28 August 2013

Computer woes. . .

Just a quick note to let you know I will be out of commission for the next 10-15 days as my computer gave up the ghost Monday night. While I was hoping that there might be a little life left to be squeezed out of the old girl, I suppose it was too much too ask of a stalwart companion for over a dozen years!

While the ultimate prognosis was terminal, literally and figuratively, the good news is that it appears as if the hard drive survived unscathed. So once I am back up and running, I should not have suffered any appreciable loss.

Hope to be back ASAP!

25 August 2013

Wicked Witch of the West - Prep 1

The paint on the resin parts is now "stripped", and I can begin to prep the piece. . .

First step is filling in all the button holes, etc. on the back side of the figure. This was done using MS, carefully doing repeated fittings with any overlying pieces . There are but two major openings remaining, and those correspond to the respective LEDs.

I then proceeded to fill the slight gap between the resin head and the polystyrene hat, again using MS. This phase will be ongoing as I will add more volume and detail to the WW's coiffure. I will conclude the work on the hair before making any corrections to the face. While the latter will be minor at worst, they might prove mostly unnecessary once the hair is fully "dimensionalized".

I discovered something interesting while cleaning up the work I had done. I thought that the black paint used to paint the "monkey's share" (lion just doesn't work here) of the WW would have been an acrylic, but as I was cleaning off the Vaseline (used as a release/barrier) with rubbing alcohol, my paper towel was black! My experience with acrylic is that once cured, it is impermeable to alcohol; however, the underlying styrene was not primed. . . The only other paint I know of to react this way to alcohol is latex. Hmmm. . . Anyway, it is quick and effortless, so I'll take it!

Finally, I began work on the WW's hat. The stock hat was about 3/32" too short, so I elongated the cone with MS. While there is still a bit of fine-tuning--to say nothing of the finishing and clean-up!--to do, the "new hat" is essentially done.

More to follow. . .  

21 August 2013

"Loyaulte me lie"

Remember before God
and those who fell at Bosworth Field,

having kept faith,
22 August 1485


"...and your little dog, too! Ahhh-ha-ha-ha!!!"

Those that know me well know that I've got a thing for green-skinned ladies... OK, arguably TMI... lol. This "affection" (affliction?) can be traced back to my first viewing of the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz, in the early '60s. I mean. . . green skin AND flying monkeys? What's not to love???

On a more serious note, I am a HUGE fan of the Wicked Witch of the West and her minions. And while I am very much looking forward to Polar Lights' now-2014 release of the Witch and Nikko gazing into the crystal ball as Dorothy & Co. make their way across the poppy field, I wanted a smaller, stand-alone project to work on.

Enter Hallmark. Yes, that Hallmark. And specifically, the 2007 Wizard of Oz Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Ornament of The Wicked Witch of the West, sculpted by Joyce Lyle. I spent a couple of hours of tracking down WWotW collectibles this past weekend, and while there are LOADS out there, the only one that met the criteria--scale, quality, and price--was the aforementioned piece.

This is a wonderful little piece: kudos to Ms. Lyle!!! It is one of the "Magic Light and Sound" offerings: there is a recorded track of the WW threatening Dorothy and Toto (in Munchkinland) followed by her chilling cackle, which is co-activated with two LEDs that make the translucent smoke cloud glow red. Very effective!

If there are any Hallmark collectors amongst the readership, my apologies in advance for what follows. First order of business (after playing with the "Magic Light and Sound" countless of times!) was to commence "deconstruction". My goal is to convert the "Hallmark collectible" into a fine collectible miniature; and as with any pre-paint/pre-finished piece, you have to break it down to its components. This went quite well--and quick! So much so, that it is now all-but-done!! And much to my surprise this is a mixed-media figurine comprised of no less than 19 pieces (17 + the base plate and battery cover)!! The only pieces that I will not "break-down" are the upper arms, as these are quite firmly attached, and I can simply fine-tune the seams in-situ.

The only parts remaining to be separated are the hat from the head. The latter is cast in resin, as are the hands, and I want to avoid any damage to it or the hat. [NOTE 24.08: The head is proving to be inseparable from the hat, so all mods to the former will be done in situ.] Once that is done, I will "dip" the resin pieces to strip the paint, and then on to the fun stuff!

Stay tuned!

FOLLOW-UP 22.08.2013. . . The resin pieces are now in the Super-Clean, and the waiting begins. I figure it is going to take about 3 days, give or take, to loosen/dissolve the paint. Well worth the wait!

17 August 2013

iM's Frankenstein Returns. . .

To the front burner and our blog that is. . .

While the days are perceptibly getting no longer, there is definitely a taste of Fall in the air, and it is time to start getting serious with our 2013 project once again.

I have been preparing myself for this for the last few weeks, mostly in terms of re-familiarizing myself with the kit and reviewing my notes. To a lesser degree, I began fitting the mail fauld, which will be limited to the ventral/frontal aspect of the subject. This in turn, forced me to reassess the mounting of the crossed small swords.

If there is one criticism that could be leveled at the design/engineering of this kit, it is the fact that the mounting pegs (read: blocks!) that are present on virtually every piece are overdone! This is simply not necessary, and "dumbs" the kit down to insulting levels. To date, I have had to completely remove three of the quadrangular pegs; and I have had to modify at least a half-dozen to improve fit, etc.

Back to the swords. . . these are now pegged with Al rod, and have been fitted to the pelvic block. Not only can I now create a more realistic "hang", but I can thread the rod through the mail and avoid any unsightly drapery on the latter. It also distributes the weight of the mail across [at least] two fixed points, which should take care of any support problems down the road.

That about does it for now. Once I decide what my painting strategy will be, I can proceed with assembling the sub-assemblies. . .

More to follow! 

05 August 2013

Catching up. . .

It has been extremely hectic/busy, so bench time has not been what I had anticipated going into the Dog Days. . . then again, expectations have rarely been met this year.

The good news is that the bench has seen a fair degree of activity in the last fortnight, and this posting will serve as a catch-up summary. . .

The Rhino -- Getting ever closer, the hands are just about ready for finishing. Once that is done, final finishing and skin texturing are all that stand between the bench and the painting table.

Zombie SS-Panzeroffizier -- Tons of work on this bad boy. . . First thing I did was reduce the height of the bust: I just couldn't get my head around the gear that very effectively (and esthetic- ally!) filled the dead-space on the left side of the bust. Once that was done, the planning/plotting began in earnest, and to date I have removed the tie, and started reworking the Feldmütze. Spoiler: my rendition will be promoted to SS-Obersturmbannführer. . . you can well begin to imagine the work that lies ahead. 

The Red Skull #4 -- Most of the work has concentrated on the right arm: it has been pegged, fitted, and reanimated; finishing is well underway. The right hand has been fitted; and reanimation is underway. The Cosmic Cube has been cut and finished, and awaiting polishing. Finally the base of the RK is now undergoing final clean-up before commencing enhancement.

K. Yoshiaki -- A remarkably fine bust. I've already discussed the warpage on the crest--I had to repeat the process a few times under higher heat for it to "stick"; but it looks great and no nega- tive side-effects whatsoever. The choice of location of some of the sprues might cause some concern, but I assure you it is nothing to fret over--just proceed slowly and carefully, and you will be done in no time. I've got a bit more to go before finishing the shikoro and the ushirodate; but other than that, this pup is just about ready for priming!

That's it in a nutshell! I hope to start clearing some additional space on the workbench soon so that I can begin working on "Frank" again!

03 August 2013

Notable Acquisitions June-July 2013

Art Asylum/Diamond Select Rogue's Gallery The Vulture (1/6? scale bust, Eli Livingston)
Quarantine Studio The Dead Reich: Pzkommandant Jürgen (1/4 scale bust, William Paquet)