27 December 2015

Durham Red - Painting: Finishing

27.12.2015 - Phase 1 of the Groundwork has been completed.
28.12.2015 -
  • Areolar LEDs (4) done.
  • Search/Destroy Agency ("Strontium Dogs") badge done.
  • Breasts glazed. 
29.12.2015
  • Phase 2 of the Groundwork has been completed.
  • Red permanently mounted on display base. 
30.12.2015 -  
  • Hair undercoated. WOW!!!
  • Even though there is still a considerable amount of "detail" work to be done, I am moving this project to the completed folder. A new posting will be launched to cover the "Final Wrap-up". See ya next year!

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

26 December 2015

Durham Red - Painting: Finishing - Intro

I am nowhere near being finished, but the finishing of the figure officially has begun, And it will be a l-o-n-g process. . . 

The nanosuit itself has been "anodized" in oils, and is now ready for final touch-ups. This will be an ongoing process to create an integrated flow of colour and light. As such, it will not be consi- dered done until the figure has been permanently mounted on its display base.

In the meantime, the arms have been basecoated with a metallic finish, and the fluorescent red LED's on the right side of the nanosuit have been painted. Thus the way is clear for me to perma- nently attach the right arm once I am ready.

More to follow. . .

FOLLOW-UP. . . The right arm is now permanently attached, and Phase I painting of the same has been completed.

FOLLOW-UP (2). . . All the fluorescent red LED's of the nanosuit have now been painted, save for the areolar pairs. The left arm is now permanently attached, thus assembly of the figure has been completed

FOLLOW-UP (3). . . The breechclout is done! WHEW!! 

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

25 December 2015

Durham Red - Epilogue

To paraphrase Dickens, "It was the best of figures, it was the worst of figures. . . "

Technically speaking, there was absolutely nothing wrong with this figure. As I have indicated earlier, my sample was not of the exceptional casting quality we have come to expect from DWC; however, it was certainly no worse than VG+ on an absolute scale. Which means it was better than most figures you are likely to acquire today!

Artistically, however, I found this figure a bit "toothless"--literally in my sample! While we know it is based on Mark Harrison's cover of the "Empty Suns" graphic compilation, I think that a con- scious-- and selective!--mash-up using the cover of "The Vermin Stars", etc. as additional source material would have better served the final product: if for no other reason than to provide readily available reference material to the miniaturist. As I was a Red "virgin", I was forced to scrounge the Web for all my painting references, especially as Durham Red publications are virtually impossible to find for sale!

There appear to have been any number of production expedients exercised. Nothing major, mind you; but this is not the first time DWC has taken a "short-cut" that I feel is unnecessary--and potentially detrimental. 2000AD fans are no different than comic-geeks anywhere: they have a concept of what their favourite character/s should look like, and they get quite vocal when they feel that their canon has been violated. Don't believe me? Read a review of ANY of DWC's Dredd figures! It is a testament to Rin's commitment to the cause that he is even still in the game!! But
I digress. . .

I made quite a number of what I feel were essential additions to this figure that have changed the entire character and presence of the subject. In the interest of full disclosure, there were some items that I just passed on due to my lack of intimacy with the subject. As the end-user, I should neither be finishing the figure for the manufacturer, nor agonizing over what to include--or not. The only good that will come of my additional effort is that my rendition will be truly unique--and afaic tell, accurate to the source: a one-off in every sense of the word! Unfortunately--to say nothing of ironically!--that sort of initiative is not very welcome by the supply-side of the equation these days! So don't expect them to sing your praises for going the proverbial extra-mile!! 

So much for the "worst". I have enjoyed--and am enjoying!--this figure IMMENSELY! As I de- scribed my project to Rin, it has been a "delightful challenge"!! You are provided with virtually everything you need to create a showstopper--imagination, commitment & research, paint, brushes, glue and display base not included!!! This is an artistic hobby, fer crissakes! BE CREATIVE! BE RESOURCEFUL! RESPECT YOUR CANVAS--AND THE SOURCE OF THE VERY SAME! AND ABOVE ALL, CHALLENGE YOURSELF WITH EACH AND EVERY PRO- JECT YOU UNDERTAKE!!

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

24 December 2015

Hi(gh)-Quality Resin?

For some time now, I've been noticing the topic title used in promoting new releases. . .

What, pray tell, is "high/hi-quality resin"? Is there low-quality resin?? And, if so, what is that like, and how do you tell the difference??? Will we be seeing "Premium-quality Resin" in the months to come????

It is a sign of the times when cheap and meaningless throwaway quips like "Cast in High-Quality Resin" are used as a selling point in a niche-hobby such as ours! Personally, I find it insulting and demeaning. If you want to impress us, describe the resin: at the very least, manufacturer, type, color, durometer (Shore hardness). And if any figure manufacturer doesn't know what I'm talking about, then perhaps they shouldn't be in [this] business! 

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

Star Wars: Episode VII -- The Force Awakens

To date, the latest entry in the Star Wars Saga has certainly more than lived-up to its pre-release hype. As of its US release last Friday, it has broken any number of box-office records, domestic and international--and it will not open in China until January 9th! And in spite of the expected nay- saying--especially via the "medium of the faceless disgruntled", this appears to be a must-see!

I saw Episode IV in the Big Apple in the Summer of '77, "a long time ago in [seemingly] a galaxy far, far away". BUT. . . if the new one captures even a portion of the magic and wonder of the introductory installment, then I will be a very happy fan-boy. . .  

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

Durham Red - Painting: The Flesh

The remaining flesh of this figure is now DONE! That isn't to say that I will not take advantage of the approach I used to continue integrative glazing once the nanosuit is completed; but, for now, the fleshtones are precisely where I need--and want!--them to be. 

The figure is now resting under the lamps, and so it shall stay through tomorrow, and possibly part of Saturday. My goal for this weekend is to have at least the right arm permanently attached.

And with that, all that remains is to wish the readership a very Happy Holiday weekend! ENJOY!!!

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

21 December 2015

Durham Red - Painting: Undercoating--Epilogue

The arms are now undercoated. A word of caution, if I may: there is a lot more flesh visible than first meets the eye! Whether this was an exercise of artistic license or based on canon, I don't know; but the sharp-eyed amongst you will have options when it comes to the arms. . .

What's next? That is the question. . . I'd like to be able to get the remaining flesh on the figure done before Christmas Day, and then let it "rest" for a day or two before proceeding with finishing glazes on the nanosuit, etc. We shall see. . .

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

20 December 2015

Durham Red - P&P: Epilogue

I can finally close the chapter on P&P--Prepwork & Priming, that is. It took me a tad longer than anticipated, as I added knuckle dusters to her gloves, which were otherwise nondescript and per- functory, to say the least.

That being done, the arms have been cleaned and mounted on a workbase. I will give them a final once-over later this evening after dinner, and have them primed no later than tomorrow. . . DONE!

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

Durham Red - Painting: The Groundwork, pt. 1

Since metallics are a significant component of the groundwork, the next step will be the under- coating of the figure's setting. 

This was in effect a chromatic grisaille: nothing too detailed, dramatic, or labour-intensive; simply a blocking-in of hues and values, using acrylics and lacquers, to make sure that everything is in sync with the figure. And what is now before me is most encouraging--and gratifying!

It is now time to let the figure "rest", before the next big/final? push. . .

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

19 December 2015

Durham Red - Painting: Metallic Lacquers (The Nanosuit)

Much of the nanosuit will require a secondary undercoat: namely, a metallic lacquer. Those areas will then be overcoated and/or glazed with an appropriate black oil (or a suitable black mix--e.g., Prussian Blue and Transparent Red Earth) to achieve a textural and/or tonal difference.

I started with G-S Mr. Metal Iron and Dark Iron. A very few areas--4 to be exact--were painted with Stainless Steel to provide contrast and direct the light flow, but this will be up to the individual mi- niaturist. Buffing was controlled: more at smoothing/leveling than polishing.

The cuisses are perhaps the most challenging, as the lower half of these will eventually be over- painted with a lace pattern: the metallic foundation must still be evident when it's all said and done.

Before proceeding with the remaining flesh, I will address any touch-ups (minimal) and make sure all stray metallic particles have been removed from the figure.

But first. . .

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

17 December 2015

Durham Red - Painting: Intermezzo

I was hoping to get a jump on the metallics (read: lacquers) tonight, but "'Tis the Season" indeed: the Blue Meanies at work have overpowered the guards, and are now running the asylum. . . Hav- ing said that, we apparently kept them sufficiently distracted to have Deep Purple voted as a 2016 Rock 'n' Roll HoF inductee. . .  FINALLY!

In lieu of the metallics, I did some follow-up work on the face, and I think that I should be able to wrap it up in two more sessions.

I probably won't break-out the lacquers until Saturday, but I thought I would share with you the prevailing design concept as gleaned from the design notes of the artist, Mark Harrison:  
Although basic black, the [nanosuit] is made-up of contrasting textures: black metal, leather, and overlaying lace.
The representation of the various materials will ultimately be the miniaturist's call; and therein lies the challenge: how to depict the various materials so that they are not only immediately recog- nizable, but artistically/visually cohesive.

I told you it was a fun figure!

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

Holiday Greetings '15

Another year nearly in the can. . . WOW! I remember my father (RIP) telling me how time seemed to fly-by the older he got, and it appears that some things never change. . .

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . . " That would be a very fitting aphorism to describe 2015. The world is an ever uncertain, even scarier, place; and the dearth of common sense and logic must have Voltaire smiling quite smugly. I won't mention the fact that true lead- ership, so desperately needed in these times, has gone the way of the snowflake in Hades. . .

So much for "the worst". In the days ahead, reach out for "the best" and hang on. . .

Take some time for yourselves this Holiday Season, and plot out a new project; or make some inroads on an ongoing venture; or simply wrap-up that poor soul that has been desperately cla- moring for completion!
Make this Holiday fortnight truly memorable!! 

And, above all, enjoy whatever time you might have with family and friends, for they are the ones who willingly and selflessly will be at our side on the 365-day journey that is right around the corner.

So, without further ado, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the readership a joyous, rest- ful, peaceful--and, yes, productive!-- Holiday Season; and a healthy, happy and prosperous New [Leap] Year.

Thank you for your patronage and support.


MERRY CHRISTMAS
HAPPY HANUKKAH
FELIZ NAVIDAD
BUON NATALE
FRÖLICHE WEINACHTEN
JOYEUX NOËL
CRĂCIUN FERICIT
MERII KURISUMASU
WESOŁYCH ŚWIĄT BOŻEGO NARODZENIA
S'ROZHDESTVOM KRISTOVYM
SUNG TAN CHUK HA

Augie

16 December 2015

Durham Red - Painting: The Face and Breasts

There really isn't a lot flesh to paint on this figure, but what there is better be done right! The flesh will set the tone, if you will, for the monochromatic/achromatic? melange that is to follow. In short, this figure is all about contrast--and balance.

By the end of this evening, the Phase 1 of the face will be completed [FOLLOW-UP. . . Phase 1 is done; and the face is fully framed with black forelocks.], and the breasts will be all-but-done. The face will be a wip for at least 2-3 more sessions.

As is my wont of late, I've used linseed oil as the thinner. In this instance, it allows me to glaze the shadows, and control the overall tone and temperature of the paint: a predominantly cool pa- lette (Parchment and Cobalt Blue are the primary colours) that must be moderated carefully by the selective application of a warmer, albeit still cool-ish, fleshtone. 

That's about it for now. Updates to follow. . . 

UPDATE 18.12.15. . . I am delighted to report that the face and breasts are essentially done! All that remains is finishing the eyes: adding the pupils and final glazing.  

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

15 December 2015

Durham Red - Painting: The Eyes

IT. . . HAS. . . BEGUN!!!

Just finished blocking-in the eyes on our favourite vampire bounty-hunter! The eyes are beautifully cast, so no problem there. Where most will be troubled is the fact that there is not a whole lot of eye to paint. Given my experience with 75mm figures, these eyes are scaled more to 65-70mm. In short patience and a steady hand will reward you handsomely--and be prepared to adapt to the limited space!!

Red has piercing Bavarian Blue eyes! I opted to use a tint of Cobalt Blue as the base, with high- lights done in a tint of Turquoise Blue. I will revisit the latter once the base application is dry. 

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

13 December 2015

Durham Red - Painting: Undercoating

As much as I would have liked, no brush painting was done today. Instead, I began assembling my acrylic palette. . . 

Red's outfit is straightforward: black. Any variation will be introduced and executed in the lacquer and oils phases. 

Her flesh, however, is not quite so straightforward. . . especially given the hue and tonal variances in the source material. Let us not forget that she is a vampire, thus we should not be surprised to see her in the ruddy radiance of health--or, for that matter, looking like "death warmed over". Per- sonally, I am leaning more towards the latter than the former. . . 

To achieve a good chromatic foundation, I've selected three colours: Reaper's Bloodless Skin; and Vallejo Game Color's Bone White and Elf Skintone. The latter will be used only as neces- sary--to taste--to warm the otherwise deathly pallor of the former. Otherwise, I am not too con- cerned about temperature or tonal variance at this point: there will be ample opportunity to ad- dress this with the oils.

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

Durham Red - Painting: The Base

Since the trusty Badger was up and running, I decided to go ahead and paint the base. Not the groundwork. . . the BASE. 

You might recall me mentioning that I wanted to add a little "hmmph" to a black textured base. The base in question had definitely seen better days. There wasn't anything wrong with it per se, but the finish was somewhat weathered, as is the nature of the beast over time. So, first things first. . .

Phase 1 was refinishing the black with Vallejo Air Black: quick; easy; virtually effortless. I put the base in the oven to set and cure the paint. 

Phase 2. After about 30 minutes, I applied an overtone of VAir Scarlet: opaquely in the upper third of the base, misting progressively more transparent towards the bottom. 

My initial impression is that it was quite successful; however given the nature of acrylics, I really won't know until the paint is thoroughly cured. One aspect that I do know was successful is the muted, almost faded, nature of the matte acrylics: Red will be quite bright and saturated--albeit largely achromatic, and a muted base will create a nice visual flow towards the subject of the work. 

Regardless of what I might think, ultimately, the success--or failure!--will be determined by the viewer. . . 

FOLLOW-UP. . . Just finished buffing the base, and I couldn't be happier! Remember that acry- lics are nothing more than liquid plastic: the matte additive can be buffed-out once the paint has completely cured, yielding a very pleasing, satiny sheen. I may revisit the base once the ground- work is painted and she is further along, but I have no reservations about the current finish. 

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

Durham Red - Painting: Priming

Red is now primed and is settling-in at her new "digs" on the painting bench.

I have yet to prime the arms--or finish them! As these will be attached once the body is done and "settled", there is no immediate urgency. That being said, they are a perfect 'after-work chore', so I hope to have them done by the end of the 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

12 December 2015

Durham Red - Prepwork: FINE

Durham Red is D-O-N-E!

My plans are to prime her in the morning; and, if nothing comes up in the afternoon, I will begin undercoating once the primer is cured. 

I can't wait to start slinging some paint on this one!

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

Judge Fear returns. . . and he is not alone!

As the year draws to a close, it is time to start thinking about what I might want to do in 2016. As we all know, I am not one to stick to a "game plan" --when it comes to figure projects, that is--but we all have to start somewhere. . .

Aside from the Lawmaster project, I definitely want to tick-off [at least] one more Dark Judge off the list. While Mortis is just about ready to move from the workbench, I'm just not feeling him at the moment. Fear on the other hand. . .

During the 2000AD Painting Competition sponsored by DWC earlier this year, this was one of the winners, garnering Third Place for Eric Moore. I was very taken with the concept of the "vignette", and kudos to Mr. Moore for recognizing the interactive potential of two stand-alone stock pieces!

Dredd's whereabouts, as you might recall, are currently unknown as he is on his 'Long Walk' into the Cursed Earth (i.e., retired and OOP). But I managed to track him down, and he is currently resting on my workbench (thanks, Chuck!). Thus, with the missing half of the projected twosome in hand, I can begin to plan my first vignette in 35 years!

Fear is well underway, and I will soon resume work on the more involved half of the project. Dredd will be the simpler of the two, if scratchbuilding a Lawgiver MK2 can be considered "simple". Re- gardless, that is the extent of the modifications to "Old Stony Face" planned to date. UPDATE 16.12.15. . . I may reconsider the MK2: in the source story, Dredd and Anderson are equipped with MK1a's. The verdict is still out. . .

Really looking forward to this one. . . especially the refresher research to be done!   

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

09 December 2015

Durham Red - Prepwork: Intermezzo

If I may, I'll just cut to the chase. . . prepping Durham Red is all-but-done!

Insofar as assembly is concerned, all that remains to be attached is the hilt/grip of her left boot- knife. [NOTE 12.12.2015: I decided to omit the left hilt, as I found the symmetry to be somewhat forced.] These long hilts are items that most miniaturists will leave off until the figure is mounted on its display base--and that is fine. But as I prefer as complete a canvas as possible prior to priming, I elected to go ahead and attach these pieces. The only two pieces that will remain to be attached once painting is underway are the arms.

I really hoped I would have an available red-dyed base upon which to display our mutant vamp; but, alas, the two remaining red bases I have are much too large. The base I've chosen is a textured black pedestal, but I may decide to add some "hmmph" to it before it is all said and done. If I can pull-off what I am considering, it will be quite unique!

Finally, the groundwork is about 70% done. I am modelling it off the base: once the work is com- pleted, I will permanently attach it to the base with 5-min. epoxy DONE! before proceeding with fitting of the figure and finalizing enhancements. DONE!!

That's about it for now. Getting ever closer to priming. . . if all works-out as envisioned, I am hoping to have her primed before the end of the weekend. . . 

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

06 December 2015

Lawmaster Mk1 - Prepwork III: Headlamps

IMO, the weakest aspect of this otherwise gem of a kit are the crude headlamps. These reduce the overall quality to significantly less than it should be--and there is simply no way to paint around it! The easiest workaround would be to fill-in the perfunctory "cross-hatching", and then paint a "faux lens" (read: simulated glass) finish on the hopefully smooth and even domes.

I decided to attempt to "raise the bar" as best I could and acquired 4 lenses of the appropriate di- ameter by MV Products: 2 clear and 2 amber. MV Products are a staple AM enhancement with our military modelling and model railroading brethren--and once you have their product in your hands, it is easy to see why!

The most difficult aspect of this "enhancement" is fitting the lens: this requires grinding out the offending resin. I suggest going very slowly until finding your comfort level, and then continue only moderately faster and test-fitting often! The first lens took me about an hour, give or take; but the second lens took me about 20 minutes. Two to go. . . 

The difference is awesome!  I have yet to permanently attach the lens to the housing, as I do not want to be bothered with masking, etc. when it comes time to paint; but I might reconsider de- pending on how things progress. Regardless, this is time and money well spent!!!

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

05 December 2015

Durham Red - Prepwork

I've just about completed the add-mods on the mutant vamp; however, I still want to see if I can minimize the obvious join line on the breechclout once it is attached. Other than that, all that re- mains to be done is sharpening the definition of her fangs: they are virtually indiscernible on my sample!

Stay tuned! 

FOLLOW-UP. . . Given the amount of work required and the small area to be worked, I decided to go ahead and permanently attach the breechclout, and make the modifications in situ. DONE! The only drawback to this approach is that I will have very little wiggle-room in certain areas when it comes time to painting. . . c'est la vie!

FOLLOW-UP 07.12.2015. . . As noted above, the modifications were executed and finished ear- lier today. I just wanted to point out that in situ is the only direct way to effect an accurate rendi- tion. One could certainly redesign the breechclout to include a section of the lower abdominal pa- nel of the nanosuit; but, as with any figure redesign, this is not only time-consuming and labour-intensive, but beyond the capabilities of most miniaturists.  

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

03 December 2015

Lawmaster Mk1 - Prepwork: Intermezzo (2)

Before shifting our focus to the front fork assembly, I just want to point out that finishing of the central/rear subunit of the Lawmaster Mk1 included the application of road "grime" using MS. This weathering will in all probability be "punched-up" prior to the finishing application of paint; 
but for now, there is a seamless, textured join awaiting primer. . .

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

01 December 2015

Lawmaster Mk1 - Prepwork IV: Finishing (1)

Yes, I've skipped a step--Prepwork III will deal with the enhancement of the headlights. 

But while I await the arrival of some aftermarket parts, I can begin the finishing work on the Law- master, which is now in a "stripped-down" stage.

I decided to start with the rear two-thirds of the bike. I first primed the seam area with a custom primer: G-S Mr. Surfacer 500 thinned down to where it could be shot through a Badger 200. Per- fect! It actually worked so well that I might use it for final priming!!

After curing the primer in the oven, I assessed those areas that would require additional attention. All in all, not too bad. . . I then applied 2-3 light coats of glazing putty to fill out any surface "irreg- ularities"/imperfections, and placed it in the oven to cure. Now comes the "fun" part: reduction of the putty, and finishing with fine/x-fine sandpaper. This is slow work: do not rush it! When you are done you should have an ultra-smooth, symmetrical, level surface.

I also addressed the seam running the length of the oil pan. . . 

While I am not done by any means, I am certainly more optimistic--and excited!--about the po- tential finish of this kit. NEXT: front fork assembly!

FOLLOW-UP. . . Assembly-wise, the port-side carb stacks are now permanently attached. In order to provide some visual interest, I am planning to replace one of the stacks on the right with brass tubing: an open stack without a wire screen. DONE!

UPDATE 02.12.15. . . With the permanent attachment of the starboard-side carb stacks, the rear two-thirds of the bike 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

29 November 2015

Lawmaster Mk1 - Prepwork: Intermezzo (1)

WHEW! A busy and productive weekend. All the more given the unforeseen "road conditions" that demanded extensive detours.

I would say that this experience has taught me some valuable lessons, but you can't teach an "old dog"new tricks. I love these kits. . . I love the subject matter--and the interpretation of the same. I love the production values. And I love the passion behind the process that eventually gets them to our benches.

That being said, I will try to be more careful in the future about kits that require above-average 'interaction', whether inter- or intra-. And I will ask more questions before dropping the hammer. But the bottom line is this: I can generally fix/tweak anything that is "wrong" with the overwhelm- ing majority of the kits I acquire. In fact, present manufacturer excluded, I find most kits obvi- ously sub-standard. Hence, one of the reasons I have been steadily distancing myself from this hobby.

As always, if there is a problem, let the manufacturer know! Hound them until they engage in a meaningful--and hopefully productive--exchange. And share your findings with the community-- BUT do so respectfully, objectively, and--above all--accurately. Be specific and be prepared to defend your assertion. And if all else fails, be prepared to walk away from the manufacturer in question without so much as a, "By your leave. . . "

But back to the matter at hand. . . in spite of a difficult 'infancy', the Lawmaster is growing up quite nicely. The remaining 5 weeks of the year will be spent on the engine, reworking the head- lights, starting to assemble Dredd, and general clean-up and pre-priming. If things continue on this timetable, I'm looking at Spring for completion. . . 

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 2015

Lawmaster Mk1 - Prepwork II: Mold Release and Foot-pegs

Pre-prep is now a fait accompli! The only downside to DWC's castings is that their current pro- ducer is a bit heavy-handed with his mold release. This was the case with Mortis--and most certainly with the present project. 

While annoying to varying degrees, my concern lies with the unwitting miniaturist who knows no better. Every miniaturist/modeller knows to give his model a thorough washing with warm soapy water before letting the paints flow. With styrene kits, this will suffice as the most one has to be concerned with is skin oils from handling, and any production "residue". Resin, however, is signi- ficantly different; and sometimes a "thorough washing" is simply not enough. I suggest the follow- ing process: 1) "curing" the piece/s for 1-2 hrs. in the oven; 2) soaking 2-3 nights in an industrial-strength [purple] degreaser; and then 3) scrubbing down with a non-abrasive cleansing powder--I use Comet. PERFECT!

By the end of the weekend, I hope to have the rear third of the Lawmaster assembled and filled. Once that is done, I can began final assembly and detailing on the engine (carbs, wiring, etc.)... 

Stay tuned!

FOLLOW-UP. . . The rear third has been assembled and preliminarily filled and fitted. I should point out that the rear third was filled with MS before assembling: the mounting peg will be inserted in the rear tire. 

FOLLOW-UP (2) . . . The rear third has been permanently attached to the middle section--save for the front end, we have a 'bike'! This in turn led to checking the fit of the figure on the bike, and it immediately became apparent why we haven't seen more of these finished, featured in build- ups, etc.: the figure does not fit on the bike! Shame. . . While a severe disappointment, there are a number of work-arounds which will be assessed on their relative merits.

FOLLOW-UP (3) . . . After due consideration of the options before me, and an extensive review of the canon art, I decided that the most expedient course would be relocating the foot-pegs. To this end, I have already removed the 'pegs. . .  

UPDATE 29.11.15. . . Footpeg relocation and replacement have been completed! The unevenly cast 'pegs were replaced with brass tubing. The fit of the rider is now approximate -- <1mm off. This unfortunately cannot be finalized until the groundwork is done, and pre-paint staging completed.

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

27 November 2015

Lawmaster Mk1 - Prepwork I: The Radiator

The main focus of these Prepwork entries will be on the work done in addition to the basics. I will start off with the radiator. The Notron (an obvious play on the classic British MC marque, Norton) 4000cc V8 is a water-cooled engine; however the rather prominent radiator has received some- what of a short shrift. In fact, if you were not familiar with the Lawmasters, you wouldn't know it was the radiator! 

To date, I have countersunk/recessed the face of the radiator. Next, I will add coils made from 0.8mm tin solder DONE!, and shield the coils with a PE honeycomb "armoured" grill DONE!!
I will then frame the grill with MS. DONE!!!

Not worth the additional effort? We shall soon see. . . 

FOLLOW-UP. . . I would try to photograph the completed(?) radiator, but given my limited set-up, it would definitely not be worth it. I am delighted with the outcome, as it undeniably raises the bar a few notches; however, truth be told, very little will be readily visible given the size of the tires and the radiator's relative proximity to the fender. Conclusion: a modeller's call; but given that it takes little more than a couple of hours of work, I would strongly urge that it be considered. . . 

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

25 November 2015

The Return of Dredd: DWC’s Judge Dredd on his Mk1 Lawmaster

Hard to believe that it has been well over a year since I last fiddled with the subject kit!

After dealing with the ultimate alphabetical mek, I was in the mood to do more machinery. . . So out came Judge Dredd on his Mk1 Lawmaster. 

As per usual, I had forgotten how much I'd done before "packing" him up! Two-thirds of the Law- master is in the finishing stages, and I have but the rear third to assemble before I can start considering the integration of the three subassemblies.

So far, so good. To date, assembly has been fairly straightforward, though the fact that your assembly medium will be "superglue" will require a measured approach. Work slowly--and only apply the glue when you are absolutely ready to proceed--and commit!

My goal is to have the rear third of the bike assembled and filled within the fortnight. . . certainly by year end! Then I can start final finishing and begin to execute my detailing plans, which conti- nue to to grow!!

So much for the re-introduction. I will not be surprised if this one makes at least one more detour to the storage rack before priming is considered. But by then, the star of this piece, the bike, should be [all but] done!
 
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 2015

Durham Red

Having just finished Hammerstein, it should come as no surprise that I want to do another DWC offering! A "Zed" was definitely a consideration, but I wanted to try something 'new'. So, today I started basic clean-up on Durham Red (some background material can be found here).

The resin kit was 3-D sculpted by DWC stalwart David Richardson, based on the cover art of Empty Suns by Mark Harrison. It is comprised of 7 pieces + the logo-ed base. Unlike every other DWC casting I have had, the casting quality on this one is, ironically, "mortal". Which means it is VG+, but nowhere near exceptional. The fit of the pieces, however, is most certainly the latter: there is but one spot that might require a swipe of putty to get it just right. 

Clean-up is minimal, as we have come to expect; however, there are a few mods on the T-D list that might delay the transferal to the painting bench. . .

More to follow. . .

PS--This is our 1000th posting!!!

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

20 November 2015

Anne Bonny - Painting: A too-long intermezzo. . .

We're back to where we were 3 (or 8!) weeks ago, depending on your benchmark. Regardless, Mistress Anne is now "fully" undercoated (read: ~50%), and if all goes as planned and the Muses are not otherwise engaged, the oils will begin to flow over the 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

17 November 2015

Hammerstein - Painting: DONE!!!

The brushes are down and the painting is . . . DONE!

All that remains in the days ahead is punching up some of the detailing, some weathering (pig- ments, etc.), and the final integration of the figure to the groundwork. Actually, I expect to revisit the latter in the months to come just to make sure that everything is just as it should be. BUT. . . other than that, this figure will be off the paint bench over the weekend!

As  I mentioned in my last posting, I am not ready for this project to end. I truly wish there were additional ABC Warriors in the line: Zippo, Mongrol, Joe Pineapples, Deadlock. . . even Black- blood! That would be an impressive collection indeed!! While not very likely, stranger things have happened. . .

This figure represents all that is good about figure painting. It's bringing a character to life using a superbly designed and manufactured kit, and going wherever it leads. It's about letting your ima- gination run wild and doing your best without any concern for anything else simply because the figure deserves it. Thanks to Pat Mills and Clint Langley for their storytelling and consummate art; and to Rin and David Richardson for giving it three-dimensional life. And special thanks to Rin for reminding me yet again how much fun this hobby can be. . . 

UPDATE 18.11.15. . . DONE!!! (as in off the bench and in the cabinet!) Images to follow as soon as possible. . . 

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

14 November 2015

Hammerstein - Painting: ALL-BUT-DONE!!!

I guess I was closer than previously thought. . .  After a very productive day, Hammerstein can be officially deemed ALL-BUT-DONE!

The two remaining items to be done are: 1) the eyes and laser; and 2) the groundwork. Neither will be all that time-consuming, but #1 will certainly be stressful. I will start with the shoulder-mounted laser and then move on to the eyes. Once these are done, final detailing and weathering will commence.

Depending on how smoothly things go, this one should be off the bench by month's end. . .

A parting shot, if I may. . . I am almost sorry to see this project come to an end. As with all of my DWC projects, this represents one of my most enjoyable modelling projects ever! And this one may be at the top of the list due to the fact that it prompted a long-overdue reunion with the Mr. Metal lacquers. Hammerstein will definitely have a very special place in my collection. . . 

ALMOST THERE!

UPDATE 15.11.15. . . LET THE FINAL DETAILING AND WEATHERING BEGIN!!!

FOLLOW-UP 16.11.15. . . Things are moving right along. While the amount of outlining, etc. is considerable, as you might imagine, I'm more concerned with overlooking something. Assuming a semblance of normalcy is to be had from work, I hope to finish the figure itself by mid-week, and the groundwork over the weekend. Photo session targeted for Turkey Day weekend, even though I will have to work Friday. . .

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

13 November 2015

Hammerstein - Painting: Colourizing Plate (cont. 2)

While nowhere near a point where I can deem the figure "all-but-done", I am delighted to report that the main "colourization" of the plate is now DONE! 

Since, as we all know, the "devil is in the detail", I am in for one helluva home stretch! The real trick will be to maintain the cohesive entity that is now before me, while enhancing the points of interest to create a "visual path". The trek begins on the morrow!

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

"Zombie Tank" -- Intro (pt. 2)

A review will be forthcoming, but it may take a while as I am but "piddling" at the moment with this kit.

As I mentioned in my initial posting, the "Zombie Tank" variant is not addressed in the instruc- tions, and very superficially touched-upon in the painting guide. In short, if you want to do this particular version of the Mk. 10, it will be up to you to determine the extent of the mods required. Or. . . you can check on this thread periodically. . .

In the meantime, this "core" list compiled before I ordered the kit should get you started. I will be adding to it as needed. . .
  • Delete searchlight.
  • Delete spotlight/s.
  • Delete right smoke dispenser.
  • Delete cupola MG: replace w/ “M2HB”(prop).
  • Replace L11A5 barrel (including extensive mods to fume extractor; etc.).
  • Delete and/or rework coax MG.
  • Delete and sculpt or rework barrel ‘mask’.
  • Delete PE bow wave-deflector; fill-in locating slot.
  • Texturize metal surfaces (anti-slip coating)
  • Replace solid tie-down brackets on skirts with PE and or wire.

Before closing I will say that the barrel replacement is well-underway! The stock barrel is com- prised of four pieces/two sub-assemblies. The replacement barrel is comprised of two modified sub-assemblies from the kit, two pieces of brass tubing, and a "scratchbuilt" barrel 'mask'. Once the barrel is done, the rest of the kit should be a pleasant and uncomplicated walk in the park!

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

11 November 2015

"Zombie Tank" - Intro

I'm trying to toe the line with respect to the "sidebar projects", especially given the time of year, but what is one to do with Takom's release of a Chieftain Mk. 10?

The Chieftain has always been one of my favourite tanks. It was the first of the "modern" tanks, AFAIC. And once upgraded with "Stillbrew" armour on the turret (Mk. 10), it was a very striking and formidable AFV indeed!

In the premiere episode of The Walking Dead, Rick rides into Atlanta and comes upon a seem- ingly abandoned tank. The tank is painted in modern US desert colors, and unless one is looking very closely, the mind will tell you it's an M1 Abrams. Well, that's what the producers wanted you to think, but in reality it's a Chieftain Mk. 10! The Chieftain had been stripped of its thermal barrel sleeve, the large spotlight on the left of the turret, as well as other bits and bobs to hopefully make it appear more like an Abrams.

Hitherto, the only mainstream Chieftain kits on the market were Tamiya's and Academy's dated entries. If memory serves, both purported to depict a Mk. 5. This year Takom has released not one, but three Chieftains: a Mk. 5, a Mk. 10, and the last of the line, the Mk. 11. Meng has had a Chieftain Mk. 10 in the works since 2012, but I don't know if they intend to proceed with it given Takom's "preemptive strike".

As much as I like the Chieftain, I had no intention of detouring into the world of modern armour. That is until I read an announcement of the upcoming Takom trifecta. Takom took the initiative to include TWD S1/Ep1 Chieftain (Chieftains would also appear in S1/Eps. 5 & 6(?), but with differ- ent markings) as a variant of the Mk. 10 in their full-colour painting guide. They did not provide any additional parts, reference the variant in their instructions, or provide any decals; but it was a noteworthy nod to the popular series and its fanbase.

Needless to say, I was obviously intrigued. One of my favourite tanks as it appeared on one of my favourite shows? This warranted additional research. I will spare you the [boring?] details, but let me just say that I was finally hooked and the project is on the bench as a "filler" while paint dries and putty cures on figures.

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

10 November 2015

Hammerstein - Painting: Colourizing Plate (cont.)

  • UPDATE 10.11.15--Phase I of the tracks--MIG and Vallejo acrylics--is complete.

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

Hammerstein - Painting: Intermezzo (2)

Given the free-form approach ("open palette") that will dictate the remaining brushwork, I decided to permanently transfer Hammerstein to its final display base. Not quite in the books yet, but getting close. . . 

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 2015

Hammerstein - Painting: Colourizing Plate

We are now in Phase III of the painting: applying a chromatic, variegated, multi-media finish to the metallic surface. If my goal was a [semi-]polished factory finish, the figure could be consid- ered all-but-done. But, based on Langley's depiction--or the printing of the same, the finish of the ABC Warriors was decidedly chromatic and selectively textured. The fact that all attempts to source "the vision" behind the finish have been for naught is at once liberating--and frustrating!

This will be the prevailing phase through completion. Even the weathering will be dictated by the necessity to create a cohesive, integrated, visually appealing as well as representative entity. I will strive to keep you abreast of the progress, though the particulars might be a bit sparse as this will largely be a free-form exercise.
  
  • UPDATE 08.11.15--Right arm has been glazed with light blue-grey acrylic; hammer has been basecoated with Vallejo Metal Gunmetal. Right pauldron has been base- lacquered and permanently attached.
  • UPDATE 08.11.15 (2)--Left pauldron has been base-lacquered and permanently attached: the figure is now completely assembled.
  • UPDATE 08.11.15 (3)--All gold insignia basecoated in a Mussini Casslerbraun glaze.
  • UPDATE 09.11.15--All gold insignia given a light dry-brushing in Mars Yellow. In order to maintain the tonal and graphic quality of the original artwork, I am attempting a quasi-nmm approach to the yellow metals.
 
When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003