Sunday 18 October 2015

Sprue Cutters Union #36 and #37 - Scales and Imperatives

Damnit, it happened. In the long running history of the Sprue Cutters Union, I've missed a topic. Hand in the badge, hang your head in shame and go stand in the corner!

Since I have rather short answers for both this and last month's topic, I'll just skip over the shame part and sum it up a bit.

- What's your scale? -

A highly subjective topic, but personally, I've yet to find my preferred scale. I guess it depends on the topic.

I've never made anything other than 1/72 - except for a single 1/144 Jaguar (that was really TOO small. ) - and it feels comfortable. 1/32 seems too big and also seams too big. I don't mind filling and sanding, but always that structural seam going front to back is a turnoff (for me).
Also, in this scale, wingspan means you need a lot of room to display the model.

Huge fan! Most kits I built (mainly Star trek & Star Wars) used to be just box-scale (meaning they made it as big as what would fit in the box), rendering the scale-topic moot.

Having build a 1/1200 Bismarck - which was too small - and not finishing (I will, one day) a 1/535 Missouri - which is too big - I think I'm going to leave this range of topics to the fans.

I haven't reached consensus here yet. I really like 1/35. It's not too big for the display case (unless you like railway guns) and it looks fantastic. I have no problem with 1/48 or 1/76, but my gut says to go bigger, not smaller.

- What are the essential aspects you cannot afford to cut corners on during a build? -

Hmm, I think I might be somewhat of a corner-cutter myself. I'll usually "do my best" up until the point it feels to take too long. It's just a matter of finding the balance between actually enjoying the work versus enjoying a perfect result. Spending too much time on one little facet or problem, is what's made me walk away from the bench for a couple of weeks on more than one occasion. I'd rather enjoy building something imperfect than becoming frustrated at said imperfection.

I do not like ugly seam lines. No one does, unless you're a very lazy modeller, or a true beginner, or you truly don't care. I'll always work hard to correct the biggest flaws, but I'm usually happy with "close enough" instead of 100% perfection.

Airbrushing is important. I love the clean paint finish and absolutely hate brush-painting any kind of surface (for figures, I can understand the need), for the simple reason I always leave brushstrokes.

Weathering is something I'm working on. I recognize my tendency to experiment with a product or technique, like the result and then only perform that technique for a couple of models. I'm learning though.

I guess the one thing I should really start paying attention to is monochromaticity (I love how that word rolls of the tongue). My work could benefit from some more colour-modulation. My about-to-be-finished AC130H is entirely sprayed in the same colour and I just couldn't bring myself to start modulating.

The important thing is enjoying your hobby and being proud of your work, flaws and all.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Suddenly : Inspiration!

Inspired by recent good experience with Mig Abteilung 502 oil paints, I grabbed a kit that's been waiting to be finished waaaay too long already (and may take a long time to complete still).

I used "starship filth" underneath the chimneys and a generous application of "olive green" on the bottom part of the walls. The first, I kinda dry-brushed on, the latter just lightly applied randomly, then wiped off with a cloth.

(walls are still shiny, awaiting a matte coat later)

AC130H - Weathering with oils

I recently started experimenting with oil paints, and I'm starting to really like them, for subtle (or not so subtle) touches. On the (completely white) Viper Mark II, I will try subtle dot-fading later, but on the much darker models of the AC130H and the Viper Mark VII, I'm currently going all out.

The idea is to slather the entire thing with a dirty (not completely black, but really dark) oil paint, then rub it back off (in the direction of airflow) with a cloth (cotton buds for the details and corners). Best done on a glossy finish, or else the oil will stick to the surface no matter what. The effect's subtlety is directly related to how glossy you made the clear coat.

I'm using Mig Abteilung 502 "Starship filth" which is kinda dark-grey/green.
The effect is threefold (and best seen with the naked eye, as it's hard to fully grab on camera) :

  • discoloration
  • panel line accentuation
  • streaking

The result is slightly shiny from the oil, which reduces in sheen over the next couple of days. Give it 5 days before you put on a matte coat. If you only work on your model once a week, this long drying time gives no disadvantage whatsoever. If you do happen to see a smear afterwards, it's easily removed with turpentine/white spirit up to 2-3 days later (maybe more, but don't push your luck).

If you worry about the thinner's smell, there are (as good as) odourless variants out there.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

AC130H - Lousy decals

I forgot to post progress about the closed-up, all-painted-up plane, but you'll see all about it in the next/last post, when it's finished (or you've seen sneak previews already on Facebook).

Anyway, we arrived at the decal stage, where everything went reasonably well. I cut the decals in advance and measured if it would all fit. I didn't measure well enough however, because I ended up about 2cm short on each wing.

Not a problem, I hear you? Just paint the missing part, right? Right?!

Well, I taped up a nice stripe to cross the tiny gaps, only the remove the decals with the tape after painting. I've never had issues with decals lifting with Tamiya tape. Either I was lucky until now, or these decals have had their best day. (I have no idea how old they are).

The best way to handle this, was remove the broken parts altogether and paint what's missing. Luckily I now know a handy way to remove decals! /grumble

So, you know the drill : tape, paint, wait, and CAREFULLY remove the tape. All went well except for the last piece of tape (of course!). I lost my patience and just grabbed my trusty Posca black ink pencil.