Operation: Assassinate!

Remember back at the beginning of the month, when I lined out my early plans for the hobby in the new year? There was an entry on my list that was "deleted by the Inquisition." That was a little tease of a project I was working on...Assassins!

I bought the Officio Assassinorum dataslate when it came out, and was really impressed with it. Four models with rules that fit their backgrounds, and a bit, fat stack of supporting fluff. I liked that you could take them as a single model detachment. I picked up three of the models, the Culexus, Callidus, and Eversor, secondhand for a reasonable price. I actually had only intended to ever get the Eversor and Culexus, but the price for the Callidus was too good to pass up in the package deal. They sat in a bag on my desk for a good while. Shortly before Christmas, I found a Vindicare for a good price to complete the set.

I started thinking about an army list for the January monthly tourney at the FLGS. I'd brought bikes the last time, and just couldn't get enthused about them or a regular Marine list. I really wanted to play something that would be entertaining. Then I remembered the Assassins sitting on my desk. They'd be interesting to play, so I reread the dataslate a half-dozen times. The problem, however, was that none of the models were painted. I don't roll with unpainted models. Considering my glacial painting pace, I didn't think I'd have time to get all four done.

Turns out, I can paint like a whirlwind when properly motivated, with enough spare time, and a simple paint scheme. In about six days' time, I crushed out these:

Yes, sir. I painted four full models in less than a week. Personal record!

As I mentioned, they're very simple models. I started each with black primer, including on the sand of the bases. Normally, I paint all my models separate from their bases, but these guys have such thin ankles and feet that I had to retain the slotta tabs. The one exception is the Vindicare, as he snapped off his tab while I was trying to bend it to better fit in the base slot. He's pinned with thin-gauge paperclip wire.
After primer was two coats of Reaper Master Series (MSP) Grey Liner. It's the color I plan to use for all my Raven Guard, so this was a nice test bed. Then a nice wash of Badab Black, followed by touching all of the muscles with a 70:30 mix of Grey Liner and MSP Shadowed Stone. Then ever so slight touches of pure Shadowed Stone on the more extreme edges. After that was done, everything else was just small pieces. Metals, leather, power weapons, etc. Simple stuff I was able to batch paint.
However, one thing I'm really proud of is the severed head held by the Eversor.

When I first looked at the model I thought, "That's so hokey and terrible, maybe I'll just chop that hand off and replace it." I'd seen people do that to this model before, and it never looked right, but at least there wasn't a severed head hanging there. But I'd bought Death Mask some time ago, and the story sort of inspired me to like the head. After painting faces on my Ultramarine Command Squad, I figured I was up to the task of this one head.

I started with several thin coats of MSP Fair Skin, and then a wash of Ogryn Flesh that I mixed with flow improver to force it into the details instead of tinting the skin red. Then I brought it back up to Fair Skin with broad, but thin, strokes. After that was small touches of MSP Fair Highlight on the nose, eyebrows, and upper lip. I have learned that for me, skin isn't about subtle blends and realism. That's great for people who can pull it off. I can't, so I go with bold transitions from dark to light, and it works for me. The final touch was a super-thin wash of Leviathan Purple in the eyes, mouth, and at the very edges of the neck stump. I think it really made the skin look freshly-dead, with blood clotting in the "soft" areas of the head first, as well as showing trauma to the neck.

I used to avoid painting flesh like the plague, always helmeting my Marines. But I've discovered now that I really enjoy the process, and will start using bare heads on my Marines more often.

I went with very simple bases, as I usually do. This is a slightly different brown recipe than my Ultramarines, and I used a less vibrant mix of static grass. it's a combination of various grasses I bought from Secret Weapon Miniatures when I was working on Tyranids.

Overall, these four models are painted for tabletop play. I'll never enter them in painting competitions, but they were fun to work on and will hopefully be a blast to play with in games. My strategy will be to get the extra VP they earn for killing the enemy warlord. If I can do that in each of my games this weekend, I'll consider the day a huge success.


  1. Nice job setting a personal record. The models look good too. Simple but it works on them.

    This is a project I've considered as well but for Chaos. It would be a blast to create models for Chaos Assassins. Easy enough to keep 12" from my units as well.

    1. Thanks. I think my Raven Guard might end up painted at a brisk pace using this method of black. I wont be torturing myself with ten coats like my Ultras. I'll do more prominent highlights for the Raven Guard, but the process should be about the same.

      Chaos Assassins would be really cool. If anyone could kitbash them, it'd be you.