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Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/16 02:27:04

Post by: Subtle Discord

An Introduction ~ Part 1

It came from the frozen northern Chaos wastes… Canada, that is. Welcome to this first in a long line of Text-&-Picture-Walls. (I tend to ramble sometimes, in a good way, with lots of nice photos.) Welcome to my muse, my passion, my obsession… my insanity. The Dark Gods whisper to me from the Warp, and I am compelled to obey. They let me see so many things I want to make real, but I only have one mind, two hands, and so many hours. Oh well, no rest for the wicked, no sleep for the weary… the whispers, the voices in my head, they won’t let me…

I’ve been gaming and playing Warhammer 40,000 on-and-off for over 20 years; the bulk of it, I attempted to collect and paint a Chaos army – Black Legion, more specifically. I always collected a modest force, but it was never as complete as I wanted. And so, as it happens to many of us, life distracts us from our addictive little plastic soldiers, and they get tucked away. But for most, that really enjoy the hobby, we always come back. In early 2011 I dusted off my bits boxes, cases of miniatures, supplies, and took stock. I had some solid units that could use some polish to get started with, and a few simple scratch-build projects that never got done. As good a start as any.

Before Highlights - I do some modest kit-bashing and converting on Troops and HQ, but vehicles offer such a large canvas I can really transform the model into a proper machine of Chaos.

I chose to do a cold-centric theme throughout the army; Most accent colours are in neutral or cool colours, and I extended the concept to the blue-grey highlights I use for the Black.

After Highlights - And here's a block of the army with highlights done, ready for weathering.

This time I wanted it to be different; I wanted to really create the unique, personal, and elaborate army that I could see in my mind when I was fifteen, and flipping the Realms of Chaos books. Only in recent kits has GW started to release what I would consider ‘proper’ Chaos Vechile kits; Love or hate the new Daemon Engines, they definitely have a good Chaos style/feel to them. Before this round of kits, Chaos got an extra sprew or two thrown into the box, and that was a major defining look for the faction. Just adding spikes does not a Chaos army make!

So, I went about making my army look and feel Chaos, without adding any spikes. I should also mention that I really like working with Rare Earth (Neodymium) Magnets, and I use them all over the place.

This Rhino and Predator were the first serious Chaos creations I put together with an eye for the look I was going for. When they were done, I knew I was on to something.

The idea was simple enough, just take the feel and look of Chaos used on the 'proper' Chaos Troops miniatures and illustrated in the books, and run with it. Read: Lots of banding/trimming, rivets, arrows, points, and layering... lots of layering. I had a general idea of where I wanted to look of the army to go, but now I need more of a theme. I found direction in the movie Apocalypse Now from the The 1st of the 9th Air Cavalry. In the movie, they are a… ‘self-motivated’ unit that bombs around Vietnam in helicopters looking for good places to surf between (and during) the fighting. During aggressive unexpected assaults, they terrorizing the enemy by playing Wagner (Ride of the Valkyries) over loud speakers attached to the helicopters. Switch helicopters for some VTL vehicles and loud speakers for Dirge Casters and the start of my theme was forming; The 1st of the 9th Black Crusade – Heavy Armoured Cavalry. ('Heavy' so I had added excuse to really armour the vehicles) At the time, fliers were still off in the distance; I knew I wanted some for show at least, for the theme, but formal rules didn’t even exist. So, I choose to focus on a mechanized army to build a core, and then consider some kind of flying transport in the future. In Warhammer 40,000 it’s the feet on the ground that gets things done, after all.

My preferred painting method is, paint the harder stuff messy and quick to get it done looking the way I want, and then go in to carefully clean up the mess. Rinse-and-repeat the process until the miniature is complete.

I put a lot of effort into the scratch-build, but these are playing miniatures, I choose to keep the paint job more straight forward and attainable. I let the building do the real talking.

Base colours + Lots of washing and glazing + Simple (but clean) 4-step layered highlighting + A bit of strategically placed blending + Some straightforward sponged chipping + A dusting with weathering powder = Now that's Black Legion.

One of my favorite materials is styrene plastic. If you’re trying to build something mechanical and angular, just put your mind to it and you can build it in plastic. Take it far enough and you can build actual working mechanics in nothing but styrene, if you wanted to. As a general tip about learning how to build in styrene, I suggest looking up general scratch building techniques. There are many tabletop gamers who are doing amazing things, but there is much more experience out there if you broaden your search. Military modellers have been scratch building models of exceptional detail for many decades; I just ignore the subject and absorb the technique.

Designation: Loricatus Pattern Mk.II Heavy Predator with Extra Armour, Havoc Launcher, and Destroyer Blades.

Top left is an early prototype for a replacement Havoc Launcher. That build evolved into a multi-part kit that both looks better, and casts cleaner; The Interitus Pattern Mk.II Launcher.

By late 2011 I had some good progress on the core I was bringing together, and I figured I’d start showing off some of my work. I started a modest thread showing a few of my builds, and blathering about what I do and how I do it. Little did I know I was already too far down the Dark Path to ever find my way back… wanting to reproduce things like the above Havoc Launcher, I started to work with RTV rubber making moulds for resin casting. Two things quickly happened: 1) I learned that I am quite good at making complex resin casting moulds. 2) I'm totally hooked to the process and really enjoy doing it! Now, as soon as I could actually replicate my work, that opened another door altogether...

But that, so they say, is another story, for another day. Most of what you see here was just the start, stay tuned for Part 2: I'll show where this has all has lead, and talk about where it's going. For now, thanks for reading.

Much more already in the works; Much more to come,

Subtle Discord ~ The Dark Works
(More suitable signature coming soon...)

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/16 04:32:13

Post by: vossyvo

Amazing, love the builds, love the paint scheme. Always liked the black / gold chaos schemes, the contrasting blue you've added in is really refreshing.

Can't wait to see some more.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/16 04:54:59

Post by: Brother SRM

At first I kind of glanced over the trim on the vehicles - they look like they should be a standard GW kit! That plasticard work is absolutely fantastic, and I love it. THAT is what a Chaos vehicle should look like! The painting is also excellent, and while the Marines look great, my attention keeps drifting towards those lovely, lovely tanks.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/16 04:59:24

Post by: lipsdapips

This is great stuff! I cant wait to see more man. Subbed!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/16 05:40:14

Post by: Buttlerthepug

 Brother SRM wrote:
At first I kind of glanced over the trim on the vehicles - they look like they should be a standard GW kit! That plasticard work is absolutely fantastic, and I love it. THAT is what a Chaos vehicle should look like! The painting is also excellent, and while the Marines look great, my attention keeps drifting towards those lovely, lovely tanks.

Exactly how I felt. I've been away from 40k so long that I just figured they had updated the kits finally. So needless to say that your work is beyond awesome.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/16 19:42:24

Post by: Boringstuff

I saw your work on "Comrade and Ruglud's Tank Round" and have been waiting for this thread to pop up. Great work mate.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/17 03:09:31

Post by: Subtle Discord

An Introduction ~ Part 2 (A.k.a.: Derr-huh!? That's a huge post! - You have been warned.)

Thanks for the positive feedback! It means a lot that people think that the parts blend so well with the Chaos esthetic. That is exactly what I am aiming for - kits that look like GW made them that way. I stress detail and quality over quantity in everything I make.

I hope everyone enjoys what I have to offer over the coming weeks and months. Naturally, I want to show off a bit and get some feedback, critique, and input from people, but ultimately I hope I can inspire people to be ambitions and give big ideas a try. I'm not saying everyone will take it nearly as far as I have, but it's easy to take what I do, scale it back, and dabble. Future articles will show not only WIP of builds and other things I'm working on, but also tutorials on technique, walk-through's about equipment, and many (I hope useful) rambling about tools.

Ok then, where was I? Oh yes, the mysterious dark art of resin casting and how it has forever corrupted my soul... in a good way!

Now, I like scratch building, a lot. It's great to take an idea, design a flat template, and then turn that template into a three dimensional object. Problem is, scratch building is very labour intensive when you're as particular as I am. Larger things like vehicles may justify a one-off build that will take quite a bit of labour; They're large and not as prolific as troops, so why not? But, when you start getting down to doing smaller objects across an entire army, the idea of building say, six Havoc Launchers, becomes daunting. So I figured it may be a good idea to learn how to make some resin casting moulds...

I've always hated the Havoc Launchers provided on the Chaos vehicle accessories sprew. This is what I think a Havoc Launcher should look like.

I originally created my first replacement Havoc Launcher as a single solid object. It was one of my first moulds, so I was still experimenting. That early prototype worked, but it came with some limitations and drawbacks. If you resin cast, you quickly learn that your biggest enemy is bubbles. So, solid objects with no 'hidden sides' give you no place to hide bubbles. You can never get rid of all of the bubbles all of the time, but you can get rid of most of them. Also, if you cast an item correctly you can actually hide the rest. That is my constant goal - avoid or destroy all (most) bubbles. This kit is a perfect example; I've designed the moulds to intentionally cast the parts with the detail side down (As I try to do with all my moulds, when possible), so if any bubbles do form, they rise to the back/bottom of the part during curing, and will be hidden by the assemble of the kit. It's not genius or witchcraft, but I think it's clever. It doesn't work every time, but anything that saves a few casts from the reject bin is a good design philosophy.

With some logic, careful consideration, trial-and-error, and just a bit of luck here-and-there I worked out most of the kinks for making more complex resin casting moulds. It's one of those things that anyone can do, but it takes a certain knack to do it well. I've still got lots to learn, and I want to invest in more studio equipment so that I can start doing other casting processes. Currently I only use Pressure Casting (50+ PSI) for bubble eradication, but I also want to start doing Vacuum Casting for when pressure isn't the best solution, and that will require a proper Vacuum Chamber. Hopefully, all in due time.

I learned a lot making this little kit, but I wasn't sure if it was going to translate into larger items. Time to move up to making something... bigger...

I had this Land Raider kit calling to me, compelling me to make it Chaos, so who was I to argue? In these photos you can also see the Havoc Launcher prototype just before casting.

Did I mention it was a larger project? This is a picture of a mould, as large as the Land Raider itself, for just one (rather large) part in the final kit.

One thing I quickly learned making RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanizing) rubber moulds: Bulk matters. It takes some extra rubber, but in for a penny, in for a pound, I say. Making the walls of the mould thick ensures that the part casts without warping. Adding lots of the pictured locking-pins to hold the mould together is also key; A well made 2-part split mould like this locks together perfectly every time, minimizing mould lines and all but removing any mould slipping. Again, this mould cures the part face-down, so bubbles rise to the hidden back side. I put the same thought and process into all my moulds.

Designation: Loricatus Pattern Mk.I Heavy Land Raider

I think the investment in time and materials is worth it when you can make something like this, and completely transform the original Land Raider into a rolling icon of Chaos. (Look ma'! No spikes!) Ok, so clearly my ideas on making larger moulds were translating well to the larger objects. *In his best Montgomery Burns voice* Excellent! But there was still another challenge that I was trying to deal with at the same time. Enter the Proditor Pattern Mk.II Rhino Trim kit for demonstration.

This build was actually the first time I used one of my own resin kits to trim a Rhino. Up to this point they had all been one-off scratch builds made of styrene and glued to the model as I built it.

With the Land Raider I was worried about how large the parts are/were, with my Chaos Rhino Trim kits it was how small/thin they are/were. On the surface it seems straight forward to cast these trim pieces; they are nice flat-backed parts, after all. But, when you consider that they are only 0.8mm tall not including the rivets (I use two layers of 0.4mm sheet styrene for my trim/banding details) it makes the parts very long, thin, and delicate. How to get the resin into the moulds became a real issue because of this. After some research and a few practice moulds I adopted and refined a method of using a syringe to forcibly inject resin into the moulds. Without the added pressure to force the resin into the mould, I don't think I would be able to make these in my modest studio.

Proditor Pattern Light Armour Trim Kits - Left: MkII (Pictured here) Right: Mk.I (Pictured in Part 1)

So, even though these trim kits don't use that much resin to produce, they make up for it in the technical challenges inherent in their design. With what I learned here, combined with what I had learned from my other early projects, I covered most of the major technical issues I might run into for any of my current design plans. I was starting to feel confident enough to do something even more elaborate.

I had actually started this build before I learned how to resin cast. Unfortunately, I glued the scratch-built styrene directly onto the model as a scaffold to construct on, so I was never able to take it off to make moulds of it.

Unfortunately, all of my building has stopped my painting in its tracks. This Loricatus Pattern Mk.II Predator hasn't come any further than what's pictured here. One of these days I'll get back to painting... eventually.

Naturally, now that I know how to resin cast, all future projects will have that in mind from that start. As long as I make every part myself, (and don't build directly on or with any GW pieces) I'm free to replicate anything I build. Since I couldn't actually use this build for a kit, I was forced to make another from scratch...

This time I built everything 'loose' - able to come free from the model. Not being able to glue to parts down to the model for support came with its own challenges, to say the least.

I took the opportunity to tweak the design and incorporate elements I used in the Land Raider, designing them to look cohesive-but-unique when together. I also completely changed the shape of the turret by extending the slope of the original turret down. In my opinion, this turret looks like it is designed to deflect incoming fire much better than the original turret shape. Beyond those two major changes the overall design stayed very true to the MK.II Pattern.

Originally I had use the part in the GW Predator kit to make the sponson weapon link, but if I wanted to make a complete kit I needed to design my own solution.

I'm very pleased with how it turned out. It's a post with a 'cap' that has a proper seat for the optics bit. It's designed to work with two square 1/8"x1/8"x1/16" magnets, letting you easily swap between Las'Cannon or Heavy Bolter. Square magnets also let the optics turn with the weapon. It's a little thing, but hey. Normally I work in metric, with metric tools, but Neodymium (Rare Earth) Magnets are the one exception. The selection of sizes in Imperial is just so vast; I can't find the same in metric.

Designation: Loricatus Pattern Mk.III Heavy Predator - The culmination of everything I've learned so far about casting, manifest in resin for the first time. I do believe I've got the hang of this!

So this brings me to the end of the Dark Path that lead me to this point. My selection is modest so far, but everything seen cast in resin through the course of this thread is/will be in production, and available from my shop The Dark Works, if anyone is interested. I'll also add to this thread with some tutorials on what I learned and some of my techniques over the coming weeks and months. I've been itching to paint lately, so expect a painting article or two sooner-or-later, but for now it's all about the current builds and expanding the line of kits I have to offer. Speaking of which... (What, you though it was over? Never! Submit to the will of the Dark Gods... *Subtle starts speaking in strange tongues* ... *Cough* Err... where was I?)

In case you thought I only did scratch-build, here's a Chaos Decimator that's on my workbench. Naturally I took the time to magnetize the arms for easy weapon swapping.

For the most part, the Decimator will be stock. It's just such a hardcore miniature, it really doesn't need much modification if you don't want to invest the effort. I do plan on altering the weapons a bit; Improving the Storm Lasers, Conversion Beamer, and Butcher Cannons to make them more Chaos. The stock butcher Cannon especially, to me, is very... meh. Reaper Auto-Cannon barrels attached to an 'ok' ammo-drum-like-thing. I think I can do better. It needs more... Butcher!

What's that you say? A proper Chaos Storm Eagle? I think I may be able to work something out...

This is a very early proof of concept build, not even a prototype yet. (It's been in the back of my brain for quite some time.) Since building this, I've had time to contemplate, and I want to go back to the CAD design one more time and refine this base structure. It is very close to what is planned, but I have several adjustments to make. This is going to be a large ambitious build that will take some time to come together, but it's something I really want to make happen, so it's on my short list. Unlike the Forge World Storm Eagle, my kit will make much more use of the base GW Storm Raven kit. It's such a good model it's a shame not to use as much of it as possible. It should have a slightly longer and leaner line than the FW kit, while still feeling plausible. Compare this to the early build picture of the Predator, and you can have an idea where this is going. Being a flying vehicle, I plan on doing the Chaos Trim detailing with a lighter plastic; .33mm or.25mm. It should give it a more sleek lighter look. Well... as sleek as you can make these 'flying bricks' look, that is. And I think the missile racks are going to mount wrap-around on the corner of the engine housing, with a stabilizer coming out from the center. It's a little hard to describe.

Finally, also on my (not so) short list is a Chaos Vindicator kit in the Loricatus Pattern style, some Chaos inspire track kits for the Rhino and Land Raider chassis, and a selection of Chaos vehicle components: Chaos Search Light, Dirge Caster, 'Dozer Blades & Destroyer Blades for Rhino and Land Raider chassis. I'm also looking at the Hell Drake kit and trying to figure out a way to make a 'Hell Drake Jet' kit. Everyone who doesn't like the Drake seems to want it to be a jet, maybe I can help them out. I've also got this really cool idea for counts-as Chaos Drop Pods... I think I want to call them Hell Thorns... *Subtle speech starts to drift*
... or Hell Spikes... fired from orbit, they drive into the planet, planting themselves and opening a portal for troops... *Subtle starts wandering off, still muttering to himself* ... so much to do, so little time...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/17 09:15:39

Post by: TheDraconicLord

You are successfully converting me to the Chaos Gods. That is some AAA quality scratch-building. Happy you are going to start selling those add-ons, I want to see more vehicles that good looking!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/17 18:23:25

Post by: Boringstuff

Can't wait for some painting, might just get me back into painting - I prefer to convert models and the ideas that come with that.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/17 20:48:47

Post by: Malkira

I see you made it over from the B&C. As always, loving your work.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/17 21:22:02

Post by: Subtle Discord

Seeing that B&C is in a coma at the moment, it seemed like a sign from the Warp that I should get going on generating a bit more exposure for my work and studio. I think I'll find another board or two to add my Chaos taint, in due time. But I'm not sure where, yet.

And painting... oh yes, painting. It's been far too long, and the studio is finally back in some level of order. I actually have room to paint! what a concept.

I have a sizable blob of models that are all 75% done. But it's all the fiddly details (x50) of that last 25% that's so daunting. *Sigh* Yep, I love to build, but I think it's time to do some painting.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/17 23:49:02

Post by: Brother Chaplain Kage

Ask Blackadder. He posts his stuff on like 200 different forums.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 08:30:40

Post by: Malkira

Yeah. I'm sad the B&C is down. Dakka has always been my second forum-home and its a good one.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 10:28:45

Post by: Malika2

Kick ass stuff. I really hope GW won't send you a C&D order. Very curious to see that flyer kit you're mentioning...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 15:49:53

Post by: Depraved

Amazing work! I am truly impressed by the professional quality of your molds. They look very sturdy. I haven't seen that dark blue color before. What brand of rubber and resin do you use? I'd love to know the specifics.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 16:42:47

Post by: Squigsquasher

That is some of the best scratchbuilding I've ever seen. Pure win.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 18:03:18

Post by: Theophony

How about a larger version of the havoc launcher to be a chaos version of a whirlwind. I would love to have something like that for an iron warriors army that uses c:space marine rules .

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 18:58:41

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks as always, for the replies. People keep calling my work professional, and I very much appreciate the compliment, and I guess I'll have to start accepting it. However, I have a hard time using the term myself. It does fit with what I'm aiming for; premium quality, well executed, easy to build *scowls in FW's direction* kits with a lot of character. I'm glad that it shows in my work that I'm very particular about every step of the process, because I am. Certain steps only give you one chance to get it right, so I try very hard to do just that.

The only thing I can say of Blackadder is that I would not be surprised in the least if someday it is reviled that he is in fact a robot, cyborg, or some other collective consciousness. He has every right to be prolific; It's not just what he does, it's the ingenuity, scope, vision, and how quickly it happens that boggles me.

As for a C&D letter from GW. It could happen, but after the Chapter House Studios vs. Games Workshop ruling, I think it's unlikely. *Mutters a chant of protection to ward off any bad mojo that this statement might create* Even before the rulings, while I was building I was contemplating copyright and Intellectual Property (IP) very seriously. I didn't want to spend a lot of effort and materials making something that would get crushed as soon as it started, after all. The rulings just helped clarify the conclusion I was coming to.

First let me say that GW has every right to defend their IP; they have a rich universe of IP to rightfully defend. GW is a company of people not unlike myself, who are trying to make a living, after all. But, there's a logical/practical/legal limit to that right. It can be grey at times, but cases like this help define the boundaries. You can't just look at the ratio of the rulings for and against either side, but what rulings landed where, and why. When CHS created items that were directly named and inspired by distinctive GW names and images, and marketed them just as blatantly, they lost the ruling. When CHS tried to copy distinctive (not only in name but also image) wargear too closely, and again market it too blatantly, they lost the ruling. When GW tried to claim IP rights to overreaching broad things like 'Arrows' and terms like 'Grenade Launcher', they lost the ruling. The rulings about aftermarket kits very much like my own were all ruled in favor of CHS. It seems like an obvious trend; yes, GW has legitimate grounds for things they truly create to be covered by IP, but it can't be too broad. I claim no ownership of GWs property, I'm merely offering compatible upgrades to pimp them out. I'm trying to do so with tact and respect to the company that makes it possible for me to try and offer my product. Something I think was one of CHSs core mistakes.

As for my moulds, thanks again for the kind words. 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 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.

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.

I'm casting with Smooth Cast 300 resin with a hit of Black pigment to turn it grey. It's an excellent blend of reasonably quick curing time, that produces very strong rigid parts after proper curing. After learning with with the starter kit product (I forget the name - OOMOO or something?) I moved to the pictured blue MoldStar 30. It pours noticeably thicker than the first rubber I used, and without pressure or degassing I would be worried about the odd trapped air bubble. However, I use pressure, so that's not an issue. I prefer it because it makes noticeably tougher moulds than the first rubber I learned with. THe first rubber was showing signs of tearing and damage far too quickly for my liking. Fine for a hobby project, but I want more life from my moulds.

Ok, I've rambled on enough, but it does bring up a good point. Comments, questions, ideas & input (I love ideas & input), and any other musings are always welcome. By no means do I have all the answers or 'the only right way' to do these things, but I am happy to give advice from a place of someone who is trying it first hand. I'll be happy to talk about all manner of tools and techniques over the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 19:03:53

Post by: Squigsquasher

Lego molds, eh? Clever, most clever.

And there's no need to be shy; those castings are near industry quality. I'd buy those kits in a heartbeat (well I would if I hadn't got it into my head that I should convert everything myself).

Will you be doing any Legion specific kits?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 19:12:12

Post by: Lucarikx

Wow, I'm at a loss for words. Amazing stuff!

May I ask where you get your casting supplies? I haven't seen anything like the stuff your using before.

Good luck with Panda's Comp. I'm sure you'll make the top 3, if not better

Again, amazing work, definitely subbed!


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 19:12:14

Post by: Depraved

Thank you for your detailed description. I also am a fan of Smooth on products. There website does make it tough to navigate their extensive line of products, though. I will certainly order the materials you listed when my own stock is depleted. I look forward to seeing more of your work and especially any tutorials and examples.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 19:39:43

Post by: Subtle Discord

Lego is a must. Yes there are more elaborate/professional (read: expensive) solutions for mould boxes, but Lego is just so hard to beat.

Modular, tight-fitting, reusable, prolific and 100% customizable in shape in roughly 5mm increments. Win-win-win. And best of all, you get in touch with your inner child; sometimes I do patterns as I build for the heck of it. How many hours did I play with these little plastic blocks? Seems fitting they find a home in my process of making a new chunks of plastic.

*Sigh* Legion specific; there in lays the rub. I'd love to do that, but the only way I can safely do Legion specific is to keep it generic and avoid any icons or symbols expressly created by GW. In some cases that could be easier; Nurgle really just needs to be rusted, pitted, corroded, and maybe warped with pox, soars, and other horrible things. Khorn can be spiky, with blades and other pointy bits. Tzeentch I picture writhing and shifting, perhaps with faces and such. Slaanesh would be clean and graceful with weaving trim or other delicate details. But what would really set them off and bring them home is exactly what I can't do - add very specific chapter symbols and icons; as soon as I do, that's over the line. I can leave large areas with the intent that you add GW provided, or self sculpted icons, but they can't come attached.

The other issue is knowing my limits. I do excel at scratch building mechanical and hard line items. That could even evolve into the curved surfaces of Eldar and Tau vehicles. But sculpting top-notch Warp inspired mutations and alterations to a level that I would be happy with? I would need to seek some outside talent. Not saying it isn't possible, but I'll have to see how things do with my initial offerings.

A larger Whirlwind inspired Havoc Launcher - seed planted. I had interest in seeing a slightly smaller lower profile Havoc, but this is the first suggestion of even bigger. Bigger is good, I can think bigger. And the Storm Eagle kit will need some large racks, so I might be able to share some prototype parts between... *Ponders*

Edit: I get all my casting supplies form a local shop that happens to be in my city, Sculpture Supply Canada, and they give me great service. I found them online during a general search and research scrounge; It's nice to support a local business if you can, but the internet is the great equalizer. Check the Smooth On site for resellers of their product. As mentioned, the site can be a bit tricky to navigate, but they give lots of great information and have a huge line of product for all sorts of different projects/materials.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 19:58:38

Post by: Desubot

3 Things

1: Will you be doing non KAYOSS builds as well? (Tau)
2: Subbed and exalted

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 20:09:16

Post by: Depraved

Have you though about doing custom tank treads? I think they would suit your talents and flesh out your store a bit. One of my first purchases from a Dakka user was tank treads. (Blood and Skull industries on ebay).

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 20:27:12

Post by: Subtle Discord

1) I would really like to evolve to other races, but the straight lines of human vehicles make them a much better place to start. I'm also a slave to Chaos, and don't personally collect any other armies, so I have less incentive. But as my process evolves and advance even more, and things like vacuum forming plastic, and rapid prototyping start becoming more realistic (Read: I need to generate some capitol) I'd love to do Loyalist kits and any other faction that I can wrap my skills around. For now I'm trying not to bite off too much.


3) More it is! Stay tuned...

And yes, tank treads seem like an obvious place to go, and I was just thinking the same thing. I've been looking at the tread-less models I used for photos and keep thinking, "What do they need?" and then it dawned on me. I was actually looking at the stock treads and taking measurements today at my workbench.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 20:39:30

Post by: Squigsquasher

Yeah, I can definitely understand the desire not to create actual IP-protected iconography.

However, I have a few ideas regarding simple god-aligned armour without directly infringing on anything;

For Khorne, well, spikes and skulls. Fairly obvious.

For Nurgle, heavy corrosion, fungal growths, fly motifs, maybe eruptions of teeth.

For Slaanesh, possibly tentacles, speaker grilles are a must , lots of daemonic maw/screaming imagery, corrupted angelic wings, and gemstones.

For Tzeentch, once again gemstones, Egyptian iconography, eye motifs (including actual eyes), and flame motifs.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 20:46:03

Post by: Desubot

Actually speaking of Tzeentch. I always thought it would be cool to do Rhino panels that look like the Hell raiser puzzle cube.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 21:37:02

Post by: Medium of Death

Just managed to pick my jaw off the floor. This is simply astounding work, insane level of talent.

Can't wait to see more.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/18 22:58:33

Post by: Malika2

What about Chaotic upgrade kits for the Leman Russ, Chimera and Baneblade?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/19 06:09:03

Post by: Subtle Discord

Oh absolutely, I have plans to extend this line to Imperial Guard kits. It seems like a natural evolution and I really want to start a Traitor Guard army; and by extension start doing kits. But, I'm forcing myself to get more of the Chaos Marine army done before I do that. More excuse to do over-the-top vehicles? Yeah, I can handle that, in due time.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/19 10:28:26

Post by: TheDraconicLord

I really don't think there's much risk of a C&D because your kits are very generic looking so far. At least it's my opinion, I know it doesn't count for much.

Your work is amazing, plainly said you seem to have a gift for KAAYUUSS.

Ever considered talking to miniwargaming Dave? The guy is a complete fanatic for Chaos so if he ever got his hands on a rhino / predator / land raider with that extra kit, I think you'd get plenty of attention for your project. (and you are canadian aswell, so maybe you can even physically go to MWG?)

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/19 16:33:40

Post by: Subtle Discord

An interesting lead, thanks for that.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/19 16:46:47

Post by: Malika2

Oh, and you of course know that you also want to make Chaos versions for some of Forgeworld's material right...such as the Proteus Landraider, Thunderhawk and even the Contemptor!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/22 06:00:04

Post by: Subtle Discord

Ha! I've met my match in ambition; yes, they are all possible, but I need to choose kits that also make sense for the amount of effort that would be required. While I'd love to see a Thunderhawk done up like in my work, that would be a massive build. I'll start with a Storm Eagle and see where that leads.

The subject of Chaos tank treads had come up, and I've worked out a few simple templates in CAD...

I tried a few other ideas to the left that were inspire by the stock treads, but settled on something a little more unique to the right.

I've considered doing treads before, but the repetition always turned me off. (I have to make how many?!) So, this time I'm going to make a small selection of links and make moulds to mass produce them. I'll still need to make lots of them, but casting them a few at a time is more appealing than fabricating each one. from there I'll construct the needed lengths from a collection of links.

The other issue was size; they're so small (especially the Rhino links) that there really isn't that much room to be that creative. There's only so much you can do with a tiny link, even on a Land Raider. In the end, they are a very utilitarian part of the tank so I chose to keep them simple enough. A single layer with low-profile rivets.

Finally, I'm going to rework some articles I wrote about tools a while back and polish them for posting. The tools and supplies that I use to build seem like a good place to start talking about my methods.

Stay tuned...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/22 16:41:28

Post by: Depraved

Those look good.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/26 23:29:11

Post by: Subtle Discord

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...

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...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/26 23:38:38

Post by: Subtle Discord

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.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/27 06:39:23

Post by: Knightley

Very informative and being a light weight with scratch building I can see some gaps that filling in my tool department, I look forward to your next installment

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/27 20:43:20

Post by: grrrfranky

Thanks for this, it's great information to have. It reads like a shopping list for the dream hobby workshop!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/28 07:29:39

Post by: Subtle Discord

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 and 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 Mico-Mark (this place has too many wonderful little tools to spend money on - be warned) that can punch discs out of various materials. 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 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; I forget who makes it, I've had it for 10+ years. 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 fro 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.

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 have 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 a really nice Round File 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. Middle - #0 Equaling (Rectangle) for a heavy-duty file that can really chew through material when it's needed. Bottom - #4 Round for when you need a good Round File to get the job done.

7) I've seen crap quality file 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 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, an 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 great 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 that they are usually cheap, so it's easy to amass a collection over time.

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 tools 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.

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 get 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 but 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.

5) Kneadatite (Brownstuff) - Cousin of Greenstuff, I've only just got my hands on some of this stuff. 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 warrents using it.

6) Instant Putty - I got this along with a restock 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 thick tile as a base since it's nice and heavy. I add a but 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 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 tools 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 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 ha stiff bristle 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 bout 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.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/28 08:31:31

Post by: ishkatar

Wow... Just wow...
You, sir, did a great job posting this articles - that's a lot of useful and interesting info in a clean and clear way. I take my hat off!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/29 17:38:36

Post by: Demigod

This is just a great PM Blog and your results are also very well done. Subscribing.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/29 17:49:53

Post by: Moltar

Just stumbled in here and glad I did. Excited to see where this all goes.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/30 19:53:18

Post by: Subtle Discord

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.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/31 17:35:09

Post by: Depraved

Great post! I was recently given a vacuum pump with a small chamber meant for deep staining wooden bowls. It is an older version of what Harbor Freight sells. I have yet to use it for Silicon but It pumps down to 27 quickly and holds vacuum well. The reason I mention this is because it is on sale for $89 bucks.http://www.harborfreight.com/25-cfm-vacuum-pump-98076.html

You mentioned the curved bottom of the pressure pot. I have seen many people with their pressure pot turned sideways with multiple trays in it. Such as @07:35 in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMdicfz5Ouk&list=TLikqaTUcOVRU

Keep up the great posts!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/31 20:24:56

Post by: Subtle Discord

*Mutters* Harbor Freight won't ship to Canada, last I checked. *Grumbles*

It was one of the issues I had putting my chamber together, most of the information talked about pieces purchased bought from there to save costs. Princess Auto carries many of the same items, but with different brands and at a Canadian price point. *Mutters another curse* I'll have a look around and see, maybe I can find it here for reasonably closer. The Sculpture and Casting supplier I use has a nice all-in-one unit that runs on compressed air. I'll have to weigh the pros and cons of ready built vs another home built device.

Funny you should show that video, I watched it when I was putting my first chamber together. There's lots of great practical information in the video, but it's a bit funny when things don't go right. Personally I would have started again, and filmed a more successful cast; as a viewer, after getting that far I wanted see the final successful results.

The problem I have with putting the chamber on its side is that it's not meant to be that way. With the bulky regulator and hardware on the lid, it's very unruly to clamp it on sideways. To safely clamp the lid you want to clamp it at 12 & 6 o'clock, then 9 & 3 o'clock; speed is of the essence and I just can't quickly get the lid up in place and swing the c-clamps up, while holding it in place. In fact, after watching the video again I can see that this is exactly what when wrong for Cindy; you can see she struggles with the clamps and lid, and then tightens the bottom 2, then the top 2, (not criss-cross) and doesn't get a good seal. If the chamber has a proper 'swing door' that can support the lid (some expensive casting ones do) then this isn't a problem. I'd rather build a simple rack with 2-or-3 shelves that I can lower into the chamber. I find I don't need to however, the resin I use kicks so fast that I can't fill more moulds even if I wanted to.

Thanks for the input either-which-way.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/07/31 21:33:44

Post by: Depraved

Good observation about the lid, being clumsy sideways. Also I double checked and the pump I was given is a 3 CFM pump compared to the 2.5 CFM one I linked to. Oh well.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/08/13 07:18:47

Post by: Subtle Discord

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.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/08/17 19:10:54

Post by: Subtle Discord

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 is made with 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.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/08/18 04:58:55

Post by: Cave_Dweller

Incredible work you've got going on here! Those tanks are so cool, very unique, each with such a level of custom detail.

Carry on, please!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/08/18 05:13:58

Post by: Marine_With_Heart

I love those underslung barrel clips on that rhino mounted storm bolter.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/08/18 05:18:39

Post by: Ma55ter_fett

Wow just... wow

I love it all.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/08/18 16:47:26

Post by: Warboss_Waaazag

Wow, this is really informative! I'm still floored that you've made a vaccu-former from a plastic shoe box.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/08/28 03:11:08

Post by: Subtle Discord

Now I know why I avoided the tank tacks; I knew that, no matter how I when 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 and available at The Dark Works shortly after.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/08/29 19:50:17

Post by: aManBearPig

Looks great, really enjoying this blog. Keep up the good work!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/09/06 21:08:08

Post by: Subtle Discord

As usual, thanks for the positive feedback; during frustrating builds like these tracks, it really is motivating. 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.

I have finally got a Vacuum Chamber in the studio and 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, and potentially harming them was not a happy consideration at that 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...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/09/08 19:22:28

Post by: Subtle Discord

Since the subject came up elsewhere, 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.

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.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/09/08 23:43:23

Post by: Desubot

Oh that's brilliant

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/04 21:15:23

Post by: mars2024

I'm speechless. This is amazing. I just skimmed the images, but I'm going to be combing through it soon. Thanks so much for sharing.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/11 22:17:22

Post by: Subtle Discord

*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…

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/12 02:50:56

Post by: Knightley

Such detail, such perfectionist work. I am truly amazed at the levels you are going to.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/12 19:03:36

Post by: Extreaminatus


This is amazing work. I can't wait for more!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/18 01:57:39

Post by: Subtle Discord

~ 2-Part Mould Making ~ Part 1 (Again, how I do it, at least. I hope you like to read... this is just the beginning)

1-Part vs. Split vs. 2-Part ~ Fight! For anyone interested I'll explain the difference... (Note: Everything I'm doing is self-taught, if anyone has any input for process or technique, I'm eager to hear it.)

1-Part Mould: If you have an object with a flat back (my Trim Kit parts being a perfect example) a 1-part Mould can be a perfect simple solution. Just mount the object on a flat surface or slab of plasticine, build a mould box around the object, and pour a slab of rubber over/around the item. Once cured and the prototype is remove, you'll have a mould that is gravity fed. Read: gravity pulls/holds the resin into the mould.

Pros: Simple to make, simple to use. Shallow/short objects will work well with this type of mould. If you take the time to poke and prod any trapped bubbles with a toothpick you can even manually remove most bubbles by hand. With slower kicking resin you'll have plenty of time to get a casting 'just right', and you don't need to invest in a Pressure Chamber or anything more than some basic mould making tools and materials. Perfect for someone who just want to make a few of some creation/s.

Cons: Slow and messy to use, and more limited in the objects it can reproduce. If the object is somewhat complex you need to slowly pour/inject 'just the right amount' of resin into the entire void. Then you need to go around and carefully remove bubbles. If you're just making a few of something for personal use, this is fine; if you're making lots of something, that's far too much labour-per-item. You also need to find a way to flatten the back of the resin (surface tension will make the resin back want to 'curve'). Messy option 1; use a flat object lubed with mould release as a second half of the mould and lay it over the poured object. This usually causes some excess resin to squish out, and makes tons of flash. Messy option 2: 'Skim' or scrap the liquid resin to level the back. Not only is this messy, you can still have surface tension problems. Messy option 3; Pour a little extra into the mould to make the part bulge a bit, and remove that with aggressive sanding after it’s cured. Lots of extra work, and so... much... dust... 'Nuff said?

Split Mould: This type of mould is a lot like a 1-part mould, but for objects that are much larger and complex. You setup the prototype and pour a large slab of rubber over/around the object. Once the rubber has cured the prototype will need to be carefully cut free (Read: split) from the center of the rubber block. When you start getting into objects this large and/or complex you usually need to start considering how to deal with bubbles in places you can't even see. Again, if you're just making a few copies of an object, it may be fine to just fill and repair the bubbles each time, but it adds significantly to the labour-per-piece.

Pros: Simple to make*, simple to use, and works well with Vacuum degassing. *Once you learn how to cut a prototype free from the rubber (this does take practice to do really well) this is an easier way to make a more complex mould. Pouring the rubber is simple, since it's usually a top down gravity fed mould with a single gate/vent. Since you don't need to set up for a second half (cutting the mould open creates the two halves) all you need is a prototype with a nice large pour gate, maybe some simple venting, and pour a block of rubber around it. Vacuum degassing will cause bubbles to 'boil out' of the resin rising up-and-out of the object and into the large simple pour gate.

Cons: Mould slip, mould lines, massive pour gates. Without anything to really lock the split of a Split Mould in place, it can easily misalign and produce a significant mould line or even a bad 'slip'. Slips are when the sides don't even come close to meeting; a bad mould line that is next to impossible to easily remove, usually requiring reconstruction of some sort. I hate all of these issues, so even when I end up doing large gate Vacuum friendly moulds, I will avoid using true Split Moulds. I swear by full 2-part Moulds. And the Pour Gates, massive Pour Gates. Resin is rather inexpensive, but it's still not free. Every CC of resin lost in the Gate and Vents could have been used to make more objects. In this case, more and less is always better; more parts, less waste? Yes please!

2-Part Mould: These start much like the 1-part mould, but the process follows with a second slab of rubber to make... you guessed it, a second part. This method can make gravity fed moulds, or my preferred, injection filled.

Pros: Control, precision, consistency. You can control exactly where the mould line runs; along edges, corners, and over easy-to-clean places to avoid detailed places. I hate mould lines. I insist on trying to make them easy to get rid of. Also, if you take the time to make many mould 'pins' to lock the mould halves together, with lots of staggered pins (more on that later), the halves of the mould lock together very tightly. I rarely ever have any 'mould slip' and always have reasonable mould lines when I cast thanks to these pins; I lose many many more parts to bad bubbles and voids than slips. Finally, you also get full control of the channels and gates that you use to inject or feed the mould with resin, and you don't end up with massive Pour Gates and Vents consuming lots of resin, if you do it well.

Cons: These moulds take more labour, skill, and materials to produce. Not only does each mould need to essentially cure twice (once per half), anything other than a flat backed object takes more time and skill to make the mould. Plasticine is your friend when making a 2-part mould; it's not only used as a base on all of the moulds, but also essential filler for more complex parts. It can take many hours just to build the plasticine to occupy the negative space that's required for complex objects, but the resulting flexibility you get in the mould is worth the time.

For me, 2-part moulds produce excellent reproductions with virtually no mould lines and only a bit of flash. They also waste less since you don't need a large pour gate like the Split Mould method. The amazing quality of the reproductions is well worth the effort, if you ask me.

Ok with that wall-o-text done... on to process! First, a few key tools and materials you'll need for this method.

Lego, lots of Lego. (Mega Blocks also work well) Hands-down this is one of the most straight forward materials for making mould boxes. Modular, endlessly reusable, and prolific, Lego lets you make any shape or size mould box you need. Lots of 2x4 blocks are perfect.
Plasticine. The same stuff you played with in school, Van Aken Plasticine can be found a most craft and hobby stores. You can even pick your favorite colour.
A Rolling Board. I've taped down a square of Parchment Paper to a cutting board for this task. Parchment is use the world over as a non-stick surface for all manner of jobs. You can find it at most grocery stores.
A Rolling Tool. A proper rolling pin is fine, but I make due just fine with a short length of rigid PVC-like tube.
Spacers. Just some thin strips of wood that are even and about 1cm thick. This will let you roll an even slab of plasticine.
A poking Tool. To errrr... poke, with. More specifically, to poke mould pin holes; but more on that shortly.
A scraping tool. A long tipped painting knife is perfect.
A Long Spatula. I use an icing spatula for mixing the rubber, to be more specific. But a few Spatulas for scraping rubber off tools and out of mixing cups is a good thing.
A Strong Mixing Stick. Always mix your rubber well before you pour it. Unmixed rubber will take much longer to cure, or not cure properly at all.
Mould Release Spray. Prototype parts will generally pull free of the rubber without Release Spray, but the mould halves can be almost impossible to pull apart without some spray.
Gloves and Safety Glasses. Rubber is sticky and doesn't wash off; wear gloves and older cloths or an apron. Also, the last thing you want to do is get a splatter of it in your eye/s. Slips do happen sometimes; always wear goggles when mixing and working with the rubber.
Lots of Paper Towel. When working with RTV Rubber and Resin you’ll always need to have some towels to wipe up sticky messes. As a general side note, drop cloths and other ‘keep it clean’ considerations should be made when doing these processes. Drips, drops, spills, and all manner of things can go awry. (I once flung an open bottle of liquid plastic across the room, due to a heavy-handed slip of the hand) Be careful, protect your work area, and yourself.

First you need a slab of Plasticine that is smooth, even and large enough. Also, a mould box of Lego to fit the part.

Use the strips of wood (or other objects) Spacers on either side of the Plasticine while you roll it out. Rotate it as you go to try and get the shape you'll need. There's no problem trimming sides down and attaching them to corners to get rid of an inevitable rounding you'll get while rolling. Just blend the seam a bit with your finger, and roll them together. The Plasticine is so dense that air trapped in and under it is not affected by the Pressure Chamber. You just need a smooth flat top to mount your prototype.

Once you've got a large slab, make sure it's big enough to reach all the corners of your Mould Box. How deep the Box is will naturally depend on the object. This is a shallow trim bit, so three Lego blocks is more than deep enough.

When making the Box around the object, always remember to give the item plenty of room. You want nice thick walls of at least 1cm around the object. The thicker the mould, the less chance of warping when casting. In some cases this will mean moulds will be massive blocks, but with the right rubber, and planning in the mould, it will last long enough to offset the modest extra cost.

Just place the object lightly to use it for reference. Here's where to Poking Tool comes into play.

With a light press on the Mould Box you can get an outline to use for reference. Trim off excess Plasticine and place the prototype as a guide while you press the voids into the Plasticine that will become the locking pins. All I use is a simple rod of metal with a mark to keep them all about the same depth. You want them somewhat thin (so you can fit more) and rather deep so the really lock tight with the other half of the mould. I start with the corners along the outside edge, then add pins as evenly spaced as I can manage. Follow the Lego pattern in the Plasticine to help with the spacing.

Again, more pins = tighter locking mould. And don't worry if the Plasticine puckers a little where you press these pins in; as long as the prototype has good contact with the Plasticine base that's all that matters. You want a clean mould, but the Plasticine doesn't need to be flawless.

With the rows of staggered locking pins in place, the Mould Box gets pressed into the Plasticine base.

I stagger the pins to get as much fit as possible, and have them as close to the object as I dare. I want the mould to have no choice but relax to a perfect fit every time, and this many pins does that.

With a firm press around the edge the Mould Box is sunk ever-so-slightly into the Plasticine to create a seal. Take extra care that the corners are getting a good seal. You can use a tool to press along the outside edge of the Plasticine and help make sure the seal is tight. The odd tiny slow leak will happen, but they stop as the rubber thickens while curing, and just create a little rubber blob to remove.

Naturally, the prototype is also pressed down to stick to the Plasticine at this point. You want it to stick to the slab, but not really sink into it. A light but firm press is usually more than enough to get the part locked in place, but sometimes a spray of Mould Release will help a part stick. It tends to soften the Plasticine ever-so-slightly, before evaporating.

Now the Scraping Tool (Painting Knife in my case, but anything similar will do) is used to free the entire contraption from the board.

The Parchment Paper will help considerably when trying to get this off the board. It's a little tricky even with paper; work your way around the Plasticine and gently lift the entire piece as you go. You want to keep the Mould Box in place, so take your time. Without the paper the slab with be almost glued to most boards. Pressing the pins really bonds the Plasticine down, and you usually warp the mould when you're trying to lift it. Do yourself a favor and get some Parchment Paper. It's at your local Grocers, right by the wax paper, plastic wrap, foil, etc..

Room Temperature Vulcanizing (RTV) Rubber, Goggles, Gloves, and a strong Paint Brush Handle as a Mixing Stick.

I'm using Smooth-On products, but there are many other brands. In this case Smooth-On Mold Star 30. This RTV Rubber flows very smooth, Pressure Casts perfectly, and is surprisingly tough yet very flexible. It is also very stiff in a good way, and doesn't need mould boxes to help it keep proper shape. A good thick mould of this makes exact copies of even the most delicate objects.

Gloves and Goggles should go without saying. Again, this stuff can be messy, you don't want it on your hands, and the last thing you want is an accidental flick of it in the eye. You might even consider an apron or coat to protect clothes; or just wear work clothes that you don't mind getting rubber/resin on. You can't plan for accidents or slips, so be prepared.

I'm trying to find something better, but for now the Paint Brush Handel is doing fine as a mixer. The chemicals in rubber will settle and make it act very strange if you don't mix them up before you pour, so make sure you mix them well.

No super exact measuring needed, just a simple 50/50 mix and it's good to go.

Use a spatula to to scrape as much of the Part A cup into the Part B. With this product Part A flows much faster/easier than Part B, so I pour it first. Don't worry if you can't get every last drop out of the cup, just try to get as much as you can. I then start with the Mixing Stick to get the blend of A and B started.

Now I switch to a long Spatula to mix, scraping the sides, corners, and bottom carefully.

The mix needs to be complete. Any poorly mixed rubber will make a soft spot in the mould. So you need to take time and care to scrape the sides of the container, and be sure to get it mixed out of the corners and off of the bottom of the cup. The RTV rubber cures very slowly, so you have a lot of time to work with it. Make sure the mix is very complete for the best results. Using cups that you can see through helps considerably, since you can actually see if the mix is compete and consistent with no streaks.

I use an up-side-down cake pan as a base for my moulds; it's stiff, fits the Pressure Chamber perfectly, and has a useful non-stick coating.

With the RTV rubber mixed, I let it sit for a few minutes to let the larger bubbles rise up and out. A quick blow on the surface will make the bubbles pop. Mixing will inevitably add lots of tiny bubbles to the rubber. Curing it under pressure will make them all completely vanish, but I give larger bubbles as much chance as I can to rise out.

Pour slowly from one corner of the mould; let the RTV rubber slowly creep over the part. Again this minimizes the chance of trapping air bubbles. But even if a small one does get caught, the Pressure Chamber cure will get it.

Lego is also great because you can build stilts for extra moulds. This time I cured a second mould stacked on top of the stilts.

Once it's in the Pressure Chamber I make sure it's very level. Liquids will always settle flat, so leveling the mould never hurts. In this case it's even more important. With my Trim parts I need to clamp the moulds in simple Mould Boxes to get good results. If the mould is perfectly level, it will clamp better at casting time.

With that, I seal the mould up in the Chamber, and apply 50+PSI of pressure during the 7 hour cure time.

Well then... this has been quite the wall-o-text, and this is just one half of a simple 2-part mould. Granted, the first half of the process is more involved, and takes more time and effort. Part 2 will be shorter, since the second half of the mould can use this first half as a base.

Thanks for reading; I hope it's been interesting.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/18 02:09:49

Post by: MajorTom11

The quality and precision of your work are bloody ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Honestly.

If I was any kind of Chaos player I would buy every last item, no joke.

Probably the best plasticard work I have ever seen, and I have seen a bit at this point.

Not to be 100% bum-kissy I think your edge highlights on the black are too harsh, I actually liked it better before you hit it with the extreme contrast.

But eff it who cares, brilliant stuff!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/18 02:25:58

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks for the kind words. I'm going to read between the lines (if you intended it or not) and tell myself to get working on some Loyalist kits. I wish I had more time at the moment. *Mutters* If only I were in the Warp.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/18 03:02:50

Post by: 1-i

And I now have a new modeling god to pay worship too with offerings of navil lint and toe nail clippings.

Honestly I have to reread this thread in the morning when my mind works better but by god this has to be as professional of a thread as it can get. And you colors are nice as well.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/18 19:43:30

Post by: Subtle Discord

Make your offerings to the Dark Lords; they are the ones to speak to me from the lost places of the Warp. But I will gladly do what I can to preach their message of creation to the masses.

~ 2-Part Mould Making ~ Part 2

After 7+ hours of curing under 50+PSI of pressure the rubber as close to perfect as you can get.

Now that the RTV rubber is solid and locked in place it's as easy as flipping the Mould Box and peeling the Plasticine away. Sometimes the pressure has a way of forcing rubber under the piece in a few places, but that can be cleaned up; I'll show some of that next...

After removing the Plasticine it's time for some cleanup.

It's not uncommon for the odd seam to leak a little. The rubber gets thick enough to stop flowing in the first hour or so in the Pressure Chamber, so it's not enough to be a problem but it needs to be cleaned up at this point. Note: If you are not careful handling your mould boxes you can break the seal it has with the Plasticine. This can cause a large enough leak that will let much more of the rubber ooze out before curing.

Also, a few spots usually get a bit of rubber forced under by the pressure. It's usually a thin film that can be easily trimmed away. A fresh #11 scalpel blade is my go to favorite for this job, but it's my favorite blade for almost everything. Carefully cut along the edge of the object and use a set of tweezers to pick and peel away the unwanted rubber.

After cleanup it's a simple matter of building up the Lego to create a box for the second half of the mould.

With the walls built up there are two final steps before pouring the second half of the mould. First, input/output gates need to be attached to the sprew. These will pass right through the second half of the mould that is about to be poured. Once they're glued in place the entire cavity is sprayed liberally with some Mould Release. Be sure to spray the rubber areas well; not having enough Mould Release will make the two halves of the mould stick together, and very hard to split apart. In some cases it can be all but impossible to split the mould at all.

Just like the first half of the mould, an even smooth pour starting in one corner is all that's needed.

Just like before, once I have the moulds poured I stack them up before returning them to the Pressure Chamber for the second high pressure curing.

Now it’s time to dismantle the Lego Mould Box and reveal the newly completed mould.

As Lego blocks are pulled away each of the seams will leave thin flash. It likes to stick to the Lego, but it peels away very easily; it’s just a bit fiddly and annoying, really. Once all of the Lego is gone it’s simple to pick this flash away by hand.

Now the Prototype needs to be freed from the new 2-Part Mould.

The Mould Release spray used earlier will help the two parts split apart. The Pins can be a bit stubborn at this point, as they each pop free for the first time. Working slowly around the part you can open the entire seam. From there just peel the mould open.

A press on the Inlet/Outlet Gates should push the Prototype away from the mould.

Slip the Prototype free and the mould is ready to use. With the pressure during curing, the RTV rubber has been formed flawlessly. Even the shine left from the glue I used during the build can be seen in the mould surface - amazing.

Now, since I created this article I’ve done many more moulds (most successful, several others… not so much ) And I figured it would be a good spot to show how this method can be taken to do larger and more complex objects. Plasticine is an excellent base and temporary filler and it can be used suspend complex objects.

It’s all in the layering; build a base slab, and place your prototypes on shelves made from plasticine.

It takes some practice, and a willingness to cut certain slabs several times until the correct shape is achieved; but fitting the object like this will let you completely control where the mould split will be. In this case I get it along the outside edge where it will be very easy to clean. Any major overhangs that could grab at the second half of the mould are filled with plasticine, and will be removed and cleaned in the next step. Getting the seal of the component to the plasticine is the trickiest part at this point. A little Mould Release brushed on along the seam can help. Getting it as clean as possible will make for clean mould lines that are easier to remove from the final resin casts.

After pouring and curing the first half, just like the simpler flat-back mould, remove the plasticine and clean things up.

Building the plasticine up is more complex in this case, but taking it out is the same principle. Getting the ‘stump’ of plasticine out can be a bit of a pin, but once it starts it usually rolls out as pictured. Traces of plasticine in nooks-and-crannies can be cleaned out with rubbing alcohol and/or Mould Release. As before, some rubber will get forced under the parts in a few places, they will need to be cleaned up. Beyond that, the Mould Box is built up again, injection vents are added, everything is sprayed with Mould Release, and the parts are ready for the pouring of the second half of this mould.

De-moulding parts from moulds like this becomes more difficult; shapes like these like to bent and warp as you try to free it from the mould. So just how complex they can get is somewhat limited, but they can easily be large enough for most war-gaming model needs.

So, that's it for now. Any questions, comments, ideas, or other general musings are always welcome.

Up next... I have no idea... But I'm sure I'll come up with a little something.

Thanks for reading.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/19 18:53:47

Post by: Subtle Discord

To get away from casting and moulds for a moment, I figured it might be interesting to show a bit of what keeps me away from my studio during the Fall and Winter months. In this case, it fits right in with miniatures and gaming, so it seemed a good subject for a small distraction post.

I've mentioned on occasion that I have recently returned to school to study for a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design; and by ‘study’, I mean draw and build, draw and build, draw and build some more… then start again. My choice in field of study is in no small part due to the war-gaming hobby and everything that comes with collecting, building, and painting. The response to my work from the community in general told me I needed to take myself seriously, and go for it. If I can do this in my basement, what could I do in a larger industry setting?

My direct goal isn’t to become a miniature designer necessarily, but I have several more years of school to figure out where I fit and what I want to do. That said, I’ll be bring all of the skills, equipment, and process that I can into my modest studio and the kits I’ll produce over the coming weeks, months, years. Huh… that’s almost a paradox. Oh well, such things happen when you’re fueled by the Warp.

So, while many of the projects I have done (and will do) have limitations on what I can choose to create, sometimes we get freedom to make larger choices in form and function. I was flipping through some older photos and a project from last year came up; we were tasked with making a Carryall for a modest selection of items important to a task. My brain immediately set on a case for miniature painting supplies…

The construction had to be made mostly of paper; almost everything is built from Posterboard, Cardboard, and Mayfair paper.

The hinges, swing arms, drawer slide, and magnetized latch are the only parts made from plastic, so that those parts would be strong enough.

I had the option of building to a smaller scale, so I could have made the build easier; but if I was going to make this, I wanted to be able to use it in the end.

The paper plastic combination in the construction makes the build a bit fragile, but it still functions well to keep all of the most needed painting supplies in one place. I can close it all up and tuck it way if I need the desk space, or if I want to move my painting location temporarily. Maybe someday I’ll improve the design (it really deserves a good handle of some sort) and try my hand at making it from plastic and metal.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/19 20:53:17

Post by: Moltar

Man! Every post is like a Must have tip or trick for any hobbyist. Love the updates. Please keep them coming.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/19 23:13:07

Post by: catharsix

Wow, this is really some incredible work. I don't suppose you take commissions, or ever plan to sell your really great parts?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/20 16:37:18

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks, as always, for the wonderful feedback. I'm glad people find it useful. More is always planned, stay tuned.

My little shop, The Dark Works (click the signature banner), has the first of my kits for sale, but it's going to be getting an update in the kit selection and pricing very soon. So much to do, never enough time...

As for commissions, I am not closed to the idea, but there are many factors (too many to list casually) that would need to be considered.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/30 02:08:11

Post by: Subtle Discord

No rest for the weary, no sleep for the wicked. Been juggling quite a bit the last while and sadly the studio time has had to suffer for it. That said, I've finally got the last bits done for the first Accessories Kit, so here's a quick update...

A few extra details and some rivets finish up the linked-Bolter Ammo Drums.

I wanted to keep this more simple and neutral; it's easy to clutter something so small. I'm happy with the straight forward look it has, and there's nothing stopping me from revisiting this bit and making variations.

After a few failed attempts, the last bit in the selection finally took form, the Dirge Caster.

As I built these parts I kept thinking I'd do something more elaborate, but as the layers came together the clean vox-grill look with a single high frequency satellite speaker didn't seem to need more, in my humble opinion. By using the same curved base part that I used in the Searchlight, the parts share a nice cohesive form with the rest of the kit.

Moulds are curing as I write this, and the first casts of these final bits should be done in the next few days. If all goes as planned I'll sit down this weekend and update The Dark Works; everything shown the last while should be avaliable next week.

I've got a few more ideas and projects bouncing around inside my head, but that's another story for another day. Must... not... write... wall... of... text.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/30 05:15:54

Post by: Jehan-reznor

Damn, you gots da skillz man!

Only one complaint where are the skulls! Chaos and no skull! Heresy

Any plans for doing your thing on Chaos Dreadnaughts?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/10/30 15:44:53

Post by: Master Azalle

I wish i had an iota of your tallent! Very impressive sir!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/11/04 02:00:50

Post by: Watchersinthedark

Man this all looks amazing!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/11/17 09:28:45

Post by: Subtle Discord

All work and no play makes Subtle go something something...

All work and no play makes Subtle go something something...

All work and no play makes Subtle go something something...

All work and no play makes Subtle go..

... go crazy?

Don't mind if I do! *Blragh gigergle splat bletch*

Errr... Studies have kept me quite busy but I finally found time to get all of the background work done, so just a quick late night post to celebrate The Dark Works waking from its slumber...

Something old, something new; pictures of the older kits mixed with the new Vehicle Accessories and Tracks.

The new kits are finally in proper production, and looking really good, if I do say so myself. With these smaller kits I can now offer a better selection of bundles along with single kits. I might simplify the selection in the future, but for now I think choice is good.

More coming soon (I hope) but for now, sleep ways is right ways. Thanks as always for past and future support of my work, and the modest studio that is growing from it.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/11/17 17:55:36

Post by: Moltar

Those look great! Solid kits all around!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/11/17 21:27:49

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks as always, for the kind words. My upcoming projects came up in another corner of the web, and I figured it was worth sharing. In the short term an obvious idea bubbled back up in my brain last week...

'Chaos Strong-Point'? Yes, I think that has potential; perhaps with a 'Twin-Linked Reaper Auto-Cannon' upgrade in the future.

These are really early sketches based on GWs kit to get the idea down on paper. I want to do more then just add Trim, I will be changing the form/shape to make it more unique along with other cosmetic changes. But naturally, it will retain the exact same footprint of a GW Defense Line. This project is of a much more realistic scope for the time being, so it should start taking form soon-ish.

I also recently got my hands on a new set of tools for the studio...

Greenstuff Industries ~ Tentacle Maker Tools are a welcome addition to my selection of building paraphernalia; I can't wait to start using them.

With these handy dandy little plates I'll be able to start adding all manner of tentacles, hoses, and pipes to future projects. I'll be sure to do an article-or-two about using them, once I get around to a build that can benefit from them.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/12/11 05:01:58

Post by: Subtle Discord

All praise be to the winter break! With the Industrial Design program I am enrolled in, the curriculum does not really suit a 'reading week' mid-term. In return we get a longer holiday break. Finally, some wide open studio time! But, before any new build projects for the studio, I'll definitely be spending some time at the painting bench...

With lots of painting projects to choose from, there's no problem filling up the painting bench with plenty of models.

Since I do have a little time to paint, and maybe chip away at an actually finishing an army that can see a table or two , I've gone back to my army list, again. Another shuffle; not the first, won't be the last. When the new Chaos Codex was released I got several of the new kits, which promptly started their wait in the long list of projects to complete. Since I had the model it seemed silly to ignore adding a 'Drake to the new list. It's not really the kind of flyer I'd prefer to add to my list, but you have to work with what you're given.

Most of the model is held together with thread the poster-tack, so at this point the pose is only 80% where it should be. Given how complex and overlapping many of the parts are, I'll be painting many parts before assembly to save my sanity some. Just too many nook-and-crannies to deal with otherwise.

Naturally, I couldn't leave the Heldrake kit stock, it needed some personalization.

Originally I wanted to do a major conversion and scratch build, to create a Heldrake that was closer to a fighter jet with a cockpit and strait lines. I still like the idea, but after dabbling with the kit the idea seemed possible, but very elaborate and involved. Later, I'll consider elaborate and involved (and maybe make a cast-able kit out of the effort), but right now I wanted to make something a little less ambitious. Adding a Magma Cutter nozzle to the mouth (Autocannon removed) for a bit of variety was a start, and Lasher Tendrils added some interest to the tail.

Taking inspiration from a Heldrake conversion by Rumplemaster Miniatures I wanted to give the model a more vertical pose and bring the head forward and down.

In the Rumplemaster conversion they chose to take a more... direct... route to cutting down the chest plate of the Drake and bringing the head forward. I chose to more carefully carve out the center armour plate with a Razor Saw, lower it, and reintegrate it as seamlessly as I could manage. This gave me room to lower the neck, and combined with a small change to the armour plate under the chin I was able to lower the head pose to add to the effect. A little brownstuff and some sanding filled in the old stand hole; I'm planning on adding a rod out of the rear foot as a stand post. I think the final pose will need to wait on the base; maybe I can get something tall enough for the foot to grip for support.

So after I take a little diversion on a few personal projects I'll be turning my gaze back on some studio builds. I want to try to keep painting no matter what, but I still have some build ideas clawing at the back of my brain that want to become real. I can't ignore the whispers from the warp, they keep calling me back to the Storm Eagle. But that, so they say, is another story for another day.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2013/12/17 20:55:52

Post by: Eggroll

Really blown away by the conversions you've done. Everything from the extra armor to the heldrake pose is amazing. Can't wait to see you paint these all up!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/01/21 15:10:31

Post by: Squigsquasher

Damnit, why has this slipped off my subscriptions?

Fantastic work as always. Oh, and here's an idea: parts to convert a Dreadnought/Venerable Dreadnought into a Chaos Dreadnought/Helbrute!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/15 23:14:27

Post by: Subtle Discord

"Klaatu... verata... n... Necktie. Nectar. Nickel. Noodle. … … It’s definitely an ‘N’ word! … Klaatu… verata… N-*Cough*! … … Ok then. *Takes the book* ... Wait a minute! Everything's cool! … No really, I said the words. I did!"

*A huge portal opens and sucks Subtle out from under his rock, flinging him across several realities*

Thanks as always for the positive feedback, and no worries about losing track; the auto-notification features of many sites seem to be a bit fickle. This poor thread, I need to feed it some ration of content to remind it that better times are coming. Naturally, I’ve been very busy, but there are all sorts of things brewing in the background, I can assure you. It may get quiet, but the Basement Troll is always up to something. When we were last visited by our intrepid adventurer, a Heldrake was taking form…

The composition of the model with the base will make it a bit taller than the standard flying stand provided, but not enough to have me worried. It will loom over the army nicely once finished.

I’ve always been a fan of real stone for basing. It’s true that you can get some amazing results from a number of other products and/or techniques, but for me when I want a rock, I use a real rock. In this case, it meant I needed a very large and unique rock, and I’m enough of a collector to have a modest selection. I keep my eye open all the time for unique stones, rocks, and other potential basing materials. Even in a built up city you can find all sorts of interesting textures and objects in your environment; just one small scoop of some crushed gravel from a construction site or playground can provide ‘basing stone’ for years.

One key to working with stone is getting high speed rotary bits that can handle drilling hard rock. Dental drill bits are perfect, but there are many other bits that can handle the job. It’s not always necessary to pin a miniature down but if the only contact point/s with the base are on the stone you’re using, it really is better to drill a hole and pin the model down to the stone for added strength. In the case of the Heldrake, it needed a larger/deeper-than-average post hole for the foot to attach to the base. An extra win-win about using this much real stone on the base it that it is very bottom heavy and stable; there is little chance this model will get knocked over.

Changing the pose exposed too much of the ball-joint that is used to connect the parts; a simple cover up was in order.

It was a simple task to use some half round styrene rod and some of my ever-growing supply of pipes and hoses (Thanks to my GSI Tenticle Makers. Note: v2 coming soon) and give the offending spots a bit of a cover-up. I did file down the top of the sphere a bit before starting, just to lower the layer of pipes and hoses a bit.

The changes in this kit alter the pose and feel of the model dramatically, but they weren’t all that in depth compared to some of my projects; it came together surprisingly quickly.

A tip for filling in large holes and gaps like the original flying stand hole in the chest of the Heldrake; work in 2-3 layers. Fill the offending hole about 90% of the way with your preferred epoxy putty, and once that's cured go in with a thinner layer to finish the job. Then file, sand, and smooth the location to blend it away seamlessly.

The ‘Drake even got a good part of its paint job started before my workload forced me to put it aside. It, along with the entire army that will bask in the grim shadow it casts, are all poised to get actually finished come spring time. A few new paints and some Liquid Gold are on order to replace some ancient pots, and they should be just the incentive to get the brush going again.

Now, that’s not to say I don’t have more than a few building plans for The Dark Works. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to do a counts-as Aegis Defense Line, and it has seen some good progress…

After several iterations, this broad pattern was the final build that really worked well. To take the idea of defensive out of it, I plan to call it a Siege Line.

Obviously, there is still a lot of detailing that needs to be done. Once the main trim and rivets are done I’m going to add some cabling and some kind of Vox grill or screen. I’m still working it out and might do some sketches that I’ll show later. My drawing skills are improving dramatically with the projects I’m doing in college, so it’s only a matter of time before it migrates to my p’logs.

By popular demand, I will be starting work on a complimenting line of Loyalist vehicle kits; this Land Raider pattern is almost ready to start building once the studio wakes from its hibernation.

With this new Land Raider armour pattern I wanted to address one shortcoming of the original Chaos kit; the Sponson on the original kit is ‘locked’ in the front position by the detailing of the pattern. Now, this is my preference, but I can understand only too well that others might want it switched. So, after a bit of tweaking and adjustment, I was able to design a plate that can be swapped to switch the orientation of the Sponson. The layers of styrene that make up the side wall will need to be ever-so-slightly thicker than the current kit, but it won’t have a noticeable impact.

As always, this is only the tip of the iceberg; the voices from the warp are always chattering in my head, giving me ideas and inspiration. There are many other projects under consideration, and with my newly improving drawing skills I hope to be showing all sorts of concept sketches when I return to my studio work with more time.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/16 01:19:24

Post by: Anvildude

The Drake's legs are looking a little... weency. You've got a very Wyvern look going there- no plans to push that a little farther?

Also, why not re-pose it to have it pushing off the rock spire with its foot instead of hovering just above it with a visible rod? That way you'd not have the rod showing, and possibly be able to get a much more dynamic pose and presentation out of it.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/16 01:51:58

Post by: Ulterior

I guess I'll be holding off on building that land raider now

Looking great!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/19 08:42:36

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks for the feedback guys; and Anvildude...

*Sticks his fingers in his ears and starts singing 'la la la... I can't hear you... la la la'*

I do this not because I think you're wrong, but because It think you're right and I don't want to hear it. Yes, the rear legs on the Heldrake are completely weency little stumps. While there is the impression of lots of flexibility in the pose of the Heldrake kit, it is actually very restrictive. It is meant to be built in one forward flying pose, with only a little bit of room to change the pose. In that stock build the rear legs are meant to dangle behind the 'Drake as it moves forward. When I considered the final pose for my converted Heldrake I seriously tried to make your idea work, but a few things came together to stop me.

The legs are so short and solid, the amount of work it would take to bend them was prohibitive to the limited change it would provide; there just isn't enough room/material to give that 'pushing off' feel to the leg/s. The swoop shape of the model really does suit a pose that says that the 'Darke is in 'full motion'; all the hoses and pipes, the bend in the back, the curve of the neck, and the wings are all intended for a model that is flying forward. Best just to keep it that way, and changing just the leg to perch on the stone would make that conflict too much with the rest of the motion of the model, in my opinion.

Also, changing all the details to better suit that more elaborate pose fits in with my overall reason to choose the simpler 'swooping' pose - preserving my sanity. I have a way of getting... distracted with details. I've learned that I need to keep things simple and actually get them done rather than make them overly elaborate and never finishing them. The most amazing idea means nothing if you never actually finish it. When I started weighing everything (including the looong list of unfinished projects for this army) I chose to keep the build reasonably straight forward so it would get done relatively (for me) quick. Finally, once it's fully painted and not being photographed on a white background the supporting post will be much less obvious.

So yeah. I glad for the feedback and like idea. Tried to make it work, but it just wasn't in the cards. I'll stop rambling now.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/19 10:03:10

Post by: RobZie

I'm just Blown away by this whole thing. as somebody just getting into scratch building, I really need to step up my game.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/19 20:46:16

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks, as always for the kind words. To give a little perspective, I've been building with styrene for at least 15 years; but don't let that intimidate you, great results can be had in much less time. All I can suggest as general encouragement is to start where you are, and give it a go. Expect to make many mistakes (large and small) and to learn from them.

A few quick and dirty pieces of advice would be:

Be patient and take your time. Work in layers, and do things in a logical order. Taking time to seriously consider how it's going to come together is huge. Things can become a real hassle if you choose a less-than-optimal build order. Don't be tempted to put something together 'just to see what it will look like' unless it really is time for it to assemble. It will be done when it's done; don't rush.

In the same vein, when bonding parts together, give the solvent time to properly dry. Styrene is literally melted together with solvents that need time to evaporate before it becomes stable. Trying to sand or file an item too soon will turn it into a goopy mess. Trying to cut or drill items too soon will cause parts to shift and slide. The good news is that once the solvent is properly evaporated, the plastic is totally stable and workable, in most cases as if it was a single piece. Even minor mistakes and blemishes made from mistakes can be smoothed away with careful clean-up once it's given time to dry.

Small things will usually take exponentially more time than larger objects to assemble; work with batches of small items so things can be set aside and given proper drying time. Little objects with their tiny details are more effected by the two points above. Good results come from being very patient and learning what works and what doesn't work - many times the hard way, with a ruined object. Try not to sweat it too much when you have to start again. Pay attention to what when wrong and learn from the mishap.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/19 21:36:33

Post by: Anvildude

Iysoeue.w Waenll titfo tphuatsi hnotwh yeowuo wrakn.tt irtu, swthmoe ahm aIv teoi teevlelrls ytoeue ortehdeyrowuiwzreo?ng?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/20 17:47:37

Post by: Subtle Discord

Hey now! I have a hard enough time trying to keep the voices from the Warp from taunting and goading me into flights of fancy. I don't need anymore pressure. Unless you're just another... *Subtle squints and stares suspiciously at his monitor*

But seriously, that's one of the wonderful things about this hobby. It's completely subjective, and we all have complete control over what we can choose for our own collection. I appreciate all input, positive or critical, even if I don't agree or can't act on it. Many times it 'plants a seed' for future ideas and builds, and it always helps to keep me motivated.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/20 18:56:09

Post by: hemmis92

This is beyond awesome. The details, the quality, it's all just mind-boggling!
Sadly I don't play Chaos (at least not the 40k variant), but I'm crossing my fingers for future Tau/Eldar/Vanillamarines, seeing as how you mentioned something about it *hint-hint-nudge-nudge-wink-wink*?
Anyways, subbed (ofcourse) and really looking forward to the continued journey!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/02/22 23:56:26

Post by: Subtle Discord

Damn you GW! These new Imperial Knights just scream 'Mars Pattern'. Now they've got me wanting one of these models so I can make a 'Lucius Pattern' conversion kit. Like I didn't have enough to deal with, they go and do this to me. Too... many... ideas... not... enough... time!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/05/17 06:08:52

Post by: Subtle Discord

++++++++++Scanning …
++++++++++Scanning …
++++++++++Interference Level Shift: 1.13 – 0.98 – 0.925
++++++++++Signal Detect…
++++++++++Signal Lock…
++++++++++Processing: Decrypt…
++++++++++Opening Image Files…

++++++++++Displaying: Legion Formation Progress – 1st of the 9th Heavy Armour Cavalry

++++++++++ Interference Level Shift: 0.925 – 0.90 – 0.875
++++++++++Communications Protocol Request.
++++++++++Re-establishing Connection...
++++++++++Stand By…

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/05/17 08:30:36

Post by: Furious Retreat

As a rule I do not like the aesthetics of the chaos marines. Your modelling and painting is the only chaos marine models I've seen that makes me go: "I want to play CSM's!!"
Fantastic work

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/06/29 22:54:16

Post by: Subtle Discord

++++++++++Processing: Request…
++++++++++Interference Level Shift: 0.875 – 0.783 – 0.635
++++++++++Communications Protocol Validate.
++++++++++Signal Lock…
++++++++++Connection Established…
++++++++++Processing: Decrypt…
++++++++++Opening Image Files…
++++++++++Opening Transcribe Files…

Praise to you Lord Warmaster. Blessings to the Dark Gods that they have finally seen fit to calm the warp storms and permit us to once again support your efforts. Our Mechanicus have been busy with rites of maintenance and repair in preparation; production has been improved and plans are in place for further expansions and upgrades once the necessary equipment, materials, and labour can be obtained. Your plans shall not go astray.

During our time spent severed by the flares, efforts in exploration of the local system have discovered something unexpected. On the 7th and 9th planets in standard orbit, pieces of ancient structures, shrines, or monoliths were uncovered. Given our proximity to warp space, it is impossible to determine the true age of the artifacts and it is currently unclear who the original creators were. Though reduced to mere fragments of their original form, the shards that remain still emanate energies locked within the material. Our Sorcerers feel there could be much to gain if more shards can be recovered; securing any other fragments or associated artifacts found during your campaign should be a priority.

Objective Markers, made from soapstone originals cast in translucent resin and combined with a flickering LED 'tea light'; a step-by-step article of how these were made, coming soon.

Our Mechanicus are pleased to report that the Tutamen Pattern Siege Shields are complete and ready for manufacture; with the return of large scale material imports, assembly lines are being equipped and will soon be ready for proper production. The design template for a front-line close support anti-air platform is also nearing completion...

Almost ready for production from The Dark Works; Tutamen Pattern Mk.I Siege Wall sections and Morsus Pattern Mk.I Anti-Air Cannon platform.

Started several months ago, the final details and cleanup are done and the Siege Wall prototypes are ready for mould making.

The final build and testing of the Morsus Pattern Cannon will be done soon. The armoured main chassis provides added protection to the control, targeting, and weapon systems. Currently it can mount a single Las'Cannon or twin rotary Auto-Cannons.

This kit started with a straight forward idea that turned into something a little more elaborate. One more layer of detail and clean up (mostly on the weapons) and this kit will be ready for moulds.

With renewed material supply shipments, construction of current production templates is resuming. Some time will be required to build significant stockpiles ready for transport. Production of new templates will start once assembly lines are online.

An oversight request will follow in a future communication. The Mechanicus have several promising constructs that they wish to develop. They will request your input on their research in an effort to work on projects that will meet with your approval. Details will be provided.

+++++++++Message End…
++++++++++Connection Closed…
++++++++++Signal Lock…
++++++++++Stand By…

P.S. My sincere apologies to anyone who may have sent me a message recently and not received a reply. I've been somewhat anti-social recently as I worked on sorting several things out. I will be sitting down to send out many direct messages to inquiring parties over the coming days. Thanks, as always, for your interest and support. More to come.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/06/30 17:36:15

Post by: 40kFSU

Good grief. I havent seen this thread in a while. That chaos marine army is gorgeous! The siege wall and gun is really nice too.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/06/30 20:02:41

Post by: GiraffeX

The Traitor Siege Line looks very nice indeed.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/26 07:00:20

Post by: Subtle Discord

Forever lured to distraction by the voices from the Warp, I picked up several LED votive/tea candle lights a while back. The original simple plan was to create Wrecked Vehicle markers by adding blackened Poly-Fil or fake snow fibers to emulate smoke. I've seen it done several times and it's a great way to mark burning wrecks. Naturally, there's nothing stopping me from doing those in the future, but I thought there might be other uses for these cheap little lights.

With my starting army getting ever closer to actually being ready (someday), there is one thing I wish I could have dabbled with before I started painting; in hindsight I wish I had taken the time to use LEDs to light my Rhinos, Predators, and anywhere else I could manage. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of personality (who'd guess that?) and I'd want them in all of the vehicles so I'm no going to start now. As a consolation, I've come to the conclusion that, within reason, I can add lighting to everything else. Where I can, I'll add lighting effects to scenery, markers, and counters.

I read once, and I can't even remember where, about someone who went all out and lit a Cites of Death table, and that planted the seed in my mind. I've always wanted to do a city fight table, so it seems a perfect opportunity to give it a try. I'm hoping to even add strategically placed smoke generators that can be triggered to add to the lighting effects. The plan even has a practical angle; it will all make a great backdrop to photograph studio kits in an appropriate setting. But, that's all a story for another day. For now, I started a little more modest...

Soapstone is great for easy shaping and carving, but it's also very fragile; but that's not a problem for this purpose.

Naturally, you don't need to used soapstone, but I had some so it proved perfect for the job. Note the amount of dust that's created cutting up the soapstone; it's fine and light, so take care not to make more mess then needed. After sanding some of the sides smooth, I formed the pieces by chipping and cracking them into shape. It was easy to sketch out some simple patterns on the new surfaces and carve into the stone with my sculpting tools. I made sure to carve the lines nice and deep so they would catch the light well. For future attempts I'll try to take more care and make more intricate carvings.

Time to make quick-and-simple moulds of the original stones so they can be cast in plastic; enter the Instant Mold (IM).

I haven't had need to make press moulds the last while, so this IM has sat idle for quite some time. It's tricky to do 2-sided moulds like the ones I've done, but I wanted both sides of the stone. It took a few tries, but the results were good enough for my needs. I used the small blue pieces (chunks if a cut up pen) to create the pour gate and they were good-to-go. I didn't have enough IM to comfortably make all three, so the last one had to wait.

Time to make some translucent copies with the moulds that can catch the light; next up, Easy Cast and a few simple tools.

Unlike the casting resin I've been using, that cures in 15-45 minutes, Clear Cast takes 24 hours to cure enough to de-mould, and 48+ hours to cure to full hardness. Fine for a few one-off casts, but far too slow if you wanted to make several of something. It is also very sensitive to how it's mixed; if you're just a little off of 50/50 the final object will never harden.

While you want a clear plastic to let the light pass through, if it's too clear the light will pass completely through and the object won't glow as well. To fix this it's a simple matter of making the plastic slightly translucent. Adding a very tiny amount of White acrylic paint to the mix is all that it takes; you don't want too much (not even a full drop, just a dab) or it will start to mute the light. You can also change the colour of paint if you want to alter the colour of the light. Add dab of blue paint in the resin with a yellow light and it will glow green, for example. A green LED would be better, but it will work in pinch.

One translucent copy. Now it just needs some minor modification.

Making the pour gate for the mould the right size lets it fit right over the LED and catch as much light as possible. When hollowing out the center it's best to start with a smaller drill bit and work up to get the hole clean and accurate.

Now to turn it from a chunk of plastic into a shard of some ancient artifact.

It glows well enough without paint, but a layer of white primer will trap and reflect the light within the object. Even if the item is going to be dark like these arcane stones, it's good to start with white to make the glow as bright as you can. It will take many layers to completely block out the light from bleeding through thin spots in the paint. Consider this for the object you might want to create, fine details will be lost by all the layers of paint that will be needed. Slabs of stone with symbols carved in it makes a good choice; the rough stone looks fine with many coats of paint.

Base it up to match your army and it will come down to the final detail layers. I wish they could be a little bit shorter, but with how the internal parts are made in these tea lights, there's no easy way to make it shorter without rebuilding it from scratch. With a battery compartment, a wire, and a tiny switch, it wouldn't be hard to make something closer to a 40mm base it height, but for now the provided form will do fine. In the end it's an Objective Marker, so if it stands a little higher on the table it's not the worst thing. And they are almost 40mm diameter so they're at least a cohesive size.

They glow brightly enough to be very visible in a well lit environment and the flicker adds just a bit of animation to the effect; reminding you to pay attention to them on the table.

After painting the surfaces a strong Black that didn't leak any light, I added bit of Satin Varnish on the exposed clear plastic. This was to ensure there was a surface for the next wash layers to bond better with. To keep things simple I kept the flat surfaces pure Black and painted any exposed rough stone with Fortress Grey. I gave the Grey a wash with Agrax Earthshade, and then set to work with Nuln Oil. I used the Nuln along all of the edges of the Black to mottle and blend the transition between the Grey and the Black, and long all of the glowing edges. By carefully layering up the Nuln Oil along the edges of the Black that met with the glowing lines, the transparent nature of the Nuln Oil wash helps soften the edge so the glow is more intense in the center and fades towards the outside. repeat the process until you have the desired depth.

These little markers turned out really well considering how quickly they came together. They would be interesting to see with a bit more time taken to carve more elaborate symbols, but there's nothing wrong with a simple start. I want to try other ideas, and colours, in the future. Now, speaking of more elaborate, I've had an idea for a lit scenery piece for quite some time; it brings together the ideas of something built for a city fight table, some cool lighting for effect, and a structure that GW recently added to the game - the Void Shield Generator.

Emphasized in college, I did several iterations until I found a form that worked. The 3-sided concept couldn't open, the first 4-sided concept was too large, but the last was perfect.

I hope the fact that it's still just made of cardboard illustrates that this is still just an early scratch build, but really happy with the direction. I've been looking for a reason to put a 3" plasma globe into a piece of scenery for a while now. At first I figured it would be a Chaos portal or shrine (and that idea still has legs, but it will be an 8" globe when I get to it) but the Shield Generator seems like the perfect opportunity. I tried to make a structure that makes sense; a building you can enter at the base and climb an internal ladder to a hatch or door that opens to the battlements. The energy field that is being generated to create the Void Shield is created in the base to be contained and focused by the pillars that will be detailed out to look the part.

It should be simple enough to devise a magnetic clasp that will let the model open for access to the globe for battery swaps.

I managed to find a battery powered globe that's inexpensive ($11 CAD before shipping) that runs on 4 AAAs, but can still plug in when possible. My testing with four 700mAh rechargeable AAA batteries gets about 3 hours 15 minutes of non-stop run time, and the light effect stays strong to the end before turning off all at once. Higher mAh batteries should get more runtime, but I'm not sure just how much. The final build is a little shorter than a GW Bastion, it's footprint is about the same as a Vengeance Weapon Battery, and there's enough room on the battlements for three 40mm bases. Obliterator perch anyone?

Like a few of my ideas right now, they are getting larger and more ambitious and require more consideration. I really like this idea for a kit, but it's size makes it daunting. Like the Stormeagle concepts, the image in my mind is just too good to let go of, so I've been figuring out how the heck I will proceed with these larger ideas. I want need to make these things real, if only to shut up the voices from the Warp that coax me on to build and create. Have faith Loyalists, things are in The Works.

I've already created a large enough wall-o'-text-&-photos for today, so I'll save my other ramblings for another time. As always, more to come and comments, questions, critiques, and general banter is always welcome. Thanks for the kind words, encouragement, and feedback.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/26 07:09:52

Post by: cincydooley

Dude. Amazing stuff. Thanks for adding such great content.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/26 07:55:19

Post by: Llamahead

Wow that's a groovy idea.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/26 15:38:17

Post by: Moltar

Man, your tutorials never cease to amaze! Glad to see more of your work!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/26 19:04:01

Post by: Squigsquasher

I'm going to have to properly bookmark this thread on my browser. This stuff is just amazing.

Love those warp shards, by the way! Is soapstone easy to get hold of?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/28 06:37:06

Post by: Senortaco

Your thread has been added to my bookmarks; for if i ever decide to o casting because your work/tutorials are just amazing

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/28 08:21:26

Post by: deadmeat85

Great thread, remarkable work, Subbed. May have to get some of your kits soon for my Word Bearers army.

Would love to see what you could do to a Vindicator Siege Tank.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/31 15:34:23

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback. I'm glad I could help plant the seeds to show that you can do these things yourself, if you're so inclined. There is a learning curve (that is much less if you find information like mine ) but it can really be worth the effort if you're up to the task. To answer a few questions and ramble a bit...

Soapstone should be easy enough to find Squigsquasher. Have a look at any well stocked Art or Hobby shop and they'll usually have blocks of it in the sculpting/carving section. Look for clay and sculpting tools and it should be around there if they stock it. The internet is always the great equalizer if you want to order some online, but also consider other options if you can't get some. Plaster poured and cured into blocks would carve well, or even just Drywall with the paper removed might work. Clay that has been left to dry, but not fired to harden it, will also crack, carve, and chip very well. You just need a 'stone-like' material that will carve easily; you might be surprised what you can use once you start thinking.

Plans for a Vindicator are being considered deadmeat85; it's something I've wanted to do for a while but keeps getting put on hold. It may be a good thing in the end, because I have some new equipment arriving today that will really change how I make my kits and will open the door to much more elaborate objects. A Vindicator kit will be somewhat complex so it will benefit from this, to say the least.

But, that's another story for another day. Keep your vox tuned, more to come...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/31 21:30:17

Post by: deadmeat85

Well, anything done would be awesome.

What size sheets do you use for the trimmings?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/07/31 23:19:09

Post by: Anvildude

On the soapstone, let me second one of the 'alternatives'. I like to use Crayola Air-Dry clay myself- comes in tubs so you can dry only what you need and save the rest, dries in about 1 day, and can be manipulated or sculpted into rough shape before letting it dry.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/01 03:42:15

Post by: Rickfactor

I ordered and received some of the Dark Works products and I am extremely pleased by the quality and workmanship.

Thanks !!!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/02 23:38:24

Post by: Subtle Discord

Always glad to hear from a satisfied customer; thank you for your business Rickfactor!

To answer your question deadmeat85, I cut my trim patterns out of mostly 0.4mm styrene sheet that I layer up. I tried 0.5mm when I first started building, but found that the extra 0.1mm really made it feel too thick and heavy. 0.5mm It will work ok on larger models (Land Raiders and Baneblades) and structures, but I find 0.4mm works well for Rhino sized vehicles. Most of the rivets I do are 0.75mm diameter. Again, I tried 1.0mm and I do use them in certain places, but 0.75mm suits the scale better.

The width of the trims when I cut them can vary, but I found that 2mm is a good average width. When you get narrower then 1.5mm it can be very hard to drill rivet holes and the parts become very delicate. It can be done, but it takes more time. As before, wider trim suits larger subjects better; a large vehicle or a structure might get 3mm wide trim with 1mm rivets. I usually shrink the width of the trim layers by 0.5mm per side when I want to create a subtle stair-step layering; For example I would start with a 3mm base and add a 2mm second layer to give 0.5mm 'steps' on either side.

Armour plates that are heavier than trim will generally range from 0.5mm to 1.5mm, depending on just how thick and bulky I want the armour to appear. Then they get the Trim treatment to complete the look. I hope that makes sense.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/03 03:29:45

Post by: deadmeat85

Thanks for the info.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/11 18:47:53

Post by: Subtle Discord

So, I have/had plans for some more in depth articles that I really want to write, but I'm starting to feel like the white rabbit from Alice In Wonderland, frantically bolting forward in search of the rabbit hole, looking at my watch, panicking about being late. There's just never enough time to do everything I want to do; too... many... good... ideas! The damn whispers from the Warp keep speaking to me, and it's only gotten worse lately. (more on that in a moment) Time will have to tell just what I can cram into the schedule; time writing is time taken away from building and casting, and I have so much I want to build and cast! If I could just hide in the Warp now-and-then and get a few extra months, that would be perfect. *Shakes his fist at the fixed linear time stream*

Oh well, I'll make the most with the time I have left before the cruel mistress that is college commandeers my life, and see what I can make real. With my new equipment I'm eager to get as much build time in as I can manage. I has so much potential it's got me rethinking old designs and coming up with all sorts of new ideas and uses. Let me explain... A few months ago my attention was drawn to CNC blade cutters. I had looked at them years ago, but they were either too expensive or unimpressive in what they could do. I'm not cutting shapes for scrap-booking, I need a certain level of precision and total control. Other options come with strings attached; laser cutters and styrene don't like to play together easily and create poison gas, high resolution CNC milling machines are expensive, high-res 3D prototypers are more expensive, and small-scale styrene injection moulding is not 'small'. So, after having my attention brought back to blade cutters, I did some research and became very encouraged with what I was seeing; these are not the cutters of even 3-5 years ago. After lots of reading, and many nights sleeping on it, I finally invested in a KNK Zing Air cutter (aka: Servitor Zing) and my build technique has forever changed...

CAD Design + Servitor Zing = Loyalist Land Raider kit prototype is well on its way.

I purposely held off this build waiting for this cutter; I wanted to used it as a test to see if the Zing would be up to the task, and it hasn't disappointed. After many years of practice I am confident in my ability to cut accurately by hand; I've received too much good feedback on the quality of my cut work to be completely delusional. (just partially; but that's something else altogether) But, I'm still human and only so precise; there is no way I could come close to the accuracy that this cutter can achieve. I'm still climbing the last of the learning curve to get it cutting certain shapes properly, but I think the results are more then promising and speak for themselves. The swapping plate for the sponson/door in particular benefits from the improved accuracy; they line up perfectly.

It's even given me a use for some of my overpriced college textbooks; they make a perfect slab to support the cutting mat as it travels back-and-forth.

Now, this is a very clean straight line pattern and there's nothing wrong with that, it's very Imperial feeling; but, computer control cutting opens the door to many shapes and concepts that I had little choice but to avoid in the past. Articulate curved lines and arcs? forms that need to be near-100% accurate? Repeating patters that would drive me to madness to cut by hand? Yes please! I'll have some of each! And it's all automated once I've set the Servitor to work, so while it's cutting the parts I can give extra concentration to actually building the part/s. It really is almost like have another pair of hands. It does take some extra effort to turn the CAD designs into a cutting pattern, but it's worth the investment in the end.

Servitor, modify thyself; CAD Design with challenging curved lines + Servitor Zing = Stylish new faceplate for Zing

So, for the sake of experimentation I designed a straightforward Eye of Horus icon that made ample use of nicely curved lines to see what Zing could do. Cutting something like this by hand would be painstakingly slow at best, and down right impossible at worse. Getting the curved lines precise and matching from layer to layer would be completely maddening, to say the least. Now, letting Servitor Zing tackle the problem solves many of the issues with these complex shapes. It does have limitations, since it is a physical blade that is cutting the material, it acts like one; it does deform the plastic a bit as it cuts, and an 'offset' setting is needed to cut clean corners to compensate for the size of the blade. Some shapes need a bit of extra manual cleanup, but nothing any worse then hat I had to do with parts cut by hand.

As always, thanks everyone for your feedback, encouragement, and good will; comments, questions, critiques, and any other musings are always welcome. An extra thanks goes out to the people who have supported my humble studio with purchases. It is all of you who have made it possible for me to take these ideas, make them real, and then take it farther then I ever could have expected. The vast majority of studio profits have been reinvested in the equipment that will help me continue to improve and expand what I do. Not everything is as glamorous as Servitor Zing, but it is all laying the foundation for many more wonderful future plans.

The specter of college is looming, but I have much more to come over the coming weeks, months, and years. This year I will be starting working with digital creation methods (digital rendering and 3D modeling) and I know it will be what evolves my little studio to the next level. Outsourced rapid prototyping high quality components to add to my building is just around the corner... relativity speaking.

Thanks for joining me on my journey into the unknown; that first step can be intimidating.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/11 18:53:18

Post by: Desubot

My god that's awesome.


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/12 14:10:57

Post by: Anvildude

Not sure what you're going to college for, but remember- you don't need a college degree if you can make a living doing what you're doing now (or similar)- and it'd be a ton cheaper, too.

Then again, if you're just doing this for hobbying and have another legit interest, don't let anyone stop you.

Just saying. Think about how much equipment you could buy for the cost of a semester's tuition.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/12 22:46:16

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks guys for the input, MOAR to come!

You make a very valid point Anvildude, and it's true that it's possible to succeed without a higher education. For now, the studio isn't generating enough to replace a full time income, but it's enough to sustain and grow itself if I'm willing to 'write off' some labour to create the foundation for more. It's become much more than a hobby project, but it's not quite ready to go to a larger scale.

Trust me, with the interest I've been getting over the last year I've started to wonder if more effort in the studio would be a safe gamble; there's a lot more involved then it appears on the surface, but I can tell there's potential here. The Dark Works has every plan to stay active for the foreseeable future, but I'm not sure just how far I want to take it in said future.

The thing about school is that I want to attend for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this is my first chance to attend college, and I'm hungry for education at this point in my life. I am studying Industrial Design, which ties in so well with my studio work, the benefits are very real. In fact, this year we will be starting digital rendering and 3D modeling, and I know it's going to trickle down to the studio in a huge way. Thing is, I'm not sure if I want to be a 'miniature designer' professionally, but I can use the skills I'm learning in that direction while I study (dulling the costs) and finish with a more robust skill-set that I can use in a broad range of fields, if the compensation is better. There is much I could learn on my own (I'm amazed at what I've taught myself so far) but I really am learning more, faster, because of the direct instruction by people who know their stuff. It is expensive, but I am at a point of my life that I am getting much more then I ever expected out of it.

All that said, people keep saying I should create a Kickstarter project and see what I can make of it. I'd be lying if I said the idea hasn't crossed my mind, but I really feel I have more to learn. I could try it now, and it could very well work, but I think I can do it exponentially better work if I improve my skills today, and consider a much bigger endeavor in the future. But who knows, the world works in mysterious ways, and plans change.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/12 23:08:54

Post by: Anvildude

Just be careful about expecting too much from the college experience. Look into all the options and alternatives you can think of as well- if you want to be doing this sort of design full-time, a traditional 4-year college might not be the best choice, and you could potentially get more out of a Vocational or Tech school degree- cheaper as well, while being more focused on the practical skills that tie in directly towards what you're doing. 4-year colleges are meant to give a 'well rounded' education- meaning you'll have entire years worth of things like Civics, History, Composition (writing) and Research, as well as requirements for language and the sciences, with only maybe a third to half your money and time going into design and art courses.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/13 16:35:49

Post by: Subtle Discord

You strike me as someone who has their head screwed on straight, Anvildude. It's a rare trait, considering how many people I meet who seem to have an oddly crooked point of view. You make some very good points; a lot of emphasis is put on higher education today, but many times it lacks perspective. It's not as simple as, Any Education = Job = Money = Happy Life, to be sure. During a family gathering, just before I finished my foundation year (portfolio building year, really) my father-in-law brought this idea into focus for me. To paraphrase: education is not just what you learn, but what you actually take from it, and what you actually do with what you take. By this point I was very confident in the direction in schooling I had started on, but this really resonated with me and reminded me to make the most of this and take as much as I can from the experience.

I am very lucky to be enrolled in an excellent school that seems to understand what a student will really need, beyond scholastics, in the real world. It's a College of Applied Arts and Science, opposed to a more traditional school. Naturally, the more scholastic programs exist, but I would almost call my program Trade Skills for Design. There is a modest scholastic element, with history and theory, and you need a base level of language skills and advanced math, but once those criteria are met it mostly hands on creation. Any scholastic inclined courses that are part of the curriculum are focused on the needs of the design field being studied.

We take parameters given to us by our professors who act the role of client (Read: They like to make changes and request design improvements to keep us on our toes), brainstorm them from scratch to get ideas, and draw concept sketches over-and-over (so... much... sketching...) to refine and improve until the dominant design moves forward. Then we render and improve the chosen concept in colour, observing it from different views, pointing out functions and features, exploding items to show how they will construct, and generally showcase the details of the item/product. Then we build simple sketch and scratch models that evolve into building proper prototypes that look real, but are usually pre-production in function. The pace and workload is extremely demanding (time management is crucial) but the return in what you gain is amazing. Last year some of my projects ranged from, 3D form and wire sculptures to explore raw design elements, a functioning lamp of unique design made 90% of origami, the rear corner of a car sculpted in clay at 1/4th scale, a vacuum formed modular planter system, a sheet steel hanging bird feeder, a complex mechanical wooden toy, and a bus shelter that was built as a fully detailed scale model on a proper diorama board. All were completely original ideas, and evolved from crude drawings, to colour renderings, to sketch models, and final refined prototypes. This program is wonderfully hands on, broad in scope, and practical. As I mentioned, the skill-set that is required to be successful is so in-line with I'm good at doing and what I enjoy, the fit for me is almost scary. I learn well on my own, but I have learned so much more in this program so far, and so quickly, I can tell it's worth it.

Thanks again for your input, I really do appreciate it. Maybe others who happen to read this little exchange will gain a bit of insight; it's not just that you learn, it's what you do with it.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/13 18:29:27

Post by: Anvildude

Your father-in-law is a wise man. I'm glad you were able to find a good school that fits you so well, and has so much emphasis on actual job skills.

I speak more from bitter experience. I've so far dumped more than $40,000 into 'higher education' with no degree to show for it yet- and I'm working in a gas station. True, I'm still attempting to finish a degree, but if I'd known then what I know now, I'd probably currently be in my second or third year of a 6 figure job.

Keep on it, and stick with it.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/08/31 09:07:36

Post by: Subtle Discord

A bit of insomnia to fuel a late night sneak peak of the 'Raider on the bench; another round of rivets and some final cleanup and it will be ready for the RTV rubber. Everything is very loosely fit with just a few bits of poster tack for the photos, it looks good here, but will be even better once it's glued down in final resin form.

Land Raider (name to be determined) Mk.II Armour Kit - work in progress.

More to ramble about later, but I wanted to pop this up before I shuffle off. Bedways is rightways now my good droogs, so viddy well, and we'll speak again after some shuteye.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/11/11 07:59:15

Post by: Subtle Discord

*Subtle steps out from the shadow cast by college and into the light; he squints and shields his eyes as he adjusts*

Classes are going very well, even if they are completely grueling. Sketching, drawing (so… much… drawing… and… sketching), 3D modeling, more model making, and I’m doing everything I can to get everything I can out of it. Then there’s less enjoyable (Ugh, statistics) but it’s all getting me very eager to get going with my own thing. It’s still a few years off, but what I’m learning really is going to push what I do to a much larger scope and scale then I had ever considered. Keep lurking and you’ll have the inside track on my misadventures. This spring/summer should be fun! *Maniacal laugh*

For the short term, winter break is coming soon and I will be jumping on doing a large casting run in early December, and getting projects on the bench into production. Yes, the new Land Raider kit is at the top of that list. I wish I had time to get something rolling sooner, (itching to build/paint something fierce) but it just isn’t in the cards when classes are on. School is a harsh mistress, but the lessons will pay dividends.

Now, if there’s one thing I can find some time for, it’s a bit of writing. I spend several hours a day on a bus getting to-and-from campus, so why not write some fiction? To mark the 3 year anniversary of the original Legion Rising (started 11-11-11 at The Bolter & Chainsword) I present the first of my Chaos fiction short stories. I’m not sure how often I’ll add to this side of my ever growing alter to Chaos, but I do have plans for other stories. I hope it meets with your approval.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who follows my work, lurking or otherwise. I hope to do nothing but expand and improve on the foundation that you all helped me build. I would never have thought the encouragement and feedback from a WIP thread could generate so much momentum, but here I am, considering nothing but bigger-and-better for the future.


Klec knelt low and to the side of the entry way, in a series of fluid motions he affixed his bayonet to his Bolter and drew a second hooked blade from its sheath. He closed his eyes and listened to the Loyalist carefully advancing down the corridor; he visualized the Marine’s motions as they moved, waiting for his moment to strike. There was caution in the Loyalist’s movements and Klec hoped to exploit this with an aggressive strike to start their exchange. Many times a good defensive strategy was not necessary if one made a decisive first strike and quickly laid their opponent low; Klec had claimed several trophies in this way. The Loyalist reached the entry way and paused, surveying the dimly lit room. Klec could practically feel the presence of the Marine through the wall, but he held his attack for a moment longer, waiting for the Loyalist to lift a foot to take their next step…

“Warmaster favor me.” Klec quietly spoke his modest request as he began his attack. His eyes snapped open as he pivoted and rotated on his left foot into the entry way, spinning around to add extra momentum to the first blow. The Loyalist was indeed surprised, but reacted quickly enough to deflect the blow downward; the bayonet missed its mark, skipped down the Marine’s thigh, and managing to jam itself into the gap behind the armour plate that protected the knee. Klec drove his weight forward until he could feel the blade pierce through the seam. In the next motion he shrank back, pulling the blade free in a gush of bio-pneumatic fluid and blood; without hesitation he wheeled back around for another strike with his hooked blade, counting on the shock of the first wound to give him the advantage. Exposing his back a second time was a calculated risk, but from the moment he had been aware of the approaching Marine, Klec could feel a wonderful frenetic energy building. Now, the sensation completely embraced him, goading and teasing at first, and then offering what seemed the promise something long forgotten, if he would just give in to the sensation. His reality seemed to slow, and the blade sang as it cut through the air; the sensation seemed to be connected to it, and it was all Klec could hear, all he could know, at that moment.

The Loyalist dropped back to his good leg and prepared his reprisal, clenching his jaw and grinding his teeth hard to steady his nerve. He would not give this foe the satisfaction of even a grunt in pain. He had used the butt of his pistol to defect the first strike, but his Chainsword was at the ready and it quickly growled to life as it rose to parry the Traitor’s second attack. The sword met the blade and they locked for a moment…

Klec was transfixed, the moment seemed endless and in the infinity he could see everything as fractured slivers in time. His blade met with the sword and he thought it curious that he could perceive and feel each tooth of the Loyalist’s weapon bite and grind as it searched for flesh to cleave into. He could admire it as the inanimate predator that it was; a tool that has no morals, only a function; one that it excelled at. Klec watched the individual sparks fly as the two weapons danced closely for a moment. He watched as sword skipped and bounced down his blade and with an almost gleeful jump, leapt over the guard of his weapon. The Chainsword continued its relentless hunt for flesh as Klec watched it with mesmerized fasciation; it rode up his left forearm, chips of black pigment and sparks flying from the path it left. The teeth of the blade dug into the crook of his elbow and he smiled as it bit into his flesh. He thought it peculiar that he could feel each tooth of the weapon, as they bit and gnashed at the muscle and sinew of his arm; he listened to the weapon’s song change key, the engine labouring slightly as it set to work on the bone.

Klec embraced the bite of the sword leaning in for a moment before dropping hard to bring his good elbow down on the wounded knee of the Marine. Recoiling, the Loyalist stumbled back and quickly shifted to find his balance. Klec dropped back, way, and into a defensive curled posture. His left arm, severed just above the elbow, hung on desperately by a strip of armor and mangled flesh; he continued to watch in ecstatic fascination as his blood sprayed in large gouts from the wound, the path of each drop fractured into an infinite number of moments. He watched as the crimson puddled, forming a smooth surface that shifted and rolled as each drop struck the growing pool. He watch, his head swimming with the sensation, as the drops changed from rich red to the deepest black. The wound gushed, continuing to weep tears of acidic black ichor for a few moments; the fluid hissed and bubbled wherever it landed, instantly burning and corroding anything it touched. Klec could feel it seeping up into his arm as if entering through the wound and spreading through his left arm and shoulder. While this dark gift was to be his, it did not seem that it would grant him immunity until he knew it well; as it spread and infused with him the searing pain was beyond comprehension. He cast his weapon aside as the experience debilitated him and began wailing with each beat of his hearts, their relentless rhythm forcing the ichor deeper into his flesh. As Klec sang his song of beautiful agony a series of boney protrusions erupted from his wound…

The Loyalist had slumped back with the Traitor’s strike to his leg. Where he could hobble on his wounded knee before, it was now shocked into near uselessness and the searing pain forced him to take several moments to regain his focus. He knew he had dealt his foe a telling wound, and they were shrinking away into a defensive stance. This would need to be resolved quickly, but he knew that wounded prey could prove unpredictable. He steadied himself as Klec began to wail, thinking at first how pathetic a specimen this Marine was; the wound was horrendous, but the reaction seemed extreme. He readied himself to silence this Traitor and lurched forward as he lifted his weapon. As he advanced his foe unexpectedly threw his bolter aside, their wailing and screaming became to become almost unsettling, and he paused as the Marine slumped away from him and clutched at his arm in uncontrolled agony. Had the wound to his arm obscured a lucky strike on their torso causing them to react this way? No, this was something different, and he stared for a moment in horrified fascination, as if a whisper in the back of his mind called to him, imploring him to watch and perhaps better understand.

Klec convulsed uncontrollably as the stump of his severed arm erupted first with long talons, then thick boney digits, and finally a full hand and forearm. The form grew and swelled at a surprising rate, with fresh bone, sinew, tendons, muscle, and skin replacing the severed limb in a matter of moments, before it increased further in size and strength. The skin of his new limb was finely scaled and virtually black, with iridescent hints of dark blue in the muscular definition; even after the limb had reformed the colour and texture spread up his arm like a stain. The agony pushed Klec to transcendence; as he felt the new limb expand outward taking form to replace his severed arm, he could also feel it plunge deeper inward as his hearts carried the burning ichor through his body. He pulled himself up from his knees, staggered, and slumped against the wall; each beat of his hearts punctuating the passing moments with the searing pain of the ichor spreading, but he was beginning to find clarity in the searing sting and composure in the face of the pain. There was an ecstasy in the agony, if one was willing to embrace it and make it their own. The sensation seemed almost conscious, silently encouraging Klec to drink deep of the pain, and learn to find strength and guidance in the experience. Klec came to see, if only the tiniest glimpse, the will of his Dark Masters as their attention briefly turned to him.

“… Emperor protect...” the Loyalist unconsciously uttered the words under his breath as his faculties quickly returned; the Marine had seen more than enough, he shook off the taunting whispers in the back of his mind and raised his sword as his vox barked “Cursed abomination! Purge the heretic!” he swung with an aggressive attack aimed at decapitating the Traitor, intending to quickly finish the encounter. Klec’s new hand snapped out with an instinctive will, purposely catching the growling blade as it swung in. The teeth bit and chewed into the new flesh and the black ichor gushed forth to meet them; the acidic fluids were quickly carried into the weapon’s inner workings, and just as quickly it set to work corroding and disintegrating the weapon from the inside. The hungry growl of the sword’s motor promptly went silent as it succumbed to damage inflicted by the fluids. The Marine attempted to swing his Bolt Pistol to bare, but Klec caught his wrist with his other hand and forced his aim away from its mark; he fired two shots, and the first shell clipped Klec’s helmet, severely cracking the faceplate and knocking his head backward. Still lost in the experience of receiving his dark gift, the force of the strike caused Klec’s very psyche roll and tumble backward, as if slipping from a ledge into a bottomless abyss. If he were to fall into this perceived infinity he would take the soul of his foe with him as a final offing to his Dark Masters; but Klec brought his tumbling existence to right, snapping his head forward in a vicious head-butt. The blow broke a large portion of his damaged helmet away, exposing the left side of this face to his foe. Unable to properly brace himself with his wounded leg, the Loyalist faltered and dropped to his knees as he grappled with Klec. He steeled his will and exerted all of the force he could muster, trying to regain his footing, just as he became aware of a strange itching in his right wrist that quickly grew into an intense burning.

Klec loomed over his opponent, forcing the Loyalist’s center of gravity back and keeping him on his knees. The black ichor released by the wound caused by the Chainsword spilled down the weapon and worked its way into the wrist joints of the Marine’s armour; it quickly broke though and began to hungrily eating into the flesh it found underneath. He could feel the concerted efforts of the Marine become more frantic and desperate as the sensation made itself known; he smiled to himself as he came to understand that the Loyalist could not find focus in the pain, and it caused their psyche to falter. Klec tore the disintegrating sword from the Marine’s grasp and flung it away. The wound that was made by the weapon began to knit and heal with the same impetus that originally grew the limb, but Klec was oblivious. The pale skin of his face began to mottle and darken, turning black as the gift spread to consume a large swath of his head; his left eye darkened and then suddenly lit with an unsettling blue light. His gaze drilled down on the determinedly silent Marine, “Cursed?!” the voice that spilled from his shattered helmet was his, but the tone was strange, even to him. “Behold, we have been chosen for... blessing!” As he spoke Klec’s speech resonated, seeming to be a blend of his own voice with an unsettling chorus of others. “Our Dark Lords deem this heretic worthy of favor… How will your Corpse God aid you?” He did not expect a reply, but he paused a moment all the same, before plunging a single talon into the Marine’s throat; he contorted his new hand, twisting the talon vertically and drove it downward; like a daemon’s blade the talon’s edge was remarkably keen and pierced flesh, bone, and armour with frightening ease. To his credit, the Loyalist had not given Klec the satisfaction of a single utterance of pain or discomfort.

Klec held this macabre pose for several moments after the struggle had ceased. “Lords accept this offering of a forsaken brother. His death was good and deserves praise.” The words echoed and seemed to orbit his head. He dropped the Marine to the ground and began to move with instinct, as if in a dream. While the frenzy was fading, his reality was altered, and he was finding it rather distracting; this would take some getting used to. He retrieved his Bolter, blade, and arm; his flesh in particular would make a wonderful totem to as a token to celebrate his gift. Of the Marine he claimed his Bolt Pistol and helmet, head-and-all; the helmet would require retrofit, but it would make for a good replacement. The skull would make an excellent addition to his trophies.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/11/14 08:34:49

Post by: Freytag93

wow, great work Subtle! That short story was great. You've definitely been productive these past couple months.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/12/07 03:53:20

Post by: Subtle Discord

Input and feedback requested; if you're still reading by the end (or want to skip to the end) I would appreciate some direction from the people I want to appeal to with my studio - you, the reader; short term plans are in place, but I could use some help prioritizing some long term projects and could use some perspective. More on this later.

After receiving my copy of Imperial Armour 13 several weeks back it quickly became apparent that I would be enticed lured forced to add to my collection. The merits of the units can always be debated, but with so many great rules for Chaos consolidated into one dark tomb, there's just so much potential with the sheer volume of choices presented that it can give a Chaos collector and player the giggles. I had no choice but to succumb to the whispers and taunts that started as soon as I opened that infernal book; and a few days ago my dispatch arrived...

One part addition to my personal collection, one part addition to the studio for design purposes; friendly old Saint Nicholas is going to be good to me this year.

I'm a tread-head, what can I say? I'm surprised I lasted this long before succumbing to the temptation of adding a Sicaran to my army; but daaamn, it's one huge chunk of resin.

I'm still not totally sold on the practicality of the openings in the armour on the front of the Sicaran (my design for Armoured Ceramite might close/cover them) but the overall look and form of the model has grown on me more-and-more since it was released. There are lots of nice lines and surfaces to work with, I'm sure I can do both an armour upgrade kit and a lighter trim kit for variety. I really wish the tracks were loose; attached as they are now, it's very hard to see a way to give them a Chaos makeover. As a consolation, it's good that they are not covered in Imperial iconography.

One of my main worries was that the Rapier Battery would have a considerably larger footprint compared to the Obliterators they would be supplementing and/or replacing.

It's not going to be a problem it seems; they compare very well to an Obliterator. I wanted my model to very closely match the footprint and profile of an official FW Rapier. Most of my kits supplement a current model, so scale isn't an issue, I just fit the model, but in this case I wanted to get it very close. The Graia Pattern battery that I got is slightly narrower than the Chaos Marine model that I'll be creating, but that will be easy to add during the build. The Dark Works kit will be considerably different but properly inspired by this original.

Last but most certainly not least, the corner stone of my soon('ish)-to-be Air Calvary; a Chaos Fire Raptor gunship. Again, wow... that's a ton of very sexy resin! *Swoon*

As much as I would have liked to, there would be no way I could make a Fire Raptor from scratch the same way that Forge World has; several parts are just massive and beyond the scope of my studio. Due to the scope of the changes done by the 'Raptor kit, if I really wanted one, getting it from FW made more sense. This kit will pull its weight however, as I will be making conversion kits for the Fire Raptor (Armoured Ceramite and Chaos themed trim) and using it to help in my Chaos Storm Eagle build.

So, while these kits will add to my army collection, they are also strategic purchases that I can make use of in the studio. All of this, along with items already on the bench, plus other projects and ideas, and all of the other inspiration in IA 13, means there's a lot on my plate, table, spilling to the floor...

Still with me? Wow... really? Ok, so here's where you come in.

I do have some semblance of a plan; I know what I want to build and have a reasonably consolidated list. What I need is an order of manufacture; I want to build it all, and have every plan to, but I can do it in any order, so here's your chance to give some direct input.

Short term goals (next 4 weeks during mid-term break):

- Chaos Siege Line (ADL counts-as) - This kit is done, it just needs improved moulds made.
- Loyalist Land Raider Armour - Also finished and awaiting mould making; moulds for this kit are more complex, however.
- Morsus AA-Gun (Quad Gun counts-as) - On the bench and very near complete before it needs moulds made.

Short term, I have these and a general casting run to replenish my stock. I'm hoping to have no complications to stop any of these from getting done before classes start up again. I won't get started actually building until spring, but I will be doing concept sketches and drawings and I want to know what to focus on. In no particular order, most of my longer term studio projects will include:

1. Chaos Storm Eagle - A full kit that will build off a Storm Raven base model. Very elaborate and involved build.
2. Chaos Fire Raptor - A Chaos Trim kit and a Armoured Ceramite kit will be a good start. Modestly elaborate build.
3. Chaos Sicaran - Again, I will start with a Chaos Trim kit and Armoured Ceramite kit. Modestly elaborate build.
4. Chaos and Loyalist 'Dozer, Siege Ram, Destroyer Blades - Rhino and Land Raider chassis compatible. Reasonably easy build.
5. Chaos Rapier Battery - Ectoplasma cannon, Hades auto'cannon, and Cyclotrathe beamer. Modestly elaborate build.
6. Chaos and Loyalist Jetbikes - Counts-as bikes as an update to the current choices. Modestly elaborate build.
7. Pintol Combi-Weapons - Vehicle mounted Bolters, Flamer, Plasma, and Melta; a long standing idea that still needs to be made real. Deceptively difficult build due to the scale.
8. Relic Weapon Systems - Starting with the Predator I want to create some Relic weapons for various platforms. Reasonably easy build.
9. Loyalists Trim Kits - Rhino Trim Kits to start, and expand from there. Reasonably easy build.
10. Dark Mechanicus Construct Kit - Sentinel-like legs and robotic/mechanical components to improved Maulerfiend builds. Still only a concept, modestly elaborate build.
11. Chaos Battlefield Debris - Tanglewire, Tank Traps, and Barricades done with my Chaos Trim treatment. Reasonably easy build.
12. Void Shield Generator - This will be a piece of neutral scenery, not Chaos specific, intended for various armies. This will be a massive build, but an awesome final kit.
13. Chaos Kits 2.0 - Taking advantage of Servator Zing, new Rhino, Predator, and Land Raider kits are planned. Modestly elaborate build/s.
14. Chaos Knight - The Imperial Knight kit begs to be defiled into a war machine of Chaos, so it shall be done. A very elaborate build.
15. Chaos Renegades - IA 13 opens the door to proper allied Renegades and all the toys they bring to the aid of Chaos. Wide range of levels.

These projects will start in the spring (May 2015) and there's no way they will all get done next summer, but I need to start somewhere. Some builds will be much more in depth than others, so how quickly some things will be made will vary depending on the project.

So, what on this list stands out to you? What would you like to see made real first? If you could pick a few from the list, which ones? If you could add something to the list, what would it be? Input, feedback, inspiration, ideas, let me have it! It's still several months off, and I can never completely promise just how things will ultimately come together, but I will be starting my brainstorming soon; help me give it some focus and direction.

So much more to come...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/12/07 07:47:53

Post by: deadmeat85

Im not sure where to start on that list there. So many good ideas. I would love to see jetbikes for sure, Dozer blades and A chaos Knight kit would be nice to see.
They all sound great and very hard to choose in what order to put them.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/12/07 08:07:52

Post by: Subtle Discord

And that's exactly the problem I'm having. So many good ideas, I don't know where to start! So, if I get some feedback I can at least get an idea what is most popular among the people willing to offer an opinion, and start with that for direction. All of the ideas have a future, it's just what will I do first?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/12/07 08:12:19

Post by: Rickfactor

Chaos Knight - this will be may be tough but here are my thoughts
* the model is still fairly new and the market is wide open for a proper Chaos kit. Beat FW to market ?
* all of the armour plates currently have a raised edge so any sort of Chaos trim kit somehow has to fit over it. Fitting flexible curved resin over hard plastic might be a bit fidgety for some people. The alternative is entirely new armour sections but the curves could present some problems. I would probably shave off all the current trim and add the new Chaos trim with the traditional edge and pointed arrows to make your mould and then cast entire new shoulder pads and armour plates.
* other ideas not limited to a Chaos version would be extra armour plates to cover the bare areas, a power fist, and perhaps some sort of drop-in cockpit insert .

Chaos Jetbikes
* if you are going to do this, make them low slung, long, and evil.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/12/07 17:20:38

Post by: Ulterior

Well my three unpainted land raiders and I have been patiently waiting for the loyalist land raider armour. On that biased note, I would love to see some of the non chaos specific items from your list. Specifically, and in order;

9. Loyalists Trim Kits - Rhino Trim Kits to start, and expand from there. Reasonably easy build.
8. Relic Weapon Systems - Starting with the Predator I want to create some Relic weapons for various platforms. Reasonably easy build.
6. Chaos and Loyalist Jetbikes - Counts-as bikes as an update to the current choices. Modestly elaborate build.
4. Chaos and Loyalist 'Dozer, Siege Ram, Destroyer Blades - Rhino and Land Raider chassis compatible. Reasonably easy build.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/12/07 19:41:35

Post by: Kepora

Bah, forget the loyalists; they get enough love! My Iron Warriors need proper armor for their tanks, and I've been eying the Sicaran as well...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/12/07 19:50:55

Post by: Desubot

"12. Void Shield Generator - This will be a piece of neutral scenery, not Chaos specific, intended for various armies. This will be a massive build, but an awesome final kit. "

All the yes please

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/12/13 22:43:29

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks everyone for the positive and useful feedback. Everything on the list is planned in some way and I'm going to make as many of them real as I can manage; some will take longer than others and might need to wait until I'm done school and have more freedom to step things up another notch, or several notches. Some (not many) may get lost along the way and others added (still some ideas lurking and/or forgotten) but I want to see how far I can take this. But, with so many ideas blowing me in so many directions it can be hard to find a course. Thanks again everyone. Note: anyone reading this between now and spring is more than encouraged to add their $0.02 on what they would like to see, to help me with direction and motivation.

So, last exam on Tuesday and I'm happy to say it seems like I haven't wasted any tuition yet; the few classes I may have worried about (Ugh... Statistics) didn't implode on me and my journey on the road of higher learning continues. After catching up on lots of sleep I started to work getting things tidied up in the studio (School has a way of taking over every surface) and it will be ready to get back to work tomorrow. But, as I was getting things sorted I unearthed a few half-built projects and I'm reminded that I have a few things still nagging me to be addressed, not to mention some new resin that's begging to be inspected. Since the Decimator is a IA 13 unit, it didn't seem a complete frivolous distraction to spend a few hours finishing the build. Looking back, it was October 2012 that I got the model, so it seems overdue that it gets finished.

Am I the only one who buys a Forge World model with eager anticipation, only to be so intimidated by it, that sits for months and years? I even know it's going to happen, but I like to have the plastic for its potential, even if it needs to wait, or intimidates me, to the point of procrastination. I want it there for when I finally have the conviction to attempt the build.

Something old, something new, and something... err... broken.

So, as a brief hobby therapy diversion I took some time to get most of my long overdue Decimator finished (still need to finish the Butcher Cannon/s and Conversion Beamer) and get a rough assembly of the Sicaran done. The Sicaran is so straight forward (in theory) to build it really wasn't much work to get it this far; it will be enough to start some early work on later designs, and to sit looking cool beside my other tanks.

The odd looking device to the right was (key word) a very useful tool that I used while doing the hose details on the Decimator, but I managed to break it just as I finished using it. I wanted to write about it and do a bit of demonstration, but the breaking of the tool kind of put a crimp in that plan. To explain, it is used to pick up a tiny amount of super glue with capillary action and place it very carefully where you want it; very good for getting glue just where you want it and/or in hard to reach places. It can be purchased, but I made mine, so I'll be sure to show it again when I've made a replacement.

Oh Forge World, why do you force me to love to hate you? Or is it hate to love you?

Forge world gets so much right. Everything is subjective, so personal taste aside, FW makes some great kits. The product they produce sets the bar that I strive to meet and exceed in my builds and prototypes for The Dark Works. Having seen the Sicaran I knew I would like it in person cosmetically; I think it's great looking and I can't wait to start making designs for it. I've already got ideas brewing.

It's the fit the drives me crazy! As mentioned before, it's a very simple build to get it this far: four pieces to create a center hull 'box', two massive slabs for the treads and the hull surrounding them, and the main turret. It's so straight forward I don't understand why it has a small flaw in how the parts come together that creates a gap in the rear of the assembly. Warping and mould lines are one thing; not wonderful, but usually fixable. But this is just strange fit in what appear to be straight parts, and it's annoying in a premium product. Beyond this gripe, the kit is nice, and it's going to be a pleasure to turn it into a rolling war-alter of Chaos.

The Decimator kit is virtually made to be magnetized. Not that I need much excuse to find a use for some neodymium magnets.

At first I planned to add magnets only for weapon swapping, but I got so caught up in trying to find a pose that I liked I decided to add some extra magnets to the shoulder of Decimator; in this case the magnets show how great they can be at making hinges. I was sure to use tall magnets so I could make a hole-in-post to add to the stability of the join.

Now the Decimator can change between, evil stalking pose, standard shooting pose, and "You want some of this?!" shooting pose. Excellent!

The Decimator in contrast to the Sicaran assembled very well with no real surprises. In fact, it offered so much freedom in the joints, it was hard to choose a pose from top to bottom. I ended up drilling a pin through each joint to create a puppet-like structure to work with while I experimented with the pose; these added extra strength when i finally did glue it into place. The kit is so great with its level of detail I didn't find a need to go over-the-top in embellishing it; just a few spikes an some extra hoses.

I'll just add one-or-two turned into many more. Too bad it all gets so obscured by the armour plates that are added over top.

It all started with the damage to the cast; a few pipes had broken away at some point and I wanted to replace them to clean things up. A perfect job for the stockpile of hoses and pipes I've been building up ever since I picked up my GSI Tentacle Makers. Once I got those done I liked the look so much I couldn't help but fill out a few more to add to the effect, and a bunch to fill out the 'neck' of the construct. It's one of those things that you can keep going-and-going with, and overdo it if you're not careful. I think I added enough to embellish, but not clutter it too much.

A little more work on the base and this little monster will be ready for primer. Still needs some Butcher Cannons and a Conversion Beamer, but they deserve special treatment.

I didn't go too over-the-top in the pose, even though the kit offers so much freedom in the legs. The kit is so all-round bad-ass it can be very successful with just a but of twist in the hips and a lean of the torso. I did take my time posing the legs so that the balance of the model works, but it's not dramatic, more plodding and deliberate.The magnets offer enough freedom to change the pose up nicely depending on the load out. As mentioned, I still need some Butcher Cannons and a Conversion Beamer, but I want to take some time to do some extra conversion work on them. The Beamer needs to be appropriately 'Death Ray', and the Butcher Cannon provided as-is from Forge World is really lacking in 'Butcher'. the main body of the weapon is ok, but I think it needs a more intimidating looking barrel. I won't be able to start painting this until spring, but I'll get the primer on it so it can have a good long sit to cure out. This it going to be fun, if a bit intimidating, to paint. Good thing it comes apart so much so it will be easy to get at the tricky spots.

Ok, enough distractions (for now) time to get back to getting things into production mode. lots of casting to do over the weekend and the coming days followed by some serious mould making to open the door for more casting. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't work, but it's a different kind of work when it's tapping into a passion. The whispers from the warp taunt me to create and produce for my fellow Warmasters, so I am compelled to obey.

Thanks as always for reading. Questions, comments, input, critiques, feedback, criticisms, and general banter are always welcome. Much more to come...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2014/12/13 23:15:15

Post by: Anvildude

I feel like you and The Blackadder ought to talk. Specifically about the fit of Forgeworld stuff (ironically, he's also having issues with the fit of a large forgeworld Chaos kit that he bought years and years ago), and more generally about scratchbuild techniques and design influences.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/04 03:29:26

Post by: Subtle Discord

Much more in depth update/s coming shortly, but in the mean time...

Bah, bah, Black Sheep have you any wool? Yes sir. Yes sir. Three bags full! (Loricatus Hvy. Mk.II moulds are almost complete)

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/04 05:15:23

Post by: SickSix

Non spikey armor?!?!?! I have been waiting so long for this!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/04 07:02:05

Post by: deadmeat85

Loyalist armor Kits.......

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/04 07:34:46

Post by: Kelly502

Really I am speechless, you are a truly talented and creative person! I am really glad I stumbled on this thread!

Thanks for taking the time to post your work with the great pictures!


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/07 05:09:59

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks all for the positive response. It took longer to get finished then I had hoped, but it came together nicely once I had the time to focus on it. Maybe I'm being too critical, but there is a minor issue with how some of the parts are casting, and I'll talk about that more later to look for some feedback. However, this update was going to be a single post, but as I was compiling pictures, the moulds for this kit kept getting more-and-more complete, giving me more pictures to add, and so this will mutate into 2 or 3 updates to cover everything. But first...

"And now, for something completely different!" On occasion I have mentioned my desire to work my way up to scratch building a Chaos titan scale vehicle of some description. For many years the Chaos Defiler kit had planted the seed of an idea that would blend a traditional Imperial titan with an up-scaled Defiler. Now, this is a long term idea that I'm planning for after a nice formation of my Black Legion army are complete; in isolation it would be an amazing build, but too lonely. You need an army to surround something of this scale to do it justice, in my personal opinion. Now that said, my brain is always processing ideas and looking for inspiration and/or materials, and this opportunity was just too perfect to pass up.

The original idea, many years ago, was always to build this mostly from scratch. But without anything to use as a starting substructure the idea was (is) very daunting, to say the least. Now, with the release of the Lord of Skulls and the Imperial Knight kits, I figured they might become a good base to start with, but the scale seemed a bit too small for what I really had in mind. I still have my ideas for those kits, but Hasbro was kind enough to solve my problem in one go; enter the Terradrone. Now, knowing how short-lived some products can be in our fast paced modern times (especially with toys), I got one of these before they almost inevitably stop making them; even if it has to sit on a shelf for a while, it's now just waiting to go.

Easily large enough to properly stomp on a Rhino; Santa brought me this for Christmas with strict instructions that it be transformed into a Chaos war machine, so who am I to argue?

As a proper toy it's actually a little underwhelming; it's not very fast moving and its rate-of-fire is somewhat slow. But, it is surprisingly accurate in its movement, nicely articulated in the legs, plus reasonably solid feeling in its build construction. Ultimately it's going to be used mostly as a static model that will have the benefit of being able to change pose, and the added novelty of being able to walk, even if it won't likely do it very often.

Who am I kidding, once it's done I'll play with it all the time! "Die Imperial lap-dogs!" *stomp stomp stomp* "Cannon charging!"... Errr... heh... did I say that out loud? *smiles sheepishly*

It's still a massive build, but having this to use as a substructure will greatly reduce the design work needed to make it real. I've got a good idea how I'll be adding armour plates to skin the legs and totally transform the look of it; it only has two legs (each repeated 3 times) so I can build limited prototypes and cast enough to go around. The upper 'body' is another story completely, and will require much more consideration; it does tilt to shoot farther (indirect fire!) but I'm not sure if or how I will take advantage of that.

For now it's enough to have a solid starting form to work with, and I can just concentrate on doing the legs; there's plenty of time to give proper consideration to how the top will look and function. The top is actually totally modular and easily removable (useful for storage and transport) so it can really be considered separately; it might even open the door to having different upper bodies for different variations of the final model.

I have no idea at what pace this will take form, but expect it to turn up, looking considerably different, at some point in the future. It's going to be an ambitious build, even with such a wonderful starting substructure, but it's also going to be such a great centerpiece to the army I'm looking forward to the challenge it will be. It's one of those projects that has such a great metal image, I'm driven to see it made real. Until I can start a proper build, it will be an excellent sketching subject, so expect to see some of those soon enough; I can make them part of my college sketching requirements, so the effort can be useful in more than one way.

Funny thing about finishing a prototype. Once the parts are complete, it's still not really complete. Now it needs to be setup for moulds.

The swapping plates to move the sponson between the from and rear positions is added complexity to the build, and that will add to the number of moulds; but, it's a straight forward idea that's worth the effort to explore. Time to take the parts and wrap them in some rubber. But first, vents, lots of vents.

The Chop-It and Sand-It from Micro-Mark are perfect for making the many repeating bits needed for making lots of vents.

The double doors of the center armour components create a dead zone between them; as you fill the object in the mould, bubbles can get caught in between the doors. Without vents there's nothing to keep the bubbles moving to force them out. Even with the vents it can be a spot prone to catching annoying bubbles.

Ooo... pink. Slaanesh should be proud. I've changed the rubber that I've been making my newest moulds from, and that's a subject unto itself for another post.

Some in-progress pictures of me making moulds. As always, I make my moulds with generous wall thicknesses; the thicker the mould, the more resistant to warping it is. Deep locking pins mean the mould locks together very tightly, and with just a rubber band to wrap and hold the mould together it's ready to cast with.

Resin casting is an almost addictive process; it's always a downright gratifying experience to see what was once parts and pieces held together with glue and epoxy turn into solid pieces of clean plastic.

The very first casts of a new mould. Mmm... yeah, that's the good stuff. As each new mould was completed the kit was finally able to take form...

Loricatus Mk.II Pattern Heavy Armour kit - The Dark Works 2015.

So, the moulds are complete, and have now cured for a few days so they can start producing soon... but, there's an unexpected catch. There seems to be a small issue with how the parts are curing and it's effecting the fit of the modular center plate used to swap the sponson; where it was quite tight in the styrene prototype build, it is slightly looser in the final resin cast. As I said earlier, while there is a slight change in the fit, maybe I'm being too critical. It took me very little effort to fix it by physically altering the part, and it could also be filled with the greensuff that will be inevitable to make the parts seamless either way.

So, maybe I need some outside perspective and input; I'll take some pictures of the issue and see what the public thinks of it. There are solutions, but with the labour and materials invested in the kit so far, I want to temper my desire to produce top quality kit with being realistic. Let me get my next article worked up, and you'll better see what I'm talking about. A picture (or several) is worth a thousand words, and all that.

On a related side note; once this kit is finished and photographed for The Dark Works product shots, I will be finally assembling and painting this Land Raider model. After being in my collection for 3+ years and being used to make three different resin kits, I think it's done enough work and deserves to go to pasture, as it were. I'm very pleased with the idea of even priming this model after seeing it grey for all these years; it will be downright surreal to see it with colour on it. I can't wait. And once it's done it will give me an excuse to do some Terminators to put in it... someday...

Thanks for reading. As always, speak and be heard! Comments, questions, input, and feedback are always welcome.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/07 05:52:07

Post by: Rickfactor

There is a solution for ill-fitting parts - bag it up and call it Ork armour.

Looking forward to seeing your next posts.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/07 14:43:30

Post by: Ulterior

Just wow....

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/07 21:52:22

Post by: hjfkuiper

Why have you not been hired by GW again?

I think i speak for others when i say that these bits are awesome

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/08 02:17:39

Post by: Anvildude

Because why would he want to be hired by GW and be smothered by creative stagnation?

This way, he'll be his own boss, be successful, and be able to possibly branch out into his own designs and maybe even a fantastic new game system or a whole new multiperson business.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/10 19:12:56

Post by: Subtle Discord

While there's a part of me that would consider working for GW or preferably FW (I'd love the chance to make proper Chaos variants of all the vehicles that make sense) the simple fact of geography will always prevent that; to work as a member of the core design team with GW/FW you must be located in London England. It would be interesting to become an official 'affiliated studio', but even that has little chance of happening. Agree or disagree, GW has a very specific way they want to run their business. In the end, Anvildude has the long and the short of it; as long as I take care in what I produce and how I present it, I can keep doing exactly what I want and take it in whatever future direction I choose. And trust me when I say that I want the scope and scale of what I'm doing to greatly expand, but all good plans take time to work out.

It's been mentioned in other corners of the interweb that I'm very open in documenting and showing what I do. I hope that my efforts at transparency are obvious, as it's a very conscious effort on my part. I know exactly what I want to produce, and it's nothing but the best that my skills can muster, so I have nothing to hide. So, if I've got nothing to hide, why not show what I'm doing to enlighten those who might be interested? Some might want to know because they want to try for themselves (I know I'm always looking for well presented 'how it's done' content, so I can't be alone) and some might just want to see how it's done out of more casual curiosity. Either way, I have a knack for it, people seem to appreciate it, and I like the progressive documentation, so I have no problem letting you all peer in on my workbench.

The new Mk.II kit uses a modular plate to select the orientation of the door and sponson. It's also the feature that's teaching me a lesson in resin casting.

This idea came to me after I made my first Land Raider Armour kit, so it's only available on the new kit. As the Mk.I moulds age it's only a matter of time before they need to be replaced; I might add a second center plate to add this option to that kit in the future, but for now the Mk.I kit only comes in the single (Sponsons forward, doors back) configuration. I've also already got a good idea for a Mk.III that I really like, but that's getting ahead of myself.

I always build with accuracy and precision in mind and in this case I was very particular about the fit of the swapping center plate.

Every detail of a prototype, good or bad, will be replicated in the copy; time and care taken in the build will pay off in the final product. In this case I knew that a slight gap between the plate and trim was inevitable. I still tried to make it as tight as possible so it will take as little effort as possible to fill to make it seamless. The idea was that it should fit so snugly that the part will align itself with little effort.

Not all parts are created equal when you're casting in resin, and these parts prove the point.

After casting everything looks good, but the fit has changed ever-so-slightly. Where the plate was very snug in the prototype, it's become slightly looser in the casting. From what I can tell the change in thickness of the area where the plate sits compared to the plate itself made the parts cure and shrink differently; the base was much thinner (0.75mm) so it shrank very little and the plate is thicker (2.25mm) that part shrank more during curing. In the end, the gap is a fraction of a millimeter wider, so it's not a huge deal but it's annoying when I was trying so hard to make it to a tighter tolerance.

Not my preferred solution, but dealing with the gap isn't that difficult.

After sleeping on it and considering some of the fit issues I've had with Forge World models, I've come to the conclusion that I am being critical. I want to make top-notch kits, but I need to temper that with being realistic. Since a bit of greenstuff will be needed even if the fit is really good, it could easily fill the gap with no modification. I've been able to close the gap by making a few cuts in the base plate, filing a bit of resin away, and gluing it down as normal. With the top plate in place you'd never know the difference.

Much more clean-lined than the Mk.I Armour kit, the open areas of the Loricatus Mk.II Armour kit are just begging for some freehand mural painting.

Beyond that minor unexpected issue that I've shown here the rest of the kit is casting near flawlessly; sharp details, perfectly straight lines, absolutely flat panels, and wonderfully tight fit, all as it should be. I'll be flipping the switch on them for my shop in the next day or two after I get a few last things sorted out. I've got a first batch cast up and they've cured for 36+ hours, so they're ready to go. I like to let my resin cure for 48 hours at the minimum before I consider packing or shipping so it's reached full hardness. Resin goes through distinct stages as it cures; first it's soft like toffy, then it goes hard with a bit of flex/bend (best time to de-mould an object), then it reaches full hardness but becomes very brittle (very easy to break items), and then it cures to the final blend of tough, rigid, and slightly flexible. 24 hours is usually enough to get a full cure, but I like the extra time as the material data literature takes all its measures (flex strength, harness, shrinkage, etc.) after 48 hours, so it seems a safe bet there's a reason, and I use the same window as an acceptable cure time.

It also dawned on me over the last few days, as I was looking at some pictures of vehicle variants, this kit would make a prefect base for my take on an official FW Mk.IIb Land Raider. The modular plates could easily be changed into sponson enclosures like that of the FW Mk.IIb; and it wouldn't even require a change in the base armour plate to make them fit. Yep, I think the Mk.III might just have to consider that...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/10 19:50:28

Post by: anticitizen013

I think I'm in love. This is by far my favourite thread I have ever internetted.

I'd love to see these in person one day!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/01/14 07:32:29

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks for the high praise. I'm doing everything I can to do nothing to add and improve on my current foundation. And someday... someday... my army will leave the bench and start raiding outside of The Works, so anything is possible.

So, as one last serious article before I get swamped under by school for the next 14 weeks, I've got a mix of tools, techniques, and materials to ramble about. Get comfy, it's going to be a big one. First up, a bit of home made kit...

The Easy-Bake Oven has nothing on this simple setup; I give you the Greenstuff Oven. Or maybe it should be called the Kneadatite Kiln so it sounds more sophisticated.

I like to use standard arm lamps around my studio, especially at my painting bench. They're a low-cost lighting solution that is useful with how adjustable they are. They're also prone to wearing out and braking, since they're not exactly expensive; easy to replace, but now I also have a use for the left over lamp. By adding an incandescent light bulb and combining it with a coffee can, it produces and stores just enough heat to speed the cure of epoxy putty, without endangering any resin or plastic.

The foiled cardboard of this coffee can makes it perfect for the task. Any properly size container will do, but the reflective nature of this type of can helps improve the effect. The bulb is 25w, and that is the perfect strength; I also tested a 15w bulb which didn't generate enough heat, and 40w which was enough to cause styrene to start warping. I've used it with the 25w bulb on several objects (some very delicate) with no adverse effects to the styrene or resin.

I would estimate that this little oven cuts the cure time of Greenstuff in half, and helps to alleviate one of the things I hate about working with it; to do Greenstuff sculpting work well, many times you need to work in layers. And I hate waiting for layers to cure so I get discouraged to even start some projects. It's far from instant, but it certainly helps.

A simple trick for improving the pins used to hold a build or conversion together, I've been meaning to show this tip for a long time.

Pins are essential to help certain builds stay together, it's as simple as that. any pin is good, but there's a super simple way to make them better; add texture.

1) I consider a good set of pliers an all-round must have tool for any bench; sometimes you just need the gripping power. I make sure mine have very well defined teeth in the jaws of the pliers for just for the following purpose.

2) By gripping the pin wire in the pliers and twisting it several times you can score some texture into the pin. You want to grip it tightly so that the teeth bite into the metal a bit, but don't go overboard. Work you way down the wire to make a good length of textured wire.

3) With this added texture on the wire, super glue will have something much more substantial to lock into as it dries. This simple change takes just a few seconds to do, but it will make pinned joints much stronger against both twisting and pulling forces. I actually dread the idea of trying to dismantle anything I've assembled with these pins; they work so well that may times the only way to remove something mounted with one, is by destroying it.

I've mentioned adding a second metal point to a compass and using it to cut circles, and here's how I use it to do just that.

1) Tilt the compass and gently scribe the circle into the plastic. Take your time, it will cut rather well with modest pressure and several passes. This can work on surprisingly thick card to get very accurate circles; here I'm cutting 1.5mm styrene sheet. Start with the first circle at the size you want. It's best to cut the circle slightly larger then what will be needed; the edge of the cut will be a bit rough and you'll want to file and/or sand to finish, and that will shrink it a little bit.

2) Use a fine pin to poke the center point through the plastic. All you need is a point to use as a guide on the other side, so it doesn't need to be rammed through, but it will depend on the thickness of the material what kind of pressure you'll need to get at least a small point to work with.

3) The act of cutting the circle can force the compass out of alignment, be sure to test that it's still the right size before you flip and cut a second circle on the other side of the plastic. Naturally, you want to closely match the first circle. How deep you need to cut will really depend on the thickness of the material, but you'll be surprised that it doesn't need to be very deep for the next step to work every time.

Great thing about styrene, it loves to bend and snap on a cut line, even if it's not that deep. The break will even usually be a clean 90 degrees many times.

1) Simply bend the sheet firmly but carefully to split the scribed line into a proper break. Do it gently in both directions to get an even break from both sides.

2) Work around the circle and weaken the grip it has on the sheet with the bending action. Stiff areas near the edge of sheets can be stubborn to do with fingers, just use your handy-dandy pliers to help with the job.

3) Once you've worked around the circle it will reach a point where it will all but fall out of the sheet. It will be a bit rough around the edge, but still very clean and accurate.

4) It's already marked with a perfectly centered point for drilling for all sorts of purposes, if it's useful. Great for adding magnetic plates to tank turrets, for example.

Used to carefully apply super glue, I managed to break this little tool cleaning it after using it during the Decimator build, so I'll take the opportunity to show how to make one.

I was turned on to this wonderful little tool idea by the thread A Detailed Quality build of a Storm Eagle. This tutorial in general is a wealth of insight into the experience of assembling an advanced Forge World model. Not only does the author detail the problems and fixes for the model and build, but also many extra efforts taken to do add many extra details to the kit. Truly inspiring and informative, and this tool is a perfect example.

You'll want somewhat larger needles to make one of these. A few different sizes for different jobs is never a bad thing. A pack of needles will cost a few dollars, and the extra needles you don't used will always be useful as actual needles.

You can buy these tools already made from some hobby suppliers, but making them is so easy, it seems silly to spend more than $2 for some needles.

1) You'll need to nip off the end of the needle to get the desired forked shape. Be aware that needles are made from extremely hard steel (A jewelers saw-blade in my jigsaw would not cut this needle) and will most likely leave divot marks in the clipper's cutting blades. I have a set of cheaper clippers for doing such potentially damaging jobs.

2) Take care when you clip off the end, the bit will fly like a tiny missile; safety goggles are advised. This is what you want, but it's going to be rough and need some cleanup.

3) I start with a sanding block with 320 grit sandpaper to clean and shape the ends. Again, because the needle is so hard you'll need to use black silicon carbide sandpaper. Once i have the shape I work up to higher grit to smooth the finish.

4) With some loose sandpaper the inside of the tines are cleaned up and shaped a little.

5) To finish them, I work up to 600 grit and then 800 grip to get a nice finish on the surface. you want them to have a clean finish so they are easier to clean. Since they're used with super glue it's inevitable that the glue will build up on them and need to be removed while in use; a smooth surface will avoid buildup in the first place, and scrape clean easier when you need to.

Behold the amazing power of... Capillary Action! It happens so quickly I can be tricky to photograph so the middle shot is a bit out-of-focus.

Just touching the tool to a drop of liquid glue will cause the capillary action to pull a small measure of glue into the tool. Again, the photos for this are a little tricky; clear glue doesn't photograph well. Give it a try and you'll quickly see; touch the tool to a gap or join that you want to apply glue to and capillary action will pull the glue from the tool and into the gap/join.

By placing the hoses for the Decimator in drilled holes first to test and adjust the fit, and then carefully applying glue with this tool, I was able to lock these hoses in place without any messy glue buildup or mishaps. I've even carefully glued some of these hoses together to help lock them tight, and the light touch of this tool helped keep it very clean.

I've been using the pictured Mold Star 30 for years, and while I like how it performs I was interested in improving my moulds.

Put simply, resin casting moulds (all moulds, really) wear out. The plastic while it is in liquid form is actually very volatile and will actually attack rubber little-by-little as the mould is exposed to the plastic over-and-over. The plastic also produces a significant amount out heat while it cures, and I'm sure that can't help. And then there's the simple act of the object being pulled free from the mould's surface, slowly wearing away at the rubber. Many times you also need to bend and flex the mould to free an object, which is also hard on a mould, especially as it gets older.

It's no wonder moulds will dry out like the one pictured here; the pale colour of the left mould is an indicator of the age of this mould. At first, the discolouration has no effect on the cast quality, but as it expands it will make the surface so brittle that it's only a matter of time before defects start to appear.

So, in the spirit of exploring my options I chose to try some new products to see if I can improve my the lifespan of my moulds.

Mould Max 30, as the name might suggest, is rather similar to Mould Star 30, but it boasts a better tear strength, a long mould life, and it's bit stiffer once cured which helps to ensure items don't deform during casting work. Where the Mold Start is a 50/50 mix, Mold Max 30 is mixed 10-to-1. Mould Max 30 also takes 24 hours to fully cure opposed to just 8 hours for Mould Star 30. Mold Star 30 also pours noticeably faster (it's less viscous) then the Mold Max 30, so it doesn't catch bubbles as easily; Mold Max 30 benefits from being vacuum degassed before pouring a mould.

Both rubbers perform very well, but it seems like the Mold Max 30 is in fact aging better. It will take more use to see how it holds up over the long term. Its tear strength and stiffness is also noticeably improved, but all of these improvements come at the need for equipment to get the most out of it, and the longer curing time. I would still recommend the Mold Star 30 as the better general use rubber for the average hobbyist, but if you can do it right, Mold Max 30 can be worth the effort.

Finally, a few words about the mould release I use. Mann Release 205 is general purpose release that I've been using for years, and it does a great job, but it's not perfect. It's very thin and requires a separate spray bottle that never works as well as it could. I still rely on 205 during my mould making because of how good it is for treating the split for the mould.

But for actual casting I'm really liking the Mann Release 200 that I have started using in the last few months. It's a canned aerosol product that goes on very lightly and smoothly, and it even treats the surface of the mould so that the castings have a wonderfully smooth surface. The only down side of this release agent is how quickly it gets used up. It doesn't need to be applied heavily, but if you're doing lots of casting it will gobble up a can in no time at all, even if you use it sparingly. The good stuff never lasts as long as you'd like.

And on that note, thanks for reading. As always, things are brewing in the background as I'm grinding through my college work and I'll be ready to jump on things once I can get back in the studio. Classes finish at the end of April, so expect some garbled ramblings to emerge sometime shortly after. Hopefully, I'll be able to squeeze something in before then, but time will tell.

"Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast." ~ Ace Rimmer

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/02/08 00:59:24

Post by: tinker

I just purchased my own Servator Zing! I have focused on scratch built terrain and wanted to ask if you could share a few details about your setting.
How thick is the styrene you are using?
What are your zing setting (force, passes, speed, all the software stuff)?
What is your blade height?

Also, are you using the Zing to cut all the way through, or just score the material?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/02/09 21:35:26

Post by: Freytag93

I absolutely love this blog. You make stunning conversions and kits like they are a walk in the park, and then you take the time to teach others how to do it. I cannot exalt this thread as much as you deserve.

Please never stop posting

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/04/06 06:13:58

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks as always, for the kind words. Trust that I have no plans on stopping my posting, even if it should go dormant sometimes due to the specter that is life. I also haven't forgotten about your request tinker (or I did, but have now been reminded) I will do my best to get something for you once I can take the time.

With three weeks left of classes, the light is at the end of the tunnel for this year, and the studio is beckoning. It's been hectic, and there's still much more to come, but I've had an undeniable desire to take some of my new SolidWorks knowledge and dabble with something Warhammer 40k related. So, with a holiday Friday I decided to take the day as a tiny bit of a break, and do just that.

I'm quite pleased with what I was able to do in a day and a bit of work; it's not near finished, but it's a solid start.

This is beginning of my take on the Land Raider 'Dozer Blade that I have plans on making. I was only able to get the chassis link, the main arm, and the ram link finished before I ran out of time. Rather than making a 'blade' designed to push earth, I decided to make it more of a Siege Ram, designed to knock down obstacles and ram breaches in fortifications. Once in position the ram can lift up as the 'Raider assault ramp opens. It will be completely modular, so I will make both Traitor and Loyalist versions using the same base hardware.

And with that little teaser, I must slip back into the all concealing shadow that is higher learning. More to come, in due time.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/04/07 21:15:06

Post by: ArbitorIan

Amazing stuff - I look forward to seeing what you come up with next!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/04/08 06:57:41

Post by: insaniak

Very cool so far.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/04 02:17:16

Post by: Subtle Discord

Well then, with my higher learning responsibilities finished early this week (two years down, two years to go… *whew*) and catching up on some much needed sleep, it’s finally time to return to the hobby and my studio for the summer months. My apologies to anyone reading this who may have contacted me in the last few weeks with no reply, I’ll be sitting down to write to several people over the next few days.

The plan was to dive into some casting as soon as classes finished, replenishing gaps in my stock, but the state of my studio has forced me into a detour. College projects have a way of turning my already modestly cluttered studio space into an absolute disaster. Add to that the new equipment, materials, moulds, and stock, which I’ve added to the studio over the years and the dysfunction has reached a tipping point. This year I can’t just clean up, I need to do a major overhaul of how the entire space is arranged. I’ve started the daunting task, but it’s going to take several more days to get everything settled in. Rest assured that once I’m done, a casting run is priority one, followed closely by much more.

For those who are interested in my actual army progress, it is my hope to force myself into some scheduled painting time this summer; wearing so many hats for the studio consumes so many hours, I’ve come to the conclusion that I won’t get any painting done unless I literally block out time in my schedule for it. So many elements of the army rebuild (started in late 2011) are so close to finished, it’s downright depressing to see it all stuck in limbo for so long. I’m sure I’ll still struggle to get as much progress as I would like, but we’ll see what I can manage.

Now, while I’ve been hiding under a rock for the last several days as I decompress from classes, and started to take care of the studio reorganization, I haven’t been idle on the creation front. Let me introduce the first in a new class of kit that I have plans for production.

I’ve nicknamed this model The Little Snapping Turtle, in honour of its armoured chassis and the future weapon systems that will give it a bite.

The Land Raider Siege Ram that I was dabbling with earlier (that is also being re-worked and will turn up in its finished state soon) was just as taste of what I want to do with my expanding skillset; college is teaching me much, and now I want to start apply those teachings. This is the calibre of model I want to make going forward, and this is just the tip of the spear.

Don’t get me wrong, I love scratch building, but it’s become apparent that if I want to take my kits to the next level I’ll need to improve my process on several fronts. Detailing at this scale becomes exponentially harder when you’re doing it by hand, and some forms and shapes are just impossible or impractical to do with a reasonable amount of labour. My plan is to blend the two methods, using 3D models made with rapid prototyping (RP) combined with CNC cut scratch built styrene when each makes sense. In most cases this will entail building the larger structural pieces in styrene, and then using RP components and panels to detail the kit.

This is completely new territory for me, and I’m still researching exactly who will be doing my printing and best practices for rapid prototyping, so it will take me a little more time to get that all sorted. I expect the turn-around time for my prints to be at least 10-14+ days, so I’m working on a few self-contained kits right away. While they’re being made I will work on other studio tasks and builds.

A three-quarter view to give a better look; I added some lighting to the bottom pictures to give some depth and contrast.

While I dabbled with 3D modeling in the past using SketchUp, the software just wasn’t up to the task of producing the details I was trying to create. I got ok results, but it was a fight to get it to work on such a small scale. Learning SolidWorks has changed all of that. The learning curve is challenging, but the power of the software makes it worth every bit of effort, and I think this little model proves the point well. I’m very pleased with how it has turned out, and I can’t wait to do the weapon systems for it.

In the short term I plan to finish off this heavy weapon platform (next up, weapons), the ‘Raider siege ram, a long planned jet-bike, and maybe a few other small odds-and-ends. Once those are sent off for prototyping I will be turning my sights to the Storm Raven extension kit that many have been inquiring about, along with some other ideas I have brewing. From there I want to use the Strom Raven kit as a stepping off point to produce the full Chaos Storm Eagle kit that I’ve had waiting for far too long to start; with all of the skills and equipment finally coming together, a kit as large as the Eagle has finally started to become possible… I think.

But all of that, as they say, is another story for another day. While heavy on words and light on photos, this installment in Legion Rising marks the start of much more. I’ve taken it this far, I feel confident that I can take it farther. As usual, you can expect documentation of my exploits here over the coming weeks, months, and years. Stay tuned.

And, as always, comments, questions, input, feedback and all other general hobby musings are always welcome.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/04 05:01:20

Post by: Rawson

Great to see you back! Even as a total loyalist, I enjoy your projects

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/04 05:10:25

Post by: Stormwall

Sick stuff still! Even though you're filthy chaos, I love your work.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/08 17:16:48

Post by: Kepora

Looks like I'm holding back on ordering those Rapiers!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/12 05:34:57

Post by: Subtle Discord

Just a quick late night sneak peak.

Chaos Weapon Platform equipped with E-Plasma Cannon

Weapon system construction continues; further updates to follow...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/12 18:21:29

Post by: Kepora

Love it. Got nothing else to say but that.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/12 18:43:14

Post by: Anvildude

Just in time to be used as proxies for the Kataphron Destroyers, eh?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/12 21:48:00

Post by: Kepora

I think these are not-Rapiers, Anvil.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/14 19:25:07

Post by: em_en_oh_pee

Wow... how am I not already following this?! Holy crap.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/16 21:29:41

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks, as always, for the encouraging feedback. Sneak peak number two...

Chaos Weapon Platform equipped with H. Auto-Cannon.

Progress is a little slower than I was hoping for (I have no choice but to learn and apply many advanced SolidWorks functions/processes as I build) but I think the results are worth it. Much like scratch building, getting the basic form is reasonably easy, but adding the details takes much more time. However, with each challenge figured out I have another option or process for future builds. The power to make changes without needing to scrap the entire part is by far one of the best advantages of digital creation; while I don't enjoy spending the time to redo a detail or part that isn't successful, just having the option available is wonderful.

Next up, my personal favorite (and why I forced myself to save it for last), the Conversion Beamer.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/16 21:43:10

Post by: Gordon Shumway

Loving it SD. Any ideas on approximately when these will be ready for production? You can put me down for at least three.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/05/18 09:01:11

Post by: Kepora

Honestly, I'd move the drums to the same side, or evenly positioned on both sides and lowered/embedded more.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/07/01 09:50:41

Post by: Subtle Discord

*Subtle tosses an insomnia fueled image out from under the rock currently residing over him*

While I've been quiet, I've also been active. More musings, ramblings, and updates to come soon...

After some creative struggles, my take on the Chaos Conversion Beamer has finally taken form.

BROCK: Aww no :cussin' way! Late 60's ultra death ray! She's amazing! Saddle operated with Doom-code gearing. Freakin' gorgeous.

MR. CARDHOLDER: If it were a woman I'd marry it.

MR. DOE: And I'd jeopardize our friendship by nailing your hot wife.

BROCK: Gyroscopic positioning?

JONAS JR.: At six points!

BROCK: Sick, tight.

JONAS JR.: And get this: it comes up out of the top of the skull!

BROCK: That's how it's done!

~ The Venture Brothers, e.36

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/07/01 15:35:21

Post by: Desubot

Mother of God

Its Beautiful

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/07/09 17:44:18

Post by: SilenzZzz

i just received my defense wall and rhino conversion bits in the mail (along with the rocket launcher bits) ... so looking forward to putting this together ... this weekend going to be doing the base assembly on the rhino and cleaning up everything ...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/08 23:32:37

Post by: Subtle Discord

++++++++++Signal Detect…
++++++++++Signal Lock…


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/10 06:27:10

Post by: Subtle Discord

*Subtle dives from the shadows, beats back life and the real fething world with a heavy club, slams the door shut, and quickly turns the lock*

Can I hide in here?

When the summer started I had several things ‘up in the air’ inside and outside of the studio, and as life is apt to do, things just love to fall at once. So… juggle has been the order of the day(s) the last several weeks. I’ve been in a bit of a funk because of it, and don’t have as much focus and drive as I’d like, but those are the whims of Chaos, and I always try to find my center. As usual, my silence hides my progress; writing goods articles always takes a reasonable investment in time, and lately that time was better spent creating. I’ve been working at both the virtual workbench and real workbench, so I’m going to split this update into two parts and look at each.

But first, a little lesson about the fun of unexpected equipment maintenance. At the beginning of the summer I was able to do a reasonable restock as planned and everything went smoothly. I wanted to get to it earlier and do a second casting run, but life and a long planned (much needed) camping vacation forced me to wait. When I returned to my workbench I discovered my compressor (the heart of my casting process, really) was leaking oil quite badly. After tearing it apart it seemed lucky to discover that it was just a worn out gasket that needed to be replaced; it’s better than a bigger mechanical problem, that should be simple enough to replace, I thought. Then I tried to actually locate the part (like trying to find a specific needle in a pile of needles) or material to make my own that wasn’t sold in massive expensive sheets. It wasn’t until I came across someone who worked on a farm that recounted how they ‘temporarily’ solved the same problem with a piece of cornflakes box cut to size; the original gasket has a very cardboard-like texture. They had since purchased a replacement gasket, but decided to wait for the improvised fix to fail before taking the effort to dismantle the compressor. That was several years ago, and the cereal box gasket had yet to fail. Being in a pinch, I channeled my inner MacGyver, found a box (actual corn flakes, no less) and used the old gasket as a template to trace out a new gasket. I haven’t had a chance to really stress it with some serious work, but so far it looks like it’s going to do the trick. This hiccup delayed a fresh casting run to restock, but that is now on track to start in a day or two, and that will be as good a test as any. *Crosses fingers*

Now, on to some (lots of) pictures and a bit of (lots of) rambling about 3D modeling. In short, yep, I really enjoy building/creating in SolidWorks. It still takes a surprising number of hours to finish a reasonably complex 3D model, but the freedom to explore and adjust forms and create complex assemblies is amazing. If the 3D prints I’ve ordered are of the right quality (examples I’ve seen are promising) then I know that I’ve only just stated to scratch the surface of what I can create. Hands-on scratch building will still have its place when the scale makes it practical, but for small-scale high-detail parts the potential is boggling. So I’ve done several smaller kits (and a few that are a bit larger) to test the waters; if they meet my standards they will be the first of many. First up, the finishing of some earlier projects and ideas; some from quite a long time ago…

A long time ago when I first started dabbling with 3D modeling I did some Bolter ammo drums, because well, belt-fed Bolters just don’t do it for me (and many others, it would seem).

An order for my first batch of 3D prints was actually sent before I went camping, (due to arrive late July) but they were rushed a little and I didn’t do a final test fitting in SolidWorks. When I returned and did a few checks I discovered that was a mistake (always do a final test fitting… always) and there were a few flaws that couldn’t be ignored. This forced me to cancel the order (creating a delay) but gave me the opportunity to make some final improvements and finish even more for my first order, like these ammo drums.

I’ve been adding the knives provided in the Chaos Space Maine kit as bayonets on the Bolters for a long time, but I was never happy with how weak the connection usually is at the join; they’re very prone to breaking off. So, I took the time to make some that should be much more substantial and add a bit of variety. If I (and others) like them it would be a snap to do other forms. When I got those done, a simple solution for a take on a combi-Melta along the same lines didn’t seem like a stretch; an ammo drum with an added Melta canister on the side completes the look.

Started a few months ago, the Land Raider Siege Ram (AKA: ‘Dozer Blade) has been finished.

I made a few changes to this design, moving the smaller hydraulic arm from the top to the bottom to give better line-of-sight to the sponsons. Test fittings done with paper prints helped me get an idea what this will look like on an actual model. I was also sure to give the side-arms a key that will permit the part to lift while also stopping it from dropping too low. It’s a massive slab of plastic in the end that cost more than average to print (not enough volume to hollow to save cost) but I'm quite happy with the final kit, so it’s worth it. Still cheaper than the labour it would take to build something like this from scratch.

On a side note, can someone please confirm if Loyalist Space Marines are still unable to add the ‘Dozer Blade to their Land Raider? I’ll be happy to make a Loyalist version, but it only makes sense if they are an actual option for them.

I didn’t plan on doing these, but they just sorta’ came together. Sometimes when the voices compel an idea, you just go with it.

I came across a model I had dabbled with several months ago for the armored base/pintol, and that was all I needed to get distracted (in a good way) with this build for several days. Being a fan of options, I plan to do all of my pintol mounted weapons with a modular base; a starting post with a smaller footprint so it can be mounted in unique locations, with a larger disk that fits the hatch locations on many of GWs kits. I also took a little time to make a raised and sunken version of these disks to give a little control over the profile these will create on a vehicle.

This little kit will be magnetized for weapon swapping, but also to give it some range of motion in its final built form. You see, I’ve got this thing about plausibility in my designs; I understand that these are just sci-fi props, but I still want the objects I create to appear plausible and reasonably manufacture-able. Always keeping the ideas of ‘How would this be manufactured and function?’ during the build process helps with adding authentic feeling details, in my opinion. It doesn’t have to realistic, but it should have some level of logic and realism, if that makes any sense?

Mounted in the sunken disk it should also have a reasonably low profile, and I was careful to keep the top-down profile size close to that of the base so it can cleanly turn 360 degrees.

Being a small kit I also took the time to do a full Chaos/Renegade version and a more subdued version that can be used as a less overt Renegade or Loyalist part.

Mmmm… options. *Drool* From left-to-right: combi-Bolter, combi-Flamer, combi-Melta, and combi-Plasma.

All of the parts are symmetrical, and modular so the weapons can be mounted how the builder wants. Just flip the weapon direction and rotate the assembly around to change up the look a little. Oh, and knowing now that Heresy-era vehicles can add pintol mounted Heavy weapons, I’ll say it’s safe to assume that adding some Heavy weapons in the future would be a welcome addition?

If I was going to redesign at my counts-as Havoc Launcher I wanted to make my own pintol mount for it, and it had to have options. Mmmm… more options. *Drool*

Like the pintol combi-weapons, I started with a smaller post (same size footprint) that could fit into a larger disk; again this gives the option to mount it with the higher or lower profile, depending on preference. In this case I also added a small key and placed the yoke of the pintol on a rail that can slide from side-to-side. This gives the builder the option of shifting the launcher off-center for some added variety.

I had several different motivations for redesigning this kit, not the least of which was adding a Heresy era version by popular request.

Racks of missiles are also painfully difficult to build by hand, so anything that can help in that case is also a welcome change. From drilling the holes, to making and placing the missile points, and trying to do it all as accurate and symmetrically as possible, it’s enough to drive you mad. If the printing process is up to the task of cleanly reproducing these curved surfaces it will completely convince me that I can do soft/round forms. This will be critical to go forward with some of my future ‘mutated’ and/or ‘warp-touched’ kits, and also kits for other races that use many more curved surfaces.

Also, I wanted to create a lower profile version of the Havoc launcher for mounting on tall vehicles. I think the larger square-faced launcher looks great on the back of a Rhino, but it becomes very bulky if you move it to the front, and it’s just too tall on the top of something like a Predator. By changing the missile layout and placing it in the sunken mounting disk, the profile is reduced nicely.

Finally, a look at the Chaos Rapier platforms in their 100% completed forms…

After finishing the weapon systems I went back to the chassis and give it one last refinement; I’ve got curves at my disposal after all, I may as well use them.

Unfortunately, it was the weapon platform that had a somewhat major flaw in the first print order that needed to be cancelled, so this kit was going to see a delay no matter what. This became a mixed blessing, providing an opportunity to do some final refinement and add several kits, but it’s still a little over a week before they ship. That’s ok, as it will give me time to do much-needed casting and more building of some other planned ideas. *Eyes his Storm Raven kit*

I have also invested in a third casting pressure chamber, and this will be the second chamber suitable for mould making (shop info tangent: my high pressure chamber is flat bottomed, and that’s not the best for making moulds – a round bottomed chamber lets you more easily level the rack holding the moulds); this new chamber will double my mould making abilities and give me a boost to casting production as well. It should arrive next week and will take a day-or-two to assemble and get into working order, just in time to help me make new moulds for these kits as quickly as possible. This, combined with the increased ability to produce fresh kits (if everything goes as planned with the 3D printed components) and other improvements in my process that have helped reduce reject parts should also mean that I can look at a price reduction on my more expensive kits. With three casting chambers, and enough variety of moulds to run, I should be able to get a proper non-stop cycle going and improve on my labour costs. I firmly believe the quality and attention to detail in my kits justifies the cost, but I also recognize that I have room to improve for the benefit of me (more sales) and my customers (better prices).

But that, so they say, is another story for another day. Keep an eye open for an update on these kits in the next 10-14 days. All of the 3D models shown here were ordered, and they have all passed physical inspection so far; they should be rapid prototyped over this coming week and I have an estimated ship date of Aug 18th. I’ll be sure to post up some fresh-from-the-box super macro photos and give my first brutally honest impressions. All of the components have been made with sprew sections attached for production, so they won’t fit together for assembly until I have my first casts done. Expect the Rapier to be one of the first up.

Before that, as promised, I’ll be showing what I’ve been up to at my real-world workbench including some more painted models (I final have some stuff actually… finished! *boggle*), build progress on my Sicaran and Fire Raptor, more fun with plastics and Servator Zing, and perhaps some other general ramblings for the fun of it. As always, comments, questions, input, feedback, and general musings are always welcome.

/wall-o-text: off

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/10 06:34:59

Post by: SilenzZzz

Looks awesome! ... i am ever so slowly assembling my Rhino so that i can apply the bits i acquired from you a little while back ...

and glad to see a potential Havoc launcher pintle mount (surprising how hard that bit is to track down hah!)

once i have this one finished will likely be placing an order for a second rhino setup as well in the future.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/10 06:40:37

Post by: deadmeat85

Man you never fail to impress with your designs. I can't wait to see the prototypes for the bolter upgrades.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/10 11:53:18

Post by: Spartan089

I'm always constantly blown away by your stuff, I still have some kits I ordered from you waiting to be put together including your chaos defense wall which is absolutely stunning. I think I've put off on finishing my CSM just so I can keep adding your conversion pieces.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/10 14:44:32

Post by: Boss Salvage

Quite enjoyed the write up, cheers for sharing. And I do love your designs as well, quite interested to see how they turn out in the plastic

- Salvage

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/10 17:32:49

Post by: Anvildude


Beautiful modelling! I frikkin' LOVE that one- what is it, a Conversion Beamer? For your Rapier platform.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/10 17:51:04

Post by: Rickfactor

More !!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/10 17:59:57

Post by: Desubot

Oh man i need those dozer blades in my life right now.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/11 06:28:35

Post by: Nuwisha

I want all of these things. Please. I'll be yer best friend!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/24 02:13:13

Post by: Subtle Discord

'Bah Bah black sheep have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!'

I'm upto my eyeballs in plastic, plasticine, lego blocks, and rubber. I've started the moulds but need to keep working to get them done as quickly as I can manage. I'll do some larger updates when I have more time to spare. But, I wanted to do a quick teaser to show that I do in fact have the parts in my hands. In short, the results are mostly very positive, but there are some surface quality issues that are not totally unexpected. As I've worked with the parts I have a better understanding of the process, the material, and how to get improved results in the future. For now there's always going to be some cleanup work required to make parts production ready, but there are ways to minimize it and deal with what can't be avoided. I'll be sure to give some examples and explain much deeper in future articles; I'm guessing I'm not the only one who is very curious about rapid prototyping and the results that can be achieved.

Other parts required much more cleanup and preparation, so while that was being done, the Land Raider Siege Ram went under the rubber first.

To save printing costs larger objects were made hollow; those parts need to be filled (with carefully injected resin) and the vents need to be filled and cleaned before mould making. So, while I'm doing that I got the Siege Ram started first since it didn't require any of that preparation. While it cures (and it will be ready to start casting in just a few hours *giddy*) I've been working on other parts; the chambers are currently curing 7 moulds with many more to go. I've quickly discovered that the translucent quality of the resin makes it very difficult to photograph well. It tends to wash out details that are actually quite pronounced, and getting pictures of actual surface quality can be quite tricky. What I've seen of surface quality, most should look fine with the normal few coats of paint they can expect to receive (Read: yes there is some surface 'grain', but it is so minor that paint will make it vanish) but there are some places where it becomes more noticeable. Without manual cleanup these few places will show through paint.

Again, I'll elaborate further, once I've got some actual casts in my hands to see the final results. I should be able to post some pictures of the Siege Ram tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/24 04:00:18

Post by: catharsix

Awesome new stuff! I made my first order from you the other day, and when this stuff becomes available I will be getting more!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/25 16:08:54

Post by: Master Azalle

Can't wait to see more of your work!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/25 16:30:36

Post by: Desubot

Oh those dozers are land raider sized. cool. though i wonder how hard it would be to convert into a rhino sized one

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/29 07:46:35

Post by: Subtle Discord

I do have plans for a Rhino scale 'Dozer Blade with a similar feel, but since there are man options already for that chassis, I figured the Land Raider was more deserving of the first kit. I'll admit that I wanted to add a proper 'Dozer Blade to my Land Raider since day-1, so there was a bit of extra motivation there.

So, the surface issues turned out to be a two headed beast, causing the obvious surface flaws, but also complicating the mould making process. The root of the surfacing issues are caused mostly by a 'frosting' of the material when a support wax is used during printing. Where the wax meets the plastic a frosting of the surface occurs. In many cases it's not that big of a problem; it is so subtle that paint should hide it. (Testing is planned) But also, if it's not properly prepared and lubricated liberally the mould rubber bonds very tightly to the texture. On large flat areas it's not as much of a problem, it sill peals away with a bit of extra force. However, small details, especially those that are undercut, inset, or very tight can bond so well that they tear the mould when being removed. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to be with several moulds, ruining them before they could even make a single copy. All but one of my first moulds had to be scrapped for this reason or another.

This was a mixed blessing. Loss of time and materials sucks, but I was able to improve my surface preparation process before pouring new rubber and it has both solved the sticking/tearing problem as well as remove the majority of the cosmetic surface issues. It takes much more work to prep the parts then expected, but the quality of the rapid prototyped pieces is worth the effort. Also, seeing now how the parts are printed, future parts will be arranged to avoid the supporting wax whenever possible to minimize prep work.

So, lets have a closer look. Here's the latest sneak-peak at some workbench progress.

The Siege Ram blade mould turned out fine, but the mould for the chassis link components needed a re-pour.

While I had some struggles with the weapon platform chasses, it's finally turned the corner and is almost finished.

There are further lessons to be given and other stories of misery a woe related to this kit, but I'll save them for when I have more a little more time. With the production complication worked out, I'm busting my butt to do some catch-up. It's been one of those summers, with unexpected factors (inside and outside the studio) really messing with the plan to get more done. But, that's life, and I'm starting to just accept that it happens some times, and it's better to put energy into finding a solution than getting angry or upset; anger in the moment is to be expected, but it does little in the long run.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/29 08:49:31

Post by: Malika2

Thanks for the info! Did you print the models in Frosted Extreme Detail?

Also, how would you prepare the material for casting?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/29 19:04:03

Post by: Subtle Discord

Happy to help. Yes, everything was prototyped in Frosted Extreme Detail at Shapeways. Most high-end 3D printing companies I found were boasting a 25nm-per-layer process, but Shapeways new Frosted Extreme uses a 16nm-per-layer process. At the scale I'm going for, every little bit helps, and even at 16nm there are still surface issues that require addressing. But even with those issues, the level of detail in the prints is astounding. If you follow their design guidelines for the material it will faithfully replicate even the tiniest details that are 0.1mm tall/wide/deep; however, 0.1mm is the absolute limit and I found that keeping details to at least 0.25mm to 0.3mm to be perfect. For example, the thinnest layering I would do would be 0.25mm tall (in some rare situations, maybe 0.2mm or 0.15mm) so that the edge is reasonably pronounced, but still subtle. The best size I've found for small rivets is 0.3mm in diameter; large enough to be properly pronounced, but small enough to fit even tiny locations.

I am still researching alternative printing companies (Suggestions from readers are most welcome) that can achieve the high quality results that my standards demand, and isn't obscenely expensive. But most I've found use a process that require the addition of support sprues in plastic which need to be considered and then removed once the print is finished. While Shapeways process has some drawbacks with the wax-support method they use, the advantages of being able to print multi-part items and not have to deal or worry about supporting sprues is quite nice.

Prepping for mould making was an interesting learning curve. As I've mentioned, in many cases the frosted surface is not really a problem for surface quality, (paint should hide any slight 'grain') but it is a rough texture that has more surface area to bond with the rubber during curing. In tight locations with fine details that can easily tear the rubber during de-moulding. So, I simply use all of the studio tools I've collected over the years to sand and refine the surface. The key tools are sanding sticks, fine sanding points, my Grobet jewellers files, some metal sculpting tools, and a selection of pins for really tight cracks. All of these are used to sand and burnish the surfaces to remove the topmost layer of 'grain' and smooth/refine the surface; it will remain frosted and matt, but have a smoother finish. The material is extremely hard (and reasonably brittle) and it works well for this process; once the offending surface material is remove, and you hit solid plastic, it is very obvious. With a light touch it's almost impossible to go too far and do unwanted surface damage. Depending on the amount of frosted surface you're dealing with, and just how detailed the object is, it can take quite a bit of labour, but for a casting prototype it's worth it.

The final step is to be sure to oil tear-prone areas with deliberate care. When I did my first moulds I was generous with the mould release and even took the time to really get it in the nooks-and-crannies, but it wasn't enough. Those details need to be surface prepped (to smooth the surface as much as possible) and a thicker layer of mould release added by brush. I've taken to spraying a small amount of Mann Ease Release 300 onto a pallet, picking that up with a brush, and applying it were needed. This oils the area much more and produces a notably shinier surface that will release the rubber much more readily. NOTE: Once the master prototype is out of the mould and you are casting in polyurethane plastic (aka: resin) the part with free itself from the mould much easier, and special care is not required anymore.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/29 19:12:54

Post by: Rickfactor

I would try laying down a coat or two of gloss varnish to smooth out the surface to possibly reduce the chances of sticking and tearing the silicone.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/29 19:57:51

Post by: FoxPhoenix135

Very impressive stuff here.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/29 19:58:18

Post by: Subtle Discord

Oh yes, in the future I will be trying other surface treatments as well to see if there are better/faster alternatives.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/30 18:41:18

Post by: Malika2

Wow, thanks for the response!

Two things:

(1) Printing company:
I've heard really good stories about microRP, the only problem for you would be that they are located in Germany, which might make transport and taxes a bit tricky.

(2) Cleaning of the model:
Sounds very elaborate! I've heard many stories about using toothbrushes with some soap and warm water. What are your experiences with that?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/31 17:20:42

Post by: Master Azalle

Your work is amazing! if you ever decide to make a loyalist version... all of my tanks would be receiving upgrades

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/08/31 23:53:10

Post by: Subtle Discord

A larger update to talk more about surface quality is planned, now that I have a broader selection of cast parts in hand. Even with these parts, it's hard to say what the final results will be with a few layers of paint. But until then, I'm so pleased with how the Chaos Rapier is turning out, I just wanted to leave this right here...

Initial production results of the Ectoplasma Cannon have proven to be very positive; manufacture may commence.

There's still one small complication in manufacturing the chassis on this kit that's causing some minor flaws, but I'll elaborate on that when I have more time and pictures to explain properly. Some honest feedback will be appreciated.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/01 11:20:54

Post by: Kepora

Why don't you send a few of those to me? I can test painting and tabletop wear...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/01 12:58:06

Post by: Theophony

It looks great , the only thing I see that I'm not 100 % sure of is how far the gun barrel sticks out. I'm sure the female space marines enjoy that, but it looks a little odd that the gun shield doesn't cover the gun. I realize it's to protect the crew, so it's more of just a personal opinion, which probably would not stop me from getting some when I get back to chaos marines.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/02 09:07:16

Post by: Subtle Discord

If you didn't like the length of the Plasma Cannon barrel, well the Beamer might be too much ; in reality, the weapons take their proportions from the official model but thanks for the input either way. Thanks, as always, for all the kind words and positive feedback; I really wouldn't be where I am without the energy I get from Legion Rising. There's so much I want to write about, but still much to do. So I'll just leave this here for now...

Initial production samples have passed inspection. Assembly lines for the Conversion Beamer are now operational. Praise be to the Dark Mechanicus!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/02 10:15:40

Post by: Kepora


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/02 17:39:24

Post by: Master Azalle

That looks fantastic!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/03 03:09:17

Post by: Anvildude

Is soo pretty. You should give one to BossFearless, so that he can make the barrel spin.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/07 04:20:54

Post by: Subtle Discord

Ok then, I’ve been out of the studio for most of the weekend so I haven’t been able to do anything hands-on; but I’ve had a computer, lots of prepared photographs, and some time in the evenings to be able to write. So, I’m going to do a few articles and some general musings about various things. In fact, I’ve been asked several questions in various corners of the interweb, and had so many comments I’d like to reply to, that I’m just going to ramble and comment/answer to everything across said articles.

First up, a little hobby how-to; I was asked recently if I could take a photo of my pressure chamber and vacuum chamber setup that I use for casting, and I figured I could do one better. Recently I put together a new pressure chamber and was aware enough to remember to take progression photos of the process so I could show the steps involved.

However, before I get started, I just want to remind people that this device can be extremely dangerous if not properly assembled and no shortcuts should be taken when building something like this. If you do not have the correct tools/parts on-hand to do this kind of project properly, do not attempt this! During my research I’ve seen examples online that are essentially bombs waiting to go off, because people try to make due with improvised solutions to problems. Do this right, or just don’t do it. Pressure is a tool, and some tools can be dangerous if you don not show proper care and respect.

A ‘Power Fist’ (Gotta’ love that brand name) brand Paint Pressure Tank along with various fittings that will be used during assembly.

In Canada our equivalent to Harbour Freight is called Princess Auto, and that is where I purchased the Paint Pressure Pot that I used for this assembly; this tank has the added benefit of including a 1/4” hose and a 3/8” hose along with pictured pressure regulator. This is definitely a ‘made in China’ product in quality, but its job is simple so that’s not a huge deal. Notice that this tank has a working pressure of 50psi and a max pressure of 80psi; it is highly recommended to stay within the working pressure range of any tank you use. With hoses included you only need a selection of NPT (National Pipe Threads) to complete the assembly; note that NPT fittings are used because they are tapered and become air-tight as they tighten down. The selection of fittings shown here is more than I used in this assembly, but what is required might be different depending on the Paint Pressure Tank used.

One key pair of parts to note are the valves; be sure to get good quality high pressure ball valves. Lesser valves will struggle of hold the kinds of pressures that will be used. These valves are rated for 600psi, so they will do the trick.

First up, the Regulator needs some modification before it’s ready for its new life pressurizing curing plastics.

This Paint Pressure Tank splits the compressed air between the tank and the hose used to spray the paint, and that won’t be needed for its new life. First I remove the connector for the secondary hose and replace it with a brass plug. Note that I have secured the regulator in a vice to keep it secure during the removal of the connector; all of the pieces are secured very well at the factory and you want to keep those seals enacted if you can.

I use LokTite 242 to secure the fittings. The product is intended to secure nuts and bolts so they don’t loosen due to things like vibration, but it also works well to seal the joins airtight as well. You’ll want to be liberal and add a fair amount to the threads to ensure a good seal; once you’re done fastening the pieces in place some extra LocTite oozing out of the join will be a good sign that you’ll get a good seal.

Now one of the valves needs to be added to the regulator to control in compressed air input.

With the provided fittings in place, it’s a simple matter of adding the valve, and then adding a male quick-release fitting for connecting the hose. With that the regulator is ready to go.

How everything attaches to the chamber will be key; clearance must be considered so that the closing clamps can work as intended.

In this case I wanted to point the exhaust vent upward to keep it as compact as possible, so I simply added a 90 degree elbow to the provided fitting before adding the second ball valve. A top-down photo shows the kind of layout you’re looking for; reasonably balanced in weight and with good clearance for the closing clamps. A thick pad of cloth is secured over the valve to reduce the harshness of the sound when the pressure is released.

Two final simple steps completes the transformation from Paint Pressure Tank to a Casting Pressure Chamber, from boring to downright sophisticated.

This first step I really should have done before attaching any hardware to the lid; it’s much easier to do when there is less bulk on the top of the lid to deal with, but I overlooked it in the rush to get the hardware together. Put simply, you need to remove the pipe that would originally be used to feed paint from the tank to the spray hose. By hand, I was unable to break the seal they archived on this pipe to properly remove it, so I used a rotary tool with a cut-off wheel to chop it off.

A final step is to add a 90 degree elbow fitting to the vent that will direct the pressurized air into the tank. The air will be entering the tank as such high speed that any exposed liquids (in the form of uncured resin or rubber) could splatter and spray. The likelihood of this being a large problem very often is small, but it doesn’t take much to direct the air towards the wall of the chamber to it can be deflected as it enters.

In the end this 50psi pressure chamber cost about $200 CAD to put together including all of the fittings, valves, shipping, and taxes. Not exactly cheap, but not over-the-top expensive either and more than enough to have a profound impact on the quality of casting a hobbyist might be doing. In comparison, and because I was asked about both my Pressure and Vacuum setup, these are the other contraptions I use in my humble studio.

To the left a Rotokinetics Vacuum Chamber and beside it is a Casting Pressure Chamber rated for 80psi; plus a photo of all of the misfits in a row.

Vacuum Pumps are expensive, so to start I choose it purchase a Vacuum Chamber that has a solid-state vacuum pump that is driven with compressed air; this chamber lets my compressor do double duty powering both pressure and vacuum processes. While I strongly feel that pressure is a better first step for someone looking to improving casting quality, adding vacuum to the mix can really improve casting further.

Note the difference in build quality of the 80psi Pressure Chamber that I put together; this is a made in the USA product and it shows, but it also cost more than double to build than the 50psi chamber. The additional 30psi does have a modest impact on further reducing bubbles in casting, so I use this chamber as much as I can for high detail objects, and it has me wanting to put together a chamber that can handle 120+psi just to see how far it can be taken. At this point most of the bubbles I deal with are so small that I don’t think much more than 120psi would be needed to get near perfect casts almost all of the time. But for now I can make excellent progress with I’ve managed to assemble so far.

On a related side note, pressurizing the rubber for moulds during curing will have the same bubble eliminating effect (I very good thing) but anything over 40psi should yield the same results; bubbles in mould rubber appear to get ‘absorbed’ more readily than in resin.

And with that I’ll say, stay tuned for some studio transparency and another look onto my workbench. While there are many things working out well, I have come into a few snags that will impact quality in some rare cases, and a few issues that will require redesign and/or reprinting that will cause a few delays. Initial stocks of the Chaos Rapier (new name to be determined shortly) are ready, but I want to get some honest feedback from the people that really matter regarding some of the final small issues I’ve run into.

Keep the radio of your PipBoy tuned to this station, and Please Stand By…

(Fallout 4, when you arrive, you will ruin my life for a short while)

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/07 04:40:51

Post by: Gordon Shumway

Thanks for the insight to your process. It almost looks like it could be in realm of possible for my meager skills. Will you be selling the Rapier weapons separately? I just picked up some kataphron tracks to convert but am still looking for decent mountable weapons. Those conversion beamers are stunning.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/07 04:59:28

Post by: Rickfactor

All you need is a yellow hazmat suit and a ventilator mask and you can call yourself Heisenburg.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/08 08:25:21

Post by: Subtle Discord

First up, more semi-random babbling about various things that have been asked or wish to comment about. Over the years I’ve made people swear at me (in a good way), deem themselves unworthy (you are, we all start somewhere – build something!), call me crazy (in a good way), and otherwise give me very positive feedback to what I can do. I always contended that I prefer the term eccentric, since it makes me sound interesting and wealthy but I do recognize that it takes a certain kind of ‘unique’ to do what I do. I’m glad the designs I come up with resonate with people, and I really do appreciate the great feedback and input; it’s a conscious effort that I try to follow a design language with the work I’m creating and I’m glad it shows.

While I finished several great kits this summer, (more still working their way through production) there were several others that I couldn’t get to as planned. To those who were interested in seeing bulk trims, the Jetbike, and the Storm Raven extension, in particular, know that they are on deck and I’m going to do my best to try and get progress on them as time permits. As usual, this is also only the beginning but I’m still learning much as I go; now that I’ve had a taste of digital creation and have a better understanding of what to expect I plan on doing so… much… more… Stay tuned.

This extends to Loyalist kits and ultimately other factions. While Chaos will always be my first calling and be the primary focus of my studio while I gain momentum, Loyalist kits will increase considerably over the coming months and years. I hope to branch into other races once I’m done with college and turn my focus to really pushing the studio to the next level. This could mean kits by my own hand and/or work done by commission or collaboration with other talented individuals. But that’s still a way off, and another story for another time.

It’s been mentioned a few times that Forge World should give me a job, but unless I move to London I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon; it’s my understanding everything is designed and prototyped in-house in London. I understand that it’s usually meant as a joke, or only semi-serious, but there is a part of me that would really enjoy being able to do work that is ‘official’. I think GW is cutting themselves off from a world of talent and maybe when I’m done college there’s some way I could make them see that. Wishful thinking? More than likely, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. The down side of actually achieving official status could very well be loss of creative control, so there is another side that reminds that sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for. Well, I’ve rambled enough, so let’s get to the meat of this post; the good, the bad, and the ugly (as it were) of where I’m at today.

Shapeways knows how to pack an order, that’s for sure.

When the box arrive I though there must be some kind of mistake, it seemed far too large for my order. I had ordered several pieces, but they were mostly very small. Once I started digging in I found they had individually wrapped each-and-every piece, no matter the size.

The Frosted Extreme Detail print process from Shapeways comes with a few technical considerations when being used to make casting prototypes.

The first I’ve already spoken about; where the wax that is used to support the object during printing comes in contact with the object, there is a noticeable ‘frost’ as the name suggests. On most surfaces and locations it’s actually not that bad and seems subtle enough to vanish under paint. The second is a very noticeable layering on two opposing sides of any object that is most pronounced on sheer vertical surfaces; this seems to be some limitation of the print process and most noticeable on flat vertical surfaces. When the surface has a grade or a curve the problem becomes much more reduced and becomes reasonable, but it is quite strange. What I have also noticed is that surfaces that suffer from this and also come in contact with the wax will get a much coarser ‘frost’ that benefits from being gently sanded to refine and improve the finish.

Finally, the material is very hard and tough; scraping with tools and scrubbing with a steel wire brush does no damage but cleans the surface well. However, it is reasonably brittle. While it will hold up well to being scrubbed and sanded to refine the surface, dropping an item on a hard floor will many times cause items to break. Case and point, the poor barrels for the Auto Cannon unfortunately fell and were ruined. I couldn’t believe it when it happened; they are reasonably small and you would think they wouldn’t hit with such force. A replacement will be printed, but it is going to delay the release of this weapon system. All weapons will be offered separately, so these will be available in the near future once a replacement arrives. A few other parts will require a redesign (more on that in a moment) and thus a reprint, so this will be joining them.

Notoriously difficult to photograph, here I’ve tried to show the frosting at its worse.

It effected the missile racks so badly that it made me actually come up with a far superior design that should solve my original problem (mould rubber around the edge of the missiles in tubes is so delicate that it wears out very quickly – the ‘frosting’ texture would only make that worse) and make the moulds last much longer, but also make a more versatile kit. Instead of making it on one piece I’ll do the missiles as a layer, and then a keyed plate with holes in it will be placed over. The way the launcher assembles will make the join all but invisible, and it will make it easy to remove a few missiles to simulate a weapon that has fired some of its payload. This change has delayed the new Havoc Launchers, but the final kits will improved for it

Center you can see the bad kind of ‘frosting’ on a flat surface straight from Shapeways, and you can see it actually glitters it is so coarse. To the right that surface has been scrubbed with a wire brush and washed; while the surface is improved and very smooth, it is also quite rough with a noticeable coarseness under the fingernail. On broad flat surfaces like this a simple sanding and filing will quickly make the surface acceptable. If there is more detail it naturally becomes more work.

While it does look interesting in the mould rubber, the translucent nature of the material is actually quite frustrating.

Not really understanding just how much of an impact the ‘frosting’ would have on my processes I tried to make moulds as with my own prototypes. This quickly turned bad as the moulds were prone to tearing during de-moulding of the prototype. Not being able to get a good idea what the surface was like came back to haunt the first cast; the quality was just not good enough. The top layer of banding in the far right shows the coarse layering and how badly it can effect a surface. Below are surfaces that have been ‘frosted’ with the wax support material; again, it was just a bit too rough to be acceptable. So, while the mould being torn wasn’t a good thing, it gave me an opportunity to clean things up before trying again.

Ok, let’s get to the one issue I’m having with the Rapier Platform. It’s driving me nuts.

Put simply, The edges of the tracks are being beyond stubborn, and it’s really annoying when every other part of the kit is casting so perfectly. And I do mean every part. Everything I’ve tried with the current mould will not remove the last couple of bubbles on the track. So, in my usual effort for transparency I’m just giving an idea of the minor flaws that will be unavoidable in these kits while I get a different mould setup to try another idea.

The flaws are minor on an assembled platform, and I’m sure I can hear people yelling to not worry about it and get the damn kits up for sale!

But, you wouldn’t like the kits I make if I wasn’t as particular as I am. After everything I’ve tried to eliminate these flaws I’ve just learned to accept them for now. While I have only planned on these three weapon systems originally, I can’t see why I couldn’t also do other weapons over time. I can’t promise a time line, but I can say it’s possible at some point.

For now, these prototypes need to start returning on their investment so I can start doing more! These will be up for sale in the next day or so, along with the Siege Ram for the Land Raider. The Chaos Rapier chassis and weapons will be sold separately so you can have a choice to have them individually for projects or together as built by the studio. Other kits will start appearing as I work out final issues and get replacement parts. The smaller bits will start turning up once the larger kits have been sorted and can start generating some capitol to invest in more rubber and plastic. They are great little bits, but they need to wait while the large kits get finished.

Thanks as always for reading, and I look forward to do much more in future. For now, my classes will be starting soon so studio time will again become very limited. But with the new tools at my disposal that continue to grow and develop, there will always be something in the works. Please Stand By…

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/22 12:13:04

Post by: Malika2

By the way, some more discussions and tips on how to handle Shapeways' FUD/FXD: http://www.tacticalwargames.net/taccmd/viewtopic.php?f=126&t=30285

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/27 19:49:17

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks, as always for the positive support everyone. While not my intended update, I've got *in his best Prof. Farnsworth voice* "Good new everyone!" and I figured it wouldn't hurt to share.

Thanks again Malika, I always appreciate input. While that conversation seems more about dealing with the wax residue (an issue if you plan to paint SW prints directly) I'm more interested in improving the surface quality or avoiding poor surface quality in the first place. Since casting prototypes are usually treated with an oily release agent for the process, the oily/waxy residue from SWs process is not an issue.

Also, let me just answer some questions from another corner of the interweb... For niche models that I would have a hard time getting to, I plan to do Bulk Trim packs that provide several lengths of trim, some with a few corners, some with faction suitable motifs (arrows, blades, lightning, skulls, shields, open fields, etc., etc.), and lots of long lengths. They will require the end builder to cut the strips to length and do a little cleanup work where they meet at corners, but that seems much better then trying to scratch build it all. Trim kits for specific chassis, where it makes sense, will also continue to be designed.

The Loricatus Mk.I will be replaced. It puts me in a catch-22; it's a popular kit that I want to replace, but it also takes a considerable amount of rubber for the moulds. If I'm going to pour that much rubber, I would like to update the kit to include some of the many improvements I've made to my studio. It's going to be worth it (it'll be amazing, just wait and see) but that means it'll be more time before I can get the prototypes done. This project (and others like it) will happen; more on what I'm eluding to later. Hint: think super modular, giving the builder the freedom to mix-and-match more.

Warmaster, the production and trade negotiations of The Works have proven beneficial; our Mechanicus are pleased to have secured a Spartan battle tank, a true relic of the Long War for the Legion armoury. Reverse engineering of key subsystems has already commenced.

After dealing with most of the major expenses that the studio created over the summer, I felt it was safe to take advantage of Forge World's free shipping offer for Sept; and wouldn't you know it, the Spartan was just the right price to meet the minimum limit. One part early birthday present, one part studio investment seems like a reasonable mix.

I've had so much interest and requests for doing kits for the Spartan and Sicaran it seemed like a logical addition to the studio; I simply can't build for something without the actual model to take precise measurements and do test fitting. But, thanks to those who have offered; know that there might be a future role for people like you in my large plans - but I digress, for now.

Because I recognize the base cost of a FW model, kits for FW models in particular will focus on being more efficient. In fact, the form and level of detail on these tanks makes all but necessary to keep additions less elaborate. There just aren't the same long uninterrupted lines like the stock Land Raider and Rhino chassis. So, this will reduce the mould count, and therefor the cost of these kits. Cermite/Extra Armour and 'Dozer/Destroyer Blades are the first ideas that come to mind, but I have other voices whispering concepts all the time...

My first impression of the kit is one of sheer awe; in both raw mass and level of detail, the Spartan delivers. While the Sicaran and Fire Raptor are both amazing looking kits there are issues and elements with both (build fit issues mostly, but some details) that don't appear to be the same with the Spartan. I won't know until I actually assemble it, but it appears to have a much cleaner fit and less warping than any other large FW kit I've received. The details are also just a bit more refined and polished all around; nothing that makes other kits inferior, but it just seems like whoever make the prototype really did it right and took their time.

It will also be effective as a lethal weapon for home defense once assembled; each of the side chassis components that mount the tracks are a massive solid block of resin. The fact that they were able to do a piece so large without it warping in some way is impressive in of itself. For as large and bulky as it is, the footprint of the tank (without the center hull that adds the 'beak') is surprisingly close to that of a stock Land Raider. Naturally, I will document the building of this when it starts. I've already done the same for the Fire Raptor progress, so know that I've more than a few things up my sleeves for future updates.

The signal may go weak sometimes, but signal never stops...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/27 20:03:16

Post by: Stormwall

God I hope you do a loyalist platform like that.

Beautiful stuff as always.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/27 22:14:44

Post by: Master Azalle

i would love to see you do loyalist version, would immidiately add them to my units

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/09/28 01:01:28

Post by: Stormwall

Every rhino needs one of these on a tow hook.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/10/01 18:28:12

Post by: skyfi

Amazing thread. So much talent.
Was shown this by velvet mark.

You really inspired me! I have been hemhawinf about a laser cutter for mdf for a long time that I would like to use for styrene more but due to not wanting to be poisoned.. The zing looks like just what I have been looking for and I'm eagerly awaiting mine !

Can you elaborate on your servitor zing build? The rivets appear you embossed a dot, then flipped it over to use the extruded side or glued rivets by hand on each dot?
Was it all cut from one piece/embossed (the front face plate with eye)

Thanks for all the information! Hope you the best in all of your endeavors and please lord share some insight on the zing stuff if you can/are willing for those of us who have gotten one on account of you!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/11/09 02:02:37

Post by: Subtle Discord

*Subtle tosses an image out from under the rock of higher education*

Sometimes, I get free choice in what I can do for a college project, and since I do so many 'consumer items' most of the time, I like to have a chance to do something unique but still relevant. This time I was aloud to do this for my Solidworks course.

At this point all I can say is... It's a solid! It's a SOLID! It turns out making a Solid Body from Surfaces is actually a little tricky. This damn helmet as been hard, but I'm starting to get it!

Unlike everything I've 3D modeled up to this point, this was done almost completely with Lofted and Swept Surfaces, not Solid Bodies. By using a Surface and then Knitting the resulting form together you can much get more control over complex forms. This helmet was created from a set of 2D drawings (Top, Side, and Front) that was extrapolated from the flat drawings. Needless to say, It's given me a respect for what surfaces can do, and being only my first try, I can already tell that with more practice I should be able to do all sorts of interesting forms. My future Jetbike project will be even better now that I have a better idea how this works.

There are a few more layers of detailing that will go on this helmet before it needs to be rendered, but I'm pleased with the progress. I'll be sure to show it again when it's even further along and/or finished. Maybe someday I'll re-scale it (it's roughly life size at this point) and have it rapid prorotyped so I can paint it as a bust. I could never sell it, but as a personal piece I could make one.

But, for now I have to put this aside while I shift focus to another project. ~21 days until Winter Break...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/11/09 15:04:50

Post by: Boss Salvage

 Subtle Discord wrote:
(it's roughly life size at this point)[/size]
*meekly raises his hand*

I ... would be interested a roughly life size CSM helmet at some point in the future

Render looks solid!

- Salvage

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/11/10 05:35:45

Post by: Rickfactor

I have not read through your entire thread again but have you ever heard of Smooth On XTC-3D coating. it looks like it can be use to fill the striations.


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/11/10 08:13:18

Post by: evildrcheese

Man this is a cool thread. Great looking stuff and really interesting info about your experiences and how you work.

Thanks for sharing.


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/11/10 09:00:48

Post by: paulson games

I've found that shapeways prints tend to have a somewhat porous surface even on areas that appear flat to the naked eye. In addition to sanding them I've found that a thin layer of primer goes a log way to help prevent the mold from tearing out when removing the master. I use an auto body primer as it's very thin compared to regular spray paint and doesn't cost too much extra. The paint helps seal all the micro holes you can't see, those holes suck in the silicone when you pressurize and it basically grabs ahold of the piece like it was super glued in place.

Surfaces that run in the same direction as the build lines are the most problematic as it has more cracks and crevices to get into and even with sanding to an apparent smooth surface the splits between the layers are usually open. The wax layering that holds printed layers together does dry out and age over time and as it does you may notice the build lines getting more noticable and the material yellowing on the outer surfaces. The first time I mold a part I try and keep a couple of the best casts to serve as back ups for my masters, the resin casts won't age or peel apart the way that the objet prints will. (which helps save needing to do any reprints)

Hopefully that can help you avoid some headache. If you are interested I have some places that I'd suggest getting prints from, they cost a bit more than shapeways but the prints are amazing and much better for casting from. They also use a full resin based process so there's no wax layer binders like the shapeways/objet prints use.

Loving your work

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/11/10 20:02:26

Post by: Kepora

 paulson games wrote:
I've found that shapeways prints tend to have a somewhat porous surface even on areas that appear flat to the naked eye. In addition to sanding them I've found that a thin layer of primer goes a log way to help prevent the mold from tearing out when removing the master. I use an auto body primer as it's very thin compared to regular spray paint and doesn't cost too much extra. The paint helps seal all the micro holes you can't see, those holes suck in the silicone when you pressurize and it basically grabs ahold of the piece like it was super glued in place.

Surfaces that run in the same direction as the build lines are the most problematic as it has more cracks and crevices to get into and even with sanding to an apparent smooth surface the splits between the layers are usually open. The wax layering that holds printed layers together does dry out and age over time and as it does you may notice the build lines getting more noticable and the material yellowing on the outer surfaces. The first time I mold a part I try and keep a couple of the best casts to serve as back ups for my masters, the resin casts won't age or peel apart the way that the objet prints will. (which helps save needing to do any reprints)

Hopefully that can help you avoid some headache. If you are interested I have some places that I'd suggest getting prints from, they cost a bit more than shapeways but the prints are amazing and much better for casting from. They also use a full resin based process so there's no wax layer binders like the shapeways/objet prints use.

Loving your work

I for one would like to vouch for the quality of Paulson's work. He's definitely a good guy to listen to!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2015/11/11 02:30:36

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks for the input! I want to reply and talk a little, but I'm strapped for time at the moment... so, this just a note to say I'll comment once I've got more time to ramble in more depth.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/01/02 21:36:43

Post by: Severus

Hi Subtle Discord!
Great stuff you are doing - even if it is for the Dark Gods

I was wondering if Servitor Zing did foster the cause of the Warmaster and prooved a valuable asset or if he went back to the slave pits.
In the model railroad forums I read about mixed results when using it for styrene or thicker cardboard.

Would be interesting to hear more about your experience.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/01/03 00:12:59

Post by: ghostmaker

Awesome stuff !

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/05 21:46:06

Post by: Subtle Discord


... ... ...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/05 22:42:35

Post by: Kepora

Ooooh ho ho ho. Now THIS is one I'm looking forward to seeing!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/05 22:56:04

Post by: Knightley

Great teaser!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/05 23:04:43

Post by: Subtle Discord

... I smell the blood of an Englishmun.

... ... ...

Automatically Appended Next Post:
... Be he alive, or be he dead.

... ... ...

Automatically Appended Next Post:
... I'll grind his bones to make my bread.

More pictures and many more words to come, when I have more time. All these photos obscure how much other crap I need to get done, but I needed some bench time, or I was going to lose my mind.

Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast.
~ Ace Rimmer

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/06 17:25:58

Post by: Master Azalle

Looks fantastic! Can't wait to see what you do!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/18 21:11:55

Post by: Subtle Discord

In the immortal words of professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, "Good news, everyone!"
But as with this signature phrase, it comes with a bit of a catch; thankfully nothing as suicidal as most 'Good news' Planet Express delivery missions. I shall elaborate...
So, I was able to poke my nose out from under the rock of higher learning, take a little time to do some building, and take a few teaser photos of some of things brewing in the background. But, as much as I want to get the studio back up-and-running I've been a bit stuck because of a school obligation. Between 3rd and 4th year (my current position) students are required to do an internship that ties into the Industrial Design field. So, as much as the studio is calling, for several weeks I've been looking, quite unsuccessfully, for summer employment.
I'd tried twice already to see if my studio could qualify considering what I'm doing and what I have planned for the future, but the program has somewhat specific (and dated) requirements, and I wasn't fully explaining just how developed my small studio is. So finally, after explaining with a little more depth (ok I rambled... a little... emphatically) a third time yesterday I was given tentative permission to use hours in my studio towards the obligation for the program. Details still need to be clarified and verified, and I will still need to try and find some other work to add additional hours if I can, but a massive barrier to spending any time in my studio should now be lifted. "And there was much rejoicing! ... 
Yay!" ~ Monty Python
As I said, this is a bit of a mixed blessing; while I get what I wanted and can work in my studio, it also means I'll need to stay motivated and avoid any wasted time. It's still not clear exactly what will be expected as proof of progress and development, as it were, so I'm still careful not to celebrate too much. Deep down I know I have a ton of work cut out for me no matter what, so at least I think I have a realistic grasp of what I'm getting into. Odds are I'm overthinking things as usual, but I'll have a better idea by next week when things are clarified by my program coordinators.
So, put simply, expect some long overdue updates very soon; I have several articles that have photos done, I just need to finish the copy for them, so expect to see those soon. For anyone waiting on a restock for the shop; I can now invest serious time without it being counter productive so I'll be on this over then next week or more. For those who are interested in some of my new designs; as with casting, studio time is now 'official' and I can invest resources in getting them into production. And finally, I think I can find a way to squeeze some army build/paint time into all of this so expect some progress on that as well.
Lots more to come. So much so, I'm having a bit of a hard time figuring out where to start, now that I'm actually allowed to start. I think this might require a bit of a reorganization of the studio space. Some new equipment I got this winter (another story for another time) has really thrown a cramp into how the shop is arranged. It's harder to function in a dysfunctional space, after all.
Please, stand by...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/18 23:31:06

Post by: Guildenstern

That will be awesome! Really hope it works out for you

Good luck!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/19 04:59:22

Post by: Knightley

Oh you tease. Go on then, show me a little more

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/19 05:38:49

Post by: evildrcheese

Many shinies you have to work on.


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/19 05:51:18

Post by: Retrogamer0001

Do you plan on making any turret-mounted weaponry that isn't based on CSMs? I'm thinking of Razorback and Land Raider weapons like TL ACs,TL HBs, and TL LCs.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/22 03:26:37

Post by: Anvildude

Quick note- you want to use the word "Allowed" when referencing permissions- "I was finally allowed to do that thing in that place."- it's similar to the word "Allowance".

"Aloud" is in reference to sound.

Also, yeah, I totally feel you with the "You need to get an internship to gain experience in a business setting!" "But I run my own business!" "But that's not an internship, you need an internship." thing.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/22 06:50:18

Post by: Charax

 Subtle Discord wrote:
I was given tentative permission to use hours in my studio towards the obligation for the program. Details still need to be clarified and verified, and I will still need to try and find some other work to add additional hours if I can, but a massive barrier to spending any time in my studio should now be lifted. "And there was much rejoicing! ... Yay!" ~ Monty Python

Get. Everything. In. Writing.

Before you even think about anything else, you need written evidence that this arrangement has been agreed, otherwise you'll pour tons of work into TDW only for them to turn round and say "This doesn't qualify" and you fail the course for not doing the required internship hours.

Passing your course is more important than us getting our fix of Chaos goodies

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/23 17:02:08

Post by: Anvildude

Charax wrote:
 Subtle Discord wrote:
I was given tentative permission to use hours in my studio towards the obligation for the program. Details still need to be clarified and verified, and I will still need to try and find some other work to add additional hours if I can, but a massive barrier to spending any time in my studio should now be lifted. "And there was much rejoicing! ... Yay!" ~ Monty Python

Get. Everything. In. Writing.

Before you even think about anything else, you need written evidence that this arrangement has been agreed, otherwise you'll pour tons of work into TDW only for them to turn round and say "This doesn't qualify" and you fail the course for not doing the required internship hours.

Passing your course is more important than us getting our fix of Chaos goodies

This- all of this.

Accountability is the greatest thing ever in business- get it in writing, signed by whoever is in charge of these decisions- if possible, even signed by the Dean of whichever department you're in (easier than you'd think)- in fact, if you haven't talked to them yet, and your advisors or whoever are still being obstinant, see if you can schedule a meeting with the Dean- not necessarily to 'go over the heads' of the others, but if you can get the Dean on your side, you'll have a lot more weight behind your position.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/05/30 23:12:36

Post by: Subtle Discord

With a bit of hobby time to scratch a deep itch (more on that in a bit, and across future articles to come) and my studio finally in a state of almost respectable organization, it’s time to get The Dark Works going again. First up, some of my usual ramble to answer some questions and make some comments based on replies taken from all of my Legion Rising threads.

First, it’s been mentioned, quite wisely, that I should be sure to get my recent agreement with my college in writing to make sure any time spent isn’t wasted. Since, as far as I know, I’ll be the first to do their own studio/company for the required hours I’ve been sure to take this sage advice and I’ve already got things written up, signed, and sent off. I’ll know more this week. I’ve been at my college long enough to have a bit of an idea how things can be, and I’ll work hard to make sure things work out in the end. And trust that after consideration I’ve concluded that the studio wins regardless, (more on this at the end of the summer) so I’m happy with how things are headed, no matter the outcome. Thanks as always, to everyone who is offering suggestions and support for my progress. It’s always useful and appreciated.

It’s also been asked if I have any plans on doing non-Chaos weapon systems (sponsons and turrets, for example) and I can say it’s not out of the question. Some specialized/unique weapons seem like good places to start, but time will tell just what I will tackle. It does touch on the fact that most future kits will have Chaos and Loyalist versions; it won’t be for every kit, some will be faction exclusive, but many will get both versions. While my corruption is complete, and Chaos will always be my first calling, I’ll be doing much more Loyalist work in the future; hopefully starting this summer.

Unfortunately, most of the builds I have shown in my recent photos won’t be getting painted any time soon. It’s a bitter sweet necessity however, because it means that the models can be used in the studio to produce kits for the Works, so that’s worth the sacrifice of needing to wait to paint them. On a related point, I now have a new Land Raider kit, so I’ll finally be able to assemble and paint my current Land Raider that’s been in my collection for far too many years. I suspect that I’ll need to do a squad of Terminators that are also looong overdue to ride inside, when the time comes to get some paint on it, so stay tuned for that at some point. I’m still trying to decide if I want to give the ‘Raider some significant, but not crippling, battle damage for some variety; maybe even magnetize a section of the armour so it can swap out the damaged part for a intact one. Humm… might be on to something…

So yes, as the photos allude, the Sicaran, Spartan, and Fire Raptor are all in various stages of completion and will soon be ready for use for developing studio kits. I can’t say they will all get kits this summer, but given how tricky some of them are to build… *Subtle glares at the near-finished Fire Raptor with mix of malice, contempt, and pride* getting them assembled cleanly is a critical first step. But first up, one small diversion before a new personal project.

After a hobbyist was nice enough to post a picture of a formation of my Mor’ses weapon platforms, a request was made for a photo of the platforms beside some models for scale. They were nice enough to provide the requested photo, but it got me thinking it couldn’t hurt to do a nice studio photo for some scale reference.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t had time to do more then give it one coat of black paint. The Marines are on 25mm bases.

This also brings up a point that I’ve been considering recently; going forward I’m going to try to produce accompanying body components to match kits that warrant them. Most of the time this will mean a set of legs in an appropriate pose and/or hands (maybe a complete arm) gripping and/or operating the equipment. In this case, while I’ve created an ample standing platform and was very careful in trying to create a good height for the control panel, trying to build a model to fit with the existing kit is more work than it needs to be; a few made-to-fit body parts would make it much more straight forward to build.

So, that’s something old, so now on to something new; a kit bashing, converting, and casting project, presented by Subtle Discord…

My first major purchases outside of the Chaos faction since I started collecting/building/painting Chaos over twenty years ago. Naturally, they will be turned to chaotic purposes.

Since their release, I’ve always been frustrated that GW choose to only produce Chaos Cultists as a limited selection of snap-fit models with static poses. If you like the look, the starter set models are great, but I’ve always thought a multi-part kit would sell exceptionally well for GW (considering the number of Cultists you generally need/want to field) and I wondered why they never created a multi-part kit.

I dislike glaring repetition in a collection in general; in a very structured and maintained army it makes more sense, but at the very least I still want the option to have some control over pose to add variety. In an army like Chaos, where less structure is to be expected, blatant repetition is a real detracting factor to me. I don’t need huge changes for each model, but a little flexibility and some interchangeable options is much preferred, and the more the better. Being able to change poses and mix-and-match interchangeable parts for variety… “It’s a good thing!” ~ M. Stewart.

Originally my list included standard Chaos Cultists from the CSM Codex, but once I had a copy of IA:13 I have since changed that to an allied detachment of Chaos Renegades; slightly more expensive, but they bring many more useful options to the table. Since I’ve long wanted to add some kind of representation for the Dark Mechanicus who are in service to my Warband, this seemed like a good opportunity. Pictured above is the Renegade Mechanicus Command Squad with a Command Net Vox, built from the stock Skitarii Ranger/Vanguard kit; being some of GWs newer work they stand very well on their own without modification.

The Demagogue will be given the Bloody-handed Reaver devotion to represent the improved equipment and training this force has access to; this devotion gives the Demagogue a Refractor Field, the option to equip certain squads with proper Flak Armour, forces you to buy Militia Training (+1 WS & BS) on any squads that can take it, and provides the option to upgrade certain squads with Hot-shot Las weapons. For me, this will do a good job of representing a Mechanicus Militia, and the ‘tax elements’ aren’t too steep for what you get.

With some kit bashing and a little conversion work I was able to get a nice selection of posable bits to mix-and-match for variety.

The torso of the Astra Militarum required some simple but key changes to make this project work. With all of the extra heads provided by the Skitarii box, it’s an obvious place to start. To me, the head of a model being placed on a proper ball-joint is key to giving the builder a lot of freedom in the pose of a miniature; just a simple turn and tilt of the head can completely change the intent and look of a model, even with no other changes. With some careful shaving, drilling, and filing, I was able to create a seat that fit the Skitarii heads quite nicely.

Originally I didn’t have plans to add backpacks to the models, but looking at the packs in the Skitarii box got me thinking, and after some test fits I quickly came around to the idea of adding them. A little styrene work produced some suitable mounting points for the backpacks and finished the torsos.

Every single Autopistol I could harvest from a Dark Vengeance set, plus a few more, were attached to the AM arms to provide some variety while still being consistent. Also, I wanted them to carry gladius’ or some kind of short swords over a smaller knives, so I used Chaos Marine combat weapons for their larger size. The hands intended for the special weapons in the AM kit proved especially suited for making a convincing combat weapon hand; once chopped off at the wrist I could add them to arms in different poses to add more variety.

I’m very pleased with the outcome of these changes; particularly the addition of the backpacks. I think they complete the model nicely while reinforcing the Mechanicus theme.

In the final models I’ve removed the tops of the antennas and the dangling bits from the packs to have them appear more subordinate and make them easier to work with. Combined with the added helmet I think they provide a much needed dose of detail to the older Cadian models.

But the star of the project has to be the variety that results from the combination of the final components.

With a combination of bits sourced online, leftover bits, and select parts I can cast for myself, I can put together 20-30 of these Dark Mechanicus Militia with an acceptable level of variety for reasonable amount of effort and expense.

From a fluff perspective, I see it as a lesser Mechanicus force that enjoys the reasonably standardized and maintained equipment their faction can provide. I picture them being selected only from manufactorum workers who are particularly capable (or perhaps violent) and those who are born into service, never slave workers; having never known anything but service in the factories they would have a slightly higher standing and likely be loyal. Being internal workers does well to explain the lack of cybernetics too. And, not that they’d have much choice, but I think most would welcome the chance at Militia service if only to leave the factory and see the actual sky, if only once, before they die.

However, even with the added Militia training, having been sheltered in the factories will make them somewhat unpredictable on the real battlefield; for me, this ties in well with the random Leadership value that Chaos Renegade squads need to contend with.

Eager to see the final look, I’ve done a little test painting. I’m try to keep the scheme simple so I don’t lose my mind painting 30+ of these at a time.

By keeping the scheme to Black, Blue, and Silver, I can use a simple single Black Wash to get the desired depth. A quick overall wash does most of the work, and then some selective application in select spots finishes that step quickly. While I want the cloth to keep the dark Blue-Black tone I achieved, I think I’m going to add just a bit more highlight to bring out a little more punch to the Blue. It still has one more layer if detailing and highlighting to go, but I’m completely happy with the result so far. This scheme should preserve my sanity when it comes time to paint it in bulk.

Ok, that’s it for this wall-o’-text-and-photos. I’ve been trying my best to remember to photograph my progress as I’ve been building my most recent kits, so I have build articles for (In no particular order) the Raptor, Spartan, and Sicaran coming up in the near future. Along with perhaps some other projects that may crop up if I’m so inspired.

I find myself forever caught between the four forces that pull me in opposite directions; designing and creating new prototypes for kits, mould making and casting, building and painting, and writing articles about all of it. I enjoy each aspect so it can be hard to change focus when one of them in particular is calling. So, for now I shift my focus to production and I’ll start casting some much needed stock so I can generate some more capitol to make some of my many future plans possible.

Summer is finally here! More to come over the coming weeks and months. And as always, comments, questions, input, and critic, are always welcome. Thanks for reading.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/10 08:43:17

Post by: Subtle Discord

And now, for another instalment of… Tales of Interest!

Along with other projects that I have eluded to in earlier posts (more on those, and others, when time permits in the future) I mentioned that I might get distracted with some other ideas I’ve had bouncing around inside my brain. Unfortunately I suffer from a bit of self-diagnosed O.C.D. (Shocker! I know…) when it comes to the act of creation; sometimes an inspiration will take hold, and I’m virtually powerless to stop myself from working on the idea, even if it’s not necessarily what I had planned. I’ve learned that it’s usually best not to fight it unless there is something critical that needs to be dealt with instead. It’s that uncontrollable need to make and create that defines an artist or designer in my opinion; it’s one thing to like to be creative and enjoying making things, but it’s another when there’s something in your psyche that completely compels you to do so.

Most, dare I say all, ideas evolve. Some more than others, but I learned long ago that it’s almost always better to give ideas some time to explore and mature; and school had helped to reinforce and hone this process. I can’t think of a single time that giving a project a few days/weeks/months of reflection didn’t improve the final outcome. Sometimes it’s through necessity, because something needs to fit, function, or a specific form, and sometimes it’s more cosmetic where certain visual elements need to be looked at with fresh eyes and tweaked to get the best looking results. There’s a healthy dose of each in these new projects.

In turn, it’s also possible for it to go the other way, and you need to be careful that you don’t overthink an idea and spend too much time contemplating. Having creativity turn to procrastination for one reason or another is still a trap I struggle with from time-to-time. Being more aware of how/when it’s being helpful or hindering the process has been an interesting learning experience. I don’t guilt myself when I put something aside as I may have in the past, but I also don’t let myself off and have too many things lost in limbo as I refine them. These were a couple of ideas I finally chose to resurrect and hammer home reasonably quickly.

I while back I had shown a proof-of-concept for some tea-lights being used to create glowing Objective Markers.

While the idea worked well to get the stones to glow, there were several technical issues, not the least of which was the size. It’s just too tall. And while there’s a fair bit of wasted space in these lights there is an issue with trying to stack a shell, the battery, connectors, a switch, and the LED and keep it low profile. I discovered an interesting alternative LED light that simplified the switch into a screw mechanism and this helped make the unit smaller, but the height was an issue that needed to be dealt with.

After modifying one of the lights to remove as much height as I could possible manage, I fused the top part into a plastic component that gave the assembly a slope. Having no trademark or copyright to worry about, I have no problem using them as the base mechanics this kit will need to make my life easier.

I kept the final diameter to 2” so I could get as gradual a slope as possible while keeping the size official.

With a little research I found that these twist-on style lights are prolific and come in many colours and varieties. This makes it easy to replace parts and to change the effect to something different. Simple, modular, and customizable. Nothing wrong with that combination at all.

Happy with the solution for the base, now it needed something to take advantage of that light.

As an added bonus, these little lights work with 1 or 2 batteries. All of these pictures are taken with 1 battery under reasonably bright conditions and the glow is very pronounced. Naturally, with a second battery the effect is considerably brighter. While not necessary, nothing wrong with more options.

The other issue I had with my earlier prototypes was the clear plastic used to cast the glowing stones; the first plastic I used took over 24 hours to cure enough to de-mould, and several more days to become completely hard. A school project earlier this year gave me the opportunity to pick up some Smooth Cast 326, a virtually clear casting resin that colours very well and only takes 1 hour to cure enough to de-mould. While still not very fast, it’s a vast improvement.

As before, I first primed the stones in white to capture and reflect as much light as possible, then finished with a layer of black.

Much more care was taken to carve the symbols into the stones this time and this helps considerably during the painting. The lines are sharper and much deeper than the first prototypes, so if you spray the primer over them at a sharp angle to the surface, the paint will naturally avoid going into the carved lines. The surfaces get a nice even coat while the lines stay reasonably clean. And once it’s dry the plastic is so hard a dull pin can easily remove any primer that may find its way into the lines, so no real special care is needed to get these primed and ready for basing and paint.

Here’s a size and height comparison beside some models. While still a little tall, these feel much more plausible as a mound of soil.

I wanted to get some paint, and not just primer, on these but the next project has distracted me too much the last while so I didn’t have a chance yet. Even with just primer I’m completely happy with the new base solution and improved stones. The supplied LEDs slowly shift through a rainbow of colours giving them a very hypnotic ever-changing effect that I’m equally pleased with; I think it lends to the Chaos vibe of the stones, but as I mentioned, with the modular parts the LED hardware can easily be replaced at a reasonable cost if I or the customer chooses to change them.

A future plan for this idea is to create a series of small objects that look like arcane and/or xeno technology; an outer shell that’s just a normal resin cast model surrounding a translucent core component that can transmit the light. Just give the marker a twist and it lights up and glows with some internal power source.

Considered a while back, I’m not totally sure what compelled me to return to this project now, but it wouldn’t let me go.

While I always like it, the original design I came up with was just too large and complex. The parts would either be too big for me to handle reasonably with my current equipment, or I would need to split everything into too many smaller parts for my liking. Given its shape, I had always wondered if the Vengeance Weapon Battery base could work as a starting point, and I finally gave in and got a kit to try it with.

By refining the design down to save on bulk, minimize parts, and take advantage of a repeating pattern, I’ve brought the idea into the realm of reasonable; but, it’s still going to be the largest kit my studio has produced to date. In this, I’m using it as a testing ground for casting parts of this size; I don’t foresee any serious difficulties, but I still haven’t cast components this large yet, so it’s an excellent project to make sure everything will go as I’m hoping it will.

Being a breakable part that could need replacing, and because of the simple fact that not all Plasma Globes are created equal (cheaper ones will slowly fade over time) I’ve designed the model with a removable top to permit the globe to be replace.

As before, by integrating only the needed part of the generic globe base, I can seamlessly add the hardware into the model.

By building my form as a tight skin around the required piece of the original base and then filling the void with liquid resin before capping it all in to finish it, any 3” plasma globe with the generic black stair-step style base should have no problem fitting in this base. From there the rest of the parts attach to the Vengeance Battery base to finish the build.

3D modeling is great for designing with the intent of rapid prototyping the model, but college really forced me to scratch build from a 3D model, and it showed me how realistic it is. It takes some extra time to build thin 3D model, but it takes most of the guesswork out of the final model. If an issue does come up, it’s simple to tweak the model to find the solution. Next step is to blend the processes and merge rapid prototyped components into a larger build.

I’ve also invested in some round rivets cast in styrene, so this seemed a perfect project to try them.

While everything is looking good so far, I’m still a bit nervous. Until I can cast copies of the parts I can’t be 100% sure about the fit. I’m pretty certain I’ve got my build right, but it seems that the Vengeance Battery kit is one that is produced in China for GW, (shame on you GW *shakes head in disappointment*) and I have to say it has an effect on the quality of the model. Visually overall, it’s not bad. Some details are lacking and there are a few surface quality issues, but nothing really bad. But when you get in closer I’ve found that there’s a lack of many tolerances in the model; lines that should be straight are a little off, things that should be symmetrical aren’t quite, and a few other small idiosyncrasies that didn’t show themselves until well into the build.

There’s still a final layer of detail (so… many… rivets…) to go, but it’s in the home stretch. It won’t be long before I can test the fit and put it to rest. I haven’t wasted time detailing the 3D model with anything that isn’t critical to the overall build, so there’s still several other little things that need to be finished. I’ll be out of the studio for a week for a family vacation, so this will be on track once I’m back, and followed, as always, by other projects waiting in the wings.

You read it! You can't unread it!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/11 14:46:54

Post by: em_en_oh_pee

My god... the skill. Just unreal!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/18 19:39:22

Post by: Subtle Discord

++++++++++Re-establishing Connection...
++++++++++Interference Level Shift: 0.895 – 0.727 – 0.665
++++++++++Communications Protocol Validate.
++++++++++Signal Lock...
++++++++++Connection Established...
++++++++++Processing: Decrypt...
++++++++++Opening Image Files...
++++++++++Opening Transcribe Files...
++++++++++Minor Data Corruption...
++++++++++Data Loss Minimal...

[Repair Recompile Failure]...d Warmaster. While suffering casualties higher than expected, our final raiding force has returned having secured the targeted tools, construction materials, and Shield Generation Cores. While I hope the success of our primary goals satisfies you and the needs of our current production, I am positive you will be most pleased with the additional find that the Shadowed Hand has seen fit to guide us... [Repair Recompile Failure]...e raids initial defensive resistance was much higher than expected despite the success of our planned distraction. [Repair Recompile Failure]...s unfortunate that we were forced to employ wide-field sonic residence to speed the securing of target vessels thus rendering most of the potential additional labour spoils to only water and protein reclamation. However, in return transit it became apparent why the defensive actions had been so resolute; strange anomalies in the cargo manifests pointed to something out of the ordinary, and deeper investigation quickly confirmed suspicions. Initially thought to be a single prize, it is my deepest pleasure to inform my Warmaster that we have in fact secured two sacred war engines of the Knight classification. While the encrypted data-wards and failsafe barriers are extremely formidable, and progress in gaining complete access to all subsystems will take some time, merely having the chassis and weapon systems secure in our forges should be worthy of high praise to the Dark Lords who are forever guiding our p... [Repair Recompile Failure]...t appears after initial inspection that the war engines have been partially dismantled to facilitate their transport, leading us to believe that this was an unsanctioned operation. Further decryption of the data recovered will likely revealed a better understanding in the future, and the dismantled state should prove useful during our initial reverse engineering operations.

Further positive reports returned from our other raiding and recovery operations are to follow shortly. While the addition of these glorious engines of war to our armoury has overshadowed other actions, their success should not be overlooked and more comprehensive updates of these efforts will be compiled with haste. Praise to you my Lord Warmaster and the honour of bringing this news to you. +++ ... Mechanicus Crimmins'Thoth - Disciple of the Black Hand - Taker of Names - Scribe to the Book of Thoth: Lost and Dead Returned

++++++++++Connection Standby...

Automatically Appended Next Post:
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++++++++++Opening Transcribe Files...

Efforts to recover the Relic Sicaran battle tank Obduro Risum - ‘The Last Laugh’ have met with, dare I say… humorous success. After confirmation was made that the chassis was indeed mostly intact, including the primary weapon systems, the extraction force assembled quickly to make what was meant to be a rapid retrieval operation. Shortly after planet fall, upon scouting the resting place of our Relic, it was discovered that Imperial forces were also moving on to the site; while they were ahead of our own force they obviously had also only just arrived. Further reconnaissance quickly confirmed that the Loyalists were there to ensure the destruction of this, our deeply venerated relic of our Long War. Before a more risky frontal assault was considered, council was given by the accompanying Mechanicus and a unique diversionary plan was quickly formulated.

While the war engine had be thoroughly disabled, having thrown both of its track assemblies, and despite the main power subsystems being compromised, rendering the Las’-Cannons inoperable, the communications, control subsystems, and secondary power subsystems were all still functioning. The Mechanicus went about creating a remote access link to the vehicle and silently took control of the dormant war machine. Damage and power limitations meant that the ammunition feeders to the Auto-Cannons were likely non-functional, but the Obduro Risum still had two rounds chambered and ready to fire.

There can be no doubt that the Imperials were stunned when the targeting and tracking systems of the Sicaran main turret sprang to life, just as they moved in to butcher our cherished Relic, and with a smooth turn locked on to the transport hauling their demolition ordinance. To be true to its name the Mechanicus controlling Obduro Risum activated the engine’s external vox, maximized the volume, and gave a satisfying bark of laughter to assail Loyalists before opening fire. Two shells were more than enough to set off the cache in a most spectacular primary explosion that in turn resulted in a series of all-but annihilating secondary detonations. Our recovery forces were met with little resistance as they moved in on the shell-shocked remnants, and quickly secured the site. Some additional damage was suffered by the Obduro Risum in the blast, but the results of the quickly devised plan were more than worth the additional repairs that were required.

Repair and reassembly transcription logs to follow.

+++ Mechanicus Crimmins'Thoth - Disciple of the Black Hand - Taker of Names - Scribe to the Book of Thoth: Lost and Dead Returned +++

++++++++++Processing: Decrypt...
++++++++++Opening Image Files...
++++++++++Opening Transcribe Files...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/19 17:14:15

Post by: Subtle Discord

The Good: The FW Sicaran Kit proved to be a reasonable build for the most part, except for a few issues in the fit in a few places. The ‘box’ that makes up the main hull went together cleanly, and as always I pinned the assembly as much as possible for added strength and… completely forgot to photograph the progress and results before getting on with adding the side hull components.

While the side hull components seem straight and true enough, they don’t quite fit the hull as cleanly as you might expect.

Being what seems to be a straight forward, mostly flat-surface-on-flat-surface connection, it’s very odd that these parts should have a strange ‘rock’ that creates an odd gap. Close these gaps at the back of the model (which never really aligns as straight as I personally would like) and they become wider in the front; close the gap in the front and the space widens at the back.

I considered adding shims of plastic to build up areas and attempt to compensate for the gaps with some finesse, as it were, but in the name of a my new found effort to avoid being too perfectionist about every detail of my builds, I chose a brute force method instead. After drilling several large pins into specific locations I secured the pins (treated with my texturing technique shown earlier in Legion Rising), applied liberal amounts of Super Glue, and used several clamps that I’ve modified with soft pads for just his kind of job, to squeeze the parts into submission while the glue set. As mentioned, because of the odd fit in the back a few of the gaps are not as narrow as I would ultimately have liked, but they’re not bad enough for me to feel compelled to repair them. I can add some greenstuff to fill the gaps if I’m feeling up to it, but they’re hidden well enough I can also just ignore them. Good enough.

During test fits I was not happy with how closely the turret sat on the hull; the lack of clearance caused the turret to conflict with the hull during rotation.

So, using my handy-dandy circle cutting technique, I went about adding a simple shim of 1.5mm styrene to the turret post. Happy with the results, I found it did… nothing to add any height of the turret; it was now flush with the inside surface of the hull that the post sits in.

So, I went about modifying the hull component a bit to add the desired height.

Adding a second 1.5mm shim to the hull inside the turret post hole, before adding a rectangular plate on the inside finally got the height I was looking for. Naturally, the center points left from the circle cutting process are also perfect for getting magnets mounted perfectly centered.

It’s a small change really, but the turret now avoids any snags so it can now rotate 360⁰ cleanly.

The clearance is still a little tight at points, but it’s a noticeable improvement. The broad smooth plastic plates also give a pleasant amount of friction and make sure the turret is nice and stable, so it doesn’t rock or shift at all. Simple, clean, and effective.

With the main turret and the hull assembled, I turned my attention to the sponsons.

I contemplated for quite a while on a way to make the Las’-Cannons and Heavy Bolter sponsons swappable with magnets using only the supplied parts. But I just couldn’t come up with a solution that wasn’t going to create more work while also creating a weaker attachment because of the smaller magnets that would be necessary. Despite the lack of common sense of having exposed power cabling, I like the visual interest they add and they were just too fiddley to consider a way to make them work with swappable weapons.

My final more straightforward solution works well in my opinion; the sponsons can be cleanly omitted from the model if I want to go without, and when they are added the armor plate can rotate with the movement of the weapon system, which also seems most plausible to me. It’s all but certain that I’ll be adding a second Sicaran to my collection at some point (there’s something about the lines of this chassis that I really like), so I’ll consider then how I can make the sponsons completely swappable when that time comes.

I’m pleased to present the Obduro Risum – ‘The Last Laugh’ in its near-complete built state.

For now, this is a studio asset that will need to do some design work before I can paint it and add it to my personal collection. I have three main studio kits in mind to start; armour plating sets (Loyalist and Chaos) to represent Ceramite Plating and/or Extra Armour, a ‘Dozer Blade and/or Destroyer Blade in the spirit of my Land Raider Siege Ram kit, and some kind of simple Tread Plate kit to add some interest to those bland tracks. All of these kits, and all kits in general, will be designed with Chaos and Loyalist versions, and both 40k and 30k settings in mind, when it makes sense to do so. That’s not to say there won’t be some exclusively Chaos or Loyalist kits, but that will only be in certain circumstances.

As always, the order and timing of these kits is still uncertain. For now I’m focusing on getting key official kits in to my modest studio, assembled to a point that I can use them for accurate measuring, test fitting, and scale comparison, for the kits I plan to produce in the future. With that heavy lifting done I will have the ‘scaffolds’ I need to produce a wide range of kits for The Dark Works.

With that, we come to the end of this, The Good chapter of my exploits in building Forge World models. Next up, The Bad chapter chronicling my efforts to assemble the Spartan Assault Tank. Followed by, The Ugly chapter where I descend into the emotional turmoil that is trying to properly assemble the Fire Raptor Gunship.

Thank you, as always, for your interest (silent or not), feedback, input, critique, and all general musings about what I’m doing. Community support really has been key to me building the confidence to even consider the possibilities that I have before me, and I can’t see that ever changing. Much more to come, and I hope you enjoy hitching long for the ride; I’m glad to have you along!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/25 17:40:08

Post by: Subtle Discord

In a dark corner of southern Canada. The sound of crickets in the night?

*Rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet...*

*Rivet... rivet...rivet...rivet...rivet...rivet...rivet...rivet...* Oh, nope. Subtle is just finishing his detailing.

Almost... finished... the... Shield... Generator... *Rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet... rivet...*

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/25 18:26:16

Post by: Desubot

How riviting

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/30 04:22:54

Post by: Subtle Discord

Since first showing it, I've had quite a few people show interest in the Shield Generator and its progress. I'm happy to say that all of the prototype components have been completed and mould making has begun. For production it will need several moulds, so it'll take several days to get them all completed; but I should be able to have an assembly update once I have the first set of moulds for repeating parts finished. I'm very eager to see it in-the-round, as it were. I'm feeling very good about the fit, but I won't know for sure until the parts are in hand and test fit together. *Crosses his fingers, legs, toes... and eyes*

Now, over the years I've been asked on more than one occasion how I manage to get such clean lines, sharp corners, and smooth corners on my builds. I've talked about my technique here-and-there but college has forced me to become much more practiced in my building technique, and it seemed like this build would be a good place to show off my three main methods for dealing with corners when scratch building with styrene.

How you deal with a corner really depends on just how much material and/or structure you have to work with.

When you have a single piece of plastic with a few bends, or a delicate structure, most times its best to add some strength to the corner/s. The great thing about styrene is how well it snaps along a cut line, even if it’s not deep, and if you’re careful it will break while keeping a thin ‘hinge’ of plastic that holds the parts together, if so desired. The simplest solution to easily strengthen a corner like this is to add a rod of plastic and then lock it in place with some extra thin solvent glue. Once the plastic finishes fusing the structure becomes much stronger and can handle the stress of the next steps.

With this method I want to achieve a clean single edge that’s as seamless as possible, so I’ll add extra greenstuff (greenstuff + brownstuff mix in this case) to the corner so I have extra material for the next step.

Once the material added to the corners has cured, it’s a simple matter of sanding it down until it becomes flush with the parent material surface.

Depending on how much material I’m trying to remove, I’ll start with a 220-to-320 grit sandpaper and use that until I get very close to the surface; from there switch to 400-to-600 grit to remove the last of the corner material. Take a little care as you reach the surface and it will become seamless and smooth and you sand it down; as long as it’s even, on a broad flat surface the sand paper will remove virtually no material and just buff the surface to perfect smoothness and give you a crisp corner.

Now that I have more structure there’s enough strength to handle creating a clean single edge corner with nothing but styrene.

With this next layer I start by gluing the side pieces into place and sanding the edges down so they are flush with the center surface. Then I close that gap with strips of plastic that also extend further then needed, so they can be sanded back flush with the sides surfaces. When gluing these parts I’m careful to be liberal with the solvent along the seams and add a bit of extra pressure so that there is just a little extra material to be sanded flush. Before I start standing I use a razor to remove as possible to speed the process and minimize the dust made during sanding.

As with the first method, now it’s just a matter of sanding down the extra material until it’s flush and a clean corner if formed.

One key thing you need to do with corners like this is to wait until the solvent is completely evaporated and the plastic is completely hardened. If you rush the process you’ll sand down to a nice smooth surface, but the slightly softer seam of uncured plastic will leave a faint-but-noticeable seam on the surface; if the plastic is totally cured you may be able to see some faint colour variations, but the surface will be completely smooth and true.

Again, as with the first method, start with a heavier grit sandpaper and as you get close to the surface you’re aiming for switch to something lighter. This simple ‘build over the edge and sand it back’ method can be used to create super clean forms out of styrene as long as your patient enough to let the solvents evaporate before you start sanding.

This is my preferred method to produce really clean and even beveled edges that wrap nicely around corners.

The simple trick of this method is to use the corner of the parent material to help get the shape you’re after. Simply roll out a nice thin rod of greenstuff and lay it in the ‘crook’ created by the two layers of plastic. Then use a simple flat tool (a few of different sizes/shapes are usually helpful in different locations) to force the greenstuff into edge and let the styrene do the work for you; as you press it down and rock the tool over the greenstuff the corner of the styrene will ‘cut’ its way through the material. Once you can see an obvious line through the greenstuff caused by the styrene corner and the surface is reasonably close to how you want it, stop right there and let the greenstuff cure. It wastes a bit of material, but I find it much easier to clean up the excess once it’s cured rather than trying to scrape it away while it’s still soft. Once the greenstuff is cured you can simple scrape the excess away with a fingernail with no worry of harming the material you want to keep.

I find the greenstuff will bulge on corners and across some stubborn areas; again, this is fine and exactly why you get the greenstuff filler close to the final shape and then you do the last refining work once it’s hardened. Here, I find using sanding sticks very useful for removing any offending bulges while still giving me control to keep the surfaces smooth and the edges clean, sharp, and true. It is possible to make your own sanding sticks with some double-sided foam tape and strips of styrene, but when you use as many as I can when I’m doing a lot of building, it’s nice to have a good pre-made product.

Alpha Abrasives has been a favorite of mine for many years, (shameless plug for a local Canadian company) not only for their abrasive products, but also for the Abrasive Cleaning Disc you can see pictured to the right of the sanding sticks. It costs $6 CAD, but mine has lasted me for about 10 years now, is still going strong, and it’s saved me a fair amount of time and money. Simply put, greenstuff is a great modeling material, but it quickly clogs sandpaper and files when you’re try to shape it. Using the cleaning disk, with its strange rubbery and slightly sticky nature, you can rub clogged sandpaper and files clean of greenstuff residue with relative ease. Sandpaper and sanding sticks that would normally be garbage can be reused several more times after a cleaning with this simple tool.

So, there you have it, all of the necessary components for the Shield Generator are complete and mould making has commenced.

I’m particularly happy with how close to invisible the join is for the removable top of the structure; buy taking advantage of the form I created and using some detailing to further hide the seam, the join all but vanishes when the parts come together. Six reasonably large magnets (two per pillar) will be provided in the final kit to secure the top battlements to the base and I suspect it strong enough to only come apart with deliberate intent. This will help with transport and make it easy to replace the plasma globe should it be necessary.

Stay tuned for more updates on this project as it progresses; it’s the largest model my little studio has produced to date, and while I’m confident that it’s going to be great, it’s still somewhat new territory for me and I’m eager to see this proof of concept prove itself.

Other musing about other topics are also on their way; I have another articles worth of pictures, (on a few different subjects) already finished and just waiting for the copy to get written. That article will shed some light on the projects I have coming up over the next several weeks and how they’ll impact what’s coming up beyond that.

Thanks for reading. As always, more to come!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/30 06:58:22

Post by: evildrcheese

Words escape me. Fantastic stuff.


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/30 14:37:38

Post by: ThunderFury 2575

Now that is all just true majesty.

Will you be adding the plasma ball pieces to your webstore? I'd love to get my hands on a terrain piece like that

Keep the wonderful work coming, it's always a pleasure to see your updates

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/07/31 22:11:18

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks, as always, for the kind words and interest in my work.

As with all my kits, all the needed magnets, extra bits, and in this case electronics will be provided in the final kit. The only exception to this is any parts produced by GW or FW; they will need to be supplied by the builder.

With the Shield Generator I'll be providing the 3.25" Plasma Globe new in-box; I've sourced what I hope to be a reliable supply that will cost me roughly $18 CAD per Globe and they will be provided at-cost in the kit. Cheaper Globes can be found, but they are lower quality and tend to slowly leak out the gasses trapped in the globe to produce the plasma effect. I should also have no problem proving the kits without the Plasma Globe, at a reduced cost, if someone prefers to source their own.

The builder will be required to dismantle the provided Globe (very simple) and install the parts during the build. I've chosen this route for very specific reasons:

1) As mentioned, I like to provide all of the required parts necessary to the build.

2) The original packaging for the Globes is good for shipping them safely.

3) The builder can safely paint the model before adding the electronics when they see fit.

4) The customer is guaranteed to get a Globe that will properly fit, and will have the original hardware as a a visual reference should they need to replace it in future.

5) Even if a mistake is made and a replacement Plasma Globe is purchased that has a different base, as long as it's using a standard 3.25" globe, it should fit no problem. Odds are more likely that the Globe itself will need to be replace due to breakage or fading/leaking, leaving the originally provided electronics perfectly functional.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/01 06:34:48


Might be a bit late to suggest this but it would probably be easier for the consumer if the kit didn't use parts from GW. Let's face it your more than skilled enough to create your own version. That's way the kit is complete on sale.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/01 16:42:08

Post by: Anvildude

While I do agree with you that Legio could/should start doing his own full kits, I think part of the reason they're 'conversion' is because it makes them a lot cheaper. His stuff is Resin-cast, remember, which makes what he does more like Forgeworld than GW central- which means solid parts, and heavy parts. If he were, for example, to make the entirety of this platform, it would be a massive expenditure of resin on his part, cost a ton more to ship, and be, well, more expensive due to those factors. This way, he (and the customer) takes advantage of GW's plastics molding capabilities to provide a lighter and overall less expensive product.

Doing conversion kits also allows him to use the GW kit as a 'leaping off point' for design- he couldn't just copy the design aesthetics for a unique model (remember the Chapterhouse debacle?) but 'conversion kits' or aftermarket addons are completely legal.

But yeah, you should do some of your own stuff..

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/01 19:54:27

Post by: Subtle Discord

Seriously, thank you very much for having this kind of conversation. I'm always interested in hearing opinions and feedback that fosters a dialogue beyond the look/quality of the work I'm doing; talk that will help steer my studio's deeper design philosophy will always get serious consideration.

It's absolutely true that I'm playing a balancing act, in many ways, with how I'm currently running my studio. For the most part, Anvildude has it right in that I need to follow the path of least resistance with what I'm doing for now, and 'conversion kits' that work with an existing model are prime examples. Not only do they provide some heavy lifting in creating the finished product, they also give the final model at least some legitimate claim that they can be used as official pieces. I'm the first to admit that in this case I've taken it very far and have added a ton of resin to accommodate all of the elements I wanted in the design, but at its core there is an official GW kit to add some legitimacy. For now I am designing specifically for the Warhammer 40/30k universe very intentionally for a few reasons (more on that in a moment) but with that said, I will say that in future I have every plan to produce more stand-alone models that are made completely in-house.

From a production standpoint I'll 'pull back the curtain' a bit to give you an idea where this kit stands, because it really is a different animal compared to everything I've produced so far. Truth be told, I could likely create my own version of the center piece and do it for a little cheaper then what it'll cost to get the pieces you'll need from GW; that said, the parts would be rather tricky to make (due to the slope combined with round and flat elements) and would add much more time to the build that I simply do not have right now. Add to that the fact that this kit is currently sitting at 12-14 moulds to produce (double the count of the largest kits I make now) adding another 4-6 moulds (at least two of them quite large) for the center column plus extra detail bits would be almost prohibitive for this kit. This is an ambitious kit for my modest studio, it doesn't need more.

As for cost, producing the whole thing in-house might trim about $10 CAD off the final price I would charge, at most. Given the amount of resin and labour this kit will demand (resin is actually a very reasonably cost material, but this kit is going to use lots of it) I will likely need to charge $75-to-$80 CAD for my kit, with the $18 CAD Plasma Globe included. In Canada the Vengeance Weapon Battery kit costs $60 CAD at full price from GW, adding $30 CAD to the cost of building one of these towers, but I'm sure they can be found for cheaper from other sources, new or used. I do apologize to those who have to suffer with extra-absurd GW pricing, nothing I can do there. Adding another 4-6 moulds would easily add $20+ CAD to the price. Yes, this will be a $110 CAD kit to complete, maybe even a bit more; but trust me when I say I feel confident it's a fair price for the size, quality, novelty, and exclusivity, of this kit. I'm what I consider a renaissance manufacturer who is not interested in mass producing at the lowest possible cost to keep profit margins as large a possible. I want to produce absolute top quality, unique designs, at a smaller production scale, permitting the time and care necessary to give the attention to detail that is lost when manufacturing is too much about mass production.

Finally, one of the other main reasons why I make kits that incorporate GW/FW models ties into a longer agenda that I have planned; I'm trying to build a portfolio of work that shows just how good I am at creating kits that blend seamlessly and compliment the parent GW/FW model. At worst, I wan't to make kits so amazing that I get a reputation for being the 'unofficial official' other Forge World; that independent producer who's making stuff so good, it may as well be FW. Best case scenario, I make a portfolio of work so strong that when I present it to GW I can convince them to consider some kind of 'affiliate studio' program so I can become official and gain a little more freedom in my designs; it might sound a bit crazy (trust me, I'm intimidated even considering it) but nothing ventured, nothing gained, so they say. I'm very cautiously optimistic, but also being careful not to be surprised by a letdown.

All that said, I will be producing kits that are completely my own design and manufacture (the Mor'ses Weapon Platform, is a first test in that direction) along side more conversion kits, when it makes sense. They'll start arriving when I can get working in the studio full-time once I've complete college. But, enough rambling for now, I've got another article almost finished that I'll be posting up shortly, and It'll talk some about future plans and what I'm doing today to get the groundwork for future projects. Thanks for reading, and thanks for the input, it's always appreciated.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/02 01:04:54

Post by: Anvildude

I would like to warn you that GW does not play nice. As far as I know, they've NEVER done any sort of licensing for models; even Forgeworld has always been just a subsidiary. And you can look at the Games Workshop vs. Chapterhouse Studios lawsuit case to see that if you became a big enough name that they take notice of you (like, official notice, not some sculptors browsing Dakka). Chapterhouse was doing almost exactly what you're doing now- making 'addon' kits for things that GW wasn't producing (tyrranid kits especially, as well as some vehicle conversions much like what you have) that required GW parts and were actually pushing sales for GW, and they got sued hard. They almost won due to pro-bono representation from one of the largest Copyright firms in the world, but even then they ended up having to do an out-of-court settlement (that is, they were forced into it) due to GW almost seizing the owner's house (rumoured, but likely- by the way, this is why you don't write off any of your personal assets as business expenses, or have them connected to your business in any way- if your business gets sued, those are 'company assets' that can then get frozen- i.e. you can't use them any more, and they might not belong to you for long).

In other words, I'd suggest trying to get known as someone who has high-quality original kits rather than making conversions. Even stuff that's compatible in scale and works well as a proxy is better. Your armour kits should be fine, considering they're nothing like anything that GW makes, but this tower is just about as close to GW stuff as I think you should aim.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/02 09:32:42

Post by: Subtle Discord

Deep down, I know you're likely right and it's a long shot... at best. It's just, while I do plan on doing plenty of my own complete kits, GW is the only company producing a game universe that has an aesthetic that I like. My 'generic' will always have a grim-dark industrial-gothic vibe, a la Warhammer 30/40k. No other system has a style that I would want to cater to, so for the time being at least, Warhammer is my main muse. It's not like I would want a 'deep' licencing agreement, I just wish I could have a little more freedom in my designs, or even just a 'GW Sanctioned' stamp.

While not really extensively, I have spoken with an IP lawyer and feel quite comfortable doing the kits I'm producing. With respect, I don't think it was the scale of Chapterhouse that drew attention; they were big enough, but they weren't that large when they got in themselves in trouble. Certainly there appears to be larger producers today that have no problem making all manner of compatible conversion kits, some even openly calling them compatible with various GW products, and that includes Chapterhouse. From what I learned through research, rumor, and personally following the lawsuit, CH painted a target on their back and showed a considerable a lack of tact; if you try to make very similar copies and/or your own versions of an existing IP concept and go so far as to use the exact name created by the IP holder, 'borrow' distinct icons and art elements created by the IP holder, produce a lower quality product, and be practically arrogant about it, while not making a blatant disclaimer saying your unofficial and distancing you from the IP holding company, then yes, you'll likely draw legal action in defense of the IP. I'm not saying GW wasn't heavy handed, but IP only has value if you're willing to defend; if someone challenges your IP and you don't defend it, you lose it; and CH really did push GWs hand, at least somewhat, in that respect. If you look at which complaints were found in GWs favor and which were found in CHs, the line in the sand is pretty obvious; CH did cross the line with several products, but GW was equally arrogant trying to make some very broad and over-reaching IP legal claims. So, don't flat-out copy an existing design, design it yourself, make it yourself, name it yourself, make good quality, be clear that it is not affiliated with GW, have some tact, and show some professional courtesy for the product/company you're relying on to produce your own product. After market kits that are compatible, even if they are elaborate, are perfectly fine as long as they are original and follow the aforementioned rules.

As for the assets of my still very modest studio, I've boot-strapped the entire operation so far, and would never link anything personal to the business, only genuine business expenses. While the studio is in my basement I currently don't claim any tax credits or link it in any other meaningful way to the house. Any income earned is declared as personal income if it's ever used for any personal expenses. Again, I feel confident that I am, so far, walking a safe path with my designs by making very deliberate considerations and being careful to educate myself. I know I still have much to learn, but I think I've got a good footing so far. Thanks as always, for the input. It's not a bad thing to very carefully consider some subjects, and this is one that I've done plenty of thinking on.

Edit: And while GW has never done any licencing for models, it makes me wonder how many, if anyone, has ever tried, and what was the quality of their portfolio when they tried it. The world is evolving fast around GW and recent choices by them as a company have me hopeful for the first time in quite awhile that they're starting to better understand that. I think they're going to have to continue to change their philosophy if they want to decisively turn the slump they've been in for several years.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/07 23:12:35

Post by: Subtle Discord

Being a bit of hodgepodge of subjects, it seems appropriate for another episode to chronicle my… Tales of Interest!

First up, I forgot that I never showed the final renders of the Chaos Marine helmet I did last year in college due to my hectic schedule. It turned out quite well, so it seems only fit to show it in its complete state. Better late than never.

For added visual interest under the front grill I designed my take on a Vox speaker and a vent for breathing when atmosphere is available, and in the ear you can see my take on audio pickup device.

Under the back panel you can see communications device with two antennas, and the module with the hazard stripes is mean to be the replaceable re-breather filter for less hospitable environments.

Time was a real consideration with this build, so for as much detail as there is, I wasn’t able to go too overboard getting down to smaller detailing. Given more time I would have hollowed/shelled the helmet properly and made the face plate removable, opening the door to the chance to detail the inside. I also wanted to add a collar component and would have liked to make the horns a little more organic, but the project just didn’t permit the time investment.

I changed the surface from my first rendering, from a gloss to a satin and I think it suits the helmet better. It was mentioned that the gloss finish seemed give it a Star Wars meets Warhammer 40K feel, and I had to agree. While I wasn’t able to do anything elaborate, I was able to add a bit of texture to the horns to make them feel a bit more organic. Solidworks really isn’t meant to create authentic renderings; in that I mean, rendering objects that have a bit of wear-and-tear and looked used, as one would likely expect of a Chaos Marine helmet. It’s very good at factory fresh objects that are right out of the box or sitting on a showroom floor, but I wanted to at least try to rough it up a bit. I was able to add some very convincing paint chipping with use of decals (normally used for branding and the like) that I was quite pleased with. With the limited time, I couldn’t find a technique to also add some scratches and weathering marks to the other metal components, however.

Next up in our planned public service announcements… The Bad. *Insert ominous Slaanesh-approved music here* Unfortunately, there’s no fictional blurb to accompany this one yet, but I will have one in future.

There’s good news and bad news with the Spartan kit. The bad news, in a word… the tracks! Err… wait a second, that’s two words…

It’s my understanding that the track components have now been integrated onto the side-hull section on an updated version of this kit that is now shipping from FW. While that does solve the only real problem with this kit, I was not lucky enough to get one of the new kits and I can see exactly why these parts were such a hassle. Not only are they delicate, with the link edges and other small bits very prone to breaking during shipping and/or during assembly.

Beyond being fragile, the tracks simply do not fit the model correctly. Even Forge World was unable to get the tracks to fit on their studio model pictured here.

Put simply, there is roughly half a link too much in the track set, and no matter how you try to adjust the fit you can’t get a convincing clean fit for the tracks all the way around. I consider this ‘The Bad’ because this is a design flaw pure-and-simple, and I think it could/should have been corrected before they put this model into production. Given the obvious nature of the problem, the reasonably small size of the parts involved, and the capabilities of the FW studio, I can’t see how it could have been too hard to rectify. Add in the cost they ask for the kit and the fact that I’m sure they’ve sold many of them, correcting something like this before going to production seems fair to me.

I’m still not sure how I’ll handle the problem, and I’m not really sweating it too much (it’s a small detail after all) but I’m likely going to follow FW’s example and simply shave it down. I think I can do it in such a way that it can look like a narrow ‘master link’ that should be reasonably seamless, but I’m not too worried either way; I’m trying to tame my modeling OCD just a wee bit, and aim for ‘really good’ instead of ‘near flawless’ and it’s working. I’ve done more actual productive assembly in the last year then I have in several before it. I won’t be able to really dig in and finish anything significant until college is done (two… final… semesters…) but when the time comes I should be able to bring several projects to completion in short order. I can’t wait! *Wipes away the froth forming at his mouth* Must… finishmoreprojects!

Beyond the tracks, the Spartan assembles very nicely with no real surprises; the main hull fits together with the kind of work you’d expect.

The top front door is a bit thin, especially after I shaved off the eagle on the outside, so I reinforced it with some styrene. I prefer to button-up my vehicles, so it’s no bother to me. I’ve got enough to worry about with the outside of vehicles.

It did require a bit of clamping to get a really nice tight fit on the final assembly, but after that the main hull was as solid as rock. With a bit of sanding to even up the edges everything was ready. I’ve attached some 80 grit sandpaper from a belt sander (virtually indestructible) to a thin strip of oak to create a sanding tool that can really remove material very fast. Great for quick leveling job just like this.

This is how a model should come together. After some straight forward subassembly the build is stress free.

Thanks to the properly fitting keys that lock the side hulls to the main hull assembly, from here it’s simple to finish the largest part of the build. Unlike the Sicaran kit, the fit for these parts on the Spartan is near prefect all the way around the vehicle, top and bottom with no modification or forcing.

So there you have it, the Spartan is well on its way to being assembled and now ready to be fit for future studio kits.

Beyond the issues with the tracks this is a really nice model. Where some FW kits will exhibit some slight bowing of surfaces and other minor idiosyncrasies the Spartan’s lines and surfaces are nice and true. To me, it shows that FW is really starting to hone in on how they’re producing their kits and I’ll be interested to see if this trend continues with any future kits I purchase that have been produced after the Spartan.

The Spartan is also a perfect illustration of something I’ve meant to bring up from time-to-time. With the popularity of my ‘trim kits’ I’ve been asked on more than one occasion if I’ll be doing a trim kit for ‘insert model name here’. Put simply, some hulls lend themselves very well to something like my trim; lots of clean straight lines that I can follow, with enough surface area that can reasonably accommodate the width that the trim will be. The Rhino hull is excellent for these reasons and the Spartan is a good example of a hull that would be a real pain to make a good trim kit for. With all the surfaces and detailing, there would be so many small bits that it would be a real pain to design a custom fitting kit. The Spartan will get The Dark Works treatment, but not a proper trim kit, more than likely.

I’m also mentioning trim kits for a specific reason because they have been something I’ve been keen on improving for quite some time. For those who take some interest in how I make my kits and the process involved, I’ll give you a look at my love-hate relationship with these kits. The skinny on the trims, as it were…

These rather unglamorous looking four moulds are what it takes to create just one reasonably simple trim kit for a Rhino hull.

When you cast with resin you generally need to work very quickly. If you want it to fully harden in a reasonable amount of time, the plastic you use will begin curing (AKA: kicking) very quickly, getting thicker-and-thicker by the second. The delicate nature of my trim kits makes this a problem; if you inject the resin into the moulds quickly (and you have no choice, as the seconds slip by when the resin start to kick in) it will cause the mould to bulge and expand, overflowing from the voids that create the parts. This will cause some tissue-paper-like flash at best, and that’s acceptable; or the flash is far too thick and it completely ruins the part, costing both labour and materials. Up to this point I have made due with simple but effective mould clamps/boxes locked in place with wingnuts that apply even pressure over the mould to fix this issue. While this solution works very well, with four moulds per kit that adds up to sixteen wingnuts that need to be unfastened and refastened each time the parts are removed from the mould. Along with carefully de-moulding these delicate parts, it’s simply too much labour for a product that needs a reasonable price point because of what it is.

Now I learned a lot about my materials and process since I first started producing these trim kits, and I’ve got some ideas on how I think I can improve the process to reduce the mould count and make them easier to de-mould to improve on labour. For these kits to remain viable going forward, these improvements must be made. I really do like the trim kits as a product, and they are popular in my shop, but I really do hate the labour involved to produce them, and I somewhat dread having to do any significant casting run of them.

So, with these plans to improve the manufacturing process I wanted to also do new sets of trim prototypes for the endeavour. Having used my Zing successfully in the past for both studio and college, I set to work on my new designs.

While Zing is a capable little cutter that can really do amazing things, it’s just not up to the task of cutting arrows and points that are 2mm wide in styrene.

The cutting blade on the Zing needs to pivot to turn corners, and while it’s an extremely tiny pivot, it just isn’t responsive enough in the dense styrene plastic. In lighter vinyl, for example, the Zing would actually be able to achieve these shapes with some adjustment of the settings and the blade height, but in styrene it’s just not possible. I tried to ‘dial in’ the settings, and this did improve the results, but not enough to make it acceptable; the extra density of the styrene simply forces the blade to take longer to pivot around to the new cutting direction. Note how the simple shapes cut well enough, (adding small ‘swing around loops’ at corners will create very sharp corners) and it can almost get acceptable results of the simpler endpoints, but when it comes down to actual arrows it just can’t handle it.

A test with a pen shows that the Zing has the accuracy required, but with the pivoting cutting blade, it just can’t get the same results at this scale. And the scale in this case is worth noting; these bands are just 2mm wide and the arrows are roughly 4mm tall, so these are very small details to be asking Zing to cut. If the pattern was simper (like the Mk.II Land Raider kit I made with Zing) and/or a little larger in scale (like the Shield Generator I just finished building) Zing would have a much better time cutting the parts out. So, while Zing isn’t up to the task of cutting parts for my trim kits, it has still been invaluable for building models for college, and it still has plenty of potential for larger scale cutting jobs.

The silver lining to this outcome is that the designs are all digital and now created in Solidworks, so changing these into models that can be rapid prototyped (RP) is all but done. The plan was to do these at the beginning of the summer but the complications forced me to put them off. And then I got a little… distracted… *looks sheepish* by the Shield Generator project; it’s turned out as good as I had hoped, but took a little longer then I wanted it to. But that’s a subject for another wall-o’-text.

Shown large so you can get a good feel for the lines of each design, I’m not making massive changes to these first kits, just refining the concept.

A direct evolution of the Mk.I (a personal favorite) The Mk.III is obviously intended to be a straight-up Chaos/Renegade version. The Mk.IV tones down the overt arrows to more decorative points letting it work well with either Chaos or Loyalist, and 40k or 30k. Finally, the Mk.V can be used for Chaos, but is really intended more as a Loyalist design, again for both 40k and 30k.

With a change to RP to make the prototypes, the two main hurdles for these kits and any other trim kits that I design (be it a kit for a specific hull or a bulk trim kit for a builder to use how they see fit) are surface quality and the very thin nature of these parts. The first, surface quality, (which effects every RP I plan to make, really) will simply come down to the RP method used to create the parts; there are methods that can produce extremely good surface quality but they are not cheap and there might be a problem trying to find it locally due to how specialized (read: Expensive!) the prototypers are that can produce the results I’ll be looking for. While cost is a major consideration I can appreciate the value of a good prototype and have no problem carefully investing in them when it makes sense. Being such low volume objects should also make the trims in particular a good early RP candidate; they should be reasonably cheap to have RP’ed.

My main worry is the delicate nature of the parts, and if they might be a little too thin to safely RP. Or more accurately, to remove from the build tray after the part has been created. Not including the rivets the parts are less than 1mm tall, and 0.5mm at the thinnest points. I’ve made the sprue a thickness I’m sure will be safe, but I’m still worried the parts may be too thin and brittle, breaking apart before they can be moulded. Conversely, they might be so thin that they are prone to curling and/or warping and staying 100% flat and true is key to these kits being successful kits. All said, I will find a way to make my trim designs work. I like how these kits produce a subtle-yet-striking result to the parent model and I can see them evolving considerably once I smooth out any production kinks; expect to see some with delicate filigree and more much unique/ornate lines, bands adorned with spikes, hooks, and chains suitable for attaching trophies (Read: Spikes done right!), trims with runes and symbols of power etched along their length, and those are just what comes off the top pf my head. 3D modeling opens a door to a level of detail that will be very interesting to my design process, to say the least. Stay tuned!

These, along with a few other 3D models that I have lurking in the shadows will be the first components I’ll be having RP’ed locally and they’ll be used to test a few different methods to find the one/s that will work for my future studio projects. The wonderful advantage of working locally is that the turn-around time for prints will go from 2-3 weeks down to as little as 2-3 days if I choose. Faster turn-around costs more, but when it’s a difference of weeks, and it’s with a supplier that I can directly communicate with to get the best results in the time frame I want, that’s worth the extra investment.

So here ends this, my most recent Tale of Interest *the words echo slightly*, and the accompanying chapter dedicated to ‘The Bad’ Spartan build. Coming soon, ‘The Ugly’ Fire Raptor build, complete with emoticons to illustrate the swings in mood that kit has forced me to endure. Don’t get me wrong, the final model is absolutely gorgeous, but the build is ‘advanced’ at best and maddening at worst, especially if you’re a bit particular about fit-and-finish, like myself. I’ve successfully learned to tone down my perfectionist ideals in the name actually getting some projects done, but the Raptor holds a special honour for very nearly giving me a mild brain aneurysm. But all is behind me now… *stares blissfully into space*

But before that, expect a small’ish update on the Shield Generator project; as mentioned, while it did take a little more work than planned, I’m more then pleased with the final outcome and can’t wait to see one completely assembled. It really has pushed my production methods to their limits, and it’s been very valuable in teaching me some lessons in casting large components; something I absolutely plan to do more of in the future.

Ok… I’ll stop rambling now… *Subtle wanders off to do something else productive*

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/08 22:52:56

Post by: Subtle Discord

“We have attained the plans. Now build it! Build it… to the sky!

*tap tap tap*

“Actually my Lord, it’s uhh… only about 35 units vertical; but it does generate a protective shield!”


“Oh… well, I see then. I suppose that will do.”

Held together with fit, friction, poster tack, hope, and some prayers to the Dark Gods, I present the first, mostly complete, test fit for the Shield Generator.

This test fitting reviled that the main ‘pillar’ component could actually benefit from a little tweaking and adjustment, so that was done. As of taking these pictures the rest of the parts have been moulded and the final moulds (for the main base and the revised pillar component) will be finished tonight. First finalized casts and fitting will start tomorrow and I should have a 100% complete model ready for photos in the next few days. For efficient sustainable production I will need to create some more moulds of the repeating parts, but I’ll have just enough to start limited production. For now, I only have 4 Plasma Globes to make a complete kit (with more on the way) so limited production for a little longer is not really a problem. These will be offered without the Plasma Globe, minus the cost of the globe, for those who may have one or want to source their own, but I can’t make any promises about the final fit of the internal hardware.

As an added hidden bonus for the Door component, I’ve provided room for the power switch and added seats so it can be magnetized.

Naturally the builder can simply glue the door component in place and leave the switch exposed. It’s not a really that distracting to the model and it leaves easy access to turn the Plasma Globe off during the game to represent when the shield has been knocked down. But, if you want to hide the switch behind the door, simply drill a few holes to each side of the switch and mount a few magnets to secure the door in place. I’ve made the seats for very broad flat magnets (that will be included) so they won’t need to align perfectly with the magnets in the base, but the part should still attach to the model cleanly due to the fit.

The finish is just what I would expect, and the fit… the fit is… good!

Have I mentioned yet that I’m in love with these round rivets and hex bolts that I picked up from Tichy Train Group? Well I am! Just look at how well they’ve turned out in the final casts. Soooo nice… *drools just a tiny bit* Since they’re made from HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) they glue perfectly with the extra thin solvent glues that I prefer; but HIPS (as the name suggest) really is a harder version of the styrene family of plastics, so they’ll be tougher and resist melting too much during gluing despite their tiny size.

I was a little worried that the ‘deck plate’ for the battements on the top of the model might not come together as tightly as I’d hoped, but they’ve turned out very well. The added benefit of the overall shape being a hexagon will make the battlement components ‘snap fit’ together, actually locking the assembly tight; you shouldn’t need very much glue to get a very strong final build. Finally, you can see how the top will look from the bottom up, to give an idea how the larger dish is intended to attach.

Also, if I hadn’t been clear earlier, the glowing Chaos Objective Markers are a studio project that will be available very soon in my shop.

The kit will come complete with six bases, six unique stones (each double-sided), and six colour-changing LED tea lights that will provide the hardware and batteries. Simply attach the stones to the provided bases, apply whatever basing treatment suits your army, and paint as you see fit. Insert the hardware and battery provided, and it’ll be good-to-go. Ominous glowing stones of pow’ah!

Ok, now I need to make something. Time to scratch that itch! *Runs off with a manic look in his eyes*

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/08 22:59:54

Post by: Desubot

What even the what.

that VSG looks infinity better than the gw one

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/08 23:11:59

Post by: Subtle Discord

I try to be careful not to bite the hand that feeds me as it were, but truth be told, I too wasn't all that impressed with GW's offering. But, my main motivation for building this kit was more a desire to put a 3" plasma globe into a model that made some sense, and that happened to align with the VSG that GW introduced to 40k. But be careful, mine is a 'SG' not a 'VSG'; that 'V'-word is a GW invention, and a four letter word to my studio that I shall avoid uttering.

But, by your response, I take it you approve. And I thank you for your approval.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/09 00:57:24

Post by: Anvildude

I've got a suggestion for your mold clamps, and this is from one College guy to another.

In our Metals casting facility, we sometimes use Agar molds for wax casting blanks, and we have a much easier tool to keep the molds from getting flashy.

Take a set o those large-jaw Lockjaw pliers (they're usually called 'welder's lock-jaws' I think) and you can weld your mold pressing plates directly onto the jaws- either with hinges for a completely variable tool, or solidly on at an angle that lets you get a flush squish when they're clamped. It's a little bit of an investment, but it makes molding and demolding a matter of a second or two, instead of the good half-minute it probably takes you now.

These guys have the hinges built-in for you.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/10 17:19:09

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thank you very much Anvildude, for taking the time to offer a suggestion. I always appreciate it, even if the idea isn't quite the solution I can use there is a good chance it can get me thinking in a different direction. I have considered how I could make/source custom clamps for this purpose, and your suggestion shows that I could have the right idea. In fact I hadn't even considered this type of clamp, so it really has me thinking about how I could make this idea work.

The problem in this case is that it creates a catch-22 in my situation; put simply, a clamp like this would add so much bulk to the mould, as it hangs off the side, that it would put a limit on how many moulds I can fit in my casting pressure chambers. I currently only have small chambers, roughly 23cm diameter and 23cm tall, and getting as many moulds in the chamber as possible for each casting cycle is critical to making components efficiently. The beauty of the solution I've created is that the moulds can neatly stack one on top of the other, and the stack of all four moulds can fit in the pressure chamber in one go. Improving the efficiency of the de-moulding process while reducing how many moulds I can cure in each cycle would defeat the gains made my using clamps such as these. Larger pressure chambers are in the cards for the future, so this may still have real merit, but for now it creates one problem while solving the other.

As I said, this is the love-hate relationship I have with these 'trim kits'; they are a unique product that is popular and I really want to produce them, but the nature of the components makes them tricky to find the right balance in production. On the surface these kits seem very straight forward to make, but their thin delicate nature means they're actually quite tricky and labour intensive. But, I also recognize that they are very small, light, specialized kits that can only reasonably command a certain price. My challenge is to improve the efficiency of production so that I can make them viable for my studio, while keeping a price point that keeps them attractive to the potential customer.

Ah, the joys of running a small manufacturing business! But, truth be told, even with trials such as this I'm enjoying myself very much, so I think I'm on the right track and will have no problem continuing.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/11 17:42:55

Post by: Freytag93

This is such an amazing thread. Not only for the fantastic models that you produce (and they are fantastic) but also because you take the time to explain and go through the process of creating everything. I absolutely adore this thread. It is such a wealth of knowledge for anyone interested in this weird hobby of toy soldiers.

Keep up the great work mate

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/11 22:06:59

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thank you, and you're welcome. One philosophy I've held from the very beginning of showing the projects I'm working on is to provide more detail about process as much as I can manage. Early in my building, painting, playing days (especially before the internet matured) I was starved for more detail and step-by-step instructions with some quality photos to explain just how the results were being achieved. For how good the vintage White Dwarf used to be back in the 1990's, (really, it was so much better) providing all sorts of great hobby articles and do-it-yourself ideas, they would also be guilty of showing something at the beginning, some limited 'in the middle' photo/s, and a picture of some amazing completed model. The instructions would be useful, but not step-by-step enough to really show exactly how the results were achieved, and it would drive me crazy! Despite me turning this into a more professional endeavor, I feel like it's the least I can do to support and foster the community; many/most may not be interested in all of the detail (and they'll just skip to the parts with the photos that catch their eye) but I know there are few of you out there like me, who really want to know a bit (lot) more. Most of what I do really is hobby-craft that anyone can do on a small personal scale. I've kicked it up several notches in scope and scale, (with several more to come) but the basic processes are the same for someone who might want to give it a go for themselves. It's for them, mostly, that I'm compelled to write.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
*Clink! Clink! Clink! Clink! Clink!*

"Aaaarcher! Come out and plaaayy!"

*Clink! Clink! Clink! Clink! Clink!*


Being someone who prefers to work at night, and having a bit of a bout of insomnia that's finally just about to fade, I figured this would be a good time to put these right here...

I'm pleased to present the complete and assembled Shield Generator Tower. I'm tempted to call it a Heavy Plasma Shield Generator, but maybe that's a bit too obvious.

There are a few spots where the fit is a tiny bit off, but nothing a builder who's going to assemble something like this should be challenged by, if they feel compelled to try and fix them. Ultimately, they're so small really, they just get lost in all of the awesome of the whole model. Yep, I'm not going to be a bit modest about this one; it was a bit more work then I expected, but it's also turned out better then I was expecting as well, so that's good enough for me. I'm particularly happy with the even clearance of the model around the globe; almost seem like I knew what I was doing, eh?

I'm shooting at a slow shutter speed so I can get a good depth of field (lots of focus) so the plasma effect is quite blurred.

Complete with armoured construction, full sized entrance door, and external ladder to the battlements on the top. It's 18cm from the ground to the battlement deck, and 22cm total. The base at its widest is 13cm and it expands just a bit from there for the shield emitting arrays. So the removable top can be... well... removed, the ladder is also magnetized so it can be taken off.

Since I carefully fused the original Plasma Globe base hardware into the base of the kit, the fit of the transplanted electronics is seamless.

Thankfully there are no surprises with the power switch or the access for the power cable. Of course, I was careful to get Plasma Globes that can be operated on 4 AAA batteries to avoid the cord completely. Considering this was mostly built as a 1/3rd section and repeated to complete the final structure, I'm rather impressed with myself that there's no show-stopping flaws that need to be addressed to make a correct kit. Until you've got the parts to do a test fit, I'm usually a bit anxious even if I'm confident. But, I've come to learn that It's usually a good thing when I impress myself, and this time I think I'm right. It will require some dry-fitting to ensure a clean assembly, but where the fit counts, it's very tight and solid. Once certain base components are partially assembled it starts to support itself, aiding the rest of the assembly. Even here, it's only half glued together and locked together with friction. Not half bad if I do say so myself.

*Subtle wanders off to eat a cookie, and then plummet into a deep sleep*

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/08/13 09:25:53

Post by: Subtle Discord

Ok, now that I have some studio work behind me, I just wanted to do a quick follow up to comment, clarify, and answer a few questions before getting back to work. I’m happy that it’s been noticed that I’ve tried to give this model some logic; I’ve said it before, but it’s what I call pseudo-plausible™ model design. Yes, this is a completely fictional sci-fi construction, but I want it to appear to have some rational to how it operates. I really think it’s what elevates my designs that extra, almost subconscious, notch; I really take the time to consider how I can use details to convey the operation of the device. How does it appear to be constructed or assemble? Where are the access panels or vents? Do the pipes, cables, and hydraulics make sense? Is there proper clearance or room for something to appear to function? On a certain level, I approach the design as if it could work in order to guide the final decisions on the form and details.

In this case I wanted the Shield Generator to really appear to be creating/capturing/focusing some kind of energy event and then directing that energy out into the protective shield. The inner dishes don’t actually contact the plasma globe, they sit about 3mm away. Unfortunately plastic doesn’t have the same effect that a finger touching the glass has; I haven’t found a way to get the plasma streams to really attract to the inner dishes. The streams do linger a little bit at the dishes as they pass by, but not very pronouncedly.

It was asked if I could show the generator beside a model to give a bit of scale.

Needless to say, this kit is big compared to anything else I’ve tried in my studio do date, but its footprint isn’t massive; it’s a bit larger than a standard Rhino length made square. It’s so large that making the moulds really pushed my equipment; the large base component required the biggest mould I’ve ever made (go figured, it also uses the most plastic of any mould to cast) and it only barely fit in the pressure chamber for curing. I guess I’ve found my current size limit.

The door was forced to be a bit of a balancing act in just how large it could be.

I began adding the door component after the vertical pillars were mostly finished, so they had an impact on how tall the door could be. From there the width of the door was determined by the base model. Still more than large enough to give a Marine easy, if a bit cramped, access. But, it should be just fine for a mortal human.

While it is tall, providing a good field-of-view, the small footprint means it’s limited in how many models can fit.

Being quite tall with a small footprint it seems like a fair balance to me; providing a good vantage point to the unit occupying the battlement, but not being large enough to let it hold an unreasonable amount of firepower. There’s enough space for three 40mm bases, with enough wiggle room to make sure they fit. The protective walls are meant to protect more humanoid sized models so these Obliterators seem a bit tall.

These five Marines are on 25mm bases, but by the looks of it, there should be no problem fitting five 32mm bases.

Again, there’s no problem fitting a five man squad, but there’s not much room for more. I don’t own any 32mm bases yet, so I can’t check those for fit. With a Marine you can see that the armoured walls suit their height much more; low enough to fire over the gaps, and the observation slits are at roughly head height.

The kit includes 42 cast components (over 0.25 kg, or 0.55 lbs of resin, actually) 14 neodymium magnets, and a 3” Plasma Globe (not pictured).

I can’t afford the cost or the space to supply the required GW or FW models to complete the builds of my kits. Not all of my kits will require a GW or FW model to complete, but many will, for various reasons. I’ve had comments in both direction with this kit in particular, with someone saying I should have done the entire model completely, and another liking that I incorporated the GW Vengeance Battery into the build. I see both sides of the coin, but this was the original idea I had, so it was how the final model came together. I respect that the GW components will add to the cost of the build, but in this case I can honestly say it will be about the same as the additional cost I would have to charge to make equivalent components myself. This way it blends better with the other GW scenery kits, is at least semi-official, and saved me from having to build a rather tricky part. While most of the kit I created is made from reasonably flat components, (lots of awesome layers, details, and unique forms, but still essentially flat) the sloping nature of the Vengeance Battery base along with its curved elements means that it’s actually rather tricky to replicate. In this case it really was in the best interest of the final studio kit and the window of time I have available to design this model this way.

Thanks as always to everyone reading and those who offer their positive feedback, input, and support. I’m always happy to give a glimpse into my humble studio and really appreciate that it is well received. The community around this hobby really does give and receive if you’re willing to take part in it. Ok, I better stop, before I get melodramatic and deep. *Subtle wanders off to bed*

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/09/23 07:11:32

Post by: Subtle Discord

*Subtle slips through an inconspicuous side door and quickly locks it behind him. The sound of… something can be heard behind the threshold… banging, scratching, thumping, clawing, and pounding… trying to gain entry. Subtle moves slowly away from the door, hoping it’ll hold*

Not yet you don’t! I still have one last chapter, damnit! This, won’t be complete, the voices from the warp won’t shut the feth up, until I’ve finished ‘The Ugly’! As promised, one final insomnia fueled installment in my Tales of Interest! (Damn I miss Futurama) So, lets step right in it; the Fire Raptor. This ‘ugly’ little model… ok, so it’s not so little, and when it’s finally built it’s not so ugly, but you get what I mean. This collection of styrene and resin has a bit of a reputation; a model that induces both lust and loathing. I know I want one, but do I have to build it myself?!

Put simply, yeah, it’s a bit of a pain to assemble, to say the least. I know how to build things, and it drove me nuts at times; inducing such moods swings in fact, I chose to add emoticons to this write up to show how I was feeling during different stages of this build. “Enter at your own risk ~ This is a Dark ride” The Fire Raptor is an amazing model… that requires serious consideration and work to build because of some strange fit issues and missed opportunities to add some simple features to the parts to aid in construction; getting the entire hull straight and true is just maddening. I really like what Forge World makes, so it can be hard to be harsh towards them because I really like the style, but I just don’t understand the logic of how this assembles in places, and some of the very strange fit and alignment issues that crop up in this premium kit. I could write an article in itself about how I’d do things differently to create a model that fits and locks together better during assembly, but I’ll save that for when I do my own Storm Raven conversion kits in future. I have the test prototypes, I’ve perfected the casting process, I know I can do it, in due time… I promise.

So, we all know that Polyurethane plastic (Aka: Resin) is a toxic if inhaled; resin dust is bad for you, m’kay?!

Big kit means lots of pour gates and vents, many of them very large. Credit has to be given to some of the large slabs of resin that make the Raptor’s hull. So, that means lots of sawing and lots of dust. Use a respirator to avoid it as you free the many parts from their captive sprews. Unless the gates are quite small, and even then, I usually prefer to use a saw on resin to remove sprew. I’ve had clippers cause the sprew to pop free and take a chunk of the model with it (requiring later repair) too many times. The saw slices/cuts through the material, avoiding that.

Expect to give many parts of the kit hot water dunks so they can be bent back into alignment.

Resin warps. :( It’s almost unavoidable. Just packaging something securely for shipping will slowly warp parts over the days it takes for a kit to get from point A to point B. To their credit, FW did secure the large hull components to cardboard to provide them some extra support. Resin is also usually just a bit soft when it’s de-moulded, adding to the chances of a bit of warping as it’s tugged from the mould. It’s usually a rather easy fix to hot water dunk the part and coax it back to correct form. No complaints here.

This is where we get deep and technical; the real key to no losing your mind if you try to build this model.

*In a booming monotone voice* You will Pin EVERYTHING! … That is all! *Click*

:| While you can expect to do some pinning on a large resin model, with the Fire Raptor it becomes the only way to can really hold it together and stay aligned; the parts match up (mostly) but they can shift and slide making it very tricky to get it together for a proper test fit. This is where I start to wonder why there aren’t a few more simple interlocking components to help form the structure, and make it a bit easier to build. But, so far it’s starting to look like something.

The struggle continues as I try to piece it together and to a dry fit to test alignments and if parts have been properly straightened.

:| Doing some test fitting is to be expected with a large kit, but this one really was a struggle to keep it together so you could really check the fit and alignment. It seemed a bit warped, but not enough that I didn’t think I could force it into shape. Again, some simple tongue in groove details and/or a few locking/fitting components wouldn’t be amiss to help the build. It’s mostly just a flat slabs of resin meeting flat slabs of resin, with one or two small details to help with alignment.

So I relented, and placed some nice large pins front and back on both sides to lock the walls of the hull in place.

I drilled the holes with just a little play, front to back, so I could adjust the parts a little bit as I assembled the resin components of the main hull. It took a little bit twisting to get a reasonably clean alignment on both sides, and you can just make it out a bit of it in the length of the hull. I took my time and carefully added lots of Super glue to the length of the hull to really lock it in to place. It was starting to look good and feel solid.

Except yeah, that ‘little twist’? Well… it was not so little after all.

:( It might not look like much, but this is the wing section of the hull, and I suspect that this little twist in the hull would have made the wings a bit warped across their span, drooping down on the left, if not corrected. With everything locked together I had no choice but to hot water dunk the entire assembly. :| I’m lucky to have a small portable electric cooking range that I can use for large dunk jobs like this; I wanted really hot water considering the thick nature of the parts. With an old pot it wasn’t that hard to fix the twist. And, I must have used enough glue, because the hot water didn’t loosen it at all.

*Subtle stops, noticing that it has become quiet. The ‘thing’ lurking outside having stopped its assault on the door.*

This is one of those little parts that illustrated some of the fit issues in a nut shell.

It’s not glued together at this point, so it is a bit loose. However, Front left corner, that looks good, once it’s glued up it will be tight and clean with a bit of a seam. :| Front right corner, well that’s not as clean as it could be, but it’s not the worst. :( But the bottom… *Gets angry, grunting and yelling* why for big silly gap in bottom?! *Sigh* To the best of my ability the hull is assembled how it should be, I’m not sure why this gap is like this. Not a huge deal I guess, but not that hard to fix before mass production too. If you want to make the parts seamless, the rivets are going to make it a real pain to sand it smooth.

Remember, the resin parts of the hull are assembled, from what I can tell, straight and symmetrical, and still…

… The left corner of the hull aligns perfectly with the styrene component. *Ding!* Excellent! But the right corner of the hull is out by more than just a little bit! *Buzzer!* So sorry! :( There was simply no way to get both sides to alight cleanly, so I was forced to use a small sanding block and carefully remove some material to lower the resin surface enough to get the corner to align correctly.

For better or worse, the main hull came together and was glued firm.

:( Despite all my efforts to assemble the hull straight and true there is a subtle but noticeable bend to the left. The ‘hobby OCD me’ hates it, but I chose to ignore it because of how subtle it is. :| It’s also a bit annoying that the top panel for the hull also doesn’t line up as neatly as I’d like; the right side looks good, but the left just doesn’t line up quite right and ruins what should be nice and symmetrical details. At this point there is no flex or give in the hull, and I don’t want to even consider another dunk, so I’m willing to accept these final small, but annoying, flaws. Once you step back and look the whole, you can’t help but like it, even with the odd little wart.

The wings assembled easily but a few parts could have been a bit cleaner in the fit.

I also managed to forget to photograph assembling the engine housings, rear landing gear compartments, and rear components. In an effort to actually make progress, not worry, and overthink it, I just plowed through and realized at the end I forgot. :| Being beyond the point of no return, all that really matters of that process is that I pinned the heck out of it all; the engines especially received three large deep pins each to properly secure the large chunks of resin to the hull. The double pinned wings are not fragile in the slightest. In fact, the entire build is remarkably solid, thanks to the extensive pinning; it’s a quite literally brick, with no flex in the hull or the wing connections, and it simply feels solid right out to the wing tips.

Even the small parts, like the front vector engines got securely pinned in place so nothing will fall off this glorious chunk of plastic.

As mentioned, I managed to clean up the top right corner alignment with some careful sanding of the resin surface and a bit of brute force when finally gluing it in place. The bottom right corner did end up with a rather noticeable seam line that will need a bit of fixing, as expected. :(

But ultimately, the small flaws just don’t matter. If you can take the time to pin the heck out of the Fire Raptor as you construct it, it becomes less daunting to assemble then the reputation its gained, but it is still a bit of an ‘ugly’ challenging build to get it nice clean and straight, and it has a few small but ‘ugly’ flaws that seem out of place for such a wonderful final model; however, they become very easy to ignore when they’re overwhelmed by all the awesome present in the rest of this kit. But, the build does make you work for that awesome, with a challenging build. You have been warned.

I will follow up with further articles showing the assembly of the smaller components of the Raptor and Spartan when I can get to finishing those final bit of the builds. But even with a few things left to complete in these builds, I’m quite happy to have several key models assembled to a point that they are ready to go when I’m ready to start my planned studio kits. Tackling all of the builds I did this summer has really encouraged me to be more confident in just getting down to work and getting progress done, instead of overthinking and hesitating when I’m having a bit of doubt. Definitely a good thing.

In closing, a few images to show off a few other little things I’ve been up to as the summer ends.

I finally got a chance to get the Signum Stone markers properly painted and based to match my army. Big surprise, I went with a Black Marble look (using my black highlight greys) for the actual stone artifact shards, so they can stand out a bit from the common ground stone, but still feel cohesive. Even with a single battery (they can take one or two) pictured here, the lighting effect is very pronounced, and they produce a wonderful hypnotic glowing effect as they shift through the spectrum.

At some point someone had asked me if the small dishes in my Shield Generator touched the plasma globe and if the effect was drawn to them.

Well, that got me thinking, and it really didn’t seem that hard to add some metal pins to the center of the internal dishes that could reach the globe and touch it; the lower electrical resistance of the metal should draw the plasma effect towards it, just like touching it with a finger, only on a smaller scale. It was a little fiddly to get all of the pins the correct length on each dish, since the gap isn’t quite consistent all around the globe. But after a bit of tweaking and adjustment, it actually wasn’t too hard to achieve contact on all the points. Sure enough, the metal draws the plasma streams quite well, and it adds nicely to the ‘pulling power to energize the shield’ effect that I was aiming for with the model. Working so well, naturally I’m going to keep the modification on this studio model. I’m quite pleased… with how it… gives…

*Subtle’s voice trails off. Caught up in his wall-o’-text, he suddenly notices that he has carelessly wandered too close to a window!*

Aww crap! *Subtle’s face goes pale* Too late…

*The glass shatters, as the window explodes inward; a throng of appendages, each branded with the words “Higher Learning”, thrusting through the new found opening and quickly grab and grapple the aspiring designer, dragging him back into the gloom. The sounds of his desperate struggle to fight off and defeat the menace fade as he is dragged away. Faint words tumble back from The Dark…*

Much… more… to… come!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/09/23 09:10:32

Post by: evildrcheese

Hotdamn. Those black marble rocks with the light up rune thingies look awesome!


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/09/23 17:55:19

Post by: Master Azalle

Well hot damn that is fan-freaking-tastic well done brother!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/09/25 02:40:08

Post by: Subtle Discord

Well then, I take it you like it? Heh... yeah, the Shield Generator in particular, turned out even better then I was expecting, and it's been very well received. I was lurking a while back and found someone describing it as looking like a dooms-day device; I thought that was great, and take that as high praise. Thanks as always for the feedback and input.

I'm really glad people think this project turned out well. It's just driving home that I'm on the right track and I just need to keep it up. I'm virtually frothing at the mouth, waiting and working my way through my final year in college, until I can dive in to the studio full time, and take all of these proof-of-concept kits and ramp up everything to the next level. Everything starts Summer 2017! Sooo soon'ish...

Thanks again! More to come!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/09/25 03:56:39

Post by: Anvildude

Next project- giant doomsday cannon using a plasma ball as the power source. WLC-like.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/09/25 07:21:36

Post by: J-paint

Have to add to the general clamour of approval here! The idea of the metal pins in particular is absolutely inspired. Can't wait to see you unchecked by uni constraints.

Keep it up!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/10/22 04:30:05

Post by: Subtle Discord

With a tiny window of opportunity, I feel like writing something, and perhaps rambling a little bit about some future plans and other stuff.

Having recently picked up a few hobby supplies, I had a chance to use some of this Tamiya Putty and I think it’s worth a few words.

A classmate of mine was using some of this Tamiya Putty on a model a while back and recommend it. I’ve seen it in the past, but I’ve had a tube of green Squadron Putty for years so I hadn’t given it a try. I was never completely happy with Squadron Putty when I used it, but when it comes to filling and smoothing really fine seams and cracks, a product like it really does the trick; where other products will struggle to hold tight in such as small area, modeling putty will do a better job. That’s the theory, but with Squadron Putty I’ve found it to be too coarse and prone to chipping and flaking away sometimes. The way it underperformed kinda’ soured me on products like this, truth be told.

So, recently I had to do a marathon model building session; taking a concept from a 3D model and making a 1/5 scale physical model of it in roughly 4 days. Very little sleep was had, to say the least, but I produced an excellent model and this wonderful product helped in its own way. With many layers coming together very quickly to build the required model, I used it quite a bit to clean up seams, layering, and other surface flaws that come with building something from scratch, and this stuff worked like a charm.

When cured it becomes very hard, resisting scratching and flaking, and with a nice satin almost plastic-like finish; I suspect it’s resilient enough to be drilled and carved/shaped in some situations. The solvents in it work really well to mildly etch into most surfaces and gently fuse it with styrene plastics to bond very tightly. When it’s sanded it will come off as a dry plaster-like powder, but any product remaining on the model will keep the tough plastic-like finish. Burnish it a little with a plastic bristle brush after you’ve filed, sanded, and worked this product, and it will be primer ready. Scratches, seams, gaps, and all sorts of other flaws simply vanish.

After seeing it suggested, I had planned on tinning some of the Tamiya Putty down to use it as a form of surface glaze for particular situations where you want a very thin layer. Turns out that Tamiya noticed that modellers were doing this, and made it into a ready-to-use product, the pictured Surface Primer G. Having never made the stuff before I was happy to pick up a bottle and take the guesswork out of it. When I make better use of both of these on some hobby models I’ll take some pictures of the results and talk more about technique when using it. Put simply, if you scratch build and/or are particular about cleaning up seam lines on models, get some of this stuff!

Meet Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the seeds of inspiration for the first Dark Mechanicus constructs I want to create.

I personally still much prefer the traditional Dreadnaught model to the Helbrute that the unit has become. I had plans to pick up a FW Iron Warriors Dreadnaught and add it as a companion to this Black Legion one. With FW discontinuing the model before I could get one, well then, they’ve simply forced me to create my own alternative. In this case I’m aiming to find some middle ground between the new bio-mechanical ‘Brute and the old-school walking sarcophagus that is the Dreadnaught. I like the curved armour forms of the ‘Brute but I want it closer to the Legion Dread in execution and style.

So the Dreadnaught is going to tag along with the Decimator as it’s completed, because it’s been half-finished for far too long. To show that there really is paint involved, I’ve included a small progress shot; I was hoping to get a little more done on it before I was forced to stop, but you know how it is. *Shakes an angry fist at life*

Since I was considering the build of a smaller Dark Mechanicus construct and painting the Decimator, it got me thinking just how straight forward the Decimator is, in reality; it’s just a large central tube/cylinder plastered with hoses and wires, with some armour plates wrapped around it all, really. Not that difficult a concept to adapt and refine, I should think. For me, as with the Dreadnaught, the Decimator is the look I prefer in a Daemon Engine construct; a mechanical brute monstrosity forcibly infused with a daemonic entity to give it purpose – not fed and/or grown in any way, but coldly manufactured and assembled product. Well then, I might just have to explore something on a medium scale as well, yes? … Yes!

Do you hear that? … Yep, that’s the sound of another can-of-worms cracking open.

While I’ve picked up several models from GW/FW over the last few years, most are carefully planned to have a long road of service in my studio as ‘scaffolds’ for future kit designs, before they’ll become personal projects that I can actually finish. So, to celebrate my most recent complete revolution of our sun, I choose to pick up something that is purely a personal project that can proceed without delay, once the demands of college are finally done.

Meet TweedleDEAD! The Kytan Daemon Engine; a very suitable (starting) centerpiece model for the Dark Mechanicus element of my collection.

This is the first time I’ve received something from FW packaged like this. Usually the parts are simply in a bag surrounded by plastic packing pillows. It’s such a pleasant surprise to get the kit this way, it seemed worthy of note. When you’re purchasing a premium product like this it’s nice when it’s packed accordingly. After closer inspection I can say that this is what a FW model should be like; the quality and execution of the parts is very good; reasonable mould lines, very nice surface quality, no noticeable warping, and an acceptably low number of bubbles. Well done FW, I hope future kits will continue this trend.

A tiny bit of subtle layering noticeable in the toe of the Kytan hints at the 3D printed origins of the master model used for this kit.

Just look at those legs, and compare them to some of the new Mechanicus line and tell me they don’t share a similar design esthetic; yep, this is going to work. I’m not really a fan of the FW Chaos Knight kit; too much teeth, horns, and splitting armour for my taste, and combined with such a clean base model, it just doesn’t work for me. Naturally, I have my own plans to create some suitably ‘Renegade Knight’ style kits in the future, but that’s another story for another day. So, for my money, as with earlier examples, I personally prefer the mostly mechanical esthetic that the Kytan has for a unique knight-scale Chaos Daemon Engine model.

One only need look to this kit to see that GW/FW are well aware of the state of 3D printing technology, and taking full advantage.

It was a very high quality 3D print used to create the master for this model, and the accuracy of the entire model is very tight because of it; the perfectly symmetrical and wonderfully smooth curved elements especially benefit from the process. There’s a few tiny spots where the 3D print process of the original model can be seen, but they really are few in number and very subtle; very easy to ignore or to clean up at your discretion. The fit and finish are so nice it’s almost begging to be put together right now. Soon, you wonderful psychopathic-daemon-infused-murder-bot, you! Soon!

As with the Decimator, I’m torn with what to do to personalize the Kytan; it’s such a nice model in its own right there’s nothing wrong with it being built as-is (basically what I did with the Decimator), but in this case I think it’s going to need something to make it more Dark Mechanicus. Removing and replacing all of the Khorne iconography will be the obvious place to start, but I have a few whispers from the warp in the back of my mind suggesting that I should remove the cannon from the left arm and mount it on/over/behind the shoulder. Then both arms can be armed with combat weapons of some sort, to emphasize the Kytan’s combat proficiency; perhaps matching weapons or maybe purposely different for some variety; either could work really well. Considering how common of a design element it is on Mechanicus robots in both 30k and 40k, I think shoulder mounting the ballistic weapon would go a long way to tie it into the Dark Mechanicus theme I’ll be going for with this build.

Sooo… I guess I’ve also got my (first) large scale Dark Mechanicus construct concept on the drawing board, as it were, to go along with the small and medium concept ideas that started me down this Dark path to begin with. You see how the worms start to get out, and everywhere, if I let the ideas have too much freedom? Buuut, the image is beginning to take form in my mind, I don’t think I have any choice now, but to make it real.

Please, stand by… more to come. Soon'ish.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/10/30 03:36:20

Post by: Subtle Discord

+++ Designation: Kytan Daemon Engine/Construct +++ Classification: Variant - Unknown +++ Further Reconnaissance Incoming - Stand By +++

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/10/30 21:46:34

Post by: Subtle Discord

So, bowing to the temptation that is procrastination and distraction, I did get a few hours to do some building of the Kytan. 

I wish I had more time to write something now, but this teaser storyboard will have to do. In a bit, I'll get some full images up of the progress completed so far, plus some write up. I'm quite pleased with the direction it's going so far; still room for further refinement/adjustment if I choose, but a solid bash that I think is going to work quite well and be very unique.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/10/31 16:07:02

Post by: Desubot

Man that attention to detail... i love it.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/11/05 22:50:27

Post by: Subtle Discord

Edit: through the miracle of time-laps photography, this process looks almost effortless and kinda' quick. While not really that hard to do, especially with something this large, the process takes a bit of care and lots more time. This took roughly 1.5 hours to do.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/11/06 02:09:55

Post by: Subtle Discord

Note: I have no concrete idea why there’s a darker ghost/shadow left in the plastic when I remove details like in the previous images. If I had to guess I would say that the pigments in the plastic cure differently in (or are drawn to) the center of the part as it cools.

Ok, with a small lull between college projects (that’s all but gone as I write this), I gave in and spent some hours doing a bit of assembly and kit-bashing with the Kytan. As mentioned before the Kytan is a personal project, so I’m finding it very difficult to ignore it. I can do anything I want with this wonderful kit! It calls to me… So, the simple plan is, move it away from ‘Khorne Daemon Engine’ and shift it towards ‘Dark Mechanicus Daemon Engine’

Taking inspiration from several Mechanicum and Mechanicus robot models I settled on moving the cannon to an over-the-shoulder design.

When I saw the FW Mechanicum Castellax Atomata pictured on the left I knew I found my primary inspiration; move the cannon to the shoulder and put combat weapons in both hands (and I mean literally ‘in’ the hands/arms) to reflect the combat proficiency of the Kytan. It gets an extra attack after all, so it ‘needs’ two combat weapons, right? Rule of Cool says… yes!

I’m still deciding if I’m going to emulate the Castellax and do circular blades; it’s tempting, but I have another idea or two that I want to consider before I settle in the final form. For now I started work on the shoulder mount for the cannon. At first I had considered doing something more scratch built, but when I got looking at some of the bits I had, I started playing with this kit-bash.

I had planned on putting a single cannon on the shoulder, and then this happened! I guess it ‘needs’ two cannons as well. Rule of Cool does say two is better than one, after all!

I’ve had these cannons from the Forgefiend kit assembled for a while, and I was considering using one/both on the Decimator as Butcher Cannons, but the scale and form just didn’t fit with the model. They have rounded elements that suit their new purpose much better. A bit of styrene tubing and they’re virtually made to mount on the end of a Defiler leg.

I’m also particularly pleased with the simple-yet-effective addition of the optics and vox to the side of the head. It’s a small thing, but I’ve had the bit kicking around for ages, waiting for a worthy project, and I think it’s a perfect detail to add to the theme.

What serious Chaos collector doesn’t have at least a few Defiler parts (kits) kicking around? Humm… This might just work.

These images are Kytan 0.1, with my first attempt to build an armature for the cannons. I liked the pose/stance of the cannons and the overall silhouette it created; it had the right idea, but it seemed like it could use something… more. So I gave it another try.

Kytan 0.2 - Improvement through experimentation, iteration, and upgrade. I think the Mechanicus would approve.

As usual with something at this point of the build, this is only half glued together and everything else is being held in place by poster tack, friction, and hope, so the stance and alignment isn’t final by any means, just an early showcase.

By switching up to the larger front leg of the Defiler kit I could get the exact same form and silhouette in the armature but with some added bulk and more visual interest; I think it feels much more complete. I also like how the curved armor plate helps to transition the hard lines of the Defiler parts into the rounder Kytan body.

I’m adding rivets to the spots that are missing them due to the limitations of the styrene casting processes; another little thing, but I think it’s adding up nicely over the whole build. And for anyone curious, the pipes/cables leading from the armature to the Kytan body were heated in boiling water and carefully bent into shape over several dips and slow adjustment. Styrene is a thermodynamic plastic, which essentially means that you can heat it (all the way to liquid, if you want), shape it while hot, and it will cool and hold the heat-formed shape it was given. Every once-and-awhile you can use it to your advantage and simply bend the part to your will.

It makes me wish I had a to-scale gantry and/or scaffold to hang it from as it gets assembled; with servators and robotics working away to complete it. It would make a great diorama.

Next up, the arms. Again, I’m torn between two circular blades a-la Castellax Automata, or another configuration of my own design. They will be much more (likely all) scratch built, so I’ll have much more freedom in their form. I might need to model 2-3 variations in Solidworks to really get a feel for the final design. Because of how pose’able and awesome the leg assemblies are, I don’t think I’ll be doing much modification to them; it will come down to pose and the composition of the base to take full advantage of the legs, I think.

But unfortunately, there’s no time for that now. So ends another small chapter in the much larger story. Thanks for reading, and if you’re so inclined, writing a few words. As always, more to come.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/11/06 05:09:42

Post by: Anvildude

Why not take a page from the Orks and make slashy claw hands with circular sawblades as the fingertip 'claws'?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/11/06 07:58:18

Post by: Theophony

To me the two different sized forearms are just screaming crab style arms. One much larger than the other. I don't know the weapon load outs for the decorator, but a more whip like (or flail like) arm would look good on the skinny arm and the the big crushing claw/hammer/ spiky mace for the other side to finish off the entangled target on the other.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/11/06 08:14:08

Post by: Subtle Discord

Part of the problem is there’s almost too many good ideas. Matching weapons for balance and some symmetry if I want to take in that direction, or mismatched weapons that still complement each other in some way, to add some variety. I’ll likely be replacing the arms from just below the elbows down, to have complete creative control, so what’s there now will have very little impact on what solution I settle on.

Then there’s the entire realm of weapon options to choose from; do I want it to slice, dice, clip, crush, bend, pierce, flail, or perhaps it’ll make Julian Fries with easy cleanup? Even something ‘safe’ will look great, but there is room to do something more ambitions if I’m struck by a good idea that won’t let me go. Still haven’t found it yet, so I’ll be thinking on this one for a bit before I settle on something, that’s for sure.

Many of the parts are still just tacked together here, so even now it’s in flux in many ways. There’s a long road to travel, with many forks along the way, until this build is finished. I’ma gonna’ have me some fun wit’ this-un. I’s hopin’ it’ll be a monster. I'm tempted to put a crushing clamp just so I can yell, "I'll give 'em the clamps!" if/when it actually sees a tabletop for play. Yeah, I'ma geek.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/11/06 14:03:08

Post by: Sonko


Let me first say, that your work is beyound astounding. Really, really like your style, and how perfectionist your builds are. Keep up the good work!
I plan to cast my own models as well, and i have two questions:
- Approximately, after how many uses does a mold wear out?
- What type of resin you use?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/11/06 21:10:10

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks for reading. I'm always happy when people find it useful and/or interesting. I do indeed plan to keep doing this and so much more in future. I've found my muse, as it were.

Mould lifespan has a broad range depending on a few factors. The larger ones being how tough the mould rubber is; softer rubber tends to be very thin and easy to mix/pour, so it can be useful for hobbyists who want to replicated some parts with minimal setup. Thicker rubber will create a stiffer, tougher, longer lifespan, mould but the right equipment starts to be needed to make it perform best. The second big factor is the complexity of the object; most importantly, if it has any major undercuts or details prone to gripping the mould. Objects with smooth details that can be easily pull free of rubber will obviously create less strain on the mould. That's not to say undercuts and details should be avoided, I purposely do them all the time, but they will sheer and pull at small/thinner parts of the mould and likely be the first place where the mould will wear out, tearing or cracking after prolonged use.

So, that said, a softer mould (OOMOO 30 from smooth-on) can give as few as 5-10 pulls before some tearing might occur, if the the object is well detailed and complex. It can be 20 pulls or more if the item pulls free easily, but the mould is still delicate and will rip sooner-or-later. A tougher rubber (Mould Max/Star 30 from smooth-on) will reliably give you a mould that can provide 30-50 pulls of a very complex object, but it will need to be planned well if you want to avoid tearing and damage (all moulds benefit from such planning) to get the most out of the mould. If the object is really 'mould friendly' you might be able to get 50+ pulls, but there's always a limit due to the materials in use. A good mould release (I swear by Mann Ease Release 300) is always key to prolonging the life of a mould as much as possible.

Liquid Polyurethane plastic (aka: Resin) is somewhat caustic and harsh when it's liquid; it tends to play very poorly with other plastics and rubber. It also produces heat while curing which I suspect adds to the problem. It becomes a solid very quickly once mixed, but for the short time it's a liquid in the mould it has an effect on the rubber. Over time, moulds will literally dry out and begin cracking due to this repeated mild chemical exposure, becoming brittle and prone to cracking and tearing. Size and complicity of the object come into play with this effect as well, larger objects have more surface area and produce more heat, so this can speed this type of wear. With the right objects in the right rubber, I'd say aim for 50 pulls, but expect less and hope/try for more.

For my Urethane plastics I use mostly Smooth-on Smooth Cast 300 and 305 for general casting and 325 and/or 326 if I want clear/translucent components. I've mentioned in the past that there might be a cheaper alternative that will produce a similar result, but Smooth-on make an amazing range of products, all providing great results for me, and I get nothing but good feedback on the quality of my resin, so I think it's worth any small premium to support an excellent North American company.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2016/11/26 08:08:01

Post by: Subtle Discord

Now, a brief moment of procrastination, by Subtle Discord. Ongoing iterations and experimentation with options for the Mechanicus Militia that will fill the ranks of my future Renegades Platoons. My new muse is proving very hard to ignore; spring can’t get here fast enough. Must… build... more… models! I’ve got a serious itch to take my new Mechanicus infatuation in a few directions. For now, I want to explore some solutions that I can use to easily produce large numbers of Renegades with ranged weapons.

Left – My original idea; bash Autoguns from various sources. Right – A new idea; bash some more of the Skitarii kit into the build.

With the release of the new Genestealer Neophyte Hybrid kits there should be no problem getting Autoguns to bash into these squads; which is good, because harvesting them from the Chaos Cultists is not an ideal source. Cleanly removing the Lasgun from the right arm of the IG model is also a bit of a pain, but I really want to use something other than Lasguns, to give them a unique look. I like the mass-produced utilitarian result that the Autogun gives, buuuut…

… the Skitarii Vanguard/Rangers kit provides an interesting counts-as option that I didn’t consider at first. I’ll be using the Radium Carbines with the actual Skitarii models, so that leaves lots of the Galvanic Rifles in my bits box. After some test fits, I’m surprised how well many of the arms fit on a regular IG torso; even the sleeves don’t look too bad, given that they’re wearing a tunic under the Flak armour. I’ve taken a section out of the rifle to shorten it (All hail the power of Tamiya Extra Thin cement to do super clean joins and seams!) and the final result is really starting to grow on me. It takes the models in a different direction, being more elegant, and the extra detail isn’t a bad thing. Hummm… Decisions. Decisions.

Oh well, that’s all the time I have for now. More scraps and bits of ideas to come, until spring, when I can really get started on some projects! *Subtle’s eye begins to twitch a bit, a bit of froth forming in the corner of his mouth* Just five more months…

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/02/03 20:56:54

Post by: Subtle Discord

++ Modulating…
++ Re-scanning…
++ Signal Detect…
++ Comm-Link Authenticated…
++ Decrypting…
++ Primary Explorator Mission ++ Planned Duration: 1,826.25 standard cycles ++ On Schedule ++
++ Hard Data Harvest Complete ++ Acquisition of information, skill, experience… Successful ++
++ Resistance Encountered - Moderate ++ Combat Asset Casualties - Within Parameters ++
++ Discovery + Experimentation + Iteration + Simulation ++ Construct Template… Repaired ++
++ Return Protocol Active ++ Estimated Transit Duration: 104.1 standard cycles ++ On Schedule ++

++ Message Repeat ++
++ Return Protocol Active ++ Estimated Transit Duration: 104.1 standard cycles ++ On Schedule ++
Final semester of the final year, with ~12 weeks remaining. Still much to finish (finally!) followed by so much to start to figure out. But, things are about to get... interesting. I've got so many ideas bouncing around in my head, it's almost giving me a nosebleed, but I must... remain... focused!  I can see the end, now for the final sprint. As always, so much more, starting soon... and this time I mean soon! *Subtle's eye begins to twitch, and a bit of froth starts to form in his mouth, as he starts to shake a little* I'm one part excited and one part petrified; is that a good thing? *Nervous laugh*

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/02/04 01:58:11

Post by: aka_mythos

Very nice. I really like those servitors.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/02/04 08:21:49

Post by: Subtle Discord

Since I forgot to add the pictures of my kit-bashed counts-as Rogue Psykers for my R&H Dark Mechanicus to Legion Rising, and I’m looking for an excuse to procrastinate a little…

After playing with the Electro-Priest kit some I came up with three combinations of Fulgurite and Corpuscarii arms that I think actually work quite well.
A few of the hands need a bit of file work to shape them some, but nothing really serious. Either of the ‘dynamo backpacks’ can line up the cables that lead to the gloves with just a bit of modification. I also shortened the staves-made-maces a bit to give them a better proportion. Finally, the Ruststalker heads simply work better with the concept in my mind and they were easy to add; they only needed a small shim of plastic to get them in to good position. A straightforward but effective kit-bash.

Astounding psychic powers! Amaze your friends! Curse your enemies! **Some side effects may include dry mouth, loss of appetite, nosebleeds, daemonic possession, and agonizing death.
With daemonic possession a regular occupational hazard I’ll need some models to represent the outcome. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull it off until I saw the Revenants. With a little bit of file work to remove the leaf elements and a bit of green stuff to fill any undesirable details and I think they’ll do well to represent a demonic entity tearing in to reality through a tasty mortal host. I’m going to try and keep a bit of the tech, mangled and destroyed, and graft the Revenant from the waste up; as seen in the quick Photoshop cut-and-paste.
Ten weeks, and the hobby sabbatical can finally start. More more to come. I can't wait to start building and painting with less constraints again.
01001110 01000101 01010100 01000011 01001111 01001101 01001101 00100011 00110001 00111010 01001100 01001111

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/02/11 20:33:35

Post by: Subtle Discord

Hello. My (nic) name is Subtle Discord... and I have an addiction... to plastic.
While I have dabbled in ABS and pure Acrylic (I prefer my Acrylic in liquid paint form), I have become a Polyholic, with my plastics of choice being Polystyrene and Polyurethane. I started in my early teens not even considering it could never happen to me, and I've kicked the habit a few times over the years, but it always returned. As I observe my current plastic hoard grow more elaborate and extensive then ever, I see now that this time the condition is here for good.
So, while I'm now comfortable with my addiction and have come to accept and embrace it, I just wanted to provide fair warning that such a condition can develop. To illustrate, pictured below is just one of my 'stashes' of high quality Polystyrene, ready for my next several binges of scratch building. I suspect I'm going to need a good stockpile with some of the things I have planned, so this is just a portion of my preparations. *Insert maniacal laugh and mood lighting here*

After working with some of styrene rivets made by Tichy Train Group in 2016, I was so pleased with the ease-of-use and final results I invested in rounding out my selection.
I've tried to used micro-beads in the past to do round rivets, and I was completely frustrated by the process; it's just too difficult to get really clean consistent results, and with the huge number of rivets I can put in one build, it made the process all but useless for me. After using these Tichy rivets, I'll be hard pressed to consider another solution. They do have a tiny bit of flash, but I've found its so small that it simply melts away when the solvent is applied to the part.
They are easily worth the cost for the time savings from ease-of use, and results they give. Simply drill a tiny hole, cut a rivet free from the sprew, and use some tweezers to drop the post into the hole; touch it with a tiny bit of solvent glue, apply a tiny bit of pressure, and it will fuse into a perfect round rivet every time. The larger rivets are a bit too big at 28mm scale as actual rivets, but they make a good solution for optic lenses if you place them in a small tube/ring of plastic, and that's the main reason for me getting some that large.
The smaller ones (0.035" and lower) come in packs of 200, and larger one (0.04" and higher) all come in packs of 96. (Note: there are additional 'odd' sizes in the full line, between the sizes pictured in detail.) Large projects can quickly use large numbers of rivets, so naturally mileage may vary; but if you're scratch building is more modest in scale, a small investment can last a long time and make adding rivet details to something an easy endeavor, instead of something that might be a daunting challenge.
Ok, *sigh* ... that's enough procrastination for me. Back to work. Just 9 more weeks until my freedom from higher learning, and I'm practically climbing the walls in anticipation. So soon. So very soon... *Insert ominous music here*

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/02/19 14:14:02

Post by: Subtle Discord

Another small entry in my Dark Mechanicus project arriving soon. Spare bits made useful; the Auto-Cannon Heavy Weapon Team.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/02/20 18:34:55

Post by: Subtle Discord

With a tiny window of time available, I took a brief moment to procrastinate and explore an idea I had to make some Heavy Weapon Teams for my Dark Mechanicus themed Renegades & Heretics. I had first thought of using the Cadian Heavy Weapon kit with my obligatory Skitarii backpack and head-swap; I was considering ways I could modify or replace the weapons to make them more Mechanicus, but the idea was falling a bit flat with me.

However, as my modest IA:13 Dark Mechanicus project has since grown to include a collection built from the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus codices, this little idea quickly took form. I have an affinity for the Ironstrider models, and plan to build some Dragoons to start; in an army with so many wonderfully exotic ranged weapon options, equipping them with Auto-Cannons or Las-Cannons seems a bit underwhelming. I get the mobility of the weapon platform, but it still doesn’t resonate with me like Dragoons with their Taser Lances. And since the model doesn’t lend itself to magnetization, I’m left with these excellent weapon bits looking for a purpose.

The armour plate doesn’t play nice with the normal heavy weapon tripod, but I devised another idea with a few of the other bits.

Just a couple of tiny scratch-built parts was enough to create some connection points, and it’s as simple as that. For now it’s more of a proof-of-concept really; I like the solution, but I want to create something from scratch that is purpose built for the task and refines how all the parts come together.

It’s a wonderfully simple idea compared to some of the other concepts bouncing around inside my mind, so it’s kinda’ refreshing.

Naturally, Heavy Weapon Teams can’t take twin-linked Auto-Cannons, but the rule of cool always takes precedence. Considering how straight forward the solution is, this little kit-bash is all but impossible to pass it up. I can’t wait to have a closer look at some of the left over bits in some of the other Mechanicus kits, and see how they might prove useful.

Ok, with that small hobby itch scratched… a tiny bit… for now… I’m forced to return to other matters that require my attention. Thanks, as always, for reading. *Sigh* Soon my little plastic minions. Soon.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/02/20 19:43:30

Post by: evildrcheese

Oooo. You are churning out some awesome conversions!


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/03/25 01:25:18

Post by: Subtle Discord

++ Cogitator ∙ Online
++ Establishing Link ∙ Connecting…
+++ Procrastination Protocols ∙ Initialized…
++ Inquiry Request ∙ COROT
++ Compiling Data Results ∙ Displaying…

++ Compiling Data Results ∙ Halt…
++ Request ∙ Access Authorization…
++ Confirming Scan ∙ Stand-By…

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/03/25 02:50:06

Post by: DanceOfSlaanesh

What does this mean? Do we get more updates soon? My favorite thread to follow! I built my casting setup with your guide

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/03/25 18:43:20

Post by: Subtle Discord

I really shouldn't be getting distracted quite yet, with just a handful of weeks left in my final semester. However, despite being worn quite thin at this point, I've been trying hard to stay on top of my schedule. (So... much... dull... writing!) So, I've been able to take a little time to dabble, creating some content to start supporting and fleshing-out some of the fiction that will surround many of my personal and studio projects in the future. I'm still reasonably new to using Illustrator and since I'll be using it quite a bit for some of my final content, I'm justifying the distraction by using it to get me familiar with the interface again, and as a little metal health break.

More to come, as time permits; and then it all starts into full-time operation... soon, so very soon.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/04/19 19:24:52

Post by: Subtle Discord

++ Procrastination Protocols ∙ Deactivated ++
++ Tease Subroutines ∙ Initialized ++
++ Display ∙ Preview Image ++

Provided with a holiday weekend, I permitted myself some distraction for an afternoon, and bashed this Heretek Magus Errant; future Arch-Demagogue for my R&H Dark Mechanicus.
"Labour Units 033439-034877... Disengage current duties. You have been selected for improvement and upgrade. Proceed to Maintenance Facility 33A for processing."
++ Update to Follow ++
++ Stand By ++
++ Scholastic Protocols ∙ Initialized ++
++ Final Data Compile ∙ In Progress... ++

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/04/24 13:23:47

Post by: Subtle Discord

++ Irradial Cogitator ∙ Online
++ Establishing Comm-Link ∙ Connecting…
+++ Productivity Protocols ∙ Initialized
++ Inquiry Request ∙ COROT
Request ∙ Access Authorization
Confirming Scan ∙ Stand-by…
Confirming Scan ∙ Matched
++ Compiling Data Results ∙ Displaying…

++ COROT-Exo-7b ∙ Atrum Laboris ∙ The Dark Works’ rotation is tidally locked to the orbital period of the planet; temperatures and geologic conditions on the sides of the planet facing towards and away from the star are dramatically different. Where the night-side hemisphere plunges to -350°F forming a stable planetary surface of desolate splendor, in stark contrast the day-side hemisphere is as hot as the tungsten filament of an incandescent bulb, resulting in the formation of a vast ocean of lava. The only natural atmosphere of this planet is produced from the vapors arising from the molten silicates in this vast ocean, causing weather events comprised of stone, as pebbles and rocks condense out of the air to rain down into the molten hellscape below. A round world made ostensibly flat, the division between the hemispheres is referred to as Horizon, and revered it as a sacred divide; the population of The Dark Works understand that while their world is a sphere it also has a very real edge, beyond which a hellish oblivion lay, but from that oblivion their power is drawn, quite literally.
++ The Mechanicus of The Dark Works have taken the concept of Forge World to a literal culmination with the construction of Mundis Fornax ∙ The World Furnace; where other Forge Worlds might hollow a planet for raw materials and build massive structures upward into the sky, the vast majority of The Dark Works burrows carefully into the night-side crust surrounding the molten mass that comprises the majority of the planet. Constructed over several millennia, with further progress continuing, a linked series of colossal geo-thermal extraction complexes of unparalleled scale harness essentially the entire planet, producing the massive amounts of thermal energy and motive force required for large scale production, power a multitude of experiments and explorations, and to maintain the remarkable equilibrium that has been created. The planet itself is considered so sacred by its population that it is never used as materials in common manufacturing, with the vast majority of any extracted material being ceremoniously returned to the molten ocean; only very small portions of specific constituents are extracted and reserved for the production of exceptional wargear and deeply sacred objects. A tiny sealed ampule containing a few grains of stone precipitation, presented to those servants of Atrum Laboris who have distinguished themselves in some significant way in their service to The Forge, is one rare and revered example.
++ The extremely close and rapid orbit of COROT-Exo-7b around its massive Blue Giant host star provides other pronounced advantages that have combined to make The Dark Works essentially unassailable, permitting it to assert its independence. Any spacecraft attempting to reach the Forge World has no choice but to follow a very small corridor, using the planet itself as a solar shield as it approaches; any attempt to flank the planet at ranges close enough to launch a meaningful attack must contend with solar energies and gravitational forces so intense that a fleet would be twisted, mangled, and turned to carbon cinders plummeting towards the star in short order. The intense gravity in particular, which was somewhat crudely compensated for during the construction of Mundis Fornax, became a force that could be carefully studied, experimented with, and ultimately harnessed, once the output of The World Furnace was online and able to internally sustain the required gravitational stability for a habitable environment.
++ In turn the Mechanicus of The Dark Works applied their uniquely deep understanding of gravity to construct a trio of Super-Heavy Graviton Cannons of unprecedented proportions to act as the ultimate gatekeepers to the planet. The brilliance of this Graviton Array lay in the way it operates; not only can it produce and manipulate its own gravity field, it can also create a form of gravity well to act as a giant amplifier that can harness, focus, and project, the massive gravitational forces of the star itself to catastrophic effect. Approaching craft that are expected will have the extreme gravitational forces of the massive star carefully compensated for, providing an effortless approach to the Forge World. Should anything undesirable attempt to close on the planet a series of options are afforded by the enormous Graviton Array; simply denying to compensate for the natural gravitational forces of the star is generally enough to stop an unwanted approach. However, the colossal array can easily use its effects to twist, sheer, and/or implode, dense or heavily armoured targets into so much raw material ready for harvest and re-purposing. Alternately, lighter targets that may attempt to rapidly advance on the planet can be effortlessly deflected out of the small safe-approach corridor and be forced to contend with the unrelenting solar energies of COROT-7. Given the abundance of motive force that can be directed from Mundis Fornax to the Graviton Array at a moment’s notice, it can be charged and ready to activate remarkably quickly for such an enormous device.
++ Given its uniquely defensible position, Atrum Laboris has chosen to carefully assert and maintain an autonomous standing. Understandably (and justifiably), there is considerable suspicion surrounding the nature of the research, experimentation, and development, undertaken in the darker recesses of this secretive Forge World; the Fabricator Generals, Locum, and High Priests of The Dark Works understand only too well that they must walk this path carefully and are therefore very adept in the manner of their negotiations with any given outside party. Great care is taken to conduct themselves accordingly through a selection of appropriate representatives who can engage in negotiations with a wide range of clientele, who in turn have a wide range of needs. Despite having a broad selection available that is absolutely unsanctioned, the care with which transactions are conducted has kept direct links to the Forge World well protected and obscured. With appropriate tithes consistently delivered, and quality legal munitions, weapons, armour, and wargear, on offer to those who can accommodate the price, suspicion alone has not been enough to warrant an attempt to test the intimidating defenses of this entrenched Forge World.
++ Data File ∙ End
++ Compiling Data Results ∙ Ongoing…
++ Stand-by…
++ Comm-Link ∙ Active…

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/04/25 14:57:54

Post by: Boss Salvage


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/06/02 03:27:10

Post by: Subtle Discord

*Subtle gnashes his teeth, head-butts his keyboard, and deletes a second ramble of words that just doesn’t seem right*

Me no have right words! Why life so distracting? Ideas to share stuck in brain! Ideas good, but maybe… too… many!? Go away pesky real life.

*Subtle swats and flails at some unseen spectre harassing him, and then notices he’s not alone… he smiles sheepishly and composes himself*

*Cough* Errr… Yeah, so life is going to have me a little more distracted then I was expecting; I can finally take the hat of ‘student’ off, but I’m still wearing ‘husband’, ‘father’, and ‘homeowner’, while trying to figure out how to get the ‘proprietor’ hat to fit right. I’ll still have personal hobby time (individual sanity demands some hobby time; muuuch more in a moment), but other obligations are going to need to get sorted out before I can settle in to some semblance of a proper routine and get up-to-speed with various plans. The timing isn’t bad I guess, considering the current flux that 40k is in.

That said, for the first time in a looong time I have some time… and I’m suddenly caught in the midst of a bout of Hobby ADHD. I’ve got more than a few projects planned, so I’m sure it shouldn’t be a problem to try and do 5 or 6 of them at once! *Manic grin. Eye twitch… twitch, twitch…* The whispers from the Warp keep saying it’s a good notion, but they also keep giggling as they offer each new inspiration and motivation, so I’m growing suspicious of them as I’m reaching cognitive saturation. But really, I’m sure it’s a combination of finally having some proper hobby time after such a long hiatus, and naturally the uncertainty of the entire Warhammer 40k setting as the bits-and-pieces are being released and leaked. I like to build and paint using a legit army list in an attempt to keep me on track, but that’s all out the window right now… sorta’. Even as I’ve been writing this article leaks have started to find the light of day, so that should help in the short term to avoid any major pitfalls in assembling a few models.

WARNING: Massive wall-o’-text-and-images incoming! Enter at your own risk.

Ok, so this is going to be a rather sizable mental offload, so you might want to grab a snack, beverage, and/or libation of choice, if you’re so inclined…

What’s a cult of Dark Mechanicus without a scheming malevolent super computer, after all? Initiate, the Irradial Cogitator! … Uh, some (lots of) assembly required.

A completely tangent side project for a bit of fun, I want to make a scenery model of an Irradial Cogitator loosely based on one of the few images I’ve found providing an idea what one might look like. I won’t be matching the look and details of the image exactly, but the monolith form, central screen, and pipework feeding up from the ground are elements I can use as I put my own take on the idea. An LCD picture frame built into the model will serve well for the purpose of the screen, and I have some plans in the works for some other lighting elements as well. Still very early in the build, this will be the central rectangular shape, which will then get a ton of detailing layered up on the outside to really bulk it up and embellish it. This will be a slow-burn kind of project, that won’t take as much of a priority, but it should pop up from time-to-time with progress updates.

Assembled before 8th edition was announced, it’s hard to say if this Heretek Magus won’t be altered before I finish him. He might need just a bit more… something.

Intended as a commander of a Renegades & Heretics force of ‘Mechanicus Militia’ I think the stature of the Enginseer model does well to strike a balance between a Mechanicus-R&H infantry model and a proper Tech-Priest Dominus. Personally, I think the the main body is great, but it just needed something to elevate the model a bit more and the servo-harness is the perfect opportunity. The Mechanicus kits are positively silly with extra bits to sprinkle about in kit-bashing. More bits are always a good thing, and it makes bashing like this a pleasure.

Limited in the weapon options available for a R&H Demagogue, I chose to splurge and give him a Plasma Pistol in an attempt to synergize its range with the Meltagun that was planned for the Command Squad; the squad is really meant to hang back and provide protection to support assets like Rapiers or artillery, so the Plasma seemed to suit the role and add a little bite to the Heretek Magus. In light of some of the recent information about weapons in 8th edition, who knows, the Plasma Pistol might even stay.

I’ve been looking for something to add a bit of visual interest to the Ash Waste basing scheme I use for a while, and GWs Agrellan Earth texture paint really fits the bill.

Getting back to assembling some ground troops, I’ve taken the opportunity to consider my basing scheme. Wanting a completely lifeless landscape for the basing of my army, I didn’t want to use static grass or charred foliage to add interest. The textured stone was a good start but I wanted something more. I’ve tired other ‘crackle paint’ products with some moderate results, but it’s usually very hit-and-miss and doesn’t crack at the right scale. Credit should be given to GW for some of the specialty paints in their line, like Agrellan Earth, which gives very consistent results that suits the scale very nicely; for standard paints there are several brands that all perform reasonably similarly, and it comes down to personal choice and availability, but GW does offer some unique products that are hard or impossible to find in other offerings. I recently got a bottle of Nihilakh Oxide, which easily produces the most wonderfully authentic looking copper patina, as another example. I think I’ll explore a few more of the specialty products in the future for a few more of the gems in the line.

With the lighter stature of models in the Ad Mech line, I wasn’t happy with the first models I did; to me, the feet were just too sunken into a surface that would likely have very little give.

With Power Armour models I don’t mind as much when the feet are sunken into the surface created by the basing; it seems quite reasonable that the considerable weight of the armour might have it sink into the ground some. The Ad Mech are a different story, but with the delicate nature of the feet on the Skitarii models pinning seemed like too much of a hassle. I also prefer to attach the model directly to the base so I can compose the look a little. For me, this completely killed the idea of doing the basing then adding the model after, so I figured it would be easier to just give the models 0.5mm lifts with some shims of styrene.

Excellent, just enough of a gap to have the model sit on top of the basing material, instead of sunken into it. 10 Skitarii down, 30-40 to go… *Eyes glaze over and go slightly crossed*

I’ve long been an advocate for doing as much basing as possible on a model, before priming. I do myself a favor and make it part of the assembly of the model to get it over with early; be honest with yourself, you know you never want to do it after you’re done painting a model, so make it part of the build process from the start. From there, it simply gets painted with the rest of the model and it really does make the addition of the basing cleaner, cohesive, more durable, and much less daunting to finish.

This ‘Raider has been waiting so long for paint that the black pigment in the resin has been discoloured by the ultraviolet (UV) light of the fluorescent lighting it’s been exposed to.

It’s only been the last few years that I’ve really started to appreciate the damaging potential of UV light; especially after seeing this discolouration developed on a few other models. What’s telling for me is that my painting area is setup in a corner of a basement and it gets very little natural daylight, so all of this damage has been done by artificial lighting. The takeaway for me is that a final varnish with a product that expressly states that it’s UV resistant wouldn’t go amiss, especially if the models are going to be on display under intense light of any kind.

Being at least 6 or 7 years old, this Land Raider was a personal project model that got sidetracked into early service for the studio, going on to help me create several kits for the Land Raider chassis. With a replacement model obtained, it’s finally time to let this model return to its original purpose and see some paint! First up, the final assembly and attaching of the armour kit, and a serious future consideration; attaching such a large part in one go using Super Glue is quite tricky and in the future I think I’ll use 5 minute Epoxy for a job such as this to provide a bit of working time to ensure a good fit. I was able to get a good results, but there are a few small spots where I would have liked to adjust the fit slightly, but the fast setting Super Glue is very unforgiving.

Buuut, before this model sees any paint it needed to get roughed-up a little bit to give it a some extra character.

The files are used as you’d expect, to add dings, scratches, and dents in strategic edges and surfaces. Where those tools are used to cut away material to make a mark, I use the smooth metal rod to put marks in the plastic with hard physical pressure. Carefully pressing and scraping this tool on surfaces and edges creates marks in the plastic without removing material and that slightly deforms the surface, making the cosmetic damage effect a little more authentic looking in some places.

I was tempted to do a spot or two of more elaborate damage to make it look like the ‘Raider had taken a few hits. However, since this model has waited so long already, I chose to save that treatment for some future projects; I’ll aim to start with completing a selection of well-maintained vehicles before I do some with a bit of battle damage to add some extra character to the collection.

The challenge of priming a partially assembled model; you want primer almost everywhere, but you want to avoid some stupidly small or fiddly spot so you can build it later.

During the masking process I did happen to discover that a common CR2032 battery is actually the perfect size to cut circles for masking the holes in the Land Raider and Rhino models. It’s just large enough to mask a very thin ring around the opening, perfect for gluing discreetly in later assembly. I also use a pencil sharpener to give some low cost dollar-store dowels a bit of a taper so they can fit snugly in the various weapons; this made them easier to handle while priming, while also blocking paint from getting where it wasn’t wanted.

Look, Jeff Dunham would be proud! A Heavy Bolter… on a stick. A Las-Cannon… on a stick. Even a whole Land Raider… on a stick!

It can be frustrating sometimes, dealing with the dilemma of how to safely hold a large model in some way that permits you to turn and rotate it in every direction in order to evenly apply the primer. Then you need to be able to put it down in some manner, to allow it time to dry, but you can’t touch it in any way. In this case I was lucky to have a heavy cardboard tube that fit very snugly through the Land Raider’s doors, providing an excellent temporary handle. It’s worked so well, I think I’ll keep it in place to help with the painting process.

I’ve had the overwhelming urge to paint things black recently. This ‘Raider is only the start. There’s something so very satisfying about the unification that happens when priming a model.

I haven’t had a chance to put any more paint on this yet, but it’s sitting on the bench calling to me to get started. This will also open another door, once it starts to get closer to completion; what’s a Land Raider without a squad of Terminators for it to transport, after all? Time to dust off another old project, me thinks. A new edition where Terminators might just perform better is as good a time as any to finish them up, I suppose. More on this and that when I have a chance to dig up some bits-and-pieces, take stock, and make some progress.

Oh look, something else that I felt compelled to paint black. And I’ve even had time to add some more colour.

I figured the Shield Generator would be a good candidate for some paint sooner rather than later. It’s a very successful model in general that I really want to see painted, but it’s also something that can find a home in more than one army list, so there’s nothing wrong with versatility. I’ve extolled the virtues before, but I feel compelled to say again just how good the Vallejo Liquid Gold/Silver/Copper line is. The tiny learning curve required because it is an alcohol based product shouldn’t stop anyone from giving this line a try if they’re going to be doing large areas of metallic colours. While there are some solid Silver alternatives (Vallejo Air Silver, for example) I have yet to find any water based acrylic Gold paint that compares to the results of the Liquid Gold from this line, and the Copper is just as amazing. One coat over virtually any colour, and then just a quick touch-up and it’s done. Just be sure to have a bottle of 90%+ Isopropyl Alcohol around for cleaning brushes and thinning the paint while you work; the alcohol evaporates very fast, which is good for drying times on a model, but it also dries quickly on your pallet.

The notion to mix up a few paints and washes quickly turned into… this. Ok, it’s time to get the painting area organized again.

Since I’m finally able to get back to painting, I’ve discovered that some of my Black highlight colours have turned to sludge. Given the consistency, I didn’t want to try and rejuvenate them, and I was interested in slightly altering the highlight process to tone it down a little anyhow. So I set about mixing some new highlights and some washes, and promptly made a much larger mess then I had anticipated. Message received; the painting area has since been returned to an organized and useful state, making it much easier to avoid procrastination (in theory) and jump into painting when the urge strikes me.

With my Mechanicus think I’m going to shift from a dusty ashen aesthetic that I was trying with my Chaos Marines, and try one that is more inspired by grease, grime, carbon, and soot.

Still a long way to go at this point, as I’m still building up layers of wash to give the depth and dinge I’m aiming for. It’s mostly just really satisfying to finally get some fresh paint on something… anything. It’s going to be a great piece to build the army around. Naturally, there should be several maaany more painting projects turning up much more regularly in the coming weeks, months, and years.

Some dabbling in Illustrator to work on symbols and icons. And hey, meet my cat Monty, who routinely sits in the middle of my work space to get my attention. Oh, what’s that, there…?

At some point I want to have some sheets of decals produced, and now that I’ve got a better grasp of vector based graphics I can sit down and get some ideas out. I’m going to try and produce some that are overtly Chaos, some that are outright Mechanicus, and some that are a blend between the two. Beyond larger more elaborate symbols such as this one, I’m actually just as eager to have modest things like large batches of small sequential barcode-like identifiers that I can use on large groups of Mechanicus rank-and-file. Again, this is a slow-burn type of project that should pop up sometime in the future, as I start to get some models painted.

Unlike my Kytan build, which is happening from the top down (more on that wonderful kill-bot in the near future), this Knight build is getting done from the bottom up. Needless to say, I wanted to change the pose of the legs at least a little, and that was going to require some minor surgery. It really is a missed opportunity that GW didn’t make the Knight kit with more (read: any) flexibility in how the legs can be posed. While it would have made the kit a little bit more involved to build, the Knight model is already a more advanced kit, and it would have benefited sooo much from having more control over the pose of the legs.

By using a very thin push razor blade I was able to remove the hip connection very cleanly in order to minimize the loss of material.

A careful scoring of the cut line around the joint several times started the process, follow by gently (and carefully!) forcing the blade through with a rocking action, removing the part very cleanly; just a little light filing to make sure the surface was nice and smooth and the parts were glued back together in the new pose, and the join is completely seamless.

I wanted to lift the leg, but I didn’t want the extra work involved to change the angle of the foot. By rotating the leg at this vertical seam in the hip, the leg can be raised without changing the tilt very much. Then it’s a simple matter of bending the knee a little to accommodate the change.

Altering the bend of the knee joint is just a simple matter of a little careful cutting, some cleanup, and a few bits of styrene.

My handy-dandy Razor Saw (aka: Jewellers’ Saw) made quick work of the knee joint, but I was very careful to keep the cuts following the center of the gap, to avoid any cosmetic damage of the parts. A little bit of file work cleaned them up nicely.

The upper leg took a bit of extra work to fill the hole, but nothing too elaborate.

It was simple enough to add a small piece of styrene tube into the leg. This not only filled the hole providing support for the next bit of plastic, it also helped lock the alignment of the two parts. A small shim of plastic added in on top filled the hole flush with the model’s original plastic. There’s really no need to make this reconstruction any cleaner than this, since it’s all-but completely hidden in the final build.

I’m partial to using real stone in my basing which requires a little extra effort in some projects, such as this.

In this case I needed to tweak the angle of the bottom of the stone a bit so it accommodated the foot of the Knight properly. This also improved the surface area of the stone to the base, so it’s glued on very securely now.

When a model is standing on the natural stone directly, it’s usually a safe bet to pin the it in place for strength. With a good bit, a high speed Rotary Tool (aka: Dremel) makes quick work of drilling mounting holes into any stone; it’s not all that much harder than pinning any two dissimilar materials, really. A simple modification to the Knight’s foot and it’s ready to be securely attached in the absolutely correct position; note that using two pins ensures that the part can better resist any twisting forces.

Yeah, I got a thing about rocks. I can’t be the only one who can get a bit… particular… when it comes to adding certain details to a model.

It’s an interesting balancing act, trying to add enough visual interest to the presentation of the model, without going too overboard; you know you want just a little bit overboard, but just a little bit. I’ve collected a modest selection of stones in a range of sizes over the years so I can play with the arrangement until I’m satisfied with it. Despite having a good selection to choose from, it all stores away in a single old-school 4 quart wooden peach basket and a few of the plastic containers pictured here. Larger bases have so much more room to consider, I find I need a good selection of stone to consider the composition carefully.

Ok, with that, I will bring this not-so-little entry to a close. I’ve still got a few other projects lurking in the shadows waiting for a chance in front of the camera, but all in good time. While I am currently still juggling several things, as life is apt to force us all to do, I expect to be making updates with more substance, content, and frequency going forward. In fact, I should be following up this with a request for input in the reasonably near future. I’ve been inside my own head for a while now, and I’d like some outside perspective and suggestions.

But for now, I have the distinct urge to put something together. *Subtle wanders off to make a productive mess*

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/06/02 05:54:54

Post by: evildrcheese

Mother of God. That's an epic update!

Everything is looking great, the care and attention you put into your hobbying is an inspiration.


Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/06/02 08:33:14

Post by: Master Azalle

Wow, just wow. You're work is fantastic. The conversion with the knight is just amazing.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/06/02 23:05:33

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks for the kind words! Much more to come, and much more frequently now.

On the subject of pinning stone; it was asked in another corner of the inter-web, how I dealt with drilling into stone. I Figured it couldn't hurt to share the information.
You're right to want to pin the model into the stone if you can. The 'lot of glue' technique can work, but depending on the stone you're working with, it might crack and peal away; the glue can only soak into the stone so far, and beyond that it's up to the strength of the stone itself to support the model. Softer sedimentary stone like what I am using here will be much more prone to something like that happening, but it's also nice stone to work with because it's softer and can be shaped and drilled easier.
Titanium coated bits (gold coloured) will serve you better, but really any 'normal' bit will dull quite quickly. It will slow your progress, but you can simply brute force it and go slow-and-steady to drill the hole. On softer stone it will work, but the time involved will vary depending on all of the various factors, and it will be slow going either way.

On the left are larger bits I use to shape materials like plastic and resin, in the middle are what I use to drill holes in stone, and the tiny ones to the right are for other miscellaneous jobs.
In my case I was lucky to get a selection of dental drill bits several years ago from a 'surplus tools & stuff' shop in my city (which has since closed, sadly) and they make quick work of all but the most stubborn stone. Notice how some of the bits are more like rotating chisels, then a spiral drill bit. Extremely hard stone like granite takes more time, but with bits like this it's very possible, without losing your mind.
They're not exactly expensive, but they're also not something you can generally get everywhere. It depends on the person if they work with enough stone to warrant the effort to track some down. I'm glad I have them, that's for sure, but I'm the first to admit my tool selection is a little broader than the average hobbyist.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/06/03 04:38:48

Post by: Anvildude

Diamond Bits for rotary tools. They're not actually that expensive (You can get a variety pack from Harbour Frieght for, like, 5 dollars). Then, the trick is keeping the temperature of the bit and the dust down- I like to drill either in water, or with a tiny tray of water that I use to soak the cut/hole. Then you tap the bit to the stone, instead of pushing hard. This'll let you cut through basically anything hard- tile, quartz crystals, jade, granite- heck, even diamond. And for softer stones it should work like a hot knife through a very thick block of cold butter.

So with your newfound painting obsession... what happens when you see a red door?

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/10/07 07:10:32

Post by: Subtle Discord

Ok, so life forced me to divert my focus to some other obligations for a while, and it dug into my bench time, to say the least. Things are getting sorted out for now, but what’s life without the unexpected? I get it, I’m done being a student now, but do I really have to be an adult, right away?! *Sigh* But I wanted to slack off for a bit longer! *Grumbles* Oh all right…

I’m currently out-of-town visiting family, so I’m away from my workbench and design PC, and that gives a perfect opportunity to finally sit down and write an update and toss up a few images. While I haven’t had much bench time, I do have 30 Skitarii Vanguard and 10 Skitarii Rangers nearing build completion, and a few less complete builds lurking in the wings. However, now I’m kinda’ glad I got delayed, with the Mechanicus Codex arriving recently I suspect the loose army list that I was going to use as a building guide will change (maybe a lot) and nothing is so far along that it can’t be altered; so I’ll count that as a positive result from an annoying delay. Much more about my new Mechanicus project will start cropping up quite soon. I’m completely taken with my new muse, I can finally get back working on them soon, and I can’t wait!

Now, while I was delayed, and I have been quite, I have not been idle. With things settling down I’ve finally been able to sit down and get to some proper 3D design work for the studio. Without further rambling, bring on the Weapons, and Tracks, and Armour, oh my!

This most recent iteration of the Vehicle Pintol Weapons I have planned is my most successful design, in my humble opinion.

Third time’s the charm! I’ve tried my hand at Pintol Weapons a few times and the results have been mixed. I liked the concepts, but the largest problem I always had with previous designs was their height. With how I was trying arrange the components, the parts just became too tall and didn’t suit the profile of the vehicle. By rethinking how the parts can come together I think I was able to find a better solution in this design. Other weapon combinations to follow, soon.

One of two new Track designs I’ve come up with for the Rhino chassis, I’m particularly pleased with how this set turned out.

I’ll talk more about some of the process I use during designing in the future, but in short, taking the time to create an accurate 3D model of the Rhino chassis has been a wise time investment; I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it at first, but now I’m very happy I did, and plan on doing the same for most future designs. Not only can something be created that should fit absolutely correctly, it also gives the opportunity to see the new kit on the model, ‘in the round’ as it were. It’s still only virtual, but it’s much better than trying to visualize it through the entire process. As an added bonus, it will make creating assembly instructions muuuch easier, when it comes time to do such things in the somewhat near future.

Ok, so there’s a bit more than armour going on here, but you’re not going to mind if I show a few kits together, are you?

One of two new armour kits I’m working on for the Rhino chassis, this is the heavier variant that is based off of my original design with some refinements. Again, while I’ve learned that I’m quite capable at scratch-building in styrene, there’s simply no way I could achieve forms like this by hand. And without the 3D model of the Rhino chassis to work from, even doing something like this in SolidWorks would be a challenge.

Everything pictured here is getting very close to being finished, but are still works in progress. My plan is to create base ‘bare’ models with no final detail, and then detail the kit in various ways to fit different themes. The selection will need to be limited to start, but will grow based on demand, feedback, and my ability to produce. I will continue to avoid anything that might cross any IP boundaries, but I’m sure I can find many ways to make the kits compliment Loyalist, Renegade, Chaos, and a few places in between. I’ll have some visual examples of what I mean in the somewhat near future as these kits reach completion and get ready to be sent off for 3D printing.

These images also don’t showcase any of the features, assembly options, or modular components that are designed into each kit. Many of my kits will have components that can be changed during assembly for a different look, either by completely replacing the parts, or by offering some flexibility in how the kit is assembled. Again, I’ll showcase these features more in the future, when the kits are closer to being ready for production, and that should be reasonably soon, barring any unexpected delays. I’ll give a much better look at the Rhino Siege Ram, the new-and-improved Havoc Launcher counts-as, pictured here, as well as all sorts of other things I’m up to, when I can better showcase some of these features.

Naturally, updates of personal projects will start appearing more frequently as well, and hopefully my next article should include some images from my work bench. Heck, there might even be some more images with models that have actual *gasp* paint on them! Stay tuned, more coming soon, and this time I think I mean it!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/10/07 21:11:22

Post by: Desubot

Yay its back.

Really like those low profile bolter turrets.

Wonder if a low profile multimelta is in the works.

could use some for my landraiders.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/10/07 21:56:35

Post by: Subtle Discord

Thanks for the positive feedback! I haven't even shown what I've got planned for the Land Raider. Also, so say I'm eager to do some work with the Sicaran would be an understatement; can't wait to make something for that model!

Yes, Heavy Weapon variants are planned, but I have only just finished the design, so I need to figure out how to best fit them into the components that I've devised. First I'll be doing the combi-Plasma/Melta/Flamer variants. Everything is designed to be magnetized (included in the kit) so the weapons will be able to switch-and-swap to suit the needs of the vehicle. I'll show some 'exploded' views to show how it things assemble, once it gets closer to completion.

I'll also be starting with the smaller kits when I get back into production, to work out any unforeseen complications on the smaller stuff before I invest in larger 3D prints. So, they should be something that arrives first in the shop.

I'll likely go dormant now-and-then when I'm swamped with stuff, but yes, I'm back and lots of stuff is in the works. Still very hard to give a firm timeline for when things will happen, but I'm working overtime to get up-and-running soon.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/10/08 19:46:49

Post by: Master Azalle

Glad to see you still working on designs brother!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/10/09 13:32:03

Post by: Boss Salvage

Great looking pintle mounts, but more importantly good to hear from you again! Even if this post was quite wee compared to your usual epistles from the workbench (), I had forgotten how much I enjoyed reading about your process and watching your refined view of 40k eevil dude armor in action.

- Salvage

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/11/10 10:00:09

Post by: Subtle Discord

For those who may be interested in supporting my studio, The Dark Works, please read and if you are so inclined, offer some input, feedback, or general musings.

“What, no pictures?! … Awww!”

Yeah, I know, nothing but a wall of those bland words, when I’m usually so much more visual. I promise that my next update will return my regular modus operand.

Ok, so I should be casting… buuut I got some new studio equipment (more on that in a moment) that’s sidetracked me as I get it setup, aaand I’ve got an urge to write since I’ve got an idea bouncing around in my brain that has me interested for some input. I’ve wanted to write for a few days to give some updates from my workbench (next time, I promise), but I’ve been busy casting for the studio and that’s also given me some time to ponder.

So, The Dark Works is now shifting to fulltime operation and barring any unforeseen distractions that might crop up (I’m lookin’ at you ‘life’, back off! I gots cool stuff to make!), I’m starting to get product back on the shelves. As I work I’m also trying to figure out how to take this from a part-time endeavour to a full-time operation. Up to this point I have invested in kits, tools, equipment, and materials very carefully, returning the vast majority of the profits to the studio to continue the cycle. I’m very cautious about borrowing money, so I’m proud of myself for bootstrapping my studio this far, but now I’m reaching a tipping point; right now, I’ve got more ideas then I’ve got capitol (aka: money) to make them real, and I want to avoid borrowing if at all possible.

After investing another $1,400 into a new heavy duty compressor, deep vacuum pump, and materials, I’m starting to feel my financial wiggle room get rather tight. It was an absolutely necessary investment as my current compressor is on its last leg, and the new vacuum pump is so amazingly wonderfully efficient that it’s improving my casting quality even more; yup, good investment. However, I still have more setup I need to invest in, ongoing expenses (aw crap, I need more boxes soon…), all while I try to start getting new kits into production. The catch-22 is, trying to cover everything is going to be tricky, and slow things down when I want to ramp things up.

Even as I’m writing this, I can already sense what some of you are thinking and are going to suggest; this sounds like a KickStarter kind of problem. While that’s not wrong, for me right now, I don’t think it’s right. While I’m very confident in my ability to produce, I still have a few more things I need to work out so I have a complete grasp of what’s involved when I take this to the next level. KickStarter can grow very quickly on an unwary creator. I want to avoid surprises, know my production process inside-out, and have a good body of digital designs near completion to offer the public, before I consider a formal KickStarter project. I want to do it, but I want to do it right and be properly prepared.

However, I think I might have a cleaver micro crowd-funding idea that I would like some feedback on. To myself, I’ve been referring to it as ‘Adopt-a-Kit’ as a working title, as it were. Once the digital design work is finished (taking many hours in itself), the largest barrier to something becoming real is the up-front costs; a prototype needs to be made (by 3D print or more traditional methods), moulds are created, and the initial casting run is done, all with added labour for each step. Naturally, a popular kit will return on that investment, pay for the costs, and after selling several casts start to turn some profit. Some of which will eventually need to be used to maintain the kits with new moulds as needed.

In order to blunt some of these up-front costs I want to setup a system to let a small group of people pre-order a set number of kits; essentially adopting the production of the kit. Starting with 10-15 kits, I will complete each as a fully accurate 3D model and showcase it in digital format. Anyone interested in the kit can contact the studio and offer to pre-order whatever amount they are interested in. No money will be requested until enough people have pre-ordered enough kits to help offset the development costs. At that point I will contact the individuals, confirm everything, collect payment, and start on production. Rinse. Repeat.

So, am I crazy, or does this seem like an idea people could get behind? I think if I could finish a few projects this way I could prove the concept and help it gain further momentum. I’ve got all sorts of ideas I would feel much more confident showcasing and developing if I knew that 10-20 of them are already sold, before I invested many hours of labour and a good bit of capitol to make it happen.

So, if you’re still reading, thanks for taking the time. As I said, feedback would be welcome so I can get feel for how something like this might be received. I’m always open for ideas and perspective, especially now that I’m actually getting my studio started. So much to do, I hardly know where to start. Time to start figuring it out!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/11/10 16:44:04

Post by: Desubot

Quick turn around KS? sounds like a good idea.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/11/12 17:58:03

Post by: Kepora

That actually sounds like a fantastic idea! Color me interested; I'm getting back into 40k, and my Death Guard (and, if I keep them, my Iron Warriors) could use some goodies. I'm even dabbling in Primaris, and if you ever make any Tau stuff, well...

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/11/14 22:26:06

Post by: Master Azalle

I'm definitely interested

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/11/27 09:47:12

Post by: Subtle Discord

First up, shameless personal plug; I’ve restocked the shop with the kits that have serviceable moulds. If anyone is on the fence, I’ll be honest and say a few more sales before the end of the month would be welcome and very helpful. An unexpected strike at my other contract job has pinched my finances this month. I’ll be fine either way (strike was several weeks, but over now), but I wasn’t expecting to be relying on the studio for proper income quite so soon. I respect that the stock is just too limited for now. So, if avoiding shipping costs with a split order is a factor, I totally understand, and I’ll be happy to offer free shipping on your next order to those who can help over the next few weeks. Again, my situation isn’t critical, but every bit helps when things are unexpectedly tight. So please, only help if it’s within your budget to do so. Thanks again to everyone, past, present, and future, who supports me on this endeavour; it’s finally starting, and the best is on its way.

*Starts to shake with anticipation!*
Reverend: “Do you see the light?! Have you seen the light?!”
Jake: “YES! :cuss I see the :cuss light!”
*Gospel music rises*

~The Blues Brothers

Content Warning: Massive wall-o’-text-n’-pictures to follow.

That said, all other kits are currently being redesigned (or will be in the future) along with new kits being created, and they will start appearing over the coming weeks and months; hence the creation of this article to showcase what’s on the way in the near future. I was having a bit of ‘design ADD’ when I started, bouncing between several ideas because I wasn’t really considering how I wanted proceed. Trying to do too much can quickly mean that nothing gets done, so I’ve since come to the conclusion that I need to start back at the beginning, as it were. I’m going to start by focusing on the Rhino and then the stock Land Raider, and then consider what to do next, once those models have received some attention. That’s not to say I won’t add other independent kits along with these designs, but these will sever as my focus for now and I’ll use other ideas only when I need some distraction, before they get their own focus in the future.

To the left; well that’s a familiar profile. To the right; and it only takes all of this to draw it accurately.

I see now that it’s going to be all but inevitable that I’ll need to create a 3D model of each kit that I’ll be designing for. It’s a lot of work (it took many hours just to get this preliminary 2D sketch done) but once it’s finished it’s both an invaluable design aid and a very useful tool to consider a design in context rather than floating in space on a screen or in a mind’s eye; useful for both me and the potential customer who might want to support the development of the kit.

I started with my old 2D CAD designs when I set to work updating my Rhino Trim kits for rapid prototyping. Importing the files to Solidworks is easy enough, but without getting into unnecessary detail, it became apparent that any time saved would be lost later down the line. This just reinforced that I needed to model the Rhino in Solidworks and create the kits on the model itself. This required recreating them… again, but that’s what needs to be done sometimes.

Mk.3 is a refined version of the original Chaos design that takes advantage of some curved lines made possible with the new process.

I really had no idea how popular these Trim Kits were going to be when I started making them. I’m glad to offer what I think is a unique kit that people like, but my old production method for them was simply too labour intensive for me to continue producing them in that manner going forward. Now that I’ve had some time to work with my new vacuum pump, which can pull a stronger vacuum in a fraction of the time, I’m feeling more confident in producing these kits with less labour if I design them properly.

Mk.4 is a intended to be something of a middle ground design; it fits in fine with a Chaos or Renegade force, but with no overt chaos elements also fine for Imperial.

So, these new designs have a much more significant sprew than I was originally considering. I’ve done them this way for two main reasons. Mainly, the vacuum casting process simply needs as many exit points as possible, in logical locations, to permit air bubbles to escape the components. But if I’m going to add in all of those vents, I’m going to do it right and take advantage of them. By adding some extra sprew sections to ensure the parts are completely encircled the delicate Trim components get some extra protection and resist warping when tightly packed for shipping. The delicate nature of the parts being prone to warping in this way was one of the few complaints these kits received, so I hope this alleviates the problem.

Mk.5 is clean cut with no extra embellishment intended more for Imperial vehicles, but naturally they’ll still work just fine in a Renegade or Chaos force.

I still want to do a few more designs to offer more variety, but I’m going to start with these to make sure they cast as intended and there are no kinks in 3D printing parts this thin. With the sprews for support it should be no problem, but I won’t know for sure until I have parts in hand. The bulk of the sprew will also add to the final printing costs, but I’m confident that the modest extra cost is offset by the improvement in production and by proving a better kit for the customer. It’s also a little funny that laying out the parts and designing the sprew took almost as much time as designing the actual kit components; everything always takes longer then you’d expect.

The Mk.2 Rhino Tracks are intended to look aggressive, plain and simple. Inspired by other ‘spiky’ tracks I’ve seen, I’m quite pleased with how my take on the idea turned out.

I wanted to recreate the Rhino Track kit I produced before, but again, I want to have the option to offer more variety. It took quite a bit of trial-and-error to come up with two unique link configurations that actually fit the model nicely. For some reason, the size of the wheels on the Rhino model and the angles that are required create… problems… when trying to get the links to travel cleanly the entire length of the model.

Based off the original Mk.1 Tracks, the Mk.3 design simply takes advantage of the refinements that can be made to the design in Solidworks.

Again, I’ll start with these two designs, and consider adding a few more in the future. Now that I have a starting point, I can easily strip the tread pattern off of the links and update it to something new. It’s one of the wonderful things about digital design in general. There are many opportunities to explore different ideas without needing to start from scratch; simply save the file as a new iteration and go to town exploring any changes you want, safe in the knowledge that you can return to the original file at any time.

The final full showcase for today is the Incursus Medium Siege-Ram Mk.1 designed for the Rhino chassis.

With this kit you can see an example of what will feature more-and-more in other kits; modular parts that can be switched-and-swapped and/or assembly options to provide the builder with some choice. In this case the smaller hydraulic bits can be rotated and Siege-Ram plate can be mounted either way. Sorta’ like choosing between giving the Ram an under bite or an over bite. I’ll also be doing a Ram plate with some Chaos details at some point, but that’s not a major change now that I have this base 3D model, so I’m focusing on a few other kits first. Such as… (oh, I’m not done yet)

Ok, this is a recycled image but it’s what I’ve got for now and it is what’s getting worked on over the next little while.

I haven’t had a chance to get back to this design while I was working on getting this other stuff ready, but I want to do it to accompany the other Rhino kits so it’s on my virtual workbench again. Naturally, being designed for the cupola opening of the Rhino, it will fit on practically any GW tank, but this is a fitting time to get this kit into production. For now I just want to get the Combi-Flamer/Melta/Plasma components complete and see how it all looks resin, then I’ll consider how I can get a selection of Heavy Weapons to fit the design for a future update.

Hinted at in an earlier image, two new version of the Interitus Missile Launcher, Mk.3 and Mk.4, are in The Works as well.

These kits are almost ready, but the pictured base mounting plate still needs a bit of detailing, and I want to make a smaller mounting plate that can fit the front cupola opening so the builder can choose where they prefer to mount the launcher. There are also a few other tricks designed into the kit in line with the modular swappable parts and assembly options concept that I mentioned earlier. I’ll be sure to showcase those features when it’s done. While not exactly ground-breaking, I’m quite pleased with what I came up with to solve a production problem, and it actually provides more options for the kit. Win-win!

Both the Missile Launcher and the Combi-Weapon kits will be done with Chaos/Renegade versions and Imperial versions similar to the Trim Kits at the beginning of this update. Where it makes sense and where there is demand, I plan to make that a running concept with most kits. I may not able to do every version right away due to costs, but if there’s demand I’ll be happy to cater to it. Which is why I think the ‘Adopt A Kit’ idea should work well. I can finish kits and develop the ones I can afford, and those that people like that I can’t get to right away, they can be supported and helped into production. At least, that’s how I hope it’ll work.

Last but not least, here’s another image of the new Spaced and/or Ablative armour with additional components for the Predator version of the chassis.

This is a perfect example of a kit that would be very hard to create without the 3D Rhino model to work from. For now everything is just floating around the Rhino, so I need to get under it and figure out how it’s all going to actually attach to the model. I’m going to produce this design first as a bit of a test to see how good the final fit of the kit will be. I’ve tried hard to make sure the 3D model of the Rhino is as accurate as possible, but I won’t really know until I have parts that I can work with. I’ll do several tests with templates cut from paper, in an effort to find any mistakes before I send the parts off to be printed, but that won’t be a guarantee since some places are difficult or impossible to test using that method. The turret being one good example. So, the plan is to start with this kit since it can work well with both a Rhino and the Predator. It will used a little less material to start in case there is a significant problem that requires a reprint. And, since it’s a Spaced Armour solution it will be more forgiving on how it fits the model. Hopefully if there are any minor fit issues, I can fix the casting prototype by hand, and make the required adjustments to ‘tune’ the 3D model for future designs.

Ok, with that I’ll bring this sizable update to a close. I was going to ramble a bit about a few other things, but the hour grows late and this has taken a little longer to finish than I was expecting. Those musings will have to wait for another time. As always, comments, questions, suggestions, input, or any other hobby/shop talk are always welcome. Thanks for taking the time to read and having a look.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/11/27 16:50:58

Post by: Master Azalle

These are fantastic! Expect an order from me in the near future!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/12/04 10:08:46

Post by: Subtle Discord

Late night (early morning?) teaser! I should be getting to bed, but I just got done 3D modeling the new Pintol Weapons Kit and it seemed worthy of a screenshot. I'm very pleased with how these turned out. 

Designation to be determined; Combi-Melta to the left and Combi-Bolters to the right. Renegade/Chaos version pictured, a 'clean' Imperial version will also be available.
Further updates to follow soon, including a showcase on how these and other kits will assemble. Both of these weapons are built from exactly the same parts. The choice to have the weapons to the left or to the right is made during assembly, and everything is magnet ready (will be included in the kit) so the weapons rotate and tilt, as well as permitting the owner to switch-and-swap the weapons anytime.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/12/05 16:23:51

Post by: Master Azalle

Looks fantastic!

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/12/08 09:56:49

Post by: Subtle Discord

Second verse! Same as the first! How about another late night (early morning) teaser. Who needs sleep. All my late nights in college have given a pseudo-superpower, I can resist the urge the sleep when properly motivated, and indeed I find working late at night my most productive hours. As time goes by, I'm seeing that the choice of studio name seems appropriate on a few levels. "We like the dark. Dark for dark business." as Tolkien once wrote, if I recall correctly, just before a particular Hobbit went off, there and back again.

Interitus (Aka: Havoc) Missile Launcher 2.0 is almost finished. Here's a look at the at the leaner 10 missile rack in a clean line Imperial style. As shown earlier, there will also be a slightly larger 12 missile rack in the same style, and of course a version with Chaos/Renegade elements.

Top Left: Proximity Incendiary. Top Right: Impact High Explosive. Bottom Left: Proximity Fragmentation. Bottom Right: Impact Armour Piercing.

Pick your poison. I'm particularly happy with the swappable missile component that I have devised which will let the builder choose their preferred loadout for the missile rack, all while sharing the base components. Again, I'll showcase how it actually assembles in the near future as the entire batch of kits gets closer to absolutely complete. The Interitus Missile Racks are very close and then I'm going to focus on the spaced armour to finish the first batch of ideas that will be presented together and put up for production adoption in my shop. Thanks as always for following along.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/12/09 04:38:22

Post by: Subtle Discord

Speaking of the 10 missile rack compared to the 12 missile rack, here's an image of the latter to give an idea how the larger/taller version will compare.

Very similar (as intended) to the other version of this design, you can also see the smaller mounting plate I've created to give more flexibility to where it can be added.

Aaand because I I got the itch to show it off a bit more completely, here's a quick exploded view to help show how the kit will assemble.
I'll ramble more about all sorts of features, options, and design philosophy for all my work when I can show more mages to better illustrate what I'll want to explain, but this image can give a quick-and-dirty (*Gasp!* I can see the under bits-and-pieces! Shameful!) idea of how the kit comes together.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/12/09 19:22:37

Post by: Anvildude

Your whole "Work really well at night" sounds like classic Melancholic personality. Shared by Hieronymus Bosch, and considered to be a trait of those with great creativity.

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/12/10 18:17:23

Post by: Master Azalle

Can't wait for your store to get up and running brother! Love your work

Legion Rising - Projects from The Dark Works @ 2017/12/16 03:27:58

Post by: Subtle Discord

*Subtle Discord suddenly appears wearing a cheesy ill-fitting tweed suit with a mustard stain on the lapel*

Wellll you’re in luck, my good friend. *pats you on the shoulder, grabbing it in a slightly intrusive way* Come on over here, I’ve got a few beauties with your name written all over them. Low kilometers, power steering, air conditioned, tracks that are virtually new, and ready to paint (not included) in any colour you can imagine. *offers a sly crooked smile as he leads you towards a row of vehicles*

There’s very simple reason why I’m choosing to develop this kit first, and this illustrates it perfectly.
The current Extra/Reinforced Armour Kit available at my shop that I designed to fit Rhino chassis was really done from the start with the Predator tank in mind. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but after being asked if I had (or planned to) Armour Kits that fit just the Rhino, I noticed a big oversight on my part. Take the Predator bits away, and in my opinion, the armour plates that remain don’t suit the Rhino as well as I’d like. So, I’m creating this armour kit specifically to work well with the Rhino and the Predator.
In fact, looking at it now on the digital Rhino model from the back it seems a bit sparse for my liking, I think it needs just a bit more to make it complete, so I’m going to create a set of top hatch doors to fit in with the Rhino iteration of this kit; they’ll be super easy to do and I think they’ll add the last bit that will complete the look for the Rhino.

So once I was (mostly) happy with the design on just the Rhino, then I worked on making suit the Predator.
With the turret and sponsons in place I’m very pleased with the results. I wanted to add enough armour to make it look like it can actually provide additional protection, while still portraying what is supposed to be ‘light’ armour. To me, it feels like the vehicle has been upgraded to resist ground fire from the front and sides, and try to protect soft points, while still leaving it vulnerable to attacks from above and behind in a plausible way. An effort to balance increased protection with the weight that would be added to the chassis.

Heck, since I’ve started to pontificate, let us have a closer look at the counts-as Combi-weapons I’ve recently finished.
As mentioned, I’ve done my take on all four weapon systems. It’s was a bit of a challenge fitting some details into such a small area that can do a good job of distinguishing each of the unique weapons; the Bolter gets ammo feeds, the Flamer has a pressure cylinder and pipes, the Melta has heat syncs and a corrugated hose, and the Plasma has a coil and fuel cell. You can hardly see them, but I don’t think that matters.

Designing the kit in a thoughtful way offers the builder several different assembly options as well as permitting the weapon to tilt and rotate.
Naturally, any magnets that are required during assembly will be included in the kit. While it won’t have a massive amount of tilt when assembled, I think it’s still more than enough to emulate that the weapon can track ground targets as the vehicle advances over rough terrain. As mentioned earlier, I will be looking how I can fit a selection of heavy weapons into this assembly, but I’ll wait to start the design until I’ve made these a reality and see how they turn out. It’s a small kit so it will be cost effective to use as a test.
Currently, I’m finishing up the Armour Kit with some Chaos/Renegade detailing and as I mentioned, I also want to create some hatch doors for the Rhino version as a last minute addition to the kit. *Subtle ponders if he should also do side doors or if that would take it too far* From there I’ll need to get the sprews and vents needed for production attached to the parts, and that in itself can take longer than you’d expect; but even with that to do, these kits are in the absolute final stretch and ready to go very soon. I can’t wait to start seeing these transform from digital concepts to actual resin.
Buuut, with that said, since I’ve been working so hard on these designs I’ve decided to reward myself with a weekend off to get away from the digital workbench and get some actual painting time in! That’s right, actual paint! A while back I came to the conclusion that I must give myself weekends off to actually do my hobby as, you know, a hobby. I’ve chosen to postpone that a bit while I get the studio up-and-running, but it will be something I honour going forward, so expect to see more-and-more personal projects and actual paint on models as time goes by and I get my studio routine sorted out.
Ok, thanks again for joining me on this small step in my journey as I endeavour to make ideas real and create some of the best 3rd party kits on the market. As always, comments, questions, input, and general musings are always welcome, but if you prefer to lurk that’s great too.
*Subtle wanders off to find something to paint*