Tag Archives: Modeling

Tau: More Adventures in Magnetizing

broadside_magnet_01After magnetizing my Riptide more-or-less successfully, it was time to try another model – one of the new Broadsides. I love the look of the new Broadside, and the idea of magnetizing it so I can swap between the two primary weapon loadouts was very appealing. In practice, though… it’s a pain in the ass, much moreso than the Riptide. There are two major reasons for this. The first is that the arms are heavy as far as plastic goes, so if you just try to magnetize them at the ball joints with the magnets pointing directly out to the sides, they’ll pivot down as they lose the fight against gravity. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution: mount the magnets on the tops of the ball joints:


broadside_magnet_02This leads to the second issue, though: the two sets of arms do not sit at the same angle on the joint. The High-Yield Missile Pod arms sit independently and swing a bit outward, while the Railgun arms join together and angle inward and a bit downward. This leads to some interesting magnet positions inside the sockets, and is really, really easy to mess up. This is one case where I wish I had a larger hand drill, rather than just my cordless Dremel; trying to get fine control with a high-speed drill is not a skill I’ve mastered. In the end, I had to cut one of the missile arms apart just above the elbow and re-point it because the magnet had it swinging too far inside. The railgun arms had their own issues. For ease of attachment, I had the two separate, with another pair of magnets joining them at the gun – but some excess glue that I thought had already dried stuck the two magnets together permanently, leaving me with glued-together arms. Not unworkable, but not what I wanted. In all honesty, though, the final results, while a bit chewed by the Dremel, aren’t horrible:


broadside_magnet_03_railgunsI also managed to magnetize the back equipment hookups so that I can change up the weapons and wargear as needed. Getting these magnets placed was a bit difficult because of the small area and the necessity of getting them flush. I had to pull out and redo one of the magnets just to get it to sit right. Since I didn’t have smaller magnets for the gear, I used my finishing nail trick to put small pieces of metal into their bases. It doesn’t “click” as solidly as another magnet, but it works. The Dremel was a big aid here, as I could switch to a sanding bit and grind down the excess nail and get it flush with the plastic.

broadside_magnet_04They’re a little wobbly, but overall they look fine.

The question I was left with last night was, “Would I do this again?” The answer right now is, “I don’t know”. Magnetizing this suit was harder with the equipment I had, and the results weren’t what I’d originally pictured in my mind. The time spent in trying to get magnet angles just right and trying to clean up the resulting damage to the plastic, such as filling in the sockets with material to keep the arms from swinging wildly (yes, the top-mounted magnets only worked somewhat) made me doubt that magnetizing the arms was a good idea. If they were a bit easier to do, then sure, but I don’t know if I’d want to do it again as they are. The secondary weapons and gear, I might do again with smaller magnets and my pin vice. Still, there comes a point where the time spent outweighs the money saved. I might just make my next 2 Broadsides static.

Without smaller magnets, though, I am not touching any more Crisis Suits. I’m really feeling the limitations of 1/8″ magnets, and as much as I love my Dremel, I need the finer control of my pin vice for that task.

Bikes and Apostles and Havocs, Oh My!

The bikes I started three weeks ago are finally together; I opted for meltaguns over plasma because I needed some anti-armor punch. Even the bike champ is toting around a combi-melta liberated from my loyalist bits to provide that extra shot when necessary. The lord is front and center, with the spiky head, power sword, and Noise Champion torso. I’m contemplating doing a thin layer of greenstuff on the sword and sculpting in faces like the Chaos Lord in the DV box has, but I doubt my abilities with greenstuff enough that I might just leave it as-is.

Speaking of the DV box, the Chosen with a power maul is getting transformed…

…into a Dark Apostle, with the addition of some spikes from the vehicle sprue. The official model has a spiked halo, so I decided to play on that theme a little bit and do something similar. Here, I’ll have to play with greenstuff to give him the long strips of parchment from his shoulders. I like that even his helm has a skull faced motif, making him thematically similar to a loyalist chaplain.

Meanwhile, I decided to tackle the autocannon Havocs in my new Chaos list without having to buy 4 boxes of Havocs. A number of conversion ideas online basically revolved around taking a heavy bolter and changing the barrel on it. Fortunately, I had plenty of heavy bolter bits that I’d never used, and I was lucky to have two extra twin-linked reaper autocannon bits that I acquired when I first bought my Chaos army, so it was time to do some cutting and combining. Here’s what I ended up with:

Basically, you trim the barrel and the iron sight off of the heavy bolter and file down the front so it’s smooth and even. Then, you take the end of the reaper autocannon, usually to just past the next-to-last vent hole in the barrel, trim that off, and file the ends until they’re smooth. Glue the two together, and you have a serviceable autocannon that, even though it’s built on a heavy bolter casing, won’t be mistaken for a heavy bolter anytime soon. If you’ve ever seen the Chosen artwork from the Black Crusade RPG showing a Chaos Marine toting an autocannon as long as he is tall, this looks very similar (and is just about as long as a Chaos Marine mini is tall, in fact.) All assembled, the Havoc looks like so:

Here he is with two squadmates:

And a fourth just waiting to pull himself together:

All that remains is to build the Havoc champion (assuming I don’t just use a standard bolter-bearing CSM), and then I can move onto my cultists. I’ll actually have enough models to build a unit of 17 autogunners, 2 flamers, and a champ. If I want to expand beyond that, it’ll mean picking up more DV bits; I’m definitely not paying $10 for 5 mixed cultists from GW when I can get Dark Vengeance leftovers at something like 10 (from the squad I need) for $15.

Finecast: 2 for 2?

To kick off my new third army, I decided to pick up an Emperor’s Champion, since I’m going to need one if I play at anything higher than 749 points. Fortunately, I was able to find one of the new Finecasts on the shelf at a local store, and upon preliminary inspection, it easily looked as good as the Huron Blackheart I picked up earlier. I un-blistered it tonight and took a closer look. The front does indeed look perfect. Even the crux pendant looks just right.

On the back, though, I did find one bubble…

…right on the nub where his backpack attaches. So a bubble, but in a place where it will never be seen. Upon further inspection, I did find one other slight flaw:

Do you see it? It’s right at the bottom of his tabard. There’s a tiny little divot just in front of his right foot. There’s also what could be a bubble on the flat of where his arm joins, but much like the backpack spot, it’s at a join point. No one will ever see that bubble. The only visible “miscast” is the tabard divot, and it’s so minor as to be unimportant. Everything else looks just right on the model, so this one is 99% perfect. I haven’t done any flash clean-up on the model yet, but it doesn’t appear that there’s all that much to clean up. There’s a couple of spots where the model was attached to the sprue, and a bit of minor flash here and there, but it’s pretty much ready to go as-is otherwise.

So, so far, my luck has been very good with Finecast minis. Technically, I’m 3 for 3 – Tim unpacked his Dante tonight, and verified that there were no bubbles or miscasts there either. 3 pristine Finecast minis selected at random from two separate stores. Purely anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but that’s all we have – that and pictures, which is why I presented my own. I have to say once again that the line is not perfect; the other Champion I looked at had a slightly larger dent in his tabard; not so much as to render it useless, but noticeable in comparison. So far, I’ve been happy with the line; that may loop back around to bite me on models that I can’t easily see (like the Sword Brethren box; also Finecast), but for singles, it’s fantastic.

Works in Progress: Finecast Huron, Tau Display Board

I took the Finecast plunge this weekend and picked up a Huron Blackheart fig, as he’s one of the few Chaos Marine special characters I don’t already have (the others are Typhus and Lucius, and as soon as the latter is available in Finecast he’s mine). I have to say, when the Finecast minis come out well, they come out very well. Huron didn’t have too much in the way of extraneous flash, and between my fingers and a hobby knife, I was able to get him cleaned up pretty quickly. There are still a few bits to touch up, but it’s an easy enough task. Even easier was getting him assembled. Once I had him off the sprue and cleaned up, getting him assembled was just a matter of dabbing a little glue in the proper places and pressing the parts together. The glue set very quickly and made what feels like a good, solid bond. I easily had him together within a couple of minutes, compared to the time I’d spend holding bits in place while the glue sets on a metal mini (and that doesn’t include pinning time).

The finished product feels light, yet solid. Some bits are a bit flexible due to the nature of the material – I’ll have to keep an eye on his axe – but he doesn’t really feel rubbery. It’s just… different. I gave him a drop test by letting him fall 3 feet onto a concrete/tile floor, and he just bounced a bit. Nothing came apart, nothing bent, nothing broke. It’s fantastic. Now, is it worth the extra price? Well, considering how much I hate working with metal minis, to me it is. I can’t wait to see plastic/resin Noise Marines come out (although I hope they come with more than one noise blaster if they do). That’s not to say the line is perfect – I almost bought an Ethereal this weekend as well, but the one I was looking at had a couple of very noticeable bubbles on the side of his face. The minis seem to be hit and miss (with generally more hits than misses), but quality control is a bit lower than some might like on this first batch. Hopefully, GW will get the kinks worked out before long. I will say, though, that when they get it right, they really get it right. Both Huron (and the Dante I picked up for a friend) look perfect.

Meanwhile, preparations for DieCon continue. I’m over halfway done with my one remaining Devilfish, and I also got started on this:

It’s the beginnings of a simple display board for my Tau army. The “hills” are in place, and the next step is putting down a bit of rubble and sand for texture at the edges. After that, painting it tan and drybrushing the rough edges to match my Tau army’s basing. It’s nothing fancy – no big buildings and no holes cut for the bases – but it’ll give the whole army a “finished” feel. Can’t beat the price, either – I spent a whole $16.50 on the materials, which still leaves me with plenty of cork left over for other basing projects. Everything else I already have, so I should be able to hammer this thing out (and the Devilfish) in the next couple of days.

Oh, and there was the tournament this weekend. I’ll write more about that later. Short version – had a good time, went 1-2, reinforced the concept that proper deployment wins games. Also, Lady Luck can be a fickle bitch – just ask the Daemons player who lost a Herald and 2 Daemon Princes to my unit of Broadsides… in melee… without inflicting a single wound on my unit. But that’s a story for another time…

Slaanesh Daemon Prince – Now With Wings!

After trying out a Daemon Prince with wings, and finding that it really is as good as everyone says, I was inspired to finish the job on the Daemon Prince that has been sitting idle since July. Of course, I had made a couple of other design choices with her, but the spines were going to have to go. Wings were the order of the day.

The model that serves as the base for my Daemon Prince, Reaper’s Urban Legend Sophie, comes with metal wings, but frankly, I did not feel like dealing with pinning a pair of heavy wings connected by two small nubbins of metal. Instead, I dug through my bits box and pulled out the spare winged backpack from my Possessed CSM set. A little careful cutting to put a notch in the claw arm so that the backpack would fit, a little Zap-a-Gap, and the results were very pleasing. Again, cellphone pics are poor, but it’s what I had on hand.

Sorry for the nudity, folks; she's not bad, she's molded that way.

I wasn’t done, though. Next, to tackle something I’d been avoiding for the past 7 months: using green stuff to hide the claw arm joint. Without it, the claw arm just sits there with its ball joint hanging out, and that doesn’t look good. However, I have no sculpting skills at all, so I’d been afraid of screwing it up. Tonight, I decided to push down my fear and just do it. It’s not the prettiest job, but it’ll do.

From the left...
...and from the right.

Pay no attention to the mold lines. Those have been dealt with.

There was one other finishing touch I wanted to add. With the winged backpack, I wanted to give the impression that this Daemon Prince had once been a Chaos Marine of Slaanesh, upgraded to daemonhood. This would also allow me to run the model as a Greater Summoned Daemon instead if I wanted. An easy way to emphasize this idea was to add another piece of power armor. In this case, a shoulder pad:

She really has no shame, does she?

I tried in vain to add a nipple ring to her left breast just for the hell of it, but I do not have the sculpting skills to pull off something that small. Also, by that point, my fingers and sculpting tool were slick enough from petroleum jelly that getting a tiny piece of green stuff to stick was just not happening. That’s fine; the model is solid as-is. It’s not 51% GW parts (at least by size; by number of parts, GW outnumbers third parties 5 to 2), so I doubt it’s tourney-legal, but as I rarely play in tournaments, this isn’t really a problem.

I can’t believe this model is actually ready for priming and painting! I’ve been sitting on it so long that I figured I might never get around to working on it. Sunday even looks to be a good day to prime. Perhaps… just perhaps… I might actually get her done before a year passes since I started work on her.