Monday, June 27, 2016

Diorama scene for Tanks

If you haven't been noticing that I have been fascinated with tanks of late, and it is now moving onwards to making small dioramas alongside them.

The first of what I suspect will be many small dioramas started a week ago, and took off at quite a quick pace.

You can see one of the final photos of the piece shown with a soon to be talked about vehicle. And I still feel that there is more to go on the scene itself ( such as maybe a few troops up on the hill perhaps? ).

How'd it all start though?

Actually it started with a trip to John Lewis of all things to be honest. It was there that I saw a black picture frame for 7 quid, and thought how cool would it be to have that as a base for a scene for my tanks. So on an impulse buy, that is what I did! I had seen this trick made from other scale modellers before, so this is not something that I can say is a piece that I thought up ( though I wish I had! ).

From here though it was a matter of filling up the void, and laying out my scene. I had a look through some of my diorama books at home, some photos of tanks, and finally settled on a forest-esc like setting.

First step with filling the void was finding the appropriate sized cork needed to do just the job. And then planning out which direction I was looking to have the scene push. A left to right scene was decided, but with the height of the setting to be on the top right, with sight lines to push you back down to the middle.

The front left would be broken up a bit, and maybe some water tossed into it to give it something else visually.

Both of these I tried to set up with the rise and fall of the cork, and then tried my hand at filling or sculpting the rest with milliput around it all.

The tree twigs were added to put some weight on that top corner of the base as well, though I probably should have sculpted on them a bit to give them a bit more texture than what they provided.. but I still had plans to correct that even.

Once the plan was set ( milliput drying makes things a bit more permanent ) I then began to add some sand, gravel, and larger stones to the base. Again to break up the base a bit further. I also began to add dirt to places throughout the base, and give the whole thing a bit more texture..

Sadly no photos of that before I went on to prime and paint this. Honestly I was still unsure if this whole idea was going to take hold, and not sure what direction this was going. So at points I just kept going instead of stopping for photos.. so apologies there..

First layers of paint.. and this is where I was having a lot of fun with the piece. Because at this point I was not using acrylics on the base, but instead doing the entire base in oils to get a rough sketch and idea of where it was going.

It gave me a great idea of the feel for the piece and really invigorated me on how it would be looking later on, though without the foliage happening right away. Although the above photo was very wet looking due to the oil not dried yet, I would give it a day or 2 to set before I would cover it in varnish and start in on the other colors and next steps.

But first.. some photos of other vehicles on it to give it a go at how it can work for more than just a single piece ( which is the intent to have it work for of what I am working on over time ).

Without the foliage the desert camo pieces were still looking ok ( though a bit dated already compared to my newer paint jobs ).

I would even see how it would be within my photo booth and with my proper camera instead of my cell phone..

I had posted these photos online, and asked which people liked the most. The SU85 and the Halftrack were voted on the most overall, with the others not even mentioned.. says a bit about my paint jobs on them perhaps ;)

With some photos tests happened, and me liking it more and more, I began to add the other elements to the base. Water effects to the bottom left corner. Foliage to the base in different areas.

The first parts for foliage was some scatter grass in areas, and the moss on the trees. I had taken the floral sponge flock, mixed in some dark green, and varnish, and used that as a paste to cover sections of both of the twigs. Once dried I did drybrush it with some off green oil colors to give it a bit of a lighter look overall.

I will say that at this point it was quite bright, and out of place as well. But I had plans to add some bushes a bit more. And the plan was that this would help to solidify the colors and make it get tied in a bit further.

Thankfully I think the addition of the more solid green bushes did help quite a bit. I would then go and lay down some darker washes via the airbrush to the shadows of the bushes, and soft tone wash spray on the top section.

Helped to tie in the colors a bit further and kill off the brightness of it further as well. Which moved me to take more photos of the scene both with the SU85 and the M10 on the scene to see how they fit on it.

I think overall they both can fit nicely ( though the tracks on the M10 need doing, and the SU85 could have some updates as well ). But I do believe that the overall look, and feel that I was aiming for has come through on this piece. And I did learn a lot on how to set up scenes a bit better for larger projects. Something that I hope to move onwards with on my larger display piece as well. Hopefully I can make more of these kind of scenes as well for other projects. Such as maybe an urban setting, and a desert feeling. Something that will allow me to play around with different tanks and have more scenes for me to take photos of them in.

One comment I did receive about this, and I will seriously consider it for later on.. is to make or paint up a backdrop for the scene and remove the back background even further. I see pros and cons for that, but need to do more digging around on it before I commit to it at all!

Hope you enjoyed this, and hopefully I will have more things to post up about as the week progresses!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rubicon M10 Painting SBS

And here we go.. after the review of the build of the Rubicon M10 kit, here is the process to paint it up.

As you can see from the top photo, it is quite weathered, but also a bit darker than the lime green Sherman of previous. Though not as olive colored as the M3 Halftrack I did before.

Starting out with the tank is where we should also begin. A primer stage. I have worked this one with the a series of Aerosol cans. A primer grey as a base to give it a hardy base to work with due to the amount of materials that will be used. But this was followed with a black, and then dusty with white.

I then proceeded with the base colors. A dark green from Vallejo Model range, combined with the US Green for the upper sections. I had mixed in a slight amount of Japanese Uniform Yellow to give the highlights some more power and umpf. But had lost some of the contrast after this highlight ( damn poor airbrush skills on my part ).

To bring the contrast back, I mixed the dark green with some black and resprayed the recess areas.

Once that was finished, I would paint up the tracked in Tamiya German Grey, and the shells in Bronze/Brass. My first applications of Gloss Varnish was also happening at this time.

The reason for the such brightness was for this step with the Oil applications. Black Oil for the grey colors to darken them up some, but the armor itself was given sections of yellow applications. I really like this, although it is a weird in spots.

What I like at this stage is that the texture on the armor plates now was a bit more random. And the thing gets a ton brighter which is good for the next steps ( but not mutant lime green like the Sherman ).

I might have gone a bit overboard on the decals for this tank. I really like the star with broken ring around it.. I had even tried to do a squad marking for it making it the A13 marking, but I really messed up one side. So had to scrap that idea and move back to the basic tank markings. Thankfully I did not mess up the application this time, and got them semi straight on the flanks of the M10.

It was then covered in more gloss varnish in time for the weathering aspects to be taken on next.

And this brings us to my most favorite part of the painting. The weathering of the vehicle.

Starting with the chipping in black and then German Brown. This was then followed up with the Humbrol Enamel Brown Wash which was rubbed into the crevices and some of the larger sections.

I would do this a few times throughout this part of the process. Making some sections thicker and darker than others.

Though there would be a mistake being made at this stage also. I would attempt to make some lighter rain marks also, but it just wiped out the brown coloring. So it made me have to redo those sections in the end.

The only thing left to do is add pigments to the tracks, but I am still experimenting on those sections to be done. And once I figure it out, then I will redo all the American tanks so that they have a consistency amongst them, even if the overall tank colorings are different.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did to paint it up ( and then write about it ). And hope to be able to show more of such pieces in the future ( be it new builds and paints or repaints of older vehicles ).

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

3 yrs between classes.. what's the difference?

I thought this might be a cool little comparison between when I first joined Roman's Beginner class 3 years ago, and the class I took this past weekend.

On the right we can see the original deamonette from the class with Roman way back in 2013 in his home town of Augsburg. This was back when I was just beginning to paint more than table top miniatures and was what I consider my first real class on how to paint ( I had taken one with Dervish in Aacken, but it was far too advanced for me to fully grasp the techniques until a year later ).

So the demaonette from 3 years ago is pretty basic overall. I still think this is a cooler base than others I have made since. Only cause of the way that the paint and colors came out on it. Having the bright orange brown tones highlighted up to white on it were quite a lot of fun to do.

And it contrasted nicely with the Blues in the deamonette. Though to be fair, the painting on the deamonette were a bit rubbish overall. I look at it now, and know that I could or should be pushing the contrast on the skintones further.

The transitions to the claws were a bit rough, and the overall brush strokes throughout the model can be seen a bit too much in areas that it shouldn't be.

That being said though, I still like looking at this piece as it was my first real showcase piece overall.

It would also be one of the first models I would try to do decent eyes on a model of this size. And although she came out looking like she was shocked, I used that to my advantage on the piece by adding a small Rabbit to the piece. As the eyes and the position of the Rabbit were almost in sync.

In the end, the original piece was meant to give me an idea on how to do color contrast more than anything, and I think I achieved that with the blue/orange combo happening there.

With the class just passed we upped the game a bit. Roman had mentioned how I was able to bring my own model to the class ( instead of doing the DEMOnette ) and after much deliberation I came up with this Exaulted Deathbringer. I had others in mind, but I figured it might be better to do a GW model as that would sit more in line to the class structure better. Plus I suspected that I would be able to take much more from the class through this method as well.

What we worked on with this piece though also was more about atmosphere as well, instead of just contrast. We would do contrast still within the piece, but more of a warm/cold variety at a basic level, while still attempting to keep a cold feeling.

One of the biggest struggles for me on this was keeping the skin colder. I had originally thought that if I started with a cold base that this could continue through to the skin itself. So starting with a faded blue base, and working the skin tones up it would keep.. though I made mistakes along the way with too much red/orange in the skintones that warmed it up and made the piece start to fall out of sorts from the scene.

Roman then came back to remind me that we were working within a specific color range. So to make the feeling colder, and to tie it into the base, we need to be using some of the same colors here.

Taking a pure white, and the ice blue, we mixed up a colder white tone. This was then mixed with the skin colors to give us a highlight. The goal here was to make the model feel colder, while also highlighting it up to bring out the contrast some more.

I believe in areas it worked nicely, in others I think I need more work. But the feeling of it working within the scene was there now. Hopefully I can follow along with this throughout the rest of the model sections that are not finished yet ( like the axe and armor parts ).

Though I am still not fully sold on the base, and I hope once I begin to add snow to it, that it pulls more together as well. Otherwise this guy is going to be ripped from the socket base, and put to a gaming base. And moved into the White Tower ( once I purchase it of course ).

Hope this was interesting for you though, and am curious what you all think of the model, the painting, and the scene as a whole at the moment?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review Tuesday: Rubicon M10/M36 Kit

Slowly getting back to normal after all the trips that I have taken recently here. And I have quite the backlog of posts to catch up on as well.. with plenty of ideas for what to write about or to show here on the blog. Along with some other things happening in the background to be released and shown soon.

But for now, let's get back to my current obsession of which consists of Bolt Action and painting up tanks. It is still surprising even to me that I am so into painting tanks at the moment just from the one video from Jamie Trantor. Crazy..

For this I have the American, or allied at least, M10/M36 kit from Rubicon. I picked this up while I was at the Airborne tournament in Poole a few weekends back. Not much to say about the tournament other than I was suffering from terrible food poisoning, the drive to and from it was long, the opponents and team members great, the scenarios a bit unpolished, good games in the end with some real nail bitter situations, oh and something about me coming top Defender ( but I suspect my M16 did a lot of that work for me ).

To kick this kit review off, here is the shows of the sprues as they were laid out on my desk.. and I am trying to revive my old camera ( not cell phone ) to take photos with. So still working on the blurry and the focus.. apologies in advance here... oh and my messy desk.. seems all the travel and random work as of late has created quite the clutter on it.

Starting in on the kit, we head for the tracks and base. Honestly I am loving that the kit starts in this way. I am not sure how or why all the details on the inside of the tracks is required, but I guess I know they are there even if I do not get a good chance to paint them up. The 2 halves for the main body is great though. Very solid and makes te rest of the construction of the vehicle very easy going.

I will state though that I am a bit dissappointed at this point of the kit though. There is no floor plates or whatever to put inside the tank here. Normally not a problem as they are usually covered, but since this is an open topped tank, and when we get to next steps we can see straight through to the inside sections. Just a small point but something that could elevate the kit to a new height.

The top plate for the M10 variant here.. there is a choice to add in another ring within the inside of the hull there to make it work for the M36 version. I kept this out as I would be using this more as a M10 version, but put the ring aside for later.

Here we see the first turret. I went with the M10, if that is not evident already, and loaded it up as such. The cannon there can be moved up and down based on the way that it can be built a bit more mobile. I am not quite sure about the back sections as there is a bit of a gap between them, and I had thought they might be more fused together.. but I could not make it work out that way. Nor could I see in the instructions if that is how it would be. So I might have issues right there on the turret.. but it works for me in the end..

There is a second turret of the same variety but it is not able to also be created without missing the inner seating ring as only one is available within the kit itself. I mean it is still available to be built, and therefore used as a variant turret for the kit. However I am not sure where the people will sit within it, so there is those kind of issues.

Here we see the pieces for the M36 turret. It did not need that special ring to be made, and goes together nicely. I used the WW2 versions for the copolla and end of the barrel.

As mentioned earlier however, the turret ring on this one is smaller and required a separate ring for it to attach to. I have left this outside the hull however, but once it is put together with this turret though, it almost sits nicely on top of the hole on the current chasis. Just need to snip a small tab off, and make the bottom section of it flush for the circular space on the tank hull. Quite loose overall, but works for gaming purposes overall however.

Overall the kit comes together quite nicely, and has plenty of sections for markings, and weathering.

Here we see the M36 version sitting together on the same tank hull.

I do like how versitile the kits are, and provide more options than just a single variety within it. Now to see how well it does within the Tank Battles that will be coming soon enough.

But a key thing that is cool, and something that I suspect we will see more of in the future from Rubicon, is how they are compatible between different hulls. Here we see the lime green Sherman from before, but with the M36 turret on it without the ring attached ( shown in front of the tank ).

So I now have 2 tank hunters, and a bit more veritility with regards to what is in my force. Don't need to have 5 Shermans now, but can have a few more options to take out some of those big cats I suspect we will see in the later stages of the forthcoming Tank Wars Campaign coming up..

Now all I need to do it pull out the colors and get this new tank painted up, and the spare turret set up to match the Sherman as well.. or different coloring maybe? Showing that it was switched from a different hull during the fights even? Ideas abound here...
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