Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Death Giant Patchwork: Filling Gaps

Filling gaps on the Death Giant, recreating chainmail and a little bit of the necklace that's almost invisible on the casting...

And bones, ribs...

Posting progress here keeps the project rolling, it builds discipline. What do I do if I achieve the goal (finish the model within 2012)? At this rate I may have to establish another goal...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Death Giant Left Arm: Joining Two Heavy Castings

In 2003 or so I had installed a pin to hold the left arm of the Death Giant, a corresponding hole was drilled into the shoulder of the arm casting, but on closer review I ascertained that there wasn't enough metal at that point on the arm casting to hold the arm in place with confidence.

The new goal was to increase the strength of the shoulder joint to hold the weight of the arm casting (which is quite hefty as it includes the shield as well).

I installed a new second pin, a rather thick brass post, a bit lower than the original. This creates a strong gusset to hold up the arm.

This was NOT drilled through the arm all the way, using the technique I've recently posted. I wanted enough material to rest on top of the brass post, so the arm was only drilled half-way.

It's rather ugly now and betrays its presence, but I'll come up with some Green Stuff additions, some torn fabric and detritus, to mask it on the finished model.

The important thing is that it makes the joint between two heavy castings very strong.

Next step will be to 'blend' the two parts together by creating more mail armor and a bit of necklace chain. I'll also share the connection of the ribcage.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Soon you will meet the Undead

That's my best post title so far. Fans of metal (the other kind) will instantly recognize it as a lyric from a Slayer song.

I got wind of a completed and painted Grenadier Death Giant of the Undead Legion and discovered that it is surrounded by one of the most spectacular and dynamic miniature armies I've ever seen.

The painting is consistent in detail and quality, and picks out each character as an individual (certainly an accomplishment with this volume of undead). The painter took different models from different eras and different companies and compiled them together to create one cohesive swarm - not an easy task.

I just love skeletons on the march, don't know why, just do. It's fun. Halloween-style.

Internet frequenters have probably seen this already but here it is again: An amazing undead army captured for all to see with excellent photographs.

Big thanks to the proprietor of Belched from the Depths for sharing this!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pinning un-even parts: Death Giant continued...

The 'Death Giant' comes in many parts, perhaps the most awkward area to assemble is the front of the rib-cage to the main body: there are really no connecting points at all and pins must be installed at multiple points to hold the weight.

I made a diagram to show how I tackle this. Drilling holes on either side will not work at all, as they would never align properly when gluing. I strap the two pieces together, making perfect their alignment, then drill the necessary holes all the way through the entire piece. I can then create the pins and glue them in one by one. After the glue has cured the straps are removed and the holes and gaps are Green Stuffed. The pins are buried and never seen. In this way some very delicate points on the model were pinned, including some areas where the material was 2mm wide. I use brass pins, notched and chamfered in the way illustrated in a previous post.

The result is quite satisfactory. I pinned the Giant at the ribs but also near the shoulders, and a few other areas where there was sufficient metal on both parts.

By drilling holes at different angles, the pins team up to act as physical locks against any future separation.

Hope this is helpful and not too clinical.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lead Rot in action

This is a little video made as steel probes gently poke at the 'Female Thief' miniature shown in the previous post. It was so afflicted with Lead Rot that it was not worth trying to save, so its further destruction is documented here.

The dust and nastiness left behind is all that remains of a nice detailed cast.

Remember: it can happen anywhere! Protect your minis!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thieves, Grenadier set 2008

A recent acquisition, the old AD&D Grenadier Thieves set:

Box is in great condition, foam inserts included (no paper insert though, anybody got one they want to scan and send?) and the figs are in great condition, except the 'female thief,' who is devastated beyond any hope of restoration with lead rot.

Some nice sculpts in here, with a few repetitions of faces and forms (same sculpts used for different minis).

Climbing thief, or perhaps he's just getting-down...

A classic scenario of old minis: completely coated in thick enamel. Here's one for the paint stripping gel...

Once a lovely lady, now a hideous crone. This mini is garbage, you'll get to see a video I made of the crumbling dust in the next post...

It was pretty bad all over, even down on the base, now I'll have to find a loose female... you know what I mean...?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pinned Plan as Executed for Death Giant

Back in 2002-03 I sat down and put some steel pins in the Death Giant, the first move on it since the 80s. It involved pins, drill bits to correspond, a little oil and patience. I believe I lost two bits in the process, as the deeper the bit made its way into the metal the more it bound and, eventually, they broke, lodging into the piece.

Here's a map of how I pinned this guy, blue lines show the original separations, the pink is the actual steel pin.

The worst part was the hole in the upright arm (holding the axe, as seen on the box-art) that was drilled to match the pin on the main body. The first attempt snapped the bit, this was a dead-center of the piece drilling that had to be abandoned for another hole parallel to the first. It worked out in the end, although I may shore up the arm with more support when I get to it.

One thing I favor for really strong support is aligning the pieces, clamping them together, and drilling straight through the surface that will eventually be painted. This creates a perfectly matched mating of the pieces, and the left-over hole can simply be puttied over and hidden. It's more accurate and much easier than drilling two separate holes in two pieces and trying to get them to mate properly. I've got to make sure the pin is slightly shorter than the hole so it won't stick out.

I glue pins with a cyanoacrylate and the working time is very short, so I dress up the pins to make them as effective as possible: at both points I chamfer the ends, that is: file a slight taper so that the pin will pass into the hole smoothly without any cutter-snipped edges binding before it makes it all the way in. I also notch the pins slightly with a file so that the glue has a physical hold on the metal. It take a little bit more time but I do want to make this as secure as possible.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jawbreaker - Duplicating a Component for the Undead Giant

Nope, not the Judas Priest song... A fellow classic mini-afficianado who also has a Giant asked me about making him a jaw: his was long gone (it is the smallest loose casting in the set). Very fortunately I was about to pin and epoxy it to the skull and make the two pieces one, he got me in the nick of time.

A little 'squash' mold was prepared (nothing to fancy, two halves filled with more than enough casting material and pressed together, squeezing out the excess).

I did something I had not done before: I tested the mold with another material (other than the resin to be used for the final) - JB Weld, a two part substance I found at a hardware store that is supposed to be great at fixing metal parts (never had any luck). It's a great filler and worked well for determining if the mold performed well enough to pull a decent cast.

The subsequent (white in the photo) resin jaw came out fine, and I'm free to finish assembly on the skull. The gray jaw is the JB Weld piece.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Death Giant Pieces Stripped

Used a heavy duty paint stripper and got down to bare metal, of course some remnants remain after over 25 years sitting on there.

This is the bare material with which I have to work. The condition of the metal is fortunately very excellent, as crisp as was cast. The main body and the arm with the axe are assembled, comprised of a few pieces. These were pinned with epoxy and thick steel paper clips.

Detail is quite nice on the sculpt.

Usually I'm enthusiastic about the build, but in this case I'm really more enthusiastic about the painting involved in such a large piece. Incentive to get it done.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolutions to the Death Giant of the Undead Legion

Happy 2012 - I begin with optimism towards forthcoming projects as a newly-moved into workshop slowly takes form and functionality. One project that has been sitting around for ages is a build on a classic Grenadier piece: The Death Giant of the Undead Legion.

I got the kit as a gift from my brother, it was either 1984 or 1985. Over the next few years several layers of Testor's enamel went on the thing before being retired from memory. Back then I had no concept of pinning models together. It was revisited in 2002 with a decent drill-and-pin effort, and about two years ago I stripped all the ancient paint off, as far down to metal as possible. It now exists in a state of restoration, with all joints expertly pinned for maximum possible strength, and all joins and contacts between components properly built up with Kneadatite Green Stuff.

My 2012 resolution is a really weak one: Finish this damned model once and for all. I have a terrible habit of not finishing things and it desperately needs changing. I mean finish - build, paint, base, finished. I've never seen one complete other than on the box itself and the contorted re-cast on the Mirliton site.

I swear by golly I'll do it. And you can now hold me to it.