Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sprue Cutters Union. Top three tools

OK this is my second blog post for the sprue cutters union. The task was to talk about the top three most significant things that have impacted my modeling. That's an easy one, I thought to myself, until I sat down to write this. Damn I thought to myself, I've thought of at least half a dozen things in the space of one minute; so how do I decide what my top three things are? Well I've come to the conclusion that I will never be able to decide on a technique as I have picked up too many hints and tips over the years. As far as advice or guidance, again I could talk about the hobby for hours, don't believe me? Just ask my Wife! So I am left with resources and tools. Hmmm I thought to myself, the best resource is the Internet, blogs, forums, twitter, etc so I may as well talk about tools then. So here it is, my top three tools:

Paint Brush stand and Stirrer

As far as I am concerned my little stirrer and brush stand are some of the most valuable tools that I own, The stirrer was a present from my wife about ten years ago. We were visiting a small local model show, when my wife who had been browsing a sale stand rushed up to me and said that she had bought me a tool. I could see the excitement in her expression and immediately became excited as well. that is until she produced this little piece of metal !! Oh that's great love, what is it? I said apprehensively. It's a stirrer for your little paint pots, I got it for you because you are always complaining about the paint separating, don't you like it? she asked through a hurt expression. Of course I do darling its wonderful I said while trying to show as much excitement as possible.
Well I have owned this little tool for over ten years now and can honestly say that I have used it every time I pick up a paint brush. It is a fantastically simplistic little tool that I would be lost without. The paint brush stand is another cheap little gizzit that was bought for me, this time by my late grandmother who spotted this for sale in a local supermarket as a special offer. My grandmother knew that I did something with paintbrushes and thought that I may find it useful. Again I was sceptical at first, but many years on, this little bit of equipment can be seen in permanent residence on my model table. If you look at the progress photos on my blog page, you will probably see this little stand somewhere in the background.


I cannot stress enough how important storage space is for this hobby and I felt that it deserves a special mention from me in terms of a valuable resource. One of the biggest "tools" in my storage arsenal is the plastic storage tub, which in my case was purchased in large quantities from Ikea. These are supplied in a three pack, cost a few pounds and can fit most un-assembled kits and fit a 120mm figure beautifully. The image that I have included is my stock of 120mm figures that I have not yet started or have taken a break from. because of their hard and durable construction, I can safely store my models until I get the chance to complete/start them. I also have another two large shelves full of these tubs for my 1/35 scale projects.

Model Oven

This is my crowning glory in my collection of tools. I think that this speaks volumes to my attitude towards the hobby. While there are fantastic products out there, the prices demanded for some of the tools and materials is bordering on criminal in some instances. For that reason, I always look around to see if I can make a specific tool for a considerable amount less than what I would have to pay for it. To date I have not seen one of these ovens for sale, so I was forced to make one anyway. My oven started life as a plywood transport box that was being thrown out in my place of work. I took the box apart and reconstructed it to a smaller size to suit my needs. Once constructed, I painted it in black (I had an old tin of gloss handy). To carry on with my re-tasking ethos (I don't like to say recycle), I sourced an old computer case and proceeded to take out the power socket from the back of the case, the power lead, the rubber feet, and the silver fan cover from the case.
The rubber feet were fitted to the bottom of the oven, the side of the oven was drilled and the female power socket was fitted. I then drilled a hole in the top of the oven to provide a heat release hole to prevent the temperature reaching too high a level and the silver fan cover was fitted over the hole.  The next stage for me was to pop down to my local supermarket to buy some good quality aluminium baking foil and then onto my local hardware store to buy a surface mount light fitting, some spray adhesive and four very small angle brackets. The internal parts of the oven were sprayed with adhesive and the foil was fitted to ensure that the entire inside was covered. The light fitting was fixed to the bottom of the box and wired to the female connector that I had fitted earlier. A small 10 watt Pygmy light bulb was fitted. The final stages of the build was to fit the small brackets to hold a shelf which is essentially a pre-drilled piece of metal grill that was again rescued from a skip. Voila a model oven was born. I use this with almost every model that I have. Its fantastic to speed up the curing process of paints, adhesives, etc. Its also really good as a drying cabinet with the light off as well. Trust me on this, if you do make one you will wonder how you did without one.  

Friday, 26 July 2013

1/8 Patton Bust

This is the last of my 1/8 Birthday busts. This one depicts George S Patton in his stereotypical GI helmet instead of the normal soft had worn by generals of the day. The bust is finished in enamels and oils as the other have been.

1/8 Eisenhower Bust

This is the second of my 1/8 Verlinden busts that were prt of a birthday present from my mother. Again the quality is superb and the whole thing was painted in enamels and oils.

1/8 bust Churchil

This was part of a birthday present from my dear old mum. She bought me three 1/8 Verlinden busts a few years back now and this is the first blog post of them with the other two to follow shortly.

The bust itself depicts Winston Churchill wearing his RAF uniform and smoking his cigar. The quality of the bust is superb as one would expect from Verlinden. Painting has been done with Humbrol enamels and oils.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Battlestar Galactica Viper MK II

This is my Battle star Galactica Viper MK II manufactured by Monogram/Revel. This is one model that I actually sought out to buy which is unusual for me as the majority of my collection is impulse buys. The kit itself is reasonably priced and after many hours of research (watching the entire series on DVD again!) I can comfortably say that this kit is a very good representation of the "real thing". I did add some modifications to the kit as I progressed through the build, but these were more for aesthetic reasons rather than ensuring 100% accuracy to the shows vipers as they seem to change in design slightly as the seasons went on. In terms of additions I have added ejection handles to the seat in the cockpit, drilled out the vectoring thrusters that are positioned around the airframe as the kit versions are decals. I have drilled the front cannon barrels, added some pipes to either engine and at the rear of the airframe beneath the engines I added a panel and some pipes to what is a very plain area.

The build of the kit itself is simplistic and one can imagine the amount of additional detail that can be added if you wish. I have seen some wonderful examples on the Internet that have lit cockpits etc, Indeed there are lighting kits and etch sets available on the Internet if one was that way inclined. I would point out that before you build this ship, ensure that you have a bottle of micro sol or a similar decal softener as you will never get the decals to wrap around this kit without them. In terms of paint used, I have primered the entire aircraft in grey acrylic car primer, sprayed the ship in Tamiya white and other colours are from the Humbrol range. for the weathering I have used Humbrol white over the top of the red deals to depict paint chipping and wear. for the remaining weathering I have used an artists graphite only pencil (a large stick of graphite without the wood around it). As you can probably notice from the photos, the ship is not 100% weathered yet and I tend to revisit this every few weeks to progress the weathering as it is a tedious job.

For the base I simply cut two pieces of foam board in identical sizes and shapes. the corners have been cut to depict the trademark shape of the paper used in the series. A third piece of foam board was cut to go between the other two pieces. A simple case of gluing them all together gave what I think a good representation of a "Battle star" loading lift. The whole platform was sprayed in grey primer, coated with Humbrol Matt Varnish and then diluted lamp black oil was liberally spread across the surface to provide some age and wear.

To leave no doubt in the observers mind of what they are looking at, I used the decals that are provided for the kit stand to denote the viper model and what battle star it is based on. As a final step I added the Galactica emblem that is also provided by Revel.

As I have already said this is very much a work in progress, however this model is at the stage where I would consider it as being 95% complete. I hope that you like my interpretation of such an iconic TV show ship.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

1/35 MAK Mono Bike Race

This is a double purchase from my favorite source of models; Ebay, specifically one of the many sellers from Hong Kong. The model was advertised as an MAK 1/35 Mono bike at a very reasonable £5. At that price I thought I may as well buy two! When they arrived a few weeks later (international delivery). I was pleasantly surprised to find that that the main body of the bike was very well cast in good quality resin as was the figure provided and addition small parts. The clean up of the bike and rider is minimum and with very little parts to glue, the whole operation of assembly took about half an hour per bike.

All of the photo's that I found on the net of this model show it painted in a military green and in some form of military action pose. However, being as I had two of them and could not think of any other scenario other than them racing each other, I decided to depict them as being part of a cross country race that we could see in the future (it is a science fiction model after all!). The paint schemes for both of the bikes were kept simple but bright and each bike colour I think compliments the other. In terms of decals, I again kept things simple by placing the number 2 above the wheel of one bike and the number 5 above the wheel of the other, hopefully giving the impression to the observer that they are looking at a snap shot of a much large race.

To give the impression of high speed to the little dio, I placed them speeding through a marshland area with standing water which had been kicked up by the speed of the bikes. To achieve this water effect I cut some pieces of thin clear plastic to the shape that I wanted and glued them to the base using PVA. For the rest of the water I then mixed a very small amount of acrylic brown paint to some more PVA glue and coated the areas including the water sprays with the PVA/Paint mixture and allowed them to dry overnight. Happy with the result I then applied more PVA over the top of the existing "muddy" water to give a little depth. I hope that you enjoy the pictures.

Dust Tactics Assault Walker Conversion

This is another one of my impulse buys from the internet. I had seen a few photos of this model on various forums, but didn't realise that it was a war game piece from the Dust Tactics range. I am not a war gamer but the figures and machines always fascinate me. Anyway a quick look around the web and I found this advertised for sale on Amazon. A few clicks later and it was on its way to me. When it arrived, I was amazed to see that it is supplied as assembled and painted on its own base as the first picture shows. A little let down as I was keen to build something like this, I sat in my garden, lit a cigarette and began to formulate a plan to alter it in some way so that I could glean some enjoyment from this little model.

Aha, I thought to myself, I have just finished building an LRDG Chevy truck and SAS jeep, I wonder if this would look good as a desert assault walker. A plan in mind, I set about striping as much as I could from the model including the figure and base. I then painted the majority of the panels in a desert yellow colour and the machinery sections in matt black. I also didn't like the size on the figure (probably because I usually work in 1/35), so I removed the existing small seat and replaced it with a motorbike seat from the spares box along with a figure from my spares box that I highly modified to fit onto the machine. The head is a hornet resin head with an added eye patch because I thought that it would make the driver look cool ! I also added a few other bits and pieces such as a ruck sack to the front of the machine and some bed rolls, weapon and helmet to the rear. I added some simple decals in the form a number four and some small decals for the top of the weapon.

For the base, I added a simple sand base and nothing else, the whole machine was weathered to reflect constant use in the desert and a liberal amount of oil and paint chips added. I am really happy with the result and I personally think that it looks a million times better than the supplied model. I would love to hear your thoughts on my interpretation of the Dust Tactics Assault Walker.

Hobby Boss RSOV

This is a Hobby Boss RSOV Land Rover that is used by the American military. The kit is very well made however in my opinion it does lack additional kit and stowage that I would have liked to have seen included with the kit. The figures are from trumpeter and the external stowage, bags and packs were raided from my spares box. The alterations made to this kit were the front grill which I scratch built from styrene sheet and some airwaves etch metal grill. I also altered the 50 cal machine gun mount to better reflect what can be seen on the real thing. The mount was made again from styrene sheet and Milliput. The seats were changed from the ones supplied with the kit to some scratch built ones that represent what is on the real vehicle. Again these were made from styrene sheet and Milliput. I have also added a tow rope to the front winch of the vehicle which is simply some very thin gauge copper wire. Paints used are Humbrol enamels and oils for weathering.

The scene depicted came about from a decision to show the engine bay. I had put so much time into detailing what is a very good representation of the engine, that I thought it would be a shame to cover this with the bonnet. I didn't want to just have the bonnet open as lets face it, how many times do you stop your vehicle and put the bonnet up for no real reason! I altered one of the trumpeter figures who originally held a machine gun, to hold a water container taken from the side of the vehicle and sole a little stuffing from one of my daughters many toy bears to depict the steaming radiator. The scene now firmly set in my mind, I set a bout creating a very simple scene of an RSOV suffering from overheating, with one of the crew fetching some water for the radiator, another telling him what to do, the commander speaking on the radio to tell someone of their unfortunate problem while the 50 cal operator keeps a watchful eye out for trouble.