With my living situation still in flux, I’ve had to get a little creative in how I get in my hobby time. I was able to set up my airbrush in the apartment garage and figured out how to make that work in 95 degree heat. The rest (painting station, crafting area, etc) is just kind of “where I can fit it for easy setup and take-down.” In all of this, the Bromad Academy was running a painting contest that I was very interested in. The theme for the quarter was “Conversions” and I had been kicking around a simple idea for a while. This contest was the catalyst giving me the push I needed.
So, first, a quick background: when the latest Infinity ruleset was released, they revised the stat blocks (called profiles) for a lot of the models. One in particular was the “Shang Ji Invincibles” unit. The previous N3 ruleset left the unit very weak and hardly anyone used them. Corvus Belli decided to reverse that and change the stats to something players would want to use.
Specifically, this bottom stat block (highlighted in light blue above) got the Yu Jing player base excited because the model could do “all the things.” It has a fantastic weapon, it gains an extra activation with its TacAware skill. Add in the TinBot that has a heavy hacking defense, a high “BTS” (defense against hacking and other), and a number of additional extras and the profile is very solid. It became such a great profile that people soon started calling him “Shang Ji-sus.” While, this single profile isn’t going to save the entire Yu Jing army, the chatter on the forums tried to make it out like it could.
Soon the figure pack came out with a Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) model but there was a different weapon pose that really stole the show. Soon, the conversion idea came to me and I knew what had to be done. I needed to find an HMG weapon arm to swap out and it just so happens that the arm I needed was in another new pack. The left pack, left most figure should be a relatively easy weapon swap with the middle figure in the right pack.
After a bit of careful cutting, I was able to get the arms swapped and lined up properly for assembly.
A little bit of pinning, green stuff, and superglue and I had my model. Shang Ji-sus was in my hands! Something about this pose and his stride just makes for one of the best models Corvus Belli has made (well almost… it needed the HMG swap to be fully complete). Don’t tell Su-Jian I said that though.
I also assembled his little anti-hacking TinBot buddy. I used to put TinBots separately but saw a clever bit of custom figures where they integrated the bot into the main figure’s base. Mechanically, you don’t even need the TinBot model to play- it can’t be attacked, doesn’t occupy real space on the board and doesn’t actually do anything except remind you that that specific figure has a special additional power. All the same, I like the little guys and so putting them together forever is the way I’ll do it moving forward.
The models were airbrushed to achieve their base colors with some shading and highlighting. I wanted Shang Ji-sus to have different but complimentary theme from my army so I went with a white/creme coloring. The TinBot would be my standard orange.
Next was painting them up. Lots of edge highlighting and detail work to get them to their final state. To tie things together between the two models, I have the glowing green effect in both and I tied in my army orange to Shang Ji-sus’ sword scabbard.
When I first thought of the concept of my Shang Ji-sus, I made a mock up to see if it would work. I wanted to try something I haven’t messed with and needed him to walk on water, emphasizing that this is no mere mortal Shang Ji, he is something very unique. Obviously, I ditched the custom sash eventually but linen-colored robes for armor and golden halo-sections around the helmet and collar would help drive it home as to why and how he is able to perform just a feat. Note that Shang Ji’s profile also gives him “Terrain: Total” so walking on water is not really out of the norm here.
I painted faux sand and bought a little koi fish off etsy and mounted the TinBot and the fish to my new base. The TinBot would help sell the “walking on water” aspect as he trudges along on the sand bed below his master.
Unfortunately, I was way too hasty and didn’t shake up my sealant before spray him in high humidity. Really two dumb mistakes in one and it cost me. All that work on the TinBot was now a waste and I frantically searched on the interwebs to see if there was any fix.
Luckily, there was! Brushing on a gloss clear coat varnish or even using olive oil fixes the frosted effect and restores the mini back to mostly normal. I used Olive Oil and dabbed off any excess and let the mini dry out before resealing him again. The reseal worked this time (checking both the humidity and doing a vigorous 5 minute shake on the rattle can).
It was time to really try and ruin this model. From watching multiple videos, I knew this was a point of no return. If this messed up, the TinBot was surely doomed. I built a container around the model and base and used hotglue to seal everything in.
I mixed up the resin components and added just a tiny bit of blue. I was going for a coral reef light blue and the instructions and videos online said you needed just a small amount, less than even one drop.
Hmmm. I put a single drop on the wax paper, dipped a toothpick into it and scraped not even a 4th of the drop into my resin medium and it still went deep ocean dark. I knew it wouldn’t lighten up but hoped it would still be ok. I really should have tossed that batch and tried again with even less but I didn’t. Instead I poured it in anyway and it was disappointingly dark. It wasn’t unusable mind you, just much darker than I wanted.
In a cascading series of unfortunate events, the plastic rim caught my shield and broke it off the model. Things were going well.
The good news was the pour was good and didn’t really mess up the models or anything. I carved down the sides where the resin tends to ride up the walls. I glued back on the TinBot’s shield arm and then added some water ripple medium on top to give the illusion of uneven water and hide the cut marks (also so I didn’t have to sand things down).
After the base was complete, I drilled into the water and mounted the Shang Ji model on top, walking effortlessly across the unfazed water below.
Even with the setbacks and not-as-intended results, I really am happy with the model. I feel like it achieved the silly, over-the-top reputation I wanted to emulate. Working with resin wasn’t as hard as I imagined but still has a learning curve. There are more bases I want to do something with involving resin so this won’t be the end of my journey with the medium.
I was able to get Shang Ji-sus into a couple of games (one real life using my model and one in TTS). He withered under fire and promptly melted under terrible rolls. This is pretty typical for a newly painted model of mine. Those that I work hard on to make special usually end up sucking while on the field. I blame user error.