As you may know, I sculpt the model kit versions of Ian McQue’s airships for my model kit production company Industria Mechanika. For a while now I’ve wanted to do a large one-off showpiece as a backdrop for the smaller kits. Something to give a sense of scale and scenery as seen in Ian’s paintings. I was going to make one based on a barge-like sketch, but then Ian sent me a painting of this cargo ship/freighter and I was hooked.
Now of course, how to construct such a large vessel without it being a massive mess of Bondo…? The answer was laser-cut acrylic and luckily I have a friend with a laser-cutter! So I spent a week designing many many many parts from 3 thicknesses of Acrylic 1/16″, 1/8″ and 1/4″ (” = inch and ‘ = foot (12 inches) for those using the metric system… I use both as you’ll see) and even more parts from 0.2mm brass photoetch. And of course I’m not done yet as I still need to finish designing the underside of the craft.
Designing the acrylic was a fun challenge… it’s like designing a 3-dimensional puzzle using flat parts, slots and tabs, and more. I really had to think ahead in the design for lighting and more. The bulkheads in the interior cargo hold for example not only have door holes, but small holes that are both decorative and able to hold “pipes” in which I can run wiring. I also had holes cut for LED lighting, etched-in details and more.
The ship itself is VERY large at 1/35 scale. It’s about 36″ long (90cm). I need to come up with a build-plan as I will have to paint, light, and detail the cargo hold before I assemble most of the ship.The acrylic just arrived yesterday, so I’ve lots to do.
While waiting on the acrylic to be delivered I had time to start on the cargo… and there’s a lot of it to fill up the space. Here’s a bunch of pics and I’ll add explanations as I have time. Most of these are already explained on my facebook page. The large containers are the new 1/35 Military 20′ containers by Italeri, forklift by Aoshima, motorcycle by Bandai, and everyhting else is random bits and bobs or scratchbuilt.
A small quick build-up of the new 1/72 scale Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced X1 from Fine Molds for a client.
I received two of these I had on preorder for months from HLJ last week. Their shipping has improved and the yen is much better now.
The kit itself builds up much like the other Fine Molds TIE Fighters but unfortunately does not have the separate wing panels like the other TIEs so masking is required there. Kit comes with standing and seated Vader figs, decals, masking stickers (ugh) and a stand. I ended up using some vinyl masks I purchased years ago for the other TIEs as they work here too.
Painted base coat (over black primer) for the Darth Vader Tie. This is a mix of Tamiya XF-1 White with XF-66 Light Grey. It’s too light by design as I’ll use filters and discoloration to darken it to the “correct” shade.
After 4-5 filters of 502 Abteilung oil paints Navy Blue + Starship Filth thinned excessively with odorless turpenoid.
I shaded and highlighted the panels with more filter wash and thin white oil paint for the highlights. Vader says “ready my ship” before using this which probably means he has this fighter for a reason AND uses it. I figure based on his mentioned piloting skills, he uses it often enough to have some weathering.
A final filter layer of Starship Filth was applied, then the wings were attached. The mini Darth Vaders were painted with a satin black overall then I brushed on some Future Floor Acrylic for the shiny parts and acrylics for the small buttons on his chest.
And for those of you following along on Facebook, here’s the final images of the Dragonfly. Thanks to all of you that purchased the kit and for those that didn’t…
Today was a beautiful day with perfect randomly whispy cloudsto take my final photographs. I forgot how awesome it is to take pics in natural light and not have to color-correct for the CFL bulbs. Woo! Enjoy!
Apparently I posted nothing about this here on my own site, but the follow-up to my Hornethopter kit, the Dragonfly is done and in-stock at Industria Mechanika. Much like the Hornet, I designed the entire Dragonfly craft, but this time I had my friend and iMech collaborator Christophe Desse create the abdomen/fuselage based on my plans to make the design/shape better. We’re also using the same Aviator pilot as the Hornet because he’s cool, the perfect pilot, and didn’t cost more to print a new one. Plus we’ll have more pilots in the future that can be swapped out.
My original sketch plans. ^
Pre-production master pattern. ^
I started my paint-up after cleaning up all the resin and photoetch. The resin is so well-cast that clean-up took maybe an hour. The etch takes longer, but that’s because it’s a lot more pieces and the larger parts require slowing down as to not risk damaging them. I still kinked a couple wing parts while polishing, but it was easy to fix. Whew!
Dragonflies and Damselflies come in just about any color you can imagine, even magenta! A Google image search on either/both will give you more ideas than you can paint in a lifetime. But you’ll find one you like and it’ll stick in your head. For me it’s one my daughter and I often try to, and occasionally succeed in catching at a local nature conservancy, the Common Blue Skimmer. It’s just my inspiration though and when done, it will only loosely resemble the actual coloring.
To start off, I primed all of the resin and to-be-painted PE parts first with Duplicolor Self-Etching primer (olive-green) then with Duplicolor Sandable Primer (black). The rest of the photoetch I blackened using the Uschi Van Der Rosten (also sold through AK-Interactive) brass burnishing liquid. This quickly blackens/tarnishes the brass parts to the point that they don’t require any further painting on my part. In fact the challenge is now to paint some of the resin parts to look like this.
I sprayed the matching black-primed resin parts first with thinned Mr. Metal Color Brass, then mottled on a 70:30 Mr. Metal Color Copper:Iron mix and an over-thinned coat of Mr. Metal Color Iron. I then buffed all of these parts with a soft toothbrush. Over that I mottled on a very thin layer of Tamiya German Grey then rebrushed everything with some dried brass paint in my toothbrush to bring some of the metal onto the grey.Then I applied a satin coat of Future and let the cure.
At this point it was too coppery, but that’s fine as all I needed at this point was some washes of 502 Abteilung Shadow Brown and blue oil paints thinned with odorless turpenoid. This way I still get some of the coppery look that is seen in the natural burnished brass, but it’s not overwhelming. After the oils dried overnight, I gave these parts another satin coat of Future, then airbrushed on some AK-Interactive blue filter for panzer grey. Now the parts look exactly like their real burnished brass counterparts.
Painted the colored body next. The top panels are the faux burnished brass paint-work, same as the “internals” with a white underbelly. The light blue is actually two-tone with a light blue on top fading to a pale purple towards the white and rear underside. It’s subtle, but adds visual interest. This paint job has a kind of 1950′s-esque/Steampunk combo feel to it.
I realized that I never posted how to do the wing film easily when I did my Hornethopter… or at least how I did it. It’s not a quick process and takes patience. I designed the wing plastic to be about .5mm smaller than the wing itself so that it didn’t stick out of the edges. Choose a PE wing and have the smooth side facing you (bend up the rigging eyelets first!) Use a tiny amount of super glue at point A and B on the diagram to tack the film into place initially. Too much SG and it’ll have the film. I also found it looks great, crystal clear really, if you polish the film with some Tamiya Finish Polishing Compound, but that’s me. Now flip the piece back over and using a very thin brush, run Future Floor Acrylic (FFA) along the frames of the wing PE. This seeps underneath and acts as a clear cement when dry. The wing PE will probably be a little curled since the parts are so long (mine was anyway) so you may need to use some small paint jars to hold the PE down flush while the FFA dries. Repeat on opposite side and on other wings.
The pilot was painted with a base-coat of Tamiya Acrylics, then with oil paint. Dry-time was sped up by putting the figure under a light-bulb to heat-dry it.
To make the photoetch insert behind the glass eye pop, you REALLY want to use some clear resin in-between. Clear future or other clear paint will dry and shrink leaving silvering in the gaps between the PE detail. The clear resin does not shrink so makes one solid clear connection between the detail and the glass lens making the detail be visible from a wider angle. Test this with a drop of water between the lens and PE to see what I mean. The eye PE was painted with Mr Super Metal Color “Super Fine Silver” then with Tamiya clear orange with some pear powders mixed in.
Otherwise it’s fairly straight-forward to put it together.
Weathering was done with a basic discoloration on the blue parts and the pilot’s clothes. Then some washes were added. Finally I used the AK-Interactive Engine Oil diluted slightly with some odorless turpenoid and applied that on most of the joints and engine parts.
All progress images:
I didn’t know that these kits existed until last week! I’ve been in such an Industria Mechanika cloud that other genres I typically build have kind of book set aside so could focus. However while looking at HLJ for another plastic kit (The Hasegawa Last Exile II Van Ship) I saw these and had to bite on 3 of them as I’ve always really liked the design. I figured I’d put them in the stash and get to them whenevs, but not the case. I started these on Friday afternoon and as of Sunday night, they’re just about done aside from the final pigments. They’re a great “Mental Health Build” although mine usually end up being more “Mental” than “Healthy” … Anyway, here’s the progress pics and details:
Building these is a breeze thanks to Fine Molds usual detail and good parts/nub placement. Only needed a little putty to smooth the seams on the grey/chrome engine parts. I also used just a little epoxy putty in-between some of the color-separated parts to have the panel lines not be so deep.
I used the normal pilots (not Anikan) for all 3 craft. I hand-painted them with Tamiya Acrylics and gave them a little oil paint wash. I painted the interior and gave that a slight wash as well. The canopies were dipped in Future and when dry attached to the hull.
As you can see by the AA battery, it’s not a very large piece.
Once the glue holding the canopy had dried, I covered the canopies with 2 layers of Parafilm M.
Using a sharp razor and a steady hand, the excess was trimmed away leaving just the “glass” masked.
Ships were primed with Mr Surfacer 1000, then painted in Mr. Color Gloss Black and Alclad II Polished Aluminum. (kinda like their chrome) I had planned to do one of the three in all metal, but once I started, I realized I didn’t like the look after all.
Once the metal cured, I buffed the parts with some AK-Interactive Dark Steel pigment which kept it very shiny, polished it to a nicer sheen, and darkened the metal a bit. Then the metal was coated in a thin layer of gloss Future Floor Acrylic.
The metal was masked off based on my references making sure the metal went all the way to the edges on the bottom and cut across the front yellow plastic portion of the craft. One could get a decent looking N1 without masking, but to be accurate, masking is a must. For the yellow I first sprayed on a nice even coat of Tamiya white, then an even coat of Tamiya Flat Yellow. I then sprayed some custom yellow-orange Tamiya (yellow + red) around the edges and such to do some slight modulation highlighting. So the top-center of the hull and the engines are slightly lighter than the rest. Then I coated it in gloss Future and removed the masking tape.
I applied the very nice kit-supplied waterslide decals. These are very nice and go on easy enough. The R2s are tricky, but I’ve decaled enough Fine Molds R2′s over the years that I knew what to expect. A semi-gloss coat was applied to all the parts.
Before removing the Parafilm from the canopy, I misted on some AK-Interactive Winter Streaking Grime with the airbrush. No need to thin it, but make sure the mist is very finely applied. Don’t overdo it. Then you can take brushes dampened with odorless Turpenoid and streak/blend/mottle in the grime so that it deposits in the panel lines and elsewhere.
Next-up I’ll apply some “black” pigment burns and weapon-streaks (or I’ll airbrush them on) and then I’ll do a little more of the Dark Steel pigment application to bring back some of the metal obscured by the clearcoat and grime.
More progress on the first Centurion. I mottled thin black around edges and over everything really to shade and pattern as I planned. This took hours as it’s basically scribbling with thin lines from the airbrush. After the black, I added some white spots to the side of the head, then gave the whole thing a few coats of Future Floor Acrylic.
Next I’ll paint the chest panels on each side of the neck tubes in an off-white as well as some of the other flat “suit” details and the face-plate/eye inserts in a flat or satin charcoal-black. The eye lenses for this one will be bright clear red and light-up as red too once my LED order arrives.
First-up, I finished up the hollowing of the busts and made a video tutorial showing the ease and what some have described as my apparent insanity while taking a large drill to the kit… on purpose. Whatever works though!
Once the drilling and clean-up was done on both pieces, I primed with a Duplicolor Filler-Primer to check for errors then on one of the pieces used Mr. Surfacer 1000 to create a rough texture on some of the armor. These parts I want to look insect-like and organically grown. To create the texture, simply stipple on the Mr. Surfacer (the kind in the jar) until it becomes tacky and makes peaks. Do small areas at a time. Then when dry, lightly fine-sand down any excessive peaks and you’re good to go for another coat of primer. I used Duplicolor auto-primer on these. The black “sandable primer”.
Now onto painting the “insect” one. I’m using an orange/black cicada as loose reference for the color scheme. I started off with a base-coat of Mr. Super Metal Color Titanium mixed with Mr. Metal Color brass. At this point I started thinking “with some red it could be an alien Iron Man”. My hope was that some of the metal will show through in the next mottling steps.
Next I mottled on different transparent oranges, reds and yellows using Golden Airbrush Acrylics and very thin Tamiya Acrylics.
And lastly for this update I over-thinned some Tamiya Khaki Drab and mottled that onto the surface. To mottle, reduce your air pressure and practice getting really fine lines with your airbrush. Then do overlapping figure eights (88888) and random squiggles on the surface. Next I’ll be using black to define the edges and faded “spots” more like the reference.
The face-plate I plan to do like the original box art in a matte black/dark charcoal color so that it has the look of a mix of technological and organic components.
I just got the resin from my caster in-hand for these and had to start on a couple of them! These large 1/4 scale armored alien busts were designed by Fabio M. Silva and produced by my company Industria Mechanika.
What I really like about this isn’t only the overall design, but the possibilities for color choices. I’m doing one like the box art because I should, and another in a green/orange mottled District 9 alien-like look.
We had these designed with lighting in mind, however you will need a rotary tool with a small ball cutter to hollow-out behind the eyes to insert LEDs and wire behind the clear eye pieces. It looks daunting at first glance, at least it did to me, but once I got in there and started Dremmeling out the inside and using a 1/4″ drill bit at slow speeds to make holes under the head, through the body and the base to run wires into a small coin-cell, it was relatively easy and quick.
More on this as I paint and light it. I’ll be using small SMD 0603 LEDs to light it, but with enough hollowing you can fit just about anything behind the clear eye inserts.