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.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Still alive

hey all, I know it has been quite a while since my last post. I am still alive, though I will admit that there have been a few times in the last couple weeks where I'd rather I hadn't been. Work has been rather trying of the last few months, however we've just had our old manager leave (Thank you) and a new manager take over (crosses fingers). So far I've worked with the new manager for 1 day, and he said the right things, so maybe this is the start of a good change. Here's hoping.

I haven't been totally in-active on the model front, but I haven't been quit as active as I would have liked to have been. Most of my hobby involvement for the last twp months has been the working on the Knight of Blood in frantic spurts roughly once a week and a Gundam Model Project that was all encompassing for a few days. I will be talking about both in the near future.

In addition to all of that, I reached a point of annoyance that I had to deal with. See I have a fairly sizable selection of hobby tools, and while I have a fair amount of storage space for those tools, the space isn't especially well laid out for their storage. In short, while I've been putting tools back in the same place, that same place doesn't actually make it easy to find the tool later. The pin vise doesn't exactly jump out of a drawer that has saws, scribbers, sculpting tools, cutters, wire snips, rulers and clamps in it for example. So I pulled all of my tools out and have been working on building a new tool wrack to my tools, or at least the majority of my more commonly used tools. I'm also building some new equipment for the purpose of videos I'm intending to make over the next year.

I'm not finished building any of these things yet, and as I'm waiting for a few shipments to come in, it's highly doubtful I'll have them built by the end of the week. It does give me some stuff to talk about in the coming days though.

In the mean time, for those of you who use Facebook you can check out several albums detailing some of my recent hobby work below, be sure to follow me while you're there. For those of you who do not use Facebook, feel free to check out my Photobucket albums.

Facebook albums:

Photos of my efforts to construct a 35 year old model kit. As an added bonus this is also my first attempt at real work with an airbrush.
Posted by The Resurrected Hobbyist on Sunday, May 10, 2015

Converting a Knight Titan to be used as a Counts as Lord of Skulls in my Chaos Space Marine Army. The entire project is going to involve a scenic base with Fiber optics in the eyes of the Titan.
Posted by The Resurrected Hobbyist on Friday, December 26, 2014

Photobucket Albums: