Friday, November 8, 2019

Shinto Temple Complex, Part Deux

Another month, another temple complex commission but this time for Fall-In. To be honest, I can't say there's much different here than the last one I did for Fighting Kentuckian, though there were some changes in color tone. Oddly, I also had issues with my vinyl filler material adhering to the wood - whether that had something to do with my filler or this batch of wood, I have no idea.

The walls this time are a flat off-white finish, while all the red lacquer is built up from multiple layers of Tamiya paints. I started by undercoating all the pieces in Flat Red, then added areas of shadow and highlight by adding in Purple and Orange respectively, and finally applied multiple coats of Red to really bring out a depth of color. Natural wood was done by using long strokes of various shades of tans, browns, and beiges running with the grain. Once given a light, slightly diluted coat of a mid-tone tan, this melds the colors and produces an effect that looks vaguely similar to wood. The pantile roofs were airbrushed with Tamiya Flat Black, then given multiple layers of a 50/50 mix of Tamiya OD Green and Dark Green, and finally highlighted with Olive Green. To give everything a more used look, I added Vallejo European Dirt Wash along the edges of roofs, along walls, and on upper horizontal surfaces.






The "stone" texture is achieved by applying multiple layers of gesso with a stabbing motion of the brush. Unfortunately, the base being MDF means that you have to apply a lot of gesso, but once that's dry it provides a nice rough texture without destroying any texture on the MDF itself. For example, on the gate and bell tower bases, there were lines showing the edges of the stone tiles. As the gesso shrinks, it does fill these lines, but taking a sharp Xacto blade and rescribing them was simple and didn't destroy the gesso either. Once dry, I applied multiple shades of medium through light grey paint, edge highlighting with almost pure white.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Shinto Temple Complex Commission

Recently I was contacted by the "Fightin' Kentuckian" to assemble and paint a small Shinto temple complex from Things From the Basement. He wanted a nice, clean look reminiscent of the product photos on their website and I dove right in with my usual gusto for terrain (several times he actually had to hold me back from going completely overboard adding little details and heavy weathering).

Having never assembled TftB MDF kits, I wasn't sure what to expect but I found them to be pleasant kits to work with. There are a lot of cleverly hidden joins, which meant less filling and sanding than I'm used to with other MDF kits. The "pantile roofs" are provided and cut from half sections of cardboard, sliced on the bias so that they bend to accommodate the curvature of the Asian-style rooflines. I particularly enjoyed making the small stone lanterns - these are kinds of tiny ornamental details I really like seeing in real life and on the tabletop - as they went together easily with a interlocking mortise-and-tenon assembly that required little to no glue.

Once all the sub assemblies were together, I went about painting everything. The walls are a pure satin finish white, while all the red lacquer is built up from multiple layers of Reaper Purple into Vallejo Flat Red. Black lacquer wood was done with a pre black basecoat, then successive highlights of Dark Pavement, then drybrushing (following the "grain" of the wood) with light grey and a little golden brown on the edges. Natural wood is done in a similar fashion but using beige and tan. The pantile roofs were airbrushed with Tamiya Flat Black, then given multiple layers of a 50/50 mix of Tamiya OD Green and Flat Black.

The "stone" texture is achieved by applying multiple layers of gesso with a stabbing motion of the brush. Unfortunately, the base being MDF means that you have to apply a lot of gesso, but once that's dry it provides a nice rough texture without destroying any texture on the MDF itself. For example, on the gate and bell tower bases, there were lines showing the edges of the stone tiles. As the gesso shrinks, it does fill these lines, but taking a sharp Xacto blade and rescribing them was simple and didn't destroy the gesso either. Once dry, I applied multiple shades of medium through light grey paint, edge highlighting with almost pure white. To tone down the transitions and give the stone a "dusty", ultra flat finish, I then washed it with Secret Weapon Concrete wash and applied some Vallejo Dirt wash around the base of each vertical piece.









Thursday, September 12, 2019

Meng World War Toons King Tiger

A quick post for today - this is the completed Meng "World War Toons" King Tiger. I reviewed this tank (along with the Tiger I) back in January. For a kit that cost me less than $15, I'm abundantly pleased with it. For modelers, these are either good AFVs to learn on (for beginners) or a nice change of pace (for veterans). For gamers, unlike the previous Tiger I, this model scales relatively well with 28mm and would make an interesting tank for Weird WW2, Pulp, or Retro Sci-Fi games. With the exception of the tracks being an extremely tight fit, it was quick and fun to build and allowed me to try out some new weathering effects I hadn't done before. 



I primed this with Kylon Red Oxide primer, applied a coat of hairspray for chipping, then airbrushed on Tamiya paints. Since I wanted to try a different tone of Dunkelgelb to reflect some late war paints, I did a 25/75 mix of Tamiya Dark Yellow and Wooden Deck Tan, with soft-edged splotches of Tamiya Red Brown and Tamiya Flat Green with a small amount of Vallejo Model Air Pale Green. After chipping, I painted the gun barrels in Vallejo Dark Grey, as well as any tools/tow cables/tracks, and mufflers. I painted the visors in jeweled effects consisting of blended layers of Vallejo Dark Blue and Light Turquoise, then washed with Secret Weapon Cool Grey. To mimic any metallic tones (such as on the gun barrel and tools), I applied Vallejo Oily Steel with Vallejo Shading Medium added - this tones down the harshness of the metal and blends it into the surrounding paint.

The mufflers were a challenge. I attempted to add varying shades of red, orange, and yellow with a sponge to produce a mottled effect but I didn't like it. So, after applying decals and sealing everything, I started in with successive oil washes of Burnt Umber, Black, and Cool Grey. In the final wash, I added some Vallejo Rust dry pigment (I did this to the spare tracks as well). The oil washes blend in the underlying paint and the pigment gives it an ultra-flat finish, as well as adding texture. I then applied an oil filter over the entire tank and added in some different pin washes.

Being vinyl, the tracks we simply washed with multiple coats of Vallejo European Dirt and Light Rust washes, then drybrushed with Vallejo Oil Steel, then given on final wash. I kept the wheels and tracks off to the end and added some Vallejo Thick Mud and other mud effects but, once the wheels and upper hull were attached, you really can't see it. Oh well. To finish things off, I added some oil and gas spills to the engine deck and applied some gloss over the visors and headlight. 





Saturday, September 7, 2019

Battletech Bandit Group

So, about 30 years ago, 8 year old me watched in awe as some of the older kids on my block played  two games that would go on to be the basis for my interest in wargaming - Dungeons & Dragons and Battletech. Tastes and the gaming industry always change so that, by the time I was a teenager myself, both were waning in popularity a bit and were eclipsed by the rising juggernaut of Games Workshop. But the interest was still there in the back of my mind, and I read the occasional Battletech novel or played the occasional Battletech video game (Mech Commander being my favorite). So, I was pleasantly surprised when the game was given a much-needed makeover and a fantastic second Kickstarter focusing on the Clan Invasion. I needed to get in on this.

So here I am, much older, with my first set of fully painted Battlemechs. I picked up these up on the cheap ($15 for a closeout Alpha Strike Pursuit Lance and $10 for a clearance Robotech box of Warhammers and Riflemen) and I just thought "get these on the table so you can learn the game before your Kickstarter pledge comes in!".....and here we are. To be honest, I've never painted Battletech minis before and haven't painted anything for myself in this scale (6mm) for several years now, so this was also a learning curve for me as well.

I primed these Mechs black, then used a zenithal priming of Red Oxide, applied a coat of hairspray for chipping effects, and then airbrushed a three-tone soft-edged camouflage scheme of Tamiya Red Brown, Olive Green, and Wooden Deck Tan. I then chipped it....which didn't really work. At this small scale, there aren't a lot of well-defined edges to run the brush over and, coupled with the Red Brown basecoat, the chipping doesn't really stand out. I then washed everything in diluted GW Agrax Earthshade.

As I wanted this unit to look like a group of rag-tag mercenaries or bandits, I overpainted some of the panels and gun barrels with Vallejo Oily Steel to represent arm that had been replaced but never repainted. I also did this to the ends of the PPC gun barrels on the Warhammers, working in successive shades of blue and purple to simulate the heat-tinting of metal. In my headcanon, these mechs are captured stock from some military unit or mothballed storage depot and the red shoulders represent the new owners covering up the old unit symbols and I painted these with Vallejo Flat Red, highlighted with a 50/50 mix of VMC Flat Red/Reaper Rach Red, and washed with some ancient GW Baal Red wash. The cockpit glass was just a spontaneous decision of trying to see if I could replicate jewel effects with a single color and multiple washes - the basecoat is an incredibly ancient bottle of craft Medium Yellow paint (so old, in fact that the brand - Illinois Bronze Paint - is no longer in business!), given multiple washes of GW Casandora Yellow to build up orange shading, then given the "glint" in Pure White. The infrared lights on the Warhammers were done in a similar way but given multiple washes of the GW Baal Red, then a final wash of Secret Weapon Red Black.

Decals were a mix of whatever I happened to have on hand that would fit. They all got some skulls because skulls are cool and then a few different designs to "personalize" each mech to its Mechwarrior. I then did all the basework and glued the Mechs down and this is the final result. For a force that went from bare plastic to fully-painted and table-ready in a month, I'm happy with the result. Is it my best work? No. Does it have to be? No. But it's the realization of a seed that was planted decades ago.







Monday, September 2, 2019

Afrika Korps Schutzen Trucks...on a budget!

To transport my squads of Afrika Korps troops around the Western Desert, I needed some trucks. Not wanting to shell out another $30+ on some 1/56 scale plastic kits for an army that was really done as a fun side project, I went looking for alternatives and stumbled on Matchbox's Models of Yesteryear. I liked the look of the WW1-era British Crossley Tenders and picked up two for $10. And I can already hear the rivet counters say in unison "Well, actually..." and they would be right - it's ahistorical to drop these 25 years on in the middle of Egypt or Libya, but my headcanon says they picked these up from some old British fuel dump somewhere and borrowed them, permanently. 

I disassembled and primed them in Krylon Red Oxide, then applied a layer of hairspray for chipping and airbrushed on a 50/50 mix of Tamiya Olive Drab and Medium Green. Once dry, I worked on chipping that paint, oversprayed it with Krylon Flat to maintain colorfastness, applied another layer of hairspray for chipping, then airbrushed on a 75/25 mix of Tamiya Dark Yellow and Yellow Green. Once chipped, this makes it appear that the truck was originally painted in British Drab and then oversprayed in Afrika Korps Sand Yellow after capture. Details were then painted, the trucks reassembled, and then decals were applied from the Rubicon Opel Blitz sheet. After sealing, the trucks were weathered in oils and dry pigments.

They look old fashioned and aren't perfect, but for $10, I'm not complaining.