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All posts for the month May, 2011

Progress Report

Well, things were slow there for a bit, but I’m kicking it up a notch!  I’ve had more time to work on my models lately, and I’m happy with how it’s coming along!

But, less talk, more pictures!

The titan’s really coming along!  I did his mawashi in tans to look like leather, but the more I think about it, the more I want to do it green, like the loincloths on the cyclopsi.  Right now, there’s no other good place to tie in that accent color.
All that’s left for him is his tusks, some brass detail around random armor pieces, and the banner pole needs silver.  He should be done tonight!
As I showed at the end of the Brass Rod Tutorial, I have been working on my full Cataphract Cetratii.  Well, here they are fully completed.

Overall, it took 42 pins, and about 90 hand drilled holes.  I know I endorse Dremel tools often, but this was a bit too delicate.  These guys will likely see paint at the same time Xerxis does.  As much as I want to get painting these guys, I’d like to finish pMorghoul first, which would complete the battlebox.
By the way, I need suggestions for how to paint my bases.  I’d like to do a desert feel, kind of a redish-orange-tan, like sandstone.  Something like this:
I’m just not sure how to go about replicating that on the bases.  They’re already flocked for texture – I just need a color recipe.  Tell me how you would do it!
Cheers!

Hey!  An update!  I decided to try my hand at making a Top Hat.  Tell me what you think!

I also finished assembly on the Bronzeback!  He went together much easier than the Gladiator.

Lastly, the Cetratii are on their bases and carrying shields.  The weapons and shoulderpads will go on after I get my brass rod in the mail for weapon shaft replacements.  Yes, there’ll be a tutorial when I do so!
So, tell me what you think of the Top Hat!!
Introduction

One of the most common issues with pewter miniatures is bendy weapons.  They’re awful!  The shafts the sculptors use were probably brass rods or tube, which is fine, but when that is cast in pewter (or white metal), it just doesn’t hold up.  The easiest way to fix this is to spend loads of time trying to carefully bend these weapons back into straightness.  The harder, but better looking option is to cut up the weapon and do as the sculptor did – use a brass rod or tube as a weapon shaft.

That’s what this tutorial is about.  It’s asked loads of times on the forum, and it really isn’t as difficult as some people make it out to be.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s tedious, painful and repetitive, but the results are most definitely worth it.
A while ago, I picked up a few Iron Fang Pikemen arms from the PP bits store, so I’d have one or two to ruin before going onto my entire unit.  For this tutorial, I have a standard grunt weapon arm, as well as an officer’s arm, which is far more complex than the grunt’s.
The first step for me was to take these to work and throw some calipers at them.  I needed to measure the pewter shaft’s diameter so I knew what size rod / tube to use.  I measured them to be 1.5mm, or about 0.059 inches.  I decided I’d much rather go smaller with my shaft replacement size since that leaves me more material around the holes I’ll have to drill.  I found some 3/64 inch diameter brass tubes by K&S Engineering at Hobby Lobby, which is about 0.046875, or about 30% smaller than the stock size.  Good!
Note:  I chose tube rather than rod, because tube is far more rigid.  Rod is solid, and essentially a wire, which means the only extra rigidity you get is in the material properties.  The tube, however, has structural rigidity as well as being made of a stronger material.  The metal has to rip before the tube will bend, which is not the case with the rod – it’ll bend almost as easily as the pewter!  So, the tube is much better.

The Tutorial
The first thing to do is cut a length of brass tube.  Since no tube cutter can handle stuff this small, I had to emulate what a tube cutter does with a knife and table.  Essentially what you need to do is hold the knife on the tube, apply pressure and then roll the tube back and forth under the knife blade.  This will score the tube and then cut through.  
The next step is to cut up the pewter arms.  I cut off the weapon head and counter-weight, and then cut the leftover shaft from the hand.  Here’s what’s left:
So, now comes the hard part – preparing the pewter bits for the rod.  I used a file to flatten the parts where I cut the pewter.  It’s much easier to locate and drill the center of a flat surface.  Once flat, I used a pick to put a dimple into the center of the flat area, and drilled in.
For the hand, I drilled through the pewter rod with a much smaller drill first.  Then, I use that as a pilot hole for the bigger drill.  Once through with the bigger drill (same size as my tube), I trim off any extra pewter (remember, my replacement rods are 30% smaller than the original, so there’s a bit left over after drilling).
I had to use a slide clamp to help hold the small bits since my hands are a bit big.  I found that clamping too much actually bent the little rivets on the bit, but too little and the bit slides around and it’s annoying.  
Once all the parts are drilled, it’s assembly time!
For the officer’s arm, the pole doesn’t actually go through the hand, so I glued the head and counter-weight on first.  Mainly because then I could position the arm where I wanted.
Here’s the two finished weapons:
And, using the same technique, I put brass tubes into my full Cataphract Cetratii unit:


Because De-motivational posters are hip, right?

It’s been a while!  Sorry for that.

Pump Wagons

I was told to match the snotling pump wagon bases with those used by GW on the Moria Goblins from their LoTR line.  (Which I blame for their high prices on models, but I won’t go there today).

However, I was to add some sprue bricks, about the length of a model’s foot.  Here’s what I came up with:

I used three sizes of flock:  Fine, Medium and Coarse – the same mixture I’m using on my Skorne.  It’s about 2:1:1 mixture of Fine : Medium : Coarse.  
The sprue bricks are just chunks of sprue.  I clipped them, then used a hobby knife to square up the ends.  I then chewed on them a bit (after washing the sprue in soapy water – who knows what mold release agent will do to you?).  This gave them a nice beat-up look.
I then primed it black – and hit it with three layers of drybrushing: Codex Grey (GW), Fortress Grey (GW) and then Adepticon Grey (GW Foundation).  The Codex Grey layer went on everywhere evenly.  The other two then went on in random areas.  This gives the base a bit of depth and flavor, rather than a uniform blend. Of course, I’ll clean up the base edges with black, but I’ll do that after I get final approval of the bases.
Skorne
I have been working on the Skorne Titan Gladiator.  All the silver areas are now brass!  Yay!  Next step is the red painted armor areas, and then some washes and it’s done.  Sorry, no pictures at the moment.

I’ve finished assembling the Praetorian Swordsmen and their UA.  I’m so glad their UA is using both hands to hold the banner – it’s an extra contact point, and the banner’s nicely centered over the base.  Awesome!  I also just received a full unit of Cataphract Cetratii + Vorkesh as well as a full unit of Venator Reivers + UA. Their bases have been cleaned and flocked, and assembly will start shortly.  
Collective of Genteel Gatorfolk
The gatorgents are coming along slowly.  Now that the cummerbund is done, I’m looking at how to go about the french cuffs and top hat.  Also, a champagne glass…
Upcoming Tutorials
On the tutorial front, I’m ordering lots of pinning material, because I have some Iron Fang Pikemen to do pole swaps on, as well as some Skorne Cetratii weapons and back banner things.   So, look forward to some more picture packed, detail oriented tutorials!  Yay!
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