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.

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