Nighthaunt Dreadwarden with LED Candles

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A gentle tapping downstairs in the wee small hours,

A whisper in the empty room that’s never used,

A snapping twig behind you on the lonely road,

You are never truly alone in the Tallowlands.

These are the first finished models (unless you count Darrakar) for the small Age of Sigmar Nighthaunt force I’m putting together called “The Uncharnel”.

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Who are The Uncharnel you ask? Legend tells they were a band of mercenaries who betrayed the Duardin of old. They paid a kin-traitor for knowledge of the secret tunnels and vaults deep below Hollow Mountain and sought to steal the heirloom treasure right out from under the Mountain Folk.

But a traitor’s tongue can be bought twice, and the mercenaries were betrayed. In their wrath, the Duardin collapsed the secret tunnels, burying the avaricious humans alive.

And there they remained for untold ages, as unquiet spirits consumed by greed and a hatred of the living, until the fateful day they were released by the Ghoul King of Hollow Mountain. But that’s a tale for another time…

LED Candles

When it came to LEDs in my Nighthaunt, I knew I didn’t want to have them in every model as I do with my Crimson Fists, mainly because it would be so time consuming! But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a few here and there; in lanterns and candles for example.

So how were the LED candles achieved? I’m not going to do a full tutorial, as most of the process is very similar to existing tutorials. For example, my LED Psykers tutorial covers the essentials of inserting a battery into a bases and running wires up miniature arms, so if you’re new to LEDs and want to give this a try then that is your best starting point. As for the candle flames themselves:

1. I used three 3V White Ultra Nano SMD Chip LEDs (note: ‘white’, not ‘warm white’) available from Small Scale Lights.  All three LEDs are connected in parallel to the same battery. The wires are wrapped around the candle holder. The arm was too thin to drill easily so I cut it out and replaced it with the wires, as shown in the picture below. The wires run down to the base along the back of the robes.

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2. Next I built up the candles with modelling putty to hide the wires. I also rebuilt the arm around the wires using modelling putty, and re-sculpted part of the robes to hide the wires running down to the base.

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3. Next I applied Water Splash Effect Gel, available from Green Stuff World, to build up a “flame” around the LEDs. You’ll need to apply it in several layers to build up a flame shape. The gel instructions recommend leaving it for 24 hours between applications to allow the previous layer to dry, but for this small amount I found 12 hours was sufficient.

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4. Continue to build-up layers of splash effect gel until you are happy with the flame shape.

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5. Once the final layer of splash gel has dried, coat each “flame” with Lahmian Medium as a basecoat, then apply two thick coats of Hexwraith Flame technical paint, waiting for each layer of paint to dry. The Hexwraith Flame acts as a filter, making the white light appear green. And yes I do mean thick coats, otherwise it won’t have any effect!

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6. That’s all there is to it really. Just make sure you’re happy that the flames look green enough for your tastes when the LED is on. If not, apply as much Hexwraith Flame as required. Just make sure you don’t obscure the LED completely!

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Painting

Just in case anyone is interested in the paint scheme I used, it’s closely based on the ‘Classic Style’ paint scheme shared for the Emerald Host in the December 2019 issue of White Dwarf. The ghostly ectoplasm is Grey Seer undercoat > 50:50 Hexwraith Flame:Lahmian Medium > thinned Ulthuan Grey > White Scar highlight.

With the bases, I wanted to give the impression of the ghosts being deep underground, perhaps in a crypt far below the Hollow Mountain (more on that another time). The recipe was Grey Seer undercoat > Basilicanum Grey contrast > Administratum Grey drybrush > White Scar drybrush.

I quite like the effect this creates, almost a ‘static’ or low light ‘night vision’ effect, like the only think you can see clearly is the glowing spectre as it drifts towards you, slowly reaching out a withered hand…

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More from the Tallowlands

The Tallowlands is a joint project by my gaming group, the Plastic Crack Rehab Clinic (PCRC) to create our own little narrative corner of the Mortal Realms. If you’d like to read more about the Tallowlands or see some of the other forces being created to inhabit it, you can check out the Tallowlands blog here.

Adeptus Titanicus Knight Lancer & New Energy Shield Tutorial

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The masses have faith in the Warmaster as their shield. I have something a little more potent!

– Omega-78, Shame-Scion of House Perdaxia

Here’s a new idea I’ve been brewing for a little while – an “energy” shield with LED explosion effects. I was quite pleased with how my Lamenter with breacher shield and impact explosions turned out, but I thought the idea could be expanded and built on. The impression that I wanted to give was that the model was protected by an invisible bubble of energy that was suddenly becoming visible as it reacted to an exploding projectile. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out!

As of this morning I now have a brand new LED energy shield tutorial on my tutorials page if anyone is interested in having a go at this themselves. This project has occupied pretty much all my hobby time for the last five weeks. In the Age of Corona, between working from home and home schooling two young children on lockdown, I haven’t had a lot of time to spend hobbying.

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I’ve been interested in Adeptus Titanicus since it was first announced (I used to play a lot of Epic Armageddon) and I’ve had a couple of Titans sat on the ‘Shelf of Shame’ for about two years now! I’m glad that I’ve finally been able to put one together.

 

This Knight Lancer is from House Perdaxia who threw in their lot with the Warmaster during the Horus Heresy. So why House Perdaxia? The Titan Legion I will ultimately be collecting is Legio Fureans – I just love their retro yellow and black flame colour scheme! Plus we already have plenty of Loyalist Titan Legions in our gaming group, so we really needed another Traitor. I chose House Perdaxia for the Lancer as they are listed as one of the Knight House who regularly support Fureans. I was also intrigued by their background – Perdaxia removed their colours and iconography at the start of the Heresy and adopted those of Legio Fureans. The Knight Scions even abandoned their old names, adopting strange code names instead. What led them to do this? What secret shame do they hide? It’s an interesting question that I’m going to enjoy thinking about!

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That’s it for today. More Adeptus Titanicus to come soon – I have to make the other Knight Lancer in the pair – as well as more 40K and Age of Sigmar. See you all again soon.

Conductive Paint – New Product Coming Soon From Green Stuff World

The guys at Green Stuff World, providers of many useful hobby supplies, will soon be selling a new Conductive Paint, and they got in touch to ask if I’d like to try it before it goes on general release at the end of August. Of course this is right up my alley, so I said yes please! Full disclosure, this article isn’t a paid add, but they were kind enough to supply the bottle for free.

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So what is it?

As the name suggests, Conductive Paint is a paint that conducts electricity, which is useful for either creating electronic circuits from scratch or repairing gaps in existing circuits. So how does it work? Detailed ingredients aren’t listed – fair enough – but it is apparently water based and also contains silver particles, so I imagine it’s simply a high concentration of silver particles suspended in an acrylic paint medium. It seems quite similar to ElectroDAG or silverDAG, if you’ve ever used those, which are basically conductive adhesives.

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The only GHS symbol is ‘Harmful to the Environment’, which stands to reason. Although it’s not listed as ‘Irritant’ or ‘Harmful’, I can’t imagine you’d want to get this in your eyes, so do be careful! During the course of testing I got a bit on my skin, but it easily washed off with soap and water.

One word of warning – this product is supplied in a dropper bottle. I gave it a good shake before removing the lid, and attempting to dispense some of the paint. Only a very small drop came out, so I assumed it was quite viscous and squeezed harder, at which point the spout of the dropper bottle flew off and the paint splashed everywhere! So please exercise caution when dispensing. As an aside, if it gets on your clothes, you can rub it off by hand scrubbing it in water when it has dried!

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Testing properties

My background is in science, so the first thing I felt compelled to do was test the properties of the paint. I painted two lines on a 10cm strip of plastic card – one over bare plastic and one over an undercoat spray. This was intended to check whether the paint needed an undercoat to key to and if not having an undercoat effected its conductivity.

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The lines are a bit wonky as I used an old brush. I wasn’t sure how easily this stuff would clean off and I didn’t want to ruin any of my good brushes. But as it turns out, it cleans off very easily under running water. Just be careful about cleaning it in a water pot, and then using that water again with normal paints, as you’re likely to contaminate your brush and the other paints with the silver particles.

Once the paint had dried I measured the resistance with a digital multi-meter. It averaged at about 5.5 Ω per cm of track. This will obviously vary with the thickness that the paint is applied.

What can we use it for?

Basic tests out of the way, what can we actually use this conductive paint it for?

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It can definitely be used for completing circuits and connecting LEDs. The LED shown above is simply held in place by applying the conductive paint thickly over the legs and allowing it to dry. No solder used!

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You can also use it in place of solder to connect wires to a battery holder, again applying a thick layer of the paint. The LED shown above is a blue Nano Chip LED from Small Scale Lights.

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It can also be used for mounting tiny chip LEDs without any wires. The chip shown above is a Kingbright KPHHS-1005PBC-A Blue Low Profile LED mounted in a standard 0402 chip package from Rapid Electronics. These things are small, in case that’s not clear from the photo. Each chip is 1mm x 0.5mm x 0.5mm, so make sure you have some very fine tweezers handy if you’re going to be working with them. These chip LEDs have pads on the bottom at both of the narrow ends, so you just need to leave a break between the two sides of the circuit that is slightly narrower than the length of the LED, then press the chip into the conductive paint while it is still wet. When it drys, it will hold the chip in place and complete the circuit. In the image above I have added the chip to the palm of a plastic space marine arm and then attached two wires using the conductive paint, one on either side of the arm.

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Combing these tiny chips and the conductive paint with a bit of resin casting, you could potentially use this to make cool effects like magical flames, psychic lightning or Iron Man style hand blasters, for example. On a complete model, the connections between the conductive paint tracks and the wires could be hidden inside the body. It could probably also be used as an alternative method of completing a LED muzzle flare circuit, rather than drilling out the barrel of the gun and passing wires through.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I really like this product! It’s certainly not a magical solution to all my circuit needs, but it definitely is a useful tool to have at my disposal. The ability to use it to mount chip LEDs and using it to make solderless connections is especially handy.

Where it doesn’t compare to solder is in long-term durability and strength of the connections, but in effect you’re trading that off for the speed and convenience of applying the paint.

The other potential downside is the resistance. The 5.5 Ω per cm may not sound like a lot, but when you compare it to the resistance of 0.1mm copper wire, which will be about 0.02 Ω per cm, it soon adds up. When I first started testing the conductive paint I envisaged using it to mount LEDs on a model – such as the chip LED mounted on the arm shown above – and then painting tracks all the way down the side of the model (hidden under the top paint coat) to connect it to the battery in the base. However on reflection that might be tricky, as if you layer on the conductive paint too thick then it will be hard to hide under the regular paint, but if you make it too thin then the resistance could be too great. It would effectively be like adding a 50 or 100 Ω resistor into the circuit, which would be a problem.

Having said that, it definitely seems to work as intended for short connections, and I’ll certainly buy more when my free sample runs out! Conductive Paint will be available from Green Stuff World at the end of August.