Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Modding and Painting Secret Weapon Miniatures' Traffic Pylons

I believe it was Adepticon where I first saw and picked up Secret Weapon Miniatures' Traffic Pylons. They come 10 to a pack and are beautifully cast out of resin. The master appears to have been a 3-D printed model as there is some minimal texture to the casts. The only bit of flash appeared to be at the top of the pylon. And so, I dutifully started cutting and filing them off. I had gotten through eight of them before I realized, "Hey, waitaminute! Aren't there supposed to be handles on these things?!?" So off to google image search to see what they look like in real life...
Side note: if you do a Google Image Search yourself, use 'traffic barrel' or 'construction barrel', otherwise, you'll end up with a ton of pictures of traffic CONES.
Well, look at that! Those little ridges are supposed to represent the handles. Well, since I shaved most of them off, and I wanted better looking handles anyway, I had to remake them myself.

I had some 1mm X 2mm styrene strips on hand that would fit the bill. In order to make a solid connection joint, I would have to cut slots in the tops of the pylons for the styrene to fit in. I had already done the cleanup work, I just had to cut the slot with a razor saw and square file like so:

Once all the slots were cut, I:
  1. Glued in the styrene strip with Sinbad Glue
  2. Chamfered the corners with some diagonal cutters
  3. Drilled three pilot holes with a pin vise drill
  4. Enlarged the holes with a larger bit
  5. Cleaned them up with a hobby knife
  6. Rounded the corners with a sanding block
You can see the progression here:

I did not drill holes that would be used to bolt a barricade light on as I felt it would weaken the styrene too much.

For the basecoat, I wanted to see if I could skip priming and go straight to a good 'construction barrel orange'. Fortunately, I found a can Rustoleum Fire Orange Satin Spray Paint that was perfect. I applied several coats to smooth over any remaining seams in the handles and to minimize the surface texture you get from casting a 3-D printed model.

Since the cones might get or be placed tipped over, I hit the bottom of them with a quick coat of black primer.

Then, since, in the real world, the stripes are actually stickers, I wanted some of the stripes to look like they were scratched and peeled off. So I separated the pylons into three groups – "new", "used", and "old and busted". I applied some Vallejo Liquid Mask to the last two groups to an appropriate degree:

You'll see that I was test-fitting screwing a computer motherboard standoff into the bottom of the pylons. Since I was going to be painting 40 stripes, I figured I would screw the standoff into the exact center of the pylons and use a cordless drill to slowly spin them so I could just hold a loaded brush in place and let the drill do the work.

I got it to work with quite a bit of trial and error, but I wouldn't recommend it. You have to get the pilot hole centered correctly and the standoff screwed in as straight as possible.

For the orange stripes, I used Reaper HD Fireball Orange (29806). For the white stripes, I used Reaper Pure White (09039). To simulate making it look like it was a reflective material, I liberally added Vallejo Metal Medium – probably 2:1 metal medium to base color. I also tweaked the orange stripe color with yellow and orange inks.

Here's the result with the mask peeled off:

Since the Rustoleum basecoat was slightly glossy, I couldn't use acrylic on the bases as it kept chipping off. I ended up busting out my trusty Testors Flat Black Enamel for the bases.

I saved my work with a quick coat of Testors Dullcote.

Now on to weathering.

If you do the Google Image Search, you will see that several of the recycled tire bases have faded over time. I simulated this by applying glazes of Reaper Splintered Bone (09273) in varying numbers of applications.

To dirty up the pylons themselves, I applied washes of Vallejo Black Wash and Secret Weapon Miniatures Armor Wash in varying degrees.

I then used a black china marker to simulate tire and asphalt scuffs, like so:

The next step was to splatter on small amounts of black paint with a toothbrush, to simulate splashes of tar.

That's probably where I should have stopped.

However, I decided I wanted to give them a filter of Testors Concrete Flat to make it look like they were coated in a film of concrete dust. Unfortunately, I think I went overboard with the airbrush:

Oh well, they look okay and will work perfectly well as tabletop terrain.

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