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Bones, the new soft plastic material from reaper, has its share of detractors. Noisy detractors in many cases, who manage to pop up on any discussion about Bones to repeat the same old stories about how bad the material is. In most cases, these stories are entirely false, or simply the result of stubbornness bordering on stupidity.
Let’s look at some of the most repeated Bones myths:
Myth: Paint won’t stick to Bones, it beads
Bones will repel water quite efficiently, which means that if you water your paints too much, it will repel your paint. The answer naturally is to work to the strengths of the medium, and paint with thicker paints than you might normally do. In practice this means you thin less than normal. Once done, your painted will go on and stay on.
Myth: You can’t remove mold lines from Bones; the material is too soft
Again, consider the material you use. Take a needle file to the arm of a metal model and you’ll have no problem. Take the same device to the arm of a Bones model and you will have trouble keeping the softer plastic still long enough to get an even finish. The answer is to use a different tool for the different material (who knew?). In this case a nail file will suffice, and these come in a number of sizes and levels of abrasion. Get the right tool, and you can remove those mold lines without great difficulty.
Myth: Bones lacks the fine detail of lead or white metal models
Bones models hold a decent amount of detail. Compared to white metal though? The easiest way to compare is to take those Bones models already available in metal and take a look.
I don’t know about you, but looking at a plain white model is not the best way of bringing out the detail. A black wash would show things as they are more accurately. However, looking at the armour on the metal orc, there is an additional sharpness of detail on the metal model.
The level of detail on Bones is fine, but here at least, white metal is sharper compared with the unpainted Bones model. But is this simply an artefact of looking at unpainted white plastic? There’s not the same light reflection as you get on the metal model. Looking at the painted version, I’m not so sure there’s any detail missing.
Here’s another painted example of a Bones plastic and a metal model. I won’t say which is which. Again they seem comparable, but I believe a very close look will reveal the sharper detail on the metal version.
Myth: Bones is fine for beginners or basic paint jobs, but you can’t do anything advanced with the material
As low cost models, Bones are a great drawcard for beginner painters, and so we see a lot of beginner paint jobs floating around. The idea that this represents the limit of the material is simply not true. You can do anything with Bones that you can do with hard plastic or white metal. Here’s an example:
This one comes from prize-winning painter Victoria Lamb.
Status: Busted (and how!)
Myth: Once bent, Bones material will never straighten
The last time I attempted to straighten a bent halberd shaft on a white metal model, it snapped. It’s a hazard of the material, but not one I’d call a reason to reject the material entirely. Bent resin tends to indicate a model that cannot be salvaged; it’s a real issue. Bones, though?
Travel to a place in the house you may never have been before. It’s called the kitchen. Food comes from there. What you will need is: a pot, a stove, and some water. You will also need a jar of very icy water. And possibly parental supervision.
Take the bent part of the Bones model an immerse it in boiling water. When in the water you will see the part or model straighten out. Once this is done, dip the model straight into the ice water, leave it there for maybe 30 second.
Your model is now fixed. Assuming you aren’t in the habit of leaving models in a car in the sun on a hot day, you won’t have any issues.
Here’s a video of the process.
Myth: You can’t use an undercoat with Bones
Another pervasive myth is that you must paint directly onto Bones. Certainly the manufacturer recommends this. You don’t have to follow that recommendation, and many painters are more comfortable giving the model a light white spray before painting, as was done with the painted orc above. The answer here is: you can if you want to.
So as we can see, with the exception of a sharper level of detail, all the myths above are easily busted. Turns out, if you work to the strengths of the Bones material, you will get a better result than if you just stick out your lower lip and complain that what works on white metal won’t work here.
Buy Bones if you like; it won’t damage you or make you a lesser painter. Working with a new material requires an adjustment, just like moving from metal to resin, you don’t use all the same techniques, and yet the experience and the result will be similar.