Saturday, December 28, 2013

(Completed) German Fallschirmjäger, Monte Cassino, 1944, Young Miniatures

This is my last bust for 2013. With this bust completed, my final production output for 2013 stands at a final tally of 9 busts/figures :)

After experiencing Scale Model World 2013, I felt it was imperative that the "lessons" gleaned from attending the competition should be put to use. This bust started to take form exactly a month ago on 28 Nov after I returned from UK.

For this project, I experimented with a slightly different approach. As with all experimentation, one must be prepared for setbacks. But fortunately, not everything was a disaster

Things that worked
  • Bold strokes to mark out highlights This helped to clearly define the facial features of the face early on. With the highlights defined, painting of the shadow areas quickly falls into place. 
  • Bold strokes need not be neat Corrections can be made subsequently by blending.
  • Graphite gives a nice gun metal sheen Finding the appropriate shade of the graphite pencil is important. Note to self: Get a range of the graphite pencils and make a swatch for reference.
Things that can be improved
  • Hairspray technique Excessive chipping on the helmet may be overwhelming and be a source of "irritation" or eye sore. There's a fine line between enough chipping and going overboard. If you noticed from the previous pictures, I repainted the helmet and did the chipping without using hairspray the second time round. A sponge was used instead. While a sponge is easier to control, it still takes practice. 

On the whole I am satisfied with the progress made with this bust and will continue to build on the lessons learnt from chipping using the hairspray technique.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

(WIP 2) German Fallschirmjäger, Monte Cassino, 1944, Young Miniatures

Be gentle when handling the chin straps and the ammunition belts should you decide to take on this figure. They are rather thin and fragile.

Attaching the chin straps
The chin straps come in 3 pieces which were glued into the recess of the helmet. The chin straps were left till the end as I did not want them to obstruct the face during painting. While it seemed like a good decision as first, fitting the chin straps in place is not an easy task. More so when you risk smearing CA glue over the completed face ! Patience and care are required. As well as a hairdryer to bend the lower chin strap to shape.

Pinning the ammunition belts
The ammunition belts came in 3 separate pieces which had to be linked up. After bending them to fit the contours of the bust, holes were made with a 0.5mm drill and soft wire used to string the belts up. It was no surprise when I accidentally snapped one of the belts during drilling. Thankfully the break was between the bullets and could be fixed by pinning them together.

Painting of the belts
The belts were painted or rather "polished" in the same manner as the MG34. Graphite from a 6B pencil was rubbed onto a cotton swab (Q-tip for some) which was used to "polish" the belts. (The belts were given a black basecoat prior) In essence its like dry brushing. The end result is a rather pleasant gun metal sheen to the belt links. 

All that remains is the right arm holding onto the MG34. Hopefully it will be done soon and more photos will follow.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

(WIP 1) German Fallschirmjäger, Monte Cassino, 1944, Young Miniatures

Rounding up 2013 with the bust of a Fallschirmjäger. The bust is 80% complete and with the Christmas holiday approaching, completion is near :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Chosin Few, Korean War, Young Miniatures

2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

This bust is dedicated to those who laid down their lives so that we need not experience the unspeakable horrors they went through.

Remember them.

The Chosin Few.

Review of 2013

2013 has been a busy year since I got back into figure painting after a long hiatus. This time I wanted to push myself to push the boundaries of my painting and hope to be placed among the great painters at Euro Militaire one day.

2013 Production

8 figures/busts were completed thus far and with 2013 ending in about a week's time, i may just complete another bust pushing the final output to 9 before 2014. While i targeted to complete 1 figure per month, there were months where things did not pan out as they should and projects had to be shelved temporarily. Nonetheless i observed a marked improvement in my painting and am starting to better understand the finer points of figure painting.



1st International Competition - Scale Model World 2013

2013 was also my first foray into the international painting scene. It happened that my family trip to the UK coincided with the 50th anniversary of Scale Model World (SMW) organised by the International Plastic Modellers Society (UK). Learning that any scale modelling event would not be complete without a competition,  I entered a total of 4 figures/bust for 2 categories, Class 58 & 60 for 120mm sized full figures & busts respectively. My main objective of taking part was to seek exposure and experience an international competition. It was also to benchmark myself against other figure painters. Anything additional would be a bonus. To my pleasant surprise, 2 pieces were placed. The Chosin Few obtained Silver while Vasily Zaytsev was Commended :)

Lessons from the Competition

My key takeaway from the Competition are as follows:
  • Exaggerate the highlights The lighting in the competition hall was rather dim and cast a yellow light over the models placed on the tables. In addition, a blue cloth was laid on all the tables which resulted in figures painted blue to be less prominent. 
  • Pack CA adhesive separately A leak in the CA glue triggered the detectors at the airport during my departure. This resulted in a slight delay as I was put through a thorough scan where everything in the plastic carrying case was inspected.

Closing for 2013

In short 2013 was a good and productive year, having gotten back in the hobby after a long break. I see 2014 as another year of learning and growth as I seek to push the boundaries further. Its unlikely that I will travel to UK for another competition next year, though i would very much love to. Instead I would be looking out for regional competitions. For now M-CON 2014 and the competition organised by the Hong Kong Society of Scale Modelling are in the plans.