I’m tackling three mercs this week: the Steelhead Halberdiers, Ashlynn, and the Mule. There’s been some consternation over assembling the Halberdiers, so I’ve got a quick walkthrough on putting them together. Ashlynn and the Mule, I’ll just give you a look at my paint schemes and make some comments on the assembly and painting process.
Steel head, steel…uh…halberd
The last few infantry releases—Sword Knights, Hammerfell High Shield Gun Corps, and Steelhead Halberdiers—are multipart models meant to provide as much variety as possible with only a few components. The basic Steelhead box contains a unique leader, two halberd sculpts, two leg sculpts, two torso sculpts, one torso/leg combo sculpt, three head sculpts, and three shoulder pad sculpts. That’s a lot of variety for six guys! I managed to lay it out such that each trooper has a different combination of elements.
Be very careful when matching up arms and halberds. It looks at first glance like there are only two halberd sculpts: the single-curve blade and the double-curve blade. In fact, there are two double-curve blade sculpts. One sculpt positions the hands slightly farther apart than the other sculpt does. Each of these two sculpts matches up with a slightly different left arm. There’s a sharper bend in the arm that goes with the closely-spaced hands. It is very hard to tell one left arm from the other. I didn’t even notice there was a difference until I was most of the way through the unit. Take your time when laying out the parts.
The torso-to-leg and head-to-torso joins are super easy. They’re wide areas with a reasonably tight fit, so you don’t even need pins—a strong gap-filling CA glue like BSI’s Maxi-Cure will do fine.
It’s the arms that will give you trouble. Oh, what trouble they will give! Each halberd/arm set is made up of a halberd with an arm and a hand attached, and an arm with no hand. The arm with no hand attaches to the halberd hand at the wrist, while both arms attach to the body at the shoulders. You must pin two of these three contact points or you’ll be breaking the suckers off every time you pack them.
I chose to pin the shoulders. There’s already a rudimentary bump-and-socket joint at each shoulder, so marking the pin was much easier than lining things up at the wrist. I filed the bump flat first and drilled directly into it.
I drilled straight into the middle of the right arm socket first, put the pin in, and glued it together with only a rough dry-fit. It’s easier to work around the position of one arm than to try and juggle both at once, assuming you’ve got it in approximately the right place. Note that on one halberd assembly, the right arm holds the halberd and on the other assembly the left arm holds the halberd. I glued the right arm first in both cases.
You should note at this point that I haven’t done YW7’s brass rod conversion on the halberd shafts. It’s important to have a little play in a halberd in order to get it to line up properly. You’ll most likely have to make minor bends and twist the halberd along its axis a bit.
Once I had the right arm in, I dry-fit the left arm without the pin inserted. This allowed me to wiggle it around some and nail down the angle of the wrist-to-arm join. Once I had tweaked the halberd to where I wanted it, I marked the hole, drilled the pin, and glued the whole assembly together.
It’s inevitable that you’ll wind up with minor shoulder gaps as you go through this process. You can fill them with Green Stuff if you like, or you can take the easy way out—cover them with shoulder pads! You get six shoulder pads in a box, and only five guys that need ‘em (the leader’s are attached already). The picture on the left shows a gap in one halberdier’s shoulder join. The picture on the right shows the same join with shoulder pad added. It doesn’t hold up as well as Green Stuff on close examination, but it’s a corner I’m willing to cut for a gaming model.
Here are pictures of the whole unit, before and after painting. These are supposed to be crack troops, highly disciplined and deadly. I therefore painted them in a brighter metal than my usual armor scheme—Chainmail instead of Boltgun Metal. This gives them a real spit-and-polish look. The silver is set off by grey-blue fabric (Adikolor Apocalypse base with VMC 901 Pastel Blue highlight) and red-brown strapping (VMC 846 Mahogany Brown base with VMC 843 Cork Brown highlighting).
The new mercenary ‘caster was much simpler to assemble, but ironically wound up needing more Green Stuff! I’m not fond of the stock pose, with sword sticking out in front and pistol sticking out in back. I think she looks a little like a lawn sprinkler.
I chose to elevate the sword arm so she’s sighting up the blade. The pistol arm is in a more natural resting position behind her. The sword arm shoulder join doesn’t naturally accommodate this pose, so I had to pin it and Green Stuff a new armpit/bicep area.
I wanted the paint job to be somewhat knightly in character. I went for a natural armor look, with pale greens (VMC 986 Deck Tan and VMC 830 German Fieldgrey) and purples (VMC 807 Oxford Blue) as the color elements. These colors wound up being a bit too muted, so I added elements of VMC 982 Cavalry Brown for contrast.
The face sculpt lacks much detail or character, so be prepared to put some work in if you want her to look natural.
Holy mackerel is this guy ever a beast. He comes in a whole bunch of pieces, but fortunately his box has an easy-to-understand assembly diagram. The pieces fit together snugly—I only had to pin in a few places. The mace hand needs pinning between forearm and elbow. The feed barrel for the steam cannon needs pinning. One end of the steam hose should be pinned; the other end can just be glued in. The torso should be pinned and Green Stuffed to the hips, as it’s a very loose join with a lot of wiggle room.
Save yourself some priming and painting exasperation by leaving a few bits unassembled. Prime and paint the barrel & box stowage piece seperately from the ‘jack itself. It just blocks too many portions of the ‘jack. Don’t glue the ‘jack to its base until it’s entirely painted. You’ll need to spray prime it from directly underneath, and it’s so big that you’ll want to turn it over occasionally and paint it from underneath without the base in the way.
This guy is obviously the beleaguered workhorse of the ‘jack world, and I wanted him to look like it. I used dark metals (IWM Steel, Boltgun Metal, VMC 998 Bronze, and VGC Brassy Brass), lots of Smoke and pastel weathering chalks, and a drab khaki (VMC 821 German Camo Beige) to achieve an old and weathered effect.
Until next time -