Category Archives: weathering

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.

Making rust p.5. Rust colored pigments/actual rust

I’ve done a couple of experiments/tutorials on how to do rust, and left the easiest to the last: you can use rust you can buy as pigments.

Previous parts:

Part 1 Life color’s liquid rust
Part 2 using rust
Part 3 the sponge method

Rust -iron oxide- comes in different colors; in fact it is used very widely as cheap pigments in a lot of applications from food coloring to arts and makeup.

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You can buy these pigments (essentially powdered iron oxide) online. They can be mixed with each other, or with other pigments; they can be added to paints, and, if you’re brave enough, they can be airbrushed mixed with some sort of carrier or varnish/paint. If you mix them with paint or varnish, they will obviously stick to the surface; if you only mix them with a carrier (like white spirit, alcohol, even water) nothing will hold them onto the surface, so they will be quite easy to remove.

The method is simple: once you primed the surface with a dark primer (preference), you dab your brush into clear, matte varnish, dab it onto a paper towel to remove the excess, dab the brush into the iron oxide powder, dab the whole thing into a paper towel again, and now you have a brush loaded with a varnish/rust mixture you can use to gently deposit onto the model. You need to do it in several layers, and slowly build up the effect you are going for. You should start with the darker rust colors, and only use the bright reds/yellows sparingly; just check photos of rusted equipment for reference. (Come to think of it, you can go the other way around as well; just keep in mind that the bright rust colors tend to be somewhat sparse, limited to thin metals, edges and protrusions.) The surface you get this way will be suitable for depicting a very, very rusty metal surface: the metal plates of a derelict, burned-out vehicle, for example. (If you are going for mild, light rust, painting is your best bet.) Obviously there is always going to be a combination of rust effects that will bring you the best, more realistic results.

These pigments can be used suspended in white spirit or other carrier solutions as washes as well; they form a thin film on matte surfaces behaving more like filters, and they run into crevices on glossy surfaces behaving like traditional washes.

The colors can be further modulated using oil washes and paints; a dark wash will obviously darken the overall hues, and tie the different rust colors together.

The T-62 is a good example of the results.

W-model: Pantsir-S1 Tracked part 2.

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First part 

The painting was reasonably simple. Since there is no painting guide nor decals provided I simply chose an attractive scheme, and used a couple of leftover Modelcollect decals.

The priming was done with Vallejo’s German grey primer; I really like this product as it provides a really good surface for the paint, it can be sprayed without diluting it, and it sticks to any surface. I sprayed a Tamiya buff with some green mixed in as a base, and applied a somewhat darker green free-hand with an airbrush (I used the base coat to lighten Tamiya’s Russian Green). The demarcation lines between the colors were painted on using a very dark grey (representing black) with a brush. I also painted the tracks and the rubber rims of the roadwheels by hand.

Using a 00 brush and Vallejo’s German Black Brown I painted discreet chips and scratches on the tank. I tried not to go overboard; in this scale no chips would be visible, but they do give some visual interest to the model. I also used sponge chipping on larger surfaces.

I added a couple of ochre and brown filters to tie the colors together a bit, dark pin washes, and some dust and mud using pigments. (I did not want to go overboard with the weathering.)

Overall it has been a really nice build, and the model is a pretty unique. It certainly stands out of all the Braille-scale tanks in my collection. Apart from the minor issues I mentioned it should be an easy build for everyone who has a little experience with resin already. The only real downside of this model -as with most resin models – is the price; 52 EURs are pretty steep for a 1/72 kit. This is, unfortunately, the cost of building rare and unique vehicles.

 

1/35 Takom Turtle

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This weird looking vehicle got into my collection because I took my wife to the local hobby shop, and this was the only vehicle she liked. It has a relatively low part count, but it’s surprisingly large: it’s bigger than a panzer IV… (I expected it to be only slightly bigger than a car. Nevertheless I’d love to do my commute in this thing; London drivers are horrendous.)

This is my second Takom model (the first being the Ratte). The detail is OK, but not very subtle (I found the panel lines a bit too deep), and the model lacks any interior details. The hatches cannot be opened, either, so scratch-building (or using aftermarket sets if there ever will be one later) is going to be even more difficult. The quality of plastic, the presentation, the instructions are very, very professional. There are rubber tires provided, but they are quite unnecessary; plastic would be perfectly fine (with the appropriate sag moulded on, of course.) The fit is, again, OK but not perfect; the joint between the bottom and top of the hull needs some filling. (The bump on the top is assembled using four quadrant, and it’s a bit of a shaky exercise.) The model is very easy to build: it took about 2 hours to have it ready to paint.

I wanted to go all-out with the painting and weathering. First, I always wanted to try the complex camo with the black dividing line; and I wanted to do some experimenting with scratches, chips and dust. (Since it’s a city-car, only a little mud is used.) If you want to, you can go with the whole “captured vehicle in German service” cliche, but that version looks rather bland and grey.

 

The model was primed, and then the acrylic primer sealed with Testors Dulcote (as I wanted to experiment with some windex-chipping) later. The multiple colors were sprayed on in light patches. Although it’s an unconventional way to paint I painted individual patches, applied silly putty, added another set of patches with a different color, another application of silly putty, and so on and so forth. I did not want to paint the entire model with all the colors- it would have added too many paint layers. When doing scratches with windex I did not want to work through six individual layers of paint to the primer.

The results are actually pretty good; I was pleasantly surprised when I removed the silly putty.

 

The dividing lines were painted on using a black sharpie.

A few layers of light brown and ochre filters were added, and after a couple of days of drying I covered the model with Future in preparation for the washes. This is when I applied the decals, and sealed them with a further layer of Future.

I used Mig’s dark wash- applying it with a thin brush. It looked bad (as it always does), but I managed to wait an hour or so before attacking the wash. The excess was wiped away with a wet, flat brush in several steps (I kept adjusting it days after the application of the wash). I moved the brush in downwards motions; the wash created faint streaks which I kept adjusting. It also served as a sort of filter as well.

This is the point where I realized that the layers of Future will interfere with the windex-chipping technique… so I added paint chips using a brush and a sponge.

The next step was to use some oil dot filters. I put a few blobs of different shades of brown, yellow, blue and green oil paints onto a small piece of cardboard. In about an hour or so the linseed oil seeped out into the paper; this is important if you want flat finish. I added random dots on the surface, and then blended, removed them using a wet brush with downward motion. This produced very faint streaks, and modulated the base color somewhat. Yellows, greens, etc will give a slightly different tint to the underlying color. I focused the darker browns towards the bottom of the chassis. Since I was there I used a light rust color to form streaks: I prepared a dilute wash using a rust colored oil paint, and applied it with a faint brush. The excess was removed with a flat brush as usual forming faint streaks. I added this mixture around larger chips as well, and let it dry. If the effect was too strong, I adjusted it with a wet brush.

 

I left the model dry for a week, and used a similar technique to further add mud and dust onto the vehicle: I added small dust/mud colored paint on certain areas, and blended them in using a dry brush. It’s important that you have to use very small amount of paint.

I layered everything: on top of the thin, translucent dust/mud I added thicker pigments (mixture of flat varnish and pigment) of different colors; concentrating on the lower parts, of course. The very last couple of layers were splashes of different earth colors using a very stiff brush and a toothpick.

 

The next steps were more pronounced streaks using AK’s streaking products, and after that dried I sealed the whole model with a flat varnish. The inside of the headlights were painted using  liquid chrome by Molotov (great pens).

At this point my wife expressed her displeasure that the previously colorful, clean car became dirty and muddied up, so I decided to stop here.

 

 

 

DML’s Sd.Kfz. 251/2 Ausf. C mit Wurfrahmen 40 – 3-in-1 kit – finishing at last

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Another ghost from the past. I was really into the 251 series; the angular form of the halftrack looks pretty futuristic and the endless modifications make it a very interesting platform to model. For two or three models; after it does get a bit boring to assemble the same base over and over again. This was one of the reason I’ve switched to 1/72 scale when building these vehicles; the other was that I moved to the UK into a student housing, and had no access to my compressor and airbrush. The results of my formative years in grad school were posted in three posts (first, second, third).

However, this was the very first Sd.Kfz 251 I’ve built. It was still back in Florida, and since I really liked how the Bellowing Cow looked like, I wanted to start with it. There were several vehicles the Wurfrahmen rockets were launched from; the 251 was the most prominent one. (I’ve built two others: a captured French tank and a small tankette.)

Most of the build was finished in Florida; however life interfered with my plans, and I had to pack up and move. The model went into a box, and stayed there for almost a decade. Only lately did I unpack it, brought it to the UK with me, and finally finished it for good.

This DML kit has been an great experience to build. I can wholeheartedly recommend these Dragon kits to anyone. I merely needed to finish the paintwork, attach the rocket launching frames and other small parts, and weather the whole thing; a couple of hours max.

I used silly putty to mask off the dunkelgelb areas, and applied green and brown lightened with the base color in succession; I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the results. I applied streaking, filters and washes as usual, and then went on adding various layers of dust and mud. The interior also received a lot of dust, and I added small pieces of equipment to make it look more lived in. Unfortunately back then I did not add the rifles into the racks, so they remained empty.

And with this I declare this halftrack done. I was itching to finish it for years now, and I can finally put it in a display case; the experience was the polar opposite of what I had with the Sd.Kfz250 Neu I’m also finishing. One more down; two more to go. Time is pressing; apparently another cross-continent move is in the plans in the near future.