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Monsters and spaceships (and more)

Will Vale

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Hi folks,

I was putting off posting this in the hope that I'd get something else finished before Christmas, but after my contract finished last week I've spent my time either preparing for Christmas, doing some extra bug-fixing work, or being ill with the traditional end-of-contract cold.

So we'll just have to make do with what there is up to now :)

I had a late start to the year - I think it was February or March before I actually completed something, and that was the horrible squiggly beast which is Games Workshop's Tyranid Haruspex. I wasn't sure I liked this model initially but it grew on me after seeing some painted examples and I'm really glad I did one - painting icky stuff is childish fun.



He still doesn't have a base, which is a bit sad, but eventually I'll figure something out.

After that I made a little Schnellboot from Bronco's excellent 1/350 kit that I picked up on a work trip to the Bay Area. Almost out-of-the-box apart from some Fujimi sailors. The etch is scarily thin but I got it (mostly) fitted and it does add a lot of finesse.



Around Easter I wanted some light relief from my still-unfinished LTAT GB project, Trumpeter's 1/200 Chinese destroyer "Anshan", which required a lot of bending, straightening, fixing and scratchbuilding:


so I found Bandai's nice little kit of the gunship from Nausicaa in my stash. This is a rework of a Tsukuda Hobby kit, and has nice parts fit and characterful figures. I opted for a Zero green finish with a stripe and decal from a Ma.K kit:



After that I built another Games Workshop kit which I didn't like initially, but grew on me. This was the new Wood Elf treeman, which I converted a bit, using two right hands and swapping the fingers and thumb over on one to make a left. That let me use both the big flowery staff, and the tendrils. I also trimmed his plaited beard and used it as a ponytail instead.

This one was all about the painting, really, although the construction was fiddly owing to the many layers and fragile branches it went together well.



We then had our club's BSK (Build the Same Kit) competition and amazingly we had enough votes for a Sci-Fi subject - the Battlestar Galactica Viper. Any variant was OK, I opted to build the newly-released Mark One from the original series.



I went a bit far with the lighting on this one, making my own lighting rig with an onboard microprocessor controlling a mix of RGB and single-colour LEDs. I wrote an 8-bit animation system for the ATTiny controller which allowed me to keyframe all the lighting and made it easy to create some neat effects.

I also made a seat and harness from epoxy putty, and rebuilt some of the naff detail on the landing gear legs. I left the painting and finishing rather late and it was a mad rush but I'm glad I got it done on time.

After a difficult build I tend to retreat into the figures again, and I painted these fiddly-to-build Warhammer ghosts. The basic colours were airbrushed and then I used a lot of edge higlighting and glazes to get a glowy ghostly look. My wife thinks they look like floating cabbage though :(



I then had a kit which went straight from the letterbox to the workbench. This was Eduard's MiG-15 dual combo bought cheap from HLJ. I'm a bit scared of aircraft in general, and small scale aircraft in particular, but I mostly enjoyed doing this one and I'm happy to have painted my first metal finish.



I used the provided etch for the cockpit, and the resin rockets, but not the resin pylons or etched u/c details - the rest was quite fiddly enough, thanks! I still need to finish the second MiG...


And last of all (so far) is Tamiya's Mark IV Male tank. I knew I was going to buy this as soon as it was announced, and again it went straight from the model shop to the workbench. I would've entered it in the WW1 GB but stupidly I forgot, and because it was so easy to build I was too far in when I remembered.



The rather quick-and-dirty base (all done in a day) was to get it up off the table for our club competition, since I think the rhomboid tanks look better angled up a bit. I also tackled my fear of painting "proper" figures and had a first go at something in 1/35 - a modified figure from the British Infantry set included in the export releases.


I think he came out OK, hopefully with practice and a bit more time/care I can get better at this.


It's motorised (I love toys!) and you can lift it off the base and run it. No issues so far with the mud and so on getting in the way. I suspect it could be bedded-in better if assembled static, but I wasn't going to miss out on running over other models on the table, was I?

And that's my lot! Not a huge collection but I like them all for different reasons, and I had fun making them. I also have a slew of WIPs to pick up - the Anshan, an assembled and primed Zvezda Topol, a vinyl figure, more GW stuff, and a scratchbuilt starship which was going great guns and then suddenly stopped for reasons I don't quite understand!

I also did some non-modelling-modelling-stuff this year - I've never been much of a joiner of things, but I've been a member of Scale Models Wellington for a couple of years now and have taken over editing the club magazine, which means I'm on a committee (my first!) Ulp. So far I'm surviving :)

(If you're interested in our club we have a Facebook group - all welcome.)

Thanks to everyone on Britmodeller for being such a supportive and interesting bunch, and particularly those who have commented on the various WIPs or prodded me when I got stuck. It's really appreciated.

Best wishes and happy Christmas!


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Great stuff Will, lovely presentation/photography & lovely finish! I love the Nausicaá & Battlestar Galactica Viper. Something I would like to try this coming year is Sci-fi (not including the GB)

edit, Have just watched the video and I love that lighting! You should sell kits if you don't already?! ;)

Edited by Radleigh
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wow thats absolutely outstanding! great builds, love all of them! Is there some wip, where one could see how did you paint the ghosts? In near future i might need some glowing parts to be painted and i m still thinking how to do it.. and your ghosts looks so convincing ! :)

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Thanks for the nice comments, it's very kind of you! I'm glad all the weird stuff appeals to other people as well as me.

Is there some wip, where one could see how did you paint the ghosts?

There's a (sadly brief) thread in the Figures forum.

My original plan was to paint the ghosts "inside out", i.e. paint the highlights in the creases, and the shadows on the ridges, so they would look like the insides were glowing. It didn't work for me though, so I ended up repainting the basic blends (airbrushed) and then highlighting all the edges. To keep the colours bright I applied a lot of yellow/green glazes over the edge highlights, and repeated these steps a couple of times until I was happy.

edit, Have just watched the video and I love that lighting! You should sell kits if you don't already?! ;)

I'm afraid I don't, I suppose that might be something people want, but I'm always wary of turning a hobby into a business! What I might try and do is clean up the library code I wrote for the animation and make it open source, which would provide some stepping stones for other people trying to do the same thing.



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Awesome work and as always very inspiring. Your painting is just fantastic, in everyone of your builds I follow I sit at some point wondering "how the x does he make this". And the choice of varying subjects is wonderful. It's been a real pleasure seeing all the builds taking shape, thanks for all the inspiration you give!

It's not possible to pick a single favourite. I've been going up and down the pics trying to, but they all have so many outstanding features. But the little Schnellboot I couldn't remember seeing before, I didn't notice the text and it looked great in the first picture. Then I couldn't first understand what I was seeing beside the box of matches in the second photo. Go back. Was it that small, really?! Impressive!

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Thanks again for the kind words, and happy Christmas all! (Posted from the post-eating-and-drinking sofa.)

little Schnellboot I couldn't remember seeing before,

I'm glad you liked that one, I thought it might appeal to you :) It's nice making small things (the MiG felt the same, especially the cockpit) because you can lavish your attention on a small area without getting fatigued.


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Thanks folks, the Paragrafix set adds quite a lot to the Viper although it was a bit fiddly to install. A Dremel might be a good idea for those considering one.

The Viper itself is a really neat kit - big, cheap, decent (but not amazing) fit which makes it relatively easy to build, and nice detail. Apart from the landing gear which is a bit rough.

I ought to try the Cylon Raider at some point, although that's a bit huge.


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I fixed the broken picture, not sure what went wrong there.

And Happy New Year! I didn't get anything finished over the Christmas period but I do have the Airfix Tiger Moth on my desk ready for paint at the moment, so hopefully I can get a completion in a bit earlier than last year :)


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