Hobby Corner: The Judicator

I get asked about my Judicator quite a bit, and luckily back when I originally worked on him I took a good handful of pictures so I thought I would just go over exactly how I got him built up.

The Judicator we.... wish we had.

When I originally assembled my Judicator, I had the thought that he would be really awesome if I could work out some kind of representation of the sweet rockets that he regularly misses with, firing off into the air. It was a bit of an experiment, as I hadn't really done anything like that before, but had a good thought and decided to just go for it. Further, I'll go over a little of how I did the paint job on him and his basing.

The tools I needed for this project were:

A dremel with a very thin drill bit.

A set of small brass rods, exact width doesn't really matter but I got some sturdy ones.

Green foliage flocking from a local hobby train store, supposed to be for bushes and stuff I believe.

Glue

That's really it, this is actually a pretty simple thing to do if you want to try something similar on any of your models. I don't have any before pictures exactly, but here's how you get to the first picture:

The dremel was used to drill into the spot typically covered by the rocket pod covers. I decided to just do the outside of each set of pods, since trying to put six rockets coming out the front would just be way too busy. Then, I cut six lengths of brass rod, of three different lengths. Two were longer, two medium length, two shorter. This was to give the impression they didn't all fire at exactly the same time, and just makes the whole thing look a little more dynamic.

Once the holes were deep enough I felt they'd hold, I put a dot of glue over the hole and pushed the brass rod through. This shoved the glue into the drilled hole and allowed it to set throughout, locking the rod in place solid (that was certainly a paragraph...)

In the end, we had this:

I spent a lot of time researching good ways to do smoke trails on miniatures, lots of images of jet packs or ships flying and whatnot. In the end I settled on one that would make a good, thin trail, as the rockets were intended to move quite fast, and that's green foliage flocking. Application here was simple: apply glue to rod, stick patch of fluffy green stuff on.

The ends are of course the caps for the rocket pods that come with the Judicator; up close, if you know what they are, it's maybe a little bit silly but I think just looking at it, it works just fine. The flocking takes a while to work with, though, as you tend to end up with fluffy bits coming off of it for some time; this sat like this for a fair while with me picking at it and putting more glue on patches that were loose, until it was pretty solid. The black spray primer I put over it did help harden it just a little bit; in hindsight I probably could have put a dullcote varnish over it to harden it more but... well, hindsight.

From here, the physical effect is basically done. I primed it black in the meantime, as I wasn't going to get around to painting it for a while and didn't want it to just have this green crap coming out the front. 

Now, we jump forward the better part of a year when I actually decide it's time to put some paint on this guy. I found an Amon Ad-Raza list I wanted to try it out with and figured that was as good a reason to finally paint it up as any. My Protectorate scheme has been somewhat in flux for a while, but I've largely settled on a red and gold kind of deal. Once that was done, I'd also have to figure out the best way to paint the rocket trails to make it look right.

I started off by doing the main armor plates in Skorne Red, the main color I've been using on my Protectorate for a while. 

Wasn't too worried about getting red on the details since that all would be painted over anyway. Busted out the big brush for this one. A few more parts, like the feet and top piece in the center there, did get painted red after these pictures but... you get the idea.

At this point I hadn't decided if the trim would be silver or gold, but either way this step was going to be the correct next one: the metallic trim was all painted in one of my favorite P3 paint colors, Ironhull Grey. This is a great basis for the way I do most of my metallics.

The gold then became a two step process. First I did a light dry brush of Quick Silver over all the grey. Then, once that had thoroughly dried, did a very light dry brush of Brass Balls over the same areas. A technique similar to this is seen in Dallas Kemp's video where he does the metallic bronzes on his Castigator, and is more or less what I followed (typically I'd have just gone straight to the Brass brushing, but the silver before hand gives it a bit of a rougher metal feel.) 

The areas left black on the back and arms were then dry brushed with Quick Silver fairly heavily. There's better ways to do that metallic, but I liked its roughness as I enjoy quite a rough, iron-like look to a lot of my Protectorate metallics. I've always liked the idea that they use these very cleanly painted plates to try and hide the fact that their construction is quite rough and harsh in design, born from a world of harsh sun and sands, rather than one of plenty.

The reds then all got a very subtle highlighting. In the couple of months since I did this project I've learned a ton more about effective highlighting, but for this I just went with some simple lines... I believe in Khador Red Highlight, but really any really light red works fine. If I was redoing this, I'd do it a lot more effectively.

The designs on the shoulders were done in Morrow White, just a lot of layers, well thinned so it didn't end up chalky, pushed up to a really bright white. I think that part is one of the most important on the model, as even though the red is fairly bright, the extreme white catches the eye a bit and breaks up to the overall just two-tone look of the whole model.

Lastly was the rocket pods. This ended up being ridiculously simpler than I expected. I decided to start with a couple of just heavy colors to get it started, then decide how to blend it beyond that point. The entire rocket trail was painted Ironhull Grey. Then I spent about an hour staring at images of real life missile launchers, trying to figure out exactly how the colors play out. In the end, the last third or so of each rocket trail was done in Rucksack Tan, which is a tan with quite a bit of orange to it. Then the last fifth or so was covered over with Menoth White Highlight. Then... they were done. I thought I would be doing a lot more to make it all work but honestly, the effect came out perfectly and it looks phenomenal from a tabletop distance, especially. In the end, I had a great army centerpiece that I'm quite proud of and love putting on the table... regardless of how its rules actually play out.

Another little touch I put on the rocket pods was just running some black out behind where they've fired from. The blast would leave some soot on the model, so just took a bit of a Vallejo Black Grey and roughly smeared some on behind the rocket trails over the red.

Of course... I had to base it. I went with a technique I've been using for a long time, simple and easy. I have a bunch of sheets of cork, which I broke into organic, rocky looking shapes, using a marker to work out where everything would sit and where the Judicator would stand. Once it was all glued together, I grabbed some hobby sand and small rocks and used that to fill in some of the harder lines in a way that made sense for it being sort of a rocky outcropping. Then the entire thing was hand painted Ironhull Grey (I own an airbrush now, this would have been way easier that way), and the flat areas and hard edges drybrushed Menoth White Base. Then all the edge got a sharp dry brush of Menoth White Highlight. This is a fairly basic 'rocky' look I've been doing for a long time, it's very simple to do and looks pretty good in my opinion. Then some little grass tufts were placed strategically around and... voila! The finished product!

Kind of down and dirty and based on pictures I had taken at the time, so apologies for the little gaps in the progress. This project spanned over nearly a year of a few different sittings so had to kind of remember how I worked on everything. In the end, it's my centerpiece to my army and boy do I love it so, enough that I shove it into lists it doesn't really have a great place in (read: most lists.) Anything I can do to justify putting my big red robot on the table makes me happy.

I've been asked about this model a lot, so there it is!