Saturday, 31 December 2016

AMT 1/2500 Cadet Series USS Enterprise NCC 1701 (4)

There is such a thing as getting ahead of yourself, rushing on regardless of the consequences and I fell foul of this attitude with my latest build. I'm normally a figure man, so I suppose most of the problems I have encountered since my last post have been caused by my lack of experience in building vehicles of any description. As I said in my first post on this blog, though, I'm in no way professing to being an expert model maker and instead am charting my adventures and misadventures in the field, and there is nothing like a few setbacks to advance the learning process.
 
Everything had been going swimmingly with my Enterprise build, I had painted some of the extra details, red and grey on the nacelles, copper on the deflector, etc; but then it came time to start applying the decals. As can be seen the first of these (above), the iconic name and registration number on the upper hull, went on fine. However, when it came time to start applying the other transfers to the secondary hull and neck pylon I encountered a major problem, i.e., the raised window details on the plastic and the decals which I supposed would marry to them, did not ! Moreover, you could not fit the decals over them cleanly. After a copious amount of swearing, I had to float the first of the decals off, back onto its backing sheet and leave it there for several days, hoping that it would still be useable when I had sorted the problem out (thankfully, it was). The only way to do that, unfortunately, was to mess up all my good work and spend several frustrating days buffing back the windows on the hulls (the underside of the upper hull also had a few too) and filing back the frayed edges of the remaining paint to make a smooth surface. I spent an entire afternoon doing the latter, but my hard work payed off and after carefully undercoating the now bare plastic with thinned enamel, I resprayed the hull in the pale grey mix described in earlier posts. The result was, I'm pleased to say, pretty good.

 
Buffing back the raised window details.

Ditto

After the respray...

...not too bad

One problem solved, but others were waiting. The removed decal was still good to go after being revived with some Decal Sol, though it did tear and required some reassembly on the model, though this happened with a couple of the decals straight off the backing sheet, so I can't really blame it on the mauling it had undergone. A coat of Decal Set moulded it into shape and the process continued with the other transfers I applied, to the neck pylon and nacelles. I left these to set overnight. Then I encountered problem number two, silvering.

 
Silvering is caused by air getting trapped under a decal as it is applied, giving the area a silvery sheen like fish scales. Apparently (I have since discovered) the best way to prevent this effect is to apply the decal on top of a gloss varnish. Being a figure builder, silvering is a minor problem that is usually solved with a little paint and matt varnish, but that would not do here. However, after painting the decal-led areas with a gloss varnish and then after drying coating the hull with Army Painter Anti-Shine, the problem is not so apparent.
 
A gloss varnish.
Cadet Series USS Enterprise
More decals and Anti-Shine

Cadet Series USS Enterprise

Cadet Series USS Enterprise

So, from something of a breeze to start with, my first USS Enterprise build is becoming a make-do-and-mend project. But, hopefully when I've finished the rest of the decals and done some tidying up the finished result won't look too shabby.

Friday, 25 November 2016

AMT 1/2500 Cadet Series USS Enterprise NCC 1701 (3)

Just a quick post to report on the steady progress I'm making on my small model of the Enterprise. Several days at work have slowed things down after the initial build and undercoating. Since then I have fished out my airbrush and given the model its top coat of a very pale grey. For years I had been under the impression that the Enterprise was white and earlier attempts at building the ship had gone along with this idea, so it's hardly any wonder that I was never fully satisfied with my results.
 
After airbrushing.

The lighter colour has revealed a few minor flaws, but I may
 just leave them be.
 
 
The article on Steve Neil's USS Enterprise in May's Fine Scale Modeller magazine gave the mix he used. This was two parts white to one part Model Master 4762. Failing that, online converters indicated that Vallejo Model Colour 70.989 or Humbrol 127 were equivalents. So a trip down to the model shop saw me buying the Model Colour, which was already a seriously pale grey and I was left wondering what, if anything, of the original colour I would end up with after mixing it with white. As events showed, though, things turned out okay.
 
Mixing the colours in a plastic shot glass I tipped what seemed like thin white paint into my airbrush and got to work on the model. Fifteen minutes later I had what looked like a slightly off white Enterprise, but after half an hour or so this had dried to a slightly darker and very subtle mist grey. Since then I have shaded some of the recesses with the pale grey wash I've referred to in other posts and painted the round Bussard collectors at the front of the engine nacelles a nice bright red.
 
A final day at work tomorrow will hold me back again, but after that I am off for three days and hope to get most if not all of the remaining work done in that time.
 
A little shading...

...and painting. Note the pure white top to the bridge,
which shows the subtle grey off nicely.
 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

AMT 1/2500 Cadet Series USS Enterprise NCC 1701 (2)

Following on from my last post the small model of the starship Enterprise has been assembled and undercoated, with a little remodelling in the process. After undercoating I noticed a few flaws where I had not adequately filled or filed the seams and joins back sufficiently, so it was out with my files and sanding boards, my Plasto and Green Stuff, to set the world to rights. One of the engine nacelles needed a bit of work, and I noticed that the edge of the upper saucer was not tapered downwards along the edge as it was on the original ship. So, after filing the undercoat back, I filled in a few flaws with Plasto, then running a thin strip of Green Stuff along the saucer's upper edge I bevelled the putty using a toothpick. It seems to have worked quite well as the final undercoated model shows.
 
A flipped image showing all the parts together.
 
Undercoated with Humbrol Matt Grey spray paint. Normally
I paint on undercoat, but I wanted to avoid brush strokes on
such a small scale model. Ignore the German soldier, that's
a separate project.

I decided to attach the engines before under coating to avoid
complications as it was a tight fit onto the pylons.


Cleaning the saucer edge prior to bevelling it. The model
is now fully assembled.

The filled section between the pylons came out pretty good.

Adding Plasto to smooth the saucer's edge.

Bevelling the edge with Green Stuff.

More undercoat applied. It looks okay.
 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

AMT 1/2500 Cadet Series USS Enterprise NCC 1701 (1)

Last weekend I again took in the two-day IPMS Scale Model World expo at Telford's International Centre and came away with a reasonable haul for my troubles. I mostly went for figures, I have an Imperial Gallery 95th Rifles figure and Mitches' Military Models' 17th Lancer officer that look like fun projects, while the US infantrymen at rest look very interesting. As can be seen, I also plumped for one of AMT's Star Trek cadet series, 1/2500 scale miniature versions of the starships of the ever expanding Trekkieverse, or whatever it's called. There are three ships in this kit the original TV ship – Kirk, Spock, McCoy, et al – the elegant refit version from the early films (of course, a dead ringer for the 1701-A from The Voyage Home onwards), and the big, beefy Excelsior-class USS Enterpise 1701-B. There are also separate kits for Enterprises C, D and E and numerous other craft, be they Federation, or what have you. If these builds come out okay then I may take on some of the others, but we'll see.
 
I was inspired to buy the kit having read the May 2016 edition of Fine Scale Modeller magazine that featured (unusually) two USS Enterprise builds that whetted my appetite. The grandest of these was Steve Neill's astonishing large scratch-build of the original Enterprise. His excellent work can be seen here: http://www.sneillfx.net/page7. What got my attention in both magazine articles was not only the mouth watering inspiration they offered, but such eminently useful info as to what colour the model should be and the paints to be used. More on that later.

My cadet build was much less grandiose, but quite satisfying in its own way and it has been nice to see the iconic little vessel start to take shape over a couple of evenings. The cadet series are snap together kits that don't need glue if you don't want to, which suggests it was designed with kids in mind. However, I found that if you simply snapped the parts together that there was some misalignment between them, so I cut off most of the lugs and glued the parts together, simply clamping them with clothes pegs. The only really tricky part was filling and filing back the join where the two halves of the lower hull and the engine pylons meet, but this went fairly well and all that is needed now is an undercoating if the various parts before I assemble them.
 
Just making sure that it sticks.

Minor misalignments trying to spoil my fun.


I filed away some unnecessary square panels on the pylons.

Some filling and filing required.

Ready for an undercoat prior to assembly.


 

 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Andrea Miniatures' 'Technocop 2030'

Technocop 2030Trawling the Historex site is something of a voyeuristic experience for a figure maker and painter like yours truly. There are hundreds of different figures in a variety of scales produced by dozens of different makers, all of which makes choosing the next figure to buy and paint something of a daunting prospect. One of the classiest figure makers is Andrea Miniatures who offer a wide range of white metal kits from 54mm upwards and I had been thinking of tackling one of their kits for some time. I have my eye on a couple of their 75mm historical figures that will make nice future projects, but checking through their 54mm series I came across a number of figures quite obviously modelled after, or at least based on, figures from film and television ... and I was tempted in by these. This one labelled 'Technocop 2030' is obviously based on, the titular character from Paul Verhoeven's violent 1987 sci-fi classic Robocop. As to how closely the figure is modelled after its cinematic equivalent I've not bothered to find out, but it certainly ticks all the boxes from my uncritical standpoint and gave me one of the most pain-free builds I've tackled in a good while.

Counting the base, background and two little pistons that attach to the back of the legs, Technocop is a ten piece kit in white metal that comes in a well stuffed little box that carries numerous useful colour reference photos on the front and back. The parts were pretty cleanly moulded and for the most part required only a very basic tidy up with a craft knife and some fine wet and dry paper. There was a slight encrustation of metal on the right side on the back of the torso, but this was quite easily buffed back with my small engraving tool. The base exhibited a little more flash along the mould lines which needed trimming back, but again this was nothing to write home about and was quickly sorted out.
 
 
As to the build, it was simplicity itself, the figure went together without a hitch, bonded quickly with super glue, as too did the two-part stand. Mirroring a scene from the film, the figure is stepping through a large hole in a wall, his gun drawn, presumably intent on sorting out some nefarious malefactors on the other side. The wall here is set leaning backwards at a rather rakish angle, which gives the scene a slightly more interesting look and the figure is married into the correct position by a hole in the base into which a lug on the bottom of his right foot slots. All that is then required is to figure out just where to place Technocop's hand on the wall and you have your two glueing spots for later.

But first the painting. After undercoating I painted the entire base in Humbrol 32 dark grey acrylic and to give it a little more colour drybrushed the whole with Humbrol 93, followed by a lighter drybrushing around the large hole and on some of the surrounding rubble with Citadel Terminatus Stone. When dry the entire base was thoroughly coated in Army Painter Soft Tone to get a little contrast into the nooks and crannies. As the picture on the box had some graffiti painted on the wall I also used a few extra colours to make a few nondescript scribbles on the outer side (reasoning that the back of the stand was inside a building I left it graffiti-free). The edges if the stand and the wall were then painted black and after a coating of Army Painter Anti-Shine it was all put aside while I tackled the figure.
 
 
 
I undercoated the figure in dark grey enamel and the next day painted the black areas (lower torso, gloves, gun, elbows, eye slit and prosthetic jaw) with Humbrol 33 Matt Black and then painted what little of the face you can see in the same manner and with the same GW/Citadel colours referred to in earlier posts. Once painted the face had a noticeably pouty look to it as if he was fishing for a kiss. Before painting the armour I had to go shopping. In the film, our hero's armour has the distict look of blued metal, so I needed a metalic blue to mix with some of my silver acrylics. I had researched two - Humbrol 52 and Humbrol 222 - which I bought at the local model shop a day or so later. That evening I experimented and found that a 2-1 or 3-1 mix of Citadel Mithril Silver and Humbrol 222 gave me the colour I was after. So, when the next free daytime slot appeared I mixed up a puddle of paint on my paper palette and quickly coated all of the armour. This I then coated with Citadel Nuln Oil wash to pick out the lines and details before drybrucking more of the silver-metalic blue mix over it. Later I used raw Mithril Silver on some of the higher details to give them a bit of a lift and provide a highlight. This and a little drybrushing over the black areas with the Humbrol 32 I had used on the base, finished the figure off nicely.
 
Go on, give us a kiss.

Having buffed back to the metal where the foot and hand would be joined to the base, I stuck Technocop in place with super glue. It was then that I noticed a slight gap under the foot where it didn't fit flush to the base. This I filled with Plasto, but by this time I decided to add a little more rubble to the base as the few lumps that were moulded there seemed rather paltry remains for such a large hole. Rooting around in my supplies box I dug out a bag of small fish tank gravel and some coarse sand and sticking everything in place, first with super glue, then with thinned PVA, I let it all dry over night before painting it up in the same way that I had tackled the base to begin with.
 
 Technocop 2030


Technocop 2030 Technocop 2030
 

A fun build, easy, clean and trouble-free. Like the man said, 'I'd buy that for a dollar.'
 
 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Pegaso 54 mm Celtic Standard Bearer


With the 2016 IPMS Telford show only a few weeks away, and with another potential bag-full of models in the offing, I decided a few weeks ago to begin work on one of the kits I bought at last years expo, namely this Pegaso Celtic Standard Bearer. The white metal kit came in eight parts in a secure, well padded box with good colour illustrations on the front. Of course, these are only guidelines, you could paint the figure as you please, but as I've stated before for the most part I'm an out-of-the-box model maker and am quite happy to paint the figure as the maker intended.
 
Though this is the first Pegaso figure I've ever tackled, I don't think that it will be the last as the modelling of the figure, by Pietro Balloni  is excellent and assembly was a doddle. After a little tidying up – filing back a few minor mould lines and a little flash everything fitted together extremely well and only a small amount of filling was required, most notably where the cloak joins the collar; a little bit of Plasto doing the trick. The only minor problem I had during the build was the final assembly and gluing of the staff + hands/arms combination. Being all scrunched up against one shoulder and with the several parts coming in from different angles it was rather tricky to get everything together successfully, but the job was made doubly difficult by my using superglue to stick the metal parts together. We've all suffered the indignities inflicted by superglue, I'm sure – sticking bits to the wrong part, or getting a bad fitting which sets rock hard before you get a chance to correct the problem. Then there is the constant threat of an explosion of superglue over you fingers making you as dangerous as Midas, unable to touch anything. The only option when this happens is to instantly adopt a 'jazz hands' pose and take a trip to the sink. I have heard that rubbing Vaseline on your hands before using superglue is a good preventative, but not having any Vaseline to apply to see if this was indeed true, I diced with danger as normal. As it turned out, despite the difficulty, the glue cooperated and I managed to get all the parts in place before it set hard and I didn't get any glue on me at all, which must be a first.
 
 

Once fully assembled the figure was undercoated in Humbrol 61 Flesh enamel and allowed to dry overnight, or rather over several days as work intervened to keep me from my hobby. To constantly go over my painting techniques can get rather monotonous, so from now on I shall limit myself to listing the colours used at the end of the article. Suffice to say the flesh and clothing was painted in my usual fashion, the block colours being shaded with thinned Army Painter Strong Tone and occasionally highlighted with a brighter colour, for instance the figure's crimson tunic was highlighted with a mix of Citadel Gore Red and the brighter Blood Red to give it a little more brightness. One interesting feature of this figure is the black and white chequerboard pattern around the hem and sleeves of the figure's tunic. To get this how I wanted it I first painted a white band where this was to go, pencilled the pattern in and then simply painted the black squares in. There were a few slips of the hand, but it was easy enough to tidy up the mistakes. Then in places where a fold or shadow occurred I shaded the white squares with the Pale Grey wash that proved so useful during my ICM British Grenadier Guard build. I also enjoyed toying with the bronze and gold ornaments and armour on the figure and the boar standard atop the staff; Army Painter Strong Tone used neat gives bronze a nice dulling effect, which I shall use in future.
 

 
 
 
 
Then the stand... ah, the stand. I'm usually rubbish at doing bases, but I was determined this time to produce something decent. The figure came with a small, round metal base which was nice enough and might have sufficed on its own normally, but I wanted to make use of the last of the small bases that I had also purchased at Telford last year. So the round base would simply be used as a foundation around which I would build a bigger base out of some quick drying interior filler which I bought from Wilkos. It was a bugger of a job to squeeze the stuff out, even with two hands together pressing down on the tube as if I was giving it CPR, but I quickly pasted it into place on top of the stand. I had previously glued the metal base to the wooden stand and put masking tape around the wooden sides to keep them clean. After sculpting it into something decent I let it cure and sure enough it was quick drying and by the end of the day was pretty solid.
 

 
On its own the figure looked a little lonely on it's stand, so before doing any groundwork I cannibalised an old resin 35 mm stand which had an interesting tree bough on it. Sawing this off, I stuck it on the stand and then liberally coated everything with enamel paint. Once this was dry to the touch I did the ground with Citadel textured paints, Stirland Mud for the soil and some Lustrian Undergrowth to simulate moss on the tree bough. The bough itself was painted largely in Humbrol 110 Natural Wood dappled with Humbrol 86 and 102 and heavily coated with Army Painter Strong tone before highlighting again with Humbrol 110. The icing on the cake, though, was the grass-work, which barring some tidying up was the last thing done. In the past I have used railway scatter to simulate grass with very mixed results, but have since then discovered the joys of grass tufts, which can be bought fairly cheaply off several internet suppliers, in my case on eBay. I had previously used round grass tufts on the base of my English pikeman, but had found that more irregular shapes were also produced, so had bought a set which I now used to best effect. The mixed shapes enabled me to fit the grass tufts tightly around the feet of the figure and around the tree bough as well as covering the rest of the ground beautifully. These stick very firmly in place and though you need to use tweezers to manipulate them they are a great model maker's resource.

The masking tape was peeled away from the base and after a little titivating all was done.
 
 
 
 

Colours used

Face/skin: Games Workshop/Citadel Tanned Flesh, Dwarf Flesh, Elf Flesh, Daler Rowney Flesh Tint.

Tunic: Games Workshop/Citadel Gore Red, Blood Red, Vallejo Model Colour 70.820 Off White, Humbrol 33 Black acrylic.

Trousers: Games Workshop/Citadel Ungor Flesh.

Shoes: Daler Rowney Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna.

Gold: Games Workshop/Citadel Shining Gold and Burnished Gold.

Bronze: Vallejo Model Colour 70998 Bronze.

Staff, belt and scabbard: Games Workshop/Citadel Bestial Brown.

Cloak: Humbrol 32 (Dark Grey), Humbrol 33 (Black), Games Workshop/Citadel Ultramarines Blue, Dulux Roasted Red.

Helmet: Games Workshop/Citadel Boltgun Metal and Milthril Silver.

Textured Paints: Games Workshop/Citadel Stirland Mud, Lustrian Undergrowth.

Shades: Army Painter Strong Tone, Vallejo Game Colour Wash 73.202 Pale Grey.

Varnish: Army Painter Anti Shine (non-metalic parts only).