Saturday, December 8, 2012

What Does Spiff Use?

I thought this would be a good idea to show you all what I am using to achieve my results. These are not paid advertisements, just simple product endorsements. I'm not telling anybody they have to use these products. I'm just showing you what MY favorites are and if you are just starting out or trying to hone your skills, I hope this might be useful.

I just recently discovered the line of Vallejo paints a couple of years ago. I am absolutely, 100% in love with these paints! A couple of the colors have some consistency issues- yellow and orange, to be exact- but for the most part these are the most painter-friendly acrylics I have ever used.

If Vallejo makes such fantastic paints, then the inks must be good, right? Correct! The inks are very vibrant and I only thin them with water to tone down the coverage. I use the inks primarily as a stain for exhaust vents, tank treads, leg & arm joints, etc. Occasionally I use the inks for my cockpit jeweling effects. The washes, or shades as they are called, are a thinner version of the ink. They immediately flow into the recesses of the surface and hardly affect the surface color. I use these a lot for redefining panel lines and weathering. I use the shades straight outta the bottle- no thinning or strange home combinations are required.

These Secret Weapon washes are very similar to the Vallejo shades, only they come in a wider assortment of colors. They have a slight stain effect, which is useful for when I want something just a few shades off of the base color. Excellent consistency and flow- no thinning required.

I take great pride in the fact that people always ask if that is a decal or did I paint it. Well, this is how I do it. I paint a bit of the medium on the surface where the decal will go. After carefully sliding the decal in place, I use a tiny sponge applicator to press the decal down into the medium and push out the air bubbles. After that dries, I paint on a coat of the matt varnish over the area of the decal. Of course, after the entire mini is done, I give it a shot of Krylon matte spray sealant.

As cheap as these paints are, they are actually good and useful. The white is what I use to lightly highlight all the raised surfaces with. The other colors are good for a rough base coat and painting scenery. They don't cover nearly as well as the Vallejos do, but since they are cheap, it is an acceptable trade-off.

Liquitex ix primarily a canvas-type artist acrylic, but it has some uses on my minis, mostly small detailing uses. These colors are not consistent enough for painting large areas.

FW and Liquitex make some excellent inks, but again, these were not designed with miniature painting in mind. I frequently have to thin them with water to get them to flow a bit better. The red oxide you see in the picture is the ink I use for my rusty effects. The sepia ink I use for tank treads and tires. The other colors I have are used whenever I feel that is the right ink to use....I can't really explain how I know. It is a feeling, like a ripple in the Force.

Well, put them all together and you get a cluttered desktop. A cluttered desk is a sign of genius...right?

Aerospace Superiority

Some of you may be familiar with my postings on the Battletech forums and already know about the massive amount of air power in my collection. Well, since my blog is fairly new, I will just stick to my newest stuff rather than go back through all the old pictures.
    I have an enormous fetish for assimilating other sci fi genres into my Battletech collection- my Star Wars posts are certainly overwhelming evidence of that! Well, here are a few more fighters from other sources that I have assimilated.....resistance is futile!

If you don't recognize this starfighter, then you are not a true sci fi fan. This is the awesome Gunstar from "The Last Starfighter". A beautiful 1:144 scale resin kit from Fantastic Plastic.

The death blossom covers are fixed open. No way I would fix them closed!

I decided to customize mine a bit by adding some nose art.

Here is a shot just to show the size comparisons.

This is a starfighter from a really old anime series called "Crusher Joe".

I immediately determined there were not enough guns on the stock version, so I went about upgrading the three models I had.

I actually added the rectangular burner nozzles. The stock mini had nothing there but a plain old pair of holes!

Large pulse lasers under the wings and a large autocannon in the nose ought to do the trick!

Fighter #2 has a load out designed for close contact dog fighting.

I sculpted a housing for the gattling gun in the nose and added sets of medium lasers under the wings.

Fighter #3 is set up for low level ground attack. I went with an interesting camo pattern for this one.

I had to sculpt the rocket pods and the pylons for them, but I left the nose mounted weapons in the stock configuration.

Nose art and a few kills!

The business end!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tank Mech Hotness And Lucas Arts Before Disney.

Some of my favorite miniatures come from the Front Mission collectible figures from Japan. They are a perfect fit for my N scale Battletech forces and they have an incredible amount of detail! While there are no official rules for tank mechs in Battletech, that doesn't mean I can't have 'em anyway!

This is a heavily modified tank mech.

I completely reversed the track assembly so the mech body is now in the front. Then I extended the mech body to accommodate the missile launchers. You might recognize the extra hull portion- it is the torso from a Macross armored valkyrie.

The extra launchers are Heavy Gear parts. The targeting array is made from spare bits.

A shot of the cheesecake! Hubba, hubba!

Another modified tank mech. All I really did to her was swap out the arms and add a backpack. The arms came off a MW:DA Daishi, although I added the ammo drums.

Here is a family picture. The mech in the middle is basically un-modified. Yep, those are Terminator HKs in the foreground. They are Micro Machines!

I was just too excited to not show these guys off. 5 TIE-D fighters!!! Yes, 5 of 'em!! These are the ultra-rare Anigrand miniatures. Why are they rare? Lucasarts slapped them with a Cease & Desist copyright infringement case. A few of their kits did make it into the public, though. These guys were included in the Sentinel landing shuttle kit- 1 in each kit. I managed to acquire 3 whole kits plus 2 extras from a friend of mine.
   In the expanded Star Wars universe, the TIE-D is a fighter drone piloted by a droid brain.

Vader and his squadron of TIE-Ds. Vader's TIE-X1 is from the F-Toys model series. Vader came with it, however, I added the lightsaber.

I am still waitng for a bundle of flight bases to arrive in the mail....

....But these were just too cool to keep a secret!

In Honor Of My Favorite Video Games.

Another project I fiddled with for some time was a small "defensive" site for launching small, defensive nukes at global or orbital targets. I started with some random bits and chunks of blue board. I crafted my building and then became stuck on what I wanted the launch bay to look like. The project got set aside while I waited for some inspiration....Then at work one day, I found a home-made pen holder and suddenly my solution had presented itself! My single launch site was going to become a multiple launch site!

The launch facility manufactured by the Hyperion Corporation. Here is my first honor to the game Borderlands 1 & 2. The second honor goes to the Halo series in the form of the Warthog vehicle.

A close up of the launch bay in DEFCON 5 position. The panels are made out of cardboard and the other mechanical details are random plastic bits. The warning lights are glass jewels. Unfortunately, I did not have the necessary equipment at this time to light them up. The launch door tracks are made out of zip ties. The alien trees are actually black walnuts that I picked up while disc golfing. I just added some plastic leaves.

Here is the launch bay at DEFCON 1. Now you can see the pen holder and the warheads that I sculpted.

A shot of the AAA turret defending the base.

The turret guns are made from some Armored Core extras. I extended the gun barrels with some stock plastic tubing.

I had to sculpt the turret body to custom-fit the cannons. The automated targeting eye is made out of Kotobukiya customizing parts. The radar assembly is actually the claw off some mech with one of the pincers removed.

The base is a panel from an old Millenium Falcon model.

Just another day at the farm....

Finally.....Some New Stuff To Show!

Holy crap, it has been a while since I've had any decent amount of free time, but I am back! I won't take up too much time talking here, since you are all anxious to see what I have been up to now. On with the show...Remeber to click the pics for a bigger view.

This is a new 15mm hover tank sculpted after the old FASA Centurion-style grav tanks. I'm not sure if these are in full production yet. I was given this one to help generate some excitement!

I have added a few details to my tank that do not come on the original. The missile launcher is the most obvious. The targeting lens below it is another one of my added details.

The muzzle brakes on both cannons are also my added touch. The smaller targeting lens in front of the commander's hatch is also added.

The thruster nozzles and the round panels were added by me.

Notice the hex nut where the main gun meets the hull? How about the small headlights? Or the sensor dome just behind the hull hatches? Yep, I added those.

I also added the small vents on top of the hull just in front of the circular panels.

Owen, if you are reading this, perhaps you could add a comment on where someone could purchase one of these when they are available? Despite my addition of several small details, the kit was very well cast and looks fantastic even without my modifications.
   Some may ask what is that thing that looks like a land speeder? I turned an old Micromachine speed boat into a Star Wars-style land speeder....something to make Luke green with envy.