10.18.2017

Based On... What?

One of the biggest issues I’ve been dealing with lately is rebasing. The move from Warhammer Fantasy to Age of Sigmar meant all those figures had to be moved over to round bases (although my Empire and Undead armies have decided to stay on their square bases... because sweet Jeebus that’s a lot of figs). In the workd of 40K, we’ve seen Space Marines of all types and flavors move over to these new 32mm bases, finally gaining a sense of the size and mass they’ve always supposedly had.

For most of us, this is a huge project.  I have four major Marine armies—Relictors, Alpha Legion, Thousand Sons, and Death Guard (plus a few others...).  On a rough guess... that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 models that need to end up on larger bases.  And they’re all connected to their current bases in a variety of ways.

Some of you may be in the same boat.  Here's a few options I came up with.  You may have poked at some or all of them...

Well, my first option came to me from WarGamma, a fun after-market site I’ve bought stuff from before.  He’s a sculptor who’s done some wonderful items for “heroic scale” gaming, and he jumped on the rebasing issue less than a month after the introduction of the 32mm base.  Check these out—base expanders.  Just drop your model in, add superglue, and done.  They work out to .70 cents each. 

At first I’d planned to split them between my Relictors and my Alpha Legion, just dropping them on (or under) HQ units, squad leaders, and other key figures.  Then I realized their best use was metal figs on slottabases. Which is only a few Relictors and Alpha Legion guys, but a lot of my Death Guard and Thousand Sons.  And Necrons.  So the priorities shifted a bit there.
As an added bonus, these adaptors make a minifig about a milimeter or two taller.  On a regular base, I think it’d be one even, but the raised area in the middle means slottabases sit a little higher. In these days of size-creep... that’s not a bad thing.

Helpful Hint—These adaptors are great, but they’re ever-so-slightly too high on the edges, even for the slottabase models..  I ended up sanding them down just a bit—maybe a millimeter or two—so they’d be flush with the GW bases.  It took maybe six back-and-forth swipes across
the sandpaper.

Now, rebasing option two’s the classic one. Cut the model off the old base, remount it on the new base.  Straightforward, and only costs you the new bases.  I think you can buy a bag of 32mm bases from GW for about .40 cents per base, but that’s if you buy a hundred of them.  For a ten-pack, they’re .50 each  You might be able to do slightly lower than those prices if you dig around on eBay stores for dealers like Blackdagger or Hobby Titan.

The catch here is that it means wrecking any basing/scenery you might’ve previously added.  Plus... well, I don’t know about you. but the knife’s slipped a few times for me or slid off path and suddenly a marine’s missing part of their heel or toes. It’s a minor thing, but it grates at me.  I did maybe a dozen Relictors like this a few weeks back, carefully cutting off one foot at a time.  Only one lost a bit of his heel.

And this led me to option three.

At one point that past weekend, I got a bit frustrated and just took the clippers to the base of a hapless Alpha Legionnaire and cut off the edges of the base.  I worked from underneath, so the top stayed the same. I filed down what was left and ended up with a figure standing on a flat, decorated disk. And I glued the whole thing to a 32mm base.

End result—all my basing and scenery transferred over.  There’s never any risk to the figure itself, so it’s faster and easier.  Plus, the model ends up being about 2-3 mm taller because the old base and basing transfer over and stack on the new base. I was going at a nice, leisurely pace and rebased about twenty Death Guard marines this way in a little over an hour.

You can even do this with plastic slottabase figs.  I picked out some of my Relictors with missile launchers from the Battle for Macragge/ Black Reach sets.  It takes a little more work to clip the slottabase off, but it works exactly the same.  Clip, file, glue, done.  Faster, safer, a little taller.

And there you go.  Three quick, easy, and relatively cheap way to make your old models new and even a little bigger.

Got to stand up to those Primaris somehow...

9.19.2017

In Other News...


Sorry... need to mention my other art projects for a minute.

Next week I start touring up and down California with my new book, Paradox Bound, plus a little trip out to the east coast for New York Comic Con.  If I’m going to be near you, please stop by and say hello—there’s still time to reserve a copy at your local book store.

And if I’m not going to be near you... well, most of these stores take orders and ship. Some of them even ship internationally!  Give them a call, request something for enscribbling, and you can still have a personalized copy in your hands in just a few days.

(and there’s also a kick-ass audiobook narrated by Ray Porter, which means you can listen while building and painting... just saying)

Hope to see you there.

9.12.2017

Knight Missile Pod

So, a few years back you may remember I spent ages working on a Paperhammer Knight.  It’s a fantastic model from Newobmij, and I’m still very proud of how mine turned out.

That said, a while back you may remebember GW put out their Renegade box set, with Imperial Knights vs Traitor Knights.  Big shock—I loved the idea of Knights that had fallen to Chaos.  Plus, it meant I could now do fantastic giant robot battles with Marcus.  One of the online bitz sellers I deal with frequently bought a bunch of Renegade sets and put a lot of Knights up for sale at about half off. Just bare-bones Knights—not the expansion/ Warden sprue—but still really cheap. Almost half-off.

I may have made some poor choices.

Anyway, so... now I had some Traitor Knights. A few careful bids on eBay got me some weapon options without costing me too much (it’s more about patience than anything else).  A small traitor household began to come together.

The one part that kept eluding me, though, was the missile pod. People were willing to pay big bucks for one.  I’d see them routinely go for $28 or $30. And I told myself I wouldn’t pay more than a third of that.  After losing a dozen or so auctions, I turned to my bitz jars.

And here’s what I came up with. 

These two boxes will be the base of our rocket pod.  They’re from the classic Rhino set (normally they’d go on the back slope of the treads).  I glued the open faces together to give me a solid box.  If you don’t have these exact pieces—no worries.  There are enough random boxes and blocks kicking through the various lines that will work. You could even just scratch-build a box from scrap plastic.

Next, I very, very carefully found the center point on one of the narrow sides and drilled a hole there. My post is the bottom half of a Lizardma—sorry, Seraphon standard pole.

Helpful Hint—whenever I need to do a hole, I start small.  I use a thinner drill bit than I need, because it’ll be easier to place the hole, or to clean it up if you’re a bit off.  Then I can expand up to the larger size, using the initial hole as a guide.

I checked that post from every angle. It’s very important that it be as straight as possible—perpendicular to the surface of the box.  I checked it multiple times from every angle.

Okay, so, while that whole thing was drying, I built two Havoc Launchers from the Chaos vehicle sprues.  These were just straightforward, standard builds.  The only thing worth noting is that I didn’t use the bracket that normally holds them—just the bare launcher. I also cleaned the heck out of them as far as mold lines and sprue marks. By nature of being a weapon and a conversion, I knew this piece was going to get a lot of attention.

Once they were relatively dry, I glued them onto either side of the box.  This took a little bit of work and patience.  I wanted them to be flat across the top, but they also needed to have a lot of surface area touching the boxes for the glue.  It required some wiggling.

Helpful Hint—once I had them more or less in place, I flipped the whole thing over, letting it stand on its head to dry.  That way the top of the piece would dry flat, even if things slipped or settled.

Now, the next part was tricky.  I had a post that fit in the top socket of the Knight, but I needed a bracket to hold the pod upright and stable.  I dug through some random scraps and found some plastic tubing that was just about the right size to fit in the ring around the socket.  A little work on the edges with a file and it fit perfectly!  I could cut a short section and set it around the post, so the two elements would each lock into place.

But... it needed to be perfectly centered.  Even a little bit off and nothing would fit.  I’d have to cut it off and try again.  I mulled on this for a few minutes and then realized the answer was right in front of me.  The ring and socket on the knight were already there. I just needed to fit the tube section and pod into place and they’d center themselves.  The only worry was being cautious with the glue so I didn’t accidentally attach the whole thing right now.

So, I set the pipe section into the ring, carefully applied a thin coat of glue to the top, and then slid the pod’s post through it into the socket. The whole thing settled snugly into place, and I waited about ten minutes before checking to see if I’d messed something up somehow.

And look at that.  A perfect little bracket for mounting on top of the Traitor Knight.  Exactly lined up and centered. It keeps its place so well I can take it on and off with no problem at all. it's solid when it's in place, bu tpops right off for transport.

Anyway... at this point the missile pod was more or less done, but I wanted to add just a few details to make it look more solid, more like the original pod and even more Chaos-y.  So I dug up another one of those vehicle sprues and clipped off a few more things...

The big Horus eye plaque for the Land Raider fit almost exactly across the top of the missile pod. That helped to tie it all together so it looked a little less cobbled together. I also added in a strip of plastic here to fill a small gap.  Next, the regular missile launcher has a sort of antenna/sensor array that wraps around one side.  I wanted to imply that, and found out that one of the curved spiky bits (usually used to line hatches and turrets) worked like a dream for this.

For a few final details... a spare lens from the bitz bins (I think it might be from the basing kit) helped fill up some space in that center section. 

And there you have it.  A $30 missile pod for... well, one afternoon of rooting through my bits.