Exodite Shining Spear

I took a decisive step forward with my Eldar Exodites and built and painted my first Shining Spear. I love the cover of Promethean Sun and the dinosaur riding Eldar on the front and so I’ve used that idea for my Shining Spears.

shining spear 1 front

I used the Dark Elf Cold Ones Knights kit for the mount and the head. The rest of the model was from the Shining Spear upgrade kit.

I removed the head from the Shining Spear model and the controls from the left hand. I have to admit that I was glad that the model was Finecast (shocking I know!). The soft resin is much easier to cut than plastic or metal and I could adjust how the rider sat on the dinosaur with judicious blasts of the hairdryer! I can cope with bubbles and flash if I can save several days of work elsewhere!

shining spear 1 left

I used green stuff to bring the neck and torso together and for the scrap of hide on the left shoulder.

For the base I used some scraps of cinnamon sticks from and old packet in my kitchen for the logs and some bits of a fake plant for the leaves. Once I had painted the model I used Water Effects mixed with either Devlan Mud, Guilliman Blue + Waywatcher Green or Waywatcher Green for the more liquid parts of the base and some Middenland Tufts for the clumps of grass.

shining spear 1 back

I’m using autumn colours on this army so, having painted the dinosaur green, I used reds and oranges on the model. I wanted to make the Shining Spears a bit different from the Rangers, so I used the orange to break up the red.

shining spear 1 right

I need to build the rest of these guys now and finish the Rangers. While the Shining Spear was great fun to paint (even if the scales were a bit wearing after a while) he took more than a day to build so I guess that it will take me some time to do the other three. Still, this project isn’t so much about speed but about building and converting an army that is a bit different and which allows me to be a little bit creative.

L.o.F.

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Paint Stripping: A comparison

So I came back from the UK with these:

Blood Angels in box

They’re my boyfriend’s old Blood Angels from when he was a teenager along with a couple of other interesting bits (Eversor Assassin and Rogue Trader era Inquisitor). I need to strip them of any old paint and undercoat and tidy them up before I can repaint them for him. They’re not an urgent job, just something to potter along with when I need a break from my Wolves but I’d like to do it well, which is why I need to figure out the best way to strip them. Now metal is fairly easy to strip but there are quite a lot of old plastic arms and banner poles mixed in with the metal so I decided to do an experiment to compare different ways of stripping miniatures.

I’ve tried to keep this experiment as fair as possible, but my bathroom is not a chemistry lab and I don’t have things like ultrasonic baths or a collection of measuring beakers and “stripped” is not a definite term. I’m also conscious that not all brands are equal and not everything that I use is available everywhere else. Conversely, I cannot get the classic stripping media Dettol and Simple Green (well, not without travelling to a specialist shop in another city) so I’ve had to miss them off my list. Therefore this experiment is far from comprehensive. I am also going to put up a couple of warnings and disclaimers before I go any further:

 Disclaimer!

The data given below are for the brands/varieties of products that I have used. I cannot guarantee that every brand will work the same way. This article is just a guide. Before using any medium to strip your miniatures please, please do a test piece first! I do not take any responsibility for any damage or destruction of models due to use of the information on this page or for the use of any products in a way not intended by the manufacturer.

 Warning!

Read the instructions on the bottle before use! Some of the products used below are irritants and/or produce fumes. Always work in a well ventilated environment and keep any solvents out of the reach of children and animals. Protective clothing such as gloves and goggles may also be advisable.

For this experiment I decided to test the effect of the following five solvents on plastic, Finecast resin and Forgeworld resin:

  1.  Control: water
  2. Acetone-free nail polish: I used Etos Nagellak Remover zonder aceton
  3. Brush Cleaner: Revell Aqua Color Clean
  4. Brush Cleaner: 4Art Penseelreiniger: Sunflower oil based brush cleaner for oil paints
  5. Foaming Kitchen Spray: C1000 Keuken Powerreiniger Lemon: I know that traditionally Fairy Power Spray is used but having discovered that normal kitchen spray is good at cleaning paint residue from the sink I wanted to see if it worked to clean models. There are lots and lots of generic degreasers out there so I recommend shopping around to see what’s best for you.

I prepared the test samples by spraying with Chaos Black undercoat and coating with a layer of Citadel Layer paint.

To run the experiment I simply soaked the test pieces in the solvent and periodically tested them by scrubbing gently with an old toothbrush.

In the table below I have put the results of the experiment along with the cost per litre, whether the cleaner is reusable and any notes.

stripper results table

* Cost per litre in euros calculated 19/05/13 for the products used.

† Converted from cost in Pounds Sterling

Discussion

The cleaners used above were all suitable for plastic, Finecast and Forgeworld resin. Surprisingly, the two resins were far easier to clean than plastic, possibly because they do not hold the primer so well. From the results I recommend picking the cleaner for the job. The nail polish remover and the Revell Aqua Color Clean brush cleaner worked the fastest of the cleaners used, however they do produce a lot of fumes. They also evaporate quickly. Indeed, the Aqua Color Clean is so volatile that it evaporates faster than it can be used, particularly in a shallow dish. For this reason, as well as the cost issue, I prefer to use nail polish remover out of these two solvents. For single models or situations when quick cleaning is required I would say that nail polish remover is probably the most effective. However, I would recommend testing it out first as not all nail polish removers can be used on plastic models (as I know from experience).

The only cleaner to not produce fumes is the oil based brush cleaner, which is also the most reusable of the cleaners used. Its performance is similar to that of the cleaning spray. For cleaning large numbers of models or regular stripping of miniatures, these two cleaners are probably most effective, especially as, since the cleaners are non volatile, the models can be left to soak quite happily. Cleaning Spray is also the cheapest option, particularly as it’s an everyday household product that you may already have at home.

Conclusions

So, hopefully this article gives a few different ways to strip plastic, Finecast and Forgeworld resin. There are several things to consider:

How much are you going to strip? If you only have one model to strip, I’d recommend the nail polish remover as it’s quick and relatively cheap (you need 20ml rather than a litre of the stuff). For a lot of models, the kitchen spray or the oil based brush cleaner are probably more economical, while for somebody who regularly buys things off Ebay or Bring and Buy stalls, a tub of the reusable oil based brush cleaner might be most practical.

Where are you going to work? The nail polish remover and the Aqua Color Clean require well ventilated areas. If you don’t have a well ventilated space to work in, I’d steer clear from working with these.

How fast do you need it done? 24 hours before you need the model painted, based and sitting on the gaming table is far, far too late to worry about using kitchen spray.

What can you get? I was trying hard to get Dettol for this experiment but I wasn’t prepared to travel to the next city to get it. Kitchen sprays are fairly easy to get from the supermarket, and, in the UK and The Netherlands at least, you should be able to get nail polish remover there too. If you can’t get hold of a product easily, you’re probably better off looking at one of the many alternatives.

This article doesn’t show every method for stripping miniatures but hopefully it gives you an idea about how to choose your stripping medium. Whatever you use, do try a test model first and good luck!

L.o.F.

Long Fang pack leader: Eric Clawfoot of the Pack of the Old Wyrm

I know, no post since last week and this one is a day late. It’s just that I’m currently struggling a bit for inspiration and while I am happily building things, I haven’t been painting that much. I’m blaming it on the Aegis Defence Line. It’s still sitting there looking grey and unpainted and it’s putting me off a bit.

Last weekend I decided that I wanted to do something and so I undercoated a whole batch of miniatures. The model that I was going to work on needed another coat so I picked up one that was waiting and painted it.

You may recognise this guy as the Long Fang pack leader that I posted a picture of unpainted a few weeks back. The torso, head and weapons are from the Space Wolves Pack box, while the legs came from the Iron Hands Tactical Squad  upgrade kit.

It’s the first time that I’ve worked with Finecast at all. With the exception of the bubbles, the legs were pretty nice. There are mould lines (I missed one too) but they turn up on the plastic kits. My main problem was stealth bubbles, those that were too small or well hidden to notice before I sloshed paint everywhere. Still, the detail on the legs was lovely. The lines were sharper than on the plastic kits and the details on the bionics were amazing. If Games Workshop can get a grip on the quality control issues, I for one would be quite happy with using Finecast.

Anyway, I need to paint the rest of his pack and the other Long Fang pack. I haven’t looked at my painting pile as a whole for a while, probably because it is depressingly large!

L.o.F.

New Project

So I finally picked up the third and final component of my second Long Fangs pack project…

I’m going to use the Iron Hands Tactical Squad upgrade pack for bionics for my Long Fangs which will be based round the Devastator kit and bits from the Space Wolves Pack box.

I’m not sure what to make of the Iron Hands kit. I’ve never used Finecast before and so far I’m not impressed. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been painting metal and plastic all week but the texture feels rather strange. The sprues themselves look like the shoulder pad that I accidentally dipped in acetone- they’re very rough and look a bit warped. There’s lots of extra sprue and a thin layer of resin joining a third of one sprue together. There are also a lot of bubbles in the sprues. They’re particularly visible on the shoulder pads but they are present elsewhere too. The whole thing looks very rough.

On the other hand the kit does contain two sets of bionic legs, two sets of bionic arms with bolters, a bionic arm holding a thunder hammer, two (badly cast) chest pieces, four helmets and ten Iron Hands shoulder pads.

I think that next time I will just get the Forgeworld Space Marine Character Conversion kit, as although you get less for more money, at least it’ll be all usable without the hours of filling and sanding that the Finecast kit looks like it’s going to need.

I’m going to put the sprues away for a bit though, at least until I make a bit more headway with the painting queue!

L.o.F.

The best laid plans and all that jazz

So, I was planning to buy the Iron Hands kit for bits for my Long Fangs. Unfortunately it’s been pulled from the shelves/been sold off in anticipation of a new Finecast upgrade kit. This means that I’ll have to do some thinking, most of which will have to wait until the kit is officially announced and I know what’s on it. I’ve never used Finecast before and I’m worried by some of the reports I’ve heard.

There seems to be quite a glut of Space Marine bits on the way. Interestingly they are all in Finecast, which I am a little bit confused about. The Space Wolves bits frame is plastic, and surely it would make more sense to do other Space Marine ones the same way?

I’m curious to see what else goes the way of Finecast. There are still a few metal models out there and Sisters of Battle are still all metal apart from their vehicles. The poor Sisters do seem to be the poor cousin to everything else at the moment. The White Dwarf codex last summer was poor even to my untrained eyes and the models only come in metal- every other 40K army appears to have at least troop choices in plastic! It says something when the Forgeworld exorcist is considerably cheaper than the Games Workshop version. I’m not a Sisters of Battle player and although I have an idea for how I’d make a Sisters army of a sort, I’m not even going to consider building it at the moment.

I’ve unpacked my new old Devastators that I’m going to use for Long Fangs. I need to figure out how they go together. They’re going to have quite a mix of weaponry as they come with shoulder mounted weapons. I’m not sure how they’re going to work as I probably wouldn’t have given the squad leader a power fist, but it’s pretty firmly stuck on so it’ll have to stay.

I got my paints out for the first time in a week this evening in order to start highlighting my Blood Claws. Hopefully I can polish them off by the weekend as I have things planned painting-wise that I want to work on. I’m planning to do a detailed painting guide on how I paint Fenrisian Wolves as well as discussing using freehand on shoulder pads, all of which require me doing some painting! Unfortunately I have to bake cake tonight, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow!

L.o.F.