Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Sunday 29 November 2015

Me109 Interlude

Setting up the airbrush and all the hassle that goes with it, it makes sense to try and have a couple of things on the go at once. In this case, as well as the Batmobile I wanted to test decals with the Pledge Wax, so I dug out and old Airfix kit that's been sitting under the bed for Lord knows how long. 

As I have mentioned before when I built that bloody submarine, Airfix' idea of Skill Level 1 and mine are very, very different. This kit led to just as much swearing as the last one.

One of the advantages of being a miniatures painter, of course, is that 1/72nd scale pilots and cockpits cause us no fear:

 This was something I was trying to get my head around for the Top Sekret Project - painting sub-assemblies before construction. Here you can see the cockpit in situ:

And here's ashot with the flash to show the ridiculously small decal sheet: 

The other skill I wanted to work on was masking. As it turns out, I didn't leave the cockpit frame unmasked which is something to remember for the future. The gun on the port wing, by the way, is a small bit of sprue carved to match the other. The actual piece is somewhere in the carpet. 

Here is the preshading technique again. Nothing too difficult if you've had a bit of practice with your airbrush. 

And, as you can see, very effective with the light colour of the underside. 

And equally effective with the top. Just to emphasise - there is no highlighting here. Just the preshade and a delicate application of the base coat, thicker at the centre of the panels. 

The nicest thing about an airbrush is, of course, that it makes camo-spraying very easy. 

And the masking worked!

And a daylight colour check:

At this point I started adding gross weathering such as paint chips on leading edges and foot wear where the pilots would be climbing in and out. 

Now this was the acid test. The old Klear made cockpit canopies look thinner. Not idea why or how, but it did. Would Pledge Wax do the same?


As you can see here, the gloss coat really helped the decals adhere to the surface detail:

And then pastel weathering:

This one will be going in to work - when it's based - where it'll get used for the WW1/WW2 controlled assessment. 

Up next is the Top Sekret Project which is, of course, sekret no longer:

I'm currently faffing about with bits of wire and fibre optic to work out how to light this little beauty. 

Friday 27 November 2015

Batmobile Interlude

Hello again, Bat-fans. 

So I survived Ofsted and - Glory, Glory, Hallelujah! - we are out of Special Measures. As a reward to myself I got a little treat; two figures from the Knight Models Batman range. These minis are so horrifically expensive that they'll never be more than a treat and a chance to paint something to a high quality display standard. 

But how to display them?

Here's a Bat-Fact, Bat Fans. The Eaglemoss Batmobile collection of die casts are in 1;43, which is as near as makes no odds 32mm scale. The BMG figures are 35mm which, as far I am concerned, falls squarely into the category of Good Enough. Even better, they come with their own little plastic display case. 

A quick trip to ebay scored me this little beauty:

Beauty is, of course, very much in the eye of the Beholder. This is the Dark Knight Returns Batmobile: the tank that the retired Bruce Wayne brings out of storage in Frank Miller's magnum opus.It cost five of Her Majesty's pounds from ebay. As with all die casts the detail is there, just hidden by a flat coat of paint. 

So out comes the airbrush and away we go. 

(This is more or less a test piece for my New Top Sekret Project, so you'll see that I'm using modeller's techniques rather than miniature painter's techniques. However, as I relearn them I remembered that there's an awful lot of bleed through as you'll see)

This is called pre-shading. As you can see, the beast has been primed and then I've airbrushed black over the main panel lines. This will show through the base coat adding some definition even before we get stuck in on detailing.

As you can see, pre-shading works. 

Next, I add some chips using the same technique as on miniature armour. This is also the first bit of edging - what modelers call a pin wash. A thin wash is allowed to run along the panel lines to add depth. This one was neat Badab Black:

And here I tried it with thinner but it actually created a much messier finish.

I mixed up some rust from transparent orange, clear red and Ap strong wash and added it around some of the more obvious points - the beast has been left in a damp cave for 10 years, after all. I considered stippling but decided to go with streaks.

Around the engine parts, Tamiya Smoke does its usual wonderful job of creating oil leaks, drip and splashes:

At this point I unleash my secret weapon: 

This used to be called Klear or Future in the US. It's basically a clear acrylic gloss and costs 3.15 for the bottle here. A shot of this run through the airbrush protects all of the painting done so far and means that weathering can be applied and then rubbed off, watered down or removed entirely if it goes wrong without damaging the basic paintjob:

It has the added advantage of making the panel lining even easier as the gloss surface allows the wash to be wicked up from the brush into the recessed line much easier. Note how much tidier the panel lines are after the pledge coat than before:

We're now ready for the final weathering which is done with some classic drybrushing and pastels. This is another model maker's technique and is a lot cheaper than the MIG or Forgeworld pigments. You simply scrape off some pastels to give you a pile of dust and apply the dust to the model, working it into the paintwork and varius crevices. So here you can see I've added some more rust and some mud.

A further shot of pledge over the top seals the lot. 

The Beast is now done but the grand unveiling will have to wait until Wayland Games pull their fingers out and actually send me my Batman and Joker. 

Tune in tomorrow on the same Bat Channel to see what else I've been doing to get myself upskilled for the Top Sektrit Project. And if you want a clue as to what is causing me to practice all these fine scale building and painting techniques? Well, I last built a model 6 years ago so I suppose you can say that all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again...

Sunday 15 November 2015

In the Emperor's Name

Proper photos will follow at the weekend when I have decent light but it got finished at last. 

I'm happy as it turned out almost exactly as envisaged it - with the added advantage that this was three weeks of hobby time for a total cost of £0.00. 

As proof, here's the original sketch I did all those weeks ago:

The biggest change is that CD bases are always smaller than I think once I start work so I had to drop the other bodies as they cluttered the diorama up too much and wrecked the composition. This now, of course, means I'm stuck with an Ork. 

The only real modelling challenge was converting the Ork. I had to reposition the  body and legs as well as the head and this required quite a lot of sculpting - including an entire new neck which probably makes this the only GW Ork in history to actually have a neck. 

There was also the entry and exit wounds along with various entrails. 

A shout out at this point to Mr Awdrey whose blood recipe has been liberally applied. 

As always, thanks for reading along and your supportive comments. 

Advance warning: the next project won't actually be wargaming related - it's going to be another modelling one. All
I will say is - all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.