All posts for the month August, 2011

I carved out some time last night to paint, and was surprised how much I got done.  I think my productivity was increased by the fact that I wasn’t watching a show, but instead listening to Jim Butcher’s Q & A at a recent book signing – ie, something I didn’t have to watch to understand and fully enjoy.

Anyway, I wanted to get some base coats down on my minimum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen, so I got the big brass basecoat done.  Brass takes two layers, since it’s coverage is horrible.  Because of this, I usually only do the first coat half-heartedly, and thus rush it.  Thus, it’s sloppy.  So, instead of doing metallics last, I did the brass first.  I think it’s the much better way to go, since I got all six models base coated in about an hour.
Of course, now I’ll spend an entire night cleaning up all the sloppyness with my Windsor 7 and black, but that’s OK.
Once these were basecoated, I decided to finish up a side project I started earlier in the week.
You see, last weekend, the Good Lord Faultimus and I got in a small game of Dystopian Wars.  We shot eachother’s boats (or flying boats in his case) and rolled some dice.  His tactics were superior to mine, however his dice failed him miserably.  Regardless, it was fun, and got me inspired to finish up a small 3-member squad of Trainboat Frigates!
Honestly, the hardest part of these boats, is an original stripe pattern for each one.
A local store had Spartan Games stuff 60% off, so I picked up a set of Cruisers for the Trainboats, which are medium sized models, and will help me balance out my force (since I didn’t start off with the starter kit).
Also, Faultimus ditched his Firestorm Armada Sorylian Fleet in favor of some newer ones that are coming out.  The Sorylians look like trains also, so naturally, I had to have them:
So, in the near future, be on the lookout for SPACETRAINS!!

Following along with the Blacktie Wrastler in the Collective of Genteel Gatorfolk, Faultie has worked up this wonderful character:

Those who cannot do become critics. In the high-society world of the gatorgents, jealous of the acting and combat capacity of the Blackties, the Ironhide spews vitriolic criticism at his enemies, with the capacity to physically kill. Despite his foul demeanor, he is a true patron of the arts, and is never seen without his Playbill and opera glasses.
Faultie has done all mod work to the model itself, however I was charged with manifesting his anger with an Opera Box style railing, which he has ripped apart in his fury.
The railing is made from 1/8″ (3/64″?) brass tube and 22 GA copper wire.  I bent the tube around my Master’s Brush Cleaner top, which has the same diameter as a can of soda.  I then used my fingers and carefully tightened the curve, so that it roughly conformed to the curve of the base.  I then set it back on the base, towards the model’s feet, to give the impression that he is leaning over the railing yelling at whomever is unlucky enough to warrant his attention.
I marked four spots on the tube, and drilled four holes.  I then cut four pieces of copper wire and glued them into the holes.  Four holes were drilled into the resin decking base, and the railing glued into place.
At this point, I pulled the model off the base (since Faultie will likely paint them separately) and used my jeweler’s saw to cut out a section roughly the same size as the model’s fist.  I used a super small pair of channel-lock pliers to warp the tube so it looked like it has been bent prior to being ripped apart.
A pair of pins went into the model’s fist, so that the tube bits would have something to hold on to.  I then too the chunk of tube I had removed, beat up the ends and then chopped off the bent up ends.  After cleaning the hole in the tube with a drill bit (so it would fit over the pins) the two tube bits were glued onto each side of the fist, giving the illusion that the broken part of the railing is crushed in his grip.
I think Faultie’s modifications came out splendidly, and I’m very happy I was able to contribute something to this awesome, unique model.  Look for it completely painted in the next Clash of the Titans entry on Lost Hemisphere!

I hate the Stormclad’s banner.  It’s huge, obnoxious, and a pain to pack the model with it attached.  It also doesn’t really adhere to the rest of the lightning themed models in the faction.

I decided to fix that.

The conversion itself was fairly simple.  I started with the legs (as I always do).  The stock pose is fairly static – both legs are straight, and there’s no sense of movement at all.  I sliced the left one off at the hip, cut off the toes and re-assembled the leg angled back some.  The legs were then pinned to the base, and I sculpted new toes (which were really just a very small wedge).
Next, I cut off the smoke stacks, and flattened the nubs they are on.  The large coil is from the Thunderhead kit, as are the small coils (from his hands).  The large coil has a little plate on the back, and is upturned on the opposite edge.  The upturned edge mates with the top of the chassis fairly nicely, and the little plate on the back rests just above the release valve on the boiler.  I simply used a big blob of green stuff to give the coil something to sit on, and help it meld with the rest of the model.
The small coils are from the fists of the Thunderhead, and they simply got glued onto the boiler.  I used green stuff to make them look a little more integrated, rather than just slapped on.
Lastly, the head was pinned on, and the pin was left long enough for me to angle the head a bit.  Another blob of green stuff supports the head, I didn’t want to leave it entirely to the pin.

Spent some time enjoying the new wet palette and glazes as I worked on Hexeris this week.  At this point, he’s about 90% done.  Some details need to be fixed, and I have to do the black undergarmets, but that’s about it.  Oh, and the green bits need highlights.

One of the crucial beasts for Hexeris is the Razorwurm.  It has eyeless sight, and since Hexy can make one of his beasts a channeler for his spells, this little guy essentially becomes an arcnode that ignores concealment, cover, stealth and other shenanigans.  All for 4 pts.

This guy’s around 60% complete.  I need to do metallics, highlight the belly area, and do the little nails on his feets as well as the big ol’ spike on his head.

Mold Shelf

One of the most common issues miniatures have are mold lines.  These form because the mold wasn’t properly sealed when the two halves were joined, or if the mold is overfilled and the material squeezes through the small gaps. This forms “flash” which is fairly easy to scrape off with a hobby knife.

The second way mold lines are formed is when the mold is not properly aligned, what I call “mold shelves” are the result.
First Cut

Rather than just start filing or sanding, I like to smooth the step.  The first step is to cut off that sharp protrusion with my hobby knife.  Remember, this happens along a long line, so I cut the entire ridge

The general idea is to do in a few second what would take several minutes with a file.  The knife should slice right through the ridge, whereas the file has to turn all that spare material into dust.

You don’t have to be very pretty right now, this meant to be a time saver.

Smoothing the Hill
Once that initial cut is done, you should have a hill instead of a shelf.  It’s steep enough that it’s noticeable, but it doesn’t stand out nearly as much as as the shelf did.  The next step is to smooth that hill.  We need a shallower gradient to hide the fact that the part wasn’t molded correctly.

More Smoothing

The best way to do this is to come at the hill from the low side and slowly shave off that upper part of the hill.  I usually am just sliding the cutting edge of the blade over the hill repeatedly, shaving off layers until it feels smooth.

Shallow Hill

The result is essentially a gradual hill, that bridges that original height difference.

At this point, we can attack the roughly cut hill with a  file to smooth everything out.  Also, consider emry nail pads from the drug store, in the nail care aisle.  They come in several grits, and at $1 a piece, you can cut them to slender shapes to get into hard areas.

Filing Round parts

When I use a file, here’s what I do.  I typically use an oval or round shaped (profile) file. That way, it contacts the part at only a single point, and won’t accidentally flatten something out.

I then tilt the file (grey bar) up and down (green arrows) as I move it back and forth (red arrows).  This keep the file from hitting the same part too long, causing more flat spots.

You can do the same with nail file sticks.

So, now that I’ve shown how I go about cleaning up stuff, here’s some pictures of how the Storm Strider’s Lightning Ball cleaned up:

Raw part with a “Mold Shelf” due to mold mis-alignment
Edge cut off the shelf, this is at the hill stage.
The top most part has been shaved to smooth out the hill.

Mold line completely shaved and smoothed with a file.

I then glued on the gantry and pinned the top tower part.  I test fit the ball, and the nodes rubbed on the tower top.  I needed to recess the ball just a hair.  So, I used my hobby knife and cut off that flat ring on the bottom post.  I then cut off half the post, and it sits about 2-3 mm lower now, and nicely clears the top tower.

Here’s a picture of the (almost) completely assembled Storm Strider.  I haven’t glued down the ball yet, I’m going to leave it loose until I paint it.

I also painted the little raised arc markers on the base in bright blue, just so they’re visible while I use the model for the time being until I get it painted.

ZAP!!     ZORTCH!!