Wednesday 28 February 2018

Monster March - Cerastus Knight Castigator: Part 1

It's that time of year again! Time to dust off those old projects and bang out some painting challenges! This time it's Monster March run by Swordmaster over at Path of an Outcast. The challenge is to paint a monster, or other suitably large model, in March. I took part last year with a pair of Kastelan Robots for my Adeptus Mechanicus and this time I'm looking to up the ante by painting a Cerastus Knight Castigator that I bought some time ago because it was disgustingly cheap on Ebay. Here's the seller's photos from Ebay:

Part constructed, hmmmm...
Feet and legs.
So, what could I glean from these? Well, judging by the price and the fact that none of the components have gates attached it was possible that this would turn out to be a recast and not an original Forgeworld product. Upon inspection of the build instructions (sourced somewhere online) I could also tell that a couple of components were missing but I figured that I could replace them with some parts from my bits box. I could also tell that part of it had been assembled with questionable skill and that the remaining components looked to be in good shape. In the end, I resolved to bid on it but not to go too high. These things retail at £185 from Forgeworld so I would be looking for a substantial discount. In the end, I put in a maximum bid of £60 and was thrilled when the auction ended and I had won at a little over £50. Not bad at all!

When it turned up, I discovered that it is indeed, a recast (at least judging from my limited experience with such things) and that the neck joint was missing along with one of the exhausts. The main body had been fairly badly assembled using some sort of two part epoxy that was caked into the joints and had set rock hard. It seemed that I would have my work cut out for me, but it was far from unsalvageable.

As a brief aside, I am a bit of a fan of salvage projects when it comes to hobbying. I love restoring a miniature that has had a hard life and adding it to one of my armies. I wouldn't want to do it for every model, but once in a while it can be very rewarding.

Anyway, having laid out the components and inspected them I cracked on with the build. The legs were fairly straightforward, all the components were there and I was able to follow the Forgeworld instructions easily. Other than some minor greenstuff work to repair some casting flaws they came together easily. The main body had already been constructed and I couldn't find an easy way to disassemble it without damaging the components. I trimmed off the worst of the epoxy glue and repaired a few more casting flaws before gluing it to the legs.

Replacing the neck joint proved tricky, but I was able to make something out of a rhino cupola and the rear part of a searchlight along with a bit of a Deff dread. I also discovered that the kit had two left shoulder assemblies rather than one left and one right. This was a bit of a head-scratcher, but once I decided what to do, making the components work turned out to be relatively simple.

I pinned the right arm in place and attached the head to the torso assembly. I decided to leave all of the armour panels off to make painting easier. The photos below show the Castigator in its current state.

Looks kind of skeletal without the armour.
My reconstructed neck joint
That all brings us up to the state of play with the Castigator. It will certainly be a challenge for me to paint this thing in a month; it's by far the largest model I have ever attempted to paint to completion and it's a pretty detailed kit to boot. Here's hoping the motivation of Monster March will push me through.

Tune in next week to see how I'm getting along.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Squaduary 2018 - Wargame Exclusive Kataphron Destroyers: Part 4

We've reached the end of Squaduary 2018 and I'm pleased to announce that I've completed my pledge of three Kataphron Destroyers for my Adeptus Mechanicus force.

Robots with abs, what's not to love!?
I know three models isn't exactly impressive compared to some of my fellow Squaduary participants but I'm pretty pleased with myself. The squad has come together nicely and added another 200 points to my growing force.

Painting some models with a bit more flesh was a breath of fresh air in the midst of my mechanical hordes. Wargame Exclusive have created a nice set of miniatures here, which were a lot of fun to build and paint.

So much plasma, so much potential for gets hot!
I've yet to try fielding these guys on the tabletop which is probably a first for me (completely painting a squad before they hit the tabletop). I do have a game booked this weekend so I feel duty bound to give them a test run.

Third squad member complete.
I've thoroughly enjoyed Squaduary again this year. Once again, seeing the progress of the other participants has given me the motivation to finish a squad of my own. Big thanks to Rory over at Stepping Between Games for organizing the event and posting weekly updates of everybody's progress.

If, like me, you're a fan of these monthly painting challenges, Swordmaster at Path of an Outcast will be running Monster March again this year. I will be taking part and attempting to paint my Cerastus Knight Castigator (such an awesome model). Check back later this week for an introductory post to Monster March.

As usual, you can see my Squaduary progress here, here and here. I've had a blast, let's do this again next year!

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Squaduary 2018 - Wargame Exclusive Kataphron Destroyers: Part 3

Three quarters of the way through Squaduary and things are looking pretty good. I've got two of the three models completed and have made a good start on the last one.

Now with terrain!
As you can see, this model is equipped with the Wargame Exclusive plasma culverin rather than the Games Workshop version. There is very little to choose between the two. If pushed, I would probably say that I prefer the GW version slightly, but they both look great when painted and scale well with the models.

As before, the details on the Wargame Exclusive models are just excellent. Each of the three servitors is crammed with individual touches which make them stand out from one another and gives the impression of a tech priest really hashing them together from odds and ends. A lovely image for something that the Adeptus Mechanicus would consider a disposable asset.

The 'pec plates' are pretty cool.
You may notice that these photos are a little different than my customary black background. That's because I took these during a little photo session for my whole army to celebrate the completion of a fully painted 1000 points. That's a pretty good benchmark for me but I'll discuss it more in another post.

It's plasma time!
Thanks again to Rory at Stepping Between Games for running this event. It's really pushing me along and I'm looking forward to adding another 200 points to my growing forces. Thanks as well to all  the other participants, let's keep it going and get those models finished!

You can check out my Squaduary history here, here and here. Tune in next week for the final, hopefully triumphant, Squaduary post.

Monday 19 February 2018

Painting Skitarii - 1000 points complete

It doesn't seem so long ago that I was celebrating the completion of a 500 point force of Skitarii/Adeptus Mechanicus. This weekend I broke out some terrain to take a few celebratory photos of a completed 1000 point force!

The army in all their glory!

Now, 1000 points might seem like a small force by some people's standards but, for me, it's an excellent milestone. I haven't been collecting Mechanicus for that long (again, by my own standards) and to have a well rounded army painted to a good level is something that I'm very proud of.

Skitarii are so cool!

Originally, they were conceived as a Skitarii only force. Mostly because I prefer the Skitarii models over the Mechanicus ones and, at the time, they were split into two codexes. A slight problem came in the form of the Start Collecting Skitarii set as it includes a Magos Dominus who used to be part of the Mechanicus faction. This was complicated further when my darling wife kindly bought me a set of Kastelan Robots for Father's day, not realizing that they were technically a separate faction. This led to them becoming a bit of a combined arms force long before the advent of the current codex, where the two forces have been combined into one list (as they always should have been).

The Mechanicus contingent.

The army, as it stands is still mostly Skitarii. With the Kataphron Servitors and the Kastelans making up the Mechanicus contingent. The balance will change further still as the next unit to be added will be another unit of Kataphron Servitors that I am painting up for Squaduary.

Onager with magnetized Neutron Laser.
The force has benefitted hugely from various online painting challenges. The Onager pictured above was painted for Dreadtober whilst a squad of Skitarii Vanguard was completed for Squaduary 2017 with the Kastelan robots added shortly after for Monster March. The rest of the force has come together in dribs and drabs; but pushing myself to turn out a completed unit instead of three or four models has really helped.

Cool, low angle shot.
The final factor in making this army happen is the builder campaign that was organized by my buddy Lewis. He runs a blog over at Canis Aureus showcasing his own work. But I owe him huge thanks for all the work he put in which really pushed me along to hit those points quotas as the campaign escalated.

I'll leave you with a few more photos of the models, but I'm delighted with the army and can't wait to see how they will grow in the coming year.

Skitarii on patrol.
A Dragoon advances covered by a Ranger squad.
Ruststalkers appear out of the dunes.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Squaduary 2018 - Wargame Exclusive Kataphron Destroyers: part 2

So it's the end of week two of Squaduary, and things are progressing nicely! Although I'm struggling to believe that we're half way through February already.

Who says you can't have both claws AND guns??

I've finished painting one of my Kataphron Destroyers and have made good progress in painting the other two. I've very much enjoyed painting these models from Wargame Exclusive and they have made a nice change from the Games Workshop version.

Glad I increased the base size.

I've continued with the green and brass colour scheme common to the rest of my Adeptus Mechanicus forces. These models however have a lot more bare flesh than the usual Mechanicus range, so some different colours were called for. The skin was basecoated with Rakarth Flesh before following up with thin layers of Cadian Flesh (pretty sure this is from the old Citadel colour palette). Then I washed the recesses with a little Reikland Fleshshade and some Carroburg Crimson to make the implants look sore and poorly maintained. Finally I highlighted up with a mix of Screaming Skull (old palette again) and Cadian Flesh. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Skin tones are something I tend to agonise over but this time I tried to paint a bit more fast and loose and I think it turned out fine.

The back is nicely detailed too.

I also tried to paint the raised veins in kind of a blue colour. I'm not 100% happy with the effect, but I don't think it detracts from the models.

So, that's another step towards the completion of the squad. Join me for next week's post when hopefully I will have another completed model to share.

If you'd like to read my previous Squaduary posts you can find them here and here.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Squaduary 2018 - Wargame Exclusive Kataphron Destroyers: Part 1

That's week one of Squaduary down and how am I doing? Well, ok.....sort of. I've managed to get the miniatures built, including some minor conversions, and I've undercoated the squad. I've also made a very small start with the painting as you can see in the photos below.

So grey, so incredibly grey.
You might not be able to tell from the photos but they are undercoated, I swear! It's just that I am taking a departure from my usual process and using a pale grey undercoat rather than good old Chaos black. The main reason for this is because these models have a lot of exposed flesh; which should be easier to paint over a light coloured undercoat. I have always struggled with flesh tones over black and found that they need plenty of thin coats to ensure good coverage.

Lovely miniatures, it's a shame they're not painted.
For those that missed out, Squaduary is an event run by Rory over at Stepping Between Games. The goal is to paint a squad of miniatures during February and update your progress regularly to help motivate all the participants.

My pledge is to build and paint a squad of three Kataphron Destroyers for my Adeptus Mechanicus forces. For those who are familiar with the Mechanicus model range, you will have noticed that the models I'm using are not your usual Kataphron battle servitors. These miniatures are produced by Wargame Exclusive and provide a nice change from the tracked versions produced by Games Workshop.

I have altered the models slightly as I wanted to change the weapon loadout of the squad. Wargame Exclusive provides two models armed with Heavy Grav Cannons and a single model armed with a Plasma Culverin. I really wanted my entire unit to be armed with Plasma Culverins, so, I removed the Grav Cannons and replaced them with GW Plasma Culverins that I had left over from my Kataphron Breachers. Scale wise, the GW cannons are slightly larger than the Wargame Exclusive, but not so much that it spoils the models. The slightly tricky part was that the GW weapons are designed to be side mounted onto the shoulder, whereas the Wargame Exclusive cannons are all mounted at the elbow. This required a raid of the bits box to find some suitable parts with which to cover the intended connection point. Fortunately I have a good supply of Mechanicus spares and managed to fill in quite well.

The Wargame Exclusive cannon.
And the GW version.
I have also changed the phosphor blasters for cognis flamers. This was a pretty simple swap as I just shortened the barrels and added the nozzle from a cognis flamer. It did require some creative repositioning of the large claws that each model possesses; but I'm pleased with the way they turned out overall.

As for the models themselves; the quality of the resin and the detail pick up is excellent. There were very few casting flaws and no warping was present across the squad. I did have some trouble gluing the parts together, however this was easily remedied with a little patience and the occasional pin (needed for some of the weapon swaps).

So that's week one over, here's hoping that week two will bring a bit more colour to the squad. If you missed it, you can check out my initial Squaduary pledge here.

Thanks for reading!