Monday, July 28, 2014

WW2 Diorama - Part 3

Hi everyone,

In this post I start to work on the miniatures and the base.  Since the base is divided into two elevations, I decided to work on them separately after finishing the miniatures that will go on that part of the base.

So the first step was to assemble the miniatures according to the needs of the diorama and what I envisioned the scene to be.

The next step was painting them.  Now for the priming stage and the base coat stage, I did everything in one go in order to save time.

When it came to painting them up I did them separately.   The first two figures I did were the ones that are going to be on and beside the tank.  I painted them up in the basic colours then gave them a brown wash to bring out the details and unify the colour scheme.

Next I started working on the base elevation. I added a fence from a Italieri kit and built a stone wall from tiny stones.  I found that I had to score the fence in order to get a more realistic wood texture.  This can easily be done with a hobby knife or scriber.


At this point I painted the fence and stone wall up and added some ivy to the fence.  The ivy is photo-etched.

After I finished painting up the figures, I test-fitted them to the tank and scene in order to fine tune their position.

Now that I decided where everything went, I stuck paperclip rods into the areas where the models will go and started to work on the mud and vegetation.   The mud was simply a mixture of soil, paint, and sand.  The water effects were created with Still Water and acrylic paint.

As for the vegetation, it is a mix of several products which I will post on at a later time.  It is enough to say that at this stage I only have done the basic vegetation.  I will add details like flowers and various plants from photo-etched and laser cuts plants from various manufacturers.

The diorama is progressing well, especially with the limited time on my hands, but I am confident that I will finish this diorama and cross off another overdue project from my resolutions list.

Until next time, farewell and good health as always,



Saturday, July 19, 2014

WW2 Diorama - Part 2

Hi everyone,

Today I continue talking about my new and over due WW2 project in 1/72 scale.  Today, I present the painted King Tiger tank. Before I start, I would like to say that I started this piece in 1/72 scale because I thought in would be easier and cheaper - at test run so to speak.  I was right on the cheaper side of things, but I could not have been more wrong on the painting side.

The truth is that it is quite harder to render a realistic paint job at this scale, than it is at 1/48 or 1/35.  I found myself thinking and measuring and calculating time and again before executing anything in paint or pigment.  A hundred mistakes after I managed to finish the tank.

Well enough prattle, let's get down to business.  The first item on my to do list was to give the tank a good primer and to check for any faults.  I did find some casting errors around the tank which I filled with putty and sanded down.
Afterward, I gave the tank another coat of primer and sanded down lightly.  When I was satisfied I rinsed it under running water and let it dry for the next stage.
After the grey primer, I primed the under-parts with a black primer and the top parts with a white primer to help with the modulation.  Like most late war German tanks, the base coat is Dunkelgelb or dark yellow, and applying this coat was the next step.

To further increase the range of modulation, I added white to the Dunkelgelb, and highlighted the top areas of the body and turret with 2 gradations.
Now for the interesting part - the camouflage pattern.  I was a bit torn here as there are so many to choose from.  Finally I settled for a hard edged pattern since it would be easier to reproduce at this scale.  The first layer of the camouflage was olive green.  I masked the tank with white tack and sprayed the base green, including the highlighted colour as well.

After the green I did the same with the red brown.  With the second step you have to be careful with placing the white tack in order to fit both layers of camouflage coherently. 
The last step is the weathering.  It is also the hardest step as it will make or break the diorama.  The name of the diorama is Germans at Rest, so I had to give the impression that the tank is at rest for some time.  The idea was to have mud at different levels of dryness and the application is not as easy as you might think.  The saying less is more certainly fits as an axiom here, but it is easy to get ahead of yourself and overdo it.

Well the tank is now finished and I hope you like it.  The next step is to paint up the first two Germans that will be accompanying the tank on the elevated part of the diorama.  When these two are done I can start with the ground work on the upper part.  But that is for next time.

Until then farewell and good health as always,


Saturday, July 12, 2014

WW2 Diorama - Part 1

Hi everyone,

Today I taken down another piece from the Shelf of Shame.  This is the WW2 diorama at 1/72 scale I had started several years ago.  I always was interested in this period but never got around to it.  When I did manage to start this diorama, I only built the tank and then something else caught my eye - same old story with me!

I eventually rekindled my interest in this diorama when I started getting into Flames of War - to which I am now hooked.  I remember I wanted to start with something easy and cheap before spending money on the bigger military kits, so I opted for this scale.

To be honest, this scale does not really appeal to me as a modelling project - I prefer the 1/48 tanks by far.  This is the same scale as DUST and very close to 28/30mm scale.  Nonetheless, I am determined to finish this project and cross it off from my resolutions list.

As you can see below, it is a 1/72 King Tiger from Trumpeter. The kit is not super detailed like the Dragon kits at this scale, but neither is it as expensive.  I think it is a good compromise for my first go at this modelling genre.
Below is the completed tank.  It is also were I left off to pursue other shiny things that caught my interest.
The next step then was to plan out the diorama.  I wanted something at rest - without any action.  This is because, at this scale action would create extra complications that I do not want to load on to my schedule.  Besides, this is meant to be an exercise in tank modelling and not in diorama building per-se.

So after I came up with an idea, I started shopping for the appropriate figures.  I was very lucky here as I immediately stumbled upon a set of Germans at rest from Preiser.  These are excellent for what I had in mind.  The poses are casual and relaxed and the sprue is full of accessories, besides the fact that for their scale and material, they are probably the best range out there.
The next step was to build an appropriate base that would comfortably fit the scene I wanted to create. I needed the front of the diorama to show the back of the tank, and the front of the minis.  So I decided to divide the base into two different elevations.  The King Tiger, being the centre piece of the diorama, would get the higher elevation, and the Germans the lower.

After I assembled the Germans and I got the positions right, I continued to work on the base giving it shape and several coats of putty and texture.  The bottom picture gives an idea of how the whole thing will come together when ready.

Well, that is all for now.  See you all again next week for another update on this new/overdue project.

Farewell and good health,


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Minotaurs Vs Lamenters - FINISHED

Hi everyone,

Finally I have finished this long and overdue little vignette, and I am quite happy with the way it turned out.  I have to admit I am more satisfied with myself for putting my act together; that is sitting down and getting the work don3, than I am with the project itself to a certain extent.

I will be making an engraving for this vignette and it will be called:

Mater Lacrimarum
Optera V
Badab War

Mater Lacrimarum is the name of the Lamenter's flag ship that was ambushed and boarded by the Minotaurs and brutally ransacked.  It is what gave me the inspiration for this piece. 

Having said that, let's take a look at the pictures.  After all, I know that is what you all really want to see!

Here is a closer look at the energy effect sparking off the power grille.  I did this with water effects and clear green paint.  I thought that the scene needed something on the left side to balance off the Lamenter to the right.
Well, once again that is all for this week.  Next week I will start posting on my next project.  This is the WW2 diorama in 1/72 scale and is the project that has been languishing the longest on my Shelf of Shame.

Until then farewell and good health,



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