Friday, March 25, 2011

Rogue Trader Era Metal Space Marines

Old Space Marines. When Space Marines were Space Marines.

I remember getting these guys at a long gone NY store called Dragon's Den, probably around Christmas or a birthday. They came ten in the box, with bases and sprues with the jump-packs. The box was unique for Citadel, I have never seen them around since: a clear plastic box with rounded corners and a slide-lid. It's very handy, I've kept it for small bits and pieces.

These were the first Space Marines I had, the concept was really cool in those days. Games Workshop takes themselves far too seriously now for my tastes, back then it was funny, touch of humor and tongue in cheek, very punk-style to the whole thing.

Painted using a Citadel selection of paints, if I concentrate I can almost remember the smell of the paint.

These really are terrible miniatures as things go, even for older ones, the sculpting and casting is very mushy, quick and not too concerned about details so much.

I'd love to restore these guys with fresh paint but I could never strip these, the original paint is too much a time capsule for me.

New Paint on the Troll

The Troll, having received a new paintjob. This is the second figure I had painted in about 15-16 years, not so bad I suppose. It's far easier to sit down and do this stuff when there's some sort of consistency to the activity, so starting into it after so long was a bit weird, didn't quite remember what to do. But now it's going to be a new education in painting, after all the years of learning about different mediums and materials, I can look at the task with a new perspective, and hopefully give these older figures the justice they deserve.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Troll Restoration

The Troll from the Horrors of the Marsh needed help. Whereas the Salamanewt's weapon breakage was due to over-handling and a weak point in the casting, the Troll was, at some point in time, deliberately cut for a diorama that never came to be. The body needed re-attaching with the base and feet.

As with the Salamanewt a suitable drill bit was found, and the holes were very carefully drilled into both sides.

Brass rod was measured and cut, super-glued in and the Troll was set to dry, clothespin clamp holding him in the right position.

To close the gap between the two pieces, Green Stuff was added, at the join there is some hair-detail on the original, so I was able to blend it in nicely without the 'wound' being too obvious.

The Troll is now back in action, stronger than before for the brass pins in his legs, ready to be primed and painted.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For those that may not be aware of the amazing work of Victoria Lamb, follow this link to her sculpted miniatures.
I'm sure you will recognize some of her finished pieces.

She manages to get a lot of personality into such a small scale, which is a trait of an excellent sculptor. One of my favorites is her Winged Boar, which can be seen in the making at this link.

Royal Guard of the Undead Legion, Grenadier set 2019

Got this lovely set online recently, box and figs are in absolutely great condition, figs don't appear to have ever been handled by anyone. I'm glad to have found this complete as it seems to have been a hard set to get. I'm somewhat big on skeletons lately so this is a welcome addition to my growing collection of unpainted figs (this will at some point be properly painted, it's all simply a question of time).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Grenadier Salamanewt, Axe Re-attachment

The re-attachment of the Salamanewt's axe was a simple drill & pin procedure, matching the drill bit width to the brass rod that would work.

Gluing the axe head and holding it in place was a trick to get right.

What worked best was a customized miniature clothespin (from a crafts store, bag of 100 cost a few dollars), which could clamp at a certain point and provide enough strength for the dangling axe to rest against so as not to swing out of position. This photo shows exactly that, superglue being the adhesive involved.

The join here is decent, though a few months later I bought my first tube of Kneadatite Green Stuff, which would have helped create a more cohesive and seamless join.

This nasty gash on the top of the head is a result of a less-than-great casting. I've since filled a little bit in with the nasty dangerous Squadron Green Putty and scraped a little of the metal down to make a smooth area.

Seen from the back, the Salamanewt shows the expertise of sculptor John Dennett. The axe re-attach is not so bad.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Let Me See You Stripped Down to the Bone...

I used a tip from dakkadakka when stripping the ancient paint from the Horrors of the Marsh: Pine-Sol, a floor cleaning liquid available here in the US. Easily enough obtained, I placed the minis in a tin can, with the Pine-Sol, and left it for a few days. The paint drifted off gently over time, becoming very gummy and pliable - there was still much effort required with toothpicks and a toothbrush to dislodge stubborn areas.

Overall the end result was satisfactory, although on subsequent projects I have used more powerful paint-removing products. Always be careful when you use this stuff, even the Pine-Sol, conserve your health, don't breath it in.

So here are some pics showing the originals with all of that disgusting layered paint you saw in the previous post removed (the gray, darker ones). The shinier, brighter versions are the never-painted ones from the set I bought recently.

The Salamanewt's axe busted off at some point, was super-glued back on back in time. In the Pine-Sol dip the glue loosened and the piece came away again, so I do have it but will need to pin a re-attach it.

The original serpent (left) has major problems owing to the cutting off of the base and the lower portion. It's going to be tricky to salvage this mini. I know it's a candidate for replacement but I will still have a go at saving it and getting the bottom shaped up.

The Troll, with his original counterpart, in need of pinning at the broken legs

The Vegetation Beast (original is missing, this is form the 'new' set)

I'm so freaked out because I've been watching the beginning of John Carpenter's The Thing while putting this post together. Movie's a total freakout.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Horrors of The Marsh

This set is the first set of minis I ever owned. Grenadier number 2010 "The Horrors of the Marsh." It was given to me by my brother on a birthday, I don't remember how old I was, maybe 8. I was shocked at the concept of me actually owning my own set of minis. Originally painted with 8-year-old skills with enamel paint, layer after layer with attempt after attempt. I lost the box, but the minis stayed around, I bought this set on ebay as part of the 'restoration' effort. I always liked the red-box art, which is actually kind of scruffy, but invokes a sense of adventure...

I also recall being excited that my brother saw fit for me to get a set of creatures, which I saw as being far more interesting than the typical human-figures.

Here are a few shots of my originals, still in old paint, some of which had been spray-primed white in a long-lost effort at another paint-job.

Some of the paint on these was close to a millimeter thick, possibly more in some areas.

Resurrected from a box sitting on a closet shelf for many years:

Lizardman with club:

Crouching Lizardman with some monster-ish lance:

A favorite - the Salamanewt:

Snake and Rat (the snake having its bottom and base cut off for a diorama that never happened):

Lizardman with sword:

...and the mysterious Dragon Skull and the Troll (whom I used to refer to as the Wolfman). The troll obviously suffered some damage and as such will require some extra work/pinning:

I should also mention that the giant Vegetation Beast was missing, I have no idea where it is, but it was replaced in the 'new' set I got online. Both the originals and the new set will be newly painted, duplicate figures allowing for different color variations.

Next up I'll show the figs after paint stripping

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fundamental Links

There are a few fundamental sites that carry very good information about minis from the old days.

Stuff of Legends: - an easy to navigate basic bare bones site that will help with identification or reminiscing about older minis.

Lost Minis Wiki: - just as easy to navigate, and featuring some more detailed images on some items than Stuff of Legends. I tend to favor this site when looking for confirmation/identification of Grenadier minis (but they cover many companies).

DnDLead: - Nice enthusiastic site with many nice photos of painted minis.

For Citadel stuff there are some great images on dakkadakka, but you need to search the galleries. Lots of older minis but also pages from older White Dwarf issues.

Monday, March 7, 2011


This blog was set up to share:
• Progress reports and pictures on personal scale miniature projects,
• Sculpts from scratch and hopefully the molding and casting as well,
• Links to other sites I've found valuable in the miniatures-realm,
• Anything else that may interest those who appreciate/collect scale minis, old and new alike.

I've been into miniatures ('figs' or 'minis' as I'll refer to them as) for ages, my older brother and I played a miniatures-based game we called 'Knights' in which each figure's abilities and powers were based on the physical sculpted attributes of the Grenadier figures in his collection. He had many sets, mostly in the red boxes (the re-packaged version of the AD&D sets) and through him I learned the basics of painting these little lead guys. After starting to collect them on my own and learning the 'Citadel' style of painting I took a long break, but seeing some bootleg Grenadier figs at the pewter-dealer at a Renaissance Faire a few years ago perked my interest in 'restoring' the classics that I had stuffed away in a closet.

This involved re-fixing on broken off arms, weapons etc. and using nasty chemicals to soak off the layers of Testor's Enamel paint we used to paint with in the old days.

Some of the posts to follow will show some of these restorations. Some will feature some sculpts of my own and some will simply point to other resources online that I've found helpful or interesting.

I hope it's not too disappointing.