Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tyberos The Red Wake - Days 1 and 2

It's been a while since I've done anything that remotely showcases the kind of painting and modeling stuff I'm into.  It's been post after post of empty words.  Bah!  This isn't LiveJournal, you chumpasaurus!

To get back in the spirit if Laubersheimer Industries past, I'm going to be trying a bit of an experiment:  the day by day progress on a model I plan on painting to a high standard of quality.

The Model in question is my man Tyberos, the Birfday Money Impulse Purchase Red Wake.

My Eldar are almost at their fighting wake and I'm staring down 32 Khorne Dogs so the time is right.

Excruciating detail, HO!

Day 1
note: this day actually occurred in the recent past - March 13th.

In the bag
The Unbaggening and Initial Impressions
At this point, I've had the model for a week or so, but never got around to doing anything with it beyond making sure all the parts were there.  Overall, its pretty impressive.  Very little warping, very little flash and the few mold lines on the prominent surfaces are pretty manageable. The detail is phenomenal as well

not in the bag
Basic Preparation
Before even the primer goes on a model, its time for the basic prep.  This means washing and filing.

Tyberos and Eldrad share a bath.  Oooh, sexy time.

Any metal or resin model should always, always get a quick bath in a Simple Green dilution and a toothbrush scrub.  The casting process for these materials involves mold release agents to make it so the model and be easily freed after casting.  This has the effect of leaving a fine film on the models that makes the surfaces harder for paint to stick to.  Washing is doubly important for resin since the surface of the material is already kinda resistant to paint in the first place.

Sanding, grinding and scraping
man, this is a pretty boring day so far...   I've dried off the model and now its time to get rid of those pesky mold lines.

New painter tip:  always remove mold lines.  Even if you consider yourself a shit painter, nothing ruins the model quite like visible mold lines.

In the above picture you can see the mold lines on the outer edges of the model.  Not too bad.  Unfortunately the inner surfaces of the model are pretty crap.  Once I broke out the hobby knife and the files, a much different picture of the model's quality became apparent.  The inner surfaces were just plain awful.  All along the crotch and inner legs of the model, the casting lines are freaking HUGE.  It's almost to the point that it looked like a misscast.  On top of that, there were a whole bunch of surface imperfections on the shins and arms.  What I had hoped would be a 15 minute job turned into a multi-day affair.  Trimming and scraping can only do so much.  I've now got to break out the green stuff and the Miliput later.

Basing Materials
I want to do a pretty elaborate base for this model.  The kind of thing were the construction takes more time than prepping the mini.  Its fun and its something I need practice on.  This will also give me something to do when I go about the business of fixing the casting flaws in the actual model.  At this point its getting pretty late (I started this pretty late in the day) so I just collected some materials to get the juices flowing for later.
I've since added to this pile
Day 2
I didn't get much sleep that night and ended up sacking out immediately after work.  But I did add to my materials pile and I managed to get a quick sketch of the base in at lunch...

...which is terrible and won't make complete sense to anyone but me.  But, its part of the process.

A Brief Note on Resin
In a nutshell: the more exposure I have with it, the less I like it.  Though it does have its advantages

Actually, that's not completely true.  I love the various resin bases that are out there.  Dragon Forge in particular has always been of exceedingly high quality.  Its actual models I have issues with.  Unfortunately for Forgeworld, their kits are the only ones I've used so they get to bear the brunt of this mini-bitch fest.

As a material
Resin is lighter and holds more detail than metal.  That's kinda where the good news stops.  Due to the casting process and the material itself, it warps like crazy (a problem for large pieces) and has a fun tendency to shrink - but never predictably.  Add in air bubbles and the general challenges of getting a good cast (large mold lines and weird surface imperfections) and you're already well on your way to what I would consider an inferior material.  But all that's before you get into the extreme fragility of small and thin pieces or the fact that you sometimes have to lightly sand the surface to get it to even a basic primer coat to stick right. Oh and the fact that you still have to pin those large pieces together (plastic resin =/= plastic).  Meh.

Whenever someone tells you that working with resin models is not a beginner's task, it's not an overstatement.  What you get in that little baggy will almost certainly look nothing like the display model.  You'll need to have some modeling chops to do things right and I ain't talking about lounging around in your underpants. 

Now, a lot of the problems and challenges that resin pose can be overcome or mitigated with good production methods.  Sadly, most everything I've ever ordered from Forgeworld has had flaws despite the assurances that "Each part is hand cast using the most advanced techniques and best quality resin to produce models with extremely fine detail" (taken from the FW help page).

First and foremost is the fact that the sculptors don't seem to keep the limitations of the material in mind when the make a model.  Sure, resin is great for fine detail, but there's a point when the resin gets too thin and all that fine detail peals off or gets obliterated the first time you try to clean up the model.  Especially the fine trim they like to put on shoulder pads and the like and that the mold makers seem to love attaching pouring points to.

Further, all the small things I've ordered have either had shrinkage problems (so that two 'identical' sets are different sizes - very irritating if you're trying to make a bunch of marines from the Red Scorpion upgrade pack) or plain just look like nobody gave a shit when they put the two halves of the mold together.  I've seen some atrocious mold lines in my day... and they all came from Forgeworld.

The big model I got (my as of yet unfinished Thunderbolt) was fine (warping is very, very easy to correct) even if it looked like an idiot got halfway through prepping the model and then returned it.  So many unexplained file marks and missing corners...

Sure, I'll probably continue to order from FW knowing that what I'll get will be bit fiddly and knowing that its an expert level model, but still...   Anyway, if you've never ordered an FW model, just be prepared.

A positive note
As I've gotten further into the hobby within a hobby that is blogging, I've found that it rarely pays in the long run to be a negative bastard.  So I'm gonna end this post on a high note.

One thing nobody really mentions about resin models is the weight of the bigger kits.  Due to resin's peculiarities, resin model makers don't do a lot of hollow casting.  So all those big tanks you see on the FW site are actually pretty ruggedly built and have a very pleasing weight to them. And there's always the pure joy that comes from getting a perfectly cast model.  I have a dreadnought or two that are just amazing. 

I think I'll probably always be interested in FW models - despite my misgivings about the FW casting process, the models themselves are a collection of some of the most amazing conceptualizations ever.

Right, I'm done here.  The next update should be smaller, but I got into a thing with this one and kept going.


  1. Wow, didn't know FW Resin would survive as Simple Green bath...

    Time to do some stripping and cleaning with that!

  2. This belongs on the HoP, Lauby Himself. It's important to keep the word about resin out there.