November 20, 2013 by crew
For our UK friends:
I was planning to jump straight into a battle report, but after some discussion in the comments I think it makes more sense to start closer to the beginning: with the miniatures. I promise to get to the batreps but I think this deserves some more discussion. It’s an easy argument to make that Infinity has arguably the best looking miniatures on the market right now. But they are in metal and for some that’s a problem.
Now there are a lot of very reasonable economic explanations why Corvus Belli has opted for metal miniatures, but that doesn’t matter much to me. What does matter to me is that before this the only metal miniature I had worked on was a single piece Super Dungeon Explore mini. I was raised on Games Workshop’s plastic Tau and metal seemed like a big painful hassle. But now that I’ve been working with them I’m here to say: It’s not a big deal.
So let’s take a look at some reason why you, and others you’re trying to get into Infinity, shouldn’t let metal miniatures get in your way…
Clip it, Clip it Good
Let’s start where anyone buying a new box of minis starts: The sprue. Like the Force, that tangled mess of material that binds our beloved mini’s pieces together. Here’s what a current Games Workshop sprue looks like:
It’s an engineering marvel (no really I know a few casting engineers and they tell me this isn’t easy) that they can fit so much in such a small space… But yikes! I can barely get my clippers in there, and that means I’m going to have to do a lot of cutting with my hobby knife. That’s a lot of effort just to get the pieces out.
Now let’s take a look at what an Infinity miniatures looks like on the fresh out of the box:
Oh wait, hmmm, no sprue. All of the miniatures from Corvus Belli come pre-clipped out. Now I grant you, there is a bit of flash that needs trimming, but the metal is soft enough that my hobby knife can make short work of it. While I’m talking about it; the mold lines on these models are amazing because they barely exist. A lot of work has gone into hiding these lines so well that the majority of my models didn’t need any lines removed at all! The few places that did need some love, the lines were so faint that some quick sanding or a couple scrapes with my knife were more than enough to remove them.
Back to BASEics
Getting a model to stick to its base inevitably goes one of two ways:
1. It takes 30 seconds and perfectly sticks forever.
2. You spend two days gluing your fingers together only to find out that the model is on crooked. But it doesn’t really matter because you just breathed on it and it fell off.
I was terrified of trying to get a heavy metal miniature to adhere to its base. On top of that Infinity minis are renowned for being dynamic (aka running or jumping off one foot!) this meant I was going to have to pin them. I know nothing about pinning models, but it sounds tough, complicated, and scary.
Obviously since I still haven’t learned how to pin a model means I haven’t had to pin anything. Now I’m not saying I won’t ever have to pin something, and there are a couple of models that are known for the pinning required, but Corvus Belli has done us some favours.
1. Slotted bases. All the minis come with a tab on the bottom, yes even the dynamic ones, which allow them to slot into their bases and easily stay in place. The bases even have little pockets to fit magnets into if you want to magnetize your mini’s base!
2. Double ball and socket joints. Now some of the older minis don’t quit have this, but most of them have a ball and socket joint for limbs to fit into. Inside the ball half of the joint is a little indent that corresponds with a small nub. This means you don’t have to guess where and how pieces fit together. It also provides extra surface area for glue to adhere to. Some quick scoring with your knife on both sides will give a piece even more grip.
3. Thin limbs: most of the pieces that are glued together are so thin and light that they don’t need the extra support a pin provides unlike older, chunky models.
Now I’m not saying you won’t ever have to learn to pin a model or a piece might come off if you don’t pin something, but I haven’t had either of those problems yet. Speaking of glue, regular old super glue that you use on your plastic miniatures will do just fine here too. Some people will debate glue viscosities, applicators, and adhesive properties but I’ve found good old Krazy Glue with a brush tip to be more than sufficient.
TIP: If you haven’t ever used green stuff or some other epoxy based putty, now is the time to learn. If a joint is giving you trouble and wont glue together properly just roll a little ball of the stuff, place it in the socket, put a little super glue on it and squish the pieces together. After that you just need to trim the excess green stuff away with a wet knife. It will almost make you mad how easy it is after struggling with the glue.
Tools of the Trade
Here are the tools that I use for working on plastic miniatures:
Here are the tools that I used on my metal miniatures:
Yup, no special tools were required for the building of these miniatures! So if you’ve put together any plastic miniatures you won’t need to shell out for anything new when you get your Infinity ones. For the record here’s a list of what you’re probably going to need to assemble your minis:
1. Hobby knife – Really this is your most useful and versatile tool. How many times have I mentioned using it already?
2. Clippers, good for removing larger bits of flash, but not required.
3. Files, for stuff to big for sand paper and too small for clippers.
4. Sand paper, I prefer a nice fine grit of 300 or above.
5. Super glue.
6. Razor saw- it’s nice for cutting the tabs off the feet if you don’t want to use the slotted bases.
And that’s it! Chances are if you’ve built any models in the past you already have these tools.
Is plastic easier to work with? Yes. Is metal a big painful hassle? No!
I hear hobby veterans tell horror stories about the dark early days (aka the 80’s) of metal miniatures but a lot has changed since then! Corvus Belli has put a ton of work into making these miniatures as easy to assemble as possible. Are they all perfect and will you never have any problems? Of course not (I’m looking at you Clipsos) but on the whole they are very, very good.
Now you can make building these models as easy or as difficult as you would like based on your skill level and desired finished quality, but I’m here to say that it doesn’t take much to make the models very nice. With sprues already removed, slotted bases, ball joints, and no extra tools required it’s pretty easy to see that working with Infinity’s metal minis is nothing to hold you, or anyone else back.
In summary here is couple of simple things I picked up to help you get started if you’re new to metal miniatures:
1. Leave the tabs on unless you’re doing special basing, it makes prepping much faster and easier.
2. A quality hobby knife can cut through small spots of metal if needs be.
3. Green stuff is easy to use… just use lots of water on your hands and tools so it doesn’t stick to them.
4. Before gluing put on a little hand lotion, it can keep you from gluing yourself to your piece.
5. Files are useful, but sand paper is often easier to use and more precise especially when removing lines on curved surfaces.
6. A ball of blue tack is perfect for propping up models or keeping a limb in place while glue is drying .
Those are my tips and tricks; I know we have some metal mini veterans and would love to hear their tips! Or, if you have any questions, post them below and we’ll do our best to get them answered.
If you’d like to submit an article for Beasts of War then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.