Friday, 10 January 2014

020. Lessons to pass on...

I have spent the last three days intermittently cleaning up old Space Marines.  Why you may ask?  Well thanks to the esteemed Col. Ackland, I have found a local club to which I will be going in a few weeks time to throw dice and move little plastic men around a roughly 4x4 or maybe 6x4 MDF board - that's right I will actually be playing a game!!

To that end I busted out a copy of Battlescribe and my Space Marine Codex and jiffied up a couple of lists to suit the mission parameters the group Nobs have set up and then went raiding my shelves for pieces to fit the puzzle.

My Space Marine collection has grown from a couple of units purchased when I relied on saved pocket money and birthday and Christmas money when I was 13, to over 250 Marines of various types.  A number of them have had up to 3 different colour schemes (Ultramarines, my own DIY Silent Guard grey (not Space Wolf) marines and a few lucky chaps have even been Minotaurs in an ill fated Badab War army).  This meant if I wanted to relaunch my Marines as the good old boys in blue, I'd need to do some stripping and recolouring.

I had intended just to re prime, but having a talk to one of the club Nobs got me thinking about throwing unpainted stuff down on the table v painted.  Now, with the speed I go at I wouldn't have a painted army anywhere near ready in time for the game, but I could at least have a base layer down, and maybe the start of some of the detail work which would be better than bare plastic or plain black.
Oh so much blue - Over three days I managed to get time to strip, clean, re-prime, lay down a base and layer with the airbrush - now its brush work
Into the simple green my chosen minis went and then it was a bit of an archaeological journey and the purpose of the blog title - cleaning up minis.  Cleaning up the old paint and varnish on some minis, notably a couple of Assault Marines produces an effect much like you see on those archaeology shows where as you strip back layers you can see what a thing used to be - in the case of the Assault squad, after getting rid of the top layer of varnish, I uncovered a layer of grey, then a layer of bronze, another layer of grey and old citadel inks, a rough Chaos Black primer layer, then some patchy old school Ultramarine Blue (the old bright blue before the lads of Macragge wen tall moody and dark) and finally a really patchy brushed on layer of skull white which was pretending to act as a primer coat.

Amongst that I also discovered some quite shocking mold lines and extruded sprue which I had to go through and clean off with a hobby knife and file.  This made me have a laugh as I reminisced about how 13 year old me who lacked the hobby tool chest 28 year old me currently enjoys, would make do with a blunt pair of scissors, some crusty old resin glue and some blunt needle files I'd filched out of the old mans tool box.
These have anly ever been Silent Guard but are destined for a respray at some point - they add to the above boys in blue to round out my planned units for the upcoming gaming day
Which brings me to the point of the article.  As a 'hoary old veteran' I think its now part of my hobby duties to try and pass on some basic lessons to new blood entering the hobby - namely basic mini prep skills, shortcuts, and handy tips and tricks (even if it is just pointing out alternative tools to the GW branded stuff).

The group I have joined has quite an active facebook presence and it is brilliant to see hobbyists of all ages posting stuff up, asking for feedback, and being genuinely helpful.  I am really looking forward to helping out some of the new young guys as they take their first steps in our world.  I'm not claiming to be a font of all knowledge, and uber hobby supremo, but if I can help another hobbyist avoid horrible mold lines and rubbish sprue clean up then I think I will have done a good deed.

Final thoughts for the day, a package arrived bringing me something I had ordered prior to Christmas (so no broken resolution about spending yet) which consisted of some MrHobby Metallic paints (Gold, Bronze, Copper, Brass and Iron).  This is a type of paint you apply and then buff to the shine you want.  It can be sealed and weathered.  FW listed it in their Masterclass books and I fancy using it on my Titan when I go back to that.
MrHobby Metallics - should be fun to tinker with
And that'll do for now.

I know my first resolution is already out the window (ie paint the stuff already on my desk before moving on) but that's ok - if there's one thing 10 years in the public service has taught me it is to recognise and move with change!

Happy hobby guys,



  1. Nice! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Mordian - I started on a simple Tactical Marine last night - should have some WIP later this week - the toss up at the moment is shoulder guard edge olours and red v black bolter housing.

  2. Great to hear you will actually be getting out and playing some games (I really need to do that...)! Good luck in your quest to rework your Space Marine force. I look forward to watch the army progress!

    I certainly know the feeling of returning to models assembled years ago and realizing you really cut corners assembling and trimming them. It took me years before I earnestly started removing mold lines and several more before I started using greenstuff.

    1. Totally agree - even now though I am wary of green stuff - never got the knack of it, but that will only come with practice - the liquid stuff makes me lazy too - thinking a lick of that is the same as a small blob worked the right way.

      Thanks for popping in Adam.

    2. Working with greenstuff can by tricky. I still don't feel I am very good with it. I have been steadily improving; it takes a lot of patience. Often times things that seem like they should be really easy take several sessions of work to get right. One thing that has helped me a huge amount is the use of Royal Sovereign Colour Shapers to work with the greenstuff. They are made of some sort of vinyl (I believe) that greenstuff does not really stick to. Here is a link:

      I also have a section on my blog that talks a little about them under the tap 'Tools of the trade'.

      Hopefully that helps. Good luck!

  3. I can't believe you are painting over your Silent Guard. The last time I saw them I remember thinking that you had painted them really well! Oh well, I guess your skill has outgrown them!

    I'm looking forward to that first club game. Just posting on their facebook page and writing a list for the next game is totally reinvigorating my hobby!

    1. Everything has to change at some point and for the moment it's really only the Assault Squad that's gone the big dip. The others were guys I hadn't gotten around to yet.

      Being part of an active group really is invigorating and Michael seems like he is trying to drive the group by the fun, more fluff driven. Side than the WAC touring net list of doom style. That was the Maine reason I stopped going into the shop. It all became a bit too much competitive and not what the yanks would call beer and pretzel gaming that I was looking for.