Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tau: XV88 Broadsides

I've said it before, and I'll say it again- Forge World kits are a crap-shoot. You may get perfection, you may get a pain in the ass. The XV88 is a far superior design to the standard XV8. It's also a far more labor intensive kit to build. The rail cannons were badly warped, the ammo belts would not align, there were mold separation marks that ran deep like valleys... but the design is awesome and the detail is sharp.

So, you take the good you take the bad, you take them all and then you have the Facts of...uh, side tracked into a sit com from the 80s.

Immersion in boiling water will help fix the warped pieces and allow you to connect mis-aligned parts. Pinpoint application of superglue and small quantities of Green Stuff will fill bubbles and voids

One other major issue with Forge World kits is the mold release agent they use. Whatever it is, it's industrial strength. It is the only thing I've ever seen to make superglue bead up on application. I've soaked the parts in water, soap, detergent, Windex, alcohol, coke, and Simple Green. Sometimes, no matter how much I try to get the mold release off the part, it just won't go. As a result, I ALWAYS prime Forge World kits. I have a Forge World Vindicator that has a siege shield which I've primed and painted (partially) at least 3 times... and the paint still won't adhere, even after sanding down the part. The only other possibility is that the kits were sold before the resin fully cured and it's either still setting or de-gassing.

Back to the Broadsides...posing the kit is tricky because not only do you have to get the legs in a decent position (you can get a dynamic pose on the 60mm base, but in-game you are better off with the 40mm base), you have to get the arms mounted as well. The arms are trickier than the legs, because the XV88 has under-slung rail cannons which are further supported by auxiliary arms that run between sockets in the rear of the gun and sockets in the lower part of the backpack. That means when connecting the arms you need to take in to account the arm, ammo feed, and auxiliary arm...3 connection points, all at once. It's only slightly nightmare-ish.

When I'd finally assembled and primed the suits, I airbrushed Tamiya Buff over everything, followed by a wash of Devlan Mud and drybrushing of Vallejo Sand. Mechanical bits were painted Chaos Black with Fortress Grey highlights. Red panels were painted Vallejo Vermilion with highlights of Vermilion mixed with Vallejo Flat Yellow. Missile pod details were picked out with Fortress Grey and Skull White highlights.

Bases are medium and fine ballast...unpainted. I ought to go back and add something there. The figures are pinned to the bases using paperclips that run through the lower legs and feet then through the base, under which they hook into "L" shapes secured by superglue. The ankles are insanely delicate and require re-enforcement.

Broadsides are a lot of fun in the game...I've often been tempted to buy another. But no...I must...resist...

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