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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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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Jan 202012
 

Well, it’s been another year. Honestly I’ve not made nearly as much progress with all my modeling projects as I’ve wanted too, but as the kids start getting older I believe I will have more time. I can already see them taking interest in painting and sculpting. Sure, they are using watercolors and play dough, but it’s only a matter of time before I move them on to bigger and better things!

I was able to get to building a few models during Christmas break. Per usual I’m afraid to touch these with a brush, but to be honest they look pretty awesome as is. So awesome in fact they now command the top spot in my display case.

These limited edition Kingdom Death minis are by far the most highly detailed minis I have ever seen and they each come with some great artwork and a certificate with the number of your LTD cast.

The attention to detail is phenomenal; these models look completely polished and dynamic from every angle. The Kingdom Death game itself is still in development, so I cannot speak to how it will be, but after seeing the work put into these figures I have no doubt this game will be cool.

So it will be some time before I can put these figures to use, but other than just the simple coolness factor of collecting these models, the other fun part is that by purchasing these limited edition high quality resin casts, it’s actually helping to fund the project and get the game built, so in a way we get to contribute to the development of the final game.

The popularity of these models have been increasing fast, some of the models have sold out in less than a day, and one in less than 8 hours! So I have been following the site closely and waiting in anticipation for each new model release. Unfortunately I’ve missed a few of the really cool ones, like the Grand Mother, Wet Nurse, and Grom but I will continue to look into acquiring them down the road. It’s seriously gotten to the point where I’ve stayed up all night just waiting for them to be added to a cart.

One word of warning for beginners, the detail on some of these figures is so good that it’s very easy to accidentally break pieces off. If you plan on getting into the Kingdom Death line, be prepared to start a project that requires extreme patience and precision. But even after a few mishaps, these things look great.

Take a look at these pictures, and don’t forget to check out the site Kingdom Death, these are not to be missed!

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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 122011
 

It was an interesting winter to say the least. Check out the local wildlife after the “Great Blizzard of 2011”.

“Aaaw look, its the Moma and the baby. Timid creatures those At-AT’s.”

Speaking of Blizzard, whats the two biggest reasons I have not been blogging?

Yes, that’s the new baby playing World of Warcraft Cataclysm. What can I say, he loves his Epics.

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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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Aug 292010
 

While in Cincinatti for the Iron Wind Metals trip I went to the Newport Aquarium in KY. Newport is the family favorite vacation spot, Harmony and I love to come here any chance we can.

Here are some of the photographs I took this time with our Nikon D90. I’m still very much in the playing stage of the Camera. I really need to read the manual and take a photography class.

Sea Turtle. I call him Squirt.

In the Shark Tank. Practicing for the real thing, a five day Great White diving trip of Guadalupe Island is being planned for October 2011.

Octopus. I didn’t just post this because he kinda looks like a Tree-ent…

Lionfish.

Owl.

Alligators.

Jellyfish. It was surprisingly hard to get a good picture of a jellyfish, these things morph all over the place.

Sand Tiger Shark.

Lil Shark. This little guy just wanted sand dumped on his head. He was so cute, acted just like a pet.

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