Space Wolf box, although one now has a meltagun, a metal meltagun, that didn’t quite fit, or come compatible with the arms that I had available, and is apparently made of the only known substance to repel Citadel Primer. The next stage is to paint them all blue. I use a 2:1 Space Wolves Grey to Shadow Grey mix to paint them, I found the suggested mix (from the now vanished GW painting guide) of 1:1 too dark and blue, while Space Wolves Grey on it’s own is a little too bright and light. Once that is done, I’ll start base-colouring the shouder pads but I’ll talk about that later as I have had trouble with it in the past, so it deserves its own special post (and some extra preparatory work).