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Although my Grey Knights are not 100% done and some detail work can be done they are tabletop ready, and so when I heard about the new Deathwatch releases coming out I picked up the Death Masque box, a 10 man squad and the Watch Master. Assembly was pretty straightforward although the crazy amount of customization that you can do with these guys definitely had me thinking a little bit before gluing them together. I followed my normal approach of cutting and trimming all of the parts and getting them sorted into little plastic cups on my desk so that when I was finally ready I would be able to crank them out all at once. This also helped push back the time when I was going to have to commit to a specific build.

The Death Masque box contains one Vanguard Veterans sprue, one Deathwatch Veterans Sprue, a DW upgrade sprue, a Venerable Dreadnought and the unique character Captain Artemis. I kitted them out as shown below, opting for mostly lightning claws on the veterans and one of each setups for the regular DW Veterans. One thing that I was pretty disappointed in was the relative lack of poses for such a unique faction of Space Marines. Pretty much all of the veterans either carry a special weapon like a shotgun or a frag cannon or come in this generic one handed bolter pose with sword in the off hand. At first I didn’t really think it was an issue but putting together more and more of these guys left me sitting there thinking why in the world a random assortment of badass veterans from countless chapters all have the same damn sword. I got so fed up at one point that I decided to take the vanguard vet chainsword and stick em on there and then realized that I would need to cut them off the provided hands because they were all supposed to be carried in the right hand, but I needed lefties. Solved after some cutting but it left me wondering why no one put more effort into a couple different poses at GW.

Pretty shortly after I had these assembled, primed and based black and starting working on my color scheme. I had recently picked up a bottle of Vallejo Liquid Silver and thought that it would be a great color for the DW left arms, but I was a little off put after my first figure

The top figure was done with leadbelcher, and the bottom with Vallejo Silver. I just didnt really like the odd sheen that the silver had even when washed, and so I opted for leadbelcher for the rest of the figures.

Next step was basing. I wanted to do something unique for these and initially picked up a bunch of precast resin bases from Secret Weapons minis. After looking at them and getting some figures on them the ruined temples didn’t really fit the image that I had for these guys. Luckily a friend had recently picked up some rubber stamps from http://www.happyseppuku.com/ . I used the Alien and Decking prints to create the appearance that this was some kind of Tyranid growth on a space hulk, overgrowing the ships plate deck.

I ended up getting a little factory going, using A+B epoxy, some release agent and the stamps to first create the bases and then mounting figures on them. It was fairly messy but not unmanageable. As a technique I would recommend waiting 30 seconds or so before slowly pulling the stamp away from the base as this gives it time to solidify a little bit and prevents weird warping of the grilles on the ship deck. You could probably do some cool Chaos bases this way but obviously that wasn’t what I was going for. I would then press the minis in to the bases when appropriate (obviously not on the bases that were just metal grating) and then let them sit overnight to cure, washing them in the morning. They were fairly easy to pop the figure off after it had hardened, allowing easy priming and painting.

I then primed them along with the other pickup I had just made – a Corvus Blackstar and a Drop Pod.

All primed with Vallejo Surface primer, then covered in a few coats of Vallejo Air black. I went through a LOT more primer and paint than I thought I would but it was worth it.

Before I forget, one of the other problems that I had with the kits was the relatively low count of special weapons. The Frag cannon is definitely one of the coolest parts of the whole army and not only do they only include a single one per sprue which I could sort of understand, but they do not include the awesome looking backpack from the old Deathwatch minis! Luckily we have….alternate means of acquiring bits and so I ordered some of my own

But we’ll come back to those bad boys later. The Blackstar detail was first up

I did the silver parts in leadbelcher and the gold in Vallejo Old Gold. I had had a small mistake when airbrushing and sprayed at 18 psi which normally turns out fine for me, but this time it casued atomization of the black I was using and so I got a bit of a bumpy texture on the figure. After that I gave it a rough coat of Nuln Oil Gloss. I am planning on doing some weathering on the leading edges of the wings, some red stripes (to make it go faster) and then giving it a matte varnish and seeing how it looks.

But back to the little dudes. This fella was my test figure for the base layers, as well as whether or not I wanted to gloss wash them after

The first step was giving him a light drybrush with Vallejo Basalt Grey, essentially GW Dawnstone. Following that I did the base layers, you can see that his arm and shoulder pad have been done in leadbelcher, the gun casing has been done in red with leadbelcher on the metal parts, his chest rig is rhinox hide and the shells are in Scorpion Brass. I then washed him with Nuln Oil Gloss everywhere except on the “suppressor” part of his bolter and his chapter shoulder pad. Although it didn’t look bad it wasn’t exactly the looks that I wanted, and so I opted to go for a heavier drybrush on the next figures and hold off on washing them. I also tried my hand at doing edge highlighting with a brush which you can see above on the Watch Sergeant with the Xeno Blade. I thought that it was a good look but it was just too time consuming and when the drybrush came out looking just as good from a tabletop height away I abandoned it.

After seeing how well drybrushing went I picked up 2 of the GW Dry pots at my FLGS as I figured I could save a lot of wiped off paint and time by opting for them. This was my first time working with the Dry line and while I wasnt really happy with it here I can see the application. Getting it out of the pot and everything was pretty easy, but the problem is that it doesnt give a very hard line on the figure, leading to a lot of passes to get the level of color that I wanted. This meant that I would fleck lots of the little granules across the figure, which is why I included the figure above with the shield. All those little grey spots on his shield arent supposed to be there, and while I am aware that I can just give those areas another coat or wash to subdue them that kind of defeats the “time saving” nature of using Dry paints. Now I can definitely see myself using these to do weathering and mud on cloth and such as I think it would look perfect on DKK tunics but it just doesn’t really jive with these space marines.

After the basic colors were done and I was happy with the basic scheme and technique I moved on to the Watch Master. Now this dude weighs in at 175 pts base so he is going to be a pretty significant figure on the table and he deserves some extra attention. The base model is fantastic but it had a critical shortcoming. He doesn’t come with a helmet. Why. Why. Why. Luckily for my sanity the very thoughtful person who made the GK termie sprue foresaw this problem and included plenty of extra heads, and so I selected a helmet that would fit well inside his throat “ring” area and plopped him on.

Here was my first pass. I opted for the tried and true Vallejo Old Gold for his back plate and his other shoulder pad, then a heavy drybrush of Basalt Grey and then a light one of Fenrisian Grey for the armor. The recessed areas were painted with a thinned layer of Vallejo Silver to help make them shine while preserving the bumpy texture of the figure underneath. After the base colors were done I got bored and decided to make a cool little display of all the dudes hanging out.

In this pic you can see the progress done on the figs. Arms mostly done, weapons painted and some experimentation on some of the lightning claws.

While definitely not done yet, the rank and file DW are also coming together. Next step is to decide on a process to highlight the weapons, and answer the biggest question of all – what color I’m going to use for the Watch Master’s cloak.