Sunday, May 10, 2015

"Death is a Swift Rider"

Warning: This is a long post wherein I wax lyrical about the origins of this vehicle and effuse about my weathering techniques.

Remember my death-obsessed Space Marines with a sword fetish who haven't been getting any love for the past two years? Well, they are finally getting some attention with the addition of a (counts as) Razorback.

Now I originally envisioned my Space Marines as an all-infantry force without any vehicles, but the temptation of adding a cool vehicle model to the force proved too strong.

For them onset I knew I didn't want a Games Workshop model. My first choice was the Armorcast Scarab APC:

but it was rather expensive.

I turned my thoughts to getting a wheeled APC instead, seeing as it is my Space Marines are based on a rocky planet (yes, in sci-fi planets have only one terrain type. Ever.). There are many non-GW sci-fi APCs out there, but again, they can be expensive, and they usually have a footprint that is larger than that of a Rhino APC.

The solution was a historical or real-life vehicle kit. I toyed with the idea of half-tracks but thought that they were too easily recognisable. There are some kits of modern wheeled APCs, but none fit what I was looking for. Eventually I settled on the M8 Greyhound/M20 Scout Car chassis.

The idea of mashing a historical kit with GW bits is of course not new. This guy does that in a way that impresses in both quality and quantity.

I ordered some GW vehicle bits and a Tamiya 1/48 M20... and when the latter arrived found that it was too small. Undaunted, I ordered the 1/35 kit - by now any savings I may have made for choosing a "cheaper" option has vanished.

The kit sat un-built for months while I worked on other projects, but when I decided to build the Opel Blitz truck, I decided I would capitalise on the momentum and do the APC too.

So I built the M20, added a piece of plasti-card to cover the open top, and cut a hole in that to mount the twin-linked lascannon (since my command squad has 6 persons and that's the capacity of a Razorback...). I glued GW smoker-dischargers and a small radar dish and an antenna (from a Sentinel kit, I think?) to the hull to give it a more GW look. The rear of the vehicle revealed how small the crew compartment is, so I added the ramp from a Rhino to the back and blended it in with some plasti-card - this also gives an explanation of how my Marines get out of the vehicle.

You can see the smoke-dischargers, radar dish, antenna, and ramp in this view.

Next came the spray-painting. I primed the kit in black, then sprayed it with Tamiya Olive Drab which I bought for the three-tone camouflage for the Opel Blitz... only to find that the colour looked too much like olive drab and not Dark Angel Green (duh!). Another trip to the store!

This time round I bought Racing Green, sprayed it over the Olive Drab... still too bright! I should have gone for Dark Green (double duh!). What's worse, the surfaces was semi-glossy. Nevertheless, I decided to soldier on.

I sprayed a layer of matte varnish over the vehicle, then dry-brushed the whole vehicle with Folk Art Thicket, and then washed it with Army Painter Dark Tone. This dulled the sheen a little.

Next came the weathering.

I decided not to use salt weathering on the vehicle because my Marines wouldn't let their vehicle deteriorate to that state. Instead, I decided to do what this guy calls "micro chipping", which depicts the wearing off of paint revealing (unrusted) metal underneath. You can see this being done to the edges of the hatches in the photo below. The scroll reads: Cita Mors Ruit - "Death is a Swift Rider".

The micro chipping took care of the corners and edges, but the large flat surfaces of the hull started to look... featureless by contrast. So I employed another technique I saw on youtube, which was to simply dab a small piece of sponge with paint and then dab it lightly over the surfaces. I used this with both black paint to depict spotting on the paint (with a dabbing motion), and with Folk Art Honeycomb to depict mud splashes (using a brushing motion). At this point I realised that had I used Dark Green as the base colour for the vehicle, the sponge weathering might be hard to discern and it would make the vehicle look more plain.

For the ramp I went a bit more heavily on the "teeth" on the edge, dabbing black to depict chipped-off paint, silver to depict the exposed, polished metal, and finally Honeycomb to depict the mud the "teeth" would bite into when the ramp is lowered. I am rather pleased with the result.

I applied some Dark Angels decals to the sides of the hull in a WW2 German fashion, brushed some ink over them to weather them a bit, and I was done. Rather unbelievably, I have run out of purity seals. Perhaps another time then...

So there you have it. As you can see though, at "wargaming distance" all the weathering don't actually show up, but it was still a fun project. I have a box of Perry Light Cavalry to paint now, followed by a couple packs of 15mm Hellenistic infantry, but maybe after those are done I will do a wrecked tank for my WW2 gaming or more trucks - as long as I still have the spray paints, I might as well.

The passengers pose outside their vehicle, like guys do. How do they fit those banners and wings inside there?


Solo wargaming-on a budget! said...

What a great idea! I have never seen anyone use a "normal" kit with Space Marines-it looks fantastic. Excellent work.

Simon Quinton said...

Looks great. The standards and wings are obviously telescopic :) Its a grand idea.