Fratris Salutem 2016 After Action

Hello, everyone.

This past weekend (May the 21st) was the annual Fratris Salutem at my FLGS, a narrative story event. Thor from Creative Twilight has been running the event for the last three years and invests a lot of time and energy into it. It's always a blast, with great games and nice looking armies.

This year I had been painting my ass off to bring my Raven Guard. My intended list was:

Shadow Force
Captain, 5-man Sternguard, 5-man Vanguard, Landspeeder

Raven Guard CAD
Techmarine with 4 Servitors, two 5-man Scout Squads, Leviathan Dreadnought

Grey Knights Nemesis Strike Force
Librarian, 5-man Terminator Squad

Unfortunately, I just couldn't paint hard enough to get all of that done. Instead, I swapped out the Nemesis Strike Force for some of my old Ultramarines in the form of a Suppression Force. It was made up of two Whirlwinds and two Typhoon Landspeeders with multimeltas. I wasn't thrilled with using more Ultramarines, but the Landspeeders were really valuable in all my games.

I won't get into a blow-by-blow for my games, but each one was a lot of fun. I faced Orks in the first game, Daemons in the second, and Tau in the third. I struggle against that particular Ork list because I lack ranged anti-tank in enough volume to crack three Trukks in the first turn. Trukks filled with MegaNobz tend to steamroll my line in a hurry. The Daemon opponent's dice turned on him early, leading to a very close-fought bloodbath after six turns. We had a total of four models on the board at game end. tau are tough to beat these days with all their markerlight tricks. I kept forgetting about Supporting Fire as well, which is a rule I grumble incessantly about.

This year was the best Salutem yet. Great turnout (sixteen players I think), varied and interesting missions, and lots of interesting armies. I took home the Judge's Choice award for the Imperials, which I believe is the highest soft score total.

Now that the event is over, I'm taking my sweet time on any additional painting. There's some burnout that comes with a month-long push to finish models. I'm working on a small, 5-man Devastator squad with a pair of lascannons. Nothing fancy, but it starts to fill the lack of ranged anti-tank that is glaring in my army. I won't bother with WIP shots here on the blog, because everyone knows what Marine infantry looks like. Instead, I'll be catching up on taking pictures of my existing RG models that I never shared due to the rush to paint everything before the event. Watch for those on the blog in the coming days and week. I've got a lot of farm work to do around here, so painting time will be limited to nights when I'm not completely exhausted. My plan is also to name and put down on paper the stories for each squad in the army, or at least the more important ones.


Leviathan Dreadnought: Nearly Done

My Leviathan Dreadnought is nearly done! More phone photos, because that's all I've got for now:

Front shot. Right now, he's pretty basic. Black armor, metal understructure, little brass details here and there. I wasn't too sure about how plain he looks, but then I remembered that I'll be adding white decals to him as well. He's not a Venerable Dread, so he won't get a bunch of white paint. I briefly thought about a white helmet, but skipped the idea. I'm still writing an intro story for him, but he's basically a long-forgotten relic of the Chapter, nearly expunged from history due to data degradation and the vagaries of a Chapter having a massive armory. He'll start out plain and unadorned other than a few markings, and start earning honors again as I run him in games.

 Close up shot. You can see where some wash pooled under his eye lenses. Because I haven't finished the eyes yet, I didn't bother cleaning this up. I like to overpaint the lenses, and then cut back in with the armor color. I also tried something new for me, and painted the rivets with the armor highlight color instead of a metallic. I like how it came out. I felt the little dots of silver would havelooked out of place on the big planes of black armor.

 Rear shot. I've since added some brass details on those little box things on his back, as well as whatever those little round things are just under the top armor. It was too much silver.

I took these shots before starting painting last night, and stopped for the evening after completing the power cables and washing the brass details with Devlan Mud/Agrax Earthshade. The cables are green and purplish red. He'll also get green eye lenses. I figure one or two more nights and he'll be complete. Then we'll see how the phone pictures turn out when I use three lights instead of angling him under my OttLite.


Testing Phone Photos

I've been making headway on painting my Leviathan Dread, but haven't taken any pictures because the nice digital camera we own is currently without batteries. I took Thor from Creative Twilight's advice and tried using my phone. Here's what I got (after passing it through GIMP filters):

Not bad, considering I just took it directly under my OttLite with no major adjustments other than GIMP auto levels filtering. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini. The trick was finding the Magnifier widget. The camera doesn't normally zoom in far enough to take good macro shots, but some quick Googling told me that the magnifier widget did the same thing.

So now I can start posting images again, though I've found that the black armor of raven Guard really requires some better lighting setups than I have right now. I might have to make some adjustments to white balance and such to get rid of the sepia tone that seems to be invading my low-rent lightbox images.

As for the Leviathan, right now I have him about 75% done. I have all his black armor done, as well as all the silver metallics. Last night I dabbed some Runelord Brass into various details, and really like how it breaks up the silver and black look. For example, I added brass to the little round nubs inside his calves, as well as those grille/vent things on his claw and drill arms. I think I might continue that step into all of my vehicles and maybe infantry as well.

I know the pose above isn't super dynamic, but it's funny how limited the Leviathan kit is in that regard. You have a very limited range of motion for his arms due to the sarcophagus armor extending out over the shoulder area. You can't move the legs too far without leaving gaps under the shins. That kneecap armor bit is only so large. My Leviathan's left leg is bent about as far back as it can be before you leave a gap in the area between shin and knee. Regardless, it's an impressive model and I'm enjoying painting him. I did have a brief mishap with a Nuln Oil wash. I keep fighting tide marks in my washes, despite using flow improver to avoid it. On this model I had huge patchy tide marks on all the armor. Some areas actually ended up being sticky instead of drying. I had to scrub some of it off with a damp brush and repaint the MSP Gray Liner I use as the armor base coat. I wonder if it's the water in my new house. We had to install a filtration system for hard water (very common in Maine), and there's a salt pellet tank involved. Maybe the softening salts are jacking up the paint chemistry?

I should have the Leviathan done in the next week or so, and then it's on to a small Scout squad.