[40K] A Tale of Von Gamer – Seasons In The Ice Cage

Tackling the newfangled technical paints and making some freaky ice bases. Almost a tutorial!

I’m surprised at myself for, having sworn off batch painting for this project, immediately going forth and batch painting Cultists (but wouldn’t you, given the alternative?). I’m also surprised at myself for, having decided to paint models in the moments I’d normally spend vacillating on Facebook when my concentration wavers mid-article, ending up sitting down to discrete two-hour sessions in which a Marine and/or five Cultists have ended up completed from start to finish. No sooner do I say “I shall not do a thing” than I go off and do the thing. Weakness. Degeneracy. Something ought to be done!

Nevertheless, I was determined to uphold some of my principles, specifically the ones to do with bases. That’s why – despite having a toolbox half full of basing materials – I’ve invested in some technical paints for my Chaosmens. My old pot of Stirland Mud has been resurrected to provide the ‘spot colour’ (and ‘spot texture’ too) for a method I learned from (stage whisper) White Dwarf. Truly the Time of Ending is upon us when the old hobby rag actually teaches people something useful.

The rationale:

I watched this time and time again, that haunting soundtrack and the steady craaaaaaackle of encroaching ice reaching into my soul, calling something out of me.

As above, so below. That’s what the Warp does, at least when it’s reaching out from a cold dark place in the cosmos and gracing a new world with its touch. The glimpses of Stirland Mud around the edges are the last gasp for the native soil of whatever poor world my Night Lords befoul with their presence; all else is the chill embrace of death, the very earth beneath the VIII Legion’s feet revolting at every step they take. I thought I’d excised the urge towards references to Mourning Sun when I was still playing my Necrons, but apparently not…

The method:

  • Prime base grey like rest of model.
  • Use ‘lifty end’ of a scalpel to blob Astrogranite Debris onto edges of base
  • Use ‘stabby end’ of a scalpel to poke Astrogranite Debris inwards, leaving some cracked spaces in between blobs
  • Leave to dry. Stick in front of radiator and job off to edit videos: this will take a while.
  • Wash base with lavish quantities of Drakenhof Nightshade.
  • Leave to dry. Stick in front of radiator and job off for a walk: this will also take a while.
  • Drybrush textured surface very gently with Dawnstone. Don’t overdo it: we don’t want it looking all mundane and concretey.
  • Use ‘lifty end’ of a smaller scalpel to blob Valhallan Blizzard into the cracks between the blobs.
  • Use ‘stabby end’ of said smaller scalpel to ensure it’s not on too thick.
  • Use ‘lifty end’ of smaller scalpel to apply Stirland Mud in restrained quantities around edge of base.
  • Realise this makes the mud look like the ‘intrusive factor’ because it’s been applied over everything else.
  • Curse vehemently.
  • Realise it’s gotten well dark and you can hardly see what you’re doing.
  • Curse again.
  • Daub Drakenhof Nightshade over the edges of the bases.
  • Hope it looks OK.

Obviously, this isn’t perfect, and the approach will be refined on future pieces. I could probably get away with just using Stirland Mud from the start, instead of mucking around with Astrogranite Debris, but I worry that’d make the bases look too brown overall. Instead I shall simply make sure to do the Stirland Mud before the Drakenhof Nightshade goes on and I’m sure everything will turn out fine.

The result:

The implications:

At this rate I might even consider some special terrain, something in the vein of the Baleful Realmgates, for use as objectives, or to provide a more appropriately Chaotic battlefield experience; certainly an improvement on the Imperial Everything in the Citadel 40K catalogue. These are where the caress is felt. This is where the corruption starts. These are the rips and rends in spacetime out of which the Eighth Legion emerge, ravening for delight. These will also make great mission objectives for “the draw mission” or for the narrative game I’m hosting at Dice and Decks later in the year, to wrap up all this activity. So they’re on the to-do list, at the ’rounding up’ stage in June.

For now, though, it’s on to month two of the challenge – a character model.

I’m trying something else new with this one: not sticking the armour plates on before I paint the skin. I’ve learned from the Helbrute, and these are separate pieces, so there’s no need to worry about leaving gaps…

Author: Jon

Sententious, mercurial, and British as a bilious lord. Recovering Goth, lifelong spod. Former teacher and amateur machine politician, now freelance writer and early-career researcher.

7 thoughts on “[40K] A Tale of Von Gamer – Seasons In The Ice Cage”

  1. OK so looking at the bases without the guys on them it looked like they were your standard half-melted snow bases people like to do. But in the next picture, when the guys are on them, it actually does look like ice creeping out from their feet. You must have placed the ice very well, it looks good.

    “No sooner do I say “I shall not do a thing” than I go off and do the thing.” You know, I have this exact same psychological quirk. I’ve analysed it to not much avail, and grown to accept it. I suspect it’s a combination of two things. One, I like to surprise people by doing the unexpected because it makes me feel smart. and two – probably the most important one – I hate the thought that I’m incapable of doing something, or that I’m too lazy to do it. I feel an almost physical urge to do something soon after I say I’m not going to do it. The other people bit is clearly important though, as it doesn’t happen if I tell just myself I’m not doing something.

    I’ve even thought of hacking my own psychology by making a public announcement that I’m not going to do something I’d actually like to happen, but I’m worried it will backfire and I’ll become unable to do the thing. I’ve got to the point now where as I write or say that I’m not going to do something, a little voice says “well now you’re totally going to.” But I’m scared to go that step further and actually activate the process entirely deliberately.

    I hope you were talking about the same thing; if not then I just went off on a huge navel-gazing tangent on your blog.

    1. Oh, Jimmy, going off on huge navel-gazing tangents in each others’ comments is what we DO! It’s fine!

      Personally I am trying not to make big hoot-and-toot announcements which then fizzle out into nothingness. Burnout and I are old friends, and something as simple as updating my blog on the days I say I’m going to has been tae mooch fer me in the past, you know?

      Ultimately, it doesn’t build credibility: you become known as a fizzlemonger, one who sells the sizzle but has no sausage, a veritable Chevski, and nobody wants to be a Chevski.

      Tricking yourself into doing a thing is sometimes the only way to get a thing done. For my part, having that little Patreon button is doing the business: there’s nothing quite like the sense that People Have Paid For This Content to make sure that some content gets produced.

      With ref: bases – the test bases were ‘stock composition’ jobs, soil and then snow on top. I wanted to test the colour balance and the applicability of the paints (how do they behave on or off primer, how well do they layer on each other or on ordinary paints) without trying anything methodologically fancy.

      The ones with the actual models on them… thank you! Mostly, I tried to avoid poking any Astrogranite onto anybody’s feet, which meant a natural flat space around the feet in which the ice would go. Took me about two hours to apply and nudge all the Valhallan Blizzard into place, but I think it was worth it…

      1. Ha ha yeah, I suppose it is what we do. Since about 2011 by my reckoning, so who am I to stand in front of the steamroller of history?

        I just want to make an observation about your new intro page thing. It’s very nice. The only thing is, the way it says “blog at wordpress.com” right down the bottom makes it look like that’s just you acknowledging that your intro page is hosted on wordpress. I didn’t realise if I clicked it that it would take me to what used to be GAME OVER. I only clicked on it after about sixty seconds of looking around wondering where the actual blog had gone. Maybe it’s deliberate because you want to downplay the blog, but I just thought I’d mention it in case it’s not.

          1. Heh! Thanks for bringing it to my attention either way. That page design is new, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it, and I need all the feedback I can get in terms of how navigable it is and ain’t.

        1. It’s still a work in progress. I’m currently recategorising everything, giving the archives a bit of a sluice down and clear out, and then the front page is getting another tinker.

          STAY CALM.

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