Adventures in Hobbying – Feat of Service Trophies

FaultieAvatarHey folks, Faultie here.  When last we left our intrepid blogger, I was filling you in on the Nova Nomads’ Feat of Service event, coming up this weekend at Huzzah Hobbies in northern Virginia.  As part of this great event, I’ve been lucky enough to find a small way to help out.  In addition to Lost Hemisphere sponsoring the prize for the Hobby Champion, the kind folks of the Nova Nomads allowed me to help with creating the trophies for the Hobby Champion and the Gameplay Champion (the winners of the Custom Caster Casual event and the Masters Tournament, respectively).

As part of an unrelated, secret project I’ve been working on for about a year now, I’ve gotten quite familiar with Alclad2 metal paints.  I was introduced to these by the kind folks from Hawk Wargames, who were once nice enough to spend about a half an hour at TempleCon walking me through all sorts of paint schemes and styles, including a certain PHR fighter that was painted with a mirrored chrome.

Fast forward 2 years, and I volunteered to use the process I’ve gotten down on my other project to make the trophies really pop.  Last year’s were pretty cool, but I thought that Alclad’ing them would really kick them up a notch.










This year’s trophies, looking similar to last year’s, are Nomad Warjacks.  The Hobby Champion’s trophy is further modified, replacing his sword and buckler with a brush and paint palette.  This year’s trophies were made by Nova Nomads Carl and Hawk.  After meeting with Hawk for the handoff in a Metro station like a scene from House of Cards, I took the models home and prepped them for painting (like a different kind of scene from House of Cards).

It’s important to note that Alclad2 is a very sensitive paint.  If there is a detail on the model, it’s likely to show up.  As such, it’s recommended that you definitely take care to clean up the model you’ll be painting.  Although Carl and Hawk did a good job on the models, I spent another 15-20 minutes on each really going over them and making sure that things were smooth and that mold lines weren’t still visible (quite a challenge when dealing with the restic nonsense used for some models).  Afterwards, they got a nice wash and it was time for priming.

For the Alclad I chose, I needed a high-gloss basecoat to really make the metal pop.  Since I was going for a realistic gold, and wanted to impart depth and in the final trophies, I chose to make the basecoat black.  I started with a thin coat, let it fully dry, and then gave it a second one.  This may seem like a touch of overkill, but it’s important to note here that Alclad2 is rather corrosive, and doesn’t like plastic very much.  I have scorched the feet off of a light warjack with this stuff when I didn’t fully cover them in a basecoat.  Lessons learned…

I waffled between two different Alclad golds for the project, and experimented a bit beforehand to see which I liked most.  My first thought was to use Pale Gold, and then add a clear glosscoat to make it shine afterwards.  However, this didn’t give me the look I wanted, so I swapped to Mirrored Gold for Lexan, and it turned out to be just what I wanted.

Now it’s time to paint, so I have to get ready.

Hmmm…why do I look so done up?  Well, mainly because of this:

See, the way Alclad2 works is that there’s a bunch of metals suspended in a base.  You spray it on, the base evaporates over the course of about 12-24hrs (or more), and you end up with just the metals on the model.  It’s not bad in small doses, which these trophies were, but I usually wear an even more robust respirator when painting any substantial quantity of models.

Thus, the mast and the eye protection (yes, it’s very thin and can splash if you’re some sort of clumsy person, like me).  Also, it’s tremendously sensitive, as I mentioned earlier, to the point that it can make minor defects and flaws really show up.  I learned to wear gloves when handling models I planned to spray, since even fingerprints can be enough to show up in the final coat.

And now, finally, time to spray!

This is the look after the first coat went on.  It looks a bit splotchy, which is partially due to me rushing to get these out the door in time for the event, and partially because that’s sorta how it looks when you first spray it.  It doesn’t always look like a smooth coat of, say, spraypaint or acrylic, because the entire drying/evaporation step takes time.  After a couple of hours, I did another thin coat on top, and left it be.

One of the things I like about Alclad is that your base- and undercoats can still shine through, allowing pre-shading and the like if you really take your time.  For the trophies, I with only a single lighter coat on the undersides and recessed areas, giving it a sense of depth and shadowing.  This is even more useful on traditional miniatures that you intend to fully paint, as the basecoat+Alclad can do a lot of the shading work for you…which is good, because some of the Alclad finishes don’t take additional paint very well.

After the second coat dried, I polished the outside with micromesh to smooth out the surface.  Plarzoid played courier, and now they’re back in the hands of the Nomads.  Last I saw, they were ready for final mounting.  Hopefully some final photos come in from the weekend, but there you have it!

There’s still time to register for the Feat of Service if you’re in the area, or  if you can’t make it and would still like to donate, you can do so here!  The Nomads are close to $2000 so far!