In defense of old minis.

Of late, I’ve found myself growing a little sentimental.

Hush, Bushcraft.

Old minis. 

More after the jump.

I was doing some digging around online as I always do.  I troll eBay constantly, looking for old models I always wanted as a kid, but could not afford.  Lo and behold I come across some minis for Bubblegum Crisis by Ground Zero Games.

I was a huge fan of the anime series in college.  The minis were originally offered for sale by Animeigo, but quickly vanished into the ether.  At the time, I was in dire financial straights, unable to afford the prices.   So when I had the opportunity, I quickly bought them.

The minis are true 25mm scale.  Compared to the modern 28mm heroic (Let’s call it what it is: 30mm), or even the newer 28mm models they are positively tiny.  To add to exactly how old they are, they are pre-slotta base.  The minis were, at the time, revolutionary as they included photo-etched brass parts.  Even though they are nearly 20 years old, the details are crisp, and the quality very good.  Simply put, they were a joy to paint.  I even went back and bought some of the “bad guy” models.

They’re called “Boomers” for some unfathomably Japanese reason.

I spent hours in my basement painting away happily, watching the old
OVA’s out of the corner of my eye, and humming along with the
synthesizer and guitar riffs of bad 80’s Japanese hair metal.

  I liked them so much, I bought a second set just for fun.  I plan to paint them in my own “BGC” team’s colors. 

For some reason the recalled joy of painting single piece, old-school minis caught on.  I dug around in the multiple pounds of pewter and lead (I’m old.  I know.)  and found something that I had completely forgotten I had.
A Glitter Boy.  The big, bad robot armored suit from Palladium Games’ RIFTS RPG.
Because nothing says ‘Murica like a mirror plated, heavily armored fighting robot with the biggest gun in the RPG.  BOOM!
In this case the mold had obviously seen better days, the mini was pitted in places, and extremely chunky.  After a few hours of hacking and filing, I had it presentable, if only in the unpainted state.  A few parts of the model weren’t worth saving.  The ammo feed chute from the ready box on the back of the mini to the Boom Gun ™’s feed port was both too short, and extremely unpleasant to look at.  As I have always wanted to paint this mini I decided to go all out.

 See?  The horror……
I hacked the old feed chute off and then went on an internet safari for something to take it’s place.  
Enter Zinge Industries.  They manufacture a line of flexible resin power cables, ammo belts, and feed chutes in multiple sizes.   The zinge product is flexible, so you can model a realistic droop in power cables, ammo feed chutes or anything else.  The company also offers a wide variety of other customization products.  Check ’em out, I’m glad I did.

Here are the cables, they’re about three inches long, and vary in type from the standard disintegrating belt linked ammo to feed chutes….and does anyone need an ammo belt for a mini?  I have a few to spare.

And the ammo feed chute installed.  Pay no mind to the Spess Mahreeen.

 I spent many an hour filing away at flash deposits on the miniature.  To be fair, it is a twenty year old mold.  

 Next up, was painting.

In the fluff the Glitter Boy is basically a walking reflective surface.  It was designed that way to minimize damage from high energy weapons like lasers.  I also think it was designed that way to be the bane of anyone who ever wanted to actually  paint it.

I did some research into chrome effects, and decided that I have neither the time nor the competence to paint Non-metal metals.  They always looked a bit funny to me anyway.   I eventually stumbled upon Krylon’s premium line.  So, on a hunch I picked up a can of this stuff.

I took two Spess Mahreeeens and did some experimentation.  The first was an attempt at zenithal basecoating.  I base coated the mini in Gunmetal silver, and then gave it a light spray with Krylon Premium Chrome only from above.  I then washed the mini liberally with Nuln Oil.  The results are seen below.

The second I coated exclusively in the Krylon Premium Chrome. Chrome and then washed with Nuln Oil.

After consulting The Wife ™ it was decided that the second was the better looking of the two with only the use of the Chrome.

So.  There we go.  Decision made.   I realized I would have to apply the wash with a bit of care on the actual Glitter Boy mini, unless I wanted to dull the entire mini down.  Next, off to base-coating.

The Krylon paint went on quickly, and very cleanly, it was self-leveling and did not pile on, or obliterate detail.  I used a light coat, no more than two seconds or so at a time when I was spraying.  The chrome effect is remarkable.

Grey knight?  Nay knight, we’ve got far more swag in RIFTS.

 Swag I tell you.

I decided to use a plain 50mm base for the mini.

I next built the base up by using Secret Weapon Miniatures brass etched screen.  For the record, I have not received or used a bad Secret Weapon product yet. 

 I ripped a few out and basically wrecked them.  I used PVA glue to secure the gravel and a bit of plastic I-beam from Gale Force 9.

As I’m going for a post-apocalyptic look, I basecoated the entire base in black. I drybrushed the gravel with a Vallejo Game Color Earth, and then with Khaki.  The beam and the screens I smothered in Citadel Typhus Corrosion.  After it dried, I drybrushed it with Citadel Rysa Rust, and spread the effect onto the ground around the metal, to look as if it had been there a long while.

With the base more or less complete, I turned my attention back to the Glitter Boy.  I started with a careful wash on the top of the mini with Citadel Nuln Oil, and then more liberal when it came to the legs.  I washed the feet with Citadel Agrax Earthshade to enhance the color.  My thought was, the legs will be dusty and dirty, while the upper body would be less so.

So, without further ado, here’s the completed product:

I sprayed on a matte varnish on the base, then brushed on a gloss varnish on the Glitter Boy to make him….um….glitter.

I feel it necessary to add that the photos were enhanced to bring out a bit of contrast.

Now, I don’t paint like a Ninja Turtle, but I’m still fairly pleased with the product in the end.

So.  Break out those ancient models and minis gathering dust, and give ’em a chance.  You’ll be happy you did.

Or not.

Or something.

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