Friday, December 25, 2020

2020 Year in Review

In 2020 I started off productive on the modeling front and pretty well kept that pace going forward. Until the pandemic interrupted us all I was regularly attending model club meetings and, fortunately, after they went virtual I was able to attend a few more.

I completed far more than I had expected this year, although not all of the projects I intended to complete were finished. I did pick up two 1st place finishes at monthly model meetings for my Grot Egg Plane and my Star Wars AT-M6. I was also honored to be receive Modeler of the Year for 2020 (a designation determined by points accumulated for various hobby related achievements throughout the year.

I worked on several projects which I have yet to finish. Most notably I've started working on a collection of Hollywood cars. So far in the works are Ghostbusters, Ready Player One, Aliens, and Wayne's World. I also have a Deadpool Bust, the other halves of both my Dark Imperium and Blitz Bowl sets, and countless other Warhammer 40k kits to complete.

That pile of plastic shame aside, here are the models/figures I managed to finish this year:

Grot Egg Plane - January 7th

Colonial Viper - February 4th

AT-M6 - February 4th

Death Guard - April 13th

Stuffed Fables - June 21st




To Boldly Go - November 27th

The Thing - December 10th

H.A.B. Suit - December 15th

I hope that this year was productive for each of you and that you and yours have remained healthy and well during this trying time. I'm optimistic for what 2021 has in store and hope to continue to grow as a modeler and to share that progress with you. What was your hobby progress for 2021, did you check any of the preverbal boxes you set for yourself back in January? I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to drop me a line by e-mail, FB, or in the comments below. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

PJ Mask Needed a Rescue


One morning we woke up to find that the family dog had made short work of Owlette. She didn't stand a chance. Her right hand was severed just above the wrist and her helmet was mangled. 

I used my hobby skills to carefully reattach her hand and set the mend in place against her torso. A lighter helped me to heat the arm until it was soft enough to bend into position.

Next I went about sculpting a sling out of Apoxie Sculpt, and repairing the damage to the helmet using green stuff (not pictured).

Then she was masked off with Silly Putty (this stuff really can't be beat for masking organic shapes), and sprayed down with Vallejo Steel acrylic paint.

Lastly the sling was painted in a tan color to match a traditional triangular sling and she was good to go. PJ Masks to save the day!

Monday, December 21, 2020

3D Printed Mech Suit

I've had my Elegoo Mars Pro for a while now and used it to print numerous things. Miniatures, accessories for gaming, custom mounts for my Ikea cabinet, on and on. But the first thing I printed (aside from the test model) was this H.A.B. Environment Suit in 28mm by Roguish_Charms on Thingiverse.

The model comes with 3 pieces: the pilot, cockpit door, and suit. I only printed the suit and sealed it up. The antenna were very fragile and so I replaced them with steel wire of roughly the same diameter. 

The model was painted with acrylic paints and washes and for the markings I used rub on transfers. The base is a bottle top (which I made no effort to conceal). It was decorated with cork and some flocking, leaves, and moss from my basing supplies.

This was a fun little build which I cranked out in an afternoon just for the sake of painting something.




Monday, December 14, 2020

The Thing

Some time back, at one of the many model shows I've attended I won a The Thing model kit from Toy Biz. It was a Level 1 Snap together kit. I've never been a big fan of the Fantastic 4 or Thing but the model looked like a quick build and a chance to do something a little different so I gave it a go. 


There were few parts and the assembly was quite easy, however, there were significant issues with the seems. I will say that for a snap together kit almost nothing snapped together. There were many clamps involved in getting the pieces to join. Another complaint would be that the rocky texture of the Thing completely fell apart around the seems. I most of my time working on marrying up the textures and in the end I think I could have kept working at it a bit longer. Ultimately what I didn't achieve in texture I tried to imply with shading and I think it came out pretty well.

Priming & Pre-Shading

The model was primed in Stynylrez Black, highlighted with Stynylrez Grey at a 90 degree and once more with Stynylrez White from above with special attention paid to protruding surfaces. Some people claim that pre-shading is a waist of time but I think it depends on the model. The key is to ensure that the top coats are light enough to allow your pre-shading to determine the tone, shade, or hue of the color applied. In this case I think it had a very noticeable impact on the final result.

Color, Highlights, and Shading

All colors were Vallejo acrylics sprayed from my iwata Neo. I based the model in a 1:1:1 mix of Orange Red, Golden Brown, and Flow Improver. The shorts were painted in Dark Blue with Army Painter Blue Tone brushed into the shadows and Vallejo DeepSky Blue + Dark Blue for highlights. The belt, eyes, and teeth are Ivory with White highlights. All the shading and highlights of the stone texture are the result of pre-shading with the exception of the crevices which were hand painted with Games Workshop Nulin Oil (that was tedious).





I did not care for the original base or the way it was painted in the box art. It was far to smooth for a destroyed street. To fix this I added texture with Liquatex Resin Sand and a mix of course and fine sand and PVA glue.

The Thing's foot didn't fit flush to the base so I layed down a layer of apoxie sculpt where his foot would make contact, wrapped his foot in plastic wrap and pressed it into the putty. once it cured I applied the same texture to the visible portions of the foot print.

It was all primed black, washed with a thinned Heavy Brown, and again with Umber Wash. Heavy Brown was then dry brushed across the gravely textures. The metal components were dry brushed with Army Painter Gun Metal then washed with multiple rust colors. 

The street sign was airbrushed with  Gun Metal from the top down. The street name plate was masked and airbrushed with light green and an ivory border was brushed on. I made the Lee St (RIP Stan) lettering in Comic Sans and cut it out on my Cricut. Chipping was added and a black wash was applied to the recesses.

In the end I'm pretty happy with how this guy turned out. It might not be the most complicated build or paint scheme ever but I'm happy with what I achieved and I think I was able to capture the old time comic feel better than the box art example.

Friday, November 27, 2020

To Boldly Go

Shortly after purchasing my Elegoo Mars Pro resin 3D printer I set about trying to teach myself how to use Autodesk's Fusion 360. There is a free version allowed for non-commercial work or you can pay a monthly or annual subscription for commercial use. 

I've created a playlist of some of the videos I found most useful in creating this project on my new Youtube channel here:

For my first project I decided on brining my favorite Matt Dixon painting "To Boldly Go" to life. 

Once designed in Fusion 360 I exported the model to Chitubox to be sliced for my printer. A few prints of the smaller parts failed and I had to adjust my supports a couple of times before I was able to produce satisfying results.

Using Matt Dixon's painting as a canvas in Fusion 360 I created several sketches which were extruded into the shapes which comprise the robot and his rocket ship. A surprising amount of 3D information can be determined from a 2D painting.

Still there were details I had to take creative liberty with. The interior of the cockpit for example isn't visible in the painting. I designed some gauges and vents for the dash, a diamond plate tread for the floor, the seat, and the legs and feet of the robot.


I modeled all of this to be printed in several pieces

The antenna was printed as part of the head but proved to be quite delicate and I've had to reattach it at least 4 times. In the above photo the lifting arm is shown in place, it is a separate piece.

I did purchase clear resin for printing the windscreen but ultimately decided on cutting it out of clear plastic packaging. 

I noticed a few issues with the design, such as the tolerances being too tight and some cutaways that were missing. I made the corrections in Fusion 360 and reprinted the model in a much large scale. 


This larger version I packed away for later and proceeded to paint and assemble the smaller version. I began in my usual method of joining subassemblies and painting base colors. These were all quite bright but would be toned down later during the weathering process.

For the base I scaled the original painting on my computer screen until it matched the model in my hand. I then traced the background on a piece of paper which I cut out as a template. Using that, I made the base from stacked plywood and 1/8" MDF which was glued together, coated in wood filler, sanded, and then textured with plaster. 

The name plate was also designed in Fusion 360 and printed with the Elegoo Mars. I printed it in various scales between 30-45mm in height so that I could pick the one I found most appealing. This was my second go at the name plate. In my first attempt I noticed all too late that I had misspelled 'Boldly"! Oops. 

The power cord was made from a bit of wire and the plug was made out of scratch polystyrene tube and sheet. I used the same sheet material to make the power plate on the wall which I changed from UK to NA standard. The base and the model were painted with Army Painter and Vallejo acrylics, weathered separately with acrylic washes, and then the model was glued down to the base. Lastly I placed a few pieces of sand with tweezers and painted them to match.




If I had it to do over again I would change a couple of things. First I wouldn't use metallic paints to paint the robot. No matter how much I tried to tone it down it is still too vivid for my liking. I think the rest of the model could be toned down a tad more too. I might also like to try my hand at making some custom decals. If I do I'll probably just hire out the work but it would be nice to have a set of waterslide decals. Since I already have a second print of this model I guess I'll have the opportunity to set those issues right.