Monday, January 16, 2017

Bandai Star Wars Vehicle Model Star Destroyer review

Hi friendly folks!

For those of you who've seen last weeks sneak-peak or if you follow me on facebook and/or Instagram might know that I'm working on a diorama of the crashed star destroyer on Jakku from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'.

An image released before the theater release of Star Wars 7
Now at first I was using a Revell model that was about 13cm long (the box says the scale is 1:12300) but the details are not really to my liking. I found another Star Destroyer model that is roughly the same scale that would fit my base.

I ended up with the Bandai Star Wars Vehicle model 001. Apparently, in Japan where these are sold, they are super cheap! (about $4 or so) I found some on eBay, ranging $5-10 excl. shipping and ordered one from the eBay trader hobby_japan. It arrived about a week later, well before I expected to receive it.

Now, Bandai is famous for their Gundam mech suit kits. They also released a very detailed Star Wars line, rivaling much pricier brands like Fine Molds and alike and I wrote an article about their 1:72 T-65 X-Wing fighter. Near the end of 2016 they started releasing these smaller-scaled miniatures more accessible for children, budget-wise and skill-wise. The box doesn't mention a scale but I calculated it to be around 1:14500.

Okay, enough talk, let's take a closer look!

The box is about 8x15cm, small enough to hold in your hand. But good things come in small packages so let's open it up!

Rather than adding a booklet with instructions, Bandai printed the instructions for building the Star Destroyer on the inside of the box and another thing I noticed is that instead of just having the instructions in Japanese they also added English translations.

Inside the box, we find five sprues numbered A1 through A4 and BM1. On A1 you will find the engine of the Star Destroyer along with the hangar and most of the bridge. On A2 you will find the dorsal half of the hull. On A3 you will find the superstructure, the details for inside the trench and the thrusters from the engines. Sprue A4 holds the ventral half of the hull and the sensor spheres/shield generators. BM1 is the stand.

A closer look at sprue A1
A closer look at sprue A2
A closer look at sprue A3
A closer look at sprue A3
A closer look at sprue BM1
Building the Star Destroyer is really easy (like pretty much all Bandai kits) and requires very little to no clean up. There are no visible mold lines, it comes clean out of the sprue and only needs the occasional touch of a sanding stick to clean up where the hull was connected to the sprue.

The only place where you really need to pay attention is when you are placing the trench details. If you don't attach them correctly to the dorsal half of the hull, you won't be able to put the dorsal and ventral half together without making some small modifications. Guess how this dumbass found out...
Placing the trench details on the hull
After putting the whole thing together I compared some of the details with the Revell model I already prepared for this diorama. The main reason why I put the project on hold is because I wasn't satisfied with the details on the Revell Star Destroyer model. Putting them side by side gives a good impression.
Here you can see the size difference.
Details are hard to see due to the bare plastic.
Comparing this with the picture below makes it obvious that the
details on the superstructure and bridge are far superior.
While being a bigger scale model, the details are just simple,
geometrical shapes on the Revell model.
Also, the sensor globe/shield generator, while just
being a sphere on the Revell model, has little details
on it on the Bandai kit. 
One of the few parts where I have to give a point to Revell.
The reactor core/fuel cell (the semi-sphere)
is more detailed and looks more to scale on Revell's kit.
So all in all I'm really happy that I decided to switch models. I might not be able to do some of the damage I was planning initially but I'll have to fix that in the paint job. For now, I'm done building miniature Star Destroyers.

The finished result!
The model is about 11cm long
I hope you enjoyed reading this review and comparison article. Next step for me will be to prepare the model so that I can continue with the diorama.


Hehe... See you all next time!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sneak-peak, Crashed Star Destroyer

Hey everybody!

Sorry for not posting anything in a while but I didn't have much to post about lately.

I am working on a project, a crashed Imperial Star Destroyer in either a desert or a snowy glacier.
I was halfway working on the model when I found a model that was far superior in details so I ordered a new model halfway the project.

I won't leave you all hanging, I will share some pictures of the old project.

That's all I can tell and show you all about this now. I guess you can kind of see this as a sneak preview of an upcoming article.

Hope you don't mind the short article.

Cya next time! Happy painting! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

How to turn a picture frame into a display plinth

Hello and welcome if you are new and welcome back if you are a regular reader! 😊

Today I will show you how to create a very simple and very cheap display plinth for scale model tanks (Example 1), airplanes ships or dioramas. You could even turn it into a squad display (Example 2) if you are into wargamers.

The very long list of requirements for this is:
A dollar store beveled picture frame.
That's it.

10*15cm beveled picture frame 
For this specific display, I picked a 10cm x 15cm frame, but you can pick whatever fits your project.
So first remove the back of the frame and the glass that is supposed to cover your picture.

removing the back of the frame
Get rid of the stand and any other bits they might have added to hang it on your wall or anything.
Place the back of the picture frame in front of the frame like shown in the picture.

I used a sturdy sculpting tool to remove the metal bits
Now place your model(s) on it and start planning how to build your base. Thus could be an ocean, beach, landings trip, a simple road or a more elaborate scene. Whatever you want. If you want, you can paint the whole thing in a uniform color to get a better idea of how it will eventually look. 

Final result!

Example 1

Example 2
I hope you found this article helpful! What do you use for plinths? Please share any tips or questions you might have in the comments!

Good luck and happy painting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gürmuz, the barbarian + academic bust review

Hi, everybody and welcome back!

Lately, I got more busts then I am able to paint but I want to at least, show them to you all and share my opinion about them.

Warning, brace yourself for a long one!

My latest acquisition is Gürmiz, by Hera Models. I got this bust during their anniversary event, so it came as a pack with the academic orc bust and got a nice discount. The bust is sculpted by Raul Garcia Latorre and it is based on the concept art of Victor Guerra.

Sadly, the anniversary sale has ended and everything went back to their normal prices. This means that Gürmuz, a limited edition bust, sells for €50 and that the academic orc bust can be bought for €27. (or your regional equivalent)

Let's do this unboxing! I will start with the smaller but not less impressive academic orc bust.

Safely packaged in a hard cardboard container

The bust is about 5cm tall and it depicts a part of the naked torso and scarred face of Gürmuz. It is cast in a nice dark resin and doesn't require any clean up. It is designed for practice and made in a way to make it as easy as possible for the painter to start painting. I can imagine this being a great bust to use for workshops.

Frontal view of this beautiful sculpt!

Truly a face only a mother can love

Semi-profile pic of his good side
To see a sped-up example video on how to paint it check this video by DiegueteStudio.
If you want to buy the Academic orc bust for yourself click this link. The price is €27 plus shipping.

Now on to the full bust!

Gürmuz, the barbarian is a limited edition bust with a total of only 125 copies available. Because it is a limited edition bust, it comes with some extra's in the box, like a certificate of authenticity, a special poker card, and a sticker.

There is no backstory available for Gürmuz, the barbarian. The only things I am able to tell is that he kind of looks like Azog, the white orc, from the movie The Hobbit, but without the scars. His armor is sophisticated for an orc. His shoulder pauldron seems to be made of layered leather, his garment is lined with a fur collar and he wears a decorative torq necklace around his neck.

The whole figure comes in two pieces, the full model plus his upper teeth. I think the teeth were taken out for ease of removing the bust from the mold without breaking them off. It comes in a hard cardboard box protected by thick layers of foam. This model also comes with a showcase base (a diagonally cut, circular plinth) 

The base is also safely packed in the foam
The cast is what I've come to expect from Hera Models, superb! There are no mold lines on the model that require cleaning up and the details are super crisp! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Without teeth, he's even uglier! 

Oh... My... God... check those stitches! 

Just look at all those lovely different textures to paint!
As you can see that is one sexy looking orc! Wait that is a weird sentence... But it is a beautiful bust! 

He is currently still available, although I don't know how many copies there are left. If you want him, follow this link to pick him up! It will cost you €50 but it is most definitely worth it! 

So if you made it this far, thank you for bearing with me! Haha. There were a lot of pictures and a lot of things I wanted to say about these busts.

If you are new at painting busts, I recommend picking up this (or any other) an academic bust. They are usually a bit cheaper than a full bust and it makes for great practice to get used to the scale and how to build up volume by using shadows, mid-tones, and highlights! 

That's it for this article! If you got this bust and if you painted it up, feel free to link to your work in the comment section! I'd love to see your work!

I want to thank you for reading and I hope I will see you all next time! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

P3 Wet Palette - SMC'16 loot review #4

Hi everybody!

In today's article is another Scale Model Challenge Loot review! This time I will show the P3 Wet Palette  by Privateer Press and share my thoughts about it.

The first response from some of you might be: "Why would you buy something that you can make yourself?" And this is a valid question. Truth is, I've never really used a wet palette. I always seemed to manage with my airbrushes and a regular palette with semi-spherical compartments. I wanted to get a wet palette, but I never really found a suitable container that I liked.

That changed at the stand of Scenery Workshop. After a short chat with Patrick, I decided to buy the P3 Wet Palette package. It has everything you need;

  • The container
  • A sponge
  • Parchment paper
The container and its contents
Now there is enough paper to last you a while! from the top of my head, there are 50 sheets in the little booklet. Once you run out of paper, you can use greaseproof parchment paper. Make sure you get the parchment paper without the oily coating, as the greasiness will destroy your waterbased acrylic paints. 

So why use a wet palette you might ask me. Well, for me it has two benefits I didn't or couldn't get from a regular palette. First, and most obvious reason is that it keeps your paints usable for quite a while longer! Acrylic paints dry pretty fast, and the humidity of the sponge in the container will give the paints on the palette a longer lifetime. The second reason is I want to better control the colors I'm using while blending. On a wet palette, you can create a gradient you eventually want to use to create blends on the model.

Let's try this wet palette out!

I got some tips to put a tissue, paper towel or kitchen roll in between the sponge and the parchment paper. This would help distribute the water. 

Paper towel over the wet sponge
The second tip I got is to soak both sides of the parchment paper so the paper doesn't curl up. If this were to happen the paper will dry out and so will your paint. 

So these tips in mind I set everything up. I soaked the sponge, I covered the sponge with a paper towel and I placed a sheet of parchment paper over the wet paper towel. The first thing I noticed, is that the sponge doesn't hold water at all. It seems to be the same material P3 uses to pad the miniatures with. The water just falls out of the bottom of the sponge into the tray. Luckily the paper towel soaks the water up from the bottom and keeps the top wet! The sponge alone will actually dry out, leaving the paper and thus your paints to dry out. 

Luckily I was armed with the tips to avoid this problem!

Paint loaded onto the wet palette
I did some painting for a little while, blending my skin tones for my Durotan orc bust. After about 45 minutes of painting, I had to leave so I closed the container (this is important!) and left it on my desk. 

When I got back to my desk, about 6 hours later, the paints were still in working condition! 

Paint on the wet palette still workable! 
So the final topic is the price. Is it worth the $19,95 or €16,45 that is charged for it?  Personally, I think it's a bit pricey but I didn't mind having to pay it. I do acknowledge the fact that you can make one yourself a lot cheaper! 

So my final conclusion: 
I think that getting a wet palette is a good thing! However, this particular wet palette could definitely be improved! Maybe get a sponge that actually holds water would be a leap in the right direction. It is also somewhat expensive for what you actually get but on the other hand, you get everything in one nice package, which saves you the hassle of looking for the materials yourself. 

I would recommend that if you are not using a wet palette yet, that you would invest some time or money in getting one! Although I would not recommend this wet palette per sé, 

I hope you liked this article and that it might have helped you in whatever way. 

See you next time and until then, happy painting! 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

WIP - Orgrim Doomhammer bust

Hello, painting friends!

Today I want to share a quick 'Work In Progress' post about my orc bust.

I did a review of this bust in this article a couple of months ago and I was very excited to work on it! To make it look more alive I wanted to create a certain atmosphere to set a theme. In this case, I want to paint him like he is standing in the darkness, near a campfire. This means one side should be dark and the other side should be lit by the fire, almost having to paint OSL (object source lighting) on the fire lit side.

Frontal view of the model

Shadow side of the model
I hope you like this quick WIP post. If you do and want to see more WIP articles in the future, be sure to let me know in the comments!

As from today, I'll be away to Marocco for a week. I do have another SMC loot review planned for Monday. If all goes well this will be automatically published on Monday morning.

I will see you all with a new article in about 10 days!


Monday, October 31, 2016

THE WICKEN KING - SMC'16 loot review #3

Hello fellow painters, builders, and collectors!

Today's article will be my third SMC loot review. I will take a look at The Wicken King bust from Broken Toad. It is sculpted by Christian Hardy before he started working for Games Workshop.

This bust has been on my radar since its release. The lack of a face gives a creepy vibe to figure. It also features tons of different materials which should be a lot of fun to paint!

I bought the model at Scale Model Challenge, where I met Kris in the flesh for the first time after having known him a couple of years through Facebook. We had a great chat about models, brushes, and the event itself.

Back on topic!

The model ships in a cardboard box with the Broken Toad logo and a sticker with the name and details of the figure. The old boxes used to have box art, but I can understand it is easier to have a more general box to ship your products in.

Broken Toad box of the Wicked King bust.
Inside the box, you will find the Wicken King sandwiched between two layers of foam to keep all the parts safe. The model consists of three parts - the main body and two shoulder pads.

All the parts for this bust
The shoulders on the bust have little holes on them where the shoulder pads sit on. You cannot make a mistake where to place the shoulders pads because of this. Dry fitting them showed me that they fit really nice and do not require much filling.

Dry-fitted the shoulders on the model
The model will cost you 25 pound (excl. shipping) which comes down to about €28 or about $30. I think this is a more than reasonable price considering the model you are getting! If you are interested in buying it, you can buy it here from the Broken Toad web store, or check here for a regional reseller!

I am still pondering how to paint the bust. All the textures on the model (metals, chainmail, wood etc) deserve some individual love but the idea crossed my mind to paint it up as a ghostly, ethereal being. Kind of like the King of the Dead from lord of the rings. Luckily I still have some time to decide as I promised myself to finish my orcs first, before starting a new project.

If you happen to have some idea's on how to paint it like a ghost, please leave a comment down in the comment section. I am interested to see what idea's you have come up with...

That's it for this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it. If you liked it, feel free to share it with your friends via any media you desire.

Until the next time!