Last week, I played some Minecraft while climbing up the walls in anticipation of the arrival of my Battle Sisters kit. This week, after a shipping delay and a brief stint in this week’s national coronavirus apocalypse province, my Battle Sisters kit actually arrived, and my girls were just as beautiful as I thought they’d be. Even if they haven’t been painted yet.
Allow me to share with you the journey that I undertook to finally break into this hobby, the things I’ve learned along the way, and ultimately, the fruits of my labour. I’ve wanted to get Warhammer 40k miniatures of my own for a while, but this journey really started about a month ago.
And it started with a table.
Okay, seriously, can we just talk about the guy I just used as a punchline for a moment? Meet Stefan Etienne; this dude made a PC build video for the Verge in 2018– three years ago– that’s been getting relentlessly shit on until this very day. It’s not like the backlash was unwarranted; the video is terrible, and it’s a great representation of exactly what not to do when building a computer, but the level of absolute dunks this man has received since publishing said video has left me wondering why this man’s face isn’t printed on every basketball backboard on the continent.
I’m not kidding, by the way. Just look at this, all from not too long ago:
This was in response to him tweeting about the Capitol riots. No PCs, no technology involved in any sort, just a major political event. And these people, only a few among so many others, took the time to eschew that context and tease him over a video made three years ago. For three years, this avalanche of thermal paste memery has been his reality, day in and day out. I can’t imagine this guy’s career as being anything but in total shambles at this point. None of the replies are particularly well thought-out, it’s mostly just “HAHAR REMMHEMBHUR COMPUTER BRACE TWEEZERS THEMRAL PASTE DUAL CHANNEL BUKKAKE” for pages upon pages.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t funny.
One guy is worth mentioning in all of this, though:
Our friend here has taken it upon himself to not only dig into this guy’s Internet history, but to become intimately familiar with his sexual preferences. All so that he can use it as a beating stick on said guy’s Twitter profile. I don’t know how one shitty PC managed to wound this Twitter anon so badly that it’d push them to do something like this, but it did. What the fuck.
Whether or not he deserves sympathy is arguable; he’s perfectly comfortable digging his heels in, trading shots with this new audience, calling them “angry nerds” on livestream and what-not. And most recently, he’s disabled public comments on his Tweets since the Capitol riots for obvious reasons.
He’s into Pokemon, apparently, so if that helps you decide whether or not to grant mercy, there it is. It certainly helps me. Fuck you, Game Freak.
Anyway, I found a table in the basement, and bought some tools along with it. Setup photo, go:
I’m partway through writing this post, and I’m still not sure what I want it to be. A tutorial? A memoir? Why not both; here’s a list of things that I got in preparation for this project:
- A table. Thanks, Stefan.
- Sprue cutters. You’ll need them to get the individual model pieces from your kit.
- A cutting mat. This is one of those self-healing ones, whatever that means. It protects the table.
- A hobby knife. It cuts things.
- Tweezers. Not zip-ties, tweezers. Not used for what you might expect– I’ll elaborate later.
- A file. It grinds things down.
- Plastic cement. Not actually pictured; it’s locked away eternally in a Tupperware container because otherwise the entire room would smell like acetone. Leave a comment if plastic cement melts Tupperware, I actually don’t know.
- A lamp. Easily the most important thing on this list. I’ll elaborate on this as well later.
- A notebook. For planning things, like this blog post.
- An Adepta Sororitas codex. Also helps with planning.
I’ll note that I picked up most of these tools as part of a kit on Amazon. It’s awfully convenient, and the extra money spent was worth it, in my opinion.
With all of our tools gathered, it’s time to roll out the Battle Sisters!
This is the Adepta Sororitas Battle Sisters Squad kit, which builds a squad of ten Battle Sisters, or five Dominions and five Celestians. You get to decide which, alongside what weapons and tools they wield, which allows me to segue into my first lesson:
Plan out what you want to build!
This is especially important if you’re like me and want to actually play Warhammer 40k at some point (even if no one else plays this game in this sub-Arctic shithole). The unit rules defined in your army’s codex dictate a lot of how you can construct your models, and there’s only so many pieces in each kit (for example, you can only build four Sisters with storm bolters in this kit, even though a Battle Sisters squad and Dominion squad could technically have up to six.) If you want to make the most of your models on the battlefield, you should take some time to study your codex and kit.
I learned this lesson only halfway through the process of assembling my models– I ended up building a squad of Battle Sisters alongside a Dominion squad. The Battle Sisters have a Superior with a Condemnor boltgun and a power sword, as well as a Simulacrum Imperialis. The Dominion squad sports four storm bolters with a Superior that packs another power sword. There are lore and meta reasons that explain why I picked these, but that’s another post, and it’ll matter more when I start painting, at least in my opinion.
Fun fact, this lovely lady is a Dominion Superior. She’s the second Superior I built out of this kit, even though the instructions only explain building one Superior. It was just a matter of using a Celestian head (I wasn’t building Celestians, anyway) and gluing an extra power sword to her back.
Anywho, let’s keep building.
You might notice that the lighting is considerably shittier in these photos, which brings me to my second lesson:
I’m not even kidding. I only got a lamp halfway through assembling my models, and I can’t express how much easier it makes things. You won’t have to guess where mould lines are, you won’t have to scrape things with your hobby knife in the dark, and you don’t have to spin your chair to see certain features. Simply being able to see what you’re doing improves your modeling ability tenfold, I guarantee it.
As for the lamp itself, it’s some cheap one I got on Amazon, where you could buy the bulbs separately. It’s a good idea to get daylight bulbs (around 5000k) if you plan on painting; as someone who’s worked a lot with computer graphics, lighting affects color perception significantly.
With my lighting woes rectified, I continued to work on my models, I grew to understand my third and final lesson, and it’s that:
I kind of hate Citadel glue.
Glue, plastic cement, same thing. It works, don’t get me wrong, but I hate it.
First thing you notice is the fumes they give off. They permeated the room I was in as soon as I opened my package from Games Workshop, and as long as the bottles were in open air, their smell would soon follow. If you get Citadel glue, find a container to store it in, and fast. This might not actually be specific to Citadel glue, but I’m putting it here anyway because I’m throwing a fit.
Second thing is how easily gunked-up the applicator can get while you work with the glue. As you work, sometimes you’ll have to shake the entire bottle to get your glue. If that happens, you’re lucky– those without fortune will have to stick a pin or something into the applicator to un-clog it. That’s where the tweezers came in handy– glue applicator clearing tools. You could probably use a safety pin or something similar. I’ve heard of people using lighters to burn away gunk, but I’ve never tried it. The applicator also comes off quite easily if you pull it– which is a problem when it gets covered in gunk.
Third thing– thanks to how the applicator is designed, it’s difficult to control the exact amount of glue going onto your model. This is important, because the way plastic cement works is by literally melting your plastic pieces so that they can fuse with each other. Getting the stuff anywhere where you don’t want it is a bad time. You’ll also get lots of thin strings of dried glue floating around your models as you work, which can be removed easily enough, but they’re annoying to deal with.
You can avoid all of this– I hear good things about Tamiya cement, and it has a brush to apply the glue with, which is something I’d wish for dearly. Just a suggestion.
And finally, nearly ten-ish hours of assembly and glue-fighting later, I had a set of ten beautiful Sisters! As these are the first miniatures I’ve ever assembled, it was actually really satisfying to work on this kit. I’m looking forward to painting them– I just have to buy paint. And decide on a scheme. All of this is probably coming in another post.
Have a final photo of my Sisters, in wonderful lamp-lit glory:
As always, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.