Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So, trying something...

So on a pure "Hmm that could be cool" kind of moment I picked up a set of 1/100 scale MS Effects. These are clear plastic pieces that are meant to be used to present beam saber and engine blast effects. I didn't have a particular plan for them. I just got them because... hey maybe I'll have an idea for them down the line. 

Well I had an idea for them. Specifically mounting an LED inside of them, and coloring the plastic so that it lights up yellow or red.  Made my first effort today:


Using Tamyia Clear Yellow coloring I tinted the plastic yellow. Then I used a series of drill bits to bore out a space in the plastic for a white LED. While I like the way it turned out, when/if I do this again I think I'd use a yellow LED to match the yellow coloring of the paint.

So I know this was a particularly short post with little real merit to it (though I'm sure some folks were curious about the idea here), but I've got a lot more energy directed to some stuff that's going to be revealed tomorrow. So stay tuned.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #6

Okay, so the name of the game today is "Fabrication". As you've seen I've made a series of changes to the model to bring it more in line with how the Heavy Arms appeared in the anime series and with those changes comes the need to actually build new parts. The best example of this is in the chest, where I used the 2 larger gatling cannons to replace the four smaller ones.

 The part of the model that was originally intended to go in there is a single insert piece that had all the details and cannons head molded into it. Well, I didn't use that so I have to make parts and pieces to fill in the space in the chest.


These are three pieces I made for the chest cavity. The piece at the top is going to go in the center of the chest between the 2 cannons barrels, while the piece on the left will go in the left section under the barrel leaving the last pieces to go in the right cavity. They're meant to be suggestive of machinery rather then actual parts of any sort. A lot like when I built the engine master for the Thunderbolt I'm not building an actual machine or functioning mechanism, but rather putting enough details there to make it look like it could be doing something. Same principle here. What's that piece that's going in the center of the chest? I have no idea. Could it be some sort of gyroscope to help the gundam maintain balance? Sure, why not?

Now there are other items that I need to fabricate in order to facilitate the project. If you look at the Heavy Arms as it appeared in the Anime series it was equipped with a couple other things that it's Endless Waltz counter part didn't have.

There is a single micro-missile on the shoulder right about where those bit yellow... horns or whatever they were would be. So I need to make those. The anime version was also armed with a sort of Gundam sized army knife that flipped out from under it's right wrist. So I need to make that.

Well I need to make something close to that anyway:

I rather hate the flip-out style the knife had in the anime, so I went with something a bit more workable to my mind: A magnetically driven slide deployment mechanism! Well, that's what it's meant to look like. The idea is that the knife slides out of it's housing.

The micro-missle launchers are simple styrene boxes topped with missile heads from one of the extra shoulder launcher pieces that I didn't use for this build.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #5

The head is coming along:




So, just getting the colors on here: I've got a Tamyia white spray base, Citadel Mephiston Red, and a Gundam Marker Black for the lines. 3 separate companies products, with 3 different colors on a piece the size of a my thumb. I find some kind of weird irony in that.

Also got the eyes, and head optic colored as well. The black is the basic Tamyia black paint, with the eyes and optic picked out that nuclear waste light green from Tamyia.

Now, put it all together:


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #4

Managed to get some paint down on Heavy Arms today.
Well, okay a pretty good amount of paint. As you can see I got the chest painted, primed the shoulders, touched up parts of the torso, and did some detailing on the shoulder cannons. I need to come back around with a second coat of white for the shoulders.

The shoulder cannon housings were painted in that Dark Sea grey color Tamyia paint. Then I came back with Nuln Oil from the Citadel Shade range. It took two coats but I think it made a really good visual difference between the colors.

The orange around the chest is Citadel's Mecharius solar Orange. It's a very thick paint intended for base coating. It took two coats to get the color you see here. To help keep the color from rubbing off I applied a layer of Citadel 'Ard Coat varnish to the chest sections.

I used the Nuln Oil once again on the cannons in the chest. It helped add a lot of shading to the weapons.

Next time, I get to work on the head.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #3

So, I encountered my first real 'oops' moment for this project: The chest. Or rather the covers for the chest cavity. The larger gatling cannon barrels I inserted sit just higher enough compared to the original part that it very very slightly interfered with the panels staying closed by their original design mechanism. Well I used a trick from my warhammer projects to rectify this problem: Magnets!
the modified chest compartment of the Heavy Arms gundam with open panels showing the magnets I installed to keep the panels shut.

Yep, I counter sunk 2 pairs of magnets on the sides of the panels. these magnets are quite strong enough to keep the chest panels closed, but not so strong as to be a hindrance to opening the panels if I so choose. I used kneaditite modeling putty to secure the magnets and then used super glue to adhere them in place against the panel sides.

I also got a layer of paint down on the shoulder cannons. This is the same "Dark sea grey" I used on the Wing Gundam Buster rifle. I still need to come back and pick out the cannon barrels.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #2

Show some leg baby!

Okay, maybe not. The idea of a 200 tonne mecha doing a Can-can is slightly terrifying in my mind. But I am working on the legs of the Heavy Arms model.

The Endless Waltz version of the Heavy Arms mounts 2 missile pods on each leg while the TV version only had one such pod on each leg. So for my model, one of  'em had to go. Simple enough, just don't use the 2nd pair of missile pods. The catch is that leaves the mounting point for the second missile pod. So that needed to be addressed.

When I first started working on the left leg I tried to cut down the extruded mounting portion before I tried to fill in the space with model putty. The work involved in it was incredibly tedious and I realized it's not gaining me anything in the long run.
 So with the right leg I filled the space with putty first and then worked to shave it down. Frankly, it's less effort this way even though it's more difficult due to having to grind through the cured putty before filing down the surface.

With the required drying time elapsed the putty had hardened up nicely and I was ready to proceed. The left leg was honestly more difficult to sand down despite being a shorter stack of putty to work through. It took a solid 2 hours to sand it down with various files and sand papers before getting it somewhat smooth.

The right leg was easier and was finished in about 45 minutes. Using a jewlers saw I simply cut off the mount right about at the same depth as the surface of the leg, and then came back with some files and sand paper to smooth it out.
 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #1

So first progress in rebuilding the Endless Waltz Heavy Arms Custom into the TV version of the Heavy Arms, namely converting one of those monstrous double barreled Gatling cannons into a single barreled version.

Endless Waltz Version Heavy Arms Custom Kai double Barreled gatling cannon converted into a single barrel design.
Converting it was actually fairly simple. Take the front mounting plate, the part that would otherwise have 2 mounting points for the two barrels, and cut off the mounting ports. Just make a clean cut right down the bottom of them. That gave me a mostly smooth front, but I added a layer of Sheet styrene to help build up some detail on it. I was then able to build the cannon barrels and simply glue them into place.

In order to help the cannon mount on the fore arm I took a trick from my warhammer models and installed magnets, one in the fore arm and one the base of the cannon itself. Thanks to the face that the cannon itself is hollow, the magnet holds it in place very well. I'm still going to build an enclosing arm sheath that the form arm will slip into more like what the Heavy Arms had in the tv series. Got some ideas about how to add some additional mounting support to hold the cannon to the arm better. Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Gundam project: Heavy Arms!

So with the 1/144 Wing Gundam now complete I've found myself revisiting Gundam Wing in other ways. The OVA follow up the original series Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz introduced re-designed versions of the major Mobile suits that had featured in the series. All of these Endless Walts versions received 1/100 scale version models of them, even if the original version never got one. The Gundam Heavy Arms is one such example of this. There never was a 1/100 scale version of the original TV show design of the Heavy Arms, but there is a 1/100 scale version of the Endless Waltz variant. Well, I've become inspired to convert the 1/100 scale Endless Waltz Heavy Arms Custom into something resembling the TV Show version of the original Heavy Arms.

Comparison between the Endless Waltz Heavy Arms Custom and the originalt TV version of the Heavy Arms
Time to bring Ole' Painless out.
So we can see a comparison of the Endless Waltz version on the right, known as Heavy Arms Custom Kai, and the original mobile suit Heavy Arms as it appeared in the Gundam Wing TV show.  There's numerous details that I will need to address and a couple that I'm choosing to not deal with because I like the way they look on the 1/100 scale Heavy Arms Custom model. First really noticeable difference is the weaponry. The Heavy Arms Custom is equipped with 2 Duel Gatling cannons while the Heavy Arms is armed with a single gatling cannon mounted on a shield. The large yellow... erm... antennae? Those big yellow things on the shoulders. Those need to be replaced bu the single micro-missile launchers of the tv version.

And finally, there's the machine guns on the head of the mobile suit. The Custom version has the machine guns mounted on the cheeks while the standard version as them on the sides of the head. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do about those. Add gun barrels, and cover the helmet mounted ones? Add the ones in the head? Leave them as the they are out of the Custom kit? I think I'm going to keep the check mounted guns from the Endless Waltz version.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #6

"Target, acquired!" Wing Gundam Takes flight!
Wing Gundam Takes aim mounted on a Gundam Action base


So the Wing Gundam is complete! I posed it in a way to imitate several shots of it shown through out the Gundam Wing Series where it was effectively falling backwards, had it's shield positioned to protect it's pilot from enemy fire, and took aim with it's Buster rifle over the level of the shield.

This was an enjoyable project and I learned a lot about working with the Tamyia brand paints. I like how the faux-special coating effect turned out, though I made several mistakes with it. But that was largely the reason in this project: Making mistakes and learning from them. The biggest mistake I made was under estimating the drying time of the clear colors. 10 minutes is simply not enough and even 20 minutes leave the paint in a jelly light stage that will still deform and pick up details like finger prints if handled. I am considering doing a 2nd stage to this project where I have 2 models on one base, on of the models will be configured into it's 'Neo Bird' mode, and the second in front of that model in mobile suit mode.

I'm going to look into using an Air Brush to apply the clear coats if I go forward with the 2nd model. I think that will allow the colors to be applied more evenly and help deal with the drying time problem.

The model is mounted on a clear variant of the Gundam Action base, a separate kit  available for the purpose of supporting Gundam model kits in various poses or in the case of the clear variant to suggest flight.

An upward shot of the finished Wing Gundam mounted on an Gundam Action base.
Close up of the finished Wing Gundam model.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #5

So been hammering out work on the Wing Gundam. Actually made a lot of progress in the last couple days. As I previously mention I got the blues and red painted with the faux-special coating effect and gotten the buster rifle painted. I had to track down a fine-line black Gundam paint marker and was able to use that to apply the panel lining on the white parts of the model. You can see a good example of the panel lining here:
The lines on the chest and the thighs are both panel lines, small lines of black paint drawn between two panels to show depth.

The last major part of the model I have left to finish is the wings on the back pack. Probably get that hammered out in the next couple days.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #4

One of the biggest points in this project for me was learning to work with the Tamyia pants. I've only used a couple different types of paints of the years. When I was a child I used Testors brand oil paints because... well it's what i could get for $5 at Wal-mart when my mother went there for other stuff. They work... in that it allows you to put a colored medium on the model. When I got older and into 40k I started using Citadel Paints, or rather the Coat of Arms version of them (Thank you to the two people who know what I'm talking about). I've used a couple P3 paints over the years and they are largely comparable to the current Citadel paints.

Well Tamyia paints are something different. For starters they're not water based the way P3 and Citadel paints are. They're Alcohol based, so they can't be properly thinned with water. You just wind up with this sort of clumpy goopy mess that will absolutely destroy your brush. For another the metallics are a lot more challenging to work with then say acrylic based metallic paint. The Alcohol base separates out from the metallic particles much more easily then in the acrylic bases in other paints so I had to almost constantly mix it in order to keep the paint usable.

Something that Tamyia does is produces a range of it's paints in spray cans. I've seen it said that it's all of their paints, and like wise all of their paints that are in spray cans are available in bottle form as well. I haven't gone out of my way to confirm this, only having used the gloss aluminum spray and a 'Flat aluminum' from a bottle. These appear to be the same but there is a major difference in consistency between the thinned down paint and the spray paint.

You can see a marked difference in the paint between the spray (shown on the top silver wing) and the bottle paint (shown on the lower half of the bottom wing). I had an accident and flipped the wings too soon after spray painting them silver so the paint adhered to the board and when I pulled up the part it tore the paint from it. So I tried to fill in the space with brush painting it on. I still have ways to go in learning Tamyia paints it seems.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #3

Once again I'm working on the details of the model. Today I'm talking about the Torso and the head of the model. The real challenge here was actually the chin. It's red and thus would have the metallic red finish other red pieces would have, but the chin and the eyes are all one piece. Once again the kit has a sticker that is intended to be placed over the eyes to make them 'stand out'.  So I have to paint the entire part gloss aluminum, and then come back with the red coloring on the chin. Once that was set, I came in with a detail brush and painted black around the eyes and then filled in the eyes with the bright green. I used "Dark Sea Grey" to pick out the cannon barrels on the shoulders.


Using the same grey I achieved a tone coloring effect on the buster rifle:
The grey paint is brighter then the plastic the buster rifle so it provides a good contrast. Mixing the grey with black provided a third dark grey for the E-caps around the main body of the rifle. Once more using the bright green, I painted the targeting sensor on the top of the rifle body.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #2

Last time I talked about my plans for this project and how I was experimenting with alcohol based Tamyia paints.  Now I'm talking about the Wing Gundam model itself as I worked to apply those effects to the model. I had built a 1/144 scale Wing Gundam years ago, but that was actually a different kit to what I bought for this project. The new kit is a huge leap in quality and design over the old one. Better articulations, more detailed parts, better designed parts. Just all around a better kit. So I had to study the instructions before I started figuring out what to do. Once I had a good idea of what needed to be do, I got to work.

Wing Gundam model parts primed in silver and begining with the blue coloring.
Wing Gundam model parts primed in silver and begining with the red coloring.
Here you can see several parts in various stages of being painted. Suspended on tooth picks I used the Gloss aluminum spray paint to base the parts that would get the fuax-special coating. I then worked to apply 3 coats of Clear Red or four coats of clear blue. I used the paint straight to get good color coverage.

One of the biggest challenges in performing this effect is the drying time. The clear colors take a solid 15-20 minutes to dry enough to not pick up smudges, finger prints, or brush strokes. This was something I didn't realize right away, and even then I did I under estimated the needed drying time. So there are parts with this fuax-special coating effect that have the remains of finger prints and brush strokes in the finish.

Wing Gundam torso assembled
I used the same lime green paint I used to color the rubber cement back on that Nurgle Daemon prince to paint the space that would be the chest jem. The kit as a metallic green sticker that was intended to be placed under the lens cover, but I dislike using stickers for these sorts of things. So I used the green paint instead. Again I under estimated the needed drying time and the water evaporated under the lens cover causing a clouding effect.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #1

So I've been working on the Wing Gundam Model. There are a number of differences between the likes of Gundam Models and the likes of Warhammer models. These aren't notes of one being a better model over the other, simply differences in how the model was designed and what the end result of the model was intent to be. Warhammer models for instance are smaller and are typically what I call "Solid core" Parts, meaning the parts are generally solid hunks of plastic. Gundam Models by comparison tend to use parts that are panel formed. Like if you look at the legs of a Gundam model, and then split that leg in half to get two pieces. You will not have 2 halves of a solid piece, but rather 2 sides of a shape that is largely hollow. Another big difference between the two is what the intended end-result of the model is. A warhammer model is intended to be a single, representative figure that won't move but rather be moved by being picked up. A Gundam model's end result tends to be closer to something of an action figure by giving varying degrees of movement at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, neck and ankles. So switching from Warhammer models to Gundam models is a major shift in models. And to add to those differences I wanted to try Tamyia paints and using those paints in a fashion to achieve a special effect.

See, there are 2 broad categories of gundam model finishes. By 'finish' I mean how the final model appears. The first is known as "Special coating" and is achieved by coating the model in metallic materials, while the second is regarded as 'normal' or 'standard'.

This is an image of the standard Wing Gundam Zero Custom, molded in flat colors. The pieces are actually made out of colored plastic, so if you scratched the surface of a blue piece you will find that it's solid blue plastic through the entire part.

While this is Special Coating Wing Gundam Zero Custom model. You can see the while parts are silver metallic while the colored parts are given a metallic glossy finish to them. Unlike the standard version, the metallic finish is actually a coating over standard plastic. The special coating was actually an innovation meant to make use of scrap plastics. By taking all the scrap plastics, that were already molded in their respective colors, and using that supply they could cast additional models getting a better return on the investment in materials. The problem is they can't guarantee they'll have enough blue plastic for all the blue parts for instance. So what do they do? They do the special coating, covering the possibly mis-colored plastic in the colored coating.

Well I wanted to emulate a selective special coating using the Tamyia paints. I ran across a tutorial on line about using the tinted clear colors from Tamyia over top of a bright silver color to achieve the reflective metallics.

So the first thing I did was gather up some parts and pieces to experiment with the Tamyia paints. Tamyia paints are ethanol based, as opposed to water based Citadel paints so they work a bit differently. For starters I have to thin them using rubbing alcohol rather then water which has it's own challenges attached to it. Alcohol evaporates must faster then water does, so I have to very frequently add more to the paint to keep it thinned properly.

So, the parts. As I explained, the process I was going to use involved putting down a bright silver as a base coat and then putting down layers of the tinted paints to color the reflection.

my first effort using Tamyia paints on some extra pieces
I made many attempts before I found a method that I felt worked well enough for what I wanted as an end result. My first effort was on the long section in the middle bottom of the picture above. The one with the yellow front, blue middle and silver back section. Here I tried hand painting a layer of Chrome Silver paint and then used several layers of thinned down "Clear Blue" and "Clear Yellow". I thinned the paints to a ratio of about 4 parts of Alcohol to 1 part paint. This mixture worked alright with the yellow paint, but the darker color of the blue it just took too many coats and too much time to achieve.

The next part I tried was that weird angled part above the first. Here I tried a brighter "Titanium Silver" paint as the base while I cut the thinning of the paints to a 2:1 of alcohol to paint. The colored paints worked much better here but was still quit thin and required a lot of work to achieve what you see here.

My third attempt was on the leg to the right. This time I used straight "Titanium silver", no thinning of it. It took a mind-numbing 4 hours to get the 2 sections you see there painted. That quickly became a "No thanks" sort of result. Doing some reading I found that Tamyia produces a "Gloss aluminum" spray paint. Based on the color comparisons this seemed to be more what I was looking for. So I swung by Hobby Town and picked up a can.

I tried this Gloss Aluminum on the forth part, the second leg section you see to the left. It gives fantastic coverage and looks great. This time I used the clear paints straight, no thinning. I think the results speak for themselves as you can see with the red and blue sections on the leg. A couple coats of the clear blue and clear red produce very solid, vibrant colors that shin.

So with a good approach to the painting taken care of it is time to move onto the model itself. I selected the titular Wing Gundam mobile suit, in the 1/144 scale, as the subject of this project. The series Wing Gundam (Also known as New Mobile Report: Wing Gundam) served as my introduction the Gundam franchise back in the 1998 so there's a certain nostalgic value for me with the models from that series.

the yellow parts painted in the Tamyia gold spray paint.
 I elected to recolor the yellow parts with gold. Tamyia produces a gold spray paint that, like it's Gloss Silver, produces fantastic coverage. You can see the difference it made in the image above. The yellow space is where my gloved fingers were holding the piece so that didn't get painted.