Doc Savage Resin Model Kit Part 3: Finished!

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Jun 102012

My first Doc Savage on the left; new one on the right

Finally finished my 120mm Doc Savage  resin model.  Haven’t mentioned it yet, but this model is listed online as “Doc Savage The Bronze Peril”.  When he first arrived, I opened the box, looked at the pieces, and my heart sank.  Never saw a model with so much trimming and fixing needed. Lots of pinholes, several large holes.  The face looked too long;  I was tremendously depressed.

But then…  after the standard cleanup, he got his base coat.  Just gray, but it really made a difference.  With shadows now visible, the sculpt was already looking better.  So I went ahead and painted the base, then the tiki, then started on Doc.  Boots and pants first, because they’re pretty basic.  If any overlap from the other parts gets on them, easy to fix. For the boots, I used a combination of brown and black, both glossy and not.  Blended and dry brushed until I had a dark brown slightly glossy boot showing signs of wear.  The pants were black, with a pretty thorough dark brown (but lighter than the boots).  Dry brushed with a mix of brown, and territorial beige.

This is my first model to actually paint with glossy colors.  Usually, any gloss I need (like eyes) gets brushed on after varnishing the whole kit.  In this case, I was looking for a wet, swampy feel, so the snake, base, and tiki all have varying amounts of glossy paints blended in.

Wasn’t sure where to go from there.  Eventually went with the snake, because I wasn’t sure what to do with him.  Painting the snake first allowed a certain ‘sloppiness’ while experimenting with colors.  Thought he might look good as a bronze-ish python, and he turned out pretty well in bronze hues.  Then Monique pointed out the sameness of colors, and suggested the snake be green.  This sounded interesting.  First, she’s right about the colors on Doc all looking alike.  Secondly, green works on a number of levels.  In a green swampy environment, it’s believable as camouflage for the snake.  It balances well with the colors on the base.  For another first, I used a metallic green paint, and simply dry-brushed over the bronze.  Varying weights of green, with some glossy black and brown thrown in, made a very cool look.

The snake is probably where I first realized this model is far better than I gave it credit for.  The sculpt is dead-on.  It’s got that heavy-bodied snake look, where the biggest part seems to flatten out against the bottom.  The curves, spirals, how it drapes and wraps around…  all really well sculpted.  I know, the base and tiki look good too; but those were ‘background’.  It wasn’t until working on Doc that the quality of the sculpt started winning me over.

Next up, I base coated most of Doc’s upper torso in Territorial Beige.  (Yes, that color got a lot of use on this model!)  It’s a great base for the khaki shirt, but also went well as a starting point for the flesh.  Over that, the shirt got a coating of khaki.  Kind of cool, finding an actual color named ‘khaki’!  Then very lightly dry-brushed with Antique White.

The flesh is a mixture I’d made up previously, consisting of equal parts Titanium White, Burnt Sienna, and Raw Sienna.  Since Doc is tanned (Man of Bronze, you know?)  I added a bit of Burnt Umber.  It made the base color come out a bit reddish.  For dry brushing, a mild layer of flesh with brown added.  Then a very light dry brush of the original mix; flesh only.  It took some playing around to get the mixtures right, but wound up exactly what I wanted.  Far better than my first Doc Savage model.  That was one of my earliest ones, and getting the flesh right was beyond me.  The finished product was actually an off-the-shelf flesh, mixed with a metallic bronze color.  As much as I’m proud of him, this time around the flesh tones came out far better.

The hair boggled my mind.  I couldn’t settle on an appropriate color.  Looking online, it ranged from brown, to blonde.  The blonde look just wasn’t to my taste, so it became brown sort of by default.  With some highlights to brighten it up, the hair turned out decent.  Used the same mix for the eyebrows, but blended them a bit with the flesh.  Wanted them to be there, but subtle.  The eyes were a major pain.  Mainly because my own eyes aren’t so good.  I used a set of jewelers glasses, with the two strongest lenses doubled together.  (Word of warning- doing so will make the room blur and spin.  Try to keep your focus very close!)  Very small brush, white down first.  Then a circle of brown.  (Yes, Karen, I know he had gold-fleck eyes that whirled, but doing that was beyond me.)  Finally a toothpick to lay down a tiny dot of black.  Then flesh tones to clean up any spillover around the eyelid.

That was a lot of work, but it really made the ultimate difference.  Dropped a light brown wash in in the eye sockets just above the eyes, and across the mouth.  After that, the face no longer looked elongated.  With all the details done, the sculpt turned out to be excellent.  That’ll teach me to judge a model before it’s been painted.

The last few touches involved using the same light brown wash on the darker areas of the hands.  Between the fingers, inside the fist.  Made the belt mostly black, but left it looking a bit cracked and worn.  After all, if he’s trekking through the swamp, it’s not going to be all new and shiny.  Touched up a few points needed repair.  All done.

Considering that I really disliked this model straight out of the box, the end result is amazing.  There’s so much loving attention to detail in the sculpting that I just couldn’t see at first.  While he’s listed as a 120mm model, just like my first Doc Savage resin model, the scale is much bigger.  If he stood up straight, he’d probably stand an extra 1/3 taller.  This gives the artist much more room for details.  As much as the first Doc is one of my favorite models, this one turned out to be a much better kit.  For small kits, both are excellent.  Both offer iconic images of Doc, in the Bama art style.

He required more work and attention than most 120mm kits, but it was seriously worth it.  If you’re a Doc Savage fan, and don’t mind the effort, give him a go!

Doc Savage Resin Model Kit Part 2

 Doc Savage, Heroes, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Doc Savage Resin Model Kit Part 2
Jun 072012

I mentioned last time, Doc started looking better as soon as the primer went on.  Maybe because it provided better shading and visible detail.  Putting down a base coat of gray also let me see any air bubbles, pinholes, or other flaws.  There were a lot of problems with the casting; I can honestly say I’ve never had a resin kit with so many holes and bubbles.  But once the cutting and trimming were done (Thanks, Black and Decker!

)  it was easier to focus on the smaller problems.  To start, I tried standard modelers putty.  It just didn’t want to work at that small of a scale.  So I used a toothpick, and some Zap-a-Gap.  Since it dries clear, it was hard to identify any missed spots until the primer went over Doc.

Painting the base was fun, and just seemed to flow magically.  No problems, no second guessing, just really easy.  Since the Tiki statue is essentially one color, I kind of expected it to be even easier.  Silly me.  That darn thing came close to giving me nightmares.  I wanted a swamp-damp, mahogany-dark tiki.  With moss and vines growing up the back.  (Not that I recognized the moss and vines on the back at first…  took me a while to see.)  Anyway, it took a lot of tries.  Too dark.  Too light.  Looked plastic.  Didn’t look like wood.  The list of problems just kept on going.  I started completely over more than once.

I even gave up for a while.  Decided to do it up in gold.  Like Incan or Mayan artifacts.  This isn’t totally far-fetched.  Doc gets his wealth from a gold mine in Central America… managed by decendants of the Mayans.  (Yeah, the end-0f-the-world calendar thing was just a hobby with them… they were really still there, financing Doc’s grand adventures!)

Forgot to take pictures, which is a shame.  The tiki made a fabulous gold carving.  But in scale with the model base, it was far to large.  Back to square one.  Only this time, went back to the basics.  Simple colors, mainly black, a dark brown/black blend, and a dark brown.  Mostly used glossy paints, to keep that ‘wet look’.  On the back, smudged some greens around.  Nothing too vivid, just a overgrown vine and algae kind of feel.  And just that easily, it was done.

Nothing fancy with the bamboo shoots.  Started with a darker, wet look at the bottoms.  Faded to a more tannish, dryer color at the tops.  Now I’m very happy with it.  Had to use some Zap-a-Gap to fill in the bottom.  Should have made more sure of the fit before painting, but didn’t realize the fit was so bad until later.  Still happy with it, though.

After that, Doc finally got some attention.  Sometimes I choose the order of colors to work on according to ‘most to least’.  Going from easiest, to most difficult.  In this case, and with him being a smaller kit, there wasn’t much to choose from.  Started with his boots, moved on the the pants, then the python.  No surprises on the clothing, but the snake was interesting.  Mixed some metallic colors to get a sheen on its skin.  Originally, it was going to be a bronze-ish look.  Part tribute to Doc Savage- The Man of Bronze.  But also, because it was a good color for the snake.  Given the swampy locale, though, Monique suggested it should be green-tinted.  Made sense that he would be designed to blend into his environment.  So, the snake has a green sheen on top, with some patchy mottling.  More of a pale tan on the bottom, again, with some blended colors to look more natural.

The final step to this point was painting for the khaki shirt.  So far, all I’ve done is the base coat using Territorial Beige.  Still have some work on Doc’s left arm, where the python is really wrapped around.  The next phase will be to lighten the shirt, and give it some shading.  Then Doc’s skin and hair, and a few details.  Happily, the more I work on him, the more I like him.  By now, it looks like he’s going to be one of my favorites.  For you purists out there, I know this isn’t the way Doc was originally drawn.  But the Bama art for Doc Savage is the only style I knew for most of my childhood.  This is the Doc I grew up on.


Doc Savage Resin Model Kit Part 1: Doing the Swamp Base

 Doc Savage, Heroes, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Doc Savage Resin Model Kit Part 1: Doing the Swamp Base
Jun 032012

Old model on left, new one on right

We finally got a chance to work on our models.  The Doc Savage resin model kit had initially disappointed me.  Not because it required so much cleanup, though that played a part.  Mainly because the sculpt was ‘elongated’, and the face looked too long and skinny.  Kind of made me think Doc Savage had a kid brother who hadn’t grown into his full size yet.  For a comparison, above is the old Doc Savage model I did years ago, next to the current one.  (Though as mentioned below, the new one looks better after being primered.)

Thank goodness, after coating him with light gray for primer, he started looking better.  Getting some shadows and visible detail, even if it was only gray, really helped.  Kind of broke the lines apart, so the features don’t look so stretched out.  Coating the tiki figure and the bamboo shoots was easy enough.  I did have some trouble with the main base.  There was so much tiny detail, it was difficult getting the paint to fill all the crevices.  Plus, even though it had been washed, the paint was not sticking well.  Wanted to bead up and leave spots open.  I had to cycle between touch-up, and drying, until it was all covered.

I like to do my primer in gray.  No strong reason, it’s just a neutral color and works well under dark or light paints.  I’ve tried doing primer in dark gray or black, but found it overpowers the paint colors.  Once the base was done, it was remarkably easy to paint.  I wanted a swampy look.  Partially because my last model (The Phantom) had a sandy/jungle floor.  Also because the other Doc Savage kit I painted had a sand/dirt base.  It was time to do something differently.  Started with a dark Hunter green.  Muddied it up with a glossy “Real Brown’ wash.  Just lightly, didn’t want to overwhelm the green.  Then highlighted with a few random light greens, in a random pattern so it looked kind of mottled.

The rock on the back will likely never be seen once the model’s on display… but still, I painted it gray, with smudged dark green over it like algae.  The root and leaves were fun.  Used similar technique on the leaves, but upped the brightness a bit to make them stand out.  But only a little bit.  I wanted the entire scene to kind of blend into one overall impression.

The root was my big exception.  I swirled glossy black and glossy brown together, but didn’t blend them perfectly.  Then when I painted it, the root had mottled and smudged brown/black, like it was laying in the damp and rotting.  I’ll highlight it with some dry brushing, but want to keep that ‘damp and rotting’ look.  I plan on following a similar plan on the rotting tiki carving, but with more detail.

Next Projects: Moebius’ The Mummy, and MojoResin’s Doc Savage Models

 Doc Savage, Heroes, Moebius Models, Monsters, Plastic Models, Resin Models, The Mummy  Comments Off on Next Projects: Moebius’ The Mummy, and MojoResin’s Doc Savage Models
May 152012

Click pic for Amazon page

We’ve been taking a break since the last models.  Monique’s Invisible Man turned out fabulous, and I was very happy with The Phantom.  Both of us have our next models lined up.  She really liked the quality of Moebius, so next she’s going to build Moebius’ Mummy model.  One thing I like about Moebius, it’s pretty easy to find on Amazon.  (The pic to the side is a link.)  The Mummy is pretty large; the box says 1/8th scale, but it looks more like 1/6th scale.  The details are nice, and the build complexity is far easier than the Invisible Man was.  She’s really looking forward to painting it.  There’s a lot of scope for a creative paint job.

For my own part, I’m taking an easier road.  Being a big Doc Savage fan, I did a smaller one years ago that was extremely well-sculpted.  When we found a cool looking Doc on eBay recently, I jumped at it.  Both came from MojoResin.  I’ve had mostly good luck with Mojo, and have ordered several models (and so has Monique) from him.  This one, though… it’s a great concept.  Doc Savage on one knee fighting with a giant python.  Classic Doc scene.  The picture looked pretty good.  But when he arrived, the first thing I noticed was the sculpt.  It was kind of elongated.  Almost like Doc’s taller brother  (No, he didn’t have a brother – just in case you were wondering).  Had all the right features, but especially the face was too long.  The rest of the sculpt was pretty decent for a smaller kit.
This model had more of a quality issue than usual, also.  Lots of flashing, and parts to trim off.  That was okay with me.  But there were tons of air holes, and some pretty big bubbles that meant I had to fill in and re-create part of the surface.  Taken all together, none of this is a deal-breaker.  It’s still going to be a fun model to build.  But due to the disproportionate length of his face, and to a lesser extent, his body, he won’t have a permanent place on my ‘shelf of pride’.
In the pics below, you can see the initial quality, and then a test fit after some cleanup.  Plus a close-up of the face; being too long in the face is my only real complaint.
Doesn’t mean I wont enjoy it.  It’s going to be a lot of fun.  I have a good backlog of models that need building, but it’s purely a mood thing.  Right now, I’m in a Doc Savage mood.  One of my most-looked-forward to models is the NSEA Protector from Galaxy Quest.  Another is Jeannie from the old tv show I Dream of Jeannie.  When the time is right, I’ll know it.  Besides, I’m still brainstorming the Protector… want to light it, and I’ve never built a model where I added my own lights.  Don’t know anything about it; going to head to Radio Shack sooner or later.  Seems like a good starting point.
For now, though, Doc Savage.  Grew up on the books, fan of the character, really looking forward to painting him.  Off to a good start just smoothing and trimming.  Nearly ready to start painting.  Going to be fun!
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