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Well ThePolo inspired me to do my own WIP post after his excellent WIP/Tutorial, and what better to do it with than my newest aquisition, Cinder.


I bought her at my local FLGS last week. I couldn't wait to open her and see what she was like. Immediately, I was very impressed at her size and level of detail, especially in the head. I am really looking forward to painting her. There was some shipping damage. The largest fingers of the wings were bent almost double over. I don't have a picture of that because I straightened them before I decided to start doing this WIP.


Anyway, so here is a shot of her right out of the box (after unbending the wing claws).





So, right away, I decided to start removing the flash. I started with the body section, which was pretty clean except for a few areas on the back spines. I used my dremel with diamond point bits to do most of the flash work. The only really bad area on the body that I found was a bad pull on the left side of the tail <_< , as shown in the following picture (it was actually a lot worse that this, I had started cleaning it before I remembered to take a picture):





A posed cleaning shot (obviously the dremel isn't running here, I just wanted to show the diamond bit I am using):





And a finished tail shot (actually, I have to go over it a bit more with a hand fille to smooth it a bit, but it is mostly done):





I finished cleaning the back leg which was very good and had little flash on it. I also worked on the hands/arms which were also fairly clean, except that they were webbed between the fingers with flash, which I easily removed with a hobby knife.


Finally, I started trying to fit the head and to my dismay, it doesn't fit very well. The fit is rather sloppy and the gap between the back of the head and the neck is rather large. This is going to take some putty work later on.





Well, that's all for now. Nothing too exciting yet. I'm working on the wings now. I'll post more in a few days. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome and encouraged ::D: .





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Thanks for doing this, I will be reading along with interest. I've had Gauth staring at me from my shelf for almost a year now and I think he is going to be the next "big" project I work on once I get my currnet WIPS finished. I hope to learn from your experience with Cinder...




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Last night, I worked on cleaning and preparing the wings. As usual with dragon wings, there was a mold line that ran all the way around the leading and trailing edges of the wings.




Using the same diamond bit I used on the body, I smoothed out the trailing edge and carefully removed the line from the leading edge, being careful not to eliminate any of the scaling detail. I then used the bit to polish and sharpen all of the wing claws.


If you look closely at Cinder's wings, you will see that the webbing is striated with lines. The only problem with this is that the trailing wing edge is not; it is smooth, so I used the dremel to add striation lines across the trailing wing edges:





...Begin Rant... <_<

If there is one thing that frustrates me about most dragon miniatures, it is that the wings are completely flat. If you look at a bat's wing you would notice that it is not flat, but that the wing fingers curve down to cup the wing, there by creating an air-foil and allowing the animal to scoop the air with it's wing beats. A flat wing would be useless, and it really takes away a lot of the realizism of the sculpt. I'm not sure why so many sculptors make flat wings, but it really irritates me and some times it is the difference between me buying the mini or putting it back.

...End Rant...


Well, Cinder has flat wings, but they were sculpted thin enough and with the right bone pattern that I felt I could adjust them.


The following picture shows the wing before I started work on it:




Notice how perfectly flat the wing is, with very little dynamic dimension to it at this point. To change this into the cupped wings that I like, I first bend the wing at the elbow. I place my thumbs on the top of the elbow joint and push down while pulling up on the shoulder and wrist. Sorry, I don't have a picture of this.


IMPORTANT: If you are new to conversions and pewter, you should note that if you do not do this carefully, you can easily crack the brittle metal and ruin the part. Always apply steady pressure, increasing slowly until the part bends. If you feel creaking or sudden giving, the part is beginning to crack and you should let off.


Next, I do the harder job of cupping the wing. To do this, I wrapped a hard screwdriver handle with foam to protect the mini. Then I placed the wing wrist on the handle with the webing straddling the handle . Then I pressed down on the wing on both sides of the handle to bend it (see the picture below). As it bends, I move the wing, so that I bend it evenly between all of the fingers.




The end results:






Well, thats all I have on the wings for now. Next, I'll finish up the head, arms, and tail tip, and then start dry fitting everything together. It may be a few days before I post again as I have a lot of irons in the fire right now.


Take care and thanks for your comments,



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I'll be getting back to her this weekend. I took a little side trip the last couple of days and tried my hand at a bit of sand casting. I wanted to cast a base for Cinder that was big enough to support her and yet stronger than plastic or thin wood. Well, lets just say I won't be trying that again anytime soon :wacko: .


I think I'll just use a flat sheet of steel or aluminum for the base and stop trying to be so fancy. :rolleyes:


I'll probably have more to post by Saturday or Sunday.





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I sat down last night and finished the flash and mold-line cleaning. I ended up with a quite a few pictures to show you for this installment.


I had already finished cleaning off the mold lines on the legs and head over the weekend. I did this with the diamond bit as I did with the wings, so I didn't feel compelled to take any new photos of that process.


I started last night with the base. I am going to be rebasing this mini onto a larger, more substantial base. I also decided that I like the skeleton with sword on the rocks of the base, but not with this mini. I figure that with a read dragon, the skeleton would either have been burnt away in dragon fire, or ripped apart as the dragon ate it. Either way, I didn't think a whole skeleton at the feet of this dragon was quite the feel I am going for. Also, I have another mini project in mind that this skeleton will be perfect for. So my first step was to cut the base apart to remove the skeleton. There is another advantage to cutting the base apart. If the feet are separate, then I can more truely line up and glue the leg and ankle joints. As it is with the feet connected, when I fit the legs to the feet and body, I am forced to have a couple of gaps between the leg and body and the ankles and feet. Seperately, I can attach them as needed to make the miniature fit together well.


The following picture shows my planned cuts:




I wraped the base in cork to protect it from my vise and clamped it securely. Using a re-enforced cutting disk and mandrel, I cut the base apart. Warning: when using a cutting disk, you will be sprayed with hot pewter particles. Always wear safety glasses with side shields during this operation.



(Don't you love my cool grey sweat shorts and Minnesota winter white legs? ::D: )


In the end, I had to sacrifice one of the skeleton's feet and legs below the knee. The following picture shows the finished cuts:




After cutting, a large burr of metal forms where the disk went through. Also, I have to turn the skeleton's foot into a lump of rock. So to do this, I used my pointed carbide cutter. For those of you who have never used carbide cutters before, they work really great for doing major resculpting on the metal. They cut through the pewter like it was butter. Warning: they will also cut through you like butter and they throw bits of pewter so be sure to use safety glasses. Carbide is far superior to steel for metal work. Steel cutters will dull very quickly. I've been using this cutter for about 8 years and it is still very sharp. They are a quite a bit more expensive than steel, but well worth the price.




So with the cutter, I reshaped the skeleton foot into a stone looking lump, removed the burr left by the cutting disk, and roughed up the smooth face where the disk went through to alow the green stuff to stick to it better later, once I have the part on the base. The cutter leaves a very rough surface (see picture below), so the next step is to smooth it out with the diamond bit. I also remove any flash left at this time.




Finally, I take a rubber poishing point and use it to smooth out the finish left by the diamond point. Rubber polishing points will not remove much metal (though they will erase lightly enscribed detail). They do however, leave a nice smooth surface. I use them mostly as the final step on things like claws, teeth, armor,and some stone to polish the metal smooth.





I then turned my attention to the claws. At first they had a lot of flash on them:




I used the diamond point to clean them and the arms. I also used it to reshape the claws a bit and sharpen them (one actually poked a hole in me while I was working on them). After that, I took the polishing point to the claws to make them smooth (I also did this to the claws on the wings and the horns and teeth on the head). I then used a hand file and a hobby knife to remove flash lines between the fingers.






Finally, I went over the whole miniature with the hand file to touch up anything I missed.


Cinder is now ready for the assembly steps. I'll start pinning and basing her tonight.



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Hello again,


Last night, I cut out the piece of steel that will be my base and then put the arms and head on the dragon. I know that a lot of painters do not put a mini together until after it is mostly painted; I, however, am not one of those painters, unless a part really obscures details. Fortunately, Cinder is sculpted in such a way as to leave good access to the whole mini even after assembly. Way to go Sandra! :wub:::D: So for the next few days I will be assembling Cinder.


First the base: as I said, I am using a sheet of steel for a base. Using Cinder as a template, I figured out about how big of a base I want and marked out the edges of it on the sheet of steel.




I used my Dremel re-enforced cutting disk to cut the base out of the sheet. As usual, I wore safety glasses for this, but I did not wear a breathing mask. I should have though, I've been coughing ever since from the steel dust I inhaled. <_< By the way, it took three cutting disks to cut out this much steel. I'll now set the base aside while I assemble Cinder.


When assembling a mini, I almost always use pins to secure the joints. I also always use epoxy as my glue. Almost all of my minis see double duty as both show pieces and D&D play figures, so they have to hold up to the rigors of play and travel. I used to use cyanoarylate based glues, but had too many wings and other parts break off. Cyanoacrylate forms a strong bond with a good pull resistance, but it has very poor shear resistance and is prone to breaking apart from a side hit. Epoxy on the other hand forms a bond that is very difficult to break apart, even if you want to. Epoxy is a bit more fussy though. First you have to mix it, and then you have to immobilize it while it sets up. I have had problems with epoxy turning out rubbery if I allow the parts to move while the glue is still setting up. Because of this, I use 90 second epoxy; the fastest curing epoxy available. With 90 second epoxy, I can mix it up, apply it, put the parts together, and hold them for about 5 to 10 minutes until the bond is secure enough to no longer need clamping. With 5 minute epoxy, I have found that it needs to be held for about 20 to 30 minutes. (The time listed on the epoxy is the working time you have with it, after that you have to immobilize the part for a longer period to have a good hold.)


This is a big miniature, so I decided that my normal brass pin stock that I use for minis would be to flimsy to really hold her together. Instead, I used a section of coat hanger for the pins. I looked and found the thinest guage hanger I could find and cut out the bottom span. The following picture shows the parts of Cinder I am concentrating on tonight, the cut out base, and the coat hanger rod:




The first step was to drill holes into the arm sockets on the body and into the tabs on the arms. I needed a fairly large bit (for mini work any way), so I used my cordless drill to make the holes instead of my pin vice.




The holes from either side met in the middle, forming a continuous hole, though from different angles. I then drilled holes in the tabs on the arms. It helps before doing this to use a file to make a divit where you want the hole to go so the bit has a place to start.


Next, I inserted the rod into the arm and marked the depth with a Sharpie marker on the rod. Then, using a wire cutters, I clipped the rod about another 3/8 inch past the mark. Next, I began the test fitting. When I first put the rod in, I realized that I didnt get the hole in the body angled quite right for the pin to fit into the hole in the arm. This cause the arm to no longer fit all of the way onto the body with the pin in it. So I used a needlenose pliers and my vice to bend the pin at the mark I made earlier. Then I tested it again as can be seen in the following pictures:






You will notice in the above picture that I still have a gap between the arm and the body because of the pin's interference. I took it apart again and, using the carbide cutter, I carefully reworked the inside of the socket to remove the metal the pin was binding against until the arm with the pin fit.





Next, I repeated all of the above steps with the second arm. Then, while holding the first arm in place, I tested with both arms.




The pins touched in the middle and I had to trim a bit off to get them to fit. Once both arms fit, I pulled them out again and removed the pins. Using a file, I roughed up the surface of each pin so that the epoxy would stick to them better.




Time for the glue. I mixed up a small batch of epoxy on a disposable tray with flat toothpicks. I then used the pin of one arm to stuff epoxy into the hole in the arm until it was full. Then I seated the pin in the arm and spread a coat of epoxy over the gluing surface of the arm. I also put epoxy into the arm socket hole and gluing surfaces. I put the pieces together and held them firmly in place for 5 to 10 minutes.


When gluing, if any epoxy oozes out, I use a toothpick to remove it at this point. You can also use the Dremel later to remove it if necessary.


I don't have any photos of this process because my epoxy cures so fast, I had no time to set-up a shot and monkey around with the pin as well. Once that arm was secure, I repeated the gluing process with the other arm, being carefull not to put any pressure on the first arm. Once glued, I once again held it for 5 to 10 minutes.


Finally, I applied glue to the inside of the head and positioned it onto the neck without pins (it had a good enough tab system already and didn't need pinning). This I took a shot of:




Once I had finished holding the head in place, I carefully balanced the mini across my needlenose so that no weight would be on any of the freshly glued parts. I then left it to cure. Epoxy typically takes 24 hours of curing to reach full strength and hardness.




Well, that's all for now. I just checked the mini and the joints are fully solid now. Those arms will never come off. I'm going to go and put the wings on tonight. Have a good day.



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Hello, I'm back. I've actually been working on Cinder a quite a bit in the past few days; I just haven't had time to sit down and write this up.


My next step was to install the wings. The wings on this mini already have an excellent tab to give them strength after gluing; however, as always, I added my own pin as well. I decided to put the wing pins just in front of the tab, into the shoulder joint. Otherwise, my processes for putting on the wings was the same as for the arms.




As for the tip of the tail, it is too small to use a coat hanger pin, so I used a pin made from a smaller brass rod that I use for most of my mini pinning needs.




I must say that I do not like the way the tail fits. It was very difficult to line up the scales and it really doesn't look natural once together. This is going to need some putty work to make it look like a single tail.


Once the wings and tail were dry, I put the right leg on. Again, I pinned it just in front of the tab. I used a fairly long pin on this one because it has to bear the weight of the whole mini.






So now all parts (except the feet which will be part of the base) are on and I set the the mini aside to cure.




Next post I'll show the beginning of my base preparations.


Have a good day,



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On to the base.


First, I spent about 20 minutes getting the pewter filings out of my large file. <_< Then I used the file to square up, smooth off, and make a bevel on all of the edges of the steel base.





I want the base to look like a rocky out-cropping. I figure that the rocks will be weather worn and have lichens on them and grass and small bushes growing in the cracks. I decided that I needed a little more dimension than just the flat steel base; however, I didn't want the base to get too tall because this mini is heavy and I think something very stable is in order. To achieve the effect I want, I am going to sculpt the rocks out of green/gray stuff (epoxy putty); however, that stuff is fairly expensive and I do not want to waste it, so I decided to make an armature on top of the steel using 3/16 inch Masonite. This I can carve into a rough semblance of what I want and then sculpt the rocks on top of it.


The first step was to cut out the armature. I drew the outline of the base on the Masonite and then used the dragon to position the feet where I wanted them. I drew an outline around the feet so I could place them again later. Next, I drew a rough sketch on the masonite of the armature shape.




I then cut the armature out using my scroll saw (you could use a hand coping saw as well). The following picture shows the rough armature on the base:




I then used my Dremel and a carbide wood rasp bit to carve the armature.




I made all of the edges slope to the base and dug in channels and the like. I also used it to rough up the Masonite where the feet will go so that the epoxy will bond better. Next, I used a diamond bit to rough up the steel where the armature will go to ensure that the epoxy will bond well.




Using 5-minute epoxy to give myself a bit more time to work, I glued the armature to the steel.




Once cured, I glued on the left foot with 90-second epoxy.




Well, that's all for now. Next, I'll put on the other foot, drill and prepare the substantial foot pins, and sculpt the base.


Have a good night.



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