Posts Tagged ‘Diorama

13
Apr
16

Creature Fight!

Hey! A new post, and it’s not about RC cars. What’s going on, here?

 

So, I backed that Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. Kickstarter, and I finally got my Medusa. I’d always hoped to set up a fight scene, with her and my custom “Greyryder” werewolf. Her tail construction is inspired, and I had to see if I could have her wrapped around him. Not only can she hold herself on him, but he can support their combined weight, and do it stably. So, I took a bunch of pictures of them, that pose. B) I edited glowing eyes into all the pictures.

 

tech_diff2

This was set up for a “technical difficulties” picture, so there’s a knocked over TV camera, in the foreground.

Continue reading ‘Creature Fight!’

23
Jan
15

Swerve’s Angels

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Been meaning to take this picture, for nearly a month. These TFs are all fairly current, depending on how well your local store stocks. (mine seems to do so, only begrudgingly) Left to right, across the back we have Chromia, Windblade, and Arcee. The guy with the goofy grin is Swerve.

 

WARNING: Somehow, this post turned into mini reviews of the figures in the picture.

I like swerve, a lot more than I should. His transformation isn’t very involved; not only does he not have ankles, he doesn’t even have a swivel joint in his legs; the range of motion in his shoulders is restricted by his sculpt, and his pickup truck mode has a bed full of robot legs. I’m also more of a fan of blue, than red. And yet, I really like this guy. He’s kind of fun, and he’s got gobs of personality. It’s not just his silly smirk. His overall build and proportions just seem to ooze personality. He’s got body language, just standing there. His truck mode looks good, too.

 

Chromia and Arcee are pretty good too. Well articulated, with good proportions, and nicely involved transformations. Arcee is supposed to be based on the one from the current comic books from IDW, but her head is very much modeled on the 80s cartoon character. In fact, she pretty much looks like she walked right out of the animated movie. The only real fault I have with her, is a QC issue on mine. The wrap around part on the driver’s side of her windshield is missing. It looks like the mold didn’t fill all the way. I’ll probably make a new one, out of Lexan. My current radio control project has left me with plenty of it. (RC for Arcee?) OH! Her elbows have a near human range of motion. The bend so far, she can get her wrists very close to her shoulders. This with a single hinge, and no compromise to the sculpt to allow for it. It’s not even necessary for her transformation.

 

Not much to say about Chromia, other than I like her. Her vehicle mode is a bit odd. Looks like it’s based on the motorcycle guy from the Technobots, back in the day, with a little old school Tron light-cycle thrown in for good measure. Robot mode looks good, though there is a bit of back kibble; mostly just a wheel and canopy. Not as bad as Arcee, who wears most of her vehicle mode on her back. Despite having narrower shoulders than Arcee, Chromia is a little more imposing looking, with her bulkier, armored looking forearms and lower legs. And, I really dig her color scheme.

 

Windblade…. Y’know, I want to like her. She looks great in robot mode, and her vehicle mode’s not too bad. It’s the obvious robot shins and feet on the back of a jet that throw me off. I love that she’s a V/STOL. Thrust was always the one Decepti-jet that I really wanted, when I was a kid. Windblade has a similar lifting fan setup going on. It’s too bad that she’s a floppy mess. Sometimes, her vehicle mode will peg together just right, but often things just don’t quite line up. The entire front of her torso is hinged at the waist, and that hinge is pretty loose. It doesn’t peg into anything, and her arms are connected to it. It makes keeping her robot mode together interesting. The same piece is the bottom of her jet mode, but her arms keep it in place. If, you can get them tucked in where they go. She also doesn’t stand up very well. She has tiny feet, and instead of heel spurs like the other gals have, Windblade has stiletto heels. The heels fold into the feet for vehicle mode, and their hinges aren’t very tight. This leads to some balance issues. I just find handling her to be really annoying. The functional scabbard, with it’s multiple locations to peg into her robot mode is pretty boss, though.

16
Sep
14

Still not Perfect

So, I finally got paint on the Mustang. And, immediately found more things that needed filled and sanded….

 

BUT, paint’s been going well, since then. There’s one spot on the passenger side front fender that’s going to need another shot of the base color, because the masking tape pulled off some small flecks. That’s been the only real problem, so far. As I’m painting the car up like a WWII fighter plane, it’s got six colors going on it, not counting painted on trim, like the reflectors. Base coat is aluminum, the nose is guard’s red, the hood is olive drab (as will be the planned tonneau cover over where the back seat used to be) white and black invasion stripes are going on the front fenders as a nod to the fender stripes that some classic muscle and sports cars sport, and the back of the car will be yellow. All but the yellow are Model Master acrylic paints. The yellow will be Vellejo Model Color. It’s possible I may lose my mind, and paint the back end in a red and white checkered pattern instead, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be yellow. I don’t even want to think about masking a checker pattern. The angle of the separation between the base color and the yellow will be determined by the side pieces on the new rear spoiler. I’ve got the three piece spoiler off a Roush version of this same car, that will be going on this one.

 

mustang1_2 mustang1_3 mustang1_4

 

The body isn’t currently attached to the chassis, and the grill and headlights are just sitting in place. Everything but the OD green will be gloss clear coated. Honestly, I’m still not sure why the red has that semigloss look to it. I think the paint might have been too thick. (I airbrush) I think you can just make out where I did some polishing on the hood. Incidentally, Maas metal polish, used sparingly, works great on Model Master paint. I also know from past experience that it will attack Future floor polish, which is a popular choice for gloss coat among many modellers. Consider yourself warned. The aluminum paint, on the other hand, went down with a nice satiny sheen.

 

The side picture shows the contour lines that were giving me grief. See that crease that curves back from above the door handle? It was not cast into the body. I formed the edge with a thin strip of styrene plastic, then filled in around it with Fixit Sculpt, and blended it into the rest of the body. It was actually the straight line underneath it that caused the most trouble. The one on the passenger side is fine. I don’t get it. Those SVT wheels and tires are from GreenLight. They took very little work to fit the Maisto wheel bushings. The original wheels and tires were slightly over-sized. They filled the wheel wells nicely, but I’ve lowered this car at both ends. Besides, they also represented the stock Mustang wheels. These are a nicer looking design. I’m modding the other wheels into generic retro style five stars for a ’72 Trans Am. Still debating painting some olive drab on these GreenLight wheels.

 

The rally lights in the grill have been replaced with wire mesh intakes. I’ve got some mocked up tubing ends to put behind them, to look like functional cold air intakes. Got the wire mesh from a cheap tea ball I picked up at wal-mart. I’ve got some larger mesh, for another project, from a strainer also gotten on the cheap from wal-mart. The mesh flattens out easily, and holds whatever shape I put it in.

05
Sep
14

Perfect is the Enemy

“Perfect is the enemy of good” so the saying goes. I find that in my case, perfect is the enemy of getting things finished. I’m modifying one of those cheap die cast cars from Sam’s Club, (I understand Costco sells them, too.) into a street fighter type custom. Not that I’ve seen too many convertible street fighters, but I’ve seen guys mod station wagons into competitive race cars, so, why not. The body work on this car mostly involves new rocker panels and lower rear trim. The rockers are long finished, I haven’t started on the rear trim, yet. It’s an overly complicated shape to meet the body, so I’m still thinking it through and weighing my options. I’m also smoothing out the surround around the lower intake area on the front, and adding some curved accent lines on the body that the real car has and the model, for some reason, doesn’t. This is where my problem lies.

 

The body work on the sides is mostly finished. There’s another accent line below where the work was that’s gotten a bit messed up on one side. It was a soft detail to begin with, and I had to blend right down to it. I’ve gotten it to the point of “good enough.” No, the real fun is the front. Nice big flat surfaces. Simple, right? This work involved filing down a lip, then filling a large groove to extend the front bumper down. The filling was done with Ave’s Fixit Sculpt, but I didn’t get things quite as flat as I’d wanted. Primer made the imperfections visible, and I smoothed them out with Tamiya white putty and a sanding stick. Another coat of primer showed that it still wasn’t quite smooth. I really want to get this car finished, so I can move on to another one that I’m more interested in working on, but is going to need a lot more work.

 

I had it pretty close, so I said “Screw it, it’s good enough!”

 

That was three putty and sanding sessions ago….

mustang1_1

 

The bright white you’re seeing there is the Tamiya putty, the red is the factory paint. I mostly left the paint intact, just sanded it. It let me bring back a lot of the edges that were lost to either thick paint, or weird things die cast metal does when it cools after casting. I thought it might make good primer too, but I think my primer might actually be sticking better to the metal. Didn’t expect that out of acrylic model paint. If you look close, you can see some off white in there, too. That’s the Fixit Sculpt, where I’ve sanded through the primer. It’s getting painted, as it is.

 

No really. I mean it, this time.

 

If you’re wondering why I’m dedicating so much effort on such a cheap model, when there’s much nicer die cast cars out there? I’d rather screw up a twenty dollar car, than a hundred and twenty dollar car.

07
Jul
14

Just Another Bug Hunt

bug_hunt

 

Optimus Prime on a “bug hunt.”

 

TF4 Evasion Mode Optimus Prime; TF Prime: Beast Hunters Hardshell; and Generations Skrapnel.

 

Maybe, Fall of Cybertron Kickback would give him more of a challenge?

26
Apr
14

Pinks

pinks1

 

This was destined to happen. I’ve recently been buying Mega Bloks Call of Duty figure packs, they’re just about 1/32 scale. I’ve had that 1/32 scale ’73 Trans Am for several years, and the 1/18 scale ’72 for a couple. Something like this was bound to pop into my head.

04
Mar
14

Trolled

One corner of my small N scale model train layout is taken up by the Greytech Heavy Industries building. This is just a foot deep shelf layout, so it’s far from the entire complex modeled. It has recently come to my attention that the building, as modeled, is incapable of receiving one type of freight it’s supposed to handle. Specifically, steel coil cars. Many of the company’s products are made from heavy metal sheet, so there needs to be a way of unloading them. This requires a gantry crane. The steel coils can be unloaded by forklifts, but a crane is still needed to handle the covers on them.

 

This picture was taken some years back, the last time I was working on the trains.

hobb_creek1_big

 

That loading dock is fine, for box cars and flat cars. The track extended a little past it, and the plan was to put in some scale hoses for unloading air pressure operated covered hoppers commonly used for plastic pellets. It’s a technology company, they’re going to use a lot of plastic. Even if there was a place to put a gantry, there’s no place to move the coil car’s cover. SO…. I had hoped to take that two-story section on the far part of the building (what I consider the “old section”) and just move the wall forward. The side wall is still there, I could just cut a hole in, and build a door frame.

 

The corner wasn’t together too good, and I destroyed it trying to pull it apart. And, it’s just not long enough to house an entire train car. So, not only do I need to build an entire new building section, I have to cut out part of that warehouse/loading wing. Sometimes I feel like I’m being trolled by the modelling gods….

 

hobb_creek9_big

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man has failed. The troll has risen.

 

 

That’s the current state of the GTHI building. I don’t have anything on hand to build the new section. What I do have is a program called “Model Builder.” (original, right?) It uses photo sourced textures to make paper models. It designed specifically, for model railroad scenery. Until now, I’ve only ever used it to make background flats for action figure diorama sets. The new section will only need two walls, and I’ll probably make the roof out of foam core. Eventually, it would be nice to replace the thing with something made from styrene, it should be fine, for now. I’ve never seen small-scale paper model buildings first hand, so maybe it’ll be good enough to be permanent. I’m also hoping to make a shallow flat to represent another part of the building, behind the four-story section. I mostly want to do that to push the four-story part out a little, mostly to improve the look of where the new unloading section will meet it. I should probably just replace the whole thing. That part is a twenty+ year old model, and its finish isn’t up to my current standards. For now, I’m hoping to eventually rehab it. I’m not too worried about the various bits not matching, since I’ve always envisioned the place as being a slightly erratic collection old brick buildings and annexes that have sort of grown together.

 

The place is probably so convoluted inside, David Bowie’s using it to raise a goblin army.

 

That building in the foreground of that second pictures is the unloading shed of a steel fabricator. They receive steel plate and structural shapes to build bridge and building components. Currently calling it Strogg Steel, after the cyborg antagonists from the Quake 2 and Quake 4 video games.

02
Mar
14

Tree

I’ve been messing with model trains again, lately. Finally got the damn things running smooth. That’s taking a disturbing amount of maintenance.

Anyway, the scenery is far from finished, and I want to finally start building the “tree tunnel” that I’ve always planned to mask where the trains enter and exit one end of the layout. In the past, I’ve made my trees from clump foliage on Woodland Scenics armatures. Still using the WS trees (I’ve got them, why not?) but decided to try a different product. I stretched some MRC cluster foliage over one of the WS tree armatures…. and didn’t like it. The dark green color I have seems awfully vivid on its own, and there’s a lot visible “hairs” among the foam in the stuff. I do, however, like all the negative space it creates, it has a similar “seeing through the leaves” effect as looking through a real tree. I tried sprinkling some ground foam over it, but I don’t really have that’s a similar shade. Most of what I have is lighter colored and far more drab. There is one thing I have on hand that’s a similar color; Woodland Scenics fine leaf foliage. It has a similar see through effect, and a lot of fine branches throughout. So, I tried gluing that over the stretched out fiber cluster.

tree1

I have to upgrade the rest of the trees on the layout, now….

Yeah, I’m really happy with the effect. The only problem is I don’t want all the trees to be the exact same shade, so I’ll have to get some more fine leaf foliage, in a different shade. I was already planning to order a couple of things from Fifer Hobby Supplies, so that goes on the list.

15
Dec
13

More Tales From the Garage

garage2

I’ve been slowly modifying that die-cast Mustang. It’s a cheap one, from Sam’s Club. Given the price a lot of die-cast cars go for, I’d be hesitant to cut into one. These go for so little, it’s pretty much game on. Most of the changes to this one will be relatively minor, with a super charger and air ducting  under the hood being the most drastic changes.

It’ll be getting new low mounted rally lights pulled from a 1/24 scale model to replace the ones in the grill that I’m turning into air intakes. New rocker panels are halfway finished, and I’ll be making a matching piece to replace the ugly black trim part that wraps around the bottom back of the car. The model is missing an accent line that should start on the doors and extend back in an arch to the quarter panels. I’ll be making the hard line from that out of styrene sheet, and feathering it into the bodywork with sanding and Fixit Sculpt. The final paint job will be two-tone red, with a thin gold stripe between. New wheels are planned, and I’ve already replaced the plastic steering column with a new one made of brass. It’s taken most of the slop out of the steering, and the wheels hold their positions better.

Yes, I am probably the only person in the world that cares about slop in the steering of a toy car.

I’ve slightly lowered the front ride height. The rear ride height was a little too low, from the factory. Together, it makes it look like an evenly lowered car. I’m not much into the whole “stancing” thing, but I’m seeing this as a “street fighter” type car, modified for better handling.  A diffuser on the front, and  tonneau cover where the rear seat used to be, along with a roll bar will round out the look. I’m also hoping to replace the seats with better sized and shaped ones. The current ones are too small. Current plan is to scratch build one and cast it.

This car something of a practice piece. I’ll be working on a similar one from the same manufacturer to make a very different looking car. That one will be turned into a fast back styled hard top, and made to look like a 2013/2014 car, instead of the 2010+ style it comes modeled after. That one will get a similar lowering in the front, but have the rear end raised. I figure that will help give it a completely different attitude from the convertible. More of a brawler, to the this car’s dancer.

I just hope my reach doesn’t exceed my grasp….

22
Oct
13

Intruders in the Warehouse

Seems security is getting a little lax, around the GTHI warehouse. But, the Greyryder is on the case!

mousers1

 

I might have had a little help, from Fenra.

mousers2

 

Pronouns get interesting, when you create a character based on your online handle. 😉

 

The little guys are M.O.U.S.E.R.S. (That is the last time I’m typing that as an acronym) from the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. I don’t collect the line, mostly because I’m a 1/18 scale snob. Most of the figures in that line seem a little more stylized than I usually like, too. I saw these guys over on Matt Booker’s blog, and thought they looked like a lot of fun.  Now, I’m a bit of an articulation junky, and these guys don’t have a lot. Their hips are simple, just swinging back and forth, their heads are on ball joints and the jaws open. Technically, the jaws are on ball joints, and the tops of the heads open, but semantics, whatever. I’ve forgiven figures for lacking articulation in the past, if they have personality, and these Mousers have personality. Unlike a lot of GI Joe figures, the ball joints at the tops of the necks aren’t restricted to simple swivel joints. They’re stable with the bodies leaned all the way forward. This lets them have a variety of postures. You can create personalities for them, just by posing them with different body language. Did I mention, you get seven of them, in each package? Yeah, troop building pack done right. I didn’t look at other packages to see if the color assortments are consistent, but mine came with three of the silvery guys, two of the darker gray ones (who are still kind of metallic) and two of the black ones.

 

Now, I mentioned the articulation, and how I like a lot of it. I don’t want anyone to think I’m being overly critical. These little guys have very thin legs. Realistically, you’re not going to get much more articulation in them. You could maybe ball joint the hips, and I think the ankles have enough bulk I might be able to use Lego levers to put ball joints in those. But articulating the knees, I don’t think would be possible, without bulking up the legs. And, I think that would spoil their look. I only want to add jointing to the ankles so I they can be posed standing without their feet being right side by side.




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