Monday, November 29, 2010

New Tools I had a little extra money a few weeks ago, and decided to treat myself:

I have two hobby knives I've been using: a plastic-handled one that I've owned for, oh, twenty-one years or so, and a heavy-duty aluminum-handled that's more or less worthless - it takes the blades with the wider shank, which are almost impossible to find around here.  I've wanted one of these nice sets for a long time and had a "40% off" coupon, so I decided to bite the bullet and pick one up.

I also got some plastic cases:

...these are actually exact matches for a few cases that I've had for years, but I haven't been able to find any more until now.  I wanted some because my tool kit (which I'm going to document in a future post) is a complete mess - I'm going to organize all my tools by type in these cases, which fit into a carrying case...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Scratchbuild: Deffrolla Mk. II

I got the second Battlewagon in the fleet finished, and needed to make the Deffrolla (if you want the full-blown scratch-built Deffrolla tutorial, click here).  I found something I thought might speed up the process a bit:

This is an assortment of styrene tubes, rods, & "girders" from Gale Force Nine.  I mostly bought this as proof-of-concept - as I've mentioned before, Gale Force Nine stuff is pricey, but I wanted to get this since it includes many different sizes, and I wasn't sure which I would need.  (Now that I have a better idea, I will head to my local train-oriented hobby shop and pick it up directly from the source, namely Evergreen and/or Plastruct). 

To start with, I cut some of the tubes to size (I might have to pick up a cheap tubing cutter, as it would make it easier to cut these without mangling the ends):

Then I made some "sandwiches" out of foamcore, and covered them in plasticard:

I made the rolla itself the same as last time, out of a 3/4" PVC coupler & reducer, and covered the ends with plasticard:

I decided to Greenstuff the gap in the rolla this time (and yes, it was a hassle, as I anticipated):

Like before, I cut some random shapes to act as armor plates, glued them to the rolla, and added rivets punched out of plasticard:

Next, I drilled holes in the plasticard "boxes" and set about getting the angles right - once I had them figured out, I glued the pipes in place and added rivets:

(Some Green Stuff was used to fill the tubing at the attachment points for reinforcement).

Some guitar strings were used to simulate hydraulic lines:

I drilled holes in the end of the support arms, and inserted toothpicks to attach the rolla:

Test fitting:

I used the small wooden spools as spacers - I decided they needed some rivets too, to help them blend in.  I also added some toothpicks to the front:

And here it is mounted, and after the spikey bits have been added: this point, the model sat on my desk for a few days while I worked on other stuff.  I kept looking at it and thinking that the "spikes" needed something, but I couldn't think of what.  One morning, inspiration struck: since they looked like pikes, how about some heads?

I started with these skulls from a Warhammer Fantasy Chaos Marauders kit.  The skulls were originally mounted hanging from a banner pole, andthe sculpt had a metal bracket on the top of the skull (left pic) that I had to shave off & file down (right pic).  I also dug into my Space Marine bits and cut some spare helmets from some sprues.

Then I just drilled through them with my pin vise:

,,,and mounted them on the spikes:

I also drilled some holes at the upper arms of the Rolla mount:

...and added these hanging-skull-on-a-chain bits:

Unfortunately, I got a little carried away with the pin vise, and accidentally drilled all the way through the arm:

...luckily, my bag 'o rivets was there to help:

...I gave the other side of the Battlewagon the same treatment.

And here's the finished product:

...overall I'm pretty pleased with the results on this one too.  Did the styrene tubing speed up the process?  Yeah, a bit - this one took me about three hours to build, as opposed to six hours for the first one, so it cut the time in half.  It's still a pretty involved process, though.  I think if I had the tubing cutter it would speed things up even more.  I believe Plastruct & Evergreen also make styrene stock in rectangular shapes as well, and that would speed things up greatly - working with the foamcore and "wrapping" it in plasticard is the most time-consuming part.  Lars4life tipped me off about a shop here in town that carries the full line of Plastruct products, so when I get a chance I'll head over and see what I can find...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey all -

      Just a quick post to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!  Get off the Internet and go have fun with your friends & family.  Enjoy your turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and Kroot Fried Material

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You Know The Guy...

...he might be a regular at your local game shop.  He might be a close personal friend of yours.  Heck, he might even be you.  He's a great guy and all, but he's, well, lets say terminally disorganized.  He's constantly asking to borrow your rulebook, or your dice, or your templates.  He has to sneak peeks at the codexes on the store shelves because he forgot to bring his.  He proxies soda cans for tanks, because he forgot to grab the model he had just clearcoated before he left the house.

Why do I bring this guy up?  Because, chances are, at some point he's walked away with your tape measure.  It's now the Christmas season (well, according to the stores, anyway).  The next time you go to the hardware store (or past the hardware department in your local big-box store) you'll see a bunch of "stocking stuffer" gift ideas near the main aisle.  One of these items will undoubtedly be a miniature tape measure:

...these will probably be priced around $1 (I think the fancy rubberized one in the bottom of the pic was the pricey one, at $1.79).  Do yourself a favor - pick up a couple of these.  Throw one in each of the bags or boxes that you use to carry your models.  Keep one in the glovebox of your car.  The next time "that guy" forgets his tape measure and asks to borrow yours, give him one of these as a loaner.  And if he walks away with it, at least it wasn't your good one.

The other neat thing I found was these small clamps:

...I have a few similar clamps for household repairs, but these are tiny versions - they look to be just right for clamping foamcore board or styrofoam when I'm building terrain.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cyanoacrylate Accelerators

...if you don't know what I'm talking about by the title, it's commonly referred to as "Zip Kicker" - when gluing a model, if you apply cyanoacrylate glue ("super" glue or "krazy" glue) to one surface, and give the other surface a quick mist of Zip Kicker, it makes the glue bond & dry almost instantly.  I had no idea how much I had come to depend on Zip Kicker, until I ran out of it - it speeds up build time so much.

My FLGS doesn't actually carry Zip Kicker - I found it when I stopped by a hobby shop near my house that specializes in radio control cars & airplanes - apparently those guys use it a lot.  I grabbed some on a whim, and it turned out to be great stuff.  I stopped by the other day to pick up some more, and, to my horror, the shop had moved across town.  I didn't have the time to drive over there at that moment, so when I had a chance I went online to get what I needed.

The downside of Zip Kicker is that it's kind of expensive -  I was paying something like $7.00 for a 2-oz. spray bottle.  (The good news is that it lasts a looong time).  I was determined not to run out again anytime soon, so I found someone selling an 8-oz. "refill" -sized bottle for around $10:

Another problem: the spray bottle I had previously had a broken pump, so I couldn't refill it.  To solve this, I stopped by the pharmacy department the next time the wife & I went grocery shopping - in the aisle with all the "travel size" items, they sell these 2-oz. spray bottles for 97 cents apiece:

I filled 'em up, then broke out my labelmaker:

(Yeah, I know, the green labels on a green bottle isn't the most readable thing in the world - the green labelmaker cartridges were 50% off, and I'm cheap).  If you use superglue for your models, pick some of this up and give it a try, you won't be disappointed...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Next Battlewagon

I got the next Battlewagon in the fleet finished:

...I've started "Freeboota-fying" it a bit already.  I don't know what the deal was, but the fit on this one was janky compared to the first one I built - lots more flash on the mold, too.  The next one is on order, I hope it's better...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tutorial: Large Rivets

...well, maybe not a tutorial per se,  but a quick tip - one of the things I've gotten positive comments on with my scratch-building projects is the look of my rivets:

They really add a nice touch to projects, and look way better than rivets made from dabbed-on PVA glue.  The good news is that they're dead easy to do:

This is a bag of plasticard scraps that I keep around - whenever I finish a project using plasticard, I throw the larger scraps in a baggie that I keep with my supplies.

This is a hole punch that I got at my local craft supply store - I believe it is 1/8".  This is small enough for vehicles, walkers, etc. - unfortunately, it's not small enough to make rivets to be used on troops (I'm still hunting for one of those).

I just take a scrap of plasticard and start punching holes in it - the "rivets" are held in a little built-in tray in the hole punch.

After you've punched out your plasticard, hold open the little tray on the hole punch and shake out the rivets.  (It's helpful to do this over a dark piece of paper, so you don't lose any).

I pour all the rivets into a small baggie, and keep them with my scratchbuilding supplies.  To apply the rivets, I dip a toothpick into superglue and apply it to the surface - then I take a fresh toothpick, touch it to my tongue, and use it to pick up & place the rivet.  That's all there is to it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Painboy & Grot Orderly

Finished building an Ork Painboy & Grot orderly the other day:

It was kind of neat to build a metal model again, it's been quite a while since I've done that.  Of course, that fades by the time I'm finished - what the heck does GW use on these things as mold release?!?  I've built metal models from Reaper and other companies before and forgot / been too lazy to scrub them down beforehand - there is no chance of that ever working on a GW model.  I soak them, scrub them, and sand down the contact points, and it is still a fight to get the glue to bond.

Anyways, probably not much happening in the way of conversion with this particular model - he already has a peg leg, so it'll fit into the "Freeboota" theme, and the sculpt has such a great theme, I'd hate to ruin it.  I'm considering using some Green Stuff to give him an eyepatch, but I don't know if I'm up to that yet.

He was actually pretty uneventful to build - just the shoulder joint required a bit of gap filling:

And I decided to pin him on his base, since the combination of the peg leg & the position of his other foot doesn't offer much in the way of stability: