Rockfish’s 2021 Hobby Year in Review

Somehow it’s been another year; wild how these things happen. In this weird world we live in time is but a illusion forced on us by the occasional interruptions to the endlessly repeating days, primarily driven by whatever the latest world-ending disaster is and I guess keeping track of new model releases. If you hadn’t guessed, I haven’t felt too great about the last year in that covid is still a thing and appears to be getting worse once again, but at least I painted a lot of models and even got a few games in this year!

I didn’t get that many games done because I was being pretty careful about covid and the ones I did were mostly just backyard hammer, which is a bit hard on my injured back due to hauling all the stuff, but those games were good fun. I was gonna do some in the local game stores when I was starting to feel comfortable with the low case count but I was busy for a while and then omicron popped up and here we are again.

Now away from depressing topics and lets get to the stuff I painted!

A cornucopia of painted models

I will be the first to admit that this seems like a lot of stuff for one year, but I know that its accurate because I have dated pictures for all of them! You can also see I have the attention span of a squirrel and tend to have a lot of projects up in the air at once, its probably not a great sign of my mental health but I find it lets me work on any given project for longer then if I was just grinding through it.

Expansions to existing projects


  • C'tan Shard of the Void Dragon. Credit: Rockfish
  • Chronomancer. Credit: Rockfish
  • Psychomancer. Credit: Rockfish
  • Ghost Ark. Credit: Rockfish

These models were mostly left over from the previous year, the characters were a ton of fun to paint but I will be honest and say that deathmarks and lychguard are gross to build and tiring to paint. It ended up not being that many models and it means I have cleared my backlog of necrons, so whatever.


  • Storm Speeder Hammerstrike. Credit: Rockfish
  • Gladiator Valiant. Credit: Rockfish
  • Salamanders Deredeo. Credit: Rockfish
  • Contemptor. Credit: Rockfish
  • Primaris Eradicators - Heavy Melta Rifles. Credit: Rockfish

Like for necrons, I had a bunch of salamanders laying around, and I decided to finish them up and as a result I currently don’t have any marines in my backlog! Marines are a bit of a funny army to me, as I find it hard to drum up the desire to paint enough of any one unit for make a proper army, at the same time I enjoy painting the odd unit for them. I think part of the conflict in desire is that they need to be clean and crisp which makes them a nice change of pace from my usual more sloppy style but it also makes them pretty exhausting.


  • Kill Tank. Credit: Rockfish
  • Kill Rig. Credit: Rockfish
  • Megatrakk Scrapjet. Credit: Rockfish
  • Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun. Credit: Rockfish
  • Kommandos. Credit: Rockfish
  • Lootas. Credit: Rockfish
  • Rukkatrukk Squigbuggy. Credit: Rockfish
  • Gorkanaut. Credit: Rockfish
  • Boomdakka Snazzwagon. Credit: Rockfish
  • Mek Gun with Kustom Mega-kannon
  • Killa Kans. Credit: Rockfish
  • Stormboyz. Credit: Rockfish

In a move that surprises no one, I often do expansions to existing armies driven by the codex being on the horizon or warzone books and Orks are no exception. This is really the first time that I had a actually functional army that I had played regularly that got a new codex across editions, in theory Marines take that title but it didn’t really feel the same given that their previous book was pretty close so that one felt more like a iteration. This was also the first time I did substantial kit bashing when I built a kill tank based off a model kit, my bits box and a lot of plastic card.

I don’t have a great reason for why, but I ended up not doing that many orks after the book released so I haven’t done that many of the new models, but I did do a Kill Rig and there is a patrol box lurking in my backlog waiting for paint.


  • Hammerhead. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV-85 Enforcer Battlesuit. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV95 Ghostkeel. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV8 Crisis Battlesuit Team. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV8 Crisis Battlesuit Team. Credit: Rockfish
  • Breacher Team. Credit: Rockfish
  • Gun Drones. Credit: Rockfish
  • Firesight Marksman and Sniper Drones. Credit: Rockfish

This is a continuation of the army I showed off in my first article for the site back at the start of 2020, I have done the odd thing for them here and there but this is the first time I have done a major expansion for this version of my tau. To add to the curious feeling that entails, a lot of the models I have been doing were repaints some of the original tau models I did when I got into the hobby back in 2017, Its a bit wild how that both feels a million years ago and just yesterday! In some ways it feels a bit bad to redo them given how much effort I put in back then, but I would rather be using them rather then have them continue to sit in a box under my bed for the rest of time. I did a few iterations on the scheme to keep it modern and punch up the water effects, so in some ways its like starting a new army again with how different they are from the oldest units in the army but hey its better then being static over the years.

Now being me I didn’t just expand old armies, I also started some new ones…

New or pretty much new armies

Craftworld Eldar

If you saw my last year-in-review you will know this is sort of cheating as I had a few models done back then, but I am choosing to count this as mostly new just because it went from not even a patrol to an actual, if small, army. I have been picking away at Eldar off and on over the year, mostly just trying to get some of each plastic kit done in anticipation of new models turning up at some point. It looks like that will pay off given GW has been teasing a bunch of eldar models lately, so I am planning to spend a bunch more time on them in the near future!

  • Autarch. Credit: Rockfish
  • Wraithseer. Credit: Rockfish
  • Wave Serpent. Credit: Rockfish
  • Howling Banshees. Credit: Rockfish
  • Wraithlord. Credit: Rockfish
  • War Walker - Starcannons. Credit: Rockfish
  • Spiritseer. Credit: Rockfish
  • Windriders with Scatter Lasers. Credit: Rockfish
  • Hemlock Wraithfighter. Credit: Rockfish
  • Eldar Support Weapon - Shadow Weaver. Credit: Rockfish
  • Guardians. Credit: Rockfish
  • Eldar Farseer Skyrunner. Credit: Rockfish
  • Dire Avengers. Credit: Rockfish
  • Wraithlord with Bright Lances. Credit: Rockfish
  • Windriders with Shuriken Cannons. Credit: Rockfish

I am really happy with the scheme as its a nice blend of quick to paint and high impact, its probably my most dramatic scheme with the super bright orange and the dark bases.

Adeptus Grime-anicus

Now Admech on the other hand is a army I started wholesale this year! I will be honest and say I started purely out of hype for the book and because I thought of a scheme I thought was neat, while I could say there was a better reason my show case from back then would put a lie to that.

  • Skitarii Vanguard. Credit: Rockfish
  • Onager Dunecrawler - Icarus Array. Credit: Rockfish
  • Kataphron Breachers. Credit: Rockfish
  • Serberys Sulphurhounds. Credit: Rockfish
  • Sicarian Infiltrators. Credit: Rockfish
  • Skorpius Dunerider. Credit: Rockfish
  • Knight - Avenger and Chainsword. Credit: Rockfish
  • Tech-Priest Manipulus. Credit: Rockfish
  • Sicarian Ruststalkers. Credit: Rockfish
  • Onager Dunecrawler with Neutron Laser. Credit: Rockfish
  • Kataphon Destroyers. Credit: Rockfish
  • Ironstrider Ballistarius. Credit: Rockfish
  • Tech-Priest Dominus. Credit: Rockfish
  • Corpuscarii Electro-Priests. Credit: Rockfish
  • Kastelan Robots with Cybernetica Datasmith. Credit: Rockfish
  • Skorpius Disintegrator with Ferrumite Cannon. Credit: Rockfish
  • Enginseer. Credit: Rockfish
  • Skitarii Rangers. Credit: Rockfish

This scheme is pretty quick, so I have managed to paint quite a few of these cogheads and some of the models are really great looking. I will admit that my interest in them actually dropped after the book landed as I find them rather complex to play which can make a 2k game a bit too exhausting for my preferences.

I am sure you noticed that there is a knight in lurking in the back there which is only tangentially Ad-mech these days so far as rules go, but it looks cool so whatever. I might do them some buddies when their book comes around, but I did find it rather time consuming to do so it will probably depend a bit on my mood at that point.

Genestealer Cults and Totally Loyal Guard

This GSC/Guard army is tied with custodes so far as being my most recent army, at the moment its just a little assortment of models and I don’t really have a plan for how big I am aiming to make it but I will just see how it goes! I have this army in colours to roughly go with my existing Nids, so depending on how the codex works out for such things I could do a neat looking mixed GSC/Guard/Nids force.

  • Reductus Saboteur. Credit: Rockfish
  • Neophytes. Credit: Rockfish
  • Hybrid Metamorphs. Credit: Rockfish
  • Leman Russ Executioner. Credit: Rockfish
  • Leman Russ Battle Tank. Credit: Rockfish
  • Armoured Sentinel. Credit: Rockfish

While the scheme works on both guard and cultists well, If the rules are fickle I will split these many armed buddies into a pair of different forces along the faction lines. If that happens, I expect for the guard half I will be focusing mostly on armour as it is so much faster then then painting their infantry and their tanks are fun.


I am not sure if these fellas even count yet, but I did do a box of Custodes and have a full copy of the Shadow Throne box, so maybe these will end up as a proper army at some point?

  • Shield-Captain. Credit: Rockfish
  • Shield-Captain. Credit: Rockfish
  • Custodian Guard. Credit: Rockfish
  • Custodian Guard. Credit: Rockfish
  • Vexilus Praetor. Credit: Rockfish
  • Custodian Guards. Credit: Rockfish

The scheme is decently quick, so I expect I will end up with an army of them incidentally given their per model point costs.

Lupe’s dirty influence of the year

It wouldn’t be a year of painting without Lupe getting at least part of the team hooked on something for about five minutes, this year it was Dropfleet. I ended up painting a decent amount of it and I still have a few things on the hobby table…

  • Rome Battlecruiser. Credit: Rockfish
  • Taipei Missile Frigate. Credit: Rockfish
  • San Francisco Troopship. Credit: Rockfish
  • UCM Seattle Fleet Carrier. Credit: Rockfish
  • Berlin. Credit: Rockfish
  • Resistance Cruiser - Multi Purpose. Credit: Rockfish
  • Resistance Cruiser - Broadside Loadout. Credit: Rockfish
  • Resistance Strike Carrier. Credit: Rockfish

Neat little models, the game is quite good too, so check it out if you have interest in fleet action games!

The leftovers

  • Warbringer Nemesis Titan. Credit: Rockfish
  • Cursed City - Skeletons. Credit: Rockfish
  • Cursed City Markers. Credit: Rockfish

While most of the models I did this year were part of some larger project, there was a number that were just finishing off the dregs of the previous year, like a Warbringer titan in the top right or some assorted infinity model. You might have also noticed some models from the cursed city box lurking in the bottom left, to be honest I didn’t really get into painting the heroes although that might be a thing I do once the expansions come around along side the rerelease.

Favorite models of the year

When you do over three hundred models in a year, picking out any in particular as favorites is really hard. I am gonna be somewhat biased by memory and stuff I recently finished but to be fair this list is entirely arbitrary and bows to no governing body.

5. Gorkanaut

  • Gorkanaut. Credit: Rockfish
  • Gorkanaut. Credit: Rockfish
  • Gorkanaut. Credit: Rockfish
  • Gorkanaut. Credit: Rockfish

This is one of the first ork models I did this year, and while I might have left a bit too much bare metal on the body I am still really happy with how dramatic it is! Of course in the one game I brought it out for it ate shit almost immediately, but that is often the fate of new models.

4. Wraith Seer

  • Wraithseer. Credit: Rockfish
  • Wraithseer. Credit: Rockfish
  • Wraithseer. Credit: Rockfish
  • Wraithseer. Credit: Rockfish

I will say I quite like Eldar wraith constructs, there’s just something neat about giant robots and constructs are pretty distinct ones at that. I wasn’t completely happy with the pose but its still interesting and a fun model to paint! (I will mention whomever decided the little wing bits on the gun should each be individual separate pieces is insane!

3. Dimachaeron

  • Dimachaeron. Credit: Rockfish
  • Dimachaeron. Credit: Rockfish

There is no way this wasn’t getting somewhere on the list, its giant and looks rad as hell. Tyranids are always fun as hell to paint as its mostly going hog wild with washes and contrast rather then doing a bunch of traditional base coats, which means most of the time is spent on doing the fun highlights!

2. Void Dragon

  • C'tan Shard of the Void Dragon. Credit: Rockfish

Honestly I think my necron scheme really works well on this model, plus I managed to get the energy transitions really smooth. It was a fun model to paint and is the ideal center piece for an army, whats not to love?

1. Ghost Keel

  • XV95 Ghostkeel. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV95 Ghostkeel. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV95 Ghostkeel. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV95 Ghostkeel. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV95 Ghostkeel. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV95 Ghostkeel. Credit: Rockfish
  • XV95 Ghostkeel. Credit: Rockfish

This number one spot is really hard to pick and a lot of this is just that I am still feeling chuffed from having recently finished it, but I think this model really turned out cool as hell! (Its also a giant robot, which we have already established is cool as hell.) This being a repaint of a ghostkeel I bought back in 2017 adds a touch of history to the thing as well.

Into the future

I have a quadruple whammy of codices on the horizon already with GSC, Custodes, Tau and Eldar all vying for attention, so I imagine those will be my primary focus for the first part of the new year. Beyond that I don’t have anything substantial planned, and as usual I will probably just paint what strikes my fancy. I will leave you off with a model that wasn’t quite done when I took the full shot, just as a little taster of what’s to come!

War Walker. Credit: Rockfish
War Walker. Credit: Rockfish

Time travel

Hey there! I wrote this article about a week ago, but I ended up painting a bunch of stuff in the mean time so I thought I would pop back in to throw in a little update.

Turns out I can paint a lot when I am on vacation and as a result I managed to get a few more models done before the end of the year. This little group is probably pretty representative of what my plans are for next year as a little bonus!

  • XV88 Broadside Battlesuit. Credit: Rockfish
  • Primus. Credit: Rockfish
  • Wraithlord. Credit: Rockfish
  • Fire Warrior Breacher Team. Credit: Rockfish
  • Kelermorph. Credit: Rockfish
  • War Walker. Credit: Rockfish

See you all next year!

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at