Vindicators: My weathering of choice

The Epic scale Winter Challenge is progressing steadily with Vindicators forming the latest detachment to get added, bringing the total to a nice round 1000 points. No mixed patterns for this unit as all of the current versions are tied up in the Salamanders army and the first edition variants are just plain fugly deserving nothing more than to be consigned to the history books of bad design. Yes, I know I said earlier there should be a place for every old miniature in current armies, but even I draw the line at “Mr Boxy”. That tank had a design only it’s mother could love.

Anyway, moving swiftly along. All the units in the detachment are from the superb Epic 40,000 era, easily the best period for the Epic range in my opinion as Games Workshop really went overboard on the variety of detail, quite literally ‘de-bigulating‘ their 40K cousins. Festooned with tiny little details like stowage, tools, ammo boxes and track links, these are a real joy to paint. Similar to the Land Raiders and Rhinos they are primed black and airbrushed blue (no additional white primer this time due to the high granularity of detail). I am not going to go into the step by step as the palette was exactly the same as I used previously. Instead I will focus more on the weathering as that will probably be of more interest.

I guess the first question is probably “why?”. For a 6mm scale tank it isn’t like you can really add a lot more detail through weathering like you can with a larger model. Nor can you really work the scale model realism angle as strongly. However, that is not to say it doesn’t have impact, which I think it does. Weathering Epic does bring something to the party which is to ‘soften’ the overall appearance by breaking it up a little in my opinion. Unless you are painting for a competition to demonstrate your painting prowess on a tiny canvas, the general rule of thumb when reducing scale is to increase or caricature the contrast. The transition from shadow, to base colour to highlight is deliberately sharp in order to help the viewers eye define the shape easily despite its diminutive size. It is one of the reasons I think Space Marine or Ork armies in particular look great on the battlefield; the bold palette or sharp contrasts really pulls out and emphasises the detail.

This is all great if you are a really neat painter, which I am not. I prefer to use different materials to fool the brain into thinking there is more detail than there really is, like you are looking at a far larger model, but from further away. What the paint effects ‘hint at’ the brain naturally fills in the gaps. Hence why I naturally gravitate to employing weathering techniques; it makes up for my not-so-steady hand.

The weapons of choice

There are three methods I use, which are ‘chipping back’, ‘loaded wash’ and ‘filters’. I don’t tend to apply raw pigments (weathering powders) as they are nigh on impossible to control on such a small surface area. Instead I mix a little into a wash or shade and carefully wash that into the recesses. The pigment loaded wash recedes creating a definitive line in the crease for added contrast, but as it dries it also pulls the pigment body with it so that it concentrates and fixes into the recess. this creates an additional opaque dusty line with minimal effort. the end effect is the appearance of dirt and dust building up in the armoured recesses and joints, but without any of the clever brush skills required. the trick here is to use only a tiny brush tip of pigment in the wash. You still want it to behave like a transparent wash and not a fully pigmented paint.

The second method is ‘chipping’ which uses a tiny piece of sponge (or other irregular material) to dab small flecks of paint onto the edges of armour where it would naturally chip off from wear and tear. I applied this mostly along the additional armour plates and track skirts in Charadon Granite. It also contrasts nicely with the white and red as well. For the dozer blade I used Dark Flesh as it gave a more rusted appearance. The trick here is to keep the touches nice and light and build up the effect slowly. The smaller the flecks the better. These were then emphasised and finished by hand using a brush to add a few tiny highlights of silver here and there on the edges and exposed rivet heads.

The final method uses a filter to create a little variety in the tones and some additional dusty deposits. The difference between a wash and a filter is you generally apply a wash over a satin or gloss surface and want it to contract into the recesses smoothly. With a filter you ‘paint’ it over a matt surface like you would a glaze and you want it to stay where you put it. Adding increasing layers of a filter increases the change in tone of the colour beneath it. Filters are great for softening the transition between camo schemes and homogenising the end finish. Most are not water based like acrylics though so you will need white spirit for brush cleaning and thinning and whatever you do don’t lick your brush. It sure tastes nasty!

So there you have it, four Vindicators ready to add some additional armour prowess to the 2nd Company. What I am still lacking however is any meaningful protection from roving enemy air attacks. For that, and as my bonus miniature I upgraded the Tactical detachment to include a “Deimos” pattern Hunter hybrid created from a 2nd Edition plastic Whirlwind hull with the current metal Hunter turret. Not the most original conversion, but again it all helps blend together old and new as well as add variety to the overall army. It also let me play around with the base detailing a bit more, which was fun.

I have set the next goal at 1700 points and already have a couple of detachments in mind to get me past it. One of them I suspect may turn out to be my favourite out of the whole project so far the way it is coming together. However you will just have to wait and see.

Until next time, have a great week.


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