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.

Friday, June 10, 2016

WIP: Poe Dameron's X-wing (Black One), Part 2

© Lucasfilm Ltd
After completing all of the "black" for the body of the ship, it was time to move on to the distinct orange and grey markings. Even though the pattern of the markings is fairly simple, it still ended up being a rather complex masking job!
A lot of the pattern follows panel lines, which is always welcome because it tends to make the job a little easier, especially with how crisp the panel lines are on these Bandai models. As to be expected, the hash marks on the rear wings were the most difficult task. In my first attempt, I placed 2mm wide strips of tape on the wing and tried to cut along the panel line. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly easy. Feeling frustrated, I came up with the idea of using the decal sheet as a template. I placed the strips of tape between the decal markings and used a straight edge to cut the tape at the appropriate angle. This ended up working much better!

After the masking was complete, I sponged some liquid mask on and gave all of the soon-to-be orange panels a splotchy undercoat of Tamiya Flat White (XF-2) to make painting the orange easier and to give it a varied look. I mixed an orange using Vallejo Model Air Orange (71083), VMA White (71001) and VMA Yellow mixed 4:4:1 with just a touch of VMA Hull Red (71039) added to it (this is the same orange I used on BB-8). After a couple layers of that were on and dried, I sponged large sections of the panels with liquid mask and applied a darker orange on top. The darker orange similar to the previous mix except with a little less white and a full drop of VMA Hull Red. I also painted the handful of grey panels using VMA US Grey (71047) and Light Grey (71050) mixed 2:1.
I removed the masking tape and wiped the liquid mask away with a gloved finger (I've found that it comes off the surface of the model better using a latex glove). I decided that the interior "engine bays" needed a little variation so I painstakingly masked them all off and gave them a coat of, quite fittingly, VMA Engine Gray (71048). They'll eventually get a wash and a drybrush of metallic pigment to give them a worn look. I also went around the fuselage and painted a couple of different panels in various shades of grey just to give the surface a little more variety.
The bottom wing has been painted.
With all of the panels complete, the model will get a coat of Future before giving it a black panel line wash and applying a few small decals.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

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

© Lucasfilm Ltd
The second part of my Red 5 commission is painting Bandai's T-70 in Poe Dameron's Black One livery. I was both looking forward to this and kind of dreading it at the same time. Black is a notoriously difficult color to paint convincingly. Most painters, especially inexperienced ones, tend to pick a black paint off the shelf, slap it on the model, highlight with some grey, and call it done. While it's possible to get away with this on simple paint jobs for things like gaming miniatures, on something like a scale model designed for display, this simply isn't enough.

There are two main issues that make it difficult to pull off a convincing black scale model. The first is that most real world objects that appear to be black aren't actually black. This is especially true in anything that has been exposed to the elements for a considerable amount of time, especially sunlight and heat. A great example of what sunlight and heat can do to a vehicle can be found in pictures of NASA's Space Shuttles:
Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105)
The other issue in painting a convincing black scale model is dealing with what is known as the "color scale effect." What that means is that, typically, the smaller the scale of the subject, the lighter the paint needs to be to maintain realism. It is supposed to simulate viewing the real world version of the subject from a certain distance (e.g., looking at a 1/72 scale X-wing from 2' away is the same as looking at a full scale X-wing 144' away). Most modellers don't really worry about this (myself included), but it can be something to think about with certain paint schemes... such as black!

By putting all of this together, we can start to figure out how best to paint Poe's X-wing without it looking garish or out of scale. After priming the entire model with Alclad grey primer, I gave everything a coat of Tamiya German Grey (XF-63) with a couple of drops of Flat Blue (XF-8) added to it. A thin, splotchy coat of NATO Black, which despite it's name is actually a very dark grey, was added on top of the German Grey base color. These two colors make the "undercoat" of the model and is what will be showing under the paint chipping. I used a torn piece of foam to apply Vallejo Liquid Mask along the leading edges and anywhere paint chipping would accumulate. Once that was dry, I gave the entire model a light coat of Flat Black (XF-1) mixed 2:1 with German Grey, which served as the final "black" paint.
In addition to painting the fuselage and S-foils, I masked the canopy and gave it coat of Alclad Aluminum, sponged some liquid mask on it, and then a little bit of Alcald Dull Aluminum to give it a worn look.
I also painted the interior of the cockpit using various Vallejo greys, drybrushed it with some Tamiya metallic pigments, and then picked out some details. I also painted Poe using a mix of red and orange Vallejo paints for his flight suit and then free-handed his helmet.
In the next update I'll be covering painting his X-wing's orange markings and my plans to further weather the ship to make it a little monotone.