Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Figure Salvage, Part 1

Everyone likes saving money when they can, especially on non-essential things like hobbies.  While miniatures gaming is a relatively inexpensive hobby (compared to something like Golf,  motorsports, etc.) it still requires a decent outlay of cash, and for some gamers, the less they have to spend the better. I come from a background of historical miniatures, where paying $3 for a very well-sculpted 28mm miniature is seen as highway robbery, so you can imagine my shock when jumping back into 40K and paying $15 for a Tau Shas'ui NCO & shield drone.  You need less figures for a GW army but still... damn.

As I was saying, gamers like to save cash, and one way people do that is by buying used figures.  There are many places you can get good deals online on used figures including eBay, Bartertown, various message board swap fora.  Another place you can pick up deals is from other gamers in your local group.  I was at my FLGS last night and struck a deal with another local gamer.  For $40 (which he promptly turned into two Grey Knight leader figures from the store) I got the following:
  • 1 Metal Tau Ethereal
  • 2 Metal Tau Pathfinders with Rail Rifles
  • 5 gun drones
  • 22 Assembled Fire Warriors
  • 6 Assembled Kroot
Not too shabby, and a hell of a lot cheaper than buying every thing new.  

$40 of Used Tau.  Note the irregular paint jobs.

Disclaimer:  I buy most of my figures from my FLGS.  He's not running a charity to provide free gaming space for us so I support him as much as I can.  If you like your local gaming store, buy things there regularly.  It's a tough economy and these small business owners need support from ALL of us to stay in business. It's OK to get good deals on stuff elsewhere, but if you buy all your stuff online and then go into a local store to play and never buy anything there, you're just a leech.  </soapbox>

But I digress.  So, I managed to get a good deal on some things I needed for my force.  These Tau were the first figures this gamer had ever painted and, in all honesty, it showed.  Mold lines still in place, haphazard assembly in some cases, and the paint was laid on thick, and sometimes with a grainy finish. Those figures that were painted were done in several different color schemes, none of which are close to the one I'm using.  This is pretty common with used figures.  The better the deal, odds are the worse shape the figures are in.  Cleaning them up can be a pain, but that's the price you often pay to save some bucks.  So, I decided to go through and clean the figures up and I thought it might be interesting for newer gamers especially to see how I did it.

Here are 4 figures I'll use as my test cases for this series.  We have a Tau Ethereal, a black-primed pathfinder with a BFG rail rifle and two Tau Fire Warriors.  The white Fire Warrior has a grainy, chalky white coat of paint over a black primer base while the green one has been coated in 'realistic water effect' to give it a shiny, plasticky look & feel.  In all cases the based are plan.  No paint, terrain, etc.  

The Usual Suspects

The first thing that needs to be done is get all the old paint off.  There are a variety of ways to get the paint off.  Sometimes running them under hot water and then using an old toothbrush works, but often you have to soak the figures in something to get the paint off.  For metal figures, oven cleaner spray works very well, but it's toxic and I don't know how well it would work with plastic figures, let alone resin.  Automotive brake fluid will also work from what I've read.  My preferred solution is using something less noxious, so I'm putting all these figures in a bath of diluted Simple Green.  This is a non-toxic cleaner that can be found at pretty much any DIY or Home Improvement store in the USA.  A somewhat similar product in the UK is Dettol from what I've heard.

So, I took an old glass pickle jar (the wide mouth helps a lot), filled it with diluted Simple Green (~1:15 ratio or so. The exact ratio doesn't matter much IMO.  I've seen it anywhere from 1:10 to 1:30.  The less SG in the mix, the longer it may take so be aware of that).  Once the mix is in place in go the figures for a soak.  I expect they'll be in there for at least a day and perhaps longer, especially for those pieces with the water effect gunk on them.  

A few days of this and most paint comes off.

After a few days of soaking in the Simple Green most of the paint will come right off with a rinse of hot water and some scrubbing with an old tootbrush.  I'll post more pics of the Fantastic Four over time to show the progress of the reclamation effort.  You can see larger photos of this series at my Photobucket account here.

More to follow...

If you find this series of posts useful please leave a comment or let me know on Twitter (@GreatRedoubt).  

No comments:

Post a Comment