Tuesday, 14 January 2014

In the Navy

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth...
...And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Excerted from High Flight by Magee

There is something uniquely cool about the concepts of space travel. It evokes that romance of the age of sail with it's dangers, isolation and possibilities. Warhammer 40,000, of course, adds another few elements from the age of sail: brutality; press gangs and ruthless captains. These fine gentlemen are the focus of todays offerings! These are part of the leviathan command crew (I've now tagged all the Leviathan models as such) and represent the two fleet elements that have come together in the client's warzone. We decided that two would be in a classic British Napoleonic navy mode and the other two in an emerald green that we vaguely remembered being associated with the Segmentum Obscurus/Saturnine fleets. I'm afraid I do not know the manufacturers of these chaps so if anyone can illuminate me I'll re-edit to include the original manufacturers.

First up is the hawkish figure that I was referring to as The Admiral in my head while painting him. He's an older, gaunt, severe looking chap and well suited to the image of the senior officer. For the classic Napoleonic look I needed dark - almost black - blue dress uniform jacket and cream-white breeches. The blue-black really is practically black, I just mixed a drop of Val Prussian Blue into the black and then added The Fang for highlighting. The Fang a blue-grey for those unfamiliar with Citadel's current daft naming, honestly, The Fang, not The Fang Blue-Grey, just The Fang. Unless you are intimately familiar with the backstory of the Space Wolf chapter of Space Marines then this is meaningless. Sheesh!

The cream breeches are the same method of the wraithbone from the Corsairs, i.e. Zandri Dust mixed with white and highlighted with white. See? Solve one problem and open doors in the future. The trick is remembering all these mixes and tricks and the blog has been invaluable for that. One feature on this chap that I'm really happy with are the fairly naturalistic ostrich feathers. They're all over the place in empire armies and the like and I'm starting to warm to the idea of painting them undyed. This method uses Val Deck Tan and Val German Cammo Black-Brown (two really useful paints) shaded with Agrax Earthshade and rehighlighted with the original colours. Creates a lovely soft natural tone.

From the same fleet we have this chap, who I had in my head as a fairly recent promotion. He cuts a rakish, dashing figure and put me in mind of a hard charging ex-frigate captain recently elevated to the captaincy of a capital ship and thus a presence at this table. It has just occurred to me as I type this that were we to be doing this project for a diorama these fellas could have been painted glowing green to be hololithic projections around the command table while still being aboard their ships. Hmmm..... thinks.

Anyway! This paint scheme, focus Jeff! Something to mention about all of these models is that they have simultaneously incredibly dense AND incredibly fine detailing married to average castings. This is not a useful mix. The hair on this gentleman for instance is painted on despite having sculpted hair. It was so shallowly and finely sculpted that neither wash nor drybrushing could pick up the texture finely enough. Likewise, lots of the dense decorations and honours on the others might as well have been flat discs for all the help the sculpting gave to the painter. There is a reason that things tend to be a bit scale exaggerated at 28mm.

This photo just about manages to show the difference in tone between the blue-black uniform and the grey-black cloak (Val German Grey washed twice with Nuln Oil). Those highly complex areas of braiding at the corners of the uniform jacket were essentially painted as solid colour (my fake NMM) and then washed with very, very thin washes of the uniform colour in order to define the braid.

Speaking of braid, this chap is covered in it! Those tiny little tabs on the lapels - not, I have to report, brilliantly cast - were properly fiddly but very worth doing. We've moved into the Saturnine fleet colours, the green being bog standard Caliban Green highlighted with increasing amounts of Warpstone Glow. You'll notice on the other models that I've used the green as a spot colour and of course the red sashes. Here the dark blue-black is the spot colour. The upshot is that the four of them hang together quite nicely despite being very different principle colours. The other change is a reversal of the cream-white breeches and grey-white socks/gaiters. With the green I have used grey/white breeches as another change that nonetheless binds the models together.

I think this one is quite the vain individual. The coiffured hair and fine cravat speak to this but also, in 40k at least, the odd, flat face can be explained as repeated juvenat treatments. Quite the dandy I think.

Finally a blatent Nelson - although with a weirdly sculpted upper lip which became a mustache. When divvy-ing up the models I deliberately assigned him to the green pile to further diminish the Nelson look. The normally tricolour decorations on Nelson's uniform were retained but the traditional blue swopped out for imperial black. The black/white/red thing is very 40k Imperial and helps to make him more of a 41st century gent.

Hope you're all enjoying the Leviathan series, I certainly am as the variety is very much spicing my life. The Eldar are still rolling but these bright peacocks are really helping the corsair uniform scheme. More soon!



  1. These are from black scorpion miniatures which can be found at: www.blackscorpionminiatures.com

    I have converted a few of these to 40k Navy officers myself but your paint job is outstanding.

  2. Thankee kindly and good intel there Colonel Sah!