Saturday, November 10, 2012

Drop Pods WIP, Part II

The grim death march that is my current project continues. I'm hoping to have the two drop pods ready for next Friday's game, but it's going to be tough to meet that goal.

The base coats for the Tactical Squad drop pod and the Dreadnought drop pod were finished a while ago. I distinguished the two by painting the deck and the ramps for the Dreadnought drop pod a straight metallic color. I figure that Marine boots may wear away paint over time, but it would be a fool's errand to bother painting the surface a Dreadnought is meant to walk on. I've eliminated the central pillar that holds the troop harnesses from the Dreadnought drop pod and glued the pillar's hemisphere directly to the deck. (I assume the hemisphere represents the pod's inertial guidance system.) Additionally, the troops' pod has four doors with Ultramarine logos and one with an Aquila, whereas the Dreadnought pod inverts this pattern. When I build my third drop pod model for a Sternguard, I intend to do an alternating pattern of Aquilas and Ultramarine logos on four doors and to put a Crux Terminatus on the fifth.

Drop pod base parts. The metallic platform
is for the Dreadnought drop pod

Drop pod door ramps

I've recently started the aging/weathering that I've given all my vehicles and have nearly finished three of the ten doors. I've used the same process since building my Vindicator; specifically I base coat the vehicle, give it two to three heavy washes of Badab Black/Nuln Oil, and then dry brush the base coat color over the wash. This technique came about accidentally; I had thought that I could simply wash the Vindicator like I did my Tactical Marines, but I found that the Badab Black streaked and pooled on the large flat surfaces. When I dry brushed the base coat over the wash to clean it up, I created a mottled surface that I liked a lot. The dry brushing also accentuates the edges. I've never been able to produce the sharp, clean highlights that better painters are capable of, but the effect the dry brushing leaves is enough for me. When all the doors have been dry brushed with the base coat, I'll dry brush the corners and edges with a metallic color to simulate chipped and worn paint.

Drop pod doors prior to dry brushing

Drop pod doors with dry brushing (left) and without (right)

Nearly completed doors. I've attempted to match the
look of my other vehicles like the Predator (right)

I had a moment of panic while working on the first door (the one with the Ultramarine logo in the photo immediately above). I had intended to paint the two drop pods with as many of the newer paints as I have on hand since I'm out of Badab Black and am running low on Ultramarines Blue. Thus, I base coated everything using Altdorf Guard Blue and used Nuln Oil for all the washes. I knew I'd be okay using the new wash since I couldn't tell the difference between it and Badab Black when I had to combine the two to finish my Predator. The Altdorf Guard Blue seemed to be a good match for Ultramarines Blue while I was painting the base coat (I've even posted on how similar I thought they were), but it looked nothing like the original when I started dry brushing the door. I was decidedly unhappy when I pulled out my Predator to compare the two and found that they didn't match at all. Fortunately, I still have enough Ultramarines Blue to finish off the drop pods and I was able to fix the problem.

As other hobbyists have since found, Ultramarines Blue has a very slight purple tint that Altdorf Guard Blue lacks. Before I fixed it, the drop pod door looked like it had been heavily sun bleached compared to my other models. Interestingly, some have said that Macragge Blue, which is supposedly the replacement for Mordian Blue, is a better match for Ultramarines Blue than Altdorf is. Based on that advice, I'll probably be buying some Macragge Blue before starting my next vehicle.

It's now pretty obvious that my vehicles will all be slightly different shades of blue. Even though my Vindicator and Razorback were finished with the same paints, I've noticed that one is slightly darker than the other. When I start painting models with Macragge Blue, I'll introduce even more variation. Although this would normally bother me, perusal of the current Space Marine codex shows that even the professional models have a huge degree of variety. In one large diorama, baby blue Rhinos share the table with dark blue Land Speeders while a Land Raider Crusader and a Whirlwind with paint jobs somewhere in between those two shades can be seen on the outskirts. I suppose it's hard for an army to maintain consistency when their highly customized, millennia-old vehicles have served on a thousand worlds in countless environmental conditions.

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