In Progress » Neighborhood Watch

11.02.04 » The Story…

The boom town had seen better days. In recent years
due to its ideal location, it had become a hub for trading and business.
Its population grew and it was on its way to becoming a sprawling
city. That was before the revolution.

Fighting between the Strahl Demokratische Republik
and Earths mercenary army had reached their borders almost without
warning. Much of the civilian population was caught up in the opening
salvos. Many did not escape with their lives.

In the end, the SDR took control of the area. Instead
of vendors, shoppers, and laborers, the driverless assault scout
light tanks known as Kröte now roamed the streets. Its electronic
eyes watching for any signs of life, then killing without prejudice.

11.03.04 » This Tank Was Made For Walkin’

Perhaps it’s my feeling of repetition and boredom
with Gundams these days, but I’ve been really getting into the MaK
designs lately. For the past several months, I’ve been researching
website after website for information regarding the series and have
learned a great deal about it From doing my own research, I have
developed a respect for these unique designs. Check out Roboterkampf
and Krueger’s
Krieger
for more info on the series.

For my Kröte, I’m modifying it to have the tank
barrel similar to the Kröte
Ausf PaK
. However, I am leaving the gatling gun on mine as well.
I will also be adding the smoke dischargers and extra armor similar
to the Küster.
I want it to have an armed to the teeth look about it.

To add the tank barrel and keep the gatling, I’ll
need to modify the kit a bit. I’ll also have to scratchbuild the
breach on the back of the Krote. The smoke dischargers will need
to be scratch-built as well.

The first camo scheme was inspired by a bottle of
MIG pigments called “Brick Dust”. It gave me the idea
to do an urban camo scheme based on bricks and mortar. I decided
against the grayness of it though since I’ve been doing a lot of
gray kits. Instead I went with a drab camo. The setting for the
dio will be the devastated streets and walls of a city ravaged by
war. I’ll probably design another poster or two for one of the walls
as well.

Below is an image from the manual which I colorized
and added the tank barrel to. The kit will be weathered and the
main shell of the Kröte will be given a cast iron texture.

11.07.04 » She’s a Brick… House…
She’s Mighty Mighty…

First up on my to do list for this project is
1/20 scale bricks and rubble. There’s a place online that
sells 1/18 scale bricks and rubble, but it’s pre-painted.
Plus it’s more fun to do this stuff yourself.

So first off I made a measurement of a brick.
Then I used the scale
calculator
made by John Huff (tazman3) to get the correct
measurements. A scan of my notes is below.

Next I drew a grid on some old cover stock so
I would know where to make my brick cuts. After that was done,
I made a batch of baking soda
and corn starch clay
. It’s an easy to make clay
which works great for stuff like this. I used two pieces of
wood as runners for my rolling pin and rolled out my clay
the exact thickness I needed. I then used a ruler and an exacto
and made the cuts to separate the bricks. I also made a small
batch of larger bricks. These are now drying.

The last time I made the B&C clay, I had
some leftovers. I rolled it out to about an 1/8 inch thickness
and let it dry. When it was dry I broke it into chunks to
use later for rubble. Well, later is now. I broke the rubble
into smaller bits and left some of the larger chunks. I cut
one piece to be the size of one of my drying bricks for a
coloring test.

I colored the test brick using a mixture of
brown and red Higgins ink. I got a great brick color and the
clay soaks up the ink nicely. Watercolor or thinned acrylic
can also be used. Later I will shake the bricks in a bag with
dark gray, then white powders to simulate dirt and crushed
mortar. I’ll spread some extra white clay on some of the bricks
to simulate mortar that’s still stuck to the brick.






11.08.04 » Slip Sliding Away

So I learned an interesting thing in 3rd grade
science class about acids and bases and their reactions and
decided to try it again for kicks. Bricks made primarily of
Baking Soda are a base. Now take an acid… I used vinegar.
Add a few drops and watch the hilarity ensue. The second pic
is of the pile of painted bricks. Basically, I used the mixture
of red and brown ink which soaked into the bricks nicely.
I just used a paintbrush to apply the ink.


11.11.04 » Gatling Change

With the addition of the tank barrel on the
front of the Krote, the gatling gun needed to be shrunk. I
saw a tri-barrel design the other day on a MaK page someone
showed me. (Thanks BK) So last night I took an hour and started
on the gatling. Here’s what I’ve got so far. I still need
to add to it and modify the shape of the triangles, but it’s
shaping up nicely.

03.27.2005» Not back on it, still
on it.

It’s been a while! SInce I can’t paint the ball
and got to see a fantastic Krote in person, I decided to get
back to my Pak Krote. There’s a lot to be done with this kit
as nothing fits, aligns, or whatever else makes for an easy
build. It’s okay though since I’m learning a lot.

At the IPMS show I found a fantastic aluminum
barrel for a King Tiger. I basically have nothing to do to
it as it is a one-piece thing of beauty. It’s got some nice
details as you can see below. I also decided not to go with
the gatling as well since it didn’t fit. I’ll be adding misc.
greebles into the front area as I get further along.




I found while building this that much like the
Fliege, the Krote’s got some big holes to fill as well. These
are inside the front of the turret. Now once I put all the
sensors and stuff into there, the holes would be less noticeable,
but still noticeable none the less so I decided to cover them
with sheet styrene.


The next pics are of my progress on the breach
(back end of the cannon) and of my weld beads. I tried a bunch
of methods to do weld beads such as thinned putty and stretched
sprue melted with glue. Neither was working for me. The glue
just made a horrible mess on my test parts. So I recalled
that lacquer thinner will melt styrene. I placed some small
bits of thinly stretched sprue into a jar with a bit of the
thinner. In about 2-4 minutes I had a soft thread of plastic.
I placed the wet strip onto the kit. The remaining lacquer
thinner melted (glued) it to the kit. I then took a needle
and made the groove marks simulating the weld beads. If the
plastic started to harden while I grooved it, I just brushed
on some more lacquer thinner. This technique worked really
great.


Next you can see where I had to replace the
rod for the light since it’s plastic rod was too long. I merely
cut off the old rod, drilled a hole with my pin vice where
it used to connect and inserted a properly sized piece of
rod left over from my Fliege. The white polygon is covering
the old hole for the light support. That hole was too big.
I cut a correct size hole into the styrene and did more weld
beads where the support connects to the plate. I’ll add some
Wave option bolts to the white part later to give the impression
that the support was bolted down.

I have most of the kit cut out. I need to start
cutting the legs next. That’ll be a tricky part since I’m
not sure if I want the Krote to be fixed in a standing position
or a walking pose. I also need to put on the rough cast texture
on the main hull pieces.

04.23.2005» Blowing Smoke!

Now that the MG Ball is gone, I can finish up
my Krote. My first task today was to make my smoke dischargers.
I waited to get my Gans so that I’d have some reference, but
I really didn’t like the first gans-like pair I made. I didn’t
want them connected to a rectangular bracket after seeeing
it on my Krote since I wanted them closer to the front.. (still
looks great on the gans though) So I found some greebles from
an M8 Greyhound to use for the racks. The tubes were 3/16
aluminum tubing cut with my newly acquired razor saw. (just
bought it today) Fulcy was right… cuts metal tube like a
dream! They’re attached with sticky-tack for now, but I’ll
make proper mounts for them (and smoke grenades) later.

I also ditched the supplied plastic bars/d-rings
and opted to make them from the copper rod supplied with the
kit. Took a while to shape them correctly, but they look much
better than the styrene.

Anyway, next up is finishing the breach and
adding the texture.


04.26.2005» Texture and Pose

So I’ve been working at a good pace on this
kit since this weekend. I have added the texture to the lower
body, feet, searchlight cover, and 1/4 of the turret. Here’s
a pic of the texture 1/2 way through the lower body. I still
need to give it a very light sanding with 1000 grit just to
remove some of the spikes. To achieve the texture, I merely
stippled on Mr. Surfacer 500 (from the jar) with a flat stiff
brush till dry and textured.

I also finished my breach by using extra leg-piston
parts to make the spring shock.For the most part, I just shortened
it. I couldn’t cut the pen-spring I had so I used coiled wire
instead.

And the last pic is of the eventual pose of
the Krote. I’m going to have him walking slowly as if it is
stalking its prey. You can see where the right foot is missing
the back half. I cut that part off to reposition it hanging
while the foot is lifted up. I also detailed the underside
of the foot with a tank wheel and some minus molds. More pics
of that later.

04.30.2005» Painting Time

Now that all the construction is done, I started
on the priming and painting. First I primed the while kit
with Tamiya Fine White primer. This was the first time I used
this primer and I really liked it. It left a very smooth finish
and didn’t wash-out any of my texture like a heavier primer
would. The white surprisingly covered really well too.

After the primer dried, I painted all the engine
parts a dark gray and the rest a mixture of Tamiya field gray
(like a dark gray-olive), white, J.A. green, and medium blue.
I then freehand camo airbrushed on a dark gray + my green
mixture, then a mixture of white + yellow + brown + base green
mixture. Next I’ll clear-coat it and add the decals. That
will likely be followed up with some filters.


05.01.2005» There goes the neighborhood…

So yesterday I started on the basework. I wanted
a rundown destroyed city scene. A while back (see beginning
of page) I made some 1/20 scale bricks. I glued them to a
scrap of particle board which I had cut with varoius saws
and dremmel bits. I then took a plastic bag with modeling
paste tinted gray, cut off the very tip of the corner of the
bag, and like decorating a cake, squeezed mortar here and
there inbetween the bricks. I wanted most of the mortar gone
as if it was shaken loose when the building was blown-up.

Next I took that same modeling paste, tinted
it with a very light brown (which I later regretted), mixed
with some sand and smoothed it on for stucco. I took my exact
as it was drying and cut cracks and picked out the edges to
make it look broken and old.

For the window frame, I used balsa wood which
I first gave a wash of dark gray applebarrels to to give it
an old wood feel. As that was drying, I gave it successive
coats of white apple barrel acrylics as a whitewash. I left
it pretty gray since it’s supposed to be old and very dirty.
I did the same for the stucco and inside plaster.

I wanted wallpaper inside that was torn and
ruined by rain. I made my own design in Photoshop and printed
out a large piece of it on my printer. I then cut it into
strips since that’s how wallpaper really is. To weather it
and make the yellowish glue look, I took yellow and brown
acrylics and washed them on the back of the wallpaper. This
soaked through to the front giving it an old yellowed look.
I used a white-glue wash to attach it to the wall. More yellow/brown
wash was added on the wall to simulate the glue left behind.

Next is attaching the wall to the base, rusting
the rebar, adding piles of rubble, and dusting it all with
pigments and pastels. Here’s some pics:





05.03.2005 » Light and Rubble

Yesterday I gave the kit a wash and today a
satin coat of Future. The wash was oils thinned with Klean
Strip (walmart) oderless mineral spirits. That thinner worked
great!

Today I clear-coated the kit in a satin finish
and build some of the parts that needed built before final
weathering. Basically there’s only 5 parts now… the 2 legs,
turret, gun, and body. Once that was built I wired up the
eyes and searchlight. The searchlight contains just a 3mm
white LED. The eyes were pin-vised before painting. I ran
pre-stripped fiber-optic through the holes and taped them
in a tube with either a red or blue LED. All the wires were
taped up and shoved into the turret cavity never to return
except the 2 leads.

The second pic shows the rubble in progress
on the window seal. I still need to add glass and brick shards
and more dust. The rubble was fine talus ballast mixed with
white glue. Then over that I added more fine talus that had
been pulverized to be dust and soaked it with a white glue/water
mixture to set it into place. I need to do a light second
coat of dust after I add the glass and brick pieces. I also
need to dirty up the window glass.


05.04.2005 » More Rubble

First off for todays update, I took a pic of
the turret after paint chips and flat coat + dust were added.
The flat coat was flattened future with a tamiya acrylic custom
dirt color I mixed in. Paint chips were done with a small
brush and a dark gray primer-colored paint.

Next is the base progress. I mixed up a small
amount of celluclay and built up a mound along the wall. This
is my “bulk” for adding debris to make it look spilled
down the side of the bldg. I pressed bricks, ibeams and wood
into the wet celluclay. Then I brushed white glue all over
the celluclay and poured on my crushed talus muxture. I did
this on the street and building too. After it dried I shook
off the excess onto paper so I can reuse it. I’ll need to
do some touch-ups in spots. Rust was applied with MIG pigments.
The white blob is a blob of miliput that I pressed the Krotes
foot into. Along with the pinning, gluing it to that impression
should hold it pretty well.


05.05.2005 » A little rusty

Pigment time! Todays progress consisted of adding
rust and dust using MIG pigments. Here’s some pics. Great
pigment tutorials are here.
All of the rust is done and now I’m in the process of making
everything look dusty.


Feet before dust:


After initial dusting. Will be adding more…

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