Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Star Wars Snowspeeder - Bandai 1/48 Scale Model Kit [Unboxing and Pre-Assembly Review]

To date, Bandai has produced two versions of the Star Wars Snowspeeder at 1/48 scale, namely the Luke Skywalker/Dak Ralter and Wedge Antilles/Wes Janson versions - both with their own hull and pilot decals. I had actually gotten two sets of the former way before the latter was released with the intention of freehand painting one of the sets to mimic Wedge's snowspeeder. That is, in essence,  what my Star Wars project will be all about. Having to proceed without the proper decals, I'll have to brush paint hull colours as well as pilot suit/helmet markings using freehand.   

Bandai Star Wars 1/48 scale Snowspeeder (Modified Incom T-47 Airspeeder)
Side boxart of the Bandai Star Wars Snowspeeder scale model kit

Bandai's diagram-based instructions have a reputation of being straightforward and easy to follow. Being of the snap-fit variety, assembly of the snowspeeder should be hassle-free and user friendly especially to beginners. Based on past experience and a cursory glance of the snowspeeder instructions, I expect this to be the case again and look forward to an easy build. 

Snowspeeder instructions was a combination of colour depicting decal markings and ...
... black and white diagrammatic pictures for the assembly instructions

Sprues contain parts which are highly detailed. As a Star Wars fan, I'm delighted at the near- to spot on- movie accurateness of the various parts making up the whole. From the cockpit interior to the outer hull, this model kit has the potential to be a fantastic build thus providing a solid base for paint. To name just a few examples: the cockpit interior on Sprue A, the hull grooves and lining on Sprue B, the repulsor innards on Sprue C1, the pilots on Sprue C2, etc. all have fantastic details at this scale. 

Sprue A: Cockpit canopy (clear) and interior, power generator, cooling fins, tow cable, etc.
Sprue B: Upper and lower hull, landing gear, etc.
Sprue C1: Repulsors, cockpit canopy, etc.
Sprue C2: Base, pilots, etc.
Sprue SWB1: Laser shots in transparent plastic

Decals provided with this set are meant for a Luke Skywalker/Dak Ralter snowspeeder build. For this particular project I'm undertaking they are almost completely useless to me. Except for a few decal markings such as the small ZZ symbols and a few others, the rest won't be used. Instead I'll be freehand painting the cockpit interior, hull markings and pilots. It'll be good to flex those small scale painting muscles again as it has been some time since I really used them.

Bandai water decals for a Luke Skywalker version of the Snowspeeder
Sticker equivalents for a Luke Skywalker version of the Snowspeeder

So another Star Wars project looks set to take off, pun unintended. In addition to allowing me the pleasure of painting miniature figures again (specifically 1/48 scale Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson), this sci-fi vehicle undertaking will also allow me to practice yet more weathering effects albeit a few steps back in terms of level of decay. For the modified Incom T-47 Airspeeder, the weathering effects will be more of the operational wear-and-tear variety. Much to do I have, and I can't wait to get going.



Thursday, 10 August 2017

Nurgle Rhino APC [Completed]

During this long and fairly arduous weathering project, what essentially kept me going was that it afforded me the chance to expand my painting/modelling skill set. Sadly, it has been a while since I felt any enthusiasm painting W40K stuff. On the bright side what I've left in my collection are Orks and Chaos armies so that means plenty of weathering practice opportunities. So here's the completed Nurgle Rhino transport or armoured personnel carrier (APC) in all its weathered glory. 

Nurgle Rhino Armoured Personnel Carrier [Completed]

While the Nurgle Rhino might not be a masterpiece, I've learned a lot from completing it. Sometimes it's necessary to call a project done before you can start analyzing how things could've been done better. Parts of the APC definitely has an unfinished look to it. For example the open hatch on the upper hull (the searchlight wasn't a good fit ... more on that later), the two tiny headlights on the upper left/right corners of the front hull, and the general lack of Nurgle pus and gore all over the vehicle. All of which had good reasons, chief among them is that it was time to move on and let go.  

Weathering effects on the Nurgle Rhino include chipped paint ...
... rust stains, streaks and pools; rusted metal parts as well as some dirt/dust deposits

Weathering on this project was more of a traditional military armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) wear-and-tear style rather than the W40K sci-fi blood-and-gore. That explains the lack of pus and gore usually associated with Nurgle vehicles. On a personal note, I felt that if I were to include pus and gore into the weathering process the whole thing might've been a bit much akin to adding sugar to a regular Coke drink. Not your regular hobby-related analogy but I'm sure you catch my drift.

Weathering style was a more traditional AFV wear-and-tear rather than W40K Sci-Fi blood-and-gore
My favourite weathering effect was the rust streaks-chipped paint combo
The umber-like rusted tracks and metal parts provided a welcome contrast to the greyish-green hull

In addition, there are two small headlights on the upper left and right corners of the front hull which remain in greyish-green tones except for the rusted metal-wire-cage encasing them. I had left them in similar hues to the hull as is the case for some real-life tanks with a monochromatic colour palette i.e. the headlights/searchlight painted in similar hues to the hull. A real world example of this would be the Russian T-90A Main Battle Tank (please click here for a scale model representation).  

In the end, I never bothered with any blood-and-gore effects around Lucy's head
Could the Nurgle Rhino have used more weathering? Debatable but I was happy with the results as is

If you've been following my past posts you might be wondering what happened to the searchlight. Well, as you can see from the photos below, the searchlight had two strikes against it which caused me to leave it out in the final completed shots above. One, the searchlight was just too big and felt wrong in terms of scale size. And two, the bright yellow lights I painted in seemed out of sorts with the rest of the colour scheme. Both are sore points and enough to tip the scale against including it.

Nurgle Rhino Armoured Personnel Carrier with a searchlight added to its upper hull
Personally I found the searchlight to be too big in terms of scale ...
...  and its bright yellow hue makes the Rhino look goofy which is why I prefer to leave it out in a display

Going forward, I'll be working on two scale model kit projects at the same time while hopefully finishing a long neglected Game of Thrones proxy miniature painting project. The former involves Bandai Star Wars Snowspeeder (painted up as a Wedge Antilles/Wes Janson version) alternating with an old Tamiya AFV model kit i.e. a Russian T-55A Medium Tank. Meanwhile, the latter will involve finishing a proxy for Bronn the sellsword using a Nocturna Models miniature. But for now though, I'll just wallow in the satisfaction of being able to finish the Nurgle Rhino. Just for this week anyway.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Nurgle Rhino [WIP - Weathering 'Metal' Tracks & Adding Dust/Dirt Effects]

Work on the Nurgle Rhino is now enteringn the home stretch with weathering of its 'metal' tracks completed and the addition of dust/dirt stains on the lower sections of its hull. It's about 99% complete with a few loose ends to tie up in terms of unifying the entire piece's colour scheme courtesy of a few minor touches here and there. Here's a step-by-step documentation of the final significant weathering process that the Nurgle Rhino will undergo before she is revealed in full.

Nurgle Rhino work-in-progress: Rusted track with metallic shine for parts facing wear-and-tear

As I hadn't put much thought into the tracks initially, there was bound to be some overlap in its weathering process. For example, I had already primed the tracks with an oxide red hue using a combination of Tamiya Fine Surfacer and Mr Surfacer 1000 primers. But when starting work on the tracks, I realised this hue looked a tad too bright hence the application of yet another primer coat i.e. AK Interactive Tracks Primer which sported a darker umber-like hue. Based on past experience, acrylic primers act more like a sturdier basecoats rather than a proper primer per se so essentially there isn't any primer coat overkill. Well, technically two primer coats is overkill enough.

A primer mixture of two oxide red hues (left track) was followed by a umber-like hue (right)
For some modellers, polyurethane acrylic primer is just a glorified acrylic paint basecoat
An application of track wash brought the rust hues to a darker tone
At this stage, both set of tracks have had a fairly generous application of the enamel wash
Rust hues for the tracks using a combination of pigments and enamel washes
Following the rust pigments and washes, a dark steel pigment as well as a pigment fixture was applied 

Most modern tank tracks comprise a combination of rubber and metal parts. However, for the purpose of the Nurgle Rhino I had assumed an all-metal track and weathered it as such. This meant a fully rusted track with metallic shine showing through in places where the track experiences frictional contact with surfaces. For a closeup view of each step of the 'all-metal' track weathering process as well as a description of the work involved, please check out the photos (including captions) below.

Step 1: A coating of AK Interactive Track Primer, light enough that some of the oxide red shows through
Step 2: A liberal application of AK Interactive Enamel Track Wash
Step 3: Application of AK Interactive's Track, Light Rust, Medium Rust pigments as well as Light Rust Enamel Wash
Step 4: Application of AK Interactive Dark Steel pigment, followed by its Pigment Fixer then another layer of Dark Steel

As a final touch of significant weathering, dust/dirt effects was applied on the lower sections of the Nurgle Rhino's hull. The intention was to add more colour variation to the monotone hull, yet not too much as to confuse the eye to what is already a heavily weathered hull. To add dust/dirt effects, I used a combination of AK Interactive Africa Dust Effects enamel wash and some white spirit. The latter served to either dilute the wash or clean off excess dust/dirt effects for a more stain-like look.

AK Interactive Africa Dust Effects and White Spirit used together to create dust/dirt stains on lower hull 
A light yellowish or beige-like dust/dirt stain was chosen to complement the greyish green hull
Closeup of the lower sections of the Nurgle Rhino's hull, after being weathered with dust/dirt stains

Blogging this entire project week after week has at times stretched my patience (not to mention that of my dear readers). It sometimes can be hard to maintain enthusiasm in a project when week after week sees only at times are small incremental steps towards a greater whole. To inject some variety into future posts, I plan to alternative blog postings between two completely different projects each week. This can only work if the two projects are sufficiently different or confusion may reign. Before that though will be the final reveal of the Nurgle Rhino project so please bear with me until then.


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Nurgle Rhino [WIP - Acrylic glazes and a searchlight]

Despite the weathered rust effects, the Nurgle Rhino still looked relatively flat overall. So to break up the monotone grey green hue of the chaos transport vehicle, I lightly layered on some blue green acrylic glazes on selected areas of the hull. I had Moiterei to thank for this step. Although I had previously done some research about using filters (essentially enamel versions of acrylic glaze) on future AFV projects (Russian T-72B1 and/or B3 main battle tanks) it didn't occur to me at all to use that painting technique here. Until Moiterei, thankfully, reminded me of it! 

Nurgle Rhino work-in-progress: selective application of acrylic glazes
Instead of the usual dark brown wash, recesses of the hatch door were given blue/green glazes

For the purpose of this W40K project, the acrylic glazes were created using Vallejo Glaze Medium in combination with Vallejo Model Color Intermediate Green (70.891) and Blue Green (70.808) as well as water. The resulting glazing mixture had a consistency slightly more watery than skim milk. 

Paints used in this session: Vallejo Model Color Blue Green, Intermediate Green and Glaze Medium
Water was added into the mix to achieve a slightly lighter than skim milk consistency
How the acrylic glaze looks like on a kitchen paper towel

Effects are intentionally subtle partly because the Nurgle Rhino already had a lot of weathering effects on its hull e.g. paint chips, rust stains and streaks. It could arguably do with more glazes (even of a different hue) but in the end I felt the transport already had a lot going for it. I wanted to do just enough to trick the eye into seeing a more varied hue on the hull. Another reason I stopped with what seemed bare minimal glazing is because the Nurgle Rhino is getting yet another round of weathering effects in the next step i.e. dust/dirt buildup on the lower portions of its hull (sigh, will it never end).

Effect of blue green glazes, top (after) and below (before), on left-side of hull
Effect of blue green glazes, top (after) and below (before), on right-side of hull

At extreme closeups, the acrylic glazes become more noticeable especially on the upper left and right corners of the transports back, near the tow hooks. Meanwhile on the upper hull, the acrylic glazes were concentrated on similar panels, hatch hinges and raised square block thingies.

A closeup of the upper left corner panel (near tow hook) which took on a bluish green hue after glazing
Similar panel on the other side of the Nurgle Rhino, a bit more noticeable on this side
Upper hull with the hinges, panels and raised areas glazed with blue/green to make it stand out

A miscellaneous Nurgle Rhino part i.e. the searchlight was also completed with the 'lights' painted in as well as a bluish green glaze on the upper small light fixture (see below). 

Nurgle Rhino searchlight which incidentally had its upper part glazed with a blue green hue

All that's left to do now is to paint and weather the Nurgle Rhino's tracks and add some dust/dirt effects to the lower portions of its hull. The end is near ... 


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