Between No Quarter and the BrushThralls site, we’ve seen detailed assembly guides to all the new large-sized Apotheosis ‘casters…except Darius. Don’t think of it as being left out, Cygnar players. Think of it as saving the best for last!
Opening the box
Like the other large ‘casters, Darius comes in a bunch of bits and pieces.
Here’s the full list of parts. I’m working top to bottom, left to right in the large picture.
- Main crane piece
- Right arm
- Left leg
- Steam cannon
- Left arm
- Body & right leg
- Steam cannon hose
- Cockpit hatch
- Connector bits (2)
- Bases (1 medium, 3 small)
- Halfjack arm sprues (3)
- Halfjack bodies (3)
- Halfjack mines (3—there were 4 in my pack)
- Halfjack leg sprues (3)
As always, the first step is to file off the mold lines and flash. Do this step and wash the parts in Simple Green (dish detergent will work too) before continuing.
Getting it together
My preference with multipart models is to assemble everything before painting. I’ll occasionally paint display models in pieces before assembly, but these are rare exceptions. Assembling the entire model up front makes painting some areas tricky, but I’d rather deal with a few awkward, low-visibility spots than risk damage to the completed model as I try to assemble it. I recognize that this approach doesn’t work with everyone, so I’ll include occasional notes in italics for the assemble-after-painting folks.
The easy part: attaching the left leg
One of Darius’ legs is already attached, so start by attaching the other one. There’s a ball & socket joint between the left leg and the body. This allows you a little leeway in posing if you’re putting him on a scenic base. The ball and socket are roughly textured and have lots of surface area, so you don’t need to pin the join.
The pegs on the bottom of Darius’ feet fit nicely into opposite ends of the slot in the large base. Insert the main body piece into the base first, without gluing it. Then put a drop of strong gap-filling CA glue (BSI’s Maxi-Cure is my favorite) into the left hip socket. Working quickly, slot the left leg peg into the base and fit the ball into the socket such that the figure is stable on the base. The legs are far enough apart that they don’t interfere with painting.
The hard part: steam cannon
Set these components aside to dry and turn your attention to Darius’ tricky attachment: the steam cannon. The cannon comes in multiple parts, again with ball & socket joints. At first glance, this seems to indicate that the cannon offers a large range of poseability. Closer examination shows this assumption to be false.
The main cannon attaches to the connector piece just below the barrel.
Carefully drill out the two sides of the join for a small pin. Both sides are extremely thin, so take it nice and slow. Insert your pin and put the two parts together as shown above, but don’t glue it yet. The cannon, the connector, and the body have to align in a particular way in order to get the cable piece to fit. If you are a skilled modeller who doesn’t mind making new cables, you can disregard the following instructions and pose the cannon however you want. These instructions are specifically for assembling the stock model.
There’s a ball & socket joint between the connector and the main body, but this time you’ll want to pin it. There isn’t enough surface area to support the weight of the cannon. You can see the socket side in the picture above. The picture below shows what the whole thing looks like attached to the body. Remember, don’t glue anything yet. You’re not done dancing the positioning dance.
OK, now comes the tricky part. If you’ve dry-fit the model as shown above, your pins provide hinges at the articulated points of the assembly. Carefully rotate the parts around on their hinges such that the “L”-shaped cable piece fits into the socket on the bottom of the barrel and the other socket on the body. This is a tricky process, especially if you’ve got big fingers like mine. You can use Blu-Tack to give some “stickiness” to the hinge points. This makes it easier to keep the assembly from moving, but means you’ll have to clean your joins and pins before you glue them.
Once you’ve seen how it all fits together, you can go ahead and glue it. If you’re using a strong gap-filling CA glue, you’ll have 30–45 seconds of curing time in which to wiggle everything around. Recruit a helper if you can; your helper can drop some CA accelerator on the assembly while you hold it steady.
The steam cannon blocks a substantial portion of the body. To paint it separately, you’ll want to pin the cable to the steam cannon barrel and glue it in place there. Glue the steam cannon to the connector, but don’t glue the connector to the body yet. When you’re finished with the painting process, glue the connector and the cable to the body. There’s no need to pin the cable at both ends.
The other parts: crane and arms
The crane attaches to its connector just like the steam cannon did.
You can glue this one with just a cursory dry-fit. Insert your pins as hinges and move the assembly around until it looks right. There’s a wider range of poseability on crane than there was on the cannon, but not by much. Glue the joins as before and move on to the arms. The crane assembly doesn’t block as much as the cannon, but you probably want to paint it separately anyway. Go ahead and glue the connector to the crane, but don’t attach the connector to the body yet.
Compared to the attachments, the arms are really easy. More ball & socket joints here, but still worth pinning. The only problem you’ll run into is the arm pieces bumping up against the legs. Make sure to position the arms so they’re two or three millimeters away from the body. The arms are very bulky, so you’ll definitely want to paint them separately. Position and pin them now, but don’t glue anything.
At this point you’ve got a fully-assembled Darius and you’re ready to move on to the halfjacks.
The cutest models in WARMACHINE
Each halfjack consists of five pieces: two arms, two legs, and a body. They’re a snap to put together—more ball & socket joints for the arms, and cylinder joints for the legs. Assembly will be easier if you attach the legs first. Once they’re on and dry, put the arms in. There’s enough contact in each of these joints to make pinning optional.
It’s time to play with my all-time favorite basing material: concrete patch! It’s a gritty, sticky grey paste used for repairing sidewalks. It smells terrible and looks just like 32mm dirt when it’s dry.
The only tool you need to apply this stuff is a popsicle stick or coffee stirrer. Scoop out a blob of concrete patch and smear it on the base. Cover the entire base with it and wipe your stick clean. Then use the edge of the stick to scrape the patch level.
Once the concrete patch is down, forming your basic ground texture, you can add additional texture with different materials. I like corn meal and aquarium rocks on my models. The rocks are nice for simulating small boulders. The corn meal provides sharp, irregular shapes for smaller rocks. Concrete patch is adhesive, so pressing these materials into the patch while the patch is wet will lock the materials down. Be careful not to put any rocks or corn meal where they’ll interfere with the model’s feet after assembly.
The model looks better if the feet are sinking into the ground—it gives the impression of weight. However, Darius is lumpy enough where you’ll want to prime him separately from the base, regardless of whether you’re painting him fully assembled or not. You can reconcile these two factors by waiting a half hour or so until the concrete patch is partly cured. Brush the bottoms of the model’s feet with a little water to prevent them from sticking to the concrete patch. Then take the model and press it down into the base, fitting the pegs back into the base’s slot. You can poke a thin wire up through the bottom of the slot to show you where the pegs should go.
Once you’ve made your impression, pull the model out and let the concrete patch finish curing for a full eight hours. It may look dry after only two or three hours, but you want to make sure all the moisture has evaporated before you prime it. The procedure is exactly the same with the halfjacks, only their feet don’t fit into base slots. Just make the impressions and then glue them to the base once the concrete patch has cured. You can pin them if you like; I didn’t bother, and they appear to be holding up just fine after half a dozen games.
Painting, part one: the halfjacks
The little fellas are a snap to paint. Start with a solid, thin coat of black primer. It’s easiest to paint the bases first. They’re mostly drybrushing, so they’re likely to mess up the models’ feet. Make sure to do Darius’ base at this point too.
The first step is a thin coat of GW Scorched Brown. I thin it out with water and Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Glaze Medium so it gets into all the nooks and crannies of the bases’ texture.
The Glaze Medium extends the drying time of this paint layer, so let the bases sit until the paint is completely dry. You can use a hair dryer on low heat if you want to accelerate this process.
The next step is a drybrush with GW Bestial Brown. This won’t look like much over the top of the Scorched Brown. It didn’t really show up in the pictures I took, which is why I haven’t included a photo here. The reason you want to include the Bestial Brown layer is to provide a base for the following step: drybrush with GW Bleached Bone. If you apply the Bleached Bone directly over the top of the Scorched Brown, it’ll look very stark. The Bestial Brown mellows the transition for a more natural effect.
Once the base is done, it’s time to move on to the halfjack and mine token models themselves. Although the bright blue and white of my Cygnar army looks great on the field, I don’t think it’s appropriate for the halfjacks. Darius poops ‘em out every round, so I don’t figure he’s got time to paint ‘em before they run off to cause mayhem. I’m not crazy about the gold accents in the studio paint scheme, so that leaves plain old steel as the base color.
Cover each model in a thin but solid coat of GW Boltgun Metal. Be careful not to slop any Boltgun Metal over onto the base (halfjacks) or edges (mine tokens).
Once the Boltgun Metal is dry, wash each model in Metal Wash. This is a solution I picked up from Mike & Ali “Fluffy” McVey. It’s used on many of the studio models. I mix up a quantity of it in an empty paint bottle so I don’t have to create it fresh every time. The following variant is a little bit different from the one Ali uses; if you don’t like it, tweak the proportions until it works for you. My recipe mixes GW Brown Ink, GW Blue Ink, GW Bestial Brown, VMC Glaze Medium, and water in a 3:3:1:6:6 ratio. Be sure to mix this thoroughly, or the Bestial Brown will separate and sink to the bottom of the mixture.
The wash has a very low surface tension thanks to the ink and Glaze Medium, so be careful not to let it pool. If you start to get puddles, blot your brush on a paper towel and use it to wick up the extra. The Bestial Brown acts as an adherent so the wash doesn’t completely run off the model. Once again, pay attention to the edges of the feet so the wash doesn’t mess up your bases.
Let the wash dry. It will take a while—15 or 20 minutes—so get up and stretch or fire up the hair dryer again. When you’re sure all the models are dry, take them outside and spray them with a shot of Testors Dullcote. The Dullcote will knock the shine out of the metal, reducing glare and easing the highlighting step.
I like to give Dullcote a full hour to dry before I paint over it. Some people give it even longer. Get a sandwich, play some Halo 2, whatever…just don’t touch the models for a while. When you’re ready to get started again, mix up a 50/50 mixture of GW Boltgun Metal and GW Chainmail. Thin this mixture more than you usually would. Highlight the upward-facing portions of the model where light would naturally hit. This includes the sharp edges and rivets. Clean up the edges of the bases with some black paint, superglue a little flock here and there on the bases, and you’re good to go.
Painting, part two: the man in the machine
Darius is a wee bit more complicated than his little friends. His body is bigger than any of Cygnar’s light ‘jacks. With the steam cannon, he’s taller than an Ironclad. He’s got a lot of surface area to cover, and precious few flat plates like the ones you find on ‘jacks.
Prime him black. It’ll take several sessions with the spray can to hit all the nooks & crannies. This is the first time you’ll congratulate yourself for not gluing him to his base. It will not be the last. Spray him from one angle, let him dry for an hour, turn him over, spray him again, and so forth until you’ve got a solid layer of primer. Don’t go over and over the same part trying to nail one little sparkly bit. Stay with light coats and hit the stray sparkly bits with a paintbrush. If you’re painting him in pieces, you can probably get all the pieces in one go.
Start by blocking in your color scheme, whatever that may be. Use an intermediate value of the color(s); you’ll darken it for shading and lighten it for highlighting. Leave any metallic areas black for now. I stuck Darius to his base with Blu-Tack for painting so I could pull him off when necessary to paint his underside.You could just as well hold him with some channel-locks or something…whatever works for you.
Blocking in your colors up front is a good way to get your bearings on a model that you’re unsure how to paint. I had a tough time deciding where to put color and where to stay with metal. My ‘jacks and troops have a clean look - no mud or dings in the paint. I wanted Darius to look utilitarian, but still consistent with the rest of the army. Blocking in the color allowed me to look at the overall composition before doing any “real painting.”
From here on out, I’ll just recount my procedure for painting him—substitute your own color builds or adapt mine as you see fit.
I used a 2:1 mix of Adikolor (AK) 38 Nightmare and AK 40 Over Blue to block in the blue parts. I used VMC 905 US Bluegrey Pale to block in the white parts.
Blending is a messy business. If you blend like me, you’ll slop all over the areas around the blends. Painting metallics is a much neater process, so do those after you’ve gotten the blending out of the way.
I painted Darius as I paint most models: naturalistically, with an imaginary light source directly overhead. I started with the white parts. I’ve found that once the white is nailed, it becomes much easier to visualize the faux lighting on the other parts of the model. White is also much harder to work with than blue. If I encountered catastrophic failure, I wanted it to be up front.
The white palette I used was simple—US Bluegrey Pale as mentioned above, with VMC Black added to shade and VMC White added to highlight. The deepest shadows only went down to a 3:1 mix of US Bluegrey Pale:Black; when painting white, a little black goes a long way. The brightest highlights went up to pure white. VMC White is a very bright titanium white. I’ve found that things look whiter if I actually use the VMC White sparingly for focused highlights and do most of the broad “white” highlights with a 3:1 mix of White:US Bluegrey Pale.
It took a few hours to build up Darius’ white highlights. I prefer to layer my whites rather than wet-blending them because white isn’t a very opaque pigment. White tends to look streaky when I wet-blend it, and it’s hard to keep the finish smooth. For layering Darius, I used a 50/50 mix of water and Liquitex Flow Improver to thin my paint to translucency. Then I just built up the highlighted areas and deepened the shadowed areas until I was satisfied with the result.
You’re seeing a little exaggeration here from the brightness of my painting lights, but most of that contrast is painted in. I’m reinforcing the way that the light is naturally falling for a stronger effect. Take a look at a side-by-side of the basecoated model and the highlighted model from the same angle, under the same lighting conditions:
Once the white was done, I moved on to the blue. Same process here—highlight up to pure AK 40 Over Blue, shade down to pure AK 38 Nightmare. This process went faster because blue covers very well and lends itself to wet-blending.
After completing the blending, I sprayed the model with Dullcote. This protected the results of my laborious blending job from chipping, rubbing, and stray paint marks. Dullcote is alcohol-based. You can wash stray paint away with soap and water, and the Dullcote will protect the paint underneath. It’s a handy trick.
I decided to paint the face before proceeding with the metals. The face is recessed behind a metal guard-thing, so I knew I’d be leaving some slop.
I have a whole article on painting faces, so I’ll burn through this part quickly. Step one: white in the eye sockets.
Step two: paint the pupils with black and clean up around the eyeballs.
Step three: basecoat the face in VMC 846 Mahogany, carefully leaving black lines around the eyes.
Step four: highlight with VMC 843 Cork Brown.
Step six: highlight with VMC 819 Iraqui Sand.
Step five: paint the goggles and the cap. Top to bottom, I blended VMC 859 Cadmium Maroon through AK 08 Martyr Red to AK 06 Magma for the goggles. I used a little stripe of white along the goggles’ top edge contour to give the impression of reflected light. For the cap, I used AK 26 Charred Brown as a base, with small highlights of AK 22 Clay. When the cap was done, I cleaned up the goggles’ frame with black and carefully lined in some GW Burnished Gold.
If you’ve read this far, thank you and congratulations! We’ve reached the homestretch.
I made sure all the soon-to-be metal areas were neatly covered with black paint. As shown the picture above, for instance, the little bolt-thing and the face guard both needed some tidying up. Then I covered all the metal areas on the model with slightly thinned GW Boltgun Metal.
Then I blocked in the gold areas with Vallejo Game Color Brassy Brass.
Once the paint was completely dry, I coated all of it in Metal Wash. This required some care, since most of the metal parts sit cheek to jowl with already-painted parts. I started at the top and worked downward so I could smooth out any runoff or pooling as it happened. Then it was time for Dullcote again.
I highlighted the Boltgun Metal with my 50/50 mix of Boltgun Metal and Chainmail, just like the halfjacks. The gold got a highlight of VMC 801 Brass, followed by glints of GW Burnished Gold. To keep the model from looking too neat and tidy, I did some judicious stippling of thinned-out VMC 939 Smoke around some of the mechanical components.
Here are some final shots of Darius after blacklining and base-flocking. It was a long haul to get him done, but ultimately a rewarding one…and he’s been wrecking people on the field ever since. Good luck with him, and have fun!
Until next time—