Half-ass Your Way to the Top with dethtron: FoW Infantry Assembly 101

It’s time to put together some metal!

Well, not that kind of metal, but I can never miss an opportunity to plug my band, Crusader.

But today I’m really here to kick off the half-assery while using decidedly little half-assery in some FoW model assembly.  I hate to deviate from the central theme of this series in the first post, but after discussion with several other people, it makes the most sense to begin with assembly- an area where not cutting corners pays dividends later.  Fret not, though, I’ll be giving you a shitload of tips and tricks to improve your speed and performance while increasing the power of the female orgasm.  OK, well maybe not the last part, but here we go.

Organization is the key to model assembly- and the chances are you’re doing it wrong!  As someone who spends his days ensuring that other people around him are being productive, I can tell you that the average human mind does not normally seek out efficiency.  Some of the tips to follow may seem obvious to a few of you, but to others this may be a revelation of sorts.  Trust me when I say I seek out efficiency in all things.  I can’t even watch Dr. Girlfriend do dishes or fold laundry these days- her process is fucked.  Why would you fold everything and put it in one pile just to sort it later when you can fold and put it in the right pile now?

First things first, I assembled all the materials I needed for this whole process.  Needing to dig for the right tool later would be a time sink.  For the basic assembly stage I’ll need the following today- minis, craft knife, superglue, files, and coffee.  The coffee makes you go faster.

I’ll be putting together the last unit I need for my LW Fallshcirmjaeger company today.  Even though I only need a single platoon, I got a company pack (2 platoons) so that I can make an extra platoon and represent different command options later one.  This extra platoon will come in handy today since I’m upgrading EVERYONE to carry a Panzerfaust in this one- a costly tweak.  In alternate lists, I can save a ton by downgrading this squad to no Panzerfaueste.  Ultimately, then, the box set will be cheaper than buying 2 blisters of 1 platoon each.

When labeling your bag o’ extras it’s important to know the proper plural of Panzerfaust

German grammar lesson over- it’s time to get down to brass tacks.  The most important thing I’m going to do to save time today is to assembly the entire 10 base platoon in one shot.  Doing it piecemeal is a waste of time.  I’ll also be fully assembling the unit on its bases.  Taping every model to a Popsicle stick and basing them later is a giant fucking waste of time.  Putting them on the base now saves you headaches down the road and ensures that you won’t fuck up your paint job in the end while trying to seamlessly combine a finished base and model.  While you might be worried about painting every angle on these later on if they’re already based here are 2 things to keep in mind:

  1. don’t put models so close together that you cant get a brush between them
  2. if you did put models too close together to get a brush in, odds are you can’t even see the spot you’re wanting to paint, so why bother trying to paint it?

It’s time to crack open the box and holy hell is it full to the brim and not well organized.  Time to fix that.

First I removed the bases.  I needed 9 medium and 1 small to do the platoon.

After that, it was time to prep the bases- all in one go.  You save a lot of time by breaking things down into easily replicable steps such as prepping all of your bases at once.  Like a one-man assembly line, doing this one step over and over prevents you wasting time switching tools, looking for the next part you need, and more.  It infuriates me so much when I see somebody take one base and fully assemble one model before moving on to the next model in the unit.  Don’t work harder- work smarter, damnit.

In that spirit I removed all of the flash from the edges of every base.

Then I prepped the bases to hold models better by scoring them.  This allows the capillary action of the glue to bond the base to the model over a larger surface area and really helps to strengthen the model’s grip.  This will save you the hassle of repairing models months/years from now.  First I scored each base all in the same direction- assembly line style again.

Then I scored every base in the opposite direction, creating a checkered pattern.

With every single base done in a matter of moments, it was time to set them aside and  move over to the infantry themselves, and crap did they need some work.

First up, I needed to organize the models since they were pretty jumbled up in the packaging.  All of the machine guns and loaders went into one compartment.

Then I made a spot for company command, platoon command, and upgrades that I wouldn’t be using today.

Time to separate out the platoon command that I’ll need today.

…and let’s not forget the Panzerfaeuste.

Next I sorted out the remaining rifles, SMGs and assault rifles without taking a picture, because enough of these damn pics already!

Making 10 distinct piles, one for each squad, I separated the models into units.  Since they are Panzerfaust Rifle/MG squads, each squad gets a Panzerfaust and about 1/2 of them get a MG.  Here it pays to spend a moment thinking about composition on the base in terms of matching models to go into each squad.  Having 1 guy running and another prone on the same base probably will not look so hot.  So, I spent an extra second or two making sure each squad was either mostly static or mostly advancing.

Then since I was dealing with battlefront metal minis, it’s time to remove copious amounts of flash and tidy up some mold lines.  Again, like a machine, I cleaned up every single mini before moving to the next step.

you may perhaps need a little work

With a knife, I removed that flash.  Afterwards I focused on a few mold lines on the same model.  I used the knife for this as well, but could have switched to a file for really thick lines.

Not cleaning models is a huge pet peeve for me.  This is an absolute must-do step in my opinion.  I can’t believe how often I see superbly painted minis on the Interwebs and are ultimately ruined by mold lines fucking up the paint job.  Cleaning may take a bit of time, but it pays off in the end.

There are, however, some pieces of cleanup that can be skipped.  Anything that appears on the side of a minis base (like the tree stump pictured below) can be left alone.  Because of how I’ll be finishing the bases later one, this is going to get covered up later on.

One of the golden rules of half-assing is:  if you’re going to cover something up later, don’t waste your time fixing it now.  This is otherwise known as out of sight out of mind.

you can see the tab on the side where this must have been connected to a sprue.  Not a problem!

There is an exception to the exception to the above, unfortunately.  If there is flash, a big mold line, or part of a tab on the bottom of the base, it must be trimmed up.  This will severely fuck up the bond between base and mini if left on.

gotta cut that off

Don’t fear though, the larger pieces will be at home in my box of rubble bits.  This rubble box is comprised of various offcuts, spare bits, and primarily of sprue pieces run through a meat grinder.  Check out this previous article of mine for the meat grinder trick.

rubble rubble

Finally, with all the cleanup of every model done all that’s left if to glue them on their bases.  Since I’d already organized models into the appropriate squads, I could again do this like an assembly line and complete the whole unit without ever having to put down my superglue.  With a bit of an eye towards composition on the base, this tooks just a couple of minutes to do everyone.

About 30 minutes or less later basic assembly is done.  More importantly, because of the little extra time I took now, there are some major corners I can cut later when it’s time to base and paint these.

Now all that’s left if to wait for the glue to dry.  Which brings me to a final time saving tip for today- don’t wait for models to dry!  I’m not advocating working on models with wet paint or glue, but simply having something productive to do while what you’re working on dries.  You may have noticed some trucks and PaK 40s in the background of this shot.  That’s because I’ve been finishing them up this whole time.  Due to a water effect that takes multiple layers and a fair amount of drying time on my Fallschirmjaeger bases, I put this new unit together during a period of down time waiting for varnish to dry.  Once the new unit was done, my anti-tank guns were ready for another coat of varnish.

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