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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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 282010
 

   Here’s the latest pictures of the Xmarx Hanger project, It’s still very much a work in progress. The final product will probably change quite a bit as I experiment with new techniques,  this is the largest model I’ve painted  so far and I’ve found that many of the techniques I typically use on smaller structures and Battlemechs need to be adjusted for larger surfaces such as the walls / floor of the hanger.

    

   Really, figuring out how you want the model to look even before your brush hits the paint is the hardest part.  My ideas evolve as I go, and I find myself completely revamping the model… Guess that’s the problem with being a perfectionist.  It will work out in the end however =) So at this point I am still not sure if I want the model to have windows making it more of a city type structure, this would allow it to match my other sci-fi type buildings.  Another option would be to make the hanger to a more fortified structure, filling in the walls with some dark gray or even blackish areas, or I could paint them a specific color based on the clan/house I plan to decal it with.  It’s probably going to be House Kurita, so maybe red? Hmm, I may even do one side windows, the other fortified, which could give me more options for photographing and realistic scenarios.

   

     Another decision that I need to make is how to paint the interior.  Do I want it a clean / new hanger, or do I want a used and dirty look.  I am playing with used and dirty right now, maybe I will buy another which I can paint to be more of a clean, new building.  It’s going to require a lot more coats of paint to get this thing looking how I want it, but it’s coming along. 

    The outside of the Hanger will need some weathering as well. I have some decals from fighting piranha graphics on the way, and I have some decal paper so I can print a larger logo for the roof. I also picked up some Micro Kristal Klear to test out; I’ve read that it can be used for realistic windows so I am going to test it out on some other pieces to see what it can do before I put it on this model.   

    In other news, I just got a new set of Winsor Newton Series 7 brushes for my birthday so I should be able to up the quality of the painting a bit. Also I may be getting an airbrush for Christmas, that should be a huge help on larger models such as the Hanger,  I don’t have any experience with airbrushes yet, but  after some online research I’ve concluded that the Paasche Model VL Double Action Airbrush may be ideal for my projects. If anyone has any advice on airbrushes it would be greatly appreciated. I will review both the brushes and Airbrush as I have more experience with them.

    Stay tuned for more updates on the Hanger to come soon.  I graduate in December so painting / blogging time should increase.

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Nov 192010
 

How many times have you found that while your Battlemech was out punching holes through the cockpits of oncoming combatants, a sneaky second unit popped out of nowhere and began viciously attacking your base? Now you realize you are too far away from the action to get a good shot and your precious resources are completely unprotected! Well, that wouldn’t be an issue if you had some basic missile defense. If you want to take your Battletech game to the next level, consider checking out these Xmarx.com LRM turrets. They are relatively inexpensive and look great on the table. They also really help add a little extra flare to the game.

I painted these models up with some Vallejo paint, the Jade Green was used to give the turrets a Jade Falcon type look. The Jade Falcon logos and the warning sign decals where purchased from Fighting Parana Graphics. The terrain used in these pictures (the hex tiles) is Heroscape terrain, (I got the terrain at salvation army for $5.00!). The Battlemech in the picture is a IWM Warhammer, painted to be a generic Jade Falcon unit.

The vehicle in the pictures are the Xmarx.com tanker truck. I have not had a chance to paint it up yet, but will review it with some more pictures once I do.


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Aug 292010
 

I have been working on this Battle Mech Hanger from Xmarx for about two months, this thing is awesome.  The quality of the piece is very good, it looks fantastic.  This is definitely not a piece of terrain for anyone without a lot of patients as it has a lot of pieces that all need to be sanded, filed, drilled, leveled, pinned, assembled, etc.  The steps involved to get everything put together were pretty intense, but it was worth it.  Even unpainted this is one of the finest terrain pieces I own.

Final pictures will be posted after painting is complete.

More pictures here:
XMarxHanger#

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