Hey everybody, Its Andrew “PuppyPants” Whittaker and I’m back at it on the article train. But instead of my usual fire takes on tactics and tournament trend setting I figured I’d pause to show off my softer side. In lieu of my usually pithy badinage, I present, for your internet torching, a little passion project I’ve been working on for a while now – my Vostroyan Imperial Guard army.
Most people haven’t ever seen a painted Vostroyan army in person and there’s good reason for that! First, the top flight painters in the world HATE working with metal. It flakes, paint doesn’t stick, it’s such a pain to clean, and converting is almost totally out of the question. Plus, often times the metal models look really out of date and don’t have a big enough range to satisfy we gamers. But alas, all of that was a big motivating factor for me. The really interesting part is how hard they were to come by. Obviously not stocked on most shelves I had to get my FLGS in Athens, GA to cajole his local rep and direct order a fair amount from GW. But sadly a lot of it isn’t available even direct from the company. So I scoured the secondary markets including ebay and some other websites I’m sure I’m not allowed to mention by name. Ultimately I amassed a little more than 100 infantry models plus all of the weapons teams, officers, special weapons, banner bearers, vox casters, snipers, casualty markers, etc….
As I hope you’ll see, the Vostroyan range is actually very wide. Tons of Special weapons models and a great range of heavy weapons teams. Every model is exceptionally well detailed. So much work went into them on the sculpting side and I wish i could meet the team than did the original designs. And as for the scale, they’re actually a good bit bigger than even their plastic Cadian counter parts. The size was undoubtedly an intentional choice by the original sculptors who wanted to accommodate the mind numbing amount of detail on each guy.
Style wise they are a mix of steam-punk and early 20th century Prussian Cossacks. The Vostroyans have a very unique look and are highly stylized. I’ve heard people scoff with disdain saying how ugly they are and then there are total fan boys like me who love the look and aesthetic. I certainly hope you’ll like them.
First, you guys have to appreciate where they dudes started out – some 19 pounds of unpainted metal.
I promise the Pic quality improves, but i just wanted you all to see how this little thing got started. I had a pile of metal minis that were as rough and intimidating as you can imagine. Even the basing process was a challenge – can’t just glue them to plastic… no that would be too easy. All Vostroyan infantry models use the old slotted 20mm bases and anyone who has been playing long enough to know what those are can tell you what a pain using them can be. Most of the slots had to be massaged or bent into position and at the very least the grooves had to be shaved.
But any way…. once everything was based, I hit them with a base coat and that was the very last time i touched an air brush for the entire thing. I started with a test model and actually based coated it white in hopes of making the blue on the coats “pop”
The first test model ended up looking fairly close to how they ultimately turned out and was super helpful for guiding my color scheme. Any time you undertake a big painting project you gotta do a test model or two because it won’t be perfect after the first go around. In this case I decided to go with a brighter brown for all the leather, a brighter grey/white for the hats, and decided the gold armor plating on the boots was just more work than it was worth. Also i hated the basing. the brown on brown looked/looks just terrible and so that ended up changing as well.
After figuring out the scheme I went to work on my first squads. Working in assembly line fashion, I would put all the blue on 30 guys and call it a night. The next night I’d put all the leather on the same 30 guys and call it. Then leadbelcher, then gold, then brown, then gray in the same way until they were ready for washing.
As you can see from these pictures, the base colors were splashed on quickly and liberally just to get a a solid foundation before i started putting detail work in.
I wanted to mention this assembly line process because for a lot of folks new to the hobby painting masses of infantry models can be daunting. But if you get it down to a system, it doesn’t have to be. Really you’re talking about an hour or so per night while watching Archer or some other show that isn’t as good.
Also, as a PSA I want to say that wash is your friend. Washes are $4 dollars worth of “Good Painter” in a pot. Apply liberally and then go back over the model with a detail brush to brighten it back up. The wash makes the recesses so dark and covers a multitude of painting sins. You will not be disappointed. And for some reason there are soooo many painters/modelers/players that just don’t use wash. and it’s obvious when you see models on the table. So get out there drop 8 bucks on a pot of earth-shade and a pot of nuln oil. Your game store will thank you, your opponents playing against a beautiful army will thank you, and you will thank yourself for being awesome.
So yeah, thanks to washes covering my bloopers and assembly lining like a champion… in a shockingly not long period of time the ranks swelled and the squads turned out pretty well.
After settling down on a system i wanted a break from monotony so I turned my attention to a command squad. This squad actually show cases the glow effect I mentioned a couple of weeks ago on the podcast (You should have already subscribed, but if you haven’t go do so now. For realz these sweet sweet guardsmen will be here when you get back…….. ok, subscribed? Cool. Thank you!)
As with any painting effect, there is only so much that can be accomplished, but i am very pleased with how these guys came out. The plasma is based green, then washed in green, then dry brushed a highlight green before getting a dry brush of white. DON’T RUSH THIS! everything should be very very dry before you attempt to get after it. I learned this the hard way. I hope you’ll agree that the end results are worth the wait.
As I mentioned earlier, metal models are not conversion friendly. However I had to bite the bullet. You see the Vostroyan model range does not have an auto cannon figure – only a heavy bolter team…. which would be fine except its not fine at all because Heavy Bolters are garbage and Autocannons are a bajillion times better. As such, I had to do a pretty simple conversion to make it happen.
The first task was to shave down the HB barrel and then pin and glue heavy Stubber barrels from the Chimera kit. the end result was a sweet looking Vostroyan Autocannon team that is unlike any other IG kit available.
Not super elegant, but definitely effective and if you’re a table-top painter like me its pretty sweet.
And after I got in a rhythm and had an idea for final list out put, it was off to the races.
Flamers on Fleek
Company Commander – Colonel Yemelyin Denisov
Ugh!!! The brush marks are painful!!!
Had to put this guy on a forty cause that Flag is a solid piece of pewter and
20mm was not enough to hold this bad boy up.
These snipers are some of the coolest models in the Vostroyan line
Vox Caster model is super sick and my boy Chad Woyce with the Lord Commisar commission.
(check out Model Magic Studios on facebook)
The ocean of gray hats is awesome to see on the table top. But only after picking up each guy do I really appreciate how beautiful these models are and how much work went into their original design.
The Answer to your question is, yes. After painting this many tiny mustaches
I did start to…..feel things…. for Tom Selleck
I think with this picture we can really appreciate what even a single line of highlighting does for the rifles. Highlighting is daunting, but it really shouldn’t be. With a steady hand and a fine brush you can quickly and easily make a few small changes that make models sooo much more dynamic.
GW’s effect paint is actually quite good and the blood on these casualty-objective markers was fun to paint.
No but for real, here’s another peak at what highlighting can do for a model. That Chimera stands out a lot from the tabletop height because of maybe 20 minutes and two highlight colors.
All dressed up with the Game Shop to go to!
So there it is! A project that started as a pipe dream has now grown to well over 100 painted miniatures with more to come! Take it from me, you can do it! What’s amazing about this hobby is how much you can accomplish and how much fun you can have while doing so. I am clearly not a golden demon painter, but its amazing to have a fully painted army on the table, and I have improved so much from when I started.
So get out there and make your day dream army a reality!