Warhammer 40k Forum and Wargaming Forums banner

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works

77284 Views 341 Replies 50 Participants Last post by  Subtle Discord

An Introduction ~ Part 1

It came from the frozen northern Chaos wastes… Canada, that is. Welcome to this first in a long line of Text-&-Picture-Walls. (I tend to ramble sometimes, in a good way, with lots of nice photos.) Welcome to my muse, my passion, my obsession… my insanity. The Dark Gods whisper to me from the Warp, and I am compelled to obey. They let me see so many things I want to make real, but I only have one mind, two hands, and so many hours. Oh well, no rest for the wicked, no sleep for the weary… the whispers, the voices in my head, they won’t let me…

I’ve been gaming and playing Warhammer 40,000 on-and-off for over 20 years; the bulk of it, I attempted to collect and paint a Chaos army – Black Legion, more specifically. I always collected a modest force, but it was never as complete or elaborate as I wanted. And so, as it happens to many of us, life distracts us from our addictive little plastic soldiers, and they get tucked away. But for most, that really enjoy the hobby, we always come back. In early 2011 I dusted off my bits boxes, cases of miniatures, supplies, and took stock. I had some solid units that could use some polish to get started with, and a few simple scratch-build projects that never got done. As good a start as any.

I chose to do a cold-centric theme throughout the army; Most accent colours are in neutral or cool colours, and I extended the concept to the blue-grey highlights I use for the Black.

Not all bad guys wear black, but the Legion make a point of it; here's a small block of the army with highlights done, ready for some weathering.

time I wanted it to be different; I wanted to really create the unique, personal, and elaborate army that I could see in my mind when I was fifteen, and flipping the Realms of Chaos books. Only in recent kits has GW started to release what I would consider ‘proper’ Chaos Vechile kits; Love or hate the new Daemon Engines, they definitely have a good Chaos style/feel to them. Before this round of kits, Chaos got an extra sprew or two thrown into the box, and that was a major defining look for the faction. Just adding spikes does not a Chaos army make! I do some modest kit-bashing and converting on Troops and HQ to keep the army feeling unique; I like the rank-and-file models to each have a bit of flavor, but nothing too elaborate, yet. Now the vehicles, they offer such a wonderful large canvas to work with. One that has been neglected for far too long.

The idea was simple enough, just take the feel and look of Chaos used on the 'proper' Chaos Troops miniatures and illustrated in the books, and run with it. Read: Lots of banding/trimming, rivets, arrows, points, and layering... lots of layering. I had a general idea of where I wanted the look of the army to go, but now I needed more of a theme. I found direction in the movie Apocalypse Now from the The 1st of the 9th Air Cavalry. In the movie, they are a… ‘self-motivated’ unit that bombs around Vietnam in helicopters looking for good places to surf between (and during) the fighting. During aggressive unexpected assaults, they terrorizing the enemy by playing Wagner (Ride of the Valkyries) over loud speakers attached to the helicopters. Switch helicopters for some VTL vehicles and loud speakers for Dirge Casters and the start of my theme was forming; The 1st of the 9th Black Crusade – Heavy Armoured Cavalry. ('Heavy' so I had added excuse to really armour the vehicles) At the time, fliers were still off in the distance; I knew I wanted some for show at least, for the theme, but formal rules didn’t even exist. So, I choose to focus on a mechanized army to build a core, and then consider some kind of flying transport in the future. In Warhammer 40,000 it’s the feet on the ground that gets things done, after all.

So, I went about making my army look Chaos, without adding any spikes. I should also mention I really like working with Rare Earth (Neodymium) Magnets. Sooo useful!

This Rhino and Predator were the first serious Chaos creations I put together with an eye for the look I was going for. When they were done, I knew I was on to something.

One of my favorite materials is styrene plastic. If you’re trying to build something mechanical and angular, just put your mind to it and you can build it in plastic. Take it far enough and you can build actual working mechanics in nothing but styrene, if you wanted to. As a general tip about learning how to build in styrene, I suggest looking up general scratch building techniques. There are many tabletop gamers who are doing amazing things, but there is much more experience out there if you broaden your search. Military modellers have been scratch building models of exceptional detail for many decades; I just ignore the subject and absorb the technique.

My preferred painting method: Paint the harder stuff messy and quick to get it done looking the way I want. Then go in to carefully clean up the mess. Rinse-and-repeat until finished.

I put a lot of effort into the scratch-build, but these are playing miniatures, I choose to keep the paint job more straight forward and attainable. I let the building do the real talking.

Base colours + Lots of washing and glazing + Simple (but clean) 4-step layered highlighting + A bit of strategically placed blending + Some straightforward sponged chipping + A dusting with weathering powder = Now that's Black Legion without loosing my mind painting it.

By late 2011 I had some good progress on the core I was bringing together, and I figured I’d start showing off some of my work. I started a modest thread showing a few of my builds, and blathering about what I do and how I do it. Little did I know I was already too far down the Dark Path to ever find my way back… wanting to reproduce things, I started to work with RTV rubber making moulds for resin casting. Two things quickly happened: 1) I learned that I am quite good at making complex resin casting moulds. 2) I'm totally hooked to the process and really enjoy doing it! Now, as soon as I could actually replicate my work, that opened another door altogether...

Most of what you see here was just the start, stay tuned for Part 2: I'll show where this has all has lead, and talk about where it's going. For now, thanks for looking, thanks for reading, much more to come...
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 3
41 - 60 of 342 Posts
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
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1

Oh, touché GW... touché. Now I have to start a Dark Mechanicus army. Well played.
With three weeks left of classes, the light is at the end of the tunnel for this year, and the studio is beckoning. It's been hectic, and there's still much more to come, but I've had an undeniable desire to take some of my new SolidWorks knowledge and dabble with something Warhammer 40k related. So, with a holiday Friday I decided to take the day as a tiny bit of a break, and do just that.

I'm quite pleased with what I was able to do in a day and a bit of work; it's not near finished, but it's a solid start.

This is beginning of my take on the Land Raider 'Dozer Blade that I have plans on making. I was only able to get the chassis link, the main arm, and the ram link finished before I ran out of time. Rather than making a 'blade' designed to push earth, I decided to make it more of a Siege Ram, designed to knock down obstacles and ram breaches in fortifications. Once in position the ram can lift up as the 'Raider assault ramp opens. It will be completely modular, so I will make both Traitor and Loyalist versions using the same base hardware.

And with that little teaser, I must slip back into the all concealing shadow that is higher learning. More to come, in due time.
See less See more
Well then, with my higher learning responsibilities finished early this week (two years down, two years to go… *whew*) and catching up on some much needed sleep, it’s finally time to return to the hobby and my studio for the summer months. My apologies to anyone reading this who may have contacted me in the last few weeks with no reply, I’ll be sitting down to write to several people over the next few days.

The plan was to dive into some casting as soon as classes finished, replenishing gaps in my stock, but the state of my studio has forced me into a detour. College projects have a way of turning my already modestly cluttered studio space into an absolute disaster. Add to that the new equipment, materials, moulds, and stock, which I’ve added to the studio over the years and the dysfunction has reached a tipping point. This year I can’t just clean up, I need to do a major overhaul of how the entire space is arranged. I’ve started the daunting task, but it’s going to take several more days to get everything settled in. Rest assured that once I’m done, a casting run is priority one, followed closely by much more.

For those who are interested in my actual army progress, it is my hope to force myself into some scheduled painting time this summer; wearing so many hats for the studio consumes so many hours, I’ve come to the conclusion that I won’t get any painting done unless I literally block out time in my schedule for it. So many elements of the army rebuild (started in late 2011) are so close to finished, it’s downright depressing to see it all stuck in limbo for so long. I’m sure I’ll still struggle to get as much progress as I would like, but we’ll see what I can manage.

Now, while I’ve been hiding under a rock for the last several days as I decompress from classes, and started to take care of the studio reorganization, I haven’t been idle on the creation front. Let me introduce the first in a new class of kit that I have plans for production.

I’ve nicknamed this model The Little Snapping Turtle, in honour of its armoured chassis and the future weapon systems that will give it a bite.

The Land Raider Siege Ram that I was dabbling with earlier (that is also being re-worked and will turn up in its finished state soon) was just as taste of what I want to do with my expanding skillset; college is teaching me much, and now I want to start apply those teachings. This is the calibre of model I want to make going forward, and this is just the tip of the spear.

Don’t get me wrong, I love scratch building, but it’s become apparent that if I want to take my kits to the next level I’ll need to improve my process on several fronts. Detailing at this scale becomes exponentially harder when you’re doing it by hand, and some forms and shapes are just impossible or impractical to do with a reasonable amount of labour. My plan is to blend the two methods, using 3D models made with rapid prototyping (RP) combined with CNC cut scratch built styrene when each makes sense. In most cases this will entail building the larger structural pieces in styrene, and then using RP components and panels to detail the kit.

This is completely new territory for me, and I’m still researching exactly who will be doing my printing and best practices for rapid prototyping, so it will take me a little more time to get that all sorted. I expect the turn-around time for my prints to be at least 10-14+ days, so I’m working on a few self-contained kits right away. While they’re being made I will work on other studio tasks and builds.

A three-quarter view to give a better look; I added some lighting to the bottom pictures to give some depth and contrast.

While I dabbled with 3D modeling in the past using SketchUp, the software just wasn’t up to the task of producing the details I was trying to create. I got ok results, but it was a fight to get it to work on such a small scale. Learning SolidWorks has changed all of that. The learning curve is challenging, but the power of the software makes it worth every bit of effort, and I think this little model proves the point well. I’m very pleased with how it has turned out, and I can’t wait to do the weapon systems for it.

In the short term I plan to finish off this heavy weapon platform (next up, weapons), the ‘Raider siege ram, a long planned jet-bike, and maybe a few other small odds-and-ends. Once those are sent off for prototyping I will be turning my sights to the Storm Raven extension kit that many have been inquiring about, along with some other ideas I have brewing. From there I want to use the Strom Raven kit as a stepping off point to produce the full Chaos Storm Eagle kit that I’ve had waiting for far too long to start; with all of the skills and equipment finally coming together, a kit as large as the Eagle has finally started to become possible… I think.

But all of that, as they say, is another story for another day. While heavy on words and light on photos, this installment in Legion Rising marks the start of much more. I’ve taken it this far, I feel confident that I can take it farther. As usual, you can expect documentation of my exploits here over the coming weeks, months, and years. Stay tuned.

And, as always, comments, questions, input, feedback and all other general hobby musings are always welcome.
See less See more
Just a quick late night sneak peak.

Chaos Weapon Platform equipped with E-Plasma Cannon

Weapon system construction continues; further updates to follow...
See less See more
Thanks, as always, for the encouraging feedback. Sneak peak number two...

Chaos Weapon Platform equipped with H. Auto-Cannon.

Progress is a little slower than I was hoping for (I have no choice but to learn and apply many advanced SolidWorks functions/processes as I build) but I think the results are worth it. Much like scratch building, getting the basic form is reasonably easy, but adding the details takes much more time. However, with each challenge figured out I have another option or process for future builds. The power to make changes without needing to scrap the entire part is by far one of the best advantages of digital creation; while I don't enjoy spending the time to redo a detail or part that isn't successful, just having the option available is wonderful.

Next up, my personal favorite (and why I forced myself to save it for last), the Conversion Beamer.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
*Subtle tosses an insomnia fueled image out from under the rock currently residing over him*

While I've been quiet, I've also been active. More musings, ramblings, and updates to come soon...

After some creative struggles, my take on the Chaos Conversion Beamer has finally taken form.

BROCK: Aww no fuckin' way! Late 60's ultra death ray! She's amazing! Saddle operated with Doom-code gearing. Freakin' gorgeous.

MR. CARDHOLDER: If it were a woman I'd marry it.

MR. DOE: And I'd jeopardize our friendship by nailing your hot wife.

BROCK: Gyroscopic positioning?

JONAS JR.: At six points!

BROCK: Sick, tight.

JONAS JR.: And get this: it comes up out of the top of the skull!

BROCK: That's how it's done!

~ The Venture Brothers, e.36
See less See more
++++++++++Signal Detect…
++++++++++Signal Lock…

See less See more
*Subtle dives from the shadows, beats back life and the real @$#%ing world with a heavy club, slams the door shut, and quickly turns the lock*

Can I hide in here?

When the summer started I had several things ‘up in the air’ inside and outside of the studio, and as life is apt to do, things just love to fall at once. So… juggle has been the order of the day(s) the last several weeks. I’ve been in a bit of a funk because of it, and don’t have as much focus and drive as I’d like, but those are the whims of Chaos, and I always try to find my center. As usual, my silence hides my progress; writing goods articles always takes a reasonable investment in time, and lately that time was better spent creating. I’ve been working at both the virtual workbench and real workbench, so I’m going to split this update into two parts and look at each.

But first, a little lesson about the fun of unexpected equipment maintenance. At the beginning of the summer I was able to do a reasonable restock as planned and everything went smoothly. I wanted to get to it earlier and do a second casting run, but life and a long planned (much needed) camping vacation forced me to wait. When I returned to my workbench I discovered my compressor (the heart of my casting process, really) was leaking oil quite badly. After tearing it apart it seemed lucky to discover that it was just a worn out gasket that needed to be replaced; it’s better than a bigger mechanical problem, that should be simple enough to replace, I thought. Then I tried to actually locate the part (like trying to find a specific needle in a pile of needles) or material to make my own that wasn’t sold in massive expensive sheets. It wasn’t until I came across someone who worked on a farm that recounted how they ‘temporarily’ solved the same problem with a piece of cornflakes box cut to size; the original gasket has a very cardboard-like texture. They had since purchased a replacement gasket, but decided to wait for the improvised fix to fail before taking the effort to dismantle the compressor. That was several years ago, and the cereal box gasket had yet to fail. Being in a pinch, I channeled my inner MacGyver, found a box (actual corn flakes, no less) and used the old gasket as a template to trace out a new gasket. I haven’t had a chance to really stress it with some serious work, but so far it looks like it’s going to do the trick. This hiccup delayed a fresh casting run to restock, but that is now on track to start in a day or two, and that will be as good a test as any. *Crosses fingers*

Now, on to some (lots of) pictures and a bit of (lots of) rambling about 3D modeling. In short, yep, I really enjoy building/creating in SolidWorks. It still takes a surprising number of hours to finish a reasonably complex 3D model, but the freedom to explore and adjust forms and create complex assemblies is amazing. If the 3D prints I’ve ordered are of the right quality (examples I’ve seen are promising) then I know that I’ve only just stated to scratch the surface of what I can create. Hands-on scratch building will still have its place when the scale makes it practical, but for small-scale high-detail parts the potential is boggling. So I’ve done several smaller kits (and a few that are a bit larger) to test the waters; if they meet my standards they will be the first of many. First up, the finishing of some earlier projects and ideas; some from quite a long time ago…

A long time ago when I first started dabbling with 3D modeling I did some Bolter ammo drums, because well, belt-fed Bolters just don’t do it for me (and many others, it would seem).

An order for my first batch of 3D prints was actually sent before I went camping, (due to arrive late July) but they were rushed a little and I didn’t do a final test fitting in SolidWorks. When I returned and did a few checks I discovered that was a mistake (always do a final test fitting… always) and there were a few flaws that couldn’t be ignored. This forced me to cancel the order (creating a delay) but gave me the opportunity to make some final improvements and finish even more for my first order, like these ammo drums.

I’ve been adding the knives provided in the Chaos Space Maine kit as bayonets on the Bolters for a long time, but I was never happy with how weak the connection usually is at the join; they’re very prone to breaking off. So, I took the time to make some that should be much more substantial and add a bit of variety. If I (and others) like them it would be a snap to do other forms. When I got those done, a simple solution for a take on a combi-Melta along the same lines didn’t seem like a stretch; an ammo drum with an added Melta canister on the side completes the look.

Started a few months ago, the Land Raider Siege Ram (AKA: ‘Dozer Blade) has been finished.

I made a few changes to this design, moving the smaller hydraulic arm from the top to the bottom to give better line-of-sight to the sponsons. Test fittings done with paper prints helped me get an idea what this will look like on an actual model. I was also sure to give the side-arms a key that will permit the part to lift while also stopping it from dropping too low. It’s a massive slab of plastic in the end that cost more than average to print (not enough volume to hollow to save cost) but I'm quite happy with the final kit, so it’s worth it. Still cheaper than the labour it would take to build something like this from scratch.

On a side note, can someone please confirm if Loyalist Space Marines are still unable to add the ‘Dozer Blade to their Land Raider? I’ll be happy to make a Loyalist version, but it only makes sense if they are an actual option for them.

I didn’t plan on doing these, but they just sorta’ came together. Sometimes when the voices compel an idea, you just go with it.

I came across a model I had dabbled with several months ago for the armored base/pintol, and that was all I needed to get distracted (in a good way) with this build for several days. Being a fan of options, I plan to do all of my pintol mounted weapons with a modular base; a starting post with a smaller footprint so it can be mounted in unique locations, with a larger disk that fits the hatch locations on many of GWs kits. I also took a little time to make a raised and sunken version of these disks to give a little control over the profile these will create on a vehicle.

This little kit will be magnetized for weapon swapping, but also to give it some range of motion in its final built form. You see, I’ve got this thing about plausibility in my designs; I understand that these are just sci-fi props, but I still want the objects I create to appear plausible and reasonably manufacture-able. Always keeping the ideas of ‘How would this be manufactured and function?’ during the build process helps with adding authentic feeling details, in my opinion. It doesn’t have to realistic, but it should have some level of logic and realism, if that makes any sense?

Mounted in the sunken disk it should also have a reasonably low profile, and I was careful to keep the top-down profile size close to that of the base so it can cleanly turn 360 degrees.

Being a small kit I also took the time to do a full Chaos/Renegade version and a more subdued version that can be used as a less overt Renegade or Loyalist part.

Mmmm… options. *Drool* From left-to-right: combi-Bolter, combi-Flamer, combi-Melta, and combi-Plasma.

All of the parts are symmetrical, and modular so the weapons can be mounted how the builder wants. Just flip the weapon direction and rotate the assembly around to change up the look a little. Oh, and knowing now that Heresy-era vehicles can add pintol mounted Heavy weapons, I’ll say it’s safe to assume that adding some Heavy weapons in the future would be a welcome addition?

If I was going to redesign at my counts-as Havoc Launcher I wanted to make my own pintol mount for it, and it had to have options. Mmmm… more options. *Drool*

Like the pintol combi-weapons, I started with a smaller post (same size footprint) that could fit into a larger disk; again this gives the option to mount it with the higher or lower profile, depending on preference. In this case I also added a small key and placed the yoke of the pintol on a rail that can slide from side-to-side. This gives the builder the option of shifting the launcher off-center for some added variety.

I had several different motivations for redesigning this kit, not the least of which was adding a Heresy era version by popular request.

Racks of missiles are also painfully difficult to build by hand, so anything that can help in that case is also a welcome change. From drilling the holes, to making and placing the missile points, and trying to do it all as accurate and symmetrically as possible, it’s enough to drive you mad. If the printing process is up to the task of cleanly reproducing these curved surfaces it will completely convince me that I can do soft/round forms. This will be critical to go forward with some of my future ‘mutated’ and/or ‘warp-touched’ kits, and also kits for other races that use many more curved surfaces.

Also, I wanted to create a lower profile version of the Havoc launcher for mounting on tall vehicles. I think the larger square-faced launcher looks great on the back of a Rhino, but it becomes very bulky if you move it to the front, and it’s just too tall on the top of something like a Predator. By changing the missile layout and placing it in the sunken mounting disk, the profile is reduced nicely.

Finally, a look at the Chaos Rapier platforms in their 100% completed forms…

After finishing the weapon systems I went back to the chassis and gave it one last refinement; I’ve got curves at my disposal after all, I may as well use them.

Unfortunately, it was the weapon platform that had a somewhat major flaw in the first print order that needed to be cancelled, so this kit was going to see a delay no matter what. This became a mixed blessing, providing an opportunity to do some final refinement and add several kits, but it’s still a little over a week before they ship. That’s ok, as it will give me time to do much-needed casting and more building of some other planned ideas. *Eyes his Storm Raven kit*

I have also invested in a third casting pressure chamber, and this will be the second chamber suitable for mould making (shop info tangent: my high pressure chamber is flat bottomed, and that’s not the best for making moulds – a round bottomed chamber lets you easily level the rack holding the moulds); this new chamber will double my mould making abilities and give me a boost to casting production as well. It should arrive next week and will take a day-or-two to assemble and get into working order, just in time to help me make new moulds for these kits as quickly as possible. This, combined with the increased ability to produce fresh kits (if everything goes as planned with the 3D printed components) and other improvements in my process that have helped reduce reject parts should also mean that I can look at a price reduction on my more expensive kits. With three casting chambers, and enough variety of moulds to run, I should be able to get a proper non-stop cycle going and improve on my labour costs. I firmly believe the quality and attention to detail in my kits justifies the cost, but I also recognize that I have room to improve for the benefit of me (more sales) and my customers (better prices).

But that, so they say, is another story for another day. Keep an eye open for an update on these kits in the next 10-14 days. All of the 3D models shown here were ordered, and they have all passed physical inspection so far; they should be rapid prototyped over this coming week and I have an estimated ship date of Aug 18th. I’ll be sure to post up some fresh-from-the-box super macro photos and give my first brutally honest impressions. All of the components have been made with sprew sections attached for production, so they won’t fit together for assembly until I have my first casts done. Expect the Rapier to be one of the first up.

Before that, as promised, I’ll be showing what I’ve been up to at my real-world workbench including some more painted models (I final have some stuff actually… finished! *boggle*), build progress on my Sicaran and Fire Raptor, more fun with plastics and Servator Zing, and perhaps some other general ramblings for the fun of it. As always, comments, questions, input, feedback, and general musings are always welcome.

/wall-o-text: off
See less See more

'Bah Bah black sheep have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!'

I'm upto my eyeballs in plastic, plasticine, lego blocks, and rubber. I've started the moulds but need to keep working to get them done as quickly as I can manage. I'll do some larger updates when I have more time to spare. But, I wanted to do a quick teaser to show that I do in fact have the parts in my hands. In short, the results are mostly very positive, but there are some surface quality issues that are not totally unexpected. As I've worked with the parts I have a better understanding of the process, the material, and how to get improved results in the future. For now there's always going to be some cleanup work required to make parts production ready, but there are ways to minimize it and deal with what can't be avoided. I'll be sure to give some examples and explain much deeper in future articles; I'm guessing I'm not the only one who is very curious about rapid prototyping and the results that can be achieved.

Other parts required much more cleanup and preparation, so while that was being done, the Land Raider Siege Ram went under the rubber first.

To save printing costs larger objects were made hollow; those parts need to be filled (with carefully injected resin) and the vents need to be filled and cleaned before mould making. So, while I'm doing that I got the Siege Ram started first since it didn't require any of that preparation. While it cures (and it will be ready to start casting in just a few hours *giddy*) I've been working on other parts; the chambers are currently curing 7 moulds with many more to go. I've quickly discovered that the translucent quality of the resin makes it very difficult to photograph well. It tends to wash out details that are actually quite pronounced, and getting pictures of actual surface quality can be quite tricky. What I've seen of surface quality, most should look fine with the normal few coats of paint they can expect to receive (Read: yes there is some surface 'grain', but it is so minor that paint will make it vanish) but there are some places where it becomes more noticeable. Without manual cleanup these few places will show through paint.

Again, I'll elaborate further, once I've got some actual casts in my hands to see the final results. I should be able to post some pictures of the Siege Ram tomorrow. Stay tuned...
See less See more
So, the surface issues turned out to be a two headed beast, causing the obvious surface flaws, but also complicating the mould making process. The root of the surfacing issues are caused mostly by a 'frosting' of the material when a support wax is used during printing. Where the wax meets the plastic a frosting of the surface occurs. In many cases it's not that big of a problem; it is so subtle that paint should hide it. (Testing is planned) But also, if it's not properly prepared and lubricated liberally the mould rubber bonds very tightly to the texture. On large flat areas it's not as much of a problem, it sill peals away with a bit of extra force. However, small details, especially those that are undercut, inset, or very tight can bond so well that they tear the mould when being removed. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to be with several moulds, ruining them before they could even make a single copy. All but one of my first moulds had to be scrapped for this reason or another.

This was a mixed blessing. Loss of time and materials sucks, but I was able to improve my surface preparation process before pouring new rubber and it has both solved the sticking/tearing problem as well as remove the majority of the cosmetic surface issues. It takes much more work to prep the parts then expected, but the quality of the rapid prototyped pieces is worth the effort. Also, seeing now how the parts are printed, future parts will be arranged to avoid the supporting wax whenever possible to minimize prep work.

So, lets have a closer look. Here's the latest sneak-peak at some workbench progress.

The Siege Ram blade mould turned out fine, but the mould for the chassis link components needed a re-pour.

While I had some struggles with the weapon platform chasses, it's finally turned the corner and is almost finished.

There are further lessons to be given and other stories of misery a woe related to this kit, but I'll save them for when I have more a little more time. With the production complication worked out, I'm busting my butt to do some catch-up. It's been one of those summers, with unexpected factors (inside and outside the studio) really messing with the plan to get more done. But, that's life, and I'm starting to just accept that it happens some times, and it's better to put energy into finding a solution than getting angry or upset; anger in the moment is to be expected, but it does little in the long run.
See less See more
It was asked in another corner of the interwebs exactly which printing method I used, and what steps I take for my surface preparation; it seems something worth sharing here as well.

Yes, everything was prototyped in Frosted Extreme Detail at Shapeways. Most high-end 3D printing companies I found were boasting a 25nm-per-layer process, but Shapeways new Frosted Extreme uses a 16nm-per-layer process. At the scale I'm going for, every little bit helps, and even at 16nm there are still surface issues that require addressing. But even with those issues, the level of detail in the prints is astounding. If you follow their design guidelines for the material it will faithfully replicate even the tiniest details that are 0.1mm tall/wide/deep; however, 0.1mm is the absolute limit and I found that keeping details to at least 0.25mm to 0.3mm to be perfect. For example, the thinnest layering I would do would be 0.25mm tall (in some rare situations, maybe 0.2mm or 0.15mm) so that the edge is reasonably pronounced, but still subtle. The best size I've found for small rivets is 0.3mm in diameter; large enough to be properly pronounced, but small enough to fit even tiny locations.

I am still researching alternative printing companies (Suggestions from readers are most welcome) that can achieve the high quality results that my standards demand, and isn't obscenely expensive. But most I've found use a process that require the addition of support sprues in plastic which need to be considered and then removed once the print is finished. While Shapeways process has some drawbacks with the wax-support method they use, the advantages of being able to print multi-part items and not have to deal or worry about supporting sprues is quite nice.

Prepping for mould making was an interesting learning curve. As I've mentioned, in many cases the frosted surface is not really a problem for surface quality, (paint should hide any slight 'grain') but it is a rough texture that has more surface area to bond with the rubber during curing. In tight locations with fine details that can easily tear the rubber during de-moulding. So, I simply use all of the studio tools I've collected over the years to sand and refine the surface. The key tools are sanding sticks, fine sanding points, my Grobet jewellers files, some metal sculpting tools, and a selection of pins for really tight cracks. All of these are used to sand and burnish the surfaces to remove the topmost layer of 'grain' and smooth/refine the surface; it will remain frosted and matt, but have a smoother finish. The material is extremely hard (and reasonably brittle) and it works well for this process; once the offending surface material is remove, and you hit solid plastic, it is very obvious. With a light touch it's almost impossible to go too far and do unwanted surface damage. Depending on the amount of frosted surface you're dealing with, and just how detailed the object is, it can take quite a bit of labour, but for a casting prototype it's worth it.

The final step is to be sure to oil tear-prone areas with deliberate care. When I did my first moulds I was generous with the mould release and even took the time to really get it in the nooks-and-crannies, but it wasn't enough. Those details need to be surface prepped (to smooth the surface as much as possible) and a thicker layer of mould release added by brush. I've taken to spraying a small amount of Mann Ease Release 300 onto a pallet, picking that up with a brush, and applying it were needed. This oils the area much more and produces a notably shinier surface that will release the rubber much more readily. NOTE: Once the master prototype is out of the mould and you are casting in polyurethane plastic (aka: resin) the part with free itself from the mould much easier, and special care is not required anymore.
See less See more
Chaos Raiper Platform (Counts-As)

A larger update to talk more about surface quality is planned, now that I have a broader selection of cast parts in hand. Even with these parts, it's hard to say what the final results will be with a few layers of paint. But until then, I'm so pleased with how the Chaos Rapier is turning out, I just wanted to leave this right here...

Initial production results of the Ectoplasma Cannon have proven to be very positive; manufacture may commence.

There's still one small complication in manufacturing the chassis on this kit that's causing some minor flaws, but I'll elaborate on that when I have more time and pictures to explain properly. Some honest feedback will be appreciated.
See less See more
Thanks, as always, for all the kind words and positive feedback; I really wouldn't be where I am without the energy I get from Legion Rising. There's so much I want to write about, but still much to do. So I'll just leave this here for now...

Initial production samples have passed inspection. Assembly lines for the Conversion Beamer are now operational. Praise be to the Dark Mechanicus!
See less See more
Ok then, I’ve been out of the studio for most of the weekend so I haven’t been able to do anything hands-on; but I’ve had a computer, lots of prepared photographs, and some time in the evenings to be able to write. So, I’m going to do a few articles and some general musings about various things. In fact, I’ve been asked several questions in various corners of the interweb, and had so many comments I’d like to reply to, that I’m just going to ramble and comment/answer to everything across said articles.

First up, a little hobby how-to; I was asked recently if I could take a photo of my pressure chamber and vacuum chamber setup that I use for casting, and I figured I could do one better. Recently I put together a new pressure chamber and was aware enough to remember to take progression photos of the process so I could show the steps involved.

However, before I get started, I just want to remind people that this device can be extremely dangerous if not properly assembled and no shortcuts should be taken when building something like this. If you do not have the correct tools/parts on-hand to do this kind of project properly, do not attempt this! During my research I’ve seen examples online that are essentially bombs waiting to go off, because people try to make due with improvised solutions to problems. Do this right, or just don’t do it. Pressure is a tool, and some tools can be dangerous if you don not show proper care and respect.

A ‘Power Fist’ (Gotta’ love that brand name) brand Paint Pressure Tank along with various fittings that will be used during assembly.

In Canada our equivalent to Harbour Freight is called Princess Auto, and that is where I purchased the Paint Pressure Pot that I used for this assembly; this tank has the added benefit of including a 1/4” hose and a 3/8” hose along with pictured pressure regulator. This is definitely a ‘made in China’ product in quality, but its job is simple so that’s not a huge deal. Notice that this tank has a working pressure of 50psi and a max pressure of 80psi; it is highly recommended to stay within the working pressure range of any tank you use. With hoses included you only need a selection of NPT (National Pipe Threads) to complete the assembly; note that NPT fittings are used because they are tapered and become air-tight as they tighten down. The selection of fittings shown here is more than I used in this assembly, but what is required might be different depending on the Paint Pressure Tank used.

One key pair of parts to note are the valves; be sure to get good quality high pressure ball valves. Lesser valves will struggle of hold the kinds of pressures that will be used. These valves are rated for 600psi, so they will do the trick.

First up, the Regulator needs some modification before it’s ready for its new life pressurizing curing plastics.

This Paint Pressure Tank splits the compressed air between the tank and the hose used to spray the paint, and that won’t be needed for its new life. First I remove the connector for the secondary hose and replace it with a brass plug. Note that I have secured the regulator in a vice to keep it secure during the removal of the connector; all of the pieces are secured very well at the factory and you want to keep those seals enacted if you can.

I use LokTite 242 to secure the fittings. The product is intended to secure nuts and bolts so they don’t loosen due to things like vibration, but it also works well to seal the joins airtight as well. You’ll want to be liberal and add a fair amount to the threads to ensure a good seal; once you’re done fastening the pieces in place some extra LocTite oozing out of the join will be a good sign that you’ll get a good seal.

Now one of the valves needs to be added to the regulator to control in compressed air input.

With the provided fittings in place, it’s a simple matter of adding the valve, and then adding a male quick-release fitting for connecting the hose. With that the regulator is ready to go.

How everything attaches to the chamber will be key; clearance must be considered so that the closing clamps can work as intended.

In this case I wanted to point the exhaust vent upward to keep it as compact as possible, so I simply added a 90 degree elbow to the provided fitting before adding the second ball valve. A top-down photo shows the kind of layout you’re looking for; reasonably balanced in weight and with good clearance for the closing clamps. A thick pad of cloth is secured over the valve to reduce the harshness of the sound when the pressure is released.

Two final simple steps completes the transformation from Paint Pressure Tank to a Casting Pressure Chamber, from boring to downright sophisticated.

This first step I really should have done before attaching any hardware to the lid; it’s much easier to do when there is less bulk on the top of the lid to deal with, but I overlooked it in the rush to get the hardware together. Put simply, you need to remove the pipe that would originally be used to feed paint from the tank to the spray hose. By hand, I was unable to break the seal they archived on this pipe to properly remove it, so I used a rotary tool with a cut-off wheel to chop it off.

A final step is to add a 90 degree elbow fitting to the vent that will direct the pressurized air into the tank. The air will be entering the tank as such high speed that any exposed liquids (in the form of uncured resin or rubber) could splatter and spray. The likelihood of this being a large problem very often is small, but it doesn’t take much to direct the air towards the wall of the chamber to it can be deflected as it enters.

In the end this 50psi pressure chamber cost about $200 CAD to put together including all of the fittings, valves, shipping, and taxes. Not exactly cheap, but not over-the-top expensive either and more than enough to have a profound impact on the quality of casting a hobbyist might be doing. In comparison, and because I was asked about both my Pressure and Vacuum setup, these are the other contraptions I use in my humble studio.

To the left a Rotokinetics Vacuum Chamber and beside it is a Casting Pressure Chamber rated for 80psi; plus a photo of all of the misfits in a row.

Vacuum Pumps are expensive, so to start I choose it purchase a Vacuum Chamber that has a solid-state vacuum pump that is driven with compressed air; this chamber lets my compressor do double duty powering both pressure and vacuum processes. While I strongly feel that pressure is a better first step for someone looking to improving casting quality, adding vacuum to the mix can really improve casting further.

Note the difference in build quality of the 80psi Pressure Chamber that I put together; this is a made in the USA product and it shows, but it also cost more than double to build than the 50psi chamber. The additional 30psi does have a modest impact on further reducing bubbles in casting, so I use this chamber as much as I can for high detail objects, and it has me wanting to put together a chamber that can handle 120+psi just to see how far it can be taken. At this point most of the bubbles I deal with are so small that I don’t think much more than 120psi would be needed to get near perfect casts almost all of the time. But for now I can make excellent progress with I’ve managed to assemble so far.

On a related side note, pressurizing the rubber for moulds during curing will have the same bubble eliminating effect (I very good thing) but anything over 40psi should yield the same results; bubbles in mould rubber appear to get ‘absorbed’ more readily than in resin.

And with that I’ll say, stay tuned for some studio transparency and another look onto my workbench. While there are many things working out well, I have come into a few snags that will impact quality in some rare cases, and a few issues that will require redesign and/or reprinting that will cause a few delays. Initial stocks of the Chaos Rapier (new name to be determined shortly) are ready, but I want to get some honest feedback from the people that really matter regarding some of the final small issues I’ve run into.

Keep the radio of your PipBoy tuned to this station, and Please Stand By…

(Fallout 4, you will ruin my life for a short while, when you arrive)
See less See more
First up, more semi-random babbling about various things that have been asked or wish to comment about. Over the years I’ve made people swear at me (in a good way), deem themselves unworthy (you are, we all start somewhere – build something!), call me crazy (in a good way), and otherwise give me very positive feedback to what I can do. I always contended that I prefer the term eccentric, since it makes me sound interesting and wealthy :) but I do recognize that it takes a certain kind of ‘unique’ to do what I do. I’m glad the designs I come up with resonate with people, and I really do appreciate the great feedback and input; it’s a conscious effort that I try to follow a design language with the work I’m creating and I’m glad it shows.

While I finished several great kits this summer, (more still working their way through production) there were several others that I couldn’t get to as planned. To those who were interested in seeing bulk trims, the Jetbike, and the Storm Raven extension, in particular, know that they are on deck and I’m going to do my best to try and get progress on them as time permits. As usual, this is also only the beginning but I’m still learning much as I go; now that I’ve had a taste of digital creation and have a better understanding of what to expect I plan on doing so… much… more… Stay tuned.

This extends to Loyalist kits and ultimately other factions. While Chaos will always be my first calling and be the primary focus of my studio while I gain momentum, Loyalist kits will increase considerably over the coming months and years. I hope to branch into other races once I’m done with college and turn my focus to really pushing the studio to the next level. This could mean kits by my own hand and/or work done by commission or collaboration with other talented individuals. But that’s still a way off, and another story for another time.

It’s been mentioned a few times that Forge World should give me a job, but unless I move to London I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon; it’s my understanding everything is designed and prototyped in-house in London. I understand that it’s usually meant as a joke, or only semi-serious, but there is a part of me that would really enjoy being able to do work that is ‘official’. I think GW is cutting themselves off from a world of talent and maybe when I’m done college there’s some way I could make them see that. Wishful thinking? More than likely, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. The down side of actually achieving official status could very well be loss of creative control, so there is another side that reminds that sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for. Well, I’ve rambled enough, so let’s get to the meat of this post; the good, the bad, and the ugly (as it were) of where I’m at today.

Shapeways knows how to pack an order, that’s for sure.

When the box arrive I though there must be some kind of mistake, it seemed far too large for my order. I had ordered several pieces, but they were mostly very small. Once I started digging in I found they had individually wrapped each-and-every piece, no matter the size.

The Frosted Extreme Detail print process from Shapeways comes with a few technical considerations when being used to make casting prototypes.

The first I’ve already spoken about; where the wax that is used to support the object during printing comes in contact with the object, there is a noticeable ‘frost’ as the name suggests. On most surfaces and locations it’s actually not that bad and seems subtle enough to vanish under paint. The second is a very noticeable layering on two opposing sides of any object that is most pronounced on sheer vertical surfaces; this seems to be some limitation of the print process and most noticeable on flat vertical surfaces. When the surface has a grade or a curve the problem becomes much more reduced and becomes reasonable, but it is quite strange. What I have also noticed is that surfaces that suffer from this and also come in contact with the wax will get a much coarser ‘frost’ that benefits from being gently sanded to refine and improve the finish.

Finally, the material is very hard and tough; scraping with tools and scrubbing with a steel wire brush does no damage but cleans the surface well. However, it is reasonably brittle. While it will hold up well to being scrubbed and sanded to refine the surface, dropping an item on a hard floor will many times cause items to break. Case and point, the poor barrels for the Auto Cannon unfortunately fell and were ruined. I couldn’t believe it when it happened; they are reasonably small and you would think they wouldn’t hit with such force. A replacement will be printed, but it is going to delay the release of this weapon system. All weapons will be offered separately, so these will be available in the near future once a replacement arrives. A few other parts will require a redesign (more on that in a moment) and thus a reprint, so this will be joining them.

Notoriously difficult to photograph, here I’ve tried to show the frosting at its worse.

It effected the missile racks so badly that it made me actually come up with a far superior design that should solve my original problem (mould rubber around the edge of the missiles in tubes is so delicate that it wears out very quickly – the ‘frosting’ texture would only make that worse) and make the moulds last much longer, but also make a more versatile kit. Instead of making it on one piece I’ll do the missiles as a layer, and then a keyed plate with holes in it will be placed over. The way the launcher assembles will make the join all but invisible, and it will make it easy to remove a few missiles to simulate a weapon that has fired some of its payload. This change has delayed the new Havoc Launchers, but the final kits will improved for it

Center you can see the bad kind of ‘frosting’ on a flat surface straight from Shapeways, and you can see it actually glitters it is so coarse. To the right that surface has been scrubbed with a wire brush and washed; while the surface is improved and very smooth, it is also quite rough with a noticeable coarseness under the fingernail. On broad flat surfaces like this a simple sanding and filing will quickly make the surface acceptable. If there is more detail it naturally becomes more work.

While it does look interesting in the mould rubber, the translucent nature of the material is actually quite frustrating.

Not really understanding just how much of an impact the ‘frosting’ would have on my processes I tried to make moulds as with my own prototypes. This quickly turned bad as the moulds were prone to tearing during de-moulding of the prototype. Not being able to get a good idea what the surface was like came back to haunt the first cast; the quality was just not good enough. The top layer of banding in the far right shows the coarse layering and how badly it can effect a surface. Below are surfaces that have been ‘frosted’ with the wax support material; again, it was just a bit too rough to be acceptable. So, while the mould being torn wasn’t a good thing, it gave me an opportunity to clean things up before trying again.

Ok, let’s get to the one issue I’m having with the Rapier Platform. It’s driving me nuts.

Put simply, The edges of the tracks are being beyond stubborn, and it’s really annoying when every other part of the kit is casting so perfectly. And I do mean every part. Everything I’ve tried with the current mould will not remove the last couple of bubbles on the track. So, in my usual effort for transparency I’m just giving an idea of the minor flaws that will be unavoidable in these kits while I get a different mould setup to try another idea.

The flaws are minor on an assembled platform, and I’m sure I can hear people yelling to not worry about it and get the damn kits up for sale!

But, you wouldn’t like the kits I make if I wasn’t as particular as I am. After everything I’ve tried to eliminate these flaws I’ve just learned to accept them for now. While I have only planned on these three weapon systems originally, I can’t see why I couldn’t also do other weapons over time. I can’t promise a time line, but I can say it’s possible at some point.

For now, these prototypes need to start returning on their investment so I can start doing more! These will be up for sale in the next day or so, along with the Siege Ram for the Land Raider. The Chaos Rapier chassis and weapons will be sold separately so you can have a choice to have them individually for projects or together as built by the studio. Other kits will start appearing as I work out final issues and get replacement parts. The smaller bits will start turning up once the larger kits have been sorted and can start generating some capitol to invest in more rubber and plastic. They are great little bits, but they need to wait while the large kits get finished.

Thanks as always for reading, and I look forward to do much more in future. For now, my classes will be starting soon so studio time will again become very limited. But with the new tools at my disposal that continue to grow and develop, there will always be something in the works. Please Stand By…
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Enter, the Spartan, stage left

Thanks, as always for the positive support everyone. While not my intended update, I've got *in his best Prof. Farnsworth voice* "Good new everyone!" and I figured it wouldn't hurt to share.

Thanks again Malika, I always appreciate input. While that conversation seems more about dealing with the wax residue (an issue if you plan to paint SW prints directly) I'm more interested in improving the surface quality or avoiding poor surface quality in the first place. Since casting prototypes are usually treated with an oily release agent for the process, the oily/waxy residue from SWs process is not an issue.

Also, let me just answer some questions from another corner of the interweb... For niche models that I would have a hard time getting to, I plan to do Bulk Trim packs that provide several lengths of trim, some with a few corners, some with faction suitable motifs (arrows, blades, lightning, skulls, shields, open fields, etc., etc.), and lots of long lengths. They will require the end builder to cut the strips to length and do a little cleanup work where they meet at corners, but that seems much better then trying to scratch build it all. Trim kits for specific chassis, where it makes sense, will also continue to be designed.

The Loricatus Mk.I will be replaced. It puts me in a catch-22; it's a popular kit that I want to replace, but it also takes a considerable amount of rubber for the moulds. If I'm going to pour that much rubber, I would like to update the kit to include some of the many improvements I've made to my studio. It's going to be worth it (it'll be amazing, just wait and see) but that means it'll be more time before I can get the prototypes done. This project (and others like it) will happen; more on what I'm eluding to later. Hint: think super modular, giving the builder the freedom to mix-and-match more.

Warmaster, the production and trade negotiations of The Works have proven beneficial; our Mechanicus are pleased to have secured a Spartan battle tank, a true relic of the Long War for the Legion armoury. Reverse engineering of key subsystems has already commenced.

After dealing with most of the major expenses that the studio created over the summer, I felt it was safe to take advantage of Forge World's free shipping offer for Sept; and wouldn't you know it, the Spartan was just the right price to meet the minimum limit. One part early birthday present, one part studio investment seems like a reasonable mix.

I've had so much interest and requests for doing kits for the Spartan and Sicaran it seemed like a logical addition to the studio; I simply can't build for something without the actual model to take precise measurements and do test fitting. But, thanks to those who have offered; know that there might be a future role for people like you in my large plans - but I digress, for now.

Because I recognize the base cost of a FW model, kits for FW models in particular will focus on being more efficient. In fact, the form and level of detail on these tanks makes all but necessary to keep additions less elaborate. There just aren't the same long uninterrupted lines like the stock Land Raider and Rhino chassis. So, this will reduce the mould count, and therefor the cost of these kits. Cermite/Extra Armour and 'Dozer/Destroyer Blades are the first ideas that come to mind, but I have other voices whispering concepts all the time...

My first impression of the kit is one of sheer awe; in both raw mass and level of detail, the Spartan delivers. While the Sicaran and Fire Raptor are both amazing looking kits there are issues and elements with both (build fit issues mostly, but some details) that don't appear to be the same with the Spartan. I won't know until I actually assemble it, but it appears to have a much cleaner fit and less warping than any other large FW kit I've received. The details are also just a bit more refined and polished all around; nothing that makes other kits inferior, but it just seems like whoever make the prototype really did it right and took their time.

It will also be effective as a lethal weapon for home defense once assembled; each of the side chassis components that mount the tracks are a massive solid block of resin. The fact that they were able to do a piece so large without it warping in some way is impressive in of itself. For as large and bulky as it is, the footprint of the tank (without the center hull that adds the 'beak') is surprisingly close to that of a stock Land Raider. Naturally, I will document the building of this when it starts. I've already done the same for the Fire Raptor progress, so know that I've more than a few things up my sleeves for future updates.

The signal may go weak sometimes, but signal never stops...
See less See more
*Subtle tosses an image out from under the rock of higher education*

Sometimes, I get free choice in what I can do for a college project, and since I do so many 'consumer items' most of the time, I like to have a chance to do something unique but still relevant. This time I was aloud to do this for my Solidworks course.

At this point all I can say is... It's a solid! It's a SOLID! It turns out making a Solid Body from Surfaces is actually a little tricky. This damn helmet as been hard, but I'm starting to get it!

Unlike everything I've 3D modeled up to this point, this was done almost completely with Lofted and Swept Surfaces, not Solid Bodies. By using a Surface and then Knitting the resulting form together you can much get more control over complex forms. This helmet was created from a set of 2D drawings (Top, Side, and Front) that was extrapolated from the flat drawings. Needless to say, It's given me a respect for what surfaces can do, and being only my first try, I can already tell that with more practice I should be able to do all sorts of interesting forms. My future Jetbike project will be even better now that I have a better idea how this works.

There are a few more layers of detailing that will go on this helmet before it needs to be rendered, but I'm pleased with the progress. I'll be sure to show it again when it's even further along and/or finished. Maybe someday I'll re-scale it (it's roughly life size at this point) and have it rapid prorotyped so I can paint it as a bust. I could never sell it, but as a personal piece I could make one.

But, for now I have to put this aside while I shift focus to another project. ~21 days until Winter Break...
See less See more

... ... ...
See less See more
... I smell the blood of an Englishmun.

... ... ...
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
41 - 60 of 342 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.