Make an X-Wing Carry Case – Part 2

FFGSWXwinglogoA week or so ago Mat told you all about how he turned a Boba Fett lunch box into an X-Wing Miniatures Game figure case. Seeing as we’re both completely mad for the game set in a Galaxy far, far away (Battle Report 4 coming soon), I decided I’d make one as well. Being the good guys I opted for an equally good and virtuous character in contrast to the dastardly Boba Fett. Of course I refer to none other than that true hero of the Rebellion…R2D2.

tinbox-r2-1I aside from being the brains behind the Rebellion, I opted for Artoo because of its simple shape. The object of the exercise was to create a two layer figure case that would – eventually – hold a squadron of X-Wings or a mix of a dozen snubfighter sized models. I admit to going into the build a little blind because, well, how hard can it be? It was debatable whether or not I could comfortably fit the fighters and their bases in the case but I was gonna…ahem…wing it.

So, what do you need? Well a lunchbox or some description. Go for metal, it’ll keep your models nice and safe and won’t crack if you drop it. You’ll also need some egg crate foam, a glue gun, some decent scissors – I used kitchen scissors.

It isn’t rocket science so let’s get down to business. Assuming you’ve bought a piece of foam big enough, you should be able to get at least 5 sections of foam that’ll fit a case the size of the one I’m used – 19cm x 13.5cm x 8cm – I know I could get 5 because I managed to bodge one of the layers and had to cut a fresh piece. I opted for placing the tin on the foam and scoring the foam lightly around the edge of the tin then cutting the shape out before trimming it down by a few mil’ to fit inside the case.

Keep the first insert handy as you can use it as a guide for the other three but it really is as simple as that. Once you’ve got all 4 pieces of sponge out use your glue gun to glue the first piece into the bottom of the case, making sure it fits comfortably, you don’t want it too tight or it’ll eventually break free of the glue.

As you can see from the picture above the case holds 3 X-Wings and their stands quite comfortably. If you were willing to carry your stands separately you could fit 6 fighters per layer in the case. And as 12 is the magic number, that’s pretty good going.

Now, the dividing layers you can glue together if you like but I opted not to as I wanted to option of taking equipment and pilot cards with me for games between the layers, so I knew they were with the models. This is specifically games I’ve planned ahead for so I don’t need to take the entire equipment deck.

If you wanted to use one of the layers to transport something a little larger than an X-Wing, I’d recommend having a thinner piece of foam pre-cut and handy that you can swap out as the foam Mat and I opted for was pretty rigid and that went double with two pieces together. Using a thinner piece will allow your Millennium Falcon or whatever a little more room to breathe.

Finally – and this is the fiddly bit – place the last piece in the lid of your lunchbox figure case, but don’t glue it in place yet. Partially close the lid so you can see where the sponge insert will meet the lip of the tin which will prevent it closing fully. This will all need cutting away so the case will close but it’ll still afford you sufficient protection for your models. Cut it away in stages. Removing too much – particularly from the bottom – will mean the case will close but any models near that end of the case won’t be afforded full protection. That said, don’t be paranoid about it. Providing you’ve got some fairly rigid sponge you’ll get good grip. Once you’ve got your final piece of sponge cut to size, glue it into the lid.

And that’s the case done. It works well but only for snubfighters – and really only Rebel ones at that. I currently have the Falcon on bottom layer and 3 X-Wings on the top but it’s an iffy fit and I won’t be leaving it that way for long. The Falcon on its own with the stand and all the associated cards would fit fine. Equally a squadron of snubfighters will go in the case no problem. And with some careful positioning, their stands will too.

It’s robust and the foam really holds the models in place. However, the lasers on the X-Wings do tend to get caught on the foam which is bit frustrating and I’d advise caution when removing them as there’s little give and if they break it’s an expensive model to replace. And value for money of the case is a little shaky as well when you take into  account the lunchbox, the foam and other supplies.

I’ll be honest – if you’re going for X-Wing hardcore, the laser cut trays is probably the way to go. The models are just too expensive to risk anything happening to them. However, the case is tough enough that you can put a fair few models in there and they’ll arrive in one piece. Plus the size of the case makes for very convenient transportation. Which is kinda nice.

If, however, the last cut stuff is your bag  or you’d prefer a standard figure case then the KR Multicase range is available from Firestorm Games priced from £9.99.

Make an X-Wing Carry Case – Part 1

FFGSWXwinglogoRegular readers will know that Phil & I are a touch into the X-Wing Miniatures Game. Just a touch, mind. It’s not like we’ve started reading the fiction, watching the movies or humming the theme…not a one. Promise.

After our first game I got thinking about figure cases, and it was mainly down to the fact Phil turned up to that game with a tiny card board box within which he had everything he needed for the game, plus a some scenery. And that was it. I realised that I didn’t need a bloody great figure case to lug all my X-Wing stuff about in. As Phil and I text one another back and forth (provoking the usual boyfriend banter from our wives), we hit on the same idea. We both had Empire Strikes Back lunch boxes as children which would have been roughly big enough to fit some foam and fighters in.

So to eBay I took myself and looked up Star Wars lunch boxes, and low and behold I was rewarded with a plethora of options, including an old Empire Strikes Back lunch box… which sold for £32.56. As tempted as I was the exercise was as much about budget as it was convenience.

Once again texts flew back and forth and within minutes we’d found metal character lunch boxes. Being Rebel scum Phil opted for R2D2 and being the Imperials with a penchant for a certain Mandalorian I snapped up Boba Fett for a trifling £8.99. That may seem expensive for a smallish child’s lunch box but don’t forget licensed products are always more expensive than they should be.

Between us we then purchased a sheet of egg box foam for £7.00 which was more than enough to do the job. So total spend on materials thus far: £12.49.

What you need:

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x1 Boba Fett Lunch Box, x1 Sheet of Foam, x1 Craft Knife,
x1 Pair of Kitchen Scissors, x1 Glue Gun, x1 Cutting Mat, x1 Thick Card, x1 Pencil

So first up, using the thick card make yourself a template, I did this by drawing around the outside of the lunch box and then cutting out the shape. Bare in mind though the inside is going to be smaller so you will need to trim it down until it fits nicely inside your chosen case.

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Now you have your template you need to use this to measure out your bits of foam and cut out the basic size and shape, you can use a sharp knife or your scissors for this bit I found it easier to use the knife at this point.

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Now holding your template to your cut out section of foam you need to trim it to size. I originally started off using the knife to do this bit but quickly found the scissors were a lot easier to use for the kind of shapes you need for some of the odd-shaped tins.

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Once you have done one section of foam check how it fits in your case as you don’t want to do all pieces and find none of it fits.

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If it all fits okay repeat this method for the piece that will fit inside your lid, but again bear in mind you will need to make this bit ever so slightly smaller to ensure it all closes nicely, and make sure you take a decent size strip off the bottom so it won’t get in the way of the hinge.

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I have created a multi-layer case thinking I could get 2 layers of models in, but more on this later.
The best way to do this is to glue 2 sections of the basic cut foam together back to back using your hot glue gun. I would say here make sure you’re quick as once the glue goes cold your kind of screwed and have to peel it off and start again, which makes a real mess of the foam. So make sure the glue is nice and hot, it’ll give you a few seconds of sliding about before it sets.

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Now repeat what you did earlier with your template, at this point I would recommend discarding the knife in favour of the scissors if you haven’t up to this point, as trying to cut through 2 pieces of the foam can be a pain in the arse with a knife. Not to mention the blade will be pretty severely blunted.

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Finally, get your glue gun out again and glue the base section and lid section into place if you so wish, I have to admit I didn’t do this bit as I am using the lid to store certain card templates much like I do with my GW figure cases. But otherwise you’re done and ready to load up you brand spanking new Star Wars themed X-Wing carry case.

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Now to conclude, as I mentioned I didn’t actually glue my foam in. This is due to a bit of an issue with the size of the case and TIE Fighter models. Due to the stabilizers on the TIE Fighters being rather sticky-outy, I wasn’t able to utilise the middle layer as it would have frankly crushed my models, so I am left with but a single layer of miniatures. All that said it’s not a huge issue as I think I should be able to get at least 10 or 12 models in. and it still looks damn cool. But it does mean, in the short-term, I’ll be replacing the double layer of foam with a single layer, which will allow me to fit bases and flight stands in the case tidily. I’ll also be making a larger case in the not too distant future and be taking my sandwiches to work in the most secure lunch box ever…

As an alternative to egg box foam a range of KR Multicase & Battlefoam foam are available from Firestorm Games.

How to make a Mycetic Spore

Those clever buggers over at Warp Forged Miniatures have done a brilliant tutorial on how to make your own Mycetic Spore, so thought I’d share. And a taster for something awesome that they’re working on in the background. But mum’s the word on that for the time being…

Podcasting 101

Hello my fellow #warmongers, Wargamers and Shell Case readers! Over the past year and half I have had the awesome opportunity to collaborate with Phil and The Shell Case on multiple occasions and had a lot of fun. I currently run/operate the War and More Radio, which tracks my random forays into wargaming and Video Games. Needless to say I am a founding member of the Of Dice and Men Podcast on the The Shell Case and I want to keep giving back to this wonderful website!* [Awww shucks! Ed.]

*Shameless complements: CHECK

For my first post I thought it would be interesting to discuss my early stumblings into wargame podcasting and give out some helpful tips that I have learned over the past year and a half. With that said let’s get into the nitty-gritty and get started already!

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Have a point to your podcast

This has to be the most challenging and surprisingly stressful part of creating any podcast. I struggled this for a while: if you look at the early War and Mario Radio shows they were unfocused and just all over the place. I wanted to cover video games and wargaming but I found out in our conversations that while there may be some crossover topics (Fluff, IP), unfortunately there are some built-in barriers of understanding on both sides of the conversation. So rather than isolate gamers I decided to create smaller podcasts that address each topic specifically. The Warmonger covers wargaming and Let’s All Game talks about video games. I still record the normal show, but I keep it around for just general discussions about one specific area for that specific episode (video games in one episode for example). So keep it focussed and to the point, kind of like what I should be doing right now…moving on. [And what you desperately try to get us to do with ODAM. Ed.]

Audtio Quality…Pardon?

Editing is a skill that comes with time and to be honest is something that I still struggle with on occasion. Regardless, I motor on and do the best I can. You should always strive to improve this and never settle…ever! At first, audio may not be a big deal but due to initial start-up costs being what they are, this could be a challenge. I would avoid using webcamera mics, because they have terrible white noise. I have mixed views on the Skype app for iPhones, but Phil uses that for ODAM so, they can’t be that terrible. I would buy a mic from a larger store chain and ask about their return policy. Usually, you can’t return mics (smelly/sweat problems according to the stores), but larger chain stores let you get store credit and allow you to exchange mics usually. I learned this the hard way, sadly… Oh and avoid Logitech if you can…

To Hammer or not to Hammer? That is a Quite an Awkward Statement….

What do I mean by this? Well to put it simply, please, please, please….put some effort into your name. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter too much what you call your podcast. If your show is good and people find it interesting, who cares what you call it? It’s more of a personal opinion and one that should not be taken too heavily. I love Noobhammer, Kiwihammer and the folks over at Chumphammer (Little Pete in the house), and their name is by no means a negative. If you put hammer in the name it helps to illustrate where your show is focussed. However, you do put yourself into a potential hobby trap (only covering the Games Workshop game systems). I will leave this one up to you, but there is a reason why I chose the name: War and More Radio. Oddly enough it was to recognize that everything seems to have the word war in it. So why not have some WAR! And perhaps something more…

Structure

Your Format

In A Way That Makes Sense.

Again, how you organize your show should play to your strengths as a host and make sense. Everyone who comes onto the show should be there for a reason. It’s okay to have friends to just have on the show but they will make a bigger investment for the show if they perform a specific role or have a unique segment that is originally theirs. Make the show fun and try not to be too uptight (sounds like I should take my own advice, lol), we are all gamers and have certain tastes. If the show is explicit, try to make that obvious to your listeners. [That’s never been an issue for us… Ed.]

At the end of the day, try to remember it doesn’t matter what the other podcasts are doing. Be open for advice and criticism and keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if you have 1000 people listening or just 2 (including you, during editing). If even one person listens to the show, you have changed their day and have made an influence! Keep in mind that they could have just listened to music instead.

As Always,

Adam “Mr Voxman” Tremblay

Painting Dark Angels with Robin Fitton

For those that haven’t heard of the awesome Robin Fitton, he’s the genius behind Gruntz 15mm. If you haven’t heard of the game flagellate yourself then click here.

Robin has been working on a new Dark Angel army for Warhammer 40k and he asked me if I would mind posting his progress on The Shell Case. All too happy to oblige, here’s the first part in his journey to a horde moody green Space Marines…

Phase 1 : Initial construction and base spray coating on a Dark Angels force.
I recently bought the Warhammer 40K Dark Vengeance and decided to build a Dark Angel force using the models in the box as a base. The chaos models from the box set were sold to a friend but I was sad to see them go because the detail level was very good.  I have 30 years experience of painting and playing wargames but have not played 40K since the days of Rogue Trader rules, when I had a mix of Imperial Guard and Space Marine models.  Now drawn back to the game with this latest set of rules I decide to follow the guides provided by GW for the paint work.  I am following the “How to paint Dark Angels”  iPad book from Games Workshop and I am going to use almost exactly the technique they suggest in the guide.
The Citadel paints from the new 2012 range will be used for all the paint work with the possible addition of the odd non-GW paint, thinner or wash where appropriate. The iPad painting guide is straight forward with some nice stage by stage images, however the first 3 stage images on of the Dark Angel space marine is very “Dark” and considering that I am viewing on a super sharp iPad retina display I would like to think that they could have done a better job of the photography. It is interesting how they suggest airbrushing them in the guide to complete a base coat but they don’t provide any tips on how to do it. I have been airbrushing for about 6 years, so I am familiar with the technique and it would have been great to see at least a photo in the iPad guide of the airbrushing or painting stages.  There are also no tips on actual brushing in the guide with no video content. It just shows you what sized GW brush to use and the only video is a 3 second Games Workshop logo that appears when you open the iBook.
The construction of the miniatures from the box set was very easy. What I did not factor into the time frame was the amount of mould lines on the models that would need cleaning. They have done a good job with the models and a lot of the plastic lines are hidden behind joins but I boosted the basic set with 10 tactical squad members which added to the clean up.  The main clean up locations on a space marine are the outside and inside legs,  arms (wrists), the rounded exhausts on the back packs, the top of head seam, the weapon seam (down the centre line of the bolters) and last but not least the top of the back pack. The top of the backpack is an ugly spot. It is slightly recessed, so you can’t easily get a knife in to clean it up. If it is a model that you are adding a plastic symbol to you can hide the top of the back pack.  All of these lines were cleaned up using a fresh sharp blade and I use  a subtle scraping action along the lines to scrub them off, rather than cutting a hack through them.  I then finished off most of the tidy up with some ultra fine sandpaper from Tamiya. This is made for plastic manga kits and does a great job of cleaning up the edges and seams without making them rough.   Weapon barrels were all drilled out and the bikes had their exhausts drilled (photos of bikes in next phase).
I took a lot of care and about 3 weeks to slowly prepare the models.  This was completed in front of the TV with the family and was probably about 12 hours total prep time over the course of 3 weeks.  There are an additional 5 terminators and 10 space marines plus a dreadnought in this prep.  Despite the hours and effort I still missed the odd line or edge on the models, but I am happy with the overall result.
Before priming I based the models using a mix of coral sand, GW gravel and other chunks of slate. I use neat PVA glue to stick on the sand, then once dry it gets a water thinned extra coat of PVA to seal the sand onto the bases.  Sealing the sand makes it rock hard, like mini-concrete bases and won’t rub off.
For the base primer spray I used Tamiya fine grey, instead of the black from GW. The black would not take the dark green very well when airbrushing and I prefer to be able to see the colour going onto the model when airbrushing. So the mid tone grey from Tamiya is perfect for me.
I always lay them down for a final spray to make sure the primer has got in all the nooks and crannies.
I used the Valejo airbrush thinners with the Caliban green from GW and it thins it down perfectly.  I was worried the thinner would react with GW paint but it was spot on and mixed up well with a cocktail stick before poor the result into the airbrush. Getting the mix right to thin the thick GW paint takes some care and I end up with a liquid with the consistency of milk. You can watch my airbrushing tutorial at the bottom of the page.
It can take a little while to dry…

I was impressed by the speed of the new GW painting guide, it is all about getting the best tabletop look to the model but with minimum time. However if you want to follow the guide fully for the Dark Angels you need about 35 pots of the new paint which is expensive and in many cases they appear to switch to a different grey or brown colour on some details which you could get away with using a similar colour on, rather than buying about 40% of the new colour range.

The line up: Small team of 5 veterans on the back row, Middle row tactical squad from the new 40K box set, Front row addition tactical squad. And as an added bonus a close up of my Belial conversion…

 

 

Building a Techmarine

Whilst enjoying a hobby day with Lee, Jeremy & Neil of The Chaps last weekend I realised that my 5th Company was incomplete. It was lacking a representative of the Machine Cult of Mars and someone that can not only repair what little armour the battle company has, but also bolster defences.

I refer, of course, to the Techmarine. The standard Techmarine, I think, is often overlooked as an Elite choice in a Space Marine army. The Thunderfire Cannon gets no shortage of attention. The Techmarine itself is little more than a Space Marine with artificer armour. However the ability to repair vehicles and improve a units invulnerable save in a specific building is actually rather handy. Plus he gets a free power fist attack. And all for 34 points more than a standard bloke. Granted that’s a little more than two standard Marines worth of points but you’re paying for the skills.

Those skills get considerably better as you invest, however. Servitors improve your chances of success on your damage repair rolls by +1 each, providing they still have their servo-claw. And let’s say you’ve bought the box, so you have two if them. Throw in the servo harness and you’re suddenly repairing vehicle damage on a 2+!

Add two (over priced) heavy weapons and you’ve got a, strategically speaking, very valuable unit. Although I think Servitors should be able to move and fire, especially as they’re a point cheaper than a Space Marine, after the first one and they’re nowhere close to as good.

But on to the hobby side if things…

So I got me a Techmarine and decided that I’d put up something about how I built the servo-harness because, to be honest, it’s a bastard not only to build but to keep in one piece.

Pinning was the obvious solution but I wanted share specifically how I did it…

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First thing’s first, get everything trimmed and ready to go. The metal Techmarine is lousy with flash.

I ordered the Mail Order only version with no helmet. Should you do the same, a word to the wise; the bolter arm doesn’t fit so don’t waste your time.

Basically, what I decided to do was to drill all the way through each of the harness arms and the lower part of the back pack. That way the arms would be as strong as possible, with the maximum amount of brass rod running through them as possible.

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The tricky part isn’t the clipping or the drilling but making sure that you have the right size drill bit to go with the rod. The easiest way round this is to pick up pinning kits from the likes of Gale Force 9. They do packs that contain two sizes of rod with matching drill bits so you know that the rod will fit perfectly.

The result is a pin job that fits well that’ll give you genuine rigidity to your model rather than having another piece of metal covered in glue.

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Now I pinned the two servo-arms first which was a mistake. Because the arms are so bendy trying to work the flamer and plasma cutter in place was a real pain.

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But as you can see, the result is a fully pinned and strong servo harness. And the bonus result is that if you cut ten rod slightly too long you can replace the ‘nubbin’ detailing that you would have drilled through or clipped off. So the model still looks the part despite the work done.

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Anyway, hopefully this was at least of interest, if not useful. If anyone would like a specific top tip post written then please drop me a line.

Warsculptor Sculpting Guide

Jason of Noobhammer fame has an alter ego in the form of Warsculptor because the mad bugger does commission sculpting. Well he’s sharing the knowledge with the community and put a tutorial for you all to enjoy. If you don’t follow Jase on Twitter as either of his personas you should, he’s an ace guy and is right with us in growing the community.

Anyway, enjoy…