Space Wolves Reiver Kill Team Commission: Freehand “Wolf Tattoo”

Intro

Before I begin, I want to give a little background, as well as a general walk through of the bare arm kitbash I did on this guy. The arm is just a WFB Chaos Marauder Horseman arm that I had in my bits box for my World Eaters. My friend who I’m doing the commission for has never done anything with miniatures before, so in order to get each model the way he wanted, with the parts he wanted I had him put the parts for each model in separate bags, and then I would clean them up, pose them, take pictures to see if he wanted changes to the pose, or bits placement and then pin and glue the parts in place. I was assembling them one bag at a time, and when I got to this guy I noticed my friend had only put in one arm for him. So rather than have to wait until we could meet up again and I could get the other arm, I ask him if I could put a bare arm on this guy, because I thought it would look really cool, and the Reivers right arm has a smaller sculpted shoulder pauldron on it that I had no way if replicating easily. I sent him blue sticky tack mock up, of the arm and he was happy with it. So I went ahead with it.

Attaching the arm

Here in these mock up pictures you can see that the arm is close, but definitely not a perfect fit. Once I new the position I wanted it on I got out my GW hand drill (honestly the best hobby tool purchased I have made, I can’t reccomend getting one enough!) And drilled into the arm and the torso to pin the should. There was also the problem of the hand that would hold the bolter by the trigger didn’t half a back to it, since the arm meant for it would have that part attached to it. So I took a space marine plasma gun with a hand sculpted on it, and cut out the hand so it would just be the armour plat covering the back of the hand. After some fitting to the bolt gun I glue it in place, drilled a hole in it, and pinned the arm to the hand.

Once all of that was dry filled in some of the gaps with greenstuff let that cure, and the clean it up. There as a pretty large gap between the shoulder and the torso, so I filled that in with GS and once it was dry enough that it wouldn’t deform I added more GS on top of that, and sculpted it onto the arm to blend in with the shoulder. The result (which I think looks great on the larger true scale bodies) was a much more muscular looking arm and bulkier shoulder. Side note, it’s amazing how just beefing up the shoulder makes the whole arm look bigger. Here you can see an example of size comparison

Painting the Freehand

I should point out that his is only the 3rd or 4th freehand design I have ever done, and it is by far the largest and most intricate freehand design I have ever attempted.

I knew I wanted to do a wolf on the arm that would be similar to depictions of Jormungdr in that it would wrap around the arm. That said I was pretty unclear on the design outside of that. My main resource I used was looking at this space wolf shoulder pad for aesthetic and motif

I did a rough concept sketch of the arm, and how the tattoo would look and wrap around the arm.

and then I got to painting it. I honestly can’t remember how long it took me to do this, but it was close to I think over 10 hours straight of painting (insomnia can be a boon or a burden). Ones I had gotten it all outlined and to the point were I would add details, clean up and thicken lines I called it called it a night. I wasn’t happy with how it was looking, so I figured I would sleep and look at it with fresh eyes.

When I came back the next day, I not only was not happy with how it was looking, but I HATED everything about it… literally everything! So I made the decision to scrap the entire thing and start completely from scratch! Good by 10+ hours of wasted time! Lol

So after repainting the entire arm I got this outlining done and again called it a day, after sending the picture of the old and new to my friend for his opinion.

With the new design, I did another, (VERY) rough concept sketch focusing on placement and positioning. For this new design I decided to go for a much more traditional look opposed to the more contemporary wolf motif of the space wolves. So I wanted to have a contrast of smooth curves and flowing lines with sharper edges and straight lines, so the design would look more like images found during the viking age.

I knew I was also going to put some runes on the tattoo, more specifically on the wolf itself so I then put outlined the mid section that would be a main focal point of the design. Essentially I was going for a look of it wrapping around the arm and the middle wrap being what would contain the runes.

As you can see I also added more details to the head, and that area.

The runes I chose are Elder Futhark runes, which are the most ancient Viking/Germanic runes dating back to the roman empire. The actual runes themselves that I pick are “Wunjo, Othalan, Laguz, and Fehu”, whose meanings are Joy, Nobility, Potentiality, and Wealth/Good fortune” respectively, together to spell “WOLF”.

Finished Tattoo

Author: Kralgor

I'm a law student that absolutely loves WH40K, and all things related. As far as the hobby goes, I love to do kitbashes, paint and sculpt miniatures. I also love making scratch built tabletop terrain. I honestly almost consider the terrain aspect a hobby all unto itself as creativity is really your only limitation with scratch building terrain.

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