Friday, February 22, 2013

"Charlotte de Berry" - Lady Pirate

This is my interpretation of Pegaso figure "Charlotte de Berry"

This is a WIP shot, I've more to do on this so far....

I've decided to remove the nose ring, go for a more tanned look, less make up, and change the feathers over....

Putting this one together was a bit of a head scratcher..... In the end, I prepainted the shirt, the over the shoulder belt, then glued the head on, and masked off the shirt.

Then I retouched the skin tones. Filled the gaps between the hair and the back of the shirt. and blocked in the hair.

Then I went back in and blocked in the colours for the head band and neck scarf.

On a critical note, it seems to me that it's a pin-up model, and draped in an interpretation of what a pirate may have worn then, with some extras to add some 'flair'

The real Charlotte de Berry (link to wikipedia) seems to be more fictional then substantive, or perhaps at best, a real person whose facts have been distorted over time......

This will be one of my entries for this years South Australian Model Expo.....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Iwata beer bottle opener

Milled out of an unknown metal, then chrome plated, I've given this a limited test, and it functions quite acceptably.

It has no paint capacity, airbrush coverage, any way of controlling how fine a line you can put down.....which is not what it is designed to do.

It is a beer bottle opener, designed to open beer bottles.
So far it has opened two beer bottles, with no difficulties.

Further testing may be required, at the end of a painting session, not before...

Open Box Revew - Sparmax cleaning station

So I've my new airbrush, and I do remember that cleaning up between different colours is fiddly and messy.

So this is a nice little option to help with clean up (both during a painting session, and during final clean up) and can act as a little holder while working.

So onto opening the box.....

Ok, box says Iwata, however the label on the inside says Sparmax. Compact box size...

Comes packed in a plastic travel tub, with screw on lid. Simple idea, saves a lot of breakage during shipping, no doubt.

From left to right, airbrush holder, brace, glass jar with lid attached, and some spare filters and one spare nozzle

Assembled, with my new airbrush in place. As a rest, it's easy enough to see how the bracing foot is needed to avoid tipping. 

The jar is glass, allowing for easy clean up, and has a wide mouth so someone as big handed as me cna still wipe out the insides when cleaning it out. Plus, being glass, it is chemically inert, so wont react to some of the more aggressive paints, such as the lacquer based types.

To me, being able to clean you tools at the end of session is far better then letting a finely crafted device such as an airbrush, become unusable due to neglect.

Recommended, until testing/ real life work outs prove otherwise.

Open Box review- Iwata HP-B Plus

Ok, I'll admit, I attended the Airbrushing course, and the brand of choice on display was Iwata.

I have no problems with this, as anything more the 6 minutes internet research brings more positive reviews and "I've tried it and switched to Iwata" posts, and are scattered across more websites than I can list.

So tried out the airbrush, looked over needs and future projects, and decided on the Iwata HP-B Plus.

Capable of some coverage, down to very fine lines, and good heft in the hand. The 'B' designation stands for the cup size.

How it comes, with a cardboard wrap around to help protect during shipping

Opening the box, the airbrush, the nozzle spanner, airbrush test sheet and booklet

Out of the box!! Double chrome plated for endurance, and machined out of brass. Other parts are stainless steel

The instruction and parts booklet; don't worry if Japanese isn't your first (or second, or third) language, there is a English version printed inside.

The airbrush test sheet, included with each airbrush; tested before leaving the factory. The Japanese reputation for excellence in manufacturing continues.

I'm looking forward to giving this a work up soon, putting it through it's paces. And given how fine a line I can go down too, this may open up more finishing options for future projects.

Airbrushing course, with Anthony James, Iwata

Anthony shows us how it's done before we go hands on

The different types of airbrushes available

Airbrush workshop at Adelaide Moulding & Casting Supplies

Lecturer: Anthony James, Anest Iwata Australia ( Area Manager, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia)

The workshop is a small, informal and friendly gathering, with Anthony as lecturer and workshop guide.
He brings his experience as a modeler of several years, and his own personal airbrush to the course.
 He keeps a relaxed attitude, and encourages questions and observations.

The workshop is built up in a logical series of steps
Types of airbrush - single action, double action, internal and external mix.
Types of feed, with advantages and limitations of gravity feed, Siphon feed, or side feed.

Paint and the structure of paint; finer grades of paint are required for airbrushing, as compared to coarse grinds for ceiling paint (the comparison to golf-balls to basketballs makes sense)

Anthony walks us through the Iwata series, design features, and advantages and trade offs of the designs. Plus a description of the cup sizes (A= smallest, B= middle, C= larger volume) gives an idea of the volume we can put into a airbrush, and relate it to our projects we do.
Essentially, as you go finer in nozzle size, better atomisation of paint in achieved, however the coverage area shrinks. So you can can do a hairline at thinnest, however you couldn't do any coverage of any large areas. 
The Airbrushes with the finer nozzles also have a MAC - Micro Air Control, a small nozzle adjuster to allow very fine adjustments at the airbrush end for very, very, very fine work. Please thin your paint material accordingly.

Anthony then touches upon compressors, and air sources (with out a controlled air source, any airbrush is just a lump of metal.....) and Iwata do some really clever design features in their line of airbrushes. So handy to know this as well.

Then it's onto techniques; how to avoid splatter, mixing ratios, and a hands on. Everyone has a go. It was surprising to see how much paint was left in the cup after 7 of us (plus Anthony) had a go at airbrushing an A4 sheet.

This was a great example of how great atomisation in finer ways draws less paint then a airbrush not built to such high tolerances. Use less paint, and lay down a finer coat. 

Once all students have had the hands on go, Anthony then gives a cleaning demonstration.  

Like any piece of equipment, proper cleaning is the key to long use, and frustration minimisation.
Yes, Iwata are a higher investment then a entry level airbrush from the hardware store, however if you want to achieve a finer result, better finishes and finer control, then it will be a worthwhile investment. (You cant turn a pigs ear into a silk purse, nor can you paint a masterpiece with a pigs tail bristles either)
Anthony emphasizes using the correct airbrush lubricant; the silicon based one (Superlube) he uses and recommends, needs a minuscule amount, wont contaminate the next load of paint, and keeps the airbrush from seizing up.

There are also quick disconnect couplings, handy if you wish to run multiple airbrushes off the same air line.

Then there's time for a Q&A session, and then home for tea and biscuits.

Good things about the course;
-small groups
- relaxed atmosphere
- lecturer (Anthony) actually uses the product
- hands on, with demo time
- questions answered readily

Possible improvements
- hand out with photos of general cleaning and disassembly & reassembly of an airbrush

I'd  recommend this course for novice to intermediate airbrushes, or anyone looking to get a close look at some advanced airbrushes.

*I did submit a draft of this article to Anthony, and he asked me to include references to three items; the Superlube, the MAC, and the quick disconnect.
I also included how he is a modeler himself, and brings his own airbrush along. Apart from that, he left most of my write up intact.

Won some Trophies at South Australian Scale Model Expo

Well, I've entered my first expo, and was pleasantly surprised to win some trophies!!!

The break down was as follows.

Fantasy and Sci-Fi figures.
The Happy Monk - 2nd place.

So quite pleased (and surprised!) to receive these trophies.

The Old Fiddler also did well,
he earned 2nd place in the "Historical figures 1901- present day" category,

Review of a sculpting DVD

Here is my review of 'Mark Alfrey's Sculpting the human head'

I purchased this from Adelaide Moulding & Casting Supplies (link here) and seeing as the human head (and a likeness) is one of the harder challenges to master, I'd thought I'd add this to my library.

It has two main sections. The first part is sculpting a head of a very old man (as shown on the DVD cover) working up from the crumpled alfoil base, all the through to adding skin textures, wrinkles, pores and making all part of the sculpt so it has an organic feel to the whole.

Mark uses the observational style of sculpting (that is, see how this lines up, notice how the ears don't protrude past here, note the angle of the skull) rather than the formulaic approach ( centre of the eyes line up with the corners of the mouth, the face can be divided into thirds, etc)

Shown is in progress work as video, always good, as we get to see how a sculptor works. He works with a relaxed style, discussing what he's doing, how's he's interpreting what he sees, how he checks things as he goes.

There are plenty of little things to pic up on, such as how he places the ears lower limits with toothpicks, and checks symmetry of the ears by measuring from the nose back, and then adjusting as needed (proof that even the experts need to adjust their work)

Personally, I would have been more comfortable if Mark had mentioned key points in the placement of the face (the formulaic method), that is a rather minor gripe.

The really great part is the skin texture - how he adds this in, smooths it back subtly to integrate it with the whole, and some of the tools he made to get the results he needed. For those of us who need to add skin texture, either to larger scale human sculpts, or animals, this is really great part of the DVD.

The second part is how to sculpt caricatures, bit of light hearted fun, and challenging all at the same time.
Mark talks about collecting your reference photos, working out the key features of the face in question, distinctive nose, chin or jawline, and then exaggerating those features.

The end section is photographing your finished work; this section is a bit dated, as he talks about a polaroid versus a 35mm SLR.
The concepts of lighting, tripod mounting your camera, rather then taking a snap with your mobile phone camera with flash, still holds. So worth studying if you want to post better pictures of your work to the web.

For those of us who want to sculpt in larger scales, this is a very good DVD, however, if you sculpt in the smaller scales (say, 1/4 or smaller) then those kinds of skin textures start to disappear at these kind of scales
(and truthfully, I cant remember the last time I saw a wrinkly 1/72 scale face....)

recommended, with conditions.

Available in NTSC/ PAL same disc.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yukata sculpt, restarted

Many years ago, I started (and restarted) trying to sculpt a 1/10 figure of my friend in Japan, wearing a yukata.

Lacking time, space, and access to a host of other handy resources, I am now in a position to restart this project.

I've committed to this as my major project for the year, with a view to enter the completed effort in the South Australian Model Expo, in October.

So if I start Now! I may just get it finished in time!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

An impressive website of miniature artists!!

OK, I'm stunned at the quality and results of the workmanship of these artists!!

Mostly figures, some painted, some just sculpts, some vehicles, some dioramas and vignettes.....

the website is called Paint & Putty, and can be found by clicking here

And now I have a laptop, a digital camera, and some internet access, now I can return to a more regular schedule of posts.....