Monday, August 18, 2014

RT Challenge/Clipping and Pinning Tutorial

Sorry dudes. It's been summertime. Lots of biking and skating, and copious quantities of beer has been quaffed. My ankle feels better, and the weather has been nice, hence time around the workbench has been a little scarce.

What have I been up to? Awesome. That's what I've been up to. This was a good day.

Alright, in this post I have some stuff regarding the Rogue Trader Mini Exchange I proposed months ago, and I wrote you up a little tutorial. It's nothing too advanced, but it shows my method to take care of "slotta-style" tabs on your miniatures, so you can pin them to a custom base. Hopefully it will come in handy for some of you.

To the cats who dedicated to the mini exchange, they are all ready to be shipped out, and as always, I apologize for my slacker ass. You're getting free miniatures. You really can't complain too much.

So I ended up picking out an ork, a 40k beastman, and a rare Leman Russ mini. Here are two of 'em all prepped, pinned, and on their completed bases. At this point in the space-time continuum they are primed as well. I converted the Russ mini a bit by pinning on an axe from a Reaper weapons pack, and the wolf tail is from the old Space Wolves sprue. Blasphemy! Sacrilege! You may declare that converting a rare and classic Leman Russ is complete and utter bullshit, but I don't care. I think he was supposed to be holding reins for his pet wolves in his right hand, but I always thought the pose was a bit awkward.

I've always dug this beastman miniature, and I haven't seen any well painted versions of him. I think it is interesting he is wearing loyalist armour and wielding a plasma pistol. Pretty cool. I believe in the olden days of Rogue Trader the beastmen were considered a sub-race of humanity, rather than the spawn of chaos. I'm probably still going to paint him up as a chaos follower, 'cause I feel it's only proper. I'm thinking Khorne.

In case you wonder why my workbench is covered in blue, purple, and magenta metalflake, it's from a board I airbrushed up years ago.

Here are my completed bases for duders. I'm going to try to write up a tutorial on the creation of the slab bases at some point. They involve casting thin sheets of plaster, then breaking them up and carving them. The graffiti base has been completed and kicking around in the stash for years, and I think the ork will finally make an appropriate addition to it. The round wooden base in the middle is from a liquor bottle stopper, and the square one on the right is from a children's wooden block set. The rocks were all made from wine cork, and there are a few miscellaneous odds and ends thrown in from the scrap boxes.

Here is the detail of the base for Russ. As you can see, it's made of a carved slab of plaster, stacks of cork, and a wolf skull from Logan Grimnar. There is some putty on the inside to solidify everything and to allow the pins on the miniature's feet to grab on to something. Note the two holes drilled for the pins.

Anyways, on to the useful bits.

I'm sure many of you have your own style or technique for removing the tabs from miniatures, but I figured I'd let you in on my method. It's all well and good to glue your minis directly into a slotta-base (personally, I prefer the Privateer Press style) and putty around the gaps, but nothing really sets off a mini like an impressive scenic base. Unfortunately, to get that mini on that base you're gonna have to cut that annoying tab off and put some pins through the feet.

Cue "Tools of the Trade" by Carcass. Also, check the ork.
So you can always just saw directly across the tab, however find that to be a massive pain in the ass, and kinda messy. It generates lots of gnarly lead dust in the air, I find it isn't very accurate, and it requires more cleanup and filing than this method.

First step is to saw vertically through the middle of the tab. Careful, don't emasculate the man. The reason I do this is so after the tab hab been sawed, you can carefully grab under the foot with pliers and bend the two sides of the tab in opposite directions with your clippers. I know this seems unneccesary, but the narrow space caused by the saw doesn't leave enough room to properly clip the tab off without distortion, and if you go all in and just try to clip the tab down the center it is going to bend, or possibly break, the lower extremities of your miniature. This beastman had particularly fragile legs, but marines are usually a little more durable.


Now you can simply trim the tab off until it looks something like the picture on the right.

Now we grab that razor saw once more and we saw off the remaining little chunks.

Then simply file his feet (or in this case, cleft hooves) flat.
My pin vice came with a needle sharp punch, which I find excellent for marking where your pin is going to go. You can also use a sewing pin or needle. I discourage the use of the tip of your hobby blade for this, it's easy to slip and injure yourself. It is also possible for the tip of the blade to snap off in the foot, and the tiniest little fragment of hardened steel is going to completely botch your attempt to drill that hole. That being said, it is important to make an indent where you want to drill, 'cause otherwise the bit wont have a proper seat, and it can walk all over the place. Frustrating.

Then drill. Carefully. I used the smallest drill bit and thinnest brass wire I have to pin this mini. Sorry I failed on taking pictures of the wire and finishing steps. Hopefully you should be able to manage from here.

If the mini I am pinning has large enough feet/legs, I'll use a thicker piece of wire for one foot, and a very thin piece for the other. Observe the ork in the first picture of this tutorial. His left foot has a thicker wire than the right foot. This allows you to drill two large holes, and the large wire will anchor the miniature while the thinner one allows easier placement.

Alright guys, take it easy, and I will return soon. I'll be slinging paint on these bad boys, and I have a music article in the works as well. 'Til next time, and let's hope it isn't another two months!