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.