Category Archives: weathering

AK Interactive’s Still Water- review

 

So. AK Interactive’s Still Water.

This thing.

The AK Interactive webpage has the following to say about it (bold mine):

Still Water is a liquid crystalline product specially designed to reproduce the effect of clear still water on dioramas and vignettes. Still Water is self-leveling and capable of flowing over uneven surfaces; apply thin layers, no more than 3 mm at a time. If depth is desired, build up thin layers. When applied on non-porous surfaces, such as glass, this product can be lifted and cut to desired shape. High quality acrylic product.
This product can be tinted with acrylics offering many possibilities. No toxic

Let’s see. I did not try to eat it, so I can’t comment on toxicity. It does stay crystal clear after hardening, which is great, and according to the description. Let’s see how the other properties function.

Coming out of the bottle it is relatively thick, yet it flows very easily out of the tip; be careful not to flood the surface.

NOTE: my aim was not to recreate a large body of water, such as a stream, river or lake in a diorama setting. That will be the topic of a separate post. I wanted to depict stagnant pools of water, either collected on abandoned vehicles, or puddles on the ground. I took a look at this product through this lens, which obviously colors my perceptions of it, however, the points about its properties are valid in any settings.

 

I took out two dioramas: the STALKER one with the T-62, and the Zrinyi II. I wanted to add water to both, which was the main reason buying this product. The non-toxicity and water solubility was the selling point.

I added small puddles under road wheels, in crevices on the ground, on the surface of the T-62 wreck. The product came out thick -it kept the convex, bulging form of a liquid with very high surface tension; it did not spread easily, even when encouraged with a brush. This made it extremely difficult to apply in thin coats, as the instructions suggested; the product does not spread easy. I thought the self-levelling part comes when it cures.

After hardening, I found that it did not self-level in the was I was expecting it to. The surface was not level in most cases -only where the product was applied in a thick layer.

The importance of surface

The nature of the groundwork was also extremely important: for the Zrinyi I used actual soil/mud hardened with plaster. This surface was torn up by the product, as it shiveled (dried) out, the edges curling upwards, tearing the water product away from the surface.

Not ideal.

The T-62 diorama was done using only Tamiya textured material for ground mixed with pigments; it served as a much better basis for the water effect. The product could not peel off the surface while it was curing. Apparently you need a strong bond between the particles of the groundwork for the product to stick to, otherwise as it cures, it will shrink on its surface, and this will peel off the whole thing.

Lesson one learned.

Self-levelling

How about being self-levelling? (Also a big must.)

Well, not exactly self levelling. When fresh, the product behaves as a liquid with a high surface tension. It does not spread out, as a liquid resin would, but it forms smaller or bigger blobs, droplets, like a somewhat thick soup would. You can help spreading it with a brush, but it has its limits, since it does not “wet” the surface it touches easily (due to the high surface tension).

This is how it looks when fresh and after curing.

 

As the product cures it flattens out, but it also has the tendency to wrinkle, and to follow all the irregularities underneath – so at the end you get an uneven surface. It simply cures onto the surface underneath in an even thickness. Applying multiple layers will not solve this problem: you simply increase the thickness of the product, you do not even the surface out. I wanted to put puddles onto the mud guards and the splash guard (the spillway being blocked by detritus), but as you can see regardless of applying the product in several thin(ish) layers, it refused to form a nice, even surface over the model. The leaves and other surface irregularities show through even after four layers. It looks a bit like water in the process of being frozen…

Weirdly I found bubbles that were present within the cured product, even though there were none when I applied them -or at least none visible. The high surface tension means that if you manage to trap air inside, or worse yet, manage to foam it up, it will not be able to escape. So be warned.

Dilution

OK, so it does not spread well, even when helped with a brush. What happens if you use some water and a brush? (Genius idea, eh?) So apply a generous amount of product on the groundwork, and add some water (about 1/10th of volume). It did make the product easier to spread. It did not foam so easily. But come next day, and…

…this is what happens: it becomes milky. The surface kind of looks like if it was mud saturated with water (which is nice), but the effect is not perfect, and the milky discoloration is very much not welcome. This also underlines the issue of tinting. The manual says you can tint this product with acrylics, but there is a limit of how much you can add.

Mixing with inks/paints/pigments

Since it is water soluble, it is a quite simple matter of mixing inks or water-based paints into the product. I used chestnut ink by citadell, since it was brown -although not exactly mud-brown, as we can see. It is for experimenting, anyhow; I wanted to see what it does when mixed with color -and perhaps salvage the foggy water effect on the Zrinyi diorama. I also applied a few drops onto the base of a space marine figure to see how it looks as a puddle. Without any staining the water effects did not show up very well; it merely looked like if the ground was shinier in patches.

With staining, it still formed an uneven, shiny surface after curing. (The first photo shows how it looks like fresh when applied.) I added three drops of ink – in retrospect it was too much. It might have given a more realistic result had I added only half a drop, instead of creating a chestnut colored slurry.

On the Zrinyi it may not have levelled the surface out, but on the bright side, it did look like fresh -and somewhat weird colored – mud. Success – I guess?

So what happens when I add pigments instead?

Well, it kind of looks as churned-up mud. The chestnut colored mud underneath even gives a slight color modification wherever the new mixture was thinner, giving it an actually quite pleasing looking mud effect. Overall, it looks like water-saturated, churned up mud that would suck you in if you stepped into it. I would call it success, although it was not the effect I was going for. (I wanted big puddles of brown water.)

Special effects

Let’s see if we can make radioactive sludge, lava or something similar out of this thing…

To make radioactive industrial waste, we just add a little bright, light green paint. Applied to the base of a few miniatures, the effect is actually quite nice, both applied thick (into the crevice of the base of the daemonhost), or thin – to the ground next to the boots of our Thousand Sons terminator. As an added effect I also put some more on top stained with a tiny bit of yellow ink. I have to say it is a pretty good effect.

The lava is a different matter. I added red ink to the product, and it formed a somewhat blood-looking pool at the foot of our Rubric Marine… so blood it is.

What happens if you prepare two different colors, and carefully blend them into each other? I can’t show the results, because I placed -rather carelessly- the instructions of the Armory Walker Bulldog I was building into the mix, but placing drops of the two colors next to each other to allow them to mix, resulted in, well, the two liquids mixing together completetly. I was hoping to create nice swirls and whatnot, but the liquid flows easily enough for it to mix completely.

 

Possible ways to use it

Well, small puddles on miniature bases were kind of successful. Without coloring it looks just shiny, somewhat inconspicuous. (It is difficult to see what the intended effect is if the product is not colored.) With some ink mixed in, even with a somewhat unrealistic color, it looks better -not as a puddle of water, but as a puddle of some sort of thick liquid. The issues with self-levelling are not as apparent in small scale.

If the base was suitable it produced a somewhat convincing effect, although it is visibly not level…  You need a flat surface to create large puddles to begin with. (The track-marks on the Zrinyi actually have somewhat convincing puddles.) Creating larger bodies of water were so far not successful, and neither was creating a smooth surface over an uneven base. One thing to note: once the product cures, you should stain the surrounding groundwork with a darker brownish color to represent the wet ground around the water.

You may be more successful applying the product to wet surfaces -although the groundwork, as we have seen- must be very well bonded, so you cannot apply it while the groundwork is still hardening. (It would make it simpler if you could just add the puddles at the same time as you build up the terrain.) As it is, if you pre-wet the surface, it might be possible to spread it more evenly.

Probably in dioramas, where you prepare a hard and even surface specifically for the water, it would work well (in a relatively thin layer) as the surface of a lake – we will see when I get around making a crashed Schwimmwagen diorama I have been planning a while now. For those ad hoc puddles I was trying to create it is less than perfect.

In short: it does not work as the non-water soluble resins do: these resins do not lose their volume during the curing process, and they do tend to float easily, with very little surface tension, which makes them very effective in creating level, smooth surfaces. This product does shrink while curing, and it merely forms an evenly distributed layer over the surface it is applied to- meaning that any irregularities below will show up on the surface. (The resins, on the other hand give off heat while curing, so they can actually melt the plastic if you apply it too thick, plus they are toxic as hell.)

Mixing in pigments, and applying it to an uneven surface will result in a very convincing, extremely wet-looking surface – just make sure you use multiple layers and multiple colors. For fresh mud, it is excellent. For bodies of water -not so much. 

Overall, it will not be the go-to solution for all your water needs, even though the non-toxicitiy and the ease of use makes it sound very attractive. It is absolutely true further experimentations will be required to master this product.

I think as with some other weathering products, the water solubility is its biggest weakness – the surface tension simply does not allow it to spread as easy. I found the liquid resin products (which are not water soluable) give  much better coverage, and they are actually self-levelling –  and as mentioned also highly toxic, and give out noxious fumes. Difficult choices.

Dusting it up -Vallejo wash and AK Interactive pencil

We talked about the issues of gear acquisition… I can’t help myself, apparently. (OK, chalk it up to natural curiousity; it is not as bad as if I bought the entire range of both products on a whim, right?) While I am still trying to finally apply some paint to the Markgraf, I can do smaller projects. (Seriously; getting time to do some airbrushing is impossible… and since smaller projects will end up at the stage where airbrushing is required, it is getting more and more impossible as models pile up on the “to be sprayed” pile.)

So I have Vallejo’s dust wash (which I was playing with before), and I bought an acrylic pencil by AK Interactive, to see how it compares to my “normal” acrylic pencils bought in an art store.

 

 

I have chosen two tanks from my shelf – it is actually quite good to keep working on older models (as I have done previously). This was Cromwell’s T29 and OKB’s UFO tank (Object 279).

What I did was to first apply the dust wash on the fenders and wheels, then adjusted the effect with a wet brush. This I did several times until I got a nice blend. Then I used the pencil (wet the tip, first), deposited some on the tank (only on a small area), then adjusted the effect with water. Sometimes I found it was better to make a “wash” in situ by adding a lot of water; sometimes I just feathered the edges to form a natural-looking dust deposit (on the sides of the fenders on the T29, for example.)

Here are the comparison photos -the before and after shots.

The dust did improve the look of the tank, but I found the Vallejo wash to be more useful in this regard. It made the stark contrast on the lower hull and the fenders much better looking.

The pencil has a very light color, which is not necessarily realistic (it looks like the tank drove through a cement factory), and it does produce tide marks when used with a lot of water (problem with water-based products; the high surface tension drags the pigments on the side), and overall does not cover the area as smooth as an oil paint-based (home made) dust would do. It did make some very nice dust streaks on the vertical surfaces, though.

A little bit browner, darker color might be better for dust, but overall, not bad.

 

 

Well, the photos definitely need some improvement (the new light box does not seem to be very good), for one.

 

Let me know what you think of the results.

Trumpeter 1/72 IS-7

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Well, another tank I would have not known about had it not for World of Tanks.

There it is a top tier Soviet heavy tank; in real life it was, well, a Soviet heavy tank. The last heavy tank, in fact, in service, ever. It is a fairly obscure vehicle, so it was a very welcome surprise seeing it in plastic. (Normally you would expect small companies producing a resin version for a literal arm and leg.)

The Trumpeter kit is simple to assemble, and has pretty good detail. The whole running gear and track assembly comes as one unit, which, I have to say, was not a bad solution. It did make building quick, for sure.

After the Vallejo primer I layered citadell olive green with increasing amount of yellow onto the tank – it produces a pretty nice looking green for the tank.

I did some sponge chipping, a filter with Tamiya transparent yellow, and some blending with oils, a ton of filters, and acrylic pencils for the streaks and dust. The mud was Vallejo’s industrial mud mixed with different pigments. I think the results are not half bad.

Let’s hope Trumpeter does some other esotheric tanks, like the IS-6, T57, ELC-AMX, T-10, AMX-50 in plastic, too. All in all this is a neat little kit, worth picking up. Also, check this build out, too.

Modelcollect 1/72 Waffentrager Ausf. E-100 with 128mm gun

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Modelcollect seems to specialise in two types of Braille scale vehicles: post-war Soviet-Russian wheeled and tracked vehicles, and the increasingly esoteric WWII German what-ifs, paper panzers and artillery (rockets and guns). Some of those were actual plans, like the E series of tanks, but a lot of them are just pure fabrications, like the walker-type tanks, and the different modifications based on the E series. They also make a 1/72 scale P1000 Ratte.

 

The topic of this review is a fictional vehicle, albeit a fictional vehicle from the online game World of Tanks. In the game it was a game-breaking tank destroyer with a four (or six, depending on the gun used) shot autoloader.

Eventually it was removed as it was overpowered as heck, but I was really happy to see it in plastic form. (Never had a chance to play it, but it sure was satisfying catching one in reload…) It is essentially a 12,8 cm Kw.K. 44 L/55 gun mounted on an E-100 chassis in a large, open turret and an autoloader. It is very interesting to see the effect of a massively popular game on the modelling world; I do hope more models will follow. (Amusing Hobby seems to follow a similar pattern; they have issued the same model in 1/35.)

The instructions do have some sort of a history for the type, but as the type itself it is absolutely fictional, it is not something to be taken too seriously.

 

The kit

The box is your typical Modelcollect box, with a nice painting of the tank destroyer on the front. The plastic is good quality, although there is flash around certain parts; especially the drive wheels needed a little cleanup. The detail is OK, and we do get some PE for the engine deck screens. We do not, however, get a metal barrel, which is a shame, especially considering that the massive gun needs to be glued together from two halves; it’s quite an old-school kit in this regards. (I really like Modelcollect’s Russian MTBs; they are true gems with all the PE and metal barrels provided. This model is definitely a bit more of a ‘budget option’ compared to them.)

 

At first glance the part number is quite high, but this is somewhat deceptive. Since the model is made out of several other Modelcollect products, naturally there will be a lot of leftovers after the construction.

 

The assembly is not very difficult; beginners will find no real challenge putting the model together. For some reason the roadwheels require you to glue little plastic rings between the wheels, similar to the 1/35 polycap style wheels, which is somewhat puzzling. (There are two caps fewer included than would be necessary, but they are not actually needed for the running gear’s assembly; the wheels can be glued to the swing arms without them without any problems.)

The large gun-shield is an elaborate piece of plastic; due to the injection moulding process a few moulding lines will need to be sanded off. The bottom part, however does not fit perfectly to the top; it’s not a huge issue, but I definitely needed to fiddle with it.

The tracks are the rubber type vinyl tracks, so installation is simple, although I do prefer the link-and-length option that is provided with other Modelcollect German superheavy tanks. (It is a personal preference, admittedly.)

Since the large gun shield covers quite a lot of visible detail, you will have to do most of the painting before final assembly.

After priming and applying the base coat of dunkelgelb (Mig Ammo), I messed up the free-hand camo, so I decided to give a try to the Mig Ammo washable white… Nobody will know I am covering up a mistake, will they?

After wearing the white down a bit with a wet brush, I started weathering. I wanted to do a really heavily weathered tank… a tank that is going through the longest winter ever – a tank from Westeros. Streaking dirt, mud and everything you can think of… I just piled it on. I used oil paints, mud products and pigments by Mig Ammo and Vallejo, filters of different color (even green – interestingly it gave a depth to the white color), acrylic paints, acrylic and a silver pencil. The results are pretty nice; I now have a weathered, battered veteran on my shelf.

 

 

Pegasus Models 1/144 Nautilus part 3. Painting the squid and the sub

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first part

second part

 

Well, this post should be at least two parts because it covers quite a lot, but I did not have the opportunity to take many photos, so here you go.

The base

Was primed with dark grey Vallejo primer, and then I misted different shades of grey over it from the top down- this leaves nice shadows at the uneven surface. I used a dark brown wash, and the Mig Neutral wash also got some use finally. (It is a lightish grey color and so far I could not figure out where and how I should be using it.)

I dry blended some green and reddish oil paints at patches to give some color to the terrain, representing the different colors of sea vegetation.

The squid

The monster was painted with the same dark grey Vallejo primer as the base first. I was thinking about how to paint the suckers, and I came to a solution: instead of painting individual suckers, I leave the part of the arms dark grey, and crape the paint off the suckers gently with a blade.

Painless, and looks good – a win-win in my book.

Most giant squids I’ve seen (on photos) were red. I started to paint this guy red as well: first gave deep red overcoat to the arms (leaving the side with the suckers grey), making sure that the underlying dark primer shows through. This gave a reddish tint to the beast. This was further glazed by several layers of progressively lighter reds. To make the squid a bit more interesting I used purple on the head section (in glazes), and painted purple and white bands on the arms; they were “blended” using an overcoat of diluted red ink.

The eye was painted white first (leaving the pupil black), but it looked somewhat lifeless, so I added a yellow ring, leaving the inside of the cornea white.

The head was treated similarly, only the hood was painted purple using different shades glazed on top of each other. The edges were highlighted with pink, and then I blended everything together using purple ink diluted. The squid got a layer of gloss varnish, and then I used mica powder mixed with a little varnish to make it look iridescent. The eye and its surrounding area got a bit more of the mica treatement.

The Nautilus

Since the sub looks really steam-punky, I decided on bronze/copper instead of the steel color Verne himself gave to the Nautilus. In his book the ship was a dark steel contraption, but it’s my model, so I call the shots here. Let’s just agree it is not historically accurate, and leave it at that.

The Nautilus was first primed with Vallejo’s black primer for metallic paints (it is a shiny black), and then I applied MRP’s dark bronze. Man, that paint stinks… (I did not notice that while it is an acrylic, it is not water based.) But it did work, unlike their creme color on my Panther. I can wholeheartedy recommend this paint.

Once it dried, I used Vallejo’s gold and bronze on the panels in uneven layers, with the dark bronze showing through. I did not want to paint the whole thing in an uniform shiny metal color, because it would look like a toy like that. The scale effect (and the natural weathering of the metal) would cause the Nautilus look duller, and darker, so this is what I tried to replicate.

As the last layer I misted some copper over certain parts. The aim was to have an uneven, shaded surface everywhere; and this seems to have been accomplished quite nicely.

Detail were pained with AK’s True Metal paints (bronze and gold); they were used as highlights. (I love those paints, by the way. They are very easy to work with, and look pretty good. They do not polish as well as the videos would make you believe, but nothing is perfect I guess.)

The ship was glued to the squid at this stage using two part epoxy. I really wanted to make sure it stays there.

I removed the masks from the windows, and this is where the disappointment strikes: hardly anything can be seen of the interior. The nacelles of the windows distort the view, and the bloody LEDs are not very good at providing a good source of lighting. Obviously I will have to learn some more before the next project about creating ambient lights. The LEDs work more like spotlights, unfortunately. The bridge can’t be seen at all, so the captain’s wheel, and the whole neat little room is completely unecessary to install. Another LED-related issue: the top spotlight was left off for now; the kit version was a solid piece so I could not fit the LED inside, and I could not fashion a suitable replacement. I will look around in the spares box to see if I can find something. For now it will be left like that.

At this stage I started weathering the metal. Since it is a bronze ship, the metal oxide should look nice and green – another reason to choose this color over the dull steel. The top part, which is exposed to the elements when the boat is not submerget got some streaking, too. Since AK Interactive’s latest products, the weatherin pencils, took my fancy, I realized that I have a lot of acrylic pencils in my possession -which are essentially the same thing. I used the black and dark colors for the streaking as a trial.

I was debating what color the plants should be on the deck; I think wood would look great (it gives a little contrast to the metal surface), but I’m still undecided. I might repaint it later.  I used several greens to represent the oxidizied brass both as pin washes and as several layers of glazes applied selectively to specific areas. (Mostly near the edges of panels.)

And basically, this is it.

When I have some time I will fashion a larger lightbox to take some proper photos where the sides don’t show. For now it is finished.

Pegasus Models 1/144 Nautilus part 2. Electronics and the squid

This does sound like the start of a bad joke.

It isn’t. It really is about electronics and the giant squid that will hold the whole thing in place.

Sorry to disappoint.

Anyhow. I finished the interior in the first part, and after a long period of trepidation I did bring out my soldering iron (I bought it two months ago), and using lead free solder, I managed to bang together a few LEDs, a switch and a 9V battery.

I had a bunch of LEDs waiting; I bought a home-made lighting kit for the model, which provided some rudimentary instructions and some good pointers about how to install LEDs into a plastic model, and I also bought a bunch of cheap LEDs on Aliexpress with the resistors already installed.

The top part of the ship had to be cut off to give better access to the bridge (I marked the area with a green marker). The extra PE set provides a bridge, so I wanted to show it off as best as I could. (Not much can be seen through the ports, but at least it’s there. It is smaller the space available in the model, so the installation was not perfect, but again: not much will be seen of it, anyhow. And it will glow green.)

The whole exercise was less painful than I expected; it is not pretty, but it works. (See photos.)

I essentially put all the LEDs going into the body of the model into a parallel circuit, and just put the green LED that goes into the base of the squid in line next to the switch. I do hope all the wires will fit into the hull… I drilled the appropriate holes, and fixed the base of the wires with a glue gun onto the bottom plate of the hull. I ended up only using the LED from the lighting kit for the headlight; the rest were too bright for my taste. (The others are too dim, and quite large, too, but this is a compromise I am willing to accept.)

I used the masks on the observation windows, and found them somewhat lacking… some of them are a tad too big, and some of them are inaccurate in shape. It is the most obvious in the case of the central circular section: as you can see it should be made up by triangular shapes. The problem is that the masks provided are equilateral triangles, and as you can see their sides should be longer than the bases to create something that resembles a framed observsation port, rather than a cut-up pizza with the slices slightly pulled out. I ended up removing these masks, and using masking fluid slightly diluted with water. (The masks on the sides of the central part were somewhat oversized, so I ended up removing them as well.)

Well, at least we got some masks, so there’s that. Some of it was actually quite useful, too.

I also started working on the squid. The arms were relatively easy to determine how to assemble (the slots are tailored for individual tentacles, but it did take some time to work out which one goes where), and I drilled a hole in the base for the green LED.

I will install the LED once I painted the base.

Study in Weathering – the Ganz MÁV 424 Steam Locomotive

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Well, this beauty has been sitting in the station of Tokaj, subject to the elements for longer than I am alive. (It was, for sure, on display in 1985, because I do have some hazy memories of it when I visited as a young child, and I am very sure it has not been repainted since then. And since it is a steam locomotive, I think it is a safe bet it has been there since it was removed from service since the ’60s at least. (You can even check her out on google maps.)

 

So besides of being a great looking beast, it provides us a great example of weathering. Yes, it is a very heated debate exactly how weathered should models be, but as a reference it is a very good one for your Tiger or Sherman, should you want to weather the heck out of it. I talk a lot about weathering and rust, because they do give a visual interest to the models we build, but obviously everyone has their own preference on the extent of these applied to their models.

 

I was in Tokaj for the first time on my own (since my wife is from there usually we go together, but this time I went to help my father-in-law harvest honey, and wife stayed home with our child), so I took the opportunity to crawl all over the engine with my phone. (No camera this time. I went to work…)

Couple of observations.

The paint behaves very different on thinner metal plates vs the thick armor plate of the boiler.

The constant sun turned the top surfaces brown – the rust has surfaced from under the paint.

The streaks are all sorts of colors- even greys and whites.

There’s a lot of grime, dust and algae on the more protective horizontal surfaces.

The protected areas (especially if they were made of thick metal -the undercarriage, for example) are very well preserved.

Somebody should really paint this thing over in order to save it from decay. Maybe we should start a collection or something. Rail enthusiasts – unite!

Study in rust

Conan Doyle had the Study in scarlet, Gaiman had the Study in emerald, I only managed this humble study in rust.

There were several posts featured on rust on this blog. I focused on mainly different techniques to simulate rust; now here are some photos I took over the years as references.

It’s worth looking over how thin and thick metal rusts, how something that was left outside without being disturbed gets dirty, rusty and gets colonized by vegetation, and how objects that are constantly being used outside for a prolonged period look like in contrast. Also worth looking at fading effects by the sun on metal and plastic surfaces, and how leftover grease and oil looks like on rusting metal parts.

It’s a kind of reference library, for myself mainly. (I’m collecting all the relevant photos into one place.) May be useful for others, too.

Of course we can talk about how real tanks never got to this stage: they were either knocked out, or were constantly under maintenance; however this is a philosopical discussion. As modellers we try to tell a story with the models we build (or not); and the overdone weathering is one way to do it. Alternatively others might do it because it looks cool. Regardless if we try to stick to the reality, models would look much more boring, so that is one very good reason to add wear and tear.

Pegasus Models 1/144 Nautilus part 1. Interior

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Well, while the Panthers are being built, and the baby is growing, I do, of course, have plenty of time for a new kit. Obviuosly.

 

I am not sure what really made me buy it; once I happened to stumble upon a photo of the model I just had to have it. The interior (of which I do have a fetish for), the steam-punk look, the LEDs (which need to be added as an aftermarket), and the giant squid are all very attractive on this model. Not to mention my dearest found it very cool, too, and since she is very understanding about my hobbies, if she likes a model, I will build it. So I hunted it down on Ebay (it was relatively cheap and came with the ParaGraphix PE set), and started to build it. I mean, just look at this thing.

The model would look good out of the box, but the PE definitely makes it shine. (Not to mention the LEDs which actually make the model shine.) The PE provides chairs, tables, railings, ceiling tiles, ceiling beams, and an entire extra interior compartment (wheelhouse); all in all, they are a tremendous addition to an already great model.

The LEDs came from an aftermarket set for this model created by a fellow modeller, who sells them on Ebay.

The main saloon is just, well, cool. The sofas, the book shelves, the organ and the globe add a very Victorian feel to this craft. The PE set provides the captain’s bridge/wheelhouse as well, which is originally not included in the model; for this you will have to cut a few holes into the plastic parts. (Last photo, shaded green.) It remains to be seen how it will be installed; right now I’m not sure.

 

I used Citadell paints to do the details (books, wooden desk, etc.), and AK Interactive’s True Metal paints to do the walls, ceiling and floor. I thought a submarine most likely has bare metal walls, and I opted for brass. I did some subtle weathering using oils -washes and streaks- but did not want to go overboard; after all, this is Captain Nemo’s sub, and it is well maintained, not a wreck. I applied the paint with drybrushing – this way I left the underlying Vallejo primer show. (I am worried that if the surface is overly shiny, it would look unrealistic. I am especially worried about how I will deal with the exterior. I know, Verne made the Nautilus a steel boat, but I prefer the brass/copper/bronze look. I might just mist the paints over the primer. (The scale effect will make the metal look less shiny – after all, it is as if you were looking at it from a distance.)

I guess I will cross that river when I get to it.

Now it is time to learn soldering… (Translation: the project halted indefinitely.)

Let’s talk about rust

Take a look at these photos

A manhole cover which as been in place for over thirty years (at least), a green metal door exposed to the elements for 19 years, and a skip that has been banged around for at least two decades.

The point is: they are rusty and faded- something we like to represent on our vehicles. However, real life is not as interesting as the models we build.

When you look at a tank, or a truck, you will very rarely find chipping paint, and rust and rust streaks in the degree we depict it on the models… even derelict vehicles kept outside for decades don’t tend to accumulate this much weathering.

Except for the US tank collection in Maryland… The fact that it was left outside to literally rust away is pretty sad; but the point still stands: they -and similarly abandoned vehicles around the world- are the only tanks I’ve seen with comparable level of rusting we build our tanks with. (The last photo of the BMPs were taken in the Exclusion Zone in Chernobyl – and the amount of rusting since 1986 is not exactly massive, either.)

So the fact is we overweather our models. (I’m not going to put in examples from other, better builders, since it is a contentious area about model building, and I do not wish to fan the flames further with posts that can be seen as picking on others.) You can find plenty of rust on this blog.

There are several reasons for this. One is that combat vehicles rarely lasted more than a couple of years in wars- if they were lucky. That means Panzers, T-34s, and Shermans tended not to have the time to seriously rust, even if they were not maintained. Which they were. Not to mention the whole war lasted 6 years altogether, which also limits the time massive armor plates had to rust, even if a tank managed to get through the war from day 1.

In peacetime, even older equipment is meticulously maintained. Maintenance was an important part of combat troops as well, by the way; you really did not want to have fuel stains, rust, dust and other environmental damage affect your vehicle’s survivability; not to mention your superiors would not look at you kindly if you let your standards drop.

The point is: if you weathered your tanks and other vehicles the way they actually looked like, they’d look quite boring, and well, unrealistic… I think we add the weathering as a way to depict metal, wood and canvas, as a representation of the real thing, and not as an imitation of the real thing. (This is why I don’t like figures that much added to vehicles. A model of a Panther is merely a symbol of what a Panther is.) By overdoing it, we convince our brain that what we see is a solid metal object that has been through heavy use, it tells a story. This way we do not just see just a piece of plastic, even though the real thing has never looked battered, run down like that.

 

 

PS: Since I have now a little, eight week old human living with us, my hobby time has seriously been reduced to one or two hours a week. (If I’m lucky.) Posts will be rarer from now on I think.