Hobby: Building the Skitarii

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The Skitarii offer a brand new aesthetic and new kits to the 40k verse that bring with them a unique set of challenges. I’m going to break the kits down.. and build them!

First of all, a little background. I, Dr. Bored, have been building kits since the twilight of 3rd edition. I’ve built more Chaos Marines than I should have, and have dabbled in Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar, Eldar, Tyranids, Tau, Space Marines, Sisters of Battle, Chaos Daemons, and even Lizardmen. I love building! It’s an addiction! The whole ‘plastic crack’ phrase is so true and real to me! So, when I break these Skitarii down, know that I’m building with plenty of experience.

Now, that said, if you want to experience building these kits without any foreknowledge, to have your own adventure into the joys and frustrations of building a Skitarii force, stop reading here!!

The Skitarii are VERY detailed, and there’s a LOT of good in here, but there’s a little bit of bad too. Honestly? I wouldn’t recommend this army to a brand new builder. There are fiddly parts that are easy to mess up or break, and the potential for keying the wrong pieces together is rather high, which can lead to more frustration. In terms of frailty and complexity, I would say that they’re very similar to Dark Eldar. Just as the Dark Eldar had tiny spikes and skulls and tall banners, so too do the Skitarii have fragile antennae, long guns and limbs, and extra details that you need to be careful in positioning.

Let’s start with some tips right off the bat. I’ll organize these based on the box…

SkitariiRangersBox

Vanguard/Rangers

This kit is fantastic. The level of detail is phenomenal for a troop unit, and the way that the robes fit together creates a lot of depth in the chest and legs that you just don’t get with other models! They’re ripe with details, and despite the instructions suggesting otherwise, there is plenty of customization to be had.

1. When pairing up weapon arms, take a close look at the shoulder pats. The Rangers have a boxier shoulder pad while the Vanguard have a rounded shoulder pad. This should help identify which Radium Carbine or Galvanic Rifle goes to which arm.

2. Invest in some sort of putty or green stuff. Every model’s robe is made up of two parts, and that leaves a vertical line on either side where the robes meet. I’ve found that sanding doesn’t cut it, you’ll at least need some Liquid Green Stuff.

3. Each model is made up of front-robe, back-robe, and legs. Other than that, the backpacks, heads, and most weapon arms are fully interchangeable. Some weapon arms do have shapes on the inside of the arms that are supposed to match with the pipes on the side of the robes, but this alone shouldn’t dictate which arms go with which model.

4. Though there is only one special weapon in each kit, by pairing up the special weapons with different body/leg sets, you can get radically different poses, so samey-ness shouldn’t be a problem.

5. Be careful with the Transuranic Arquebus!! It’s very easy to mess up that stand, to cut it too short or to bend it badly. Do lots of dry-fitting, and I recommend the use of sticky-tack to make sure everything fits properly.

6. The best thing I can recommend with this kit is to dryfit each weapon option before you glue it down. Using Plastic Glue will also give you more time to work with each piece, and that should make the kits more solid, and easier to work with overall.

SydonianDragoonBox

Ironstrider/Dragoon

I’m not going to lie to you, this kit was frustrating, but the appearance of the final product really sold it. Yes, it’s expensive, but that’s an argument for the umpteenth other articles and topics about that. The bottom line is that the kit is beautiful, and here’s some things to keep in mind if/when you build it.

A. Take it slowly. This kit is not a Rhino that you can slap together. I recommend using plastic glue, and being sparing with it, since many pieces could end up melting into other pieces. Be careful and build this kit at a slower pace.

B. The cables on the legs are frustrating to deal with. I recommend getting a pair of tweezers or long grippers for model kits to hold pieces in place. One leg has two cables, and a third that must be attached separately between the servitor and the actual mechanical Ironstrider leg. If you have larger fingers, the best bet is using tweezers to get it into place.

C. Yes, the legs can only be positioned one of two ways, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be customized. Censors and extra details on the ankles can be positioned in different ways to create different looks, and then antennae on the top can be rotated for slightly different looks. The kit also comes with 4 Ranger heads and 1 Vanguard head that are totally interchangeable with the Vanguard/Ranger kit. If you’re going to build multiple of these, I recommend building your Vanguard/Rangers first so that you have plenty of extra heads to work with.

D. People seem to think that this kit is easy to magnetize. Yes. You can magnetize it as far as swapping the Autocannon out for the Lascannon, or the Jezzail for the Taser Lance, but trying to magnetize this kit entirely between the Dragoon and the Ballistarius is going to be a nightmare. First, the Ballistarius has the shield that holds the actual gun. This shield rests atop a very thin rail piece at the front. You could easily put a magnet in the shield to swap out the Autocannon and Lascannon, but putting a magnet in the rail to swap between the shield and the other options will be very challenging, to say the least. The rail on the Dragoon holds several screens and monitors that the shield gets in the way of, and mounting three magnets to hold all of that on that rail seems like something I just wouldn’t bother with. However, putting a magnet in the pilot’s arm to swap between the Jezzail and the Lance should be very easy, and the kit comes with a HOLSTERED Phosphor Serpenta and Jezzail, which would make it even easier to magnetize between those options!

E. A final note on customizing these kits; the little grabby t-rex arms have spikes that make them position a certain way, but these can be shaved down for additional posing. Also, the antennae on the back are designed to allow you to rotate or flip the antennae in different ways for a little bit more customization to keep the models from looking exactly the same.

Up next are the Ruststalkers and the Onager Dunecrawler, tune in next time! Also, please leave any other tips or tricks you’ve found with these kits in the comments below! Let’s help out our fellow hobbyists!

 

  • I like the idea behind this article but a couple of pics to illustrate some of the details in question would add to the overall effect.

    • Moik

      Great idea. Instructional detail would be swell, but even just pictures of the subjects/actions would be worth it.

    • Dr Bored

      The next one will have more pics, I promise!! ;n; I’m a bad photographer…

  • benn grimm

    Too many words and no pics, would be good to see what you’re building, reading about it, eh, not so much.

    • Shinnentai

      Yeps. This seems obvious to me.

    • Dr Bored

      I’d love to do just that, but my photography skills are really, really poor ;n;

      I’ll try to take some pics for the next one!

  • somniumest

    I have to a agree on this assessment. I have built and painted 40k since ’89 and these are pretty fiddly. I can not imagine the antenna’s lasting long, but still better than I lead ones.

    • Gabriel De-Vere

      im an 87 and plastic crack is just keeping me going but my god those new harlequins are fiddly as hell, and i build wolf tooth neckless!!

      • somniumest

        The skitarii made putting together harli’s feel like putting together an epic dreadnought on a penny.

  • Always nice to see a hobby article. Keep it up.

  • Michael Szarek

    I said pretty much the same thing over on Warseer.
    The Vanguard/Ranger models look amazing but the kit/sprue design is sub-par.

    There are a few parts which have the mold tabs in completely the wrong spot, making it almost impossible to remove the part without bending or breaking it. About half of the backpacks suffer from this problem.
    The two part cloaks, while looking awesome, have to be filled with greenstuff (as mentioned).
    Most legs only fit certain bodies… This was one of the more frustrating things. The instructions also don’t show every single build/model.
    If you’re building these guys, do all the legs and all the bodies separately first… then you can find which body goes with which set of legs.
    Some parts have mold lines in exactly the worst possible spot.
    And overall, there’s plenty of spare space on the sprue which could have been extra special weapons, or options for that matter. Apart from the dual kit parts (weapons and heads), you don’t really get any spares. There’s like 2 extra heads, champion weapon arms and one spare rifle.
    The design of the kit is geared towards “this bit of the sprue builds one complete guy”… instead of lining up all the weapons next to each other, and all the backpacks next to each other which would create far more space.

    I love the models and can’t wait to start painting them, but I really actually didn’t enjoy building them… It got a bit better towards the end once I got used to it, but the first few were a nightmare. And I usually love the assembly part of the hobby.

    • Dr Bored

      This is actually the feeling that I got. The kit wasn’t fun, because to customize, you really had to work a little harder than you should have. Compared to something like Chaos Marines or Space Marines boxes, the poseability is low. I didn’t feel that things were too same-y at least.

      I also like that they give you bare head options. This makes it easy if you give the bare heads to the special weapons, you can easily count the special weapons dudes as either Vanguard or Rangers, giving you a little flexibility across your squads, since the heads and guns are literally the only things different between the two kits.

      • Michael Szarek

        Yeah good point on the bare heads. I’ll have to do that…
        I’m going to build my vanguard with hoods anyway because I don’t like the helmets and a whole hooded army is awesome.
        I was planning on painting the vanguard differently though so they stand out a bit more, maybe different trim on the robe or different armor plates.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      I am sure they limited the special weapons so you’d have to buy three boxes to get three weapons the same in a squad.

  • Moik

    Great article, I’m not sure if I’ve seen something like this before, but I wish I’d had it in like… every kit I built or painted.

    This is especially true for GW, since they drown you in a Tsunami of undefined plastic. It’s a daily occurrence to see that someone has missmodeled their thing because they didn’t know how to do something, or what it even was.

    I can’t think of any examples, but I know I’ve put together squads were the machinery couldn’t work because I’d assembled it not know WTF the damned equipment even was.

    P.S: I’m just riffing here, but a painting guide in this style would be cool too. Instead of covering the scheme, covering the actual mechanics and order or whatever.

    • Dr Bored

      I can never decide on numbers or letters, so why not both? 😀

      Also, I totally messed up my Chaos Marines way back when I first got into the game. I thought their backpacks were extra jetpacks, so I didn’t model them with them on for the longest time!

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        You were not alone, as teenage Rogue Trader players we all thought that the backpacks were jetpacks, and thus that all Marines had jetpacks.

  • carlisimo

    Definitely hope to see more articles like this one!

    For the robes, the old trick model airplane builders use is to apply liquid cement to the two pieces and hold them together tightly enough that some of the melting plastic oozes out from the joint. Let it dry, then cut the excess by scraping the back of a hobby knife along the joint. With practice, it’s less work than applying putty or liquid green stuff.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      I think the two part robes are particularly bad design and will be hard for noobs to make god, and time consuming for veterans. Saw the Vanguard my local GW employee had assembled yesterday, and whilst lovely models there were some challenging mold lines and the two part cloaks looked terrible unfilled. Not looking forward to them as much myself since I saw how the sprues work.

  • Bayne MacGregor

    What no mention of the cables on the last two vanguard/rangers? The ones that are likely to stress just clipping from the sprue, snapped for me when i was removing the mold lines (even with counter-bracing), will be hard not to break just fixing up the partline on the cloak and are likely in game-snappers? I repositioned them so they touch the cloak again for 2 contact points and i expect they’ll be fine now, but they are very fragile.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      thanks for the heads-up.

  • kaptinscuzgob

    ive been painting my skitarii practically on the frames. ive left the legs, torso, backback and right arms separate so i can get at all the details

  • euansmith

    Good stuff, thanks for that.