Colour by MajesticChicken

Hey everyone this is a first for Rant. Im branching out into hobby interviews and Guest articles that I feel will be helpful/of interest to any DE and Eldar players out there.
I actually contacted BDub not long after he put his submission up on BoLS, I was so taken with it I signed up there and then to contacted the man himself in order to discuss the possibility of having him come over and have a talk about himself as a hobbyist and of course to spill the beans on that rather epic conversion.  
Im sure all of you, like myself are chomping at the bit to have some for your kabal.
Needless to say, some Emails flew back and forth we chatted online a bit, then BDub won the competition, the fruits of which you can now read about here
For ease of reading my questions start in a purple word, BDubs responses with red
Ok, So you go by the name BDub online, does that have any significance or is it just something you made up because all the names you wanted were used ?
BDub is short for B.W. my initials. It tends to be easy for people to remember and is usually available. Its basically a nickname based on my grandfathers name, which was T.W. (no one new what that stood for if anything, not even my grandmother). My grandmother always called him TDub for         short.
You are an artist by trade, does that cross over /help with your hobby, do they feed into each other in any way? 
To some degree, yes.  I do 3d character and texture map painting which has a lot of applicable theory when it comes to painting miniatures – Particularly when rendering specific materials and painting in lighting.  Ironically it has only recently dawned on me to apply what I do for a living to my hobby.  This is probably because I started the hobby when I was a teenager and only pursued it on and off – (mostly off) once I started my career. So when I started getting more active in my hobby a few years ago, it took the light a while to come on.  I am only scratching the surface on the synergies between the two, so far.
I suppose the most obvious question Is, how did you find your way into the hobby ?
When I was a teenager a friend of mine gave me some horribly abused D&D miniatures that came in a box – Grenadier Models I believe.  They had been roughly handled and a haphazard attempt had been made to paint them.  I striped them down and painted them with Testors enamels I had left from some model car project or other.  I did this a couple of times because they were almost as horrible looking as when I received them.  Eventually I gave up but not before I discovered a couple of Citadel blisters at a local book/game store.  I bought these and someone said they read somewhere I should be using acrylics as they were more manageable. I purchased some paint and a decent brush and took to it.  By the time I was in high school, two things happened, 1) Rogue Trader came out and I flipped!, and 2) I had gotten good enough at painting that I was asked by a group called Dabblers Inc. to paint models on commission that they could then sell at conventions.  Back then the standards for quality were much lower than now and I didn’t make much money at all – the real reason I did it was that it allowed me to purchase my own models at their wholesale rate!
Are you more painter than gamer, game to paint /paint to game ? how long and what systems are you playing /working on ? favorite things,
Simply put, yes, I am more painter than gamer. I like to play, but am rarely prepared.  I tend to paint what grabs my fancy. The last time I played seriously was 3rd Ed. I had two armies – a Saim Hann Wild Riders army that used the Craftworld Codex and a Ravenwing army.  I guess I like mobility! I also liked the look of 48 jetbikes on the table at once!  I lived in San Fransisco at the time and when I moved back to Texas I sold the armies and all my scenery  rather than transport them.  These days I am interested in Orks (and trucks!) and I will likely take a stab at Grey Knights when they come out.  I am a huge fan of their fluff.
What inspires you, Music, Film, Art ? please elaborate a bit about yourself and how that ties into the hobby if it feeds into your social life at all.
As far as influences, I am an avid reader and music listener. I read sci-fi and listen to metal mostly.  I am also a big history buff, particularly ancient and medieval.  I think I got sucked into that as a child living in Malta – I was constantly surrounded by history there and I guess it seeped in.  I am also a huge fan or art, production art mostly, be it movies video games or whatever.  I like seeing other artist interpretations of things and how they solve visual problems both technically and aesthetically.
What do you listen to if anything when you work ?
Like I said before, mostly metal, but I am all over the place as the mood strikes.  I get on kicks where I will listen to nothing but one band after buying their entire catalog until I am either sick of them of have completely internalized their music.  Right now that band is High on Fire – I don’t see myself getting sick of them….ever.
What are you running now and why ? care to share any plans ?
I’m dabbling in Orks but looking forwards to Grey Knights.  Someday I will rebuild my Wild Riders  if we ever see a new Eldar Codex. Seeing what they did for the DE Reavers made me excited to see Eldar Jetbikes back on the field.
As this is an Eldar blog your thoughts on how your hobby relates to Eldar and Dark Eldar if at all is obviously of interest.
I have always loved the Eldar aesthetic as well as the idea of a fast and deadly force. I am also a big fan of a strong theme in an army, which is why I loved the Craftworld Codex so much (and probably why I dislike the latest Chaos Marine Codex (too homogenized). Also being an artist I really am attracted to well designed and executed miniatures.  Which is the reason I never had a DE army.  I loved the fluff, but the miniatures offended my artistic sensibilities profoundly, so I never built an army of them.  Its all I can do to resist the impulse to build one now.  I suppose I am waiting for all of the bandwagoneers to abandon them so I can pick up some models cheap – perhaps next summer.
Im sure Everyone has lots of questions about your venom project: 
Firstly, It would be wonderful if you could give us an insight into how you built it, parts list, process, your thoughts, essentially a how-to guide, alot of people that follow this blog will be very grateful for that sort of feedback. 
Unfortunately there are no process pictures of this project.  It took so much trial and error that I wouldn’t have known which ideas I would keep and which I would abandon.  I am entertaining the idea of making another one to document this procedure.  I think if I were to do another one, and having settled on a design, it would be much easier to do.
Basically I use a Raider kit, a Vyper kit, and two splinter rifle pods from the Reavers kit. I had purchased some Reavers on a lark, because I really love there design, and I had plenty of Vypers on hand from back in my Eldar days.  After looking over other peoples designs and reading the description of the Venom a couple of times, I decided I needed a Raider kit.  From the very start I had wanted my design to look at home sitting on the table next to a new Raider or Ravager. So even if I didn’t end up using the Raider kit (not likely) It would be important to have one on hand to copy its lines and shapes.
I have been actively trying to push myself into participating in more contests, both to challenge myself, and to get me more involved in the community. This seemed like a great combination challenge – conversion and painting.  And while I feel like my painting is somewhat weak, I love a good kit bash and felt I would have a good chance to come out strong in this category.
Did you honestly just chop a raider in half ? would the other half be suitable for a second vyper ? was it expensive to make ? the underside in particular has me intrigued as the conversion is very seamless, would love to know how that was achieved.
Obviously the back is actually the front of a raider, where/how was that engine done ? I think its my fave part of the model, I actually thought it was just taken from an eldar falcon chassis, but on closer inspection its not, again I would love some detail on that.
Short answer…Yes.  And I was a nervous wreck when I did it.  I didn’t relish the idea of messing up and having to shell out money for another kit, but I had come to the conclusion that the best bet for the design was to cannibalize the front of the Raider. I knew that most designs for the venom I had heard of people doing fell into one of two categories, a) they just glued Raider or Reaver bits to a Vyper, or b) they used the obvious portion of the Raider, the back, to make Venom’s passenger section.  I wanted to avoid this for a few reasons. With the first I felt it was two easy and very hard to disguise the Vypers lines or make them match that of the Dark Eldar. With the second, after having a Raider kit on hand to dry fit ideas I quickly realized that using the back end would make the Venom overly wide bottomed in appearance.  I wanted mine to match the Raider but not to compete with its dimensions and silhouette.  Also, The Raider’s engine arrangement is too complicated and overpowering for a smaller craft like the Venom, so I would be wanting to scale that down, perhaps even scratch building a new engine – Luckily I found a solution for all of that.  I used the front of the Raider spun round.
First, I took a guess  as to were I would need to cut the Raider.  It would be important to make the Venom shorter than the Raider since it would be narrower as well. After I had the front half cut loos and the top glued to the bottom I began looking at options for the engine.  I settled on cutting the intake and engine nozzle loose form the bottom back half of the Raider.  I cleaned this up and glued the other half of the nozzle to the loose engine and began dry-fitting this to the front bottom half of the Raider.  I found that the engine nozzle lined up beautifully with the cut-out for the shock prow.  All that needed to be done was to cut down into the bottom of the Raider a place to seat the engine.  This took some work and I was least happy with this part of the project as it is somewhat crude and not particularly clean because of the difficulty in cutting a smooth line through the ribbing on the underside of the ship. Once done I test fitted this with the Vyper font to get a sense for the lines I was getting and was very pleased with the silhouette that I had, in particular the sloping lines from the handrails angled down nicely giving a very exotic and fast looking appearance.
While fitting the Vyper pilot seat into the Raider portion I noticed that the Bottom of the Vyper had the same ribbing that all the Eldar and Dark Eldar vehicle have and this was an opportunity to use that to tie the two together almost seamlessly.I cut and squared the bottom f the Vyper to sit flush with the ribbing on the Raider half.  This necessitated carving a recessed semi circle out of the decorative floor of the raider and filing down the Vyper around the pilot seat to match that shape.  Had I started with a Vyper that wasn’t glued together in this area I would have left/cut off those portions and slotted the seat directly into the Raider floor for a cleaner fit. The other issue to resolve was the weapon locations.  I used the shuriken catapult bit of the Vyper as the base since it already fit there.  Using the blast shield from the Raider’s dark lance I fashioned a skid plate that echoed the shape of the nose-cowel of the Venom and used this to integrate the main weapon (splinter cannon) into the center of the nose.  I cut down the shuriken catapults til they were just little ammo bins fitted next to the new skid-plate. Since I didn’t have a shuriken cannon, I had to reshape the end of the dark lance from the Raider kit. The Splinter Rifles are from the Reavers and are filled and shaped to fit on the bottom front of the Raider portion. 
The canopy is almost unrecognizable as a vyper cowling , was it hard to do ? you have given me many ideas for my own hatchet venom with this, obviously mine will deviate from this somewhat as I have my own ideas, but I would like to understand how this was achieved before I consider messing with it ;o)
This was perhaps the easiest part of the conversion.  I simply took cues from the Reaver Jetbike cowls, noting hoe they had a squared-off spine running down the top center, and ovoid cutouts with an almost blade like appearance.  To do this with the Vyper canopy the first thing that had to go was the roll bar portion that seated to the back half of the canopy glass over the drivers head.  I cut it loose following the natural curve where the roll bar intersects the rest of the cowling – this gives a sort of bat-wing edge to the cowl almost immediately and streamlines the whole look. From here I cut two ovoid shapes in the location of the small vent like structure at the bottom center edge of the Vyper cowl.  This let me get rid of that obviously Eldar feature and made the cutting easier to do.  Next I glued a strip of square styrene rod down the center of the cowl leaving a portion extended past the front lip of the cowl. Later I would shape this with a file to taper it a pit. Next I used green stuff to fill in and level out the depressions in the cowl caused by the double-bubble design of the Vyper cowl.  This I feel is absolutely necessary to kill the distinctly Eldar look of the canopy.  After letting the green stuff set up over night I filed this smooth with emory sticks flush with the edge of the styrene rod.  The result is a smooth, aggressive shape that looks faster and deadlier than the Vyper’s and echoing the Reaver’s own lines.
I Love the gritty paint scheme you have achieved, would you mind breaking down the process for that for us ? At a guess I would say its built up from a spray undercoat of some sort of red (mechrite) , then stippled upto blood red ?  then a careful drybrush of the metal to give the worn look with hand highlights on the sharper edges ?
This was a straight forward technique I developed when doing Ork Def Koptas and Truks. The conversion took so long that I was only going to have 2 days to paint this up, so i settled on something I knew I could do in time and it also fell in line nicely with the fluff I had in mind for the hypothetical army this Venom belonged to.  Here is the fluff I sent in with my submission.
Jagged – The 3rd Venom of 10 in the pirate fleet of Duke Sepsis.  Know for hiding in asteroid fields and spacehulk debris for unwary passers by, or raiding the bowels of Hive Cities, all ships in Sepsis’ fleet are devoid of decorative paint and other cosmetic affectations.  The ships are simply allowed to rust and patina – the better to blend into their usual hunting grounds.  However, the pride of many of the crews gets the better of them, so a certain amount of tribal and squadron identification is permitted, if only to pacify the more treacherous members of the war-band.
I knew from past experience that most peoples army schemes tended to fall in line with those in the codexes.  I wanted to avoid this, save time and have a distinct appearance. I had joked with my friend that I wanted this ship and the army in general to look like it would give you tetanus just looking at it.  I think there is much more horror in a rusty knife than a clean one so in my mind this paint scheme was very Dark Eldar. 
The technique amounts to starting with Krylon Ruddy Brown Primer as my base. This is a great color to start this kind of scheme with.  Over this is a thin was black or dark brown paint to make the lines and detail pop.  I find this helps me perceive the shaped better as I’m working. After this is dry a begin to stipple and mop the model in a patchy haphazard way to break up the evenness of the primer coat and create patches of differing value to paint over.  Its much harder to get the rest of the paint job away from the smooth appearance if you skip this step.  After this I begin lightly stippling with a well used brush the following Vallejo Model colors; Cavalry Brown, Flat Red, and a touch of Light Orange and/or Scarlet.  I used these straight and unmixed and any areas that I think have gotten out of hand I tone down with Flat Brown.  I alternate this as needed all over the model until I am satisfied with the look. After this come a lot of slow and steady build up with a dry-brushed Black. The idea with the black is to give the appearance of the rusty either being worn off or not allowed to happened due to wear and tear and handling of the vehicle.  It also mutes the saturation of the rust color as it approaches the models edges.  After this is a careful and subtle dry-brush of Oily Steel and then edging this in silver in the most worn or sharpest areas. Note that on broad surfaces with shallow edge angels I will sometimes us Gunmetal Grey and edge in Oily steel – this is a subtler approach and looks lest sharpened.

How long did the project take , and how do you feel about it now that you have had it to look at for a bit, I often find I do not like my work at first (if at all) and often find a cooldown period allows me to look at it more objectively and form a more balanced opinion.
The project took a week. I had some time off just before a holiday that ended right before the contest deadline so I thought that would be the perfect time to work on it.  I spent most of my time designing and constructing the Venom and had 2 days to get it painted and based.  I was still painting at 11pm Sunday evening after having spent the better part of an hour sketching Dark Eldar runes before putting my nice rust-job at risk.   The runes were painted with in a thinned down Medium Sea Grey by Vallejo Model Color and then I used stipples of Flat Brown and Cavalry Brown to weather and blend in the runes.  While waiting fro things to dry I was constructing and painting the base which is composed of a few left over GW scenery bits, cork tile and ballast.
I tend to really like the work I do when I finish it, and then slowly start to not like it as I have time to reconsider my decisions.  Also as time goes by I get better at executing various techniques which make older projects less appealing to me over time.
Obviously this has got you some attention ,especially over on the BoLS competition vote, are you comfortable with it ? Bols is fairly big, wer’e talking hundreds of votes here, have you experienced this kind of reaction to a piece before ? 
The attention is no problem. I got much more attention that this when my portfolio was leaked on a fairly high profile Game News site a year ago, which resulted in me getting fired from my job.  This kind of attention is a nice change. Though I will say that there has been a lot more attention paid to this challenge than there was to the Warbeast/Warjack Challenge that I won earlier this year.  I guess there is just more interest in 40K.
Do you have a single piece of work you are most proud of would you like to tell us a bit about it.
Well the Venom is obviously fresh enough to rate highly with me, especially since it was a kit bash .  The next things that I am most proud of would be the Warjack I won the Warjack/Warbeast Challenge with and the there is this WFB Ogre that i completed while taking a master class workshop by Mathieu Fontaine.  Sadly there are no photos of the Ogre, unfortunately.  I can try and get one if you’d like.  I have been meaning to photograph him.  Hes nothing special but I had so much fun doing him and taking the class that I rate him as one of my favorites.
Weathering Ftw
If you make another venom, whats the chances of a pictorial tutorial ? (shotgun !) 
If I make another Venom I will most certainly document the process. I have already been contacted by BoLS to to a showcase and or tutorial on the piece, so I am likely to get around to it at some point.
Thanks for trawling through all that for us BDub, Again I would like to congratulate you on the well deserved win. and I’m sure will see some more conversions inspired by your design and words popping up in the near future ;o)
Its been a pleasure talking to you and I for one am looking forward to any of your forthcoming Dark Eldar projects as you have kindly agreed to contribute them to the content here as a guest, will be glad to have you back.
Note: Anyone wondering what to do with he other half of the Raider could get some ideas looking here… ;o)
In other news, we have Eldar retro review at some point this week and Im just about to send photo’s of my old showcase army to El D…

Edit – Found this great little tutorial By Dave taylor today , thought it might help some folks out with their army painting 

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