Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Monday, September 3, 2012
After sitting down with a friend discussing the process of proper model building and preparation whilst helping him put together his Captain Dominic Darius model (widely regarded to be one of the biggest pains in the ass in Privateers Press's line). We talked about a good deal of prep methods and care for models that ensures their longevity, and I figured I'd make a nice little post about them.
Metal or plastic, all parts should be washed prior assembly. Seeing as they come right out of the machine, all parts/sprues are covered in a mold release agent. Privateer Press metals have the most notable, a light powder like substance. Unwashed models are very likely to chip (moreso with metal models) as primer will not well to the model.
I wash my parts with some warm water dish soap, scrubbing lightly with an old toothbrush. Take your time with this especially more delicate models like staves and other parts that can bend and break. If your working in a sink, always stop/cover up the drain. Accidents happen and its not worth loosing a part, especially if you cant individually order it.
Let the parts dry completely before you move on.
Don't worry, its not more washing, however this is one of the most, if not the most important steps in building your minis.Clean-up refers trimming, clipping and filing of any mold lines, flash or any other unsavory bits that aren't part of the model.
Mold lines usually come in two forms, one much easier to deal with than the other.
Raised mold lines can be scraped or filed away. I would recommend either using the flat site of an Exacto knife to scrap away, however, if you have a set of modelling files, they will provide better results.By using the flat side of the blade, you are less likely to cut into the model itself and ruin the surface/details. Again, take care with this process and do not rush. Make any cut or stroke away from yourself and do not apply to much pressure, as a stray slip could damage the model or worse, yourself.
The other sort of mold line is where the surface appears to be shifted, like a small step raised from the surface. This can be seen my recent Gunnbjorn model, on the upper flat surface of his gun.
Alternatively, if they are minor, and you are relatively handy, you can fix this with some filing, trimming and green-stuff work. In the case of Gunnbjorn, I filed it down to an acceptable difference and ended up painting it as a crack in the metal of his gun. Opportunities for rolling with a miscast in the manner are few and far between.
Flash is an excess of thin plastic that surrounds the model. Flash should be trimmed away and any remaining mold lines should be taken care of as previously mentioned. Games Workshop Finecast is notable for their flash, so if you are purchasing any Finecaste models, be prepared for this.
Since Finecast has been mentioned, I think it is worthy mentioning Air Bubbles. Air Bubbles are fairly rare in plastics and will appear as small holes/pockets in the model's surface. These should be filled with Green Stuff (liquid or non depending on your skill level).
In addition on metal minis, vents, characterized as thin strips or hairs should be take off and filed down. These can range from longer strands to small spikes. These can be rather pesky as they can sometimes will fold over the surface and unless looked for, will show up when you go to paint your model, forcing you tot take care of them then and there, exposing the metal underneath.
You may be thinking, "Why should I be doing this, its too long and boring!?" This is all done to ensure your models look the best they can. A mold line can and will turn a good paintjob into crap if not properly taken care of. Remember you only get to do all of this once, so why rush the process and only have mediocre results.
Pinning is used to reinforce and support parts that may be either too heavy or too fragile for glue alone. In the case of Captain Darius, much of his assembly is awkward and clunky and required pinning in every joint. Very rarely will a plastic model require pinning during initial assembly, as they are much more flexible then their metal counterparts.
Pinning a model involves drilling a hole into the surface of two parts, placing a pin or paper clip in them and then gluing them together. When pinning, especially with ball joints, which are commonplace on Warjacks, you want to make sure your are pinnign at the right angle and placement. You should always dry fit your model with poster putty/blu tac to get an idea of where you want things to be and how the mini wll be posed.
A method I used when needing exact placement involves applying a small glob of paint to the centerpoint of one of the surfaces, then placing to parts together in the pose you want. The glob of paint will mark the other surface, giving your your point to drill in.
When it comes to equipment, I recommend a hobby drill. Nothing electric should be used, as they are more prone to slip, and again, cause damage to the model or yourself.
The best way to pin is to drill your two holes, clip your pin to the approximate size, then super glue your pin into only one of the parts. Let it dry then test fit your pinned part into the other. This way, should the pin be too large, you do not have to remove them from the parts and have to deal with removing the half dried glue from the holes. Simply clip the pin down to the proper size and repeat until it fits properly. Then glue it into place and let it dry.
With pinning, a knocked over model that may have previously had a part snapped off will endure.
A bit of a lengthy post, but I hope this will help you all with building a better, tougher model!