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Kang

Big Bad Bug

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Well, I've got Cadirith all cleaned up, pinned 'n glued, gap-filled (for the most part), repositioned, then pinned and gap-filled again, and I've filled in the hollow belly with Mighty Putty for bulk followed by a layer of green stuff sculpted to match the surrounding anatomy and texture. I've also gotten some great advice on using RMS white Brush-On Primer - it'll be my first time brushing primer on in over 20 years (finally had it with humidity-related glitched-up spray can mishaps).

 

No pix yet though; I'm posting this first so it will motivate me both to keep working on the mini, and to snap some photos to post up as well. So if that works, I'll be posting some pix before too long, not to mention making some progress with the painting. For now, I'll just post the steps completed so far in a bit more detail, in the off-chance that someone else may find it interesting and/or useful somehow...

 

Kang

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- Cleaned up: First I dunked all the pieces into a bowl filled with warm water & dish detergent (Dawn IIRC - that's the one that's a super grease-cutter, right?), and went at it with an old electric toothbrush to get rid of any residual oiliness from the casting process that might otherwise mess up my paint job. Who knows if that's a real phenomenon? I always do this, so hopefully I will never find out. No matter in any case; a very clean mini certainly isn't going to hurt. There are spots on the spider's body that have a sort of golden colour which I'm curious about. They didn't scrub off, so hopefully they are not early signs of something evil yet to rear its head. It looks a bit tarnished in those spots if you know what I mean. Maybe when I do get some photos up, someone can tell me what's up with that?

 

Anyhow, then I went on to deal with the mold lines, none of which were that bad. Took my time with this, using my needle files to remove the mold lines from the claw/horn things on the leg joints and ends, which was really the only place they were visible. Could be the primer will make minor mold lines appear on the hairy parts of the legs etc., but I am hoping that won't be a problem. Then I got out my dremel and some polishing points I bought ages ago (upon being inspired by Talespinner's Cinder WiP) but hadn't yet tried using. Guess what? The shafts were too narrow for the collet in my rotary tool. So I got out the polishing pins from the same order, which fit in the dremel OK. Managed to smooth out the rough spots where I'd been hacking away with my files, revealing a bit of mold line still showing in places. A little more filing, a little more polishing (by this time I had bought a set of collets and was able to get the rubberized points working - they are easier to work with since they're less flexible and don't wear out as quickly, but they don't leave the surface quite as shiny and gleamingly smooth as the pins. Still very shiny, just not quite as mirror-like), and finally I can't see any sign of those mold lines (but the primer is the real test). All the parts that are supposed to be smooth are now very smooth.

 

Kang

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- Pinned 'n glued: I use paperclips (the standard sized "serrated" type, for lack of a better term) and epoxy. Normally I use the pinning method described in this CMoN tutorial by Jester because it's the best way I've tried to get the holes to line up right. I had the mini with me so I did the majority of the drilling at work during my lunch break. The legs have pretty long pegs on them, so pinning might not have really been all that necessary, but I've had to reglue minis together enough times that I don't ever skip pinning anymore.

 

I decided to drill the holes in the legs first, then use that trick I linked to line up the holes on the underside of the body. Oops! On the first leg, I underestimated how deep I had drilled, and the bit came right through out the other side. Oh well, I thought, I can use a little green stuff to fix that later. But it occurred to me that I now could use the hole in the leg to line up the hole in the torso just as well as if I'd used that CMoN method, without having to fuss with spit and poster tack. Furthermore, if I drilled all the way through the body too, making one long hole right through the leg and body, it might make it easier to fill that hole with the (thick) epoxy I use - normally, getting the glue to go in the hole is the most annoying part, because it's not runny enough to flow to the bottom of the hole - it always wants to sit near the top, on top of an air bubble. So I drilled all the way through all 8 legs, then proceeded to use the leg-holes as guides to drill all the way through the body another 8 times. And do you know what? It worked. It was much easier to get the glue into the holes this time since the air in the hole just got pushed out the far end instead of me having to somehow make the glue get past it. I hope this is making sense...

 

So for each pin, I coated it with glue after stuffing a little more glue into one end of the hole with the tip of the pin. then I pushed the pin into the hole until it just barely came out the other side. Then, with the end of the rest of the paperclip, I pushed it back into the hole so it was maybe 1mm from the surface. then I pushed it maybe another mm in and snipped it off flush at the other side. then I pushed the other side back in about 1mm so that the hole was filled with glue and a pin that was about 1mm from the surface at both ends, and wiped off the excess epoxy that by then had gotten all over everything. This worked fine for all 8 legs. I also epoxied the mini's existing pegs in place and used a little on the areas near the pins and pegs where the top of the legs touch the underside of the body.

 

It was tough figuring out how to hold it in place overnight while the epoxy cured. I didn't have a bucket of sand handy to try a neat gluing trick I saw around here a while back (I'll edit in a link later if I can find it again - no luck searching for it just now), and I wasn't sure I'd have been able to use that trick without getting sand in the epoxy anyhow, so I wound up using a piece of cork board just wide enough to press all the legs firmly against the bottom of the body, which I fastened to the body with a hair elastic wrapped several times around it and the spider's head area. It worked OK, though I did have to pick some little bits of cork out of the dried epoxy that had oozed out from between the legs overnight. I was able to pick all of the cork and excess epoxy away with my dental picks, so no big deal there.

 

Kang

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- Gap-filled (for the most part): Just a little green stuff to plug the sixteen ~1mm-deep holes on top of the body and on the bottom of the legs, and a little scoring with a dental tool to match the hairy texture of the surrounding areas. One or 2 of the holes had come up through horns on the spider's back though, so those took a little more work to fix. I'm fairly sure I smoothed those ones all out OK in the end, but there might be one that is going to look slightly rough - but hopefully not very noticeable. It was tough to get in there to fix it with all those legs in the way... There is a little more stuffing I could do on the underside, where the legs join up with the body, but I'm not sure I'm going to bother. We'll see.

 

Kang

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- Repositioned, then pinned and gap-filled again: I did quite a bit of bending of the legs to get the spider into the typical threatening posture of a tarantula - sort of rearing up, with the font legs held up in the air. I had several reasons for this - A) it looks cool; B) this new position is more dynamic than with the spider standing with all 8 legs touching the ground; C) if I didn't do this, I'm positive the legs would have been all getting in my way of painting the other legs and the body. As it stands, I have some hope that I won't regret attaching the legs before painting; D) I want the spider to fit on a 3" by 3" base, which is way too small for all 8 legs to fit on. It's still a stretch - by all rights this mini ought to sit on a 5" base - but I needed a Huge spider for my D&D game and Cadirith was the only big spider mini at the FLGS other than a GW boxed set that looked like more of a 2" base mini and didn't have nearly as nice a sculpt considering the mere $6 less they were charging for it. My only concern is that from a few angles, Cadirith now looks a little bit like it is recoiling in fear as it retreats, rather than rearing up to attack, but its sheer enormity should hopefully be enough to compensate for this when it goes on the tabletop to scare the pants off my players.

 

But there was a slight problem: one of the legs almost snapped off at the knee while I was bending it. I wound up drilling a hole into it from one side of the break through to the other (starting by drilling through where the kneecap would be if it had one), and glued a pin into the hole with a bit more epoxy. Then I stuffed the thin cracks that had appeared around the leg and the end of the pinhole with green putty and gave it that furry texture again. The leg seems much stronger now, and I'm fairly confident the repair work will not be noticeable or require redoing once it's primed/painted.

 

Kang

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- Filled in the hollow belly: This was the last couple of nights' job. The underside of the belly is an empty hole, but this would have been completely visible given the way I have repositioned the legs so that the head is up higher than the abdomen.

 

So 2 nights ago I mixed up a blob of Billy Mays' Mighty Putty and filled the hole up flush with the surface of the mini. I used Mighty Putty because it is a rather large hole to be filled, and that stuff came cheap. Not great for sculpting as it cures very fast, and it smells like burning matches while you mix it, but it cures rock-hard and you do have enough time to smooth it out before it gets too stiff to work with anymore.

 

Then last night, I added a layer of green stuff on top of the Mighty Putty to complete the missing anatomy and hairy texture. The abdomen (or at least its skin) almost seemed like it was segmented, based on the appearance of the top of the body, and at the front and back of the underside, so I continued that pattern, giving each segment a little point in the middle of the underbelly that faced toward the rear and slightly overlapped the next-rearmost section.

 

I had bought a rubbery-tipped 'colour shaper' tool from an art store thinking it might work well for smoothing putty, but it didn't work out as well as I'd hoped; I actually wound up using a wet finger more than anything else when I was getting the green stuff into the shape I wanted. But it is a tool I think I might be able to learn to use better for this with a little more practice. This is probably the largest area I've ever sculpted, and I'm actually quite pleased with how well it turned out.

 

Kang

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Next step: I should take some pictures. Aside from that, I don't know if I'll try a little more gap-stuffing around where the legs join up with the body or not. If I do, that'll be the next step after those 1st pix; if not, I guess the next step will be to prime this big bug so I can start painting. I got a fairly large cheap brush for this purpose at the same time I got that colour shaper thing. I recently read in Anne's Pathfinder Dragon WiP how (and why) she's using bubble wrap to handle that mini during painting, and I'm sure I've read/seen a couple years ago how at least one other awesome dragon painter does the same (sorry, drawing a blank on her name - another future edit for this post I guess).

 

So, OK, I'm convinced. I'm going to try this with this mini rather than come up with some sort of obtrusive WiP mount that could only wind up being too big to do anything but get in my way. My wife works at a moving supply & rentals company warehouse and has access to huge amounts of bubble wrap, so she's going to being me home some scraps that I can use for this project.

 

That's it for now. If you've really read through all of this, I definitely owe you some pictures. Please feel free to start kicking me until I post some! I can definitely use the motivation...

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Kang

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[There are spots on the spider's body that have a sort of golden colour which I'm curious about. They didn't scrub off, so hopefully they are not early signs of something evil yet to rear its head. It looks a bit tarnished in those spots if you know what I mean. Maybe when I do get some photos up, someone can tell me what's up with that?

Why wait for photos? ::P: That color is just an effect from heating the alloy during the casting process, maybe just a tad hotter in the mold than it needed to be. Nothing to worry about. I've seen it many times over many years and different manufacturers, never had a problem. Can't tell you the specific reaction or the part of the metal - tin? - that gives it that color, though. Maybe one of the Reaper casting folks with more experience could tell you more specifics, if you're curious.

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Thanks for the write up. I've got an assembled one on my nightstand (he doesn't fit in my WIP-drawers!), and it's neat to hear your experiences.

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Thanks for the kicks, info (especially about how that gold-ish discoloration isn't anything to worry about), and encouragement. I only managed to get it mostly primed over the weekend - still needs a 2nd coat on 3 more legs though. That's life with a 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter for you... I promise to take photos once priming is complete, but if I know me, a few more kicks wouldn't hurt (especially if I don't load some up by tomorrow) - photography isn't my favourite part of the hobby & I tend to procrastinate at the slightest excuse no matter how good my intentions. Happy to say that based on the priming experience so far, there are only a couple of spots that should be slightly difficult to paint because of my decision to assemble first. Mainly spots that will be hard to see anyhow.

 

FWIW, since I had received suggestions to thin my primer with anywhere from 20% to 50% water, I started out mixing in one drop of water for each 3 drops of primer, with the intent of adjusting the ratios thinner or thicker as it suited me. I found this was going on a bit thick for my tastes, so every so often I stirred in as much water as the cheap #6 brush I got for this project would hold, to help it flow a little smoother. The brush is a DeSerres brand, which is also the name of the store I got it at (cool store - it's in the mall I stop at on my way home from work for one thing, plus even though it looks like a crafts store from the mall, if you go in and head toward the back you start to realize they have all the stuff a mini-painter would want from a real artist's supply store as well - it's like 2 stops in one, and convenient! I think I even saw a locked case of W&N Series 7's behind the counter); feels like a natural hair brush but it wasn't clearly marked, so who can be sure. I selected it 'cause it had a decent point for such a large brush, but looked big enough that I could slap a lot of primer on fairly quickly, helping me finish before any section I was painting would have started to dry, which would leave me time to schlorp off any excess with a clean brush, and which in theory should result in a smoother surface to paint on. After 2 coats, it's looking fairly white, but not so opaque that I can't still tell what's pewter and what's putty just from the colour showing through.

 

Nanite, does yours still have the hollowed-out belly? I should have taken a photo of mine before I started stuffing putty in there so that people reading could have a better idea of what I did to fill it. If you (or anyone else who owns thing mini) happen to have a photo somewhere, please feel free to post it here as a sort of "before" shot. This would also act as another especially strong kick, in the event I find one is needed...

 

I am still also considering what sort of base to give this thing. I might use some HirstArts floor bits, but I should probably create something a little more elaborate just than nine 1" square tiles arranged in a square, though right now the way I have positioned the legs, the hindmost 4 will sit flat near the corners of such a 3" square. Not sure how badly I'd want to reposition them again, but it might be possible, and there is room for the spider to be straddling a fair amount of stuff if need be. Don't know whether I should just add some bones/dessicated remains, or bits of some crumbling walls, or both, or something else, or what. I'm sort of drawing a blank on that one. A dungeony feel would be good - I'm very much open to suggestions here.

 

Thanks again for the feedback, and for reading.

 

PS. Holy what the...! The forums look completely different this morning. A big update of some kind went up, I guess, unless some of my settings got messed up? Gonna take some getting used to. I'm not seeing the figure finder link and a bunch of other stuff that's usually up top.

 

Kang

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Deceptively Long Update:

 

So, I got done priming it last night. I even took some photos(!), though my lighting setup could have been better and I didn't go looking for my mini tripod for fear of waking the kids. Still, when I zoom in on the camera's little display screen, I think I got at least a few that stayed half-decently in focus due to the camera having been propped up on a stack of CD's. But was I able to find the USB cable I needed to get the pix out of the camera and onto the computer so I could load them up here? Of course not - that would have been too easy!

 

But there are a few more little details I can mention in the meantime while you guys continue to make with the kicking me, until I find it and get that sorted out:

 

- Primer doesn't lie: the primer revealed a mold line on the underside of one of the legs. It's in a hairy section, ie. not an eyeball or horn or claw, so I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do about it. So far I have tried putting a little extra primer along it in hopes of filling in the low side of the line a bit & making it less noticeable - better to have it a bit too smooth than to have an obvious line, I figured. If that doesn't work I may have to file down the entire stretch of that leg segment, lay down a long thin strip of green stuff, resculpt the fur there, then touch up the primer. Not so pleased about that, though I suppose it will be good practice - the places where the green stuff meets the pewter on the belly where I filled in the hollow part aren't quite as seamless as I'd hoped, so I guess a bit of practice using the green stuff won't kill me. Or maybe instead of using putty I'll try to resculpt the hair directly into the pewter with some of my teeny tiny super pointy diamond dremel bits, if I can get in there with it - but the other legs may be too much in the way for that to work well. Guess I'll burn that bridge when I come to it. At least the claws I spent so much time filing and polishing don't show any lines...

 

- Repositioned then pinned again... again: the leg that broke when I was first repositioning the mini turned out not to have been glued back on as well as I thought; it was sort of wiggling around, which I hadn't realized before. The pin was bonded into the end-of-the-leg-side hole just fine, but it was loose on the body-side hole. So I pulled the leg off and peeled the excess glue and green stuff away, then glued the pin back in place - hopefully more effectively this time. I'm definitely going to have to do a little green stuffing & primer touch-ups there. If the leg won't wiggle when I get home from work tonight, I'll know it worked.

 

I'm less disappointed about the broken leg than I am about the mold line, because it gave me an excuse to play around with bending the legs a little more to get it to stand up straight again, and I think I actually solved the problem I mentioned above about how from certain angles it looked a bit like it was recoiling in fear instead of rearing up to attack like I had wanted. This all happened after I took the first set of photos. The sheet of bubble wrap I have been using to handle the mini was too much hassle to keep using while I was fixing the leg, so of course I managed to rub the primer off a few protruding points while handling it barehanded (which I normally never do between cleaning and sealing if I can help it, but this thing is just so HUGE there's no way to mount it on anything that wouldn't make certain areas impossible to paint!). So I'll have to touch that up too. Once I do that, and take a second batch of photos, it should hopefully be possible to see the subtle changes in the position of the spider's legs.

 

There's a chance I may be able to get the photos from last night up either early this evening or sometime tomorrow during the day if I can find that cable (I suspect my wife took it to work & left it there), but I won't likely have time to work on gap-filling the repaired leg, primer touch-ups, or mold line tonight - Tuesday nights I play DDO with some out-of-town friends, and since Thursday is my tabletop D&D night, I might be too busy on Wednesday night preparing to DM this week's session as well, which would mean that Friday evening is the earliest likely time I'll be able to work on this a bit more. But I don't always prepare as well for D&D as I normally intend to, so it's not impossible that I might do a bit of these touch-ups on Wednesday & be able to post a second batch of pix sooner. I'll just have to play it by fear and see how it goes, I guess.

 

Kang

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I'll tell you a asecret: I almost never pin.  Caddy is no exception.  I use a base of Amazing Goop, or Loctite Houseware repair, which I then cover with Zap-A-Gap, or another liquid superglue.  When it dries, it's like concrete, and it retains enough flexibility to get nocked around/fiddled with without breaking.

 

It hels that Caddy is an incredibly well designed model.

 

 

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Thanks for the tip, Nanite. Yeah, she's (I have decided it's a she so I can stop saying "it") got those great big pegs on her legs to plug into the bottom of the body, which really ought to be good enough support, but I still like to pin just to give a bit of protection against swivelling motions that might tear a single point loose. Plus, pinning is fun!

 

I've been unable to find Zap-A-Gap in Canada, though I have only searched sort of half-heartedly. I hear good things, should probably make a better effort. I think I might actually have a tube of that goop stuff you mentioned lying around the house... Is your formula strong enough that dropping the glued mini is more likely to break pewter than the bond? Not that I'm suggesting you start dropping stuff just to find out... But I have never been happy to see a mini break as I was when a wingtip on my c.1984 grenadier dragon (bad box-art photo I know; sorry. Will post pix of my version eventually if I can ge a decent shot or 2) snapped off instead of the whole wing coming off recently, due to taking a tumble off my coffee table - probably because I had reattached those wings at least 5 times since the mid-80's before I pinned them on for the repaint I gave it a few months back. The break was easy to fix and you can't see there was ever any damage (pretty sure Andrew Chernak sculpted the scales with the tip of a mechanical pencil on that section, so the resculpting was really easy), and now I know for sure that I pinned it properly.

 

Would you not pin even if, say, a leg broke off just below the knee as happened to my spider? It's a pretty small cross-section to glue together to hold such long legs with no pinning...

 

Speaking of which, I checked that reglued leg when I got home yesterday, and it was still a little wiggly, but by the time I went to bed it had firmed up almost completely. Pretty sure it'll hold this time, plus the green stuff I'll use to fill the gap should help a bit too. I forgot to check it this morning though. I think my next purchase for minis is going to be a faster (ie. 5-minute) epoxy, just so I won't have to wait a day or more to see if I got enough glue in my pinholes. 5-minute epoxy still takes about a day to fully cure IIRC, but you can get a pretty goood idea much earlier as to whether it is going to hold.

 

I wasn't able to find that missing USB cable for the camera last night either, so this morning I sent the camera to work with my wife, who will hopefully find both it and enough time there to email me the pix I took the other night so I can post them up today. Got my fingers crossed...

 

<Edit> Just heard back from the wife; she has the USB cable and promises to email me those pix when she gets a minute, probably this afternoon sometime. Hooray!</edit>

 

PS. We switched our D&D game to tonight instead of Thursday this week, so I may actually find time to do some more work on it as early as tomorrow night. Primer touchups and greenstuffing that gap, most likely, so that I can possibly start painting on Friday. Anyone got any idea how long I should let the green stuff cure before I can paint some primer over it?

 

Kang

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OK, I got the photos! Here goes...

 

1st, the scary face:

post-4296-12652211714503.jpg

 

Another shot from the front, only lower and less zoomy:

post-4296-12652212069944.jpg

 

From the side, showing unintentional fearful posture and unsuccessfully-repaired hindmost leg:

post-4296-12652212353819.jpg

 

Putty work on the belly and leg-pinholes

post-4296-12652212699632.jpg

 

Putty work on the spider's back where the leg pins came through (a couple of these are a bit rougher than I'd have liked):

post-4296-12652213163386.jpg

 

From behind (see how the front right leg has begun to raise up due to the loosening of the rear left knee pin?)

post-4296-12652213481881.jpg

 

Note, the HirstArts tiles are 1" X 1" and used here for scale, and to show roughly how she will eventually fit onto her base, whatever that ends up being. Also, as mentioned above, her position has changed somewhat in a way I hope makes her look more aggressive, less fearful. I'll post more pix ASAP, once I get a chance to do a little more work.

 

Feel free to comment/critique, now that you have something you can actually at least see...

 

Thanks,

 

Kang

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