Monday, April 18, 2011

Combined Army: Speculo Killer

I spent my spare time this weekend daubing paint on my version of the terrifying Speculo Killer! (She's in ur base killin ur mans). The figure is just screaming for some object-source lighting from the monofilament sword, but I'm afraid to screw it up so I'll just put this here instead.

Oddly enough I found the base to be a real chore. I didn't have any sense of what I wanted it to look like, so I just googled pictures of refuse and recycling mounds until I had some ideas. Now I wonder why the girl is standing proudly in the midst of a garbage dump...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Infinity: Simple Conversions

Converting Infinity Miniatures 

Arm swaps are useful for those who wish to play WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get). Simple arm swaps are easier than other conversions, anyway most figures have separate heads;  torso and leg conversions may affect the balance of small, dynamically-posed figures. 

You will need the following Tools and Supplies: 

-Craft knife 
-Half round file 
-Hobby saw 
-Pin vise with 2 bits* 
-Brass Wire 
-Wood Filler 
*The first bit should be as small as possible, to facilitate creating a guide hole for the larger bit. The second bit should be the same size or a little larger than the diameter of the brass wire. 

I'm assuming that anyone attempting these conversions is already familiar with basic assembly: cleaning the figure, basing etc. 

1. Select the figures for conversion 

I will be using the Malignos from the Combined Army starter set and the Shrouded with Combi-Rifle. I'd like more and cheaper infantry but I don't want duplicate figures in my army, so this is one way to add diversity. I’d like to get my hands on a second Malignos, so I can have both ‘canon’ versions and an arm-swap version, but they aren’t available in a separate blister and I can’t really think of an occasion where I will have three Malignos’ in one list anyway. Since I need the knife on the Malignos I do have, he'll have to go under the knife! 

Picture: Cleaned Shrouded and Malignos in pieces 

2. Plan the conversion 

It's a good idea to try to visualize the project from start to finish before you begin altering the figures. (These guys are kind of expensive to experiment on!) My first thought was to swap the weapon arms but after looking carefully at the components, I realized that wasn't going to be possible. The Shrouded and Malignos right arms totally different (the Malignos arm is clothed, and the shoulder armor is different, Furthermore, the Shrouded rifle stock is tucked up under the arm, so it would be very difficult to get the gun clean from the arm. 

Instead, I decided to swap the free left arms of both miniatures. Fortunately the Shrouded's left arm is complete (many figures in two-handed weapon poses have the left hand attached to the gun's forestock) so this will be a very simple surgery. Because the right arm of the Shrouded is designed to meet the left arm in front of the torso, I will also cut the right arm just below the shoulder pad so that I can reposition the arm down and away from the body, leaving a little room for the knife that he will be holding. This will affect the figure’s balance point but as it is otherwise vertical it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Also while this shift in arm position will have some anatomical implications, I’m hoping that armor plating and alien physiology will mask any odd-looking musculature. Since this will be my only Combi-Rifle Malignos, I’ll probably just go with the left hand swap and leave it at that. 

3. Separate the pieces 

I like to work in stages; I'll do all the cutting, then all the pinning, then all the gluing. That way I'm not wasting any time searching for the right tool, or forgetting a step. Doing conversions this way requires a clean work space and a little bit of organization - you don't want to lose a tiny 1/56 scale hand in the carpet! 

Note that even with a very thin-bladed hobby saw, you will lose some material on the wrist. The width of this cut is called the kerf, and it's one reason why you will want to pin the pieces on assembly. By leaving a space between the two parts, you can make up for this lost material by filling the gap with putty of some sort (I am lazy and so I use wood filler). 

Since the objects to be separated are round, you can carefully cut around 360 degrees with the saw, ensuring a clean separation, as well as a true cut that doesn't obscure any detail. Check after each couple of strokes to see how close the pieces are to separating, to avoid a surprise - these are tiny pieces and easy to lose. I cut over a white paper towel both to catch loose debris and the pieces themselves. Finally, be careful to use short, straight strokes, to avoid warping and potentially breaking your saw blade. 

4. Pinning and Assembly

Assemble the pieces according to your plan. Don't worry if things aren't working out exactly as originally intended; this is an art not a science! When I first assembled my Shrouded I discovered that the arms were still too close together, and I had to reposition his right arm farther away from his body to make room for the knife.  

Picture: Pinning Left Hand 

Even the smallest pieces can be pinned if necessary. Here I am using a pin vise with a .028 bit to start a hole in the Shrouded arm. 

5. The finished product

Here are the final results. On the right is the original Shrouded model, modified slightly (with pliers) to have his foot on a box. 

Note that even a minor conversion can have a startling effect on the final appearance of the figure! The provenance of the Shrouded model is obvious when placed next to the original, but I don't think anyone will mistake one for the other on the tabletop. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Morat Vanguard WIP

This Morat test scheme passed muster, so even though I still have some work to do on him I figured I'd share him with the beloved strangers who frequent this blog:

This Morat is from a regiment that's so disdainful of their enemies that they deliberately dye their hair in various shocking colors in order to advertise their arrogant fearlessness. Or maybe that's his natural color. Or maybe he's wearing a piece. Who can tell? They're aliens. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Work In Progress: The In-laws!

Our group buy from Corvus Belli arrived last week, and we've all been busy assembling our respective forces. So in the spirit of my buddies Al and Anthony, I've included my own Work In Progress family photo of the Morat 'In-laws':

Not pictured are the Malignos from the Combined Army starter set, for whom I have conversion plans, and the Speculo Killer blister, which is a duplicate of a figure I already have (this one will remain NIB as trade-bait). 

These guys has a LOT more flash than previous purchases, but nothing I couldn't handle. Assembly was pretty straightforward, with two exceptions: the Caskuda, whose daunting size and complexity almost put me off even attempting to put it together, and the Obsidon, which was totally my fault. The former model came together bit by bit with a lot of patience and plenty of previous pinning experience. The latter, however, proved to be quite the puzzle once I had clipped off the base tab and attempted to put its long coiling tail together freehand. 

I had initially planned to do a Shasvastii sectorial, so these Morat figures have taken me by surprise, especially the more specialized troops. The Morat Vanguard aren't particularly inspiring, but I really love the Daturazi Witch and the Rasyat, and can't wait to put paint on them! Most surprising for me though was the Charontid. I'm not certain if it's the angle or the paint scheme, but I was less than enthusiastic about this model until I saw it in person. It's a very cool style, and I hope that my own paint job will do it justice. 

Next week: More painted stuff. Promise.