Cast your mind back to 2015. Suffice to say wherever you were and whatever you were doing there’s a good chance that a lot of things have changed a lot since then, simply through the ups and downs of life rumbling onwards – even without the social and political (not to mention virological!) upheavals that have echoed around the globe. I’ve changed jobs (more than once), moved house three times, dealt with various dramas and tragedies and had some really good times to boot. The one thing that hasn’t changed has been the status of my Chaos Knight – the damn thing still isn’t painted. Last time we saw it, when I was full of big ideas and ambitious chatter, was this time last year. The new Codex: Chaos Knights had been unleashed, along with a rather tasty new kit, and I was full of enthusiasm. Here’s a reminder of how it looked back then.
Enthusiasm however doesn’t get things painted, it helps but you still need to put one end of the brush in the paint and actually get on with it. Simply daydreaming about an army of Knights isn’t enough – we need action! How long the model might have continued to linger in the doldrums is anyone’s guess, but along came Azazel’s Bitz Box with another monthly challenge – the Jewel of July. Azazel’s monthly challenges used to be a major staple of the hobby calendar for a lot of hobbyists but even a painting and blogging machine like him must suffer from mortal fatigue at some point, and until now he’s not been running them this year (although he continues to produce fantastically painted models faster than most of us breath so do take a look at his blog if you’re not already familiar with it). Anyway, this month he’s running a challenge again and I decided I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to give myself a push and get something painted. The rules of the challenge are wonderfully open ended, as usual it’s all about getting things finished, with as little as possible by way of extra rules to hamper that. To quote Azazel himself:
The Jewel of July is about painting (almost) anything you want that you think will be cool, or impressive, or just nice.
It’s for Heroes. Big or small. named or otherwise. A Lieutenant or a Medic or a Warlord Riding a Dragon. An Inquisitor’s aide or a Star Player or a Bounty Hunter.
It’s for Vehicles. A Motorcycle or a Maus. A Starship or a Gaslands Car. A Panzer IV to a Kettenkrad. A Rhino APC or a Konigstiger or a War Rig or a M’ak I. (or M’ak II?)
It’s for the more impressive scenery pieces. A desert oasis or a (ruined?) temple or a bunker complex or a single bunker or a skyscraper or a Ferratonic Incinerator or a Kwik-E-Mart. A forest worth of trees or a jungle worth of plants.
It’s for Monsters. Ogres or Ogors. Dragons, Giants, decent-sized Daemons. Bronze Bulls and Dinosaurs and Great Wight Sharks and Goremaw and Cthulhu.
It’s for Dieties and Demi-gods. Primarchs and Titans. Atlas and Aeres and Abaddon. Horus and Hercules. Venus and Vulkan. Saturn and Sanguinius.
It’s for Mechs and the Mechanicum. Steampunk walkers, Dreadnoughts, Imperial Knights, Warjacks, Tripods, Titans.
It’s for Dioramas and Vignettes. Historical, Fantasy, Sci-Fi. It’s all good. Even better if they also feature something from the above!
So yes. Anything from a USMC Corpsman to a 28mm scale Warlord Titan counts for this coming month’s challenge.
To whit I foolishly opened my big mouth and said something to the effect of “Well in that case I’ll finally paint the Knight”. Now truth be told I might have been a bit of a fool to say that because this is a big model that’s been defeating me for a hell of a long time and July looks set to be the busiest month of the year so far for me workwise. Enthusiasm, determination and kind words from people here will help but won’t change the fact that I’m going to be flat out for the next few weeks with long hours, early mornings and late nights hauling around on mountaintops as we try to catch up on projects that were held back by the Covid-19 lockdown.
Anyway, before we embrace my inevitable failure, let’s take a look at what exactly I have managed to achieve so far. First of all, the legs. These are pretty much done actually, I might add a bit here and there as I go on with the rest of the model but basically the entire lower half of the knight is finished. In some ways this means I’m off to a great start, in other ways however there’s a lot less complexity here as opposed to the torso, arms and head, and yet it still took me half a decade.
Speaking of the torso I have managed to get some work done on it too. It’s not done by a long way but some ground has been broken at least.
Finally we have the model’s left arm. Last time I wrote about this I said:
The biggest job of all is the left arm, which looks as though it will need to be sculpted in part, probably my most ambitious use of green stuff yet and potentially almost a project in its own right.
As it turns out it wasn’t as difficult as I’d thought, although a lot of fiddling around and dry-fitting happened first. In order to end up with something I could actually achieve, rather than simply imagine, I simplified the original concept and as a result the greenstuff work ended up being mainly about filling in the gaps on the inside of the arm. Again there may well be more tweaks ahead but this should at least give you an idea of where things are heading.
I’ve been making a lot of false promises about this model for a long time and I don’t want this to be another case of me saying “It’ll be done soon, promise!” only for 6, 12 or 24 months to pass without any progress at all. I’m really determined to get him done, and I’m well aware that those words probably sound a little bit hollow by this point, but I’ll give it my best and even if I don’t see him completed in July I’d like to see him wrapped up not long after. I’ll see what I can do though, so watch this space, cross your fingers and prepare your bitingly sarcastic comment for when I post that “one of the arms is almost done” in 2028…