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My time spent with Reaper Bones


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Since I have almost a year of collecting, modding and painting Bones, I thought I might share my observations. I've been working with pewter and plastic miniatures since 1986, so I have some experience to compare the Bones to. I first picked up a Bones Cave Troll at the paint-n-take at Origins 2012. I have since bought and painted around twenty different models.


To start out, the price is phenomenal; I haven't been able to buy miniatures so cheap since the 80's.


Secondly, the plastic material (a form of PVC, I think) takes detail very well. It rivals the single piece models GW puts out in polystyrene. It is very flexible, which is both good and bad. Good in that you can bend parts out of the way while cleaning and painting the models; bad in that trying to clean the mold lines off some of the thinner parts like trying to shave a cooked spaghetti noodle (I'm looking at you, Zombies). I recommend a sharp, new blade for trimming any flash (not seen any yet) or mold lines. Go buy a package of new blades; you will be much happier than if you try to use an old dull blade.


Also if the model is not positioned correctly for curing when hot out of the injection mold, the piece will be deformed. This is easily remedied by a quick dunk is near-boiling water and then repositioning the model and holding it in the desired position until it sets. This can be hastened by a dunk in cold water; I haven't had a chance to talk with my materials engineer friends to see if it is better to let the plastic cool slowly.


A word of caution on the very thin parts, like sword blades: repeated bending will cause paint to crack and flake off. This happened with another model form Origins, Garrick the Bold. I had painted him at Origins using my usual technique of painting metal areas black and the dry-brushing silver. His sword was bent, and I kept trying to over-bend it the other way to get it to straighten out. At some point (after I got home from the con) the paint cracked and started to flake off. So the take-away from this is to fix any misaligned parts before you paint them.


This brings me to the next part, modding. On a Bugbear Warrior model the mace was badly bent, and the shaft of the weapon seemed very flimsy. I cut the shaft from the mace and drilled out the handle and head with a pin vise drill, and replaced the shaft with a metal rod. As expected, drilling was very easy and quick; the only issue I had with the drilling is that you could not re-direct the drill once you started by simply torquing the drill; this merely deforms the plastic and results in a crooked hole! Cutting was of course very easy. I used superglue to reassemble the mace.


On the topic of glues, PVA (Elmer's in the USA) is not a good adhesive for Bones. I have used it with some success to glue larger models to a base, but smaller figures pop right off with minimal force. Superglue and superglue gel seem to work well. I haven't tried epoxy yet.


Now painting; to start, you don't need to primer the models, but you do need to clean them before painting. I cannot stress this enough, you MUST clean the models before painting! Being a cantankerous old war gamer, I usually don't take the time to wash my figures before applying primer. If you don't clean the Reaper Bones first, the paint will not adhere and will pool up like water on oil, which is exactly what I think is happening. The release agent applied to the steel molds is transferred to the miniatures, and oil and acrylic polymers don't mix. So wash dem Bones! I use warm, soapy water and an old tooth brush. Make sure the figures are dry before painting.


I use acrylic paints, a mix of left over Ral Partha, GW and Reaper. You must not thin the paint before applying it to the bare Bones (lol), or it will not properly adhere. I find the Reaper HD paints work very well for blocking in color. I also have an assortment of paints made for Lexan, sold for painting RC car bodies. The paint is expensive ($5 a bottle), but is very thin and pigment dense. It goes on kinda splotchy, but evens out as it cures. It adheres very well to plastic and is very flexible when dry. I use this Lexan paint for laying down the first coat on very thin and flexible parts, like weapon blades and bow shafts. It is an acrylic paint in an alcohol carrier, so once cured it can be treated like any other acrylic.


Once you have your initial layer of paint down over the entire surface of the model, you proceed with shading and highlighting as normal; no special steps are needed after coating the plastic.


I think that's it. I hope some have found this post useful. Your mileage may vary.

Edited by DocPiske
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I agree that others have posted similar tales, and I have enjoyed reading them. I think the only really new items are the possibility of flaking paint and using the Lexan paint for the thin parts. I included everything I have encountered and tried for completeness sake.

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