Sunday, September 11, 2011

[Redscorps] Forge World Contemptor Dreadnought - Review

Red Scorpions Contemptor Dreadnought
Hey guys, I'm writing today to from underneath the Mulberry Trees in my front yard on a beautiful spring afternoon with a review of the Forge World Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought.

Being relatively new to Space Marines in 40k and having just finished my first novel from the Black Library I can't really comment on it from a fluff/background stand point but I can give you my opinions as a hobbyist on building and painting the kit.

Lets start out with the build:
Red Scorpions Contemptor Dreadnought WIP
Red Scorpions Contemptor Dreadnought WIP
Red Scorpions Contemptor Dreadnought WIP
First up, WHOA! What a sculpt! Can you remember the first time you saw the published images of these kits?! The Blood Angels one and the Astral Claws one both blew my mind when I saw them, there was no hint of them coming out and I loved just how staunch they look! I knew at that point, when the time was right I just had to have one of these for my Red Scorpions army!

As with all Forge World kits I have had experience with the detail and poseability is second to none but this comes at a price, A low price at least and one worth paying anyway. The mold release on this kit was on pretty thick and a lot harder to get off than most of the stuff I have been working with recently and it required a few scrubs in hot water with detergent to get it all off. It also took a good while to build and pose, not so bad because of the result but I doubt you'd be able to build this kit properly and magnetise it in the space of a few hours. I spent about 5 hours building, pinning and magnetising.

Building the kit is actually pretty straight forward, I over complicated the process a little by going for such a dynamic pose (I wanted him to look like a charging running-back) but you should easily be able to get this done with minimal pinning assuming you have gotten the bulk of the mold release off. Another trick I have worked out for helping joints to bond is to sand the ball and socket (or drill some fresh surface into your socket) then using your sculpting tool or knife scratch a hatch pattern into the surfaces of both. You are increasing the surface area by doing this and adding a bit more area for the glue to bond to.

I figure as well breaking a leg loose will probably be the least of your worries if you drop this kit once it's painted so you don't need to worry so much about pinning everything.

With mine though, having him pushing off the 'toes' of a single foot I drilled a 2mm hole on an angle through the resin base and up into the foot. As a lot more weight is on this leg and the joints I then pinned the foot to the shin, the shin to the knee, both of the upper legs with a single pin through the hips and the hips to the 'abdomen' section. While the weight of the whole model is on one leg, the other leg isn't having an easy time of it either so I did a fair bit of pinning here as well. Due to the raised position I gave it a bit of reinforcement with pins in the ankle, knee and as I mentioned before, the hip.

I then magnetised the Abdomen to the Chest using 2x 5x2mm Neo Magnets so I can alter the pose slightly if I want to fit gun arms in the future and needed a slight re-position.

If you want to magnetise the arms like I did you need the following components per arm:
1x 5x2mm Magnet
4x 2x1mm Magnets
2mm & 5mm Drill bits
Marker Pen

First drill a 5mm hole about 2mm deep on a 45* angle up into the shoulder pad, insert the 5mm magnet after filling the hole with a little CA glue. The easiest way to do this accurately is to drill a pilot hole with your 2mm bit first then enlarge it with your 5mm one. Once the glue has dried, you need to attach your string of 2mm magnets together, then mag them to the 5mm one you have set in the shoulder. Mark the outside end of the string with your pen so you know the polarity, now getting the 2mm bit again, drill a 4mm deep hole into the top of your upper arm section and inserting the marked end first, glue your magnet string into the arm.

Now that's sorted and dried you should be able to get a pretty good bond out of them and have your arms hold in the place you want them. With mine I wanted the arms out so I roughly worked out the angle before I drilled the holes. If you wanted them set in close to the torso for a more conventional 'braced firing stance' you would probably be able to get away with a few less magnets as the bond required to hold the weight of the arm out wouldn't be as strong.

I might mention when talking arms that I pinned mine in pretty much all of the joints for a little extra strength save for those in the fingers as the area is small and I doubt they will take any strain.

On posing your models:

One thing I noticed while I was researching Contemptor builds and waiting for mine to arrive was that a lot of folks have had trouble getting what I deem to be a dynamic yet natural pose with their Contemptors. A lot look like they are falling backwards for some reason and others seem to have an uncomfortable stance with no real definitive pose attached to it (Looking at the GW flickr pool today I see another one posted in the last few days that is sporting fantastic paint but another 'falling over backwards' pose... Oh dear!). There's definitely a lot of scope to make something cool out of it though with the parts you get and the poseability!

I loved the hands on this model. I think that they were probably my favourite bit when building it as they helped to convey the narrative of my chosen pose. On the right arm I had the fingers in a natural shape that a hand would make while relaxed while on the left arm sporting the Heavy Flamer I have them out stretched giving maximum clearance for the bursts of Promethium as he charges into combat.

On this as well, the Heavy Flamer is the focus of my Contemptors 'energy', everything he has is going into torching those Xenos scumbags so I have appropriately angled the chest piece for maximum reach (Think about a boxers punch) and the head to show he's focussing on what he's about to burn to a crisp.

It's probably best you dummy it up with the parts first (some use blu-tac) and see how they go together, see what the ranges of movement are and test out what's possible.

I think your best bet is to research some poses of mechs in combat and/or firing weapons in Anime/Manga, or, look to photographs of athletes and warriors/soldiers to find a pose you like that conveys movement or action.

Painting and Weathering:
Red Scorpions Contemptor Dreadnought
Red Scorpions Contemptor Dreadnought
Red Scorpions Contemptor Dreadnought
For me this is pretty straight forward and if you had seen my article over on the official GW blog the other day there probably isn't much more to say.

If not here are a few basic rules I abide by:
1. Above all, I am a realistic painter. I am not overly creative so everything I paint is as I can see it in real life. My experience working with heavy duty machinery is that unless you have a curved surface, there will be no shadow related colour transitions on a flat panel that you can see. The natural light you view your model in will provide these things for you so elaborate full panel blending is not required in my opinion.
2. After base coating with my primary colour I apply shading to all of the recesses in the form of a black wash. I then go back and highlight all of the upper and outer edges with a fine line-highlight of a lighter colour before applying my damage then adding the detail to the model. After this comes the weathering!
3. The Contemptor is curvy like a sexy lady! So take everything I just said and the simple version I had posted on the GW blog and throw that out the window. That said you don't need to over complicate the process but if you can get hold of an air brush or spray gun and spray a zenithal highlight of your base colour over black(In my case) or whatever your shadow colour will be it speeds everything up a lot and you will get a nice smooth transition over the armour panels where the shadows, mid-tone and highlights are.. Air-brush: Work smart, not hard!
4. Weathering pigments are fantastic, they are easy to use and the results are really worth while. They really get you one step closer to a completed model in my eyes. Start at the feet and work your way up. Imagine areas that would get contact with the terrain and weather to suit. Start out small and you can always add more to get the desired effect. If you start out too heavy it's almost impossible to go back to clean armour again without damaging your paint.

I did paint this model in slightly less than 5hrs (10hrs work total), partly because I'm getting quite efficient at my scheme but also because the kit itself has a lot of room to work with and basically being a big marine/terminator the recipe is not too dissimilar.

So that's about it really! I love this kit, having the options to alter the pose so much means that there is no reason why you can't convey a story with yours as well and get something unique. It's also such a cool sculpt and the rules are pretty solid, there's no reason why every marine player shouldn't get at least one!

Until next time,

Ps Congratulations if you made it through all of that dribble!


  1. Great review. Got to get me one of these.

  2. I can only recommend it. Not to sound like a traveling salesman but you need one, it's such a cool kit!

  3. Awesome job on that model