Monday, October 17, 2011

Stonehouse Miniatures Steam Elephant

 Sometimes miniatures are too cool to pass up.  Four or five years ago I bought the steam elephant offered by Stonehouse miniatures.  I wasn't quite sure what to do with it, but eventually the germ of an idea emerged in my mind, and the elephant walker became part of it.
 I decided to put together an Indian brigade and picked up some of the Old Glory figures from the Northwest Frontier range.  What more to do but add the steam elephant to this group of figures. 
The miniature is pretty darn nice, cast in white resin.  Any irregularities you see in the casting are my failings.  It isn't a lot.  Some air bubbles pop up, mostly in the rivets, but the body and head is pretty clean.  There was some residual flash along the bottom of the turret that I failed to see clearly and clean properly.  My bad. 

The elephant comes with a separate head, base for the turret and turret.  The tusks and the light gun come cast into a resin "wafer" and have to be cut out.  An X-acto knife and file are all that's needed to clean these up.  I opted for the tusks rather than the rockets that could go in their place. 

Before I assembled the figure, I tossed the pieces into a bowl of warm soapy water and used a toothbrush to remove any releasing agents that might be on the model.  I assembled the bits with Zap-A-Gap.  I did file down the stud for the head, so it would fit the body more closely. 

I didn't quite have a clear idea of how I wanted to paint the assembled figure.  I took a look at the complete mini on the Stonehouse page and liked the idea of the gray with metal strap supports.  Rather than try to brush paint the entire sizable figure, I decided to spray it with Testor's Light Aircraft Gray.  It took several shots from different angles, but eventually I had reasonable coverage. 

I made a decision to try to provide some weathering and detailing to the kit, but kept it pretty simple and straightforward.  To accent the armored panels I painted between the plates with Vallejo Neutral Gray.  I painted the metal strapping with Vallejo Gunmetal Gray.  When the model was painted, I made the decision to give it some weathering.  Thinning out some Ceramcoat golden brown, I added some rust spots near the edges of adjoining plates, particularly near joints on the legs. Then I gave the whole biz a black wash. 

 I like the miniature quite a bit.  I'm hoping the mini, together with the rest of the Indian contingent will make it into Saturday's really big Martian battle. The Stonehouse steam elephant is $30, and worth the money.

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