18 February 2017

Hptm. Walther Karjus--Prepwork II

When we last left off, Karjus had been mostly assembled, pegged, and mounted on his work base. 

At this point, you can either complete the prepwork finishing (removal of seam lines, correction of surface flaws, etc.); or, you can execute any mods you might have on your to-do list. Personally, prepwork finishing is the very last thing I do, especially as I address seam lines and the like as I see them. So for me, prepwork finishing is the final once-over before washing, drying, and priming the figure. 

Which brings me to my TDL (to-do list). I will hasten to add that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my sample casting: these mods are personal preferences to make the figure "my own".

There are five salient items on my TDL:
  • The Blue Max (Pour le Mérite)--As best I can tell, Karjus is wearing a Blue Max (this is corroborated by Guillaume Menuel's conceptual sketch). As this is an "alternate history", he may very well have been awarded the coveted PlM at some time. But the historical Karjus was never awarded the Blue Max. Thus, I intend to carefully shave the decoration off. DONE
  • The Iron Cross (EK1)--The level of detail, etc. is simply "fair", at best. Decorations in miniatures less than 1/16th/120mm are an absolute bear, so this is not a dig at the sculptor (the PlM was masterful!). Fortunately, I dug-up a fret of 1/32 scale photo-etched Iron Crosses (by Nimix), that will provide an excellent replacement. DONE
  • The ribbon bar--The conceptual sketch clearly shows a ribbon bar above the left breast pocket: this was left off the master sculpture. Given that Karjus is wearing a jacket with the buttons concealed by a fly, the ribbon bar would be the only place you would see the EK2 ribbon. I intend to also show the ribbon for the Knight's Cross with Swords of the House Order of Hohenzollern. DONE
  • Reworking the join of the left forearm--As noted previously, the left forearm is a flush, flat-on- flat join. I intend to extend the arm slightly, and hollow-out the gauntlet cuff for a "plug-in" connection. DONE
  • The lining of the coat--The coat's lining as sculpted is limited to the front quarter panels and the collar. While this may be perfectly legit, it doesn't ring quite true with me. So I intend to add a woolen lining to the visible interior of the coat-tails.

This may take a week or so to complete, depending on the demands from other quarters. As soon as I complete the TDL, I will post images of the primed figure.

Stay tuned!!!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

16 February 2017

Hptm. Walther Karjus--Prepwork I

As I mentioned in my introductory posting and review, assembly has been completed except for the left gauntlet/forearm. Save for cursory clean-up and the due diligence of dry-fitting until satis- fied, this was essentially "plug and play". The left forearm will be somewhat less straightforward, depending on your preferences. I personally do not care for flush, flat-on-flat joins on layered items, so I will extend the arm slightly, and hollow-out the gauntlet cuff.

Taking a break from Natalya this evening, I proceeded with pegging the legs on Karjus. I peg the lower extremities on ALL my figures, as I want the figure to be securely attached to the display base, irrespective of the intermediate groundwork. 

First step is to prep the undersides of the boots to your satisfaction: the figure should be able to stand on its own/"support its own weight" by the time you are done. 

Now comes the tricky part: drilling a pair of holes the diameter of your mounting "peg" past the ankles and at least half-way up the calves. In this instance, I used a #58 (.042") drill bit in a Dre- mel Micro cordless power-tool at 5000 rpm (lowest setting). It is imperative that the bit is sharp! If it is dull, it will start generating heat that could potentially warp/distort the lower portion of the calf/ankle--if not worse! Proceed slowly and carefully, constantly checking your path. If all goes well, you will have a clean centered hole. As a sidebar note, don't panic if you break through the surface of the figure--it's not the end of the world! The hole will more than likely self-fill when you glue the peg in place--then it's just a matter of a couple of swipes of the file and/or sandpaper.

My pegs were made from a single large "non-skid" paper clip. I prefer "non-skid" paper clips since the serrations provide the super-glue "teeth" to which it can adhere--think of it as miniature re-bar. I coat the distal portion of the wire in the glue, and smoothly insert it in the drilled hole.  

Once the glue is dry--or zip-kicked!--you can bend the wires as needed so that they are perpen- dicular to the surface of your work base. Then, it is a simple matter of repeating the process, this time drilling into your work base. I have blocks of wood or resin of various sizes that are used ex- clusively for this purpose. Final fitting and wire-bending is done at this time.

Karjus is now on his work base.  More to follow!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

"The Night Witch"--Painting: Finishing

I have just finished laying the basecoat for the remaining leather items; i.e., gauntlets and flight helmet. That means that there is no primer or acrylic uc now visible on the figure! In short, I am on the home stretch!!

And as most of you know, the hard work now begins. . . Final integration is a long row to hoe, and there is little room for carelessness, indifference, or complacency. 

But enough of that! The leathers will be completed tonight, and tomorrow I will begin the minutiae: the goggles, final highlighting of the jacket lining, boot eyelets, etc. etc. etc.

I will update the progress as is my wont on the final stretch, using "diary entries". . .  

  • Phase 1 of the groundwork is now complete. 
  • Phase 1 of the boot eyelets is done.  
  • Tonal contrasting is all-but-done on the breeches.
  • The breeches are done. 
  • The visible portion of the rank insignia (custom-made decal) has been applied. 
  • The rudder has been permanently attached and weathered.
18.02.2017 -  
  • The goggle lenses are done.
19.02.2017 -  
  • The goggles are done!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

Hauptmann Walther Karjus-The Project

Our beloved Night Witch is well on her way to completion--not on the home stretch quite yet; but close enough that we begin to consider what is to come next. . .

The front-runner would be the "Clown Prince of Crime". And let us not forget that Die Fledermaus is patiently awaiting her session with the brushes. But while she will have her day sooner than later--sooner than most would think, the next project will be the "Götz von Berlichingen of the Air", Oberleutnant Walther Karjus. [nb: Those of you who know me know that Götz is one of my favourite historical subjects, but this sobriquet was actually given to Karjus by his Staffel-mates at Jasta 11.]

This sbs will be something of a throwback. . . in short, it will be a fully-documented, image-en- hanced log of the project, start to finish. This is my way of thanking Richard Andrews, the man behind Aviattic and Luftkrieg 1919, and his team for their creative ingenuity and vision, and for breathing some much-needed life into a hobby that, AFAIC, had gone quite moribund. 

For those fans of Luftkrieg 1919 who are new to my little corner of our world. . . WELCOME!!! By way of a brief intro, I am a trained historian who in 1986 decided to pursue his artistic inter- ests full-time. The next twenty years were an unforgettable experience! But, alas, all good things must come to an end, and while I will always do what I do, for the last decade I have been enjoy- ing the game from the stands, as it were.

Please feel free to post your comments, observations, and questions. The easiest way to access the Comments is simply to click on the title of the posting, which will take you to the posting's page where you will find the Comments box. . . . Now, all Comments are under full moderation. All this means is that your posting might not appear for 24 hrs., depending on the circumstanc- es. Please know that they will be read in the order that they are submitted, so you can write as many as you'd like and they will appear in the proper chronological order.

Best get back to work!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

11 February 2017

Ltn. Walther Karjus

Accompanying Natalya on her trans-Atlantic flight was Leutnant Walther Karjus, aka "The [Iron] Claw" (LUFT 3203). . .

This casting is EXQUISITE! If the seam-lines were elusive on Natalya, they are virtually non- existent on Karjus!! Beautifully sculpted by Nino Pizzichemi, Karjus is comprised of 4 perfectly rendered components. 

Save for the left gauntlet/forearm, assembly has been completed. And to date, this has been a filler-free exercise, as might be expected.

More to follow!
When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

09 February 2017

"The Night Witch"--Painting: The Rudder (2)

As I said in my last posting, it is time to start catching-up the rudder to the rest of the figure. . . 

In my initial rudder posting, I provided some of the backstory and the rationale driving this project. The rudder belongs to an Imperial Japanese Pfalz Dr.I. After immersing myself briefly in the early history of Japanese military aviation and the colours and markings of the same, I came up with my 'design":

Now you know what the "medium sky blue-grey" is all about. It was one of the first unit identifiers used in the IJAAS, and it was used by a sentai stationed in the northern sectors in the ‘30s. The kanji is gi (as a contraction of giri: ”to serve one’s superiors with a self-sacrificing devotion” or “the burden hardest to bear”). It is one of my favourite Japanese values. 

As much as I would have liked, free-handing the brush-effect of the kanji twice(!) is beyond my abilities, to say nothing of patience. So I took a slightly lower road and made some custom decals. These are now printed and sealed, and will hopefully be applied over the weekend. 

The golden Imperial chrysanthemum on the top section of the rudder is much less straightfor- ward. I am still working-out the best way to execute this . . . 

More to follow. . . 

UPDATE 10.02.17. . . The quandary of the Imperial chrysanthemum is no more! And the solution was actually quite simple. After sleeping on it, and mulling it over for most of the day, I decided that the best option would be applying decals over paint, printers' ink to be precise. So I painted the top section of the rudder in pale gold (which most closely matched the Japanese gold leaf that I have), and printed the red foreground on clear decal paper. Application of the solution will be much more challenging than devising it!

I hope to begin decaling over the weekend. . .

UPDATE 13.02.17. . . Decaling of the port side (away from viewer) of the rudder is now done! Half way there!!

UPDATE 16.02.17. . . Decaling of the rudder is DONE! 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

08 February 2017

"The Night Witch"--Painting: The Jacket

The figure is now all-but-done. I'm not quite ready to designate this project as completed, but it is very close to that.

The jacket is now painted. The miniaturist has the option to do it as leather or cloth, and in the colour of his/her choice: I went with a pale, warm olive drab that will be revisited for final weather- ing and staining once the colours settle and the paint begins to dry. 

So far so good. . . everything is coming together quite nicely! I now need to spend some time on the "work-up" of the rudder. . .   

More to follow. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

07 February 2017

"The Night Witch"--Painting: The Rudder

I took a brief break from the figure to let the colours settle some, and focussed my attention on the trophy rudder that is very much the co-protagonist of this 'vignette'.

As I mentioned in my introductory posting to this project, the control surface in question belongs to a  Pfalz D.VIII. But giving some thought to the circumstances around which our Nachthexe would have acquired such an item led me to enhance the backstory. . .

Natalya has been stationed on the [Far] Eastern front; i.e., Manchuria. Her squadron has been charged with harassing and inflicting as much damage as possible on the Unryū ("Cloud Dra- gon"), the Imperial Japanese zeppelin, by any means available to them. Her squadron was equipped with the single-seat night fighter variant of the Avro 504K/U-1, and while hopelessly outmatched by the zeppelin's on-board squadron of Pfalz Dr.I triplanes, they were ready to give their all for the Motherland. . . 

As best as I have been able to determine, the the Dr.I and the D.VIII had the same rudder. This being the case, I decided that Natalya's "trophy" came from one of the Japanese triplanes sta- tioned aboard the Unryū. This allowed me to introduce some colour into an otherwise largely monotone palette.

The rudder will have two themes: the golden Imperial chrysanthemum on the top section of the rudder, with the remaining rudder painted a medium sky blue-grey. I will withhold the reveal until a later update; but for now, the rudder has been painted in oils in a proprietary mix of Cerulean Blue, Neutral Grey, and White.

More to follow. . .   

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

05 February 2017

"The Night Witch"--Painting: Leather

With the face effectively done--as always, subject to finishing touch-ups once the colours settle-- it was time to move down to the leathers. . . 

Phase 1 of the boots is done. This was largely done with the palette used for the face. Integrative touch-ups will follow once the breeches are done and the figure is permanently mounted on its display base; but for now the tonal values and transitions are set. 

Once the boots are dry, I intend to transfer the figure to its display base DONE!, and complete the figure in situ.  

Stay tuned!

UPDATE 07.02.17. . . The breeches are done! All that remains of the leather-work are the gaunt- lets, the flight helmet, and some trim on the jacket. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

04 February 2017

"The Night Witch"--Painting: Flesh

The face and the decolletage create a lozenge of flesh on the ventral upper-half of the figure. The challenge in this phase of the project will be to convey the pallid translucency of sun-deprived flesh in a realistic and aesthetically/artistically pleasing manner. As with Durham Red last year, there really isn't a lot flesh to paint on this figure, but what there is better be done right! 

Phase 1--the eyes and framing of the face with the visible black locks--is now done. Where most will be troubled is the fact that there is not a whole lot of eye to paint: be prepared to adapt to the limited space!! I've approached these eyes "old school": no distinct chromatic iris, and simple outlining (think heavy eyeliner).

More to follow!

FOLLOW-UP. . . Phase 2 of the flesh is now done! Phase 2 is the the basic application of oils--in this instance a controlled layering (read: glazing) of a limited cool palette took using linseed oil as my primary medium and thinner. I think a couple of more sessions to define the structural planes and selectively "highlight" details ought to just about do it. . . 

As a sidebar note, I have already begun painting the exposed lining of the jacket. As with the flesh, this is more at glazing shadow values, and then integrating with slightly-thinned oils. Final highlighting will be done when the oils are dry. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

29 January 2017

"The Night Witch"--Painting: UCing

While the figure is curing in the oven post-priming, I went ahead and undercoated the ground- work with a base of flat black. Once the lower half of the figure is done, I will begin to paint the groundwork in earnest.

UPDATE 30.01.17. . . The figure is now undercoated! This is one of the easiest figures to uc I have ever had the pleasure to paint!!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

"The Night Witch"--Painting: Priming

A very productive late night has made-up the time with this project, and the "Night Witch" is now primed, on her work base, and awaiting the application of acrylics, which will hopefully get under- way sometime this week. . .

Stay tuned!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

28 January 2017

"The Night Witch"--Prepwork: Groundwork

Given the demands of work, I don't think I will have her off the work-bench by Tuesday; however, she will not be too far behind the deadline. . . 

The groundwork has been modeled (MS), and the figure (with rudder!) have been fitted to the put- ty. After a period of [re-]consideration, I came up with a way that will not require that I mount the figure on its display base prior to painting. 

Next, I will rework the right forearm to create a positive locating slot for the top edge of the rudder. DONE! Once that is done, I will double-check the fit, and--hopefully--proceed as normal.

Stay tuned!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003