Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Painting Blitzkrieg: Space Wolves

In my previous post on my tournament experience with my Space Wolves I talked about a painting blitz I went on over the course of 27 days.  In that time I managed to paint 20 Wolf Guard Terminators, 10 Wolf Guard in Power Armor, 10 Grey Hunters, 10 Swiftclaws, 1 Rune Priest in Terminator Armor, 1 Rune Priest with Jump Pack, 1 Wolf Priest with Jump Pack (this is my converted Lemartes model) 2 Drop Pods, 12 Long Fangs, and 3 Rhinos.  From reading that list you would think I have no life, as it turns out I have quite a busy social life which often gets in the way of my gaming, as Dis can certainly attest to.  So how was I able to accomplish so much painting in 27 days?

The most important key to painting a large number of miniatures at once is motivation.  I wrote an article on motivation a while back, mostly to gripe about my long laundry list of painting needs.  To put it simply my Space Wolf army inspires me to paint.  I love the fluff, I have read all the novels, and I also really love the models.  Another key to my painting blitz was I also like to convert models by kit bashing.  The photo at the top is my Logan Grimnar, I never liked the GW model so I used a Chaos Terminator Lord as a base then various Space Marine Terminator bits, other Chaos Terminator bits, and bits from the Space Wolf Grey Hunter box.  Let's take a look at my Wolf Guard Terminators and Rune Priest as examples of how I like to kit bash and get inspired to paint.  It certainly doesn't hurt that Terminators are some of my favorite miniatures to paint, considering I have 20+ terminator models for my Salamanders and had 15 for my Chaos Marines that goes without saying for people who play against me.

The kits I used for this project are 2 boxes of Space Marine Assault Terminators 1 box of regular Marine Terminators, 1 box of Wolf Guard Terminators and a ton of Chaos Terminator, SW, and Fantasy Ogre bits.  I spread the bits out amongst the squads, I went with 10 Assault style Terminators and 10 Shooting Terminators.  I started out the WGT the same way as all my other SW except the HQ choices, a 2.99 can of Osh Grey Primer.  I have gone over how I paint my pre-Heresy style wolves before and I plan to do a step by step in the future so I won't go in depth right now.  Let's lay out how I make it a quick process though.  I paint everything, all the detail bits, shoulder pads, weapons, piping etc.  Then I do all the washes, after that is finished I highlight the grey armor with Codex or Fortress Grey (this depends on how dark the wash has made the mini, I like having varying shades of wolves) after which I touch up anything that needs touching up and base the models.  With the Wolf Guard and Skyclaws I wanted some rocks on the base so I put them on prior to priming then the sand and inked it with devlan mud while the glue was still slightly wet.  I also used various plastic kits to build my Power Armored Wolf Guard.  Here is a look at the Wolf Guard Terminators and Wolf Guard in Power Armor.

Like the Wolf Guard Terminators the Skyclaws inspired me.  I had taken a look at them as a potential hammer unit.  A Wolf Lord with Frost Blade/Storm Shield/Jump Pack, a Rune Priest with Jump Pack, a Wolf Priest with Jump Pack, a Powerfist on the squad, and a model with MoTW means the unit is a real killer in Assaults.  I was so excited to use this unit that I bits ordered 5 jump packs because my local store only had one box of Assault Marines so I used the 5 packs on a Combat Squad.  I ended up liking this because it allowed for variation in the squad which also provides for less boredom while painting.  I used the box of Assault Marines, Combat Squad, bits from Khorne Berzerkers, bits from the SW box set, and various other SM bits to make the 10 Skyclaws.  Here is a look at the squad.

I gave a preview of my Grey Hunter squad that I based on Khorne Berzerkers  here.  This is also where I talked a little about my basic painting techniques (side note: I had indeed started this unit for a tournament before the "27 days" but I never got past the stage shown in the other article due to work and social obligations).  For this set of guys the motivation came from my boredom with the other Grey Hunters and Bloodclaws I had done so far.  They were all built using the new/old SW sprues and they all looked the same.  The bits from the 3 SW battle forces I had bought, plus a box of Berzerkers, provided me with much needed variation and inspiration.  The remaining two berzerkers (they come in boxes of 12) I used for Wolf Guard.  Here is a look at the Grey Berzerker Hunters.

Anyone who has followed my Space Wolf articles will know that I have 2 LRCs one LR and  Drop Pods for the army but until the last night of my 27 day painting blitz (night before the tournament!) I had yet to build let alone paint the 3 Rhinos for my Space Wolf army.  My motivation in this case was simply need.  I needed the three Rhinos in order to run several lists I had written for the tournament.  So I built and painted them over the course of 4 hours.  I have built enough Rhinos/Razorbacks/Predators/Vindicators now that I can probably do it in my sleep, from my Templars, Chaos Marines, Salamanders, and now Space Wolves I have built upwards of 20 Rhino chassis vehicles.  Building all three Rhinos took no less than 30 minutes, no more than 45.  I used a lot of bits from the SW box and Chaos Marauders to customize the Rhinos.  Here are pics of the Rhinos.

I really think Long Fangs are one of the best units in the game.  I used Berzerker, Space Marine, SW, and CSM bits to make the Long Fangs.  My motivation for Long Fangs was pure and simple, I was dying to use them on the table to see how well they can perform for myself.

Besides Terminators the only thing I truly love to build and paint are HQ choices. All my armies have more HQ choices than they will ever need.  I have 2 Wolf Lords (one with magnetized Jump Pack), Logan Grimnar (my version anyways), 2 Rune Priests in power armor (one with magnetized Jump Pack), 3 Wolf Priests in power armor (one is Lemartes),  Canis Wolfborn, and 1 Rune Priest in Terminator Armor.  HQ choices always have and probably always will inspire me to paint.  The first things I painted/converted for my Salamanders was my Vulkan model (it was before GW released their horrible model).  My first fully painted Space Wolf model?  My Rune Priest in power armor.  The Rune Priest with magnetized Jump Pack uses a SM Librarian with added SW bits.  The Rune Priest in Terminator Armor was made with a Chaos Terminator Lord and SW/SM Terminator bits.  Lemartes required the most pre-painting work.  I had to clip then shave the Blood Angel symbols off of him.  After which several were still noticeable after priming.  I used modeling putty (Green Stuff) to create large wolf pelts to cover the shaved down BA symbols and I added purity seals and other plastic wolf bits in various places.  I was extremely happy with the results.  For my HQ choices I prime black and then use Codex and Fortress Grey with a lighter wash, it creates a cleaner effect that stands out more than the standard paint job I use on the normal troopers.  Here are the three HQ models I painted during the 27 day blitz.

Well that's that.  I can't believe I painted all that in 27 days but I did.  It was luckily near the end of the school year (I am a teacher) so my work load was light, I stayed up late many nights and drank a lot of red bull in the mornings but I got it done.  I know they aren't Golden Daemon worthy but they certainly look good on the table top and I get lots of questions and comments on them when I take them to tournaments or for league play.  I don't suggest using this method, it does takes its toll, but if you are inspired to get it done, well...  Sometimes inspiration is both a blessing and a curse.


  1. Well, I can tell it took 27 days, those models look horrible. If you are going to show off your miniatures maybe you can make sure they don't look like a 4 year old painted them.

  2. While I know they aren't worthy of gracing the pages of White Dwarf or one of the GW Codices they certainly don't look like they were painted by a 4 year old. Perhaps you could tell me what you would do to improve the models so they reach your standards for photos on my blog?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Thank you for removing that obnoxious comment. Your models look great. I love that you used a lot of standard marine and chaos marine bits. It really adds to the pre to just post heresy style you have going on.

  5. Hey dude, you wanted to contribute to http://space-wolves-grey.blogspot.com/

    Could you email me to discuss further please: adammbsmith@hotmail.co.uk

  6. Hey! Just surfing around for SW painting ideas.. rhinos in particular!! Here I even got a nice, personal, story to go with the pics! Thanks for putting the stuff up there!

    greetings from Sweden