Welcome to Mod Monday! One of the best ways to make your force stand apart from the rank and file and attract new players to the table is with creative and unique game pieces. While Battletech and Alpha Strike aren't WYSIWYG (wee-see-wig, "What you see is what you get") like other games, modifications, reposes, and creative construction enhance the gaming experience. In Mod Mondays, we look at cool modifications and tutorials to build dynamic and different models.
By popular demand, I'll share with you my tool kit for mod work.
Like Dad always says, "Use the right tool for the right job!"
The Kit--sans dremmel. It includes: X-Acto with spare blades and saw blades; floral wire: needle nose pliers and snips; various sizes drill bits; retractable box cutters; hand drills; hand pull saw/razor saw; jeweler's saw.
Each of these tools serves a singular purpose but in a different way--they cut things. For general miniature work from cleaning mold lines to making simple cust and reposes, a good X-Acto with spare blades will meet nearly every need. The find tip of an X-Acto is great for cleaning and preserving small details like around rivets, vents, and joints where a filed would otherwise erase the details.
When dealing with thicker sections of, or more dense miniature materials, consider upgrading to heavier X-Acto handles and blades.
Alternatively, considering investing in some X-Acto saw blades (in the tube with the black cap). These work much like any other hobby saw. To make sure your cut stays where you wish, use a standard X-Acto blade to create a guide line. With the cut started, switch to the saw to finish your mod.
Regractable blades are great for working with terrain modifications. Because materials such as foam and cork can dull blades quickly, snap-off blades allow you to work quickly and relatively cheaply. In some instances, you can use these to clean out panel lines that have mold lines or deformatives in them; the larger blade thickness helps to clean and preserve details.
When diving into more complicated modifications or needing to cut through a moderate or greater amount of material, use a razor saw or a jeweler's saw. The razor saw, one of my favorite tools, have varying sizes and thicknesses of blades. What makes these especially cool, these tools work best on the pull stroke of the cut--hence the alternative name "pull saw". When needing to make careful cuts in small places, use the jeweler's saw. This is also a great tool for maneuvering your way into complicated curved cuts. Make sure to have spare blades on hand--these break...a lot.
BE MINDFUL! THE WIDER THE BLADE, THE MORE MATERIAL YOU WILL LOSE DURING THE CUT! Always use the safest and thinnest blades possible to preserve details.
ALL THE FILES!
For general miniature assembly and modifications, keep on hand different sizes, shapes, and thicknesses of files. Files generally clean miniatures more quickly than X-Actos, though some of that time disappears when switching between file shapes to fit different surfaces. These are especially best to use on more complicated mold-lines that don't require careful preservation of details or to smooth out a connecting surface--especially to remove saw marks.
DRILLS, BITS, AND PAPERCLIPS
Zona Tools Drill Bits
These are essential parts for any kit--from basic assembly to complex modifications. With a pen drill and the included bits from a hobby store, a set of sturdy paperclips, and snips (not pictured), the possibility of more sturdy models with greater dynamic poses suddenly become a possibility. By drilling a small hole in either side of a joint and adding a "pin" cut from a length of paper clip, then gluing the assembly together, joints and assemblies are now considerably stronger and more resialient to transportation, use, and more durable for more dynamic poses! Congratulations--you can now pin your miniatures.
In addition to this, with smaller and smaller bits, addint details like antenna becomes easier. My drilling out the appropriate sized hole, adding a bit of floral wire, electrical wire, or toothbrush bristle, and a small dab of glue, your minis can now sport intense communications arrays!
If it seems a bit overwhelming, remember that it has taken over a decade to build it to this level. You can begin to make awesome mods with a few, simple, and easy to find tools. Remember, for a basic kit, start with:
With this kit you can clean and assemble miniatures and even make some amazing mods and reposes of your own!
HAVE YOUR OWN MOD TOOL KIT? ANY ADDITIONS, SUBSTITUTIONS, OR DELETIONS? SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
Tutorials and Projects