The Grand Cultivator

Nurgle’s first daemon has arrived – Horticulous, the Grand Cultivator, atop his snail-beast Mulch!

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This model has been sitting on the painting table for a while, getting bits and pieces done on it in between other things, but last night I finally knuckled down and got the last detail pieces completed.

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I did not do the base in quite the same way as the rest of the Age of Sigmar stuff, partly because I think that scheme is looking a bit tired tired now, partly because there is a chance (not great, I think) that he will appear in 40k, and partly because I wanted to use Nurgle’s Rot in the ploughed area behind the model.

I did briefly consider re-basing all of my existing Age of Sigmer Nurgle daemons, not least because it would give me a bucket more allies for my Death Guard, but that way probably lies madness – I attach my models pretty firmly to bases and there would be some serious hacking involved. The Forge World models might survive that (and I may return to this idea for them in the future) but the Plaguebearers would not.

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Anyway, this means we are now all set to begin the Blightwar (still not sure whether that is a one-off campaign for the box set or if it will be continued next year in proper ‘campaign’ books), if we can just find the time!

Next up on the painting table: a little more Star Wars, Space Woof Grey Slayers for the Horus Heresy, and more Death Guard!

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Imperial Assault

Continuing the Star Wars theme, I managed to get the last miniatures of the Imperial Assault starter set finished last night – we are now ready to play!

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As I said before, these are really quick miniatures to do but, while they do not have the same edge as GW models (the sculpts – but not the plastic – are a bit ‘soft’ and there is a lot of repetition among the rank and file), they are very characterful and some really do capture the Star Wars magic.

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Take these two, for example, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Check out Skywalker’s pose – doesn’t it just make you start humming da-da-da-daaa, da-da-da-daaaa-da, eh?

While Luke is part of the Imperial Assault set (along with Vader), Solo is from the expansions, and I have already started adding the expansions that tie directly into Imperial Assault. Chewbacca and Kenobi are already on the painting table, and I’ll be adding some Rebel Troopers as soon as I can. I’m avoiding the later expansions for now though (all in good time…).

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Along with the Wookiee I did earlier, these are the core characters of Imperial Assault. While they all have different approaches to painting, I did them all alongside one another and, being Star Wars miniatures, they were quick enough to get through.

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The Trandoshan Hunters were a bit more of a pain, if only because I gave them different coloured jump suits but, funnily enough, I had the Trandoshan Hunter episode of Clone Wars on while I painted these. So that helped!

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The Rebels may rue the day I painted these guys – two Scout Troopers manning E-Web Reapeating Blasters.

It is worth pointing out that these models all come fully assembled (except the AT-ST, and that is no bear to put together), and they need little to no work in final prepping or gap-filling. Excellent if you just want to get down to the painting!

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Finally, the two Nexu (Nexus? Nexi?). Again, very easy to paint, and I had these polished off before anything else you see here.

Alongside Kenobi and Chewbacca on the painting table, I have the Royal Guard Champion just taking his base coats, and no doubt there will be more Star Wars to follow (like the Rebel Troopers and Saboteurs). However, I also want to keep the other armies ticking over, so I also have more Death Guard, Horticulous from Blightwar, and a couple more squads for the Heresy-era Space Woofs on the go.

Busy, busy, busy!

Deathshroud & Plague Marines

The Death Guard have been a bit of a slog of late, not because I haven’t wanted to do them but because of other things getting in the way (Star Wars miniatures, a platoon ops on World of Tanks that we finally got through last night…). However, the next two units are done and dusted – the Deathshroud Terminators and a second unit of Plague Marines.

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The Deathshroud are, obviously, the cream of the crop when it comes to the Death Guard, as they are just plain nasty when they teleport into your opponent’s rear line with a Lord of Contagion.

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Naturally, I went with a unit of six, completely ignoring the fact that they are so expensive, only the first three are ever likely to appear. Having six of these guys dropping down though will be really funny…

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Then there are the Plague Marines. I figured out a while ago that if I picked up two boxes of the Easy to Build Plague Marines, along with the Plague Brethren box set, I would have enough of these guys to fill out the Dark Imperium squad (it is ‘missing’ a special weapons marine) and build a whole new squad of seven Plague Marines, with one marine and a unit champion ‘spare’.

This would have given me a second unit before the actual Plague Marines box set came out, but my delays made that kind of moot.

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However, it does mean that I have my two squads, and can now use the box sets to build the 20-strong close combat-oriented squad that I have been planning (it will simply be awesome as it pushes aside any enemies it meets…).

Next up for the Death Guard will be some vehicles and characters, but I have a feeling Star Wars may get a little in the way first…

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I haven’t gone mad for Age of Sigmar models of late (and I still have to finish off my Kharadron Overlords), but these Dragon Ogors have been sitting in my ‘plastic pile’ for an absolute age (pretty much since Sigmar came out!), and I finally got cracking on them last week.

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I already had a small unit of three Dragon Ogors done, but they were really feeling lonely – they needed some friends and a leader.

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The Shaggoth is so old he is actually a (very heavy) metal model. He was also missing a horn, but I snipped a spine in half from a Chaos Spawn to replace it, and now I bet you cannot tell which one is the replacement!

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To do a ‘proper’ Thunderscorn force, I should probably do a third unit but, for now, I think these chaps will do just fine.

Now I need to get cracking on with the Death Guard and try to get that army ‘finished’.

More Empire (and a Wookiee)

As I noted last week, these Star Wars miniatures are super-fast to paint up… so I did some more!

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The glamour puss here is General Weiss’ own up-gunned AT-ST.

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Once again, I followed Sorastro’s Youtube painting guide, and the AT-STs have to be some of the quickest models I have painted in years, despite their size. Sorastro has also got me doing a couple of things I would never normally do, namely mixing poaint to get new colours (this AT-ST is an ‘off-cream’ colour rather than the usual flat Imperial grey) and light reflections (you can just about see it in front of that red targeter).

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Anyway, this model is suitably imposing and should create a fair bit of a stir among the players of Imperial Assault when it goes on the table.

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The Probe Droids are also incredibly easy – black, drybrush, wash… The only real addition is the use of Ard Coat to give their lenses a glassy shine, something that was also done on…

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…the bounty hunter IG-88, though it is only on his eye stalks and very hard to see in the photo!

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Some Imperial Officers were done to lead this little force, and here things go downhill slightly as while you might be able to live with identical Stormtroopers, doing the same with Officers is a bit… poor.

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Finally, I completed the first of the heroes of Imperial Assault, the Wookiee, purely because he was dead easy to do (low hanging fruit again, to get things done quickly). For him, I did not follow Sorastro, purely because the Mournfang/Tyrant/Agrax technique works so well for fur.

Still got some more Star Wars on my painting table, and I am going to have a crack at getting all the Heroes done this week, but there may be some more Sigmar and Death Guard appearing beforehand.

Fate of Konor: Death of a World

It has been a war of devastation and destruction, but the Konor campaign is drawing to a close as we prepare for the final battle…

The Daemon Primarch Mortarion has hurled the Death World of Loebos through the Konor system to leave nothing but desolation in its wake. The Marines Errant must stop at nothing to destroy the world before the Realm of Ultramar is dealt a blow from which it will never recover. However, the Death Guard have placed a suicide force on Loebos to foil the Imperium.

 

Armies

The Marines Errant are using a light but veteran task force to activate the vengeance bombs that will destroy Loebos, so we are setting this battle at a round 60 points.

Death Guard (Battalion)
Daemon Prince of Nurgle (Revoltingly Resilient, Suppurating Plate, Miasma of Pestilence)
Lord of Contagion
Malignant Plaguecaster (Miasma of Pestilence, Blades of Putrefaction)
Poxwalkers x 20
Plague Marines x 7 (Power Fist, Plasma Gun)
Cultists x 20
Helbrute (Multi-Melta)
Helbrute (Twin Lascannon, Hammer)
Foetid Bloat-Drone

The Death Guard have brought some heavy equipment in the way of two Helbrutes and a Bloat-Drone, padding out their force with Cultists and Poxwalkers. However, they have a powerful triumvirate leading them, in the shape of a Lord of Contagion, a Malignant Plaguecaster, and their warlord, a Daemon Prince of Nurgle.

Marines Errant
Captain (Chapter Master)
Venerable Dreadnought (Assault Cannon)
Tactical Squad (Missile Launcher, Flamer)
Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)
Terminator Squad
Terminator Assault Squad (Lightning Claws)

The Marines Errant have chosen to have a tiny force deployed, with the main bulk of their army waiting in reserves to drop down onto the Death Guard positions.

 

Mission: Death of a World

This battle takes place on a Death World, so we have placed as much exotic (and deadly!) vegetation on the battlefield as possible! There are also three detonators for the vengeance bombs that the Marines Errant must activate, all within Death Guard territory. They will gain a major victory if they can activate all three and a minor victory if they get just two. Any other result is a victory for the Death Guard (and will cause serious problems in Ultramar!).

The vegetation of Loebos is really angry at the intrusion of both the Marines Errant and the Death Guard, and all ranges of Deathworld Forest terrain are doubled for this batt;e

The mission itself has two new Stratagems for the Death Guard – Plague Horde allows them to freely summon Daemons of Nurgle, while Blessing of Nurgle allows the Death Guard to avoid the effects of the Deathworld Forest. For their part, the Marines Errant can use Incendiary Grenades to clear areas of vegetation .

The Fate of Konor campaign also introduces yet another Stratagem (Spontaneous Outbreak) which deals mortal wounds to all models who get too close to the shrubbery.

 

Deployment

The Death Guard army looked huge compared to the tiny force of Marines Errant who strode onto the battlefield – just a Tactical Squad and Venerable Dreadnought, led by the Chapter Master of the Marines Errant himself. However, the Daemon Prince warlord was not fooled in the least and he ordered his own units to spread out to cover the detonators that would trigger the destruction of Loebos.

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Round One

All too ready to fight, the Death Guard mobilised as soon as the Marines Errant made their presence known, catching the Chapter Master off guard. One Helbrute went into a terrible Fire Frenzy that sent many Lascannon beams lancing across the battlefield, but none found their target. The second Helbrute took a more direct route and raced towards the Venerable Dreadnought, putting both it and the Chapter Master in immediate peril.

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The Venerable Dreadnought back-pedalled quickly, escaping the worse of the Helbrute’s attacks, before lashing out with its own Power Fist, wrenching huge plates of armour off its enemy.

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Spinning ponderously around, the Venerable dreadnought backed away from the Helbrute, filling the daemonic machine with Assault Cannon shells until it toppled to the ground. Close by, the Devastator Squad spied the Foetid Bloat-Drone flying towards them and scored several direct hits with Krak Missiles – unfortunately, the Bloat-Drone simply shrugged the missiles off with its superior resilience.

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Round Two

Undaunted by incoming fire, the Bloat-Drone flew over the Deathworld vegetation of Loebos, before swooping down upon the Devastator Squad. Its Plaguespitters belched a tidal wave of filth that consumed four Marines before they could react.

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Raising his sword high, the Daemon Prince called upon Grandfather Nurgle and a horde of Plaguebearers winked into existence around him, strengthening the forces around two of the detonators.

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A short distance away, the remaining Helbrute entered another Fire Frenzy which this time blasted the Venerable Dreadnought apart. The Helbrute started to track onto the Chapter Master as he fled the explosion, and a bright flash from the Conversion Field of his Iron Halo signalled one of the shots had found its mark.

Seeing the marauding Bloat-Drone, the Chapter Master dove into the middle of the Devastator Squad, who trained their Missile Launchers on the approaching enemy. This time, the Bloat-Drone exploded in a shower of filth as multiple warheads detonated inside it.

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A Thunderhawk Gunshop swooped low over the battlefield and, from its hatches, an Assault Squad dropped to land behind the Cultists assigned to guard one of the detonators. Bolt Pistols roared, and three Cultists were torn apart by the explosive shells.

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At the same moment, in a coordinated manoeuvre, Terminators teleported onto the battlefield. One squad appeared in front of the Plague Marines while the other materialised behind the Poxwalkers and Plaguebearers.

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However, if they had intended to stride straight into battle, it was a plan that failed as their sudden appearance had confused the Marines for a few vital seconds – and that might be all the time the Death Guard needed to react.

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Round Three

The Plaguecaster threw a Miasma of Pestilence over the Cultists, knowing that the Marines Errant would be only too happy to target the weakest unit in the army, while the Lord of Contagion lumbered around a rotting tree in his Cataphractii Armour, intending to tear the Assault Squad apart single-handed.

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As the Plague Marines traded fire with the Terminators who had teleported in front of them, dropping one with a burst of Plasma Gun fire, the Daemon Prince bellowed at the Plaguebearers to follow him as he stomped towards the Assault Terminators.

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Moving with deceptive speed, the daemons reached the Terminators in just a few strides, and the Daemon Prince’s sword sliced through one with ease. Rallying quickly, the Assault Terminators attacked the Daemon Princebut were dismayed to see their Lightning Claws simply skid off his Suppurating Plate – this turned to horror as the daemonic armour sprayed them with a spray of corruption that dissolved another Marine in his armour.

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Wary of the Lord of Contagion, the Assault Squad nonetheless gunned their jump packs and dived into the Cultists and Plaguecaster. A few Cultists were cut down and more ran, but the Plaguecaster proved too tough for Chainswords to hurt and two Assault Marines were killed in the first few seconds of the fight.

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Meanwhile the unengaged Terminators, after raking the Cultists with their Storm Bolters, lumbered into close quarters battle with the Plague Marines, but the Deathworld vegetation snaked out to grasp their already unwieldy Power Fists and only one Plague Marine fell to their blows.

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Round Four

By this time, the Marines Errant were putting two of the detonators under pressure but their third attack, spearheaded by the Assault Terminators, had completely stalled in the face of Daemons of Nurgle.

With the destruction of the Bloat-Drone, however, the Devastator Squad was now free to rain missiles down upon the Death Guard force, something the remaining Helbrute just could not tolerate. Bellowing with a strangely organic voice, it brushed past Barbed Venomgorse to stampede towards the Marines.

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Summoning the power of the Warp, the Daemon Prince hurled a bolt of filth at one of the Assault Terminators, blasting the Marine apart. Across the battlefield, the Plaguecaster did the same thing against the Assault Squad, summoning even greater power to annihilate three Marines before they could respond. However, the Plaguecaster had grown too greedy and ambitious, and he attracted the attentions of a massive Warp predator.

A gateway to the depths of the Warp opened above him and massive tentacles descended to drag the Plaguecaster away, along with a single Cultist and three more Marines! The Lord of Contagion grunted at seeing this – the Plaguecaster had served his purpose and between his Smite and the Warp predator, the Assault Squad had been all but smashed. Hefting his axe, the Lord of Contagion cleaved the last two Assault Marines apart.

With the Cultist’s detonator now safe, the attention of the Death Guard now focussed on the centre where the Plague Marines had met their match in the Terminators they now fought. Fortunately, help arrived quickly in the unlikely shape of the shambling Poxwalkers who fell upon the Terminators, pulling one down – only for him to quickly rise again to join their ranks.

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By this time, the Assault Terminators had been reduced to a single Marine and, seeing no chance in fighting the Daemon Prince, he activated a Teleport Homer and materialised near the Chapter Master – just in time to launch himself at the oncoming Helbrute.

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The Assault Terminator was brave, and his Lightning Claws managed to deliver a shallow rake to the Helbrute, but a single swing of the Helbrute’s hammer drove him flat into the ground.

Behind the Helbrute, the last Terminators fought their way clear of the mass of Poxwalkers and Plague Marines, shooting their Storm Bolters as they went, though to no avail. The Devastator Marines took this opportunity to launch a flurry of missiles into the mob, one of which found its mark to blast apart a Plague Marine.

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Round Five

The Poxwalkers stumbled around the Terminators, cutting off any further escape but, in the press, no one could deliver a telling blow.

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Across the other side of the battlefield, the Helbrute bellowed in triumph as it finally reached the Chapter Master.

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The Chapter Master raised his Power Sword to parry a blow, but the Helbrute’s hammer easily crashed through his defence, to knock him several metres away. Picking himself up, the Chapter Master knew he had been wounded, but he was still in the fight.

Seeing no choice, the Chapter Master retreated as far as he could from the oncoming Helbrute, hoping the missiles of the Devastator Squad would finish it off. They let fly at point blank range and the Helbrute erupted in an explosion that claimed one of their lives.

In the crush around the last contested detonator, the Poxwalkers dragged another Terminator to the ground before rending him apart – and now, the Daemon Prince was getting close to joining in.

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Round Six

The last Terminator fell to a bolt of filth summoned by the Daemon Prince, securing the detonator. As the Plaguebearers began stumbling towards the Devastator Squad, the Chapter Master of the Marines Errant saw the battle had been lost. Giving the signal, both he and the surviving Devastator Marines left the field of battle.

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Conclusion

A major victory for the Death Guard, all detonators remained intact, and the Konor system is going to have some major issues as the planet Loebos crashes through it – all in all, not a good day for the Imperium!

This was a brave attempt on the part of the Marines Errant, and their plan could have worked. The Devastators, with four Missile Launchers, formed a strong fire base that could have ravaged the Death Guard from afar if they had not been constantly hindered by Helbrutes and the Bloat-Drone (in hindsight, sacrificing those three machines was a good move by the Death Guard).

After that, the Marine reinforcements went after all three objectives at once, which allowed the Death Guard to take them on piecemeal.

Now, a word about that; I think this was intentional on the part of the Marines Errant player (James), who (I think) did not intend to take all three objectives – he was aiming for two, initially at least, giving him a minor victory that he could then build from with a final assault on the last objective.

This was a good idea (or would have been, if it had worked…) but the Assault Terminators got bogged down by the Plaguebearers, while the other Terminators did not get to the Plague Marines in time and failed to do a great deal when they got there.

However, the turning point of the battle, I think, was with the Assault Squad. They should have been able to take that objective and finish off the Plaguecaster and Cultists in very short order. It was the Plaguecaster getting a powerful 3 wound Smite off, then suffering Perils that claimed another three Marines that finished any possibility of getting that objective (and, by extension, moving on to aid one of the others). When James saw what had happened he did say that I was, quote, ‘a complete dick’.

It was, perhaps, a fair assessment.

 

Imperial Might

Due to a convention (Dragondaze in Newport), I only had a ‘short’ weekend so did not have time to paint too much. I needn’t have worried, as it turns out that Star Wars miniatures are very easy to paint and very, very quick to finish.

I decided to start on the Imperials from the Imperial Assault box set as, having a short weekend, I wanted ‘low hanging fruit’ in terms of getting stuff done quickly. So, I started work on the Stormtroopers and Royal Guard, and on a whim, threw in the AT-ST and Darth Vader as well.

I said in my last post that, if you are looking at painting these models, you should check out Sorastro’s Painting Channel on Youtube. He may not have the gravitas carried by the Church of Duncan, but he knows what he is talking about, and he has an amazing idea on how to tackle Lightsabers.

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I’ll start off with the AT-ST as this model was blindingly fast to do – undercoat, base colour, highlight, wash, final highlight. And… that is it. One thing that quickly becomes apparent is that Star Wars models have less detail and colours than your typical GW model – and that is just fine. After all, the AT-ST would look really weird if it was not mostly grey…

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The Stormtroopers were, perversely, the most time-consuming models to do in this little batch, as you have to rebuild the pure white after an all-over wash. But that is no great chore, and the final result is a bunch of Stormtroopers, which is always a win.

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Now, as components for a boardgame, these Stormtroopers certainly do the job – hard plastic, decent sculpts… but for a miniatures game, a single pose across nine models (in a £75 box set)? Come on, FFG, we can do better than that.

Anyway, spray white, do the black body sleeve and gun in Mechanicus Standard Grey, wash with Nuln oil, then touch up the white. If you follow Sorastro’s guide, you finish with an Ard Coat varnish to get the armour shiny.

Works perfectly!

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The Emperor’s Royal Guard are even easier to do. You really just… paint them red. Highlight up from that (their poles are black and silver, granted). Again, Ard Coat is used on the helmet, creating a nice distinction between cloth and armour.

I saved the best to last… Darth Vader!

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Obviously, a lot of black is involved, highlighted with Eshin and Administratum Grey, with Ard Coat used for the shiny bits of armour. The real trick is the Lighsaber.

Using Sorastro’s instructions again, you start with bright red and highlight up from that. However, instead of using lighter reds, oranges and yellows to create the glowing effect… you mix in Runefang Silver to Wild Rider Red.

I saw that at first and thought ‘that will never work’. But then I tried it. Now, my meagre skills (both at painting and photography) do not do this technique justice, but my heavens it works! Seriously, check out the Youtube channel linked above, it just… works. And the glow of the Lightsaber reflecting off the cloak? Nothing more than three or four coats of Bloodletter glaze.

I am going to be doing more Imperials from the Imperial Assault box set this week, with an aim to finishing them off over the next few days but, game-wise, we will be diving into X-Wing a little later this week – just reminding ourselves of/learning the rules, but we should get some battle reports done soon enough!