A fortnight later than intended, I have completed my first ever Warhammer 40k squad!
I learned a lot with these chaps and hopefully the next models in the army will go slightly quicker for me. There's still things that I haven't quite got the hang of yet like painting certain jewels or the eyes of Space Marine helmets, but my edge highlighting and glazes and layering are all improving.
I built these years ago without thinking about the logistics of painting
and getting my brush into corners etc. So there was a lot of wasted
and duplicated work on the chest / face / weapon as a result. The heavy
weapons are worst, I think the others won't be as bad. I actually find
the large, flat surfaces frustrating as I want to glaze them then
highlight them. In addition, free hand looks really awful unless it's
perfect. I gave up adding stuff to the purity seals as it looked
amateurish and I redid the text on the leader's shoulder pad twice until
the made up runes looked tidy enough.
I had some trouble learning how to do the Transfers as well. Unfortunately, Forge World have stopped producing the large Space Wolves transfer sheet which has the full range of Great Company markings, so I have to be extra careful not to mess up these ones as I put them on.
Games Workshop currently produces a Transfer Sheet but it focuses on the three most well known Great Companies and doesn't have as much variety as the old Forge World one. These folks have a mix of honour markings, runes on their knee pads and pack markings as I'm not going to be too concerned about creating perfect packs with matching symbols a I may need to swap around different weapons or change pack sizes.
These chaps are all from Gunnar Red Moon's Great Company. The Space Wolves have 12 Great Companies, roughly equivalent in size to the standard Companies of normal Space Marine chapters. Each is led by a Wolf Lord who picks his heraldry on ascending to the position.
My rough idea, even years ago, was that I would like a Space Wolf army that suggests a mixture of different packs from different Great Companies, to allow different armour colourations and just generally to make it a more visually interesting army. In the Codex, the Wolf Lords are described as having particular preferences for different units and tactics - Gunnar Red Moon favours Long Fangs, hence my decision to give them his symbol on their left shoulder pads.
Before I put on any transfers I used a Gloss Varnish to create a smooth surface on the area. I used Games Workshop's "'Ardcoat" diluted with a little Lahmian Medium and that worked well enough. I used Vallejo Decal Medium and Vallejo Decal Fix, but confusingly the official video tutorial from the Vallejo Youtube channel contradicts the FAQ PDF file on the Vallejo website. One says to put the Fix on first, then the medium, and the other flatly says the opposite. In the end I went with the water based fixer first, then used the alcohol based medium to soften the edges of the transfer once it was in place. I used the medium several times and the edges of the transfers are much less noticeable now.
Another thing I had to learn to do was to get flat transfers to conform to curved surfaces. This is a bit tricky and required something a lot sharper than my bog standard Citadel Hobby Knife. This tutorial from the From The Warp blog was very helpful in explaining that it helps to, if possible, create relief cuts in the decal to allow it to conform to an uneven surface My Dad gave me a spare scalpel he had with a fresh blade and I went about giving it a go. The result isn't perfect but I am happy with it so far!