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.

Games Workshop – Chaos Space Marine Aspiring Champion

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I love the meanace radiating from his pose. I do not necessarily like the way he turned out.

Let’s face it: miniature painting is also something you have to learn just as scale model building, painting and weathering. Not to mention I still can’t nail down how to paint red. Well, I guess this will be the next big step -after having painted a lot of these guys, I finally need to learn how to do it ‘properly’. The issue was so far that minis were a ‘distraction’ so far between larger armor projects; something to do when you really got fed up with removing ejector pin marks from two hundred track links, and not something I did as my primary interest. I’m pretty OK about how my Death Guard minis have turned out, and some of my nonDeath Guards ones, but I still feel there’s a gulf of difference between my minis and tanks with regards to quality.

 

Since I have quite a few of these figures waiting to be finished, I guess there will be plenty of room for improvement.

The “correct” colors

I keep seeing discussions on different scale model related groups on facebook, and on forums about the correct colors and hues of models.

Sometimes there are real vicious arguments about which paint brand is the closest to the “real” color, see a lot of discouraging comments about specific models about how inaccurate their specific version of Russian green, chocolate brown or whatever.

You can also buy really nicely priced paint sets from different manufacturers claiming authenticity, promising you that by buying the specific set for the specific vehicle your model will be accurate. (And making you spend money on the 50th shade of green paint you will have in your paint collection.)

They might indeed be authentic in a way, meaning that their color probably matches very well to a certain vehicle.

But are these the  definite colors? Will using them make your model into some absolute accurate representation of all vehicles of the given type?

Well…

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Probably not.

And yes, you can say, that those Ruskies have no clue about quality control, and just slap any green on their armored vehicles, but then take a look at those precise Germans…

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So yeah. The moral of this is that if it looks good enough, it is probably good enough. You probably do not need to buy fourteen different “Russian green” from ten different paint brands.

Agitating -paint

Well, I am making a slow progress with the Nautilus and with the Panthers I am building, but need some time to take photos and whatnot.

 

Meanwhile a useful tip for the paint jars.

 

As we know, paint settles, and it is quite difficult to properly mix it. So people use agitators.

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No, not this guy. Other type of agitators. Normally stainess steel balls, dropped into the paint jar. You shake the jar, and the ball mixes your paint. (Professional advice: you can buy nail polish shakers for peanuts on aliexpress, so you don’t even have to do it by hand.)

This can be an issue since even stainless steel can actually rust in acrylic paints -it happened to me before. (I guess it is a matter of how good the steel is.) Regardless I found a solution: lava beads.

 

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They come in different sizes, they are tough, they do not flake, splinter or rust. The perfect solution for agitating your paint.

 

(Another great option is using an electric milk frother.)

Atrocity at Istvaan III

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Not a model, but what the heck. I played around with acrylic pencils and pastels since I wanted to try them for weathering, anyhow. (AK Interactive is issuing a new line of acrylic pencils, and I realized I actually have a full set from an art store, but never thought of using it for modelling. Go figure.) The paper is special paper for watercolor painting.

The scene is one of my favorite from the early Horus Heresy books (I think it’s from the “Flight of the Einstein”): after realizing they have been betrayed, a dreadnought is calmly waiting for the virus bombs to hit.

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!

Storing and transporting scale models

 

There was one post before about how I transported my models from the US to Hungary and then the UK (and then back to Hungary).

Here’s the second option: Christmas ornament boxes. I bought this in Florida, but I’m sure there are similar ones available online. It has three trays, and they can be adjusted to fit the models you want to protect. Some of the dividers can be cut to shape, so that they hold the models down when slotted in place. Throw in some packing peanuts and you are golden- all safe and protected.
(The box has been sitting in the attic for years, and only now had I had the time to get it. As soon as I have a little more time I will unpack the models, and feature them on the blog.)

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.)

Scale model building – amateur style