Total Pageviews

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Starting out. part IV

And we are back. The snow has melted. Its raining again. And we are having a normal Pacific North West winter. If you think that 30-39 days of continuous precipitation is normal. For my sanity's sake as well as timely updates. I hope that we get some breaks in the weather. Fun fact: the area where I live was once a part of the largest temperate rain forest in the world..
But you are more interested in this installment of the blog. So here we go.

Previously on 'A brush, a paint and a mini': I typed about not being able to give you a proper update with good pictures. Before that i covered the assembly and posing of what I assume is your very own Juggernaut miniature. And after a long wait here is a nice update with pictures to boot.

And now for the post.
Special thanks to Cat , for agreeing to help with the pictures for the blog. That and all of the questions, the answers to which become the content of this blog. Remember, I am trying to make things easy for the beginners to enjoy the hobby as well as share my experience and tips that I have picked up through out the years. Some of it is useful to even the grizzled and haggard veterans of the table top miniatures hobby. Everyone likes to have a well painted army. Or at least one that looks good.
Here is Cat:
Cat and Denegra,
 She looks a bit different since her encounter with Denni. I can't quite figure out why though.
So then we move on to the meat and tubers portion of the post. And as per the precedent set in blogs past, a brief intro to the tools used along with what are hopefully witty warnings.
As there will be a brief recap on cleaning we will be needing the help of our trusty and dangerous friend the hobby knife:
Did my previous warnings about this tool sink in yet? I am serious, even a dull blade can cause deep cuts. You should always use a sharp blade. This is because an individual is always more careful around sharp pieces of metal and sharp blades cut easily through the material you are working with.
Next we have our trusty Clippers.
Warning!: These are a pinch hazard. That and anything you clip off with them may fly in a random direction at a surprisingly high velocity. Use caution and preferably eye protection. Your eyes will thank you.
Then there are the files. These are, like a hobby knife, the mainstay of a hobby work area's organization chart. very useful for smoothing out mold lines and feeds as well as removing unwanted details. And as I will cover in future posts, shaving/ filing a part down for a better fit.
They may not look like much, but files will save you hours and blades. If Steel cut files aren't doing the job for ya, consider getting some diamond tipped/coated files. They have a coarser cut, but are better at removing a lot of material. If you need a finer cut/ polish, may I suggest a fine grit sand paper in the 200+ range.  There are no known warnings for these tools.... yet.
I call it blu-tack. Its a non-permanent adhesive putty. .

 And we have another familiar, though not as celebrated friend. The sticky tack. This really is the unsung hero of our hobby. Honest. I have yet to hear any songs about it. Or even read the lyrics of songs, and i have been around people who will sing about anything.

Wow its almost 6am.
And its time to see some new tools. Yay? Today is the first time that I will type about using the Pin Vice. I bet you were wondering when this was going to come up. The Pin Vice is the equivalent to a rock star in the hobby world. A good Pin Vice, it is claimed by some, can make the difference between a good conversion and a bad assembly. I personally find it very useful for some very mundane tasks. And today I will cover one of them.

Now that the Pin vice has been mentioned. I will Bring up the Primer. Probably what you have been waiting for. Primer is important since it adheres to metal and plastic (well good primer does), and it provides a base with the surface area for paint to stick to. The type of primer that I chose is a formula for automotive use. I will explain later. There is much to cover.
Ah almost forgot. Warning!!!: Primer contains some very toxic solvents. Use in a well ventilated area. Preferably outdoors. Spray away from yourself and take breaks between sprays. I suggest wearing a respirator if you can get one. The solvents, and possibly propellant, may cause damage to the following systems: Brain, heart, liver, lungs, kidneys. Do not inhale for the fun of it. Do not eat!
Moving on.

Since we already assembled the Juggernaut I will give you a brief recap using the Destroyer. If you purchased a different starter box. No worries, we have you covered as most of what applies here applies to the other boxes.
In the picture above you can see the red arrows pointing to where the feeds where attached to the parts. removing this leftover material is best done with our trusty Hobby knife. So long as you take care to keep it from removing bits off of you.
Illustrating my point about bloodthirsty knives.
Here the red arrows are kind enough to point to the mold lines and associated flash. Flash is extra material left over from the casting process. This is because, in this case, the plastic is liquid that is either injected into a mold or poured in to a centrifugal mold and sun at a high rpm. either process leads to some of the liquid to leak between the parts of the mold before hardening. The best way to remove it, is by carefully cutting it off with your sharp knife.
After all of that cutting some parts may need a little bit of extra polish. that is where the files come in. just don't press too hard on them. Now you are probably wondering which file is best for the job. To answer that i will have to call your attention to the shapes of the files themselves. Files with broad flat surfaces are best used for flat or convex surfaces. The more rounded files fit better into the convex areas. The thin squarish and round needle files are best for some of the tighter areas where a wider file may not fit. Its a judgment call really. If you need to clean them, just press them into a kneaded chunk of sticky tack.
And Just as we did with the Juggernaut its time to do a bit of posing. This step isn't necessary, but its fun to play around with the poses.
That said, in this post I will be covering the two different methods of priming models. I have used both methodologies and will cover both. First lets chat about them. One method of prepping a model is to clean off all of the flash, scrape off any material that the knife missed with a file. Pose the model and then glue it together. As I may have mentioned before, this is helpful as when you are painting the model you will have a better idea where the shadows and highlights go. The downside is that, where the shadows go its hard for you to reach with a brush (though not impossible) and the same applies for primer. This translates into extra effort on your part.
And since our Juggernaut/ unspecified Warjack of your choice is assembled and ready. Lets prep it for primer. This is a simple process. Well I think it is. First you will need to have either some brass rod or paperclips handy. Then, you will need to take one and push it into a block of sticky tack. This is for safety as I have had way too many things fly around my work area.
Pressing a paper clip into the blu-tack.

Next is time for the clippers. Holding onto the "loose" end of what in my case is a paperclip. I gently squeeze the handles of the clippers until the blades cuts through the metal. the same applies if you are using brass rod. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a length of brass rod shoot across the room barely missing people. Invariably the question arises. How long should the pin be? Well for our purposes about an inch should do. For those of us who grew up on metric: 2.5cm
its always important to get a grip on both sides of the brass rod/paper clip as you are about to cut it
This leaves you with a piece of paper clip/ brass rod in your hand and another sticking out of your sticky tack.

Ok, so in the picture above I have two. We need to get a better picture of the cutting process. So what next? And how does the pin vice fit into this? I am glad that you asked, because its time to get your pin vice. Did you get it? Good. Don't worry this post will be still here if you need to run to your local hobby store to buy one or wait for it to be delivered after ordering it online.
Do you have it now? Good. Next we have to drill a hole in to the foot of the Juggernaut so as to glue the pin to it. We will need to make sure that there is a snug fit and so we have to match the drill bit, yes its a drill bit, to the pin's width like so:

The drill bit should be only slightly wider than the pin you will be using. from a distance they will appear to be the same width/ diameter. Once you have found the right bit for the job secure it in the pin vice and you are ready to drill a hole.
I prefer to drill into the part of the foot that has the most material. Usually this can lead you to drill deep into the leg on some models. It was not the case here, but that's ok as Plastic models are lighter and don't need as much structural support. We need the pin so that we can attach the model to something that will act like a handle during both the application of primer and paint. afterward you can remove the pin. Or use it to attach your model to a custom base. I will cover custom bases in a later tutorial.

Once the hole has been drilled. It is time to insert the pin. Simply take your pin, test fit into the hole and see how far it goes. Once you get a sense of that, take your bottle of super glue and apply a little bit to the part of the pin that will go into the hole. A little bit of super glue goes a long way. A lot, sticks your fingers to the model and possibly the table.

It wasn't that hard, was it? Now that you have the pin glued to the foot, it's time to find a suitable object to act as a handle. Most pro painters advise the use of wine corks. This is mostly as a matter of convenience. Most of them are old enough to buy wine, or beverages that are distributed in glass bottles topped with a cork. The material is soft and spongy, so it is easy to push a pin into it. And yet it can support the weight of even a metal version of our Juggernaut. I should know I have tried it.
Not all of us have bottle corks on hand at all times, however. As one does not tend to keep them for long. no worries. You just need something suitably similar. In my case I used what was once a test mold that I had made out of RTV silicone. You may want to use an eraser that you have no particular use for. Or the core tube from a roll of toilet paper. Please do not throw away good toilet paper to get the core.

This is Sorcha. She is the warcaster that came with the starter box. As her sculpt is fairly straight forward I decided to assemble her before priming. with smaller models it sometimes makes sense to assemble and attach to the base before priming. For her handle I decided to use the cap form an old glue bottle that i had lying around. but first I need some putty to make her stick...
And the sticky tack comes to the rescue. And after a minute of kneading. I push the tack on to the cap.

Now I take Sorcha and press her base onto the cap with the sticky tack sandwiched between them.

Well that seemed easy. And now we prime. Of course you should probably wash your models with hot soapy water and leave them to dry. Drying time takes about 24hrs just to be on the safe side. It may take longer depending on the ambient temperature and humidity. 50-60F should do nicely. So then we can prime? Yes. but first a little prep. I recommend finding a nice and well ventilated place to do this step. Primer fumes are not good for you, and they are a flammable. So you should be away from any open flames or sources of sparks. You will also want to be outside, as this stuff smell s bad and will make you feel ill if you spray it indoors. In other words: Don't inhale the vapors/ fumes. Found a place? Good. Miniatures dry? Excellent.

Made you look. Muahahaha

What's the glove for? I put on a pair of cheap rubber gloves so that i don't have to wash primer from my hands. You don't have to, but after you spend an hour trying to wash primer off of your hands you will see the wisdom of wearing gloves.
Do not try this at home. We used Photoshop.

<==== The WRONG way to use your primer.

That's right. Spray the miniatures.

The Right way to use primer! =======>

So now that you have attached your miniature to something that you can hold, you are ready to spray some primer. A note of warning. Aerosol or spray primer contains some toxic solvents and you would do well to limit your exposure to them. for this reason I apply primer in short bursts. That also serve to give me greater control over how much primer gets applied to a given area of the model.

This is after one or two short sprays of primer. Spraying primer in short burst or sprays will give you more control over how much primer goes on which parts of the model. Doing this will slowly reveal the areas where the spray has a hart time getting to and allows you to adapt accordingly.
The red arrows point to the trouble spots or recesses where the primer spray has yet to get to. Don't worry, and take your time. At this stage, you only need to spray little by little to cover as much of the model as possible.

Here is Sorcha and the Juggernaut. They aren't ready yet, as I will need to give them one more coat just to make sure that hey are fully primed. After that it will take about three days for the primer to cure. longer if it the winter temperatures remain below 40F.
A quick note on the primer that I use. First it is an automotive primer. The brand is Duplicolor by Krylon. this is a US brand and as such I am only aware of where to look for it in the US. I f you want to save yourself some time but are willing to pay a little extra go buy the P3 primer. I can't tell you what the actual formula is or who makes it, but I have been informed by some very reliable sources that it works just as well. I trust my source enough to say that. I will however try a can to see how it compares.
So now lets check on the other method for priming models. The un-assembled way. This is a fairly straight forward method. You clean your pieces just like the juggernaut . Except that instead of assembling it you just cover the contact areas with tape. The contact areas are the parts of the model that will be glued together. Its where you will be applying glue.
TIP!: I once made the mistake of priming plastic models with out covering the contact areas. This resulted in me having to spend hours scraping primer and gummed plastic cement off of those areas so that the new layer of plastic cement could activate and bond the pieces together.
 The above picture illustrates what I mean. Sure you can scrape off the primer with a knife later, but for a little bit of tape now. You can save yourself quite a lot of grief later. Its much easier to peel off tape than to scrape primer.
One major advantage to this method is that you can eliminate most of the primer shadows. Or areas where primer is blocked from reaching, say the torso by the arm. And if you put the parts in a decent sized box you can actually cause the spray to circulate inside reaching areas that you couldn't spray directly. Also its nice to be able to set it all down and spray.
This is what it looks like after a few short sprays. I will have to flip them so that I can get the other side. Aside from having to flip the pieces. The major drawback to this method is that you will have to glue assemble the model after you prime it and you will be tempted to base coat it before assembly. Not a bad idea, but i will cover that painting later.
All in all which method you choose is up to you. for the most part you are only limited by the mood that suits you at the time. Some models may necessitate to them fully assembled. And a few will be best primed in pieces. but that is up to you.

 Tune in next time for the base coat. When I will be discussing basic color choices, the color scheme I chose, indispensable paints, brushes and what matte medium is.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hey... Its post 6.

Sorry about the delay for an update. I ran into some difficulty getting the pictures ready for editing. The process takes an incredible amount of time, as my computer doesn't have a built in memory card reader and I didn't get the USB cable with the camera I borrowed. Transferring the images aside, it can take 3-6 hours for selection and editing. Then there is the composition of the blog and general formatting of the text and positioning of those pictures that do so much to illustrate what it is that I am talking about. That said I was also invited to spend the night at my girlfriend's place where I don't have a Windows machine to work on. Yes, I am a PC and my girlfriend is a Mac.  Moving on. So now I am back, sort of, and typed out this post to tide you over until we get some more pictures for the next part. Which, of course, deals with the fun and excitement of priming your models. I will also cover two of the ways to approach the primer and painting process before moving on to the actual painting itself.

 So to satiate your modeling appetite for the moment. Here is a brief on primer.
There are two schools of thought on how to prepare your models for primer.
One set believes that you should assemble and glue your model together and then glue to the base before priming. This is a space efficient way of doing things. As you only have to hold one object in front of the can. It does, however, have its draw backs in the form of primer shadows. These are the areas where a part, say an arm, covers another part. Like the torso. I will show you pictures later.
The other school of thought on the matter, believes in the simplicity of priming your model in pieces. Not necessarily un-assembled, as the process is made easier with a little sub assembly. This way you avoid the afore mentioned shadows. Get near perfect coverage, and have an easier time painting your model. There are drawbacks. Hah, you didn't think that this is was a perfect method, did you? If you use this method you get a Near perfect coverage of primer. In fact you get a better coverage on all of your parts than the fully assembled model. This means that you would need to carefully plan how to assemble and pose your model and stick tape to the relevant contact areas. I will cover that in greater detail in the next entry. Also there is the painting aspect. On a fully assembled model you get a fairly straight forward view of where shadows fall and where to put your high lights. With this method, you would have an easier time applying the base coat i.e. the basic colors. You would have to assemble and glue your model together to apply the finishing touches such as shading and highlights. Needless to say, or perhaps needed to mention. This is a very time consuming method. And yes, the pros use this method. I have observed Privateer's own Ron Cruzie and Matt Di Pietro paint using this method.  Pictures to come in the next post.
All this is well and good but where are the pics? Well here are two:

This is what i see out the window right now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Starting out. part III

Previously on "A Brush, a Paint, and a Mini": I typed about cleaning your model. Specifically the tools, inherent danger and how they apply to a plastic model. I will also cover tool use on metal models in the future.

So now it's time for a new post. And with out much ado I would like to introduce to you a new member of our Slow Burn league. (drum roll)
Matt! This gentleman or fiery zealot is the author of Faith and Flame. What I presume, to be a blog about one man's journey into the faith and glory that is the Menite faith. I have added a link to his blog on the right. In the box appropriately titled "links".

Now then. On with the blog.
So I typed about the various tools to use for cleaning your model. Which I conveniently assume to be a plastic Juggernaut. Now I will tell you.... write... type about posing your model. In fact the entire assembly process from pre-assembly to glued. This is actually not a difficult process and is only time consuming if you have a hard time choosing a pose. And, or have decided to use a plastic cement, aka plastic glue, in a cold room. Oh yeah. I almost forgot. I will be covering the two main types of glue. The pros, and the con's. For those of you that are interested in that sort of thing. Let's get started shall we? Good.

  So first I will cover the tools that we will be using along with pictures. As is customary in this blog. I find that if I show you what it looks like. You will have an easier time finding the tool in question. Please pay attention to the warnings that I add. They are there for your safety, convenience (It is in fact very convenient to enjoy the hobby from the comfort of your home and not the emergency room. Just saying)
Ok. Tools that we will be using.
First we have our trusty knife:
A P3 hobby knife.
Warning!!! A hobby or scalpel knives are VERY sharp. And should be. I advise using sharp blades as it easier to cut things with. However they can easily cut you as well. So use care and pay attention to what it is that you are doing when using these. Always replace the safety cap when you are not using the knife. Just in case. Accidents can happen, lets try to keep all of our fingers and toes attached and avoid the proverbial 1-10 stitches.
Next we have the unsung hero of many a modeling jobs and conversions. The sticky tack.

Pictured here with the cleaned Juggernaut.
It's that odd looking square blue thing. And just to be sure, I picked blue because that was on the local store's shelf. You can pick whatever color you like or your local office supply store has available. This is a nontoxic material. However, I wouldn't eat it.

And last, but certainly not least. I f you want to glue the thing together that is. Is, well, the glue. Two types really. Plastic cement and super glue.
Testors brand plastic cement.
The Wrong way to use Super glue. Or any type of glue for that matter.
The right way to use glue.
In the pictured examples we have Testors brand plastic cement and Zap-A-Gap brand super glue.
Much can be said about glue. I, however, will limit myself to when it is best to use each type of glue.
First the above mentioned plastic cement.
The most common, at least in my experience. Is manufactured by/for the Testors corporation. I have encountered it in three forms. Red tube: in all its unhealthy, but fairly quick curing glory. The red tube formula contains brain cell killing methyl ethyl ketone that make a person dizzy.
Next is the jar pictured above. It's a liquid version. It contains the same Metyl Ethyl Ketone as the red tube. It also comes with a convenient brush applicator. And then there is the lemony scented blue tube. It is the non-toxic version of the red tube plastic cement.
Now then, when do you use it and why? Well I prefer to use plastic cement on my plastic miniatures. Plastic cement doesn't cure like super glue, an advantage if you have a very humid environment. Or a not so humid one. This is mostly because the glue itself doesn't crystallize, but melts the plastic and allows it to fuse together. Much like welding metal. The cure time is slower and allows for final reposition of part without ruining the bond.
 WARNING!!!: Do NOT DRINK GLUE! Despite the fact that I appear to be taking a rather large swig of ZAP-A-GAP. This was done with the magic of modern photography to illustrate the right and wrong way to use your glue. YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER INGEST PLASTIC CEMENT OR SUPER GLUE! BAD, and I do mean BAD, things will happen. Not may, but Will.
There are draw backs, however. And they are not to be taken lightly. First and the lightest, is the cure time. Super glue sets in a matter of seconds, usually about 15, and is completely cured within 30 seconds. Plastic cement on the other hand requires patience. About 30 seconds for a basic bond, and 2-6 hours for a complete cure (depending on brand, temperature and formulation). The other factor to take into account is toxicity. Yes some glues are non-toxic like Elmer's white glue, but plastic cement tends to be. Methyl Ethyl Ketone is one of the ingredients of plastic cement. It's the glue's solvent. In small amounts it smells unpleasant, can give you a headache. Long exposures lead to nausea and some brain damage. Always use in a well ventilated area. In addition this glue's cure time is dependent on ambient temperature. It works really fast at 60-70F, but at lower temperatures it takes longer and longer to set. Keep that in mind as not all places are that warm at all times of the year.
Super glue, on the other hand. Sets fast. In fifteen seconds you are ready to play or glue another part. This works because superglue reacts with moisture in the air to create a crystalline structure that bonds both surfaces. Now the drawbacks: a) Superglue was developed for the US army to use as a quick field dressing before wounded were sent to MASH units. As such, superglue is better at bonding your skin to itself than any other material. (I type from experience here). b) In most cases you will have to score the surfaces that you are attempting to bond. To give the glue a better surface area to adhere to. This invariably introduces the cutting hazard that comes with a knife, bloodthirsty or otherwise. (Though, I suppose you could glue your self together with superglue. I don't recommend it. consult a doctor first if you want to prove me wrong). and c) superglue bonds are, depending on the amount of moisture introduced, brittle. This can be an advantage if you want to break apart a model and after a lot of cleaning off of glue. Reassemble it with a pose that is more to your liking. On the flip side a properly cured bond is very, very strong.
I should also mention that these glues, due to the very nature of the solvents involved, should not be used for hours long assembly marathons. Take breaks, get some fresh air.

So now then, you have the glue all ready. The, I assume, Juggernaut cleaned and ready and your sticky tack within reach. You are probably trying to decide which glue to use. Not to worry. We start with the Sticky tack, but first we have to knead it for a bit.
 Its a simple process. Just pull out as much as you want and start by squishing and stretching it until it feels
warm. The kneading process allows the sticky tack to absorb some of your body heat from your hands.
 This is a good thing as it causes the tack to become more pliant. And thus easier to manipulate and attach to the pieces that you want to assemble. A lot of work eh? It's worth it in the end, trust me.

All tacked up.

It should be ready when it no longer feels cold to the touch.

So now that we have softened up our sticky tack. It's time to apply it to the model. As you can see below I have already done so.
The part that you don't see, is the top of the waist/hip part. Its where the upper torso and the lower torso attach so that the Juggernaut can stand. I have added a liberal amount of putty there.  Now we are ready for pre-assembly and by extension posing.

In the above images I am pressing the pieces together so that the tack can hold them in place enough for me to pose the model. Don't worry if it doesn't stick together for long. All you need to do is get a good sense of what it will look like when you glue it together. And to keep parts from falling off you may need to add more tack. Once you have your model 'puttied' together, at least enough for parts not to fall off if you look at them funny. Then you can begin the fun bit. Posing it of course. This is where a camera can come in handy.

The four pictures above are the poses and variations that I tried out. Keep in mind that the final pose should be one that makes you happy. And always make sure that you look at your model from different angles. This is for your own benefit. Remember  it's your model, pose it the way you like. I chose the look of the above picture. And so I proceeded to reach for the glue....

 Before i get too far ahead of myself there is a little bit of preparation first. And that is to 1) memorize the general pose that I liked. It will look a little different after the sticky tack has been removed. 2) I have to remember to remove the sticky tack from the parts to be glued. Always important to glue together the parts that you want glued together. And of course 3) pick a glue. I chose to try that glass jar of plastic cement. After all I have used the tube packaged version before and that worked in the past.
This convenient warning label should be read before using the cement.

The brush is actually a part of the jar's cap.
And here I apply a little to the legs. Well the parts of the legs that fit into the hip joints.
That worked well, so I attempted to try it on the hands. However I didn't pay attention to the ambient temperature, not to mention that this stuff is as viscous as water. Its really watery.
So to improve the bond-ability I scored the surfaces that were to be joined:

Unfortunately for me the cement didn't work as well this time. Maybe there was too much of a gap between the parts. Hard to see such things when you are holding them together. So in the interest of time, a timely update and my health (The plastic cement fumes were starting to get to me). I reached for the ZAP-A-GAP. Having used a variety of super glues in the past I have to say that ZAP-A-GAP has a well deserved reputation. And of course the safety tip:
Warning!: Superglue vapors are an eye irritant. Avoid, and by that I mean Don't, point the bottle towards your eyes. Avoid sniffing the bottle's nozzle. Use good ventilation, like an open window or two. Avoid getting it on your hands as it will bond your skin. And try not to get it on your clothes and the carpet. It actually causes an exothermic reaction when that happens. Again I speak from experience on that one. Luckily I didn't drop any on the carpet.

And after gluing with a few minor edits to the pose I have this:
It looks a lot better in real life. So that concludes this post.
But that leaves me with a bit of a problem. Do I now move on to painting this guy or do I do an assembly tutorial on the Destroyer and Sorsha. The other two models from the starter set. Decisions, decisions....


A little legal superstitious stuff to keep cease and desist orders away:
Privateer Press, Warmachine, Khador, Formula P3 and associated logos are trademark properties of Privateer Press, Inc. 13434 NE 16th St., Suite #120 Bellevue, WA, 98005. All rights reserved.

ZAP-A-GAP is a registered trademark of PACER TECHNOLOGY, LLC, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 98730

Testors is a registered trademark of The Testor corporation, Rockford, IL 61104