Wednesday 18 May 2022

Skippy the dumpster fire

Things can only get better right?

Every now and again I like to take a short break from my bigger projects to give me a break. It gives me some time to ponder any issues I'm facing while still doing something productive rather than keep bashing away at the same model until I can't face working on it!

My boss helpfully gave me one such project project when he decided to adopt the Dumpster Fire meme as our team mascot:

I'm not sure of the artist, but this is the original image which inspired my project

This was enough of an excuse for me to make my boss a physical mascot!

The Build

I started by making the basic box shape from Foamex - this was pretty straightforward, so I didn't bother taking pictures of the process.  The only thing I'll note is that when you're building with any any material, don't forget to take the sheet depth into account and plan the assembly when cutting the components otherwise you'll end up with under or overlapping edges!

Once the basic shape was done, I cut a hole in the base plate for the tealight to be installed (I would later adjust the size and shape of the hole, but it's easier to do this with a place to start).

I made the wheels from three plastic counters (one slightly smaller for the middle) sandwiched together.  I pre-sanded all three before gluing them together to improve adhesion - this is important with hard plastics as you can't using normal poly bonding cements.  I drilled a hole through the centre of each wheel then cut four two-piece legs - I glued a small plastic rivet to the inside of each leg piece so that the wheels would pop into place once the legs were glued to the base, holding the wheels in place while allowing them to spin freely.

Now with extra rolley wheels!
I had already decided to make the two bine lids open up, so constructed two tiny hinges from multiple sections of styrene tubing. It's always fiddly assembling plastic hinges as you have to avoid glue getting into them! My advice is the pre-assemble the non-moving parts in advance, then very carefully glue the sub-assemblies together with fast drying gel super glue and a cocktail stick to avoid capilliary action drawing the glue into the joint!
I added the rib detailing on the outside with an embossing tool and ruler as Foamex takes indentation really well

The lids with the tiny hinges in place. I made the little handles from a Foamex rectangle on top of two cubes sanded into a more attractive curve shape

I used some mis-cast resin components from my box of Imperator spares to make the handles in the side - Once they were cut down and sanded, the imperfections didn't matter!

Skippy with his brand new face!

The lip around the rim was intentionally larger than the lids to make sure that they wouldn't fall through the gap when closed.  Sounds obvious, but it's always the simple things that catch you out!

The finished Mascot!

After painting, I made some fake bin-bags and general rubbish to fill Skippy's tummy.  These were made from (clean!) dog-poo bags with a paper and crimped plastic filling.

The slightly transparent plastic was perfect for the bin bags!  They were tied up at the top like real bin bags

In the end, I glued the fiery side lid open as it was stressing the coloured fire acetate opening and closing it.  The other side still opens and closes quite happily though!

The tealight flickers like a real burning dumpster!

Rusty and hot - just the way I like my trash cans!

Skippy wouldn't be complete without some graffiti - 'This is fine...'

I really enjoyed making the mini rubbish - different bags, fish bones, an apple core, banana skin and pizza box were all made to decorate the interior and camouflage the tealight 

The light switch and hole to replace his battery

Someone has helpfully scrawled his name on the side

And that's all folks!

Tuesday 3 May 2022

Ulthwé Phantom Titan - Isha's Shear

A titanic Aeldari war machine wakes from its slumber...

In bone and midnight clad...

Isha's Shear actually belongs to my friend Mark and has been a work in progress for quite some time.  I first built the titan over a decade ago for a huge apocalypse game we played at Warhammer World.  I painted the Phantom to a very basic standard with the intention of reprising the project.

Unfortunately it fell by the wayside for a number of years until there was a spurt of Xenos activity on the Titan Owner's Club chat that spurred me on.

I decided to give the engine a proper overhaul, disassembling the legs, arms, armour plates and completely changing the base.  I feel it's important to note that although I'm a very experienced model maker, I still found this kit very challenging.  If you're new to Forgeworld model kits, I'd steer clear of the Phantom until you have several complex builds under your belt.  There are multiple sections which will require pinning while presenting very little resin to actually hold one - definitely a kit for veteran model makers only!

I kept a short work log of the refurb, mainly focused on the painting and rebasing of the tian which I'll tag on to the end of the post - enjoy!

Isha's Shear in all its glory!

The arms are fixed allowing only one armament as I found the weight made magnetising a little precarious

I rarely paint freehand onto models, but the large flat surface areas demanded some nice detailing!

A base is essential for a Phantom titan as it has a very high centre of gravity and a tiny footprint compared to an imperial engine!

I used a black and bone colour scheme to emphasise the fact that Eldar titans are grown and shaped from Wraithbone 

I find clean, sharp paint schemes to be the most challenging, so I was very pleased with the final result

The large banners make the Phantom look very regal and are a direct call-back to the original epic style

The crotch banner helps to fill the large gap in the wide, dynamic stance of the titan

Even though the patterns are still bone coloured, the cheques and plaits are very distinct against the rest of the armour

I deliberately placed all of the bone lattice plaits on one side of the engine and chequers on the opposite to create a dynamic but cohesive scheme rather than a chaotic mess! 

I intentionally added a twist to the D-Cannon banner and backed it with a red background banner so that it was easily visible to the front and simulated a little movement in the fabric 

As you can see, the Cheques / plaits are carried across to the banners on each side as well

The huge Eldar rune was needed to fill the base with some detail as the feet occupy only a fraction of the space!

Highlighting all of the panel lines was probably the most taking part of the painting!


As the majority of the build was originally completed with super glue, I found that a number of joints were weakened and so I decided to disassemble any load bearing sections and smaller panels, then pin and reassemble them all after repainting the model. 

The Phantom before its refurbishment...

Arms / Plates

I started by repainting the arms, shoulder pads and collar bone armaments as they were some of the smaller parts and could be set aside while I worked on the body

As I knew they would be feature areas, I completed the shoulder pads first and used them to inform the rest of the colour scheme

I frequently tested the pads against the arms as I progressed in order to keep the scheme consistent.  Note the occasional use of blue (with hints of purple) to pick out cells and vents.  This just adds a little extra interest and breaks up all of the red, black and bone. 

I mirrored the chequer and plaite patterns on the thigh guards so that they matched the shoulder pads on each side


I initially sketched out several designs for the banners - once I was happy with how I wanted them to look, I drew the design onto some thick paper and created borders with masking tape to help reduce warping.  I blocked out the main colours starting with black, then bone and finally red.

The basic colours of the design were painted on as accurately as I could with fairly thick acrylic paint

After all of the main colours were blocked out, I then started detailing the bone colours

Finally I painted the golden eye of Isha with yellows and browns using some NMM lettering for reference 

Finally, I sharpened everything up with extremely fine black outlines, cut out the banners with a knife, blacked out the back and sides of the paper, then assembled the banners with poles and brackets made from plastic Eldar spares

The finished banner next to the weapon it would be mounted under

The original sketch for the crotch banner was a lot more complex than the arm banner design, mimicking fishbones

I followed the same process as the D-Cannon banner, but did not use cheques or plaites as this would be mounted on the centre line

The long streamer design allowed me to do much longer bone knot work than that on the shoulder or hip plate 

The long thin banner was also easier to twist down from the weapon than a wider banner would have been

All of the banners and freehand feature areas were completed and varnished before I moved on to the body 


The original base for the Phantom was made from styrene and never felt particularly sturdy as it was too thin for deep pins and had a tendency to flex, cracking glue and surface details.  As a result, I chose to remove it completely and start from scratch.

I used a large wooden base and it was heavy enough to prevent toppling and thick enough to allow for deep pins into the Phantom's feet.

Because the Phantom is in a very wide, dynamic stance, I found that there was very little base surface taken up by the model's feet.  This left me quite a lot of empty space to fill with some nice detailing!

I opted to make a large wraithbone rune, broken and half buried in the ground.  This would represent some form of ancient monument, toppled in eons past and slowly reclaimed by jungle creepers.

I started by making the full rune shape from several layers of foamex which I sanded to give a fairly smooth surface.  I then covered the whole thing with car body filler and re-sanded it again

Finally, I went back over the whole surface with milliput, allowing me to add bone texturing to the surface.

I broke up the rune into several pieces and tried them out on the base

I repositioned them a couple of times until I was happy with the placement

Once I was happy with the look, I textured the rest of the base, adding rocks and gravel before painting everything and adding some vines and jungle vegetation

I didn't bother document the painting of the main Phantom body as it was a pretty straightforward process of painting all of the recesses red, re-blacking out the panels and edge highlighting them. I'm really happy with how the final titan looks and I'm glad my friend liked it too! 

After that little palette cleanser, I'll be returning to more familiar titan work in my next blog post, so stay tuned for my next Imperator build mega update soon!