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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Chief

At newly re-vamped Ultramarines army is just about ready for war (again!)  While the army itself wasn't in bad shape before, I thought it needed a few tweaks to be a little more passable in both the looks and gaming departments.  In the last month, I've added a ten man squad of Sternguard Veterans and given a shoddy looking squad of Devastators a new coat of paint.  The final piece of the puzzle lay in a miniature I purchased on one of my many teenage trips to the hobby shop with a burning pocketful of minimum-wage McDonald's earnings.  At this point in time, I'd already moved on from the Space Marines to more destructive (Imperial Guard) and sexy (Sisters of Battle) armies and just kept the Ultramarines around as options for allies or the occasional solo game when I needed an army to play against.

Basically, I picked up this mini because he looked sweet.  But not sweet enough apparently, because it sat untouched for years.

Upon getting the new codex for the Space Marines, the first thing I did was go right to the special characters to see how they'd changed in the last decade.  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  Right off the bat, I noticed there was a much larger selection to pick from than I had first anticipated with nine in all compared to the three or four available in the Second Edition Codex: Ultramarines.  I realize that some of these new characters are chapter specific but it's nice to see new faces like Cato Sicarius and Scout Sgt. Telion who can add some flare to what some would call an otherwise bland choice of army.

One of the more powerful options is Chief Librarian Varro Tigerius.  For the newly initiated, a Librarian is the Space Marine version of a psyker, which in turn is the 41st millennium's version of a wizard.  Magic is no longer drawn from spellbooks and scrolls, instead it comes from an individual's mastery over the Warp.

In game terms, Tigerius is a psychic badass when it comes to options for the Space Marines.  As a Master Psyker, he automatically knows all nine psychic powers available to the Marines (a normal Librarian can pick two) and he can use up to three a turn, where lower level Librarians can only use one or two.  With two wounds and WS 5 (weapon skill), he's not a bad buy at 230 points...especially in a medium sized game where he can really make a difference.

At this point, a light bulb clicked on in my head and I scuttled off to the miniatures vault (the basement) to take a look.  My suspicions were confirmed when I opened a dusty box to find the long-forgotten Chief Librarian still in his faded 1998 packaging.  Knowing this was what I needed to finish off my army, I got to work.

I started off by priming him with an undercoat of black and then thought about spraying him with another undercoat of navy blue, but decided there wasn't enough actual armor showing to warrant this.  Instead, I would paint him entirely by hand.  As you can see from the picture below, I'm not quite sure what I was thinking because at least half the model is clearly power armored.  *facepalm*

What should have taken me half the time to do, ended up taking me around 90 minutes.

Basecoat #1

As you can see, I used a base of brown for everything that would eventually be a parchmenty / bone color.  I then layered on Bleached Bone and added some preliminary touch-ups.

The second assault.

As I said above, at this point I'd been working for around 90 minutes and with my old-man neck in a state of semi-paralysis as well as having a football game to watch, I decided to put him down for the day.  In the past, especially with uber-detailed minis like this one, I've always found it advantageous to get as far as you can and then take a step back and put it down for a night.  It allows me to refocus and not get burnt out, which then lets me pay attention to all of the little stuff on these minis that really sets them apart from the rest of the riff-raff on the table.

When I came back the next day, I spent another 90 minutes filling in the rest of the details like the staff and ornamentations on his armor.  I then did a little bit of shading and highlighting and here is the result!

Overall, I'd say that I'm super happy with the results.  I think this is one of the better mini's I've painted, especially after coming off a decade-long layoff from the hobby.  It probably took me a lot longer than it would for a regular painter, but for three hours of work I think it came out pretty well!

Now that I have a fairly presentable army, the next step is to get myself into a couple of scraps and see how these new fangled rules have changed the game I love so much.  Stay tuned for battle reports and because a gamer's job is never done, my next project...the Imperial Guard.

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