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

  1. #41

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

    Words can not describe how blown away I am by your work. Not only is your love for chaos profound as evident by the quality and sheer awesomeness of your scratch built kits but your in depth guide to the modeling side of the hobby is one of the most comprehensive I've seen in one thread. I thank the dark gods that I have not assembled my mechanized chaos force yet as I now want my entire army outfitted with your designs. As soon as your treads and other misc bits become available I look forward to making an order to out fit my 9 rhino, 3 vindicator, and 3 landraider force.

  2. #42

    Re: Legion Rising - Vacuum Forming Styrene Plastic

    Hi,

    Can you expalin how you have made the mold ? (witg lego ?)

    Thanks.

  3. #43
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    No problem Hagmar, moulds are something I've learned that I have a knack for. I'm a big fan of Smooth-On products for most of my casting supplies. I'm the first to admit that I'm a sucker for their marketing. The website isn't all that polished, but the wealth of information they give is excellent. With all of the information and tutorials, you really have a good idea how to use the products and what to expect. Their range of product is vast, and a bit daunting at first, but if you're willing to do a bit of reading, and experiment at bit with a starter kit, it's lots of fun to learn. There might be cheaper bulk alternatives that I'll look into later, but not for now.

    I'll be happy to give more information on my entire mould making process some time in the future (that's what this thread is all about, after all) but for now you can see a snapshot of the process. As you mentioned, LEGO is a key component, used for making modular mould boxes of any shape or size needed. I have yet to find a better mould box outside of expensive milled blocks. I try to spend wisely, and save when it makes sense; and ELGO makes so much sense.



    I've learned that building complex items onto a stump of plasticine improves the mould in many ways.

    First, you get much more control over where the mould lines will form; I always try to keep moulds lines away from details and along an easy-to-clean edge whenever possible. The parts also get suspended in the very center of the mould; thick walls means parts that don't warp. The post also acts as a large key for the mould halves, helping them lock tightly together, avoiding mould slip. Also, while de-moulding a component, since half of the mould is removed from the center of the item/s, it is easier to splay the mould open to carefully remove the part without damaging/warping it.


    The trade off is time and effort; the parts need to be cleanly bonded to the plasticine with care for clean mould lines, and the mould needs to cured twice. Once for each half.

    To me the benefits far outweigh the added effort. Like the prototype component itself, if you take the time to do it right, you have something that will provide a top quality replication for a reasonable lifespan. Here you can see me removing the plasticine base, cleaning the parts and a few bit of unwanted rubber, and adding injection ports, in preparation for pouring the second half of the mould. As you can see, the LEGO does a perfect job boxing everything in during the entire process; and when the mould is done it easily breaks away. There is a bit of flashing rubber you need to pick off, but the blocks never leak.
    → 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.

  4. #44
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Legion Rising - Track Links

    Now I know why I avoided the tank tacks; I knew that, no matter how I went about doing them, they would be a pain in the :cuss. I stared this project with a positive attitude hoping that being able to cast would make it go much faster.


    It all started with a simple plan; and after some feedback I chose to use just the Master Links for the entire length.

    I kept the moulds very simple for these pieces. The parts are straight forward enough, I hoped they wouldn't pose a problem. After all, I cast large complex pieces with my injection method, these small links can't be that hard, right?


    And so began my decent into madness... The links, they taunt me, laughing at me with each bubble they trap.

    1) The very first casting looked very promising; the face of the tracks were well formed and clean. It wasn't until I had a closer look...

    2) On a related side note, several other parts and moulds are in the works. I need to juggle when I cure moulds in the pressure chamber (it takes over seven hours) so I can also make resin casts. Pictured here are a few new Havoc Launcher mounting plates. The old mould for this part is well past its prime.

    3) So, as I said, once I had a closer look at the Track Links I started to see an issue; the dreaded bubbles. It turns out the teeth on these tracks just love to catch large bubbles and hold on to them. Since the parts are so thick the flowing resin passes over the bubbles, instead of forcing them out of the part. This is exactly why I'll be adding a Vacuum Chamber to my studio in the next few weeks. Where my method works well for thinner and larger items, objects like these are better cast under vacuum to pull the bubble out of these stubborn places.

    4) But until then, I'll just have to make do with the equipment I have. I've devised a method of manually injecting some resin into the problem prone places, followed by closing the mould and completing the injection. It works much better, but it's still far from perfect. What I can't do with my normal precision, I will complete with volume!



    The Rhino Chassis links were much more reliable with my new technique, the 'Raider tracks have been much more stubborn, and slowly driven me to the brink. *Eye twitch... twitch*

    The Rhino tracks came together with some effort, but it gave me hope that this wasn't going to be too bad. They are fiddly, but at least they cast somewhat reliably. The Land Raider tracks are just frustrating, but I am determined to get this set complete!


    The voices from the warp, they goad me on; they have no sympathies for my trials, the Dark Lords care not for such things.

    So, even though they are being a pain, I'm getting them done through brute force. I'm really liking how they are looking so far - soooo Chaos. It's too bad I need to make a fresh set of moulds so I can do the other side; but I think I have some ideas for simple improvements that might help them cast better.

    I had hoped to have these done by now, but these technical issues will slow down making the final production moulds by a few days. Beyond that I'm well on the way to have all of the recent builds casting by next week, barring any unforeseen complications. The improved selection and kits will be ready an available at The Dark Works shortly after.
    → 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.

  5. #45
    Chapter Master Lost Egg's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Not only are you very skilled sir but you have a knack for explaining yourself very clearly, I doff my cap at you

    Maybe one day you should combine these posts into some sort of DIY manual...hint, hint..

  6. #46

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

    Thanks for your reply, i hape a full tutorial

  7. #47
    Brother Sergeant
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Really enjoying this thread. Your creations look awesome.

  8. #48

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

    Can we buy these from you?

  9. #49
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Legion Rising - More Track Links

    As usual, thanks for the positive feedback everyone; during frustrating builds like these tracks, it really is motivating. Someday I might compile everything into a manual of sorts, Lost Egg, but I think most of my articles and subjects they are half way in their 'story arc'. Once I have more of them done from start-to-finish, I can't see why not.

    Everything is on track (See what I did there? clever, yes/no?) but a little behind schedule. Until I can get at least one more Pressure Chamber up-and-running (very soon) I can get caught in a catch-22 when I need to do casting and make moulds at the same time. With a little juggling I've kept things moving forward and the last new moulds will be done very soon. All will be available at The Dark Works in the coming days.

    I have finally got a Vacuum Chamber in the studio, and I got it to work right away. It's a very interesting addition to the casting process that took some experimenting to get right, but now that I'm getting the hang of it, I'm very pleased with the results. I'll be doing an article about working with a vacuum at some point in the near future. It's been fun learning the process, and it made it much easier to cast the larger 'Raider Track Links I've been finishing. Speaking of the 'Raider Links...



    After some less than enjoyable bench work, the Proditor Pattern Land Raider Track Links are ready for the mould making process.

    Everything in these pictures is either held in place with friction, gravity, or poster tack; if any of the fit looks a bit off, it's just because of this temporary fitting. One key point about these kits is that they will require the end builder to remove the small 'key' tabs that are used for the original GW links. It's just easier to remove the hidden tabs then to try and carve out a clean gap in these painstakingly crafted pieces. I would have literally blown a brain-fuse if I happened to ruin a part trying to do it. I completely overlooked them until I had several sections done, aand potentially harming them was not a happy consideration at the point.



    It's was worth the annoying effort in the end; these tacks really complete the transformation of the GW kit, if I do say so myself.

    Where the Vacuum Chamber really helped with the 'Raider Links, it wasn't useful for the smaller Rhino Links. After fighting to get it to work with the vacuum, I ended up going back to pressure only to complete the kit. As tricky as this build was, it really did help me learn some about the limitations of each method (pressure and vacuum) and when to consider using each. Funny how the annoying mistakes usually teach you more then the easy successes.



    To the left: Satisfaction with a job well done. Yep, these look awesome! To the right: Frustration given physical form in resin!

    When you're building a prototype it needs to be really close to perfect. It's almost scary just what details will be replicated in the mould; even a trace of my finger print is forever immortalized in the back side of the odd part. So, any flaw that would take longer than a reasonable amount of time to fix was tossed into the rejection pile. So many lost links. *Sniff*

    So, the all of the track links are done, and I am currently preparing them for moulds as I write this and also casting fresh pieces for stock before the moulds take over the chamber. The Proditor Vehicle Accessories are half moulded, and I'll show them once the entire kit is complete. They are turning out very well, and the Vacuum Chamber has been key in that success.

    But that, as they say, is another story...
    → 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.

  10. #50
    Chapter Master Scribe of Khorne's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Great update!
    Some men, just want to watch the world burn.

  11. #51
    Chapter Master Lost Egg's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    They do look fiddly, well done sir!

  12. #52
    Chapter Master Tzen's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    These look amazing. I have a question if that's okay, how do you do the rivets so neatly out of plasticard? You know, the small circles that count as the bolts going into the armour.
    "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
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  13. #53
    Chapter Master Tzen's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Never midn that, just read all your posts and it answered my question.

    Again great work, if I had the cash i would definitely purchase these kits. Who knows... sometime in the future!
    "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
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  14. #54
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    Legion Rising - On the Subject of Rivets

    For everyone's benefit, and if you didn't find this article during your reading. Since I only briefly talk about my rivets in this Warseer p'log, and the subject came up, I figured this would be a good time to revisit a little tutorial about how I do my flat-top rivets. To start I'll say that I plan for all my rivets in my CAD designs; that ensures they will be accurate and well placed. When I use a needle pick to transfer the points of the design that I use to cut out a pattern, I also prick the center of each rivet placement. After using a larger pin to expand the hole I carefully drill each hole as a seat for the rivets I make. Made this way, the rivets are not just glued to the surface, but sit in a seat that keeps them from ever popping off from use.

    Now with that said, first up, how the heck do you make lots of consistent rivets? Here's what I came up with...



    I call it a Razor Rake. By super gluing spacers between several broken down lengths of utility razor, I get a rake of evenly spaced blades.

    The plastic spacers combined with the actual thickness of the razor means I get an even spacing to cut uniform rivets. The plastic spacers just need to match the thickness of the styrene I'm working on - 0.4mm in this case. Once placed, the rivets will stand out a razor thickness in height.



    Carefully rolling the 'Rake' over a piece of round styrene scores the plastic. Ready for cutting into rivets.

    For the first rivet I start just inside the end. The first rivet will be too short to use, but it makes sure all of the following rivets are ready to go. Once I have the first group of lines cut I can place the first blade in the last line as a guide, and score another group of lines. Working that way I can covert long lengths of styrene rod into rivets very quickly.

    I don't press hard enough to cut all of the way through in one go. There's two reason for this. First, the rivets will wedge themselves into the Rake; naturally, that's not good. Second, the blade deforms the plastic a bit and keeping the rod as one piece makes the next step possible...



    A quick sanding on a fine grit sanding block will remove the minor deformation caused by the Rake.

    I just roll the rod under my finger while sliding it carefully back and forth on the 320 grit sanding block pictured. It just takes a few seconds to smooth the rod back down, and the rivets are ready to cut.

    The blade can find the scored lines very easily. With a quick rolling chop they each pop off. (Remember to get rid of the stumpy first rivet.) I find it best to carefully place my finger over the blade while I cut, so I can stop the freshly freed rivet from flying away. They get easily lost, as I'm sure you can imagine, so some method to keep them contained will be needed.

    It won't take long before you've got a large pile of rivets ready to be placed, but then you run into the next problem. How the heck do you place that tiny rivet into its tiny hole? It took a bit of trail-and-error to come up with a surprisingly simple solution...



    Prefect in its simplicity; by flattening the tip of an old Clay Pick I made a straight forward rivet pressing tool.

    The rivets are so light that all you need to do is add a tiny bit of moisture (Read: spit) to the end of the tool, and the rivet will stick just enough to be placed. Carefully align the rivet to the hole, get it as straight as possible, and press gently but firmly. the flat tool applies even pressure, and most times the rivet will pop right into the hole. Most times.

    Sometimes they will be stubborn, trying to go in crooked and deforming the rivet in the process. Rather than futz around with a 'bent' rivet, I just disposed of it and get a fresh one to use. They are easy to make, after all. On occasion the hole for the rivet will also be a problem, but a quick 'reshaping' of the hole with a drill bit gets things right. You don't want to drill the hole deeper, just clear out any glue residue - the usual problem I run into.



    Once they're in place they just need a bit of clean-up and touch of glue to lock them in place. 8 down, 600+ to go... *Eye-twitch... twitch twitch*

    I've become hooked on the pictured sanding sticks made by Alpha Abrasives. Perfect for all sorts of subtle sanding jobs where a file might be too stiff or aggressive; I use one to give the tops of the rivets a light sanding and make sure they are all the same height.

    From there I add a tiny dab of Tamiya Extra Thin glue. The brush built into the lid makes it easy to brush the glue around the rivet. It doesn't take much, and it evaporates away into a very clean join, ready to be primed.

    Anything as repetitive as rivets will be tedious to do. This process is no different.
    The build pictured here took over 650 rivets, each drilled and placed just like this. It can be a bit... daunting sometimes, but it's worth it for the final piece. Once you get a feel for the process and get going it actually progresses rather quickly. Here's hoping people find this informative.
    → 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.

  15. #55
    Commander matt_17's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    I'll be honest and say I didn't read a word of what you posted... just sat staring at all the awesome work... SO. MUCH. AWESOME.
    Chaos Marines Project Log - Just a click away... you know you want to...

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  16. #56
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    I am but a conduit through which the Dark Lords speak... They say I must scribe my trials so that others may learn, be inspired, and perhaps drawn to their cause. My hands are but an extension of the energies made real by the Warp... The Dark Lords gift me these ideas so that I might make them real. It would be blasphemy to turn from such gifts.

    *Cough* Errr...

    But seriously, thanks for the kind/positive feedback. Much more to come...
    → 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.

  17. #57
    Chapter Master Lost Egg's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    Madness...

  18. #58
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    I've been call mad and insane before (as well as other more colourful terms) but I prefer eccentric. It makes me sound rich and interesting.

    *In his best Eugene Krabs voice* “Prepare yourself, for a tale of misery and woe! … And delay that skipping… Pirates don’t skip!”

    Sometimes I swear projects have a curse on them. I try to be positive and ignore setbacks, and usually that's more than enough to get me through. Mistakes and challenges happen, after all, so there's really no choice but to deal and figure it out. Then there are those builds that refuse to co-operate, testing my resolve to the very end. Yes, I'm looking at you... track links, oh scourge of my recent existence! Apparently, the Dark Lords have some hidden lessons for me to find in these trials.

    Several weeks ago I added a Vacuum Chamber to my growing selection of studio equipment. I had a good theoretical idea of how to use vacuum to help with removing bubbles, but there was a definite learning curve to figuring out how to get the desired results. Since I needed to make tons of individual links for the track sections I was building, I used the build to experiment with the new vacuum process. After all of those cast links (and they were a challenge in themselves), I thought I had it figured out.

    Thinking I had the process sorted out, I started making moulds for the Rhino Tracks kit, and with that, the curse started messing with my mind. First, I managed to break the seal for two moulds I was making, and this happened...



    I tried to adjust the mould boxes after the rubber was poured, but before it cured. Not a good idea.

    Since I thought my plan was sound, I tried to economize my time and make several moulds at once. In an effort to get them all to fit in the Pressure Chamber I shifted the top moulds too much, with no idea that I broke the bottom seal. It wasn't until I opened the chamber that I discovered the mess it created. Lesson 1: If you're not careful, trying to save time can actually cost you time. I was trying to push the limit of the chamber, and now I know better.

    Once that issue was sorted out (nothing to do but start the moulds again – this will become a painful trend over the coming weeks) I completed the set and got to work casting; and that's when my inexperience with vacuum casting came back to bite me.



    When vacuum degassing, vents to let the expanding air escape are critical to the process.

    I was trying to avoid gates/vents where I could, since more gates/vents equals more cleanup during assembly. These parts are reasonably small, so I assumed a vent on every-other-link would be enough. I was almost right... but almost isn't good enough in this case. The parts would cast (almost) perfectly, but small flaws keep appearing very consistently in every link that doesn't have a proper vent. I tried to modify the moulds by hand cutting some extra vents, but unfortunately it didn't work. Lesson 2: When in doubt, take the extra time to do a single test mould before committing to a larger set of moulds. I assumed this mould setup would work. Baaad assumption! *Hits assumption with a rolled up magazine*

    Unfortunately, the vent issue only became really apparent after I had already started the moulds for the Land Raider Track Links. After seeing the problems with the Rhino Track casts, I knew the same issue would appear in Land Raider Tracks if I finished the moulds. So, I returned to the prototypes and added more gates/vents before re-starting the moulds.



    Lesson 3: Dropping an uncured mould is bad. 'Nuff said?

    Good luck cleaning up a sloppy mess like this while the rubber is still soft. It sticks to everything and smears everywhere. Better to just let the rubber cure, and peel it up later; and this is exactly what I did. While not really hard to re-make, naturally, the waste sucks.



    Success! The added gates/vents did the trick, and the parts are now casting with virtually no flaws.

    I'll be doing a much more elaborate article on using Vacuum during resin casting in the future. But for now, let me just say that once you get all of the variables worked out, the combination of Vacuum and Pressure is amazing for getting near-flawless casts. When done right, the success rate for casts is amazingly high. However, it's not a process that works perfectly for every kind of component, so it's not a 'one size fits all' solution.

    The results with the Rhino Tracks were so encouraging that I was positive the Land Raider Tracks were going to cast just as well. I had taken the time to add the extra vents, after all. Well, it turned out there was another unexpected twist to be dealt with.



    Just when I thought I had it all worked out, this strange problem with bubbles cropped up.

    Lesson 4: Different components need different vent considerations; not all parts will cast the same, even if they are similar. The Land Raider tracks are a perfect example; all of the longer lengths of assembled links cast perfectly almost every time, but the single links keep trapping bubbles in the 'teeth' of the links. I'm not totally sure what's happening in this case. The parts are similar, so why is there an issue with only the single links? For some reason their size seems to cause bubbles to get really trapped in the 'teeth' with no chance to vent out. Whatever the cause, there was too many flawed casts for me to use these moulds. *Mutters a harsh curse under his breath* All of this would almost be comical at this point, if it wasn't such a waste of labour and materials.



    Third time's the charm! With some final changes the newest moulds are finally casting really well.

    Ok, so now for the light at the end of the tunnel. The track moulds have finally been completely finished, and they are all casting very well. Curse lifted… I hope. The accessories are catching up now that the tracks are sorted out.



    Some successful casts up top; and a size comparison on the bottom.

    Again, I’ll talk more about Vacuum Casting a little later. (I’ve already created a larger-than-expected wall-o’-text) It adds a layer of labour to the production, but also opens the door to an improved process for certain objects. If they are the right size and you can add a moderate vent, they will likely cast very well with this method. The search lights and smoke launchers are a good example. Two Dirge Casters, the vehicle Bolter ammo drums, and a few other bits-and-pieces are in the works. Such as…



    Another example of a part that will cast much easier using vacuum during the process.

    After kit-bashing an Auto-Cannon a looong time ago, some dark creature whispered to me from the Warp, telling me that I could make a bit to the same job in one step. It seems the dark entity was correct. It still needs some more detailing, but the idea is there.

    So, for anyone who has shown interest, The Dark Works will be getting an update very soon with everything pictured, and a few other bits. I hope it’s been worth the wait. I can’t say I enjoy the process when it’s this stubborn, but I always like seeing it come together in the end. You defiantly learn more from your mistakes, and I’ve learned a ton that I’ll be taking forward.

    More to come…
    → 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.

  19. #59
    Chapter Master Lost Egg's Avatar
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    Re: Legion Rising - A WIP Thread from The Dark Works

    You sir seem to have unlimited patience...or your just stubborn

  20. #60
    Veteran Sergeant Subtle Discord's Avatar
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    Actaully, it's a bit of both. Sometimes it's best to just be patient, put things down and walk away for a day or two, and compose yourself before trying again. But, I'm also very serious about making this studio work, and sometimes that means being stubborn about seeing a rough patch through to the end. If these were personal projects, it might be easier to give up in frustration, but I've shown these builds publicly to potential customers, in the name of my studio; I don't do that unless I'm committed to actually producing what I've shown. Sometimes I might take longer than I'd like to get things done because of unexpected problems or limited studio time, but I will complete what I started if it's in my power.
    → 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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