Tuesday, January 24

Square to Round: Iron Wolves Part 2 - Infantry Models

     I survived the holiday period by the skin of my teeth.  A lot of obligations and visiting relatives did put me a bit behind schedule with this army construction.  Of course, I also spent a few late nights sipping on 'Nog and continously tweaking my list.  For me this usually starts with some type of 'brilliant' idea and then trying to shoehorn it into my list.

 For a couple weeks I kept trying to figure out how to build a Ragnar list (I just like the idea of an assault themed army, the shoulder pads in yellow look really cool and I want to be able to let out a loud howl every now and then..) without making most of what I had purchased and already painted completely worthless.  Luckily, I listened to my friends in Team 107 and did a bit of homework and decided to pass on the idea.  So, I'm forging ahead with the themed Iron Wolves build, although I did tweak the list a bit...  I'm still commited to the Heavy Armor theme and the number of vehicles haven't really changed so I'm not going to post the actual list  (since it will probably change tonight anyway!) and am going to delve into some of the hurdles and things I've run into while working on the Infantry figures to this point.

This is my 'test' figure that I used to get my color scheme down and my paint blends.  He isn't 100% completed yet (the Frost/Power blade and the base need to be finished) but he accomplished what I wanted to.  At some point I'll probably use him as a Wolf Guard or possibly a character but he doesn't actually fit into the build at this point.  The important thing for me was that it's the first Space Marine 40K model that I've ever painted (I've painted some Eldar on commision in the past) and it taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I can apply down the road.  Some of the differences that I've noticed between 40K and WHFB modeling that have required me to approach the project with a new mind-set:

A.:  WYSIWIG:  This is a big thing in 40K obviously.  If a model is listed with a specific weapon, then it needs to be part of the model.  I understand the reasoning behind this and support it, but it does make it a bit difficult on someone starting out.  I really don't want to build and paint a bunch of models and then have to build additional models everytime I change the list.  In Fantasy this is rarely an issue because units are either armed with the same weapons( and people don't expect you to rebuild a unit 0f 50 Marauders everytime you change the build) or the rules specifically state that 'A magic "Axe of Doom" can just as easily be a "Sword of Doom"'.  Players are used to this so it isn't an issue.  I'm all-in with the 40K way of thinking, but it has caused me to slow-down and build things more carefully.

B:  Number of Models:  There are a lot less models in my 40K build than in any of my Fantasy armies.  This is a two-edged sword since I have less to actually paint but can't 'hide' any sub-par figures in a middle rank somewhere.  Yeah, occasionally I've painted to the 'that's good enough' standard when I was painting a unit of 50 Marauders with Great Weapons!  I figured no ones going to notice that Marauder #36 wasn't quite up to the normal standard..In my Iron Wolves I don't have that luxury so I'm making sure that I don't keep painting past my nap-time.

Which guy's Belt did I forget to paint?

C:  Dynamic Posing and Basing:   One of the problems with Fantasy modeling is the requirement to be able to rank-up the models.  This can be a real issue when you're assembling your models.  Even though you may want to put each model in an individual pose, it's extremely hard to do and still have them line-up with each other.  It also affects your basing a great deal.  I always used GF9 magnetic bases to make things easier for me.  I think they're great personally, but it is an added expense.  40K doesn't have this problem.  I can pose and base the Wolves anyway I like which is a great luxury.  With this in mind I've been able to do a lot of kit-bashing in order to try to make each Wolf a truly unique figure in the army.   It has also allowed me to do each base individually and to portray my Iron Wolves on a battlefield with all the assorted craters, weapons, heads, etc. that litter a battlefield!  The bases are still a work in progress by the way..

D:  Shoulder Insignia:  This may be more of a Space Wolf thing since each of the Great Companies have their own specific insignia and matching background color.  Some of them look cooler than others (Ragnar's GC's Yellow background is a prime example..it looks great against the predominately grey of the figures and really 'pops'..which is why you see so many armies painted that way.) and are also easier to paint.  I'm trying to stay true to my concept, so once I pick a Great Company I'm going to be stuck with it.  This is one of the reasons I'm doing the shoulder pads (technically I think they're pauldrons?) last on my models.  As this picture will attest to:

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to paint my 'Wolves in a traditional type of color scheme.  I've seen quite a few armies lately painted in the Heresy style grey and personally didn't like them as much as the 'old-style' wolves.  My base colors aren't quite as blue-tinged as some, but I'm happy with the colors.  I'm not completely comfortable yet with my 40K painting skills, so I borrowed heavily from various sources to get specific techniques down.  I've always been a big fan of the 'Eavy Metal Masterclass articles in White Dwarf (one of the only reasons I still buy the rag..but that's a different article) and found one to base my paint style on.  I'll never be as good as those guys and usually cut out some of their steps, but they are good articles to use to try out techniques with.  An example would be all the wolf tails and cloaks on these figures.  My initial thought would have been to just dry-brush them, but the article showed the fur-tufts being individually painted and even though it was 8 seperate steps of painting/washing I personally think the results were worth it.  Here's the back of the test model so you can see what I'm talking about:

It's a lot more work to be sure, but I only have to paint 40-50 models to finish this army so it's worth it.  I will admit that if I had to sit down and paint all of them at once I would probably shelve the whole project.  I've never been inclined to paint that way personally.  I tend to have a whole bunch of stuff at various stages of completion.  This way if I get bored and start to lose interest on what I'm working on, I put it down and do something else for awhile.  The same goes for these articles..I'm not going to write a manual on how I painted my army..step-by-step and bore you (and me) to death.  Right now I've put the Infantry to the side for a little while and have been working on the whole reason I'm doing this to begin with!  All of my Forge World stuff has come in, the models have been assembled, magged and primed;  the air-brush is set-up and ready to go..time to start painting some Tanks!!!

There is so much that goes into modeling and painting an army in my twisted world that it's hard to know what people are really interested in..let me know what you're curious about or what you do when conceiving an army and bringing it to life on the tabletop - Quinn


  1. I have a feeling this is going to be a dead sexy army when you are done. I can't wait to see those vehicles. You're still planning on painting them according to the forgeworld "master lass," book right?


  2. Watch out with the whole "shoulder pads last" thing. Once backpacks are glued on, it can be a real problem getting pads into place with some poses.

  3. You have no idea how awesome it is to see my work outside of Bolter&Chainsword!(The Iron Wolf Wallpaper in the header)

    Agreed with J you definitely need to dry fit everything before you put on those packs. I have done this more than once and it was not fun to fix. But man that is going to be an awesome army when it's finished.

  4. @casey: great work! Im pretty sure Quinn dry-fitted the models, I usually make fun by calling them "scouts." These models are even better in real life.


  5. 40K news flash!!!
    If you dont have 10, 20 or even an entire army of built and painted figs that are totaly usless then your not doing it right. ;)

    Serious tho, I am impressed with your detail. They look great! But it might be time to build your milk jug light box.

    One thing you might want to think about is painting your bases before you glue the figs to them. Much eaiser to get the level of detail I think you will want. Also as for the pads its a good place to do something that sets each squad apart. As there are times in 40K when 2 or even 3 units get all mixed up together. (and I hope you dont even know what checker-boarding is)

    Keep up the good work.

  6. Thanks for the comments..
    J: Yeah, I figured that out with the first guy I built..fitted everything since, lesson learned!
    Casey: I'm glad you were happy to see your wallpaper. I meant to give you credit and simply forgot. I think the artwork is really outstanding. You going to do any Transfer sheets for the Iron Wolves?
    Swags: I did build a modified Lightbox, but need better lights and a better camera..lol. As far as the bases, I always did my WHFB bases after I painted the figures (with them already primed, etc.) so I'll probably have to stick with my old habits..especially since they're all built already! I'm definitely doing squad pack markings for each squad. These symbols will also show up on their dedicated vehicles and standards.
    Vehicles are all sprayed in base color and just finished the interiors of the Rhinos. I'm using a lot of different weathering techniques so they should hopefully look pretty decent. I'm not a fan of the whole 'just off the assembly line' look so I'm going to put a lot of effort and time into weathering. Thanks again for the comments.

  7. Thank you! Well if you'd like I can whip up some Iron Wolf Transfers, they were planned but I have never gotten to do them.

    Throw me an email at caseyvelorn@gmail.com if you'd like me to make some.

  8. I thought your other transfers were really well done Casey, and was hoping you had some vehicle transfers for the Iron Wolves. I was bummed when I couldn't find them..lol. I totally suck at free-hand! Let me know if you ever do any..I'll shoot you an email.