The trials and tribulations of assembly

The studio has undertaken a commission to paint up three of the Lieutenants from Descent, Journeys In The Dark. This is a questing game or a”dungeon crawling” game that I have yet to play, but looks very similar to a game that I used to play in the ’90s called Warhammer Quest.

I had some downtime last evening, where I thought it would be great to simply clean up the models ready for the start date of the commission for the client, which isn’t for a while yet. The models I received were three Lieutenants: Belthir, Bol’Goreth, and lastly Valyndra, the Wyrm Queen.

Valyndra is the model that I want to specifically talk about today.

I find the cleaning up of models, really satisfying, but it can be tedious. There is nothing more unsightly than a model that has has a lot of time being painted with mould lines showing. I really felt that as I was developing my abilities as a painter many years ago, even if I couldnt get an ‘Eavy Metal studio paint job on my models, if I could clean the miniature up well, then it helped the aesthetics of the model immensely. I really like to go to town and clean as much off as I can and well sometimes you just can get all, without damaging the model, but I really attempt to have the light shine on the model, to help with finding as much of the mould lines as I can.

After cracking open the blister packaging that the model comes in, I took stock of what I had in front of me:

With this being my very first Descent experience, I immediately found that the model was sculpted in a very beautiful manner. I could tell that there was a major difference in the time required to assemble a Descent model, compared to that of Games Workshop (you could easily spend hours assembling a few models from GW, but that is half the fun). Now dont get me wrong, I understand that the miniatures serve two different markets of gamers. Wargaers who play Warhammer Fantasy or 40k, are modellers and painters as well as gamers and as such command a different level of interaction with the assembly of their models. They like to be able to have multiple parts, so that they can easily convert up models so that one, say, High Elf Lord on a Dragon is different from somebody elses. Whereas gamers who play games with miniatures such as Descent, or Relic, or even Mansions of Madness are primarily board gamers and as such they are a demographic that just want to open the box, setup the game and go for it.

I found that there was a really fine mould line on Valyndra, so immediately I got out my set of files and hobby knife and began to clean up the plastic. The plastic was just shearing off from the edge of the model, making it a really effortless task. I did notice one significant quality to the plastic, of which I will get into in a moment. The mould line, being such a fine line here, was at times a little hard to detect. That actually is a good thing because someone who doesn’t want to do any prep work whatsoever (and for Descent, most don’t) can be assured that they have a high quality miniature that is professionally made. It was clear on certain parts of the body, that because the Wyrm has had the major assembly done prior to packaging, there were slight gaps or minor misalignments evident, but nothing that I couldn’t fix.

Now, as I was filing away I noticed that the plastic was an extremely soft, bendy plastic that I suppose lends itself well to board games miniatures. Its better that if a miniature is dropped, that it bend under the fall. I have noticed that all Fantasy Flight minis for their board games use this particular type of plastic. The main thing I was concerned with is just exactly what type of glue to use here. The two main glues that I have are super glue and polystyrene cement. Super glue is used for any metal miniatures and polystyrene cement is a glue that is used for plastics where you apply a small amount to each of the sides to be stuck together and wait a few seconds. What actually happens here is that it melts the plastic a little and then when you press the two pieces together, the pieces “melt” together and eventually set, resulting in something that is glued together.

I did a little research and found that the material used in production is actually a vinyl plastic, therefore super glue won’t do the trick. Poly cement won’t be as effective as if I were to be gluing GW plastics, so I had to investigate another product. It was something that I actually had already and was called The Last Glue and it is composed of something called Cyanoacrylate. It bonds when the two sides are deprived of oxygen, so if I were to get any on my fingers, everything would be ok, until I touch the two together (which I think is a normal reaction) and it is strong, really strong. I had recently run out, so an order was placed and should arrive in perfect time to glue together Valyndra.

I think my point here is I really like the plastic that FFG use for their miniature products in the preparation, now I just need to get the mini stuck together and painted. There will be many photos of the painting process, so keep on checking back in the future.

Hobby Beginnings (part 2)

Well, I had decided on undertaking The Aurora Chapter as my army. The colour was nice, the rules were simple for a newbie, that is I didn’t have to go and get Codex Space Wolves or Angels of Death.

I then headed out to expand my abilities for the army, in the form of Dark Milennium. This add on was a box that had all sorts of cool wargear cards and as I was taking a dreaded Librarian, my opponent was done. He had planned on using the Orks and there was no way to stop me with my new, cool wargear. I also had another secret weapon; an Eversor Assassin, which would absolutely decimate my opponent’s Orks.

Little did I know he actually had been scheming to build a brand new army, one that I didn’t know much about and that were the TYRANIDS! Well that begun the famous war between The Aurora Chapter and Tyranids. Over time as the armies developed and new editions were released, both of us have “evolved” our lists to combat each other better and better. The Aurora have started taking much more bolter weaponry, both in the form of heavy bolters, and storm bolters. I started toying with a Whirlwind, and a Land raider Crusader. Now I even though I havent played against Steve in a long time (I moved overseas) I have now taken a Thunderfire Cannon, simply since my mindset is heavy firepower in the form of making my opponent take armour save, after armour save and whittle him down with the saves he fails. A sheer amount of firepower is the key.

Now The Aurora Chapter’s third company is almost completely painted. The most recent tidbit of information about the Chapter had mentioned that they take a large contingency of Predators,(news to me) there should be some more rolling out from the Manufatorums on Mars, also I just have to paint up one or two more tactical squads and also, with a Thunderhawk slowly, and i mean slowly being done, an Apocalypse game is in the works, we will just see when we can get that organised.

It is really interesting to see just how the Tyranids have evolved with the latest edition being a shootier game and it’s all about scoring units, time will tell.

The return of Templars and yes we’re back in the studio!

Hi there folks. I has been a crazy month or so. Vacation has been taken and the studio has been inundated with lots of requests for commissions. Keep your eyes on the blog for lots of models from different games, such as Descent, Malifaux and even some Fortune and Glory. All these commissions will give the studio an opportunity to expand the miniature repertoire and this is very exciting

One commission that has just been finished are a unit of Black Templar Sternguard. These models are an absolute joy to assemble and paint. The sheer number of options are just so exciting. The potential here for conversion is just so palpable and any bits left over will most definitely find their way into many other conversions.

So as they say; without further ado, here is the latest unit to come of the Seismic Studio painting table; a unit of 10 Black Templar Sternguard…

Sternguard Full Unit 2

These models from the beginning, were a joy to assemble, and paint. At times were a little overwhelming with just the sheer number of options available on the sprue. There are many, many bits left over to use for a squad or two. It seems like finally GW are really listening to their customer base. This is something I want to explore in another post, for the time being back to the Sternguard.

When I was painting the models some things came to mind that I wanted to showcase.

With the unit being of such an elite status, I really wanted to show them being veterans with their helmets looking really different from that of crusader squads The tactical squad equivalent in a Space Marine army. I felt that when you look at them next to each other on the battlefield, there should be a vast distinction between the regular squads and the veterans.

Another way was to paint the black armour in a slightly different way. I wanted to keep it as similar to the crusader squad that I had previously painted for my client, but during the process I made a fatal error, one that basically erased my work on the armour up to that point. I wanted to make it as rich in colour as possible, so what did I do? i gave the armour a black glaze. This wiped out hours of my painting time and brought the black armour to a point at which I couldn’t really discern what I had done. What did I do I hear you ask? I started to blend on the armour. Now this would be a really silly idea if I was painting a regular unit and it would be even sillier if I didn’t have my saving grace; my wet pallet. This allowed me to keep my paints nice and moist, while I worked my colours on the models. In the end I am really happy with the outcome.

The last way that I was able to have them stand out was through no accomplishment of my own. They have all been given beautifully sculpted robes, that are just perfect for Templars and they all have ornate boltguns and shoulder pads. By painting the Crux Terminatus and the robes in their own distinct style, I could keep the pallet for the unit to be black, white and bone. This is especially effective in tying them to the remainder of the army, yet keeping them looking like they had been through years of campagns.

At the end of the day, I am super happy with the result of the models and will be ready to paint up my own unit of Sternguard for The Aurora Chapter very soon…