Moebius Elvira Model Kit: Finished!

 Elvira, Moebius Models, Monique's Models, Monsters, Plastic Models  Comments Off on Moebius Elvira Model Kit: Finished!
Aug 272012

This was a big weekend.  I got some work done on my project, but Monique completed hers.  She’s been working on Moebius’ Elvira plastic model kit for quite a while now.  I like Moebius kits, they’re always highly detailed and well made.  Elvira is no exception to that, but she’s exceptional in other ways (that sentence didn’t turn out like I meant, but I’ll let it stand).  The Elvira model kit is a first for Monique on several levels.  To begin with, it’s Monique’s first Non-Monster kit.  Up until now, she’s restricted her model build-ups to movie monsters.  Elvira may be in a related genre, but it’s not exactly the same thing.

This is also the first time Monique ever used an Airbrush.  (We’re both beginners… but i think she’s picking it up better than I am.)  She used a Badger Anthem 155.  After she got the hang of that, she switched over to a generic airbrush that came with our air compressor.  Wouldn’t you know it, she’s great with that one, too!

We’ve been learning a lot from the Phil Lister and David Fisher DVD video series.  These are great videos, and well worth looking up.  So next thing I know, Monique is wanting a set of chalk pastels.  She used them for Elvira’s face and makeup.  The first time I ever heard of using chalk on a model kit, I was trying to imagine how you’d scribble on the model with it.  It didn’t work quite that way.  Monique scrubbed them on a piece of sandpaper, then blended the colors together and brushed them onto the model.  The results were very similar to airbrushing.

It’s a pretty neat technique.  Monique’s mentioned before the whole painting and color-blending come naturally to her, since it’s so similar to applying make-up.  In Elvira’s case, it’s the same either way.  I’m very impressed with the chalk effect.  It blends in very smoothly, and gives excellent color gradations.  Her Dad suggested she lighten the skin tones.  He pointed out Elvira doesn’t get much sun, and her skin is a very pale color.  So Monique lightened the skin tones.  In the face, to protect her detail work on the eyes and lips, she used Mold Builder.  (I’m currently trying that on my Captain America model, too.)  You paint it over the already-painted areas to protect them.  When you’re done, carefully (!) peel it off.  It’s kind of a rubber-cement feel, but comes off a lot better.

You know, I used to think you just  ‘painted’, and then it was done.  Heck, when I learned how  to dry-brush, that just wrapped it all up in a pretty bow.  Now we’re airbrushing, dry-brushing, using chalks, making painting friskets with Mold Builder…  We’ve learned a lot from these videos.

Another new technique for Monique… using my Black and Decker rotary tool (like a Dremel).  The tool was a gift from a good friend, and it’s come in handy for years.  I’m not sure how to build a model without it.  But Monique’s always been a bit leery of it.  So I was a bit surprised, but pleased, when she decided to smooth the legs out with it.  My main experience is with resin though.  Neither of us had any idea how easily it would gouge out the legs.  Instead of smoothing the legs, they were nearly destroyed.  Monique informed me that was no problem… if she couldn’t fix it, she was going to order a new kit just for the legs.  Lucky for me, she was able to fix it.  Sanded and puttied it nearly to death, but when it was done, the legs looked smooth and silky again!

One of Phil Lister’s videos was an actual project video for Elvira.  This was extremely useful, especially when it came to assembly.  With the legs, torso, and arms, there’s a specific sequence required.  You have to make sure the legs rest properly on the couch, while the arms rest cleanly on the back and side of the couch.  Without Phil’s advice, that might have come out seriously off-kilter.  Even knowing in advance, there was some trouble getting both arms to actually touch the couch.

All in all, another fine project, and a fitting one as Monique’s display centerpiece.  It’s been not quite a year since that fateful day we celebrated our anniversary by building models together.  In that brief time, she’s grown by leaps and bounds.  We may have started with me teaching her… but by now, it’s clearly a partnership where we both have skills and ideas to share.


Moebius Mummy Kit: Excellent Plastic Model Kit with Lots of Detail

 Moebius Models, Monique's Models, Monsters, Plastic Models, The Mummy  Comments Off on Moebius Mummy Kit: Excellent Plastic Model Kit with Lots of Detail
Jun 142012

Recently Monique and I started new models.  Mine was the little 120mm Doc Savage.  Hers was the very large (by our standards) Moebius Mummy kit.  As always, Moebius exceeds expectations.  The box was surprisingly large.  When we opened it, the kit was larger than we had expected, intricate, and had a lot of detailed paint work required.  The complex paint requirement was expected.  Monique actually selected this model kit because of the complexity.  Her last kit was (also Moebius) the Invisible Man.  It placed a lot of emphasis on detailed painting, but most of the work involved careful assembly of many small pieces.  Invisible Man was a great kit, but she wanted something oriented more toward the painting than the building.  She’s also got the bug to make some resin models after seeing me enjoy mine, but her next projects for a while to come are all plastic.
Anyway, this was a pretty big kit.  First time she’s ever had to use rubber bands and clothespins during assembly.  Initially, I think Monique was getting frustrated that she couldn’t put it all together in larger increments.  Once she realized each part needed time and attention, she drilled down to a very detailed approach.  This was good, because the result was a very clean build.  Everything fit well, seams and gaps were minimal.  Build-wise, another well-crafted kit from Moebius.
The painting was every bit as complicated as expected… with the added factor that Monique couldn’t originally decide what color scheme she wanted.  She had a good variety of metallic and pearlescent colors, which neither of us had really worked with.  With all the details carved into it, she had a lot of opportunity for dry brushing and using washes.  Monique uses washes more (and  to better effect) than I do.  My preference is dry brushing.  Because of her, I’ve actually expanded my bag of tricks and techniques.
For instance, on two previous models she came up with a method of painting rocks that looked amazing.  Something I would never have thought of.  On this kit, she really went the extra mile.  The cobra snake was well-built, but lacked some detailing.  On the hood, front and back, it was smooth.  Nothing to account for the typical markings of a cobra.  No problem, just paint them on, right?  Monique thought that lacked depth.  So she took a candle, and several differently shaped needles, and burnt the patterns in!  After some experimentation, she found a good pattern and depth.  She’s still a bit afraid of the rotary tool, so I smoothed the edges for her.  Mine’s the Toolman Tim version… big, clunky, and heavy.  Maybe for our anniversary, I’ll go all romantic and buy her a smaller hobbyists Dremel.  :^)
In the meantime, painting the mummy went very well.  She did her usual great job, including painting his eyes through the very small slit of his nearly opened eyelids.  She thought  really hard about adding real bandages to him, but to be honest, the sculpt was so good, there wasn’t really a need.  Especially since she saw the sarcophagus as the primary point of this model kit.  For all the difficulty, I think it was her favorite part of the project.
Speaking of, the sarcophagus exterior was wild.  She did a dark base coat on it; looked kind of like Burnt Umber to me.  Then she covered it with a very bright metallic gold, thinking to do several layers for effect.  After the first coat of gold though, it turned out so cool, she left the golden parts just like that.
The other colors were another story.  Probably the only part of the Mummy kit that gave her real trouble. She wasn’t sure of her color choices, and they were so different from each other the contrast was very startling.  Had some trouble dry brushing the metallic colors, the medium was kind of thin.  She eventually wound up blending a bit into one and the other until they looked more like they belonged together.  Still had the problem of brightness.  The paints were so vivid, it looked far too new for an ancient Mummy’s final resting place.
Monique found the answer in a forum.  I wish I knew which forum, and which thread, I’d like to give proper credit here.  But someone else building the same model, had the same trouble.  He solved it by using a very watery black wash, then sponging it off quickly.  She tried it, and the result was beyond fabulous.  Instant antique!
The base she blitzed through easily, doing a marble effect for the fallen columns.  She told me she put less effort into the actual ground, because most of it won’t be visible in the final.  She’s right, when it was all done, what little I can see of the ground looks fine.
Her last effort was on the back wall.  On the far side, was embedded artwork and some runes.  With many options on how to handle it, she chose to color it in.  Used a very washed-out technique to make it look very old and worn.  It’s such a wonderful look, I really regret it’s going to be mostly unseen.  We’ve discussed a rotating stand, or a mirror in back, but probably won’t go that far.
There’s something both magical, and frustrating, about knowing all the effort will not be seen and appreciated.  Sometimes, the only reason to do something is because you’ll know.  And generally, that’s reward enough for me.  The sense of pride and happiness I get from model-building comes from knowing I did the best I could.  It’s a great hobby, and I’m glad Monique and I both share it.

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!

Moebius Invisible Man Model Kit- Finished and on Display!

 Monique's Models, Monsters, Plastic Models, The Invisible Man  Comments Off on Moebius Invisible Man Model Kit- Finished and on Display!
May 092012

Monique finally finished her Moebius Invisible Man model

.  Personally, I loved it right from the start.  As soon as she opened the box, and we saw approximately 500 million little tiny pieces…  Monique’s been something of a juggernaut  now that she’s started building models.  Not only does she enjoy them, she’s extremely good at it.  Plowing through one kit after the next, I foresaw having to build a new room just to hold them all.  When I saw The Invisible Man was so complex, it looked like she had finally found a challenge to stretch her skills.

Not that it was just a bunch of parts.  Moebius has a well-earned reputation for quality kits.  The only part that surprised us, was the material.  We had assumed it would be resin, but instead, the kit was of a high-quality plastic.  Very smooth, well cast and no air bubbles.  The fit was excellent, requiring only a bit of putty work here and there.

The instructions were amazing.  Went into very good detail, with full color pictures, charts, recommended colors, and exacting step by step guidance.  All together, this model kit provided the perfect challenge to Monique’s abilities.  At times I could hear her quietly muttering to herself… at other times, she was quite vocal.  Being a perfectionist is an asset in kit-building, but it also means you do, and re-do, and spend a lot of time making something to be proud of.  So yes, it slowed her down.  To be fair, we also had several real-life projects in the same time frame, so that accounted for some of the time factor.

Several things about the model were worth noting.  To begin with, the pieces were detailed in the extreme.  Tiny, partially invisible rats.  Rows and rows of books to detail.  Vials of strange and mysterious liquids.  The pieces were either clear plastic, gray, or a kind of off-orange.  For the clear things, Monique experimented with transparent paints.  Neither of us had any experience, and had no idea how well it would work.  After seeing the finished model, I have to say the transparent paints turned out extremely well.  With the vials, she went the extra mile and carved tiny cork stoppers to put on top.  It was a great touch that really added some realism.

Another extremely clever and innovative idea Monique had was to paint the shoes the basic colors, do some dry brushing, and while they were still tacky from the paint, she stirred the brush into the dust from a nearby shelf (but aside from that one shelf, our home is perfectly clean!!)  and brushed the dust onto his shoes.  This gave a very subtle feel of quality that’s seen better days.  Monique’s goal was to make him seem slightly shabby.  Appropriate for someone who’s been on the run and hiding out.

For the mortar and pestle, they were originally clear pieces.  She painted them to look like stoneware, then added real honest-to-goodness herbs from the kitchen into the bowl for verisimilitude.  She also put different herbs in some of the vials.  Talk about attention to detail!

She’s got a great hand with bandages, as seen in her Mummy model.  These turned out quite nicely, as she was looking for a slightly dingy appearance to them.  The broken bits of glass on the floor were sculpted into the floor, but Monique thought they needed more, so she put a small beaker nearby on it’s side.

The tables and bookshelves were just plain plastic.  Monique gave them a wonderful dry-brush that looked like real wood, and then made it look aged and worn, in keeping with the slightly shabby feel of the overall scene.

I personally liked the look of the rats and the frog, being partially invisible.  One small unforeseen difficulty- This was our first time working with clear pieces.  Neither of us realized that spraying a clear finish to protect the paint would fog clear parts.  As a result, the aquarium holding the rats, and the vial holding the frog is a bit fogged.

The rug was my one complaint about the kit.  It took me a while to understand what looked wrong, but I finally realized it was the carpet.  Monique did a great job painting it, but the carpet was sculpted in the base, and was on the same level as the wood flooring.  A real carpet would have been raised up on top of the floor.  Having just realized this, I blurted it out without thinking.  Knowing Monique, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it.  She’s a perfectionist, and now it was bothering her.  Lucky for me, she’s also a problem-solver.  After discarding several ideas, she found a miniature carpet on eBay meant for dollhouse hobbyists.  It was an absolutely perfect fit to hide the original carpet, was still circular, had a great design… and looked believable.  A perfect solution, and the final crowning touch.

For the most part, the rest was standard procedures in a model.  Getting the colors just right, mixing tones for dry brushing and making sure multiple pieces matched when assembled.  Sanding, filing, puttying as needed.  Monique also found a decal set made specifically for this model, which included things like the book titles, and some printed pages.  She didn’t use all of it, because some parts weren’t suitable to her vision.  And the parts she used weren’t the free pass you’d expect.  For instance, the books had to be painstakingly prepainted before applying the titles.  You might imagine just cutting out a row of book titles and applying them en mass, but they actually had to be cut and applied individually.  It was still a lot of work to do, but having custom designed titles and binders for the books was an awesome find.

I don’t mean to make all this sound easy.  Monique spent a lot of time getting everything just right.  Painting very small details onto hard-to-see parts.  This was a great kit.  I love how it challenged her skills, and led to several creative solutions over the course of building it.  I’ve tried to highlight things that impressed me, or that she mentioned specifically.  I’m sure there are things I’ve missed mentioning.

The finished model looks incredible.  It’s her best work to date.  If you think you’re up to the challenge, I can highly recommend the Moebius Invisible Man kit.  As a matter of fact, I recommend pretty much anything by Moebius.  Monique’s next project is their Mummy kit.  Great size, tons of detail.  She’s going to enjoy this one even more!!

Monique's current monster gallery!

Monster From the Black Lagoon Model Kit – Reissue of Original Aurora

 Creature from the Black Lagoon, Monique's Models, Monsters, Plastic Models  Comments Off on Monster From the Black Lagoon Model Kit – Reissue of Original Aurora
Mar 232012
Monster of the Movies Creature of the Black Lagoon

Not the same model, but as close as I can find

Still no Phantom.  I’m really feeling the need to work on it, but not going to happen this weekend.  Plans tonight.  Visiting with parents tomorrow.  Going to see Hunger Games Sunday.  Maybe somewhere in the middle we’ll find the time, but not counting on it.  I’ve nearly brought Monique’s modeling up to date; there’s still her Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Frankenstein yet to include.  You can tell from the posts, she’s been on a Universal Monsters kick, working her way through all the old Aurora kits that are being re-released.
(This particular kit doesn’t seem to be available at Amazon like the others.  The picture to the left is the closest I can find at Amazon for now.)
She really struggled with the Creature.  Monique’s come a long way from her first model kit, but trying to get an appealing blend of green on green for a underwater monster from a black and white movie was giving her fits.  Texture-wise, the kit had a lot to work with.  Plenty of detailing, nice sculpt.  Had a cool retro feel to the pose.  But she went back and forth with differing shades of green, and different shading styles.  Personally, I thought most of them looked pretty good, but she wanted better.
Eventually she found a good blend of dark greens and mid-lighter greens.  Then she topped it off with some yellow along the belly, and on some of the trim.  Gave his fins a nice ‘seaweed’ coloration.  The claws, mouth, and eyes added some needed contrast.
Painting the base went far easier.  Monique gave the water an attractive blend of blues.  I know, the movie showed a swampy look to the lagoon, but sometimes you get better results blazing your own trail.  In this case, that’s what happened.  With the water, and especially with the lizard.  Not wanting a stereotypically green lizard, she modeled her lizard after a Water Dragon (thanks to Nigel for the inspiration!)  It provided a good contrast to the overall model.
But my favorite part of this entire model… and maybe from all of her models… is the rock.  Not talking about the whole model, but specifically, the rock.  I had been thinking dark, mossy algae-covered rock.  Came home to find she’d gone an entirely different direction with it.  Monique chose to do a very light colored rock.  I’ll be honest here.  Not only would this never occurred to me, but I don’t think I could have matched that color even if I’d tried.  Seeing how well this turned out, I made note of it for future use.  She made a basecoat of Burnt Umber, then blended Cashmere, Mink, Ivory and off-white.  It’s hard to say exactly what proportions she used, because she just kept blending until she liked the mixture.
Out of all her models and all the great work she’s done, this rock is probably my favorite specific detail.  It’s incredibly realistic, and looks even better in person than it does in the pictures.  (I still think the Mummy is her best overall model.)  I can’t think of a higher compliment than to say, someday I’m going to need that color and I’ll know how to do it because of Monique.
Below is the box and original parts before painting.  In the 2nd picture you can see where the seams were puttied before painting.  The other 3 pics are of the finished model.  She did another great job, and it has a place of honor on our model display shelves!

I do wish I could find a link to Amazon for the same exact model.  We found this one as part of a group of 4 models on ebay.  If you want to find this particular one, try ebay (like we did), or maybe Monsters in Motion.  I’ve never ordered from Monsters in Motion, but they’ve got a very nice variety of models.

Revell Re-issue of Aurora Mummy Plastic Model Kit

 Monique's Models, Monsters, Plastic Models, The Mummy  Comments Off on Revell Re-issue of Aurora Mummy Plastic Model Kit
Mar 192012

Revell 1:8 MummyNo new modeling.  Been on my mind, but the last week around the house has been pure chaos.  Good chaos, but it meant no time for working on The Phantom.  Even Monique has put her current model (Moebius’ Invisible Man) on hold for a while.  Just to keep Monique’s collection going, today I’m writing about her Mummy build.  It’s a Revell model, re-issued from the old Aurora classic Mummy.  The pic on the left is a link to it on Amazon.  For Monique’s version of the kit, see pics at bottom.

Anyway, this was her third model.  By now, she’d done Dracula, Wolf Man, and had the rest of the old classic monster kits lined up waiting for her to work on.  She’d practiced detailing on Dracula, dry brushing on Wolf Man, and taken her first stab at hiding the edge seams with Wolf Man’s feet.  The Mummy was where it all came together.  I thought we’d taken “as she went” pics, but can’t find anything but the finals.  Too bad, it was interesting watching her put all her new skills into play.

It was easy to see, she had a clear vision of how the Mummy should look.  Not just clean bandages, he needed moldering, dirty, ragged bandages, in keeping with his age and condition.  Many times I saw her looking up reference images from other modelers, and from the movies.  Both of us like to research our work before jumping in.  A methodical approach just makes it easier to know where you’re going, and how to get there.  Sometimes you have to wing it, but even then it’s usually after a lot of thought.

Monique assembled portions of the model before painting.  Used Testor’s Contour Putty to smooth out the seams.  Then a series of small files and an exacto knife to blend her work into the original carving.  Painting the Mummy just flew by with ease.  Maybe she agonized and pondered over each color, but to me, it looked like one of those times when intuition strikes.  Choosing colors with sure confidence, sweeping the brushes from area to area.  Dry-brushing the perfect shades over the base tones.  Within days, she had an ancient mummy living on our table.

The base, and the snake, weren’t quite so fast.  Monique originally planned on gray stone for the base, to contrast with the desert sand.  She tried several variations on portions, compared, took time away, came back.  Next thing I knew, she’d done them up in an amazing marbled pattern with variations of red sandstone colors.  The desert sand was a mix of light tans, browns, and lord knows what else that looked just like windblown sand.  She even detailed sand blown into all the appropriate crevices.  The colors of the base, especially the sand, blended into the Mummy.  Makes sense, since he’s been out in that stuff for centuries.

Unfortunately, it left her without a lot of contrast.  Here’s where the snake came in.  Several concepts came and went.  Eventually, she went with a bold green for the back, red eyes, and a black/brown/tan stomach.  The cobra’s hood became a very pale green, with some high-contrast colors to define it’s patterning.  This snake goes right in front of the Mummy’s farthest foot, near the front of the base, and centered horizontally.  It’s the perfect position for the vivid colors to break up the rest of the model kit.

During the build, we both admired the sculpt and details on the kit.  This is a good model, with excellent artistry.  It was an easy assembly, with plenty of scope for painting.  A great model to express Monique’s vision and style in a unique way.

Mar 152012

Revell 1:8 WolfmanStill haven’t painted more on the Phantom.  This time we’re going back to Monique’s 2nd model, the Revell re-issue of Aurora’s Wolf Man.  Keeping with her chosen category of monsters, she’s been working her way through the old Aurora kits.  The Wolf Man was her second model build.  These old kit designs are very nice.  Decent quality fit, easy to build, and a lot of texture for good painting surfaces.  Having discovered dry brushing, she really went to town on Wolf Man.  The fur has lots of variety, and is the first time I think she understood how dry brushing accentuates shades and highlights as if a light source was being shone at it.  Wolf Man’s fur turned out very nicely.

(As usual, the image here is a link to Amazon.  To see Monique’s actual pictures, scroll to the bottom.)

The torn jeans made us realize just how many colors are available straight off the shelf.  I had gone out to buy paints for my own project, and called to see if Monique wanted anything.  Joking, she asked for Blue Jean, or Denim, for Wolf Man’s pants.  Turns out, both are actually an available color!  Took them home, and she used them to very good effect on the jeans.  It’s amazing what you can find.  Monique’s current project involves many vials and flasks with varying liquids inside.  We’ve actually found transparent paints that work extremely well.

On this project, she also discovered Contour Putty.  While most of the seams were acceptable, the feet/ankle joins had a huge gap.  You can see in the pictures how big the gap was, compared to the finished model.  Her modeling skills visibly improved from Dracula to Wolf Man.  The jeans, the fur, smoothing out gaps in the model; this one gave her a lot more scope for learning.  I think she really had fun with the fur, getting all that texture and paint shadings in.

One part she did not enjoy, was the head.  Specifically, his eyes.  Monique spent a couple of days, doing and redoing the eyes.  As usual, she learned as she went, and wound up using the box art as a guide for reflections.  You’ll notice she added a glare to the upper right of his iris in each eye.  When you get too close, it loses the effect.  But when you pull far enough back to take in the overall gestalt, the light in his eyes adds an amazing touch of realism.

The base turned out well, but didn’t offer all the fun possibilities of the figure.  I liked the way her rats turned out.  Brownish black, with a kind of ‘life in the gutter’ feel to them.  The base did a good job of providing atmosphere for Wolf Man.  I’ve noticed a lot of the old Aurora re-issues have a similar feel to them.  Seems likely they used the same sculptor.  As a child, I can remember building the old Batman kit with my Dad.  The base for that one was extremely similar to the base for Monique’s Dracula kit.  Some day I’ll rebuild the old Batman, and Superman, kits.  Then I’ll see how well my memory holds up!

Back to the subject at hand, though, Wolf Man turned out very well.  From her first model to this, Monique’s second, you can see distinct improvement.  As she continues to build model kits, they keep getting better.  Some of her following models make use of color and blending for unbelievable realism.  Her putty work keeps improving too.   As time permits, I’ll include those as well.

Aurora Dracula Re-Issue Plastic Model Kit

 Dracula, Monsters, Plastic Models  Comments Off on Aurora Dracula Re-Issue Plastic Model Kit
Mar 122012

Revell 1:8 Dracula

When in doubt, always return to the classics.  In this case, the monster movie classics!  Since I haven’t done anything new to my Phantom model in a couple of days, thought I’d entertain you with a blast from the past.  This Dracula kit is actually one of those life-changing events where you look back later and think… “Wow- Who’d have thunk it?”

A few months ago, Monique and I were preparing for our 7th anniversary.  We wanted to make it a special day, and do something unique.  At the same time, I’d been pushing to finish a model for a friend of mine.  Over ten years ago, I promised to build the model of his choice, then promptly quit model-building.  For a decade.  My very patient friend waited, and waited, until this year, my interest came back.

Monique had been watching me work on this model, and as our anniversary approached, asked me for a model of her own.  She wanted something different from what I like, so as to have her own niche.  After shopping around a bit, we settled on Dracula.  It’s a good kit, and an easy beginner’s model.  Monique hasn’t built a model since she was 12; her father used to build model cars with her.

We spent probably 8 hours during our anniversary, building models.  (Do I have the world’s coolest wife, or what?)  Turned out, not only did we have fun, but she’s a natural.  Great eye for detail, a steady hand, and an innate sense of color and design.  Dracula turned out really well.  The pictures below are hers, this one at the top is just a link to Dracula over at Amazon.

At this point, she hadn’t discovered filing and putty to smooth the seams.  Luckily, Aurora’s Dracula is a quality model with a good fit for the pieces.  The colors were selected with great care, especially what skin-tone Dracula ought to have.  Personally, I think her model turned out excellent.  I taught Monique how to dry-brush, which is really the only painting trick I know.  Everything else she already seemed to know.  When I mentioned how good her detailing and color blending were, she told me it’s a lot like putting on makeup…

Since then she’s churned out monster models with frightening speed, and constantly improving quality.  Monique’s begun blending colors in ways that never occurred to me, and at this point we’re both learning from each other.  When I have the time, I’ll post more of her models.  For now, here’s Monique’s Aurora Dracula model kit:

You’ll notice that even for a first model, she has a good eye for small details.  The dry brushing on Dracula’s cape and clothes is very subtle.  But what I especially liked was the slight flush around his eyes, an almost unnoticeable heightened color.  It makes him look like he’s just fed, and his face is beginning to show a delicate tinge of the fresh blood.

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