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Necron Monolith Diary

Necron Monolith
Product #
Suggested Retail Price
£35.00 GBP

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unknown member writes:

Reminds me of Deep Thought from the TV series. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to game "Hitch-hikers?"

You could use that kit for the game. Admittedly, it wouldn't be much of a game. You just go up to it and ask it a question.

Um, never mind.

Revision Log
7 August 2006page first published

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unknown member of Mardaddy Paints writes:

TMP's Official Necron Army Monolith

Otherwise known as...
"MDP!'s Shot at Worldwide Exposure - Sink or Swim, baby…"

Well, I have to admit I was humbled and excited when Bill asked if I would consider being featured on the TMP Workbench assembling and painting up a Necron Monolith for the official TMP Necron army. Bill even let me choose the color scheme (be still, my heart!). I jumped at the opportunity not just to paint up something I've never done before, but could not turn down the opportunity for worldwide exposure within the mini-wargaming community for my part-time mercenary modeling and painting services.

Thing is, I am part-time after all, and have a family that I enjoy spending time with. Commissions that I could finish easily in a weekend I try to obligate for a week, to give time for distractions like school productions, coaching softball, baking a batch of cookies with the kids, etc. I figured on about a-week-to-10-days to do an excellent job on the Monolith, so I told Bill:

Less than a month for the completed model and Workbench article to be back in your possession.

I am fitting the Monolith in around another previously-obligated commission I have for a U.S.A.F. customer stationed in the U.K., and work I am still doing on my own Cryx battleforce; so I'll be working back and forth between all three projects...

Since this was to be the centerpiece first model of the TMP Necron army, I would be setting the tone for the rest of the army (no pressure there). I had to make sure I chose a scheme that was unique, appropriate to the fluff of the Monolith, while at the same time not holding hostage the creativity of my fellow follow-on painters by choosing something that would limit their options.

I do not play 40K. Gave it a good try with a Black Templars army, but stopped for multiple reasons. I've painted quite a lot of 40K stuff for commission and eBay sales, but my Necron painting experience has been one C'Tan and a lone Necron Lord... that's it. So, my first step is research - what is the Monolith, anyway? What exactly is it made of?

I borrowed a Necron Codex from a friend for some answers... OK, basically, a nigh-indestructible, shooty-pyramid-transport, that's what it is, and necroderm is what the Monolith is made of... kind of a "living metal." The whole "living metal" part got me thinking towards using multiple-toned metallic paints. The standard GW Dark Angels Green with Scorpion Green highlights is very cool and all, but I wanted a different spin, maybe different blended metallics? Challenging, but not quite what I wanted. A base coat of silver and blending glazes to get different hues on different parts? Hmm, the glazes that give the consistency I like are too thick and dry so quickly it would be a struggle. Using thinner glazes or a blending medium would allow for easier blending, but you roll the bones on inconsistent coverage on such large panels. Maybe using a few cans of Testors color spray glazes one right after another? It would blend around the edges of each color, and is not so thick, but the colors are pretty gaudy. Hmmmmm. Much pondering while awaiting the arrival of the Monolith...

17 March

Driving to work, I saw something that was exactly what I was looking for. Not the colors, but the effect. There are three auto-body and custom-paint shops near my day job, and I saw a car parked outside one of them that had a shimmering pearlescent paint job. The reflected color of the paint changed with the angle of the light reflecting off of it. That's it! But is it readily available? And would it translate well on the gaming table?

Now I am not naive enough to think that a paint formulated for automobiles would be appropriate (or economical) for plastic model use. So an inquiry with the guys at Hot Rods and Custom Stuff in Escondido turned me on to Dupli-Color. Dupli-Color makes a three-stage spray-paint system that gives a much similar effect, and is made precisely for smaller applications – I was warned that the metal flakes providing the shimmer are not as small as the auto-grade paint; but I'm a sucker for expanding my horizons and trying new things, so count me in! One internet order later that night, and the paint is inbound.

I decided to buy a second "sister model" Monolith to do side-by-side, and eBay it to any who would like a twin of the official TMP Monolith. Start price is full retail, and 25% of the final price will be PayPal donated right back to TMP.

20 March

Monday nights are my weekly game night, so since I was already there to "Play Like I Got a Pair," I purchased the second Monolith from Rob at Pair a Dice Games in Vista, CA.

Yes, I paid full retail. I want to support my LGS, and don't buy enough from Rob as it is already, so hopefully this makes up for the Cryx Harrower I bought from Elton at Dark Basement Minis last week - sorry, Rob...

Anyways, got home and accounted for the components, looked over the instructions and washed it (the model, not the instructions...) with Simple Green and lukewarm water to get rid of any release agent. Still waiting for the other Monolith and the paint.

21 March

Some more research on the Monolith online, and I discover I am neither original, nor the first to try the color-shifting paint idea. A modeler and gamer named Johnny Worthen came up with the idea, and authored (I must confess) an outstanding article about the painting and assembly at Starship Modeller in 2003 – he even included a tutorial for installing the same Monolith with LED lights. Crud... I'm a Johnny-come-lately.

After some internal back and forth, I decided I was going through with my version anyways. I already bought the paint and was really looking forward to mastering a new technique. I'll just learn from his experience and advice. Great minds think alike, and apparently we both had the green/purple inspiration - but unlike Mr. Worthen, I am using some gray and steel instead of gold and blue, and I have some ideas regarding source lighting and the vents and such I am going to try. But LED lighting is still a little beyond my "willingness to experiment" zone, so I bow to him! Maybe I'll try it sometime on one of my own models so I have room for error, but not on these Monoliths – not willing to take the risk of messing them up.

22 March

The TMP Monolith and the Dupli-Color paint arrive the same day. Inventoried and cleaned using same treatment as the store-bought, and an email shot off to Bill confirming the safe arrival. Read through the 3-stage painting instructions, and studied the Monolith assembly instructions more intently.

An idea popped about the texture of the Monolith. Those flat panels do not really give as much a color shift as I'd like when the model is still. A texture to the model could result in more variety of color on the same panel side...

23 March

My daughter had a school chorus performance, so no progress on the Monoliths. The chorus did an excellent job, BTW.

24 March

Earlier in the day, I bought a can of Rust-Oleum American Accents "Stone Creations" for a texturing experiment. Instead of finding a surface, spraying it, and waiting the recommended four hours for it to dry, I just took the cap (which already comes coated with the texture) and tried the three-stage process directly on that. Not quite what I was hoping for, plus it is quite thick. Too much lost detail potential. Guess I'll scrap the texture idea after all.

I put a nice fresh blade on my X-acto and did some trimming of minor flash on the models. I've found that self-inflicted wounds while modeling come mainly from trying to force-cut with a dull blade, so I always start fresh and change blades fairly often. Some test fitting and partial assembly of the base and sides using Testors model cement, also known as "airplane glue." Since the entire model is plastic, I am sticking with the model cement throughout.

Different modelers use different techniques in their assembly and painting. Some paint first, then assemble and do touch up. Others assemble and then paint. I do not limit myself to one set routine, and do whatever works best for the model itself and the end result I am looking for. For what I'm planning for the Monolith, those big, obvious panels called for as little handling as possible once painted, and I don't mind some masking, but not a large amount, so I'm painting as I assemble. That way, I can get the major pieces together and take care of gaps and seams before paint hits the model. Plus, I can keep those items I do not want painted the base-color off and away, maybe saving some of the nicer details from the multiple coats of spray paint that the overall effect requires.

25 March

Monoliths primed

Assembled some, primed with their undercoating, and put a coat of the color-shifting paint on what was assembled.

Monoliths primed

Not impressed with the effectiveness of the spray-can nozzles. They are similar to the Krylon Fusion, the same blue-tipped nozzle. In fact, I hate the nozzle. Far too much uneven dispersion than I would expect at the price I paid for the paint ($26 USD, shipping included). A lot of the paint gets wasted on the peripheral edges of the spray.

Monoliths basecoated

I was also not impressed with the first coating of the color-shifting paint, but I am taking into account the temperature and humidity (painted in the afternoon and it rained later that night). I decided to give it a fair shake by trying another coat tomorrow (providing the weather assists).

Monoliths basecoated

I then spent the remainder of the evening putting a dent in my U.K./ U.S.A.F. commission that is somewhat overdue (*embarrassed*).