For all of you diorama fans and builders out there who are looking for some inspiration and know-how on the web – three of my favorite sites, which you should not miss:
Alamedy Diorama - facebook page of a modeler from Iraq. If this guy can can make all those things, the rest of the modeling world should stop complaining that it is too difficult… A lot of great work, focusing on urban scenes and buildings.
Satoshi Araki - Another great modeller, this time from Japan. If you are looking for definition of ultra-realistic sceneries, you don’t need to search any further. It is almost hard to believe you can do this in scale.
The Fos Blog - Primarily aimed at railway modelling, but with tons of useful tips and techniques for armor dioramas. Lots of pictures illustrating the techniques accompanied with detailed descriptions. Check it out, you will definitely learn something.
For long time I have been struggling with the hairspray method, as I wasn’t sure how to apply it. Make the hairspray layer too thin and you will not be able to lift the paint afterwards, make it too thick and paint will go in large chunks.
Again, seeing Mike do it opened my eyes, the true a-ha moment. I actually found out that the steps I thought necessary are not really that much-needed – the way Mike demonstrated the technique, the underlying base paint coat does not need to be protected by gloss coat. Having applied hairspray in two layers in a way shown in the video was enough.
He did use Tamiya acrylic thinner or water for top paint layers and did the chipping step immediately after the application.
So again, hope the video will help…
(For more in-depth description of the hairspray method get Mike’s excellent TankArt books, you don’t have one yet?)
It is already few months since I have promised to bring you videos from Mike Rinaldi’s workshop in Toronto. It took a while, but here they are coming. The workshop was few hours long, so what you can see are just snippets of techniques and methods demonstrated by Mike. I hope that in spite of this, they might be of some help in your modelling efforts.
I am rather lazy modeller, so when it comes to tank tracks I prefer the ones which take least effort to assemble while providing good level of detail and, if relevant, correct track sag. With respect to these factors I believe the best alternative are Friul metal tracks, though these are also rather pricey. I also like Dragon’s magic tracks, as with little more effort these can be assembled and shaped accurately and are very well detailed. I learned that Magic tracks are not popular with many modellers as they find them difficult to assemble. I don’t find this to be a problem (I might have a post in the future on how I deal with them).
Dragon has recently started using their Dragon Styrene tracks more often, these are definitely the easiest option in terms of assembly – there is really none. But they suffer from the usual problem with styrene or vinyl tracks – though flexible, they are still rather stiff, so that achieving the sag so typical for many tanks is quite difficult.
Recently I have found interesting article on the track-link site that shows a nice trick how to achieve this. Quite simple and effective it might be the way to go for modeller who likes these tracks. Make sure to see the article here.
Thanks go to the article author Bill Koppos for sharing the idea. His application of this trick to the Ha-Go is truly impressive – see the image above, which is from his article.
As I have already mentioned here recently, modelers in Toronto had during the past week unique chance to meet Mike Rinaldi, one of the most prominent (and my favourite) modelers these days and author of the popular TankArt Series of books.
Those interested had a chance to see a presentation by Mike on his techniques or take part in one of the workshops organized by Hornet Hobbies store. I have of course not missed this opportunity and participated in Saturday’s workshop where Mike in few hours demonstrated his weathering techniques, focusing on pigments and hairspray method. In the first part of the session, Mike showed application of the pigments to lower hull and wheels of a tank using older Crusader kit. In the second part he used Panzer III turret in base grey coat to apply hairspray & chipping of the dark yellow coat and this was followed by another layer of chipping, this time by adding whitewash camouflage.
It was great to watch Mike do the magic and have a chance to ask questions. I will not be speaking for myself when I say that these few hours were extremely helpful and I have added quite a few tricks into my repertoire. Many of the issues I have experienced in past have suddenly disappeared. You can read hundreds of articles on how to do the things, but watching the process was simply different kind of experience.
Mike also brought two of his models – Stug III featured in the excellent book On Display – Stug III from Canfora Publishing and M26 Pershing recently presented in the second TankArt book (I did not realize, this was in the 1/48 scale…).
Thanks goes to Mike for coming to Toronto and sharing his secrets, I hope this was not his last visit here and of course to Dave Brown of Hornet Hobbies for organizing this excellent event.
Below are few shots from this workshop. At the bottom you can see the product of this session - painted and weathered Panzer III turret. Frankly it’s better than any other I have built so far…
In addition to the pictures, I have also shot few short videos, which I will be adding here as soon as I can figure out how to do it.
Just to avoid any misunderstanding at the beginning – the title of this post is not to be connected with the lack of the posts on this page over the last days. It’s just that April is somehow quite busy month (just finished doing my last year’s taxes tonight…) and I have been working on a lot of things. Too many projects at the same time, I tried few new things and in general just spent a lot of time in my modeling den.
One of those kits I have played with was this Panzer IV. I built it almost 3 years ago during summer vacation at a cottage. It was built, primed, painted and lightly weathered. But the more I looked at it, the more I didn’t like what I saw (unlike my friends, who praised the camouflage paintjob). The paint job itself was quite laborious. I wanted to build it as a vehicle from the Normandy fighting in a standard german 3 done camouflage. This was hand painted with airbrush and it took me few attempts to do it as I did not like the look of it at first.
But after all this work, I concluded that it is not good enough. I did not like the tone of the dark yellow, it was too brownish. After I had painted the green and brown camouflage layers, I have tried to blend them with the dark yellow with a light overspray of the base colour but I have overdone it, so the result was very low contrast in the paint finish and a dull look. I was hoping the weathering could fix it somehow, but nope… (lesson learned)
As I was working on the Abrams, I thought to go out of my comfort zone and try some new things. I got very much inspired by Chris Jerrett and his Merkava that is featured in few magazines recently – including AK’s Weathering magazine.
One of the things I am using this time are the new (relatively) wash solutions from AK Interactive. They are available in few shades for multiple paint finishes, though what exactly would be the difference in the effect of the Wash for Modern OIF vehicles and the wash for DAK vehicles I don’t know. Just by looking at them in the bottle it feels that the one for Afrika Korps seems bit more brownish with more vibrant color, whereby the wash for modern vehicles is bit more muted, toned toward the grey.
Thus coming in very convenient time for me, AK recently posted few pictures and short how-to comments on their Facebook page on how to use their wash products. This helped me quite a bit and must say that the method they describe works perfectly and I am quite happy about the results. I have also tried airbrushing the washes both thinned and unthinned and while this requires some degree of control in the airbrush handling, the effect again is very pleasing to my eye. It takes little longer to build the desired effect when compared to airbrushing acrylics, but because the washes are enamel-based it is possible to fix any mistakes quite easily (forget about it with acrylics, I am using Tamiya and they are pretty much dry seconds after they hit the surface), I am more in control of the gradual build-up of the effect and it is possible to achieve more subtle look.
So if you haven’t tried them yet, maybe it’s time. And make sure to visit AK’s facebook page, there’s quite a bit of interesting things to see there.
So finally two days ago I have opened the package with long-awaited Mike Rinaldi’s new book TankArt. Having been teased by number of photos of the book pages over the past weeks and months my expectations were high (and I believe not only mine) and I was eager to lay my hands on the book…
Just a quick look will confirm one thing – even in the current market for books on the modeling subject, the book is really unique. The first impression I had when flipping through the pages is that not a single inch of space on more than 200 pages was wasted.
One of the most useful ways of how to learn new techniques and see other modellers at work these days are video tutorials. There is already quite a few of DVDs out there and wanting to see what’s it worth I bought few of them. And some of these were really one of the best investments I have ever made in terms of the things I have learned.
Even easier these days are tutorials posted on the net. They are usually shorter and of course free, but most of the time quality suffers accordingly. Recently Meng – the now famous producer of Merkava IIID – posted link to the video of a model build featuring their pickup truck kit. I was quite impressed with the quality. Picture quality is high, sound is good, originally in Spanish, video has decent subtitles in English. At the same time the modeller featured in the video is one with good experience judging by the very nice result of his effort.
Again, one of the inspirations that make me pick up the phone and call local hobby store: “Eh, do you still have that pickup kit from Meng…”
In addition to my yesterday’s post on weathering Ka-Mi and responding to Aaron’s comment I thought I might add few tips and points to help deal with any problems with this technique. Some of them are just clarification of yesterday’s post, some I might have not mentioned explicitly, so here they are: