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LPS2 Round 1 - Report from Fanjoy

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8 March 2006page first published

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fanjoy writes:

Hello everyone, and welcome to my LPS2 Round 1 entry write-up for the Junkyard theme. First, I'd like to say that I'm glad to be here. Thanks to Bill for arranging and directing the contest, thanks to IWM for supporting it, and thanks to the readers for giving me the opportunity to participate in the Finals.

Unlike the last LPS contest, this one has a different dimension in that the Finalists were mailed a random assortment of BattleTech miniatures, so we each have to select which one to use for each round. Therefore, you should see a lot of diversity in subject matter.

I chose the Matador for Round 1. Though this mini has been in production for several years, it remains fairly obscure. To me, it's one of the more under-rated minis available. It comes in 4 parts plus the base, as shown below:


As I thought about the theme, I decided what my basic concept would be: the 'Mech would be striding through a scrap yard, holding a found object as a melee weapon, and painted in a beat-up camo scheme. The "meat" of the tutorial would be to focus on getting a beat-up, dirty, worn look for the mini, because it can be challenging to do that without making the mini look poorly painted.

The first step is to assemble the mini. I like to attach joints by "pinning" them. This helps add strength to a joint, and can be critical to avoid having small parts break off later. The Matador doesn't badly need pinning, but I did so out of habit.

The procedure is to drill holes in both pieces at the joint, and insert a small brass rod between them. If a mini is properly pinned, you should be able to assemble it without glue to see how the parts fit. I understand that most people use a contraption known as a "pin vise" to drill the holes, but I use a Sears Craftsman power drill and a #64 bit. If you're not careful you can easily snap the bit, but I can usually get a bit to last for several dozen minis before breaking.

The picture below shows one of the brass pins I added. I used 3 in all, one for each arm and one for the waist.


Next, I mentioned that I wanted the mini to be carrying a melee weapon. I used a little styrene I-beam (available for a few cents at model railroad stores) for a club. The hands on the mini are closed, so I opened the right fist with an S-cut from a jeweler's saw. After gluing the I-beam into place, I bent the thumb back down to complete the grip.

Right arm

Before assembling the mini, I set up the "junk" on the base. First, I glued the mini to the base and filled in the gaps with drywall spackle (a cheap yet effective material). Once the spackle was dry, I glued various scraps from my parts box onto the base. Finally, I coated the open areas on the base with white glue and dumped a bunch of fine rubble onto it.