Painting Log

Should I bother with this?

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Tredrick

Mongoose
On Sunday, June 19th I won an auction for an EA FLeet box. Cost me $42 American. It arrived yesterday. I decided I will keep a log of my progress in preparing and painting up the fleet. The first part, Opening the Box, will be up shortly. It will focus on my initial reactions as I take each mini out of the box.

The second part, Preparation and Assembly will be up later tonight (EDT). That is assuming I can get my pictures hosted by then.

This is not a step by ste guide or anything like that. Just an account of what I do with pictures of the results along the way. If this bores all of you to tears, let me know.
 

Tredrick

Mongoose
After opening the box, which was larger than I expected, I pulled out the bag closest to me and opened it. I was greeted by the most awfully formed miniatures I have ever seen. I’ve worked with some homemade stuff too. The Hyperions are in truly awful shape. Many of the recesses in the model have been partially filled in, the engine section is a complete mess, there is no hole to insert the stem of the base, the area where the hole should be is far too small and there is enough flash on the four of them to make a fifth. This is not an encouraging start. This mold is well past being ready for the scrapheap.

Pulling out the second bag I am greeted with my Starfuries. These tiny models have a surprising amount of detail for their size but, like the Hyperion, are read for an update to their mold. I could not tell where the flash ended and the mini began in some cases. I also noticed a few were missing engines.

At this point I was expecting the worst when I pulled the Artemis Heavy Frigates. To my surprise they were completely free of flash and had no noticeable mold lines. If there were any, they blended in perfectly. An altogether excellent mini.

The only negative with it was the turrets. They were small and had entirely too much flash on them. On the plus side I need only 10 turrets and I have 18 of them, with five in perfect condition and ready to go. Even if there are a few problems deflashing them, I should have enough turrets to see me through. Not sure if this is by design or by accident, but it is a good thing.

The next bag out of the magic box is the Omegas. The models have more flash than I would like, but nothing too terrible except for the big block in one of the recesses on the front section.

I do have to question the overall design though. The weight distribution on this model is terrible. The stem is too far recessed. The second hole in the habitat section is useless to em since I will convert it to rotate and, even if I could ise it for the base, it is forward of the model’s center of gravity. I’ll also have to fill them or the final model will look a bit odd.

The next mini I pulled out is the Nova. Again, loads of flash, but nothing too bad. The only real problem is a thin sheet running all along the mold lines. Should not be a problem to remove. The turrets, being bigger than the Artemis, should be easier to work with too.

Last out is the Tethys. Like the Artemis main body, these minis are in near perfect shape. They just have some minor flash, which came off when I ran my nail over it.

The Hyperion molds need to be retired. Now. They are really terrible and I have neither the time nor desire to put the effort into cleaning them up properly. Not sure how I will deal with them, but I will give them a go. Other than that, only the Starfuries are in really terrible shape.
 
The problem with many of the larger ships, is that the AOG line (aka, the Wars vessels) actually had 2 stands to support them, instead of the one stand system by Mongoose.

On my personal site, http://groups.msn.com/LordAldadesTemple are a couple of mongoose vessels that I based with the old system, works way better that way (I use the front stand for range etc etc)
 

Chernobyl

Mongoose
some of the artemis turrets go on the bottom, right? you'll need more than 10.
If the Hyperions were really that bad I'd recommend you contact Mongoose and see how they can help you, though since you didn't buy from them your options may be a bit limited.
Still, be polite and make your case, return them the models that are past saving, and ask for replacements. it may take some time, but if they want a returning customer they ought to help you out somehow in the interest of customer service.
My starfuries are mounted singly to 1 cent bases instead of the 6-to-a-base set up mongoose provides. they don't give nealy enough fighters in the fleet boxes compared with how many fighters the ships in the fleet boxes can launch.
All of my ships use metal (brass) rod as a post. the plastic ones are simply to flimsy for these size ships, though I've very glad they use the larger base. With a brass rod, even an omega will stand properly, given the base size. the center of gravity isn't that far off - its still under the footprint of the base. some ships I can't see how they stand up though. The warlock looks horribly off center, but I don't own one yet, either.

yesterday I picked up an Interstellar alliance box set. I've put together 5 of the white stars so far (all with large bases - kudos Mongoose!) and one of the Victory's. The vertical wing has a couple problems; the recessed panel lines are identical on both sides and actually can be seen through!
other exterior detail on these is pristine though. very big model!
a couple small fit problems but nothing that can't be fixed with a dremel.
Chern
 

Tredrick

Mongoose
I thought about asking them for replacements, but I think the mold is likely in desperate need of replacing. I had heard bad things about them before I bought them. As you will read in part two, I ended up doing pretty good with them.

The Artemis has 6 turrets on top and 4 on the bottom. I realized after I wrote it forgot to say that was each. There were 18 turrets for each Artemis, giving me 36 in total. Though I did only have five in perfect shape before working with them.

I like the idea of each base being a full squadron. I worked out a good way to base them. More on that in part two.

I also use the brass rod system. Do you do interchangeable or just use the one rod?

I'm very interested to hear about the Victory since it is, unless I am mistaken, a Mongoose original.
 

Chernobyl

Mongoose
Well, it wouldn't hurt to try getting replacements, still. otherwise you've wasted your money when some of the models are unusable - which is probably the reason you were able to get them on ebay in the first place. I just don't want to see anybody pay $100 for a box of minis sight unseen (even off the shelf; it is after all, a closed box - can't see inside like a blister pack) and not get good quality minis for the $$ you're spending. thats about 1/3 of the value of the box that came in poor condition. I know I'd return them, and keep it up til I got good ones. They don't have to be perfect - I've a fair bit of skill and can ignore small defects, but if the model is grossly deformed I'd say its not a viable product. If you can't get replacement hyperions get suitable raid-level ship replacements or the equavalent $$ value ships in kind.

regarding fighters, from a modeling standpoint, I too would have liked a base to be a bit "busier", like the 6-fighter base is, but in the end, economy, painting, and game play took precedence with me. The ISA box has 10 white stars (carry 1 nial each)and only 2 bases (at 6 each) of nials. 2 Victorys (carrying 6 starfuries each), but only 6 bases (at 6 each) of starfuries. Would have made sense to provide more thunderbolt starfuries to make the difference, or instead instead of regular starfuries (considering the service dates), and at least 5 bases' worth of nials.

The Victory looks good. my only complaint (which is really my own fault) is trying to get the wings angled right. I picture them wanting to be about 120deg. apart, and is a little tough to angle the bottom wings. I'll get some rubber bands for the second one, to hold them in place when glueing.
The White stars aren't too bad either, though there seems to be a consistant miscast on the bottom of the main piece, though I'm probably being nitpicky as it isn't really visible when the model is put together, and still looks good.

Next thing I need is 4 more Omegas and some Thunderbolt starfuries. Next year at Kublacon in San Francisco I want to run 2 games; one a learning demo and the second a "Battle of Proxima 3" that has Sheridan's white stars going up against Earth's Omega destroyer squadron. So, need more omegas!

Chernobyl
 

Tredrick

Mongoose
First thing I did is get the flash off of everything, starting with the Hyperions. This was a quick process as all of it came off easily once I put the knife to it. Same went for everything but the Starfuries. I lost another engine when the connection to the flash was too strong. Ah well. Battle damage.

Really, all of the flash came off easier than I am used to. It took me about 25 minutes for everything but the ‘Furies. They took about 20 minutes on their own and it hurt to hold them and all their little sharp points.

I was going to base the ‘furies first, but could not think of how to. The holes are much larger than the pegs on the bottom of the models. When I tired gluing them in place they sort of rolled around and looked terrible. I decided to pull them out, wipe off the glue and put them aside until I could think of a better way to base them.

I decided to work on the Hyperions first since they would be the toughest challenge. After smoothing out the mold lines and areas where I removed flash I went to work on the engine area. (NOTE: The first thing I did on all of them was hit the flash and mold lines then give them a good wash. I won’t mention this again.) I took my knife and carved out some of the extra metal. Then I went at it with my Dremel tool. I tried to clear out enough the area around the bumps where the engine pods go. After 30 minutes I had cleared one out. I decided this was taking entirely too long and decided to use the brute force approach.

I coated the entire engine section in glue and put the 3 engines where they should go. I then stood the first Hyperion on the cap from the clue and left it to dry while I cleared out the excess metal from the rest and smoothed them out. I spent about an hour to get all 4 of them smoothed out and glued up. When they dried, I applied another thick coat of glue. I would be obscuring any detail, but any detail that was there was from my knife, not from the mold.

While they dried up I went on to the Nova. I would love to have been a fly on the wall of the production meeting for this. I picture something like this:

Modeler: I have a great idea for a model: a ship with lots of big guns sticking out.

Manager: Sounds great. How will all those guns attach?

Modeler: They’ll have to glue them on.

Manager: But won’t they break off easily if there are so many? Will it be easy to pin them to the main body of the model?

Modeler: Nah! I’m sure they’ll love the challenge. Gamers love it when they have to repair their models.

Seriously, who thought all those easy to break off guns should be put on all those tiny struts that make pinning next to impossible? I pinned all the side guns on, but the top and bottom are a real pain. I’m afraid that, instead of strengthening the bond, all the pinning will do is weaken those little struts by putting holes in them.

They already fall off when I pick it up to attach a different gun. Or when I turn it to look at it from a different angle. Or when I look at it cross-eyed. Or think about looking at it, cross-eyed or not. Right now I am using the “Lots of glue, a little epoxy and a few prayers” plan. Nothing has fallen off in the past half hour. This is an improvement.

Next I went to work on the Artemis cruisers. Of the 36 turrets I had I was able to get 30 of them off in good shape. I then proceeded to lose a few of them. Attaching them was easy and took about ten minutes, thanks to the rare occurrence of me not gluing my fingers together.

Next up was the Omega destroyers and my plan to make the habitat section spin. I took some good insulation wire that I had lying around to use as the center rod. Drilling the holes in the two fore and aft sections took less time than I thought. What took the longest time was lining things up to make sure the holes were exactly opposite each other.

I am very please with how they turned out.

The Tethys cutters needed no work at all. I’ve never had that before.

With the Hyperions dry I had to put a hole in and insert the short section of brass rod for the interchangeable base system I use. I used the pin vice instead of the Dremel for the fine control it offers. I only came out the side of the model once, and it was nothing that could not be covered up.

I then went back and widened the hole for each of the ships so I could glue the brass rod into place.

When I was done I decided to go back and put 2 rods in the Nova, just to be safe. Only knocked to guns off doing this too.

I had almost forgotten to fill the hole in the habitat section of my Omegas. When I was doing this I had a brain storm for how to base my Starfuries. I took the epoxy I was using to fill the hole and stuffed it in each of the holes on the base. Before it could harden I jammed in the models. Works great, keeps them in tight and keeps them from resting on the base, something I wanted to avoid.

It took a while, but it looks great.

Several of them are drying from their first thin coat of primer. I’m happy with how all of them have turned out so far, even the Hyperions. With the engines mounted you can’t see the mess that they are glued on to. I’m sure the primer will cover a multitude of little problems with them.

I probably won’t get a chance to start painting until Tuesday. I have an interview and a final on Monday, so I will be busy until then.


**PICTURES FORTHCOMING** (in the morning, after I sleep)
 

Tredrick

Mongoose
I have four pictures done to share.

First up are the Hyperions. I really should have taken a picture of the engine section before working on them, but did not have the camera and am your typical, impatient modeler. Here is a side view of the four of them before priming.

Hyperions.jpg


You can see the small section of brass rod sticking out of the bottom for me to use in my base system.

Next up are the Tethys and Artemis cruisers Nothing real exciting.

Smallships.jpg


I covered how I converted the Omega. This picture shows one of them complete and the other one in the middle of construction. You can see the wire sticking out of the front section and get a feel for how far into the aft it will go. Once completed the mini is very sturdy and the mid section swings freely whiel still being able to stay in one place when in use.

Omegas.jpg


Finally, I have a picture of the Nova, along with some company. Since this picture was taken I put a second rod in between the two front most guns in case I want to double base the Nova.

Flash.jpg


That pile of metal is all the excess metal from the entire box set. If I send it back to be recycled, can I get a Warlocke?

You can also see a bit of the brass rod I use for the basing. I may include a section on that tonight with a picture or two if I get the free time.
 

Renny

Mongoose
Ok, i'm intrigued.
Can you tell us more about your basing system? I'm just putting together my first couple of EA ships and i've been dragging my heels because I haven't decided what to do about bases yet.

Oh, and the rest of the writeups were really interesting. Looking forward to reading more.

Regards

Renny
 

Tredrick

Mongoose
Step-by-step process for using brass rods to base your ships:

Needed tools:
1/16" brass rod
3/32" brass rod
Dremel or saw

Note: Do not use any form of snips or scissors to cut the brass rods. They will crimp the ends. This will make it impossible to fit the two pieces into each other.

2nd Note: Use square rods instead of the round ones. This will keep the minis from turning in the stands.

1- Cut the 1/16" rod to about 1cm.
2- Cut the 3/32" rod to about 4cm.
3- Insert the 3/32" rod section into the flying base. Gently hammer it into place.
4- Insert the 1/16" section into the stem hole in the mini. If the hole is not wide enough you can widen it with a 1/16" drill bit for the Dremel or with any tool that is 1/16" wide. Place a little glue into the hole to keep it in place. Make sure a least 5mm are sticking out of the mini.
5- You can prime them together or separately. You will get a slightly better layer of primer if you do it separately. If you do it together you do not have to worry about the primer making the rods not fit into each other. If you do prime separately you can scrape the primer off the 1/16" rod section with your nail or by gently rubbing a hobby knife over it.


I use K&S Engineering brass rods. You can find them in many hobby shops. Their tubing stands look like this:

tubewirecenter_new.gif


This picture shows 2 primed black stands, one unprimed stand, a GW flying base, a section of cut 3/32" rod that can be used on the base, an uncut (but marked) piece of 1/16" rod and a section of 1/16" rod inserted into a piece of 3/32" rod.

Basing1.jpg


To get the sections of 3/32" rod into the base just gently hammer them in.

This second picture is a close-up of the sections of brass rod. I rolled the 1/16" rod so you cannot see the markings where I plan to cut next time I need small sections.

Basing2.jpg


The last picture shows 2 primed minis; one in the base, one not in.

Basing3.jpg
 

Wulf Corbett

Mongoose
Tredrick said:
Step-by-step process for using brass rods to base your ships:

Needed tools:
1/16" brass rod
3/32" brass rod
Dremel or saw
Same method I use. Are those the very smallest two sections of brass? As I'm basing Fleet Action minis I use the smallest - those look thicker by comparison to a Mongoose mini. Also, as I use square bases, I have to be more careful lining up the square section, or else my ships sidle into battle...

Wulf
 

Tredrick

Mongoose
Wulf Corbett said:
Tredrick said:
Step-by-step process for using brass rods to base your ships:

Needed tools:
1/16" brass rod
3/32" brass rod
Dremel or saw
Same method I use. Are those the very smallest two sections of brass? As I'm basing Fleet Action minis I use the smallest - those look thicker by comparison to a Mongoose mini. Also, as I use square bases, I have to be more careful lining up the square section, or else my ships sidle into battle...

Wulf

I believe there is a 1/32" solid rod that will fit into the 1/16" hollow section. I have never seen it available from K&S though. I would not want to use something that thin unless I could always put it at the center of gravity.

I like the image of the Drazi sidling into battle. Could be helpful. Ships sidling up to the enemy; trying to look all nonchalant before lining up a boresight.
 

Tredrick

Mongoose
Before I get to the meat, here is a picture of the brass rods I use, still in their wraps. You can see the sizes on them.

Rods1.jpg


The .014 is the thickness of the walls.

Okay, on to the nights work.

I finished my bases. I covered how I assembled them, now I will cover how I finished painting them. Solid black is certainly functional, but I wanted a bit more. So I decided to put some stars on them.

I used 2 different star colors. The first is a mix of white and light blue, the second a mix of white and yellow. I wanted very pale colors. After mixing the color up I dipped a toothbrush in it, pointed the toothbrush at the base, and then ran my finger along the bristles resulting in paint spots being thrown onto the base. After finishing one color I moved on to the next.

When I was done I painted the stems black. This both covered up the paint that landed on them and covered the areas the primer ad flaked off of. Most hobby primers do not stick well to brass.

Here are the results:

Bases1.jpg

Bases2.jpg


I had to get in close for the camera to pick the spots up.

Oh, I should tell you that I use mainly Citadel/GW paints. I am starting to switch over to Vallejo paints.

For the furies I did the same thing to them to get the same effect on the bases. After that I painted the 'Fury bodies. I used a mix of Fortress Grey and Boltgun metal. This results in a nice metallic grey that looks nice. Expect me to use it on the big ships as well.

Next I decided my flights needed to be individualized. I put a pair of white stripes on the back of each mini. I then put a center stripe on each fig, a different color for each flight. A few of them got a third color.

Finally, I picked out each cockpit in Lightning Blue and the engines in red.

Furies1.jpg

Furies2.jpg

Furies3.jpg

Furies4.jpg

Furies5.jpg


Overall, I am thrilled with the way these came out. I usually hate painting tiny figures. This is why I did them first; get the worst stuff out of the way. I'll be sealing all of them tomorrow, weather permitting.

Speaking of which, the Hyperions are next.
 

Chernobyl

Mongoose
wow, the fighters look great!
I think I'll do my cockpits in black though...I think a dark color would be more approporiate to the scale. The interior of the cockpit is really mostly illuminated by hud, indicators, etc., not interior lighting like a ship might be.
I've been watching my B5 dvd's over again to get a feel for color schemes and such. Yours look great!
Chern
 

Jal

Mongoose
either this topic should be stickied or something similar should be done by Mongoose.
 

Tredrick

Mongoose
I tried black cockpits, but it got lost in the base. With the base on my black gaming table, it would be completely gone. Then I tried picking out the trim of the cockpit in blue, but had little luck with it. After going all blue I tried to get the trim in black, and again did not like the results. I may fiddle with them a bit more after I seal them.

Thanks for all the compliments.
 

Wulf Corbett

Mongoose
Tredrick said:
I tried black cockpits, but it got lost in the base. With the base on my black gaming table, it would be completely gone. Then I tried picking out the trim of the cockpit in blue, but had little luck with it. After going all blue I tried to get the trim in black, and again did not like the results. I may fiddle with them a bit more after I seal them.
You might try Gunmetal for the dark but semi-reflective impression. Or try silver with a tint of blue.

Wulf
 

Chernobyl

Mongoose
I like both those ideas wulf, I'll give them a shot. I'm going to work up some starfuries this weekend I think. We'll see how they turn out.
Chern
 

Tredrick

Mongoose
Busy day today. First I got a reminder in how bad GW varnish sucks. I spent about an hour repainting parts of my Starfuries.

After that I got down to some serious painting and tackled the Hyperions. I generally like to do my least favorite minis first, get them done fast, and then move on to something I expect to enjoy more. I was right in thinking I would not like painting the Hyperions much.

My idea was to take the metallic grey I had mixed and paint the entire body in that. Then I would dry brush several layers of white over it. I wanted a ship that looked like it had seen a lot of action and was ready for some time in dry dock and a fresh coat of paint.

The problem I ran into is, when I started the dry brushing of white, I found that the surface was not flat enough. Most of the surfaces were rough and the dry brushing did not cover enough surface area. Worse, some of the detail on the model had been so smoothed out that dry brushing was enough to get paint in them. I had to change plans.

What I decided to do was go with a bright white paint job. Since I had primed black then painted on a basecoat of grey, this meant a lot of white would be needed. Rather than paint one thick coat, and lose all detail left in the model, I painted on several thin layers of white. This still wiped out a lot of detail, but there was enough left to be seen if you get close enough.

Then I did some blue lines to make it look a bit more like the show. 'Course all the EA ships on the show looked like unpainted metal other than the blue, but that is too damn boring for a game.

Here are the final results:

Hyperion2.jpg


And a close-up:

Hyperion1.jpg


I had planned to do a lot more with the little saucer bit. It never worked out like I had planned. I tried to ink it and then dry brush over it with no luck. I tried and picking out the details with little success. The detail is too muted, and then covered with too much paint. At this point I am just happy they are not always falling off.

I'm pretty happy with how they came out. They are clearly not showpiece quality, but they are up to table top standards.

Being on a roll, and having nothing else to do, I moved on to the Artemis Heavy Frigates. Since they were in much better shape I decided to try the dry brush technique I attempted on the Hyperions. This time I skipped the grey basecoat and went straight to the white dry brushing. If it did not work out well, there would at least be less paint mucking up the detail on the figures.

Things went much better this time. While the paint did get into some of the detail work, I was able to fill them in with black paint and re dry brush around them.

The finished product:

Artemis2.jpg


And a close up view from below:

Artemis1.jpg


The ships look old, like they have seen better days, but are still plugging along. I may go back and pick out some detail on the front and engines. Still undecided.
 
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