Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lessons from an Expert

While I visited my parents over Christmas holiday, I had the good fortune to learn some modeling tips and techniques from a modeling master -- my Dad!

Here is the man / the myth, in his upstairs den.  Dad is an accomplished model airplane builder, with numerous regional trophies to his name. 

Building model airplanes with my Dad is actually the first experience I had in the hobby -- or at least one related to it.  Eyebrows were raised when a 14-year-old turned his attention from P-39 fighters to wizards and goblins....

Here is the upstairs workbench.

with current work-in-progress....

Here is the basement work area.  Dad uses spraypaint instead of an airbrush.  I brought my airbrush so that we could both learn it together.

Before exploring the airbrush, Dad showed me techniques for filling/sanding seams, applying decals, and weathering.

I practiced seam-filling on a belly-tank, and then we then experimented with different weathering techniques using the airbrush.  Here we tried a liquid mask technique and the hairspray-and-salt technique, first washed with water and then with alcohol.  The hairspray-and-salt technique gave results that I haven't seen in any of the videos I've watched.  Good thing we tried it out on spare parts first!

Next was to try my hand with one of my models, a Tau Devilfish.  Here is a half-day's work of sprue-cutting, cleaning, deburring, filing, and assembly -- before filling seams.

I wanted to try out a colored primer that I like.  The model is entirely primed in black, then masked, then primed in the olive drab.  It's a great military, flat color, but it's not what I want for my Devilfish.

I lay a foundation for the hairspray technique.  We're already up to four layers.  Lesson learned:  do not spray hairspray directly from the can.  It's way too thick.  Use the airbrush.

With my general-purpose, single-action airbrush, I try out camo colors that I saw in a Fine Scale Modeler magazine.

I like the general look, but I've learned that I probably need to use my dual-action airbrush for this kind of work.  The single-action airbrush had very inconsistent behavior.  That might be operator error, of course, but I'm pretty sure I have better tools for the job.  I didn't have the control that I really wanted, so the pattern isn't quite what I really wanted, but I'm happy enough for my first attempt.  It was a good first learning step! 

Much work remains, of course, but this will at least be presentable on the game-table as-is.

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