How to Paint Everything – Vashtorr the Arkifane

In our How to Paint Everything series we look at how to paint, well, everything, with a look at different techniques and approaches. In this article, we’re looking at how to paint the physical manifestation of Vashtorr, the demigod hellbent on ascension into the Great Game.

The Wrath of the Soul-Forge King box released late in 9th edition came with two new models: A larger Azrael with a new hat and a physical manifestation of Vashtorr, the newest player in the Great Game between the Gods of Chaos. If you’re looking for a review of the Azrael mini, you can either read our other article or I can save you the time: He is a Space Marine. On the other hand, the much more interesting model of the two was the new Daemon.

A quick note: This article was originally written as a model review. As such, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a preview copy of Wrath of the Soul Forge King for review purposes.

The Model

Vashtorr’s Sprues

Let’s start with the sprue – Vashtorr is contained completely on two sprues, and this kind of underlines his size: He’s not very big. Vashtor is about the size of a Daemon Prince, and quite a bit more slight in that regard – he’s got a slender build and his wings don’t have any meat to them. This makes him both easier to paint and a little bit more spindly in terms of durability.

While Vashtorr isn’t a difficult build overall he has his share of bits that are a bit annoying to clip and assemble – vent caps and smokestacks, mechatendrils, etc. These aren’t particularly bad compared to some other chaos models but they can be annoying to trim. That said, Vashtorr’s actual body goes together very well and does a great job of hiding the seams, though you’ll need to be careful about clipping him to avoid taking chunks out of his muscles when trimming off excess sprue.

Rockfish: I’ll call out that this model does have a bit of that usual chaos issue where there are annoying gates mixed in amongst spikes and spindly details, I expect most CSM players won’t be too surprised by this though.

Assembly

As a model, Vashtorr has a slender, muscular frame. He connects to his base via 1.5 contact points: His left hoof fits in over a nub modeled into his base, while the very tip of his right off kind of slots into an indent on another rock. This isn’t greatand the model feels a little more wobbly than it should post-assembly, in my opinion. Still, it’s not the worst I’ve seen.

Rockfish: I really didn’t like how insecure the model is even when fully set, I kept on having him flap around like a flag when I was airbrushing the fully assembled model.

Vashtorr’s spine/tail slots into his back pretty securely with a couple of pegs and along with his arms, they sit far enough away from the body that I think you can comfortably assemble them before you start painting, though I’d leave the wings off for that process – both the wings and arms slot onto nubs on the shoulders. The armour can also be left off, and similar to other recent chaos releases, Vashtorr has a fully modeled torso and belly with six-pack abs underneath so if you want to run him nude he’ll look perfectly fine.

Rockfish: I loved how many of the pieces are keyed or labeled so its nice and obvious what goes with what, even if you toss all the bits together in a bag and shake them up you can easily get the model together. Big props for that and I hope its something we might see more of!

Painting Vashtorr

Before we dive into painting Vashtorr it’s worth talking about some painting strategy and experience here. I used the following subassemblies for Vashtorr, and would generally recommend others use this setup:

 

Ultimately painting Vashtorr was a breeze and one of the more fun models I’ve had to paint. He’s very cool and has some great details without being obnoxiously detailed or so large that painting him becomes a chore like it did for say, Angron.

If you leave the armor off Vashtorr I think he’d look just fine, and there’s some cool detail in his torso to work with, though those two holes in his pelvis are a bit weird… though oddly the armor doesn’t use them as a connection point. Personally I think the armor helps break up the model a bit by giving you a complimentary color to work with.

I started by priming the model black, then painting his body with Xereus Purple. I then washed this with Druchii Violet before highlighting it again with Xereus, then doing lighter highlights with a mix of Xereus and Genestealer Purple. I paint this in streaks along the model’s muscles to help give him additional definition. The steel bits are just Leadbelcher washed with Nuln Oil. 

For Vashtorr’s armor I went with lighter shades, starting with Rakarth Flesh for the basecoat, then painting the trim with Retributor Armour. I washed the whole thing with Agrax Earthshade, then came back and highlighted the plates with Rakarth Flesh, but I left some streaks of Agrax in there to create a bit more of a grimy look to the armor.

Vashtorr’s base is a layer of Astrogranite I’ve drybrushed with Celestra Grey and the rocks are basically the same deal, painted Mechanicus Standard Grey then Celestra. Between the rocks I painted Moot Green, then some progressive layers of a mix of Moot Green and Flash Gitz Yellow to create a lighter shade.

Vashtorr was relatively uncomplicated after that – his horns are just Corvus black highlighted up to Mechanicus Standard Grey and highlighted/drybrushed Celestra. Most of the work came later doing OSL, and that was primarily done by drybrushing away from the light sources with Moot Green and painting those areas with a liberal dose of Hexwraith Flame to give them a green tint, then coming back to do some bright green edge highlights.

Overall I’m really happy with the model and that makes the fact that his rules are terrible even more frustrating. But I’d still probably pick him up to paint and/or use as a daemon prince because I really like the model.

Vashtorr has a ton of potential for time-saving choices, with how much of the model is some variant of metal you can start with a neutral metallic like Iron Hands Steel and then go wild with washes and drybrushing to get him half done in no time at all. I got almost the entire model done in a few bursts over a Sunday afternoon, but I was admittedly cutting the odd corner here and there.

Vashtorr uses a lot of the same visual elements as my Chaos Knights. Specifically the cream armor is done with Zandri Dust, Ushtabi Bone, and Screaming Skull, and glazed dark with Agrax Earthshade before highlighting the edges.

For the daemon skin on Vashtorr I went with a more blue tone – his skin is based in Incubi Darkness, then washed with Druchii Violet. After that I highlighted the rest with mixes of Thunderhawk Blue, Dark Reaper, and Russ Grey, plus a slight mix of Kislev Flesh, mixing them as appropriate to get the blends I was looking for. When painting skin I tend to skip smooth glazes and leave the blends rougher to give the impression of slightly rougher skin.

Honestly I don’t think there’s any other chaos model that has quite tempted me to expand beyond my handful of knights than this guy, but I think I can resist mostly just because I shudder at the thought of how long it would take me to get through a 2k army.

Vashtorr the Arkifane. Credit: Rockfish
Vashtorr the Arkifane. Credit: Rockfish

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