An idea for Astral Knights shoulder pads.

Whilst browsing the web for ideas and bits to use on my Astral Knights I came across these shoulder pads.

I think they have great potential. The bottom one would work particularly well as a standard trooper shoulder pad.  I would still have to freehand the star design behind it but it would give the army a much more uniform look and raise them above 'just a paintjob'.  The other two would be good on characters, veterans or sergeants.

The downsides would be cost and availability as they are from the dark angels veteran sprue and I would have to source a lot of the last design.

Any suggestions for alternatives?

Evaluation of my first Astral Knights colour scheme.

So having painted my first Astral Knight what do I think of the colour scheme?

Positives first.  I think it looks really good, the blue is nice and dark just like I wanted, I feel that the 'inner' armour in silver does give it a knightly look and the white shoulder pads make the model standout on a battle field (no camoflage for knights!). 

Negatives next. 
1. The blue is a bit muted, i'd like to highlight it a little bit more but i'm worried about making it to bright and not midnight/astral enough.
2. The silver is too dark and textured, it gets lost on the model and is only obvious up close.
3. The white shoulder pads didn't go very well, the paint didn't go over the black basecoat very nicely so it looks too textured and the wash of nuln oil around the edges isn't neat enough.
4. Does he look too much like an Ultramarine?

Another test model....
I'm going to be braver with my highlights on the blue but try to make it more saturated and less pastel to avoid losing the 'dark' look of the blue.
I still struggle to get smooth silver paint on the model but I'm going to try just one wash of nuln oil and highlight in the original colour to give it a bit brighter finish.
The white can be sorted easily, I was being an idiot and using a layer paint to put white over black, DOH!.  Next time I'll try a thinned base paint and see if that helps.
Finally, having chatted to my local store guys who agreed that he looked a little bit Ultramarine, they suggested I try yellow for the shoulder pads....

When I've painted the second test model I'll put him up for review as well, but until then please give any advice that you can on the current issues.

How to freehand the Astral Knights chapter badge.

I freehanded my chapter badge by breaking it down into simple shapes, an idea unashamedly stolen from the warp.  The image below demonstrates the process I used. 
Starting with a vertical and horizontal line centred where I wanted the symbol, I then added the diagonal lines but made them shorter than the first two.  Next I put in the two cross bars, one to make the guard on the sword and the other as a guide for the blade, after those I  filled in the blade using the lines as guides to get it symmetrical.  With the sword done I used the remaining lines to do the star points, notice that I join them to the sword.  Finally I put the break between the sword and the star in using the original background colour.
There you have it, a complex chapter badge in 5 easy(ish) steps.  Having done all that I may have found an alternative solution, I'll see how that goes and report back!

The Astral Knights chapter badge.

This is the chapter badge I've come up with.  I really like it for two reasons.  Firstly I think it gets across the chapter name perfectly.  The sword makes it very 'knightly' and the star pattern behind the sword doesn't get too lost.  In fact I think the sword acts as the vertical part of the star pattern rather well.  Secondly it's not too hard to paint freehand, this is very important as unless I make my own transfers or cast my own shoulder pads I'm going to be painting it quite often.

Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated.

First attempt at an Astral Knights colour scheme.

As promised here are the initial images of my first Astral Knight space marine.  Please forgive the quality, both because he is the first miniature I've painted in ten years and the photos were taken on a camera phone. I'll let you look at the images and then I'll describe the painting process. My thoughts on it's success will have to wait for the next post.

First I undercoated in black, then went in and did the inner detail.  The eyes were done in mephiston red with an orange highlight at the front, a wash of Agrax earthshade and a white dot at the back to make them look reflective.  The joints were done in grey (mixed from black and white as i didn't have any handy) the washed in nuln oil.
Having got the inner detail sorted I did the inner armour next, a coat of mithril silver (old paints) and two washes of nuln oil to darken it down.  The outer, blue, armour was given a coat of Kantor blue, a wash of Drakenhof nightshade and was then highlighted up to Altdorf guard blue.  I tried to do a zenithal approach using wetblending to do the highlights finishing with a line highlight if necessary in certain places. 
With the main armour finished the chest eagle was basecoated in XV-88 and then Balthazar gold, with a wash of Agrax earthshade.  The shoulder pads were done in white with Nuln oil applied round the edges and the chapter badge was freehanded in Kantor blue.
The base was just given a coat of XV-88 as I haven't decided on a basing theme yet and this is just a test model.

So there it is. First space marine in ten years.  Any comments or suggestions are much appreciated and next time I'll give my thoughts on the colour scheme and paint job.

The beginning is a very good place to start...

I've started this blog to try and keep track of a new project.  I want to create a DIY chapter to represent the Astral Knights as briefly described in the codex space marines.  For those not familiar with them the fluff can be found here:

First I had to come up with a chapter symbol and a colour scheme. Having looked around and thought about the name and image I wanted, my ideas were as follows:

Chapter Symbol.
I got this from the chapter name and some common themes from other chapters. My current plan is to use a vertical sword in front of a geometric star design.  The star obviously comes from astral (see astral claws) and the sword seemed quite knightly and is common among chapter symbols (dark angels et al).

Colour Scheme.
This took a bit more thought but having played with an online space marine painter and having looked around at other colour schemes I came up with this:

Silver for the upper legs, inner body, arms and lower backpack.
Dark Blue for the lower legs, hands, upper body, upper backpack, shoulder pad edges, head and chapter badge.

White for shoulder pads

Gold/brass for chest eagle

Red for Boltgun.

I have to admit a lot of inspiration came from the Stormwardens colour scheme I saw on From The Warp  which is very similar in concept but almost in reverse for standard marines.  The idea was to get the look of a knight in 'metal' armour whilst getting across the astral part in the dark/midnight blue and white.

So with all the colours and images sorted it just remained to see if it looked any good, so a trip to my local store and the bits and paints aquired here goes my first space marine in over ten years.  I'll post the pictures for constructive criticism as soon as possible.