Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How To: Magnetizing an Imperial Knight at the Waist

How to magnetize an Imperial Knight

Imperial Knights are tall models.  While it is possible to find storage for them as is, I find it very convenient to cut them off at the waist when storing.  Being able to break the models in two increases my options for storage and limits the about of vertical space they take up when stored.

There are many articles out in the 'verse for magnetizing these great models.  Here's how I do it.

With the release of the new 8th edition Imperial Knights codex, I've been excited to dust off some kits I had laying around and build a household of Imperial Knights.  For this article, I'm building an Imperial Knight Gallant.  The model of Knight doesn't matter all that much, however, since at the waist they are the same.

During assembly, I look ahead at the instructions and determine how best to apply magnets to the build process.  We want the magnets to form strong joints so parts stay together. We don't want the magnets to come loose and rattle around in our models after assembly is complete.

Magnetizing an Imperial Knight

For Imperial Knights, I choose to insert magnets under the dome that forms the base for the the upper torso to rest and rotate on.  There is lots of space in there, so I use large strong rare earth magnets.  In this case, I build up a little ziggurat using a 1/2" x 1/8" magnet as the base with a smaller, thinner magnet at the top.  The specific magnets are less important that filling the space so that there will be strong attraction from the magnets.  I don't mind over doing it.  I was much more conservative (and inexperienced) when I built my first Imperial Knight Freeblade, and I STILL regret how light the attraction is.  While the torso stays in place on the Freeblade, it spins about easily and doesn't feel like a good string bond.

With my first projects, I would simply glue the magnets down using superglue or two part epoxy and continue assembly. After reading some other approaches, I now use some extra sprue, cut from the parts frames in the kit, to build a bracket to hold the magnets in place.  Plastic cement forms a reliable bond between the bracket and the housing for the magnet and helps insure the magnet doesn't simply pop free of the glue over time. If you've worked with magnets or smooth metal and glue before, you know that it doesn't stick well or form great bonds.

In this case, I went a bit over board and squirted some Vallejo plastic putty (70.400) into the gaps to fill up the void.  These magnets are NOT coming free...ever...It's overkill, but since the magnets must hang up in the top of the dome, they may be more apt to succumb to the forces of gravity over time.

Magnetizing an Imperial Knight
Magnets installed and held in place by sprue and putty
Once the putty set up, I glued the dome down on the leg assembly.  While it was drying, I began work on the upper torso.  This part is pretty easy, as the model's design makes it simple to glue down a large magnet.  There is plenty of room for whatever you have at hand. I again chose a large thick magnet with plenty of attraction - 1/2" x 1/8" in this case.

Magnetizing an Imperial Knight


Two part epoxy works great for this as it makes a strong flexible bond that won't be as brittle as superglue. I don't want this magnet coming loose for any reason (drops, temperature/humidity changes/whatever). Once the epoxy set up (I use a 5 minute 2-part epoxy). I built a sprue frame over it to help hold it in place.  The bond at this point is precarious since the magnet is perched on the top of the dome over a large hole and so doesn't have many contact points.  It's worth noting that I let the epoxy dry by laying the hole thing down on the magnet so the epoxy wanted to pool on the underside of the magnet instead of running down the sides of the dome as it dried.

Magnetizing an Imperial Knight
Torso assembled with magnet and frame showing
The picture above illustrates the frame I built and glued down over the magnet to help hold it in place. Here again, I couldn't resist going a bit over board by using more 2-part epoxy liberally around the top of the magnet to help insure the frame stayed attached. It is now very unlikely this magnet will separate from its bond and slip from under the frame.  I could have gone even further and built and additional frame to form an "X" shaped cage over the magnet.  I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. :)

WIP Imperial Knight Gallant waist magnetized
Standing strong

And here is the knight standing tall with its magnetized waist. But there was still an issue.

At the top of the dome on the legs, there is a small plastic "button" that controls how much the upper torso can roll around on the ball joint when posing the model.  I initially cut this off with a hobby saw, expecting to increase the range of motion in the ball joint for even more dynamic posing!

This worked great, but I found that the weight of the upper torso caused it to slop around too freely, slumping this way and that at the waist. I could pose the model, sure, but with the remaining weight of the shell and arms would likely prevent it from holding the pose. The magnets were strong and prevented the torso from falling off just fine, but the body wouldn't reliably remain posed or even upright!

So I ended up replacing the "button". You could avoid this next step by NOT removing the original plastic "button" in the first place. But I will say that you may still get a bit of wobble since the original "button" is smaller than the socket it fits into allowing for some movement.  GW clearly expected you to glue this down once you choose the pose, so this movement isn't normally a problem.

I opted for a firm base for the upper torso to rest on, which meant replacing the smaller button with a new full size one that fit exactly into the socket for it in the upper torso. Here's what that socket in the upper torso should look like.  Note the slight recessed hole in the center where the "button" fits.


And here's a shot of how the new "button" came out:

How to magnetize an Imperial Knight
A replacement "button" for the upper torso of the knight to sit on
The replacement is made from ring of aluminium that I carefully sliced form a spare tube. I used a hobby file to file down the resulting ring until it fit perfectly up inside the upper torso. The ring was then glued down to the dome on the legs using more epoxy. To increase the bonding surface, and to prevent the relative soft aluminium ring from deforming with use, I filled the ring with left over epoxy when gluing it down.

Once dry, this formed a very firm and stable base for the upper torso.  The magnet attraction remains strong and now the knight stands erect and stable with no wobbles.  Everything rotates smoothly, although I did loose further posing options since the torso no longer tilts about on the waist. This is not something I am concerned with for this project, however.

And that is how I magnetized this Imperial Knight for storage and transportation. If you are interested in House Taranis, or Imperial Knights in general, check back frequently to see more WIP posts as I complete my second Warglaive and continue to explore the process of building more knights for my collection, including this Gallant,  a Paladin, a Warden, a Crusader, two Helverins, and even a Knight-Castigator from Forge World if I make it that far.

Please share your projects on Imperial Knights in the comments.

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Monday, June 18, 2018

On the Workbench [June] - Deathwatch Venerable Dreadnought


Taking a wild left turn away from Imperial Knights, this month I have a dreadnought on the workbench.  I was skipping through the last chance items on the Forge World site when I was reminded that I had a Forge World chaplain dreadnought stashed away in the resin vaults.  I bought it quite a while ago and had been hoping it would get mainstream rules in the Dark Angles codex at some point.  Looking at it now, I realized it would make a very cool venerable dread for the Deathwatch.

The model just screams veteran status!


Perhaps not the most points effect addition to the army, but I like it.  With a BS of 2+, he'll make good use of the twin Lascannon. In fact, i was planning to put the missile arm on two for even more effectiveness.  But I already have a dread tlike that for both Dark Angels and Grey Knights.  Time for something new...and the Forge World dread claw is sooo coool!


Some veteran bling was added to dress the model up a bit.


A deathwatch icon on the back plate to match the Mechanicum seal. And there is always room for more scrolls.


Just a purity seal for the other arm. it's pretty cool already.  It'll be silver of course...I'm thinking about adding some campaign badges using decals.


Another angle showing off the custom Forge World base a bit.  That's a chaos dread back plate being stomped into the muck.


Ready for painting! I pined the waist for now but did not glue things together so that it would be more convenient to paint the legs and up under the body. The power claw has a pin where it attaches to the shoulder and can swing up and down a bit.  I'll probably glue it in at some point, but its secure for now.  I did not pin the weapon arms to the body to make them easier to remove at a later date should I decide to change up the weaponry.

I was going to magnet all that, but seriously...I'm not likely to play much with Dreads in my Deathwatch, if I play at all.  So this model is really being done just for the love of completing this awesome sculpt from Forge World which has been left to languish for too long in the bitz box. No need to put time into magnetizing it.  I have my original Deathwatch dread form DreadTober 2016 which is fully magnetized and has all the options.

So that's what I have on the workbench in June.  Next up will be a Deathwatch kill team armed with storm bolters...or another Knight...or both! :)

Cheers and Happy Gaming! 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

WIP: Armiger Warglaives from House Taranis - Part 8


Continuing work on the second Armiger Warglaive.  I went ahead and applied some Vallejo Gloss Varnish on the armor plates and red portions of the chain sword using an airbrush.

Imperial Knight Armiger Warglaive WIP Gloss varnish
Gloss Varnish applied


This was preparation for shading the armor with GW Nuln Oil.  I must say I was not impressed with the results.  Perhaps it is due to some quality of the Vallejo varnish.  Perhaps I didn't have the first idea what I was doing.  Regardless, I still got a lot of staining and ended up with much the same rework as before, in terms of cleaning up the over-stained armor. Here's where things stood.  I have wiped much of the extra Nuln oil off the white shoulder armor, but you can still see the staining around the edges and it is visible on the shin armor.

Imperial Knight Armiger Warglaive WIP shading over gloss varnish
GW Nuln Oil applied as a wash
I'll see how things turn out in the end.  Perhaps, especially for the red, the overall effect will be better in the end.  As it stands, I don't see that the gloss varnish did anything but add an extra step. The Nuln Oil went over the base paint on the first Armiger just as well, and colored the recesses just as well in my opinion.  And I has an equal amount of fix-up work to clean up the staining where I didn't want it.

I'm going to practice the approach on some spare bitz using GW 'ard coat and possibly other varnish choices in my collection to see if I can achieve more meaningful results. Washing/shading is an important technique and I'd like to refine my skills there. But for now, moving on...

Imperial Knight Armiger Warglaive WIP Flat varnish applied.

The Model Masters Lusterless Flat lacquer did its usual best and now I'm ready to continue painting. After a quick dry brush Vallejo Steel on the legs, the armor panels were glued on.  The shoulders are only held on with poster tack at this point since they obstruct the arms from being added/removed. While the glue was drying, I took to the face and began adding more bronze details.

Imperial Knight Armiger Warglaive WIP

Imperial Knight Armiger Warglaive WIP

Imperial Knight Armiger Warglaive WIP

Now things are looking pretty good on the base.  Not a lot of progress this session, but the Warglaive is still coming into its own.

Imperial Knight Armiger Warglaive WIP

Here's a parting shot with its twin.

Imperial Knight Armiger Warglaive WIP group shot

A good start to my Taranis Household.  I'm pondering on which knight to build next.  I'd like to work on a Gallant given where the rules are at.  But I also have a Warden and a Crusader to build. As I don't have a warlord at this point, I'm tempted to build the Crusader, which I had planned to use for my warlord since it has all the guns...at least until I pick up a Castellan. Oh...and then there are the two Helverin.  I'd like to take a break form Armigers for now though.

I hope you have enjoyed my posts on the Armigers so far.  Coming up, I have something new for the Deathwatch on the work bench for June.

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

WIP: Armiger Warglaives from House Taranis - Part 7

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive WIP

OK, so I just posted this project as DONE...so what gives?  Well, regular readers may have noted that I started this project with TWO Warglaives.  So while I gave myself a happy DONE stamp for the first, I still have to complete the second. I wouldn't do this for a squad models, but these guys are large enough to celebrate each individual completion.  Also, I decided to stop batch painting them after the airbrushing was complete.  I wanted to focus more on each model, and allow for learning and improving. For example, I learned that I want to try shading over a gloss varnish for the second model after not getting the effect I wanted on the first.  Had I just batch painted the shade, I wouldn't have been able to try the new technique until some future project (Helverins!). Instead, hopefully the second Warglaive will benefit from my new insight on shading.

Work on the second Warglaive is accelerated somewhat since I had primed and airbrushed the armor for both Warglaives at the same time (and posted previously about it). As the models are so similar, I will not post as much WIP content to avoid adding a bunch of redundant detail. I'll stick to some overall progress shots, instead.  I always find this useful when I read other hobby posts.  It is one ting to read about the techniques.  I find it more helpful to see the progress shots to get a visual on what the stages look like.

So, to recap I am starting with the armor done as shown below:

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive WIP airbrushed armor plates

and the base well along as shown here:

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive WIP custom base

As I did with the first Warglaive, brush painting started with a heavy dry brush of Vallejo Gunmetal on all the metal skeleton areas. Next, I hit up the trim on all the armor panels with Vallejo Steel. Vallejo Oily Steel was painted on some of the carapace details and I then went back and cleaned up the red on all the armor panels using GW Mephiston Red.  The white and black areas still require cleanup.

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive WIP

While the metals were on the palette, I dry brushed some of the Vallejo Oily Steel on the hose on the base as well. Then I shaded it with GW Nuln Oil. The Secret Weapons Miniatures Fallout Wash all but disappeared after drying and is now covered more by the Nuln Oil.  So I will go back and layer a few more coats until I get some good toxic color seeping form the broken hose.

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive WIP custom base

Next, I cleaned up the white and black areas on the armor plates.  Then I worked in some GW Tin Bitz on the weapons and exhaust stacks.  I also completed the trim on the chain blade with Vallejo Steel. Now the armor should be ready for a coat of gloss varnish in preparation for shading.

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive WIP

With the first Warglaive, I shaded the armor directly without the gloss varnish which predictably resulted in much staining of the reds and whites. That led to unnecessary cleanup and re-painting - to much rework! This time around, I want to go slower and use the gloss varnish to see how the shading changes. I know using gloss varnish is an accepted and widely used technique, however I have never made use of it personally.

In my next post, I hope to illustrate the results of shading over a gloss coat.  I expect this will be a very helpful technique as I look at other knight projects in the future.

With warm weather returning, weekends are getting busy and some of my painting time will have to be given over to packing for various camping trips and what not with the family. I hope readers will bear with me as the pace and amount of work I am able to do on the hobby slows.  I have many big hobby plans regardless, so expect to see new content here even if it comes out with less frequency.

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Armiger Warglaive from House Taranis to DONE

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive Title

With some focused effort, I completed my first Armiger Warglaive over the weekend. The experience was rewarding and I look forward to completing the second Warglaive soon.  I'm planning on adding two of the new Armiger Helverins as well.  Fun kits to build and paint!

I like the House Taranis scheme and believe this first attempt to be a faithful enough reproduction of a House Taranis knight. The reds will tie in nicely with the same reds I use in the Custodes and Deathwatch for plumes, cloaks and the like. Should I ever uncork the Mechanium army project I have still in boxes, they'll all look good on the table to since I plan to go with the Mars scheme.

I completed the detail work on the base, choosing to paint the blasted apart terminator in Black Legion colors.

WIP House Taranis Armiger Warglaive Custom Base

WIP House Taranis Armiger Warglaive Custom Base

WIP House Taranis Armiger Warglaive Custom Base

A test fitting of the knight on the painted base looks good!

WIP House Taranis Armiger Warglaive

WIP House Taranis Armiger Warglaive

With that done, I painted the base rim black and attached the knights legs permanently using superglue.  I didn't pin this time as I felt there was a lot of contact points for the super glue and this smaller knight isn't very heavy nor does it seem prone to any torque that might snap him from the base.

WIP House Taranis Armiger Warglaive

And with that, the model was complete! I glued down the shoulder armor and left the arms free to pivot in the joints as far as the armor will allow.  I also left the chain arm pivoting at the "elbow". Unlike my freeblades, the Warglaive chain arm is tight enough to be pose-able and doesn't just flop down loose. All of this can be glued later if I find issues develop with loosing joints that prevent reasonable posing. The magnets in the waist hold well and the top half sits pretty tightly without spinning this way and that as easily as my freeblades do.

WIP House Taranis Armiger Warglaive

All that was left was to put the parts back in the spray booth and lay down a solid coat of varnish using the tried and true Model Masters Lusterless Flat Lacquer. I may add some weathering powders or other finishing touches at some point once more of the House is complete top this standard. I would prefer to weather everything in one batch to be sure I get consistent results. As it stands, there is nothing with this model to embarrass  me so  I can call it quits with a much satisfaction. I'm proud to give it a big seal of DONE to this model so I can move on to the next.


I am also pleased to hear the codex updated the rules for this model, decreasing its cost among other things, so that it will be more playable in 8th edition vs other similar models. I could see a pair of these, or the Helverins, adding some punch to my Deathwatch, for example.

I'll close with a photo shoot in the light box.

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive

House Taranis Armiger Warglaive