Friday, April 19, 2013

Scratch Building Rhino Tanks is Hard Work

     I've recently had some inspiration to work on my space marines. I'm going to need some Rhinos and Rhino chassis based tanks as well as a drop pod or two. I don't have a ton of cash to throw at miniatures and in all honesty 40k is a bit second rate for my priorities gaming wise. I've decided to try my hand at scratch building some Rhinos.There are plenty of templates on the internet for such things but I haven't really come across some that were detailed enough for my liking. Last year I picked up a Space Marines Rhino kit with the intent to use it solely for reference in scratch building and possibly to mold a few bits from it. I'm finally getting around to building something. I'm using foam core for the "skeleton" and plastic for sale signs as well as a bit of thicker plasticard that I had laying around. I started by getting all my foam core pieces and the plastic pieces for the tank sides cut for all 4 tanks and then assembled each side like this.

     After that I took all my foam core pieces that I cut for the tank's hull and assembled them with the tank sides to this point.

     At this point I decided to focus on a single tank so that I could learn from any mistakes I make and order of assembly problems in order to speed up building on the other three. I used some pretty thick plasticard to make the sides on this one. It was very tricky to cut and took way too long. I may come up with a different solution for the other three.

     Here are some pics of the first tank up to current progress. Most of the plasticard pieces are cut and glued into place but I have a fair bit of gap filling to do and some sanding. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the way it is coming along but not so pleased with how long it is taking me. Sheesh, I still have three more of these after this one's done.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Machinations League Painting Cram Sessions

     As per my previous posts, I've been putting in a good chunk of time painting for season 1 of the Machinations League at my LGS Clockwork Comics. I've been playing every Monday and getting at least two games and sometimes three a week. Moving into the final week I realized I might actually have a shot at winning. I had a pretty solid amount of game points but with only a week or so left in the league, there just wasn't enough games available to play (max 3 per week) for me to maximize my final score. The solution? Paint a shit ton of models in the next few days. I had surpassed what I had planned to paint over the course of the league once already. Before the league started I purchased the models I planned to paint over the course of the league which included

max Temple Flameguard
Temple Flameguard Unit Attachment
Harbinger of Menoth

About 2 weeks into the league and I realized I was going to run out of things to paint very soon, so I picked up Grand Scrutator Severius and his character jack, Blessing of Vengeance. I figured I would just be content to have painted all that in the course of a month. However, it was not long after that that I started thinking I might be able to actually win the league.
     After getting the okay from my wonderful gracious wife, Jennifer to not only spend a good chunk of cash on more miniatures this month but also to pretty much spend every moment that I wasn't at my job painting for the next 3 days, I made plans to pick up some more miniatures. So, that Friday night after work we (and wife) headed down to Clockwork to pick up the "necessary" purchases. I'd already called Dean (the shop owner) ahead of time to make sure he had what I needed. We get there and spent a couple minutes just looking around, since my wife had never been there. As Jennifer is walking around the shop I head up to the counter and let Dean know I'm ready to check out. He had my purchases ready and I kind of whisper under my breath, "you don't need to announce the total". Dean kind of smiles and says, "it's this many" and gestures at the total price on the register. I smile back and give him my card. So, as we're walking out Jennifer says, "So, let me see it". "See what?" I say. "The receipt" she replies back. Luckily, I had already informed her roughly how much it would be, but the final cost might have been a little more than that. So, after a nice dinner with the Mrs. we head home and I get to work on my pile of miniatures.
     I'd already thought through what I could paint to maximize points and also given thought to what would take minimal prep work. I settled on the following

max unit of Holy Zealots
min unit of Temple Flameguard
Redeemer light jack
Warcaster Servath Reznik

My thoughts were the zealots would be easy to assemble since they were one piece casts and I wouldn't have to pin or glue anything but the actual models to the bases. The flameguard because at minimum all I'd have to paint is the leader and one grunt and then count my max unit and the one grunt and second leader as two min. units which would net me more points for less effort and if I had time I'd paint the rest of the unit. I bought the Redeemer and Reznik because I had category slots available for light jacks and one left for warcasters. The league had limitations on how much you could paint in each different category.
     The league was ending on Monday March 25th and that was the absolute last day to get any painting finished. I did a rough estimate beforehand of how long I thought it would take me to assemble and paint all these miniatures to an acceptable standard; meaning at the least basecoating and some shading. I came up with approx 21 hours. 21 hours wouldn't have been so bad if I wouldn't have had to work 9-5 Friday, 1-930 Saturday, 1030-630 Sunday, and 9-5 Monday. I came to the realization that I wouldn't be getting much sleep over the next few days.
     I thought It'd be an interesting experience to log my progress over the weekend, so I kept track of my hours and what I worked on.

Friday March 22nd 915pm -115am, 4hrs
     The first night I cleaned mold lines and assembled the Zealots, TFG, and Reznik. I ran out of superglue and had just enough to get everything together. I was also running pretty low on primer but had just enough to get the zealots primed. I'd have to get some more tomorrow.

Saturday March 23rd. 830am- 1230pm, 4 hrs.
     First thing Saturday morning I ran to walmart to pick up some more superglue and primer and then got right to it for a few hours before going to work at 1 pm. I primed the flameguard and Reznik an while those were drying a started prep on the Redeemer. Gave the primer about an hour and then basecoated the TFG, Zealots, and Reznik chaos black with the airbrush. Once again didn't plan very good; managed to finish spraying them but with little to no black left. hmm.

Saturday March 23rd 10pm- 3am, 5 hrs.
     After I got home from work that night, I started in on my basecoat colors. On Zealots, TFG, and Reznik I base coated Leadbelcher, 2 coats of Elf Flesh, 2 coats of gold, and started first coat of Mephiston Red. Pretty good so far.

Sunday March 24th 845 am - 1015am, 1.5hrs
     Every available moment. I spent 90 minutes to finish up the first coat of red on everything and assembled the Redeemer.

Sunday March 24th. 7pm - 500 am, 10 hrs
     Sunday night was the big push. This would be my last chance to get it all done before Monday night. I was confident I could get the TFG, Zealots, and Reznik done, so I went ahead and primed the Redeemer first. The only problem? I was pretty much out of black for basecoating it. I only had enough left to do small touch ups. I had a can laying around of Krylon fusion black paint that I had used once before and never again... or so I thought. I was pressed for time and didn't have any other alternative so I used the Krylon. The problem with this stuff is it's too shiny and paint doesn't stick to it very good. I figured I could get around it by just washing the whole model after the paint dried with nuln oil wash. The wash should dull the finish on the paint and allow my basecoats to stick better. As if fate knew I shouldn't have used it, tragedy struck and I dropped the model while still wet into a nice pile of dirt. Shit! Shit! I quickly picked it up as delicately as I could, grabbed a large brush and firmly brushed the dirt out of the paint. This actually worked much better than I thought it would. I then recoated it once more in the black and let it dry. Crisis averted. sheesh. After that I finished all the basecoating and started in on some of the shading. Around 3 in the morning I decided it was time to stop painting and get the models based and flocked. Spent the next hour and a half getting Reznik, TFG, and Zealots based. Finally I painted in my front/back arc line on the bases with a little gloss finish. I didn't get the Redeemer done sadly but the nuln oil did seem to dull the finish considerably. I had to get up for work in a little over 3 hours so time to call it quites.

Monday March 25th 230 pm - 430 pm, 2 hrs
     I managed to get off work a little early and spent the last couple hours I had to get the Redeemer painted up and finished (enough). 4:45 rolled around and it was time to head to Clockwork for the last night of the league!

Total hours from the time I bought the models at Clockwork on March 22nd to deadline of 430 pm on March 25th: 
70 hours

Total time spent at work in those 70 hours:
21 hours

Time spent sleeping in those 70 hours:
15 hours

Total time spent assembling and painting my final push of painted models:
26.5 hours

     The league was super fun and I had a great time playing and painting. It was awesome motivation for me to both build and paint my Protectorate force. In the end my efforts awarded me a solid second place in the league only missing first by a measly couple of points. It was very close and Tim, the player that took top honors is an awesome painter and a great person to play with and against. Congrats to him and thanks also to our local Privateer Pressganger, Andrew, who organized the league. Here is one last pic with everything I painted in the span of a month for Machinations: Umbra.