Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hobby Tutorial: Celestial Guard (part 1)

or "how to build an army and rule the universe from beyond the grave!"

I’ve only been playing Infinity for about 3 months now. The first step was to acquire enough models to field a decent sized combat group. The look of Yu Jing appealed to me. I really liked how the designs reflected the artwork of Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Dominion, etc.), and since the Imperial Service had a good variety in the starter box, that’s the way I went. Adding a box of Kuang Shi gave me just enough guys to field a strong starter force. That being said, I have found enough enjoyment in the game to add some reinforcements. I’ll be posting a multi-part tutorial covering the preparation, assembly, and painting of my Celestial Guard.

Why the C-Guard? I already have three from the ISSA box, but wanted to add heavy weapons and a Kuang Shi controller. From my perspective, I’m limited to a pre-existing color scheme, but the techniques I’ll be going over are universal.

The first thing to recognize about the Infinity figures is that they are gorgeous. Having played 40k for many years I had grown used to the Games Workshop style of metal miniatures. Corvus Belli minis are much more delicate and refined and seem to have as much, if not more, detail than many other 28mm figures on the market. They’re also extremely well cast. So well, in fact, that most pieces can be cleaned up with a quick pass of a new hobby blade and a few swipes with fine grained sandpaper (I like 320 grit wet-or-dry from K&S engineering). In rare cases, a file might be needed. Word of advice- use files that you've dedicated to working with metal, since the softer metals will gum up the files very quickly. Also, metals will dull the blades of hobby knives much faster than plastic will, so have plenty of new blades on hand. Of all the figures I’ve put together thus far only the Yaokong remotes had noticeable mold lines/offsets. You will have to be careful at this point- for the painting techniques I’ll be discussing, any pour stubs or mold lines that aren’t cleaned up prior to priming will become problematic blemishes on your paint job.

Once you’ve cleaned up the figure, you can assemble it in whatever sequence feels most comfortable to you, although I have attached the body to the base first in most cases, followed by any other pieces. For a tighter fit into the “slotta” bases, I have wedged small blobs of Green Stuff. This not only further secures the figure, but also plugs any open gaps in the base.

The delicate nature of the models means that most parts are very light, yet the excellent engineering of the parts breakdown means that you will not want for sufficient mating surfaces for your glue. Pinning is not necessary for infantry figures. You could pin larger TAG models if you want. The key to a decent bond is to make sure the attachment points are clean. I use isopropyl alcohol to rub down the model before I attach the parts with a drop of super glue. Instead of a special plastic flow applicator, I just use a short length of polished brass rod to apply tiny drops of glue at precise locations. Don’t rush this part of the process. Actually, don’t rush ANY part- if you become impatient, you’ll regret it later. Let the glue cure for several hours, overnight if you can. Another word of advice- wear some sort of eye protection. I've been building models for a long time and have had more than my fair share of trips to the ER in order to get various foreign objects out of my eyes. Most recently it was super glue, but that's another story...

I like to get my models stuck into the bases before adding any base details, but it's up to you. For my Infinity figures, I felt that a more techno-urban motif would be appropriate, so I dove into my bits box and pulled out a sheet of tiled styrene and fine ballast. I cut the styrene into irregular blocks and arranged them on the various bases, skirting the feet of the models but also covering much of the exposed slots. Don't be afraid to break the plane of the base and let the basing details hang over the edge. It's your model. Go crazy.

In the mean time, is this a possible future venue for tabletop wargaming fans?

…to be continued.


  1. Tell us the super glue story!! I never get tired of hearing that one :D

  2. Cool man, very good idea for simple, effective basing

  3. Great tips, especially on gluing metal models. Is there a brand of glue that you suggest? one that has a metal rod applicator?

  4. To be honest, I've been building scale models for so long, I often use ad-hoc equipment. For this latest batch of Yu Jing, I took the blister packaging from one figure and used it as a palette for drops of super glue. Once the glue was on the palette, I dipped the brass rod into the puddle and then applied it to the figure as needed. For CA glues, I usually use Jet brand, but there are other options. I also use the quick setting glue which will flow very easily. Sometimes "quick" isn't quick enough, and that's what the accellerator is for. For larger pieces or areas that have gaps, the slower setting, gap-filling CA glues might be more to your liking. Anything too large warrants considering Epoxy cement.