The Alaudae Legion – Ready for Battle

At the end of last year we released some unit packs and a couple of vehicles for a new Hammer’s Slammers mercenary force, the Alaudae Legion (which translates to ‘The Skylarks’).

Over the last few weeks I’ve been putting together an Alaudae force in anticipation of getting them on the table in the near future. I’ve painted one of each detachment type in the Alaudae army listArmoured, Heavy Armoured and Infantry. This has made for an armour-heavy force of 21 vehicles and just three infantry sections, so I painted a few extra infantry in case I felt the force needed a bit more balance. However, they’d be a very good match for any other armoured unit in a tank fight.

Because I was painting a lot of vehicles at one go, I went for as simple a colour scheme as I could. After assembly, the vehicles were undercoated using Halfords’ grey automotive primer. This is my favourite primer as it gives a solid opaque coat with a nice matt surface and will stick to just about anything – and comes in big cans as well. I drybrushed straight onto this primer coat with Citadel Longbeard Grey. I then broke out the airbrush and sprayed random camouflage stripes in Tamiya Olive Green, and drybrushed the stripes in Citadel Nurgling Green. That was it for the base colours, a very simple 4-stage process that very quickly resulted in 21 tanks in 2-colour camouflage with highlighting.

The next stage was to brush paint in a number of details. This includes crew figures, stowage and some detail work on weapons, sensor blisters and lenses. I tried to pick colours that contrasted with the vehicle scheme to break up the rather drab look. The crew were given khaki overalls and dark green helmets using Tamiya paints. Stowage was picked out in dark grey (storage boxes), brown (ammo boxes) and sand (jerricans) with the external fuel tanks also in dark green. Sensor lenses were painted using a gem technique – highlighting the bottom of the lens from dark to light red, then putting a tiny white specular dot on the top corner. Some parts of the weapon barrels were painted in a dark silver (Citadel Leadbelcher), washed in purple (Citadel Leviathan Purple) and then drybrushed in Citadel Necron Compound to suggest discolouration caused by extreme heat. Radar domes were painted in Citadel Tyrant Skull.

Everything – vehicles and figures – was then given a heavy coat of Army Painter Strong Tone (from the big paint tin, not the dropper bottle). This was brushed on, wearing a rubber glove on the hand I held them in since the stuff is rather gloopy and unpleasant, and everything sat on sheets of greaseproof paper to dry otherwise they would stick to whatever surface they’re left on. One useful tip I learnt on a previous build was to use a Sharpie to number the bottom of hulls and turrets – that way they can be paired up again and the camouflage stripes will line up!

For the moment there are no decals available for the Alaudae, so the final stage for the vehicles was an airbrushed coat of Tamiya Flat Clear to matt down the gloss finish of the Quickshade. I’ve mentioned several times before about issues I’ve had with Army Painter’s own spray varnish – although excellent in most uses, I find it can craze or blister on large flat surfaces which have been coated with their own Quickshade products. It works fine on figures that have only small surface areas, but not vehicles, hence the use of an Acrylic clear coat that doesn’t react with it.

And that’s it – just over 10000 points’ worth of powerful armoured might, ready for combat. They should be swinging into action in a few days time – look out for a report to see how they get on !