Monday, November 05, 2012


Your miniatures you perverts!!

So, on various forums and conversations I often see alot of confusion about how to simply and effectively strip paint off of minis.   Some people swear by toxic concoctions, or that you cant strip plastic only metal,  that resin should never be stripped because it will melt or cause a nuclear explosion.   In short theres alot of myths that dissuade alot of people from even trying it-  or they try a poor method and get bad results and decide stripping doesnt work.

Well,  its easy.   It costs a few $$ to get the proper materials,  but those materials will be able to strip literally hundreds of miniatures if you do it properly.    I've been stripping miniatures, metal, plastic, and resin for over 10 years and have never had any destroyed in the process.

Some will complain the set up I use is too expensive.  If you cant spare 10$, wargaming is obviously not the hobby for you- so feel free to leave now ;)

So- to start off you need to either go shopping,  or raid the kitchen & garage.  Your list:

2 plastic containers of the same size,  the disposable tupperware types are perfect.(you can make do with one if you have too)
1 gallon jug of Superclean.  This stuff is the BEST all round stripping agent for ALL the different materials our miniatures are made of- it works safely, is bio degradable, and is concentrated(hence-wear some gloves and eye protection just to be safe).   I get it at Walmart for about 7$.

The above items can be acquired for around 10$ or less.

Here are the plastic containers I used-they were on sale and less than a dollar each.   I generally use the smaller food storage ones, but I needed to strip some tanks so these were perfect(they'll fit 2 land raiders).
 I marked out a series of holes for just one of the containers- the holes need to be at the lowest point of the container since they are drain holes.

You'll notice I only made small holes-the reasoning for this is is so that the smaller bitz stay in the container.  Superclean will break down most CA type glues if soaked for a long period, so heads/hands and other lil bitz wont get lost.   This top container is essentially a tray- it holds the minis and will strain out the stripping fluid.
 Once the holes are drilled out, you just stick that container inside the other one(I shouldnt have to specify but- make sure the one WITH the holes is the one INSIDE the one WITHOUT holes) and throw in some minis you want to strip.   Most food storage types will fit 20 or 30 infantry pretty easy.  In the pic below I fit a chimera, 30 or so marines, and a few misc metal IG.  

Now,  just pour in the Superclean until the models are submerged.   Some that have hollow spaces inside them will float,  dont worry about that too much,  just flip them over the next day.  Be careful pouring the stuff- go slow so it doesnt splash and if you get any on your hands go wash it off.  It wont tear your skin off,  but it will dry it out to the extreme- and DO NOT rub your eyes.(just read the warning on the bottle so you know what you're working with)

After the Superclean is added,  put a lid on the top,  its water based so it will evaporate if you dont seal it up.  I also put a label on the container in case someone else is bumbling about my game room.  I find adding a date on the label helps keep track of how long the stuff has been soaking.   Stripping is easiest if done patiently, going faster means it takes more effort.

So,  I'll go over the rest of the process in a few days(after these dudes and chimera are ready to scrub).   The basics are simple though,  you just pull out the top container and let the fluid drain out all the holes we drilled in the bottom.  Grab an old toothbrush(stiffer bristles are better!)  and head to the kitchen sink,  rinse the minis off and start brushing the loose paint away.

If you're lucky the paint just sloughs right off.  But sometimes people use some non standard primers that are more difficult to remove- and they might need to soak more after the brushing.

If you jsut have a single container,  you just skip over the steps for drilling the holes.  The downside to single container is that you either have to use something to strain the minis out of the superclean-  or you're plucking them out of the fluid.  If you do that- vinyl/latex gloves are a good idea- as repeated dipping into the superclean will pull the oils out of your skin and dry it out to the extreme.  Basically the next day the skin on your fingers will start peeling off and its not pretty ;)

The only other warning I can think to add about superclean, is for metal miniatures.  In the unlikely event you soak them for a long period of time,  like a couple of months,  the superclean will start to nibble away the metal.  At first its just a mild roughening on the surface,  but it left for longer it will start to look like Nurgle has gotten ahold of the miniature.  I will note this isn't the fault of the superclean-  it will be the fault of the person using it for far too long.

I've used this method to strip GW plastics, metal minis of just about every make,  Privateer Press plastics,  home cast Polyurethae resins,  and Forgeworld resin models and it hasn't had any ill effects on any of them.

Some people might try to argue the SimpleGreen is better,   but it is not.  Its not as concentrated, so it either takes longer,  or for the stubborn cases just wont penetrate the stronger primers.   I've been stripping minis for well over 10 years now,  Ive tried dozens of products.  There are some that work great- but are toxic(brake fluid and nail polish remover for example) and require special disposal and handling- and only work on metals and some plastics.   If the point of stripping is to save some money- dont risk melting the minis!

For those of you outside the US that might not have Superclean available,  let me know if you have found something that works.  Ive read about Fairypower spray and dettol,  but they dont seem to be up to the same level the Superclean is.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

First look: WIP sonic blaster sculpt

So, heres the first WIP preview of my blasters.    The apoxie sculpt is grey so it doesnt have that popping contrast of a green stuff sculpt,  but its soooo much easier to shape.   And the new clay shapers are definitely making it easier- I havent had to sand anything yet, just some minor filing, mostly on the styrene I used to bulk up the rough shape.

Theres probably another 3 layers of details I still want to do.  Notably a power hose/cable along the bottom from the 'magazine/ area to right under the muzzle.   When sculpting parts this small, you basically add one or two little additions- then wait.  If you dont you inevitably smash the uncured putty with a finger or thumb.   So,  its not taking much actual work time,  but its a slow process.   If I hadn't made the base frame of the weapon out of styrene I'd stick it under a lamp to rush the cure,  but I really dont want to melt it :o

Nothing like a jumbo picture to bring out all the details I havent added yet ;)

I think the next time I make a scratch weapon Im going to do some sketching first.  I tend to just make it up as I go which isnt the most efficient method.   But it seems to be working out so far.

Let me know what you think,  and keep in mind this is very WIP.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Rumblings from the warp....

After a lengthy hiatus from 40k,  soon there shall be an onslaught of renegades and corrupted mutants.

Dusted off after a lengthy interment, such things as my Nightlords,  an Iron Warriors detachment,  and the reanimated remnants of my original Black Legion are being reformed into a usable force.

Its been over 5 years since Ive painted or played any of my chaos marines,  the 2007 Champions of Chaos event was the last tournament I played in, and the only games my Night Lords army was ever fielded for.

Night Lords got a bit of a short stick on this Codex,  but the overall codex is good, so they will be the main core of my troops for the time being.   As the last time they were fielded they were an all infantry army,  theres a large core of troops to work with and troop heavy armies sem like they'll work well in this edition.

So, my biggest initial project will be a Demon Prince.   I wont use the GW plastic kit,  and I have a conversion/sculpt I started in 07 but never finished because I pretty much quit 40k.    But it will be a fun model to finish,  my skillset now is more refined so I can get much better results.

Once I make sure the Prince I have in mind is legal,  and maybe even if it isn't,  I'm going to start serious sculpt work as soon as my order of art supplies from Blick arts arrives(hopefully the 10th).  I've got a set of silicone clay shapers that should make some of the sculpting much easier.

Later today I should have the parts gathered, and I'll take some pics of what work is already done and will try to closely follow the progress in case anyone is interested in how the sculpting progresses.

But, the current plan is for a Khornate Demon Prince,  Axe of Blind Rage, Power Armor, mounted on a Juggernaut.

Now- a monstrous creature cant really ride the existing juggernauts,  so,  the Prince will BE the juggernaut.  Think Demon+Juggernaut+centaur=  Juggetaur Demon Prince.

I think the only other hold up on this plan might be if I decide to scrap the old metal juggernaut and try to find a Bloodcrusher one,  the sculpt on those is just so much better.   It would save me alot of metal cutting to get the old one to do what I want.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

So, I've made the frequent disclaimer I pretty much suck at keeping my blog updated.   But it does happen on occasion and hopefully those of you still paying attention find it worthwhile :)

So, most of the summer has been spent working on my Hordes Trollbloods.   I worked on learning some new blending techniques since the dire trolls are mostly flesh, the ole dry brushing and washes wasn't really going to bring out the details.   So,  the dire trolls started with the Earthborn(which I did in Earth tones), the Bomber,  Extreme Mauler, Blitzer, and then the baby Mauler.  

By the time I got to the blitzer I had been working on the 2 brush wet blending that Privateer Press has always advocated.    Im still getting it down,  and it does seem to be a useful technique to have.  But Im still going to use my old wash/drybrush/highlight methods I always have,  I'll just use whatever gets the result I want the easiest.

For conversions, I went pretty light on the trolls.   The Bombers pygmy torch bearer is mounted with magnets- I had to pin the lil guy at the wrist since he wasn't packed very well and broke while getting shipped to me.  The magnets let me take him off when hes in the case.    When I get more magnets I'll do the same with the gunner on my blitzer.    The Blitzer got the most converting as I actually reposed both arms,  the right arm was cut at the shoulder and tilted back to raise the right arm,  and the left arm was bent at the elbow bringing it up off the ground.   Then the shackle chain got adjust to fit hte new arm position.    Its not something most people will notice,  but those that know thier trolls probably will :)  

I got all the trolls via trades,  and Im realizing Im much more meticulous than most people in terms of assembly and finishing mold lines and seams before I paint anything.   I've got the tools to make it easier I guess,  the cheapie set of diamond files and dremel bits combined with Apoxie sculpt and some old vallejo acrylic putty makes pretty simple work of smoothing out the lines.  Just takes time for the putties to dry.

If theres any interest I'll gather up the infantry and get pics of them done up as well.   Theyre mostly done,  just have the min unit of scattergunners/UA,  and a full unit of Krielstone bearers/UA left to do.   Then I have to decide what I want to do with thier bases.    I've never done snowy bases, or anything like a happy spring time forest base.   The idea of little flowers on the bases on the dire trolls amuses me ^_^  

I should also note the stuff in the pics isn't all what I consider complete.   I still want to go back and do some wet blending on the Axers. impaler, bouncer, and the Extreme dire troll.  I did the regular Trolls first and the learning curve shows on the ones I havent shaded the flesh on with all the techniques.

Theres a few different pics on my photobucket account.

The infantry pics should be showing up there over then next couple weeks :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Let slip the Hogs of war!!

So, I tend to get more into painting than blogging. Mostly because when I have the energy to feel creative its more fulfilling to paint up some lil dudes than to post a blog entry that may or may not get any responses ;) So, if you want more updates & such- you guys gotta feed my inner attention whore with compliments. And I wouldnt be averse to bribes either!

Anyhow- heres the first of my Hordes Farrow beasts. I did a bit of converting on each one since I dont think Arkadius would be all that meticulous when making them- nor did I want 3 of the same pose on the table. Some of the posing is very... daring. Particularly the one legged running pose that required drilling through hte length of the entire leg to sink a pin into its body and anchoring it with some hardcore epoxy in the base.

If theres enough interest on how I did any of it I can do some posts about the conversions later :)

I'll get pics of my minions Warlocks, solos and infantry in a day or two. Right now Im back to painting my Trollbloods!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Can Reaper do plastic better than GW? Bones!

Now, once you get done watching that:

3$?!! For a brand new mini that ready to paint, thats pretty damn awesome. How many new mini painters will now get into the hobby because they can afford one or two of these guys every week? Its nice to see some of the manufacturers understand that keeping things affordable wont bankrupt them.

Now- the price point beats GW. Will the Reaper plastic beat Finecast? If the points in the video hold true, with its durability- that could be one up on Finecast. Will you have to check the product in the store to avoid miscasts and bubble infestations? Probably not- it looks like Reaper has invested in the proper tech for the material they are using(not forcing new materials through old tech to save money).

Next- the poke in the eye. Like the other mini producers using plastic- Reaper is doing so and lowering the sale price- not raising it.

So, I know my blog is mostly followed by wargamers, and the Reaper lines mostly are aimed at the Tabletop RPG's. But for us painters that play both, lets pick up a couple of these when we see them and find out if Reaper has a win, or just a 'they're ok'.

Its obvious the sculpts aren't in line with the Finecast stuff. But if the material is superior, its just a matter of time before they learn how to cast it better and we see better sculpts. Eventually, one of these companies will hit upon the magic plastic mix that will be easy to work with, durable, and cast crisp detail reliably- and can hopefully become an industry standard rather than a proprietary material :/

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The terrible things people do to nice miniatures!!

You know you've seen it yourself, heinous mistreatment of what some of us consider to be small sculptures. Sometimes its the kid at the game shop just tossing his miniatures into a bag without a care. Or the guy assembling that new awesome tank or warjack- and his lack of skill tells him MOAR GLUE!!!! will make the little bitz stick better. Maybe its the guy that sells on ebay, or trades stuff, and is a total moron when it comes to safely packing them.

Lets talk about Crimes against miniatures!

Several months ago I found a smoking deal on ebay. Is was mis-listed, so the usual Warmachine shoppers didnt see it. 78 Retribution infantry. With blurry pics, and no list of what there was. I ended up getting it for 84$ 'including foam carrying case'. I knew it was a bit of a gamble, but hell, at about 1$ per miniature and a carrying case....

Well, it was a gamble lol. It took 10 days longer to arrive than it should have, the seller seems to have gotten arrested and was in jail, and sent the stuff once he was out on bail. How awesome is that!?

So, the 'foam carrying case' seems to have turned into 2 sabol foam trays. ALL of the flimsy little metal elf minis were piled into one tray, a couple handfls of the plucked foam bits thrown on top. Then the second tray placed on top, and wrapped with brown packaging tape. This amazing foam and crunchy pewter sandwich was then placed into a box that was about 5 sizes too large, with nothing to stop it from bouncing around.

So, If any of you ship stuff frequently, Im sure you can imagine the sort of carnage the poor elves endured.

ebay wasn't much help, so I decided to just keep the minis. I have an abundance of spare time, and the skills needed to fix them. So I figured it would be good practice and some opportunity for conversions I wouldnt try otherwise.

But thats just one atrocity I've witnessed over the years. I decided I should just list the myriad of abuses minis sometimes endure.

Glue monkeys. These are the guys that think more glue is always better. Gap filling super glue is how they 'convert' stuff. To most people these 'conversions' often look like the miniature was dipped in glue and rolled through a bitz box. Or they use the thin stuff- and it runs all over the mini, seeping into the crevices and just erasing all the fine details.

AII's. Assembly impaired individuals. This is were you see stuff like dudes with thier legs on backwards, 2 left arms, backwards heads, 5 guns glued together to make it a 'gatling' bolter... Then the vehicles...GW- spend an extra 13 cents with your chinese printers and give these guys some damn instructions! Tread sections glued on backwards, one backwards and one forward, hull pieces so poorly aligned that the troops inside wouldnt need hatches to get in and out. Crooked seams. Bitz glued in oddball places, like searchlights glue to exhaust stacks and missle pods poking out of the drivers hatch.

Little Johnny. This is the kid seen at the shop, he's probably 9 or 10. He thinks these pricey little miniatures are really cool toys. He never has the right minis at one time to make a playable army- mostly because they just dont survive long enough. His mommy buys him more minis and then leaves him at hte shop while she goes shopping or does her girl stuff. On the upside, sometimes little Johnny outgrows smashing his Rhinos around like hotwheels and turns into an avid gamer. But that only happens if they avoid being strangled when they lay thier little mitts on other peoples miniatures.

The repainter. This is the guy that paints terrible(but at least he paints them right?), and decides he hates the color he used- so he just paints over it. And over it. Stripping the old paint is either 'too much work' or they just dont know how. But the minis eventually get 4 or 5 layers of heavy paint and end up looking like blobs shaped like guys. The paint fills in all the details and sometimes is bad enough you cant tell what the original miniature was. Like chaos space marines dipped in purple latex house paint. Yes, really. Purple house paint. Dipped in the stuff like a fat kid dipping smores in a chocolate fountain. Except smores in a chocolate fountain are actually tasty and its a good idea.

Im sure there are a myriad of combinations of the types I list above. One heinous abuse is usually like a gateway drug to the rest of them.

Fortunately, the numerous internet forums with painting and modeling sections have really helped spread the skills and knowledge. Its gone from a dark & obscure skillset to a plethora of information thats available for those willing to look for it. And that, that is what makes it so maddening to see people still doing this sort of stuff.

So, fellow gamers- don't condone miniature abuse! When you see it happening, see of the vile offender is willing to learn a better method. Preach the good word of 'Less is more!' when it comes to glue. Teach somebody that feet face toes forward, that space marines have a right AND left arm(possibly including a lesson in right vs left).

Until then, I'll keep up the good fight of trying to resuscitate the unfortunate victims and returning them to the tabletop ready to do battle in which they may die- but they get to remain intact ;)

What Crimes against Miniatures have you witnessed?