Mantic Terrain Crate/Star Saga Storage Tanks (Bacta Tank)

An underwheming scatter terrain post today! These two storage tanks were originally started back during (and for) Technical August but not completed. In fact, they’ve sat around annoyingly taking up space ever since, so I finally got them to a (slightly shitty) tabletop standard last weekend. I’d actually fished them out of the tub they’d been sitting in since I lost interest after August, to try and get them done for Mechanical November, but that didn’t work out, either. As part of Technical August’s theme, I tried using transparent paints over a silver base to see what kinds of effects I could achieve, inspired by the Bacta (healing) tank from Star Wars, specifically the Empire Strikes Back. The “water” is gemstone turquoise (or sapphire?) by Warcolours over the silver, while the “empty space” is Warcolours’ transparent white. The turquoise worked …okay, but the white seems to have been a bit of a failure.

Of course. “real” Bacta tanks are filled to the top (and feature adults wearing nappies inside them), but I felt that if I “filled” these to the top then they’d just look like they were painted blue. In the end, they’re pretty rough and not to the scatter terrain standard that I like to adhere to – but at a tabletop gameplay distance they’ll look …fine. Still, experiments by definition can’t always be a success, so I’m just calling these done and getting them the hell away from my painting desk. I’ve still got a few more of these things. I think they’ll be painted grey with some “warning” decals on them. I think those will actually look pretty decent. When I get around to them.

37 thoughts on “Mantic Terrain Crate/Star Saga Storage Tanks (Bacta Tank)

  1. Those kind of look like the sculptor started with a soda can and the lid from a bottle of snapple.

    The metal bits came out nicely, but yeah, not so much with your experiment there. If they always worked, they wouldn’t be experiments. Might work a bit better with some gloss finish over the “glass” parts, but I don’t know if it would be by enough to be worth going back to them again.

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    • haha – they’re a lot smaller than that, but I can see what you mean. The “water” is okay, as the gemstone paint gave it a bit of modulation, but the “white” but is pretty bad. Transparent paint over silver isn’t the answer there! The finish is actually semi-gloss, but because photos you don’t get that sheen at all.

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  2. Some work some don’t but that’s experiments for you. The question I guess is how, if you ever wanted to, do you get the right result? Is it achievable by painting alone? Personally I think the only solution is a bespoke tank with a figure inside filled with liquid resin but that’s a whole new experiment! Personally I like to think you threw this rogue piece in to show us you are Mortal! 😉

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    • Honestly, I don’t know. I do honestly think I *could* do better, but the biggest issue there is that I simply don’t care enough. Not making excuses, simply that I don’t particularly like those tanks, and I was happy enough to just see the end of them and get them off my desk, so the motivation isn’t there to take them to the next level.

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  3. Painting a vessel foll of liquid it’s always going to hard to do well though. If it’s full, it just a block of colour, if it’s half full, you can’t paint the surface inside the tank and if it’s still liquid with no bubbles, it’s utterly featureless. I’d be inclined to convert something like that and cover 3/4 of the glass so I COULD paint a shadow in there or something. I’ve seen people do liquid in small thinks like vials and syringes but at that scale you don’t need to be able to make out the surface or transparency.

    I don’t envy your task.

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    • Yeah, I’ve got no problem with vials on marines and the usual smaller scale stuff – those usually aren’t 360, either – but as you say the size is the main thing that helps them work. This was much more an experiment to see how it’d work on the very middle-of-the-road quality Mantic PVC pieces before taking it to a piece of terrain I’d care more about. Good point on the bubbles, though.

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      • I might do that and have another shot at the “white” section. I’ll wait until January though, so I can call it a “renovation” and count it toward that month’s total and the January Scenery challenge! 😛

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    • Yeah, the rest of them will be just that. I did have a look at these on a table since writing up the post, though – on a table populated with other terrain elements they actually look decent. Not amazing, but definitely better than I expected.

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  4. When using the gem paints, try adding other colours over the silver first using washes, you can get some really interesting effects. Overall they are a good tabletop standard and experimenting is half the fun of the hobby ! LOL

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    • Yeah, that would work on smaller surfaces, but when almost the entire thing is a large, round cylinder it really messes with the paint (or wash) adhesion, and washes don’t work well – aside from on the “caps”, where they worked normally. A thin airbrushing with a transparent paint would do the job, though. I’ll get my Intern, Mark right onto it. When he turns up for work, finally!

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      • Yeah, I’ve been trying to use the GW gem paints on some big crystals from a scenery set I got, and they just don’t work the same on such large surfaces.

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      • No, these are from a place called Worldsmith Industries. He does some great area terrain templates and fillers that are compatible with the Citadel Woods.

        I did win a set of the Shadespire Terrain at a tournament last weekend, but I haven’t had a day with good weather for priming since then.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Alexis. Just checked them out. Nice, but pricey, but nice, but pricey. Resin stuff is rarely worthwhile for me to import, though due to postage (and postage from the US has stopped me buying almost anything from there with the huge increases over the last few years).

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      • Thanks Dave. The tanks here got two costs, though I had to thin them as well as part of it. Having said that, I’m not terribly unhappy with the “blue” part of these anyway.

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      • @Azazel: Yeah, it is a bit pricy. It’s just one dude working out of his garage, so he doesn’t have a whole lot of economies of scale or anything. The quality is good, tho. I got in on one of his Kickstarters, which made it all something like 20% cheaper. Probably still not worth it when you add in shipping to AU, tho.

        @Dave Stone: These ended up taking four coats before they ended up somewhere I was satisfied with them. They’re still not quite what I wanted, and I’m going to be doing the rest of them differently, but they work, and, as Azazel so often says, they’re done.

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      • There was a terrain KS not too long ago that I backed for $1 as I didn’t have the spare cash at the time to back it “properly”, but then the guy never sent out a PM or a way to upgrade. I’m not sure if it was this guy or not.

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    • Yeah, I’ll do that next time. The issue was that I took about 5 posts worth of photos one after the other. I’ll redo them in 2 weeks as part of January’s Scenery challenge and include some more “set piece” shots. Interesting call on the black as well, I wouldn’t have thought of that.

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      • Just stumbled across it while googling. But that might be come in handy for me soon. The black makes a bit of sense, as the glass is going to show whatever colors are behind it mostly. Looking across the room at a few empty glasses right now, I mainly see browns/greys through them. Though it’s also nighttime. Anyways, another trick to try someday.

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  5. Was worth a try I think. Loads of stuff I do doesn’t work out, that said I don’t post them. I think that sort of thing would be better done in a transparent resin.

    Still as scatter terrain they’ll look the part in a corner of a med room or storage bay.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. The thing behind this wasn’t “I need bacta tanks” but “I wonder if I can do something completely different with these cannister-things”. As it turned out, it worked about half-decently. The “White” area is where they really fell down. Hm… maybe a repaint of those bits, but working out which colour would work best is the tricky part there – maybe light/pale blue, though I’ve ruined/removed the metallic “underlay” with that white.
      As you said, though – they seem to be perfectly …fine as side terrain as opposed to centrepieces (as in this post!)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can see what you were going for, and you are braver than me for attempting it to be honest, as you say from a distance they should work fine, but I think the grey “solid” ones will work better.

    It’s kind of nice to see a “wobble” in your generally perfect painting (sorry) at least now I know you’re human 🙂

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 1 person

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