You can see a fulll list of the available tutorials to the right. Enjoy! And if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Tuesday
Mar102015

Lighted Convergence Transfinite Emergence Projector

Here is a mostly step by step of me lighting my convergence TEP. If you have any questions let me know! I don't have pictures of all the steps, but there should be enough to get the points across.
The goal of this is to make all the coils and parts that are glowing in the art work actually glow.

First off I put together part of the top spire so I could get a mold of the back coil.
To get the molds I used hot-melt and foam core to make a box for the mold. I used low temp hot-melt so it would not melt and bond to the plastic. I put it on the foam core fire and let it cool some before I pressed it on the model. 


Mold material poured into the mold box.




Some of the smaller parts in their mold.

Molds of the parts that are going to be re-cast in clear.


To make the parts I used clear resin tinted with Tamaya clear blue paint.



Here is what the parts look like cast in regular resin.



Now I cut off the coils on the model so I can put the new ones on. They won't be put on though until I have the base coat of color on. Then they will be glued on and I will finish painting it. 

The new parts cast up. They will need some cleaning and sanding down so they will fit correctly too.



Some of the parts test fit to make sure they are going to work.




The lower section with its' clear parts.

At this point I have primed the model (without the clear parts on it) and painted it with the pear orange base and yellow highlight that I did with the rest of the army. For the steps on this see the previous posts in this thread. 
For the LEDs I used Powered Play lighting kits I had a few alpha kits I had purchased and I used the blue lights out of them. The really nice things about these kits is they are plug and play. So all you have to do it plug in the LEDs, power and switch to the break out board and you are good to go. No soldering, just plug everything in. This way I can also detach the top part from the bottom for storage if I need to. 

Here you can see some of the wiring inside, I have one LED in the top piece and one each in. For the side coils I drilled a small hole in to top of each coil and glued the LED in. The switch is installed in the bottom of the model with the switch tab sticking out the bottom.


I had to grind out the inside of the base some so the 9V battery would fit. Though if you don't want to mess with that Powered Play has some mini 9v batteries too. 
I glued the connector board to the top of the 9v harness so it all stays together. 



Picture with the battery in the model.



I magnetized the top spire so I can get to the battery. Here you can see the connectors from the two LEDs in the top connecting to the connector board.

 

Here you can see it with the clear parts attached and lit up! The extra shield pieces will be painted separate and then glued on once they are done.



Back side view.



Top side view. 



Unlit on it's gear base.

Jumping ahead with all the silver parts painted. 


Starting the shading on the orange and the silver. The glowing parts are also going to get shaded with some clear glue paint, so they look a little more interesting when not lit up.

Working on the base. 


Now jumping ahead to it being all finished.




Without the lights on.


Here is a 360 rotation of the model with the lights on. Enjoy! 
If you have any questions let me know.
Make sure to turn on HD.

http://youtu.be/mu9wL5Kg_is


Saturday
Sep152012

Lighted Warmachine Menoth Vessel of Judgement Battle Engine

I have had lots of requests for how to make the lighted Menoth Battle Engine. I did not take pictures for a full tutorial, but I will post up what I have.

Firstly, I got my hands on the Menoth Vessel of Judgement battle engine. It's a great kit and it makes a great center piece for your army too.

Next up was creating the base. To make the base I cast up some plaster tiles from molds I got at Keebler Studios. I glued them down to a piece of paper, drew a circle the diameter of the inside lip of the base, then dremmeled out the circle.

 Once it was fitting properly and glued down I filled all the gaps around the edges. 

After that I sculpted the flames using green stuff. 

(Figuring out where the battle engine was going to be placed)

(The start of sculpting the flames)

(The finished flames)

When everything was nice and dry it was time to make a silicon mold of the base so I could cast up a clear resin base that I can light up.

The following pictures are of the mold poured and dry. The white on top of the purple mold is a plaster boot. I used it to level the mold as the top was not perfectly flat.

Once I had a mold of the base I wanted, it was time to make a clear one.

And the finished base. I made a few of them figuring that I would need to experiment a little. When I had it planned out where I wanted to put everything and how I wanted to paint it, I would paint up the final one without having to worry about messing it up.

Next step was to hollow out the battle engine itself.

The original plan was to make enough room inside the lower part of the battle engine to have enough room for a 9v battery. Unfortunately, there is just not enough physical space to fit one down there. So I hollowed out as much as I could.

The upper half was a little harder to hollow out. First I drilled out as much as I could from the bottom. After that I had to use a very small dremmel bit and grind out the "windows" on the side until I got the hollowed out center. For the front door I used a dremmel razor saw to cut a fine opening for the door cracking open. You will see pictures of that later as it shows up better once it is lit.

With everything hollowed out it was time to test the LEDs.

I used the LED fire kits from Modeltrainsoftware.com along with some other non-flashing LEDs from them for fill light. These LEDs come with a diode on them so you don't have to worry about putting them on a board to control the flashing.

(Video of the 3 LED kit)

And here is a video of the battle engine lit up from the inside. Some of the light is showing through the sides, but that will be fixed once it gets painted.

 Once I had an idea of how bright the LEDs would be I took one of my test bases, drilled some holes for the LEDs under the flames (will show this later on the final base), and lit it up.

At this point it was time I added some color to the sample base. I taped off the flames and primed the rest of the base. Once that was dry I clear coated the flames to act as a primer so the translucent paint that I was going to use would stick to it.

Once I had the basic plan of how I want to pull this off, it was time to finish up the assembly for the Vessel and the final base.

I marked the spots on the final base where I wanted to put LEDs along with the location that I would drill through the base for the wires that would go up into the Vessel.

When I drilled the holes for the LEDs, I looked at the base edgewise to make sure I did not drill too far up into the base. I wanted the LEDs to light up the base without you seeing an LED up in the middle of the flames.

(LED locations)

(Wiring hole location)

The following picture is a out of order from the way I did it, but it would be better to put that step next. You get to benefit from my hindsight. :)

On the bottom of the base I needed channels and a hollowed out area for the wire runs and a place to make up the wiring. This makes a HORRID mess grinding out the resin. Do this outside and use a mask. Resin dust is NOT good for you and gets everywhere.

(You can see the channels in this picture)

The plan to get power to the base/Vessel was to have the wires come up through the wheel and into the Vessel from the side.

(You can also see some of the sculpting and fill work in this picture)

The prep work done, it was time for some paint!

For the final base I did the same as for the test base: taped off the flames and primed it, then some clear coat to "prime" the flames for the translucent paints.

(First coat of paint on the base)

The flames were painted with Tamiya yellow, Tamiya red, and Vallejo Smoke. This way when it is not lit up it still looks good and it adds even more to the fire effect once it is lit.

 

Now on to the Vessel itself. I stuck pretty close to the stock Menoth color scheme as that is what the rest of my army is. I did decide that is needed a little more filigree though....

I attached the Vessel to some old spray paint bottles so I had something a little more substantial to hold onto and to keep me from touching the model as I painted it.

After doing the basic shading I drew on the filigree with a pencil that I would then paint over.

(Starting the gold)

(The shading on the metals is over exposed in these pictures)

(Working on the "red" on the Vessel)

(Working on the Priest and the guy pulling it)

Once everything was all painted, it all got a few layers of clear coat. Most of my stuff gets about 3-4 coats once I am done. I play quite a bit with the models so I want them to last as long as possible before I have to start doing touch ups again. I usually put on 2 coats of matt or gloss clear, then follow up with 2 of Testors Dull coat. The reason for this is the gloss varnishes much tougher than the dull coat. I use the dull coat to bring everything back down to a flat luster.

Everything was pretty much finished being painted at this point so it was time to finish the LEDs and wiring.

Here I am test-fitting the LEDs, checking for hole depth, and making sure I liked the light coverage/patterns on the top when lit. At this point the Vessel was not attached to the base. :)

Once I was happy with how it looked I used low temp hot melt gun (if you use a high temp gun you will melt the LEDs and wiring) to seal in the LEDs and trimmed the wires to the lengths they would need to be.

The base done, I wired up the Vessel and glued it to the base. (You can see the Vessel wire coming though the base on the picture above)

The two connectors inside the Vessel are for when it is running off battery power from inside. I also have another pair on the bottom that can be connected to an external power source for when it is on display.

Here it is put together and running off internal power.

Next up was making a base for it to run off external power with. I could not find a base I wanted on short notice so I ended up making one. It had a switch on the back of it and held 6 C cell batteries, so it had enough power to run the weekend at a Con. in a painting competition display case.

I laminated four pieces of wood together so I could have a hollow inside for the batteries.

 

Skipping ahead, I sanded it smooth, stained it, and added the front placard.

Finally all finished and ready for display and/or burning the heretics on the battle field!

(You can see more pictures of it in the Menoth galleries too)

 

 

Thursday
Mar152012

How to mass produce Plaster Terrain for Tournaments

For the Bay Area Open Tournaments this year I tasked myself with making a whole bunch of terrain for the Warmachine tournaments. I needed to make about 60 pieces in total: some for the tables, some for end of round giveaways, and some for prizes. So needless to say I needed to make a bunch of them quickly without costing too much either. 

So here is a quick tutorial on how I went about it.

I started out with a custom piece of terrain that I wanted to make a bunch of. :)

First up was to give it a few coats of primer to seal in the gravel and any loose pieces.

(Click on images to enlarge)

 

I don't have pictures for the next few parts, but I can at least describe them.

First off I glued it down to some hard board and built a dam around it so that I could build the skin up for the mold.

The mold was built up with a few layers of silicon mold rubber. The first layer was brushed on so it would get into all the cracks. The next two layers were built up with fiber mixed into the mold material to strengthen it. This allows me to keep the mold small and cheap. So after a few layers of build up this is what it looks like:

After everything was dry I wrapped it with another dam of plastic card and glued a piece of foam core on top. This is so I can lay it on its side and fill up half the dam with plaster. 

Once one side was dry, I broke off the foam core top and filled up the rest with plaster.

After that was all dry I broke off the dams, popped it off the base I had glued it too, and split the boot apart. Since it was poured in two parts, a little chisel tap to the seam and it popped right apart. 

I then used a razor and sliced up both sides of the mold so I can get the terrain piece out. As you can see some of the pieces came off with it. :)

To make more, I put the boot back together and popped the mold back into it.

 I mixed up some more plaster, poured it in and once it was dry de-molded it. This is what I ended up with.

And with a little clean-up and a little paint this is how it looked. :)

Hopefully this gives you an idea for how it would be possible to make a lot of terrain quickly for tournaments. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Saturday
Jan212012

Making Potion Bottles for Super Dungeon Explore

Here is a quick tutorial on how to make potion bottles for Super  Dungeon Explore.

I started with some small glass bottles. You can get them online and are fairly cheap.

Bottle 1, Bottle 2, Bottle 3

 I am using 1-to-1 low odder casting resin to fill them. This stuff has a pretty long working time and will take most of the day to dry. The easy cast is quite easy to work with as you do not have to worry about funny ratios or spending a lot of money for the other kinds of casting resin and a separate hardener.

After mixing up a batch, I poured some off into another container and added some of the coloring to it. As you can see in the picture I used some clear Tamiya colors and some regular acrylic paint colors. It only takes a few drops to color it. Start slow as you can always add more to make it darker if you do not like it.

To pour it, I just use cupcake papers. They are cheap, disposable, and generally water proof so you have time to work with your resin and colors. Pour a little of the resin you mixed into one and mix your color in. This way you can make one larger batch of resin, then color it in separate batches. I used a toothpick to help guide the resin into the small bottles. To do this you pour it onto the the toothpick and let it drip off the end into the bottle. This way you don't get resin all over the bottle and have some control over the speed of the flow. You do not want to fill them all the way up as you need some space for the cork.

Once you have all your colors mixed up let them sit for most of the day to dry with the corks out. This gives the resin time to harden and off-gas. To get the swirling colors in some of the bottles if you desire, pour the resin in (colored or clear), then dip a toothpick in the desired color and swirl it around the inside of the full bottle once. This will leave a path of the color behind that will stay suspended and give you the "clear marble with swirly colors inside" effect.

Once the resin is all cured (you can poke the top with a toothpick to check) go ahead and put 2-3 VERY small dabs of white glue around the top and push the cork top in. Some of the corks may need to be trimed down depending on how full the bottle is of resin. The glue will take a few days to dry completely and go transparent. You DO NOT want to use super glue as it will fog the inside of the bottle (unless that is what you want!)

This is a pretty simple project to add a lot of fun to your Super Dungeon Explore game. You could also use this for potions in Descent.

And if you are so inclined you can use these for hearts. Just a little glossy red spray paint and you are good to go!

 

Wednesday
Aug172011

How to build foam storage trays for miniatures

This is a tutorial on how to make your own storage trays for army transport storage cases.
Depending on the thickness you can make a tray for $3-$5 and you will be able to fit more miniatures in them because you can jigsaw the miniatures in to the most efficient usage of space, instead of staying in the predefined square grid that the army transport trays have.

What you will need:
-Enough sheets of cardboard to make the bottoms for the trays you will want to make.
-Foam in the desired depth of your trays.
-Tacky Glue
-A long non-serrated knife for cutting the foam
-Scissors or utility knife

Most fabric supply stores carry large sheets of foam in varying thicknesses 1.5” to 5”
You will need as much as you intend to make trays for. A typical tray size that fits in an army transport is 13” long by 7.5” wide.

Step 1:
If you have army transport trays already you can trace the bottom of on onto a piece of cardboard. Otherwise trace out a rectangle 13”x7.5” and cut it out.



I would recommend clipping the corners to allow for the trays to be moved in and out of the transports easier.



Step 2:
Next, cut out rectangles out of the foam in the same size. Also I would recommend trimming the edges of the foam.





Step 3:
Next you will lay or stand the miniatures on the foam and trace out the outline of figure. If they are standing up you will want to cut all the way through. If they are lying down you will want to leave some foam underneath for protection. If you are cutting through I would recommend once you have the backing glued (see the next step) you label the cardboard in the spaces with the miniature name or number that goes there. If they are units I would number the bottoms of the bases with white paint so you will know where they all gone. It gets confusing once you have 40 or so miniatures out of the trays and you are trying to figure out what goes where…(trust me, I tried!). I even write on the foam with a sharpie now for the ones that I don’t cut all the way through



Step 4:
Now, flip your cut foam over and lay down a decent coat of tacky glue. Once you have the glue on, flip it over and lay it on the cardboard you have cut out. I would recommend putting a large heavy book on top of the foam until the glue dries (it will take 3-4 at the shortest).









Once your trays are dry go ahead and fill your trays up and get to playing!