Thursday, 7 December 2017

Hector Cephas: Building an army in sub-assemblies

Hi all,

I'm wondering how many hobbyists build their models (big and small) in sub-assemblies to make painting their details easier. As you may have seen from my weekly update the week before last, I've been going through the process of building the plastic Skitarii kits for my Tech Thralls and Secutarii in sub-assemblies - the reason being I don't want to miss some of the detailing on the chests and also get the inside of the long coats right.

It's an interesting one as normally I'd only worry about it for characters like when I built and painted Tylos Rubio a last year as a mini hobby challenge - to be fair, that was an extreme example as it would have been more accurate to say I painted and built him as I painted everything individually before assembling - but I feel as these models are so detailed I think they deserve a bit more attention.

As I am planning on building and painting a lot of models in this fashion (100+) for this army alone, do you guys think this is the road to hobby madness or do you have some awesome hints or tips about painting hard to reach areas on a model that would otherwise still be visible on a model? I'll be interested in hearing about your experiences with painting in sub assemblies or whether you think it's overkill to do so and you have a good way around the problem!

Until next time!

Hector Cephas


  1. I always paint in sub-assemblies. The extra time for assembly is gained back in not having to do touch-ups. The army will also look a lot better in the end. Some models I do not even understand how you would paint them if they were not in sub-assemblies, like Mortarion for example.

  2. That is the way to do it. However if you can't reach it and it's just a tabletop job just dial up the contrast and don't paint it cause it won't be seen. Depends on what the minis are for display or play. Are they viewed from 3" or 3' step back from your work and judge it that way :P

  3. I always sub assembly paint, Marines can have legs, torso and backpack glued, and then arms, shoulder pads and head plus Weapon I do separately. It suits me, methodical.

  4. I always do the backpacks separate, but maybe that's because I'm a world eater and the backpack is a different color than the armor and it's easier to paint that way

  5. Sub-assembly can work for plastic, but I don't use it for resin anymore. Resin must be glued to itself or it is just too fragile. A little knock and the paint rips away from the resin. It's ok for a display piece but not for gaming (in my opinion). I just paint the awkward bits with my awesome brush control... and tonnes of wash.

    1. scrape the paint off and make sure its resin to resin also a little baking soda and super glue makes a super strong bond!