Friday, April 29, 2016

Model Kit: Working on Bandai Y-Wing part #2

First, here's some pics. I'm working on the body section.

The small detail bits like piping and stuff are actually separate pieces I had to plug into the model! Here's one of the sprues showing lots of tiny pieces. Each tiny pieces has little plugs jutting out of them that you plug into holes in the model to click them into place!

Here's the 35mm scale Fantasy Flight Games R2-D2 figure, next to the 1:72 scale astromech model. The tiny astromech I am guessing to be between 20mm and 25mm figure scale. You can choose to have an R2 or R5 head on it, an I've always liked thee flat-conical tops on R5's so I chose that to be my astromech. Luckily, as I said, everything clicks together - I haven't tried it yet, but I should be able to pull the head off and swap it if I felt like it.

My first disappointment with the kit so far:

The slot the astromech goes into, in the body of the Y-Wing, is assembled in such a way as you have to have an astromech in it, or not, you can't pull the droid in and out of the ship! This is because when assembling the model, it sandwiches the body of the droid in place, and then you attach the droid's head.

Once the ship is assembled, if the droid's body is in there, you can't get it out. So I had to choose - do I want the model to have a droid in it, or do I want to have a miniature figure of the droid, and I chose to keep the droid out of the ship's slot. They really should have made the construction of the ship such that you could place or remove the droid as you pleased, rather than it being one or the other.

However, other than that, everything is going well so far.

One thing I should have noted on the last post, is that the cockpit stickers that come with it can not be used by default - the cockpit has 3D sculpted dials and buttons. To use the illustrated sticker control panel, you would have to cut / sand off all the sculpted details! I thought that was really odd, and I chose to have a painted cockpit rather than using the stickers.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Model Kit: Working on Bandai Y-Wing #1

I've got my 1/72 scale Bandai Y-Wing in the mail now and am working on it. It's a neat kit, because no glue is required, all the parts are a designed to push and clip into one another such that it doesn't fall apart, but if enough pressure is applied, the parts can be re-separated. The neat thing about no glue, is that I accidentally joined some pieces together, only to realise, they were supposed to sandwich with another piece in the middle. I was able to separate them, insert the missing piece, and put the parts back together again. You can't do that with a glue kit!

Here's some pics:

The cockpit was black plastic, I painted it medium gray and washed it black to bring out all the details.

Here I've painted all the cockpit control panel lights. The yellow section came in yellow plastic, but I will be painting over the top of all the plastic's colours, so that a wash and more details will stick.

Here I've assemble the canopy, and have sat parts of the body section that I've assembled behind it as well. I've painted the blue-grey onto the window frames, and painted a more goldy yellow over the yellow plastic, but haven't painted white over the rest of the plastic yet.
The big figure is a regular 35mm star wars figure. The unpainted little figure beside is the figure that came with the y-wing, which is around 20mm in size. The figure in the middle in the flight suit is a Micro Machines figure, and Princess Leia is a West End Games figure, who is around 25mm scale.

So here's some of the early Star Wars miniatures from West End Games, in 25mm scale. I hadn't really painted stuff before, back then, so this is an example of my very early painting. No washes or anything. I seem to remember I used a black felt-tip pen to colour in the black lines on the stormtrooper uniforms :)

So I've worked out the Micro Machines and West End Games scale miniatures are a close fit for the 1/72 scale model kits of Star Wars stuff. I'm thinking of collecting more model kits, and more 25mm scale star wars figures, to make zoomed-out large scale battlefields with 3D scenery. Almost every major ship and vehicle in Star Wars has a 1/72 scale model kit available, which makes it a great scale for fancy looking battlefields.

West End Games Star Wars Miniatures was one of the first miniatures games I collected, back in 1991, but I could only afford a handful of figures and the rule book (I was just a teenager, and had no funds!) so I never got to play the award winning game. Unlike the other Star Wars miniatures games, the West End Games game was designed for large scale battlefields covered with squads of troops and vehicles.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Imperial Assault: Diala Passil step by step, another illumination experiment

Step by step painting Diala Passil with an experiment in lighting / shading the model from the white lightsaber.

(scroll to the bottom to see the finished photo)

Painting Darth Vader was a lot of fun, trying to work out how to suggest that the lightsaber was glowing. I wanted to try an even bigger effect with this figure, who is holding their saber high, behind them and over one shoulder. Here's the steps I went through:

Step One:
Paint the whole figure in bright white paint. I thinned it a little with water so as not to lose too much detail when undercoating.

Step Two:
I then applied solid colours to the main areas of the model.

Step Three:
The next step was a black wash over the whole model to bring out all of the details. I love how much detail there is in all these figures!

Step Four:
Now I go back over all the colour areas, repainting all the parts of the model but trying not to paint over the shadow folds and dips that the wash created. I try to make any surface facing upwards a bit brighters than areas that face forward or downward.

Step Five:
Beginning to try out illumination. I took a tiny bit of white paint on the tip of my brush and put it on a plastic palette. Then I dipped it in water and mixed water with it, repeatedly, until it was a thin wash, and washed the back of the model around the lightsaber.

Step Six:
I made sure to add white wash to the side of her face, facing the lighsaber, and her lekku, and the top surface of her arm, and the top-facing edges of the cloak.

Step Seven:
I added another black washe over all the parts of the model that would be in shadow, anything on the opposite side of her body from the lightsaber.

Step Eight:
I added more white wash on the parts closest to the lighsaber, and a little black / red wash to the lower parts of the cloak further away from the lightsaber.

Step Nine:
I finished with another black wash coat on the parts of her body facing away from the lightsaber to finish off. This shows the shadow side of the figure, facing away from the lightsaber.

The finished model - this photo had lighting from above and from the front, from the lights in my room, but the black and white washes make it look like a strong side light coming in from the right, and make the underside of the cloak and the opposite side of her body look like they are in shadow.

Compare it to the first photo on this blog post, they were both taken with identical lighting, and you can see that the shadow and brightness are part of the paint job.

It was a lot of fun trying to make it look this way, but I think I still need more practice to make the glow softer and more natural looking.

Parts like the side of the knee, the top of the feet, the top of her chest, etc, are simply areas that I kept the additional black washes away from, so that they remained bright.

I like how it turned out, but because the saber is behind her, it means most of the front of the model is in shadow, so if you look from the front, it is a pretty dark looking figure on the table. But I do like the highlighting of the side of her face / lekku, and top of arm / cloak edges, and it was fun trying to work out the lighting effect.

imperial assault, just another elite heavy trooper

It looks a little messy if the photo is enlarged too much, but the thing to remember, is that it looks great in real life, where it is only 1" tall. Hopefully these shots are clearer than the last shots I posted of an elite heavy trooper with a shock trooper paint scheme.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Imperial Assault: Darth Vader painted!

I painted the whole model in a medium grey, then applied a black wash over it all.
I then painted all lit parts in white, then put colours over the white.
I then watered down (a lot) a tiny bit of red, and washed it onto areas that I thought might be illuminated by the lightsaber.
I then washed it all in black again, except for lit parts.
Finally, I painted over the lightsaber one last time to make sure it was completely smooth and bright, and did a little bit more of red wash on the parts the lighsaber might be illuminating.

By not using black paint, but applying black as numerous washes, it meant that the shapes of the model were naturally shaded and all the bumps, folds and ridges remain visible in the paint itself. I quite like how it turned out - even though the model is dark, all the details of the model remained visible with a slightly lighter shading of grey showing.

I haven't ever tried to paint lighting on a model before, and I tried to keep it subdued since the cloth is black.

Imperial Assault: Stormtrooper and Elite Heavy Stormtrooper

Back when I got Imperial Assault I painted a couple figures, but really wanted to play, so I stopped painting and just played with unpainted figures. I only had one table, so I couldn't do both. Then I had to use the table for something else. I'm going to be playing some more Imperial Assault games again soon, so I've set up my paints again and am hoping to paint up a fair few more figures this time.

Stormtroopers are easy enough - paint white everywhere, wash the whole figure thickly in black, with extra coat on the gun and gloves, then re-paint over the white panels to brighten them back up again.

For the Elite Heavy Stormtrooper, I've done them up again as with my Elite Stormtroopers, as a Shock Trooper design, painting red battle markings onto the armour.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lego: finishing touches on my scale Y-Wing

I looked at more photos of Y-Wings, and while I like putting smooth panels all over starships, I decided I needed to 'tech it up' a bit in the main body section of the ship to make it look more authentic. Limiting myself again to simple lego pieces that can be ordered cheap with their Pick A Brick on the Lego Store, I've removed all the flat smooth panels from the body sections, and I've added lots of techy details! The first pic is a close up view, the second shows the whole ship as it is planned now. I can't stop playing with the plan! So much fun!

Lego: a better go at a Y-Wing, and in scale with miniatures figures

(EDITED: I changed the photo - the 1x1 rounds I made the engine struts with would not hold the weight of the engine sections together when extending out the back. My brother suggested using Technic Axles so the beams are single solid line pieces, and it should work really great, so the new plan uses the Axle pieces at the back. As always, click for bigger picture.)

(EDITED #2: New photo again! My brother just showed me a neat way of attaching bowed plates sideways to models to make smooth sloped sides on things, so I was able to remove the blocky stepped sides of the cockpit hull, and add sloping blocks to the sides - the whole front sections looks so much better now! Every alteration has made it look so much better! I think I'm done now, and can start working out what pieces to order from Pick A Brick on the Lego Store.)

-   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -

I only recently found out that the Lego Store lets you buy individual bricks. I also found the instructions for the original Lego Y-Wing model that Lego created.

I worked out that a lot of Lego vehicles and ships are actually in rough similar scale to 30mm / 35mm star wars miniatures figures, after finding a list of all the Star Wars vehicles' lengths in meters.

I worked out that my lego model is around 40cm long!

Using the Lego Digital Designer program, I was able to recreate that original Y-Wing model - but only using blocks available to purchase individually from the Lego Store, so a number of alterations were made while designing this model.

I didn't like how the cockpit looked when made from default lego pieces, and I couldn't purchase the original Y-Wing's cockpit parts from Pick a Brick on the Lego Store, so I came up with the solution of buying a cockpit canopy window on Ebay for just $1.50.

So, other than the canopy, all the other parts are available individually and cheap from the Lego Store! I decided I wanted a red detail Y-Wing rather than Gold (all the official models are from Gold Squadron).

It also has a proper Astromech slot - a lego astromech can fit facing forwards, instead of plugging in sideways the way some of the kits do for some reason. So, it fits facing the right way in this plan. Once I've got the parts and have assembled it, I'll put a droid in it so you can see what I mean.

I haven't priced it yet to find out how much the basic lego brick parts would cost, to be able to assemble this model, but it's sure to be cheaper than an official lego set Y-Wing which is typically over $100 over here. I'm guessing I could build this Y-Wing model for around $50, and it's the same size as the full official Y-Wing model. (Not the collector edition, the standard edition) So it's probably around 35cm long (13" or 14"). $50 in Australia is about $30 or $35 USA dollars, so it's pretty cheap!

If it works out at that price, then I'm going to make my own basic-brick versions of all the ships at this scale instead of buying official kits. It will make great scenery for miniatures battles in places like docking bays or ramshackle rebel outposts, etc.

So the pic above is from Lego Digital Designer of my completed model design! I'm still unsure about the four beams sticking out at the back. I may use a different method of constructing those back parts of the engines, but for now, this is my idea.

The Lego Digital Designer also allows you to create illustrated instructions to build the models you make in it, but I'll probably cut and paste images from it's animated step-by-step, and create my own printable instruction book, which I'll turn into a PDF and upload to the blog if anyone wants to build my cheap version of a Y-Wing out of Lego. By selecting the colour of your own choice when buying the blocks with Pick A Brick on the Lego Store, you can make your own colour theme of your choice!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Project: Star Wars Imperial Assault skirmish tile boards

I've started another little project today - I'm illustrating maps with a 1.5" grid on my computer, then printing them out in pieces, and gluing the print-outs onto thick cardboard to make page-sized map tiles. Each set of map tiles forms an A1 size map sheet when put next to each other, and each A1 map sheet can be placed adjacent to each other on any side and blend together, so lots of different tabletop layouts can be made.

I'm gluing 3D scenery stuff on top of the print out, which is mat NOT gloss, so it can be seen clearly without things like reflections. These two photos show what I mean - I've just started gluing tufts of miniatures scenery static grass wherever tufts of grass are drawn on the map sheet, so you can see the 3D grass along the right end of this tile. Eventually it will be scattered all across the muddy terrain. The concrete zone is half of a landing pad, onto which I can sit things like a Bandai 1/72 scale Y-Wing model that I've got coming in the mail to assemble and paint up for fun.

Once I've finished, I can then sit 3D scenery objects like walls, crates and barrels, ruins, parked space ships, and all sorts of stuff, onto the map sheets to 3D-ify them. I quite like that I can mix illustrated terrain details, like the landing pad, with 3D objects like trees, walls, and so forth, that can be arranged in different ways each time I play.

I apologise for the quality of the pics in this post, I snapped them with my Ipad because I didn't have my camera on hand.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lego Y-Wing Advanced

So, my favourite starship in the Star Wars universe is the Y-Wing. I really love snowspeeders too, but the older I get, the more I'm drawn to the Y-Wing. That's the old, beat-up, original trilogy version of the ship.

Anyhow, if I love Y-wing's so much, why don't I own a Lego one? Because they never get it right! There's a number of kits they've made, but each time they get part of the model right, and parts of the model wrong, and I skip on it. I should just buy each kit, and join together the parts I like to make my own version.

Anyhow, what I did instead, was pull apart all of my Lego Star Wars vehicles, and create my own "Y-Wing Advanced". Basically, it's a sleek modern take on the Y-Wing ship shape, using the pieces I had lying around.

As always, click the photo for a larger view.