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:
Over the past few weeks I have decided to try out a new brand of products on the market – AK Interactive. This brand is relative newcomer to the market of modelling tools and equipment and it is another venture with the name of Mig Jimenez behind the it. Focus of this producer is clear - painting & weathering products, though it is establishing itself in the related markets such as books and DVDs.
Normally I am not among the first ones to invest into new products and rather tend to stick to my proven tools & techniques. In most cases my question would be - if the same effect can be achieved with these, such as the Winsor & Newton oil paints, is there a reason to go for these products?
One of my first experiences with the brand were not the one this producer would wish for – during my recent trip to Paris I picked up AK Interactive M-ATV Photo DVD. At least that’s what it said in the cover. After inserting the DVD into my laptop I found two things: 1) DVD was not “optimized” for my computer and after my hard disk spent quite a few minutes trying to open single picture from the DVD, I have decided to copy the files on my hard disk and try it from there. That’s when I found out that 2) the DVD was full of pictures of: Boxer AFV. Not a single picture of M-ATV. Videos that I was able to play were just a collage of M-ATV pictures, but because most of them were resized, their resolution was rather poor and they were all badly pixellated.
Of course I found this out only after my return to Canada, so I have contacted AK interactive with a complaint. That was more than a week ago and I am still waiting to hear from them…
So not a very impressive start.
Since then I have given this brand another chance and experimented with their weathering products a bit, you will be able to read more about this in the upcoming post on the Ka-Mi build (updated – read it here), so stay tuned…
Yes, it’s true, I decided to switch side and build: an airplane. And the reason is very simple – to learn something new. After years building tanks and armored vehicles I realized how little I know about building airplanes. I definitely haven’t tried to build one since I was like maybe 12. And having seen really magnificent airplane models on the recent model shows I thought I might learn something.
When I started modeling about 8 years ago (I mean serious modelling, not the things you build when you’re 12), the breakthrough in my model building efforts was participation in the modelling workshop. The clinic (called Box-to-Battlefied) is still regularly held at Hornet Hobbies store in Toronto. In those few evenings that the workshop took, I have not only learned techniques and tricks that simply cannot be read in books and magazines, I have also found one of my now best friends in Dave, owner of Hornet Hobbies and long-time master modeller, whom I owe most of what I now know about building models.
So knowing that similar workshop aimed at airplane modellers (called Flightlines) is also held at Dave’s store, I decided to sign up for the current run. The workshop is run by Tony Bell, another modeller whom I greatly respect (even though he has not built a single tank as far as I know). In spite of all the years of modelling under my belt, I was surprised to find out how much I can still learn - in the three evenings of the workshop so far I have learned things I haven’t heard about before.
The subject this time is recently released Revell’s PV-1 Ventura. it’s very nice looking kit (for a very fair price), not overly complicated, but solid base for further detailing. And Tony is master in that field.
So if you were ever wondering what are the secrets of modellers building all those amazing models and you happen to be from the Toronto area, I have one advice for you – sign up for the Box-to-Battlefield or Flightlines workshop and you will find out. To do so, contact Dave or Trish at Hornet Hobbies (http://www.hornethobbies.com/) and they will gladly help you (and say hi to them from Vlad).
Few pictures below from the last Flightlines sessions…
I have been playing with this popular technique (of which I have posted some tips and tricks some day ago here) over the past days quite a bit and learning something new, so here are some more (hopefully) helpful ideas:
When painting my models, I am normally proceeding quite fast and apply as many paint layers as I can (mostly limited by time) in one session. Using Tamiya paints is very convenient for this as these paints dry very fast and are touch dry in really few minutes. This allows me to apply preshading layer and right away base and sometimes even highlights (or modulation as it is popularly called these days).
On the last day of the previous year I took the advantage of the holiday discount at luckymodel and ordered five silicone molds from J’s work. Haven’t really read about the company that much before, there was a review of the product on armorama site (see here), but I liked the concept of being able to cast my own bricks, tiles or pavement stones, so decided to give it a try.
I have ordered five molds – tiles, bricks and brick wall, pavement stone and pavement section.
After waiting 3 weeks (what was much longer than I expected that the delivery would take) I have received the molds and checked them out.
At first glance I was bit disappointed as the silicone molds had quite a bit of casting bubbles in them and I was afraid, that these would be to the detriment of the quality of the casts that one can make. To check it out I have mixed some plaster and poured it into the pavement section mold to see for myself what the result will be.
Here I was quite surprised. The bubbles on the molds have not really affected the result that much – some of them remained filled with air during the casting, so they have not affected cast pavement. The remaining few are hard to spot and can be either removed easily or incorporated into weathering and dusting of the pavement.
I apologize for lower quality of the photos, but it’s difficult to take picture of white piece of silicone…
I really like these molds and I am already looking forward to use these molds on my future diorama projects. Given that they each cost 6 bucks, I consider this very good investment.
I guess there isn’t an armor modeller at this time, who has not heard about the hairspray technique of weathering models. This technique was pioneered by Phil Stutcinskas and gained fame after his marvelous Panzer IV won Best in Show at Euromilitaire 2006 (pictured above, you can see more excellent pictures here). I still consider his piece one of the best models ever made.
Hairspray technique has since been covered in many articles and books. In spite of that I have found out that it might not be as easy as it sounds, definitely some of my early attempts were more of a disappointment. Through experimentation and series of trials and errors I found what works best for me and was able to achieve very niece effects which can hardly be replicated in different way. So for any of you out there who are wondering (as I used to) why the heck I cannot do it when everybody else can, here are few things to try:
- The technique works best when the hairspray is applied on a glossy surface. This can be achieved either by giving the underlying surface gloss coat before applying the hairspray or, as I prefer, by adding some 10-20% of Tamiya Clear X-22 to the underlying paint coat (this usually results in less gloss than with the full gloss coat layer, which creates rather nice metallic sheen). The reason is that if the paint surface on which the hairspray is applied is flat, hairspray gets absorbed into the paint and subsequently cannot be dissolved with water applied on top.
I guess you must have missed the article by Mike Rinaldi, in which he in extensive detail explains his approach to the weathering of armour models. The article is simply amazing and I cannot recommend it strongly enough. Mike’s approach is illustrated using number of high quality photos and is well explained.
This article underlines Mike’s reputation as one of the most influential modelers these days and definitely one of my favourites.
The article was recently published in the Military Modelcraft International magazine (September 2011), but can also be found here: