Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Bringing law to the lawless, one swing at a time

If you've been following my 'Dredd' style Abites project, and you've been paying an inordinate amount of attention, plus you've got an excellent memory for obscure details, you may remember there were two remaining footsloggers I was yet to arm up. And when I say 'arm' I don't just mean weapons, but quite literally their upper set of limbs as well. 

I was going to attempt a 'not-so-armless-now' gag, but I think, even by my own low standards, that's scraping the bottom of an already-well-scraped barrel.

A few weeks ago I started work on the two bike cops that will round out this Arbites squad. A few hours later I had switched my efforts to the two guys shown here. Basically once I realised how difficult it was going to be to build the two identical Lawmaster motorcycles, with their distinctive front fairing, lights, badge and weapons, creating the riot shields from scratch, and converting the mauls felt like it could be a comparitively quick win.

It wasn't. 

I'll come back to that. Here's the pic.

Building the mauls was actually a little simpler than I expected. I merely shaved off all the unnecessary bits from the Space Marine Terminator hammers (that I showed at the bottom of this article) and smoothed over any unsightly areas with either liquid poly or green stuff.

It only got complicated when I came to the hands. The Terminator fists looked too big to attach to the Space Marine Scout arms. It made the Judges look like tiny children wearing comedy Hulk gloves. I toyed with the idea of completely cutting them off, but decided I would never get the grip on the replacements to look as convincing. Instead I slowly carved tiny slivers off the existing mitts until I'd made them as small as I could, without them looking silly. Then I pinned them in place with bits of paperclip, and tried to create a perfect seal with more liquid poly.

The shields were more involved. I wanted them to look like slightly modernised versions of the Enforcer shields released by Games Workshop's Specialist Games division, Fanatic, back in the late nineties (or perhaps early noughties). I knew what I had in mind, so started by looking at other manufacturers for proxy models. I can't remember them all now, but some of the contenders were as follows:

Victoria Miniatures Riot Shields
MaxMini Anti-Riot Gear
Anvil Industry Ballistic Shields
Anvil Industry Riot Shield
Zinge Industries Riot Shield

I also looked through the existing Games Workshop and Forge World stuff, plus the Kromlech, Puppets War, Spellcrow, Fox Box, Ramshackle Games, Pig Iron Productions and Scibor ranges, not to mention brief dalliances with the shields from the Mantic Enforcer Defenders and After Glow Shield Warriors.

But it was all to no avail. Most of the shields I found had something about them I liked, but didn't quite fit what I had in mind. In the end I decided it would be easier (and cheaper) to make them from scratch. 

I wanted a slight curve on the shield so I started with a discarded shampoo bottle. (You can see it in the same article I mentioned above.) I cut a section out of the bottle, washed it thoroughly and lightly scored its surface with a scalpel to give the glue something to hold onto.

I then used plasticard, green stuff, some no-longer-available modelling rivets from Antenocitis Workshop and a Forge World etched brass imperial eagle to build all the details. 

During construction I decided they looked a little plain, so borrowed an idea from the Mantic Enforcer Defender shield, to reinforce the vision slit, as it added just enough extra detail to break up all those flat surfaces without deviating from the original design too much.

Anyway, after many evenings of fiddly work, glued fingers, and some far-from-inventive cursing, the two Arbites are finally ready to join their fellows on the parade ground.

So this completes the beat cops, leaving me with only the two bikes to finish. After that I can finally start painting. With a little luck I won't have grown old and developed arthritis by then. Fingers crossed. While I can still cross them.

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