Adeptus Titanicus: Legio Fureans Warlord Titan Hobby GuideSeptember 28, 2018
Just last month I had the pleasure of writing my initial impressions of the Adeptus Titanicus Grand Master Edition box set. Since then, I’ve been working hard to paint up the set’s two massive Warlord Titans and six Questoris Knights and I’m pleased for the opportunity to write a partial tutorial on these excellent kits.
I say “partial” because what follows is essentially an addendum to Warhammer TV’s excellent video, “Adeptus Titanicus – How to Paint: Legio Gryphonicus Warlord Battle Titan.” Games Workshop studio painter, Duncan Rhodes, presents a clear and extremely helpful guide to painting up a Warlord Titan, and his instructions provide the bedrock of my own efforts. I recommend watching the video in full before attempting to follow my instructions. All of the techniques that follow are equally applicable to the Knights, though my focus here is on the Warlord. I hope my own notes help illuminate some tips and tricks I found while assembling the first half of the kits as well as giving you a first-hand look at my disgusting hobby desk.
As a general note, all paints in this guide are from the Citadel line unless specifically noted otherwise.
Paint Scheme – Titan
My first point of deviation from the video is, of course, my choice of Legio. Where Duncan is painting a loyal titan of the stalwart Legio Gryphonicus, I’ve chosen to paint my army in the baroque livery of the traitorous Legio Fureans. The Fureans have been around since the beginning of time in the first edition of Adeptus Titanicus and I’ve wanted to paint their sinister black-on-yellow flames since the early 90s. My hobby skills were nowhere up to the task back then, but with the release of the new game I knew where my loyalties would lay and they’d offer a chance to push my hobby skills with airbrush techniques and stencils for the flames. Even better, it turned out that Legio Fureans is one of the Legios receiving official waterslide transfers in the kits!
Paint Scheme – Knights
The vassal Knight Household, Raja, will accompany my Titans. They recently received a light ret-con in this August’s edition of White Dwarf Magazine. No longer are they painted in a “ghost grey” but in a yellow and black scheme matching that of Legio Fureans. While Knight Houses typically bear their own livery distinct from any Titan Legion they may accompany, I like to imagine that Raja has been either totally subjugated or grown fanatically loyal to the Legion. A notable distinctive element of their scheme being that their flames are yellow on black, reversing those of the Titans. I was initially interested in painting a different scheme but ultimately decided it would be a good opportunity to try out the potentially tricky yellow scheme before working on a centerpiece Titan model.
With paint schemes set, it’s time to dive in.
Early Assembly and First Steps
I recommend beginning with Duncan’s general plan of building the Titan’s skeleton and spray-painting it with Leadbelcher, or the dark silver spray of your choice. It’s also best to leave the titan’s legs and torso separate for ease of painting. You can use Blu-Tack to mock up your poses. I also chose to assemble the Titan’s arms, head, and missile launchers at this point.
The Warlord was also designed for use with 5x1mm rare earth magnets. When additional weapon kits are released they’ll be modular, so a modicum of effort and some cheap magnets will let you swap weapons to your hearts desire. Wells are built in at all four weapon points (the upper arms and the pegs that hold the Apocalypse Missile Launchers. I ordered 50 off Amazon. Just make sure you’ve got the polarities correctly chosen and pop them in the wells with a little super glue. Make sure you let the glue completely dry over night before testing them, though, or you risk them being pulled from their positions.
This is also a good time to drill your titan’s feet for pinning to the base. I just use my pin vice to drill a couple of holes in the titan’s feet. I don’t actually put the pins in at this point as it’s easier to have the leg sub-assembly able to stand free during painting, we’ll get back to this later.
I also assembled the Knights at this juncture and sprayed them along with the Titan to save time. The Knights are perhaps overly complex to assemble, but they do have the benefit of allowing you to build their whole skeletons separate from their carapaces, permitting you to paint those separately. I went through the video’s steps of spraying, washing with Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade, and then drybrushing with Necron Compound all at once for both the Knights and the Titan’s skeleton.
An important note here regarding the Titan’s Volcano Cannon arms: the kit is cleverly engineered to make the weapons fully articulate after assembly. However, if you aren’t careful to rotate the joints every time you paint those areas, they’ll get gummed up and locked in place. Whenever you paint or wash these joints make sure you wiggle them a few times as the paint’s drying if you want to retain the articulation.
While waiting for the washes to dry, I took the opportunity to knock out my bases. This is another point of divergence from the video. I prefer to paint my models off-base and then attach them later to avoid having to touch up either model or base. I knew I wanted a blasted, urban environment for this army, so I began by modelling a couple of craters on the Titan’s base with Formula P3 modeling putty (this step was actually done before anything else to allow the putty to cure over night).
Next, I chopped up a couple of spare pieces from the building kits to create some ruins. I then used super glue to add a few patches of basing sand in two different grades (fine and very fine) to the base, let it all dry overnight, and then spray primed them all black. Once the primer was dry, I slathered Astrogranite texture paint liberally over the entire bases and let it cure over night.
With the robots washed and drybrushed, the next step is to begin the laborious process of basecoating all the metal trim on the assembled pieces. Note that I have left the vast majority of the Warlord’s armor panels on-sprue. We’ll get to these later. I used Balthazar Gold as my accent metal base. It’s more of a deep bronze than a true gold and provides great coverage. Take your time here to pick out all the trim but don’t worry too much about mistakes. You’ll either be hitting a spot that’s going to get a bright yellow later or some other metal area that is easy to clean up at this stage.
Next, it’s time to finish the bases. Give them a liberal wash of Nuln Oil, and once it’s dry, drybrush them with a single coat of Dawnstone, and then a much lighter drybrush of Ushabti Bone to create a little visual interest. The ruins can be painted with a base of Mechanicus Standard Grey, then highlighted with Administratum Grey, and given a final very light drybrush of Ushabti Bone at the extreme edges.
With these steps complete, it’s time to dive into the nearly 30 armored panels on this kit. Begin by spray priming them a flat grey. Yellow is notoriously difficult to paint over black primer but white primer could be used for a more vibrant yellow. Once your primer is cured, choose any panels you may want to paint black and cover them up with masking tape.
The next step is to get out your trusty airbrush and lay down a solid coat of Averland Sunset. On my first titan I used standard Averland Sunset thinned with a flow-medium, but snagged a bottle of Averland Sunset Air. This did save me a lot of trouble but resulted in my titan being a touch darker than the first when completed.
Once your primer is dry, apply a wash of Cassandora Yellow to all the panels. If you’re planning to have a “factory-fresh” Titan take the time to make sure the coat is very thin and doesn’t pool anywhere but the deepest recesses of the panels. If you’re planning to weather the hell out of your robot like I did, don’t worry too much about a few darker spots here and there, they’ll add to the ultimate effect.
With the yellow wash totally dry, it’s time to get out your airbrush again and apply a light highlight of Yriel Yellow to the panels. Try and hit only the most raised areas to avoid obliterating all of your washes but again, don’t worry too much. Yriel Yellow is a very weak pigment that won’t overcome your wash if applied with a light hand.
Once your highlight is dried, it’s time to do a little fine edge highlighting on places where panels meet with Dorn Yellow. It’s going to look like a really stark highlight but don’t worry, you want it to look a little extreme at this stage, we’ll take it down a bit afterwards.
Your highlights complete, simply glaze the entire panels with Lamenter’s Yellow. This is a glaze, not a wash, so a very light coat is all that’s needed and you should avoid letting it pool at all. The glaze is going to take the edge off the Dorn Yellow highlight and marry all of our yellows together. With this, the yellows are more or less completed!
This is where things get tricky. I knew I didn’t want to do all of the iconic black flames with my abysmal freehand drawing skills, so I went looking for airbrush stencils. After some research I chose the HD-22 Hot Rod Flames from Anarchy Models. These are tacky, semi-reusable stencils that are perfect for this sized model. I’d never used stencils before so I learned several lessons to pass along.
First and foremost, a stencil is not a timesaving device. If anything, freehanding this kind of design is probably a lot faster. What you’re really getting from the use of stencils is a crisp and consistent design that would be very difficult for anyone without exceptional freehand skills. To achieve this, you need to take your time.
At this point, you should select the panels which will be stenciled and clip them from their sprues. Choose the stencil size you want to use and carefully position it on a panel. I recommend the second largest stencil in the set for the bulk of the panels but switch to the smallest for small panels like the two attached to the Warlord’s chassis.
Once you have the stencil position, firmly press it into place. It needs to have as complete of a seal as possible. Any errors here will result in black paint leaking under the stencil and making a real mess. Given all of the textures on some of the panels, a little of this is inevitable but careful application will minimize the amount of clean up you do later.
With the stencil applied, use masking tape to cover any parts of the panel not covered by the stencil.
Next, simply fill your airbrush with thinned Abbadon Black and lightly apply it to the stenciled panel in 2-3 thin coats. It’s very important to use thin coats here. Flooding the stenciled area with too much paint will result in seepage and a lot of clean up later. It’s also critical that you wait until the paint both on the panel and on the stencil itself have completely dried before removing the stencil. The whole process of stenciling a single panel takes roughly 15 minutes. Don’t get impatient, trust me; you will regret it when you have to repaint a whole panel’s yellows from scratch.
Stencils complete, it’s time for the most time-consuming part of this paint job; painting all the metal trim on the panels still on sprue. If you’re following this guide you’ve already done the base coated Balthazar Gold on the weapons, head, etc. This was a tactical move because it means you will crave death slightly less then doing them all together with the panels! Put on a podcast or a couple of very long movies where people mostly talk to each other; you’re going to be at this a while.
This process is simple, but there is a LOT of trim and you need to do your best to avoid getting gold from the trim onto all your lovely black and yellow panels. A little is bound to happen, but don’t worry too much about it. Either clean it up by hand with your yellows in the same order you painted them, or if it’s in a spot you think you’re going to weather later just ignore it for now. Also, don’t forget to follow this formula on the Balthazar Gold you already applied to the weapons and head.
With all of that said, all there is to this step is applying the following paints to all of the trim:
- Basecoat: Balthazar Gold
- Wash: Agrax Earthshade (make sure to get a nice line of this in the recesses where the trim meets the panels)
- Highlight: Gehenna’s Gold
- Edge highlight: Formula P3 Brass Balls (hit only the hardest edges and highest raised portions of the trim and ornamentation)
You should now have a nice bright and bold brass trim. Celebrate by drinking a beer, taking a nap, or petting a cat, because the lion’s share of work on this model is done!
You’re about to start assembling the various subassemblies, so this is a good opportunity to complete the pinning we started earlier. Begin by making a final decision about how the Warlord will be positioned on the base. Snip off two small pieces of a heavy paper clip and super glue them into the holes we drilled in the titan’s feet earlier. Once they’re dry, find the most eye-bleeding shade of paint you have at hand and put a big wet dollop on each of the two pins. I used Moot Green for this but it doesn’t matter as long as you’ll see this color easily against the dark gray of the base.
Now, quickly, before those dots of paint dry, press the pins against the base where you want the model to stand, leaving matching dots of paint.
At this stage, take your pin vice and use the guide-dots to drill two matching holes. Carefully align the pins with the holes and gently slide them in until the feet are firmly against the base. Likely your pins will extrude below the base’s rim, so use your clipper to trim them down nearly flush with the interior roof of the model’s base. Hit both pins with a dab of glue. You could add a tiny piece of modeling putty to be sure of a really solid join.
Now, pull out the assembly instructions you have probably totally forgotten about by now and begin the process of attaching all of your panels to the torso and chassis. You can glue the torso to the legs at this juncture, if you like, but you may want to keep them separate to finalize your pose after all the panels are attached and your Warlord looks less like a wet cat.
Just clip off each panel, one-by-one as you apply them. If you do it carefully, you’ll only destroy a tiny bit of gold trim in the process.
The kit has been engineered so that the vast majority of these sprue-joins are invisible once the panels are attached, so just hit those spots with a dab of Balthazar Gold and let it dry for a few minutes before attaching the panel. If it’s in a spot that’s going to be visible, you can go through the whole gold-to-brash process described earlier but I found this was hardly ever required.
With all the panels attached, it’s time for final detailing.
I wanted a little bit of a contrast color somewhere on the model to break up the monotony of the main scheme so I painted the tips racked missiles in the launchers with Fenrisian Grey and a tiny highlight of Blue Horror.
I picked out the cables on this Warlord’s head with Abaddon Black, and highlighted them with Dark Reaper. I also brightened up the silvers on and around its face with highlights of Ironbreaker and Runefang Silver to make it really pop. I finally dotted each of its tiny lenses with Runefang Silver and then two coats of Waystone Green.
If you haven’t already finished assembling the torso and legs, now’s the time to do it and now we’re on to applying the transfers. This is an intimidating step for some people but I’ve learned a few tricks to making it relatively painless. It all comes down to a sharp hobby blade and two bottles of cheap and life-changing chemicals; MicroSet and MicroSol.
Choose which transfers are going where and get out a fresh hobby blade (seriously, don’t mess around with a dull blade here). Cut out your first transfer and set it in a shallow dish of water to separate it from its backing sheet. Then, using clean water and a clean brush, swab the area where it will be applied with MicroSet.
With the same brush, apply the transfer to the model and carefully position it.
You can now apply the rest of your transfers, one-by-one, using the same process. Be careful not to flood any of the transfers with too much water or Micro-Set or they’ll move out of position.
Once all of the transfers have dried, swab each of them in turn with Micro-Sol. This second chemical softens the transfers, making them flush with the surfaces on which they’re applied.
Let them dry and you’re ready to add weathering effects if you want. Just follow Duncan’s techniques in the video and you’re all done. Hooray, you did it; you’re a giant nerd who spent about 30 hours painting a Warlord Titan!
I’ll be returning to this three-part series of articles in the late autumn to report on my upcoming full game of Adeptus Titanicus. In the meantime, I’ve got a Reaver Titan to paint…