Sunday, April 12, 2020

SBS - Six Leg Robot - Installment 6

Six Leg Robot / Walker Step – by – step (Installment 6)

A Bit More Weathering

     I treated all the legs and feet with the sea sponge chips.  In places that I imagined continuous rubbing or wear I added a little pencil lead / graphite.  This imparts a metallic sheen of freshly rubbed metal.  I concentrated these details on the feet.  My logic was that bushes, low buildings, etc. would constantly be scraping and wearing at the lower surfaces.  The crew access hatches and surrounding areas were also given a bit of graphite to show their activity “topside”.  Other scratches were treated to streaking rust and rust stains.  I especially like this effect on the turquoise canisters on the legs.  I used the Mig Ammo Rust Streak line of enamels.  I laid the paint down on and around exposed metal chipped areas, waited until they dried a bit, then used a clean brush moistened with odorless thinner to pull the paint down in streaks, moving the brush in a light but vigorous fashion vertically.  The effect is very pleasing and realistic as each streak starts from a logical place.

fig.23: Rusty and chipped. Note the graphite sheen on the exposed edges of the feet.
Finishing Up
      My final steps were to glue copper wire into the holes I drilled for the antenna masts.  These were painted a dark grey.  I also tried my hand at painting a jewel-like eye for the front dome.  I looked up “how to paint jewels” on-line and basically followed the suggestions to paint a solid resin dome into a red transparent dome.  The jury is out on how successful this was.  I have, oddly, pictures that look better than what it looks like in person.  You can decide for yourself how effective it was.

fig.24: All done. I painted the red jewel dome with Vallejo acrylics
I really appreciate Miguel giving me the opportunity to paint up this fun and unique piece.  I hope this project didn’t run on too long and that you all were able to get something from my experience with this kit. Happy modeling and enjoy the kit!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

SBS - Six Leg Robot - Installment 5

Six Leg Robot / Walker Step – by – step (Installment 5)
Weathering – Oil Dot Filters
            The next step is to start adding some visual interest to the painted surface by slightly changing and mottling the colors.  When we alter the surface colors slightly, it’s traditionally called “using filters” (think looking at something through a color filter).  A wash that is spread thinly over an entire surface thereby slightly shifting its color would be considered a “filter” (no longer a “wash”).  I’m going to do something similar but with tiny dots of oil paint.  I start by squeezing out little blobs of oil paint onto a cardboard pallet.  The colors I chose were black, Payne’s grey, a blue, raw sienna, a yellow and titanium white.  The exact colors aren’t too critical.  The blobs are allowed to sit on the cardboard pallet for about 30-45 minutes in order for the linseed oil to leech out into the cardboard.  This will help the oil colors to dry faster and dry perfectly matte.  When the oil paint is ready, I apply tiny dots of paint randomly to the surface...although not strictly “randomly”.  I am concentrating the darker colors near the undersides of the surface and the lighter colors near the top.  I only work on a small surface at a time.  Once I’m done adding dots I take a clean flat brush and moisten it with a little odorless thinner.  I then proceed to work the paint into the surface with quick vertical strokes, blending the color into the surface and blurring the edges.  The results should be a streaked and mottled surface reminiscent of weather beaten paint.

fig.17: Lay out your oil paints and then wait for the linseed oil to leech out into the cardboard.

fig.18: Apply the oil paints as tiny dots across a small section of the surface

fig.19: Not the best photo of the outcome of the oil dot filters but you can make out the mottling
Keep the brush fairly dry of odorless thinner and a light touch while dragging the oils down the sides.  If you are too heavy handed with either the thinner or the brushwork, you run the risk of obliterating all your work.  For horizontal surfaces I'll use a light scrubbing motion to work the paint into the surface.
Weathering – Chipping

            Another weathering technique is “chipping”.  Chipping is the effect where we show serious wear and tear on a painted surface.  There are many ways to accomplish this effect, the most talked about recently being the Hair Spray technique.  I, however, went “old school” and used the sponge technique as I wasn’t sure I could control the size of chips for this scale with the Hair Spray method.  I start my chips with a lighter version of the base color.  In this case, a light sand or tan color from the Vallejo range was used.  I squeeze out a small blob of this onto my wet pallet and then I pull apart some sea sponge (Michael’s or JoAnn’s sell little bags of these sponges) and lock them into a set of lock forceps or lock tweezers.  I use the lock tweezers as my hand will cramp up after 30-45 minutes of use.  The lock allows me to loosen my grip a bit and that helps a lot (old age sucks!).  Dip the sponge into the paint and then use a paper towel to blot off the majority of the paint. Lightly dance the sponge over the surface, but mostly concentrate on exposed edges and raised details.  Turn and change the sponge angle to avoid making repeated marks which don’t look real.

fig.20: A sea sponge dipped in a light tan color makes these interesting wear marks and scratches.       
     After the light tan, I repeat the sponge dance with Vallejo’s German Camo Black Brown, a color which replicates deep scratches down to bare metal.  This time, I concentrate the sponge marks in and around the previous light tan scratches.  The effect is that the light tan looks like scratched paint or minor surface damage, while the dark brown shows deeper damage down to bare metal.  The effect of the two together is quite realistic.

fig.21: The darker brown chips look like deeper, down to bare metal, scratches.
            I was rather random with my scratches on the legs, concentrating on sharp corners and exposed edges...anything that could whack a building wall or tree trunk.  I was more focused when I got to the body section, concentrating the paint wear near my crew hatches and any raised surfaces that crew would tread upon.

fig.22: I imagined the crew scuffing up the top surface of the body around the hatches.
 That's all for today.  Last Installment to follow soon.

Friday, April 10, 2020

SBS - Six Leg Robot - Installment 4

Six Leg Robot / Walker Step – by – step (Installment 4)

After the Base Coat

After the base coat step I started to drill new holes for the many antenna masts that I planned to plug into the body.  Again, a twist drill and bit were used.

fig13: New holes drilled for the antenna masts to come.
            My next step was to hand paint the hoses, crew equipment and other details.  The crew equipment was painted with different shades of greens and khakis.  I used Vallejo acrylic paints for this.  Vallejo is a great paint for brush painting and cleans up with water.  The hoses were first painted in a dark grey and then I lightened the grey with a light khaki color, painting this as a highlight.  The fabric dust covers I had sculpted earlier were painted various shades of green as well.  Finally, I painted some of the larger canisters found on the legs and a couple of domes on the body a faded turquoise color.  I really watered down the paint for the canisters as I had planned to render them in an extreme state of corrosion.

fig.14: Hand painted details using Vallejo acrylic paints
Weathering - Washes
            I’m now getting to my favorite part of the whole process, the weathering stage.  This is where I feel the piece will start to live and take on personality and a history.  I start with “pin-washes” and I used Ammo by MIG : Dark Wash.  This is a pre-made wash that flows nicely into nooks and crannies to darken and delineate forms and separate shapes.  You can make perfectly serviceable washes from almost any type of paint.  Just dilute the paint down with the appropriate medium so that it flows easily and leaves just a hint of color.  Take a fairly sharp brush (WinsorNewton Series 7 round no. 2 for me) and flow the wash into the corners and panel lines, and around details that you want to emphasize.  You should not spread the wash over the entire surface but confine the paint into the recesses.  If you use an oil based paint and medium, you have the added advantage of being able to further work with the paint after it has slightly dried.  In my case, I was able to draw streaks down by slightly moistening a clean brush with odorless thinner and pulling color out of the recesses and down the sides.
fig.15: Details start to pop with the application of washes.

fig.16: For added interest I’m weathering each half with different intensities.
 That's it for today. More to come soon

Sunday, April 5, 2020

SBS - Six Leg Robot - Installment 3

Six Leg Robot / Walker Step – by – step (Installment 3)

More Details

         Another detail I added was something to help set the scale of the model.  Because I had settled on 1/100th scale, I determined that this vehicle was something that a crew rode around in.  To help show this I punched out some discs of plastic and glued them to the top of the main body to represent hatches.  I used a Punch and Die set from Harbor Freight and sheet styrene that I had laying around.  

fig.8.5: Crew hatches punched out with a Punch and Die set

I also sculpted some crew gear that could be glued to the exterior of the body.  Again, I used Kneadatite Epoxy Modeling putty, more commonly known as “Green Stuff” to sculpt in.  Equal portions of the “A” and “B” components are kneaded together until you get a uniform green color.  I now have about 90 minutes of sculpting time.  Using toothpicks, knives, and other sculpting implements, I fashioned a small collection of bedrolls, sacks, and bread bags reminiscent of what the Germans used during WWII.  I used my little figure – “scale-guy”, as my scale guide to insure everything looked correct.  When cured, the gear was glued onto the body, near and around the new hatches.

fig.9: Crew gear sculpted from Green Stuff Putty

With nearly everything in place, I was ready to start the real fun of painting and weathering.  A quick wash under water with a drop of dish washing detergent and an old toothbrush helped clean off resin dust, fingerprint oils, and any other unwanted schmutz that may be stuck to the surface.  I let the model dry over-night and prepared for the next step.

fig.10: Build mostly complete. Time to start slapp’n paint!
Painting - Priming
            We prime models for a number of reasons.  A smooth primer coat helps provide a “tooth” or surface for subsequent coats of paint to grab on to.  A primer coat can also help one spot imperfections or missed seams.  Believe me, you want to deal with these way before you start painting in earnest as fixing these at a later stage will mar or ruin the surrounding paint finish.  When dealing with a multi-media model such as this (rubber, putty, resin, plastic, and metal), the primer coat also provides an even color base and even surface texture.  You may not want the smoothness of the aluminum to stand out from the rest of the cast resin texture so a primer is the perfect way to remedy this.
            In this case, I started with a few light coats of Citadel Chaos Black Primer.  I like the darker primer color as it helps hide missed painted areas in nooks and crannies and I was going to try a technique where I actually use three different primer colors, black, grey, and white.  I come from an armor model background and this technique has been in vogue for some time now.  With its interesting shapes, I thought this would be a perfect candidate for the technique.
            The black was initially sprayed up at the model from below.  The undersides of the vehicle will be in shadow and the black primer helps set that tone.  Grey primer was misted from a horizontal angle coating the majority of the surfaces.  I had an almost empty can of white primer which I sprayed from the top, allowing white to rest on all the horizontal surfaces, heaviest near the top.  Unfortunately (but actually quite fortunate) the white primer started sputtering all over my model.  I stopped, but then thought the speckled and spotty paint might be useful, so I kept on, splattering white primer from above.

fig.11: Priming with black, grey, and white. The splattering was due to a near empty can.
Base Coat
            After the primer coat I proceeded with the base coat.  I decided to go with a German Dark Yellow color (my armor past catching up with me).  I used an airbrush (Iwata HP-C) to lightly mist Tamiya Color acrylic XF-60 Dark Yellow over the entire model.  I then lightened the color by mixing in a drop or two (in the airbrush paint cup) of Tamiya XF-57 Buff.  This was lightly sprayed over the top surfaces, highlighting high points and exposed areas.  I did this a few more times, each time adding another drop or two of the Buff to lighten the color.  I tried to keep each application light and this allowed some of the Black, Grey, White work to show through.  The speckling of the white actually added chromatic texture and visual interest to the otherwise boring base color.  I finished off with a coat of Tamiya XF-52 Flat Earth around the feet and lower surfaces of the legs to represent dirt and mud picked up during a recent trek.

fig.12:Base coat complete with Black, Grey, White tones still peaking through

That's all for today.  More to follow soon.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

SBS - Six Leg Robot - Installment 2

Six Leg Robot / Walker Step – by – step (Installment 2)

The Build
I used two part epoxy resin glue to secure the pins and legs.  To help hide the joints between the legs and body I used two part putty ("green stuff", more on that later) and sculpted “fabric” dust covers around the joints.  Using a toothpick, hobby knife, and other small sculpting implements, I added wrinkles and folds to simulate a flexible cover.
fig.4: "Green Stuff" putty sculpted into flexible dust covers for the joints.
            Another advantage of this kit is that scale is entirely up to the modeler.  There are really no cast details that define a specific scale.  I had played around with many back stories to this build and tested the model against many differently scaled models.  This kit looked great no matter what I had it posed against.  In the end, I settled on 1/100th scale.  That little human figure (“scale-guy”) in fig.3 above, is 1/100th scale.  Determining scale will help during the build-up and painting phase by informing us of the sizes of details we need to keep to.
Adding Details

I knew that I wanted to add an extra level of detail to the model.  I added hydraulic actuators and hoses, just to provide a little more visual interest and movement to the piece.  Before attaching the legs I pre-drilled holes that I would later fit telescoping aluminum tubing and wires into.  These would give some purpose to the many cylinders and shapes cast on the legs.  You can buy lengths of aluminum tubing in various sizes and I was provided a few lengths to play with.  If you want to do this, you'll need to drop by your friendly neighborhood hobby shop / train store (FNHS), and pick up some extruded metal tubes.  You can usually find such items by K&S Precision Metals. Each tube fit nicely into the other so, by cutting off measured lengths, I could create the hydraulic actuators at many of the leg joints.  I also added lengths of wire to replicate pneumatic or hydraulic hoses.  These were lengths of different diameter wire glued into more pre-drilled holes.
I used a small-ish diameter insulated electrical wire for the thin hoses.  The larger hoses were cut from a roll of 16 awg Primary Electrical Wire that came in a 24ft roll from Home Depot.  24ft will last you for a few models!  I found that this wire had a multi-strand copper wire core which made it very "rubbery" so it wouldn’t hold its shape very well.  To solve this problem, I pulled out the multi-strand copper wire core which left me with the plastic insulation tube. I then threaded a single length of thinner wire (the same wire I used for thinner hoses) through.  The thinner wire had a single copper wire core and was much better at holding whatever shape I bent it into.  I used cyanoacrylate glue (think Krazy glue) to secure all the wires into pre-drilled holes.  Once dry, I could bend and shape the hoses into nicely draped forms.
fig.5: Pulling out the multi-strand cores of the 16awg Primary Electrical Wire
fig.6: Replacing the core with a thinner but stiffer single core wire
fig.7: Plugging the hoses into my pre-drilled holes in the legs
Here’s some hints for applying cyanoacrylate glue.  I first put a few drops of the glue on to wax paper...the stuff you find in your well stocked kitchen.  The glue will bead up on the wax paper and stay viscous and usable for much longer.  I have an applicator that I made from a sewing needle.  I cut the end off the needle’s eye leaving a small “U” shape.  I ground down sharp edges and polished the “U”.  Chuck the needle into a pin vise and, by dipping the “U” into the CA glue bead, you can transfer very precise drops of glue to your work.  I use thin CA glue and it works great.
fig.8: CA glue applicator made from the end of a standard sewing needle chucked into a pin vise.

That's all for today.  More to follow soon.

Monday, March 30, 2020

SBS - Six Leg Robot - Installment 1

Six Leg Robot / Walker Step – by – step (SBS)

The Kit

The kit was digitally sculpted by an amazing artist and friend, Miguel Guerrero.  You can find this and other fantastical creations at his site, La Bestia Studio.  Full disclosure, this kit was donated by him for me to paint and is actually seen on his site and may still make the rounds with him at his show booths.  Please take some time and visit his wonderful site and check out all his creative offerings.  There’s sure to be something there to catch your eye!
Clean Up and Prep

This kit comes in 7 pieces cast in a light grey resin.  The body and six legs are sturdy and clean with little to no flash.  There are minimal, and sometimes easy to miss, seams running up the legs and around the body, but mild sanding and scraping should take care of those

fig.1: 7 major pieces which are cleanly cast and quite robust.
A word of warning, fine resin dust is a health hazard so practice caution by using filtered masks, good ventilation and “wet sanding” while cleaning the resin pieces.  I kept a bowl of water near me and used emery paper dipped in the water to confine the dust.  I wore Nitrile gloves as the fine dust can be a skin irritant.  If you experience any reactions while working with the resin, stop and contact your physician.
            Each leg comes with a pyramidal key at the head of the leg that fits snuggly into one of the 6 holes at the base of the body.  I decided to pin each of the legs for extra strength and stability as I knew I would be handling the model quite a bit during the painting stages.  I had some small nails at hand which I used as the pins.  After cutting off the heads of the nails, I measured the diameter of the shaft and picked a drill bit slightly larger.  I used a twist drill and hand drilled holes into both the leg keys and the body receiving holes, and then test fit the nails.  I was allowed some wiggle room by using a slightly larger diameter drill bit, so the placement of the holes weren’t so critical.  After test fitting all the legs to determine which leg fits where, I proceeded to mark the holes and legs so I could easily put everything back together.

fig.2: Prep work for pinning the legs to the body
            One thing that came up was that all six legs do not sit evenly on a flat surface.  If you want all six legs to touch the ground plane then additional tweaks must be made at the top of each leg.  I suggest first gluing the two opposing central legs, then decide the pitch of the overall model.  Adjust each leg by scraping and slicing the leg’s mating surface, little by little, until you get the legs comfortably touching the ground.  Sanding the foot pads against a flat piece of sandpaper will also help to ground the robot.  I actually liked the look of the robot rearing up so I left everything as is, except for sanding the foot pads that touched the ground. 

fig.3: The model with its legs in place. Note the raised front legs. Introducing "Scale Guy"!

That's it for today.  More to follow soon.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

alexander whang - models and minis

I thought I'd try something new during this recent "Covid-19".  I've been toying with the idea of chronicling some of my model builds.  These would be my miniatures and models based on plastic, resin, or scratch builds...what ever I happen to have on my work desk at the time.

As a warning, I'm a very slow modeler so updates will not be coming out at a very regular pace.  I'll start with stuff I've actually finished and photographed during construction, which should be faster to upload.  As I catch up to what's actually on my desk, I suspect updates will slow down.  Let's see how this goes.