Saturday, October 19, 2013

Close Combat Terminators WIP, Part II

An Unwanted Vacation
Finally, I've made some progress! As I mentioned before, I had a tonsillectomy and a septoplasty late last month. The night before the surgery I was able to finish the fourth member of the eight man Close Combat Terminator Squad I started this summer.

I finished the lightning claw Terminator the night before the surgery

It turns out that a tonsillectomy is rough on an adult and I ended up taking hydrocodone regularly to control the pain. This meant that my head was never very clear and it left my hands unsteady. Additionally, the septoplasty affected the ability of my sinuses to properly drain. Merely leaning forward left me dizzy and feeling ill. Things got even worse when I started having bleeding problems that eventually ended in an emergency surgery to re-cauterize the wound.

Thus, despite having three weeks free of any obligations other than recovering from surgery, I was completely unable to work on my Close Combat Terminators. However, the last Friday night before having to go back to work I felt well enough to finally return to the hobby desk. I was able to put a good three hours into the fifth Terminator, meaning that I'm on track to finish the squad before the Cabal's next game night.

Terminator number five (I forgot to include the helmet in the picture)

The Assembly Line
Once again I've neglected to photographically document my modeling process so I'm stuck describing it verbally. I began with the bases since they seemed to be the logical starting point. I then moved on to the most onerous processes just to get them out of the way; i.e., the helmets and the shoulder pads with the free-hand Ultramarines logo.

Terminator helmets in various stages of completion

Next I base coated the legs, torsos, and arms in Mordian Blue, the stone areas (i.e., the Crux Terminatus, various decorations, and the center of each storm shield) were base coated in Codex Grey, metallic regions were base coated in Leadbelchers, and bundled power cables were base coated in Steel Legion Drab. I went back and finished the stone areas by giving them a Nuln Oil wash and dry brushing them with Fortress Grey. The metallic regions received a Nuln Oil wash and were dry brushed with Chainmail. Bundled power cables were painted with Tin Bitz, washed with Devlan Mud, and then dry brushed with Hashut Copper. The tiny wires running to each lightning claw blade were painted with Hashut Copper.

The chest decorations were base coated with Codex Grey and then painted with Ceramite White. I tried to replicate the effect I achieved with the helmets by painting Drakenhof Nightshade into the crevices, but the thick coat of Ceramite White obscured the details and the wash ended up going where I didn't want it. I cleaned everything up as well as I could with Skull White and then attached various Crux Terminatus medals and purity seals to dress up my partial success.

A nearly complete lightning claw
Up to this point I had been working on the models in an assembly line fashion. Since I prefer to do most of my painting prior to final assembly, each Terminator consisted of a pile eight parts (for the lightning claw Terminators) or eleven parts (for the thunder hammer/storm shield Terminators). It's because of this particular habit that I never field bare plastic squads.

The Final Stage
I'm currently in the final painting and assembly steps, which is where I focus on a single model at a time. The first thing I do in this phase is cleanup. All the dry brushing I do on the cables, metallic areas, and stone areas leaves copper, metallic, and gray streaks on the power armor. Thus, I carefully clean up these areas with Mordian Blue, usually with my trusty Atlas 970-3/0 brush. I then wash all blue regions with Nuln Oil, taking care not to re-wash the previously detailed areas.

Once washed, I dry brush the power armor with Macragge Blue. This gives raised details and edges a mild highlight while also lightening the armor and giving it a worn appearance. I prefer this approach over GW-style edge highlighting since I've never been happy with my own attempts at edge highlighting while I generally like the effect that simple dry brushing produces. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who struggles with highlighting, either. For every attractive highlighting job I've seen on the Internet, I've seen at least two or three models with heavy and/or inconsistent highlights that adversely affect the model's appearance.

Only now, when the painting is practically done, do I fully assemble the model. Although I built model airplanes using model cement for years before getting into 40K, nowadays I much prefer superglue. Superglue doesn't mar the plastic nor does it care if you don't fully scrape the paint from parts that you're about to join.

I start by gluing the legs to the base and giving the assembly a decent amount of time to dry before attaching any more parts. More than once I've had the problem of superglue fumes leaving a white residue on parts of the feet; leaving the other parts off makes it easier to repaint the feet as necessary. Next I do a dry fit of the torso to the legs and of the arms to the torso. This lets me see how I want to position the arms and how I should orient the torso to get the effect I want. I then glue the torso in place followed by the head. The arms are next and then I finish with the shoulder pads. Once everything is dry, I scrape away any glue that seeped out and touch up those areas with a little paint and some wash.

Since they had a slightly more complex paint job and a few fiddly parts that weren't exactly easy to glue into place, I finished the three thunder hammer/storm shield Terminators first. I've since moved on to the lightning claw Terminators and have one finished and another halfway through the final stage. With a little diligence, I should have all eight Terminators ready for next week's game.

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