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Recaf and Medals: Beaky's Imperial Air Wing

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Let's begin without preamble... I'm doing AI!


I did have a few models for the original edition, but they are long gone, after all, what were the chances of AI ever coming back?

Well I'm not too disappointed about the decision to sell (other than the original rulebook as that had some decent fluff and pictures). The models for the new edition are many times more detailed showing off all the glory of CAD production. The only thing I preferred about the originals were they came in fewer pieces so were easier to make (resin issues aside).

I swapped Orks for Imperials from the Wings of Vengeance set with another local player so in theory I have 4 Thunderbolts and 4 Marauder Bombers, which is a pretty good wing already. Unfortunately one of the bombers was written off in a, 'refuelling incident' and will not be spoken of again :wink:

The wing as it stands has the following squadrons and call-signs planet side, the rest are presumably still aboard the fleet:

Blackheart Squadron:


Blackheart One - Thunderbolt (Ace Markings)

Blackheart Two - Thunderbolt

Sol Squadron:


Sol Four - Thunderbolt Fury
Sol Nine - Thunderbolt Fury

Danger Squadron:


Danger Five - Marauder Bomber (traditionally Sqn. Leader call sign)
Danger Six - Marauder Bomber
Danger Seven - Marauder Bomber

The call signs just follow the squadron names as I didn't fancy doing pilot or aircraft names. AI seems to be a game of high aircraft losses so it makes more sense that the same aircraft aren't being resurrected every new mission.

The transfers are from the Human and Elf Blood Bowl teams. Blood Bowl does have some great transfers if you don't like the limited out of the box selection for AI. The only issue with BB is that you don't seem to get mirrored transfers, so if it bothers you an animal might be 'looking backwards' maybe steer clear or use symmetrical designs.

Just a little real life background on this, the US air force seems to mirror badges and patches if the symbol would be 'looking' the wrong way, but the RAF often use heraldry which is bad form to mirror, as it could change the meaning, so don't change the way the animal is looking, so really just do what you like.

In this case I decided to use my large (unused!) transfer selection to inspire the names, I thought there wasn't any point coming up with a cool name and then have to buy or print transfers for it. If you know what Danger Five is in reference to, obscure internet cookie for you!

One issue I have found with GW's AI card system is that it's not necessarily straightforward to link each aircraft to it's card without clear numbering.

Luckily Versatile Terrain has a solution!


(Photo from Versatile Terrain FB, still waiting for them!)

These 3D printed nameplates are pretty nifty and affordable for a skirmish type game. You can even get 'Ork' Scrap style ones.

It's not that visible in my pic but Blackheart one has a Spade symbol on the plate to designate him an Ace. I did actually consider making him the Ace of Hearts, but for that to work it would need to be painted red, except he's meant to be Blackheart... You can see why it's taken me so long since release day to get this far. As visual shorthand the Ace of Spades just works better, even if it would also have been nice to have an Ace from each card suite.

I'm 95% ready to get basecoating this week, so hopefully there will be reasonable progress. The scheme will be inspired by the RAF desert pink from operation Granby (Desert Storm).

As for the bases, they will be painted too, but I think they will be more subdued than some of the radar examples I've seen. I want them to be quick and cheerful and not to distract from the aircraft. I'll need to think about painting the nameplates as well.


I have bought a ticket for what may be the first AI event in the UK, hosted by Attrition Gaming in late January, so I'll need 150pts ready for that. At the moment it will be 4 'The Dogfight' missions, so I may get some more T-bolts time permitting and won't need ground defences.

My friend also bet me Edited by Beaky Brigade

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YAY Beakies started !! :wub:

this looks like its going to be awesome bud! , i love the nameplates(will have to look into that) i can hassle you every few days for updates if you like...

i really like the use of the BB decals :thumbsup:  they're going to look very unique. 


"Open the throttle and Dive in !" 


Cheers, Mithril

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Can't wait to see it all painted!

The sculpts are amazing :wub:

Hopefully we'll them in full 40k plastic some day! :D


Good to see some more imperial support for some of reason Mithrils section is swarming with greenskins


Those markers are a neat idea :tu:

Edited by duz_
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Spraycoat with Zandri dust complete, only slightly behind schedule!

You can use plastic shopping bags or cling film over the flying stand and base to protect it during spraying, creating a sturdy grip for the aircraft, though I might invest in an extra long stand you get with other kits just to give you a bit more access to the underside. (do dispose of single use plastics responsibly!)


A very fine tan undercoat, but now to make it more pink panther-ish!

Edited by Beaky Brigade
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So a little progress, mainly experimental.

The smart version of me would have only sprayed one test model and made sure I liked the colour before doing the rest. Oh well!


The flesh paints were a reasonable match to the RAF jet, but the issue was they weren't base paints, so the coverage was pretty poor, and I just found it too frustrating to paint it as layers. Then the drybrush came out, and now I'm not sure which colour I'm doing at all! No plan survives contact with the model.

The drybrushed tan (in light and dark variants on the starboard and port wings respectively) looks pretty good, but something about it screams 'renegades' to me. I blame the siege of Vraks for ruining grimy tan for us honest Imperials. I may save that one for a later date...

I'm quite happy with the sea blueish colour, especially as it has come out on the horizontal stabilisers on the left hand model. The wing is a bit over painted from several layers of different colours as I learned how to dry brush again, so looks a bit blotchy.

The recipe for the blue is:

  • Base: Macragge Blue (I would basecoat with the citadel spray version to save time with a full model, I found with the various steps it comes out the same as using brush painted Stegadon Scale Geen)
  • Shade: Coelia Greenshade
  • Wet and heavy drybrush: Stegadon Scale green
  • Light drybrush: Sotek Green
  • Very light drybrush: Temple Guard Blue
  • Glaze of 50% Coelia Greenshade and Lahmian Medium (note to self, don't confuse Ardcoat varnish with this!)

I'm going to try a mix of that blue and grey around the cockpit areas.


Dry brush mainly along the lines of airflow over the aircraft (from nose to tail, and occasionally tail to nose). Weathering happens in this pattern so you can achieve that at the same time! Also, the panel lines and recesses aren't bottomless pits. A couple of heavy washes and they start to 'fill in', so I would suggest using a damp brush to mop up any excess the same you would with the larger pools of wash.

I was a bit disappointed not to immediately be going in the right direction, but I have learned a lot of useful stuff from the test examples, especially some confidence with the decals.

My first successful decals! I'm sure many of us tried a decal with the first model kit we bought, watched it peel off or break on the brush, or otherwise fail, and then give up on that for good.

Well, as long as you have a steady hand they aren't actually that evil, especially on nice flat wings and not space marine shoulder pads... I would say if you can paint neatly you can do decals. Firstly go out and buy 'Micro Sol' and 'Micro Set'. If I would build an altar for any hobby product, these would go atop it.

I won't repeat the instructions on the bottles as they are pretty straight forward (though you use Micro Set first, then Micro Sol).

Once the decal is set and you've removed air bubbles and flattened the edges protect it with gloss varnish...

Now comes the real trick... Making the shiny printed out sticker covered in a circle of varnish look like the rest of your paint job.

Well with drybrushing in particular you've got to think a couple of steps ahead. Do the decals BEFORE the model is 'finished', then the extra layers help the decal blend in.

Stripling or dry brushing the base colour around the edges of the decal can really work, though at this scale try to keep it subtle. If you are finishing with a glaze, that really helps unify the surface of the model, and will hopefully hide the decal shine. If not a final varnish layer over the whole model can probably achieve this.

With anything, it's worth practising on a test model with an unwanted decal before you use up your favourite symbols.


Well that's it for now. Hopefully the next update will be a finished test model ;)

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Dry brush mainly along the lines of airflow over the aircraft (from nose to tail, and occasionally tail to nose). Weathering happens in this pattern so you can achieve that at the same time! Also, the panel lines and recesses aren't bottomless pits. A couple of heavy washes and they start to 'fill in', so I would suggest using a damp brush to mop up any excess the same you would with the larger pools of wash.


Yep, useful idea.  I too like your tan so don't let the Vraks renegades sway you, it's a good color!  

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Tan was objectively the best one I did, so there was only one way to reclaim it for the Throne of Terra...

Slap some decals on!



I'm very pleased with how this one is coming out. Still need to blend some of the decals in and glaze the rest of the model to match the starboard wing. The nose decal is a decal on top of another decal!

Decals are fun, but I need stop myself getting carried away. I was almost adding 'Danger Ejection seat' and 'Rescue --->' around the cockpit but they are pretty small at this scale and there isn't really a definitive reference what safety markings (if any) would be put on. Also it's just putting myself one step away from getting models finished. 4 'Roundels', numbers and a tail badge is plenty to get one with! Though I have found something special for my ace:


Edited by Beaky Brigade
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A little further progress with the decals. I should have done more given the time I've had but I spent a lot of it paint stripping the other test model... Which then needed to be repaired after bits fell off... And then I realised it was the model that had a repair to the lascannon barrel that I'd done with greenstuff (which melts in paint stripper). I'm glad I've developed a philosophical outlook on the process!


If you look closely you'll see the Sol squadron badge is not quite right... It's the new Imperial Navy symbol over the Blood Bowl sunburst transfer. It went well on my 'stunt hull' but I was so focused on getting the 'I' straight I didn't realise it had drifted away from the centre of the sun, and by then the decals were set. Philosophical outlook! To be fair it could have been a mistake by a real life masker, but I think they would have been shot by the commissar, or at least made to redo it. I'll just say it's a 'Theatre Marking', not for when it's lined up at an airshow.

I think I'll get away with disguising it with heavy weathering, but a lesson for next time!

My collection of 1:72 transfers have paid off, I've found a lot of interesting ready made stuff for bomber nose art, and a nice collection of tiny serial numbers for the tail booms.

The transfer '2-64' may be older than me. The model kit it came with was second hand and quite old in itself. It's interesting to think of it's journey all the way to the tail of the aircraft after many years of languishing in darkness.

That does have its issues though, what I thought was a nice 'strip' of numbers turned into a series of individual floaty numbers as soon as they were soaked in water, and I had to apply them all 'live' at the same time.

I think I'm procrastinating a bit from trying to finish the engines or the guns, as it will be another leap into an untried technique, but I better get on with it, I've now entered a second event, the first Warhammer World AI event 'Wings of Destruction' on the 15th of Feb. I'll need 250 points for that, and have to get a couple of destroyers and ground defences to do all the missions.

Edited by Beaky Brigade
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A little progress in the past week. I ended up paint stripping one of the test models, which ended up being a lot more involved than I realised, resulting in some minor repairs and generally wasting a bit of time. Now back to the previous step!


I'm hoping it will be quicker this week now I have the hang of the drybrushing technique required.

Not the best photo, but below is an example of the decals being weathered a little by a light dry brush of the base coat.


One thing I found was that the black decals came out how I expected. The white decals started to turn yellowish, which seems obvious in retrospect, as the white brings the shade up, but something to bear in mind for next time... Perhaps dry brush a couple of shades darker?

With the new event entered it's time to bring on the reinforcements. Usually I don't condone buying more minis before you've finished the current ones, but I promise it's all for sensible forward planning and financial reasons, not prevarication... I sold 20 unbuilt 40k infantry to raise funds for 4 fighters... So now I have a backlog 5 times smaller ;) *


Hopefully more exciting updates to come, and even FINISHED MODELS?!?

*If you ignore all the other figures.

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more than half the battle has always been finding a paint scheme you really love and getting it right... i feel ya on the process of doing something then scrapping it for another idea :sweat:

I like the desert scheme :thumbsup:


good luck with the rest of the building and painting...


Cheers, Mithril

Edited by mithrilforge
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  • 3 weeks later...

Progress hasn't been as fast as expected, though I am back on track after sending the aircraft back to the restoration hanger for sandblasting and respray ;)

Writing down your method as you go is important to save you not being able to replicate the test model!


It ended up being a weird mix of washes I couldn't replicate the colour of, so after making dozens of colour swatches with scrap minis I finally found a colour I could live with using a single glaze at the end of the process to keep it simple. I am pleased with the black stripe, black will be a contrast colour on all the minis, though each squadron will do it slightly differently.

Blackheart Thunderbolts will have a stripe, while Sol will use individual elements like flaps and las-cannon muzzles painted black. Each squadron will also use a different number style.

These 3 are are not glazed yet, but an example of actual progress!


I was really struggling to fit a transfer on the port wings due to the location of what I'm assuming is meant to be an airspeed sensor. This seems to be the bane of many people trying to do the eagle wing transfers! Either cutting a hole in the transfer and painting over it, or using micro sol/set.

I decided to use the smallest Aquila I have, which comes with the Imperial Guard tank accessory sprue... Of course it's all very well to start doing that until you realise it's one per sheet, and you are using 6 per aircraft!

I did actually have more of the same size of decal on a very old Forge World transfer sheet I bought on ebay. Unfortunately it's probably too old, a lot of the decals fall apart after soaking, which seems to be an issue with many of the older sheets I have.

I've also decided on the bases, I think. When all the aircraft are done I will attempt to do forced perspective sea bases using a method inspired by this guide.

By forced perspective, I mean that the scene on the base will be a smaller scale than the aircraft. I've found you can do the same effect with green stuff and tin-foil instead of plaster, but it will be quite fiddly. I'll also need to make tiny islands or ships, so each base will be a diorama in it's own right. I never choose the easy way :D


I have a list for my campaign events now:

4 Thunderbolts
1 Skystrike Missile pair each

1 Ace, with flares and ejector seat.

2 Furies
1 Skystrike Missile pair each

1 Marauder Bomber

2 Marauder Destroyer

1 Manticore Missile Battery

2 Hydra Flak Batteries

Total: 250 points.

TBH I think taking more fighters might be more competitive, you could get away with 1 Destroyer to fulfil all the mission requirements, but I do want to use the aircraft I have, so there!

I do have a nice round 150 points of fighters, that will presumably be good for the dogfight missions.

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I concur, the black stripe is outstanding and is a clear painting combination winner :thumbsup: 

i really dig the idea of your bases, i was going to try that with a Razorwing fighter in 40k and use some epic scaled imperial ruins from shapeways painted to the same colours as my tabletop terrain...simulating as you put it the aircraft flying high above the battlefield

cant wait to see your finished product (i think it'll be worth the wait :sweat: )


Cheers, Mithril 

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Thanks Mithril!

The bases may turn out to be a project and a half in themselves, I think the key will be to exaggerate the scale difference, so really high altitude aircraft and a few tiny islands to give the sea scale and avoid looking like I got 1-1 scale wrong. Best not distract myself from the 8.1 aircraft I have to finish!

The product of much navel gazing and sniffing Lahmian medium, the ALMOST complete Blackheart 1; AKA 'Huntress'

66% Medium 33% Reikland Fleshshade applied lightly over the model gives a 'Pinkish' look that's similar enough to the original inspiration for my liking while avoiding being too Emperors Children or Slannesh. I even made a whole batch in a spare pot to use on the rest of the aircraft, though it was mixed with pipettes not by eye, so it should be possible to make more.


Still a few things to do, some touch ups, and fill in the mouth with black or possibly grey to keep it distinct from the stripe. I'm considering making the Lascanon muzzles on 'Huntress' pink or red to make them seem like nostrils, but I don't know how well it will work. I will leave such tinkering until more aircraft are at the same standard.

The notches underneath the radiator pipes are 1/144 scale bomb tallies, the nose was just too 'busy' on this one. I got a transfer sheet for a B-26 Marauder (Perfect I know!) on ebay and the bomb tallies for the four example aircraft will divide between my aircraft generously. I'm guessing your life expectancy is a lot lower in the Imp Navy than the 8th US air force. 1/144 is the way to go with such things I think, 1/72 markings were a bit too big.

Ironically these jets don't have bombs at the moment, but I'm making that a stretch goal for when everything else is done.

I would like some kill markings, but until GW obliges with an advanced transfer sheet I'll have to forgo them. Perhaps they should actually kill some aircraft first!

I was a bit torn on the canopy paint (shocking, I couldn't make a decision!), I tried 'easy' methods with silver and glazes or gemstone paint, but my results only looked good across a tabletop, putting so much effort into everything else I knew I had to do them the hard way.

Luckily GW's Nick Bayton Made it easy for me


Ideally someone would make transfers with silhouettes of the pilot and instruments, but I can't wait for that! Also visible is experiments with navigation lights using the citadel gemstone paints which came out very nicely, though I may go with flat colour as I don't know if I want to depict the lights 'lit' or not. And I have since googled the 21st century position and colours of lights so I'll do it properly when the time comes!

I'm hoping now I don't have to work anything else out as I go, that the rest of it will be simple. I'm really hoping to get 3 jets completed this weekend and go back to the building table, but that remains to be seen! Now... What colour to make the Skystrike missiles. Well A2A missiles are usually white or military green, but-

(Fades out into introspection)

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AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles) lean heavily towards white and light greys, often with a nose-cone of dissimilar color, if radar guided. Which would likely contrast nicely with the 'desert rat' scheme. Air-to-ground green might not play as nicely.


Is "Huntress" the aircraft, or the pilot? Do the Blackhearts fly under that callsign, or is there something theatre-specfic they're assigned for this campaign?


Inquiring minds in the Operations Plans division want to know...

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AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles) lean heavily towards white and light greys, often with a nose-cone of dissimilar color, if radar guided. Which would likely contrast nicely with the 'desert rat' scheme. Air-to-ground green might not play as nicely.


Is "Huntress" the aircraft, or the pilot? Do the Blackhearts fly under that callsign, or is there something theatre-specfic they're assigned for this campaign?


Inquiring minds in the Operations Plans division want to know...

Yes, in my mind white or light grey will probably be the best contrast at that size. Should get on with it!



In my mind there are several names:

  • The Munitorum serial number (Just going to use whatever numbers I can scrounge and blame bureaucracy for it not making sense)
  • The aircraft squadron ID (1,2,3,4,5 etc)
  • The call sign, in this case the squadron name plus the number. AKA 'Blackheart 1'
  • Unofficial aircraft nicknames given by pilots or ground crew - 'Huntress' falls into that category, and probably only 'aces' get this honour with some exceptions.
  • The name of the pilot

Mostly in games I will be using the aircraft call signs but if I have time I will make up pilot names for the campaign.


I've decided to use squadron call signs rather than 'unique' ones just to help tell the different types of aircraft apart. Its a bit of a mix of gameplay conceits, star wars, history and my own idiosyncrasies. 


Hope that make sense!

Edited by Beaky Brigade
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I love that look, so jealous. :smile.:

That's very kind of you. They are certainly the first models I've been happy with after years of gawping at other people's. I don't know if the scale is kinder or I'm just more patient with painting than I used to be.

Well the weekend blast was more of a damp squib. Dark voices whispered to me of new projects more exciting and satisfying, and for a time I listened. After all they were sort of related... Sort of. More on that later.

Been doing the blacks on these two fighters this week. There seems to be a lot more to do than on the first model, I may have forgotten how long I spent on it! Perhaps the large black stripe would have been better reserved for the aces! Oh well, not all of them will have one!

Sol Nine (Pictured centre) will just have black stabiliser flaps and maybe the Lascannon muzzles. Sol aircraft will be more 'to the book' than the Blackheart aircraft, with less individual flourish, though with the hefty Aquila on the port wing it's inevitable this one will the the stand in Ace when required.

How I will use black on the different aircraft:

Blackhearts: Black central stripe.

Sol: Black stabiliser flaps and muzzles.

Danger Sqn: Black Cockpit and turret canopies.

Minotaur Sqn (Destroyer): Black noses and shark mouths.


Also a close-up on some of the bomb tallies on the soon to be numbered Blackheart Two:


Some excitement was generated by the arrival of various transfers including a full set of Shark Mouths from Ebay, ordered from Hong Kong for a relatively reasonable price.

Most of them are more suited to 40k aircraft but the smallest 1/144 scale ones will work for my bombers hopefully. If you can get hold of the Necromunda Enforcer Transfer sheet (shop around on bitz sites for pennies) it has perfect aircraft serial numbers. Unfortunately I've already put on more realistic stencil type ones, but I will save them for the next AI project.


Now, about those dark whispers:

I thought to myself on Sunday afternoon that wouldn't it be nice indeed to have downed pilots to use in Kill Team games.

Well there were two main problems with this. 1) I don't have a finished kill team and have never played the game, and 2) I'm meant to be painting!

Neither stopped me playing around with bits and bluetac until late into the evening.


I present, pilot who's pretty much OK holding a flare for extraction, crippled pilot with broken mechanical legs undertaking some sort of last stand, and pilot who's clearly been on the run, ditched most of his gear, and hidden in what's inevitably going to be a Ork septic tank. The choices were mandated by my use of tank commander bodies which don't have full legs. I wanted the pilots to have flight suits and not tunics like Cadian's.

They are pretty rough and need a lot of work to be completed. Luckily I was already on to the next idea. A Kill Team to extract them:

Who better to rescue pilots than Catachan Devils and a Bullgryn who puts the 'M' in Abhuman.

" Do I look like a fething ork to you? "


Flight Lieutenant stinky does look worrying like he's surrendering to the enemies of the Imperium *BLAM*. My idea at least was he was trying to avoid friendly fire when his rescuers turned up. I guess I'll have to leave that to your own interpretation.

Suddenly an Inquisitor turned up (No I don't have a model for that) and reminded me I have very little time until the first event, so they have been locked safely in a drawer for the future...

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