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post #81 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-07-14, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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Default New Projects in The Works - Provide Some Feedback

*Subtle munches happily on the cookie* Thanks! I like cookies.

Input and feedback requested; if you're still reading by the end (or want to skip to the end) I would appreciate some direction from the people I want to appeal to with my studio - you, the reader; short term plans are in place, but I could use some help prioritizing some long term projects and could use some perspective. More on this later.

After receiving my copy of Imperial Armour 13 several weeks back it quickly became apparent that I would be [s]enticed[/s] [s]lured[/s] forced to add to my collection. The merits of the units can always be debated, but with so many great rules for Chaos consolidated into one dark tomb, there's just so much potential with the sheer volume of choices presented that it can give a Chaos collector and player the giggles. I had no choice but to succumb to the whispers and taunts that started as soon as I opened that infernal book; and a few days ago my dispatch arrived...

One part addition to my personal collection, one part addition to the studio for design purposes; friendly old Saint Nicholas is going to be good to me this year.

I'm a tread-head, what can I say? I'm surprised I lasted this long before succumbing to the temptation of adding a Sicaran to my army; but daaamn, it's one huge chunk of resin.

I'm still not totally sold on the practicality of the openings in the armour on the front of the Sicaran (my design for Armoured Ceramite might close/cover them) but the overall look and form of the model has grown on me more-and-more since it was released. There are lots of nice lines and surfaces to work with, I'm sure I can do both an armour upgrade kit and a lighter trim kit for variety. I really wish the tracks were loose; attached as they are now, it's very hard to see a way to give them a Chaos makeover. As a consolation, it's good that they are not covered in Imperial iconography.

One of my main worries was that the Rapier Battery would have a considerably larger footprint compared to the Obliterators they would be supplementing and/or replacing.

It's not going to be a problem it seems; they compare very well to an Obliterator. I wanted my model to very closely match the footprint and profile of an official FW Rapier. Most of my kits supplement a current model, so scale isn't an issue, I just fit the model, but in this case I wanted to get it very close. The Graia Pattern battery that I got is slightly narrower than the Chaos Marine model that I'll be creating, but that will be easy to add during the build. The Dark Works kit will be considerably different but properly inspired by this original.

Last but most certainly not least, the corner stone of my soon('ish)-to-be Air Calvary; a Chaos Fire Raptor gunship. Again, wow... that's a ton of very sexy resin! *Swoon*

As much as I would have liked to, there would be no way I could make a Fire Raptor from scratch the same way that Forge World has; several parts are just massive and beyond the scope of my studio. Due to the scope of the changes done by the 'Raptor kit, if I really wanted one, getting it from FW made more sense. This kit will pull its weight however, as I will be making conversion kits for the Fire Raptor (Armoured Ceramite and Chaos themed trim) and using it to help in my Chaos Storm Eagle build.

So, while these kits will add to my army collection, they are also strategic purchases that I can make use of in the studio. All of this, along with items already on the bench, plus other projects and ideas, and all of the other inspiration in IA 13, means there's a lot on my plate, table, spilling to the floor...

Still with me? Wow... really? Ok, so here's where you come in.

I do have some semblance of a plan; I know what I want to build and have a reasonably consolidated list. What I need is an order of manufacture; I want to build it all, and have every plan to, but I can do it in any order, so here's your chance to give some direct input.
Short term goals (next 4 weeks during mid-term break):
  • Chaos Siege Line (ADL counts-as) - This kit is done, it just needs improved moulds made.
  • Loyalist Land Raider Armour - Also finished and awaiting mould making; moulds for this kit are more complex, however.
  • Morsus AA-Gun (Quad Gun counts-as) - On the bench and very near complete before it needs moulds made.

Short term, I have these and a general casting run to replenish my stock. I'm hoping to have no complications to stop any of these from getting done before classes start up again. I won't get started actually building until spring, but I will be doing concept sketches and drawings and I want to know what to focus on. In no particular order, most of my longer term studio projects will include:

  1. Chaos Storm Eagle - A full kit that will build off a Storm Raven base model. Very elaborate and involved build.
  2. Chaos Fire Raptor - A Chaos Trim kit and a Armoured Ceramite kit will be a good start. Modestly elaborate build.
  3. Chaos Sicaran - Again, I will start with a Chaos Trim kit and Armoured Ceramite kit. Modestly elaborate build.
  4. Chaos and Loyalist 'Dozer, Siege Ram, Destroyer Blades - Rhino and Land Raider chassis compatible. Reasonably easy build.
  5. Chaos Rapier Battery - Ectoplasma cannon, Hades auto'cannon, and Cyclotrathe beamer. Modestly elaborate build.
  6. Chaos and Loyalist Jetbikes - Counts-as bikes as an update to the current choices. Modestly elaborate build.
  7. Pintol Combi-Weapons - Vehicle mounted Bolters, Flamer, Plasma, and Melta; a long standing idea that still needs to be made real. Deceptively difficult build due to the scale.
  8. Relic Weapon Systems - Starting with the Predator I want to create some Relic weapons for various platforms. Reasonably easy build.
  9. Loyalists Trim Kits - Rhino Trim Kits to start, and expand from there. Reasonably easy build.
  10. Dark Mechanicus Construct Kit - Sentinel-like legs and robotic/mechanical components to improved Maulerfiend builds. Still only a concept, modestly elaborate build.
  11. Chaos Battlefield Debris - Tanglewire, Tank Traps, and Barricades done with my Chaos Trim treatment. Reasonably easy build.
  12. Void Shield Generator - This will be a piece of neutral scenery, not Chaos specific, intended for various armies. This will be a massive build, but an awesome final kit.
  13. Chaos Kits 2.0 - Taking advantage of Servator Zing, new Rhino, Predator, and Land Raider kits are planned. Modestly elaborate build/s.
  14. Chaos Knight - The Imperial Knight kit begs to be defiled into a war machine of Chaos, so it shall be done. A very elaborate build.
  15. Chaos Renegades - IA 13 opens the door to proper allied Renegades and all the toys they bring to the aid of Chaos. Wide range of levels.

These projects will start in the spring (May 2015) and there's no way they will all get done next summer, but I need to start somewhere. Some builds will be much more in depth than others, so how quickly some things will be made will vary depending on the project.

So, what on this list stands out to you? What would you like to see made real first? If you could pick a few from the list, which ones? If you could add something to the list, what would it be? Input, feedback, inspiration, ideas, let me have it! It's still several months off, and I can never completely promise just how things will ultimately come together, but I will be starting my brainstorming soon; help me give it some focus and direction.

So much more to come...

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

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post #82 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-13-14, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Default A bit of distraction before waking up the studio for some work.

Note: anyone reading this between now and spring is more than encouraged to add their $0.02 on what they would like to see, to help me with direction and motivation. Everything on the list is planned in some way and I'm going to make as many of them real as I can manage; some will take longer than others and might need to wait until I'm done school and have more freedom to step things up another notch, or several notches. Some (not many) may get lost along the way and others added (still some ideas lurking and/or forgotten) but I want to see how far I can take this. But, with so many ideas blowing me in so many directions it can be hard to find a course.

So, last exam on Tuesday and I'm happy to say it seems like I haven't wasted any tuition yet; the few classes I may have worried about (Ugh... Statistics) didn't implode on me and my journey on the road of higher learning continues. After catching up on lots of sleep I started to work getting things tidied up in the studio (School has a way of taking over every surface) and it will be ready to get back to work tomorrow. But, as I was getting things sorted I unearthed a few half-built projects and I'm reminded that I have a few things still nagging me to be addressed, not to mention some new resin that's begging to be inspected. Since the Decimator is a IA 13 unit, it didn't seem a complete frivolous distraction to spend a few hours finishing the build. Looking back, it was October 2012 that I got the model, so it seems overdue that it gets finished.

Am I the only one who buys a Forge World model with eager anticipation, only to be so intimidated by it, that sits for months and years? I even know it's going to happen, but I like to have the plastic for its potential, even if it needs to wait, or intimidates me, to the point of procrastination. I want it there for when I finally have the conviction to attempt the build.

Something old, something new, and something... err... broken.

So, as a brief hobby therapy diversion I took some time to get most of my long overdue Decimator finished (still need to finish the Butcher Cannon/s and Conversion Beamer) and get a rough assembly of the Sicaran done. The Sicaran is so straight forward (in theory) to build it really wasn't much work to get it this far; it will be enough to start some early work on later designs, and to sit looking cool beside my other tanks.

The odd looking device to the right was (key word) a very useful tool that I used while doing the hose details on the Decimator, but I managed to break it just as I finished using it. I wanted to write about it and do a bit of demonstration, but the breaking of the tool kind of put a crimp in that plan. To explain, it is used to pick up a tiny amount of super glue with capillary action and place it very carefully where you want it; very good for getting glue just where you want it and/or in hard to reach places. It can be purchased, but I made mine, so I'll be sure to show it again when I've made a replacement.

Oh Forge World, why do you force me to love to hate you? Or is it hate to love you?

Forge world gets so much right. Everything is subjective, so personal taste aside, FW makes some great kits. The product they produce sets the bar that I strive to meet and exceed in my builds and prototypes for The Dark Works. Having seen the Sicaran I knew I would like it in person cosmetically; I think it's great looking and I can't wait to start making designs for it. I've already got ideas brewing.

It's the fit the drives me crazy! As mentioned before, it's a very simple build to get it this far: four pieces to create a center hull 'box', two massive slabs for the treads and the hull surrounding them, and the main turret. It's so straight forward I don't understand why it has a small flaw in how the parts come together that creates a gap in the rear of the assembly. Warping and mould lines are one thing; not wonderful, but usually fixable. But this is just strange fit in what appear to be straight parts, and it's annoying in a premium product. Beyond this gripe, the kit is nice, and it's going to be a pleasure to turn it into a rolling war-alter of Chaos.

The Decimator kit is virtually made to be magnetized. Not that I need much excuse to find a use for some neodymium magnets.

At first I planned to add magnets only for weapon swapping, but I got so caught up in trying to find a pose that I liked I decided to add some extra magnets to the shoulder of Decimator; in this case the magnets show how great they can be at making hinges. I was sure to use tall magnets so I could make a hole-in-post to add to the stability of the join.

Now the Decimator can change between, evil stalking pose, standard shooting pose, and "You want some of this?!" shooting pose. Excellent!

The Decimator in contrast to the Sicaran assembled very well with no real surprises. In fact, it offered so much freedom in the joints, it was hard to choose a pose from top to bottom. I ended up drilling a pin through each joint to create a puppet-like structure to work with while I experimented with the pose; these added extra strength when i finally did glue it into place. The kit is so great with its level of detail I didn't find a need to go over-the-top in embellishing it; just a few spikes an some extra hoses.

I'll just add one-or-two turned into many more. Too bad it all gets so obscured by the armour plates that are added over top.

It all started with the damage to the cast; a few pipes had broken away at some point and I wanted to replace them to clean things up. A perfect job for the stockpile of hoses and pipes I've been building up ever since I picked up my GSI Tentacle Makers. Once I got those done I liked the look so much I couldn't help but fill out a few more to add to the effect, and a bunch to fill out the 'neck' of the construct. It's one of those things that you can keep going-and-going with, and overdo it if you're not careful. I think I added enough to embellish, but not clutter it too much.

A little more work on the base and this little monster will be ready for primer. Still needs some Butcher Cannons and a Conversion Beamer, but they deserve special treatment.

I didn't go too over-the-top in the pose, even though the kit offers so much freedom in the legs. The kit is so all-round bad-ass it can be very successful with just a but of twist in the hips and a lean of the torso. I did take my time posing the legs so that the balance of the model works, but it's not dramatic, more plodding and deliberate.The magnets offer enough freedom to change the pose up nicely depending on the load out. As mentioned, I still need some Butcher Cannons and a Conversion Beamer, but I want to take some time to do some extra conversion work on them. The Beamer needs to be appropriately 'Death Ray', and the Butcher Cannon provided as-is from Forge World is really lacking in 'Butcher'. the main body of the weapon is ok, but I think it needs a more intimidating looking barrel. I won't be able to start painting this until spring, but I'll get the primer on it so it can have a good long sit to cure out. This it going to be fun, if a bit intimidating, to paint. Good thing it comes apart so much so it will be easy to get at the tricky spots.

Ok, enough distractions (for now) time to get back to getting things into production mode. lots of casting to do over the weekend and the coming days followed by some serious mould making to open the door for more casting. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't work, but it's a different kind of work when it's tapping into a passion. The whispers from the warp taunt me to create and produce for my fellow Warmasters, so I am compelled to obey.

Thanks as always for reading. Questions, comments, input, critiques, feedback, criticisms, and general banter are always welcome. Much more to come...

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

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post #83 of 320 (permalink) Old 12-14-14, 01:41 AM
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That's looking fantastic! Love the extra cables.. adds depth to something that I already thought was fantastic!

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post #84 of 320 (permalink) Old 01-04-15, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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Much more in depth update/s coming shortly, but in the mean time...

Bah, bah, Black Sheep have you any wool? Yes sir. Yes sir. Three bags full! (Loricatus Hvy. Mk.II moulds are almost complete)

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

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post #85 of 320 (permalink) Old 01-07-15, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
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Default Loricatus Mk.II Pattern Heavy Armour

It took longer to get finished then I had hoped, but it came together nicely once I had the time to focus on it. Maybe I'm being too critical, but there is a minor issue with how some of the parts are casting, and I'll talk about that more later to look for some feedback. However, this update was going to be a single post, but as I was compiling pictures, the moulds for this kit kept getting more-and-more complete, giving me more pictures to add, and so this will mutate into 2 or 3 updates to cover everything. But first...

"And now, for something completely different!" On occasion I have mentioned my desire to work my way up to scratch building a Chaos titan scale vehicle of some description. For many years the Chaos Defiler kit had planted the seed of an idea that would blend a traditional Imperial titan with an up-scaled Defiler. Now, this is a long term idea that I'm planning for after a nice formation of my Black Legion army are complete; in isolation it would be an amazing build, but too lonely. You need an army to surround something of this scale to do it justice, in my personal opinion. Now that said, my brain is always processing ideas and looking for inspiration and/or materials, and this opportunity was just too perfect to pass up.

The original idea, many years ago, was always to build this mostly from scratch. But without anything to use as a starting substructure the idea was (is) very daunting, to say the least. Now, with the release of the Lord of Skulls and the Imperial Knight kits, I figured they might become a good base to start with, but the scale seemed a bit too small for what I really had in mind. I still have my ideas for those kits, but Hasbro was kind enough to solve my problem in one go; enter the Terradrone. Now, knowing how short-lived some products can be in our fast paced modern times (especially with toys), I got one of these before they almost inevitably stop making them; even if it has to sit on a shelf for a while, it's now just waiting to go.

Easily large enough to properly stomp on a Rhino; Santa brought me this for Christmas with strict instructions that it be transformed into a Chaos war machine, so who am I to argue?

As a proper toy it's actually a little underwhelming; it's not very fast moving and its rate-of-fire is somewhat slow. But, it is surprisingly accurate in its movement, nicely articulated in the legs, plus reasonably solid feeling in its build construction. Ultimately it's going to be used mostly as a static model that will have the benefit of being able to change pose, and the added novelty of being able to walk, even if it won't likely do it very often.

Who am I kidding, once it's done I'll play with it all the time! "Die Imperial lap-dogs!" *stomp stomp stomp* "Cannon charging!"... Errr... heh... did I say that out loud? *smiles sheepishly*

It's still a massive build, but having this to use as a substructure will greatly reduce the design work needed to make it real. I've got a good idea how I'll be adding armour plates to skin the legs and totally transform the look of it; it only has two legs (each repeated 3 times) so I can build limited prototypes and cast enough to go around. The upper 'body' is another story completely, and will require much more consideration; it does tilt to shoot farther (indirect fire!) but I'm not sure if or how I will take advantage of that.

For now it's enough to have a solid starting form to work with, and I can just concentrate on doing the legs; there's plenty of time to give proper consideration to how the top will look and function. The top is actually totally modular and easily removable (useful for storage and transport) so it can really be considered separately; it might even open the door to having different upper bodies for different variations of the final model.

I have no idea at what pace this will take form, but expect it to turn up, looking considerably different, at some point in the future. It's going to be an ambitious build, even with such a wonderful starting substructure, but it's also going to be such a great centerpiece to the army I'm looking forward to the challenge it will be. It's one of those projects that has such a great metal image, I'm driven to see it made real. Until I can start a proper build, it will be an excellent sketching subject, so expect to see some of those soon enough; I can make them part of my college sketching requirements, so the effort can be useful in more than one way.

Funny thing about finishing a prototype. Once the parts are complete, it's still not really complete. Now it needs to be setup for moulds.

The swapping plates to move the sponson between the from and rear positions is added complexity to the build, and that will add to the number of moulds; but, it's a straight forward idea that's worth the effort to explore. Time to take the parts and wrap them in some rubber. But first, vents, lots of vents.

The Chop-It and Sand-It from Micro-Mark are perfect for making the many repeating bits needed for making lots of vents.

The double doors of the center armour components create a dead zone between them; as you fill the object in the mould, bubbles can get caught in between the doors. Without vents there's nothing to keep the bubbles moving to force them out. Even with the vents it can be a spot prone to catching annoying bubbles.

Ooo... pink. Slaanesh should be proud. I've changed the rubber that I've been making my newest moulds from, and that's a subject unto itself for another post.

Some in-progress pictures of me making moulds. As always, I make my moulds with generous wall thicknesses; the thicker the mould, the more resistant to warping it is. Deep locking pins mean the mould locks together very tightly, and with just a rubber band to wrap and hold the mould together it's ready to cast with.

Resin casting is an almost addictive process; it's always a downright gratifying experience to see what was once parts and pieces held together with glue and epoxy turn into solid pieces of clean plastic.

The very first casts of a new mould. Mmm... yeah, that's the good stuff. As each new mould was completed the kit was finally able to take form...

Loricatus Mk.II Pattern Heavy Armour kit - The Dark Works 2015.

So, the moulds are complete, and have now cured for a few days so they can start producing soon... but, there's an unexpected catch. There seems to be a small issue with how the parts are curing and it's effecting the fit of the modular center plate used to swap the sponson; where it was quite tight in the styrene prototype build, it is slightly looser in the final resin cast. As I said earlier, while there is a slight change in the fit, maybe I'm being too critical. It took me very little effort to fix it by physically altering the part, and it could also be filled with the greensuff that will be inevitable to make the parts seamless either way.

So, maybe I need some outside perspective and input; I'll take some pictures of the issue and see what the public thinks of it. There are solutions, but with the labour and materials invested in the kit so far, I want to temper my desire to produce top quality kit with being realistic. Let me get my next article worked up, and you'll better see what I'm talking about. A picture (or several) is worth a thousand words, and all that.

On a related side note; once this kit is finished and photographed for The Dark Works product shots, I will be finally assembling and painting this Land Raider model. After being in my collection for 3+ years and being used to make three different resin kits, I think it's done enough work and deserves to go to pasture, as it were. I'm very pleased with the idea of even priming this model after seeing it grey for all these years; it will be downright surreal to see it with colour on it. I can't wait. And once it's done it will give me an excuse to do some Terminators to put in it... someday...

Thanks for reading. As always, speak and be heard! Comments, questions, input, and feedback are always welcome.

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

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post #86 of 320 (permalink) Old 01-10-15, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Default Loricatus Mk.II Pattern Heavy Armour, part 2

It's been mentioned in other corners of the interweb that I'm very open in documenting and showing what I do. I hope that my efforts at transparency are obvious, as it's a very conscious effort on my part. I know exactly what I want to produce, and it's nothing but the best that my skills can muster, so I have nothing to hide. So, if I've got nothing to hide, why not show what I'm doing to enlighten those who might be interested? Some might want to know because they want to try for themselves (I know I'm always looking for well presented 'how it's done' content, so I can't be alone) and some might just want to see how it's done out of more casual curiosity. Either way, I have a knack for it, people seem to appreciate it, and I like the progressive documentation, so I have no problem letting you all peer in on my workbench. I'm sure if I'm constantly learning new things as I work, others out there will appreciate the oppertunity to learn along with me.

The new Mk.II kit uses a modular plate to select the orientation of the door and sponson. It's also the feature that's teaching me a lesson in resin casting.

This idea came to me after I made my first Land Raider Armour kit, so it's only available on the new kit. As the Mk.I moulds age it's only a matter of time before they need to be replaced; I might add a second center plate to add this option to that kit in the future, but for now the Mk.I kit only comes in the single (Sponsons forward, doors back) configuration. I've also already got a good idea for a Mk.III that I really like, but that's getting ahead of myself.

I always build with accuracy and precision in mind and in this case I was very particular about the fit of the swapping center plate.

Every detail of a prototype, good or bad, will be replicated in the copy; time and care taken in the build will pay off in the final product. In this case I knew that a slight gap between the plate and trim was inevitable. I still tried to make it as tight as possible so it will take as little effort as possible to fill to make it seamless. The idea was that it should fit so snugly that the part will align itself with little effort.

Not all parts are created equal when you're casting in resin, and these parts prove the point.

After casting everything looks good, but the fit has changed ever-so-slightly. Where the plate was very snug in the prototype, it's become slightly looser in the casting. From what I can tell the change in thickness of the area where the plate sits compared to the plate itself made the parts cure and shrink differently; the base was much thinner (0.75mm) so it shrank very little and the plate is thicker (2.25mm) that part shrank more during curing. In the end, the gap is a fraction of a millimeter wider, so it's not a huge deal but it's annoying when I was trying so hard to make it to a tighter tolerance.

Not my preferred solution, but dealing with the gap isn't that difficult.

After sleeping on it and considering some of the fit issues I've had with Forge World models, I've come to the conclusion that I am being critical. I want to make top-notch kits, but I need to temper that with being realistic. Since a bit of greenstuff will be needed even if the fit is really good, it could easily fill the gap with no modification. I've been able to close the gap by making a few cuts in the base plate, filing a bit of resin away, and gluing it down as normal. With the top plate in place you'd never know the difference.

Much more clean-lined than the Mk.I Armour kit, the open areas of the Loricatus Mk.II Armour kit are just begging for some freehand mural painting.

Beyond that minor unexpected issue that I've shown here the rest of the kit is casting near flawlessly; sharp details, perfectly straight lines, absolutely flat panels, and wonderfully tight fit, all as it should be. I'll be flipping the switch on them for my shop in the next day or two after I get a few last things sorted out. I've got a first batch cast up and they've cured for 36+ hours, so they're ready to go. I like to let my resin cure for 48 hours at the minimum before I consider packing or shipping so it's reached full hardness. Resin goes through distinct stages as it cures; first it's soft like toffy, then it goes hard with a bit of flex/bend (best time to de-mould an object), then it reaches full hardness but becomes very brittle (very easy to break items), and then it cures to the final blend of tough, rigid, and slightly flexible. 24 hours is usually enough to get a full cure, but I like the extra time as the material data literature takes all its measures (flex strength, hardness, shrinkage, etc.) after 48 hours, so it seems a safe bet there's a reason, and I use the same window as an acceptable cure time.

It also dawned on me over the last few days, as I was looking at some pictures of vehicle variants, this kit would make a prefect base for my take on an official FW Mk.IIb Land Raider. The modular plates could easily be changed into sponson enclosures like that of the FW Mk.IIb; and it wouldn't even require a change in the base armour plate to make them fit. Yep, I think the Mk.III might just have to consider that...

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

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post #87 of 320 (permalink) Old 01-11-15, 01:16 AM
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That chaos warmachine is looking pretty sweet. I am sure you have been asked, but I want one of your MK II armor kits for the land raider...
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post #88 of 320 (permalink) Old 01-14-15, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for kind words. It seems that these boards limit the number of times your signature appears to once per page to cut down on clutter. Have a look near the top for a link to my shop The Dark Works. <- or click here

So, as one last serious article before I get swamped under by school for the next 14 weeks, I've got a mix of tools, techniques, and materials to ramble about. Get comfy, it's going to be a big one. First up, a bit of home made kit...

The Easy-Bake Oven has nothing on this simple setup; I give you the Greenstuff Oven. Or maybe it should be called the Kneadatite Kiln so it sounds more sophisticated.

I like to use standard arm lamps around my studio, especially at my painting bench. They're a low-cost lighting solution that is useful with how adjustable they are. They're also prone to wearing out and braking, since they're not exactly expensive; easy to replace, but now I also have a use for the left over lamp. By adding an incandescent light bulb and combining it with a coffee can, it produces and stores just enough heat to speed the cure of epoxy putty, without endangering any resin or plastic.

The foiled cardboard of this coffee can makes it perfect for the task. Any properly size container will do, but the reflective nature of this type of can helps improve the effect. The bulb is 25w, and that is the perfect strength; I also tested a 15w bulb which didn't generate enough heat, and 40w which was enough to cause styrene to start warping. I've used it with the 25w bulb on several objects (some very delicate) with no adverse effects to the styrene or resin.

I would estimate that this little oven cuts the cure time of Greenstuff in half, and helps to alleviate one of the things I hate about working with it; to do Greenstuff sculpting work well, many times you need to work in layers. And I hate waiting for layers to cure so I get discouraged to even start some projects. It's far from instant, but it certainly helps.

A simple trick for improving the pins used to hold a build or conversion together, I've been meaning to show this tip for a long time.

Pins are essential to help certain builds stay together, it's as simple as that. any pin is good, but there's a super simple way to make them better; add texture.

1) I consider a good set of pliers an all-round must have tool for any bench; sometimes you just need the gripping power. I make sure mine have very well defined teeth in the jaws of the pliers for just for the following purpose.

2) By gripping the pin wire in the pliers and twisting it several times you can score some texture into the pin. You want to grip it tightly so that the teeth bite into the metal a bit, but don't go overboard. Work you way down the wire to make a good length of textured wire.

3) With this added texture on the wire, super glue will have something much more substantial to lock into as it dries. This simple change takes just a few seconds to do, but it will make pinned joints much stronger against both twisting and pulling forces. I actually dread the idea of trying to dismantle anything I've assembled with these pins; they work so well that may times the only way to remove something mounted with one, is by destroying it.

I've mentioned adding a second metal point to a compass and using it to cut circles, and here's how I use it to do just that.

1) Tilt the compass and gently scribe the circle into the plastic. Take your time, it will cut rather well with modest pressure and several passes. This can work on surprisingly thick card to get very accurate circles; here I'm cutting 1.5mm styrene sheet. Start with the first circle at the size you want. It's best to cut the circle slightly larger then what will be needed; the edge of the cut will be a bit rough and you'll want to file and/or sand to finish, and that will shrink it a little bit.

2) Use a fine pin to poke the center point through the plastic. All you need is a point to use as a guide on the other side, so it doesn't need to be rammed through, but it will depend on the thickness of the material what kind of pressure you'll need to get at least a small point to work with.

3) The act of cutting the circle can force the compass out of alignment, be sure to test that it's still the right size before you flip and cut a second circle on the other side of the plastic. Naturally, you want to closely match the first circle. How deep you need to cut will really depend on the thickness of the material, but you'll be surprised that it doesn't need to be very deep for the next step to work every time.

Great thing about styrene, it loves to bend and snap on a cut line, even if it's not that deep. The break will even usually be a clean 90 degrees many times.

1) Simply bend the sheet firmly but carefully to split the scribed line into a proper break. Do it gently in both directions to get an even break from both sides.

2) Work around the circle and weaken the grip it has on the sheet with the bending action. Stiff areas near the edge of sheets can be stubborn to do with fingers, just use your handy-dandy pliers to help with the job.

3) Once you've worked around the circle it will reach a point where it will all but fall out of the sheet. It will be a bit rough around the edge, but still very clean and accurate.

4) It's already marked with a perfectly centered point for drilling for all sorts of purposes, if it's useful. Great for adding magnetic plates to tank turrets, for example.

Used to carefully apply super glue, I managed to break this little tool cleaning it after using it during the Decimator build, so I'll take the opportunity to show how to make one.

I was turned on to this wonderful little tool idea by the thread A Detailed Quality build of a Storm Eagle. This tutorial in general is a wealth of insight into the experience of assembling an advanced Forge World model. Not only does the author detail the problems and fixes for the model and build, but also many extra efforts taken to do add many extra details to the kit. Truly inspiring and informative, and this tool is a perfect example.

You'll want somewhat larger needles to make one of these. A few different sizes for different jobs is never a bad thing. A pack of needles will cost a few dollars, and the extra needles you don't used will always be useful as actual needles.

You can buy these tools already made from some hobby suppliers, but making them is so easy, it seems silly to spend more than $2 for some needles.

1) You'll need to nip off the end of the needle to get the desired forked shape. Be aware that needles are made from extremely hard steel (A jewelers saw-blade in my jigsaw would not cut this needle) and will most likely leave divot marks in the clipper's cutting blades. I have a set of cheaper clippers for doing such potentially damaging jobs.

2) Take care when you clip off the end, the bit will fly like a tiny missile; safety goggles are advised. This is what you want, but it's going to be rough and need some cleanup.

3) I start with a sanding block with 320 grit sandpaper to clean and shape the ends. Again, because the needle is so hard you'll need to use black silicon carbide sandpaper. Once i have the shape I work up to higher grit to smooth the finish.

4) With some loose sandpaper the inside of the tines are cleaned up and shaped a little.

5) To finish them, I work up to 600 grit and then 800 grip to get a nice finish on the surface. you want them to have a clean finish so they are easier to clean. Since they're used with super glue it's inevitable that the glue will build up on them and need to be removed while in use; a smooth surface will avoid buildup in the first place, and scrape clean easier when you need to.

Behold the amazing power of... Capillary Action! It happens so quickly I can be tricky to photograph so the middle shot is a bit out-of-focus.

Just touching the tool to a drop of liquid glue will cause the capillary action to pull a small measure of glue into the tool. Again, the photos for this are a little tricky; clear glue doesn't photograph well. Give it a try and you'll quickly see; touch the tool to a gap or join that you want to apply glue to and capillary action will pull the glue from the tool and into the gap/join.

By placing the hoses for the Decimator in drilled holes first to test and adjust the fit, and then carefully applying glue with this tool, I was able to lock these hoses in place without any messy glue buildup or mishaps. I've even carefully glued some of these hoses together to help lock them tight, and the light touch of this tool helped keep it very clean.

I've been using the pictured Mold Star 30 for years, and while I like how it performs I was interested in improving my moulds.

Put simply, resin casting moulds (all moulds, really) wear out. The plastic while it is in liquid form is actually very volatile and will actually attack rubber little-by-little as the mould is exposed to the plastic over-and-over. The plastic also produces a significant amount out heat while it cures, and I'm sure that can't help. And then there's the simple act of the object being pulled free from the mould's surface, slowly wearing away at the rubber. Many times you also need to bend and flex the mould to free an object, which is also hard on a mould, especially as it gets older.

It's no wonder moulds will dry out like the one pictured here; the pale colour of the left mould is an indicator of the age of this mould. At first, the discolouration has no effect on the cast quality, but as it expands it will make the surface so brittle that it's only a matter of time before defects start to appear.

So, in the spirit of exploring my options I chose to try some new products to see if I can improve my the lifespan of my moulds.

Mould Max 30, as the name might suggest, is rather similar to Mould Star 30, but it boasts a better tear strength, a long mould life, and it's bit stiffer once cured which helps to ensure items don't deform during casting work. Where the Mold Start is a 50/50 mix, Mold Max 30 is mixed 10-to-1. Mould Max 30 also takes 24 hours to fully cure opposed to just 8 hours for Mould Star 30. Mold Star 30 also pours noticeably faster (it's less viscous) then the Mold Max 30, so it doesn't catch bubbles as easily; Mold Max 30 benefits from being vacuum degassed before pouring a mould.

Both rubbers perform very well, but it seems like the Mold Max 30 is in fact aging better. It will take more use to see how it holds up over the long term. Its tear strength and stiffness is also noticeably improved, but all of these improvements come at the need for equipment to get the most out of it, and the longer curing time. I would still recommend the Mold Star 30 as the better general use rubber for the average hobbyist, but if you can do it right, Mold Max 30 can be worth the effort.

Finally, a few words about the mould release I use. Mann Release 205 is general purpose release that I've been using for years, and it does a great job, but it's not perfect. It's very thin and requires a separate spray bottle that never works as well as it could. I still rely on 205 during my mould making because of how good it is for treating the split for the mould.

But for actual casting I'm really liking the Mann Release 200 that I have started using in the last few months. It's a canned aerosol product that goes on very lightly and smoothly, and it even treats the surface of the mould so that the castings have a wonderfully smooth surface. The only down side of this release agent is how quickly it gets used up. It doesn't need to be applied heavily, but if you're doing lots of casting it will gobble up a can in no time at all, even if you use it sparingly. The good stuff never lasts as long as you'd like.

And on that note, thanks for reading. As always, things are brewing in the background as I'm grinding through my college work and I'll be ready to jump on things once I can get back in the studio. Classes finish at the end of April, so expect some garbled ramblings to emerge sometime shortly after. Hopefully, I'll be able to squeeze something in before then, but time will tell.

"Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast." ~ Ace Rimmer

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

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post #89 of 320 (permalink) Old 01-14-15, 08:54 AM
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Your infinite wisdom never ceases to amaze me, all hail subtle.

'If you fail to prepare then you'd better prepare to fail'
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post #90 of 320 (permalink) Old 01-14-15, 04:39 PM
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The depth of your write ups is astounding. Just wow.

Originally Posted by Tawa View Post

The Old World just became a fart in the bath.....
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