Damonx99 on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/damonx99/), otherwise known as Panda_Tech_Support on Reddit is a prolithic scratchbuilder. The finished projects fall squarely in the style of grim insaneworld rustpunk. Damonx99 was good enough to respond to the website and send a short write up on just a few of their huge catalog of custom miniatures.
Damonx99: When I work on a kitbash or conversion, I very rarely start with a dedicated point of reference for any type of end goal. It’s all about the “Rule of Cool”. Essentially, I make things that look cool to me and move forward from there.
More or less, the entire process for my builds normally starts with just one single item. For example, I might see a backpack that came with a model kit, something like a soldier’s rucksack or a collection of grenades and misc. items. That single items can have me thing, “Huh, wouldn’t it be cool if this had a rifle hanging off it as well?”. Another day passes and I find the weapon I want to use for that idea. I glue it on, like it, and set it aside for something else. Another day or so passes and I find a visored helmet that looks neat. I drill out an eye hole and insert a small circle bit that makes it look like a replacement bionic eye.
Now, both of these converted bits can sit in my collection for weeks or months until I find use for them. However, since I do this kind of thing nearly every weekend or so, I have a steady set of random items that I can just pull from. Eventually, I will work on an item that just seems to beg for one of those bits to be used.
This extends beyond your normal plastic model kit items from Games Workshop or Privateer Press. Normal household items like screws, old computer parts, broken toys, and even plastic ties from bread bags can be turned into items like cannons, power packs, or wiring.
On a build like this you can see this in effect:
The cannons I build from various trash and Lego bits. They were never envisioned for the machine they were loaded on, but they found themselves at home through the “rule of cool”.
With this model, I used a broken Bratz Baby doll to create a monster experiment:
With enough bits and grimy paint, the thing came out looking likes it’s own nasty thing.
I definitely dive into my own world-scapes as I build my minis. Often times I am world building accomplishments, failures, and general lives for the mini. If it’s just a machine, then I envision the warzones it might find itself or what it’s repair shop would look like. As for pre-existing sketches, there never is one. Everything I make runs by a sense of chaos in the Rule of Cool method. I make what I want as I want. I could be in the middle of making a new tank and suddenly get inspired by the bits to make a new special operations sniper rifle. I might then spend the next few hours looking for the perfect items to create this item before returning to the other project. Some say this is a detriment to progress, but for me it’s akin to striking while the fire is hot. When the mental factory gets going, I find its best to just let the process go and see what comes out.
A few items I love to have on hand are from Evergreen Scale Models. They have a range of styrene bits I use. Styrene sheets, rods, pipes, and rings are all staples for me. They can be used in such a wide variety of ways that you can seemingly always find a good application for them on any project. A good pair of clippers, an exacto knife, and glue means you are in business for most things.
Another awesome resource is the jewelry section of a craft store. Items like chains, pendants, charms, and fake rocks can be turned into amazing bits for your builds. Greenstuff is also great for cabling and tentacle work. Using their roll maker makes this a breeze as well.
I also never throw away any bits, EVER! This leads to some great options as a hobby collection grows.
The GW box of skulls is a great resource for, well…skulls of course. I use elements from this kit on a lot of my own work simply because I grew up with the grimdark art of Blanche and others. Not to mention various heavy metal album covers as well.
Also, don’t be afraid to work with transfers. For those who are more familiar with the Games Workshop transfer sheets found in the kits, branch out and take a look at other options out there.
The skulls on the front and heart on the back are made to be used with a nail painting set. However, they work perfect for other items as long you take into account where they are going and the colors they sit on.
Be patient. Take your time and then take a bit more time. I have cut myself and my models badly just by being rushed. I have had multiple accidents that are totally the result of not letting something dry properly. Nothing is worse than spending time on something to just have it fall apart on you.
If something is not gluing for you, then investigate the cause. Maybe there are release agents in it that need to be washed? Or, it could be that your type of glue does not work for the material at hand. Again, this is where taking your time helps out. You can save hours of failure by just a few minutes of reading.
Reaper Minis are quite cheap and make wonderful bases for conversions. These models were bought quite cheap and used for both painting and greenstuff cable testing:
Above all, have fun with your idea. Be brave and daring. If, even for a second, an idea seems cool to you…run with it! Those ideas are what kitbashing and converting are all about. Also, don’t fret about trying to be unique. Others may have had the idea before, but only you can execute it like you would.
For more minis, follow Damonx99’s Instagram