News for December 2010
Dust Tactics Modeling Masterclass - Session 1 9
Follow along as master modeler José Brito customizes the Axis walkers
Dust Tactics | Published 22 December 2010

The first thing most people notice about Dust Tactics, the tactical miniatures board game set in an alternate historical timeline where alien technology fuels gigantic machines of war, are the magnificent mechanized tanks. These stunningly detailed models arrive almost entirely assembled, so you can begin playing in minutes. However, they are begging to be personalized.

In this three part series, we’re going to follow master modeler José Brito from start to finish as he takes fully customizes two Axis combat walkers from the Dust Tactics core set. Are you ready?

First Steps - The Walker Body

Being partly assembled, the construction portion of this modeling project is very simple. If you haven’t yet examined the Axis models closely, you will discover that even some of the preassembled parts can be dismantled into sub-assemblies. Take care as you explore how the walker models are constructed, so you do not inadvertently damage any parts.

The models can be easily adjusted to a great variety of different positions. You can keep the model in standing position, or rearrange the pose so it’s more action-oriented. It truly allows you a huge number of possible options, very quickly.

During the first stage I customized the model in the following ways:

Model Preparation


  • leave the arms separate from the body to make it easier to work


  • remove the body from the legs with gentle twisting


  • sand off the minor moulding lines from the legs and large guns using a small metal file or sandpaper


Replacement Cabling


  • carefully cut away the plastic cabling with a sharp hobby knife



  • use a standard pin vise to drill two shallow holes to attach our replacement cable



  • using two different gauges of wire, wrap enough thin wire around a thicker section until it matches the length of the original plastic cabling





  • attach new cable using a drop of cyanoacrylate glue at each end, e.g. Crazy Glue or Rocket Hot (Be careful not to glue your fingers together!)


Extra Details


  • I chose to add metal rungs to be used as hand holds for troops as they climb in or out. First, I marked pairs of dots on the gun shield to help me drill accurately



  • use a standard pin vise to drill shallow holes for the new rungs



  • carefully bend small sections of thick wire into a metal rung shape, then cut


  • using small pliers or other tool, attach rungs to shields using a drop of cyanoacrylate glue


Extra Armor, Pipes, and Much More

Check your local hobby, crafts or model railroad store for small sheets of thin, plastic card and other plastic detail elements. Flat sheeting can be cut into any shape using a sharp hobby knife, giving you an instant armor upgrade! Plastic tubing of different sizes will appear as pipes and other metal conduit. You can also find plastic I-beam sections at many hobby supply shops, which are perfect for figures, visible in the following pictures to hold the new shoulder armor. Thin metal or plastic mesh can be added almost at will, along with wiring of any kind. When you begin working on your own models, start slowly, be patient and have fun trying out new things. Use your imagination and give your models the personal touch!



Coming Up Next…

At this stage, our walkers are ready for a white base coat of primer, which is where the real magic begins. All of the customization will suddenly appear as if they were original details of the figures. Once they have been fully painted, the walkers will take on a new life.

We hope you’re beginning to see how a few simple additions to your own figures can have a tremendous impact on your tabletop. Get ready to be excited and we’ll see you next week!

Dust Tactics is a tactical miniatures game of brutal combat for 2-4 players. Based on the popular universe created by artist Paolo Parente, Dust Tactics presents an alternate 1940s reality in which alien technology fuels gigantic machines of war, and the world's superpowers clash over rare mineral deposits that could ultimately decide the outcome of WWII.

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Comments (9)

Published: 3/16/2012 2:09:26 AM

 I dont dig it. Liberace knew when enough was enough better than this guy. 

Published: 4/12/2011 4:06:57 AM

when did the space orks invade DT ? the walkers look likesometing from a WH40K ork army .

Published: 1/2/2011 11:11:36 PM

 The wire wrap is something I have been doing for years.  It is actually quite easy...

Published: 12/26/2010 7:53:09 PM

Ouch !!

The method shown for building the replacement cables is really complicated. A simpler trick would be to use metal guitar strings.




Published: 12/26/2010 3:36:43 PM

I agree with EasyEight whilh I'm impressed and like the tips, I think they need to be a little cleaner.

If you ever see a WWII German tank in real life, the look like they were made by Porche or Mercedes Benz.

Oh wait a minute... they were. : )

Great work though, looking forward to session two.

Published: 12/23/2010 3:08:44 PM

 I appreciate the modelling advice but in this particular mod I think they look too fiddly for WW2 German work. The Germans definitely were into highly engineered (in some cases almost aesthetic) vehicle designs. Take a look at a Panther of King Tiger tank, for example smooth lines and angles for maximum armor protection and minimized profile, and even external stowage was discouraged as creating a combat hazard. I'm sure that was violated all the time, but you rarely see pictures of German tanks as covered in stowage and crates as you see on US or even Soviet tanks (who had an official policy against external stowage). So having lots of wires and cables hanging loose that could get snagged or damaged in combat doesn't seem practical. On the other hand, I like his sort of "schirzen" plates on the shoulders. Looking forward to his painting tips.

Published: 12/23/2010 11:16:39 AM

This looks great.

My main question to anyone who might know: Are there detailed interior cockpits for the Dust Tactics mecha as there were with AT-43?


Published: 12/23/2010 7:21:30 AM

This is great stuff. Nice to see good support for us. More please!

Published: 12/23/2010 2:03:36 AM

Nice workshop, great modelling ideas, thank you!

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