My 2015 ARK project

Earlier this year I undertook what I later called an ARK project. So first up what is an ARK project? To quote Morgan Freeman in Evan Almighty it’s an “Act of Random Kindness”. I guess the scene was set through a number of very sad circumstances which left me considering life and mortality. My own hobby interests had entered a bit of a limbo  and lacked a bit of motivation about what to do next.

At the time I happened to be selling off a couple of previously acquired basic painted Epic 40k forces on e-bay. I was asked if I though the figures would come off their bases so they could be used to play ‘Pocket 40K’. After a few messages to and from and it became evident this was a young lad who clearly had never painted 6mm before.

I felt this was an opportunity for me to give something down the line so to speak. After I had an idea of the scale of the project he had in mind I offered to paint him a playable Marine force for his preferred Dark Angels chapter. There were already a few ideas knocking around my head.

So the force he was after was three Tactical Squads with Rhino’s, a Devastator Squad with Rhino, ten Terminators and a Land Raider, some Bikes, a Land Speeder, dreadnoughts, and Drop pods. Unfortunately no photos of the in the process infantry conversions I did (but I plan to do some more anyway soon). Each Tactical Squad was done with individual converted Sergeants, a flamer conversion, and a heavy weapon conversion (all in MK7 armour). The devastators had their own sergeant conversion and four heavy weapon conversions.

Here they are mounted on painting strips with their basic painting completed (with my Leman Russ Tank Company sat in the background as they had been for over a year, fortunately now finished!).


With Rhino markings done.


..and a couple of shots of the finished infantry.

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Next up I did a little pimping of the Bikes and Land Speeder to give them a more Dark Angel look. Putting broken Eldar Exarch and Swooping Hawk wings to good use.


I went OTT with the Terminators in number and conversions. Here they are just starting out….


…. and painted.


Next up for painting were the bikes, dreadnoughts, and drop pods.


… and a few shots of the finished force after varnishing.

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Needless to say the lucky lad was rather overwhelmed when he received them for little more than the postage cost! I understand thus far they have performed well against their Orc opponents.

Now a few friends have struggled to understand the whole concept of what I have named an ARK project, as they have suggested why did I not just paint up some more of my own figures. It’s hard to explain but primarily I would hope that it will inspire the beneficiary to somewhere down the line do something completely selflessly for someone else just starting out in the hobby.

I have to admit that I found it immensely enjoyable and rewarding and helped fanned the flames of my own hobby interests. It was something well defined and not as open ended as my usual grandiose plans to collect several entire Marine Chapters. As such it came with a sense of achievement and completion.

…..and before anyone asks I have no plans to do another ARK project, as I’m getting on with my own armies and grandiose projects!!!


Painting guide to TMG 6mm Affray Marines

Having initially posted on the ‘Tactical Command’ forum I have been asked by a couple of people about how I had painted the models I had posted there. Rather than posting the painting guide on the Tac Com forum I decided it’s best placed here, given the volume of posts and information that was ‘lost’ in the Baccus website/forum redesign. Tactical Command can be found at :-

Without further ado here is a blow by blow account of my painting of a Heavy Weapons Detachment, Support Trojan IFV’s sporting twin lascannon turrets, and anti-air variant. I also took the opportunity to throw in doing a command stand because I really wanted to see how they painted up. The figures are all from Troublemaker Games (TMG) and are largely from their 4th indigogo campaign (not yet available on general release at time of writing). Their homesite is :-

…and if you are interested the Wave 4 Indigogo Campaign history :-

Having painted up one Trojan IFV as my test model I needed a further 3 Trojans and a single anti-aircraft variant. For the Heavy Weapons bases I used the Wave 4 Heavy Weapon Affray infantry (from the Affray Specialist set) along with standard Affray Marines already available from TMG. As per my obsessional personality I cleaned off the moulding lines prior to painting. Both the 3rd and 4th wave models are good castings. However, the first difference I noted was that the Wave 4 models have certainly benefited from a slightly different production method. They are ever so slightly bigger than the standard Affray Marines and there is an appreciable improvement in casting.


…and mounted on 40 x 15mm Steel bases from PWS. Why steel? Low profile, durability, and storage options mainly. Why 40 x 15 – close enough to the 40 x 12 commonly in use and gives a little extra space on the base. I plan to do my more organised armies on long bases and the more mobbish / swarm armies on more square 30 x 20mm bases, with increasing bases for the more oversize models.


Next up they were primed in black, did not quite get full coverage in the deeper recesses so went over those ares with a thinned down black.


The next step was a wetbrush of Valejo 105 Lufwaffe Uniform using a large (size 3-6) scraggy brush. Don’t be fooled by the pots – I’ve repotted all my Valejo paints! For those not familiar with wetbrushing – it’s like drybrushing but you leave more paint on the brush. You still use a flicking action but it’s a little bit heavier. The aim is to almost basecoat the model without going into the recesses. You still have to reduce the paint in the brush which is where I use a piece of card. Less is more as you can always build the layers of paint up – it’s not so easy to remove a splodge though!


Next up its a highligh of Valejo 107 Light Green Blue. This is applied as a more traditional drybrush to create the effect of hard lining. This two stage effect works very well on the vehicles, OK but slightly less well on the infantry. You can get an idea of the difference in wetbrushing and drybrushing from the card I use to get the right amount on the brush, note how it fades away to the left of the highlight colour. As with wetbrushing go light on your application and build the effect up, which can be clearly seen on the second photo.

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Next I blacked up the guns and tracks, with no surprises Valejo 169 Black. This is the first time I pick up a semi-decent size 0 or 1 brush! I also using an old size 0/1 brush stipple black around the exhausts for effect.


Parts of the guns and the tracks are then gone over in Valejo 179 Gunmetal.


Now we get onto detailing using a very fine detail brush. First with white to indicate unit 1, heavy weapons explosion, and start of badge with a white dot.


Then we add the red flashes with Valejo 028 Vermillion.image

Finally various bits of detailing with commanders cloaks (v070, db v067), plasma guns (v052, db 067), and brass on the standard. Bases painted in some of the last remnants of GW scorched brown, but any dark brown will ultimately do.image image

The unit all based and ‘Mikey mud’ applied. Not sure what end effect I will go for so leaving them at this stage until I am certain which way I am going. Leaning towards a North Africa look as I think I might want to tie them in with my new TMG Desert Infantry 😜 to face off the Skinner Orks….image image image image image

Painting guide 

Black undercoat

Wetbrush v105 over main tank body and infantry

Drybrush v107 over main tak body and infantry

Flat paint over weapons and tracks

Drybrush v179 over weapons tracks and ‘wheels’

Symbols in v001 and v028

Command cloaks v070, drybrush/lined v067

Plasma guns v052, drybrush v066

Additional flag and commander crest detailing v174 brass

Next up :- ‘My ARK project’ from earlier in the year……

Resurrection – in more ways than one

Hi folks,

Well overdue to resurrect my blog and at the same time resurrecting my passion for Epic Armageddon courtesy of Troublemaker Games latest wave 4 offerings which are ideal proxies for Marines (and Orcs).

As always I have too many projects on the go which I will hopefully tough on in coming posts. For now I’ll try and focus on the latest ‘new shiny’!

Epic has always been one of my favourite all time games since its inception in 1990. As if I needed to add to my existing collection I just could not resist these latest offerings and in all honesty got a little excited in my level of backing (just don’t tell the wife!).

Anyway my parcel arrived a couple of weeks ago and I have cracked on with painting a few units, which I have already posted on the ‘Tactical Command’ forum. The models are very clean cast and a real pleasure to paint. The vehicles are much more real scale – at first you might think they are for 10mm but they are designed such that you can conceivably get ten guys in power armour in the transport! I really appreciate Ben from TMG for adopting this approach and hope he sticks to his guns with future releases.

I could not resist taking some along to paint at Derby Worlds. The Saturday was fairly quiet from a painting demo perspective so after doing a test vehicle I cracked on an did a MRLS (proxy Whirlwind) detachment, followed by a Affray Elite (Terminator proxy) detachment. I managed to do the first stage of the bases in the evening, so they could be varnished and put on display on the Sunday. I am not sure what basing effect I want at the end so have left them for now ‘au-naturale’. They generated quite a bit of interest on the Sunday and I had one of the busiest painting demos I have ever done! There are a lot of potential 6mm Sci-Fi gamers out there.


Very impessed how easily these painted up (painting guide to follow in next post). Excited about the rest of the range I painted up a detachment of Land Speeders armed with missile launchers the following week.

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…and the latest offering a Heavy Weapons (Devastator) detachment with IFV support, along with a command stand. The infantry were a mixture of the wave 4 heavy weapons from the Affray Specialists set and the existing infantry. Ben has made some changes to the production process which has improved the level of detail and quality of these latest castings.

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So here is the force thus far…..


Next up by request on ‘Tactical Command’ is the painting guide for these…..

The Levant

Long time coming, but both Peter and myself have had a traumatic 6 months with young children and illness. The result was today the long-awaited release of the Levant. This is quite simply a massive and unrivalled range of 30 individual sculpts. You have Ian from the Boondock Saints to answer for that as the range kept expanding as we discovered pictures of different weapons being used. The range of moustaches on show is my little artistic licence. Ultimately I have Peter to thank for agreeing to put all 30 sculpts into 7 new infantry codes, and an artillery set. I must say I am very pleased with the quality of the casting on these especially as some of the poses I’m sure tested Peter’s mould making skills. Having finished painting the first casts and dropped them off at the Dark Satanic Mills (seemed like traffic works all the way both on the A38 and M1) earlier in the week they have finally reached release stage 🙂

As for the painting I have painted each base in differing colour schemes showing a scope of colours which would be appropriate to the Levant. Ultimately the ‘defining’ aspect is the red leather cap with its twin tails front and back bounded with a white ring of cloth. As for the main coat colours they were predominantly green, although some scope for browns or even the occasional more vibrant yellows, reds and blues would be fine. A word of warning to be careful with your choice of green…. otherwise they begining to look like Santa’s little helpers!

The guns were of a ‘natural’ wood colour with black ironwork, and I have opted for a nice bronze barrel.


These will have their first outing with Baccus at WMMS on the 9th March, and I will be there with the painting demo to answer and queries.

I just about remembered to take a few photos before I handed them over.









36 horse dollies are in my possession so hopefully will see some more progress on the cavalry.

Hope to find the time to do an update on what else I have been up to over recent months – too many projects, too little time!!

Three months on!!! – Roman Impetus army.

Well where does the time go to?

So whats been going on over the past three months?

Well I have finished the revamped Roman army and a Roman camp to face the Parthians in my last post, we have had Partizan II and Derby/Donnington, I have started a couple of new projects (ACW Longstreet and 17th Century By Fire and Sword), and have lost a month of my life to chicken pox working its way through our three children.

Too much to report on in one post so I shall do it in installments, and hopefully catch myself up at some point!

Roman Impetus Army

Picking up from my last post I spent the ensuing couple of weeks replacing my stand in bases for the Early Imperial Roman army and painting up their encampment. In actual fact I painted 6 legionary bases when four would have done as I still have my eye on expanding these forces to 500 point armies and also facilitating their use using the Hail Caeser rules.

The Legionaries I painted in a batch of four units and a batch of two units. This is an escalation to my more usual painting of a unit at a time. Partly I was happy to do these four units of 33 figures (132 models) in one sweep was my familiarity with the figure and its relative ease compared with others. These were mounted one unit per painting strip and it was only when I got to painting the shield designs that things slowed down.

This is what I envisage a single Roman HC ‘brigade’ may look like :-


I must confess to a little indulgence as however much I may like the Baccus centurion commander In a fighting line he needed to lose the baton and grab himself a gladius and shield. I savaged the shields from the Rapier ‘throwing pilum’ model as it was easiest to remove. Then after careful removal of the baton, a little bit of Pro-Create saw the gladius appear in his hand. Making him look ready for business in the front line.


With the addition of new skirmishers and cavalry the 350 point army is complete based on this list EIRoman_Impetus_350_1



The other thing that is need for Impetus is a camp of some description – what better than a marching camp!

Roman Marching Camp

I did attempt to do this in a day just before the JoS. It was functional but unpainted by the time of the show. I was determined to have it painted to display things for Partizan II. It is a very simple construction composed of a metal base which had already been sprayed with some textured paint. I added a square of balsa wood strip to form the basis of the ramparts which were glued down in place.


The next part was quite testing with several hours spent clipping and then sharpening cocktail sticks. The initial spike was too shallow so these had to be clipped off, then with a Stanley knife the ends were ‘sharpened’ to look like they had been done so with axes. Then these were painstakingly glued in place all around the outer rampart.


Ramps from balsa wood were added to the corners. Then to create the effect of a ditch and also texture things up I applied a liberal helping of ‘Mikey mud’ (sand, PVA, brown paint).


This is as far as things got for the JoS. All that remained was a pretty quick paint job and the fort was finished.



I have some nice tents from Leven Miniatures yet to paint and adorn the inside, but quite like the manning the walls effect with some odd miniatures from my basing experiments.

Off to carry on with my By Fire and Sword (BFaS) Polish skirmish force…..

Impetus Parthians and more

Just about recovering from last weeks late nights and the round trip to Sheffield to the Joy of Six. As you will be aware from this blog and the forums we tried to get an Impetus tournament off the ground. As such Ken (Pilgrim) wanted to take part and wanted to play a Parthian army. I scratched around in my boxes to discover somewhere in the past I had bought a 1,000 point Warmaster army from Rapier – sorted with a few additions in the form of Persian Takabara javelinmen to constitute the hill tribes. The list was drawn up to 350 points using the as yet unpublished Parthian list that I was kindly sent (Parthians_Impetus_350_1).

A couple of nights spent cleaning up the models and 5 evenings painting saw the army done. Another couple of evenings saw them based. At between 1 and 3 hours an evening the whole army was painted start to finish in around 18 hours – 11 bases and 3 command teams. As I plan to do a number of forces I decided to avoid confusion by doing each army in a theme or colour. For the Parthians I chose blue as the uniting army colour. Using a variety of colours would be more interesting but my prime aim was to avoid confusion on the battlefield especially where I am painting both sides with the potential for similar troops. Here is the finished product :-

The Army, the larger village base acting as ‘baggage camp’


The Light Horse Archers


The Cataphracts


The Hill Tribes with Javelin


The Commander


Very tidy figures to paint quickly and effectively. Rapier saw them at the JoS and are now rumored to be considering revisiting their ancient ranges with a view to additional poses especially for the horse archers to help create a little more motion on bases. Further to discussion with Ken I shall be adding in some more Hill Tribes to create a bit more variety and the list he latterly suggested. Possibly even expand the army up to a three command 400 then 500 point army.

Painting Guide – Parthian Cataphracts

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, horses then block painted v150 German Camouflage Black Brown, Black Wash

Barding and rider armour – v 175 Bronze, and ‘elite’ riders/commanders v179 Gunmetal Grey

Helmets – v175 Bronze to lower half lames, v 179 Gunmetal Grey to skull bowl

Horses – Standard selection of browns tending to the darker colours including nuzzles and ears.

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Beards – v 169 Black

Chest Surcoat, and banner – v130 Amarantha Red

Kontos shaft – v143 Flat Earth

Cloaks – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Shoes and reigns – v127 Ochre Brown

Commander helmet plume – v029 Red.

The ‘elite’ unit I did with chainmail riders armour, white plume for the commander, and yellow banner.

W&N Nutbrown Wash, Scorched Brown base, varnish

Painting Guide – Parthian Horse Archers

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, horses then block painted v150 German Camouflage Black Brown, Black Wash

Horses – Standard selection of browns

Saddle blanket – v130 Amaranth Red

Shirts – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Trousers – v110 Deck Tan

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Moustaches – v 169 Black

Bows – v134 USA Tan Earth

Boots – v143 Flat Earth

Reigns – v127 Ochre Brown

Hats – v121 Yellow Ochre

W&N Nutbrown Wash, Scorched Brown base, varnish

Painting Guide – Parthian Archers

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, Black Wash

Tunics – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Trousers – v110 Deck Tan

Boots – v143 Flat Earth

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Bows – v126 Ochre Brown

Quivers – v130 Amarantha Red

Headband – v001 White

Hair – v169 Black

W&N Nutbrown Wash, Scorched Brown base, varnish

Parthian Light Infantry Javelinmen

Undercoat – Halfords Grey primer, Black Wash

Tunics – v053 Dark Blue, drybrushed v065 Andrea Blue

Trousers – v110 Deck Tan

Boots – v143 Flat Earth

Flesh – v021 Medium Fleshtone

Javelin shafts – v126 Ochre Brown

Quivers – v130 Amarantha Red

Bows – v136 USA Tan Earth

Shields and fletches – v001 White

Headgear – v136 Red Leather

Horn, Standard, commander shield boss – v174 Brass

Javelin heads – v178 Natural Steel

W&N Nutbrown Wash, gentle wipe over shields with tissue to lift off and preserve white a bit better, Scorched Brown base.

Quick retouch v 001 White on shields, add shield designs.


In preparation for the JoS I also cobbled together a 350 point Early Imperial Roman army (EIRoman_Impetus_350_1). The premise was they were on Parthian soil and hence the army was tailored to having some counter aspects to the masses of horse archers they would be facing. The only thing missing was some Armenian allies. Keen to keep this army essentially a Baccus incarnation I had another rummage and came up with some Sarmatians who make splendid stand ins for the one base of cataphracts and two bases of horse archers I needed. I did replace all the lead Kontos with pins for a bit more durability. All three units took around 2 hours to paint. The variation in the horse archers gives a little more movement and action on the bases compared to their Rapier counterparts – I like them both for different reasons. I am currently working on some army specific figures so will go into more detail in a future post.



….. and a final thing was the Normans which was going to be the initial ‘loan’ army. 300 points worth have been painted but did not get to basing as my time was channeled into the Parthians and Romans. I plan to expand the force to at least 350 if not 400/500 before I base these, and then it will be onto a Saxon army to oppose them…


Leven Miniatures and The Joy of Six

Well, 24 hours left before I need to pack for the trip to Sheffield for the Joy of Six. What a hectic 24 hrs I have ahead! Sadly the Impetus competition I was hoping to get people along to will not be happening – Plan B has created a little more unexpected preparation. We will now be setting up 4-6 tables for people to come and play on. Having painted up a Parthian army for Ken to use I am in the throes of the final touches to the opposing Early Imperial Roman Army – three units of cavalry to finish tonight!

To bestow this board with a bit of non-figure related eye candy I have been gratefully sponsored by Leven Miniatures ( with a selection of Middle Eastern buildings. They looked pretty nice on their website and certainly not disappointed when they arrived. Only needing minimal cleaning up these were rapidly ready for undercoating, which was done in Army Painter Desert Yellow Spray.


Above you see the work in progress a couple of hours ago (yes whats on the board needs painting before the Joy of Six!). To allow maximum flexibility I decided  to insert magnets into the bottom of the buildings so they could be mounted on different sizes of steel bases depending on the games needs (thanks for the idea Ian). To keep the magnets in close proximity to the steel I used a  textured stone effect spray paint from B&Q on the steel base, which I then drybrushed up.

So first up was a test building which turned out very pleasing. I particularly liked the patches where the plaster had come off exposing underlying brickwork. (Painting guide at the end).


Happy with the scheme I went on to paint all the remaining buildings in about 60 minutes at a fairly leisurely pace.



The wells are as yet unavailable, the ones pictured on the right have been filled with GW water effect. Very pleased how these have turned out and would highly recommend them. Leven Miniatures also do a nice variety of buildings for different eras.

Leven Miniatures – Middle Eastern Building Painting Guide

Undercoat – AP Desert Yellow

Main building walls – Overbrush v110 Deck Tan, Drybrush v001 White

Wooden doors and hatches – Block v133 Cork Brown

Slate Tiles – Block v137 Cavalry Brown, Drybrush v130 Amarantha Red

Windows and openings – Block v148 Burnt Umber

GW Agrax Earthshade wash applied to wood areas and exposed brick areas.

* for the brickwork on the wells I overbrushed v110 Deck Tan, then washed in Agrax Earthshade, then Drybrushed v001 White.

The Joy of Six

33 hours to go before this prestigious event… Still three units of Armenian Allies to paint, a roman marching fort to make, and a dozen or so bases to finish…. and I am out most of tomorrow. Its going to be a long night but well worth it I am sure! Better get cracking.

Lots to report on over the past four weeks but I shall be leaving that until the other side of the weekend!