Monday, July 31, 2017

WIP: 29th Zetic Tigers

A quick upate post today to share progress on the Shadow Wars: Armageddon Astra Militarum Kill team I introduced earlier in the month.  I have enjoyed the opportunity to work on the excellent Militarum Tempestus models.  There is a great deal of detail to paint, and I admit to hitting a bit of a "painter's block" if such a thing truly exists.   I have taken a little time off to look at my Deathwatch force in the context of the WH40K 8th edition rules. This will prepare me for some new Deathwatch painting projects once I finish the 29th Zetic Tigers.

But then I read today that a Grey Knights 8th edition codex may be coming in we'll see.  I hesitate to get too committed to specific Deathwatch miniatures before I see the real codex. As it is, I converted a Deathwatch Flesh Tearers veteran with shotgun to a Deathwatch Salamander veteran with combi-melta to bulk out a combi-melta kill team for anti-armour/large model control.  But this was to be a post about the Zetic Tigers, so I digress.

Here's the state of the kill team after gold details were applied:

Not shown above, I also got the edge highlighting done on the black armor.  I experimented with the screens on the armor, eye lenses, and armor camera lenses using the plasma scion.  I don't have a picture yet, so I'll show that off in a follow-up post as the progress continue. In keeping with the codex art, I chose yellow for the screens and lenses.  I used layers of GW Casandora Yellow shade over a base coat of Vallejo white.  I then followed up with white highlights and an additional coat of yellow shade in an attempt to build up transitions that hopefully add interest to these areas.

I hope to drop one more post on the Zetic Tigers before I take a break to head out on a family vacation. This should likely go unnoticed here since I only post a few times-per-month anyway.

I hope the summer is passing well for you.

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HowTo: Adding Shelves to the IKEA Detolf Display Cabinet

There are a handful of articles out there across the Internet that discuss adding additional glass shelves to the IKEA Detolf display cabinet.  I wanted to describe my own experience with this and call out a source on EBay that sells a very nice solution.
Image Credit: IKEA

I have two of these cabinets.  The work great, especially when paired with LED light strip kits, also offered by Ikea.  I don't find the lights I used on the site anymore, but there are other strip lights there and elsewhere that I'm sure would work.  The main issue with using a Detolf display cabinet for displaying models is that it only has three shelves providing four surfaces for models (including the floor of the cabinet.  Unless you are housing titans, you won't need all the space between shelves.  Adding additional shelves, however allows you to store more models per cabinet.

Thus I embarked first on an Internet search, then a project to add three additional shelves to my cabinets.  This would double my storage space without increasing its foot print in my hobby room. Adding two more cabinets was out of the question since I'm out of floor space at this point!

The Detolf cabinet uses welded metal round stock to hold the shelves.  You may find articles on welding in new stock to hold additional shelves (I don't have the necessary equipment), and you will find many articles on using cable/wire clamps as shelf supports.  However, I found this solution on Ebay, from user 2005helliwell, that has worked really well. I thought I'd pass it along.

Image Credit: EBay user 2005helliwell

At the time I wrote this article, this auction link was valid. You will want to search EBay using the text "Shelf brackets for IKEA DETOLF" to find any current offers of this product.  The seller offers one pack, or two or more packs as a bundle. The brackets clamp on to the inside metal stock at the corners of the cabinet and provide a secure ledge for a shelf to sit on.

Image Credit: EBay user 2005helliwell

After acquiring a couple sets of these brackets, I then ordered six .25" plate glass shelves from a local glass store.  I originally set out to get tempered glass shelves (for safety), but the tempered glass option was WAY more expensive than plate glass.  After discussing the merits of tempered glass with the seller, I decided that 24" plate glass would be perfectly safe for this project. As it was, the six shelves cost me $60 total...which while not bad, was almost as much a s a whole new cabinet.  So this isn't a cheap add on to be sure.  In my case, I had the money for the shelves, but not the space for a new cabinet.  I brought along an original shelf form the cabinet when I placed the order to be sure I got a solid replacement.  at .25", the new shelves are thicker than the original ones, but it isn't something that stands out.

The brackets came with all the hardware needed in a Ziploc bag. One set will hold up three shelves (12 brackets); I picked up three sets so I'd have spare parts (should something get lost or broken) and could possibly add another shelf or two if necessary in the future.

Enough Parts for Three Shelves in One Set
Each bracket uses a nut and bolt combination to tighten it to the shelves. 

A Bracket and its Hardware
Below is a shot of the parts assembled.  When the bolt is tightened into the nut, the bracket clamp is squeezed together holding it onto the bar stock of the cabinet.  I would suggest tightening the bolt as securely as possible without over tightening and snapping the plastic of the bracket.  I can say I torqued down solidly on all 24 that I installed without breaking one of them.  So they'll take to a good tightening.  You won't want one to slip down the bar stock and tilt or drop a shelf!  That said, I cannot see how it is in any way likely that more than one of these for a given shelf might ever slip at one time.  We're holding up plastic after all...the glass shelf itself is probably heavier than all the plastic I'm storing on top of it. We'll see what happens if I get a good amount of Forge World resin on one. :)

The Parts Assembled for Illustration
With glass and brackets in hand, I set about installing them in my cabinets.  In order to stay sane while attempting to level 24 brackets so the shelves don't wobble, I made a simple jig with a piece of stiff cardboard.  Wood, thick plastic card stock and many other things would likely work as well.  After measuring the distance between existing shelves in my cabinets, I found that mounting the brackets 7" from the top of existing shelves worked just fine for my purposes. This roughly centered the new shelves between existing ones.  I saw no need to be precise here; and visually, I don't see an issue after completing the installation.  

So I cut a length of cardboard 7" long. I would stand the cardboard like a ruler on a shelf at the corner of the cabinet and then attach a bracket so it rested on the top edge of the "ruler".  Doing this carefully and consistently insured that each bracket was the same distance for the shelf below. As I laid in each new shelf, I was very pleased to see that only a single bracket out of the 24 installed needed a slight tweak in height so the shelf it supported didn't wobble.  All the other shelves sat perfectly flat.

Here are a couple shots of the finished cabinets.  Not great pics, to be honest, but I think you can get the idea, especially if you click through to the full image, or zoom in on a mobile device. The brackets are visible, but barely distinguishable from the original cabinet. I installed mine to be parallel with the size walls, bit one could rotate them to point diagonally into the cabinet to provide less chance for a shelf to slide off.  I feel I have plenty of shelf overhang to prevent this in my case.

Modified IKEA Detolf Display Cabinet
Cabinet #1 with ~7" spacing for all shelves, and an area for tall models on the bottom
I'm able to get things as tall as drop pods in here with plenty of room.  There is even a Deathwatch corvus blackstar in there.  The Forge World dreadnought drop pods didn't fit, so they go on the bottom. But landraiders, baneblades, etc. are all set.  I imagine that other taller fliers on their stands won't fit either.  But the beauty is that I can raise the new shelves a bit if I need another inch or so for such models in the future.  For infantry models, the 7" height is still very generous.  I can get my hands in to move stuff about easily enough, as well.

Modified IKEA Detolf Display Cabinet
Cabinet #2 with a tall space in the middle to store my Imperial Knights

Cabinet #2 illustrates some flexibility in how extra shelves can be configured.  Instead of having the knights on the bottom (as would have to happen in cabinet #1 above), I chose to leave a full height section in the middle of cabinet #2 for the taller knights.  It's just a matter of taste.  I could have had them at the top too.  The only restriction is the original three shelves that sit on brackets welded to the the cabinet frame.  They are clearly unmovable without breaking the welds.

Each cabinet has two light sets installed, one at the top and one at the middle, that helps light up the models when I choose.  I have additional sets that I will probably add now to increase illumination.The extra shelves and models cast shadows down through the cabinet.  My issue with the light sets is all the wires that have to be manged inside the otherwise see-thru cabinet.  At some point I'll tackle this and see if I can do something better to manage all the wires. You can see bundles of wires in the pictures above which I currently twist-tie to the frame of the cabinet.  It's going to get a bit unwieldy with more light sets.

That is a minor issue, however.  I have doubled the space for storing and displaying models in the cabinets which is very cool!  I really like these custom brackets.  Using metal clamps will likely require additional felt or rubber pads to rest the glass on.  These plastic brackets work fine on their own with no issues scratching the glass.  Also, the shelves don't rattle noisily or slide on them at all if the cabinet is bumped lightly (which happens, I'll admit!). 

If you are interested in this project, definitely take a moment to scan about on the Internet.  Others have put together very nice step-by-step instructions for using clamps and other methods. I don't have the free time at this point to produce a solid step-by-step guide myself.  If you have specific questions, put them in the comments and I'll be happy to answer all I can. This is a great cabinet and fairly inexpensive for what it is, in my opinion.  I like the fact that it is all glass and allows models to be seen easily from all sides.  It really needs some lighting work to show off your hard work, but in a well lit room you could probably still get away without it.

I look forward to filling mine with painted work.  Currently, they store far more work in progress.  Still, the cabinets keep the work out and in my mind which helps inspire me to truck on and get things done.

Next up will be a follow on article with progress on the 29th Zetic Tigers from my prior post. I have been making slow, but steady progress on the team and they are shaping up well. Not sure why I chose ANOTHER black armored paint scheme requiring edge highlighting...if I ever get to my 1st Legion 30K project, I'll be well drilled in painting black armor...

Cheers and Happy Gaming!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

On the Workbench [July] - 29th Zetic Tigers

With summer upon us here in the US Northeast, I find my hobby time limited but not gone.

Having run across a blog article about using nail polish display racks for organizing hobby paint, I set about Amazon to find myself some racks!  I have a lot of paint and other hobby product put away in various cases, bins and what not.  It never gets used, and I keep picking up new stuff like Nuln Oil pots when I don't really need them.  So after a brief wait and a tiny bit of labor I now have this...

I picked up two racks from Amazon after looking through various options.  There are many suitable choices.  These were inexpensive and hold a good amount.  They are deep enough for GW pots and still hold Vallejo and other bottles just fine.  The shelves have a low lip that keeps things from sliding/toppling off easily which is also good, especially since this wall is part of the stair case going back up to the first floor and so sees a fair deal of jostling as we go up and down to the basement.

The mounting holes in the racks were 16", perfect for standard wall construction here in the US (studs are supposed to be placed in the wall 16" on center) , so I could have screwed them directly to the exposed studs.  However, I couldn't have mounted them side by side using a single stud that way and would have had to leave a big gap between the racks, wasting wall space.

Instead,  I cut some left over 1"x8" shelving boards to make two horizontal straps to mount the racks to.  The boards were mounted to the wall studs, and the racks were then just screwed to the top board using their mounting holes. The bottom board running horizontally behind the racks is not attached, but gives support.  Since they are a brittle hard plastic, the racks may otherwise have cracked at the top if I inadvertently push too hard on the bottom while organizing/grabbing supplies.

I originally intended to spray the transparent blue racks black.  But after getting them I decided they looked innocuous enough in my basement hobby den and so left them as is.  If I ever hang dry wall and clean up the space so it looks more finished, then I'll likely revisit this decision.  My only complaint with how everything turned is that I could use two more racks just like it to hold stuff I still have put away! :)  This will have to do for now though.  I have limited wall space.

So that's whats over the work let's move on to whats actually on the work bench.

I got another game of Shadow Wars: Armageddon under my belt.  It was another tragic loss for the Death Korps of Krieg at the hands of the Necrons.  The game taught us a bunch. I realized we were ignoring the pinning rules (very important!) and that I was ignoring the abilities of the Astra Militarum kill leader to direct the shooting of the team (when within 6"). One thing about shadow wars, there are a LOT of dice modifiers...and a team like the Astra Militarum can suffer it seems ot me from all the minuses to hit.  I knew I had to rework my team to better accommodate the realities of the rules.

The Death Korps, being all resin, don't have a tone of options and I'm about out of spare parts currently after building the latest team.  Then it struck me...I have a decent force of Tempestus Scions that just scream "Make us a Kill team!!".  And so I plucked a few models from my existing collection and built a coupe more for the ones I couldn't represent accurately.  Then I set about reading their 7th edition codex to choose a regiment.  After some time, a kill team form the 29th Zetic Tigers was born!
29th Zetic Tigers by Games Workshop LTD
Photo Credit: Games Workshop, ltd.

Here is the team after priming.  Eight models for now.  If I enjoy playing them then I'll model new members as they are recruited. I'm choosing a strategy of using the leader, at least initially, to buff one or more specialists. So to start, he has only his base equipment and nothing else.  This freed up points to spend in the team...things like red dot sights to improve my chance of effecting other models in the game!  I also gave up on trying to be good at both hand-to-hand fighting and shooting. This team is armed for shooting.

29th Zetic Tigers Kill Team

The team is mostly armed with lasguns, hots hot packs and red-dot sights (represented mostly by all the scopes).  Not sure how to represent the red-dot sight for a plasma gun, I just left it alone. That gun is funky enough...

Then I took the new recruit and tried out a color scheme for the cloth uniform. As with other projects, I'll post up a paint recipe once I'm finished.  I like where it is heading, so on to the rest of the team.

29th Zetic Tigers new Recruit

The recruit above, the sniper and the Tempestor Prime (leader) were built from scratch for this project.  The Prime is built stock, so he doesn't count really.  The only notable thing was to furnish him with no weapons other than a knife for WYSIWYG.  I have spare parts for a new leader if I choose to re-arm him later on. The new recruit stands out with a beret (hasn't earned his full kit yet) and a standard lasgun, no hot shot pack, no red dot sight.  I clipped off the scope and the wires running from gun to back pack to represent this.  The beret will make it very easy to spot new recruits in the team.  If this one gets promoted I'll swap the model out with a proper Scion and re-purpose it for another new recruit. 

29th Zetic Tigers Kill Team

The real fun was the sniper.  Why is it that there are no plastic Astra Militarum snipers?!  Anyway...I clipped the barrel off the lasgun and drilled out the hand grip as you would a gun barrel.  I then clipped the barrel from a Space Marine Scout sniper rifle and glued it into the front hand grip of the lasgun that I drilled out. I did not think to take WIP pictures, but you can see the sniper above on the right side of the back rank of Scions.  I added the support legs from a Space Marine Scout heavy bolter, and replaced the lasgun battery "clip" with a true clip snipped from a Space Marine bolter. This last modification was to help the weapon look a little more sniper-like and a little less lasgun like.

29th Zetic Tigers

The shot above shows some detail of the work on the inside of the leader's coat. I'm figuring some element of the Zetic Tigers were dispatched to the sprawl on one mission or another and got pretty messed up.  This remaining band is held together by a surviving Tempestor Prime and continues to do the Emperor's work. I'm currently floating the kill team name "Tempestor Rock's Fuggin' Few".  

Overall, if this team comes out well I'll adopt the scheme of the 29th Zetic Tigers for my full force of Tempestus Scions in the future.  For now, this has been a great way to enjoy these brilliant models in my games of Shadow Wars: Armageddon.

So that's what I'm working on this July.  I hope your own hobby projects and games are going well.

Cheers and Happy Gaming!