Saturday, 13 January 2018

A pink T-55! Why not?

Also late 2016, I was without modelling inspiration, so I asked my daughter what next I should build. She could pick anything from the stash (expect the really big ones), which ended up being Lindberg's 1/35 T-55.

Small detail : she wanted it to be pink.
I actually found a picture of a pink T-55, outside of the Museum of Contemporary History in Ljubljana (Slovenia). It was painted pink overnight (and flowers put in the barrel) on the eve of International Women's Day 2012.

Of course, during construction, another few good practices were meant to be embraced:

  • Always wash the sprues first, especially older kits (a lot of discussion about this, mainly the reason why I put it here :-))
  • Careful when removing (smaller) parts of the sprues.
  • Inspect wheel/axle alignment every minute until it's dry.

Construction finished, I went to work with black primer and Russian Green.

A layer of heavy chipping fluid, then pink and then toothpicks and brushes. Love the technique, hate the result.

It now looked truly hideous, which she did not fail to point out. I liked how she could honestly point at it and say "Daddy, you made it ugly!". She'd be a great SMCG member, no attaboys.

So, I went over it with several more fine layers of pink and now looks more the way I wanted it : multiple layers of distressed pink over a green base.
It needs some more weathering, maybe some fuel/oil stains and it'll be done.

Passing (pushing?) a hobby to the next generation

Late in 2016, there was a trade/sale moment in our scale model club. Picked up Smer's KlikKlak version of a 1/48 model of an Mi-2 helicopter, Police version.

It's not that I like helicopters per se, or that it's a striking model, but it felt like something I could (easily/quickly) make as a first model with my daughter. It's not like I expected her to be interested more than half an hour and even that was probably pushing it.

She liked it good enough and it got her acquainted with the simpler steps of scale modelling :

  • snipping  the parts of the sprue instead of ripping and twisting like I did as a kid.
    (How about you? Admit it!)
  • applying glue (Tamiya extra-thin) carefully, not in blobs like I did with those Revell tubes.

She lost interest by the time the fuselage was assembled and smaller parts and rotors needed attaching. I finished it onmy own.

Gotta say, what I expected to be a sheet of decals was - disappointingly - one big sticker, from which every symbol or stripe needed to be carefully cut. The parts that fit around the windows were specifically annoying.

Happy with the result! One year later and it still has a place on her bedroom cupboard.

Monday, 1 January 2018

The Sprue Cutters Union is back!

The Sprue Cutters Union is back! I can think of no better way to :

- Wish you a Happy New Year!
- Start building models again
- Start blogging again

- Where have you improved the most in the past year? -

It's hard to think of an area I've improved in this year, not having done more than a couple of hours over the entire year.

Having gone through a divorce and moving out to a (small) appartement, I'd say I've learned the following:

1. Planning

Not having a lot of room and/or storage space in the new (temporary) appartement, I left most of my modelling stuff at my old place, only taking the bare necessities for ONE model I planned to tackle.

After 3 separate trips before I had all the tools and colours and stuff, I started to think further ahead and optimize the going back and forth.

2. Improvisation

For the same reason (lack of space), airbrushing was gonna be a tad difficult, but I saw a lot of potential in one of the boxes left over from buying new furniture. Meet my new spraybooth!

3. Perseverance

Not sure where it went wrong. The instructions were weird and I took a wrong turn somewhere. Some parts ended up in the wrong spot, but since the ropes were added MUCH later, this only become apparent very far into the build.

Initially, I told myself I could live with it, nobody of my friends would notice and those who did would get credit for perception.

Further along the painting process, it started to nag at me and it got as far as not wanting to continue the build anymore.

So, finally (a few months later), I decided to cut out the offending pieces and correct it.

The build is finished, it just needs a couple of touches of paint and then the dreaded rigging will start.

This has been posted in response to January's Sprue Cutter's Union topic. To see what other modelers are saying about this topic, follow the links below:

Thursday, 26 October 2017

ST:Discovery - AfterTrek (S01E05)

First: yes, I haven't written anything in a year. I'll get back to that in a modelling-related blog.

Second: today we're talking about StarTrek - Discovery, the new series. If you don't know what that is, stop reading :-).

I did not want to abbreviate it in the title as STD, which feels ... icky. Not sure what the common abbreviation will become. DSC, ST:DSC, ...?

If you didn't know already from my huge collection of Star Trek scale models : yes, I was a BIIG Star Trek fan throughout the entire series. I was too young for TOS, but saw the reruns, and TNG, DS9, VOY as it was released. For some reason, ENT never makes it to the initial list, but always as an afterthought. Maybe I should give it another chance.

Now, I've been watching the new episodes (6 now) with great anticipation. It feels different than previous Trek, but I'm liking it stil. More action, but enough TechnoBabble and SciFi-stuff to quench my thirst.

I've also been watching each episode of AfterTrek, which discusses the episode we've just seen and invites one or more actors or writers. The only downside is that it takes 40 minutes, which is like watching another episode, while I feel it could easily be handled in 15.

Discussing Star Trek around the lunch-table at work (I love - some of - my coworkers :-)) is something I appear to have really missed, but I learned that I got a lot more backstory-material from watching AfterTrek than just watching the episode.

So, for those who did not spend the time to watch it, I will summarize what we learned from AfterTrek that you may not have spotted or simply missed altogether in episode 5 (more blogs to come when I feel they're "needed").
  • The female captain of the Klingon prisonship (the one who tortures Lorca) is L'rell. This is the same person that went into Exile with Voq (The albino Klingon, Torchbearer) on the - now derelict - USS Shenzhou.
    It only took her 3 (4?) weeks to go from stranded to being Commander on a Prisonship. I have no clue where Voq fits in the picture. One can assume the story will be revisited in later episodes.
  • The mirror-scene at the end : Lt. Stamets turns around and walks away from the mirror, while his mirror image remains standing for 10 more seconds before also walking away.
    I guess we should know not to inject alien DNA into our bodies.
    To be explained later, I guess...

  • The tardigrade was originally going to make it as a member of the crew, actually becoming Stamets' boss. A uniform and workstation was designed, but the storyline was abandoned (CGI-costs too high?)
If you have noteworthy additions to this list, feel free to send me a comment.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Halloween - chipping done right

Motivation comes in many forms.

I often experience long periods where I honestly CBA to go sit at the workbench. I'll start a new model once in a while, but it's clear I enjoy building and painting more than actually finishing a model that last 5%. (I now have 6 models sitting on the 95% complete shelf, and at least 2 more that I've given up on altogether)

This Halloween, I wanted to go as a Slipknot member. You know, that band where they are always masked?

I took my black overalls and brushed some Slipknot logo's on it, but - cheap bastard I am - I refuse to pay $50 for a mask, so I tried making something myself, from a $2 hockeymask.

It basically gave me a good excuse to "brush" up my airbrush skills, and - particularly - to experiment with AK heavy chipping fluid. I'm glad to say it turned out wonderfully.

I sprayed Vallejo Metal Color (dark Aluminium) on top of a light coat of Heavy Chipping, waited a few hours and made it wet again. I didn't need to be careful and used a stiff brush, toothbrush and even a toothpick.

Afterwards, I gave it a few washes with black and brown oils for some subtle details (that aren't easily captured on picture)

If I count all the layers, there's

  • black primer
  • German Grey
  • 2 x matte varnish (to protect from scratching later)
  • Chipping Fluid
  • Dark Aluminium
  • Matte varnish
  • Oil wash (Starship Filth and Flesh Shadow)

The Slipknot-disguise was meant to be used for the entire workday only, but I reused the mask for the afterwork-party to go as a killer-clown version of the Mad Hatter, since the theme of the evening was (m)Alice in Wonderland.

My colleague's (dead) rabbit-mask was inspired on a photo and built from scratch in 12 hours. Some people got mad skillz.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Dare to try

Hmm, no posts in 3 months? Somebody's been a bad boy!

What have I been up to? Painting the Merkava (and halting just before the weathering step), building the T-55 (no paint yet) aaand ... not much else. Don't worry, it's just another modelling hiatus. It happens.

I'm painting a hockey mask for Halloween. Getting re-acquainted with the airbrush and it went from wonderful to really bad, just like I remembered. Then the trigger started to jam and it was all over.

Last time this happened, I sent it to the States for a cleanup. No way was I to open it up myself or void the warranty. Scared little weasel that I was, I complied. Well, they did clean it up and sent it back, so I'm grateful for the excellent (free) service. But it did get lost in transit for a couple of long, scary weeks.

Anyway, when it returned all squeaky clean, I could see where they had pried it open (voided warranty, my @ss), so when it was time for another cleanup, I just bit the bullet and opened it up.
It just pries open from the back to the front. It doesn't look too complicated, but I was precautious and took a picture before complete disassembly.

Some acetone and some elbow grease and it looks shiny as new. Well, no, but all the gunk is gone. And there was a LOT of gunk.

It's now drying. I haven't tested it yet, but I'm confident. (famous last words?)

Here's the mask I'm painting. It's a $2 white hockey mask, that I attacked with sanding paper, a dremel, black primer, german grey and a thick coat of matt varnish.

Next up : heavy chipping fluid and aluminium. Then the actual chipping and a black wash.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Merkava - A little side project

I was aching for a little diversion, so I decided to start building the 1/72 Merkava (Mark I) from ESCI (#8323). I picked the kit up for just €5 from a second-hand table at the latest convention.

I can't really find any flaws in the engineering of the kit. Details conform to my expectations of a 1/72 scale kit from 1988. The tracks are link-n-length, which fit superbly if it weren't for my clumsiness in their assembly. (Mental note : next time, start with the individual pieces and fit in the larger parts, instead of the other way around)

Profiting from the work on it's larger scale brother on the workbench, I didn't need to do any research for the anti-slip. I still have more than enough sand (50 micron aluminum-oxide), which is pretty much scale-accurate (since I used the 110 micron sand in 1/35 scale)


Friday, 22 July 2016

Merkava - last details

One last detail I forgot : the 2 big tow-cables that wrap around the turret. The instructions have you connect them with a simple wire, but that looks plain ugly and the real vehicle uses chains to keep them up. So I started looking for alternatives.

I ended up going to a store that sells jewelry-supplies (like thread, pearls, trinkets and .. chain!) The smallest silver chain they had looked close enough in scale.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Merkava - Construction finished

Construction on the Merkava is finally finished! The base coat is on as well and the anti-slip has turned out really good.
Now comes the dreaded part of weathering and making it look less ... bland.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Merkava - Anti-slip finished

Last time (too long ago), I was experimenting with different kinds of sand AND how to attach them to the model. A fellow modeler on Facebook came with the solution : blasting sand (for orthodontic purposes, i.e. cleaning dentures).

You can buy it in dental supply labs. They sell per 10kg, but even then it's not THAT expensive. If you play your cards right, you might walk away with a free sample, as a mere 20-30 grams will be enough to cover an entire model.
It's aluminiumoxide, with 3 grain sizes : 0.05 mm, 0.11 mm and 0.25 mm. My findings are that (in 1/35 scale) the 0.05 is suitable for US Desert vehicles and the 0.11mm is near spot on for IDF vehicles.
The best about it is that the grain size is really consistent throughout the entire batch.

The matter of application was also quickly settled : primer! Small detail : I use Vallejo primer, which is a acryl-polyurethane ... substance, which makes it act comparable to a kind of latex film. There's been discussion enough about whether or not this is a good primer (it's flaky when you sand it and when repriming you never get rid if the ridges), but for this application it's qualities are excellent for keeping the grains of sand in place.

Applying it is simple :
  1. paint the primer with a brush on a single panel (no more, as the primer dries super-fast)
  2. take a bit of sand between thumb and index finger and sprinkle gently(!)
  3. tap the model to remove excess sand
  4. let dry
  5. repeat for all other panels, paying attention NOT to do door handles, levers, ...


I really like the result (even though I must have spend at least 4 hours on it), and it looks even better when painted black. Anxious to see the result in it's final colour.

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