This blog is about the world of gaming miniatures, as seen from my perspective. I've been collecting and painting for over 30 years now, and while my primary focus is miniatures for D&D, I also enjoy many other games that use minis, so we'll be covering those as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dark Angels Tactical Trooper - Done!

As previously mentioned, I have had a WH40K Dark Angels army sitting around for the past decade plus, mostly unbuilt and unpainted. There are some units in various states of completion, including my scouts that are ALMOST finished but just need me to get off my ass and put on the finishing touches.
Anyhow, a couple of months ago I had an idea pop into my mind as I contemplated diving in and working on the backbone of my army - the grunts. The doggies. The foot-sloggers. But I wanted my first tactical squad to stand out, in part to inspire me to keep going and also to see if finished version of my concept matched up to how I imagined it in my mind's eye.
I don't think I'm ready to tackle the creation and completion of an entire Successor Chapter, but I did think a little background for the First Squad would be cool. Basically, the First Squad pays homage to the foot soldiers who were part of The Order, the original Dark Angels before they were known as Dark Angels. I could even attach a name to them, something like The Sons of Caliban if you will.
To complete my first prototype model, I started with a DA Space Marine from the Dark Angels Tactical Squad boxed set from a few years back. I used the legs, torso, arms, and right shoulder pad. Next, I added some bitz from more recent releases: left shoulder pad (with studs, braid, and small DA symbol), backpack with DA symbol, and Ravenwing Crusade helmet. And for some straight-up bling, a small Roman helmet crest and a Ruined Temple Base both from Secret Weapon Miniatures. I was going for a pseudo-Egyptian vibe on the base with the red and blue.

OK, the built-up model looks pretty good, but how will it look once painted? That, of course, is the real question. I've spent a lot of time scouring The Intertubes looking for "The Best Way EVAR To Paint A Dark Angels Army" and other such inspiration and advice. I finally settled on this tutorial on The Angel's Talon by Stitch, a Swedish gamer. At first, I had a hard time thinking outside the box color-wise. Orkhide Shade and Knarloc Green instead of Dark Angels Green? What kind of madness is this? Hmm, hey, what do you know, it looks great to me on my finished model, so Stitch must be on to something here...

And of course for information and inspiration, there is the Fortress of the Unforgiven. And I cannot emphasize how influential all the good peeps who run and contribute to blogs like From The Warp and Santa Cruz Warhammer and Dave Taylor Miniatures have been. The tips, techniques, and how-to articles are invaluable to average painters like myself. So I tip my painter's cap to you and give thanks.

But I digress. Now that I've had a half day to look over my completed trooper, I find myself very happy with the finished product. This is the start of what will be a nicely painted tabletop-quality DA army, suitable for play with my kids or against the local gamers at my FLGS.

If I had to pick three things I'm pleased with, I would say 1) the bitz all tie together nicely; 2) the SWM components rock; and 3) the 5th Company badge painted on the left knee looks how I hoped it would.

What about three things I'm less than thrilled with? 1) My freehand work on the squad badge (right shoulder pad) - I need to thin my paints when doing these and remember to be patient! 2) the gold braid on the left shoulder pad - it lacks depth, so I think I need to try adding some silver or white highlights (or maybe even try some gold NMM work and see how that pans out); and 3) the DA icon on the helmet bugs me, and I'm not sure why - maybe I should try it in red or green?
Now all I have to do is finish nine more battle brothers like this one and I'll have a completed squad ;) Wish me LOTS of luck as I move forward with this.

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