Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Thursday, 24 September 2015
Thursday, 27 August 2015
Monday, 24 August 2015
Thursday, 6 August 2015
Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Talk to most scale modellers, and they'll likely confess to being terrified of painting figures. They love building and painting armour, aircraft, and sports cars. Many even love placing them on dioramas. Suggest to then that their scene will have more life with some figures, and you'll probably get some kind of excuse as to why it won't work.
I've always had an arrogance about me - there's no reason I can't achieve something if I really want to. Doesn't matter what it is. If I'm not naturally talented at it, I can work hard and learn it. Plenty of room in that spare 85% of grey storage upstairs after all!
Turns out there are a few things I just can't do. I suck at car maintenance, and am unable to keep a cool head while shopping for clothes.
What I have managed, though - and it was quite by accident - was to learn more than just the basics of miniature painting.
I have a 1:48 Spitfire in my stash. It's part finished, as it was my contribution to an abandoned office model-off (or group build depending on how competitive you are).
Definitely not out of the box, I upgraded bits to resin and PE, and bought a flight crew. And there it stayed. I tried a couple of figures, but they looked like a lot of attempts I've seen from casual figure painters. Truly, truly awful. Block colours, thick, blotchy faces with no features. No hope, then, but to make the excuses. "I don't do figures. I like 'accurizing' vehicles".
What a load of old bollocks.
My kid turned ten. He discovered 40k. I dug out my old miniatures collection, and we set out to revamp, expand, and learn new things. He liked the game, and I like to paint - so I taught him the basics of painting, and he taught me the basics of hitting on 3s. By the time he quit (he had enough of getting stick at school for being a nerd, and also being fed up of his 40k friends' lack of conversational range), my obsession with miniature detail had really grabbed hold.
I'm not naturally talented with a brush - past a certain level. I practice wet blending and NMM, because it's bloody hard! I've learned OSL and diorama composition, new basing techniques and airbrush methods. Lining, edge highlighting and the rest.
I found that I hadn't built a scale model in about 3 years, but in the meantime my skillset had grown considerably.
OSL on a spaceship? Yes please! It saves on wiring potentially unnecessary lights, when the illusion of light works just as well.
Edge highlights on engine parts? Thank you very much! Makes the dark areas really pop.
Hand blending small transitions? Saves getting the airbrush out and starting all over again.
Conversely, scale modellers have a lot to teach warpainters. Ever heard of dot filtering or bare-metal foil? I'm yet to try dot filtering properly as a weathering technique, but oil stains will look great on the Imperial Guard Chimera I have started.
So here's my point - if you're a scale modeller who is scared of figure painting, pick up a pack of imperial guard and a white dwarf mag (both nice and cheap on eBay) and get stuck in. Take a break from your Hurricane or Sherman and practice your skintones - zombies, vampires and dwarves all have different requirements - and they're all transferable skills. Check the forums, and follow YouTube tutorials. Totally worth it. If you can detail 28mm, you're onto a winner when you're back working in 1:6 scale!
If you're a warpainter, take a break from Orks and Orcs and build a clean sports car, a beat-up 1950s jet, or an Elizabethan ship. Pick up FineScale Modeller magazine. You'll find your skills being pushed to new levels. Source new ways to make the model special, and you'll find inspiration to up the quality of your wargaming pieces.
You never know, you may fall in love with new things you can do...
Friday, 24 July 2015
This month, we're revisiting an old topic - The Stash: Why so many kits?
|A small corner of my garage|
|If you can spot 3 WIPs here, you|
|Aoshima re-released the Halcyon moulds - so these do count...|
The Warhammer stash is, as I mentioned, an entirely different thing. It's a mild obsession, based on my habit of collecting things and needing to complete collections (see here for a cataloguing project for an 'investment' habit I managed to kick years ago). I don't play the game any more- I nearly got the wife into Lord of the Rings, but that was a non-starter. My stepson quit playing a few years ago, to pursue more interesting things like video games and girls. Fair enough, but who will I skirmish with now? More to the point, I'm stuck with armies and armies of part-started, and still-sealed models that are worth only a fraction of what I paid for them. Of course, they might pull in more money once they're all painted to decent standard, so I should keep them for that purpose.
|Those Lock n Locks hold forgotten surprises|
Excuses, eh? We all use them. Maybe it's easier to find BS excuses for our obsessions than to delve into 'real' self-analysis.
Boiled down, I think these things all represent bits of me: my past; my future. Things that a 'Kodak moment' can't always express.
|Predator WIP is not a permanent fixture in front of the wedding pic.|
BTW, if anyone want to come over and help me tidy my garage, I won't mind.
Saturday, 13 June 2015
Sunday, 22 March 2015
There are a few strange arguments in our hobby, aren't there? Rivet-counters love to point out that your antennas are 0.5mm too short for the military force you've chosen to depict, that that *that* model of jerry can wasn't used until 20 years later. While I understand that accuracy is key - if you're making a museum piece or working on a period movie - but really for the rest of us the most important part of the hobby is expression, creativity and fun.
I'm not an active forum member at the minute, and wasn't even aware that there's any question about the use of aftermarket parts. Jon's posed this to us:
"Has the Aftermarket Taken All the Hard Work Out of Modeling?"
If you're only happy building an Airfix kit from the box without adding anything, are you only an assembler, and not a 'true' scale modeller?
If you choose to add resin parts, or photoetched extras to your out-of-the-box plastic kit, are you just an assembler and not a 'true' scale modeller?
How about this: if you use any prefabricated parts at all, you're JUST an assembler. The only truly 'true' scale modellers are those who scratchbuild from the ground up.
We all work at various levels of ability - from the beginner who lacks experience and won't consider anything other than an out-of-the-box build to the ultimate scratchbuilders, who frankly, blow my mind. I think most of us here live somewhere in the myriad in-between levels.
My particular (hopefully ever-increasing) level of ability mixes out-of-the-box models, aftermarket bits, and scratchbuilding techniques to achieve the wondrous works of art you see on this blog. </self deprecating sarcasm>.
Many of my WIPs get stuck for ages because of aftermarket parts or diorama scratchbuilds - you may remember the Alien I finished last year that I originally started a decade before. I didn't have the inspiration or technique needed to realise the end product. What changed? Apart from a desire to finish something for a change, Games Workshop released their technical paint range. This made corrosion and patinas easy to achieve, without having to mix my own grit-washes.
|Love this mess!|
I have another project on the go - a Tamiya 1/48th Citroën Light 16 Traction Avant staff car - which I'm painting to look like my wedding car. I bought a load of resin and photoetch parts to upgrade it.
And I wish I hadn't.
The parts are brilliantly detailed, don't get me wrong, but when I started cutting and grinding plastic away from the original model, I didn't realise quite how accurate I needed to be. Cutting, bending and annealing the PE is an entirely different kettle of fish. Just getting the grille to fit without having to putty-fill the gaps is a talent that I don't have, and a learned skill that will come with time. It's not a scratchbuild, but I am having to employ scratch techniques to fix 'mere assembly' issues that have arisen. I'm not even attempting to fit an open door on this model - cutting the moulded shell to fit a better-looking resin lump scares the hell out of me.
|What a mess!|
My current "I WILL finish soon" project has no aftermarket parts. It's an out-of-the-box mk1 Ford Escort, which I've destroyed. On purpose, of course.
|Recent test fit|
I've melted bits, rusted bits, snapped other bits, and fitted it to a DIY resin base, with a baked tree branch (100˚C for an hour to dry out), chilli flakes and mushrooms made from putty. The car insides haven't been started yet, but will include plenty of scratchbuilt detail - beer cans, newspaper, broken glass etc
So back to the original question: