The Eldar Project
6: Flacon Fire Prism
Anthony Karl Erdelji
Hello my little Eldar friends!
Where have you been hiding? There has been a resurging interest in Warhammer
40k at my local gaming mecha, which in turn inspired me to work on a few
Eldar models and the defunct Eldar Project. I was planning on finally
finishing some Swooping Hawks which have been residing as tattered bits in
a cardboard box somewhere. However, since I recently tried to organize my
vast collection of disassembled plastic and metal I thought a more logical
approach would be to first finish a larger, more space-absorbing
miniature first. Therefore, I give you the Fire Prism.
Picking up a project from years
back does have its problems. First, I no longer use Coat d'arms paint, so I
would need to match a few colors to the Vallejo range. Secondly, I have been
staring at these Eldar for several years now and over time I have decided
there are some slight changes that need to be done to the color palette to
make me happy. Also my painting style has changed constantly over the years.
I was not sure if I could paint something today and have it match models
from several years ago. Enough talk. On with the
It has been years since I have
worked with a Games Workshop model this old. It reminded me of how much
casting quality has improved over the years. The plastic parts were fairly
clean, only a few seams to scrap away with a hobby knife and then the surface
was lightly sanded with a fine grade sandpaper. The metal bits for
the fire prism were a different story. Pot marked and missing detail, they
would take extra work to bring up to snuff.
First off, the tubing to the
cannon was missing all of it ribbed detail. Fortunately, several years ago I
read an article on how to make ribbed tubing and I've always wanted to give
it a try.
Both tubes on the cannon arms were snipped off
and thrown away. The connection ends were sanded flat with a file and pin
holes drilled into each end. I took a small paper clip
and using some wire (picture hanging wire) and wrapped it round and around the
paperclip. Once I had enough wire wrapped around to mimic the length of the
original tube I bent
it into the proper shape using pliers.
|A few millimeters are left bare at
both ends in order to glue the tube in place in the holes drilled
into the cannon arm. Overall, it was an easy fix for a badly casted part,
although I think smaller wire would bend around the paperclip better.
||There was still all the pot marks to
fill in. Some Tamiya putty mixed with enamel thinner brushed over
the surface will fill them up. A second coat was applied once the
first was dry.
|The next thing to fix would be the
stand. There is no way the supplied flight stand would
support the weight of this metal-laden model. But I could make use
of the base and replace the peg with something stronger.
I took roughly two inches of .081 brass rod and
glue it in place in the center hole of the flight stand. The exact length
will depend on how high or low you want your Fire Prism (or Falcon) to "fly".
Make sure it's straight! The rod is secured into place with a health amount
of epoxy putty. This model will be top-heavy, so I glued some
pennies to the base, followed by more epoxy putty for some uneven texture, some metal bits
from my junk drawer, tree bark for rocks, and a resin
To be honest, a common household nail it
more ideal than a brass rod. The head of the nail ran thru the
bottom of the base gives a lot of support and it is far easier to
get the entire assembly to stand straight. However I did not have
any decently long nails lying
around, so I made due with the brass rod. Anyway, back to the project at
|For the end going into the
Fire Prism, I need
some square brass tubing. Two different sizes are needed, one that will
slide into the other tube. I used 1/8th inch
and 5/32nd inch. Cut a hold into the bottom of the fire prism to accommodate
the larger 5/32nd tube. About an inch worth is glued and puttied into place on
the inside of the fire prism.
tube is glued over the round tube already on the base. I would need
a stopper to hold the vehicle at the proper height. Normally I would
simply crimp or putty up the end of the tube in the vehicle, but I
had an extra piece
left over from the Falcon version of this kit that would make a good
stopper. I drilled a hole thru the center of it and glued it
the rod before gluing the square tubing into place.
||Bottom view of the connector.
I should point out I took extra care
to insure the rod mounted inside the Fire Prism body was perfectly
straight. However there is nothing saying that you can't angle the
rod in order to have the model turning, pitching, yawing, or flying
up or down.
|Fast forward and here is the finished base.
Now I can move onto the Fire Prism itself.
This model would be painted in subassemblies for ease of handling. The top
and bottom section would remain separate until the just before the very end
of the project. One part I did
fully assemble beforehand was both sides of the cannon/turret assembly, which I quickly
realized was a mistake. The weight and odd shape made it difficult to handle
Wash all the parts down (except the
canopies) with some household degreaser (Formula 409) and warm water. Allow
it to dry overnight and then prime all the parts (again, except the canopies) with black auto primer.
||Back when I was working on The Eldar Project fulltime, I already painted
up a Falcon which never made it into an article. I still like the blocked colored
panels so I would be using the same scheme on the Fire Prism
with some slight alterations. The second benefit of this color scheme is
that I can highlight each individual panel instead of using a standard
overhead lighting technique which on such a large, flat model, would be
|I'm starting off with the major color first. A mix
of Vallejo Model Color Blue Violet with a tiny touch of black is
applied over a majority of the model using a large #6 flat brush.
Then straight VMC Blue Violet is brushed over the same areas. I've
noticed that VMC Blue Violet is a little transparent and its final
shade can be greatly affect by the color beneath. So the first mix
of VMC Blue Violet and VMC Black is more of a transitional layer to brighten
up the final coat rather than a shade layer.
||The Blue Violet gets highlighted three times, adding a bit more of
Vallejo Game Color Wolf Gray each time. The highlights are applied along the
edges of all the panels. The first layer is roughly 1/8th inch along the
edges using just a tiny pinch of VGC Wolf Gray.
|The second layer is a little
more VGC Wolf Gray added and applied just a couple of millimeters along the edge.
||Finally, A slightly heavier amount of VGC Wolf Gray is added and this is
applied very carefully just to the very edges of the panels.
I will be the
first to admit that my painting style tends to go light on the
contrast, with subtle rather than stark color transitions. If you
want more contrast try substituting White for VGC Wolf Gray for the last
|The darker panels are painted
in the same manner, except using VMC Oxford
Blue and VGC Wolf Gray. Again, the panels are highlights three times, adding
more VGC Wolf Gray each time.
||The final main color is VMC Dark Blue Gray. This is the only color
required some shade because it would mainly be applied to the highly
textured underside of the craft. A mix of VMC Dark Blue Violet, VMC
German Gray and VGC Stormy Blue is brushed on, making sure to get it in all
the deep ridges.
|Then straight VMC Dark Blue Gray is applied, leaving the
previous layer in the recesses under the wing and around the engines. It was
easier to paint the front ribbed area by drybrushing. My
results were a little messy, but it can be easily cleaned up later.
||Two highlights by adding VGC Wolf Gray finish the job.
Now let's turn our attention to the top of the wings. I planned to
basecoat this area with VMC Dark Blue Gray, but I also wanted to "spice" the
area up with some sort of painted design. Unfortunately, after testing out
several different patterns out on paper I could not come up with one I liked
that worked with the multi colored panels. It was like trying to mix stripes
with polka dots. In the end I went with something much more simple and akin to my Falcon.
|The panels are painted with VMC Dark Blue Gray and highlighted with VGC
Wolf Gray just like the underside, but using many, many more layers. Working from the
"inside" side of
the panels to the outside there are roughly ten highlight layers. When I
couldn't get any lighter by adding VGC Wolf Gray I switched to VMC
White for the last few highlights.
The final step is adding a
tiny touch of VMC Black to the original VMC Dark Blue Gray and applying a small
amount of shade towards the back of each panel.
||The pilots get painted next. They would mostly be hidden by the canopies,
so I did not put a lot of effort into painted them. Each was basecoated with
the same colors used on the ship, got
a wash of Black Ink, and a single highlight.
|Now comes the cannon. This mottled pattern is best achieved
using a sea sponge, but can also work using a large, old brush. The sponge
is lightly dipped into each color one at a time, the excess wiped off on an
old cloth, then it is dabbed over the prism. The trick is to go very light
with each layer. We want each color to be showing, so don't cover up too
much. First I applied three different shades of dark green. The exact colors
didn't matter, I just grabbed three random dark green colors from my paint
box. Then Vallejo Model Color Emerald, my other main colors for my Eldar
army, is dabbed on.
||A health amount of VMC White is added to the VMC
and this is dapped on again, this time concentrating towards the end of the
cannon. Finally, pure VMC White is dabbed on just the very tip and a brush
is used to apply the white along the edges of the crystal. Next it
gets two thin washes with Green Ink, avoiding the white areas. Then the
white areas get two thin washes of a mix of Green and Yellow Ink.
The rest of the turret and gun arms are painted the same at the rest of
the body of the Fire Prism, except the VMC Oxford Blue areas also received a
wash of Black Ink due to all the texture.
|Next the decals are applied. Originally, I planned
to deck out the entire
vehicle with decals like a rally car. However in the end I couldn't
find enough decals that I liked and fit with my colors scheme, so I just used a
few. Instructions for applying decals can be found here.
The gems were also painted at this stage using VGC Dark Green and
VGC Stormy Blue as the main colors. Details can be found in a
this point I checked the model for any messy areas and refined/
touched up as necessary.
||Time to paint the panel lines, or the gaps between the panels.
have been working with military plastic model kits and I have picked up a few
ideas that can be used on gaming models. A black wash of enamel paint works
great for picking out panel lines, so I decided to use it here. An enamel
wash has two advantages over an acrylic or ink wash. First, it flows much better than an acrylic wash.
Just touch a brush loaded with the wash to the panel line and it easily
flows along the length of the crevasse. Second, it is easy to clean up
mistakes. A cotton swab lightly moistened with enamel thinner and gently
rubbed on any escaping wash will remove it without damaging the acrylic
A thick wash of Testors enamel Black and enamel thinner is applied
along the panel lines and allowed to dry for 15 minutes. Then a cotton swab
moistened with enamel thinner is used to clean up any mistakes. This process
was repeated twice for maximum effect.
The mechanical bit on the top,
hatch handles, and engines were also painted black, but using
traditional acrylic paint.
|Onto the canopies. The clear styrene
used to make these
are very susceptible to scratches. This is especially true with Games
Workshop who carelessly toss the unprotected clear plastic into the box along with the
rest of the sprues. Both my canopies had a large scratch running down its
entire length along with several other smaller nicks and scratches.
we can take care of these scratches using Future Floor Polish. Brush some FFP
onto the canopy and allow to dry. This will fill in most of the
scratches and leaves the plastic nice and shiny.
Now to paint the frame of the canopy. The original plan was to paint this
Blue Violet, the same as the main body. However after painting the
Black undercoat I discovered a darker color look really nice. So instead I
painted them VMC Oxford Blue with two highlights. This was followed by a layer
of brush-on flat lacquer.
Time now to assemble the two halves. The ideal
way to do this is to use white glue. Run a small bead of white glue around
the bottom piece, press together with the top, secure with some rubber
bands, and clean up any running glue with a moist brush or towel. My only
problem was that I screwed up. At some point during this project while moving the model and my desk
lamp around my desk I got one too close to the other and I ended up warping
one of the wings. I tried to heat it back up to bend it back into shape, but
to no avail. I ended up needing to use superglue and heavy clamps to
assemble the two halves together. I ended up with dripping glue and scratched
paint. Quick tip; heat and plastic ain't friends. Anyway, back to work.
||I would need some extra support for
the Fire Prism cannon. Epoxy putty is used inside the turret
to hold the cannon arms into place before gluing together the rest
of the turret. I used a blob of poster tack to hold the cannon at
the proper height until the putty cured.
Once everything (expect
the canopies) is assembled and cured the model gets two light coats
of Testors Lusterless Flat.
With the lacquer cured the canopies can be glued into place using
a tiny amount of white glue. I clipped off the hinge at the back of
the canopy in order to slip it into place.
|Normally at this point, with the flat coat applied I'd wrap up
the article and wave goodbye as the credits roll. However I had a
couple more things to do before calling it quits.
The first thing
to do was to apply some brush-on gloss lacquer into all the gems,
including the Prism Cannon. The second thing was a bit more
As I stated earlier, for the past several months I have been very interested in
plastic models. I already used one of "their" techniques, the black
enamel wash, with great success. Another technique I have been wanting to try involves using graphite
powder. In the military model world graphite powder is used to give
a subtle metallic sheen to metal items such as gun barrels or tank
tracks. I decided to try this on the engines and hatch latches.
||The graphite I got in stick form from
my local arts & craft store. It is hard stuff, but I managed to
grind it into powder using a mortar and pestle I use exclusively for grinding chalk and
pastels. DON'T USE THE ONE SITTING IN YOUR KITCHEN!!! An alternative method would be to rub the graphite on a
piece of paper until you build up enough powder. A little goes a
I masked off areas of the hull to avoid spillover. Then
I dipped a cotton swap into the powder (or rub the swab on the
paper) and shake off any excess. Lightly rub the powder on the black areas. On
the engines I concentrated more on the exhaust ports.
Blow off any excess powder and then lightly buff with a clean
cloth, or a cotton swab for the hard to reach areas.
|The results of the graphite was a very subtle metallic sheen.
Perhaps too subtle for a gaming model. It might look good on a
Panzer, but it loses its impact on a brightly colored gaming model.
Too add a bit more contrast I went with another military model
technique; Rub n' Buff metallic wax.
This stuff is applied the same way as the
graphite; a small amount applied using a cotton
swab. A tiny amount of this stuff REALLY goes a long way, so wipe
any excess off before applying it to the model. You can always
apply more if you want more metallic, but it you apply too much
Finally the buffing parts comes in using a cotton swab or cotton
||Here is the end results of the graphite and Rub n'
Buff. The results are still a bit subtle, but it does an excellent
job reflecting the light as you move around the model.
|Now I can call the project done. It was rather fun going back to
a well worn project. Working from an established paint scheme meant
I didn't waste time starring at the model wondering what colors to
use. Overall, painting this model made me feel very "comfortable".
Plus I think I improved on the old Eldar Project paint scheme.
This was only my third time using an enamel wash for the panel
lines. My first two times trying it did not come out as good as
this, but then again those models didn't have such massive,
easy-to-fill, panel lines.
Graphite powder is too subtle for this kind of project, but I
think the Rub n" Buff could have potential if used properly.
However I am not sure about its durability. It is quite possible that
the graphite and/or Rub n' Buff could wear away from handling of the
model. I purposely did not use either on any of the "handling"
areas of the model, but only time will tell if they hold up.