Painting a Strike Cruiser

I painted a Strike Cruiser, then I wished I had brought a 3D printed version of one on Shapeways.

After finishing my latest batch of Imperial Fists models I decided to see if I could use the skills on painting yellow marines to knock up a Battlefleet Gothic Space Marine Strike Cruiser. I can’t remember the exact reason but I found myself several drinks deep on my sofa browsing eBay for the models in question, the kit has been out of production for a while so the prices were inflated, however I found a group of three mint in box for £30. I immediately brought two sets of them while planning to sell on the remainder to make a profit. Oh how I gnashed my teeth when I realised that the listing was for 1 of 3 packs instead. After realising I was sitting on the most expensive Strike Cruiser models you could buy I resolved to get rid of one of them on eBay while making the best job of putting the remaining one together. Damn Tequila.

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This lead to my second uncomfortable discovery, while the plastics for BFG were amazing and hold up really well today, the metal models had major problems with them. The white metal Repulsive class Chaos Grand Cruiser, the second Imperial Fleet and the Adeptus Mechanicus fleet had severe casting issues which can be read about here and lead to them being quickly discontinued. The Space Marine Battle Barge (worse name ever) seems to have been unaffected, however the Strike Cruiser has some issues with its antenna being swept back and the blocky construction of it getting distorted in the mould, my first paint job and wash showed these issues up in vivid detail.

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I also found how horribly badly balanced the model is, first of all the plastic base didn’t fit snug inside the model and had to be trimmed down and filled out with green stuff to create a decent fit and even then the model would tilt forward. Even worse was that this would then overbalance the heavy model which lead to it smacking into the ground at a surprising force as the first suggestion of a light breeze.

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This wasn’t what I wanted in a model I had paid £30 for so I set about fixing it up, first by taking an army painter plastic drybrush and some brush cleaner to it which stripped the paint off in short order. This lead to an interesting series of events where the manager of my local Hobbycraft ID-ed me for buying paintbrush cleaner as presumably he took me for a glue fiend. After the model was cleaned the engines and gun barrels were drilled out and the mould lines that I had exposed with my wash were filed down.

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The warped parts of the model had to be removed so off came the main antenna which was replaced with Scions binoculars which sadly didn’t fit the look of a ship of war and were then replaced with some of the spare plastic antennas that came with the old plastic BFG ships. The same fate was in store for some of the side arrays as well.

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Next on the list was fixing the balance issue, this involved drilling a new hole for the base in a more central location in the bottom of the ship closer to its center of gravity. Take make doubly sure I reduced the height of the stand so it wasn’t liable to getting caught on anyone’s sleeves as they reached over the table, the top of which was drilled out and 5mm of paperclip inserted to interface with the ship a bit better. I also replaced the standard flying base with a raised 40mm one that gave it significantly more stability before finishing it off with a plastic title scroll from the Rhino kit to enable me to freehand or use a decal to add a flashy name to the model.

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The result was much more pleasing to look at and stable enough to never fall over. The reduction in antenna size was enough to give it a more menacing look as a fast but sturdy ship.

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Painting was the next part and after the basecoat of Daemonic Yellow from an Army Painter spray it got a light coat of Yriel Yellow, I didn’t want to conceal the detail of the eagle on the prow as well as other parts so I pinwashed Agrax Earthshade into all relevant recesses before giving it several more light coats of Yriel Yellow.

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After a long rest to regain the will to continue I completed the black areas with Abaddon Black all the way up to Ushabti Bone with a final purple glaze over it as I’d been looking at Jakob Rune Nielsens tutorials lately.

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The freehand Imperial Fists logo was added after I realised it was too small to use a transfer. There is no trick to this, I used a size 0 Winsor and Newton brush and practised on my pallet several times. Just pick out the basic shapes and block it out with more black and white paint and you’re done.

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