Tuesday, 31 March 2015

1/35 VK1602 Leopard update (part 4 - chipping, oil weathering, mud)

After finishing  chipping I always take photos and review them carefully. It's strange, because just like my artwork, in a photo mistakes instantly jump out of a photo that I don't see when viewing the actual model. 

After deciding what my changes will be, I use Photoshop to highlight areas in the photo that need to be changed, adding or removing chipping, oil streaks, rusting, etc. It's then just a question of following my photo guide.  These photo sessions are normally repeated many times before I'm happy, thus the reason my builds take so long.

In the photo above you can see the chipping and streaks that represent rust, dust and fuel/oil. I personally like very weathered machines so use my full weathering arsenal.

Above you can see the tracks have been muddied up.  I wanted a vehicle that had recently driven through mud, but that also had some dry mud caked into the tracks - the wet and dry mud help to create some extra visual interest.  I mixed white glue, pigments and other bits and pieces to thicken up the gooey mess. Later on I added another layer in which I mixed in static grass and pieces found in my garden. To speed up the drying process I used a hair dryer.

I used the same muddy mixture, but watered down, to flick onto the hull. I used a short, stiff- bristled brush dipped it into my mixture, and using my finger  flicked the loaded bristles to create the mud spattered effect. A post-it was used to cover areas I wanted to stay clean,

Here's another view of the lower hull that I was still working on.

See the final reveal HERE

1/35 Academy Jagdpanzer 38(t) 'Hetzer' (part 5 - completed!)

Last night I was up until the early hours finishing this one off. 

It depicts Germany, Summer, 1945. A British tank crew discovered an abandoned Hetzer with strange camo; they were well acquainted with the beast, having being knocked out by it two days before the war in Europe ended. However, it seemed the American 463rd Ordnance Evacuation Battalion had already laid claim to the machine, their scrawl adorning the sun-bleached hull, ear-marking this vehicle to be picked up by one of their Dragon Wagon transporters.

Monday, 30 March 2015

1/35 Tamiya Quad Gun Tractor (Part 2)

I have a few builds on the go at the moment but am managing to get some work done on all of them, albeit, very little work. This Tamiya gun tractor goes together with no real problems despite the kit's age, and the only real work is the filling of the many injector pin marks. 

Here's the completed chassis in primer and ready for paint. I'm still undecided on the paint scheme so all work stops at this point until I make my final decision.  I must do something different because every modeller and his dog (or cat) has built this kit and I want something original, although this being said, I may relent and choose a much time-tested scheme if I'm short of inspiration. I must point out that the underside of the chassis is well detailed, especially considering it's a 1974 kit.  

I'll let my captions do the talking for the photo above, but as you can see, I couldn't resist some small modifications and fabricated myself a small roof-rack/shelf of sorts. 

And here's 'the rack' with a steel drum stowed - all it needs is some scale rope to secure the load.  I took this route as the roof is a large flat surface area which needs to be broken up to provide some visual interest.  I imagined I was the driver of this truck and wanted to stow some drums on the roof, but had limited resources - how would I do it? Some scrap metal and a welder provided by the maintenance depot and et voila! 

Isn't scale modelling fun?! :)

See the final reveal HERE

Building Tamiya's old T-62A (Part 1)

Most armour modellers will have seen and heard about this kit, after all, it has a reputation of having some dimensional problems, the shape of the turret being just one of them.  So with that in mind, can she be built into an eye-catching representation of the T-62, albeit a loose one?

Only one way to find out!

To start off let me mention it's an old kit, and secondly, it has a reasonable price tag. So far, so good, right? 

Inside the box you'll find sprues of components that have been manufactured from time-worn moulds, or at least that's the impression I got when I looked at my kit. With this in mind, get your sanding sticks and filler ready for action - you will most certainly need them.

The tracks are the rubber band variety. I've never used them before so that will be interesting. And don't expect any photo-etch because you'll only be disappointed. 

Finally, throw in a modeller with mediocre skills but fanatical determination, and we'll see what can be achieved with this vintage model kit.

Note: I never learn - always use reference photos! The small seam around the circumference of the tyres are meant to be there, so don't sand them off unless you want to represent very worn rubber. 

More soon...............

1/35 Tamiya Quad Gun Tractor (Part 1)

After enjoying Tamiya's Schwimmwagon, I decided to see what I can achieve using my combined model building/painting knowledge to-date on the old Quad Gun Tractor kit.  I like the look of these old trucks/tractor units.  To my eyes, the British Commonwealth and America had the most visually pleasing trucks; the Germans had the cool-looking and hard-hitting armour.

But anyway, there are no firm plans for this build, just dive-in and enjoy!  I think this will be my philosophy for the new year, just to start building and see what happens along the way. Fun, learning new modelling techniques and about the subjects I build, and an eye-catching model (because it looks nice to my eyes) being the ultimate goal.

So far, so good.........chassis is assembled and the engine is ready to drop in.

There's not a lot going on inside but there's seating for six.   It's possible to add aftermarket parts or scratch build extra details; in this case I plan on neither..........

No matter what I tried, there was a largish gap between the bonnet/hood and the arch/fender.  I looked at my photo references which indeed showed there was quite a large gap on the real vehicle, but not as large as the kit would have it depicted!  In an enthusiastic attempt to lessen the unsightly appearance of the void on either side, I cut some plastic card to the shape of the arch which I then attached with super glue behind the bonnet/hood's sides.

Overall this kit builds into a great-looking vehicle.  There are plenty of minor imperfections to deal with, but for a kit this age (not to mention reasonable price), I'd still give it a big thumbs up. 

See part 2 HERE

1/35 Academy Jagdpanzer 38(t) 'Hetzer' (Part 4 - added chips, mud, and dust effects).

Here we are one more time with some more progress.  It might seem a long, drawn out build, and in fact it is - however, the stages of weathering take time and patience, and I need to rest and regroup in between modelling sessions.

In the photo above it's clear to see the chips I have begun to add.  It's a tedious, sweat inducing task, and that's no joke. To damage one's model at this stage, after so much effort had been injected would be upsetting, to say the least.  The darker areas represent the older, rusted steel (applied by sponge and brush), while the surrounding areas are carefully brush painted on, in this case using a my 'red-oxide' paint to represent fresh chips.

I still have to work on the tracks, but until I've decided about my base, they can wait.  

For the chipping I used both a sponge and a good quality brush.  

I like my Hetzer both with and without the armoured skirts, so I spent a while taking them on and off. There're very delicately attached so I can I always change them around and I have some spares all painted up and ready to go (I made extra just in case...........). As you can see, I chipped the tool box with my darker, old rust mix.  Any part of the vehicle that is being constantly opened and closed or handled will chip - just look at an old metal tool box in your garage!

For the mud spatter I mixed a small amount of white wood glue with water and added some Mig pigments (Dry Earth and European Dust).

The mixture was first tested on paper and then I used an old brush with cut down, stiff bristles, dipped in my muddy/dusty mixture and the bristles were carefully manipulated with my finger to flick dirt on the hull. I had to be careful to get the scale of the splashes looking natural.  I hold a post-it note in front of any areas I want kept relatively clean.

And finally here's a top view of the weathered machine.  As you can see, the vivid colours have been nicely muted, much to the crew's relief!

See the final reveal HERE

A new build for 2015 - Super Pershing Pilot (Part 1)

In early January I was reading through old scale modelling magazines when I came across a feature about a spectacular-looking machine offered by HobbyBoss in 1/35.  

In its normal guise it was a kit that wouldn't have interested me, but with its extra armour welded to both the glasis plate and gun mantlet, the story was different.  A little research told me that indeed, this beast really existed, and did I mention part of her extra mantlet armour was supposedly from a knocked out Panther?  Even more interesting!

In the photo above you can see I have the suspension all set up to depict this tank with a nose-down slant, due to the extra heavy armour.  This wasn't a kit option, so believe me when I say I regretted the decision during the building process. I will see if it was worth it at the end of this build. If you build this kit note that there are no poly caps to hold on the road wheels during test-fits, so I had to use yellow tack which isn't ideal. 

There are ejector pin marks everywhere and in the photo above you can see one I forgot, but luckily went back in to wipe from existence with my trusty sanding sticks. Did I mention this kit includes a full engine option?  Well it does and it's rather nice.

And here she is fitted roughly in place.  There is one part in the instructions that doesn't make sense, and that's the fitting of one belt to a radiator which seemingly floats in mid-air on one end! Sadly, most of my hard work will be hidden, even with the engine access hatches removed. Note to self: fix that wonky rad/cooling fan.

Okay, so that's all I've got for this one right now. A lot of hard work ahead of me but now it's starting to look like something I'm enjoying the build once again.

See part 2 HERE

1/35 Tamiya Schwimmwagen - fini! (completed 2014)

Here are the photos of my completed little Schwimmwagen, a really fun and uncomplicated kit. (Click on an image for a larger view).

I originally planned to apply some sort of camo but after mixing and applying my lightened (faded) version of dunkelgelb, I decided against it,

This photo is the only proper one I took of the interior and it's a WIP of effects achieved with oil weathering.

I wanted some colour contrast so added white 'visibility' markings on all four corners of the vehicle.  Try as I might, I wasn't able to find one photo of a Schwimmwagen with them, therefore I'm claiming artistic licence! 

Here you can clearly see the white 'visibility' paint on the front bumper, along with an old chain that I weathered up and added for a little extra visual impact.

In the photo above you can hopefully see the layers of paint, scratches, chipping and fresh rusty patina kept reasonably (for my builds) minimal. Notice the fuel stains around the two fuel caps.

The interior has also been weathered and a few little accessories added. Hope you can see the wood grain added to the oar.

The leather strap for holding up the prop assembly (which is hanging loose in the photo) is made from Tamiya tape painted brown; this was weathered, along with the whole lower chassis, by spraying a thin coat of Tamiya buff to represent dust,  I also added a little wire buckle to the belt.  The belt itself is attached to a bracket made from soda can aluminum.

I applied quite a few layers of chipping to the rear areas, both German grey to represent this vehicle's original colour, and also a darker, fresher shade of dunkelgelb (dark yellow).  To the exhaust guard I added some primer-red chips along with the gray.

Okay, so that's it for this build, so on to the next!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

1/35 VK1602 Leopard update (part 3 - adding the camo)

There are many ways of creating a camouflage pattern, and I studied them all carefully. However, for some weird reason I opted to use masking fluid as my paint mask, a method I've never explored or even heard of being used in this particular fashion, so I was really asking for it! Luckily, and it was surely only luck, my method worked alright but required some clean-up with a damp toothpick once dried.  

It's important to mention that I had previously drawn out a camo design on paper so knew exactly where everything was going to go and how the finished pattern might look; this is a good idea if you want to save a lot of hard work later on.

I had planned on using Mig-003 Resedagrun, however, once applied it didn't look anything like the illustration of the late-war Panther I was using as my inspiration. I added Vallejo Model Color 70.883 Ger.Cam Bright Green (what a mouthful!) to the mixing cup,  test-shot it through my airbrush, and then onto my model.

Remember, once weathered you lose a lot of the vivid colour so I recommend going quite a bit brighter than your coloured illustration guide/mind's eye interpretation, especially if you intend to add heavy weathering effects. Also bear in mind that if a vehicle is in bright sunlight, this can fade paintwork in time - just look at an old red car.  Here in France there are many pink cars!

I forgot to mention if my previous posts that I had a go at creating my first cast gun mantlet with this build and it worked quite well.  I'm pretty sure I mixed glue with filler and stippled it onto the mantlet with an old, short-bristled brush (try saying that fast a few times!).

And here she is with tracks test fitted (and painted with AK's track wash). In this photo I'd begun the weathering process and added some chips around the corners.  For this I used tweezers to hold a small piece of sponge dipped into my chipping colour (dab off most of the paint on some scrap paper and leave only a minimal of colour on the sponge - like when dry brushing). 

See part 4 HERE