24 November 2016

"Die Fledermaus"--Prepwork III: The Face

Prepwork is rapidly coming to a close, so it was time to tackle the "elephant in the room": Kati's face.

If there is one thing about this offering that I have an issue with is the face! I love what M. Masson has done with it, mind you; however, it is definitely not Käte Otersdorf.  And herein lies the rub with alternate realities, etc.: where do you draw the line in the sand?

Since we know what Fräulein Otersdorf looked like in 1917, I personally feel we are beholden to Clio to honour--and celebrate!--the past and the source of our inspiration. Especially in this scale! That being said, the circumstances under which we "meet" Ltn. Otersdorf affords us sufficient wiggle room for us to avoid having to execute a portrait sculpt based on the sole [known] photo- graph of the subject that was taken 2 years earlier. 

The rework is now underway, and I am quite pleased with how it is unfolding. The primary target areas are the nose and the lips: once those are done, it is simply a matter of integrating the changes into the facial structure as provided.

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

23 November 2016

"Die Fledermaus"--Prepwork I (cont.)

This evening I fitted the head to the neck stump. The head will not be permanently attached until the collars (ulanka and flight-suit) and undersides of the head are painted.

And before calling it a night, I plotted the location of the seam-lines with a #2 pencil; and trans- ferred Kati to her work-base.

A very HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all who celebrate the holiday. . .

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 2016

Yumiko "Arrow Girl", Imperial Zeppelin Defense Flight Commander

And now for Ltn. Otersdorf's ally--and traveling companion, Yumiko "Arrow Girl" (LUFT1604). Yumiko is the Flight Commander of the Pfalz Dr.I detachment aboard the Imperial Japanese Zeppelin.

Everything said about "Die Fledermaus" applies to this kit--and then some! Yumiko is a tad short- er than Kati, which I thought most à propos. The kit is cast in 9 pieces, which will allow you to build one of two versions: one will have 6 individual components, the other 7. My iteration of this masterpiece will use but 5 of the kit-provided parts.

Insofar as a rating for the stock kit goes, I will assign it a 10+/10 without any hesitation whatso- ever! The "+" is for the overall manifest quality, and the additional parts.

Now. . . some personal reservations. Richard has created brilliant backstories to the post-war activities of the chosen subjects, but IMHO he falls somewhat short of the mark with Yumiko:
  • The bow. This is a continental (Eurasian) composite bow, not a Japanese yumi
  • A more arguable point of contention is that the quiver is a yazutsu, not an ebira. Yazutsu were/are used to transport and protect arrows, limiting access.
  • Even more arguable--given the quasi-fantasy element of this series--is the ability to carry, access, and use a bow in a tight single-seater cockpit. If Yumiko were an ob- server in a pusher-type a/c, or a two-seater (Junkers CL.I?), it would be much more "palatable". 
  • Finally, Yumiko is wearing okobo, not geta. Okobo are associated with maiko--apprentice geisha.

    At this point, I am certain that the bow and quiver will not be part of my rendition. To this end, I have removed the bow from the right hand, and hollowed out the grip. As a sidebar note, to date, I have also assembled the body: careful clean-up--and critical, repetitive dry-fitting--will result in a seamless join; reduced the soles of the okobo; and fitted the head (loose-haired version) to the body--also a seamless join!

    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 2016

    "Die Fledermaus"--Prepwork II: The Geschwaderstock

    OK. . . here is where I get off the beaten path and make the figure "my own". Käte Otersdorf was a real person: she was the nurse who tended to Manfred von Richthofen when he suffered a serious head wound in July 1917. . .

    Richard Andrews, the man behind Luftkrieg 1919, has come-up with a brilliant backstory to the Käte in the kit (see link in the previous posting); nonetheless, I wanted to incorporate additional elements of her "beloved Manfred". At first I considered sculpting Moritz, the Red Baron's beloved Deutsche Dogge; but I felt that given the scale, it would compete with, rather than enhance, the subject of the work. I quickly decided that the third most iconic item associated with Freiherr von Richthofen (after his red aircraft and Moritz) was the Geschwaderstock ("Wing Stick"--pictured above)! 

    First off, I carefully removed the glove held in the right hand--I still intend to use it on the figure. Then, I carefully widened the grip of the right hand, finally creating a clear channel with a  3/32" (~2mm) bit. 

    So far, so good. . . now comes the artefact! I settled on a piece of 2mm d. brass rod as the medi- um with which to reproduce the Geschwaderstock. While I was lightly tapering the rod, I began to notice a very organic pattern emerging. The Geschwaderstock has been represented at one ex- treme as having concentric rings down its length, to being studded. The former is definitely incor- rect, while the latter is most likely incorrect. As best I can tell, the Geschwaderstock was made from a straight length of blackthorn, with the "studs" being the de-thorned spur shoots. I do not intend to reproduce in miniature the "studs". Rather, I am leaning to a more organic, fluid appear- ance that will capture the essence of the blackthorn without distracting the viewer from the figure. 

    I am about 30% into the work. . .   

    UPDATE 24.11.16. . . The Geschwaderstock is now essentially done. The knob is made from MS, as are the rings representing the respective Geschwaderführer. All that remains to be done is the fine detailing and finishing. . . 

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

    "Die Fledermaus"--Prepwork I

    As is my wont, before I even thought of picking-up my sprue cutters, I spent about an hour close- ly examining the kit and dry-fitting to the extent allowed by sprues, nubs, etc. The only flaw I found was in the lowest fold on the front of the right leg: it appears as if a stray particulate found its way into the mold or the resin and ended-up in the casting. Most would not even notice, but I took a moment to dig it out and refill the resultant hole.

    First step was to assemble the body: torso to legs. Careful clean-up--and critical dry-fitting--will result in a near-seamless join requiring no more than a quick swipe of epoxy-putty to make this perfect.

    Next, I shifted my attention to the right arm. The fit on this is less than perfect--but only just. You can certainly fill the minute gap at any stage of assembly--pre- or post-paint--but I wanted a clean, unequivocal fit going in. This was easily achieved by shimming the edge of the cavity on the torso with a worm of MS, and pressing the lubricated arm in place. Clean-off the excess putty, fair the edges of the shim on the torso and set aside to cure. You may have to repeat the step depending on how assiduous you were, but the end result is a perfect, seamless join, spar- ing you the hardship of having to paint around the arm when painting the flight suit. Now you can paint the overalls, paint the gloves and the inside of the arm, attach the arm, and finish your overalls. Nothing could be simpler. . .

    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

    15 November 2016

    Ltn. Kati Otersdorf, "Die Fledermaus"

    When I introduced this new manufacturer to the readership a little over a month ago, I claimed that it was providing "the most exciting releases of 2016. . . !" I was not kidding!!

    Earlier this week, I received my first order from Luftkrieg 1919: LUFT1601--Ltn. Kati Otersdorf "Die Fledermaus (smoking) and LUFT1604--Yumiko "Arrow Girl". Both are 1/16th scale figures (Kati measures approx. 105mm h.--in heels!) brilliantly sculpted by Patrick Masson, and exquisitely cast by GRX Créations in France.

    The kit is cast in 8 pieces of which you will use 7: an alternate left arm is provided that accom- modates the flash suppressor of a Spandau (available separately [LUFT1603] or as part of kit #1602). As I stated above: exquisitely cast! While some in the readership may disagree, I must applaud the manufacturer for electing not to include any groundwork/display plinth! Most kit- provided plinths end up in the "resin box"--or the circular bin--and serve little purpose but to increase cost and take-up valuable space in the box.

    Which brings me to packaging: BRILLIANT--and unique! The kits are contained in an approx. 2.5" x 4" lightly-tinted clear plastic box!! The contents are carefully packaged in a zip-lock bag with 1 or two styrofoam peanuts strategically placed in the box to protect and limit the shifting of the contents. There are quite a few delicate parts that survived the trek across The Pond unscathed.

    In conclusion. . . MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

    PS--Work is already underway, and at this rate she could potentially be ready for priming by month's end. . . 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

    06 November 2016

    DS Deadpool - PS

    All the sub-assemblies have been completed, and the figure is about 75% assembled--but more on this in another posting. . .

    Just a postscript in in the interest of complete transparency: the display figure that made the rounds in the trade shows earlier this year is NOT what you get in the box! Changes were made prior to molding that, while not "major", compels one to ask what else might have been changed.

    The major differences are: 1) the molding of the throwing knife on the right shoulder strap; and 2) the deletion of the cartridge pouch on the left shoulder strap. Personally, I think the cartridge belt was also tinkered-with before molding. . .

    It appears to me that what was displayed at the shows was a resin production-prototype. This is common practice in the industry; however, this is the first time I have seen such a deviation from prototype to production with such consequences.


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

    02 November 2016

    Diamond Select's Deadpool Deluxe Model Kit

    Hot off the shelves is Diamond Select Toys' 1/8 scale (not 1/9th as earlier stated), injection-molded model kit of our favourite merc, DEADPOOL!!!

    As mentioned earlier, it appears as if Diamond Select has acquired Polar Lights' superhero figure line; however, Deadpool is their first proprietary release.

    Overall, I would have to grade this kit as an "A-". And this primarily because of the snap-together design of the kit, even though it is marketed as a "glue-together" kit. Snap-together kits are, very simply, a costly "FAIL". Fortunately, the casting and medium quality is excellent and the surface finish of the pieces is not marred by the snap-together buttresses. All you have to do is snip-off the buttresses and proceed as usual.

    The kit is cast in injection-molded light grey polystyrene. The polystyrene is excellent: better-than-average heat resistance, and near-perfect hardness. My only complaint is that the detail is somewhat "soft"; but given the workability of the plastic, this is largely a wash--unless you are less than adept at--or inclined to--undercut.

    The kit is comprised of 47 pieces, including 2 pcs. for the alternate, bare-faced head, and 9 pcs. for the base/scenic groundwork. While I appreciate the the former, the latter, to me, is a waste of plastic-- and money. Overall fit is VG+/Excellent.

    The instruction sheet. One sheet, 2 pages. Useful, but it falls significantly short of the mark: for example, in step 5, it instructs you to assemble the legs and "insert into torso". The problem is that, once the torso is assembled (step 4), you can't without modifying the leg pegs. It's as if the writer forgot that this kit is designed as a snap-together kit (more on this in the prep entries)! Fi- nally, I for one can do without the quips alluding to Deadpool, especially at the cost of meaningful directions.

    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