Thursday, 15 October 2015

Building a Better Batsignal (well, just building one really)

The Batsignal is an iconic piece of Batman History and Lore - and a very useful piece of kit (in the game) for Batman/and Law Forces Crews.

Batsignal (Law Forces, Batman): Variable VP.

A Batsignal Marker is a Difficult Obstacle and Objective. A Batsignal Marker be deployed anywhere in the opponent’s deployment zone. If there are no deployment zones, the opponent may place the batsignal anywhere on the playing surface. The Batsignal starts in the “Off” state. A Character can manipulate a Batsignal to change to switch on/off. At the end of the round; if the Batsignal is On, the owner Scores 4VP, if the Batsignal is Off each opponent Scores 1VP.

The Batsignal must still obey the “not on or near terrain” rules for all objectives. A Character may not manipulate a batsignal to do anything more than change a Batsignal between the ON and OFF state. A Batsignal may be manipulated any number of times per turn.

I know its not the most complex MDF Kit out there, but as I was planning to tackle this myself, I thought I would run through it as a "walk through" for the ACL Membership. I used Army Painter Paints and Vallejo Airbrush Thinner for the painting process.

Before I start in earnest, I would like to apologize for my (to be frank) practically non-existant camera Skills LoL - and a big thanks to Linda (my partner) for being so patient while I was doing this walk through.

It seems a fairly straightforward kit, looking at it in the packaging - and to a certain extent it is. But, as I learned - it is kinda fiddly to get just right (yes, that is one of my BMG rulebooks under there - it goes mostly everywhere with me).

After removing all the MDF components from the frame, I decided pretty much straight away that I wouldn't be lighting this kit - I may do another in the future, and do it then - but this is for gaming, so I wanted to keep it free of hassles and messing about.

For cleaning the parts on small MDF Kits, I don't use sand paper - I find it to be a little too "destructive" on the smallest MDF pieces - I prefer a very sharp knife (be careful guys) and a set of old and used (and therefore smooth) diamond files. As they are worn they are smooth enough not to be too abrasive on the MDF. Once finished, I laid them out as the two separate assembly's for the signal.

Whilst it IS possible to assemble it so it moves around, side to side - its quite a fragile "spindle" in the center. Still, I glued it (TINY dot of glue) so it would be still "moveable".

The reason being, I wanted the angle "straight" across - so leaving it free - meant I could adjust it before undercoating.

As you can see from these pictures, its not "set" in place.

The main light fitting goes together smoothly when cleaned up properly, dry fit all the components to see if they fit.

Glueing, then checking as you proceed with the assembly.

Till you have the finished assembly completed.

The "signal" top part is easy - just a circle of MDF glued over the batsymbol in another circle underneath.

As I had decided NOT to have lighting, I wanted my Batsignal to pop a little on the tabletop - so I used a circle cutter and very thin plasticard (yellow paper or thin card would do) to have a colour effect behind the "Bat".

And I decided to make it Yellow, as it gave amore Comic Book feel to it.

Undercoating is done (by airbrush), black on most of it - and a good strong yellow (50/50 Army Painter Daemonic Yelly and Desert Yellow) on the disc for behind the bat-symbol.

Next up, was to "wet brush" (kinda like drybrushing) with Army Painter Gun Metal, but the paint is wetter on the brush - I thinned it a little with airbrush thinner (I rarely use water to thin acrylic paints personally) to facilitate this. Don't make it too wet though, as MDF can expand with too much moisture. The "on off" tokens were painted Army Painter Greedy Gold.

I was careful not to paint over the black of the Bat - and put a thinned black paint wash over the "glass" and when dry polished it so the black remained only in the etching. You can see here I've set the "angle" of the cross support, with the paint and washes it will stay there - no need for more gluing.

Next was a shading wash, not all over - but rather in the cracks and joints. I used Army Painter Dark Tone Ink, that I had thinned slightly.

Next I went over it again with Army Painter Gun Metal, and washed the tokens with Army Painter Soft Tone.

Then I weathered things a little, you can cheat and get the rust and corrosion paints from Games Workshop - but you can also use Army Painter paints with a little thinning/mixing to the same effect. Rust can be created by heavily thinning Army Painter Lava Orange and then adding a little Army Painter Anti-Shine Matt Varnish to thicken it. Paint in random cracks here and there, likewise darker corrosion can be replicated by using Army Painter Strong Tone Ink neat in various places around the rust.

Whilst the picture isn't very clear, I have "aged" the model subtly in places. I also drybrushed the tokens with Army Painter Greedy Gold.

Next I drybrushed both assemblies all over Army Painter Plate Mail Metal, and tidied up the black on the Bat. I then went over the edges of the Bat symbol with very dark Grey, and painted the lettering on the tokens black.

At this point I sealed everthing (except the glass) with Matt Varnish - and gloss varnished the "on off" tokens.

A great little Kit (and very useful - or annoying - depending on your choice of Crew in game) and fun to build and paint.

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