It took me 1 year, 2 months, and 7 days to complete my warlord titan. Not the fasted build so far but I enjoyed every minute of it. And my Legio Invicta Maniple is now 1 warlord, 1 reaver, and 2 warhounds!
For some reason, I got it in my head that the carapace top between the reactor ridges would be cool as black/yellow caution stripes.
Of course it’s one of the hardest areas to mask easily, but I couldn’t get it out of my head, so here goes!
First, about 45 minutes of careful masking with Tamiya masking tape.
Then about 30 (or was it 50?) light coats of Wicked Golden Yellow. If you spray this too thick it pools up and dries unevenly, so many many thin coats is the name of the game.
Hit the knee pads while I had the paint in the cup.
Completed base yellow coat, drying overnight.
Sprayed 3 layers of liquitex Glossy varnish so the base yellow would be less likely to come up with the masking tape.
about 20 minutes into the stripe masking job. Because of all the rivets I was sure I was going to get ‘leaks’ of black paint under the taps, so resolved to lay down very, very light coats of black (which dry upon contact and are less likely to ‘run’ under the tape.
and more masking
and more masking
and then paint! about 10 very light coats of Vellejo black primer.
The moment of truth when airbrushing over masks/stencils is removing the mask. Will the paint peel up? how are the mask edges? any leaks? Basically, any black paint over yellow is almost impossible to repair because of hour transparent the yellow paint is… it’d never truly cover the black and look smooth.
Fortunately, the paint stayed down nicely because of my varnish, and the light coats of black paid off, no issues at all with the stripes! yay!
peeling away more mask, still looking good.
stripe mask completely removed, looking good so far!
So I applied 2 coats of varnish, so the masking tape I have to put on top of the whole area when priming the rest of the model silver doesn’t pull up the yellow/black I just spent so much time laying down.
So, in my jubilation, I pulled off the ‘outer mask and pulled up some of my caution striping in my rush. NOOOOOOOoooo!
So, another quick mask
and many layers of Createx wicked yellow
and it’s more or less repaired. There’s a bit more color saturation and an textured edge on the joint, but better than primer grey!
And that is a day of painting. So. Much. Masking.
Next, let’s do some caution stripe pistons!
Yellow is a PITA, even with an airbrush. Below is about 35 coats of Createx Wicked Golden Yellow (W011). I thinned with W100 reducer, although I just ordered W500 reducer, which I’m super excited about as it’s supposed to be way better. W100 can cause cratering, tip drying, dries slowly, and dires glossy.
W500 claims to address these issues which would make Createx Wicked Colors my main paint for basically everything.
Airbrushing models like this is 90% masking, 5% paint prep, and 5% actually airbrushing. Give in to this fact. Just surrender. Trust me.
I used 1/8″ 3m vinyl tape, which is good for really sharp edges, but a bit too sticky (risk of pulling up paint).
To combat this, I laid down three layers of Liquitex Gloss Varnish and let dry overnight. The gloss varnish toughens up the finish and makes the tape pull up without tearing the paint film. If you don’t have existing tape to use up, I’d recommend 3mm Tamiya masking tape, either the regular yellow stuff or the new white ‘for curves’ variety although I haven’t tried that yet.
After a few hours of masking, about 10 minutes of very light coats of Vallejo Black Primer which is one of my favorite paints of all time, as it shoots through my Iwata HP-BCS Airbrush with the 0.5mm setup like a dream, has great adhesion, and a great matte finish.
Caaaaarefully pulling up the tape.
Starting to apply a brown undercoat to the trim. This is actually P3 Bootstrap leather, my favorite brown paint.
I’m trying the new Games Workshop golds and I HATE THEM. They are super chunky. Applied lightly they give like 2% coverage and would take 50 coats. Applied liberally, they pool up and dry with an uneven, chunky texture. After searching online, I’m going to try Citadel ‘Retribution Armor’ gold base, which is supposed to act like the older Citadel ‘Shining Gold’ Paint which I LOVED. Failing that, adding ‘Lahmian Medium’ is supposed to help the new metallic paints. Failing that, I’ll use Reaper/MSP 9050 Antique Gold which is a perfectly serviceable gold, just not as good as the old ‘Shining Gold.’
Here you can see the pistons painted and glued in. The second picture shows a piston that was clamped wrong, and dried in a tweaked position. :/ This is JBWeld, so once it’s glued, it’s glued. The Armor plates will make this mistake less obvious, but darn! :/
Not great lighting for these pics, but the warning stripe pistons on the warlord feet.
I covered the primed lower torso with Citadel Lead Belcher spray.
Then, I liberally applied buckets of Nuln Oil to the lower torso. It was messy… nuln oil was spattering all across my cutting mat, and citadel washes have a certain less than pleasant smell. It’s winter here and there are no flies, but somehow, somewhere, father Nurgle hatched a housefly just for me and I witnessed a fly buzzing around the drying nuln oil. I wonder what that stuff is made of…
Once the nuln oil dried (overnight, with the flies) I laid down a very light coat of waywatcher green glaze. The trick here is to not let it pool up, where it’ll look bright green. We’re just going for a slight tint to add some depth to the metal. If you really want to go crazy, you can actually add multiple tints (maybe a magenta) and make the metal even more complex.
After the glaze dries (pretty fast, a few minutes) it’s time to dry brush about half a pot of necron compound.
And that’s the basic metallic finish I’m using for the titan legs. 5 coats. Primer + Lead Belcher Spray + Nuln Oil + Waywatcher Green + Necron Compound dry brush. I sixth coat of the magenta glaze/tint would add more awesomeness.
Below I’m applying the same steps to the main leg pistons, plus the beginnings of the warning stripes.
I used the citadel Led Belcher Air to hit the back of the leg pistons (after masking the fronts)
Then I threw down the Nuln Oil
Masked Even More (PITA)
Then, I sprayed Creatix wicked Golden Yellow. For some reason of physics I don’t understand, yellows are always a complete pain the butt. It took about 30 coats to get the color saturation required without pooling/orange peeling the pigments.
So…much…painting…left. YAY! :)
I started 207 days ago (6 months, 23 days) and just this weekend got to ‘construction complete’ ! My very demanding career, even more demanding toddler, and a new home purchase & family move significantly slowed down my play time.
Anyhow, time to start the slow process of painting.
This weekend it was all about priming. I use Rust-Oleum Gray Sandable Primer for a few reasons.
- Gray: I like gray over black so I can create ‘highlights’ on the panels. I lay down a lighter gray base primer over the entire model, then add shadows with black primer around the edges of the armor panels. When laying down airbrush colors, which are almost all transparent to some degree (think ‘tint’ instead of ‘cover’), the color over the gray is brighter than the black, creating depth and making the model look less flat.
- Sandable: I sprayed at a temperature in the mid 80’s (crazy for February, welcome to San Diego, CA!). This is slightly warm for spray cans, which mean that some of the paint dries slightly before it adheres. This can leave a slightly rough surface texture. Because it’s a sandable primer, I can (and will) use steel wool to smooth down the primer coat and get a nice clean finish once I start using the airbrush.
- Spray Can: Usually I HATE spray cans, as they produce splotchy light/heavy coats, are difficult to control, waste a bunch of paint with overspray, smell horrible, and are super dangerous (read the MSDS!). However, what they excel at is adhesion. All those solvents (Acetone, Xylene, Mineral Spirits, Propane, Butane) really make that paint STICK! This is super critical when painting over resin. There is nothing more tragic (relatively speaking of course) then spending 100+ hours painting a Titan only to have the paint flake off when removing a mask on a critical part of the model. It’s happened to me, it sucked, wash your resin and lay down a good primer coat!
You can see masking done in the image gallery below. While masking the glue joint areas is time consuming, if you don’t do it, you either end up gluing paint film to paint film (which is a super weak bond) or you have to spend hours and hours scraping paint off the joint surfaces. This way, once painting is done it’s a simple matter of removing the mask, scoring the raw resin with an x-acto knife, and using Cyanoacrylate (CA) or JBWeld to get a strong joint.
Because it’s a spray can, there’s a huge amount of overspray, thus the giant piece of cardboard and the improvised spray station in the back yard.
Since I have a toddler, and spray paint has nasty solvents, I let the paint cure overnight in the garage before bringing back into my workshop. Even then my workshop smelled like a chemical factory for a few days (again, I usually avoid spray cans like the plague!).
Once the primer has dried for a good long period (I waited a day) I use steel wool to smooth over the finish. It creates a smoother finish, but creates a giant mess of steel wool lint all over the model. Fortunately, steel wool is magnetic and can be easily cleaned using magnets!
In this video you can see me pull off the steel wool lint. There is some lint stuck near the ‘eyes’ of the Titan because there’s another magnet up there, so I had to remove that with a q-tip.
I started off by gluing in 3/4″ metal washers to the upper shoulder mounts and the big 3/4″ magnets (DC6 magnets from K&J with a 24 pound pull force magnet to magnet) in the arms themselves. The heavy volcano cannon arms did stick, and the ‘straight down’ pull force was nice and heavy, but it was a bit too easy to ‘twist off / pull to the side’ the cannon and remove it. I was envisioning carrying the titan through a store, bumping something, and the arm falling off… so I changed strategies (see below).
Here’s the 3/4″ magnet in the lower arm assembly.
A #8 bolt/nut, cut to length, with holes drilled in the elbow/cannon.
Here’s the bolt installed. This works generally and makes the gun detachable, but right now it’s sort of ‘swings loose’ at the elbow joint, so I can’t statically position the gun at a certain angle. Without the armor plates installed, it seems to swing out basically level. This means that the elbow is at the balance point of the gun, the back or front isn’t significantly heavier than the other, and this may change once the armor plates are installed.
After being worried about the pull strength of the magnet + washer, I drilled in from the top of the shoulder and installed another 3/4″ magnet in the top. Now the pull force is nice and heavy… very little chance the arm will just ‘fall off’ when bumped, and it requires very deliberate pull force to remove.
The downside to a magnet in the upper shoulder (instead of just the washer) is that I had to spend a lot of time notching out the upper shoulder plates so they would fit ‘flat’ over the magnet. This is why I tried the metal washer approach to begin with, but after 30 minutes of filing was able to get the shoulder plates to lay flat, and the magnet is covered up nicely when everything is installed so I’m okay with the looks of the ‘magnet on top’ approach.
I tried popping out the washer…but JBWeld is strong stuff and it wasn’t going to pop out, sut I have an extra 1/8″ of height on the upper shoulder magnet that I wouldn’t need had I just gone with the magnet only in the upper shoulder.
Below, you can see the upper should plate masked off before I painted. The middle support ‘bar’ with the masking tape on it clearly shows the notch I had to put in for the plate to sit flat. I also had to file down a few other locations on the shoulder plate to get it to sit flat, but the notch where the masking tape shows up is the biggest modification required.
Because it’ll be very difficult to paint between the upper shoulder and the shoulder late, I went ahead and primed/painted both before gluing everything in. I use rust-oleum gray sand-able primer (found at an auto parts store) for the primer, and I tried games workshop new airbrush paint (leadbelcher). I don’t use much Games Workshop paint, but still love their metallics.
I didn’t prime the entire upper torso (yet), just the sides near the shoulder assemblies.
Here is the shoulder, painted up with Games Workshop Leadbelcher Air
And a picture with the volcano cannon attached (magnetically)
The shoulder plates after lots of notching/filing so they sit ‘flat’ on the shoulders.
Hole drilled ready for the 1/2″ magnets (SD84-IN from K&J with a 9.9 pound pull force magnet to magnet) for the shoulder mount
The shoulder mount with a 1/2″ magnet installed / glued in place.
And that’s the overview of the way I approached the arms/shoulders/magnets/bolts on the warlord titan.
My other titans have LED lighting in the cockpit, and I can’t have my biggest, baddest titan without!
- Lighting in the warlord Titan, to compliment (but not match) my reaver and two warhounds
- Slightly less bright LEDs that the others… so I can photograph the warlord with the LEDs on w/o blowing out the exposure on the pictures.
- Replaceable LEDs in case they fail or I want to change the brightness/color.
- Removable battery/switch, such that when the battery is not installed it doesn’t add a huge clumsy artifact to the model
- Doesn’t obstruct anything in the cockpit, both Moderati and the Princeps still need to fit.
- Allows the head to be detached from the main body (magnetized) so I can purchase additional heads/cockpits and swap them out.
You can see how I achieved those goals below. I wired through the main torso with 24 gauge wire I had on hand… it’s pretty heavy wire for this appliucation, and if I were to special order wire I’d probably go with 26 or even 28 gauge wire. It would have been a bit more fragile but easier to route in the cockpit.
I crimped the connectors using the ‘PA-09’ crimping tool, which is a must for making your own connectors with smaller gauge wire. I happen to have all this gear because two of my other hobbies (drones and Arduino/physical computing/IoT)
Drilling the holes for the nylon LED holders was a bit dodgy as it just feels wrong drilling out detail on a model like this. Because we can buy the heads separately it’s much less nerve racking, as a mistake mean you ruin/degrade a $88 head instead of a $1800 complete titan. Still sketchy, but thank you ForgeWorld for selling the heads separately!
Here is a screen capture of the digikey order for the JST connectors. I bought a (lot) extra and JST connectors are just really handy to have on hand.
The black LED holders are digikey part number 67-1330-ND, and are ‘holder LED panel 3mm black nylon’ from ‘lumex opto/components inc’
The LEDs I used are digikey part number 516-2328-ND, AND ARE ‘LED 3MM Alingap Hi Perf Amber’ from ‘Avago Technologies US Inc)
I don’t have the part number of the resistors or battery pack. Adafruit has a nice iphone app ‘circuit playground’ that lets you choose the right resistors based on the ‘forward & supply voltage and forward current. I think the battery pack came from SparkFun. It’s 2xAA, which is pretty big, so I might switch over to a small LiPo battery or a 2xAAA solution in the future. The whole reason I connected everything up with the JST connectors is so I can swap stuff out later. I might build something warhammer-ish with existing bitz around a lipo pack and paint it up so it looks more integrated in the future.
So far I’m happy with it. One optimization would be to miniaturize the connectors and the battery solution to make them less obvious on the finished model. I went with an external battery pack because there is no accessible ‘inside’ on the warlord like the warhound/reaver, .
The Emperor Protects! Praise the Omnissiah!
For all of the below steps, I used good old JBWeld. Here you can see the two steps of mixing up the epoxy. First squeeze out relatively equal amounts of hardener (White-ish line) and ‘steel’ (dark grey). I pop off the end of a q-tip and mix the epoxy until it’s consistently grey.
Here’s a test fit of the major pieces before the upper right rear torso is glued in place.
I rough up all of the joint surfaces with an x-acto blade, and put red dots on all the surfaces that require glue so I don’t miss any surfaces or put down glue on something that isn’t supposed to have it.
Here’s me clamping in the upper rear torso.
This is where I made a slight mistake…the upper rear torso wasn’t aligned perfectly (it sagged a bit ‘low’) and this created a miss-alignment in the torso block.
Below you can see the misalignment. The middle inner ‘vent box’ is too low. The trick to to get the ‘upper rear torso’ glued in at exactly the right height. If I were to do it again, I’d glue in at least one of the ‘upper torso’ sides first so I could line up the ‘upper rear torso’ pieces correctly.
Preparing to glue the torso front plate. Again, roughing up the bonding surfaces with an x-acto knife and adding red dots so I apply JBWeld to the right surfaces.
Side view of the torso being clamped while the JBWeld is curing. I put the top plate on even though it wasn’t being glued in to make sure the sides cured at the right angle.
Front view of the torso sides being clamped while the JBWeld is curing. At this stage the front plate isn’t glued in…it’s just sitting in there to line everything up.
Top View of the torso box being glued together.
Before gluing the top plate on, I ran 4 wires through the lower torso, for 2x LED lights in the cockpit.
Relatively tricky placement of the clamps to glue on the Carapace front.
Carapace front being JBWelded on with the tricky clamps.
Clamps securing the exhaust vents.
gluing the exhaust intakes to the exhaust ridgets.
Gluing the exhaust ridges to the top carapace
Exhaust ridge clamps
And that’s the major pieces of the “Torso Box”
For magnetizing this beast, I went with much larger magnets than the Reaver.
So far, I’ve purchased 3/4″ diameter by 3/8″ thick neodymium magnets. These puppies have a pull force of around 24 pounds when it’s magnet to magnet.
I purchased magnets for four different joints
- Legs -> Torso
- Right shoulder -> Arm
- Left shoulder -> Arm
- Head -> Body
Here I’m using a 3/4″ Forstner bit to drill the hole for the lower magnet.
After the main hole is drilled, drill a few holes for the excess JBWeld epoxy to squirt out through. This means you can coat the hole liberally with JBWeld for good coverage, and then push down the magnet until it’s flush, and an excess JBWeld will push out through the tiny holes.
I also drilled through the top plate (bottom of the torso). It’s not 3/8″ thick, so I ended up drilling clean through (not pictured).
Here you can see the fully glued in leg/hip magnet
And the fully glued in torso magnet.
Because the torso plate was thinner than the magnet itself, I dumped quite a bit of JBWeld on top of the magnet to create plenty of support for the torso magnet so it doesn’t pull out when assembling/disassembling the torso from the legs. The fun thing about JBWeld is that it’s metallic & ferrous, so the magnet actually pulls the JBWeld towards it! I just kept adding JBWeld until it created a nice thick ‘cap’ around the top of the magnet.
So far (about a week, and probably 100 torso/leg attaches and detaches, both magnets are still 100% secure… so I don’t anticipate a risk of the magnets coming loose from the resin due to the strong 24 pound pull force.
This is potentially the most tricky part of the entire build. Unfortunately this step requires both hands so I wasn’t able to take any pictures during the operation but I did take a few pictures after the fact to demonstrate the bubble level and the final leg/feet positions.
To position the legs on the hips and the feet on the legs I:
- Used JBQuick instead of JBWeld
- Did one leg at a time, and manually held the leg in the ball joint of the hip for ~10 minutes.
- Did the leg/hip join before gluing the feet on, but positioned the leg in the ‘cup’ of the foot while the hip/leg joint was setting to get an accurate idea of angle and height.
- While doing this, I used a small bubble level on top of the legs as I’m going for a level/stable hip surface.
- After each leg join set up after ~10 minutes, I did the same for the leg -> foot joint… I manually held the whole enchilada for ~10 minutes until the joint cured, then I repeated on the other leg/foot.
After letting the leg/feet joints fully cure (~12 hours) I drilled 1/8″ holes for the 1/8″ brass rods, to pin the leg/hip joints and reinforce everything so it’s nice and strong.
I’m a little concerned my legs have too wide of a stance, as the distance between the two connection points for the upper most piston is very tight, and even at max compression the pistons might be too long. I’ll update this outcome in a future post.
Overall, this is the hairiest / messiest part of the build as everything is at odd angles and it’s very difficult to clamp anything in. If/when you do this step, good luck! :) Hit me up with any questions / concerns and I’ll try and help.
Here you can see the legs clamped in the vice
Then, drilling as straight ‘up’ the leg as possible even though the foot itself is at an angle.
I repeated the same drilling step for the hips. Below you can see the final/glued pins for the feet and hips.
At this point I have pins all over the place… through each hip, through each foot, through/accross the knee, and between the lower leg and knee joint. A total of 8 pins (4 in each leg). This is probably massive overkill, as the resin is nice and sturdy/thick, but I don’t want to take any chances with this expensive/heavy beast!