29 September 2014

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork (II)

In my last posting, I noted how I had discarded the soft vinyl neck peg, and replaced it with a length of tin solder. Upon reviewing my weekend progress this evening, I noticed how the shallow flat-on-flat neck join was still quite apparent. Not a problem! I proceeded to grind-out the neck opening as deep as the length of the vinyl peg. Now, I will model a neck from MS, and have a perfectly keyed and fitted neck of appropriate muscularity--and length! DONE!! [NOTE: This is air-curing as I do not want to incur any heat-induced distortion along the collar.] 

My goal is to have this on the painting bench by Veterans' Day. (This has been highlighted as a reminder to myself.)

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

27 September 2014

Notable Acquisitions September 2014

Dragon Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Captain America Stealth Suit (1/9; ???)
Scale 75 Diane Tianseen (Fallen Frontiers no. 5, 75mm, Alfonso Prieto)

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork

As of this writing, the body (torso, belt, legs unit, and boots) has been permanently assembled, and the boots have been pegged. This, in turn, allowed the figure to be transferred to its work base.

A few items of note:
  • There are seam-lines to be dealt with. I recommend a diamond sanding burr of the appropriate d. and/or a tungsten carbide tapered cone burr at low speed. Go steady and light, checking your progress often, and finishing with a Scotch-Brite pad between each 'session'.
  • The worst part of the prepwork will be the head: I chose to use the helmeted head. This piece is beautifully detailed and textured, and you will need to proceed very carefully if you want to preserve any of this HIGH-quality workmanship. You are going to lose some--no way around it; but if you are methodical and patient, you will pre- serve the overwhelming majority of it. This is a VERY good time to familiarize yourself with the components of the helmet, and begin to plan your painting strategy.
  • To date, I have found less than 5 areas that will require putty work. Not bad at all!

More to follow. . .

FOLLOW-UP . . . The right hand has been permanently attached to the arm.  

UPDATE 28.09.2014
  • The right arm has been fitted and is ready for permanent attachment once clean-up is concluded.
  • I have discarded the soft vinyl neck peg, and replaced it with a length of 1/8"d. tin solder. The head is now tentatively fitted.
  • The left hand has been permanently attached to the arm. 

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

Dragon 1/9 scale Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Captain America Stealth Suit (#38338)

Just received from Dragon USA! It is comprised of 13 exquisitely cast, solid polyvinyl pieces +
1 [grey] polystyrene piece (shield) + 1 vinyl [neck] peg + 1 [black] polystyrene base. The items that have exposed flesh or are made predominantly of leather (heads—there are two heads provided: one helmeted, one bare; hands; and belt) are molded in a semi-translucent, flesh-colored PV; the rest of the kit is molded in a neutral grey PV.

Assembly is as straightforward as it gets: literally “plug and play”. The attachments are fairly snug compression fits, but in my sample they can be inserted without any undue effort. If deemed necessary, the pegs can be shaved down a smidge.

Unless you have extensive experience working with polyvinyl, I would keep any reductive/invasive surface modifications to an absolute minimum: these kits should be approached literally straight OOB. Fortunately, in my sample, any such interventions are largely unnecessary. Insofar as fillers are concerned, feel free to use your favourite; but make sure to do all your work while it is still workable—keep in mind at all times that the medium will be softer than just about anything you would normally use to prep a figure. A light touch is the order of the day!

I own one other Dragon 1/9th scale figure model kit, and the difference is night and day! It is encouraging to see Dragon applying the knowledge gained from earlier experiences, and provi- ding such a quality product. As such, in this instance, it is certainly worth the asking price. And if a virtually no prepwork, from-box-to-bench-in-less-than-a-few-hours figure is your idea of what every figure should be, then I would give this one a long, hard look.

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

25 September 2014

Captain America's STRIKE "Stealth suit"

By way of preface, if not introduction, to a forthcoming project, I would like to indulge the fanboy in me, and briefly discuss Cap's so-called STRIKE (Special Tactical Reserve for International Key Emergencies) "Stealth suit" as seen in Act I of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The combat suit in question was introduced to the Marvel Universe in Steve Rogers: Super Soldier and was worn throughout Cap's tenure on the Secret Avengers. This suit is a radical departure from Cap's usual togs - as well it should be! This is a current, up-to-date tactical combat dress that quite ingeniously captures the essence of the Captain America costume: in simplest terms, it is the sartorial equivalent of a subdued colour scheme, complete with low-vis shield!! Hence, the not altogether inaccurate characterization as a "Stealth suit". 

Dragon's 1/9th scale entry from the movie in its model kit series is Captain Rogers in this very suit--and it will be the subject of the aforementioned "forthcoming project". . .      

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

20 September 2014

Sin - Prepwork V : The Crop

It is now time to zoom-in to the "optionals". First up: the crop. This is extremely well designed and cast; however, the quality of the alloy notwithstanding, the white metal stock is an "accident magnet". I would concur with any counter-argument revolving around the malleability of the metal; nevertheless, I would rather exercise additional caution with handling, transport, and display, than resign myself to the inevitable--and have to deal with it in the aftermath. 

Thus did I replace the stock with a custom-tapered brass rod, drilling into the handle of the crop, as well as the keeper/"popper". I then glued the keeper to the stock, and set it aside to cure. The stock/keeper unit will be glued to the hand/handle unit as part of the final wrap-up.

As a final note, I will test the "grip" of the superglue on the "popper" in the next week or so: it is one piece that I do not want to lose.

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

17 September 2014

Sin - Prepwork: Intermezzo 3

This should be the final interlude for the time being. . . 

This evening, I made gigantic strides not only in fittings, but sub-assemblies as well. To wit:
  • The torso has been permanently attached to the legs unit.
  • The coat tails have been assembled, [mostly] filled, and fitted to the legs unit. There is still the shimming to be done [20.09.2014--DONE!] to provide for a seamless join to the torso; as well as finishing and polishing.
  • The arms have been preliminarily fitted. There is still a bit of work to be done on these as the fit must be perfect: the arms will be permanently attached to the torso only after the coat tails are attached--and the figure is over 50% painted! 
Movin' right along. . . 

FOLLOW-UP 21.09.2014 - The pistol/hand unit has been permanently attached to the right arm.

15 September 2014

Sin - Prepwork: Intermezzo 2

This will be a one-peg miniature, as the second peg (the rear/left boot) would not provide addi- tional support of any significance, and things could go "south" in the blink of an eye--literally. That being said, I would not be averse to drilling through the boot's toe box, and subsequently refinishing, if I felt it would serve a purpose.

After mulling it over for a day, I could not justify having a relatively top-heavy white metal figure supported by a single, thin (~3/64"d.) paper-clip peg. So I finished the clean-up of the legs above the boots, glued the two legs together (thus completing the legs sub-assembly unit), and trans- ferred the 'patient to surgery". The 'patient' is now resting comfortably with a fitted 16ga. copper wire peg running from the ball of the foot through the vamp of the boot. Finishing of the filled areas to follow. . . 

And I went ahead and started to modify the holster. First step is simply extending the length of the holster: this was done with MS.

Phase 2 of the holster was also completed, where the heavy-seamed leather holster was recon- figured for what will be a modern--if not futuristic!--design.  

FOLLOW-UP 16.09.2014 - The putty work on the holster has been all-but-completed, and it is now in the oven curing. . . Save for final detailing--if any--the holster should be done by the end 
of the weekend.

14 September 2014

Sin - Prepwork: Intermezzo 1

To wrap-up the weekend, I decided to go ahead and peg the figure. This will be a one-peg minia- ture, as the second peg (the rear/left boot) would not provide additional support of any signifi- cance, and things could go "south" in the blink of an eye--literally. That being said, I would not 
be averse to drilling through the boot's toe box, and subsequently refinishing, if I felt it would serve a purpose.

And I went ahead and started to modify the holster. First step is simply extending the length of the holster: this was done with MS.

Finally, I glued the assembled groundwork to the display base. While this is a major deviation from the norm for me, final positioning of the figure and any attendant tweaks must be done with the groundwork in place.

Not a bad weekend, all things considered. . .

13 September 2014

Sin - Prepwork IV : The Groundwork

Given the subject, the futuristic "diamond plate" texture of the kit groundwork is quite apropos. The dimensions of the smallish rectangular plinth, however, are somewhat of challenge to inte- grate in a square "frame". So I have spent the last hour customizing a piece of square brass tubing and a section of brass strip to unilaterally extend the short sections of the rectangle. 

I should know by morning if I succeeded--or not. 

FOLLOW-UP 14.09.2014 - DONE!

Sin - Prepwork III : The Head

With Phase 1 of fitting the head to the neck being finalized, it is now time to turn our attention to the head. I began by removing the hair bun, and then proceeded with reducing the nose and "tex- turing" the right half of the face: the face is now about 50% done. For the time being, that will be it insofar as re-sculpting the face is concerned as I am awaiting the arrival of some hopefully-enlightening references.  

But before putting the head pieces aside, I slightly hollowed the hat to accommodate the forth- coming convex amplification of the cranium and elimination of the flat-on-flat keyed join. 

More to follow. . .  

FOLLOW-UP . . . The cranium has been amplified (MS) and the hat fitted. So far, so good. . .

UPDATE 20.09.2014 - The face/head is now all -but-done!

12 September 2014

Sin - Prepwork II

The weekend is finally here, and it was time to vent some of the agita of the week. .  .

The legs are now well-over 80% cleaned-up and just about ready for assembly. The sash-end has been pretty much cleaned-up, though it still requires a bit of additional finishing. The sash was the only piece to manifest advanced mold deterioration, hardly surprising given the undercuts.

Finally, the neck opening was reamed, and the head pegged: the neck stump is now curing.

More to follow. . .

11 September 2014

Sin - Prepwork I

Let the game begin. . . !

As I am wont to do, I first examined each and every piece carefully, noting the molding seam lines, surface aberrations and venting pips. I then dry-fit all the pieces, further noting where the joins will require additional work in order to minimize--and/or eliminate--the use of filler. As I noted in the review, there is very little work to be done beyond the norm.

Feeling an acceptable degree of familiarity with the figure, it was time to break out the grinding burrs! I first began with the holster, as I wanted to familiarize myself with the hardness and com- position of the alloy used. Secondly, I wanted the holster in the kit to accommodate her tricked- out pistol. Since the holster is noticeably smaller (suggesting the presence of a second firearm), I merely ground-out the back and bottom edges of the holster. I will further modify/detail the hol- ster (e.g., lengthen, etc.) later in the course of prepping the figure. 

With the holster behind me, it was time to tackle the "elephant in the box": the greatcoat tails
(2 pieces). As noted earlier, these are inordinately thick by design. There is obviously a painting workaround this design concession, if the boxart is any indication; but I have never been inclined to make silk purses out of sows' ears. So a little over 30 minutes later, the greatcoat tails are now ready for final finishing.

A most encouraging start!

10 September 2014

Sinthea Schmidt (fka Diane Tianseen)

I was surfin' some manufacturers' sites the other day, when I ran across Diane Tianseen on Scale 75's website. This is their fifth offering in their Fallen Frontiers range, and was released earlier this year in May. 

Designed by Adrian Prado and sculpted by Alfonso Prieto, the 75mm kit is comprised of 13 exquisitely cast white-metal pieces (+ plinth). I can say with nary a reservation that this is the best white-metal casting I have seen come out of Spain in longer than I care to remember! My only criticism is that the trailing edges of the greatcoat tails (2 pieces) are inordinately thick. I can certainly understand why they chose to take this approach, but be prepared to spend some time with file or grinder to thin these out--if you are so inclined. 'Nuff said.

So what prompted me to get a futuristic, Nazi-esque Kriegerfräulein? Glad you asked! Sin (née Sinthea Schmidt) is one of my favorite Marvel supervillains. I won't bore you with the details--suffice it to say that she is the daughter of none other than Johann Schmidt, the Red Skull!

As for what is to come. . . stay tuned!

07 September 2014

Thanos - Prepwork (4a): Infinity Gauntlet, phase 1

It's been a rough couple of weeks, and any accumulated momentum was at a critically low ebb. So I decided to simply park myself at the bench and not move until I had something to show for the time--and effort!--spent.

That "something" was the first phase of the Infinity Gauntlet. As of this writing, the settings for the gems have all been roughed-in, as has the metallic trim of the gauntlet's cuff. While still remaining to be finished, I am quite pleased with the overall look; to say nothing of the relative ease of the process!

As to the assembly of the "Titan", I have decided to wait until all the enhancements on the gaunt- lets and boots are done before finalizing assembly: it is simply more manageable this way--and less likely to result in any unforeseen damage to the castings: remember, these are cast in a lead alloy and are comparatively 'soft'.

02 September 2014

2014 Status Report -- pre-Fall Update

The revised 2015 show line-up (in addition to a limited selection of last year's 'finalists'):

The first two are obviously done (or nearly so), and the "Kid" is well-underway. But what of the rest of the projects? Well, as of this writing, these are the most likely candidates. . .

As always, subject--but less likely--to change. . .

01 September 2014

Joe -- Painting (3): The Head/Face

The traumatized areas on the exposed flesh--especially the head, were undercoated in order to give me a better sense of the facial/cranial landscape, etc.. . .

Once dry, I began "shadow-washing" the wounds with oils, as well as applying a very controlled grisaille over the face with Raw Umber. 

Movin' right along. . .

Joe -- Painting (2): The Eyes

As indicated in my previous posting, I am taking my lead from last year's Jessica project. To wit, the irises are now blocked-in using acrylics. Once dry (I put the figure in the oven to make sure all acrylic applications were thoroughly dry), I went back and applied the conjunctivitis with light washes of Cadmium-Barium Red-Deep (oils).

A good start!

Joe -- Painting (1): Intro & UC'ing

This is a challenging palette to say the least--if only because of the dimensions of our canvas. Though a stand-alone piece, it must remain true not only to the scale, but what it intends to represent.

So what would a normal 'kid' in early childhood wear? Obviously, these parameters provide a vir- tually open palette! Keeping it 'real", I opted for a pair of khaki shorts with cargo pockets, and a dark, achromatic T-shirt: the latter will serve as the canvas for a promo t-shirt of a very popular TV show. 

Finally, the shoes. I confirmed with Rin that these were intended to represent a pair of children's K-Swiss strap's. While all the details are present--more or less depending on the model, these will be the most challenging aspect of this project, and will more than likely evince some artistic license. . . 

The figure is now undercoated, including the eyes and teeth--but not the shoes! As with Jessica, eyes and teeth will be multi-layered, multi-session applications.

More to follow. . . !