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M_Sinclair

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About M_Sinclair

  • Birthday 01/07/1983

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    Winnipeg, Canada

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  1. Thanks guys! I have questioned my sanity once or twice on this build. The two parts of this build I was initially most intimidated by were the white wash and the planned conversion of the tank commander. Well the white wash is done and now, so is the tank commander. So the tank commander is from the really great Tamiya US Tank Crew Set (35347). The figure is terrific but I wanted to have him posed as if he had just been looking through his binoculars prior to moving out. So I had to make a new right arm using wire and I grabbed a hand that would be appropriate from my spares box. Likely an old Dragon item. 20220516_211830-01 The arm started to be shaped with my 20 year old box of Milliput. And since the figure was meant to be wearing the distinct US tanker helmet, he didn't have any ears molded on his head. In the only photo I have of Lt Col Abrams in WWII, he was wearing a steel pot helmet. The helmet and binoculars came from Miniart's US Weapons and Equipment set (35334). I sculpted new ears and a little hair from Milliput. This is my first attempt at a major figure conversion so this was all new territroy for me. I made my own sculpting tools by shaping a couple toothpicks to different shaped points and then hardening them with some thin CA. They worked really well and I'm sure I'll be using them again in the future! 20220517_174416-01 20220517_203203-01 Sculpting his sleeve was definitely trickier then I expected. Hats off to the talented figure sculptors out there! Though while it was tricky to try and get the wrinkles to look somewhat natural, it was also pretty fun! The green putty for his sleeves and other details is not Greenstuff, but rather AK's version of the exact same product. For sculpting smaller details, AK's greenpower is wonderful to use. And it was in stock at my local hobby shop when I needed it! 20220519_183457-01 Along with adding details that were removed by the conversion process, I also wanted to enhance details like the various seams on the jacket. They are pretty heavy handed, but again, this is my first time doing this sort of thing. I also sculpted a triangle to represent his Armoured Forces embroidered patch. 20220521_200538-01 The leather strap on his helmet was enhanced with some thinly cut Tamiya masking tape. 20220521_201035-01 20220521_201153-01 20220521_201240-01 20220521_201626-01 Some Tamiya paint for a primer. Sculpting looks pretty rough at this stage. But wow check out how detailed that face is from Tamiya! 20220521_214107-01 Leather strap for his sidearm was again cleaned up with some Tamiya tape. 20220521_215520-01 After many hours of painting, I'm calling him done. I tried to implement what I've been learning from watching figure painters on YouTube like Squidmar. Again, this is breaking new ground for me but I'm very excited by the possibilities of exploring both sculpting and more advanced figure painting techniques. I think I must have painted his face about four times to get it to this point which to me felt, satisfactory. The patch on his shoulder was finished off with a great 4th AD decal by Alliance Modelworks. 20220528_212750-01 20220528_215233-01 20220528_204640-01 Tankers got pretty dirty maintaining their machines so I tried to weather his jacket appropriately. 20220528_204549-01 20220528_212856-01 I couldn't help but briefly add the .50cal for a photo. 20220528_213222-01 20220528_205010-02 So that's what I've been up to the last few weeks. Till next time. -Matt
  2. Tracks are on and weathering has begun. 20220515_113401 A combination of real dirt and various pigments were used to create the mud/dirt on the lower parts of the hull and running gear. Excess dirt was removed with a stiff brush where needed. The pigments were mixed to further vary tones and application was both wet and dry. What you see is the result of many layers. The inside faces of the track teeth were painted with AK 3rd Gen AK11212 Gun Metal while a pencil was used on the return rollers, road wheel sides and idlers to indicate worn metal. 20220515_113615 The tracks are mostly free of mud as this tank would have been going through snow fairly frequently at the time I am trying to depict it. 20220515_113636 The weathering of the lower areas was done almost entirely before the tracks were installed for ease of access. 20220515_121218 The upper surfaces of the hull and turret have also seen weathering with pigments and real dirt. 20220515_113431 -Matt
  3. I was planning to add this detail. But while I do have many reference photos of 76mm armed Shermans, only two had the strip of bare metal you mentioned. All the other period photos I have show Shermans with 76mm guns painted entirely in olive drab with no strip of bare metal. Add to that the paint guide in the kit and the box art show this Sherman not to have that feature. So since the bulk of my reference showed that feature to be far less common then I initially expected, I chose to omit it. -Matt
  4. Thanks guys! Yeah I think it will look even better once the weathering can start to tie it all together. The Sherman was set aside for a little while as I wanted to get my Tamiya Spitfire done. You can see it here if you wish. https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235109789-tamiya-148-spitfire-mkia-k9906/ But back to armour. I've begun watching the excellent YouTube channel Night Shift and one of the things he does over there is periodically using real dirt/grass for weathering. This is something I've done long ago but felt it would be fun to try again. So this past weekend I went to a local park with some containers I picked up from Dollorama and collected whatever I thought might come in handy. The dirt was left to dry in the sun for a couple days but should be ready to use now. 20220508_130139-01 I know I said the white wash was done but the more I looked at it, the more I felt it would benefit from a little more attention. So I sprayed on one final coat of hairspray down the hull sides and sprayed on a little more of my custom dirty white wash paint but just in a few areas, focusing on where I felt I had removed too much. Then I felt it was ok to remove the masking from the various vision blocks. I then applied via paint brush some very heavily thinned white wash mixed from varying amounts of Vallejo 71.001 white and 71.119 white grey. The ratio of the two was constantly changed as well as almost constantly tweaking the opacity. As soon as a few areas of paint was brushed on I would then immediately clean my brush, get it nice and damp and use that to blend and work around the fresh paint. Once the blending was done I could then use a toothpick to chip and scratch the fresh paint. This technique was really fun and easy to do. 20220508_125657-01 20220508_125647-01 20220508_125808-01 20220508_125823-01 I didn't like how much white wash had been removed in the previous round of chipping so I this time around I tried to make much finer chips/scratches and really focus on areas the crew might cause the paint to wear. Some chipping was also done with some small sponges and olive drab but most of that wound up being covered up or reduced with more brush painted white wash. Along with all that, I painted and installed the two piece brass .30cal bow machine gun from Master (item GM-35-004). 20220508_125942-01 I had planned to use the kit supplied tow cable from Meng but after cutting it to length following the measurement provided in the instructions I found it was several centimeters too short. I purchased a replacement tow cable from Eureka and it looks great on the tank. I think I made the new tow cable slightly too long this time but I can always cover the end on the deck with stowage. The tow cable clamp that secures it to the rear deck is molded to the kit supplied tow cable end so I made a new one from some styrene and stretched sprue. The cable was painted Vallejo heavy charcoal 72.155 and then drybrushed with Vallejo medium gunship grey 71.097 along with a tiny bit of dark rust applied to the tow cable here and there. Looking at period reference photos of Shermans there was definitely some variety in how the cables were stowed, in particular how they were stowed at the front of the tanks. And while most cables were fairly straight I did see some that had some interesting bends and curves to them. Maybe these were tow cables that had been used? 20220508_125705-01 20220508_125749-01 I'm pretty happy with how it's coming along. -Matt
  5. Two things I'd like to say right off the bat. One, I did not do this kit justice. And two, wow this is the best engineered and best detailed aircraft kit I have personally ever built. It is a jewel. The cockpit alone is crammed full of detail and has plenty of options depending on which specific Mk.Ia Spitfire you choose to build from the kit. There are several parts and panels you can wait until the model is entirely finished before installing, the fit is that good. 20220501-MJS_5346 20220501-MJS_5389 20220501-MJS_5374 While this kit is incredibly good, it did prove to be a bear of a build but that was no fault of Tamiya. 20220501-MJS_5440 The first issue I had concerned the seat harness. I built and painted the photoetched harness supplied by Tamiya and was really proud of how well it was looking. All I had left to do to complete the cockpit assembly was glue the finished harness onto the painted seat. Unfortunately as I was pressing the harness down onto the seat I accidentally flinched and caused the super glue to smear over the seat. The harness was now glued to the wrong spot and there was a big smear of glue on the seat. To fix my clumsy mistake I had to remove the harness supplied by Tamiya which naturally ruined it. And then the seat could be stripped of the excess glue and then repainted. With the Tamiya harness now ruined I needed a replacement. I purchased a sutton harness from HGW. The detail was good but definitely trickier to assemble than the Tamiya item. And while the HGW belt material does have some flex, it is still a pretty delicate item. I was being very careful trying to assemble the harness but it tore along the series of laser cut holes. I really don't know how I could have been more careful to avoid this happening. I messaged HGW and they offered to send a free replacement right away so I was pretty happy with their response. Unfortunately after a few months, nothing had arrived. I eventually chose to purchase a second harness from HGW and very frustratingly, it tore in the exact same place again. I decided to try and repair the torn harness. I glued the harness to some very thin metal foil. This would be thin enough to hide and retain some flexibility. Once the cockpit was finally done the rest of the construction went incredibly easily. Again, the fit of the parts was near perfect and only the bare minimum of seam filling was needed along the top of the engine cowl. I did lose some of the fastener detail while sanding which I replaced with some 0.88mm diameter rod which I then hollowed out with a 0.4mm drill. 20220501-MJS_5259 The pitot tubes are very delicate on the early Mk.Ia Spitfires. This is nicely represented by Tamiya but I felt I could do better so I sliced off the pitot tubes and replaced them with some stretched sprue. 20220501-MJS_5286 Other modifications I made were repositioning the rudder and elevators. The tail wheel was also turned to the right and a thin steel wire inserted into the tail wheel strut to maintain its strength after the modification. Lost rivet detail on the tail strut was replaced with Archer 3D printed rivets. The solid plastic tail light was cut off the rudder and replaced with clear stretched sprue that was shaped with sanding sticks and then cut to length. 20220501-MJS_5274 My goal with this build was to represent an aircraft that had only acquired a few hours of flying time on it so I figured my best bet was to study some recently restored Spitfires. The exhausts showed a lot of interesting subtle tones and colours which I tried to represent here. The kit exhausts have excellent detail and shape but are molded solid. It was challenging due to the shape but I used an exacto blade to very carefully hollow out the exhaust pipes. 20220501-MJS_5269 Looking at references, the exhaust residue colour is close to Tamiya buff or deck tan which was airbrushed on then complimented with some pigments. 20220501-MJS_5304 The wheel down indicators, external gun sight and small nut on the tip of the spinner were all made from stretched sprue of varying thicknesses and shaped as needed. I even used very thin stretched sprue to make brake lines mounted to the main gear legs. 20220501-MJS_5340 After the struggle that was the seat harness, everything was pretty smooth sailing until I got to painting which proved to be an even bigger headache. The Spitfire was built over the course of the last two and a bit years so some of my memories are a little vague. I began by priming the model and spraying Vallejo Aluminum on the lower surfaces. The aluminum was masked off and I began painting the upper surfaces. The masking was then removed and big sections of aluminum paint went with it. All the external paint was stripped, and I chose a different aluminum but again, I had large sections of the paint come off. My third attempt to paint the Spitfire started by painting the upper surfaces but when that masking was removed, more paint came off. 20220501-MJS_5324 The fourth and final attempt was thankfully uneventful. The previous paint had been stripped and the model cleaned thoroughly with alcohol and primed with Tamiya grey. This was allowed to sit for a solid month before tackling the aluminum which this time was Vallejo silver 77.724. The upper surfaces were painted Tamiya XF-52 Flat Earth but that looked a touch too dark so I went over it with Vallejo Dark Earth 71.323. Blutack was used to mask the camo pattern and Tamiya XF-81 Dark Green 2 mixed with a small amount of XF-67 NATO Green went on. The blutack came off with no problem and I could finally move onto the gloss coat. 20220501-MJS_5453 That whole painting saga actually took place over a span of about six months or so as each failure was rather demoralizing. And with covid in full swing at the time, it's not like there were any model shows to take it too. I would normally have spent a fair bit of time post shading but again, this is meant to look like a pretty new airframe so that would have been inappropriate. I honestly can't remember if I forgot to clean the model of dust prior to painting (the model had sat for a few weeks after its final coat of primer but it was covered) or if the top colours weren't thinned enough as certain areas came out with a rather rough finish. After so many earlier failed attempts at painting I really wasn't in the mood to try painting the model AGAIN. I said to myself screw it and chose to simply press on. I just wanted this thing to be done. 20220501-MJS_5458 I used Pledge (formerly Future) clear gloss to prep for decals. I must admit, after all the issues with the seat harness and painting I had been borderline throwing the model away several times. I decided at this point, even with its flaws I just wanted the model to be done so I could move on. I sprayed one rather heavy coat of Pledge, let it dry and began applying decals. Admittedly, this was a mistake as the surface was really not glossy enough for the decals which is why you will notice a fair amount of silvering. I had initially planned to only use the small decals included and airbrush on the larger markings using custom vinyl masks. But I was still rather paranoid about masks potentially lifting off paint so I chose to only use decals for the markings. 20220501-MJS_5472 With a crudely repaired seat harness, rough camo paint and silvered decals, it was time to start the final weathering and assembly. A dark grey wash was applied to a few inspection doors and the panel lines that outlined the flaps and flight controls but that was it. I wanted to keep the panel lines subtle. 20220501-MJS_5488 Oil paints and pigments were used to simulate a small amount dirt and grime from flight and ground crews walking along the wing roots. Again, trying to keep the aircraft looking pretty new. 20220501-MJS_5490 The model was placed on fine sand paper and the sand paper gently moved back and forth to flatten the bottom of the tires. Later I managed to lose the light that sits just behind the antenna mast while trying to install it. Thankfully I saved the leftover clear sprue from a Spitfire build from well over a decade ago which still had that piece I had lost so chock up another win for the spares box. 20220501-MJS_5491 The only other adventure I had involved the windscreen. When I removed the masking from the windscreen I saw to my displeasure that at some point the masking I used to protect the inside of the windscreen had lifted just enough to allow some paint in. It was pretty prominent but to be honest since the model was already a disappointment (again, that's on me, not Tamiya) I wasn't going to fix it. But after a few days it started to really bother me and I decided that even though the model was virtually done I elected to remove the original windscreen and replace it with the second one included in the Tamiya kit. The new windscreen was quickly faired in with some milliput and the windscreen once again masked and painted. I should add that while using water to help smooth out the milliput around the replacement windscreen some of that putty water began to stain the paint. I rushed the model to the sink and washed it off. Unfortunately washing the model caused some of the Tamiya clear flat to come off which is why you see some silvering in some odd areas like over the roundels on the wings. It was one adventure after another! 20220501-MJS_5506 Let's see, what else. I removed the molded on door release handle and made a new one from styrene. And I had scratchbuilt the handle mechanism you see inside Spitfire canopies to slide it open and closed. Turns out while it looked the right size when I was making it, but turned out to be fractionally too big and wouldn't fit when the canopy was installed in the open position. Oh well. 20220501-MJS_5520 20220501-MJS_5528 Based on footage I have seen of Spitfires from the time on YouTube, they seemed to operate from grass field runways but were maintained on concrete aprons. To replicate this I lightly weathered the tires with some old medium brown looking pigment from Mig. Then I took a cotton swab and ran it along the middle of the tire to show where the dirt had been worn off when the aircraft was moved across the concrete apron. 20220501-MJS_5529 I had planned to add the three antenna wires to the model but after such a problematic build I just wanted the model done. So I simply omitted them. 20220501-MJS_5536 There were other problems that cropped up and a few other mods I made but I covered the main ones. Not sure if what I wrote made any sense, it was tricky trying to write the key points down only after the model was done and after so much time had passed since I had begun building it. 20220501-MJS_5538 So what I initially thought would be a quick build back in June of 2019 would wind up being one hell of a roller coaster and I didn't finish it until the end of April 2022. And while it did come close to being chucked in the garbage several times, I'm glad I chose not too. I can't stress how much I learned building this model. From all sorts of problem solving to my first real attempts at scratchbuilding several small parts, even though they didn't all make it onto the model. And despite all the flaws (most obvious being all that silvering) I'm honestly surprised it turned out as goods as it did! 20220501-MJS_5540 Now that the Spitfire has been finally completed I will get back to the M4 Sherman "Thunderbolt VI" I have going in the armour section. Thanks for looking. -Matt
  6. You really have a way of nailing the look and feel of ships (and droids) in the Star Wars universe. Those steaks down the sides of the engine are just ~chef's kiss~ wonderful. Bravo Andy. -matt
  7. Thanks! For the last couple weeks I've been working on one aspect of the model that I was both excited for and quite nervous about. The heavily worn white wash. Primarily the work has been carried out with the hair spray technique. My initial plan was to do hair spray and then paint about two or three times then start working with a brush to make finer adjustments. The great thing about using hair spray and Tamiya paints is you can start work on the next layer or even chipping as soon as the previous coat is dry to the touch. The downside is that since its so dang easy to do I couldn't help but keep doing layer after layer after layer. Continuously trying to tweak and fine tune things in the hope I'd get it all looking exactly how I'd like. I think about 6 layers in I probably liked the worn white wash the most. But, I continued. Thinking the next layer of paint and hairspray would be the one to get it spot on. I think I must have done about nine or so layers of hair spray and paint by this point. Interspersed between my non stop hair spray and chipping sessions I also applied some highly thinned Vallejo white and off white applied with a fine brush for what some like to call mapping or rendering. Sometimes the hardest thing to know is when to stop. And I think I would have been happier with my white wash if I had stopped trying to "fix" it much earlier. 20220416_154853 I think about half way through the white wash layers I also touched up the olive drab in a few select places with a fine airbrush. Just in places I felt the OD should be more prominent. Those areas were the top surfaces of the turret and the top corners of the glacis. 20220416_154908 If this was any other model I likely would have just stripped the paint off and started over entirely. I've done it many times before and I'm sure it'll happen again. But that would mean redoing the art work on the hull sides and likely damaging the tools on the rear deck, so paint stripping was out of the question. The main gun however, I really didn't like how it looked anymore and I could easily repaint it. So I did. I sanded it and repainted the OD including both darker and lighter shades as I did before. Then I restricted myself to only two rounds of hair spray and chipped paint. The highly thinned Vallejo white and off white mapping was reapplied via brush and here we are. 20220416_155238 Funny thing is, I actually spent several days practicing my white wash process on a scrap model and felt pretty confident when I finally decided to tackle the Sherman. What is it they say about the best laid plans? 20220416_155623 The olive drab on the rear deck was looking kinda dull after all the work spent on the white wash so I pumped up the contrast by airbrushing some highly faded OD. Great thing about using an airbrush that can do pretty fine work is I didn't have to mask anything. 20220416_155657 20220416_155936 Some white wash drips were applied with a brush under the rear of the turret and along the front of the transmission cover. 20220416_155950 While I'm not thrilled with how the heavily worn white wash looks, I think it's ok. Every model is a learning experience and this one is no exception. And as the artwork next to my work bench says (a quote from Adam Savage's book) "perfect is the enemy of done". 20220416_160307 -matt
  8. Crest really got a lot of character from these subtle treatments. And glad to hear that things are starting to return to normal for ya. -matt
  9. Great to see you managing to squeeze in some model work during the chaos. The Crest's signature stripes look spot on. -Matt
  10. Thank you all very much! Been busy with spring cleaning round home but got a little work done that seemed like a good idea. There's still a bit of work to do on the Sherman so I don't want to glue the delicate .50cal onto the turret until right at the end. So what to do with it in the mean time? And how do I keep from damaging it? I mean, again. I made a little protective box from styrene I had on hand. The lid is simply a friction fit. 20220403_170055 There are also a couple posts to limit how much the gun can rotate. 20220403_170111 A simple build but an important one. -Matt
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