Late last year I wrote about building a sniper Scout squad for my Ultramarines army. After searching for a proper primer, I finally undercoated the five Scouts and Sergeant Telion on Thanksgiving Day. I'm rather ashamed to say that, thanks to the holidays, family visits, long work days, a change in my painting style, and the fact that Scouts have a significantly more ornate paint scheme than power armored Ultramarines, I am just now finishing the squad.
I'm still pretty new at painting miniatures, so my technique is very basic and produces passable tabletop quality figures at best. In other words, I'm definitely not going to be winning any awards anytime soon. I originally intended to finish each Scout one at a time since I've found the assembly line approach to be effective but tedious. However, as work progressed on the sergeant (I consider the Scout with the open stance to be the sergeant when Telion isn't part of the squad), I realized that I would take months to finish the six figures at the rate I was going. I therefore switched back to my usual assembly line approach for the five Scouts while I worked on Telion at a different rate.
|The Scouts and Telion with a Rust-Oleum undercoat (11/26/11)|
As I've said before, I don't fully assemble figures beforehand so that it's easier to paint them. This means 1) that my figures are almost entirely painted by the time I put all the pieces together and 2) a significant period of time might pass before I consider the figures playable. This is in sharp contrast to Bryce, who bought an Elder army, assembled it in a week, and played the entirely unpainted army the very next game night. For Bryce, 60% of the fun is in playing the game and the other 40% is in making the models. For me, those numbers are reversed. For our Dark Eldar player, Kevin, a full 70% of the reason why he got into 40K was to paint miniatures. This could explain why he has the most detailed figures and the smallest number of playable models.
|The fully assembled sergeant and parts of his squad (1/22/12)|
Being pretty unimaginative, I replicated the paint scheme shown on the box. The armored pieces are three coats of Mordian Blue painted directly over the black undercoat. For the fabric portions of the uniform, I painted a layer of Calthan Brown over the undercoat, which I then covered with three coats of Bleached Bone. The camo cloaks are two to three coats of Charadon Granite painted directly over the undercoat with Codex Grey and Fortress Grey markings. All gold portions are painted using my favorite technique; a layer of Calthan Brown painted over the undercoat followed by two layers of Burnished Gold.
Earlier I mentioned that I'm using a new painting style. Actually, all I've been doing is thinning my paint by quickly dipping the tip of my brush into water before dipping it in the paint and occasionally between strokes of the brush on the model surface. (I believe Bryce uses a variant of this method.) My earliest models suffered from obvious brush strokes and lumps of prematurely congealed paint. By wetting the brush frequently, I've been able to apply smoother coats of paint, although it also means that I have to use more layers to cover the undercoat.
|The fully assembled squad (2/2/12)|
Much of the time I spent on the Scouts was spent on their faces. In a mostly ineffective attempt to vary their skin tones, several of the Scouts' faces started with a layer of Dwarf Flesh over the undercoat while others began with Calthan Brown. Over this I painted two to three coats of Elf Flesh. I then painted the eyes. Again, since my skills are limited, eyes are represented by simple brown or blue dots. An Ogryn Flesh wash darkened the Elf Flesh and gave the faces a more natural tone. Finally, I used thinned Elf Flesh to highlight the nose, cheeks, jawline, and forehead of each face. I think I could get better skin tone variation if I use the lighter Gryphonne Sepia wash on a few faces rather than Ogryn Flesh.
|A close up: the Ultramarine logo is hand-painted|
Since I've never had much success applying decals to curved surfaces, all chapter and squad markings are hand-painted (I'm rather proud of this). The left shoulder pads of three Scouts are exposed, meaning that I had to paint three inverted omegas. Unlike those talented individuals who can easily paint a free-hand omega, I start by painting a rough circle with a bar over it. I shape the logo as necessary with the tip of a sharp hobby razor and clean up lines with a little Skull White or Mordian Blue where needed. This process used to take about an hour and a half of work per logo when I was painting my first Tactical and Terminator squads. By the time I did the Scouts, I'd gotten it down to about 45 minutes.
On the two exposed right shoulder pads I painted the squad number. Since I intend to do at least four Scout squads, and because all non-sniper Scouts have exposed right shoulder pads, I decided to give the sniper Scout squads higher numbers so that I'd only have to paint "III" or "IV" a couple times. Close combat and mid-range combat Scouts will be marked with the more easily painted "I" or "II". I also intend to do a three man Scout Bike squad which will get squad number "V".
|Another close up: squad markings are also hand-painted|
Next time I'll cover Sergeant Telion and the final detailing of the sniper Scout squad.