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


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


Space Wolves Reiver Kill Team Commission

showing progress on my current commission project

Here is some pictures of my current commission project I’m doing for a friend. So far assembly took forever since I checked everything with him as far as positioning and posing of each individual model before I glued them together. Unfortunately during assembly I discovered one of the models he gave me to make and paint had only one arm, and then another had no arms at all. The one armed one wasn’t much of a problem as I kitbashed it to give him a bare arm, sculpted some bulk to the shoulder to make it fit, and added a gauntleted hand and it was fixed. Mr. Armless though I will have to wait to finish until I can get the arms for him. So here are the mock up pictures I sent him, and the assembled four Reivers that I have primed and slapped some base coats on.

I have to say, I really hated dealing this this guy… My friend put the parts he wanted on each model on ziplock bags and I then assembled what was in said bags for each unit. Well I quickly discovered that the body that was in the bag was not intended to ever have the arm reaching across to draw the combat knife from the scabbard on it. So I ended up doing quite a bit of altering on this guy to get to a relatively satisfactory result. I realised the left arm was going to have to stick out a fair bit and not set level on the torso, so I shaved the outside of the shoulder down a good bit so when I filled the gap that I knew would be there, the shoulder pad would be in the correct anatomical position and would largely cover the greenstuff contacting the arm to the torso. You can also see below that I pinned the arm as well for extra stability. As for where the scabbard connects to the leg, the angle was all wrong, so I have to shave down the part on the scabbard made to attach onto of the pouches on the leg, and then sculpted a larger pouch to cover this area and blend where I had to cut the edges of the afformention part down. Now here is the kicker that made me feel like a complete idiot after the fact… After browsing pictures of Reivers online to see where the scabbard should attach I noticed that one of the bodies (reiver models have the torsos and legs specific for each one) was actually angled to accommodate the scabbard unlike the body my friend had put in the bag. It was only later that night while laying in bed that a light bulb went of in my head that made me feel (rightfully so) like a complete idiot. My friend just put the parts in each bag without knowing how they would look assembled, so all I would have had to of done was find the body meant to accommodate the scabbard and switch it for use with this guy (the squad leader). Then I could have completely avoided the need to cut, fit and sculpt to make this stupid arm work on body… oh well though hindsight is 20/20 after all.

This guy has an awesome pose, but as far as structural integrity goes, I think Games-workshop really fouled up with him if they expect inexperienced hobbyists to build him. The only point of contact of the model with the base is the tip of his toes as you can see in the picture above. So I decided that rather than make my friends life a nightmare with having to constantly by re-glueing him to his base I would just go ahead and pin him.

I have a ton of work that that still needs to be done on these guys, but all and all I think they are coming along pretty good. I am very pleased with how the bare arm turned out, but I admit I could have taken a little more time on it to fine tune it some more. Bit my friend won’t care he just wants the models done so I don’t have to be quite as fanatically OCD with the modeling as I would for a commission from anyone but a friend lol. But he gave me lax standards and made it clear that he doesn’t want me to take to long with micro details so this won’t be to difficult thankfully haha.

Update and Questions

So the terrain showcase is going to have to wait for two reasons. One the spray adhesive can I got was a dud, so I cant finish flocking the trees. And two I have just gotten a commission from a friend to paint his space wolves reivers Kill Team. And on that note I have some questions to ask that I would very much appreciate advice on.

How Much is Too Much or Too Little?

So he is going to pay me for the work, but I am not sure how much to charge him. So here are some details of the commission.

He bought 3 of the paints needed for the blue armor, and anything else I need I will use of my paints. Also I will be doing all of the assembly and priming of the models as well.

What I am Thinking

There are five (5) models and I am thinking of charging him $5-$10 per model ($10 per model roughly equates to $2.50 an hour). We have not discussed prices at all he just said he would pay. So am I high balling or low balling the price? I dont want to charge him more than the models cost to paint them, but I also dont want to get ripped off on the labor/pay ratio. For anyone who has taken or paid for commission I would be very grateful for you advice.

Using Games-workshop Water Slide Decals (Easy and Cheap)

A very easy and cheap tutorial on how to use Games-workshop water slide decals and get great results.

So I know I have had trouble in the past with the Games-workshop water slide decals and after learning how to do them easily and getting good results I decided if anyone wanted to know my method I would do a tutorial. So hear it its!

I got a shoulder pad I had from my bits and decided to paint it up so that if worst comes to worst I can always use it for basing another miniature in the future. So with that in mind and my army being World Eaters I opted to do an Emperors Children Shoulder pad and decal.

So let’s get to it.

Materials you will need.

1. Games-workshop water slide decal of your choice.

2. Two containers or water (one to clean your brushes, and one that is clean to soak the decal and wet your brushes and thin your paints/varnish.

3. Games-workshop Technical paint ‘Ardcoat

4. Matt Varnish (I used Vallejo’s Matt varnish)

5. Pair of tweezers (to hold the decal in water).

6. Your desired brushes.

7. Paper Towel.


I based the shoulder pad with Abaddon Black. Then I did to coats of Xerxes Purple. On the trim I based them in Brass Scorpion. I then dry brushed the purple with Pink Horror and applied a wash of Carroburg Crimson. Finally I applied 3 coats of Auric Armour Gold to the trim. I wanted to have the dry brush texture there so you can see that all details are preserved doing this method.

Step One

Now that the shoulder pad is painted the way I wanted I applied a generous coating of ‘Ardcoat that was thinned with water (about 1/3 water) all over the purple part of the pauldron (shoulder pad). This is to seal and protect your work underneath as well as give you a smooth surface to apply the decal. If you want you can apply more coats, but I find one works. Let that fully dry.

Step Two

Grab your decal with your tweezers and hold it in the water (Note: the new decals only take about 30-45 seconds in the water, but the new ones take longer).

Next you take the decal and put it near where you will apply it to the miniature. The older decals stick a little more to the paper so you may have to use your finger a little to get it moving off the paper. The new ones you can just use your brush. Make sure the brush you use to apply the decal is wet, this will be important for the next part.

Step Three

The application part is not as scary as you may think. Here water is your friend which is why it’s important to have already sealed the area you will put the decal with ‘Ardcoat. You don’t want to flood the application surface but you do want enough water to form a very small puddle under the decal (this is why you need your brush wet). The decal will bring water with it, but if it doesn’t use your brush to gently get under the decal and let the water on the brush pool underneath it.

The reason for this is the water will allow the decal to move across the surface you want to apply it to so you can gently move it around with your brush (opposed to it setting right where it happens to make first contact with the model). I recommend a brush with firm short bristles for this so you have more control

That is the brush I use to apply my decals. It hold enough water without flooding the surface, and its stiff enough to allow great control

Once you have the decal where you want it, take the corner or your paper towel and gently press down on the decal. This will set the decal where you want it and will dry up the water. You can dab the area if there are wrinkles or excess water after you have the decal set in place.

Next apply at least one (I do two to be safe) thin layer of the same thinned ‘Ardcoat as before, over the application area (the decal and the purple of the shoulder pad) to seal the decal in place and protect it.

Step Four

Apply a generous amount of matt varnish over the whole application arena. I don’t thin the matt varnish, I just put some strait from the bottle on my wet pallet and then paint it onto the shoulder pad.

Here is what it looks like after one coat is dry.

How many layers you do depends on your personal preference. Since I am doing only one shoulder pad for this tutorial I don’t have a comparison like I would on a fill miniature. I found doing my Iron Warriors that one this coat and two thin coats of matt varnish made it look identical to the other shoulder pads I had not used ‘Ardcoat on. So here is a picture of this pad after I have applied the tow thin coats on it.

I hope this helps you and saves you some money not having to buy any products specifically for doing decals like this. If you have any questions or need me to clarify anything please feel free to ask and I will be more than happy to answer!

Making Krälgor: Part 2

Here at long last is the second part to making Krälgor.

Phase 5 Base Painting

So at this face I put down all of my basic colors that I would build upon.  Note that I tried to do NMM (Non Metallic Metal), but after several horribly botched attempts I gave up and opted for metal.

Phase 6 Final Layers

Then next step was to do the final layers that would be the actual colors of things I was going to be adding more detail to later.  Basically this made the colors more solid.

Phase 7 Details and Freehand

Finally I got to fleshing out the details and doing some freehand. I did some Chaos Runes on the armor to (try) and make it look like they were burning.  And I wanted to add some screaming skulls and faces on the inside of the cape.  I also wanted to give him the classic World Eaters tribal tattoos like you see on Angron.

Phase 8 Final Details

Lastly  I touched things up like the XII on the flayed skin on the leg and added more definition with the final details.  I also painted and varnished the base.

And here he is complete!


New CSM Models: Iron Warriors.

I finally finished painting the new CSM kit as Iron Warriors. First IW units I have ever painted so all and all I’m pretty pleased with the way they turned out. I decided early on I was going to just paint these guys for the tabletop and not put to much time and detail on them. I’m both happy and embarrassed to say that this is the fastest I have ever painted this many models at once before lol.

Looking at art of iron warriors most of it will show them in either really shiny gun metal armor or armor that is so dark it is almost black. Most paint schemes I have seen people do often have them metallic but extremely drab so that they look very dull, or extremely shiny so that their armor looks like it gets polished 20x a day. I decided I wanted to go with something in the middle that would also be easy/fast(ish) to paint. The look I was ultimately going for was to start out shiny, and darken it up to look very worn as if it had been dirtied bad blacked from a siege. Then to keep it from looking to drab I used a lighter silver to do some subtle edge highlights to make sure it kept the shiny look while also being very drab. On the bases I new I wanted a dirty battlefield look, and I’m quite pleased with the result I got on the bases. Since I was going for quick tabletop ready results I opted to use the water slide decals instead of free hand. My past experiences with them were not good at all, but after more research and a new method I am very pleased with how easy and fast it was to do them.

If you want to know any of the paints, steps, techniques or any other step of the process just let me know and I will be happy to tell you!

Here they are posed with my scratch built terrain.

Painting the noise marine part 2

Well he is coming along slowly (very slowly) but surely.

The hair was very frustrating to see how I wanted to do it, and I will likely regret my methods in the future. But hey, every mini is a learning experience (for me at least). The hair is largely finished ad the point minus some highlighting and shading I want to add. So far the most difficult thing about painting this guy is the fact that I still have no clear vision of what I want yet.

On one hand I want to make this guy as gaudy as possible, while still having a general theme. On the other hand I what to make him a bit more traditional Emperor’s Children looking (but that seems boring to do with this awesome mini). In the end this lack of vision is causing me to leave many areas unattended while putting in details that I know I want to do (which will be hell later on to touch things up), and this in turn makes him look more like a patchwork mess. I may take a break working on him until I can have a more solid idea of what I want to do. So far what I do have any idea about wanting to do is a “Starry Night” type designs on the shoulder pads that I will have as a back ground of any symbols I paint. And on the right leg I want to attempt to get an interesting pattern that is inspired by this

I think if I can get close to this choral look that it will be really cool looking and very reminiscent of the Laer (which is where the Emperor’s Children first encountered Slaanesh). Not really sure how I will do that though.

As for the left leg I what to attempt some free hand where I have painted the area grey and attempt to paint this image of Slaanesh on his leg

then the brown part of the leg I think I will paint leopard print to stick with the more traditional paint scheme seen on this guy and his 1991 counterpart.

If you have may ideas or feed back, I would love to hear from you, and I would very much appreciate any advice or suggestions!