Monday, March 9, 2009

interlude: Figures

I got a bunch of figures made by ICM and I can only sort of recommend them. They are basically rip-off recasts of Tamiya figures and the detail is soft in some places. However, it is really hard to find USN/USAAF WW2 aviation figures in 1/48 scale. Oh, if you want great Brit or Soviet, Eduard is your company and if you build 1/72, you can't help but find really nice stuff by Airfix.

But 1/48 is tough. I wonder why. So here are my two recent paints. I've got some film shots coming, but until then, you've got to deal with bad digital. I will say that they do look really extra nice when slightly out of focus.

I'm trying some new things. First, I gave the figures no whites to the eyes as you really wouldn't see the whites if it were a real person 12 feet away. The entire figure was painted white, then a light coat of flesh was applied to the skin areas. I put in irises and then shaded and highlighted around it. It helps to reduce that popeyed look.

The white base coat also helps with another technique. When it comes to clothing, I don't do highlights. I paint a quick, smooth light and slightly thin coat of the base color. I then begin to build up the shadow areas. First with the base color then a slightly darker version that I try to blend from dark to light. The thin first coat coats the entire area, but tends to pool a bit leaving the raised areas (areas that would be highlighted anyway) a bit lighter. The places where different things meet such as sleeves and arms, hats and heads, straps and body, I outlined in black to make them pop.

listening to while posting: Groundhog's Day (live in Lewiston, Maine) by Primus

Martin MB-2: Sow's Ear Edition

I had a bunch of armor models lying around that I'd never build (one M113 ACAV was purchased in 1989 and was still only 3/4 built) and gobs and gobs of 1/35 figures, guns, heads, and assorted gew-gaws that I'd never use. I found out that a co-worker of mine builds and so I tossed them his way. I asked nothing in return except that they be built within a year; if they were to sit in a stash, they could sit in my stash and soothe my nostalgia.

The next day, he brought in a model he'd never build: a Martin MB-2 by a company called Glencoe. Apparently, Glencoe was an injection molding company that made models of odd subjects on the side. If this was any indication of their injection molding capabilities, I can see why they are out of business. This is a pretty terrible model. Where there are guide pins, they don't align, or the holes are so close to the skin that they are ripped; The injector points are in the stupidest places (trailing edge of fabric wings, center of mesh radiator screens); The pieces have no numbers unless they are large pieces, then it's stamped on; Sink marks; The figures, are an embarrassment; and the model is 25% flash.

It does, however have some very, very nice box art.

So, why am I building it. I have no idea really, except that I am between models, waiting for a Revell SNJ/T-6 Texzn to arrive from Great Models Webstore and I needed to build something.

So, I grabbed the engine and decreed if I could make the crappy engine look decent, I'll build the whole thing. Here's a compare of the unpainted engines.

First, I assembled the not-well-fitting pieces and puttied the bejeesus out of it. I'm actually very happy with how it turned out as I had to do some carving of the plastic to make things align; and it's smooth as a baby's cheek. I then carved away the wire/hose looking things below the cylinders and made new ones out of brass rod. I also added little ribbed supports that would have been cast into the block. You can barely see them as the white bits behind the brass. I also added exhaust pipes. Glencoe couldn't even make exhaust pipes. How hard would it have been? Jeezum.

The manifold that would go on top of the engine was problematic. I could have made an entire new one, but It would have been a pain and besides, I couldn't find a good reference for it. So, I just made some new 'blowers'. The new one is raised up a bit because I added some geeblie wires on the underside to flesh i out a bit.

The radiator needed work. As mentioned there's an injection mark in the middle of the screen. Check it out

The mesh is actually HO scale chain link fence that I had lying around for some reason (I may not have a current stash, but I have box full of model pieces that go back to the early 80s).

My SNJ Texan gets here on Friday, so the MB-2 may go into hiatus, but I think I'm doing pretty good so far and will complete it. Firstly because I could only find two examples on the web and also I'd like an excuse to buy one of these puppies

listening to while posting: The Elements (live) by Tom Leher