Sunday 28 December 2014

Viper - Part 5 (Base coat)

Last time, I primed the Vipers. Now it's time for their basecoat.

For the Mark II, the white primer coat IS the base coat, but I've hit a snag with the tail-section and it requires more filling and sanding before I continue.
The Mark VII was primed in black, which has 2 reasons. One, it's super-easy paint (easier then the grey and white primers I have), which covers the model beautifully and makes further painting a breeze. Two, it's the basecoat for pre-shading.

The 2 pictures below illustrate my current method without the need for words. Matt over at Doog's models calls it "Black basing" and you can find his detailed explanation here.

Super-simplified, it goes as follows :

  1. Prime the model in black
  2. Fill in all panel centers with the basecoat. (first picture)
    Don't cover the panels too evenly.
  3. Go over it with a thinned version of your basecoat (second picture), to blend the panels and the remaining black "panel lines" and unify everything.
    Important : stop painting 2 or 3 passes before you think you'll reach adequate coverage, or the contrast will be gone. It's easier to add another layer later, than to regret going too far.
The result is a not as monochromatic than if you were just slapping on an entire coat in the same colour and colour density. It's only the second model on which I try it, but I'm liking the results.

Friday 26 December 2014

Viper - Part 4 (Back at the bench)

Finally vacation! Time to kick some postponed projects in high gear. Lack of posts does not mean lack of progress, although I admit it's going slow and the number of hours at the workbench are fewer than I'd like.

All the minute photo-etch details have been added to the Panzerjäger's turret skirts, but that project has temporarily made way for a renewed intrest in the double Viper build, abandoned somewhere in august.

I messed up the Mark II's cockpit a bit, with some overenthusiastic aluminium overspray on the inside. I'm not even sure how I managed to do that. I wetted a cloth with some airbrush cleaner, and with a little persuasion the paint came off. Not all of it, but enough to make it presentable again. I then sealed it in several layers of Future.

The cockpit was attached with canopy glue, something I picked up at the hobby shop on a recent shopping spree. It requires force to be exerted while drying and is best left alone for 24 hours to fully cure. (The bottle says 3 hours before "handling", but safe trumps sorry anytime)
I used to same stuff to fill the large gaps around the canopy, because the fit left a lot to be desired. It's thick enough to fill big gaps and cleans up easily with a wet cotton bud. It dries as good as transparent, so any excess glue that oozes out on the inside of the canopy should hardly be visible. 

Once the cockpit was firmly attached, I masked it again and masked other pre-painted areas with silly putty. Pink really looks good on this Viper.

Usually, when I haven't used the airbrush in several months, it's because something had failed (or clogged) and I'm not anxious to tackle the encountered problem. I've done the occasional rant about it being my best friend and worst enemy, so I'm happy to announce this time that the past few airbrushing sessions went without a hitch.
I've been experimenting with Vallejo's flow improver, but I haven't reached a definitive conclusion. At first glance, it does seem to alleviate some paint flow issues, which shouldn't really come as a surprise, but it's always nice to see a product do what it's supposed to.

The Mark VII has been primed in black, because it's going to be metallic grey/blue-ish. The Mark II is white, so out came the dreaded white primer, but it went better than I feared. The main thing I learned since the last time I used it, is patience. I'm not a terribly patient man, but I've learned that my normal amount of patience hadn't quite cut it in the past.

You'd think it'd be easy to learn to go slow, but it's taken me a long time to go REALLY slow. The black primer only requires 2-3 layers. I've become almost fully resistant to the reflex of pulling the airbrush trigger too far back and to try to get complete coverage in one go. It will bite you in the ass if you want to go too fast. The white primer you see in the picture below is many many layers, added over 3 sessions. The pre-shading is only now starting to disappear a bit, but the result so far is smooth and thin. Too much paint would have started to run, create an uneven coat, or - worst case - obliterate detail.

The Mark VII is ready for it's base coat, so some mixing and experimenting will be up next. The Mark II needs some more assembly and a lot more white paint.

Question to you all : if a model is gonna be entirely white, can you just paint it with white primer and leave it at that, or does it pay in some way (smoother finish?) to go over it with more regular, non-primer white?

Saturday 13 December 2014

Zubr class LCAC - new tool, wrong scale

About a year ago, I reported falling in love with the Russion navy's Zubr class LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion), but unfortunately the only existing kit was Dragon's 1/700, hard to find and stupidly expensive on Ebay for some reason. I wasn't really impressed by it anyway.

In the december 2014 issue of FSM (Fine Scale Modeler) a Zubr was listed in the new product section. At first, I got really excited, but this too turned out to be 1/700 scale. While this may be a nice scale for many ships, for this kit it results in a model of about 8 centimeter (3 inch).
Now, if this were available in any scale rendering a model around 30 centimeters (one foot), I'd be throwing my money at it.

This resin kit from Gwylan models includes photo-etch, decals and a paint mask.
It's very nice looking, but in my eyes more suitable as part of a larger diorama, than as a stand-alone model. Still a kick-ass hovercraft, though!

Friday 12 December 2014

(Life's) work in progress - Trainstation

Not my work this time, but definitely worth mentioning here. This is the work of the chairman of our local IPMS chapter.

He's been working on it for over a year, about 3-4 hours a day. The models are done, the impressive base is finished. It "just" needs to receive a load of figurines and some animals.

As this huge 1/35 diorama will probably only be seen by this evening's meeting attendees and - once finished - it's one time appearance on our next annual convention, I thought I would share it would all my viewers (all 42 of you :-)).

Daddy's workbench - part 2

A little over 2 years ago, when I had just started this blog, I wrote that daddy's workbench also serves other purposes then making scale tanks or airplanes. Many of our tools can also be used to repair toys.

It started simple, with some simple wood glue to fix a Bumba puzzle, but my recently acquired skill of soldering (and the acquisition of the needed tools for it) has enlarged the range of possible repairs.

This little teacup's lid's handle had broken off, but wouldn't stay on with glue. A little tin (well, a lót actually) and a hot solder iron solved this, not only in mere seconds, but also for eternity. Unless, maybe if you drove over it with a truck.

Now, thát's a happy teapot, and - by the time school ends today - one over-the-moon toddler.

This Hello Kitty watering-can slash annoying-noise-maker has broken before and was fixed with CA glue. It wouldn't stay fixed, so I used a recent free sample of Loctite two-component glue. Fingers crossed ... (and yes, I have a little girl, how did you guess?)