Posts Tagged "Brother Argos"

Greenstuff Nappies



First off here are the photo’s I forgot to upload yesterday: -

Here you can see the bottom of the cadian jackets have been removed and roughed up a little for the layer of green stuff to be added. The pockets have been removed and smoothed where needed too. On the officer legs the pouches and the chest have been cut off, these legs require a different process, where the coat parting will be moved to the centreline instead of the side and buttons/detail added.

Here you can see the infamous GS nappy, I take a rolled “sausage” of green stuff and run it between the legs, and then around the belt line. This puts around the right amount of GS in roughly the right places for what we need to do.

Starting at the top, I wet my fingers and push the Green stuff hard against the belt line, trying to squeeze a tiny amount of excess over onto the point where the torso joins the legs. The majority of the excess I draw down with my thumb, pulling and smoothing it as I work my way around the figure making the lower part of the new coat. As you can see most of this process so far has all been with fingers and no tools, as this is not the final layer of our GS work we can do this with no concerns. However I tend to keep the layer smooth anyway out of habit as can be seen here: -

As I am working I am thinking of the flow of the cloth and how it would wrap around the legs. You can look at the metal Steel Legion figures for examples to help with this part. Lastly using my nail I push the bottom line of the coat up a little to tidy the line, however once dry I often tidy up with a sharp scalpel to get a hard line.

If you are doing this yourself, you should have ended up with a set of legs looking similar to the last picture. Don’t worry if yours look rougher, you can always tidy with a scalpel later, and to be honest its usually only the final layer that needs to be smooth.

I hope to have some time at lunch to get the last four lets nappied and smoothed, however they are crouching and things get a little more difficult. We should see tomorrow how that turns out.

If yesterdays Broken Glass comment intrigued you, here are the results of an experiment I did with some of the Imperial Scenery from Games workshop. I always look for simple ways to make my work stand out from other peoples, this includes my scenery. I also hate it when all the scenery looks the same on my table and like each building to feel different in a number of ways.

The following should make each window different from the next and consequently each building too and give a nice unique feeling to my scenery: -

The glass is laser etched clear plastic sheet, I am still experimenting with how to get the best out of it, but the principle is working well I think. Take a look at the picture, visualise a grimy battle torn building, think of a thin layer of dust on the glass, and see a steel legion trooper just visible through it, hiding behind the wall. There you go a glimpse into how I visualise things as I work on them, I try to see the whole scene in detail, and then work towards that detail.

Going to be a good day today, Camcorder arrives … and tomorrow mystery Forgeworld purchase :)

Interesting day today, after the launch of Battle For Armageddon yesterday. I have scripted my first Video tutorial for the site, and have decided on the Hd recorder to use, the Toshiba Camileo H20, which at about £160 was a reasonable purchase and should cover my needs. I have worked out a way to shoot the Video as though seeing the work in progress from my viewpoint, but need to experiment to make sure it will work. It all promises to be quite exciting and will make it possible to clearly demonstrate things such as green stuff sculpting clearly. Delivery from Amazon is expected tomorrow.

In addition, as it was the end of the financial year and the company had done well, despite a very poor start, I decided to treat myself to a large FW purchase. More to be revealed when the delivery arrives ;)

Last night I gritted my teeth, and got every set of unique Cadian / Catachan legs I possesed out of the boxes. Overall I had 9 pairs of legs that were unique (plus the two pair I have already sculpted), but I am missing the running Catachan legs, and the standing to attention Cadian legs (metal only).

The problem I have with the legs is that they are hard sculpting work, but with all these done I will have more variants than any IG range. This is really the first point in the project where I have faced doing something I find annoying / difficult, so its a real test of determination for me. Last night I cut off the pockets on the trousers, removed the lower part of the cadian jacket where needed, and filed them down with a medium file. The reason for the medium file is to give the Green stuff something to key onto when I apply it to the legs.

Obviously I am biting off a little too much at the moment generally, as I took progress pictures to show the legs this morning, automatically uploaded them to my PC using my EyeFi card on my camera, and then completely forgot to shunt them to web server to work on them :(  However I will add them this evening when I get home.  I am hoping to do  some basic “filling” with green stuff on them during lunch (my staff are getting used to seeing me in an Optivisor at lunch now).

Oh and tomorrow I might show you a neat trick with “Broken Glass” ;)


Added later: -

It was a good lunch hour with basic filling done on 5 pairs of legs, the other four hopefully can be done tonight sometime, although I will be having a nice meal out with Mrs Argos, while a childminder looks after our daughters.

I will try and get some pictures showing the basic process I use for the filling, its almost like making a nappy out of green stuff and quite weird looking at first. I took this with my iPhone, please excuse the quality, I felt as though I needed to show some progress after forgetting to upload last nights images :(

Well the postman had a package for me this morning, sadly it was very damp, from the inside. This was concerning to me as I had recently got dangerous liquid chemical Ferric Chloride delivered!

It turned out to be something else entirely, it was the product I use for stripping paint off of old models. Now … over my many years I have had the pleasure of living around the world and for a few years lived/travelled back and forth between London and Long Island, NY. While in the states I found and used an excellent paint stripper for my models, that doesn’t harm plastics, metals or resins (disclaimer: always test something a little to make sure yourself) the sad thing being it was almost impossible to find outside of the USA. So after settling full time in South London, I was unable to get any more, and with all kinds of bans on travelling with fluids on planes, my chances of getting more had diminished, as had my stock of the product.

The product is called Simple green, I fill a small container, and literally drop the figure I want cleaned into it. Its possible to pull it out 20 minutes later and with an old toothbrush just wipe/scrub the paint off, or you can do as I do and leave it for a few days and its almost all fallen off. So far its worked on anything I have put into it even some old figures painted with enamels from ebay. Now with a vehicle you can just fill the bottom of a large bowl and do one side at a time, rather than waste a whole load filling the bowl, or alternatively you can fill the bowl and then filter/strain the old paint out and put it back into the bottle (using a funnel).

So as you can its good stuff, and hard to come by outside of Northern America, but as I was running out of it, I thought I would look to see if anyone was selling it anywhere in the UK before trying to order from the states. Well as you can deduce from the opening paragraph I did indeed find a supplier, it was Simple Green themselves in the UK, who had recently opened an e-shop for Europeans.

For UK & europe you can find it here: - Simple Green UK

In America its often available at Walmart etc, but if not it can be found here: - Simple Green - North America

Now be aware it can be expensive in the UK, however it is reusable and can last a long while. I haven’t tried diluting it personally, so if anyone does try that please post the results.

I will take some before and after pictures over the weekend so you can see what it does :)

I have just finished the final sculpting push before reproduction, I thought you might like to see some of the results. I have one pair of legs, a female torso, two heads, seven arms, and numerous things like bedrolls, knives, canteens etc.

Here are the running legs, which to be honest seem to have taken forever, I kept on finding small things to change that I was unhappy with: -

The changes from the initial cadian legs were to cut off the original jacket bottom, resculpt a new jacket bottom to match the steel legion length, cut away the boot section, resulpt the boots, add zippers up the back of the boots, add ankles, add skulls on the top of the boots at the front, build the back heel of boot into the sole, and in one case build a complete new heel from plasticard.

The next significant addition to me “Steel Legion Sprue”, is the female torso: -

The changes from the initial cadian tanker torso were to cut off the original legs and tank hatch, adjust the collar so it meets in the middle and add tidy up with greenstuff, make the female aspects of the chest, add the webbing to the chest area, add an eagle as a belt buckle, cut grooves out at the locations where the webbing was going on the back, place the plasticard webbing into the grooved shirt, and finally add plasticard triangles where the webbing meets the belt. Look at the magnified model, I think I will tidy the lower crease on the front of the shirt, it looks rougher than I like when magnified.

Next is the officers head: -

I shaved the head, removed the ears / ear cover, smoothed the head, altered the chin, altered the nose, rebuilt the ears, and added hair and an eye patch.

I think this is my favourite piece so far, I am really pleased with the way the gas mask head looks: -

The head is from the tank sprue, I cut off the ear coverings, shaved down the items attached at the back of the neck and side. The I extended the gas mask straps to the back from the sides, added a brass etch ring to attach the straps onto, ran the straps up to the center of the head, and finally rebuilt the ears. I am really looking forward to painting this head, with stubble!

Finally for the sculpting are most of the arms: -

As you can see all the arms have had gloves in the steel legion style added, the cadian shoulderpads removed, and on appropriate arms the steel legion lighting in a circle emblem has been added. The white plasticard was cut using my new Micro Hole Punch (for those wanting to know where to order from - ) and made the horrible task of sculpting perfect circles redundant.

With all of the above now complete, I will begin reproducing them, this will give me two pair of legs, two torsos, 4 heads, 11 arms, 2 Las-Carbines and numerous small items. I can finally start making some more of my first squad, with some of the variance I originally started the project to achieve. I have discovered legs to be really annoying to do, arms easy to do, and heads fun to do. Sadly the one thing I need more than anything else now is legs.

Its taken me a long while to get this far, but I hope it has been interesting so far. The work continues …

Ok lunchtime sculpting went well, I added the zipper to the boots at the back, touched up some rough GS work, added the last strap on the Gas Masked head and finally did the last lightning strike emblem on an arm. Photo’s next time I am near a Camera :)

A busy night as I did some sculpting and worked on the tutorial for the website, not much to show for it till the website goes live (most probably this weekend).

Here is a picture showing last nights sculpting progress: -

I am pleased with the emblems and worked on a few rough versions to test first. I got the lightning strike down to about 10 mins to sculpt and with practice it will fall even further. Although I also plan to make a brass etch version. The second boot is now sculpted using green stuff it is a little rough and is a base coat and now needs soothing and the skull and zipper at the back placed on it. This is the last item I am awaiting before the next round of reproduction commences.

I also have my sculpting tools and Optivisor at work with me today so hopefully some more sculpting at lunch time.

With the work going into the website, getting other modellers interested in Armageddon and working with me on the website and finally the Photo etch kit arriving and trying to learn all about it, I can honestly say I have been busy, but with little I can show you yet.

However I can give a run-down on how the Photo etch system should work, and a review of the various kit and what it does.

For those that don’t know Photo Etching is the process of using strong chemicals to eat away metals placed within them. This process is used by people to make circuit boards for electronics as well as modellers. You can control the eating away of the metal by covering it a thin layer of resistant chemicals which protect the bits of metal you wish to keep.

So it is therefore possible to print this resistant material and laminate it to the metal and use it as a means to make thin sheets of brass containing shapes you wish to keep. Here is an example from Forgeworld showing what is possible: -

Notice how small the possible results can be … If I manage to master the process I will be able to produce Steel Legion emblems for tanks, troopers, flags,  etc. It also opens up possible avenues of modelling I haven’t been down before and will give me some scope to add complex items to models without casting.

However its a bit of a black art, certainly in the wargaming field, although less so in the master modelling field. The pro-etch kit I bought for instance, has almost no reviews I can find on the web, which means I am working on faith. Lets hope it all turns out ok!

My first step was to try and identify and understand every piece of the kit supplied. So without further ado, I present an overview of the supplied kit: -

A - Photo Resistant film, used as the protecting film on the metal, its light sensitive and kept in black tubes to stop it reacting and becoming useless. It needs to be opened and used in a darkroom until you have it in place on the metal and wish to “develop” it.

B - Laminate Carrier film, to hold and take the metal sheet & photo-resistant film, through the Laminator without seperating.

C - Chemical Resistant Plastic tubs to hold the Sodium Hydroxide solutions, first one is used to remove the undeveloped Resistant film so the bits underneath can be eaten by the etchant chemical. Second one is for removing the remainder of the resistant film from the finished product at the end.

D - Pro-Etch Manual, describing the process, I am hoping to make my own guide when I have got on top of the whole process, so that its easier for other people in the future.

E - Etching Tank, the place where the etching takes place, usually 2/3rds full of etchant (Ferric Chloride) and with the metal sheet being etched held inside.

F - Etchant Resistant Tweezers

G - Holding Rod, this sits inside the Etching Tank and holds the Brass sheet horizontally (so the brass particles fall down into the tank easily)

H - Brass sheet supplied with the kit, I purchased more and can get more locally if I need.

A - Disposable brushes, for removing chemicals & brass particles from the sheet.

B - Micro Cleaning pads, to clean the Brass to a very clean bright surface, so the resistant film will stick to it properly.

C - Goggles, the chemicals and the fumes they release are VERY dangerous and the wearing of protection is not optional.

D - Plexiglass plates, for holding the film and metal during the exposure process which makes the film stick to the metal.

E - Gloves in a measuring pot, once again the gloves are important to ensure no risks are taken with the dangerous chemicals.

F - Laminator, to fix the resistant film onto the metal using heat and pressure.

G - Clips, to hold the plexiglass together during the exposure process

H - Aerator to ensure the etchant remains fresh while etching the metal

I - Apron, once again for protection.

As you can see there is a substantial amount of items in the kit, and a relatively complex process to follow. Because the kit travelled from America to England, the etchant (Ferric Chloride) and cleaner (Sodium Hydroxide) need to be purchased by myself, however if I was in the States they would have been supplied.

I am waiting for the chemicals to arrive, and might well take a day off of work to test it all out sometime next week.

On a final note, if there are any people producing armies from the Armageddon 3rd war, either Ork or Imperial, who wish to actively contribute to an ongoing blog format website about Armageddon and the forces fighting there please contact me. This is for the following games: - 40k, Apocalypse, Battlefleet Gothic or Epic Armageddon.

Pleasant Suprises!



It was a curious weekend, I had a quite a lot of pleasant surprises!

First suprise was the arrival of the Pro-Etching kit, followed closely by a new Digital calliper and lastly a micro-hole punch.

I was surprised at the quantity of items in the Pro-Etching kit, but I still need to get some Ferric Chloride and some Sodium Hydroxide before I can commence work with it. The supplier cannot send those hazardous chemicals internationally therefore I have to source them locally. I have noticed that Maplin in the UK supply the Ferric Chloride, but I am looking for a cheaper supplier (if you know of one please msg me or post here). I haven’t got round to looking for the Sodium Hydroxide yet. Here you can see the etching kit in all its glory on the side in my kitchen, I will be going into detail about each component they supply later, and a full review and test of the pro-etch system when I have had a chance to try it out.

About 3 days ago I noticed that the battery in my current digital calliper was dying. Now normally this is simply a matter of replacing the battery with a new one and away we go, but I had been after a better quality digital calliper for some time. I had noticed on ebay that someone was selling a Mitutoyo digital calliper for a bargain price of £9 with only one day to go and no other bids. Now Mitutoyo callipers are good quality and normally retail around £125, so this had the potential to be a good purchase. In the end I got them for £13 + postage, and when it arrived it was in perfect working order, it has a finer resolution as far as measurement goes, and just generally the feel of it is far superior to my current digital calliper, which feels quite plastic / cheap.

Lastly among the arrivals was a Micro Hole Punch, with holes from 0.5mm -> 5mm in 0.5mm increments. Obviously the 1mm hole is great for making rivets out of plasticard if needed, while the larger sizes are good for making hole covers or instrument dials in cockpits. The one I really wanted however was 2.5mm, as it was the exact size of the shoulder emblem on the Steel Legion troopers, and would mean I did not have to try and make perfect circles out of Green stuff again!  Oddly enough the ones I found in the UK were all sized in Inches, and I had to get one from an American supplier to get one in millimeters, weird huh?  Anyway here is the Micro Hole Punch, with one of the punches in place and the rest arrayed before it. One normally slides thin sheet plastic between the clear plastic and the metal base and then insets the correct sized punch, and taps lightly with a soft hammer. Perfect sized plastic circles fall out of the bottom which can be used as you will see later: -

Moving on to finished work, I completed the alternate extra side armour to mirror / match last weeks one. The same process was used and once again it matches the Forgeworld version precisely. I think making these would be a good initial step for anyone wanting to learn hot to work with plasticard. As such I will be preparing an in depth tutorial on how to make them and posting it on the as yet unreleased website. Here  is a picture of the finished side armour.

Finally, using the new Micro hole punch I made some circular emblems for the Steel Legion arms. I used 0.13mm thick plasticard sheet and cut out the holes using the 2.5mm punch, the reason for this thin plasticard was to stay in scale, and to have something that could deform to the rounded nature of an arm easily. I simply applied a small amount of plastic glue to the circles, let it work on the plastic for 5-10 seconds and then pressed firmly in the place I wished it to go on the arm. You can see the results here, all I need to do now is add the lightning strike using green stuff, and I am trying to think of a way to do that without green stuff if possible (anyone else thinking Photo-etch right now ?), Here are some arms with the plasticard in place: -

Ok, I am off to find some Sodium Hydroxide … and a way to adequately ventilate my working area!

Chimera Extra Armour


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This is a small sub-project I have been waiting to do, I didn’t have the neccessary components in my Bitz Box for once, so I had to purchase the components. I had ordered the Forge World extra armour panels for the “Chimera” type vehicles. I thought the look quite appropriate for my Steel Legion Chimera variant vehicles, specifically as the Germans in world war two had used such “Skirts” on a number of their vehicles. Here as a reminder is a picture of the Forge World extra Armour: -

As you can see one of the Forge world panels is broken in the middle, and they are both warped / curved. However both of those issues are easy to solve in the big scheme of things. What concerns me more is the fact that if I use them every single one of my Chimera Variant vehicles will have identical weathering / damage patterns. Now if there might be one or two, that would be ok, however with a Steel Legion force I plan to field a number of Chimera and having them all the same damage patterns would annoy me. So I think its time to make my own version, which I can them reproduce, and add unique weathering / damage too as required.

First thing I need is some patterned plasticard with the appropriate sized squares on, a quick measurement later with my Digital calipers and I discover the size of each small square on the panelling is 3mm approximately. This was a little confusing, as I knew that Evergreen who make the squared plasticard that the original would almost certainly be done with, only make squares in 2.1mm or 3.2mm. So a few other measurements later and I found the winged skull, which was obviously from the vehicle add on sprue, had also shrunk about 1.5-2mm in width compared to a fresh original. This change in scale implied that the original piece when made had been larger, and had been reproduced in resin numerous times (2-4 times) before being finalised. Moulds often slightly reduce the original in size, this is normally not even noticeable or anything worth worrying about, unless producing machine parts with a tight tolerance. The shrinkage will become more important later on!

Anyway I ordered the 3.2mm Sq plasticard and the smaller size in case, from in their modelling materials section. I used Netmerchants as they have next day delivery and so far have not let me down on any of numerous orders. They delivered as expected, and I had to leave it all on my desk waiting for a chance to get on with it. Well suffice to say I had that chance last night, and I jumped into it with both feet first. As I had a “template” to work from, it was simply a matter of counting squares to work out the sizes for each panel. As you can see from the picture below, the squared panels and the back panel were easy to make. I think I will be able to get around 5 sets of extra armour out of a single sheet, which at £5 is reasonable, however there is also the cost of the backing plate sheet, at another £5. You can see the panels cut in the picture below: -

The image above also shows the holes being cut into the corners, used to fix the front and back plates together supposedly in real life. The holes will have hex bolts placed at the bottom and in slight variant from the Forgeworld original I will be trimming the 45 degree corners slightly more than they did. For the hole drilling I stuck to my normal pattern of increasing the hole size gradually, in case the plasticard tears or deforms. I started with a 0.5mm, then 1mm, 1.3mm, and finally a 1.5mm drill. You can see some of my Pin Vice drills in the picture, I must admit I generally purchase new ones whenever I see one in a shop.

Once the plates were stuck together, I placed some of the Brass etch hex head bolts into the holes, using the normal dab of superglue technique used I had mentioned earlier in the log. I continued building plates and did the one with the winged skull on, and finally the end plate: -

This image shows the finished work, it has not been weather or damage detailed in any way, as that process will occur after I have reproduced it in resin, therefore ensuring each vehicle will have uniquely damaged / weathered extra armour.  The frame on the back lines up with the top and bottom of the Side panels (the ones I was working on last week), and it is the side panels which will be magnetised for removal, therefore letting me add or remove the armour at will. The reason for that choice is because I will already have resin reproductions of my own side panels and the extra armour will be permanently attached to these and magnets placed to hold it all securely and tightly. You can also see at the bottom of the image is the top view, where I have more brass etch rivets to add detail, otherwise known as something to paint that isn’t flat.

Finally we can compare the two, they should look alike, but you can see on at the back how much the Forgeworld one has shrunk from the original size. I am pleased with the reproduction and now I can get on with the other side. The weathering / battle damage on the original helps to give it a lot of detail and interest, however with our prisitine version we can add that level of interest uniquely to each vehicle now.

On a small note, I am almost finished preparing a website for this log, and Tutorials about some of my work for the site, hopefully next week early sometime it will be ready.

Flaming Troopers!



One concern I have had for a while is how the rebreather and pouches on my male torso would affect various arm combinations.  In an effort to prepare for future sculpting of gloves and emblems, I gathered as many different Cadian arms as I could and test fit them to see if there were any problems. I was pleased that in most cases there wasn’t a problem, the two key exceptions were the Flame Thrower arms, and for want of a better description the “Carefully aiming” arms. I found that with careful shaving on the inside of the arm, which is out of sight, it is possible to get them to work well with the Steel Legion torso.

The flame thrower was particularly pleasing to get working, as it is one of the “missing” components from the steel legion range and part of the initial reason I undertook this project in some ways. Please bear in mind, no mold lines or barrel holes have been drilled, this was merely put together to see if the arms would fit with the torso using blutac, however the result was pleasing so less chatting and here are the pictures showing the flamethrower: -

I trimmed off the shoulderpads using a scalpel, and then used a combination of medium, fine, and extra fine sanding sticks to smooth the top of the arm.

Looking at the pipe running back to the tanks on the back, I want to replace it with some of the cabling from The Dragonforge which I normally use for the gas mask pipes. The reason for this will be the increased detail for painting purposes, I always find painting smooth pipes with no detail difficult!

I am not sure what to do about the lack of bedroll for the figure, when it is such an obvious accessory for all the other troopers, I might mount it vertically between the two gas bottles perhaps with straps going round, which would add some detail to the quite cartoony looking tanks. That makes me think of adding a small stop cock on the top of the valves too … for added detail.

I love the final shot, he looks so determined thrusting his flamer forward to purge all before him!