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post #191 of 304 (permalink) Old 10-07-17, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so life forced me to divert my focus to some other obligations for a while, and it dug into my bench time, to say the least. Things are getting sorted out for now, but whatís life without the unexpected? I get it, Iím done being a student now, but do I really have to be an adult, right away?! *Sigh* But I wanted to slack off for a bit longer! *Grumbles* Oh all rightÖ

Iím currently out-of-town visiting family, so Iím away from my workbench and design PC, and that gives a perfect opportunity to finally sit down and write an update and toss up a few images. While I havenít had much bench time, I do have 30 Skitarii Vanguard and 10 Skitarii Rangers nearing build completion, and a few less complete builds lurking in the wings. However, now Iím kindaí glad I got delayed, with the Mechanicus Codex arriving recently I suspect the loose army list that I was going to use as a building guide will change (maybe a lot) and nothing is so far along that it canít be altered; so Iíll count that as a positive result from an annoying delay. Much more about my new Mechanicus project will start cropping up quite soon. Iím completely taken with my new muse, I can finally get back working on them soon, and I canít wait!

Now, while I was delayed, and I have been quite, I have not been idle. With things settling down Iíve finally been able to sit down and get to some proper 3D design work for the studio. Without further rambling, bring on the Weapons, and Tracks, and Armour, oh my!


This most recent iteration of the Vehicle Pintol Weapons I have planned is my most successful design, in my humble opinion.

Third timeís the charm! Iíve tried my hand at Pintol Weapons a few times and the results have been mixed. I liked the concepts, but the largest problem I always had with previous designs was their height. With how I was trying arrange the components, the parts just became too tall and didnít suit the profile of the vehicle. By rethinking how the parts can come together I think I was able to find a better solution in this design. Other weapon combinations to follow, soon.


One of two new Track designs Iíve come up with for the Rhino chassis, Iím particularly pleased with how this set turned out.

Iíll talk more about some of the process I use during designing in the future, but in short, taking the time to create an accurate 3D model of the Rhino chassis has been a wise time investment; I wasnít sure if I was going to do it at first, but now Iím very happy I did, and plan on doing the same for most future designs. Not only can something be created that should fit absolutely correctly, it also gives the opportunity to see the new kit on the model, Ďin the roundí as it were. Itís still only virtual, but itís much better than trying to visualize it through the entire process. As an added bonus, it will make creating assembly instructions muuuch easier, when it comes time to do such things in the somewhat near future.


Ok, so thereís a bit more than armour going on here, but youíre not going to mind if I show a few kits together, are you?

One of two new armour kits Iím working on for the Rhino chassis, this is the heavier variant that is based off of my original design with some refinements. Again, while Iíve learned that Iím quite capable at scratch-building in styrene, thereís simply no way I could achieve forms like this by hand. And without the 3D model of the Rhino chassis to work from, even doing something like this in SolidWorks would be a challenge.

Everything pictured here is getting very close to being finished, but are still works in progress. My plan is to create base Ďbareí models with no final detail, and then detail the kit in various ways to fit different themes. The selection will need to be limited to start, but will grow based on demand, feedback, and my ability to produce. I will continue to avoid anything that might cross any IP boundaries, but Iím sure I can find many ways to make the kits compliment Loyalist, Renegade, Chaos, and a few places in between. Iíll have some visual examples of what I mean in the somewhat near future as these kits reach completion and get ready to be sent off for 3D printing.

These images also donít showcase any of the features, assembly options, or modular components that are designed into each kit. Many of my kits will have components that can be changed during assembly for a different look, either by completely replacing the parts, or by offering some flexibility in how the kit is assembled. Again, Iíll showcase these features more in the future, when the kits are closer to being ready for production, and that should be reasonably soon, barring any unexpected delays. Iíll give a much better look at the Rhino Siege Ram, the new and improved Havoc Launcher counts-as, pictured here, as well as all sorts of other things Iím up to, when I can better showcase some of these features.

Naturally, updates of personal projects will start appearing more frequently as well, and hopefully my next article should include some images from my work bench. Heck, there might even be some more images with models that have actual *gasp* paint on them! Stay tuned, more coming soon, and this time I think I mean it!
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post #192 of 304 (permalink) Old 10-07-17, 10:55 PM
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Really like the storm bolter/combi bolter design, super simple but really effective, niiiiice!!!!!!!!!

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post #193 of 304 (permalink) Old 11-10-17, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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For those who may be interested in supporting my studio, The Dark Works, please read and if you are so inclined, offer some input, feedback, or general musings.

ďWhat, no pictures?! Ö Awww!Ē

Yeah, I know, nothing but a wall of those bland words, when Iím usually so much more visual. I promise that my next update will return my regular modus operand.

Ok, so I should be castingÖ buuut I got some new studio equipment (more on that in a moment) thatís sidetracked me as I get it setup, aaand Iíve got an urge to write since Iíve got an idea bouncing around in my brain that has me interested for some input. Iíve wanted to write for a few days to give some updates from my workbench (next time, I promise), but Iíve been busy casting for the studio and thatís also given me some time to ponder.

So, The Dark Works is now shifting to fulltime operation and barring any unforeseen distractions that might crop up (Iím lookiní at you Ďlifeí, back off! I gots cool stuff to make!), Iím starting to get product back on the shelves. As I work Iím also trying to figure out how to take this from a part-time endeavour to a full-time operation. Up to this point I have invested in kits, tools, equipment, and materials very carefully, returning the vast majority of the profits to the studio to continue the cycle. Iím very cautious about borrowing money, so Iím proud of myself for bootstrapping my studio this far, but now Iím reaching a tipping point; right now, Iíve got more ideas then Iíve got capitol (aka: money) to make them real, and I want to avoid borrowing if at all possible.

After investing another $1,400 into a new heavy duty compressor, deep vacuum pump, and materials, Iím starting to feel my financial wiggle room get rather tight. It was an absolutely necessary investment as my current compressor is on its last leg, and the new vacuum pump is so amazingly wonderfully efficient that itís improving my casting quality even more; yup, good investment. However, I still have more setup I need to invest in, ongoing expenses (aw crap, I need more boxes soonÖ), all while I try to start getting new kits into production. The catch-22 is, trying to cover everything is going to be tricky, and slow things down when I want to ramp things up.

Even as Iím writing this, I can already sense what some of you are thinking and are going to suggest; this sounds like a KickStarter kind of problem. While thatís not wrong, for me right now, I donít think itís right. While Iím very confident in my ability to produce, I still have a few more things I need to work out so I have a complete grasp of whatís involved when I take this to the next level. KickStarter can grow very quickly on an unwary creator. I want to avoid surprises, know my production process inside-out, and have a good body of digital designs near completion to offer the public, before I consider a formal KickStarter project. I want to do it, but I want to do it right and be properly prepared.

However, I think I might have a cleaver micro crowd-funding idea that I would like some feedback on. To myself, Iíve been referring to it as ĎAdopt-a-Kití as a working title, as it were. Once the digital design work is finished (taking many hours in itself), the largest barrier to something becoming real is the up-front costs; a prototype needs to be made (by 3D print or more traditional methods), moulds are created, and the initial casting run is done, all with added labour for each step. Naturally, a popular kit will return on that investment, pay for the costs, and after selling several casts start to turn some profit. Some of which will eventually need to be used to maintain the kits with new moulds as needed.

In order to blunt some of these up-front costs I want to setup a system to let a small group of people pre-order a set number of kits; essentially adopting the production of the kit. Starting with 10-15 kits, I will complete each as a fully accurate 3D model and showcase it in digital format. Anyone interested in the kit can contact the studio and offer to pre-order whatever amount they are interested in. No money will be requested until enough people have pre-ordered enough kits to help offset the development costs. At that point I will contact the individuals, confirm everything, collect payment, and start on production. Rinse. Repeat.

So, am I crazy, or does this seem like an idea people could get behind? I think if I could finish a few projects this way I could prove the concept and help it gain further momentum. Iíve got all sorts of ideas I would feel much more confident showcasing and developing if I knew that 10-20 of them are already sold, before I invested many hours of labour and a good bit of capitol to make it happen.

So, if youíre still reading, thanks for taking the time. As I said, feedback would be welcome so I can get feel for how something like this might be received. Iím always open for ideas and perspective, especially now that Iím actually getting my studio started. So much to do, I hardly know where to start. Time to start figuring it out!

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



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post #194 of 304 (permalink) Old 11-27-17, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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First up, shameless personal plug; Iíve restocked the shop with the kits that have serviceable moulds. If anyone is on the fence, Iíll be honest and say a few more sales before the end of the month would be welcome and very helpful. An unexpected strike at my other contract job has pinched my finances this month. Iíll be fine either way (strike was several weeks, but over now), but I wasnít expecting to be relying on the studio for proper income quite so soon. I respect that the stock is just too limited for now. So, if avoiding shipping costs with a split order is a factor, I totally understand, and Iíll be happy to offer free shipping on your next order to those who can help over the next few weeks. Again, my situation isnít critical, but every bit helps when things are unexpectedly tight. So please, only help if itís within your budget to do so. Thanks again to everyone, past, present, and future, who supports me on this endeavour; itís finally starting, and the best is on its way.

*Starts to shake with anticipation!*
Reverend: ďDo you see the light?! Have you seen the light?!Ē
Jake: ďYES! :cuss I see the :cuss light!Ē
*Gospel music rises*

~The Blues Brothers

Content Warning: Massive wall-oí-text-ní-pictures to follow.

That said, all other kits are currently being redesigned (or will be in the future) along with new kits being created, and they will start appearing over the coming weeks and months; hence the creation of this article to showcase whatís on the way in the near future. I was having a bit of Ďdesign ADDí when I started, bouncing between several ideas because I wasnít really considering how I wanted proceed. Trying to do too much can quickly mean that nothing gets done, so Iíve since come to the conclusion that I need to start back at the beginning, as it were. Iím going to start by focusing on the Rhino and then the stock Land Raider, and then consider what to do next, once those models have received some attention. Thatís not to say I wonít add other independent kits along with these designs, but these will sever as my focus for now and Iíll use other ideas only when I need some distraction, before they get their own focus in the future.



To the left; well thatís a familiar profile. To the right; and it only takes all of this to draw it accurately.

I see now that itís going to be all but inevitable that Iíll need to create a 3D model of each kit that Iíll be designing for. Itís a lot of work (it took many hours just to get this preliminary 2D sketch done) but once itís finished itís both an invaluable design aid and a very useful tool to consider a design in context rather than floating in space on a screen or in a mindís eye; useful for both me and the potential customer who might want to support the development of the kit.

I started with my old 2D CAD designs when I set to work updating my Rhino Trim kits for rapid prototyping. Importing the files to Solidworks is easy enough, but without getting into unnecessary detail, it became apparent that any time saved would be lost later down the line. This just reinforced that I needed to model the Rhino in Solidworks and create the kits on the model itself. This required recreating themÖ again, but thatís what needs to be done sometimes.



Mk.3 is a refined version of the original Chaos design that takes advantage of some curved lines made possible with the new process.

I really had no idea how popular these Trim Kits were going to be when I started making them. Iím glad to offer what I think is a unique kit that people like, but my old production method for them was simply too labour intensive for me to continue producing them in that manner going forward. Now that Iíve had some time to work with my new vacuum pump, which can pull a stronger vacuum in a fraction of the time, Iím feeling more confident in producing these kits with less labour if I design them properly.



Mk.4 is a intended to be something of a middle ground design; it fits in fine with a Chaos or Renegade force, but with no overt chaos elements also fine for Imperial.

So, these new designs have a much more significant sprew than I was originally considering. Iíve done them this way for two main reasons. Mainly, the vacuum casting process simply needs as many exit points as possible, in logical locations, to permit air bubbles to escape the components. But if Iím going to add in all of those vents, Iím going to do it right and take advantage of them. By adding some extra sprew sections to ensure the parts are completely encircled the delicate Trim components get some extra protection and resist warping when tightly packed for shipping. The delicate nature of the parts being prone to warping in this way was one of the few complaints these kits received, so I hope this alleviates the problem.



Mk.5 is clean cut with no extra embellishment intended more for Imperial vehicles, but naturally theyíll still work just fine in a Renegade or Chaos force.

I still want to do a few more designs to offer more variety, but Iím going to start with these to make sure they cast as intended and there are no kinks in 3D printing parts this thin. With the sprews for support it should be no problem, but I wonít know for sure until I have parts in hand. The bulk of the sprew will also add to the final printing costs, but Iím confident that the modest extra cost is offset by the improvement in production and by proving a better kit for the customer. Itís also a little funny that laying out the parts and designing the sprew took almost as much time as designing the actual kit components; everything always takes longer then youíd expect.




The Mk.2 Rhino Tracks are intended to look aggressive, plain and simple. Inspired by other Ďspikyí tracks Iíve seen, Iím quite pleased with how my take on the idea turned out.

I wanted to recreate the Rhino Track kit I produced before, but again, I want to have the option to offer more variety. It took quite a bit of trial-and-error to come up with two unique link configurations that actually fit the model nicely. For some reason, the size of the wheels on the Rhino model and the angles that are required createÖ problemsÖ when trying to get the links to travel cleanly the entire length of the model.




Based off the original Mk.1 Tracks, the Mk.3 design simply takes advantage of the refinements that can be made to the design in Solidworks.

Again, Iíll start with these two designs, and consider adding a few more in the future. Now that I have a starting point, I can easily strip the tread pattern off of the links and update it to something new. Itís one of the wonderful things about digital design in general. There are many opportunities to explore different ideas without needing to start from scratch; simply save the file as a new iteration and go to town exploring any changes you want, safe in the knowledge that you can return to the original file at any time.




The final full showcase for today is the Incursus Medium Siege-Ram Mk.1 designed for the Rhino chassis.

With this kit you can see an example of what will feature more-and-more in other kits; modular parts that can be switched-and-swapped and/or assembly options to provide the builder with some choice. In this case the smaller hydraulic bits can be rotated and Siege-Ram plate can be mounted either way. Sortaí like choosing between giving the Ram an under bite or an over bite. Iíll also be doing a Ram plate with some Chaos details at some point, but thatís not a major change now that I have this base 3D model, so Iím focusing on a few other kits first. Such asÖ (oh, Iím not done yet)


Ok, this is a recycled image but itís what Iíve got for now and it is whatís getting worked on over the next little while.

I havenít had a chance to get back to this design while I was working on getting this other stuff ready, but I want to do it to accompany the other Rhino kits so itís on my virtual workbench again. Naturally, being designed for the cupola opening of the Rhino, it will fit on practically any GW tank, but this is a fitting time to get this kit into production. For now I just want to get the Combi-Flamer/Melta/Plasma components complete and see how it all looks resin, then Iíll consider how I can get a selection of Heavy Weapons to fit the design for a future update.


Hinted at in an earlier image, two new version of the Interitus Missile Launcher, Mk.3 and Mk.4, are in The Works as well.

These kits are almost ready, but the pictured base mounting plate still needs a bit of detailing, and I want to make a smaller mounting plate that can fit the front cupola opening so the builder can choose where they prefer to mount the launcher. There are also a few other tricks designed into the kit in line with the modular swappable parts and assembly options concept that I mentioned earlier. Iíll be sure to showcase those features when itís done. While not exactly ground-breaking, Iím quite pleased with what I came up with to solve a production problem, and it actually provides more options for the kit. Win-win!

Both the Missile Launcher and the Combi-Weapon kits will be done with Chaos/Renegade versions and Imperial versions similar to the Trim Kits at the beginning of this update. Where it makes sense and where there is demand, I plan to make that a running concept with most kits. I may not able to do every version right away due to costs, but if thereís demand Iíll be happy to cater to it. Which is why I think the ĎAdopt A Kití idea should work well. I can finish kits and develop the ones I can afford, and those that people like that I canít get to right away, they can be supported and helped into production. At least, thatís how I hope itíll work.


Last but not least, hereís another image of the new Spaced and/or Ablative armour with additional components for the Predator version of the chassis.

This is a perfect example of a kit that would be very hard to create without the 3D Rhino model to work from. For now everything is just floating around the Rhino, so I need to get under it and figure out how itís all going to actually attach to the model. Iím going to produce this design first as a bit of a test to see how good the final fit of the kit will be. Iíve tried hard to make sure the 3D model of the Rhino is as accurate as possible, but I wonít really know until I have parts that I can work with. Iíll do several tests with templates cut from paper, in an effort to find any mistakes before I send the parts off to be printed, but that wonít be a guarantee since some places are difficult or impossible to test using that method. The turret being one good example. So, the plan is to start with this kit since it can work well with both a Rhino and the Predator. It will used a little less material to start in case there is a significant problem that requires a reprint. And, since itís a Spaced Armour solution it will be more forgiving on how it fits the model. Hopefully if there are any minor fit issues, I can fix the casting prototype by hand, and make the required adjustments to Ďtuneí the 3D model for future designs.

Ok, with that Iíll bring this sizable update to a close. I was going to ramble a bit about a few other things, but the hour grows late and this has taken a little longer to finish than I was expecting. Those musings will have to wait for another time. As always, comments, questions, suggestions, input, or any other hobby/shop talk are always welcome. Thanks for taking the time to read and having a look.

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



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post #195 of 304 (permalink) Old 12-04-17, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Late night (early morning?) teaser! I should be getting to bed, but I just got done 3D modeling the newPintolWeapons Kit and it seemed worthy of a screenshot. I'm very pleased with how these turned out.


Designation to be determined; Combi-Melta to the left and Combi-Bolters to the right. Renegade/Chaos version pictured, a 'clean' Imperial version will also be available.

Further updates to follow soon, including a showcase on how these and other kits will assemble. Both of these weapons are built from exactly the same parts. The choiceto have the weapons to the left or to the right is made during assembly, and everythingis magnet ready (will be included in the kit) so the weapons rotate and tilt, as well as permitting the owner to switch-and-swap the weapons anytime.

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



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post #196 of 304 (permalink) Old 12-08-17, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Second verse! Same as the first! How about another late night (early morning) teaser. Who needs sleep. All my late nights in college have given a pseudo-superpower, I can resist the urge the sleep when properly motivated, and indeed I find working late at night my most productive hours. As time goes by, I'm seeing that the choice of studio name seems appropriate on a few levels. "We like the dark. Dark for dark business." as Tolkien once wrote, if I recall correctly, just before a particular Hobbit went off, there and back again.

Interitus (Aka: Havoc) Missile Launcher 2.0 is almost finished. Here's a look at the at the leaner 10 missile rack in a clean line Imperial style. As shown earlier, there will also be a slightly larger 12 missile rack in the same style, and of course a version with Chaos/Renegade elements.


Top Left: Proximity Incendiary. Top Right: Impact High Explosive. Bottom Left: Proximity Fragmentation. Bottom Right: Impact Armour Piercing.

Pick your poison. I'm particularly happy with the swappable missile component that I have devised which will let the builder choose their preferred loadout for the missile rack, all while sharing the base components. Again, I'll showcase how it actually assembles in the near future as the entire batch of kits gets closer to absolutely complete. The Interitus Missile Racks are very close and then I'm going to focus on the spaced armour to finish the first batch of ideas that will be presented together and put up for production adoption in my shop. Thanks as always for following along.
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"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



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post #197 of 304 (permalink) Old 12-09-17, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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Speaking of the 10 missile rack compared to the 12 missile rack, here's an image of the latter to give an idea how the larger/taller version will compare.


Very similar (as intended) to the other version of this design, you can also see the smaller mounting plate I've created to give more flexibility to where it can be added.


Aaand because I I got the itch to show it off a bit more completely, here's a quick exploded view to help show how the kit will assemble.

I'll ramble more about all sorts of features, options, and design philosophy for all my work when I can show more mages to better illustrate what I'll want to explain, but this image can give a quick-and-dirty (*Gasp!* I can see the under bits-and-pieces! Shameful!) idea of how the kit comes together.

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



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post #198 of 304 (permalink) Old 12-16-17, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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*Subtle Discord suddenly appears wearing a cheesy ill-fitting tweed suit with a mustard stain on the lapel*

Wellll youíre in luck, my good friend. *pats you on the shoulder, grabbing it in a slightly intrusive way* Come on over here, Iíve got a few beauties with your name written all over them. Low kilometers, power steering, air conditioned, tracks that are virtually new, and ready to paint (not included) in any colour you can imagine. *offers a sly crooked smile as he leads you towards a row of vehicles*



Thereís very simple reason why Iím choosing to develop this kit first, and this illustrates it perfectly.

The current Extra/Reinforced Armour Kit available at my shop that I designed to fit Rhino chassis was really done from the start with the Predator tank in mind. Not that thereís anything wrong with that, but after being asked if I had (or planned to) Armour Kits that fit just the Rhino, I noticed a big oversight on my part. Take the Predator bits away, and in my opinion, the armour plates that remain donít suit the Rhino as well as Iíd like. So, Iím creating this armour kit specifically to work well with the Rhino and the Predator.

In fact, looking at it now on the digital Rhino model from the back it seems a bit sparse for my liking, I think it needs just a bit more to make it complete, so Iím going to create a set of top hatch doors to fit in with the Rhino iteration of this kit; theyíll be super easy to do and I think theyíll add the last bit that will complete the look for the Rhino.



So once I was (mostly) happy with the design on just the Rhino, then I worked on making suit the Predator.

With the turret and sponsons in place Iím very pleased with the results. I wanted to add enough armour to make it look like it can actually provide additional protection, while still portraying what is supposed to be Ďlightí armour. To me, it feels like the vehicle has been upgraded to resist ground fire from the front and sides, and try to protect soft points, while still leaving it vulnerable to attacks from above and behind in a plausible way. An effort to balance increased protection with the weight that would be added to the chassis.


Heck, since Iíve started to pontificate, let us have a closer look at the counts-as Combi-weapons Iíve recently finished.

As mentioned, Iíve done my take on all four weapon systems. Itís was a bit of a challenge fitting some details into such a small area that can do a good job of distinguishing each of the unique weapons; the Bolter gets ammo feeds, the Flamer has a pressure cylinder and pipes, the Melta has heat syncs and a corrugated hose, and the Plasma has a coil and fuel cell. You can hardly see them, but I donít thinkthat matters.



Designing the kit in a thoughtful way offers the builder several different assembly options as well as permitting the weapon to tilt and rotate.

Naturally, any magnets that are required during assembly will be included in the kit. While it wonít have a massive amount of tilt when assembled, I think itís still more than enough to emulate that the weapon can track ground targets as the vehicle advances over rough terrain. As mentioned earlier, I will be looking how I can fit a selection of heavy weapons into this assembly, but Iíll wait to start the design until Iíve made these a reality and see how they turn out. Itís a small kit so it will be cost effective to use as a test.

Currently, Iím finishing up the Armour Kit with some Chaos/Renegade detailing and as I mentioned, I also want to create some hatch doors for the Rhino version as a last minute addition to the kit. *Subtle ponders if he should also do side doors or if that would take it too far* From there Iíll need to get the sprews and vents needed for production attached to the parts, and that in itself can take longer than youíd expect; but even with that to do, these kits are in the absolute final stretch and ready to go very soon. I canít wait to start seeing these transform from digital concepts to actual resin.

Buuut, with that said, since Iíve been working so hard on these designs Iíve decided to reward myself with a weekend off to get away from the digital workbench and get some actual painting time in! Thatís right, actual paint! A while back I came to the conclusion that I must give myself weekends off to actually do my hobby as, you know, a hobby. Iíve chosen to postpone that a bit while I get the studio up-and-running, but it will be something I honour going forward, so expect to see more-and-more personal projects and actual paint on models as time goes by and I get my studio routine sorted out.

Ok, thanks again for joining me on this small step in my journey as I endeavour to make ideas real and create some of the best 3rd party kits on the market. As always, comments, questions, input, and general musings are always welcome, but if you prefer to lurk thatís great too.

*Subtle wanders off to find something to paint*

"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



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post #199 of 304 (permalink) Old 12-19-17, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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ItísÖ The Legion Rising Show!

*Cue The Benny Hill Show theme song Ė
*

Now, including spectacular colour! Thatís right, actual paint!


Iíve magnetized my models for years to facilitate my eventual need to transport them, but itís quite useful for painting too.

I mount a small neodymium magnet in the center of the base (or several, in the case of larger models) and then I attach a layer of magnetic sheet cleanly finish the process. The rare earth magnet provides the main sticking power while the magnetic sheet adds to the effect by making the entire base hold firm. Needless to say, I have no fear of models knocking free when theyíre on a metal tray. Added bonus, itís super simple to add a bit of metal to the end of a piece of dowel so I can paint without touching the model. Not as useful when youíre doing sub-assemblies, like in this case, but better than a poke in the eye.

As mentioned, I invested in an airbrush a while back, settling on a Badger Sotar 20/20 based on reviews, videos of performance, and helpful input; a key feature was its ability to switch between a very fine 0.20mm needle, a medium 0.45mm needle, and a large 0.70mm needle, to suit the range of jobs I expect to use it on. I helped to rationalize the purchase by using it first to paint the thesis model for my bachelorís degree, so letís just say it forced me to overcome any fears of a learning curve very quickly as I used it for the first time on an extremely critical project. As a funny addition to the experience, I painted my model a bright yellow to contrast with black and dark grey details, and used the entire bottle of airbrush yellow paint I purchased for the task. It was a rather large model. Caught in a pinch, with parts that still needed paint and no time to get a new bottle, I turned to my hobby supplies and pulled out a very old bottle of Sunburst Yellow; to my surprise it was a very close match and despite it being very thick and needing to be rejuvenated, it saved my bacon.

On hobby models, once you get past the intimidating initial learning curve of using an airbrush, it really is a significant game changer, completely altering how one might consider going about painting a model. Even simply applying primer is elevated, with it able to apply it in wonderfully smooth layers while offering complete control over coverage. While rattle spray cans are not exactly hard to use there are occasions when they can be temperamental, creating a less than desirable surface finish, and they simply canít get into the nooks-and-crannies of a model like an airbrush without applying way too much primer to everywhere else. Once you get the hang of it with the airbrush the progress is brilliantly quick.


To start Iím doing a 10x unit of Vanguard with three Plasma Calivers and a 10x unit of Rangers with two Transuranic Arquebus'.

All hail the ever useful Poster Tack! Great for working on perfecting a pose, and helpful in this case for keeping the bits-n-pieces on their assigned painting stick. They do fall off from time-to-time but itís easy to replace them and it still greatly reduces how much I would normally handle them. If youíre painting Skitarii I strongly suggest keeping them separate at the waist to save your sanity; Iím assuming they are intended to be painted this way as I simply canít see how you could get under the long coats otherwise. I had started assembling them with both arms in place, but I soon changed my mind as I looked at the model. While it will take a bit more care to do the final assembly, I find it takes much more effort to paint all the nooks-and-crannies of these models when both arms are in place. By attaching the left arm (using the right arm to ensure itís in the correct position) it will be an easy task to attach the right arm in perfect alignment in the future. Some carefully placed bits of Poster Tack is also perfect for masking the areas that will need plastic-on-plastic contact.


In keeping with my current preference for a cold-centric paint scheme Blue, Silver, and Black will be my primary colours, with Green used as the main accent colour.

It canít be understated just how much faster it was to paint these coats/cloaks with an airbrush and to a much higher quality and uniformity than I could ever hope for by hand. I might be able to get the blend reasonably close by hand since it is a nice smooth flat surface, but without a doubt, it would take me muuuch longer. I started rather cautiously at first, but quickly found my groove and sped up considerably once I got into it. To get them to this point was surprisingly straightforward.

  • Two layers of Vallejo Magic Blue over a Black prime.
  • Two layers of Blue Wash; the first over the entire area with some quick wet blending to keep most of the shading up near the torso, and a second selective application to reinforce the shade effect at the top of the model. I didn't worry too much about getting a perfect blend or if any shading dripped/drooped too low, because the final Blue application cleans it up nicely.
  • After that, I used an airbrush to blend the Magic Blue back up from the bottom.
  • From here I will be using Vallejo Magic Blue combined with Vallejo Electric Blue to work up the highlights.
  • Cleaned up all the non-cloak bits with Black.
  • A layer of Vallejo Air Silver was hand painted on; by far one of the best acrylic Silver paints Iíve used with a normal brush or through an airbrush.
  • A Single Black wash over the Silver and a cleanup with Black paint (still in progress).

In order to avoid using rust and adding the warm element it would bring to the theme, Iíve decided to borrow a bit of inspiration from the fiction of Lucius Forge World and bend it some to fit my purpose. Atrum Laboris is skilled at producing quality metal alloys so wargear of their manufacture is resistant to typical corrosion or oxidation, and prone only to superficial tarnishing, developing a darkening patina over time; I may take the idea further, making Alphas and other veteran models darker and more tarnished to reflect the fiction. So, with that base covered, when it comes time to weather some of this strong colour down Iíll focus on grease, dust, soot, and carbon to add more grit and grime to the models, instead of rust and oxidization.

Ok, so not the largest update, but progress... measurable, quantifiable, documentable, painting progress!! I'm already starting to dread all the little fiddly bits, but really, only a little bit. It's sooo cathartic to finally be able to get back painting again I'm eager to push forward. Now that I have control of my schedule I can also start doing it more regularly. Being forced away from it for so long, even if for the best of intentions and outcomes, has left me quite hungry and the prospect of doing 40-60 of these actually feels like a treat! Let's hope the enthusiasm lasts. I think it will. I need to get to the Onagers, after all. Mmm... walking tanks with... Neutron Lazor Beams!
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Ok, design philosophy time! Where we delve a little into the dark nooks-and-crannies of Subtleís design process to learn just how much he overthinks things, but in a good way!

Itís funny, one of the most profound lessons I learned while attending college is actually quite straightforward and one of the most frustrating truths Iíve been forced to accept. Put simply, as you design something almost every task it requires during the development will take longer to complete than youíll expect it to. The general guideline my professor gave was roughly 3-to-1 and they seem to be close to the mark; if you expect a task will take you about 1 hour to complete, donít be surprised when it takes 3 or more hours to finally finish. For some reason, despite coming to experience this firsthand, over-and-over, I struggle to take this into account and adjust my expectations to something realistic.

In this case, Iím on the final steps to completing the first batch of 3D models and that requires filleting (read: rounding) the hard/sharp edges of a model ever-so-slightly. This subtle step takes the designed object from something of a rough state to a refined finished state and itís quite noticeable in image renderings of a design and ultimately the final production of an object. Itís not particularly hard to do (although it can be tricky in some locations of a model if the geometry is complex) but it is completely mind-numbing and takes a painfully long time to finish. Needless to say, what I thought would be done in days is taking longer than I expected. And I donít even want to get started on adding sprews, gates, and vents, which you would think isnít that tedious, but I digress.

TLDR: Iím putting the final touches and details on the first batch of 3D models. They look great but daaamn itís taking longer than I expected. Note to self: Attention to detail simply takes time; adjust schedule expectations accordingly.

The redesign of the Interitus Missile Launcher (counts-as Havoc Launcher) is an excellent 3D prototype build to illustrate the design choices I make in order to create the best possible kit I can devise. Three main ideas guide my choices. 1) Find ways to improve how the model will be produced; is there anything I can do to make it easier to cast, improve the lifespan of the mould, and/or reduce the chances of casting flaws? 2) Find ways to make it assemble with the least amount of frustration; what can I do to ensure everything assembles with the least amount of cleanup and effort? 3) Find straightforward ways to add assembly options to a kit for more variety; what opportunities present themselves that might let me add more assembly options?


By offsetting the mounting point on a round plate simply rotating the plate changes the launcherís position on the model.

A very simple design choice lets the builder put the missile launcher where they want; to the left, right, front, or back. Not anything elaborate by any stretch, but a good idea doesnít need to be complex.


I initially split the mounting Ďyokeí for the launcher into two parts to make it easier to cast each of the parts.

Soon after I split the part I noticed how easy it would be to add a few extra holes to match the small locking key detail. This, in turn, lets the builder assemble the launcher centered, or to the left, or to the right. Again, not exactly elaborate, but itís also not exactly difficult to add the option, so why not?


I try to design kits to complement each other in both design style and how they function.

Modularity, itís a good thing. Not only do I want my kits to interact well with each other; using the provided assembly options should help to avoid clearance issues. I also want kits to be able to switch and swap logical parts with each other. In general, if parts from one kit look like they could fit with another kit, odds are good that they will. MmmmÖ options.


Sometimes you design to solve a problem, sometimes you design to add a feature, and sometimes one leads to the other.

When youíre creating a casting prototype itís in your best interest to avoid details that will create a Ďknife edgeí in the mould rubber. Rubber that forms very thin shapes like this will tend to deform very quickly and because they are delicate they are also prone to tearing well before the rest of the mould wears out. Due to the shape, the ring around a missile sitting in a tube is a good example of this and it was one of the main problems I had with my first attempted making the Interitus Missile Launcher; this thin bit of rubber would first deform, and then eventually tear free, ruining the gap that is meant to simulate a missile sitting in a launch tube. At first, I considered widening the gap in an effort to make the rubber thicker and more resistant to tearing, but Iím much happier with this final solution for several reasons.


By completely splitting the part into two components I solve the initial problem and in turn, I created an opportunity to add some more assembly options.

I was pleased with solving the problem in this reasonably simple way. The Ďknife-edgeí issue is completely resolved and since theyíre both flat-backed parts it wonít be any harder to cast these two components as it would be to cast it as a single piece.

If they choose, the builder will also have the option of painting the parts separately which should help the assembly process. It also makes it very easy for the builder to remove some of the missiles if they want to have the missile rack appear to have fired a few volleys of ordinance. Itís a pet peeve of mine when a missile rack on a model has a few missiles missing by default; if itís ever duplicated in the collection they all look the same and I personally hate that kind of repetition in a collection. Let the builder make that choice, dammit!


As shown earlier in the thread, this also makes it very easy to create several unique varieties of missile for the builder to choose from.

Not every kit will get this many small options on how it can assemble, but this is an excellent example of how I try to discover opportunities to improve every model I design. It can take longer to complete a design as I work through the process, but I think itís the kind of attention to detail that people will really appreciate as my kits start arriving in their hobby spaces. I build these models and miniatures too, so I know how nice it is when something assembles without too much fuss, and a little bit of choice when I build is never a bad thing. I aim to combine this design philosophy with top quality execution to produce some of the best kits on the market. Itís going to take a little while for me to find my stride, but itís finally starting and I canít wait to see where this all leads.

More updates coming sooníish. Hopefully, with some actual first 3D prints in hand. But for now, itís Saturday, time to go and paint something!
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"The old galaxy is dying, and the new galaxy struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters."



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