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Thread: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

  1. #21
    Chapter Master ashc's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    For the unholy gods of Chaos, those resin pieces you make are incredible!
    Yeah, we flew our space church across 500 light years to get to this planet taken over by the orks. Now we're going to drop from orbit in buckets and run out and shoot pistols and hit people in the head with chainsaws. Ultramarines!

  2. #22
    Chapter Master de Selby's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Amazing work, as others have said. Have you though about just designing your own tanks?

  3. #23

    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    With the effort, pictures, descriptions and details put into that introduction, I have to say this is one of the most complete project logs I've ever seen on Warseer. And I've been around for a while. Amazing execution!

  4. #24
    Chapter Master the damned artificer's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Fantasic to see your work here as well, been hard to follow your thread on B&C lately so it's good to see you branching out ;D

  5. #25
    Chapter Master Mega Nutz's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Awesome skill, builds are flawless!

  6. #26
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Thanks, as always, for the kind words. I am but an extension of the Dark Gods will; they whisper to me from the Warp, and I obey. They say I must build, so I must build... They say that I must scribe my trials and lessons, so I must scribe...

    I've got a large post incoming, but I figured I'd do a smaller post first to talk a bit. The idea has been brought up a few times in my travels of building tanks from the ground up, and I could if I really put my mind and the effort towards it. For now*, it doesn't make sense for a few reasons. First, my design philosophy is to intentionally use a GW kit as a base; this serves two major functions. The model remains totally legal/legitimate to use in any GW tournament, event, or shop. My kit might completely transform the model, but under it all it's an official GW kit.

    Second, it saves me having to build all of the extra details that come with doing a 100% complete kit. On the surface it seems straight forward, but every hinge, latch, rivet, hose, screen, button, link, gear, wheel, vent, and all of the other little things you take for granted needs to be built. Better to let the GW kit do all that heavy lifting, and I'll just make it over-the-top. Notice how FW doesn't make an entire Rhino/'Raider variant from scratch? Just a conversion kit. Why do more when you have a good plastic model as such a great standard base?

    *I say 'for now' because I do want to evolve and improve, and do more elaborate kits. I think that will start to come together when I can start using rapid prototyping to make certain details, and traditional scratch build to handle larger bulk construction. I think I can find some great ways to combine the two. I'm also not closed to the idea of a collaboration to start doing bigger and better things, but I'll need to meet the right people/studio. All in due time, still much to learn, and people to meet.

    Once I get some of my tools and hardware articles out of the way I'll follow up with some more proper army photos. I've got a solid core that is really close to finished, but it's been in its current state for many months while I've been building The Dark Works. I want to do some actual progress on it before taking more photos of it, and I'll tie it in to some painting articles I'll write in future.

    As it stands now I have roughly 50+ Undivided Marines with 5 Rhino Transports, 20+ Nurgle Marines, 20+ Khorne Marines, 6 Bikes, a FW Dreadnaught (no, not a 'Hell-whatever', a Dreadnaught), a Decimator Engine, some Havocs, 3 Obliterators, 3 Predators, a Land Raider, a Vindicator, various Lords, Sorcerers, Champions, many un-built Marines, and several other dark things lurking in the shadows. A Large portion of the Undivided are painted, and I want them done before I start anything dedicated to any specific god. I've got a great idea for a Nurgle Daemonically Possessed Predator that would go well with the Plague Marines, so I think they'll be first after the Undivided center of the force. So, plenty to see in the future. For now, some talk about tools of the trade.

    Ok, with that said, on to the Tools...
    → Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ←→ Our name is Legion: for we are many. ←

    → Legion Rising ↔ A Black Legion W.I.P. thread on building, bashing, tools, painting, casting, and more.
    → The Dark Works ↔ Spawn of Legion Rising; a selection of my work for those who might be interested.

  7. #27
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Legion Rising - Tools of the Dark Manufactorium

    Tools of the Dark Manufactorium ~ Part 1

    First up, let me just say that I try to talk from a place of first hand knowledge and experience; I won't write about something unless I've tired it myself. My aim in these articles is to show a wide range of tools and techniques - from basic to more advanced - so people can get a really good idea of what's involved, and try it themselves if they want. I Always found lots of great information while researching and reading, but it was usually in bits-and-pieces or poorly documented. I figured it might be helpful for some to get a lot of my lessons in concentrated form, and create some free extra added value from my studio.

    My methods and opinions are not necessarily 'the best', they're just what I do and think, and they work for me. I take what I do, and try to push it as far as I can, because I'm lucky enough to have a basement to setup my studio in. I understand that scope and scale of workspace is set by your living space. Take what I talk about and make it fit the scale and scope of your hobby; however there are things that hold true everywhere, no matter how large or elaborate the setup is.

    Good Light - Weather you're building or painting, lots of good light is key. Get yourself several 26W 'Daylight' or 'Cool White' bulbs and brighten up your space. Setting them up in adjustable arm-lamps lets you move the light where you need it to eliminate shadows. Do your eyes a favor, use good light while you work.

    Organized Space - No matter how humble the space try to have some level of organization. Trust me, I constantly struggle with this, and my space gets seriously cluttered. But once-and-awhile you need to tidy up. Once things start finding a logical place to go, the entire build and paint process is improved by it.

    Quality Tools - I'm a bit of a tool snob, and that's what this article is about. Don't get me wrong, we all start somewhere, and you can do amazing things with a limited selection of tools. Do yourself another favor, and make your limited starting tools good ones. The thing is, a few quality tools won't instantly make you more skilled at building and modeling; but they will make all your projects easier and more enjoyable, by working exactly how they should. Low quality tools can and will ruin hard work very quickly, so get something that works the way it should from the start. Quality tools are an investment, and many last decades or a lifetime, but in many cases the best tools don't even cost very much. Take your time and purchase some select quality tools over the years, and keep a supply of other simple disposable tools at hand, and you'll have what you need to do great work. Just think about how much you spend on these models; it's only fair to spend a little on the tools your use to build them.



    Cheap and simple - exactly my speed. Not everything needs to cost much to setup.

    It doesn't take anything really elaborate to take some good pictures. I took a cheap table on wheels, mounted an old magazine rack on it (that also holds an extra overhead light), and attached sheet of textured white plastic as a backdrop. Bring in a few lamps and a cheap tripod and I'm good-to-go. Since the table is on wheels I can roll it away when I don't need it.


    Lets start with some of the basics ~ Clip, Crush, and Bend. Try to get spring-loaded Pliers and Clippers if you can.

    1. Be sure to get a good set of clippers. Don't settle for a set that will mangle parts as you try to clip them free of a sprew. A set of nippers is also useful now-and-then.

    2. A good set of standard Pliers and a set of Needle-Nose Pliers are always useful. Make sure they have good teeth for a strong bite and grip.

    3. Sometimes you want to bend or pinch something without damaging it. A set of Round Pliers is handy if you work with metals. I've added a bit of rubber wire insulation to give them extra padding.



    If you're going to scratch-build, you're going to do a lot of cutting and measuring.

    1. Don't ever cut with a wood or plastic ruler! You're asking for bad cut if you do. Get at least one good stainless steel ruler. The larger ones to the top of the picture are good for larger projects, but the thinner rulers in the middle are perfect for cutting styrene. The Square to the left is great for making accurate 90° cuts. I prefer a ruler that doesn't have a no-slip back (cork or rubber) so the ruler sits directly on the plastic I cut. It helps with accuracy and making precise cuts.

    2. A digital Caliper and a digital Angle Gauge help take really accurate measurements easily. They each cost about $22 CAD, and they're worth their weight in gold. I couldn't get my work as accurate as I do, without them.



    You don't need a lot of different blades to do great work, I cut the vast majority of my projects with the same razor blade.

    1. By far my favorite razors are No.11 blades; I use them for almost all my styrene cutting. Do yourself a favor and buy them in bulk. It costs a bit more upfront, but you save a lot more in the long run, and you always have fresh blades. A No.11 blade has a really fine tip that will hold up well during cutting, but they break eventually (especially on heavy styrene) and need to be replace regularly to keep cuts clean. When I'm chopping plastic, I prefer to use the push blades shown in the center-middle. They're much thinner then a No.11 blade, so they are excellent for chopping and shaving through material.

    2. If you're cutting a lot of sheet styrene like I do, a ring-style handle is a good investment. It holds the blade directly under your finger and really locks it in place, helping make very accurate vertical cuts, very safely. Not quite a 'must have', but I swear by it and can't do lots of cutting without it.

    3. A standard stick handle is a good standby for holding a blade, and a larger handle is always useful for larger blades and when you want a more substantial grip. The larger handle is also good for larger chisel-style blades. I don't use them often, but they're very useful when they're needed.

    4. A Compass is always useful for drawing circles and arcs, but I use this one to cut them as well. By replacing the drawing point with a second sharp metal point, I can use it to scribe into plastic and cut circles. It's a bit of a crude cutting tool, but it works in a pinch to make very accurate circles and arcs.



    A selection of saws, miter boxes, and the handy-dandy Chop-It from Micro-Mark.

    1. The top saw is a crude club beside the elegant rapier that is the bottom saw. I use the heavy saw up top to do really rough cuts; it never touches a model, it's a utility saw for ripping through things. The second pictured on the bottom is called a Razor Saw or a Jeweller's Saw. The blades (which you can buy in bulk) are thinner than a razor and have fine teeth that can quickly cut through any material a modeler might work with. With a Razor Saw you can harvest a part from a model with great care. I get all my Jewellery tools from places like Contenti and Rio Grand. Any Jeweller Supplier is, hands-down, the best place to get Saws (and bulk replacement Blades), bulk Drill Bits, and quality Files.

    2. These are two Razor Miter Saws, with their Miter Boxes. Sometimes you can't use a blade to slice through an object (tubes tend to crush and distort) so it is best to cut it with a saw. The Miter Box helps make accurate cuts at most common angles. The plastic orange Miter Box to the top is for smaller items, and the aluminum Miter Box on the bottom is used for larger material.

    3. When repetition is the name of the day, the Chop-It from Micro-Mark is a really cost effective solution. This little arm lets you chop simple pieces that are identical, without losing your mind. The rail is customizable to let you set any angle you need the chop to be. Very handy when you need a ton of tiny consistent bits.



    My go-to selection of adhesives. Never underestimate the advantages of using the right adhesive for the job.

    1. I discovered Acrylic Adhesive many years ago and I try to extol its virtues to anyone who will listen. I hardly ever use White Glue because of this wonderful stuff. I can find it at well stocked Art Stores and Hobby/Craft Shops, but it can be hard to locate. It's also a little expensive, but it goes a long way; a bottle will last years. When used for basing it shrinks very tight and bonds super strong; it holds basing material better than While Glue ever did. It dries clear, and since it's acrylic it dries waterproof. It can be mixed with acrylic paints to thin and/or toughen them, makes a good base for homemade washes, and works well as a protective varnish for scenery pieces or even models in a pinch. This is just great glue with lots of other uses. The only thing to really remember is that it is not sticky or tacky; parts must be in good contact and let dry completely. Once it's dry, it's really solid.

    2. When I do use White Glue, I use Weldbond. Nice and sticky, super strong, and thins well for large coverage.

    3. Spray adhesive comes in a lot of brands, some better than others; you'll need to a brand that works well for you. That said, it's great for making anything sticky. I use it all the time to glue sand paper to sanding blocks, glue no-slip pads to the bottom of items, or to laminate virtually any two materials together. Spray Adhesive has a tendency to dry out and loose its stick (especially the cheap stuff) so I wouldn't use it on important long-term building jobs, but when you need to make something sticky, it's great.

    4. My favorite brand of Plastic Glue is made by Tamiya; white cap is the general purpose glue, and the green cap is an Extra Thin product. The white cap glue is great for big projects and the built-in brush gives you lots of control. The white cap glue is useful, but... The green cap Extra Thin glue is absolutely amazing and I use it a lot. Since it's very thin you can use the built-in brush to touch a join, and capillary action will pull just enough glue into the gap to fuse the parts. You can also use the brush to smooth and clean joins, should you happen to add a bit too much glue. A damp glue brush can also be used to polish and finish an area that has been sanded. Being mostly solvent, the glue also evaporates very quickly, keeping the glue lines very clean and letting you smooth surfaces with it. Finally you can use this glue to carefully create a bit of 'plastic soup' that you can use to fill small gaps and cracks; excellent for stubborn wrist, elbow, and shoulder conversions. This glue is really useful, and i always have a few bottles in the studio; I think I might do an art installation with all of the empties.

    5. Last but not least, the humble Super Glue. Normally, you can find a cheap brand of Super Glue that will do, and you can save a bit by finding that strong generic brand. But, I've really gown to like the official Krazy Glue single use tubes. With larger tubes, no matter what brand, I was loosing most of it when it dried in the tube. With these tubes you open a small amount (that still lasts as long as a larger tube) and save the rest for later. If it dries out, it's fine, you have more. Better still, each tube has a fresh tip, and they can be easily trimmed down to a nice point to get the glue into tight places. The cost a bit more, being a brand name product, but I save more in the end by not wasting glue.



    Speaking of glue and adhesives, it's worth mentioning a few things about Syringes.

    1. This kind of syringe can be purchased at many Drug Stores, Pharmacies, or Chemists. You might need to search, but try to find an Oral Medication Syringe if you can. These Syringes have a plunger that is made of plastic and has an o-ring gasket to create a seal. You can put all but the Spray Adhesive and the Krazy Glue into one of these Syrines, and since very little of the rubber is exposed to the damaging adhesive, it won't wear out or turn to slag. I'm still having a hard time finding a bulk supply of these Syringes in Canada; I would love to get 20cc and 30cc sizes for larger projects. Turns out they're not made and distributed by many companies.

    2. The next best thing can be found at a well stocked Art Store or Hobby Shop. These are rubber-plunger Syringes with super fine tips for applying thin beads of glue. Since the plunger is all rubber you'll have issues using them with solvent based adhesives. They can work, but the rubber tends to go... funny... after a while.

    3. Standard Syringes can be found in massive sizes (this is a 30cc) if you have larger projects.

    4. Fine point tips that fit on most standard Syringes can be found in Hobby Shops as well. Testors makes the ones I use. They resist glue, so anything that might dry in them can be easily pushed out, letting a pack last a very long time.



    *Subtle stops and takes a long deep breath...* Pant... wheeze... gasp... *He composes himself* ...

    Ok, so ends Part 1 of my rambling on about Tools. In part 2 (coming soon) I'll talk about Files, Sanding tools, Brushes, Sculpting tools, and maybe some other odds-and-ends. As I mentioned earlier, once these introduction articles are done (l like to answer most of the "What did you use to do that?" questions up front so I can concentrate on a specific subject at hand) I'll settle in to more about painting, building, and getting a closer look at my own army that is a constant Work In Progress. Not to mention all of the projects I will be doing for the studio along the way. I hope it will be an entertaining, informative, and inspiring plog.

    As always, comments, questions, and general musings are always welcome. Thanks for reading.
    → Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ←→ Our name is Legion: for we are many. ←

    → Legion Rising ↔ A Black Legion W.I.P. thread on building, bashing, tools, painting, casting, and more.
    → The Dark Works ↔ Spawn of Legion Rising; a selection of my work for those who might be interested.

  8. #28
    Commander xedric's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Great tools post! I see we have a lot in common One tool I cant live without: Miter box (did not know that was the english name until now so thanks!). A must have for the scratchbuilder. I cut so much pipe with it... And I love Tamiya extra thin cement too. Good for making nurgly effects as well as cement stuff together. Drill a small hole and pop a drop of cement and it will sorta melt the edges of the hole making it look more organic and nurgly.

    Cool that your compass can be used for cutting. A circular cutting tool is important. Do you not have some sort of drill? And hole punch? Two very useful items.

    Maybe in your next part when talking sculpting tools you can share what sculpting materials you use too? Im always curious to learn more and new stuff!

  9. #29
    Chapter Master Radium's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    That is some seriously impressive scratchbuilding! Also, the "tools" post is very insightful and detailed. Keep it up! I for one can't wait to see what you'll do with the Stormraven.
    Ave applicator paintoris!

    I paint some Horus Heresy stuff.

  10. #30
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Legion Rising - Tools of the Dark Manufactorium

    Lots of information? Have another dose... open up, is good for you, make you big and strong!

    Tools of the Dark Manufactorium ~ Part 2

    Ok, on with Part 2 - Filing, Sanding, Sculpting, Drilling, Burnishing...


    The fundamental task - make a hole. A wide selection of tools for just that. And Magnets, because many times they are the reason you're drilling a hole.



    1. I can remember being 14, reading White Dwarf, and they would talk about a Pin Vice used for drilling holes to pin and support delicate conversions. I lived in the middle of nowhere, so they seemed like witchcraft far outside my reach. Needless to say, if you don't have a Pin Vice, get one. In fact, get several, so you don't have to switch Drill Bits as often.

    2. This is a Micro Hole Punch from Micro-Mark (this place has too many wonderful little tools to spend money on - be warned) that can punch discs out of various materials. From 0.5mm to 5.0mm in half millimeter steps; place the material between the plastic sheet and the metal plate, place the corresponding pin the the hole, and strike it with a plastic/rubber hammer. Great for rivets, gauges, gaskets, and all manner of other small round bits.

    3. A selection of Drill Bits. The gold Bits at the top are titanium-coated, and can be found at most Hardware stores. For larger drilling, if you get goods ones, they can be quite good and will keep a sharp edge for a long time. Downside with a Hardware store is selection; smaller Drill Bits are usually only sold in sets. I buy all my Drill Bits in bulk from Contenti; high quality Bits that will cut resin/plastic/metal like butter.

    4. I have a local Surplus Store that carries all manner of odds-and-ends; the selection is vast and too lengthy to list here. Needless to say, I found these at said shop. They are Dental Drill Bits, and they are some really useful Bits. I like basing with natural stone, and these Bits can easily drill holes clean through real stone so I can pin a model in place. They are also excellent in a rotary tool (Dremel); it takes a firm grip and a steady hand, but you can carve, hollow, and shape wonderfully with these. The larger bit to the right is used for the same; its larger shape is perfect for hollowing out shoulder pads and larger objects.

    5. And that brings us to some of my favorite little items: Neodymium (Rare Earth) Magnets. I'm tossing them in here because many times you drill holes to mount these little bits of awesome. If you don't already use Rare Earth Magnets, get some and start. You don't need to do anything really elaborate to make use of them for basic jobs, and if you get creative then can do all sorts of things. If you plan on getting them to mount bits, wargear, and gubbins for swapping, remember to get extra, and get a few different sizes. Once you start using them they go fast, and you wish you had a bigger one here, or a smaller one there. I get mine from K&J Magnetics, but there are many places to buy online. For $20-$30 you can have all the magnets you'll need for ages.



    Good Files are a must have in my books; I swear by Swiss made Grobet Files. Once you use a good quality file you quickly become spoiled and lesser Files don't measure up.



    1. Files are cutting tools. They have formed teeth that shave at the material, and if you use a hard wire brush to clean your files you'll dull them quicker. This funny looking round thing is a File Cleaner; Made by Alpha Abrasives I got it at my local Hobby ship 10+ years ago. It's a tough rubber disk with rough texture and it's slightly sticky. Scrub it across a File and it clears out fouling from the teeth better than anything else I've found. Nothing clears Greenstuff out of a File like this little disk.

    2. #2 Heavy, #4 Medium, and #6 Fine Half Round Files. Half Round Files have a blade edge that is great for cleaning mould lines from annoying places like corrugated tubing and vents. Being round on one side, flat on the other, and tapering to a nice point, this file is useful for all sorts of tasks. A #4 Half Round File is what I use for 90% of my cleanup work.

    3. 0 Heavy, #4 Medium, and #6 Fine Equaling (Rectangle) Files. Great for getting smooth fat surfaces and sharpening up corners. When you want it flat, this will do it.

    4. #2 Heavy, #4 Medium, and #6 Fine Round Files. Sometimes, only a Round file will do the job; the Half Round is usually enough, but having a Round file or three is nice. Note how slim and subtle the taper of the file, and how fine the tip (~ 0.5mm). It's really hard to find really nice Round Files like these outside of a Jeweller's Supply Shop.

    5. An assortment of Micro Files. Bought from a local Hobby Shop, these are not quite as well made as the larger Files, but sometimes you need something a bit smaller for a tiny job.

    6. If I could only pick three Files these would be the three. Top - #4 Half Round for the perfect mix of flat and round with a good bite. This is my go-to file for almost any job. Middle - #4 Round for when you need a good Round File to get the job done. Bottom - #0 Equaling (Rectangle) for a heavy-duty file that can really chew through material when it's needed. Again, Contenti is a great place to select just what Files you think you need for the work you do.

    7. I've seen crap quality files being sold in Hobby shops and Craft stores that cost almost as much as these Grobet files. These files have perfect edges and corners, a sharp smooth bite, and practically polish the surface while they work. They're more than sharp enough to cleanly file even softer materials (like Greenstuff) without tearing and mangling it. #00 and #0 (Pictured) are very coarse and will chew through material really fast. #2 and #4 (Pictured) are a nice average bite; press lightly and it will polish, press hard and it will remove modest material. #6 (Pictured) are very fine and will polish any surface; they are almost too fine, and clog very quickly. A #0 for heavy work and a #4 for everything else is all you really need. Trust me, these Files are worth the trouble to get. They last for years (but they do dull eventually) and they almost make removing mould lines enjoyable. I hate mould lines, and these Files make sure my army has none.



    I don't sculpt nearly as much as I should. I want to get better and more confident sculpting, and the only way to get better at something is to do it. When I do brave it, these are my tools.



    1. Painting Knives, and Art Store staple, come in all shapes and sizes. I used them mostly for mould making but they have a great sharp edge and smooth surface that's useful for some jobs.

    2. Stainless Steel Sculpting Tools of various shapes and styles. I prefer going to an Art Store to buy my hard Sculpting Tools so I can inspect the quality of the working ends. These kinds of tools come in a wide rage of quality, and it's best to see it before you buy. Good thing is, they are usually cheap, so it's easy to amass a collection over time, and, find your favorites.

    3. Cheap Soft Sculpting Tools with Steel Burnishing tips on the other end. I got these in my search for rubber/soft tipped sculpting tools. Sometimes you want a softer tool to blend the medium you working. These work well, but I use them more for the Steel Burnishing tips now that I have the real deal...

    4. These, are called Colour Shapers; they come in many wonderful shapes and sizes. I had the hardest time finding these tools; I kept looking in the sculpting section of Art Stores for 'Clay Shapers', since it seemed like a logical description. I finally found these 'Colour Shapers' in the painting section. They offer a subtle touch when you sculpt, so they don't replace hard tools, they just offer a lighter touch when you want it. Like any tool, they don't make you better at sculpting, they just give you more options and another technique you can use. They are a bit expensive for what they are, but treat them well and you should only need to buy them once.



    Different products for different jobs, all on an handy-dandy working board.



    1. A Cutting Board with baking Parchment Paper (check your Grocery Store) taped onto it to help make it non-stick is a great board to work sculpting materials on. Roll, press, sculpt, and do whatever on this and it should peel away easy. Peel off and replace if it gets chewed up.
    2. Milliput - This product is like clay; you can even use moisture to thin it and make it softer. It's a bit soft and crumbly/flaky to sculpt on its own, but it cures as hard as stone. That's a major advantage when you want very hard sharp details, but it can be a bit brittle. You can find it at any good Hobby Shop.

    3. Fimo - A staple of Craft Shops, Fimo is an oven baked plastic clay that is cost effective way to make all sorts of things. Horns, spines, bones, and other quick-to-make mass produced items can be baked up, read to use. There is a small amount of shrinkage when being cured, so don't use it for size sensitive sculpts.

    4. Kneadatite (Greenstuff) - The good old standby, Greenstuff is the go-to middle ground. It will cure with a bit of a plastic-y consistency; hard and stiff, but with a bit of flex. Sometimes I will mix a bit of Milliput in with the Greenstuff to counter that flex; the Milliput adds hardness when the blend cures, but it stays tough and not brittle tahnks to the Greenstuff. Buy this in large bulk tubes to save money; store unused product in the freezer to help it keep longer. Most of these products will go 'stale' after several years, but freezing slows that down considerably.

    5. Kneadatite (Brownstuff) - Cousin of Greenstuff, I've only just got my hands on some of this product. It's supposed to cure harder and stiffer than Greenstuff, and should eliminate the need to mix Greenstuff with Milliput. I'll see once I have a project that warrants using it.

    6. Instant Putty - I got this along with a re-stock of Greenstuff and when I got the Brownstuff. I've played with it a bit, and as advertised, it cures fast (under 5 minutes); maybe too fast. I'll have to see what I think of it when I can try it with some press moulds. It cures so fast, that's about all I think it'll work with. Time will tell.



    The humble sanding block. Big and small.



    1. Anyone can make a Sanding Block with some Sand Paper, a bit of Spray Adhesive, and a heavy block or tile. I like a thick tile as a base since it's nice and heavy. I add a bit of padding to the bottom to help keep them from slipping. They're so easy to make, might as well have some of different grits.

    2. Made by Alpha Abrasives this is a pack of adhesive backed Sand Paper and acrylic sticks you can stick it to. You can use this to make small sanding blocks of exactly the grit you want. Reusable and it comes with plenty of Sand Paper, it's a simple but brilliant idea.



    A few more advanced sanding options.



    1. These sanding sticks are really useful when you want a softer touch. Perfect for subtle blending and final cleanup. It's really just good sandpaper attached to a styrene stick with some double-sided foam tape, so they are easy enough to make if you want to. It's surprising how something simple can be so useful; these sticks are how I clean plastic without taking its hard edge off.
    2. I don't use these often, but sometimes a Needle File is good to get in tiny corners or awkward places. Good for taking unwanted glue residue from nooks-and-crannies.

    3. If you work on curved surfaces (and I plan to more, in the future) this Sanding Bow can be handy. Since the Sand Paper is a strip held by the metal bow it has lots of give and contours to curved surfaces.

    4. Finally, another cost effective tool from Micro-Mark, the Sand-It. This little sanding jig lets you set up a brace at any angle to sand little bits at obscure angles. The Sanding Block is also cleverly designed to take four different pieces of Sand Paper; one per side.



    Brushes are one of those simple little tools that can be overlooked. Filing and sanding will always cause some burring, and a good brush is the solution.



    1. Metal for metal; A harder Steel Wire Brush for a more aggressive scrub, and a Brass Wire Brush for a softer scrub. When you're working on pewter, wire is the way to go. They work well enough on plastic and resin too, but they can bee too harsh.

    2. A good standby is a stiff Toothbrush. If you can find an older 'Hard' style brush like the vintage pink one at the top, all the better. Just get a few brushes with the stiffest bristles you can find. Then, take one and clip the bristles down to give you a more aggressive, but gentle, brush. The Shortened bristles will help it really remove plastic and resin burring, but not harm fine details.

    3. Kinda' like the Toothbrush, but bigger. This is a Denture Brush. Nice and large, with a smaller brush on the back, it has stiff bristles and a nice large handle. Again, get two, and shorten the bristles on one so you can make a stiffer more aggressive brush. I use these all the time while I build to clean and burnish plastic without harming detail.

    4. A 2" paint brush I use as a Dusting Brush. It's just a coincidence I started using this brush ages ago to dust and clean my miniatures, but its natural bristles taper to fine points letting it gently scrub even suborn dust off of miniatures. Since the bristles do taper and give, there's no chance of harming details or paint jobs.


    And with that, I come to the end of Part 2 on Tools. This covers most of the common tools I use all the time to build and construct for the hobby. I've got other odds-and-ends, but they're more for specific tasks, and I'll talk about them when it makes sense.

    So, I ask you the reader (if you are indeed, actually still reading) what you'd like to hear about next? Scratch building, mould making, resin casting, my painting methods, I've got some material on all of that. Or, I can just keep documenting what's on my bench... well that will happen either way.

    Ok, thanks for reading, hope it's useful; as always, comments, questions, musings, are always welcome.
    Last edited by Subtle Discord; 31-07-2013 at 02:24.
    → Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ←→ Our name is Legion: for we are many. ←

    → Legion Rising ↔ A Black Legion W.I.P. thread on building, bashing, tools, painting, casting, and more.
    → The Dark Works ↔ Spawn of Legion Rising; a selection of my work for those who might be interested.

  11. #31
    Chaplain Spjuth's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Very nice plog, sir!

    Love the combination of cool stuff for sale and tips on everything from painting and sculpting to casting. Sweet!

    Cheers!
    My "True Scale" Death Eagles Space Marine project log:
    http://www.warseer.com/forums/showth...ject-by-Spjuth
    My Empire project log:
    http://www.warseer.com/forums/showth...arum-of-Spjuth

  12. #32
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Legion Rising - The Pressure Chamber

    The Pressure Chamber ~ Another concentrated dose of equipment information. This is a more advanced article for those who are feeling ambitious or are just curious.

    During my research into building this type of equipment I encountered a few fool-hearty individuals who documented Pressure Chambers that were literally bombs just waiting to go off. Even as a complete novice I could tell some contraptions were just plain dangerous. Common sense is the rule of the day, so beyond very common sense safety precautions (Read: use Safety Goggles and Gloves whenever the situation calls for it!) I will also add the following warning so there is no doubt.

    WARNING: Working with pressures and/or vacuums comes with a certain level of calculated risk. Assembling and using this type of equipment carefully and correctly will reduce this risk to virtually nothing.

    However, accidents and manufacturing flaws can happen, and with the pressures involved things can go wrong in an instant. There are no slow-motion 'Hollywood moments' where you can 'dive for cover'. If you are unsure of doing this kind of production, then don't.

    There are very real (Read: Dangerous) reasons why safety valves must be in place and operational. Do NOT take shortcuts, and do NOT improvise, beyond the common sense changes to build something like this.


    Now with that scary sounding warning said, many people use Pressure and/or Vacuums day-in-and-out with complete safety. There is the rare horror story about how things can/did go wrong, but life itself is a risk really. Driving in a car is a calculated risk that most people take every day. This is no different - use and maintain the potentially dangerous equipment properly, and the odds are vastly in your favor.

    I'll start by blathering bit about Pressure vs. Vacuum when resin casting, for people who might want to know. Both processes are trying to achieve similar results in different ways - removing trapped air bubbles and helping the resin get into the finest details of a mould. Nothing will 100% guarantee no bubbles on every single cast, but these processes try. Since I don't have a Vacuum Chamber, yet, I'll get it out of the way first with just an explanation.

    Vacuum ~ When you apply an almost complete vacuum to poured resin in a mould, it will cause any trapped/dissolved air to literally try and 'boil-out' of the of the liquid resin. The vacuum both lowers the boiling point of the liquid resin, and literally pulls bubbles to the surface as the pressure drops. This can be a very messy, so large resin pour gates, vents, and sprew sections are added to a mould to contain the bubbling resin. With the right object and good venting, a Vacuum on its own is very good at removing bubbles virtually 100%, and combined with pressure (Slower kicking resin is usually needed to do both methods), is about as close as you can get to flawless casts. One trick that you need to keep in mind with Vacuum is that the escaping bubbles need a clear path to a vent or sprew, or they remain trapped. Vents, pour-gates, and channels are always a careful consideration for all moulds, but more so with Vacuum-only degassing. Top-down split moulds work very well with Vacuum-only degassing because of the nice direct line the bubbles can take out of the object.

    The major drawback of a Vacuum Chamber is the cost. A good quality* Vacuum Pump is not all that cheap, and then you still need a proper Vacuum Chamber, which again, is not so cheap. A few people use a single chamber for double-duty, both Pressure and Vacuum, but I'm not fond of the idea personally. Chambers are usually designed to take a specific type of strain (maybe I''m being too paranoid, but hey) I don't like the idea of stressing one in the opposite direction to its design. I have however found a Vacuum Chamber that actually has a built-in pump that works on compressed air. So, you can use a much cheaper compressor to do double duty powering the vacuum pump. I'm saving my nickles and dimes for one as I'm discovering that certain shapes are very suborn in how they hold bubbles, and I thing vacuum is the only reliable way to cast them. Me... want... Vacuum... Chamber! *Grunt grunt* Err... where was I?

    Pressure ~ As I'm sure you can imagine, Pressure works completely differently than a Vacuum. When you apply Pressure you are attempting to literally crush bubbles into nothing. Small bubbles (~1mm or less) will literally dissolve into the liquid resin, and once it's hardened the air can't escape. Larger bubbles will be crushed down considerably and if they are in the right places (sprews, vents, back-sides of flat pieces) they will be small enough to not matter or be easily filled with Greenstuff.

    Pressure is not quite as effective at removing bubbles as a Vacuum, but again, with proper venting it does great things and will get rid of most of them most of the time. The other great thing about Pressure is that it will force resin into even the tiniest and finest details. That is why when it is combined with a Vacuum you'll get the best results of both processes. But, Pressure does very well on it own.

    You can get pre-made Pressure Chambers from all sorts of Sculpture and Casting Supply shops. I have a local one in my city, but there are many online. With a pre-made Chamber you will get a higher quality piece of equipment, hands down. It will also cost about 3-4x the price of a home made Pressure Chamber. That is also why a Pressure Chamber is more attractive in general - the cost of setup is much more reasonable. A good quality* Compressor is not nearly as expensive as a Vacuum Pump, and a Paint Pressure Tank is also within reach of someone who wants to give this a go. It's still rather expensive, but you have to weigh the advantages of making good casts (not wasting as much resin) and just how many things you want to reproduce, with the costs of putting this together.

    *Good Quality - When working with resin you usually have small windows of time before it begins to set, or 'kick'. You want to apply the Vacuum and/or Pressure as quickly as you can, so bubbles can be removed before the resin thickens. There are resins that kick slower giving you more work time, but they also cure slower, so there's a real 1-for-1 trade off. A quality Compressor or Vacuum Pump will fill/empty a Chamber in 15-to-30 seconds. Speed is key to good bubble removal if you want to use faster kicking resin.

    Also worth noting is that most Compressors will use 1/4in or 3/8in fittings, and you will want to use NPT (National Pipe Thread Tapered Thread) fittings. Usually, MNTP = Male Fitting, and FNTP = Female Fitting, but sometimes the acronym can be slightly different. NPT fittings are tapered (unlike normal nuts and bolts) so that they get tighter-and-tighter as they are screwed in place - this ensures a proper seal. And speaking of seals...


    A few things worth taking the time to talk specifically about.

    At the very least you'll need Teflon Tape to make any joins 100% air tight. I prefer Loctite 242 however. Add some of this liquid to the threads before screwing parts together and after a 24 hour cure they are sealed and lightly locked in place, so they won't lose that seal later on. Be sure to test your seals before you try to cure something over several hours.

    Also worth mentioning is the Moisture Trap to the right. Moisture will cause serious problems with resin and RTV curing; this device is added to the line to catch that moisture before it gets to the chamber. You are most at risk of having a moisture problem if you are in a humid location and/or trying to use a Compressor that is not large enough so it is overworking. When you compress air it is heated by the process and can absorb extra moisture; a Compressor that is too small will run constantly and also create more heat. If the really warm humid air is added to a cool Pressure Chamber it can quickly condense and cause problems.

    You can use the above line filter to catch moisture, but the better fix is a larger Compressor. If you use a larger Compressor it runs much less; the air has a chance to cool and condense before it's added to the chamber. If you are in a partucularly humid climate you may have no choice but to get a filter, but don't rule out the Compressor if you're using a small one.


    The Dynamic Duo - A converted 10 Liter 'PowerFist' (Gotta' love that band name) brand Paint Pressure Tank, and a 2HP 5 Gallon (~20L) medium-duty Compressor.

    1) The key things you want to take note of in a Compressor are; The Horse Power (2+HP - more is better, but my 2HP does just fine), the size of the reservoir (3+ Gallons - again, more is better if you have the room), and a built in Regulator. My compressor also has space for two hose connections. While not needed, it's nice to have, since I can keep the Chamber hose connected and still use the Compressor for other things. Good Horse Power and a large reservoir will be key to filling the Chamber quickly.

    The Pressure Chamber is created from the previously mentioned, Paint Pressure Tank. Tank Example #1, and Tank Example #2. There are other brands and sizes, but the key thing to remember is the Working Pressure Range, and Maximum Pressure Rating. When applying pressure to resin, the sweet spot seems to be about 40-50PSI, so the Working Pressure Range should be in that range. Some people will use as much as 80-90+PSI, but after 50PSI it seems the improvement is minimal.

    You want to stay well away from the Maxium Pressure Rating, and should look for a Paint Pressure Tank with a Max Rating of 80+PSI if you will be working at 40-50PSI. My Pressure Chamber (built from Tank Example #2) has a Working Range of 30-50PSI and a Max Rating of 80PSI.

    2) This is the very important Emergency Pressure Release Valve. Beyond adjusting it to release at a suitable pressure, do NOT attempt to alter or block this little valve. Test it regularly to make sure it's working smoothly. I have mine set to slow-leak at about 60PSI, and I think it would completely blow-out at about 65-70PSI, but I've never taken the Chamber that high.

    3) This is the Regulator that came with the Paint Tank. I have a Regulator on my Compressor, but with a second on the Pressure Chamber I can crank the Compressor up to 120PSI and set the tank to top-out at about 60PSI. No matter how fast I fill the Chamber, it slows nicely once it reaches about 50PSI, and I have plenty of time to turn off the pressure. It is attached to the tank with the original hardware, but I rotated it a bit so the bulk of the valve hardware in over the lid, and not hanging off the side. Note: This regulator has 1/4in NPT fittings.

    4) This is where the hose for a Paint Spay Gun would have attached. You can either cap the fitting or remove the fitting and cap the hole, like I did. There is also a pipe for drawing paint that leads down from the inside of the lid that needs to be removed, but you'll see that later. Note: This hole requires a 3/8in NPT plug.

    5) This is the Quick Release Valve and the Compressor Hose connection. When I built this for some reason It seemed to make sense to put the Quick Release on the Chamber itself. In hindsight I think I will switch the Quick Release to the Hose at some point in the future. Note: These are 1/4in NPT parts.

    6) The Pressure Inlet Ball Valve. It is very important that you use valves that can handle the pressures involved. Many toggle valves won't be able to hold up, and will have slow leaks. A proper High Pressure Ball Valve (1/4in NTP Brass Ball Valve Example #1 and Example #2) is rated upto 600PSI and will guarantee a good seal.

    I was only able to get my hands on 3/8in Ball Valves when I was assembling my Chamber, so I had to add a few 1/4-to-1/8in connectors with my assembly. With 1/4in Ball Valves all you need is a few straight 1/4in NTP connectors to attach the Ball Valves, Quick Release, and Regulator hardware together.

    7) The Pressure Release Ball Valve. Another 3/8in NTP Ball Valve that is used to let the pressure off before opening the Chamber to take out the newly created object. The Regulator is clearly marked with arrows that show which end is the inlet and which is the exit. Note: It is not a good idea to ignore this valve and use the Emergency Release Valve to vent the Chamber. You should test the Emergency Valve regularly, but beyond that you don't want to put any extra wear on that vital safety component. 'Nuff said?

    I've wrapped a piece of clean rag to the end of this valve and secured it with a rubber band for noise reasons. The valve tends to whistle when the pressure is released, and this cloth makes the valve hiss instead of squeal like a banshee.

    And that's about it; 2x Ball Valves + a few 1/4in NTP fittings + a couple of Quick Release parts = One Pressure Chamber. But, there are a few small changes that need to be made to the inside of the Chamber...


    A few small changes to the inside of the lid.

    1) One down side of using a Paint Pressure Tank is that the bottom of the tank will usually be curved. A simple solution is a cake pan placed in the bottom of the Chamber. Use a small Level to make sure it's sitting flat. They come with a non-stick coating, so hard resin peels right off.

    2) This is the stump of the old Paint Pipe. I used a rotary tool with a cut-off disc to chop it off and smooth the burrs. It will do nothing but get in the way if you don't remove it.

    3) This is the air inlet with a small modification. By adding a 'T' split to the end you prevent high pressure air from blasting straight down into the Chamber. Just in case there some exposed liquid resin in an open-topped mould is right under the inlet, this will stop potential splattering.

    4) And on a side note, be sure to clamp the lid in the same general spot each time, and it will develop a nice divet/ridge that the camps can better lock onto. Also, always remember to tighten the clamps 2-by-2, across from each other. Read: Tighten the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock clamps at the same time, then tighten the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock camps to match. You want to get the camps firmly tightened, but don't be crazy and try to tighten them down really tight. Too tight can cause much bigger problems than not tight enough.

    As a few final things worth mentioning, be sure to test the seals before you need to cure a mould in the the chamber for 6+ hours. Test seams with soapy water to see if there are any leaks, and then do an overnight pressure test. Pressurize to ~50PSI and come back 12 hours later. See just how many PSI were lost over that time. If you're losing more than a few PSI it might be a slow leak on a join, or you might need to tighten the lid just a bit more. As an added precaution I did this test in a secluded corner of my basement, out of direct line-of-sight. If this contraption did happen to 'pop', It seemed best that it be well away from everyone.

    Now, to give a good visual of why making moulds under pressure is a very good thing, and how it removes 100% of the bubbles from curing RTV rubber. Using a Vacuum can also remove air from mould RTV rubber, but as with resin, it bubbles and froths up a lot so it needs to be in a very large container to contain the mess. Also, even if you do Vacuum de-gas the RTV rubber, you can trap bubbles and air as you pour the mould. Pressure solves all of this in one step.

    Unlike resin, when you cure a mould under pressure even larger bubbles will 100% dissolve into the RTV rubber. Even after pressure is released, there won't be a single bubble in the rubber. Also, just like the resin, the pressure will force the rubber into every detail of the prototype. Make sure the prototype is flawless, as the pressure will replicate even the slightest details.


    Left: RTV Rubber not cured under pressure. Right: RTV Rubber cured under 50PSI of pressure.

    A little left over rubber that cured in the bottom of the mixing cup is an excellent visual aid. In this picture you can see that the RTV rubber looks the same on the surface. Beyond the rubber curing in different cups (the left was in a more glossy cup than the right) on the surface they both look near flawless. Cut them in half and you can see the difference. When you mix RTV rubber, it's all but impossible not to introduce a small amount of air into the mix.

    When you pour the resin into an non-pressure-cured mould all of those tiny bubbles will collapse and crush, just like the bubbles in the resin. Most of the bubbles will be far enough from the object that they will have no effect on the cast. They are also small enough that you won't see any major 'warping'. But, there will be many bubbles that are close enough to the object being cast that they will have an effect on the item. The most common defects will be small bumbs, spikes, pimples, and even the odd tiny mushroom-like growth that is a bubble that actually filled with resin and popped free during de-moulding the cast object. While a bit humorous and a little Chaos-looking, it's not at all desirable.

    If you are casting just for yourself, and/or don't plan on doing too many casts of an object, you can remove these defects easy enough. A good file, some sanding sticks and/or sandpaper, and maybe a razor for the odd thing, and the piece is totally usable. I does add labour to every object created, so once you have a Pressure Chamber it really is in your best interest to pressure-cure your moulds. Beyond removing bubbles for pressure-casting, you will get a generally superior mould with virtually no defects.

    I hope anyone who was interested has found this informative, and it's answered most of the major questions involved with making a chamber. Feel free to follow up with questions if there's anything that could use more clarification. Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by Subtle Discord; 30-07-2013 at 20:56.
    → Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ←→ Our name is Legion: for we are many. ←

    → Legion Rising ↔ A Black Legion W.I.P. thread on building, bashing, tools, painting, casting, and more.
    → The Dark Works ↔ Spawn of Legion Rising; a selection of my work for those who might be interested.

  13. #33
    Chapter Master Scribe of Khorne's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Fantastic contribution, far far beyond anything I have the stones to work up to.
    Some men, just want to watch the world burn.

  14. #34
    Chapter Master dugaal's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    These tool and process posts are amazing! you should get these stickied to the P&T page, maybe repost in a new thread. Incredibly useful and inspirational.

    Your resin kits are fantastic too, I wish you good luck commercializing all your great works, you seem to have a very disciplined approach to the hobby. Proud to see you're from Toronto too!
    Only the insane have strength enough to prosper. Only those who prosper may truly judge what is sane

    Chaos Marines, 30k and Renegades

  15. #35
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    A quick late night update to show a sneak peak of what I've been working on the last while.


    Ammo Drums, Smoke Launchers, and Search Lights, oh my!

    These still have a few more details to be finished (mostly rivets) but they'll be done soon. I'm trying to keep everything modular and magnet ready. Yep, options and flexibility are good.

    I've got a few other bits-and-pieces to go along with these, and I'll show them all off more when I can talk in length about my plans for these new kits. I think I might have a building article to add in the mix as well, but that's a for another post; right now bed ways is right ways.
    → Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ←→ Our name is Legion: for we are many. ←

    → Legion Rising ↔ A Black Legion W.I.P. thread on building, bashing, tools, painting, casting, and more.
    → The Dark Works ↔ Spawn of Legion Rising; a selection of my work for those who might be interested.

  16. #36
    Chapter Master Lost Egg's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    The level of detail you squeeze in always amazes me SD, I'm not sure I'd have the patience.

  17. #37
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Thanks! I'm glad my insanity shows; I say 'insanity' because it really is a strange compulsion. The trick (not that it really is a trick) is in the layering; start a bit smaller than you want and consider how you will layer it up to give it some interest and depth.

    The down side is the labour involved; patience is key, as you need to let the solvent-based adhesives dry enough before you move certain steps forward (techniques I have planned for future articles) or else you make a mess or ruin hard work. I find it's best to work on a few different bits (if they are small) so you can put something aside and let it dry properly while you work on something else.

    Someday I want to do things like this with 3D modeling software and have them rapid prototyped, but the studio needs to mature a bit more first. As accurate as I can be, I want to take things a bit smaller if I can. As you shrink, I find the scratch-build becomes exponentially more labour intensive, so it's at it limits with this scale.
    All in due time.
    → Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ←→ Our name is Legion: for we are many. ←

    → Legion Rising ↔ A Black Legion W.I.P. thread on building, bashing, tools, painting, casting, and more.
    → The Dark Works ↔ Spawn of Legion Rising; a selection of my work for those who might be interested.

  18. #38
    Chapter Master
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    This has to be the greatest chaos army ever.

  19. #39

    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Those 3 equipment rundowns have to be, hands down, some of the most useful modelling posts I've ever seen. Thoroughly comprehensive, well laid out and simply and clearly explained. Thank you ever, ever so much for taking what must have been a not inconsiderable amount of time putting those together. As has been suggested, a mod needs to sticky the hell out of those posts. They would be an absolute godsend to someone new to the hobby. I'm not even going to comment on how awesome the work you've done with those tools is.

  20. #40
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Legion Rising - Vacuum Forming Styrene Plastic

    When I started my recent small builds I knew one of them was going to be a Searchlight, and I wanted it to have a curved surface for the lens. When it comes to producing several consistent curved shapes the first thing that comes to my mind is Vacuum Forming. This process is used in all sorts of manufacturing, packaging being one of the most prolific. You know that clear plastic package that keeps your precious new object safe, even from you, as you struggle to open it to get at your prize? That's Vacuum Formed plastic.

    This process can be elaborate, using large equipment to shrink heated plastic sheet over complex shapes and forms, but it can also be done on a much smaller scale that almost anyone can make use of for hobby projects. If all you want to do is make some small objects or shapes, then it is very straight forward process.



    A selection of simple objects can easily be made into a Vacuum Forming tool with just a bit of effort.

    1) A plastic tub from a local Dollar Store. Any box or chamber with rigid sides and a nice flat bottom will do, really. It just needs to be large enough for your needs, and have enough structure to have some modifications added. Remember that you're going to apply as much suction as you can, so this bx needs to be reasonable stiff. On a related side note: If you get a bin/box with a locking lid you can use it to store all the parts for this contraption when it's not being used.

    2) These two white frames are made from a sliding screen frame purchased from a Hardware store, and trimmed down to the size that fits my purpose. An inexpensive sliding screen gives you all the material you need to build several frames if you need/want different sizes for different projects. Try to find a screen that uses metal corner brackets to assemble the frame; they will hold up better to the temperatures you'll be working at. The ones pictured here are plastic which is not ideal, but I find they hold up just fine if it's all you can find.

    3) Black Butterfly Clips are used to clamp the frames together around the plastic sheets that will be vacuum formed. A little more on this later.

    4) Foam Weather Stripping Tape (again, from the Hardware Store) is used to create a gasket seal for the frames. It's this seal that lets the vacuum do it's work, pulling the soft plastic over the object you're replicating. Don't skimp on this seal; buy the more expensive, high density foam product. (just squeeze the tape through the package to tell the difference) This seal will be exposed to high temperatures, and the cheaper Foam Tape will melt and turn to slag.

    5) A look inside the box to show how it was assembled; I used an adhesive called Goop Household to glue the parts together and create a solid seal. It doesn't need to be that pretty, just get the job done. The 'grill' that lets the vacuum do it's thing is made form a section of an old computer case door; any stiff grill with lost of holes will work just fine, weather you make it yourself or source it from somewhere. Finally, a connector was added so that a standard household vacuum can be connected to the entire contraption. Any vacuum cleaner will do, but the stronger the suction, the better the results.

    6) The white frames work well as a jig to cut out sheet Styrene plastic to the required size.

    7) As mentioned earlier, the black Butterfly Clips are used to clamp the sheet of Styrene plastic in place between the two metal frames. Notice how the Butterfly clips are perfect for the job because you can remove the silver handles once they are in place, so they don't get in the way.



    Once you have the Styrene sheet clamped, it's ready to be headed and formed. Preheat your oven to 325°F-to-400°F.

    1) Since the heated plastic will droop considerably it needs to be suspended to keep it from touching anything. I've used four heavy glasses that can take the considerable amount of heat that is involved, and placed them on a baking sheet. Remember that these glasses will hold this heat for quite some time after you're done forming plastic; take care handling them after you done.

    2) With the Styrene suspended place it all in the oven and wait for the heat to do its thing. Lighter plastic (1mm thick) will work well with 325°F-to-350°F, but heavier plastic (1.5mm+) might need a higher 375°F-to-400°F temperature. Learning just what temperature works best is not an exact science, and something you'll need to experiment with.

    It should go without saying that you will need some form of gloves to protect your hands while working with the heated plastic in the following steps.

    After about 2 minutes the Styrene will start to sag; the trick to get the best results is to wait for it to sag twice, as it were. I'll try to explain: The plastic will start to sag (and it's tempting to try to form it with this 'first sag' - be patient) and then it will actually tighten back up ever-so-slightly, before starting a 'second sag' that indicates that the plastic is ready for forming. once it's at this point, turn on your vacuum and get ready to quickly move the plastic...


    1) In my case, all I wanted was to replicate these dome-shaped metal disks in Styrene plastic, which is much easier to work with than metal.

    2) As mentioned, quickly (and carefully!) take the Plastic Frame from the oven and lower it straight down over the Grill in one swift motion; press it firmly into the Foam Tape Gasket to create a seal, and the suction will instantly pull the plastic down and form it around any object sitting on the Grill. I did a few sheets with some other objects (washers, for example) so I will have a good supply of these shapes in future.

    3) Here is the final part in use, giving the Searchlight a nice curved surface. I can see myself using these bits for all sorts of things; radar dishes, large optics, vehicle hatches, loud-speakers, etc.. The process is only limited by the size of the box you want to make, and the size of your oven. It could easily be used to make anything from clear canopies for cockpits, to curved armour panels for vehicles, to a thousand other things in between.


    And in closing, a little build work unrelated to the above article.

    Left: The track links are almost ready for mould making; from there I'll cast-and-assemble them into the required lengths for final kits that fit their respective chassis. Right: Another build I have been struggling with; I want to make a vehicle mount Combi-Melta that makes use of the Combi-Bolter included on the Chaos Accessories sprew. I'm on the right track, but this first attempt is just too tall. Back to the drawing board I guess.

    Thanks as always, for reading. I hope some might find it informative. As usual, any comments, questions, or general musing are always welcome.
    → Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ←→ Our name is Legion: for we are many. ←

    → Legion Rising ↔ A Black Legion W.I.P. thread on building, bashing, tools, painting, casting, and more.
    → The Dark Works ↔ Spawn of Legion Rising; a selection of my work for those who might be interested.

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