Builds on a Budget: Squad/Kill Team Case

A *Literal* Case Study

Recently I picked up some Infinity models (more to come on that soon) and found myself in an interesting conundrum. There’s not really a lot of great, small factor cases out there for small squad mini games. The kind of stuff you’d use for Kill Team 40k, Infinity, Deathwatch RPG minis, etc. Sure, there are some cases out there, but they all have issues. Size, options, quality, etc. (Battlefoam, yes, is nice but super expensive for something this size.) The following is a brief and hopefully helpful explanation of my thought process for the project, followed by the actual build guide, such as it is.

Planning

So, I sat down and thought about some features I might want in a case:

  • Small. Low model count here, so no sense having unneeded bulk.
  • Protective. I fancy myself a painter, and don’t want my stuff chipped if I can help it. Foam is your friend.
  • Cheap. Good general policy for a scratch-build. Also makes it accessible for others to build.
  • Practical. Utility value. Can go in a backpack or fly solo. Hold dice or tokens when need be, etc.
  • Visibility. I want to be able to see which one has which army, without opening the case up.
  • Latching. You DO NOT want the lid coming off of one of these.
  • Reconfigurable. Efficiency of storage grows exponentially with small cases if you can change out the configuration.

With these goals in mind I starting thinking about my next door Menard’s store… Not the big tackle boxes, but something more in line with those little clear cases you use to sort bolts, bits, and various gubbins. Selecting the right unit would be key, not only to meet my above criteria, but also to ensure the interior of the case could accommodate both model AND the protective foam. I also acquired tertiary materials required for building the case. I’d recommend making at least two at a time for maximum value.

Assemble the Troops!
IMG_4037e2
Initial supplies, laid out. Pretty simple shopping really.

Here’s our shopping list:

  • Tool Shop 15 Bin Storage Case – $6 at Menards  (buy 2 if possible)
  • Craft Foam 12×18″ Sheet 2-3mm – $1 at Michaels  (buy 2 if possible)
  • Double Sided Permanent Tape – $3 at anywhere. Seriously, CVS even
  • Soft Foam Pieces – left over pluck foam is free? I’d recommend 1.5″
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto knife
  • Permanent Marker Black or Silver
  • Ruler – You’ll want one

As mentioned above, I’d recommend buying and building for two. This is more efficient, more affordable, as you already have to get things like tape and there’s enough for two. I like this case due to the prominent handle, clear front, strong latches and removable trays that can be swapped out for more or less of the double wide slots, allowing as many Terminators/ TAGs/ Remotes as you’d like. One other note here, you can use adhesive backed craft foam if you’d like. It saves you some time with tape, but is a little harder to place in one of the steps. It’s also a little harder to find, and I can’t attest to permanence of the adhesive, but it’s likely fine.

Let’s Build It!

First thing we want to do is line all the removable trays with foam. I’d recommend starting on the narrow ends of the small trays first. We want to cut a strip from our foam longways, that is 45mm across. Take this strip, and cut it into rectangles 33mm wide, and slightly round two of the corners on the short end. Eventually, we want to have 24 per case of the rectangles pictured below, if memory serves it will take two or three of those long strips to get enough pieces.

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We’ll need 24 pieces of foam like these. (48 if you build two as I’d recommend) – 33x45mm

Once you’ve gotten the foam cut out, attach it to the sides of the tray with two strips of double sided tape, one 5mm from the top of the tray, and one towards the bottom. It should go in rounded side down, like this. Got any Netflix to catch up on? Now’s the time!

IMG_4031e2
Foam round side down, on the narrow end of the tray.

Once the ends are done, we need to get the main foam strip in. This foam piece will wrap around the remaining three sides to fully protect the model. This step is a little abstract, as the length of foam strip you need will vary based on how tightly you pack the foam into the corners (it starts round like a ‘U’ and has to be flattened some). You can start with cutting out more strips, the width of which should be 43mm. Take the strip, pinched in a U shape, and insert it in the tray until it’s both flush with the top of the tray and sort of… pushed into the corners. Mark it, and use this as a guide to make 12 more of these rectangular strips (24 if making two). Mine ended up being about 43x112mm, but your size may vary slightly. Once we’ve got our pieces made, place one piece of tape longways on the bottom piece of a tray, and then 2 pieces on each of the sides like before. Pinch the foam in a ‘U’ shape again, and making sure to have it centered on the bottom of the tray, press the strip down into the corners. Press the sides down into the tape, for about 20 seconds, keeping the foam flush with the top of the tray. Repeat 11 (or 23) more times!

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Finished tray. Don’t worry if the corners aren’t perfect, we just want to cover the big areas the model will likely hit during transport.

Now that the small trays are done, we need to do the three larger trays. The process is essentially the same, with a few small changes. Remember, the depth doesn’t change, but the width will. The flat side pieces get scaled up, but with the height unchanging at 45mm. They also become a little more trapezoidal, and while you may need to trim them to fit, 70mm is a good place to start. I tapered down to about 65mm on the low end, and again rounded the corners. This scale increase also means the longest strip piece will grow. Again, bend into a ‘U’ and find the right length. Mine is now about 157mm long, with the same 43mm width. Once again, place tape in capital “I” shape on the bottom, adding the top and lower pieces to help keep the bottom flat. Add your two strips of tape to the side as before, curve your foam piece into a ‘U’ shape, and insert it in the tray. Don’t forget to tuck into the corners to ensure a nice fit. After finishing all 15 trays, this is what you should be left with.

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Trays are in and looking good!

If we were only going to store the tray horizontally we could probably stop here, but we’re going for maximum value. To this end, we’re going to pad the top of the case with soft foam to keep the models from banging about. If you can get or already have extras from pluck foam, I’d recommend using that. You can buy blocks of similar foam from craft stores, however. If you’re going this route, just make sure it’s soft, compressible, and won’t react poorly to adhesives. Place a slightly over one inch piece of tape on a 1.5″ piece of foam.

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Foam with tape. Yep.

These little foam bricks should be placed one per square on the lid. Try to place it about 2mm above the L shaped pieces used to keep the trays in place. We want to do this on each square, even the larger trays. This allows you to swap parts, as well as keep larger models like TAGs secure.

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Press down and hold on the soft foam for about 30 seconds to ensure a secure bond.

Once these are done, make sure you can close the lid, and test a model or two to check the fit. It should close with very light pressure, and lock securely.

IMG_4014e2
Hopefully, it should look something like this. Make sure the lid closes and latches securely, and the case isn’t warped.
Finito!

That’s pretty much it! I think it’ll be super practical, especially for skirmish based games and demos. I hope this helps you make a small squad case of your own, or at least inspires you to try making a value storage container of your own. I’ll leave you with a few more parting shots.

Until next time, keep painting!

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Don’t forget you can swap out trays! Even with just two cases, you can carry a large variety of models.

 

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Finished product is practical, protective, and still looks quite presentable. You can also see what models are inside without even opening it up!

Quick and dirty, Vindicare Assassin!

BOOM, HEADSHOT.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2FMDV8yW9M

Song seemed appropriate. Anyway. Today I challenged myself to paint a model quickly. That’s not to say poorly, just in a fast, efficient manner that would maximize time spent with hands on the model.

Brainstorming

To this end I chose two key elements. First, a model with a cohesive visual theme, the Vindicare Assassin. The model is one of stealth and subterfuge, not bright colors and heraldry. Struck me as a perfect test subject for the project.

You know, this guy.
You know, this guy.

With my model chosen, I moved on to how to get the most bang for my painting buck. Simple. Washes.

Washes are wonderful, wonderful things. You can use them for all kinds of practical things from guide coats, to high speed shading, to imparting secondary tones. I use them frequently, and anyone who argues otherwise is an elitist. Do what works for you, and produces results you’re happy with. Simple as that, so let’s roll.

Time to paint

For this model, knowing I’d be relying heavily on black washes, I decided to work off of a grey base, as opposed to the black base I might use for a model that I intend to be so dark. I sprayed the model a typical medium grey, then laid down a base coat of a slightly darker grey to ensure a nice consistent color to work off of. While not always necessary, this step can help out quite a bit if you’re unsure of the quality of your spray.

After getting a nice working surface I blocked in the basic colors of the model. Not really going to elaborate here, as I figure most of you can manage that bit on your own! One thing I did do though, was try to leave little bits of the dark grey showing through around the edges of interesting places that would naturally be in shadow. Since it was the darkest paint I’d be using on this stage of the model, it makes sense the wash would really (metaphorically) shine here. After painting the guns, pouches, armor suit and a few other bits, I washed the *entire* model in GW’s Nuln Oil. Once that had dried, I washed the guns again, this time using Army Painter’s ‘Dark’ wash. This was the result thus far… not bad.

Mctce6J
Not looking terrible, all things considered.

At this point, the model could theoretically be placed on the tabletop without really offending anyone. Still, a little bit more effort will really help sell the piece.

FINISH HIM!

To this end we’re going to layer. Building up thin layers of paints is called layering, or occasionally glazing. Either way, we’ll start by layering a thinned down version of the pre-wash color on some of the raised sections of the model, while trying to keep in mind where the light would actually hit the model. On top of this, I layer a 60/40 mix of my original deep red and a bright, blood red. I do similarly for the brown and two greys used on the model. At this point, it’s time to do a fine edge highlight on the gun (painting a somewhat brighter silver along the sharp edges of the gun to suggest light reflecting), to help it gain some substance. Once that’s complete, we need to go through and pick out the detail, lenses, purity seals, etc. Similar techniques are employed, thin paints, washes, layers, etc. A quick bit of glow detailing (OSL) on the eyes, which looking after the fact need a bit of polishing up, an we’re ready for our clear coat! Never scrimp on a clear coat. You spent all that time on this labor of love, protect it. Finally, we have a finished product, ready for basing!

All in all, only a couple or so hours with a fair bit of that spent waiting on washes to dry. Hope you all enjoyed, til next time, keep painting!

Note how much more dimensionality the model has now. This is why you don't just 'fire and forget' with your washes.
Note how much more dimensionality the model has now. This is why you don’t just ‘fire and forget’ with your washes.

Better bring the Lysol, here comes a Nurgle dread!

First post! On today’s menu, Nurgle with a side of armor.

Green just as dangerous in real life.
Bringing the funk. More likely, the nasty.

I thought I’d start with one of the models I had the absolute silliest amount of fun with, both in the build and painting process. Let’s dive right in!

This dreadnought began its life as the lowly but reliable melta dread that shipped with the Assault on Black Reach set. Well, I already had two multi-melta dreads. What to do, what to do. So I thought it might be fun to try and convert the once honorable hero, over to the forces of chaos. To do this, I knew I had to do several things, especially for nurgle. First, break up the silhouette. This was achieved by several means, such as the addition of spikes. I also extended the smoke stacks far up his back.

Close up of the dreadnought's close combat arm turned mace, you can also see a spike and boil cluster.
Close up of the dreadnought’s close combat arm turned mace, you can also see a spike and boil cluster.

The other, and most notable feature in this regard is the arm. I liked the idea that the arm might have just broken off, then he just kept on using it as a big gooey flail. Seemed hilarious and fluff appropriate. Here you can see the spike I added, as well as some of the green stuff I added to spare tyranid tendrils to make up the arm. there’s about 6 washed to get the subtle multi-tonality I was looking for on the yellow arm.

Next I knew there needed to be some nurgle-ness. This was achieved through various means. First, the addition of boils, and deformity.

You should probably see a doctor for that.
Leg plate, complete with damage and group of boils.

This was so much fun to do, first, I got to cut at the model with a knife. There’s bits of damage just about everywhere. Then, I place tiny little boils made out of green stuff all over the model. If you’re thinking of doing this to a model, I would highly recommend making the boils first. Much easier to glue on after the fact! They were then gloss coated to help convey a sickly feel. Also, quite satisfying to paint.

Another key element, was the rust. Let’s face it, just about anything will eventually succumb to something that corrosive.

It'll buff out.
Rust detail and Nurgle iconography.

I first cut than filed all that imperial iconography off. After that was cleaned up, I drilled pits and holes for the rusted pits. I also added a small nurgle symbol with green stuff. This rust technique was derived from my Necrons and came out quite well. Look for a write up on that here soon, for now, oranges, browns and silver. I also moved the flamer to his chest, so you could still see it.

It's only a flesh wound.
Close up of severed arm.

One of the other small mods I did was to add bits of plasticard tubing. While I’m not sure this was totally necessary, it really helps to sell that sort of ruinous look. It also allows you to work with a slightly different metallic palette as the piston rods should be coated in oil, not rust. Takes a small amount of time, but small details on models like this can make a huge difference in the long run, if you can manage the time then take it. That said, yeah, I haven’t decided how to base it just yet!

Hopefully you enjoyed learning about this model and my process in completing it. I leave you with a 360 of the model, and all its tiny glory. Until next time, keep painting!

You spin me right round baby, right round.
You spin me right round baby, right round.

Welcome to my miniature and hobby blog, one and all!

Welcome to Britton’s Tiny Adventure!

A home for all things hobby. This is sort of my pet project. My journey in the world of miniatures, painting, building and general hobby. I came to realize that there was some interest in my miniature painting, and I enjoyed the format of the blog I helped set up, 30khobbyblog but realized the scope was a touch narrow. So, with that in mind, we end up here on my new blog.

A bit about me. I’m a techie at my day job, and have been at least somewhat involved in the world of miniatures since about 1999, when I got involved with 3rd edition of Warhammer 40k. Never looked back since. In recent years I’ve taken to pushing myself to produce the best possible minis I can. I’ve even had some work featured on spikeybitsblog.com. My stuff is here and here if you’re curious, but please don’t run off!

So. Here’s the general types I’d like most of the posts to fall under…

Throwback – These posts will feature models of days past, things I may have painted or made in days gone by
Clickables – Cool links, tutorials or articles featured on other sites I consider to be particularly interesting
Word Play – Posts likely to be heavily text based, hopefully laden with insightful editorial commentary
Army Showcase – These posts will feature an entire army in it’s current form, completed or otherwise
Solo Spotlight – One lucky model steals the spotlight, heavy on photos and my process with it
Working On It – This is a place to feature an army coming together, or a particular bit of progress on a more involved piece
Friends With Benefits – A post involving content originating from friends or family
Hobbity Bobbity – These are posts involving tools, tips, or builds I’ve found especially enlightening

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and check back often! I plan on updating frequently, so stop on by and see what’s new!

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