The Raven Guard have always been an equipment-rich chapter thanks to their access to the forge-world of Khiavar, but manpower-poor due to the foundational devastation of their numbers on Istvaan V and, in the intervening millennia, their deteriorating geneseed. When incorporating Primaris Hellblasters into their doctrines, they've thus experimented with strengthening the Mark X Tacticus armor with molecular bonding studs -- not enough to prevent casualties from overheating plasma discharge, but in theory enough to reduce fatalities among those casualties, allowing injured Astartes serving in Hellblaster roles to be recovered following successful battles, so they can fight again another day.
I'm back to painting again and finally getting around to doing the Dark Imperium Hellblasters that have been sitting primed and airbrush-highlighted in my display shelf for months.
Please forgive my kitbash rationalization. I wanted to differentiate the hellblasters more from intercessors, and using Mark VII grill-face helms (not shown here, but used on three of the five marines in this unit) and bonding studs felt appropriate for heavy support studs. The studs themselves are Tichy Train Group 0.050" rivets, which I bought from a model train store; in retrospect I used too many and too large rivets on the greaves; the 0.05s are fine for the shoulders but 0.035" rivets would have worked better on the legs.
Today's update -- green rims on the right shoulders, initial eye glow, and I went in to the crevices around the right shoulder and left wrist contact points where some grey plastic was left from when I took off the blu-tac I'd used to mask the contact points before full assembly, and just brushed on some Stynylrez Black. Also used it to cover some of the blu-tac residue I wasn't able to take off. That last bit isn't visible in these photos, but the shoulder rims and eye glow are!
The eye glow will look more impressive after I do the OSL, which I can't do until after I've done all the edge weathering. Which will take a while.
And there's all the edge weathering done on all five Dark Imperium Hellblasters. Next steps:
1) OSL on the left arms and shoulders and also above and below the eyes and around the lenses on the recon guy.
3) Testors Dullcote varnish application.
4) Final post-dullcote metallic highlights.
5) (Much later) Oil paint weathering. I'm not even starting on this until I've done the whole Dark Imperium Space Marines set and possibly some other stuff as well.
Bonus picture with Lego minifig for scale (it's not clear from the heights, but the minifig is the same distance from the camera as the sergeant):
It's so weird how much bigger these things get in my mind while I'm working on them; I could swear they're at least as big as action figures while I'm painting them. Anybody else get that?
The foundations for my OSL, applied via airbrush. From here on -- doing the blues -- I'll have to use regular brushes.
I think I may have screwed myself over a bit. Because the highlights on the rest of the models go all the way up to white, it's going to be difficult to make the OSL-ed areas of the models look anything but darker than the the rest of them, which will be... bad. Could be a flaw in my basic black workup. (Good thing I'm I'm pretty sure I'm this >.< close to figuring out a better one....)
I'll do what I can, anyway.
Rather than using 10:1 Water/Inktense Violet, this time I used something like 3:2:2:2:1 Lahmian Medium/Thinner/Flow Improver/Druschii Violet/Water., which gave me a thinly pigmented airbrush spray that actually dried on contact with the mini and that I could build up over a bunch of layers without it spiderwebbing everywhere. In retrospect I could have done with more thinner and less flow improver, since it was still not quite drying the moment it hit the model.
So here's the OSL effects done; I'm not super happy with it. Part of the problem is I've done spot highlights on this black armor all the way up to white, and OSL needs to be brighter than its surroundings but darker than its light source, and white tinted with any color is darker than the pure white I used for the spot highlights, so... this was kind of doomed from the beginning. Also I had trouble maintaining good paint consistency even with the wet palette and as a result the paint probably went on too thick.
I'm fine with it being imperfect; in a year or two I'll be able to compare it to other OSLed models and feel like I've improved.
My concerns about the quality of the OSL aside, I'm quite happy with how these guys turned out, and unless I decide to try to touch the OSL up, they're done-for-now until I apply the varnish, which... will be a while because I'll probably wait until all the Dark Imperium units are done and varnish them all at once, to save on dullcote. Or at the very least wait until I've done the edge weathering on the Inceptors that have languished in an unfinished state for months.