PAINTING AND CONVERTING - Repainting the Chimera Blanks

So, after I worked through my russes, it's time to move on to the chimera-chassised vehicles. To start with, I'm going to want to have something to test the russes on that aren't necessarily the "real" thing of the chimeras proper. Plus, having acquired those russes, I don't have the cash at the moment to buy more stuff, so it's time to work with what I already had.

And what I already had was chimera blanks. You may remember them from this article.

Anyways, these poor chassis are already so horribly gooped over with paint that it wouldn't do to just paint over them, so for the first time for me, I was going to need to strip a mini.

So I went and borrowed some simple green from a friend, and got ready to do the deed.

So long "mosquito brown", you will be missed... somewhat.

Anyways, it turned out that there wasn't enough simple green to fill an ice cream pail, so the tanks went into some old tupperware instead.

There I let them soak for a little over 24 hours. In the mean time, I went to the hardware store and bought me some bristle brushes. They had a set of nylon, brass, and steel on sale for only one dollar!

After awhile, it was time to generate a jagermeister-themed fume cloud by opening the tupperware up. I went over everything with a nylon brush, and the brown, being only a single coat or two, came off pretty nicely from the large, flat panels. The grey and white part, not so much. I worked the hell over it with the brass brush, and, seeing that I was starting to leave some light scratches, layed off.

The problem, of course, was twofold. Firstly, this part of the tank has lots of little nooks, crannies, folds, and other detail work in the plastic that's great for trapping paint. Secondly, this part of the vehicle was gooped the hell out of earlier. In some places there were as many as six or seven coats of paint...

So the tanks went in for another 24 hours. The brushes got more off, but there was still gunk left in. I decided to break from the brushes and scrape the paint manually with a hobby knife. This did a fair bit of gouging damage, though, and so I kind of wish I had just tried more simple green and more brushing.

Anyways, I was able to get it down to basically the primer, which was good enough for me. I rinsed, and rinsed, and RINSED the models, and, once they were dry, threw on a light coat of primer over everything.

Now it was time to see how easily the russ pattern transferred.

Firsly, the whole thing was done over in my light grey. In this case, it was sort of a "wet drybrush". The brush was still wet, but there was too little paint applied over too much surface. Really, the point was to get a small amount of paint everywhere, and to make sure that I got some grey in all the recesses. After swirling the brush around, I made sure to go back over it in vertical strokes so that it streaked vertically, rather than in a swirly pattern.

Once dry, I went over it with grey again. In this case, the method was slightly more of a drybrushing. There's a lot of paint going down still, though, but once again over too much area. This time, I also ONLY worked in vertical strokes.

After that, I went in briefly with more grey doing proper drybrushing on the raised parts, and fixing any missed spots, etc.

The end result is a tank that's mostly grey, but already has some grimy streakiness to it.

This complete, it was time to block out the camo. Mosquito brown becomes pistachio grey...

This was started by me really lightly blocking out where I wanted the camo to be with my tallarn sand. The outside edges are pretty opaque, but the inside edges were run over with a damp, slightly painty brush to sort of smoothen the line so that you wouldn't see obvious brush lines later.

Then it was a matter of breaking back out the larger brush I used for the grey and filling the camo in, once again using vertical strokes as much as possible.

Now it just needed the edging, and this turned out to be harder than I thought. The color for the edging is rotting flesh, but GW stopped making that color a while ago. According to the conversion chart, the color that's supposed to be an analogue is nurgling green.

I went and bought some. It wasn't even close.

I did have just a tiny amount of actual rotting flesh left clinging into the recesses of the paint pot, and I was able to get enough out for a color swatch. I then did everything I could to make nurgling green match. I added lots of grey to cut the saturation, and white to lighten it, and yellow, because there's a lot more yellow to rotting flesh, and even some straight up red in an attempt to cancel the green. In the end, the color wasn't right, and my paint pot was full.

And then it struck me, the problem here was the nurgling green was starting as a green, while rotting flesh was starting as a flesh tone - tan. I had about a half a pot of ushtanabi bone hanging around, and I decided to start carefully adding my too-green concoction into the cream color. It made a color almost spot on to rotting flesh with minimal effort. Just a little tweaking with more of my concoction, and a little olive drab and white, and I was able to get myself a half a pot of an almost perfect match.

After wasting several hours on this, it was finally time to edge. This was done by carefully doing the outer line and, while the paint was still wet, carefully doing the inside line, and blending the two halves together to make a single solid stripe. I did screw it up in a couple of places, so you can see brush strokes, but it's generally not too bad.

This just left the stripes. I decided to make the artillery from a different armored corps than my tanks, and so they would have only a single, larger, blue stripe, rather than the blue and white of the tanks.

To start with, I put down a thin blue line where I wanted one side of the stripe to be. I've had a bit of practice now, and so can make pretty straight lines. I then did the edge of the other side of the stripe, and filled all in with blue.

Then came the difficult part. I'm plenty capable of making smooth lines - strips of paint that aren't all warped and wobbly, but this would take more. I needed to the two lines to be exactly perpendicular to the chassis. Straight up and down. That's a pretty difficult thing to get exactly right.

And so, like with the tanks, it was taking out a steel ruler and just sort of eyeballing it to see what was straight and what wasn't. Correcting, re-correcting, over and over until I got it exactly how I wanted it.

Of course, in the real world you'd use tape, but in the case of these vehicles, there's just too much detail to get the tape to stick absolutely perfectly, and so it winds up leaking really badly. Furthermore, the large knobby bit sticking out at the top half of the flat facing made the job incredibly difficult compared to the relatively flat sides of the russ. There were also fewer straight lines nearby to serve as anchor points for my eyes.

In the end, I wasn't able to get it quite right, but my eyes were bleeding bitter tears of insanity, so I decided to call it good enough after awhile. It does seriously make me question how I'm going to do stripes for the actual chimeras themselves, as this was tough, and I'm going to have to do it in a much larger scale for transports.

With the bulk of the painting done, it was time to fill in those last little details before the washing.

This started with the treads, which were tin bitz followed by a drybrushing of a coat or two of boltgun metal. I then went in and just painted boltgun on the sides of the tracks that are sticking above the wheel well. The bare steel done, I also went in and painted the white details on the sides, and the fabric for the heavy bolter.

Then it was on to the washing. This part, of course, was relatively easy. Large, wet brush, slather it in and then go back with vertical strokes. Pretty easy.

The first step was agrax earthshade.

And when that was done, it was time for some nuln oil.

Although, I did notice something disturbing. In the deep cracks and recesses, rather than simply staining the colors darker, it actually lifted them up off of the plastic altogether. Whatever chemical process actually ate clear through the primer. I had to go back in and paint over it with black, but I don't think I even managed to get it all.

This was very strange, as washes hadn't done that to me before. I wonder if it's not perhaps the result of simple green residue that just didn't quite rinse off all the way. The fact that they still smelled like jagermeister after a few days and a few coats of paint made me suspicious.

Anyways, once that was all handled, it was time for the final detailing and weathering. The lenses were painted on, and the little banners were painted on as well, while the white parts were drybrushed a little whiter - the only thing that would get a post-wash drybrushing.

Then I decided that I wanted the exhaust ports to look exhausty, so I drybrushed some black down from them. I then went over and lightly dabbed the vehicle with black paint that was dipped on to the end of a ripped-up chunk of excess army foam material.

The end result is FILTHY, which is just how I like me my tanks. These guys go from battle to battle to battle, with no down time in between. Ancient relics that are still trundling on, regardless of enemy action and abuse of their own crews.

And, like the russes, this all went pretty quickly. It was only four days of work (not including the simple green part), and that was including some time spent mixing paint.

In any case, this was a good project to prep me for doing some more chimera-chassised vehicles. These guys will obviously do well for artillery, but it turns out that the chimera backs don't fit on them, which means I'm going to have to have a few vehicles with the cabs clued down to act as proper chimeras (and hydras, and hellhounds, and possibly manticores).