Monday, April 29, 2013

Gone to the Dogs - Episode II

I was going to use the weekend to finish the Yak III mini project but that got derailed by some shoddy, old decals. So, I decided to carry on where I left off and finish sculpting the dog for my eventual rusty Chevy pickup vignette.
There wasn't much to add except legs, paws, and some other small details.

I built up his lower jaw as I thought it was a bit slack from the previous photographs. He needed to look a big tougher, so his mouth is slightly open perhaps ready to bark. I'm hoping he looks as though something has drawn his attention.
What might that be?
Well, I've completely gone off the deep end and decided to try my hand at sculpting a human figure. This time, a young boy...

This was my third attempt at a human head. The previous two appeared to be too old. I realized I needed to round out the face and give him a softer jawline to give him a younger appearance. He is a bit chubby looking but that also lends a little to his youth, I hope. He may need a bit more hair but I haven't decided yet.

So, what I've got here is a project that started as a simple vignette displaying an old forgotten vehicle has now turned into something quite larger and more complex than I had imagined. I've now sculpted a dog, something I've never done, and am attempting an entire human child. If it turns out right, I'll be pretty pleased. Either way, this goes along with my last post about going out on a limb and trying new things. Keep your fingers crossed, and see you next time!
Thanks for reading!

Episode I

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Confident Modeler

Some people are naturally blessed with a great deal of confidence, while others can sometimes struggle with it. When paired with talent, confidence can take a person any where they want to go. In following the hobby as closely as I do, there is a tremendous amount of talented modelers out there with seemingly no limitation to what they can accomplish. It can be pretty intimidating to see what others can make when at times I struggle with even the basics - a visible seam, a silvered decal, an uneven paint job.

Though I have been modeling for quite some time, my confidence had never been terribly high. Up to this point I was content with the bare minimum, staying comfortable in my box, putting out some cookie-cutter models. I was too afraid of ruining the model with some botched experiment. As you know, I hadn't even attempted the hairspray technique until last week! But that's the thing, since starting this blog, I've realized that good practice and taking risks is the only way to hone your talents and build your confidence.

Like an athlete on a scoring streak, modeling builds confidence with each successfully finished project. With each new attempted technique, one gains valuable insight into what they themselves are capable of, and what needs to be improved upon. Several years ago, I would not have attempted to scratch build my own palm trees, or sculpt a dog for that matter. Now, I feel like I'll try anything at least once, to the best of my ability.
The benefit of seeing so much talent on the internet is knowing that anything is possible. Yes, I may not produce the same quality of workmanship as other modelers, but its the attempt that counts. I'm reminded of an old saying my father used to tell me...Throw enough mud at the wall, eventually it will stick. You don't need to expect the same results, but you have to start some where.

It wasn't long ago, as young modelers, we were struck with the notion to go out on a limb and fill those pesky seams, or sand annoying ejector pin marks. Those were the first baby steps to get where we are now. That same resolution to achieve excellence in as close a manner as we can get should still be true no matter what skill level we are.
So, with that, I challenge you to try something new! Get out of your comfort zone for a bit. It doesn't have to be a new technique, even just building a subject outside your normal interests can be quite enjoyable.
But most of all, don't hold yourself back with doubt.
You are what you think you are!

Gone to the Dogs - Episode I

With Revell's 1941 Chevy Pickup complete, it is time to work on an appropriate base to set it on. A wreck like that needs context, in my opinion. But I didn't just want to plop it onto some ground work with a bunch of weeds, tall grass, a tree and call it good. No, amid all the lifelessness I wanted to put a character in there, something alive that will draw the eye around the scene.
I had every intention of purchasing a small plastic dog from the local toy store, giving it a repaint and gluing it into place. I'm not much of a sculptor, so that seemed like the best approach. My wife, however, disagreed. With toy dog in hand, I was ready to make my purchase when she stopped me and said it isn't like you to just buy something and throw it on there. Touche. This is a proverbial dagger to the heart of any artist. The gauntlet was thrown down...
And the challenge was accepted.

I'm either really stupid, or have some new found confidence, but last night I set out to sculpt a dog, entirely from scratch.
I've done some sculpting, but the bare minimum, never a complete character. Never the less, I thought it shouldn't be too hard, thinking back to all those years in elementary school molding Play-Doh into various animal shapes...
So, with Milliput in hand, the adventure begins.

Well, not too bad. He needs a little refinement, and of course, his two front legs but otherwise I'm fairly pleased with how its turning out. When last night's session was all said and done, two and a half hours had passed. At one point, I squashed his head in frustration and started over. I just hope it looks decent enough when I'm finished with it.
Hopefully I'll get the front legs on this evening and call it good.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust - Finished!

Its nice when you get toward the end of a build and you can let out a deep sigh of relief. Looking back, there were no huge issues with the kit, or problems applying certain techniques. There are always things to take away from a recently completed model, considering this was the most ambitious build for me in terms of weathering and scratch building, I'd say I've learned a lot. Next time, the techniques will be more refined. Though I'm happy with the end result, I still have to say that I'm not sold on building civilian vehicles. The only way I will do them is exactly how I represented this one - a rust bucket. But that takes a considerable amount of energy and time, so if I decide to do another one, it is a long way down the highway...
In the mean time, feel free to look at the pictures...

Though the model is finished, there is still work to be done. This can't be a stand alone model, as I don't believe any model with this much weathering can just sit on a shelf without the appropriate base. So for the next few days, I'll be working on the appropriate setting. I've not decided on anything in particular yet, so I'll be looking for some inspiration in a place called the internet. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears!
Until then!
Thanks for reading!

Episode XIIIEpisode XIIEpisode XIEpisode XEpisode IXEpisode VIIIEpisode VIIEpisode VIEpisode VEpisode IVEpisode IIIEpisode IIEpisode I

Monday, April 22, 2013

TGIF Build - Yak III

So, I had the hankering for a bit of a care-free build again, as I did when I decided to build the JS-II a couple weeks ago. Seemed like a good idea at the time any way. Several days will be devoted to a quick project until the Monday starts the week again, and the regularly scheduled model recommences. Little weekend builds are fun, a nice way to release a little tension by just simply modeling.
The topic of this weekend's build is a little 1/72 Yak III from Heller. Simple kit, not even in a box, few parts and easy instructions. The perfect project for this type of thing...

A little warpage in the wings here...

 Detail is pretty scarce, but since this is only a few days worth of work I wasn't too worried about it. The pit is a gold mine for scratch building if you're into it. Of course, I avoided it this time, but just as well since I noticed no detail can be seen when the canopy is in place...

The fuselage halves were pretty warped toward the aft section. The glue was going to need some reinforcement...

So I wrapped it up in a generous amount of masking tape to keep the bond nice and tight...

Pretty smooth, however, you'll notice the tiny gaps at the roots of the horizontal stabilizers. Obviously, some putty will be necessary...

Wings completely lack locator pins or holes. A discrepancy I'd never seen before. (Those holes you see are for the landing gear)

So keeping the alignment was necessary with tape and some little clamps. Also, note the cockpit is mounted to the wings, not the interior wall of the fuselage halves as is common in most kits...

Some gaps in the wing roots...

...and at the base of the wings on the undercarriage...

Either way, still a nice little model...

Tended to the gaps with some Squadron white putty...

And here it is, ready for paint...

Ah, paint. Here is where I went a bit out of my mind and justified it by calling it an "experiment". I was tired last night and didn't feel like breaking out the airbrush. Let me just say right now, if you're tired while modeling, STOP RIGHT THERE or you might do something you'll regret.
I never brush paint entire models. Ever. But my lack of better judgement got the best of me and I found myself pulling out the brushes before I could stop myself. However, I did discover that thinning Vallejo Acrylics with Future will give you a pretty smooth, even coat with a brush. That was my experiment. Nothing mind blowing, but I hope to God it doesn't convince me to brush paint another model.

At this point, I'm not exactly sure what to do. I'll probably weather it with the airbrush since that is what I know best. Beyond that, it just needs decals and some fine detail paint work. Nice little kit that really needs minimal attention. I'm excited to see it finished...but that will have to wait for the weekend!
To Be Continued...

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust - Episode XIII

So today I reveal exactly how well all the elements of last night's rusty weathering session went. Let me begin by saying I'm quite pleased, however, there is still work to be done.
When we last left off, the salt and hairspray and liquid mask were set and it was waiting on the main color over coat. In this case, blue.
This is how she looks, all masked up, with the paint complete...

After that, I just scraped off the salt to expose the brown rusty color underneath...

Lookin' okay.
Then, I just peeled up the outer edges of the liquid mask. This was the first time I tried this technique and I must say I love it and will use it more often in the future should the occasion arise...

Then some hefty dry brushing of lighter shades over the entire body brings out the raised detail, like the dried oil paints, and also gives it a nice faded appearance...

At this point, I can't be more pleased. For not really knowing what I was doing going into this, its shaping up pretty nicely.
One thing of'll notice I mentioned nothing of the hairspray. This is a technique I'll have to continue trying. I didn't like it hear and only attempted to remove a little bit of it before I decided it was becoming more work than was necessary. The salt seemed to give me results that were just as convincing so I left it at that.

So, with episode XIII in the books, the next session will be all the little touch ups necessary to complete this model. Time to apply washes, pigments, and filters to blend the look. I hope you're enjoying this!
Thanks for reading!

Episode XIIEpisode XIEpisode XEpisode IXEpisode VIIIEpisode VIIEpisode VIEpisode VEpisode IVEpisode IIIEpisode IIEpisode I