30.5.11

One more build is now completed

Not much was left to do. I washed the rest of the weapons and a couple of items just to bring out some details and give some variety to the guys. Oh, and I remembered to add the missing rank "buttons" on Herr Leutnant's shoulder thingamagicks. To keep the acquired level of insanity I went and painted the Deutsche Afrika Korps insignia to the boxes on the sides of the halftrack and scribbled the unit markings both to the front and the rear of the vehicle. The latter looks more like a doodling of a five-year old kid, but that's the best I could do now.

Those waterslide transfers are cheating.
Oh, and I didn't add the register plates. They'll survive without just fine.

View from the left

The right side

Nose

The rear end

It doesn't quite look like in the picture...

That's it. Those photos are somewhat weak because I took them quickly with my n900, but maybe I'll get to take a bit better ones with the real camera and update again. But now I have my mind set to the next project already! Where in the world am I going to find all the tiny extra pieces I think I'll need?

27.5.11

Detailing my tiny desert übermensch

I kept painting my poor miniature men without any real break. The coats looked a bit dull as they were so I drybrushed them with a bit of Iraqui Sand that I used to paint the trousers. With a single flat colour those things end up boring so drybrushing brings out the highlights pretty nicely. But why am I rambling about these things? Back to business!

The last time I left the skin areas of my mininazis chocolate brown, now I painted them liberally with Vallejo's Medium Skin Tone so that the deepest recesses still had some chocobrown to give a sense of shadows. Then, after a while of drying, I highlighted parts like noses, chins, cheekbones, ears and fingers with Vallejo Dark Skin. For some cosmical reason that dark skin is actually lighter than medium skin tone.. but I guess they're just from a slightly different palette. In any case, they finally started looking like people.

The next evening I spent with the coats and accessories. My main theme was painting belts, bayonettes and other decorative elements. Belts got a Chocolate Brown coating, except the straps for the water bottle and ... whatever that small box is on the back of two guys. Those got a grey-black strap, just to give some kind of a variety to the setup. All the belt- and strap buckles I highlighted with metal colour and later I'll wash them a bit to tune the shininess down a bit. Then I painted the shoulder flaps with green, as these are plain old infantry. Those things got a thin white lining and the man holding the binoculars got a dot on the thingie, he was supposed to be a Fährnrich (a second lieutenant), but I made it to a wrong place... should've checked before doing. Guess I'll paint another and give him a promotion to a lieutenant, so he'll be accurate again.


Somehow I also dared to have a go at the eyeballs and irises of these tiny people. Thanks to a paintbrush set that I got a couple of years ago, especially the three-hair 5|0 detail brush, everything went awesomely without causing a mess or swearing. I could almost get excited about this.


And indeed I got excited. I kept on my sick attempt of adding minute details by freehanding tiny shields to the helmets. One side should have a silver nazi eagle on a black shield and the other one is a black/red shield with a narrow diagonal white stripe going through it. And it ended being acceptable at least:

After everything got dry, I put the helmets on their owners and tried how they could be posing when the whole thing is done. A couple of those guns are going to cause some trouble, I may even have to tear some arms off their sockets like a mad Wookiee...

25.5.11

Beam crosses and brown faces

After posting the last entry I continued painting the fenders. When both of them were coated nicely I slapped them on the hull. After the glue had set nicely I mixed a bit of Dunkelgelb with an even smaller amount of white. The end result was slightly but somehow lighter than the base colour, just like it was supposed to be. I set the model in my painting box so that it was resting in a pleasant 45º angle enabling me to spray the paint exactly from top of it.
It doesn't show too clearly but maybe it worked somehow?

However my attempt went, the model doesn't seem to be ruined.

Next I struck my paintbrush on the machine guns. First I painted them simply grey-black, on top of that I drybrushed some metal colour and finally painted the handles brown for some wooden looks. Pretty simple but works nicely enough in my opinion.


After the guns I painted the outside tools, first the metal parts with that grey-black and then the handles with brown. To decorate them a bit for a worn look I drybrushed some steel on appropriate surfaces. The driving lights and the side view mirror I just painted with flat aluminium. At least the driving lights should be washed with a light yellow to make them look a bit more like headlights. Or maybe some thinned down black wash because the lights aren't on. Hmm. I'll ponder on this a bit still.



While random paintjobs were drying I cleaned the crewmembers a bit and glued their bodyparts together bit by bit. Later I noticed that I had forgotten several mould lines despite my attempts to inspect all pieces thoroughly. Oh well. The main thing is that as a whole they look better than if I had just stuck them together without any kind of cleanup...

Crew mostly in pieces

In the end I decided that I'll assemble these guys completely, excluding the helmets, before I paint them. For a while I had thought if I should paint their arms separately but then I decided against it, it could end up looking a bit silly (and needing touchups afterwards anyway). So I'll save myself the trouble of working on the same parts repeatedly. Soon we'll see how this ends up.
On a side note, I don't think I've ever added all the gear on these tiny guys before. For some reason I've never dared to go into the arms race with these 1/35 or 1/72 -scale guys. The larger scale people have mostly been just tank crews and the Hummel's gunners without plenty of gear... where are those SP-artillerymen anyway? Those small scale guys have had an insane amount of junk with them despite the smallness... and it scares me :P Water flasks, bayonettes, gas mask containers, bags and pouches. We'll see how this one goes, at least these are bigger than those ultratiny 1/72 bits.

They're just missing some paint and their hats

All that crap fit surprisingly nicely on their waists and backs. The guns are going to wait for a moment, though, for obvious reasons. The first round consisted of their uniforms being painted with Vallejo's Green Ochre and after a short paint-drying break all the skin parts and their boots were painted with Vallejo's Chocolate Brown. Of course my plastic aryan supermensch are going to get a lighter skin tone during my next painting session, the brown is just a hopefully good base colour for the recesses and such (reverse highlighting?). At least brown is better for that than plasticy gray, in my opinion.
Next I'll paint their trousers with Vallejo's Iraqi Sand and maybe drybrushing the coats lightly with that same paint to give them some definition - that green ochre is a bit too dull alone. I've got two skin paints (Vallejo's medium flesh tone and dark flesh, if I remember correctly) to be tried. I'm hoping that these guys are going to look like they've been in the sun a bit already, not like they just got to North Africa. If I feel really daring, I'll try to do something about their eyes and mouths, even though I can still remember how awful my last attempt was. Detailing the uniform shouldn't be too difficult and I'm not going for anything too daring, anyway.

Paint coat after the first phase

I also tried to freehand some Balkenkreuzen to the sides of the vehicle. The small ones I painted on the sides, rear and front I approve of, but that monstrosity on the nose that shows mostly in the air... that's just awful. That'll need to be fixed. Quickly. Small logos are easy to paint freehand, without fooling around with masking tape or anything, but that one just went wrong. *sigh*

You can't always win, but you can always lose.

18.5.11

Last building steps are approachething!

Yes, I made that last word up myself. How did you guess? :P

Fooling around with the wheels took a lot of time in the end, especially as I wanted to get some sort of a rubber rim -like effect painted on the edges of the wheels. All the pieces went in pretty nicely without a horrible amount of swearing. For a change... Too often they've ended up being in stupid angles or just plain horrible, but this time things went better before the big test: floppy single piece tracks (can't remember the correct name for them, for I'm used to calling them licquorice tracks myself). I twisted, bent and mangled the other end piece through a small hole in the other end. Pressed the ends a bit, glued and left drying overnight.
It ended up looking fine even though I was pretty worried about it in advance.


During the next day I drybrushed some brown color in the recesses and after a breather I drybrushed some metallic on all the highlightable surfaces. When I had decided that it was the time, I took a deep breath and took the bull by the horns. First I pressed the drive sprocket into the track piece, that went surprisingly well. It fit and all that. How unusual.
Next I applied some glue to the axle shaft of the drive sprocket and pressed it into its place while hooking the other loop of the track around the last drive wheel. All this happened quickly, effortlessly and nicely. After a short glue-setting break I repeated this on the other side, too. With equally good results.

I'm speechless.



Why complain when the usually hopelessly difficult piece works as it should - for a change?

As my following step I constructed the fenders with all the junk and knick-knack according to the instructions. Nothing strange or adventurous happened:

I put the fenders lying on one of the sprues so I'd find the best place to hold them. Then I anchored them with a short piece of tape on the other side and quickly airbrushed the top and side areas with Dunkelgelb. After a while I grabbed a corner of the sprue and painted the bottom sides as well. Of course I'll need to touch up later on the couple of patches that were blocked by the tape or shadowed by the sprue, but as that's on the bottom side, they'll be easy to just brush. Before they're glued to the hull, that is. Oh, and I guess I could try to weather them a bit with those pigments. Just in case.

Next time, in addition to the aforementioned part, I'll glue the pieces together and spray some lightened Dunkelgelb straight from the top to emulate sun's light somehow. Just like I planned the last time.
Of course a couple of Wehrmaht's Balkenkreuzen need to be painted on, the tools are to be painted and weathering needs to be done but otherwise it's almost done already.

Those small dudes are going to cause a couple of "errr.. eh?" moments, that I guarantee...

10.5.11

Painting and testing a new effect

Since the last post I've been cleaning up the wheel pieces, painting random parts and all that. For a change I thought I'll do the priming a bit more smartly than what I've usually done. In many past projects I've just primed most of the pieces while they're still attached to their sprues, just because I've been lazy like that. After that I've just cut them off and fixed the missing patches. It's pretty quick, spraying over the whole sprue from both sides and letting it dry on its side for a while. That way they get to dry nicely, too.

This time I thought I'll do something more proper than that or another of my old methods: putting those pieces on a strip of tape and painting that way. The problem with that method is that if the tape is too strong, it screws the pieces up or if there's a bit too much paint, it leaves a stupid looking mark. A "hem" or another type of a bumpy surface which isn't nice at all.

So I cut short pieces of a metal wire and stuck them into the remaining half of the hex-base I did for my X-Wing. On the end of each of the eye-pokers I attached a ball of blu-tak (Mistake! That thing was way too old and didn't behave as that crap usually does). After the first set of pieces nothing got stuck anymore so I kept using my rig. I could've done better but maybe this is one of the mistakes I'm supposed to learn from. Oh well, I attached the pieces-to-be-painted on the thing and sprayed around.

Before the first layer

 
The top sides are now handily primed

The first set of pieces went while wondering how this could work nicely but the rest were just a breeze. That spray primer is really handy because after five minutes of drying you can replace the pieces and handle them. I got all the pieces I was working on painted in a bit over half an hour and most of the extra time went because I got stuck at the computer. I found something for my next BattleTech-related project...

After that, somewhat unsurprisingly, I went to paint all those pieces with Dunkelgelb. For some really strange reason my Vlad Tepes -inspired rig didn't work at this point anymore. All the sticks were loose and wobbled annoyingly, unable to withstand the air pressure from the airbrush. That caused some worse than mild swearing. As a fallback method I just stuck the pieces in pairs on strips of tape and went painting.
My idea worked nicely and was handy, but I have to improve my implementation a bit to make it more stable. Next time it'll be useful for a bit more than just the first round.


The hull halves, doors and the rest of the items got their first paint coat in a couple of rounds. Nothing dramatic to share, my propellant bottle just got too cold while painting and no paint came out of the airbrush after that so I had to postpone the painting for the next day. Maybe I just don't know how to work with these things. In any case, I'll seriously consider going for a compressor because airbrushing is pretty fun and works nicely as far as I can tell. Of course there are many things I don't have the skills for (what a surprise) so I'd still be using my paintbrushes quite a bit in the foreseeable future.
At some point I would be more than interested in trying how that device works while painting some 3rd Falcon Talon Cluster's Omnimechs, AeroSpace Fighters and Elementals 8) Painting a freehand green-gray camo shouldn't be anything too odd or difficult. All the jade green highlights and such would obviously be painted by hand, as I believe that's a lot faster than first masking 95% of the miniature just to get to paint a couple of small patches of its surface.




There is some yellow but the lighting conditions sucked

The main source of excitement on Monday evening was my silly idea of trying out the colour modulation. After the whole hull was painted with one flat colour, it's a simple thing to mix a bit of a darker colour to the same paint (in this case I added a couple of droplets of Vallejo Model Air's Grey Black in the same line's Dark Yellow paint) and sprayed that slightly darker paint on the lower parts of the lower hull to emphasize the "this is shadowed" effect. Should this thing work, I'll just mix a bit of white in the Dunkelgelb and then spray some of that mixture from Zenith on the model to create a sort of a "the sun is shining" effect. We'll see how that goes a bit later, but here's some work in progress material:


That's how I left the lower hull in the evening. The end result will be seen when it's complete.


The rest of the wheels and other things I've needed so far are drying here, waiting for the next step:


Next I shall connect the hull pieces together. I have to be cautious with those assault doors in the rear, though. After that I'll weather and pigmentify the lower hull a bit and only after that I'll assemble the wheels and the track. When that's done, it'll be painted, weathered and then I shall go for the rest of the pieces for the outer hull.
The reason why I'm going to do it like this because otherwise the tracks+wheels will be a pain in the arsch to fix, paint and weather nicely, I don't know why the instructions usually tell to do these things in a more difficult way. At least I think that's a more difficult way and many people I've read/heard about do the tracks last. I assume it'll be better this way.

2.5.11

Halftrackingly ahead

Fooled you! Not all my time has gone to portalification. Not all of it at least. Every once in a while I've tinkered a bit with the Hanomag and of course I realized yesterday that I had been a bit overexcited with spraying Dunkelgelb on the outside of the bottom hull part.. I mean, priming wouldn't hurt of what do you think?

Firstly I attacked the interior as the instructions suggest. In the first photo I've already attached the benches and the driver's station to the baseplate. I had painted the driver's foot area because at this point it would've been a bit too difficult. Not to mention how difficult it'd been after attaching the seats.


The net wasn't too useful while searching for authentic interior, I found a bunch of other scale models, though. So I decided that brown things are just fine for my crew's plastic buttocks. Tamiya's flat brown was applied first and when that had dried I used a sponge to add some slight highlights here and there but because those two colours have such a low difference in contrast, it doesn't show that clearly even in the pictures.


After the paintjob had dried enough I decided to have a go with the man-makeup also known as Tamiya weathering pigments that I bought recently.

It looks like a small box of makeup with the applier and all that.


The end result is a bit messy, doesn't look as libyandesert-y as I had imagined. But this was my first attempt. I can always clean up the worst mess(es) a bit but maybe the next time I remember this always useful motto: "less is more".
Oh well, this just looks like a bunch of screaming preschoolers had jumped on the benches after being soaked in the rain - not like it was used a group of elite desert warriors as a transport to battle. Blah.


In addition to making a huge mess I cut off and cleaned the front wheels, drive sprockets and the road wheels. For some reason this thing doesn't have idler wheels after the road wheels. Maybe I'll get the rest of them cleaned in a couple of afternoons - this vehicle looks like it has a Tiger-like setup with the wheels: in the middle of you have the double roadwheels and between them an inside and an outside wheel.
I have a good idea (in my opinion at least) how to get them painted nicely this time. Let's just see if I manage to implement my idea in the real world. Usually I don't.
Today I continued my build by assembling that thingy in the front with the suspension and whatnot. The normal wheels shall be boringly pointing straight ahead, I don't think that these pieces are loose enough to allow changing the angle to anything else but 0º. Not that it matters, I hadn't intended to build a diorama with this thing.

To the bottom rear side of the vehicle I added a couple of these weird things, the hook-connector and a couple of whatevertheyare. Guess there's an explanation for them :P


Next in my agenda: cutting, cleaning and painting the rest of the wheels and also priming the outside of the bottom hull, then painting all that Dunkelgelb. While I'm doing that I guess I should build the rear doors and the MG-stands too. After that there's not much left in the instructions, I guess.
Despite that this'll take a bunch of weeks, even if it looks almost done already.

I've learned.


A bit.





Maybe.