Feb 292012
 

Here are a few more photos of some of the Xmarx.com terrain I’m currently working on.

The Solar Panel Array is pretty cool, I tried to make it look more spacey by giving it more of a gold/copper reflective color for the panels. I’ll have to put together some type of moon base / terrain to use it on.

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Feb 052012
 

I just finished painting the Space Port Control Tower by Xmarx. Like all of the models by Xmarx this one was great. The tower needed almost no prep work so I was able to quickly remove all excess resin, prime and get to painting. I tried some new painting techniques with this model, most of my previous painting consisted of a lot of dry brushing, I’m now trying out layering and blending. It’s most noticeable in the windows where the color shifts from light to dark.  I think it turned out well.

I’ve got plenty more Xmarx models to finish, so stay tuned for some even cooler models to be posted soon.


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Jan 222012
 

This is preparation for my first attempt at realistic miniature photography scenes. I made the tree using bead wire, Milliput putty, paint and woodland scenics foliage. It took a while, but I think it turned out very nicely. The plan is to make terrain and scenery that look both real and extraordinary. The original idea to do this was from Matthew Albanese.

I’m starting off very small right now, still learning how to make little things and do photos with some of my miniatures. I will most likely start with some Battletech scenes. I have some great Xmarx models to hopefully photograph real soon.

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May 122011
 

Here are a few pictures of the latest project. This is a very rare Monorail Terminal that can be used with the Old Crow monorail system. Perfect for Battletech! It took me two years to get a hold of one of these things and I am extremely thrilled with how its turning out. I’ve made some modifications such as adding platforms, steps, doors and of course adding the old crow tracks.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these amazing Monorail Terminals you can contact Blanche (Tba0075_NOSPAM@aol.com). *Be sure to remove _NOSPAM from the email address before emailing (I put it there to stop spam bots).

                                                

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Apr 032011
 

The Xmarx hanger is finally done (original pictures here) , well at least to the point of non custom work. It really doesn’t need much additional work, I plan on doing a few painting touch-ups, and adding some minor details like LCD screens, maybe some ammo storage and some girders that will fix an error I made with the roof not being level. This was by far the most detailed and complex model that I’ve ever worked on. All the work was well worth it, because this thing turned out great. I spend a lot of time attempting to ensure I hit every minor detail making it look as realistic as possible.

   

I purchased this model from Xmarx.com. When it first arrived, I remember being amazed at the quality, but also daunted by the amount of work I believed I was going to need to put into it. All said and done, a year later, I am still absolutely amazed at the quality and detail of this model, and the work, well It was by far the best project I could have done to quickly learn how to do larger projects like this.

   

Hanger highlights:
The majority of the hanger was painted using various Vallejo gray paints. I must have gone through 12 different shades and variations before I finally settled on the colors, I think I actually doubled my supply of paints just trying to figure out how I wanted to do this thing.

In the end I used the following colors:

Vallejo
• Black Grey
• Medium Sea Grey
• Dark Sea Grey
• Game Color Chaos Black
• Game Color Scar Red

Citadel Washes
• Devlan Mud
• Badab Black

Walls:

   

To paint the walls I used the various Vallejo gray paints along with citadel washes. I went through a few different shades before I found the perfect one, but in the end I believe it was the citadel washes that really made the difference. I think the gray base color was much less important in the end. One thing that I learned while painting the walls was the importance of a larger brush. When I started this, not knowing any better, I was using the same smaller Winsor Newton Series 7 size 0 brush. Trying to cover such a large surface with it was simply painful, and from a looks perspective it left small streak lines due to uneven coverage which I wasn’t really happy with. Fortunately, halfway through painting I decided to try a larger brush and it made a world of difference. Not only did it help with the realism by removing the smaller brushstroke issue, but it allowed for more coverage much faster.

Pictured Windows (Reflection):

   

When I started this project I didn’t think I could do it justice with my level of painting skill, so I was looking for other unique ideas that I could use to really spice it up. One of my ideas was trying to make the model look as though it was part of something bigger, even when only being used with a few small pieces. To do that I decided to print off some awesome planetscape photos that I found online and cut them out as reflections in the windows. Even if you do not have a good printer, just save your favorite Sci-Fi background onto a thumb drive and get them printed at CVS or Walgreens for 25 cents.

Important tips;
• Cutting them out to the proper sizes can be difficult. Be sure to make a template, perhaps out of evergreen plastic that will fit in the windows to use as a way of tracing for guidelines before cutting the photo.
• Out of excitement I put the photos in before finishing painting. I plan redoing them after I protect the model with future floor wax. This should be done last.
• Even though you are going to be covering the windows, be sure to paint underneath with a good solid dark color that fits in. I made the mistake of painting the windows blue at first, I now need to go back and fix them as a few minor areas have the blue showing through in my pictures.

Armored Windows:

   

While the reflection idea was cool, I wanted this piece to also look used and battle worn. By adding armored plating to the windows I was able to give the model an armored look that both adds to the realism and allows for a different offset texture to break up the model. To create the armored windows I used evergreen plastic and cut them out just like the pictures on the reverse side.

Laser burn/bullet holes and physical damage:

   

One of my favorite custom parts to the outside of the hanger is the laser burn (or physical damage) effect. To make the damage I heated up my hobby knife and melted the resin. The effect didn’t work exactly as I had hoped at first, it allowed me to make the indentations, but I was looking for a melted look. To finish off the effect I ended up using some white epoxy putty under the damage to create a melted effect. Citadel washes helped to finish the effect off. The bullet holes were made using a simple pin vice, I just drilled into the resin a little, then scratched up the area a little bit to look like small cracks. The citadel washes were essential to finishing the bullet holes off, it brought out the detail of the damage. I would have to say the washes are my two favorite and most widely used paints. They are perfect for battle ware and tear.

Bay doors:

   

The bay doors again use various Vallejo grays with the addition of Gunmetal silver. To finished it off I used Tamiya Weathering Master C Set – Orange Rust, Gun Metal and Silver. This set helped me with some highlighting and add an element of rust to the doors to help give it a slight aged effect.

The Roof logo:

The House Kurita logo was done by hand, I started with a template that I cut out using a piece of evergreen plastic, that helped me get the basic shape down, but it still required a considerable amount of touchup work. I originally intended to use an airbrush, but I am still learning how to use it and did not feel comfortable enough to use it on this piece.

Inside the hanger:

   

Using various decals from Fighting Piranha Graphics I labeled the bays inside of the hanger (1-6) and added yellow/black warning effects on the catwalks and floor. My absolute favorite part of the entire piece is the dirty/oily/rust effect on the inner bay door. This was done using Vallejo Brown Glaze, as the paint dried I dabbed it with a paper towel creating a flattening effect on the paint. I wrapped it up using the citadel washes again to add to the effect. This technique may serve me very well for weathering other models.

All in all, this thing turned out great. Xmarx.com has a whole line of great products that I can’t wait to get a hold of. I hear that a sister hanger set up is in the works, something that will be able to connect to a larger base structure through various attached corridors. I can’t wait to see it.

Be sure to check back later for updates on that and to see the additional custom work I do to this one.

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Mar 112011
 

So I have not updated in a while. It’s not that I lack things to write, its mostly that writing in between the other things can get difficult at times. There lots of stuff going on right now, many of which will make for some good posting so stay tuned.

For tonight, a quick Xmarx hanger update, things are progressing nicely, I’m almost one with the outside of the Hanger, I just need to do a few final details with decals and and then finish the inside.

Here is the latest picture:

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Dec 042010
 

I decided to work on a special feature for the hanger tonight as a small side project. This was an experiment to see if I could create a Battletech like LCD screen. I think it turned out nicely.

To make this, I photoshopped together some screenshots from MechWarrior 4 Mercenaries and printed the final graphic to photo paper. I then cut some opaque and transparent plasticard to use as the front and back of the LCD and used some Micro Kristal Klear to glue everything together. I used the Kristal Klear because it drys completely transparent, so if I had accidently got any on the picture it would not be noticeable.

When I’m done painting the hanger, I will probably use a few of these as giant LCD diagnostic displays. I will make a dozen or so based on a couple of different Mech designs. If you look closely, in this one I actually played the game for a bit so that I could get a screenshot of the Atlas after the arms were blown off… It took me an hour to realize that rather than leave the damage to chance, I should just make a custom Mech with no armor on the arms =). I plan on making the Atlas model looking beat up and without the attached arms just like the damage output on the screen. I may need to get some larger scale terrain so I can make these for 28mm screens as well.

This hanger is going to look awesome when I’m done!

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Nov 302010
 

I just got a new Digital Concepts Ps-101 Portable Lighting Studio; good for photographing small items; from Amazon.

This thing is really cool and it’s pretty inexpensive. It came with lights and a nice little backdrop. It should allow me get some great photos of the products I want to photograph and review.

The soft light that is produced from the sides of the studio against the light helps to cut down on shadows in the pictures allowing for closer and more detailed photos.

 

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