Friday, 18 September 2015

On the Workbench: Bullet Holes and Broadsides

Greetings one and all, today we get to riddle things with holes and set stuff on fire, ooooh yeah!

Y'see, I've been asked to do a trio of Broadside suits for a client and mercifully, he wanted them modelling distinctly "mid-battle". Dirt, grime, fired missiles and that can also mean, battle damage. Now this makes me very happy as grimy Tau are best Tau in my opinion. But it also made me realise that this was a perfect opportunity to show you my method for making bullet hits. You'll need a source of heat (I used a candle, yeah, that's what we're setting fire to, sorry to lead you on but heck, you're reading now...) a couple of thicknesses of wire and some pliers or other wire-holding, hand-protecting gubbins. You'll notice there isn't that perennial go-to of bullet holes, the pin vice. That's because sadly, they don't work for this job. Bullets are not neat hole-generating devices, unless they go clean through thin materials, instead a survived hit on metal tends to look like this:

image source
So how do we create these? Well, in the bad old days of metal you had to drill out a bigger hole, fill it with green stuff and then shove something in to distend the "metal" out from the impact. When plastic is the material?

some of this will not be the best photography as I'm shooting one handed

Just heat a wire and stab the model. No really, it is that simple. You will need to play at getting the right temperature and practice the timings and such (sprue is great for that) but it isn't much more complex than that.

A good trick is to go in fast with the hot wire and then pause, wait for the wire to cool enough for the plastic to solidify again and then wiggle it out. You will leave streamers of plastic every now and again but they can be trimmed later, the upshot though is you are left with:

Gorgeous, damn near perfect bullet impacts for practically zero effort. You can push all the way through a plate and leave a crater in a surface behind it. You can push through across a corner or along a plate to leave a ricochet scar or a through-and-through. You can even use a hot knife to create claw marks where some metal-chomping Tyranid beasty has got at it. It's very versatile and will really reward some experimentation and practice.

The finished squad, all battle damaged and mid-combat. I've tried to change up the poses as much as I can but those legs are limited by the pins holding the ankle and the solid posed knee (would a two part leg have killed you GW?) make it tricky. After two variants of the pose I knew I had to do some modelling jiggery pokery on the third or look like a line dancing set. I removed the ankle pins and turned the - admittedly nice - braced pose into a stride. It's not easy though, and I suspect with the locked legs GW were trying to avoid this:

Being necessary while the glue dries. I get the impulse, but seriously, a deeper ankle joint and a hex shaped connector in the knee would have allowed for some more freedom in pose. Ah well, minor grumbles. But while we are talking modelling and modifying the GW kits, all of you should click on the picture below and check out what fellow Beard Bunker dweller Charlie has done with a Leman Russ:

I love it, gives the Russ a much, much more satisfying set of dimensions. Really inspired to retrofit all my company of Russes with the better true-scale battlecannons. Even found a company in Poland who make 1:48 scale Firefly barrels which will hopefully make nice Vanquisher cannons.

Well, that's all for today folks, happy modelling and