Friday, December 23, 2016

The End of 2016; A Retrospective

With 2016 rapidly coming to an end, I figured it would be nice to take a look back at my year of model-making in my first ever end-of-year retrospective.

General Thoughts

All in all, my modeling output was down this year compared to the last. I completed eleven models this year compared to my over twenty models last year. (To be fair, most of the models I completed in 2015 were smaller wargaming models.) What I lacked in numbers, I made up for in size and complexity, including the absolutely massive Super Star Destroyer in completed! I feel that I really grew as a modeler this year and I've expanded my range of techniques to some things I've never tried before.

The Models

Looking Forward

If it wasn't already obvious, 2016 was dominated by Bandai Star Wars models, but this barely cracks the surface of my Bandai stash:
This is only a small part of it, too!
In 2017, I'd like to start working my way through these models. Specifically, I'd like to tackle Bandai's 1/144 scale Millennium Falcon and Slave I; they both would look great on display next to one another. I'd also like to finish Kylo Ren and paint the Darth Vader I put together over two years ago (!) because they too would look great on display together. That being said, I think my first personal project of the New Year is going to be my Skyhook Models Planet Express Ship that I bought over two years ago. It's been sitting in my stash for some time and since Futurama is one of my favorite shows, I'd really like to get some paint on it. Another item high on my list, albeit one that is quite a departure from my comfort zone, is the awesome full-size Tom Servo puppet kit I acquired over the summer. I have no idea where I'm actually going put this handsome fellow, but I'll figure something out. I also have a couple of commissions to finish up next month, including some Star Wars Armada ships, a Mansions of Madness miniatures set, and a Bandai A-wing. Once those are done, I probably won't take any more commissions for a while so I can begin to chip away at my mountain of model kits.

As I will be out of the country all next week, this will most likely be my last post of the year, so I would like to extend my warmest wishes to everyone. Wherever you are, have a  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

WIP: Bandai TIE Interceptor (181st Imperial Fighter Wing), Part 2

The model is done for the most part, but I might add a couple more touches of weathering before I consider it complete. The base is painted and awaiting a pin wash, after which I'll add a little bit of weathering to it. This has been a nice, quick build to lead me into my Christmas vacation next week and I can't wait to complete more models next year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

WIP: Bandai TIE Interceptor (181st Imperial Fighter Wing)

I had a little bit of spare time so I decided to throw together this Bandai 1/72 TIE Interceptor. Being a fan of the X-Wing Miniatures tabletop game, I decided to paint it as a member of the 181st Imperial Fighter Wing, specifically Soontir Fel's fighter. In the tabletop game, Fel has a reputation of being one of the best pilots the Empire can field and this is based on his storied history of fighting the Rebel Alliance (and later the New Republic) in the various Rogue Squadron novels.
The model was primed black and then given a coat of Alclad Aluminium (ALC-101). I sponged some Vallejo Liquid Mask on areas where chipping would most likely appear (hatches, leading edges, etc.) and then applied some light preshading with Tamiya Rubber Black (XF-85). I mixed a nice blue-grey Tamiya Neutral Grey (XF-53), Flat White (XF-2), and Medium Blue (XF-18) at about 70% Neutral Grey to 30% Flat White with a couple of drops of Medium Blue added. (Truth be told, I probably couldn't recreate this color if I tried!) The panels on the wings were primed black and painted with a 5:1 mix of Vallejo Game Air Black (72.751) and Vallejo Model Air Arctic Blue (71.071), which is a metallic blue to give the panels a bit of a bluish tint and a nice iridescent shimmer. The telltale marking of the 181st, the "bloodstripe," was masked off with Tamiya tape and painted with Tamiya Flat Red (XF-7) with some liquid mask applied with a piece of torn foam for the chipping. Various panels and greeblies on the ship were painted with a dark grey I mixed using Tamiya Neutral Grey and Rubber Black.

All that is left to do is an enamel pin wash to bring out the details and a little more weathering, using mainly oils and enamels.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Showcase: Bandai "Vehicle Model" Y-wing (1/144 scale)

Bandai "Vehicle Model" Y-wing (1/144 scale); completed in Tamiya & Vallejo acrylics, Mr Color lacquers, and Mig Productions enamels.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

WIP: Bandai "Vehicle Model" Y-wing (Gold 2)

I needed to cleanse my modeling palete so I used this afternoon to put this Bandai "Vehicle Model" (1/144 scale) together while my hometown Washington Redskins beat the Philadelphia Eagles. It's was a fun little project and the detail on is incredible! I painted it as Dex Tiree's Gold 2 who was famously shot down by Darth Vader during the Battle of Yavin. I still need to add some washes and weathering before I call it done, but I'm really enjoying working on this neat little model!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Showcase: R2-D2 & BB-8

Bandai 1/12 scale R2-D2 and BB-8; completed in Tamiya and Vallejo acrylics, Alclad lacquers, and Mig Production enamels. More photos after the break.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

WIP: Bandai 1/12 BB-8

This model will to the same client as the R2-D2 I've been working on. The base is thick pieces of plasticard cut into "plates" and painted to resemble the floor of the Millennium Falcon. I added the red area under the photo etch grating for a little splash of color.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

WIP: Star Wars Armada Fleet

After the completion of the the Super Star Destroyer commission, the client asked me to paint the rest of his fleet to match. The fleet consists of two Gozanti-class cruisers, one Gladiator-class Star Destroyer, one Interdictor-class Star Destroyer, one Victory-class Star Destroyer, and one Imperial-class Star Destroyer.

Given their smaller size, I decided against using the Tamiya aerosol cans I used in the SSD build and instead went with standard Tamiya paint. Luckily for me, I chose relatively easily matched sprays when painting the SSD; Gunship Grey (TS-48) and Haze Grey (TS-32).
Tamiya Dark Grey (XF-24) is a pretty close match to the Gunship Grey so I decided to use that as the color for the dark panels on the ships. I applied it over a black primer coat on the models, leaving some of the black showing through in recesses for shading.
After the Dark Grey dried, I spent a fair amount of time applying tiny pieces of Tamiya masking tape randomly across the surface to give the ship an Aztecing effect. Of course, this isn't true Aztecing, which is a repeatable pattern, but the effect is similar; making the surface appear to be made of of lots of individual panels.
After the grueling task of applying the tape was done, I gave the model a coat of haze grey made by mixing Tamiya RAF Ocean Gray 2 (XF-82) and Mr Color Flat White (62) mixed at a 1:1 ratio. I removed the tape and then gave the model another couple of coats with the haze grey heavily thinned to tone down the dark panels and make everything blend in a little better.

After I do this on the other ships, I'll move on to painting some of the raised details in a lighter grey and applying various washes to bring out some depth in the model.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

WIP: Bandai 1/12 R2-D2

The same client that commissioned Luke's X-wing and Poe's X-wing has also commissioned me to build R2-D2, BB-8, and an A-wing. I was particularly excited for this because I absolutely adore Bandai's 1/12 scale droid kits! Considering I was fresh off my build of R2-KT for my personal collection, I started with the lovable Artoo. I decided to go with a complete paintjob on this model, as opposed to KT, where I left the white parts unpainted. For the blue bits, I used Mr Color Blue (5) lightened with a little Flat White (62). The white was done with my custom mix "X-wing white" that I have laying around from all of those X-wings I've done. The dome and other metallic bits were done with Alclad Aluminum and the cables on the feet were painted with Alclad Copper.
"I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty!"
After I painted and assembled the droid, I went to work on painting all of the included gadgets. There were done primarily with various Alclad and Vallejo Model Air metallics and then given enamel washes.
With the handful of small decals applied to the dome and the lights painted, I moved on to the first pass of weathering using Mig Productions Neutral wash. This was used for the panel lines and crevices and more earth toned enamels will be added for further weathering.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Video Showcase & Build Review: Sith Planet Super Star Destroyer

Because the model was so large and impossible to photograph with normal setup, I decided to make a short video tour of the model sitting on my kitchen table shortly before I delivered to my client. I think it was able to capture the scale of this beast quite well and the background music definitely helps!
The rest of the fleet will match the SSD!
Here she is with the rest of the fleet! I still have a few more pictures on my camera's memory stick that I need to import and process, but this picture was too cool not to share immediately. When I get a chance to upload some more pictures, I will update this post. In the meantime, follow me after the break for a quick build review with more WIP shots!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sith Planet Super Star Destroyer, Part 1

I've started work on this huge Sith Planet Super Star Destroyer that will be used for games of Star Wars Armada at this year's NOVA Open gaming convention. This is a resin garage kit and it's pretty awesome, but there was significant prep work involved in assembling this behemoth. The worst part was the leading edge trim on the top hull piece; lots of areas were paper thin or just broken off. To fix them, I wound up running .015x.25" strip styrene around all of the leading edges and then filled the voids with Milliput so they could be sanded smooth. There are tons of little air bubbles that I may or may not go out of my way to fill, but I'll be filling the particularly bad ones. I will also be building a base made of out MDF so firing arcs can be drawn on it for use in the game.
This thing is massive!
Front view
First coat of primer on the ventral side

Friday, July 8, 2016

Studio Update: Dog Days of Summer

Summer in Northern Virginia is finally in full swing! We have temperatures in the 90's and a health dose of humidity to boot. I have a couple of commission projects to finish and then I can start dedicating myself to building some of the many, many models in my personal stash.

The NoVA IPMS monthly meeting for July was held on the 6th and I brought along three models to show off and enter into the contest. I brought R2-KT, Luke's X-wing, and Poe's X-wing. KT managed to snag second place in the "Figures" category and Luke's X-wing took home "Best of Show," making it the second model I've entered to do so!
I think she was worthy of better than second!
Luke was popular at the meeting!
Working on R2-KT was a blast through and through. For one, the subject matter is extremely touching and a stellar example of the positives that come from fandom. All too often we see stories that portray our various fandom cultures in a negative light so to work on something that unifies us nerds is a welcome change of pace. The other benefit was experimenting with enamels, which I have always been a little apprehensive about. After finding that I seem to have a firm grasp on using enamels for weathering effects, I used some AK Interactive Streaking Grime to add some more weathering to the wonderful little BB-8 model I completed earlier this year. The filming prop has a lot of weathering along the orange panels on his "body" and I wasn't exactly sure how to go about recreating that on the model. After talking to another modeler and working on R2-KT, I found that stippling on enamel washes and then feathering them out is the best way to go about it. I'm pretty please with how it turned out and when I have time I'll take some updated pictures of the little guy.
On the commission front, I have two projects in my queue that I need to finish. One is a gigantic resin Super Star Destroyer for a friend of mine that will be used in Star Wars Armada games. I'm currently assembling the behemoth and will hope to get some paint on her in the next couple of weeks. I have another in progress commission for a friend of mine that has to be kept secret because it's gift. It's been challenging so far and I'm having to learn a lot as I go along (it's a subject and scale I'm not very familiar with) but I'm confident that the final product will be among my best work!
I'm really looking forward to having these last commission completed so I can put all of my time and focus into completing personal projects. I have decided to scale back the amount of commission work I do because my schedule just isn't supporting it. I enjoy commission work for the challenge and because it essentially pays for my modeling hobby, but I would like to build and display things for myself for a change! My model backlog is enormous and seems to be growing every month. Among other things, I have a stack of probably twenty Bandai Star Wars models alone that I would really like to get cracking on. However, at the top of my to-do list is Hasegawa's 1/48 scale Voyager space probe. Space exploration has always fascinated me (and it's a big part of why I love science fiction) and I've wanted to build this model for a number of years. I added it to my collection a year ago and I recently acquired the fantastic Eduard photo etch set for it so I look forward to adding it my display cabinet in the months to come.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Showcase: Poe Dameron's Black One (Bandai 1/72)

Poe Dameron's Black One T-70 X-wing, completed in Tamiya, Vallejo, and Secret Weapon Miniatures acrylics; Alclad lacquers; 502 Abteilung oils; and Tamiya weathering pastels. Custom wooden base.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Showcase: R2-KT (Bandai 1/12)

Bandai R2-KT, completed in Tamiya acrylics; Alclad lacquers; Mig & AK Interactive enamels; and Secret Weapon Miniatures pigments.

WIP: R2-KT (Bandai 1/12), Part 2

I got a majority of the work complete on R2-KT this morning. For the first time ever, I have decided to leave the white parts unpainted and will instead apply washes and weathering directly over the bare plastic. The only parts that were painted were the aluminum, pink, and the cooper hoses on the feet. The weathering will be at a minimum; just some panel line washes and a little bit of light chipping on the metallic parts.

Monday, July 4, 2016

WIP: R2-KT (Bandai 1/12)

I had some downtime so I began working on R2-KT. The story behind this cute little droid is touching and I hope that my work will pay it tribute! The pink is done with Tamiya Pink (X-17) with a drop of Flat Base (X-21) added since it is a gloss paint. While the rest of the panels can be painted and added after the fact, this piece has to be put in place before putting the two halves of the dome together, which is necessary to remove the seam. The nature of this model allows me to pretty much paint each piece separately and then assemble the model.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Showcase: Luke's Red 5 (Bandai 1/72)

Bandai 1/72 scale X-wing starfighter (Luke Skywalker's Red 5). Finished in Tamiya and Vallejo acrylics; 502 Abteilung oils; and Tamiya pastels.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Showcase: Poe Dameron's X-wing (Black One)

Not a true "showcase" because the base isn't done yet, but it's getting there! I wanted to take a few glamour shots of it while I await the clear rod to arrive from overseas.

Monday, June 13, 2016

WIP: Poe Dameron's X-wing (Black One), Part 3

After the black oil wash had dried, I gave the entire model a satin topcoat using Tamiya Flat Base mixed with Future. I decided to use satin instead of my normal matte because I think it makes the "black" of the ship a little more rich. I might add a few streaking effects and some weathering powders just to add a little more variation in the weathering, but for now I'm calling the majority of the work complete.

The client and I have decided to scrap the supplied base because it's a rather bland and boring desert scene that doesn't fit well when the model is painted in Poe's Black One livery. Instead, I will make a wooden base and paint to match Poe's helmet he's sporting in the Starkiller Base attack during the climax of The Force Awakens. I've also ordered some 3mm clear acrylic rods from Hong Kong to use for the custom base because they fit perfectly in the slot on the model for the supplied base.