Dark Eldar Void Dragon Phoenix

I don’t know yet if I’ll actually be painting this piece or not. I have a client that doesn’t like to do all the fiddly trimming, reshaping, and cleaning that the larger Forge World kits require. So, what I’ll do is just post a quick review of the kits and explain some of the steps I take to ensure a clean build.

So, this kit is one of Forge World’s older pieces.  It suffers from that same malady that many of their early kits did – poor instructions and build guidance.  The instruction sheet (such that it is) consists of a distant shot of the complete model, a list of parts, and a photo layout of the parts.  Nowhere does it indicate location or orientation for parts.  Also, as an early kit, several parts have no slots or “keys” to lock into making pinning an absolute must unless you are addicted to superglue and repainting.  Despite these annoyances, the model is beautiful and the detail quite sharp.

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The casting I received had relatively few mold-lines, offsets, or bubbles.  These were all easily filled with green stuff or squadron putty.  I used a sanding drum on the same tool to remove some flash and offset.

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The excess resin sprues were separated from the pieces with a cutoff wheel on a Dremel tool.  I switched to a sanding drum on the same tool to remove some flash and offset.

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Also, being one of the older kits, this model has no socket for mounting onto a flying stand.  In the early days we would just drill a hole and then use a thick piece of brass rod or car antenna (spring steel FTW) to give the model flying height.  However, now that we have these sexy new flying bases (and FW puts them in with the kit), there has been no revision to the model to accommodate it.  Without special tools, your best bet is to just drill a couple of pin holes into the underside of the body and corresponding ones into the top of the flying base.  It’s not the prettiest solution, but it should work.  In my case, I used a small high-speed cutting bit in my Dremel tool to cut out a cross-shaped slot that the flying stand would fit into.  I left it a snug fit so that the Phoenix could be dismounted for transport.  The customer can decide later if he wants to mount it permanently.  If you go this route, try not to use CA or superglue.  The fumes cause the clear plastic to frost.  White PVA glue wont be very strong so I recommend a rubber cement.

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Once all of the sanding and shaping was complete, the entire kit needed a bath in a strong detergent and very hot (not boiling) water.  I used a stiff-bristle brush under running water to remove and dust or debris.  Then the pieces went into the bath.

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Not all of the oils from production will be broken down by the soap.  Some will remain floating on top and will just grab right onto the pieces as you pull them out of the water.  To avoid this, you can just turn on the hot water tap for a few minutes and allow the container to overflow, carrying many of the remaining oils away.  Remove the pieces and pat them dry with a lint free cloth and then allow them to air-dry for several hours to let the rest of the water to evaporate away.  However, if you can’t wait to get to the build, you can use a hair dryer on low heat setting or canned air (like they use for computers) for getting the pieces totally dry.  As an aside, if any of the pieces are warped, they can be reshaped once heated up by the water.  Go slowly so as not to snap pieces.  To “lock-in” the new shape, hold the piece under cold water for a couple of minutes.

Once you find enough source material on the internet to figure out the orientation of the pieces you can get started on assembly.  Because of the lack of keys or slots, I put in more pins than you would think.  Given how small some of these pieces are, you might consider this overkill.  Buy, having even a small fin snapped off by a grabby gamer will induce a red-eyed rage… and a repair to your painstaking paintwork.  After pinning and gluing, a final touch-up with green stuff or Squadron Putty will give you the best surface to paint on.

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Now you can give your new pet a basecoat and get it onto the painting table – and hopefully the playing table soon after.  Just remember to install the cockpit “glass” with white PVA glue once the painting is done.  Then your new Void Dragon Phoenix will be ready to rain death on your foes from above.

*****

NOTE:  The customer only wanted me to trim, clean, pin, prep, and prime the model.  When he gets it painted I’ll see about posting some pics of the finished work.

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