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.'

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).

Painting a Face

One of the trickiest, but ultimately most satisfying aspects of figure painting is painting the human face and it behoves the fledgling figure painter to find some straight-forward, fool proof  method of getting reasonable results in this respect. I have tried numerous types of painting with various types of paint. For the finest results you cannot beat oil paints, the blending qualities of which are matchless. Enamels too, long a mainstay of the model making world, and the newer acrylic ranges by the likes of Humbrol, Vallejo and Citadel can produce very impressive results. But whatever paints you prefer the basic way of painting a face seldom varies. You build the skin tone from the bottom up from a base coat, through shadows and up to the highlights, varying or adding details as they present themselves.
 1) Here's the head, its a spare part from the large scale space marine figure from Forge World. A grim, gnarled looking geezer indeed.

2) The figure was already prepared, so straight on to giving the head a base coat of Humbrol 61 Flesh enamel.

3) Four hours later and the base coat is touch dry (I'm over eager, I know) so on goes a coat of Games Workshop Tanned Flesh.

4) Once the Tanned Flesh was dry I add a layer of GW Dwarf Flesh to the top of the cheeks, the chin the leading edge of the nose, the upper nostrils and the folds around the mouth. I preserve the shadows in the folds and the underside of the brows and jaw and in the hollows of the cheeks. I then filled the eye sockets with Daler Rowney Burnt Umber artist paint also using it on the eyebrows, upper lip and in the nostrils.
5) The eyes are picked out in Dwarf Flesh, a thin line of dark brown being left at the top. It's best to avoid using white for the eyes as it makes them look too prominent, giving the head a 'pop eyed' look which is rarely attractive. Viewed from a distance most people's eyes look a sort of pinkish grey as a result of shadowing and the presence of blood veins in the eyes. The irises were then painted in with the same Burnt Umber used earlier. Never make the irises round as it looks like the eye is staring wide eyed. In a typical relaxed pose the human iris is partially hidden behind the upper and lower lids.
 I have also reddened the lower lip with some thinned Daler Rowney Carmine Red and used the same to give a slight flush just under the cheek bones.
 Hair is added with a light brown Humbrol 110 (Natural Wood) which is used also on the eyebrows. A subtle  five o'clock shadow is added with a mix of Dwarf Flesh and the Humbrol 110. The face is also given a very thin wash of Dwarf Flesh to blend the colours together better.
 6) Once that was all dry the head was given a further wash, this time a thinned coat of Army Painter Soft Tone to get into all the nooks and crannies, but also to give the head a slightly more tanned look. Is it me, or does this first picture look a little like Ernest Borgnine?

Small Stuff - A Few Miniature Figures

Checking through an old memory stick of mine I came across a few images of several miniature (35mm -ish) figures I've painted over the last few years, some of which I no longer have. They are a mixture of Games Workshop Warhammer 40,000 and Reaper Miniatures figures, though Grud knows who made Thrud.
An Ultramarines captain in all his wacky, impractical finery



Thrud the Barbarian

Tamiya 1:16 WW2 German Field Commander

My adventures with 1:16 figures continue with this large scale Tamiya kit that I spotted looking rather lonely amongst a batch of tanks, armoured cars and 1:35 figures in a model shop. Though my personal taste veers more towards earlier eras or sci-fi and fantasy, I'm fairly well versed in painting World War Two figures, and though I don't buy many nowadays sometimes one sneaks in under the radar just because I like the look of it, and such was the case here. I liked the simplicity of the pose and the uniform had a certain appeal with its ribbons and badges which are always fun to paint.
The build was incredibly straight-forward and easily managed over a couple of long evenings and when I did break off it was mostly to let the glue dry before attaching anything else. You know how it is, sometimes in your excitement you do try to assemble an entire kit only to have bits start dropping off or drooping because you've rushed things and not given it sufficient time to cure, I plead guilty on all these counts on numerous occasions throughout my model-making career. Anyhow, I resisted temptation and all went well with very little to tidy up and only a minor amount of filling to do which was managed easily with some Plasto and Green Stuff.
Before building the kit I had trawled some previous builds by other model makers and noticed that many had left the collar slightly open around the neck, giving the figure a relaxed, informal look and sure enough there was something of a gap left when the collar was filled in place. I didn't like this, though as I wanted the figure to look very neat and very formal. So, to get the correct fit I needed to shave away a band around the bottom of the neck which was easily achieved using a reaming tip fitted into a battery powered engraving tool I bought from Wilcos – there's no need to reach for the mini tool so often now I have that useful gizmo at hand, especially as all the mini tool tips fit it! Once I had the right amount shaved off, I glued the collar around the neck and secured it in a completely closed position with some super glue and I later reinforced the bond with some polystyrene cement. A minor gap between the neck and collar was patched with Green Stuff.
Another element I added was a ribbon to support the Iron Cross suspended around the officer's neck as this was not included with the kit. This was made from a thin strip of paper which I pinched with tweezers. I then soaked this in super glue to make it stiff and finally carefully cut it to size, adding the Iron Cross once the ribbon was in place. My first attempt (seen in the pictures) was a bit of a disappointment and I didn't like the Iron Cross itself which was far too lumpy to accept the Iron Cross decal ever when drowned in Decal Soft, so I later replaced both, carefully cutting the replacement medal out of some sheet plastic to which I had glue an Iron Cross decal. That was the trickiest task, requiring my highest mag goggles, a sharp knife, a steel ruler and lots of patience. An easier option would have been to simply flatten back the original medal supplied, but by that time I had rather ruined it with my efforts.
Iron Cross Mk 2
The figure was painted using the same colours referred to in my earlier blog entry about the German gun crew, but rather than shading with Army Painter Soft Tone, this time I lightly shaded the folds in the cloth with darkened versions of the base colours. The Humbrol 78 of the jacket was mixed with Humbrol 30 (Dark Green) to give that particular shade, while Humbrol 27 for the trousers was darked with Humbrol 32, the same colour I used for the helmet. The helmet was given some wear with Games Workshop Boltgun Metal and once the decals were applied I coated the helmet with Pledge Floor Wax to blend the decals to the helmet, hence the shiny look in some of the images. This like the rest of the model (barring the metallic bits) would be later dulled down to a nice matt finish with Army Painter Anti-Shine.
Painting the face and hands was done with my now time honoured combination of Games Workshop's Tanned Flesh, Dwarf Flesh and Elf Flesh paints, which were then blended together with a very thin glaze of Dwarf Flesh to even it all out. These colours are really useful and as they are getting a little low I took a trip to the local Games Workshop store to purchase replacements. Thankfully, the fellow running the shop now isn't as pathologically cheerful as some of his predecessors which made the experience much less wearing, though I once again had to go through the rigmarole of trying to discover what those particular colours are now called. In the process I discovered a new skin colour, Cadian Fleshtone, which looks promising; I shall try it out on some smaller figures first, though.
The leather items were undercoated in Humbrol 62 (Leather), then in Daler-Rowney Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna and shaded with Army Painter Strong Tone. The officer's pistol was picked out in Humbrol Metal Cote 27004 (Gun Metal), allowed to dry then polished up with a cottonbud. The jacket buttons were painted first with GW Boltgun Metal and highlighted with Citadel Mithril Silver, so too were the badges on the uniform, being shaded with Citadel Nuln Oil before applying the Mithril Silver. The small collection of decals supplied with the kit had decals for these, but considering the trouble I had with the Iron Cross decals, I rather wisely decided to avoid using them.
The decals were used for the collar patches, the uniform eagle and armband and the medal ribbon attached to the button. There were also decals for the shoulder boards, but I decided (again wisely) to paint these, though as the officer is depicted as a member of the Grossdeutschland Division, which carried a shoulder motif on their epaulettes, I carefully cut these out from the supplied transfers and stuck them in place. It was a tight fit between the button and lieutenant's pip, but we got there in the end.
Epaulette motifs in place.
No base was supplied with the figure, but I had the perfect solution in the bases left over when I painted the ICM Grenadier Guardsman. These fitted perfectly on top of a small stand I had bought from the Telford model show. After painting it up in the same way as the previous stand I glued it in place atop the wooded stand with Araldite. Leaving it over night I carefully decided on where to place the figure and after drilling a hole I fitted the figure in place, leaving a small bit if metal paper clip poking out of the soldier's heel to fix it in place, gluing it down with poly cement.
And there you have it, bingo, another nice figure for my collection.