Imperial Fist chapter.
Way back in June I had a chat with a client about a potential commission to paint the whole of the Imperial Fist chapter. He was originally wanting to keep this commission in the united states, and I was surprised that he would revise this request and send it to myself here in the uk. Contract was agreed and a wait for him to gather the relevant forces in the commission began.
While waiting for the models to arrive I began a quest to look into epic and notably the Imperial fists. There are some awesome works on line and the standard is quite high, but very achievable in my painting styles.
As the world gears up for Christmas, contact was made about the impending delivery of a large parcel. I kid you not the delivery driver was out of breath and looked very hassled struggling to the front door with the box. 42 pounds in weight, the fists were here.
Knowing that a chapter is a large force, but not truly recognising that the army would be so tank heavy I open the box. Peter had kindly packed every unit separately, each with their own transports, into sealed, labelled bags. I take a quick look over the contents and start to truly appreciate the scale of the commission. In no other terms of descriptive powers, it is epic in every sense of the word. The commission includes attack bikes, landspeeders, landraiders, predators, whirlwinds, multiple company’s of infantry, fire raptors, thunderhawks, dreadnaughts, drop pods and so much more.
Building of a chapter.
With the job being so large, building the commission takes some time, starting with the tanks due to the fact they are multiples of the same and easier to distinguish. Working on the building aspect I start at sun set, and spend a few hours a night building this pile of metal into the form of the imperial fists. Nearly all the tanks have doors with the fist icon on, and truly set these models apart.
Building the last of the armoured elements of the commission I can move onto the bikes, dreads, and other smaller units. With 14 company’s of various infantry the construction of the imperial fist chapter is drawing to a end. (that’s still over a month of construction work ahead but the end is in sight)
Imperial Fist test model.
As with all commissions a test model is painted to completion. This allows the client to see the end result and change any detail he wishes. With the only change being the base itself this was a good result and puts both myself and client on the same page with a standard of work to follow through out the whole commission. Below is the model that was the tester.
My Imperial Fist recipe.
Priming white, I layer with sun yellow, high light gold yellow. The rest of the colours are blocked in before I quick shade with strong tone. This takes a night to dry before I start high lighting the details. The final edge highlight of the yellow is Yriel yellow. Using orange rust pigments by forge world I add this to the tracks and other areas I want the pigments to sit. Again waiting over night for these pigments to dry ( applied in a wet slurry mix- method forthcoming soon). Using a matt varnish I take the shine from the strong tone and seal the pigments in further.
The whole commission is to be based on fow bases and laser cut mdf.
Imperial Fist Tank Bases
With the bases for the commission I start by sorting out how much room is left after the models get attached, some of these miniatures cover nearly all the surface of the base so working out how much area I have to paly with at a early stage is important. The bases that are slim on room I apply a thick layer of pva glue. Putting the bases on to paper, I pour 2 different grains of sand, a medium coarseness and a fine sand covering the bases. The sands I use are from tiny worlds but you should be able to find alternatives from most good hobby stores. Working on 15-20 a time using this method will give you adequate time to get the sand in place before the glue starts to cure.
Getting the flow at this time, you will be able to knock out a good 200-300 in a night. You just need the space to do it. When the glue is dried, pull the bases from the sand, a gentle tap will knock off any excess material. Collecting the unused sand to use again is always a good idea.
With the bases that have more room, a selection of black ruins get used. These ruins came attached to the infantry sprues many years ago. These are a great detail to add and breaks up the plainness. The ruins are snipped and trimmed down to size so they fit using a good super glue to fix them in place. on some I add Milliput to blend the join. When this is dry I repeat the above sand steps. Some larger grains of sand/rock is added into some of these bases, but keep this towards the ruins. This grain acts like rubble and looks good after it gets painted the same colours as the ruins themselves.
I paint the bases before attaching the models. Its fast and effective, it is just a 5 step process.
- Prime Black
- Layer Model Air Fire Red
- Dry brush Mephiston Red
- Dry brush Model Color Amarantha Red
- Touch up base edge.
Now being just over half the time scale estimated for the commissions end, I start to really get stuck into this commission. With the infantry, landraiders, flyers, and aux support units still to paint. All the models are built and 75% of bases done, the stacks of tanks are slowly getting completed and stored. Working it out I can comfortably paint 10 rhino sized tanks in 1 and a half hours. Drying time is the biggest wait as I don’t want to speed this up with electronics (wife’s hairdryer).
Production line style painting and strict discipline is required. 100 rhinos is enough to break even the most steadfast painter, so taking days away from the project so I don’t burn out is essential. Luckily there are other commissions I am working on to take a break from all the yellow.
With the bulk of the rhino chassis painted and based I move on to the rhino transports them selves. each company has their own colour trim added to the apc in form of a colour bar on the side of each tank. not only do I depict what company the tank is from I also add transfers on the top hatch depicting what unit the apc belongs to. The top hatch is just big enough to take the decals from the ultramarine decal sheet. I use the micro sol technique to help melt the decal to all the creases of the hatch.
Having 100 rhinos to paint is a labour of love so I decide to do a company at a time, adding the infantry as I go.
Included in the commission are thud guns, rapiers and tarantula sentry guns, each of these have 2 servitor as crew, with no base available for these I get in touch with my local laser cut base guy warbases and send him the schematic’s for a custom set of bases. Receiving 3 samples of these bases I settle of the design that best fits the rest of the force. If your looking bases I suggest you check this company out. They have great customer service. Also from them I get the drop pod bases, again measurement’s were sent and I get exactly what I asked for.
Following a chapter organisation chart is start to organise the company’s. First up is the 2nd company, not only are they the easiest to paint as the company colour is yellow, but they are the first normal marines, with the 1st company made of terminators and veterans and mounted predominantly in landraiders.
Waiting on the standard bearers for each company gave me a little time to find the standards for each Imperial fist company. unfortunately come up with just 3. researching the fact that I can only find 3 I am told that gw only released 3 banners. This leaves a lot of scope with creating the other 7 company pennants.
With the chapter being codex, the Imperial fists follow this organisation chart. The fact this makes my task more difficult and simple both, I now have the colours for the shoulder trim and the colours to add to the dedicated transports, but also I now have to fit them onto the tiny models themselves.
The shoulder pads of the marines also have to have details as unit markings and the Imperial fist emblem on them. The squad markings are easily done with fine liner, and after attempting to freehand the fist, It was decided that getting decals in would be a lot easier, uniformed, and the client had a supplier for this in mind so a design was found and sent to the company that produced them.
The squad markings are easy to distinguish as they are the same as a few chapters, ultramarines for one, and they are as follows.
Painting the troops was relatively easy. I followed the same methods as the tanks, keeping only to the main details, models this small with vast amount of detail just look messy. I picked out the shoulders, guns, and added blocks of colour to some areas. These areas are just enough to catch the eye. The bases were done after they are stuck to them. The bases were also painted the same as the tank bases using the same technique but with a lot more care.
When painting the troops I found attaching them to painting sticks helped no end. keeping the squads as a squad and each having their own stick sped up the basing process and I recommend this method to anyone facing a huge amount of troops at any scale.
I apologise for the format of this blog, it is due a shuffle as it is starting to jump from place to place. It is a huge project and there is a lot to include In the blog.