Saturday, December 3, 2016

WIP: Bandai 1/12 BB-8

This model will to the same client as the R2-D2 I've been working on. The base is thick pieces of plasticard cut into "plates" and painted to resemble the floor of the Millennium Falcon. I added the red area under the photo etch grating for a little splash of color.

Monday, September 19, 2016

WIP: Star Wars Armada Fleet

After the completion of the the Super Star Destroyer commission, the client asked me to paint the rest of his fleet to match. The fleet consists of two Gozanti-class cruisers, one Gladiator-class Star Destroyer, one Interdictor-class Star Destroyer, one Victory-class Star Destroyer, and one Imperial-class Star Destroyer.

Given their smaller size, I decided against using the Tamiya aerosol cans I used in the SSD build and instead went with standard Tamiya paint. Luckily for me, I chose relatively easily matched sprays when painting the SSD; Gunship Grey (TS-48) and Haze Grey (TS-32).
Tamiya Dark Grey (XF-24) is a pretty close match to the Gunship Grey so I decided to use that as the color for the dark panels on the ships. I applied it over a black primer coat on the models, leaving some of the black showing through in recesses for shading.
After the Dark Grey dried, I spent a fair amount of time applying tiny pieces of Tamiya masking tape randomly across the surface to give the ship an Aztecing effect. Of course, this isn't true Aztecing, which is a repeatable pattern, but the effect is similar; making the surface appear to be made of of lots of individual panels.
After the grueling task of applying the tape was done, I gave the model a coat of haze grey made by mixing Tamiya RAF Ocean Gray 2 (XF-82) and Mr Color Flat White (62) mixed at a 1:1 ratio. I removed the tape and then gave the model another couple of coats with the haze grey heavily thinned to tone down the dark panels and make everything blend in a little better.

After I do this on the other ships, I'll move on to painting some of the raised details in a lighter grey and applying various washes to bring out some depth in the model.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

WIP: Bandai 1/12 R2-D2

The same client that commissioned Luke's X-wing and Poe's X-wing has also commissioned me to build R2-D2, BB-8, and an A-wing. I was particularly excited for this because I absolutely adore Bandai's 1/12 scale droid kits! Considering I was fresh off my build of R2-KT for my personal collection, I started with the lovable Artoo. I decided to go with a complete paintjob on this model, as opposed to KT, where I left the white parts unpainted. For the blue bits, I used Mr Color Blue (5) lightened with a little Flat White (62). The white was done with my custom mix "X-wing white" that I have laying around from all of those X-wings I've done. The dome and other metallic bits were done with Alclad Aluminum and the cables on the feet were painted with Alclad Copper.
"I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty!"
After I painted and assembled the droid, I went to work on painting all of the included gadgets. There were done primarily with various Alclad and Vallejo Model Air metallics and then given enamel washes.
With the handful of small decals applied to the dome and the lights painted, I moved on to the first pass of weathering using Mig Productions Neutral wash. This was used for the panel lines and crevices and more earth toned enamels will be added for further weathering.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Video Showcase & Build Review: Sith Planet Super Star Destroyer

Because the model was so large and impossible to photograph with normal setup, I decided to make a short video tour of the model sitting on my kitchen table shortly before I delivered to my client. I think it was able to capture the scale of this beast quite well and the background music definitely helps!
The rest of the fleet will match the SSD!
Here she is with the rest of the fleet! I still have a few more pictures on my camera's memory stick that I need to import and process, but this picture was too cool not to share immediately. When I get a chance to upload some more pictures, I will update this post. In the meantime, follow me after the break for a quick build review with more WIP shots!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sith Planet Super Star Destroyer, Part 1

I've started work on this huge Sith Planet Super Star Destroyer that will be used for games of Star Wars Armada at this year's NOVA Open gaming convention. This is a resin garage kit and it's pretty awesome, but there was significant prep work involved in assembling this behemoth. The worst part was the leading edge trim on the top hull piece; lots of areas were paper thin or just broken off. To fix them, I wound up running .015x.25" strip styrene around all of the leading edges and then filled the voids with Milliput so they could be sanded smooth. There are tons of little air bubbles that I may or may not go out of my way to fill, but I'll be filling the particularly bad ones. I will also be building a base made of out MDF so firing arcs can be drawn on it for use in the game.
This thing is massive!
Front view
First coat of primer on the ventral side

Friday, July 8, 2016

Studio Update: Dog Days of Summer

Summer in Northern Virginia is finally in full swing! We have temperatures in the 90's and a health dose of humidity to boot. I have a couple of commission projects to finish and then I can start dedicating myself to building some of the many, many models in my personal stash.

The NoVA IPMS monthly meeting for July was held on the 6th and I brought along three models to show off and enter into the contest. I brought R2-KT, Luke's X-wing, and Poe's X-wing. KT managed to snag second place in the "Figures" category and Luke's X-wing took home "Best of Show," making it the second model I've entered to do so!
I think she was worthy of better than second!
Luke was popular at the meeting!
Working on R2-KT was a blast through and through. For one, the subject matter is extremely touching and a stellar example of the positives that come from fandom. All too often we see stories that portray our various fandom cultures in a negative light so to work on something that unifies us nerds is a welcome change of pace. The other benefit was experimenting with enamels, which I have always been a little apprehensive about. After finding that I seem to have a firm grasp on using enamels for weathering effects, I used some AK Interactive Streaking Grime to add some more weathering to the wonderful little BB-8 model I completed earlier this year. The filming prop has a lot of weathering along the orange panels on his "body" and I wasn't exactly sure how to go about recreating that on the model. After talking to another modeler and working on R2-KT, I found that stippling on enamel washes and then feathering them out is the best way to go about it. I'm pretty please with how it turned out and when I have time I'll take some updated pictures of the little guy.
On the commission front, I have two projects in my queue that I need to finish. One is a gigantic resin Super Star Destroyer for a friend of mine that will be used in Star Wars Armada games. I'm currently assembling the behemoth and will hope to get some paint on her in the next couple of weeks. I have another in progress commission for a friend of mine that has to be kept secret because it's gift. It's been challenging so far and I'm having to learn a lot as I go along (it's a subject and scale I'm not very familiar with) but I'm confident that the final product will be among my best work!
I'm really looking forward to having these last commission completed so I can put all of my time and focus into completing personal projects. I have decided to scale back the amount of commission work I do because my schedule just isn't supporting it. I enjoy commission work for the challenge and because it essentially pays for my modeling hobby, but I would like to build and display things for myself for a change! My model backlog is enormous and seems to be growing every month. Among other things, I have a stack of probably twenty Bandai Star Wars models alone that I would really like to get cracking on. However, at the top of my to-do list is Hasegawa's 1/48 scale Voyager space probe. Space exploration has always fascinated me (and it's a big part of why I love science fiction) and I've wanted to build this model for a number of years. I added it to my collection a year ago and I recently acquired the fantastic Eduard photo etch set for it so I look forward to adding it my display cabinet in the months to come.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Showcase: Poe Dameron's Black One (Bandai 1/72)

Poe Dameron's Black One T-70 X-wing, completed in Tamiya, Vallejo, and Secret Weapon Miniatures acrylics; Alclad lacquers; 502 Abteilung oils; and Tamiya weathering pastels. Custom wooden base.