Miniart Gladiator (2)

Ah, what a nuisance, I seem to be coming down with a cold, I got up with a sore throat and heavy head this morning, but it doesn't seem too fierce yet. I'll fill myself with drugs and soldier on.
Last night I started work on the model gladiator by assembling his legs, which for the most part was a fairly easy, trouble-free affair, just simple cutting trimming and gluing, the several pieces being held together with pegs or elastic bands. These were then put together. The figure, thus far looks rather odd, his loin cloth or whatever you may call it, makes the figure look as if he is wearing a nappy or incontinence pants!
However, when nearly done I encountered a problem with Mr Incontinence, with the padding that goes around the back of the figure's left leg. This should have fitted around the calf and butted up against the ornamental bronze greave in the shin. However, though the two parts married nicely at the bottom of the leg, at the top there was a gap of two to three millimetres. The problem was caused by the swell of the calf muscle. I had already glued the padded section into place, thinking that I could fill the gap, but I changed my mind an hour later and prised the piece off just before going to bed.
Today, after examining the model again, I decided that the best thing to do would be to pare the offending calf muscle back. I thought it would only be the matter of a moment, but it actually took a little more work than expected.
I first shaved it back with a knife; no fit, even sanding the padded edge back to get rid of last night's dried glue didn't help. I then gave the leg muscle a good going over with a file; still no joy, the muscle was still too big. So out came the big guns, I brought out my mini tool for some serious sanding. Safety first, I popped on my goggles and attacked the leg with a sanding tip, which improved the fit, but I finally discovered that the offending part was the very top of the calf where it swells out. To get rid of this, I swapped the sanding tip for a cutting or reaming tip. This is pretty aggressive and finally cut enough away, though it's best to do it a bit at a time, constantly checking and rechecking so as not to overdo it.

Finally, though, I got the fit I wanted and what little gap remained has disappeared since then, my having glued the part in place. When I fitted it, I made sure that the padded section looked like it was folding under the greave, leaving the latter sticking out slightly proud on either side.
Once the offending piece had been glued and allowed to dry, I then scraped and sanded back most of the seams and filled any gaps, the most notable being around the top of the padded section I had fixed in place and across the right foot where there was an obvious join where the toes had been stuck onto the rest of the foot. Apart from some general tidying up, that is the legs done.

After doing the filling I then cut the two halves of the torso from their sprues and glued them together. This went together without much trouble and I soon decided to attach it to the legs, holding it in place until it dried with a doubled elastic band. Now, a la Borat, the figure looks like he's wearing a 'mankini'.

Miniart Gladiator

Okay, normally I resist the temptation to buy and start another model when I'm heavily into another, but my Ultramarines sergeant is not going anywhere, so I decided to finally buy the Miniart 1:16 model of a gladiator I've had my eye on and which arrived early yesterday morning. This will be a first for me in this blog, a complete build and paint from start to finish. Previously I've been half way through a model, or completely finished,before I wrote anything about it. I've seen other people's versions of this figure and am looking forward to it.

First impressions of the model fresh out of the box are favourable, it looks pretty clean with little or no flash around the 38 pale grey plastic pieces; it looks like a fairly straight-forward build, but we'll see. Normally I would assemble and decorate the figure in sections, but as this one is mostly skin I'll be constructing the figure before painting, as skin doesn't normally have recognisable seams!

One item missing from this model, though, is the small round stand that usually comes with Miniart figures. The reason is obvious, namely the stance of the gladiator is quite wide and he wouldn't fit on the stand. I think Miniart could perhaps have created a new stand to accommodate the figure, but that is a minor quibble easily sorted. This morning I took a trip to Wilkinsons and bought one of my mainstays for a cheap stand - one of those blank plastic plates that can be screwed over a redundant mains socket or light switch - 69p.

Large Scale Ultramarines Sergeant (2)

As seen in the previous post I've also done some work on the legs and torso of my Ultramarine model. Really, I have been using the torso especially, to practice my rust effect. Or is it rust? My brother (also a major 40K anorak) reminded me that the space marine's armour is actually supposed to be made of ceramite, a composite ceramic material, so the rusty colour could also represent a sort of terra cotta coloured ceramic body beneath the paint - never thought about that before.
After I'd let the body dry off following its second dunking in a jar of Dettol, I gave it a scrub in warm soapy water and then, once dry, I undercoated the torso in black. The body had still looked rather mucky before painting, but the coat of black paint showed that there were no major faults with the piece, so I happily moved onto the painting. The breastplate and belt were coated in GW Ultramarine Blue, with only the abdomen and the Aquila symbol on the breastplate left black.
As I was going to have the Aquila in gold I then coated this with Citadel White Base paint. This dried quickly and I proceeded to cover it with Citadel Shining Gold. This needs to be put on in several coats, not to keep it thin or to disguise brush strokes, but because the white does show through quite sharply and it took about three goes, with drying time in between, to get total coverage. The overall effect once the last coat is dry is quite impressive, but I then dulled this down by giving the gold a thick wash of Gryphone Sepia shade. I lay the torso flat on its back whilst it dried, so that the shade would not run and instead settled in between the feathers of the Aquila.
Once the piece was dry the formerly shiny gold was very matt, so to perk it up I then dry brushed the surface with Citadel Burnished Gold, then to show even brighter highlights, a mixture of Burnished Gold and Mithril Silver. All that was required then was to go around the Aquila with some more black paint and later cover that with more Ultramaine Blue. The recesses and lines on the blue parts of the body were then coated liberally with Azurmen Blue Shade to get those shadows in the nooks and crannies. The torso was then left to dry out thoroughly overnight.
The next day I moved on to putting the numerous rust/ceramite spots on the armour and across the Aquila, using the same technique I used with the helmet. With this technique I think the old maxim of 'less is more' applies, I've tried to keep the amount of damage minimal to give the impression of wear, but not of neglect. But that is all down to personal choice, really.
As I know what the pose is going to be, once the body had dried to my satisfaction, out came the superglue and I stuck the helmet in place.

Large Scale Ultramarines Sergeant (1)

A large scale space marine in process, it was an impulse buy a couple of years ago. Normally I would spend about £40 tops on a resin figure, but Games Workshop's large-scale figure of one of it's iconic Warhammer 40,000 space marines was over twice that amount. Games Workshop figures are always expensive, but this took the biscuit and not until I got a boost with some extra cash did I finally take the plunge and buy the kit. Even today I still shudder at the thought, but console myself by thinking that most of the women I know pay more than that for a new hairdo.
Anyhow, purchase it I did and straight away I plunged in and painted it up in the colours of a space marine's chapter that I had invented - the Red Lions (after my local pub) - in a mix of red and green. However, just lately I have been salivating copiously over some of the Ultramarine figures seen online and decided to re-paint the figure as an Ultramarine sergeant. I had painted up the miniatures in the past and still had a rather battered copy of Games Workshop's How to Paint Space Marines for reference.
The first thing to do was get rid of the old paint job, so, having successfully winkled the figure from the base, I broke it down into its component parts and went shopping for some Dettol. I've no idea what bright spark worked out that Dettol dissolves acrylic paints, but I think the modelling fraternity owe him or her their thanks. Using it is a messy business, but it effectively strips old paint off figures a treat. I use an old glass coffee jar to drop the figures or parts into, half fill it with Dettol and top it up with water. The Dettol goes milky so that you can't see the contents, but in a day or so the items can be fished out and most of the paint just rubs off. You really need to wear rubber gloves to do this as the paint turns into a messy goo and a separate bowl is needed for scrubbing the more tenacious paint off with a stiff brush in warm soapy water. Sometimes, as was the case with this larger figure you will have to pop the parts into a Dettol mix twice to shift all the ingrained paint.

I did leave some of the pieces in for about a week and discovered that lengthy immersion of resin in Dettol does make the resin go rather soft and flexible, which is no good for thinner parts as they can distort and pull apart, This happened to the sniper scope on the bolter, which I had to take off as a result. Nevertheless, as can be seen with some of the sturdier Dettol-fied parts here, they do come up fairly clean and leave the room smelling lemon fresh for about a week afterwards!

The one advantage with rebuilding an older kit is that all the prep has been done, so with this I could plunge straight into the priming and painting. The argument goes on as to whether black or white is best as a priming colour, but as a rule I use black as a base colour for darker hues of blue, green, brown, etc., and white or grey for reds, yellows, oranges and the lighter shades of blue and green. As I knew that this lad was going to be an Ultramarine a chapter heavily into the blues, I did the undercoat in black. Personally I never use spray paint to undercoat, I paint on Citadel Chaos Black or White Base, or their Humbrol equivalents. I've tried the pots of Citadel Black Imperial Primer, but in my opinion it's watery rubbish, I avoid it like the plague. If you clean the pieces first in warm soapy water then prime them with the colours mentioned there's no problem.

With the helmet, I undercoated in white, as according to the book, Ultramarine sergeants have red helmets. Once this had dried I then covered the helmet in Citadel Blood Red, shaded with the appropriate red shade. I then proceeded to age and dent the helmet - not literally, but with a little trompe-l'oeil. In the world of Warhammer 40k, the space marines' armour is hundreds of years old and handed down from one marine to another, so an aged and battered look was appropriate. First I painted on nicks and flaking of the armour in black before applying Citadel Doombull Brown (old Dark Flesh) over it, leaving a slight line of the black near to the top. If there was any red paint showing below the 'rusty' area I then applied a thin line of pink to highlight it. The effect does not show too well on these pictures, but can be seen much better on the blue armour in the first picture. I then gave the whole helmet a thin coat of Gryphone Sepia shade to reduce the contrast between the various colours.

The eye lenses were first coated in Citadel Dark Angels Green. When this was dry the front half was painted with Snot Green and for more of a highlight I mixed some of the latter with a little white and yellow. The final touch was the tiny blob of light on the rear of the lens. The gold hubs near the mouth were painted in Citadel Shining Gold, Burnished Gold and a mix of these with Mithril Silver to produce an upper highlight. The ear pieces were in Boltgun Metal shaded with Nuln Oil

More to follow.