luni, 5 februarie 2018

The usual 35ers bunch

As usual at the end of last year (2017), I finished a few 1/35 figures.

This time, only Russians. Soviets to be more specific.
Here are a general presentation on a smaller scale VIP transport GAZ car.

The infantry was thought to be used on a tank. They are 6, dressed for winter. It's a Dragon set from the '90s.
I tried to obtain different shades of green to represent what was a normal state of fact at that time. Funny but that was the situation also in the army of the Socialist Republic of Romania, when I was drafted in 1986.
The other set of 4 guys with antitank rifles are also from Dragon but closer to our times. The sculpture at faces and uniforms was better, but the solutions chose for putting the rifles in their hands was at least uninspired.
The 2 seated guys dressed also for winter but one in long coat and the other sporting a WWI bonnet, are a resin set thought to be used in the Aerosan model (from Kirin model range if I remember correctly).

Beside them I finished also a Tsar Bomb - the Soviet RDS-220 hydrogen bomb (code name Ivan[3] or Vanya), the most powerful nuclear weapon ever created. Its test on 30 October 1961 remains the most powerful explosive ever detonated. It was also referred to as Kuzkina mat (Russian: Кузькина мать; "Kuzma's mother"),possibly referring to First secretary Nikita Hrushchev's promise to show the United States a Kuzkina mat (an idiom roughly translating to "We'll show you!") at a 1960 session of United Nations General Assembly.
The kit is from A-Model and it's a short run that made me work a long and unpleasant time.
The trailer carrying it has 34 wheels, with sinkmarks and flash. Also, the "functional" directional dolly from the front and the 2 ramps in the back are a nightmare to make work.

I have to stop building such time consuming projects.

miercuri, 29 noiembrie 2017

Sakura in the wind

Although I'm interested about Japanese history and especially history regarding samurai life, I've never heard until 2 years ago about this female hero, Tomoe Gozen.
I received this 90mm figure from Alexandros Models range together with other figures to paint them as a commission job. The way this figure stands on it's narrow base and then spreading around with all kind of ribbons and waving hair, not to mention the long Naginata, held horizontally, made me to consider the work at this model for later on. But the client, wanted this first.
Well, it would not be the first time when, working under pressure I got, in the end at a good result.

Having the experience of many other samurai figures before, this time I set as a goal to myself to resolve some mistakes overlooked in the past. Thus, I took a great care to stay in scale with painted motives on the different garment pieces. Also, I payed attention to the lacing system, of the armor, which tended to be simplified in some areas.
For the garments under the armor, although I've been bombarded with several examples on the net, I tried to form a personal opinion about what should she wear. Considering she was for quite some time in a higher class position, I considered that she could afford a light silk costume of a feminine color decorated with motifs that appeal traditional and patriotic ideas but also some graceful representation of a loved symbol such is the crane.

For the archer's sleeve, usually made from a thicker material I chose an orange decorated with Sakura flowers and golden clan Mon representations. From what I know, the chrysanthemum motif was reserved for imperial use only.
From what I saw on the internet in most images of figurine models and reenactment representations, the lacing on the O-yoroi was monochromatic. It was inviting for me to represent a gradient color from dark blue to white. For the bonding strings I've used a more often utilized red color, to speculate the contrast with the duller lacing. Just at the Dai-Sho, as an exception, the bonding was represented in a pepper pattern, as if the whole set has been received as a gift.

For the base I used an wooden ashtray, same as I used to the previous Samurai figures. Because of it's light weight I had to fill the middle cavity with 2 fishing wights and some bonding material.
The groundwork was achieved with A+B epoxi paste on which different kind of preserved plants were mounted. Grass was made from hemp rope and static grass. The long blades are hairs from a big brush cut at different lengths and glued as if blown by wind.
In fact, keeping in mind the way the hair and the ribbon are waving in the wind I had to keep this sensation throughout the entire vignette.
The Sakura tree was done from a preserved root on which moss leaves and paper flowers were tediously glued.
The process is not secret and you can understand the steps by watching the pictures below. All it's needed is patience, time too short to start painting and too long to do nothing.
Regarding the whole appearance of the figure, I would have represented it with a bow instead of the Naginata, especially considering the bow string dispenser on her left hip. But according to many old stamps, apparently the lady was a very skilled Naginata fighter. Anyway I considered that other intricate models on the shaft of this weapon would be tiring with every other element richly decorated. Moreover, Naginata and Yari spears were not the same kind of personalized weapons as swords.

The face of the character was treated as if heavy make-up had been put on. It was a common practice at that time for the Japanese woman to use heavy make-up to enhance the white of their skin. Also, the eyelashes and eyebrows were marked with dark purple red over the white of the whole make-up. In such a situation, shadows on the face was very faint, just areas in full shadow being more darkened.

A few photos of the finished work.

miercuri, 21 iunie 2017


Who is interested in the....interesting ;) history of this airplane, may read it here
I'm not a fan of Soviet/Russian aircraft design, but this kit, as well as others coming from eastern producers, benefits of a great mold sculpted by a very talented and tedious artist.
There are recessed rivets and overlapped sheets on the "metallic" wings, while the wooden fuselage was kept clean.
This subject was exactly on my taste, giving me the possibility to represent wear and tear on all those different surfaces.
As usually I started with the cockpit which is pretty well furnished, but gives the possibility to add some scratch also.
The construction of the cockpit must be done bearing in mind that the rear turret have to be painted prior to the glueing of the two fuselage parts. Beside that, this turret comes separated in several parts (6 to be more precise, counting the machine-gun too)
I added belts to the chairs and also printed some instrument panels.
After closing the fuselage, I made a special template to scribe the ventral door for the gun position, that was not represented on the kit.
Wanting to represent a specific winter camouflaged aircraft I noticed that the engine cowling was not appropriate for that type. I cannibalized one from a Lavotchikin La7 and scratchbuild the radiator's duct from some plastic tube and the end of German supplementary gas tank.
Fast forward to the painting as being the sole reason for which I started this kit.
I painted the fuselage with a wooden panel color to represent the kind of material used. You have to know that some of the soviet planes were constructed in piano factories.
On the rest I put a layer of resistent metal. All that preparation have been sealed with a semimat varnish to be able to work without fear of smearing it.

Then the underside was sprayed with a fine coat of light blue and the upper side first with scraping medium from AK and then with the traditional cammo of green and black, both colors being water based acrylics from Valejo and AK Interactive. I don't remember codes. I went in the shop and pick-up what I considered to be right.
The light blue on the belly was then polished with a damp tissue with izopropilic alcohol mixed with a bit of water. On the upper sides I started by chipping the paint first with various tools using little quantities of water, then with a stiff brush damped with water and at the end with very fine sandpaper.
This ensured a great variety of scratches and exfoliated paint.

After all that I applied the white distemper using a very diluted mix of acrylic white and a low pressure on the airbrush, trying to fade the white on areas supposed to be abused often by maintenance crew.
Decals was put in the last stage. From the pictures it is apparent that the national markings were repainted after the application of the distemper.

Now, it makes a great team with the Archangelsky Ar2 and this team will be enriched as soon as possible with a Petliakov Pe2 and an Iliushin Il2 Sturmovik from Dakoplast.

joi, 8 iunie 2017

Swiss Army Knife - float planes of WW2

After a long break, dictated by other obligations I put on my bench the Yokosuka E14Y (Glen) floatplane from Fujimi.
I started the work on it several times but didn't advance seriously.
The first error that I've noticed was the belly of the aircraft aft of the wings. It was flat as a desk (an upside-down desk). So I saw down the ventral fin and started to build-up with Tamiya epoxy putty.

After the putty was cured I sand it down with a flexy file and at the end I reattached the ventral fin.
The basic cockpit offered by Fujimi was enhanced with scratch reinforcement struts and different other equipment, using as a base for informatio the excellent diagram from Robert C. Mikesh "Monogram Japanese Aircraft Interiors 1940-1945". Another source of inspiration was Airmag Hors Serie no.4 - Avions Japonais sur Sous-marins, where one can find also fairly good diagrams of the rear and front cockpits and also designs showing the stowage of the aircraft on the sub, plus a few color profiles made by my fellow Romanian designer, Teodor Liviu Morosanu. Sadly he has passed away a few years ago. I still have a doubt about the shape of the ventral photographic window thou - In Airmag there aren't any in diagrams or in color profiles.
Beeing the fact that I chose to represent the model with the cockpit closed, the machine gun was stowed in it's holder on the right side of the rear cockpit.
The chosen color scheme was of an aircraft from the I7 submarine, which took part at the Pearl Harbour attack. The floatplane was deployed to pick'up photographic evidence on the results of the mission. This was the first combat mission for the type (another reason to select this scheme) and from what I found and read it's still not clear if the crew and the plane completed their mission.

The colors used for the overall scheme was a mix of paints from Gunze range - Hemp and J3 grey. Previously a red-brown primer was applied on all surfaces.
The red on the tail was matched with the decals and better suited for that was Tamiya's red.
The propeller was enhanced with metal covering for the leading edge and tips of the blates, done with self adhesive aluminum foil. The rest of the propeller was appropriately painted to represent lacquered wood, by applying a base of wood color and then brush transparent acrylic color with a stiff rare bristles brush.
After completion of the construction I noticed that the position on floats didn't reflect reality, as the model was prone to it's nose, while the real plane had a more tail down position. But it was too late for surgery.
I also replaced the unique rudder (?!?) with scratch ones from plasticard, which were again painted to represent wood.
The radio cable was made with elastic thread.

I weathered the upper parts by spraying a fine dust of buff to represent the action of UV rays of the powerful Pacific sun (the aircraft was tested in its home harbor for quite some time). Scratches and chipping was done on the walk way area both to the primmer and to the bare metal (or fabric) depth.

Having this model on the bench reminded me that I have 2 more foldable submarine borne floatplanes in my display, that needed some long awaited attention: a Soviet Chetverikov SPL Hydro 1 which was intended as a submarine borne hydroplane and was long ago painted by me in a what-if scheme (I dreamed it was captured by Romanians in the Black Sea and employed as med-evac plane in the difficult region of the Danube Delta) and an Arado 231 floatplane that needed at least a repaint with a more appropriate RLM02 scheme.

I am fascinated by floatplanes and seaplanes, but those tiny underwater traveling, seaplanes were a real treat to model.
Why Swis Army knife ?! Imagine that the Glen was the sole Japanese aircraft to bomb the United States territory so, not only it can carry bombs but also took of from a submarine deck. The airplane also carried defensive armament although his primary mission was of reconnaissance.
Underneath, some pictures of a carrier Submarine model, finished a year or two ago.