Friday 19 April 2013

2013 Forge World open day prep pt5

My Forgeworld Tau XV9 Hazard Battlesuit has been through a lot. Being dropped a metre and a half onto a hard floor doesn't usually result in a happy model. Thankfully, the resin that Forgeworld uses is not cheaply made garage rubbish. The only damage sustained to the figure was the separation of glued joints - not a problem, other than time to re-glue.

JB Weld (I got mine from Amazon) is a great product. It's used to repair car parts and radiators. It sets hard, and you might need magic and diamonds to cut through it. Don't get it on your hands.

It's a 2-part epoxy, like green stuff, but much, much stronger. The rebuild took 3 days to finish, as I wanted each part to set and cure before adding higher-up weight to it. I haven't tested dropping the model, but I suspect it would hold...

After the drop
After the fix

Before I re-glued  however, I took advantage of my clumsiness, and added details to the bits that even Heineken couldn't reach - oil stains, burn marks and scorching on the metal areas. There's a little OSL going on around the eye lenses, but for the most part it's a 'study in metal'. I've gone for T'au Sept - the white markings behind the head - so that it can  fit with a standard-build sandy-coloured Tau army as a commander or centrepiece model.

Of course, I didn't get to show it off at Forgeworld's Open Day - the car wasn't fixed in time, and I couldn't get a courtesy car or rental, either. Shame. I would have liked to see it in the cabinet next to the winning figure (an Emperor's Children Contemptor was the victor by all accounts). My wife didn't paint her Tau Ground Crew, either. I'll do those guys next...

A bit of an anticlimax to the project, then - the model came out great - even with the drama of a faked reality TV show - but I didn't achieve the initial goal of getting it to the competition. Still, it's on CMON, so please vote if you think it's worth it.

And for anyone who's made it this far - I would gladly take on a Forgeworld battlesuit project as a commission. A real pleasure to build and paint. Just tweet me @minimodelpaint, and we can talk options.

2013 Forge World open day prep pt4

Omens. Signs and portents. Bad things that, some might say, happen in threes.

The car has broken down. Complicated logistics involving toddlers and grandparents, and then getting to Nottingham is looking sketchy. No matter - I'm sure it'll get sorted in time for the open day. Omen #1.

The XV9 will be sprayed with Alclad II metallic lacquers. There's a specific order of work that's required for these to shine correctly. After priming the battlesuit with the Alclad grey micro primer, and then basing it with the proprietary gloss black lacquer, the XV9 is ready for the gorgeous, smooth, shiny airbrushed metals.

Gloss lacquer doesn't photograph well with flash

There's a reason for the many layers: some materials can react badly to the lacquer. While the primer is intended for to give a good grip for the lacquer layer above, plastics underneath may melt while the chemicals bond to the surface. The gloss black gives depth to the shiny metal topcoat.
I've never tried messing things up, and have followed the instructions to the letter. I've always had good results and have never clogged an airbrush nozzle with these beautiful lacquers.

Base metals - Chrome, Magnesium, Aluminium

After a bit of blu-tac masking, I spray some Tamiya clear coats to give the impression of tarnishing from heat. The clear acrylics sit really nicely over the metallics. I'm using mostly orange.

Blu-tac mask. Not a Dark Angels conversion

The base gets a few layers of colour, too

And then it happens. I have 10 spare minutes before dinner, so I'll just do one more colour. I still have time to clean the airbrush. Just one more colour:

Gravity gets the better of the XV9

I drop the bloody thing. It bounces off the kitchen floor and separates into five component parts. Ouch. Omen #2

Fixable. Seamlessly so, but it will take time. And I currently have plans to be finishing this the night before.

Time for JB Weld to do its thing. But not before I spray some hard-to-reach details.

In part 5, I reassemble, tidy up and finish. Do I get to Nottingham, though? Will the 3rd thing happen?

Friday 5 April 2013

2013 Forge World open day prep pt3

Posing the legs is a daunting task. The model needs to stand on the base furniture in a dynamic way, but it needs to be solid and balanced, so that the whole unit doesn't topple over when finished. The long guns will be a problem further up, and Tau Battlsuits have never had strong ankles.

Thankfully, the XV9 has good ball joints in the ankle, which, if left unglued to start with, will help the overall pose take shape.

Test fitting is key

Starting with the feet, clip the lower legs into place. Dry fit the upper legs (blutack helps), and also the hip piece. While gingerly holding the lot together, see where it looks to stand best - make a note and lay some glue. You don't want them too far apart, or the model won't fit together!

I've opted for a flat left foot on the top of the rocks, and an over-the-edge right foot, giving the mini a sense of potential motion. Unclip the temporary assembly and glue the feet down.

Let it set and cure.

Then fit the next bits, working upwards. The hips are the centre of gravity for this figure, but aren't very heavy, so once the feet are in place, the lower and upper legs can be connected to the feet and the hips and glued. Green stuff is handy at this point, giving the posability of blutack, but setting hard in time.

A rig of some sort is useful for overnight stability - a paintpot, a box of matches - anything. The worst thing to do is assume gravity won't interact while you're waiting, and come back to a model that's sagged, set and cured.

Any old object can be a useful resting place

Once set, the torso is added to the hips. My rig is a toothbrush on a plastic tub. Perfect height to sit under the backpack - it won't take any major weight, but stops any errant slippage.

Once cured, the XV9 is ready for its guns. One-by-one, and laying the model on its back if needed. Allow the weight of the part to help the glue dry in the right position.

You call that a gun??

The centre of gravity has shifted a little, but all that posing in front of the mirror (read part 2 again), means the legs and hips have started life leaning backwards a little, ready for the guns to counterbalance.

Leave it to cure. Don't handle it. Don't show it off.

In part 4, priming and spraying with metallic lacquers, and a small disaster with gravity and dropping.