Monday, January 21, 2013

Master Chief model

When I first heard of Heroclix, I thought it was a great idea - miniatures of my favourite comic book characters? Yes please! Special bases that keep track of wounds and abilities? Brilliant! Then I saw the models and could not bring myself to buy as single one, they were that awful. At least to someone who'd seen plenty of brilliantly painted Games Workshop miniatures up close.

When Haloclix came out, the models looked a little better. Maybe this was because, between the full-helmed Spartans and the alien Covenant, there weren't many human faces - the part where we can most obviously see the lack of quality. Although to be honest I think they actually are of a slightly better quality. Anyway, I went ahead and picked up a few. It did occur to me a while back to try to touch them up a bit, but I just never got around to it.

Then I played Halo 4, and finally had the motivation to get myself a nicer looking Master Chief:

I forgot to take a "before" photo, but basically he looked something like this:

I didn't want to put too much time into this so I tried to keep it simple. After moving it to 25mm base (and removing the rather crap looking pistol and filling the hole with some liquid greenstuff), I carefully painted on a coat of Army Painter Quickshade (and moments later dropped it onto the carpet and had to spend the next quarter hour picking off minute carpet fibres with a pair of tweezers), then edge-highlighted the model with the appropriate colours. I did put a little more work into the shotgun, which I thought needed it, and washed all the metal and black areas with a black wash, plus I tried to make a couple of dodgy spots look like battle damage (I'm really not sure if that's what they were supposed to be or not), but that was about it. I didn't even paint over the liquid greenstuff; I figured it was close enough to the armour colour that I couldn't be bothered to try to mix up a better match.

I don't really like quickshade all that much, though it does work very well for a few things in my opinion. The reason why I used it here was because I didn't think paints and washes would stick very well to the miniature as is, but I figured a varnish should stick just fine and would give a better surface for painting. However, using a plain varnish would fill up the detail somewhat, and as it was already rather vague and shallow to begin with I was afraid this would significantly reduce the effect of washes. Quickshade, then, was the solution. It has a brownish colour, which worked well enough on the green but not quite so well on the black. Luckily a Badab Black wash over the black areas fixed that.

I coated the model with Games Workshop's Purity Seal. There was snow on the ground outside, so I was very worried about the notorious "sugar coated frosting of doom", but it came out perfectly - in fact I've never had any frosting effect with it. I've experimented with a number of brush-on matt varnishes, and none of them are as good as Purity Seal. When I look at the models that I know I varnished with it I don't see any evidence of any varnish at all, while on all my other models I can tell that there's an outer coat. That might be because, despite my best efforts I always end up brushing it on too thickly, or because it's never truly matt and always at least a little satin. I don't know, but regardless I'm done with them.

While the quickshade darkened the armour more than I would like, overall it came out better than I expected. Plus it took a whole lot less time than usual. This isn't my favourite Master Chief model; I consider this a practice piece, hopefully I'll get around to fixing up some other Haloclix figures eventually. Perhaps I'll try stripping off the existing paint and making a fresh start, or using purity seal and regular washes instead of quickshade (hopefully it will create such a thin layer that it won't fill any detail).

Just for the fun of it, I came up with some 40K rules for Master Chief:

Master Chief 140 pts
WS 5  BS 6  S4  T4  W 3  I 5  A 3  Ld 10  Sv 3+/4++
Unit Composition: 1 (unique)
Unit Type: Infantry
Wargear: Power Armour, Energy shield, Bolt gun, Bolt pistol, Frag and Krak grenades
Special Rules: Stubborn, Relentless, Eternal Warrior, It Will Not Die, ATSKNF, Combat Tactics, IC
- Replace bolt pistol and/or bolt gun with:
    * Shotgun, sniper rifle or combat knife: free
    * Plasma gun, plasma pistol, power weapon, or heavy bolter: +10 pts
    * Thunder hammer or missile launcher (with flakk missiles): +30 pts
- May take special issue ammunition: +10 pts
- May have one of the following:
    * Jump pack: +25 pts
    * Space Marine bike: +35 pts

Obviously he's a Space Marine. I basically gave him a Captain profile, but with an emphasis on shooting instead of close combat. I gave him stubborn and relentless because, well, those are two words that describe him pretty well (also relentless supports his shooty-ness). Eternal Warrior and It Will Not Die were an attempt to represent the way that he gets shot but then recovers in the games, and the basically the way that he's pretty unstoppable. Finally I gave him weapon and vehicle options to represent what he can use in the video games, including some more powerful ranged options than usual, like the plasma gun and heavy bolter. Basically, I thought he should be a shooty character.

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