Monday, November 23, 2015

New Video posted: Project Review of the Heavy Arms Rebuild

Some time back I started work on a conversion project where I took the 1/100 Scale Heavy Arms Custom Kai from Endless Waltz, and convert it into something more like what appeared in the Anime series. I had finished the project some time ago but hadn't had a chance to finish the review video of it. Well it is up now!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Video: Unboxing Betrayal at Calth

So Games Workshop has stepped into the Horus Heresy with their release of Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth. And I got mine in. So what comes in the box? Check out my video to find out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Project: OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon Part 8

And it's name is Epyon. So here we have the finished OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon on the Libra Base with lighting effects.This was an educational project and I'm glad I undertook it, even if the final result isn't quit what I had envisioned when I began. This is the root of why I run this blog, the analysis and understanding of my projects.

So with a finished project, what problems did I encounter working on it? Well the legs are the first thing that stick out. I mounted the feet too far apart on the Libra base, so this forced the legs further apart. This creates a bit of a bow-legged appearance and hurts the final version of the model.

I had previously talked about the issue with the back of the model, but I want to touch on it again. The root cause of the problem is that I didn't do as good a job of planning for the project as I really could have. The back of the torso has an open slot intended to allow the hips to flip back and allow the legs to comes over the back in order to become the heads of the dragon mode mobile armor. But I removed the ability of the model to transform for this project. So the end result is I basically have a hole in the back of the model. Looking as this, it is pretty straight forward what I should have done. That is first put a layer of styrene in to cover the space from inside, and then add additional pieces of stryrene to fill in the space. Sand it down so it meshes up with the sides of the waist and finally paint it to match the color of the kit plastic.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Project: OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon Part 7

So now we're starting to wrap up this project. Wow has it ever been a trip to get to this point, from experimenting with casting clear resins, to building new sections to replace what would otherwise be moving joints, to modifying existing parts to accept new components. Now it all begins to come together.

It was a fairly simply matter to cast a new part for the chest gem. I simply attached the original gen sticker to a segment of styrene tubing, and then made the mold based on that part. Unlike casting the saber effect, this was a far simpler affair and required only 2 attempts to get right including embedding the LED in the part.

 Of course putting everything together... that was more of a chore. Here you see the majority of the final connections being made in the chest cavity.
 I should have thought of this before, but alas I did now. The way the model is intended to transform, there is a slot in the back where the hip/waist assembly would fold up allowing the legs to flip over the back. Since I removed the actual transformation mechanism, this space was no longer needed and I really should have covered the slot with styrene and painted it to match the rest of the waist. Sadly this wasn't something I thought of before hand. So if you look closely you will see the wires in the finished model.
 "What? you think I was going to skip arm day?"

I had to use pressure clamps to hold the body together while the glue set. This is largely it. Next time the finished project.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Project: OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon Part 6

So today I'm talking about fabrication. One of the major features of the Gundam Epyon is its ability to transform from mobile suit mode:
OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon in mobile suit mode
 to a twin-headed dragon style mobile armor:
OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon in mobile armor mode
This gimmick is carried over to the model itself and is managed by way a splitting hip/waist assembly. As far a gimmick trick it's a nice setup, but for my purposes it creates some issues. Specifically the risk of the hinge joint causing the electrical connections to be broken after assembly of the model. So I had to address this by either gluing the hinge shut or reinforcing it. I elected to do both: 
the front section of the hip/waist assembly for the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon before I installed additional bracing and reinforcing.

the front section of the hip/waist assembly for the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon with a section of styrene inserted to help reinforce the section so it won't move.
I used a series of styrene tubing I built up a central section that would pass up through the assembly, and then glued a section of 1/4" styrene block into the space behind it. This combination provided a solid base to firmly attach everything together and effectively remove the entire transformation mechanism.

the front section of the hip/waist assembly for the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon now firmly cemented shut.

the front section of the hip/waist assembly for the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon now firmly cemented shut.
There were 2 other sections that I chose to make non-moving, the elbow joints. See in the standard model the elbows are made by joining 2 pvc joint pieces so that it will have a 2 axis range of movement. While this is nice, it doesn't help for this project. So I went to work building replacement joints that would be glued into place.

 I started with segments of 1/4" styrene blocks and drilled out holes to accommodate the mounting pegs of the fore arms. I then passed segments of tubing through the upper portion of the blocks that would match the mounting holes in the upper arm. I added some groove slats to the back side of the sections to add some visual detail. With the parts glued in place, some paint finished the fabrication.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Project: OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon Part 5

I knew from the start that the giant beam saber was going to be a critical component of the finished model. I wanted the entire saber effect to glow bright green and that was going to be a challenge. At first I toyed with the idea of inserting a flat LED into the base of the saber effect and running wires through the hilt and into the hip.
OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon from New Mobile Report: Gundam Wing, Beam sader effect with an LED placed into a cut out in the base.
While there was ample space to place the LED in the base of the saber effect, there was the issue of connecting it to the power source. I felt a bit nervous about trying to solder the connections so close to the hilt. So I decided to go with resin casting with the intention of being able to embed a string of LEDs into the saber effect. 

Yeah... working with translucent resins and dyes is trickier then it first seems.
This was my first attempt with green dye and supposedly clear resin. Yeah.... apparently when this company says 'clear' they actually mean 'amber clear'. So adding green dye produces this blue color. Believing I had somehow screwed up the cast, I attempted several more casts with this type of resin, and they all gave me similar blue colors. I turned to Jeff over at Dragon Forge Design for some advise on resins for this purpose. He pointed at at Smooth-Ons Smooth-Cast 327 series of tintable resins. So I ordered a trial pack and the sample pack of their 'So Strong dyes'. Getting tired of trying to do green, and wanting to try something in red. So I tried again with 1 once of the Smooth-Cast 327 and a drop of red dye. And I do mean 'a drop'. I took a tooth pick, dipped it in the red and allowed a single drop to roll off the tooth pick into the resin before mixing it. This combination produced the following:
My a later attempt at casting a replacement saber effect for the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon from New Mobile Report: Gundam Wing with clear resin. This time I tried red dye.
It is a very solid and very nearly totally opaque red. It looks kind of cool, but it wouldn't work for my purposes. I did try putting a super-bright LED to the red resin just to see how much light did come through. In a totally dark room, with not other light sources what so ever, it just barely glowed at all. Far too dark for what I was going for. So I went back to experimentation working with differing concentrations of dye in the volume of resin. I used rock molds to avoid wearing out the saber effect mold I had made.

I had to expirament with different casting mixes to get a clear color that I felt would work for the saber effect of the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon from New Mobile Report: Gundam Wing.

I finally settled on an approximate ration of resin to dye by mixing up 1 1/2 ounces of resin and adding about half a drop of dye from the very tip of a pin. Yeah when they decided to call there dye series 'So Strong' they picked the right name. With a good ratio figured out, I went to work building the LED array to embed in the cast. I settled on a series of four flat LEDs to get the proper brightness. It took some finagling, but I managed to get the LEDs roughly in the middle of the mold and the resin properly cast around them.

The finished replacement beam saber effect for the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon from New Mobile Report: Gundam Wing with embedded LEDs.

The finished replacement beam saber effect for the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon from New Mobile Report: Gundam Wing with embedded LEDs.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Project: OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon Part 4

"Hey Zecks, Zero is saying you have no future. Is Epyon telling you different?"
So today I'm talking about the head. Since this a basically humanoid model, you know if you ignore the large wings, the devilish appearing armor and the whip arm that is, the head is a major focus point for the model. Because of this I wanted to put extra care into it's production and preparation.
The first challenge was making space for the LED in the head. I went with a flat topped LED because it's easier to orient. To help direct the light more I painted the back side with silver pant and then came back with several coats of black paint. I wanted as little light leaking out as possible. In order to accommodate the LED in the head I had to cut away the mounting ports that would normally hold the parts of the head together. The next big trick was building a new neck brace for the head. 

Normally the head sits on a ball joint, but with the LED in there the joint would have have to go. So I went to work with some styrene tubing and built a new mounting brace. I took extra care to ensure the negative and positive leads on the LEDs are on the right and left respectively. This way it was going to be easier to connect everything later one. 

Once the new neck was built, I went back in with some Kneadatite modeling putty and filled in the space. I do not want this LED to move at all.

In order to keep the right look, I went in with some paint markers and marked around the eyes of the green clear plastic. This creates a shadow around the eyes and helps to keep the 'sinister' look of it.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


So yeah. There's a blogger plug-in for FaceBook. It says it will take what you post on FaceBook and repost it on your blog. Guess that hasn't been happening. Sorry for that everyone. I'll make it a point to post here as well as on FaceBook. Just as a reminder you can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter. At least that way I know they're both updating.

So what have I been working on? Well, a lot. Far more then I should be talking about in a single post. So here is what I'm going to do for the next couple weeks I'm going to make posts on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday! So stay tuned for the next couple weeks.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ready to get back to work!

If you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter you most likely saw a message a few weeks ago about my projects being on hold until I got a new tool rack. Well I have gotten the new tool rack. Specifically I have built a new back board for my work space, along with a few other new pieces of equipment as well.

my work space for working with various models including Warhammer 40k model, Gundam GunPla models, and science fiction models like those from Star Trek and Star Wars

This is my newly revamped work space. What? not impressed? Oh confused about some of it. Well that's no problem because I intended to talk about it.

So the first big thing, the work mat. Previously I just had the Hobbico mat sitting on the table top. Which was fine.... right up until I needed to use a speed square or needed a solid edge to align against. 1/8" thickness doesn't give me a lot to work with. So I mounted the cutting mat to a section of 1/2" plywood. This helps keep the cutting mat up off my table top surface, while still preventing the mat from slipping or sliding while I'm working on it. it also provides a hard edge to align the speed square and carpenter square against.

The second thing is I build a back drop to the work space. There's an open shelf behind that wall but it's lays so far back relative to the depth of the work space that it makes using it for storage... dubious at best and I've lost more then a couple pieces of models down the void that is the opening between the back of the table and the front of the shelf set. I also put in a bunch of hooks to act as tool mounts for many of my more commonly used, or more likely to do damage/be damaged if I put them in a drawer, tools.

One of the biggest problems I was running into was not so much storing my tools, as storing them in a meaningful way. As an example, my files. Putting them a 6" deep drawer makes then fairly hard to find later on. And very frequently stuff would basically vanish and I would assume I had lost it, and then buy a replacement only for the original one to show up weeks later. So by making this divided drawer, I have a ready space to put these tools and there simply isn't enough space to pile a lot of stuff on top of them and loose them.

I purchased a new work lamp for my space as my previous one was getting up there in age and down there in terms of usability. The mounting joint for the head wouldn't stay anymore so I had to use the electrical cord to hold the light up which also meant it was stuck in basically one position. The Other joints were loosening as well so the lamp was developing a tendency to slump. Short version, the lamp was wearing out.

The new lamp has new joints with rubber meshing in them so it's sturdier and better able to stay in a given position. It also has a magnifying lens built into the head lamp as well. As an added piece of versatility, I built a new base for the lamp. Made from a section of 2x4 lumber, with a series of 1/2" copper pipping counter set into the wood I have different positions I can place the base of the lamp and still have it stay put on the work space surface.

Finally we have this fun little contraption. What is this? Why it's a ceiling mounted articulated camera boom arm of course!

What? Don't know what a boom arm is? Oh, well let me explain. The short version is a boom is used when you need to hold something like a camera in a position or spot that you don't otherwise have the means to hold it. This could be because of distance, or it could be something as simple as "I don't have someone else to hold it!" In my case it's closer to the latter. See this boom arms is mounted over top of my work space and because of the articulated nature of the arm, I can position the camera that is mounted on the arm in a variety of locations and angles. This will be useful when I'm doing videos and I need to do an 'Above the work space' shot.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Project: Chaos Knight of Blood Part 3

Oi Vey... This has been one muther of a project! And I'm not done yet. Still waiting for some parts to come in before I can finish it but I can talk about it.

A Knight Titan converted to be used as a Chaos Space Marines Lord of Skulls
This project has been so incredibly involved that I'm not actually sure where to start with it. The base was it's own special adventure, while building the main body of the machine was practically a project unto itself. So let's start by talking about the base.
The base for the converted Knight Titan that will be used as a Lord of Skulls in my Chaos Space Marine Army. The base is built using the Knight Titan Goth Teck base from Dragon Forge with a suitibly dead and beaten Carnifex body on it.

As I explained previously, I wanted the Knight to be crushing or standing on something. Something is iconically dangerous. I settled on the body of a Carnifex for this purpose. Carnifexes had long been the "Big Baddies" of the Tyranid army, on a part with Dreadnoughts and able to take utterly horrendous amounts of punished. Well up until 5th edition anyway. Though even in 5th, a Carnifex isn't something you want to ignore. So I put a battered and beaten Carnifex body on the base. The base itself is the Knight Titan sized base from the Goth Teck series by Dragon Forge.

So I got a Carnifex and assembled the main body but not the head. In order to mount the body on the base I ran it across a surface sander for a few seconds to give it a flat side. With that accomplished I mount the body on the base with a combination of pinning and super glue. With it properly mounted I used a hair dryer to soften the plastic of the tail and flex it a bit to give it a more "dead" look to it.

I knew I wanted to distress the body and show battle damage to the Carnifex so that was my next step. For this I fist went to town with a 3mm drill bit and bore out several holes in a pattern to suggest automatic weapons fire. I applied the holes to the back of the armor and across the side of the body. I wanted to make it look like it had put up some sort of a fight. Once I had the holes bored out, I came back with my exacto blade and scored up the edges of the holes and carved cracked into the armor around them. Then I went to work on the head. I used my pin vice to add some bullet marks to the head crest and then to bore out the eye socket of the Carnifex.
The base for the converted Knight Titan that will be used as a Lord of Skulls in my Chaos Space Marine Army. The base is built using the Knight Titan Goth Teck base from Dragon Forge with a suitibly dead and beaten Carnifex body on it.
The base for the converted Knight Titan that will be used as a Lord of Skulls in my Chaos Space Marine Army. The base is built using the Knight Titan Goth Teck base from Dragon Forge with a suitibly dead and beaten Carnifex body on it.
Finally I attached the head to the body in a slumped own position to show it's dead as a door nail.The big thing I needed to do in order to sell the entire "Stomping on the dead body" I needed to quasi-level out the back a bit and show some distress and breakage from something the size of a knight titan crushing the back of the Carnifex. In order to accomplish this I took a razor saw and some needle nose pliers to the back armor and made a combination of bends and breaks in the armor to accept the flat foot that was too come.

The big task to accomplish with the base was ensuring there was sufficient space to house the battery pack, wires and switch for the lights. Originally I was going to use a 2032 dime-cell battery to power the circuit, but the battery pack for such a battery has exposed leads. I ran into a problem with these as the glue or modeling putty tended to interfere or even break the exposed connections. So I opted to use a AA battery pack even though it takes up more space. The Dragon Forge base isn't deep enough to accommodate something on the scale of a AA battery pack so I needed to find another solution. I found it by making an exploratory trip through a Michael's craft store where I found an oval wood base only slightly larger then the diameter of the knight base. So with the wood base I was able to route out a space for the battery pack, the switch itself and the wire leads.
The underside of the base for the Titan of Blood, a converted Knight Titan that I will use as a counts as Lord of Skulls for my Chaos Space Marine army for Warhammer 40,000 (Warhammer 40K)

Monday, June 08, 2015

30 year old Zaku II: Part 2

The parts of the first generation Mobile Suit Gundam Zaku II kit after having been airbrushed.

Last time I talked about the first part of the process of air brushing the parts for this kit, priming them with the Vallejo acrylic-polyurethane surface primer, pre-shading the parts and then applying the base color of green on the model. So what’s next? Well now we’ve got the second color of green to apply to the model, which means I need to talk about masking the model parts.

Ever paint a room but want to have the trip a different color then the rest of the room? What do you do? You use painters tape to put down a barrier so the two paints don’t go where you don’t want them to go. Masking is basically the same thing. It’s the process of taping off a part to ensure the paint doesn’t go where you don’t it to.

I used the tape to mask off the leg leaving only the knee cap exposed. The tape itself is Tamiyia brand masking tape. It’s essentially 2cm wide masking tape.  Easy to apply, and doesn’t adhere too heavily to the painted section of the model. 
Here you can see a majority of the parts masked and with the second darker green applied on some parts and the black applied on other parts. Well… here is where I encountered my first real major problem. I thought I had properly masked out all of the spots to stop any paint from going anywhere I didn’t want it to. Well.. turns out I over thinned the black paint I used on the knee joints.

 I attempted to fix my error by coming back with the original green paint and brush painting to cover up the black bleed over. Well, brush painting doesn’t put the paint on the same way the air brush does. So the colors don’t exactly match.  That’s why there’s the hard line of different colors on the thigh of the model here. So not a perfect cover up but this project was all about learning so as long as I can ID the problem and look at why the problem occurred I’ll call it a win since it’s something I can avoid doing next time.

So with the air brushing done I moved on to assembly. And this is where I noticed a fairly large error I had made early on. The left leg. More specifically the inner assembly of the left leg. See the inner part of the leg is a support strut that serves as the ankle and the mounting for the front and back of the lower leg itself. The pieces are specific to the right leg and left leg respectively AND they have to go in the right way. So what did I do? Well I put the left foot on the right strut with the strut itself upside down. Ouch. So what did I do? Well I have glued the parts together so I couldn’t just pop the parts apart and switch the parts. Now the problem here is that I couldn’t actually tell that the wrong feet were on the wrong struts, at this point I only knew that I had put one strut in upside down.  So I used my pin vise to drill out the mounting point for the ankle, cut away the few remains of plastic that was keeping the foot on, and turned the strut around while using a piece of styrene rod to rebuild the ankle joint.

So with that leg taken care of, I proceeded to continue assembling the kit. Well here is where I found my largest learning point regarding air brushing. Not so much with the technique, but in regards to planning. See Airburshing doesn’t put down a truly uniform layer of paint. The differences are very hard to see when it’s one continuous application across one part. But I didn’t assemble the parts, beyond the feet and the mounting struts for the legs, before painting them. So what does this mean? Well here is a good example:

The front part of the shoulder armor is a lighter green then the back half, even though they were painted at the same time with the same paint from the same air brush. This is because of the non-uniform application of the paint combined with the uneven application of the black paint in the pre-shading stage. So planning your build relative to how you will paint the kit is a necessity when you’re working with an air brush. 

So got the model painted and assembled. All done right? Well no. Remember that Gouf Custom I did a while back? The big thing there was the application of pigments. Well, I took what I had learned about pigments, from the Gouf, and applied it to this Zaku.

Nothing was substantially different here from what I did with the Gouf save that I didn’t use any white pigment since the Zaku II was primarily a space based mobile suit. Don’t see a lot of concrete in space after all. I mainly used the black and grey pigments to add shading and dirt to the model. The additional discoloration added some more definition to the model.
As an attempt to address the mis-matched feet problem I built a flying stand for the model by cutting a length of brass rod, mounting the rod on a platform and then drilling an accompanying hole into the crotch of the model itself. This allowed me to position the model as if it were floating and mostly hide the feet. 

So a 30-something year old model. First real usage of an Air brush. Applying weathering Pigments. And finally addressing several mistakes and errors. Overall I’m glad I did this project. It has been a worthwhile education and was a real challenge over all.

Friday, June 05, 2015

30 year old Zaku II: Part 1

So I built a 30 year old model kit, the 1/144 scale MS-06 Zaku II. I don’t have an exact date of production for the model kit, only a rough idea that it is a ‘first generation’ of Gundam action figure model kits that was produced prior to 1985 but after 1980. So the kit is somewhere between 35 and 30 years old. Now I have built several Gundam model kits in the past, but the oldest one I had ever built was from the mid-90s so this was a radical departure from my previous experience in the medium.
The early 80's Gundam Model kit of the MS-06 Zaku 2 mobile suit as assembled and painted by The Resurrected Hobbyist.

Modern Gundam model kits make of poly vinyl parts to allow movement at the joints. This kit has nothing even remotely approaching a similar concept. The closest it has, and in this I’m being extremely generous in the comparison, is in the hips where a dedicated hard plastic part facilitates some extremely limited movement ability. This particular project was also new for me because it was my first real effort with an Air Brush.

Preparing this kit for airbrushing was an involved process which started with cleaning the parts in warm water with a little dish soap. I used a tooth brush to clean off any remaining mold release, which considering the age of the kit I would be shocked to actually find any. Still cleaning the parts is always a good idea and triply so if you intend to paint your kit in any form.  Once I cleaned the parts I left them out to dry over the course of a week end.  

After making sure they were dry I came in with my air compressor and blew off any dust that as accumulated on the parts. Then I went to work prepping the parts with various grades of sand paper. Starting with a 700 grit sand paper I made work across all the surfaces of the model. I then came back with 1000 grit and cleaned that up, then followed that with 1500 grit and then finally finished up with 2000 grit sand paper. 

All of this was to help clean up the surface of the model in order to properly air brush it. Here we can see an example of a part before it was painted in the acrylic-polyurethane surface primer.

the unpainted Zaku rifle from the 80's Mobile Suit Gundam MS-06 Zaku II Kit
It’s sort of a slightly too-bright German camo-green. Which kind of works giving the coloring of the Zaku II from the tv series. Painting the parts comes in a series of steps, the first of which is coating the part in a smooth but even coat of white primer. The second step was using a black paint to pre-shade parts of the model. Here you can see an example of a part that has been pre-shaded.

The back of the 80's Mobile Suit Gundam MS-06 Zaku II model kit having been primed white and pre-shaded with black.Now I will admit I’m new to air brushing, and I will admit to the possibility that my understanding of some of the techniques is wrong, so if you hear something different from what I explain right now don’t be surprised if it’s different. Also, please post a link to the info below in the comments. The entire point of this website is to promote learning and experimentation with models. Now, as I was saying, pre-shading is a process to produce shading and color variation with a model by making use of the transparent qualities of paint. By putting down the white primer coat, and then using the very dark paint to shade sections of the model, the later colors will be darker in those areas while being light where the black paint isn’t present. The best example of the end result I can show is here on the shoulder shield:

The shoulder shield from the 80s Mobile Suit Gundam Model Kit of the MS-06 Zaku II showing the result of pre-shading.
I applied the pre-shading to the shield largely because the shield was otherwise a flat and visually un-interesting surface. Adding the pre-shading helped to break up the plain-ness of the shield. I worked to apply the pre-shading to the majority of the parts, which required that I assemble a means to hold all the pieces between stages. This was accomplish by making a series of mini-mounting arms using small clips and tooth picks. The tooth picks were then mounted on a block of floral mounting foam. This allowed me to quickly switch between parts to paint, while not needing to actually touch the piece.

A selection of parts of the Mobile Suit Gundam MS-06 Zaku II kit being held by home made mounting arms and having been pre-shaded.
That completes today’s post. Monday I’ll continue talking about the air brushing and what I learned from this particular project.