Previously on Road to Nova…
I abandoned my commitment to Chaos in favor of Eldar, and I finished 1 of the 3 models I absolutely needed for NOVA. Plus, I started touching up some older models that I never got around to finishing, and started work on my Kill Team Roster for the event. It’s been a little over two weeks since my last update, so now seemed like a good time to check in on my progress.
Running in Place
The good news is, I finished some more models (including a really fun and totally unrelated Primaris Lieutenant you can read all about here). The bad news is I am still sitting at 1 of the 3 models I absolutely need for NOVA completed. So not exactly progress? But we’re getting there, and I’ll talk a bit more about that in a minute. First, let’s cover what I got done.
The Striking Scorpion Exarch
I know, real sneaky. I have two Striking Scorpion Exarchs in my queue, I decided to tackle the Biting Blade version first as I figured he was lower stakes given that in most match-ups I will be taking the power claw instead. Like the Farseer I showed last time, this is a metal model, and while the sculpt is still great, working with metal has its challenges.
I knew right away I didn’t want to use the same color scheme for both exarchs; that wouldn’t make sense lore-wise as you’d expect two different shrines (and a shrine can only have a single exarch) to have distinctive stylings. So I used my trusty 7th edition codex as a reference and basically replicated the Hidden Strike shrine scheme. I liked the idea of the black helmet to break up the green as well as the use of bright yellow to add some pop. This also immediately led to the decision to cover the biting blade itself in hazard stripes, which I ended up being really happy with.
One neat trick that helped me was using yellow ink when painting all the yellow bits. After basecoating with the airbrush, I covered everything I wanted to be yellow with Vallejo Model Color Light Sea Grey which is an off-white with fantastic coverage (2-3 coats max on black) that goes on very smoothly. I then tried the typical approach of thinned paint for my yellow, using Vallejo Model Color Deep Yellow. Realizing immediately this would take way too long, even over white, I sought for an alternative. On a lark, I squeezed out a drop of paint onto my palette and then instead of thinning it with medium as I usually would, I added a drop of Scalecolor Inktense Yellow ink. This resulted in an appropriately thinned, highly saturated yellow that went on beautifully! Give this a shot next time you’re using yellow as a spot color.
For my next exarch (who is already basecoated), I’ll be going with a much more muted olive-green scheme that better sells the idea of Striking Scorpions as stealthy murderers.
Next to be finished was my Wraithseer. I started this guy when I rushed through 1500 points for a local tournament 2 years ago. Unfortunately, he never made it past basecoats and a gloss coat and has languished ever since. Additionally, I’d originally made the decision to base all my Iyanden in a Hiveworld Kraken theme while my Biel Tan are all on Eldar Ruins. I expect my Wraithseer to be a true hero at NOVA so obviously he deserved a bit of love and he has now been finished and re-based to match the rest of the army (I’ve decided to standardize on eldar ruins bases across the board).
While I’m still very happy with the pale yellow approach I decided to take with my wraith host, it is quite painful revisiting a two year old model. I’d only been painting for a few months at that point and it was frustrating to run into all the things I could have done better when I originally assembled and basecoated it. It just goes to show how important it is to pick a point at which you consider a model done, you could easily spend your whole life re-painting the same ten minis if you insisted on always keeping things at your current skill level or standard, but that would be madness. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the model and I look forward to seeing how he performs.
Another old model revisited, this was pretty quick to finish up. I had the same sort of painful realizations as I did with the Wraithseer; in this case, I’d pin-washed the model two years ago, but this was before I’d really gotten the hang of my wash recipes and there was lots of less than optimal staining. This is also a case where oils would have been highly appropriate to get some really sharp panel lines. Still, I think this model looks quite nice, elevated by the fancy colored cockpit and the good use of masking putty to get crisp color delineations (all of the base colors are airbrushed). This was also a model that got re-based.
You’ve hopefully noticed that the Hemlock is a much, much more saturated yellow than the Wraithseer. This was a deliberate choice across my Iyanden to convey the difference between the living and the dead. The blues and yellows on the wraith host are pretty desaturated and meant to convey their faded glory, whereas the few living members of Craftworld Iyanden bear very lively heraldry.
I’ve been extremely intimidated by the thought of starting on my Ynnari HQs and have found plenty of ways to stall, but today I finally assembled and base-coated the Visarch.
Something that was blocking me was wrapping my head around the process for painting the Visarch. While he may only be a single infantry model, he’s a complex model with a lot of different kinds of surfaces and lots of occluding parts that would make painting him fully assembled pretty difficult. Whenever you’re starting a big project like an important character, you want to have a plan on how you’ll tackle the model, improvising on the go can lead to frustration.
Ultimately, I decided on three sub-assemblies for the model. The legs are the first assembly, then most of the torso and head, and finally the sword arm. The goal here was to make it easy for me to spray both the cloak and armor. This will also make it easier for me to spray the sword. I plan on brushpainting the fur bits so overspray on that area won’t matter and the torso needed gluing anyway because the big fur is split across four different parts and the glue helped weld it all together and remove the seams. In general, I try to do things in as few sub-assemblies as possible (I’ve ruined models at the gluing stage before and that is rage-inducing) and whenever possible, prime and basecoat the model fully assembled (in this case I’m holding it together with bluetac) so that you get the right shadows and highlights from a zenithal approach.
I wanted really strong contrast on the armor so I decided to do a black/white zenithal prime. You can see how strong the contrast is in the second picture. To take it further, I used three different shades of red to base-coat the model, ranging from a deep purple red all the way to a brighter orange-y red. I started with the darkest red, avoiding spraying at a high angle and ended with the brightest red sprayed entirely from the top. The result is is some pretty solid tonal variety and strong contrast between the shadows and highlights; this will be further accentuated when I do the edge highlights to create a pretty striking look. The use of orange and purple hues also gave me a temperature contrast with the highlights being quite warm and the shadows tending more towards the cooler side of red.
Next up will be to take the model apart again and then spray the cape in a range of purple-y blues (I want to tie the cape to Yvraine’s purple dress) and then the Cronesword. Once that’s done, it’s all brush work to finish base-coating and then shade and detail the model. Hopefully I can get this done between Thursday and Friday of this week and get started with Yvraine on Sunday, but we’ll see!
After the Visarch, Yvraine is up next and then I need to decide whether I want to prioritize Kill Team or 40K army. I’d really like a unit of Wraithblades and Howling Banshees for 40K but I’m not sure if that will leave me short on time for my Kill Team roster. I guess I’ll play it by ear.
At the end of the day, if you told me I had to go to NOVA tomorrow, I’d be able to scrape together playable lists for both KT and 40K so I’m not feeling particularly stressed, but I’d really like to meet my stretch goals, such as they are.
Until next time!