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How are the mighty fallen! - British Mk. V Tank - FINISHED, COMPLETED AND DONE!

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I drove to Hobbycraft in Crewe today for some balsawood to trim my base with. I spent £83! They have a lot of interesting diorama-ish things there, I discovered. My fugue is dissipating fast now. Mojo is growing!


Hobbycraft Crewe, also have very friendly and cheerful staff. I was looked after brilliantly. (I just sent the boss an email commending them, so they must have been good)

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The Belgian Ancient of Days arrived today and was assembled immediately.




He's from Fields Of Glory and I think he's going to be quite charming when painted.




Bloody war. Bloody soldiers. Should have been here in bloody 1870, that's all I can say. Bloody mess they make....."

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I've brightened things up a little today.




I applied the white/red/white recognition stripes, as badly as I could with a brush. I was hoping to incorporate some streaks and blotches to suggest wear and tear and a hasty application in the first place. I think I succeeded, even without trying. It's been so long since I tried to brush paint anything larger than a fingernail, I've completely lost the skill. There's chipping medium underneath also brushed on and I have no idea how it will all react with some water. It will be an interesting evening. I wonder how long I'm supposed to leave it to dry before I re-wet it? Vallejo paints?




AFTER I began the painting, I realised that I'd forgotten all the pistol port covers! Photo etch is never my friend so I guess I forgot it 'accidentally on purpose'. They are all on now, glued down with wood glue and in many cases, painted over already.



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And I've just stuck the roof on!


Having it removable was creating far more problems than it was solving and we all know what the inside looks like by now. I've said goodbye to the bits that are now invisible and will now be able to concentrate fully on the important, visible parts.




And the chipping was fun on the markings!

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55 minutes ago, Bertie Psmith said:

I I wonder how long I'm supposed to leave it to dry before I re-wet it? Vallejo paints?

Not very long, I've found that if the top coat of paint is cured it won't budge. 

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I’ve woken early with a head full of ideas about painting tank, terrain and Tommies. So far I’ve been tentative, anxious not to mess up at this stage of the build where a fatal error is always on the cards, something that I can’t fix!

Putting the roof on yesterday has helped me with that. Now that I can see clearly what needs paint and what can be disregarded, I can make a list, write a set of instructions for myself, I can have a plan!


Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance, as we (almost) used to say. Today’s first hour of moddelling will be spent with a pencil on a big sheet of paper. 

I’ll post a picture of the plan presently.  🤔

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I just followed the plan. It's so much easier than thinking, even though I wrote the plan. lol I've attached a ton of tiny parts to the outside and thrown some bit and pieces inside too. I couldn't resist a quick photo session so this is what it looks like now.






Blood on the door!






We are getting there!



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I've crossed off a few more items on my list today. 


Rather than airbrushing Tamiya Khaki over the joints and other dodgy bit of the tank, I decided to try simple brushing. This was despite believing that "you can't brush Tamiya acrylics" because I've heard that from so many people. Well, it turned out that I can. It went on as well as any acrylic, which isn't great, and gave good cover in two coats. I was only doing little details though, I wouldn't brush a large area with any kind of paint.


Whilst doing the touch ups, I noticed how clean the new paint was compared to the existing paint, which I'd weathered a bit. It was interesting to see the difference and I dabbed the fresh paint here and there for touch-ups on the real thing and generally to modulate the colour. No photos of this because it's too subtle for my camera in artificial light.


Then I turned my attention to the No1 Tommy. He's a test piece. When he's painted to my satisfaction, which might take a few attempts, I'll be ready to efficiently do the others, however many I decide to use. 




The first thing to do was to fill that gap. Not having a Cadbury's Snack* handy, I decided to try UV setting resin.




This is the resin used in 3D printers which I cure with a UV torch designed for glue setting etc. It's the consistency of 3 in 1 oil and runs into gaps nicely, where I st it in about 15 seconds. I do a series of layers for a big gap like this one.




There it is, fixed, with no need for sanding. The only thing I don't like is that it stays shiny when set so you can't tell when it's done. 15 seconds is more than enough though.




I did a similar sized gap under his armpit and then noticed the hole in the beltline. I'd find that quite difficult with conventional filler, and any sanding would be awkward. The resin handled it inside a minute.




He needed the lower part of the rifle sling scrathbuilding. I used lead foil cut fine. It's my go-to for 1/48 aircraft seatbelts. Usually I stick it with superglue or wood glue but this time I tried using the resin as glue, and it worked very well for me. I dipped the hand end into the pot, shoved it into his hand and shone he light for ten seconds and then folloewed up with a second coat for luck (for bad luck I guess?). 




This end is supposed to be fixed to a swivel on the bottom edge of the rifle butt. I couldn't do that with any sort of glue so I cheated. 




With the figure fully assembled, I moved onto pinning the feet. The pins will secure the figure in the diorama and give me something to hold onto while I'm painting it. I'm using a sewing needle slightly smaller than the drill I'm using to make the holes for it. If the pin is even a little too tight, you risk busting the legs off the figure as the stressed plastic slowly weakens and fails.




To cut a needle to length, score it with a file and break it with pliers. It's fast and gives a burr free end. Needles are quite hard steel and sawing through them is a pain.








There you go. I used to only do one pin but then you get the thing swivelling round like a ballerina in a jewelry box while you are trying to paint it.




I can jam both pins into the chuck of this monster 'pin-vise' thing and hole it comfortably for painting. Not for the priming though as I don't want to gum up that chuck with repeated applications of primer.




The first coat was Stynylrez black, with a bit of whit mixed in. I really hate using black on a model at any stage. Its just too, black!




Front view under overhead lights. You can see where my shadows and highlights will have to go. It's a pain remembering all those places in precise detail. Oh, if only there was a way to put the shadows and highlights in first.




Fortunately, there is. It's known as zenithal priming because you spray white primer down onto the figure from wherever you want the light to be coming from, usually directly overhead, the zenith. Actually I work my way around, initially spraying downwards at 45 degrees and then a second layer from the top. That way I get black underneath, grey on the sides and white on the top - not just of the whole figure but of every part of the figure.


It's really hard to photograph the effect because it just looks like overhead lighting! Study this man's trousers to see what I'm aiming for. 




You see how the white hit nose, cheeks and chin but missed his eye sockets, under the nose and his neck. Note too how it picked out those imperfections in his face which I think I did with a sharp pair of tweezers when I stuck the head on. He's a soldier - he has scars!




See how his ears are highlighted but the side of his face is shaded by the helmet? All I have to do is paint on a nice even coat of flesh colour, well thinned to translucency, and in theory, he will have the shadows and highlights in the right places automatically. In practice I'll probably have to exaggerate the effect with some brushwork in oils but not very much, not in 1/35. It will be the same for the uniform. The oil brushwork will be enhancing contrast to make him more three dimentional and interesting and, of course, filthy as Baldric.


I will NOT be painting eyes on him. You cannot see the eyes of a person at the equivalent distance that we see a model figure from. I proved this to my own satisfaction by holding a figure at a comfortable viewing distance from my eyes and then getting a mate to walk away from me until he appeared to be as tall as the figure. Try it, you'll be amazed how little you can see of a person. And that's why 1/35 figures with eyes ALWAYS look wrong, even if they are in the right place.


And now for tea. Bully beef and biscuits, anyone?















"Fill that gap with Cadbury's Snack!" Half of you will be looking puzzled and the other half will be feeling suddenly hungry, remembering that advertising jingle from the sixties and the biscuits that went with it. (I believe there was a similar catch phrase with a Mars Bar, for certain pop stars of the day.) 



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He looks pretty rough at the moment, and I am a bit concerned. It's only the first coat but I decided not to underpaint with acrylics as I have done in the past, but to go directly to oil paint. It's easier to apply as it flows so well but, well you see how uneven it is. I'm still hoping that I'll be able to blend the colours and shades once it's started to dry off a little, maybe this evening. 


Figures are so difficult!




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I've had another two sessions just on this one soldier and I'm improving it each time. The trouble is that after an hour of staring through my magnifying lamp my eyes just quit working and I have to stop. 


I'm far from comfortable with this whole process and am making it up as I go. It's quite a strain but it's only the result of inexperience. If I painted more figures, I'd soon get the hang of it, unfortunately, I only do a few after the occasional tank and then forget all I've learned in the interim. Maybe it's also an age thing, I'm 64, I learn slowly and forget fast!


One thing has become clear; the figures aren't just a quick 'add on' to a vehicle or a diorama. They are as important as either tank or terrain and I have to be patient and put in the hours. With hindsight, I could have started working on these weeks ago, before I convinced myself that I was 'almost finished'. D'oh!





They are very difficult to photograph for you. The shine hides the highlights and the artificial light burns out all the shading. I'll do my best.

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8 minutes ago, vytautas said:

Looks good, really!




Thanks, mate.



4 minutes ago, Lazy Modeller said:

They are already looking good. The correct selection of the figure gives a big improvement, but in my case that's not even an option...




Thanks LM.


I will like it better in the morning when I've had a good break from it. I often find that happening with models: I'm frustrated at bedtime and then in the morning I think, "Oh, it's not so bad as I thought." Sometimes I even think "Wow, that's good!" but that's a bit less frequent. lol.

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Still unfinished, this is what it looks like in natural light. The uniform's too green for a start, and the whole thing seems washed out like a watercolour painting. 




There are mould lines on both arms. Schoolboy error!




3/10 is all I'd give this one. Not good enough, even by my low standards. I think I'd better think it out again.


I'll leave this as it is for comparison purposes and move onto the next soldier. I'll assemble it better, with experience gained from this one, and then paint it with Vallejo acrylics. No more oils! I'm not sufficiently practiced or knowledgeable at oil painting to use it in this big project.


My thinking on figure painting is that a skilled hand can paint figures to a higher level with oil paint than with acrylics. Let's say 10/10 for oils and 8/10 for acrylics. The problem is that I'm not a skilled hand, not yet. I'm barely an average figure painter, and can reach 6/10 with acrylics but only 3/10 with the more complex oil paint.


I'm only talking about small scale figures by the way. On bigger figures of tenth scale and larger, I actually seem to be equally handy with both media. As the scale gets bigger, I find acrylics harder because smooth blends are so much harder to achieve on a larger area. In small scale, smooth blends are less important than precise demarcations and that's where acrylics are easier for me. For the present, I'll use acrylics for 1/35 and smaller and oils, over an acrylic underpainting, for the busts and big figures. IF my oil paint ability improves, I might be able to handle it reasonably well on the small figures in a year or two. Here's a couple of examples to illustrate my point, which I don't think is very clearly stated.




This is about 1/24 scale comfortably painted in acrylics.




And this is five inches tall, painted in oils over acrylic underpainting.


Both of those are what I consider satisfactory. I need my Tommies and Grandad to be almost as good as the 1/24 figure. I wonder if that's going to happen?




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6 hours ago, Lazy Modeller said:

Well you're complaining, but I can see you still have eyes for that!




It's good I think, to be able to provide your own constructive criticism. I'm not happy with it, so I'll do something different, and if that doesn't work, guess what? I'll do something different. I know what I'm trying to achieve and I'll get there in the end. I'm still not looking for perfect though. I want to do the figures as well as I did that (larger scale) barbarian a couple of years ago. 


What a lot of 'I's in that determined little rant. 😠


Nothing doing today though, I'm much to busy watching the GB bunfighting to actually do any moddelling.



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16 hours ago, Lazy Modeller said:

Good eyes makes all the difference. Now go! And make it perfect!🤣




That's the plan!


I became quite carried away with the GB Bunfight Frenzy and now that's over and done with I'll be able to stop living in the future and concentrate more what I have on the desk here and now. 


I'm going to build all of the figures now that I know the best way to handle those jerkins and now that I know for sure that I can paint underneath the layers of clothes. Then I'll paint them one at a time. I'm rejecting the idea of painting them as a production line (all the boots, all the puttees, all the faces etc) because doing them individually might make them more individual, with slight variations in colours. Also, factory work is boring!


I'll also give the base a little bit  of love from time to time, as a break from the fierce concentration I have to maintain on figures. 


There may be fewer updates than lately, but I hope they will have more substance and less waffle (apart from this one, that is).

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