Monday, August 31, 2015

Merkava Diorama - Part 4

Hi everyone,

So August has come and gone - and thank God for that!  I swear that with all the heat and humidity, I did not do anything hobby-wise, nor did I have the energy to do so. I was simply living in a lethargy bubble; oblivious off everything and everyone. 

Now that the heatwave has subsided I have started to regain my initiative and the will to create is slowly coming back!

Well, it is always good to start with small steps, so today I will just do a simple review of a product I bought for my Merkava diorama. 

I bought some products from Model-Miniature, a french company that sells 1/72 scale products that are mostly in resin.

The first product I bought were some 1/72 Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers.  Since this project is a diorama, it needs the human element to imbue it with life and scope.

The figures themselves are slightly on the larger side of 1/72, and are not chronologically accurate, but they are the best I could find.  The figures are made from resin and are well cast.  The arms need to be attached and care must be taken when cutting them from the sprue.  I especially like the dog - I admit that the canine sealed the deal when the time came to choose.
The other product I bought were some 'Hamas' propaganda posters at the same scale.  I intended to attach them to the buildings to add that sense of danger and realism to the scene.
Overall, I was not that impressed with this purchase.  They are simply scaled down printouts on normal paper.  The quality of the printouts are not that high either.  There are two identical copies of each printout, but there are only two.  What annoyed me the most was that the printouts were cut with a pair of scissors which makes the product seem very amateurish. 
You also get an A4 explanation of the product in french, which to be honest is not that helpful or needed. Nonetheless I will still use them, since I did fork out the money for them.
Well, that is all for today.  I will be back after the 10th of September.  I am going to the Veneto region in Italy for a walking holiday over the Dolomites! Yeah!  So things will still be slow around here for a while until I come back.

Until I come back, farewell and good health.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Merkava Diorama - Part 3

Hi everyone,

Just came back from my break, and believe it or not, I feel even more tired than before - especially with this heat wave we're living through.

Despite the sweltering heat and the unbearable humidity, I have managed to overcome my lethargy and sit down and paint. I had left the Merkava tank off at the highlights.  It was now time to continue with adding some interest to the model.

So the next step was to add the washes and filters followed by the panel lining.  I will quickly explain the difference between a wash and a filter for those of you that do not know.  Basically a filter and a wash are the same thing, except for the concentration of pigment.  A filter usually contains 5% to 10% pigment and a wash has 15% to 25% pigment.  These values may differ according to brand or user.

I use filters and washes to add chromatic diversity and richness to a more or less monotone and boring colour scheme. This is done by adding the washes and filters to different panels on the tank, thus altering the colour slightly.

When the washes have dried properly, I use a dark brown enamel wash to panel-line the tank. Capillary action does most of the work for you, but if some of the paint slips, then just use a cotton swab with some enamel spirits to clean it up.
The next step is to add the decals.  I wont go into detail on this, as there are thousands of tutorials on the subject, but I strong recommend using decal setting fluid.

All the decals went on without a problem, but the decals of the turret were a bit tricky and required a heavy dose of patience. When the decals have dried, give them a coat of gloss varnish followed by a coat of matt varnish to blend them in.

After the decals where ready, I continued to add more chromatic diversity by oil-paint staining.  In this technique, one basically adds dots of oil paint over areas of the model then gently wipes it away with mineral spirits until a see-through patina is left.  I recommend leaving the oil paint on some cardboard in order to absorb the oil.  I used mostly white, burnt and natural sienna and burnt sienna.

The last step was portraying the wear and tear and the adding of pigments. This is by far the most entertaining part, but also the step that can make or break the model.  I admit my enthusiasm brought me close to ruining the model.  For now I only worked on the hull of the tank.

After adding the scatches, using a very light shade and hull red, I applied first some pigments on the tracks.  To add volume to this, I mixed the pigments with some plaster of paris.

I then went ahead and added different pigments to different areas of the body, in order to maximize on the chromatic diversity pigments offer. A unique aspect of the Merkava is the engine grills and exhausts on the sides.  I used black pigment to stimulate the effect of exhaust. I over did it a bit on the side panels, but I will fix this latter on with the use of some water and mineral spirits.

A new technique that I tried out today was that of oil and engine spills. I used a product from the Mig series called Engine and Oil Stains. I used the paint in 3 stages.  In the first stage, I thinned the paint down by adding a large amount of thinner and laid down a foundation.  I subsequently added another layer with less thinner and the final layer straight out of the bottle. The effect are very pleasurable and help to diversify the monotone colour scheme of the Merkava.
One again, that is all for today.  Until next time farewell and good health.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

10mm High Elf Army - The troops

Hi everyone,

Another short post this week, as I am on holiday - not only from work, but from my life in general.

Today I would like to show off my new additions to my 10mm High Elves. The last time I showed the basic troops - one or two years ago - I had 3 units of Spears and 2 units of archers.

I also mentioned the fact that I had the intention of doubling the rank and file.  Well here are the first steps in fulfilling that intention.

During the month of June I worked on the rank and file and I did nearly double them.  As you can see, I now have 5 units of spears and 3 units off archers.

I have to admit I can spend hours just looking at this army when it is in rank & file.  I love the look of armies painted up and placed in formations in my cabinet. Now I just need another spear unit and another archer unit and I will have reached my goal of doubling them.

That is all for now.  See you all in seven days.  Until then farewell and good health.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Merkava Diorama - Part 3

Hi everyone,

A short one this week since I am off for a pre-summer holiday.  Since I work in the hospitality industry, summer is off limits as far as holidays are concerned.

Well, I have continued with the Merkava diorama, but due to my tight schedule I ended up taking shitty pictures.  So I apologize in advance.

The first picture shows the tank undercoated - first with black, then with white on top.  The picture, as I have mentioned above is not very clear, since they were taken near sunlight - but I did not notice at the time
The next step was the basic colour - in this case IDF Sand.  The parts in white were already much lighter than those which were black.  This technique offers a good first colour gradient.
The next several steps were the highlights and shading, also done with an airbrush, as well as a lot of masking.  The effects are not very clear in the picture below due to the over-saturation from the daylight.
I stopped there with the tank, as the next several steps will be done with my trusty paint brush.  Since I still had the airbrush out I did some work on the base.

After putting the scene together, I filled in the gaps with putty and a fine gavel & sand solution mixed with PVA glue to blend the parts together.  At this stage, I did not fix in the smaller building, as it would have caused difficulties in airbrushing later on.  I had left the thing to dry overnight.
The next step was to prime it in black and add some basic colours to the scene. Unfortunately the camera moved without me noticing.  I was in such a hurry that I did not even bother to check the picture!!  Sorry about this, but by the time I found out, this stage had gone!
The last step before getting into the scene with the paint brush, was to add some detailing and shades with the airbrush. My first step was to paint up the rubble.  Then I masked off the rubble areas and airbrushed in the road.  The next step was adding masks in order to paint in the zebra crossing and road line. This was definitely the fun part.

When the lines were done, I added highlights to the road.  After which, I blended the road and rubble areas together with several layers of dusting - everything done by airbrush for now.
The last step was to work on the tall building.  Living in a Mediterranean island, I know how taxing the sun can be on buildings, so I wanted a blanched look.  Hence the several layers o highlights.  I will tone this done with some washes later on.

That is all for this week.  Next week I want to show some more of my 10mm High Elf Army I have finished painting up.

Until then farewell and good health.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

10mm Elf Army- Elites and Monsters

Hi everyone,

I decided to take a quick break from the Merkava diorama, this week to show my latest additions to my 10mm High Elf army.  I mentioned some posts ago that this was to be the year of armies - and I have sidetracked somewhat.

Nonetheless, I have still done work on them, even though on the side.  So today I want to take the time to talk about the 10mm Sword Master of Hoeth unit, my hero on an eagle and some dragons.

First up are the Sword Masters. I have to admit they take the 1st place for me in this post. I gave them a blue look in order to differentiate them from the Phoenix Guard that are in red and the common spear units.  I also gave their armour several washes of Tamiya clear blue.
Instead of just four stands, I opted for six this time. I wanted the option of creating different unit sizes depending on the size of game or scenario.
Next up is the High Elf hero on a giant eagle.  As you can see I have updated its base to a 4 inch radius. I do this in order to be able to play with my models in various game systems - including Kings of War, Hordes of the Things and my own personal game - Dying Wyvern.

The last project for this army I have been working on are the dragons. The models are from the D&D plastic pre-painted model range.  They are called purple and deep dragons, I thing they are perfect for mighty drakes in 10mm scale.

The only thing I have done for now, is put them on bases with some putty work to give them the impression that they are on cliffs.  I think I will paint them in shades of blue and purple.  Overall I think that these colours suit a dragon used by the elves.
As you can see, the 4inch square bases fit the dragons well and they can easily be placed into a unit formation.

That is all for this week.  Until we meet again - farewell and good health.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Merkava Diorama - Part 2

Hi everyone,

Today I want to continue discussing another product I bought for this diorama- the scene.

As I mentioned last week I bought a middle eastern scene set from A Czech company called Black Dog at a sale a sale price from Hannants.

The set is really nice and detailed, but it does have several problems that I will discuss briefly.
The set comes in 4 parts - a base, 2 buildings and a pair of shatters.  They are all well sculpted, but they do need a lot of cleaning.
The highlight of the set has to be the buildings, especially the larger one.  They are simply gorgeous.  Full of detail, character and bullet holes! The separate shutters fit into the larger building.

A view from behind shows that they are not a solid piece and can be used by the creative modeller from the opposite side.
The problems I have is with the base.  The detail is lovely and the buildings do fit in well with only minor tweaking, but the base itself is slightly warped and uneven.
There is also a problem with the casting, as one side is thicker than the other.  As I am placing the base into a frame, I can cover this up, but it would not suit someone just displaying it.  In that case, it would have to be sanded down.
The picture below shows how uneven the base really is.  I asked a friend to make me a frame base and he had to widen the frame.  This way I can fit the base much easier and then just fill in around the base with putty.
The last photos show how the set goes together. You have to admit, it does make a handsome picture.  I sincerely doubt if I could have made something this good, and at this scale, on my own.

So the verdict is that overall, and despite the few problems, this set is well worth the few quid spent on it. I will certainly be looking into Black Dog products in the future, and I highly recommend bookmarking their site.  I can't wait to paint it up.

Well that is it for now.  Next week I will post up some of the painting work.  So until then;

Farewell and good health,



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