Monday, December 2, 2013

WIP: 2,000pt Tau Army - November Recap

The greater good surges forward in a November that makes up for lost time. Pics and details after the break.

September didn't see a lot of progress - vacation and GTA V saw to that, but November made all the difference in the world, bolstered by a four day weekend around the Thanksgiving holiday.

I completed the Piranha from both battleforces, marking the first vehicles for my growing Tau sept. As seen in the images, I work in sub assemblies so that I can paint details that would be impossible to reach once the model is completed.

After the base colors were applied to the models, I sprayed them with a clear satin varnish. The varnish allows the oil wash to quickly settle into the details, and prevents it from staining the paint. It also allows the oil to be wiped away with turpenoid, leaving only the crevices and details. Above, you can see the wash applied over the entire model.

Here are the sub assemblies with the oil wash applied, and then wiped from the surface. This is hugely time saving over using an ink wash (like the GW shades). Ink washes require re-painting of every surface detail. Oil washes can simply be wiped away, clearing the high spots and panels, but leaving the details.

After the wash was complete, I assembled the models and painted the weathering. As you can see in the image above, I was able to reach the smallest details in the control panels - this would have been impossible with a fully assembled model.

Once the main fuselages were complete, I finished the models by adding the arms. It was a bit like playing high-stakes "operation", but it all came together. Next were the bases.

To make certain that the PVA (elmer's) glue adhered to the stand, I used a heavy grit emery board to scuff the surface. This gives the glue plenty of little nooks and crannies to stick to. I prepped the sand (snagged from a local volleyball court) in the background.

I applied the PVA glue with a brush, added bits of cork for larger rocks, and several small Mordheim Turf grass patches BEFORE applying the sand. Once these items were in place, I covered the entire base with varying grits of sand and let it dry overnight.

When the glue and sand were dry, I used an airbrush to cover the surface with Vallejo Beasty Brown, and then drybrushed the rocks with bleached bone. I attached the bases to the models, and they were ready for battle - two hardened crews ready to speed headlong into danger for the greater good!

The pathfinders aren't complete, but I did make some great progress. Like space marines, I do not assemble the arms and weapons, so that I can reach all the details on the chest. I began by priming the models in white (my army's base color).

But, once I looked at my army, I realized it was becoming a bit homogeneous. Having a color theme is one thing, but the best armies have stand out units. Often, elite units, like terminators or stealth warriors, are painted a breakout color to offset them from the rest of the army, and provide variety.

So I decided to paint my pathfinders red. I've kept the charcoal cloth color, but decided that they needed to be obviously different from the main fireteams. After all, pathfinders are a breed apart - daring, cunning and swift. Above are the body assemblies before oil washing. I paint my heads separately as well, adding them at the very end.

I drill a small hole on the inside of each shoulder, and mount the parts to corks with paperclip pins. This allows me to prime and paint the pieces without handling them directly. The tricky part here is keeping the matching pairs together - some arms only work in sets. And yes, I paint the back side of the guns that are pressed up against their chests - that you will never see - because I am an obsessive compulsive freak.

That's it for the November Mega Painter WIP. The Piranha are complete (galm shots coming soon) and the pathfinders are well on their way to being completed by the end of the week!

What should I paint up next? I've got 6 crisis suits and 22 drones from the battleforce boxes, a hammerhead, a skyray, a riptide and 2 broadsides. Leave your votes in the comment section below!



  1. Go for the Riptide or Broadsides. I'd really like to see that Riptide together since neither of us has one yet.

    And sprayed brown on top of your grass? I didn't notice that at all the other day. Did you end up painting the grass afterwards or leave it all the same color?

    These guys are coming out great, man.

  2. I sprayed around the grass, to keep the natural color, and then highlight the tips with a drybrush of bleached bone.