30 November 2014

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork (IX) - Groundwork

I have consciously opted for an underbased presentation with Cap. My intention is to depict him on the [rear] cargo ramp of a Quinjet just prior to insertion. To this end, the figure's "footprint" will be but 3" x 3".

The base has been selected and the peg-holes tapped, and the sheet plastic is on order. . .

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

28 November 2014

Captain America--STRIKE Stealth Suit - Painting (I - Redux)

I got home from work today and I wanted to have something to show for the derailing events of last weekend--and the hell that was work this week!

When we last spoke, I had pretty much opted-out of the rattle cans. But I just wasn't in the mood to airbrush this evening; and, given the color of Cap's Stealth Suit, the "dark" grey color of Rusto- leum Sandable Auto Primer--Grey was a no-brainer. In fact, there will be areas that I intend to paint straight over the primer. So, I shook the can for a good minute and a half, and fired away. Less than 2 minutes later, I had a beautifully-primed, smooth, matte-finish figure--with absolutely no clean-up! 

Hmmm. . . there might be something to these rattle cans after all. . . 

As a final note, I will probably be priming the head with Mr. Surfacer 500. While I could probably get away with using the Rustoleum Grey, the very fine detail on the helmet and undercoating the skin tones would benefit from a lighter--literally and figuratively--primer. FOLLOW-UP 29.11.2014- After letting the primer cure for 24 hrs., I was most impressed with the results: no apparent loss of detail. . . ANYWHERE! And it dries significantly lighter than when first applied; not Tamiya or Floquil "light", but certainly workable. Hmmm. . .

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

26 November 2014

Notable Acquisitions November 2014

GILLman Productions Twisty the Clown (1/4th scale bust, Mark Van Tine)
Pegasus Hobbies Spinosaurus (1/24, Galileo Hernández Núñez and Scott Willis) nb: Yet      another fantastic offering from Pegasus, the best providers of PV kits on the market!

25 November 2014

Primers. . . reconsidered

As some of you know--or might have guessed--I am not at all a fan of "rattle cans". They are wasteful in the extreme; and any control you think you might have is largely illusory. If there are any graffiti artists in the readership, my hat is off to you all! But for me, I simply don't like them. Different strokes. . . and certainly different canvasses!

So the research continued well into today during my break periods at work, and I've decided to stick with what I know. I still have a couple of bottles of G-S Mr. Surfacer 500 squirreled away, and while this is the coarsest of the G-S "liquid putties", it has the tooth/grain I have long missed in my primers. While the original Floquil primer could be applied silky smooth, by dialing back the pressure somewhat and increasing the distance, you could achielve a nice "tooth" that locked-in the subsequent layers of paint and broke up the sheen of the oils in record time (increased tooth increases the surface area of oxidation)!

According to some articles/postings I have read, the Surfacer number (500/1000/1200; with a Finishing Surfacer available in 1500) is roughly equivalent to sand-paper grit. I don't know the veracity of this assertion; but like I said, I like some texture on my primer. And the areas that require a smooth finish can easily be touched up post-curing with fine sandpaper or a finishing pad--or a coarse paper towel! 

So when I got home, I broke out the Mr. Surfacer 500 and conducted some test runs, using the vinyl neck post as my subject. I used both Mr. Color Thinner and lacquer thinner as paint thin- ners--each worked equally well. And I must say that once you get it thinned (start with 60:40 thinner to Surfacer; be prepared to go as high as 70:30!), and you let it sit at least an hour post- application, you have a hard, durable, matte surface that is scratch resistant, sandable, and does not compromise any of the fine detail of the miniature.

Downside? VERY aromatic. As in aromatic hydrocarbons. I would not spray this without a respirator and adequate ventilation. Well. . . I would--and do. . . but everybody should heed the warnings and prepare/proceed accordingly. 

And yes, once the Holidays are over, I will be ordering a bottle--or two--of Surfacer 1000 to add to the "palette". . . 

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

24 November 2014


In case anyone hadn't noticed, modelling life used to be much easier. Not only were there fewer products on the market (the redundancy and one-upmanship game has gotten out of control!), but there was little if any government intervention. This allowed the product to do what it was supposed to do nearly 100% of the times, as opposed to the current "roll the dice and take your chances" approach to products from which the government has felt compelled to protect us.

This vent/rant is by way of preface to my research into primers as a result of yesterday's debacle. I found this excellent summary on why primers should be used on one of the many sites I have visited in the last two days:
  • Primers are the anchors for the new paint system. There are big differences in the quality of primers on the market.
  • A primer is wasted if surface preparation is not thorough.
  • Take time to ensure all surfaces are thoroughly clean and free from contaminants.
"Well, duh?!" you might say? I have repeatedly seen projects that have foregone surface prep, and not a few that have skipped the critical priming step altogether. In this day and age when we have nary a clue of how a piece was cast and/or the formulation of the casting medium, to not use a primer is the height of folly! And I would have to say that your favorite song is "Flirtin' with Disaster"!!

Before closing, I wanted to share with you that I will be priming Cap (and all subsequent PV figures) with a light coat of Rustoleum Sandable Auto Primer--Grey, followed by a final coat of Rustoleum Painter's Touch® Ultra Cover 2x Primer Grey. The reason for the latter is that the former is a rather dark slate grey, while the latter is a normal "primer grey". If it works as I hope it will, I will be buying at least 2-3 additional cans of each, 'cause with such goodies as xylene (Dio-Sol!!!) and toluene in the mix, I can't see Uncle Sam leaving these products be for long!

*X( angry

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

23 November 2014

Captain America--STRIKE Stealth Suit - Painting (I)


The first coat of primer went on well, but it revealed two pesky seam lines that I had completely overlooked. I was very tempted to "fill" them with G/S Mr. Surfacer 500; but this was an oversight on my part, so I might as well do it right. The primer also revealed a couple of spots that would require putty intervention.

So far so good. I carefully placed the reworked, primed figure in the oven to accelerate the curing of the MS, and that's when everything went b***'s-up! I went to check the progress of the curing putty when I noticed that the primer coat was quite shiny; and when I carefully touched it, it was tacky! Now, everybody knows--or should know--that enamel paints will not cure on PV figures, which is why I was very careful in selecting one of my remaining bottles of Floquil lacquer-based primer. The joke--a bad one--was on me: the bottle had been mislabeled!

At this point, I had but two choices: dump the figure; or make the best of a bad situation. Three cigarettes later, I opted for the latter. I will have to very carefully remove all the bad primer (since it did not cure, it is readily removable using lacquer thinner), and then re-prime using a lacquer- based primer.

So I'm back to the original timetable--though whether or not I can start uc'ing next weekend is yet to be seen. My main reservation is that I will have to use a spray-can to prime. . .


98+% of the bad primer has now been removed, so, at worst, only a day was lost. The good news is that I discovered a very useful bit of knowledge: all PV (read: soft-ish vinyl) figures should be thoroughly wiped-down with lacquer thinner prior to applying any paint [NOTE: test on a small, inconspicuous part first!]. This not only removes any mold release and essentially degreases the figure, it leaves a semi-matte-to-matte surface sheen that effectively acts as a primer coat to reveal any surface blemishes, etc.

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

22 November 2014

Star-Lord -- Head

I set aside the boots and began work on the 3-piece masked head. Please note that the kit also includes a one-piece, bare-faced likeness of Chris Pratt (B).

The head components are the nicest castings of the lot! The neck portion fits seamlessly into the main mask unit, requiring no work whatsoever. The hair piece fits equally well; however, I feel there is too much forehead and need to sits lower "in" the mask. Opinions may vary. . .

This is a relatively quick and effortless fix. I simply ground down the plug and reduced the sides until the anticipated results were achieved.

Once I finish cleaning the mask, I will permanently assemble the head. 

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

21 November 2014

Star-Lord -- Boots. . . Step 1: Baby steps

Let the journey begin. . . 

As I said, I will begin with the boots. Given their construction, a scale miniature of these would be challenging at best in any medium. Let me just say that "the devil is in the details", and that the more research you do, the better you will be prepared to tackle these bad boys.

I chose the left boot (P) as my "shallow-end of the pool", if only because the extended knee flap (à la Hessian boots) was truncated on the left boot. 

I began by grinding off the seam line. This revealed that many of the details in the actual items were indeed incorporated in the design of the piece--but very poorly reproduced! Soft detail is part and parcel with this type of PV, but this kit is one of the poorer examples I have seen. 

To this point, I have removed the seam line/s, thinned and sharpened some of the layers, fitted the boot to the leg, and drilled out the mounting peg. I'm actually quite pleased with how this is shaping up. . . BUT, I have yet to begin undercutting in earnest. And once that is done, I still have to resculpt a plethora of straps, posts, and rivet heads. This may not be the most difficult aspect of this project, but it will certainly be one of the most taxing. 

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

17 November 2014

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork (VIII) - DONE!!!

I truly hope I am not being premature here, but as far as I can tell, the prepwork on the body is a fait accompli! I would add that the head and the shield are still undergoing prepwork, but these are well on their way to completion as well.

So, time permitting--and no "derailing" of plans, by the end of this weekend the body should be be primed. Once the primer is applied, there will invariably be areas requiring a modicum of additional work; but if I have done my job as I hope I have, these should be little more than quick touch-ups. . . 

Which means that with any luck at all, the undercoating will begin over the Holiday weekend!

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 November 2014

Dragon 1/9 scale Guardians of the Galaxy – Star-Lord (#38339)

Peter Quill--interplanetary rapscallion and heir to [at least one] awesome mix tape from the late 60’s early 70’s! No? Well, you might know him as . . . Star-Lord!

This is the first release in Dragon’s sub-series dedicated to this Summer’s blockbuster hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. It is comprised of 21 solid polyvinyl pieces + 1 [black] polystyrene base. As with most (all?) the Dragon model kits, the items that have exposed flesh (in this in- stance, the heads—there are two heads provided: one masked (U + V), one bare (B)) are molded in a semi-translucent, flesh-colored PV; the rest of the kit—including the separate mask (A)--is molded in a neutral grey PV.

As always, unless you have extensive experience working with polyvinyl, I would keep any reduc- tive/invasive surface modifications to an absolute minimum: these kits should be approached literally straight OOB! Unfortunately, that would disqualify this kit for the overwhelming majority of miniaturists! I purchased this kit as a long-term reclamation project with the hope that I would receive a VG (or better!) casting, but expecting otherwise. Depending on your expectations and requirements, this kit will demand you exercise all of your modelling skillsets—and then some! Especially as this kit also falls way short in the [movie-]accuracy category, most notably the pants (D) and detail-rich overcoat tails (Q).

IMHO, this kit represents a significant “step-back” from their, for example, Captain America Stealth Suit offering. As such, I cannot recommend it without significant caveats. That being said, if you enjoy a challenge, can moderate your expectations, and are a fan of the character, you might very well give this one a long, hard second look. . .

PS--Hands-on report to follow upon receipt. . .

UPDATE 20.11.2014 - It has arrived. . . and while I had prepared myself for the worse, the magni- tude of the work that would be required to get this to competition standards is practically over- whelming.  Thus, it will indeed be a "a long-term reclamation project", worked in sections at a relaxed pace. Rocket and the Rocket/Groot vignette are right around the corner, so hopefully they [Dragon] will recover some of their form for these releases. . .

UPDATE 21.11.2014 - As many of you have heard me say at one time or another, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Yesterday's assessment is no less valid, but compart- mentalizing the work to be done into self-contained "mini-projects", as opposed to looking upon the totality of the work before me, has provided a much-needed revised perspective. And so, the project will be launched in the next few days, beginning with the boots. . . 


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

11 November 2014

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork (VII) - Home Stretch

The remaining putty work is now DONE! I can now resume my final once-over and begin address- ing those areas requiring a tad bit more attention. And the shield has been pegged and tentative- ly fitted. . . 

Movin' right along. . . 

FOLLOW-UP . . . All joins and MS-enhanced areas have been putty-glazed.

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

10 November 2014

Captain Rogers Stealth Suit - Prepwork (VI)

The anticipated deadline will unfortunately not be met.

I was well on my way to completing the final once-over, with but a few areas that would require less-than-an-hour of further attention all told, when I noticed that the lower buckles on the gaiters had been traversed by the mold seam! This is the kind of ill-conceived mold design that drives modelers and miniaturists to apoplexy!! *~X( at wits' end

If this were resin, it would be classified as a minor, albeit unnecessary, annoyance. But it isn't; and, as we have seen, PV is another ballgame altogether. I intend to try to scrape off the offend- ing seamlines as best I can, but I have resigned myself to sculpting two new buckles. . .

Stay tuned. . .

FOLLOW-UP . . . The buckles have been successfully "cleaned" with grinder, blade, and Scotch-brite. That is the good news.

The bad news is that I will have to restore at least one prong and any number of holes. . .

UPDATE 11.11.2014 - Three prongs and all the holes later, I am back to where I started yester- day. Tentative priming deadline is now the Thanksgiving holiday weekend--though I will have to work on Black Friday. . .

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

08 November 2014

Citi-Def Trooper -- UPDATE (2)

The "stumps" have been modeled and preliminarily fitted. And the left arm has been permanently attached. . . 


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

06 November 2014

Citi-Def Trooper -- UPDATE

Not much to tell, but some notable progress nonetheless. . .

Firstly, I have pegged the head and routed-out the neck--I am really not a fan of flat-on-flat joins! Within the week, I should have the neck and wrist (l & r) stumps modeled and fitted -- final fin- ishing can then begin in earnest!

Secondly, I've decided to portray a Citi-Def Trooper from the Marie Laveau Block. This block is mentioned in "Who Do the Voodoo that You Do?" (Judge Dredd Megazine #285). Though I do not believe there to be any specific references to the appearance of the CD from this block, this provides the freedom to have some fun!

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

05 November 2014

DWC's 70mm Citi-Def Trooper TBR in late November!

Yes, you read right, Dredd-heads! Rin has kicked this project into overdrive, and this gem of a kit will be shipping by the end of November!

You may pre-order here

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