Friday, April 18, 2014

Dystopisn Wars - Aristotle Battleship pt.4

Hi everyone,

As promised I am back with some pics of the finished Aristotle Battleship.  Overall I am quite happy with it.  For a paint job that took 6 hours altogether - including the all the problems I had with it, I am satisfied.

With the Dystopian War naval models I took an even simpler approach to painting than I did with the Space Wolves.   Basically they are just neat basic colours with washes - albeit being enamel and oil washes.  I find this system quick, efficient and very practical for gaming pieces.  The models are neat, distinctive and presentable.

The last picture is of my painted force as it currently stands.  I have decided to push on Dystopian Wars because in the beginning of June, DW2 will be in full swing and I want to get my forces painted up by then.
Since I am in the swing of things, next week I will continue with Dystopian War models.  I have started painting up some smalls naval models and medium flyers.  You will see them in the upcoming weeks.

Farewell and good health,


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dystopisn Wars - Aristotle Battleship pt.3

Hi everyone,

Well after the disappointment of the last post I am back with the ill-fated Aristotle Battleship.  I had a day off this week and I dedicated it to Dystopian Wars' models.  Among the models I worked on was this one.

I have to say I was sorely tempted to throw it into the dip, strip it and start all over again - but the thing is, this model is a gaming piece.  Not only that, it is not even a type of model I keep on display, unlike my Space Wolves which are gaming pieces but which I still keep in my showcase.

This is the type of model I keep stored and take out only when gaming. So I decided to look at the frosting in a different light.  Instead of throwing in the towel, I decided to look at it as an extra coat of paint - a filter as they say in the military modeling side of things.
This way, I decided, I would go over only the metallic parts and the blue and green camo.  The rest I left as is.  This reduced the work a lot.  Then I proceeded to give the other areas some controlled light washes, like the planks for example, as well as the grooves on the sides.
When this was finished, I proceeded to add the last details like the energy effects along the piping, the turrets, and the particle cannon. As well as the red of the funnels.  I did not have enough time to take pictures of the finished product, but I will do so tomorrow or the day after. 
Overall it did not come out all that bad, even if it was not exactly how it should have been.  Nonetheless, I am happy I did not have to strip it bare and start from scratch.
Well, as usual, that is all for tonight, until I post again, farewell and good health,

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dystopisn Wars - Aristotle Battleship pt.2 [Problems]

Hi everyone,

I am back with the second part of this mini-project, as well as a major problem with the work!

The next step after the basic pattern was painted in was to give the model several washes.  I do this by first giving it a gloss coat, then several enamel or oil washes, then when the whole thing is dry another matt coat to kill the shine of the gloss.

I normally always use Tamiya clear gloss and matt sprays.  Unfortunately, I ran out of Tamiya matt spray so I opted for a Humbrol option.  I never used Humbrol sprays before, and to be honest I am experienced enough to know that I should have tested the product before using it with my models - but I didn't!

After spraying the model with Humbrol matt spray, the whole model frosted over!  Now I was quite sure the environment I sprayed in was not humid!  So I found it quite puzzling besides enormously frustrating.

I tried to correct the problem by adding one or two extra layers of varnish - mostly Tamiya gloss and then matting with an acrylic brush on varnish.  This has the effect of leveling out the imperfections and can reduce the frosting.  To my despair, this had no effect.
This means that the frosting was due to a chemical reaction between both the sprays.  Doing some research on the Internet I have discovered that I am not the only one that has suffered tragedy at the hands of Humbrol's matt spray varnish!

The only two options in front of me are 1) strip the model and repaint, or 2) try to touch it up.  I opted for the second option.

I will continue this post next Wednesday.  I hope to have finished it by then.  If not, then that means my attempt at patching up did not work and the model went into the dip!

Well that's all for now.  Farewell and good health,


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dystopian Wars - Aristotle Battleship Pt.1

Hi everyone,

I am back to Dystopian Wars, and the ongoing fulfillment of one of my New Year's resolutions - to paint up a small force for this fantastic game.  I will also be posting new posts of the Minotaur's vs Lamenter's vignette - a project long overdue.  This will be coming after this series of posts on the Aristotle.

So let's get on topic shall we?  The battleship I am painting up is from the Covenant of Antarctica Naval Battle Group, the fist battle group that came out for this faction.  This is the basis of the force I will be playing with.

Like almost every miniature I have from Spartan Games, the figures are crisp and clean and need minimal attention.  To be honest though, the Daedulus Class Large Flyer deed need some attention due to mould lines but nothing insurmountable.

After washing the model with warm water, soap and an old toothbrush, I gave it a black undercoat and an offwhite basecoat.
I then proceeded to add the camouflage, and paint in the metallic parts.  I wanted to keep a theme with the other models in the fleet, so I kept the metallic the same at least.

I then proceeded to add washes to the metallic parts - black for the chainmail parts and brown for the copper parts. The next step are the enamel and oil washes which I will cover in the next post. 

So until then,Farewell and good health,


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Of All the Questions they Ask Me!

Hi everyone,

I was asked about how to take good quality pictures of my models for my blog.  This surprised me to no end as I am not a very good photographer and I struggle and experiment a lot to get decent pictures at best.

Nonetheless it is not like me to turn my back on anyone who takes the time to read my blog and ask a question - so I will answer in the best way I can.

The best answer I can give is to refer you to one of the best miniature painting sites out there on the internets that have excellent articles on the subject.  This is where I learned to improve my photography, and I am sure that anyone who reads them will improve as well!  The site belongs to the ultra-talented blokes of MASSIVE VOODOO.  If you have never visited this site then I strongly recommend that you do - now!

The links to the articles are below:-

Tutorial - How to build a photo setup

Miniature Photography Part 2: How do I take good photos of my miniatures with a DSLR?

In the meantime I would just like to show you my version of a light box I made on the cheap and within 2 hours of messing around. The picture below shows what you can make with a few Euros.  I made this simple light box from some balsa wood, baking paper, black card and polystyrene.

The polystyrene I already had from some pre-made, flat-pack furniture I bought in the past.  The rest I bought.  I just put it together with PVA glue and pins and let it dry.  It has served me quite well.

Well that is the last post for this month.  I am still producing four posts a month and nearly on a regular schedule - so I am happy.  Believe it or not, working to a deadline keeps me very focused.  So all is well.

So until next time, farewell and good healt,



Monday, March 24, 2014

Laputa Diorama - Part 6

Hi everyone,

Today is the last installment of this series, and I will be talking about the figures mostly and one or two other things.  Overall this will not be a very long post - I promise!

First off I would like to thank everyone who followed this series with me.  I have to admit it was a journey of discovery so to speak.  Changing my normal modeling medium forced me to learn new techniques and try out new methods of painting and building.  I had to move out of my comfort zone and it did me a world of good.  I plan to do this again when I finish the 3 dioramas I have pending and start doing some Gunpla modeling!

Well back to the subject at hand.  The figures in the diorama are in 1/20 scale and that is roughly 90mm for a six foot adult male.  Naturally the little princess is smaller than 90mm and the robot taller as well, but both fit the scale.

I will start off with the princess.  She is easy to put together and is easy to paint - there! In a nutshell.  Really, she comes in four parts- body, back skirt, legs and back of head.  All pieces fit together fairly well and only a little filling is necessary. 

As for painting, I painted the face by hand, but the skirt by airbrush.  The face gave me a lot of trouble at first as I have hardly any experience at painting females - let alone little girls.  I found out the hard way that less shading is much better.  But in the end learn I did.  For anyone a bit adventurous or with more time than I had - you can really put in a lot of detail into the dress.  Personally, I wanted to keep it as accurate and close to the animated film as possible.

As for the robot gardener, this took up more work.  First off I had to reposition his fingers on the left hand and the right foot.  Unlike most Gunpla, this kit is not very articulated, and it does not come with different hand poses like most High Grade kits from Bandai for example.

Once again, cutting up takes planning and calculation it you want everything to fall into place.  For example, great tip I learned from a colleague is to number the fingers before cutting them.  This way you know which finger goes where when it comes to refitting them.  Otherwise the repositioning did not take much time or brain power to accomplish.

Painting the robot at first gave me a lot of problems.  Because of its size and wide spaces I could not paint it up with a brush without the striations becoming visible.  So I had to resort to an airbrush.  Once again, due to my lack of experience, I ended up spraying the robot several times until I was more or less happy with the results.  Even then only grudgingly so!

I was also asked from where I bought the base for the bonsai in the diorama.  The answer is from no where.  I actually made it from Styrofoam.  I cut out the basic shape, then cut out any excess and simply sandpapered until I got the shape I desired.  Yep, that simple.
Well that is all for now.  I just wanted to add that in the coming weeks I will be adding a gallery page where you can see pictures of the finished dioramas, vignettes and figures.  I hope this does not take too long.

Until next time - farewell and good health!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Laputa Diorama - Part 5

Hi everyone,

Today I would like to talk about the flora in the diorama.  This was by far the most interesting aspect of the project for me, for the simple fact that I never attempted anything like this before.  At least not on this scale.

Before I could start though, I had to do a lot of research into the subject - on the Internet and in several books.  The techniques and approaches were many, but in the end I settled for three types of techniques that I will describe here.

The first approach was buying artificial plants.  These are mostly from aquarium ranges.  They come in various sizes, types and qualities and the choice depends on the modeler and his intentions.

The second approach is with clump materials of various types.  The train hobbyist peoples have been using this stuff for ages with top notch results.  Below is a picture of the selection I used
For the base of the garden I used the simplest yet most effective and realistic approach for a garden I could find - grass mats.  These can be cut and fitted just like a carpet.  I was going to use static grass and an electrostatic applicator, but I found this system more 'filling' so to speak.  This is not enough though.  You have to embellish the grass mat with tufts, plants and rocks if you really want to bring the thing to life.

The ivy on the aqueduct is also an artificial product anyone can buy from train or hobby shops.  This consists of a mesh that one has to pull apart, cut and tie/glue up to the wall.  I found this product to be time consuming, but with a bit of patience the end result is great in my opinion.  There are several scales to chose from as well.

The last, but certainly not least approach is with natural products that have been preserved.  This is probably also the cheapest option, but also the one that takes up the most time.  The easiest way is to collect dry plants that look like smaller plants, or from which you can construct other plants from.  For example I made flowers from dried pods of a type of thorn that grows locally.  all I did was paint them up - see the pics below.

In some cases, I left the plants to dry and used them as they were.  I just gave them a coat or two of watered down PVA glue and let them dry out again.
If you decide to use plants that are not dry, you need to preserve them with glycerine.  This is a viscous and gelatinous substance used to make soap with.  Just mix one part glycerine and two parts warm water together and immerse the plants in the solution for about two to three nights.  Then lay them out to dry for a month or two in a dry place.  After which you can paint them up.

Many of the pot plants I built up were made in this way.  As I said, it is not the easiest way, but it is certainly worth the effort.

Once again, that is all for today.  Next week I close this string of articles with some insights on the figures and then I will move on to other projects that I need to complete.

Farewell and good health,



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