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Posted by misterfinn

Recent infantry releases from Privateer Press have come a long way from the Mechanithrall and Long Gunner days. We’re seeing a lot of multipart models—sculpts with interchangeable components like heads, weapon fits, and accessories. While these models make for better-looking units than the old one-piece sculpts, they’re a much bigger modelling challenge. Most of them require pinning at the least, and some have tricky areas where two or more parts need to line up together.

Before we jump in, please make sure you’ve got a pin vice and pinning wire; a strong gap-filling CA glue like BSI’s Maxi-Cure; a low-viscosity gap-filling CA glue like BSI’s Insta-Cure+; and the ubiquitous Green Stuff. You’ll need all of it at one point or another.

Bane Knights

I’m going to start with the easy part: the Cryx Bane Knights. These guys are in a lot of pieces, but they fit together exceptionally well. I’m building a unit of eight—one box and one blister pack.

After washing and cleaning all of the parts, I lay them out to see what I’ve got.

In addition to the leader, there are three body sculpts (I got three of one and two each of the others), two head sculpts (three of one, four of the other), two halberd sculpts (again, three of one and four of the other), and two shield-arm sculpts (ditto). I also have sixteen shoulder pads, eight shields, eight bases, and eight wrought-iron fences.

Every sculpt in the assortment is interchangeable. Any body will take any halberd arm, any shield arm, and any head. You could even spread the leader’s parts around if you wanted to, though I like to keep my leaders as distinct as possible from my troops. Since I’m free to match up any part with any other part, I have an easy time sorting out individual models.

The sorting process is where you’ll get all the variety in your squad, so it pays to take a few minutes and mix up the parts. Start by laying out the bodies as shown above. The leader’s at the top in the middle; take his bits out first. Then work your way through the two-ofs. Each body gets a different halberd/head/shield arm combo. Move on to the remaining three and spread the remaining parts out as best you can. Here are the specifics if you want to reproduce my sorting exactly:

Leader Left knee forward, top-haft-grasped halberd, straight shield arm, bare head
Running, mid-haft-grasped halberd, straight shield arm, bare head Right knee forward, mid-haft-grasped halberd, bent shield arm, helmet Left knee forward, top-haft-grasped halberd, bent shield arm, helmet
Running, top-haft-grasped halberd, bent shield arm, helmet Right knee forward, top-haft-grasped halberd, straight shield arm, bare head Left knee forward, mid-haft-grasped halberd, straight shield arm, bare head

Once you’ve got everything parted out, assembly is a snap. If you like to replace your polearm hafts with brass rod, now is the time. I personally can’t be bothered - I’d just as soon be careful with my models and bend ‘em back into shape as necessary. The Bane halberds aren’t as troublesome as the IFP but some of them do stick out quite far from the model. Your mileage may vary.

Start by putting the models on bases so they’re easier to hold during the rest of the assembly process. The foot-tabs are pretty thin, so they need some Green Stuff padding. Roll a thin cylinder of putty, lay it in the slot, push the model in, and scrape off the excess. Even for my conversion-averse brain, it’s quick and easy. Make sure you let the putty dry completely before you proceed with assembly!

Now that the models are securely based, attach the heads. There’s a big divot on the top of the model and a bump on the bottom of the neck. Drop of glue, plunk down head, repeat x 8.

Move on to the halberd arms. Each arm has a ball-and-socket joint so there’s a wide range of movement. The joint is pretty deep and fits tightly. If you’re pinning-averse you can probably just glue it with a strong CA glue. I prefer to pin because the outstreched halberds are great levers for shearing force. They’re pointy to boot—you’re almost guaranteed to snag them on something and break off an arm if you don’t pin.

See that bump on top of the shoulder? That’s where the shoulder pad goes. This is another tight fit with plenty of surface area, so you can just glue it.

Repeat the process with the shield arm. The shields have a deep hole that the shield arm wrist spike fits into. Since there’s a spike on the halberd arm wrist as well, you have the option of building the model with or without the shield.

You probably want to pin the shoulder if you’re attaching the shields. If (like me) you think the models look better without shields, pinning is optional. The arms sit close to the body and the shoulder has plenty of contact area.

The last step is to attach the wrought-iron fencing. Put a drop of glue into the slot and seat the fencing. Make sure the points are upward, as shown in the picture.

This eight-man unit took about two and a half hours from blister pack to fully assembled models. It’s a real pleasure to open up a nicely-sculpted multipart unit like this. The process reminds me of assembling the Cygnaran Sword Knights—clean, elegant, and fast.

Nyss Hunters

The Nyss Hunters aren’t that much different from the Bane Knights at the outset. I’ve got a full unit of ten in my example here—a box and two blisters. I like the idea of a full unit because it allows the unit to take some attrition and still lay down the five-inch pie plate.

Parts inventory is once again the first step. I have four bow arm sprues; five loose bows; two straight-arm claymore sprues; three bent-arm claymore sprues; four head sprues; three “one-leg” bodies; four lunging bodies; two standing bodies; ten accessory sprues; and the leader’s body and sprue.

The process of grouping components works just like the Bane Knights. There isn’t quite as much variety since the arms come in sets, but the intent is the same: mix it up as much as you can. All of the arm sets and heads will work on all of the bodies.

Base the models before you start assembling them. You won’t need greenstuff this time around because the tabs fit much more snugly than the Bane Knight tabs did. A slight tweak with needle-nose pliers here and there should be sufficient.

The Nyss bowmen are easiest to assemble, so get them out of the way first. Their arms stick straight out from their bodies, making them prime candidates for pinning. This is not optional unless you like repairing your models every time you play. Fortunately, the arm angle gives you plenty of room to sink the pins.

The claymores are more difficult. Each one requires a three-point join: shoulder/shoulder/wrist. As insult to injury, the claymores stick out away from the body of the model so the assembly needs to be pinned in place.

Trying to line up three pins requires more patience and manual dexterity than I possess. In my experience, one shoulder pin gives enough stability to keep the whole apparatus in place. If you’re a belt-and-suspenders type, pin both shoulders—the wrist join is the easiest one to fudge.

Your first step is dry-fitting the assembly. You’re trying to figure out what angle will give you the best triangulation between wrist and shoulder joins. In the case of the bent-arm claymores, the right hand will be down near the waist. The straight-arm claymores can be held very low or overhead, but the in-between angles don’t work as well.

Once you’ve seen how the model is going to fit together, pick a shoulder to pin. I chose the left shoulders for all the claymore models because they’ve got more meat than the right shoulders do. Sink the pin into the body, being as careful as you can about the alignment.

Once the pin is seated in the body, put a spot of glue on the arm; a spot on the sword side of the wrist join; and a spot on the body at the other shoulder join. Then fit everything together, wiggle as necessary to make it all line up, and hold it until it’s secure. I strongly recommend using a thick, slower-drying CA glue for these joins. It’s more strain on your fingers while you hold the model together, but you want the strongest bond you can get. If there are any gaps after the glue is dry, fill them carefully with a faster-drying gap-filling CA glue.

Cylena is another three-point join, just like the other claymore-wielders.

Swords done? Great. There’s one more hurdle to overcome. You’ve got the same accessory sprue for all of the models. It contains a claymore scabbard, a quiver of arrows, and a claymore handle (that’s what the weird little rectangle thing is). None of the accessories have mounting points. Managing to fit all three accessories onto the model is a huge pain…and every single one of those suckers has to be pinned because the contact points are so random. Oy gevalt!

If it were me, I’d just have left everything off and called it good riddance. But I’m a BrushThrall, I’m writing this article for you, and your pain is my pain. Onward.

I found that the quivers fit best on the knee of the lunging models and the upper back of the other models.

The bows can go diagonally across the back, but they fit best horizontally across the waist. The scabbard goes across the top. Click the picture to see a side-by-side.

The scabbards are supposed to go buckle-side-out, but you can flip ‘em over if they fit better that way. Pin the handles onto the scabbards for the bow-wielding models.

Now that the hard part is done, go through and attach the heads. The head-to-torso joins are fairly shallow but still have plenty of contact area. Dry-fit each join before you reach for the glue. Many of the neck-bumps will require some fine-tuning with a file before they’ll fit snugly.

Now you’re really done…and not a moment too soon.

Tharn Ravagers

The big mean guys come in pieces for ease of casting, not for variety. As a consequence, I think they’re easier to put together—but you’ll still have to give close attention to a few things.

I’ve got a box and one blister: two of each troop sculpt plus one leader.

The horned sculpt is straightforward to assemble. The foot-tab fits snugly into the base. The torso goes on next. It’s got plenty of contact area and a snug fit, so again—no pinning!

The arms are a two-point join instead of three-point. Pin under the left bicep; the right elbow doesn’t really give you enough room to sink the pin. You’ll get a minor gap that’s easily filled with a little CA glue.

The head’s a simple glue-on as well. Make sure you line up the jawline of the head with the line of the torso collar.

The other troop sculpt gets trickier. The lower torso is in two pieces: torso and leg+foot-tab. The foot-tab connects to the lower torso with a bump-and-divot join. Pin this join. You’ll need to shave the bump off if your pinning wire is 22 gauge or thicker. Don’t glue it yet! There’s another piece to do first.

The leg join has a pretty big gap, so break out the Green Stuff. Mix it up, let it cure for about 20 minutes, and put a little blob on the torso side.

Now glue the pin in on the bottom and put the two pieces together. Press the leg against the torso piece firmly so the Green Stuff splortches out around the join.

Break out your sculpting tool(s) of choice, remove the excess, and smooth out the join.

Once this join has completely cured, move on to the arms. There’s another three-point join here (sigh) but it works just like the three-pointers on the Nyss Hunter models. Fortunately, the shoulders are sculpted in such a way that they only fit at one angle. This really speeds the assembly process. You’ll probably need to bend the axe a little so it doesn’t interfere with the neck and head.

The head itself fits snugly into the neck collar, parallel to the axe handle.

Home stretch! Time for the leader. He’s got two legs to attach. Put on the left one first. It’s super snug with a lot of contact area, so you don’t even have to pin it.

Once this leg is dry, move on to the right leg. The join here is a little more loosey-goosey. Dry-fit it to make sure there are no egregious gaps (there weren’t any on my model) and put a thick CA glue on one half of the join. Now use the long drying time of the thick glue to your advantage. Working quickly, insert the left leg’s foot-post into the slot on the base. Settle the angle of the right leg such that the foot is flat against the base and hold it there until the glue is dry.

From here, the arms are a cinch. The left arm is a plain ol’ pinning exercise. Be careful about where you sink the pin. The sculpt fits tightly so it’ll show if you misalign the join.

The right arm has a gap to fill. You’ll need to go back to the leg procedure: blob, splortch, smooth. The join here isn’t as secure as the leg join though—pin the arm first for stability, then apply your Green Stuff, and finally apply a thin layer of CA glue to hold the join while the Green Stuff dries. The CA glue will give the Green Stuff a frosted look, but it won’t show once it’s primed.

The head’s another no-pin slam-dunk. Mission accomplished.

Now that your models are assembled, bust out the brushes and get ‘em Fully Painted!

Until next time—