Friday, March 29, 2013

Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust - Episode VI

Finishing the Upholstery

I didn't think that I was going to have three episodes devoted to finishing the seat, but you can never tell with modeling sometimes. I've finished both cushions. Well, finished to the extent that the upholstery is complete, but they remain unpainted, a set that will come later.
To replicate the torn, worn, and rotted fabric look, I used some tissue paper dampened with white glue diluted with water. I never take accurate measurements, but if I were to hazard a guess, I'd say 75% water to 25% Elmer's glue. I just brushed the mixture on so it would adhere to the shape of the seats, being sure to cut away the areas that I wanted exposed. In the morning, the seat back will be dry and rigid, ready to be painted...

The actual seat cushion was given the same treatment, though the level of decay isn't as extreme...

There are tears, rips, and wrinkles but only enough to expose the padding underneath. No springs or frames visible this time. Tissue is very nice for producing a fabric look. I especially like the tiny ridges some brands have that give it a little bit more texture like you see here. Careful though, you don't want any obvious patterns, so make sure you buy a pretty plain box of Kleenex...
And that is it. Tonight, I paint!
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust - Episode V

Seat Back Redo!

So here we are again. When last I left you, I had a small debate on my hands, wondering if I shouldn't change the appearance of the seat back that I made the night before. If you recall, I thought the cushion springs might have appeared too large in scale, and to be honest, I didn't like the mesh I put behind it either. Here is the original from two nights ago...

Just doesn't quite make me happy. I don't like fudging things for the sake of a speedy finish. So last night I set about redoing the seat back to more closely match the reference photo I included in Episode IV. I began by cutting a way a larger chunk of seat on the driver's side. Seeing as how the door on that side will be open, it would make sense that the majority of the seat there would have rotted away. 
Then I took the same wire I had used for the original spring coils, but left the insulation on, and created the frame work...

This is how it appears from the back...

Then I cut some strips from a playing card and glued them to the frame as support struts. Thinner coils were made from copper wire and super glued to the struts...

Then more wire was used to tie them all together, so to speak. I'm not really sure of the mechanics of a vehicle's chair, so I went with what I interpreted, and what looks good to me...

So there you have it. A corrected chair cushion. Looks a bit raw at the moment, but I'll clean it up and paint it. I'll also add some tissue to give it a more fabric-like appearance.
Thanks for reading!

Episode IV
Episode III
Episode II
Episode I

More to Me Than Modeling (but not much)

 Your weekly dose of pop culture!

I know you all love me for my beautiful models, but I wanted you to realize that there is so much more to me than the mass of plastic and glue that I hide behind. This is another reason why I like the League of Extraordinary Bloggers - I'm not all styrene and putty, I have substance!

This week's League assignment is very broad, and wants to know When I was a kid, my favorite ______ was ______. Well, shoot, that's easy! Clearly, my favorite hobby was modeling!

Ok, assignment complete! See you next week!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust - Episode IV

Work continues!
When I last left off, I had shown you how I cut the driver's side door open so as to leave it ajar giving the viewer the ability to see the interior. After much consideration, I finally decided to chop the door off completely. No obstacles means more to see, more to see means more work, but that isn't always a bad thing. I just hope I can pull it off.
The one piece cab is proving to be about as difficult to detail as I feared, but ripping the door off gives me a bit more flexibility to work inside when every thing is assembled...

Easy enough. Now it will be sitting next to the rusty hulk in the finished scene which will add a bit more interest.
The dashboard and steering column came together pretty simply. I opened up the glove compartment, again to add some visual interest as well as to emphasize the context of this being a rather disheveled vehicle. I also added some copper wire to represent some loose wiring behind the dashboard, lending to the broken appearance...

Now for the interior. I've been using different reference photos of actual derelict vehicles for inspiration. This one is a perfect example...

As of right now, I don't expect my interior to be quite that run down, but that could change at any minute. I'm simply using it as a reference, as I believe references are important even for works like this.
I wanted to replicate the damage and rot to the seats as best I could, so I sanded some holes in the seat back...

It looks okay, but I may take more out of it depending on how I feel later on. I added some mesh to represent the wire skeleton inside the cushion, and made some springs out of coiled wire...

I may change this though, as those springs look a little too thick. A couple more things may be necessary to add as well.
That is all I've got for the moment. I'll go deliberate my next move and if I want to make any changes. Until then...happy modeling!

Episode III
Episode II
Episode I

Monday, March 25, 2013

Latest Additions to the Stash

We as modelers tend to have a bit of a problem with hording. Many of us spend a great deal of money building a stash of models that we couldn't hope to complete if we were to live for another hundred years. Dare I say, part of the thrill of the hobby is simply making that next purchase, or in this case, receiving that next gift.
Turning another year older generally increases the inventory by several kits, and this year was no different. Of course, the same can be said of Christmas, Valentines Day, Father's Day, and Cinco de Mayo. But the most recent haul has seen the addition of two classic Revell kits: the P-40B Tiger Shark and the USS Missouri.
I had built the P-40 a long time ago as I was getting back into the hobby. Its a great little kit that I'm glad I get a second go at. As for the battleship, well, I'm not much of a naval person but it will join the USS Hornet as the second ship in my stash's fleet.
I'm always excited to receive more kits and fantasize about how I will build and paint them. I won't share any of those fantasies with you, they're private...But I will now have to find some where to put them as the cabinets that so neatly tuck away my kits is full. But, if you're anything like me, than you will agree that that is a good problem to have...
Happy modeling!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust - Episode III

Well, yesterdayy i was a bit ill, stricken with a nasty cold and therefore quarantined. I missed worked, and my wife escaped to her parent's house with the children, far from me and whatever contagion by body is currently hosting. This left me with a quiet house, and no interruptions as I sat at the workbench in the middle of the day. I haven't had a daytime model session since before you were born...okay, since before my kids were born. Still, a long time either way, and I took advantage!

Prior to the afternoon's work, I finished up a few things the night before. As you know from Episode II, the engine was completed with no issues. The following night the chassis came together, along with the wheels, as you see here. The wheels are nicely detailed, including raised "Good Year" trademark along the tire walls. You see five in the picture, so the fifth wheel is obviously the spare and I will be leaving it off the final product where it will find it's place in the truck bed.
So, with that all complete, and with an afternoon's worth of time ahead of me, I returned my attention to the engine. It needed some paint...

 Well, that is all fine and dandy if this was a show room exhibit, but we both know that it isn't or else why would this project have the stupid name that it does? So, I gave it a wash, and a dry brush...

 But that isn't enough, is it? Nothing gets by you. Needs. More. Rust.
Well, let me pile it on then...

 I don't use a particular brand of pigments. I use different colored chalks that I grind up and powder on. In this case, several different shades of brown are used and applied with a bush and bonded with some thinner. In the end it looks like this...

 Creating this look took me all afternoon - about four hours. A long time for really only accomplishing one thing. I can't help it though, I a bit picky when it comes to how things look. At one point I thought I'd finished it but decided I didn't like the outcome so I redid it. Getting rust to look right, at least in my eyes, isn't easy. Getting texture and shades right is a pain. I do, however, like doing it. Turing plastic into rusty metal is quite fun.

Beyond that, I cut open the driver side door so that I could leave it ajar so as to get a better view of the interior once the model is completely assembled. This took a little while and I used just about every manner of sharp implement in my arsenal to pull it off. I'm always a bit tentative when doing something like this as the end result is quite permanent and difficult to correct should problems arise...

Looks like it should work out okay though.
The difficulty of vehicles is that they must be painted in increments. I believe my next step should be to paint the chassis, so I can fix the engine in place and finish with the radiator. But we'll see, otherwise I'll work on the interior of the little cab.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time.

Episode II
Episode I

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust - Episode II

Glue has met plastic, officially kicking off this build.
I had wanted to sit down and work on it diligently last night, but apparently the day caught up with me and I found myself snoozing on the couch instead of hard at work at the bench. Fortunately, I got a little bit done the night before, but it isn't much of an update. More of a light snack to keep you satisfied for a few hours. So, if your tummy is rumbling for some modeling goodness, maybe this will hold you off until I can get you something of substance...

The instructions begin with the engine. Myself, being fairly organized and rather linear in my thinking decided it was as good a place as any to start. I mean, they wrote the instructions, they would know, right? The engine is made up of a bunch of parts, most of them are quite fiddly, like the coil, and distributor cap, so care is necessary when removing them from their sprues.
Speaking of which, I opted to leave off several pieces, included the aforementioned coil, and distributor, along with the master cylinder and fuel pump. Why? Because, what are junk cars good for if not for pulling spare parts out of? If I'm going to model an old rusty truck, it may as well look the part, right down to the cannibalized bits.

The engine comes together pretty well, with only a little work to clean up the seams, but fit was excellent, and the tiny parts were not as much trouble as I expected, though a generous helping of super glue usually remedies that any way...
Taking a look here, you can see I've installed the starter at the lower left, but left off the distributor cap which would be right next to it toward the right. The hole at lower right is where the fuel pump should be, if I recall correctly...

This side gives you a decent look at the air filter as well as the exhaust manifold, and generator...

And finally, the front. Though I didn't like the thickness of the fan blades, I decided to leave them as it, because you won't get a very good look at them any way once complete. I did remove the fan belt, which was molded on to the assembly. I simply cut it off with sprue cutters and attached each wheel separately. I am pondering draping a scratch built fan belt over one or two of the gears to make it look like it has fallen apart...

And that is where the fun ends. In a model like this, sub assemblies should almost be treated as their own model so I'll be rusting and weathering this shortly, prior to installing it.
Next steps will be the chassis.

I foresee this coming together rather quickly, assuming I can keep from napping in the mean time.
Thanks for following along! Until next time...

Episode I

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust - Episode I

Work has now begun on Revell's pickup truck, and I'm hoping I can get it done in time for the contest. But before I get into the details of what I've accomplished so far, lets take a look at the kit.

Revell allows for two marking options: one for the Slammin' Hammer, a stylish custom version; and one for a stock version sporting commercial logos of one Plum Lake Mill. I will be opting for the stock version.

The decals are pretty much what you would expect of a vehicle kit...stencils, license plates, etc. The sheet even comes with decals for the wood paneling of the truck bed. I don't intend on using those and the kit part for the bed has molded wood grain detail. Plus, if I'm feeling up to it, I may scratch build the bed...we'll see.

The kit comes with six sprues in white plastic. Another two sprues contain the chrome plated pieces, the majority of which I will ignore. There is a clear sprue for the windscreens, and a tiny red one for the tail light. The tires are rubber and come in two sets depending on the version you are building. Finally, the cab and the hood come as separate pieces...

Speaking of the cab, it is a single piece that hopefully won't give me too much trouble to work with...

I intend on opening one of the two doors, so it should be interesting to work that out.
So that is your look inside this kit. I have since washed the sprues to ensure all the mold release is not present to hinder future painting. I've also completed the engine block, but that is a post for later on! Patience!
In the mean time, start thinking about what kit you're going to buy and join in on this Revell sponsored contest...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tutorial - Palm Trees

If you've been following along, then you would have seen one of my latest works, the Oscar flying over a Pacific Island. It was a small vignette that made use of some home made palm trees. During the build, I detailed how I created the trees for my base, but I figured I'd add it to the tutorial page for future reference should some one want to see it...

What's Next?

It is a new week. The F-16 is finally finished, and St. Patty's Day is behind us. The only excuse I should have to slow me up for the next few weeks are the last two episodes of The Walking Dead on Sunday nights. But that still leaves me with 6 out of 7 days to get some modeling done.

So what is next? Well, judging by the photo to the left it'll be something different. Yes, a truck. A civilian 1941 Chevy Pickup Truck to be precise. I know, I is about as far away from my recent trend as I can get, and has absolutely nothing to do with combat. Well, calm down for a moment and let me explain. If you haven't heard already, Revell is partnering with David Stacey, host of GearZ Tv on the Speed Channel, to bring us the third annual GearZ/Revell Model Kit Championships. If you follow the link, you'll see more detail into the contest, the rules, and what kits are eligible for what particular category. One such category is Trucks, and since I happened to have this kit in my stash waiting around for a good excuse to build it, I figured I'd participate in this. If you're interested, you should too!

Now, I've only ever done one civilian vehicle prior to this, and that was Revell's '68 Pontiac Firebird pictured  here. To me, the only car or truck worth doing is one that has seen better days - a rust bucket, if you will. So, if you were hoping for a nice shiny show room finish, you will be sorely disappointed. If you're hoping for a truck that is about one racoon's fart away from falling to pieces, then it is you I aim to please.
I like recreating rust. It really adds character to a model, and I want to show you how I do it.

Either way, if you like civilian models or not, I hope you'll find it interesting to follow along as I wreck this '41 Pickup in the name of contest glory. If you care to join, I'd be more than happy for you to post pictures of your work on my Facebook page or share them with me on Twitter! My build starts tonight!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Scratch Building Tip - Put it on Your Card

I may be one of the only people on earth that gets excited when the balance on their gift card reaches $00.00. And there is always a smile on my face when one of my credit cards expires. I have to be quick to reach my wife's expended or expired cards before she cuts them up and throws them in the trash.
That is because these spent little rectangles of plastic are an invaluable resource for scratch building. Instead of purchasing sheet styrene, why not just use these cards that are otherwise going to be tossed in the garbage? They cost virtually nothing when compared to what you would pay at a hobby shop for styrene and they are easy to come by. I can always count on relatives with a lack of creativity to purchase a gift card or two for me on holidays or birthdays.
Once they have been used to purchase my next model kit, or (if I'm smart) my next tank of gas, I toss them in a box full of other cards just like 'em. They are a tiny bit thick though, so all manner of scratch building may not be ideal but new credit cards these days are actually getting thinner. But I can't wait several years for my latest debit card to expire, so when I need a thinner material I have an ace up my sleeve...

...or a jack, or a two for that matter, I'm not picky. The higher quality playing cards are made of card stock, almost plastic material. Matter of fact, there are plastic playing cards in existence but I'm not that much of a high roller so I'll stick with the deck I've got. These are slightly thicker than paper, cut and shape easily and attach to plastic very easily with super glue, and even plastic cement. They can make thin sheet armor for side skirts, for instance and, with 52 in a box, its an almost endless supply of material. I've had my deck for years now with only a handful of cards missing now.
That's it. Just a simple tip to help you get some cheap material and recycle. Next time your gift card is spent, think twice before heaving it into the rubbish bin!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tutorial - How to Make a Flight Line Base

Perhaps you have a model that you would like to put in a flight line diorama. Or maybe you just want a small base to add some context to your completed kit, like I did for my F-16CG/CJ from Academy. It is very simple and inexpensive, and I'll show you how!
Here we go...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sweet 16 - Finished!

All I can say is - finally! This has been a marathon build, though admittedly I got a bit distracted for a week or two with the Oscar project I finished recently. But seriously, over two months to finish? That is horrendous. Shameful really. But enough chiding myself for lack of productivity, lets get on with it!

The decals were finally placed and sealed with a nice gloss coat of Future floor polish. Lastly, I loaded the F-16 with her bombs, missiles and fuel pods, and she's ready to go...

Representing Misawa AB in Japan...

Do you like the little base? If so, look for the tutorial tomorrow and I'll show you how I made it.

Otherwise, that is it. The second model of 2013 is finished. Took me a while, but I guess slow and steady wins the race...Well, almost finished. I'm going to do an epilogue for this kit because I need to make some FOD covers for the intake and engine, as well as the various RBF tags that hang all over this little fighter when it sits idle. But, yeah, other than that, it is done.
Until next time! Thanks for reading.