Moebius Conan Resin Kit – Airbrush detailing, and a bit of brushwork

 Conan, Heroes, Moebius Models, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Moebius Conan Resin Kit – Airbrush detailing, and a bit of brushwork
Mar 152014

Conan is still a work in progress. For that matter, so am I, in terms of using the airbrush. My Badger Anthem 155 is by all accounts a great beginner’s airbrush, but I’m not a great beginner.  More like fair to middling.  Until recently, airbrushing has just been a means of doing a base coat/color before dry brushing.  Working on Moebius’ Conan The Barbarian has been groundbreaking for me.  This time, I’m learning to draw details… sort of details… with it.

My first attempt was to try shading on the muscles. Laid down a medium flesh tone over the whole body, then started airbrushing the shadows in the creases of the muscles.  It was a big improvement, and I thought maybe that was good enough.  Until a good friend told me to try detailing the highlights as well as the shaded areas.

I had some doubts about my ability, but gave it a try. Airbrushing the darker shaded areas had been very successful. Airbrushing the highlights was even better – the contrast makes the muscles stand out.  Everywhere the light should hit received detailing with a very light skin tone.
Final result?  Some of the best skin shading I’ve ever done.  Lots of interesting brights and darks.  For some reason, this kit has been super-tough to photograph.  The flesh color and the shading just don’t show up true in a picture.  Tonight was about the best pictures so far.  It comes close to showing the trued color and detail.  Still a little off, though.

Learned an amazing new technique to use in future model-building.  Eventually, maybe I’ll get really good at detailing with an airbrush.  It’s going to take lots of practice, but even as a beginner I can see a huge improvement.  Glenn, if you’re reading this – Thanks!

As a final note, the mouth and eyes have really turned out well also.  The mouth has an actual gum-line between the teeth and mouth.  The eyes are really adding character.  The flesh of the face was airbrushed, but the features (eye, mouth) are brush-painted.  I’m very pleased with the result so far.

Really happy with the eyes and teeth.

Really happy with the eyes and teeth.

Captain America Resin Model Kit: Finally painting the details!

 Captain America, Heroes, Modeling supplies, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Captain America Resin Model Kit: Finally painting the details!
Aug 242012

I’ve been stuck in one place on Cap for a long time.  Been trying to get my seams in right, but every time I re-prime the model, it always turns out I’ve missed a spot, or it was rough, or not shaped right.  It always looks good until it gets a new base coat.  Bear in mind, this isn’t the actual model that I’m talking about.  I’m referring to my own work where the arms and legs join the body.  After gluing and puttying, it just took a lot of work to finally call it done.  It may not be perfect, but it’s the best I can manage.

So finally, a chance to paint!  Working with my Badger Anthem (I’m really new to the airbrush thing) I started on the extremities.  Gloves, boots, and belt packs.  Wanted them all in brown leather.  This model kit is resin, titled Captain America: the Ultimate Soldier.  It’s done in an old costume design, during Cap’s time in World War II.  As such, his costume really lends itself to a grittier, more realistic color scheme.  I’ve seen other hobbyists work with brown, and with red gloves, and the brown just really looks good.  Natural dark leather.

My first attempt, using the Badger, went really well.  Except for the final brush-painted layer.  In trying to achieve a highlight, I went with a too-light color of brown for the dry brushing.  Took it back to that comic-book feel.  This is where the airbrush really stood out.  Rather than start over, I loaded up his base color (a mix of Espresso and Black), thinned it down, and sprayed a light wash over everything until the tones were shaded back down.  Then I used a much more appropriate mix of Espresso/brown/antique white and drybrushed again.  Came out far better!

Click to see this at Amazon

After that, a touch of black leather for the boot soles, and that part was done.  Next up was something completely new for me.  Monique and I’ve been watching Phil Lister and David Fisher’s video modeling series of videos.  We’ve learned a ton from both videos, but in Model Mania (David Fisher’s dvd) he recommended protecting finished areas with Mold Builder.  Monique already tried it with her Elvira kit, and was very happy.  So now the Mold Builder is going all over Cap’s shoes, gloves, and leather packs.  When it’s finished, I can paint the rest of the model without worrying about messing up previous work.

Just to clear it up a bit, Mold Building is not intrinsically meant for protecting paint from being painted over.  It’s actual purpose is during the making of a mold from an original sculpt or carving.  Multiple layers over time create a kind of rubbery encasement, and when it’s peeled off, you have a mold of the original.  I’ve never learned much about sculpting and creating molds, so I couldn’t tell you what happens beyond that.  For me, it’s enough to know it can be used to help me paint my resin model kit.  When I’m done with it, the rubbery texture can be very carefully peeled off, leaving my paint safe and pristine.  In theory.  I’ll find out soon enough!

He’s got one more boot to go, but it’s too late tonight to finish.  Tomorrow’s Friday, with any luck the boot will be done and dry tomorrow, and the weekend will be a great time to start on the next major colors!

Painting Captain America with the Badger Anthem 155 Airbrush (missing parts)

 Captain America, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Painting Captain America with the Badger Anthem 155 Airbrush (missing parts)
Aug 172012
Yesterday I sat down at the computer to get some work done.  While finishing the first project, a thunderstorm blew in.  Powered the computers down, unplugged all the electronics, and said… “If I can’t work… then I’ll play!”  (Been really looking forward to spending time on my Captain America Ultimate Soldier resin model.)  Hooked up the Badger Anthem airbrush, (which is still very new to me) plugged in a bottle of gray… and hit the button.
Next thing I knew, I was covered in gray paint.  Took it all apart, cleaned everything… including myself… and tried again.  Same problem.  At least this time I covered the bottle lid to keep from being gray-toned again.
Tried to figure out where I’d gone wrong, but couldn’t make it out. Monique wandered into the room, and quickly pointed out the problem.  You know those little tiny pieces inside the airbrush tip?  You actually have to have ALL of them.  If the airbrush is missing even one piece… for instance, that little tiny piece shaped like a long cone… things go wrong.
Kudos to Monique for recognizing what was missing.  Last time I cleaned the airbrush, the little cone-shaped piece went into the sink along with all the other parts.  But it didn’t stop there.  It went all the way down the drain, I just didn’t notice.  Monique figured it was gone for good.  But being metal, I wondered if it’s still in the drain trap.
Being notorious for NOT being handy, Monique’s first question was “Do you know how to check the trap?”  Knowing me, that’s a legitimate question.  It looked pretty simple.  And honestly, taking the trap off was extremely easy.  Putting it back on?  Now that’s a completely different story.
The missing piece was there.  Putting the trap back was a good lesson in patience, and I used all mine up.  During the struggle, I thought  “You know, this thing’s full of crud.  Better clean it out before putting it back on.”
You probably guessed… I rinsed it out in the sink.  At least we had a bucket ready to catch the water.
Today, it went much better.  Cleaned up Cap’s seams some more.  Noticed a seam on his boot that had snuck by the other times.  Learning how to use Bondo putty mixed with Testor’s model cement.  (It smooths the putty better; less sanding, easier to blend surfaces.)   I’ve mentioned before, but it’s worth saying again – the base is finished, but makes a handy stand to airbrush Cap on.  So it’s inside a 1-gallon seal-able freezer bag.  The first time I used Saran Wrap, which worked really well.  Today, I noticed the Saran wrap was getting holes where Cap’s foot attaches.  The gallon freezer bag looked perfect, so that’s what I’m using now.  Both are good ways to protect the base from paint while working on Captain America.
All said and done… I need to be far more careful with the airbrush.  All the time I was going to spend working on the model went… you guessed it… down the drain.

Captain America: Ultimate Soldier – Airbrushing the Base Coat

 Captain America, Heroes, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Captain America: Ultimate Soldier – Airbrushing the Base Coat
Aug 072012

Finally satisfied with the base for my Captain America resin model kit.  Now it’s time to start on Cap.  To begin, I wanted to use the base to hold him up while airbrushing.  Wasn’t sure of a good way to protect it, and finally settled on laying Saran Wrap on top, then tucking the edges in.  Not entirely sure it won’t stick to the paint, but it was the best idea I could come up with.

Now he’s standing upright on his base, on a rotating pedestal.  Every angle can be airbrushed easily except for some under-side parts, like the bottoms of his gloves.  It’s a lot easier than just laying him flat and painting in stages.

The base coat looks pretty decent, but at the moment it’s main purpose is to show me where the seams need to be improved.  I knew Cap would need some work.  This is a fabulous model kit, but I had was experimenting with Bondo for the putty for the first time.  It looked good to the eye until I got some paint on him.

There are 3 seams, all of which need some touch-ups.  Both arms had some rough spots.  The right leg joined at the hip was probably the worst problem area.  Going to let the paint dry thoroughly, then try to smooth the seams out more.

Still getting the hang of the air brush (a Badger Anthem 155), but really like the convenience of it.  Plus the smooth overall coverage is nice.  With practice, maybe I’ll be able to detail with it.  For now, it’s main use is covering broad areas, and some general shading.  Monique has picked up on the Anthem faster and better than I have.  She was giving me some pointers while Cap was getting his gray base coat.  Can’t wait to see her finished Elvira model.  She’s making rapid progress now, probably won’t be long until she’s finished.

As for me, Cap’s still got a long way to go.  But he’s looking great!

Captain America: The Ultimate Soldier – Painting the Base

 Captain America, Heroes, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Captain America: The Ultimate Soldier – Painting the Base
Aug 062012


It’s been a couple of weeks since the last post.  Today I finally had a chance to work some more on Cap.  The Ultimate Soldier resin model kit is pretty wild; I’m enjoying it a lot.  Also, the airbrush and compressor finally arrived, so my first ever airbrushed project will be Cap.  Didn’t have much luck painting details with the airbrush.  Don’t have the skills (yet!) so all that’s been airbrushed is the main colors of the base. I look on Youtube and see all kinds of crazy airbrushing, so hopefully with practice, I can improve.

Started with shades of gray for the stone pavers, and some browns for the tree stump and big roots.  Once I got the hang of making it look like the lighting is consistent, I went back to the paint brush for shading effects.  The gray was easy enough.  Most of it was done with the airbrush.  Didn’t have to touch it up much.  The big problem was all the shades of brown.  The stump, the big roots, small roots, ground, were all browns.  I tried to give some differentiation, but honestly, not sure if it’s a good job or not.  Especially the ground area.  The bottom front center area was supposed to look like sand, but it just wasn’t happening.  So I settled for a light-colored stone.  Not on purpose, it was just the closest I could get.

Fairly happy with the moss.  There’s a lot of it, and it feels like maybe I wasn’t subtle enough.  After some time passes, if it still seems too bold, it might be worth toning the green down a bit.  At the moment, my eyes are a bit unfocused from all the close-up work.

Since the last post, Cap had a couple more sessions with Bondo putty.  After some sanding, he looks pretty good.  Haven’t primered the body yet.  If there’s any flaws that got past me, they’ll show up once he’s got a coat of primer.  Just going by the base, and the assembly of the body, Captain America: The Ultimate Soldier has been a lot of fun.  And is turning out very well.  The real test will be when I start painting the body.  Then we’ll see how things go.  Looking forward to using the airbrush again.  It’ll be very useful for the body.  Not sure of the best approach yet, but I think the blue costume will probably be the first color.  Then maybe the details, and wrap it up with the gloves and boots.  The shield can be worked in any time in the process.

In the meantime, Monique’s been going to town painting Elvira.  She actually took to the airbrush better than I have.  She’s also experimented with pastel chalks for shading, and I really like what she’s done.  Of course, I’ll post it once she’s done.

As usual, can’t wait to get back to Captain America.  Hope there’s some time this upcoming week.

Finally Upgrading: The Badger Anthem 155 Airbrush and Airbrush Depot Air Compressor

 Captain America, modeling equipment  Comments Off on Finally Upgrading: The Badger Anthem 155 Airbrush and Airbrush Depot Air Compressor
Jul 022012

Just a small update here.  Last time I mentioned my folks gave me an airbrush for my birthday.  Both of us being interested, Monique and I started learning what we could about figure model airbrushing.  At first, I was pleased just to have an airbrush… any airbrush… to learn on.  But the more I read, the more I realized:  If I’m serious about airbrushing my model kits, a better airbrush is a necessity.

Additionally, to get me started, Mom and Dad included a can of compressed air.  At $13 per can, it seems smarter to invest in an air compressor.  We started researching.  For the airbrush, I chose the Badger Anthem 155.  Was originally going to buy it from Michael’s Crafts, but they wanted triple what Amazon wanted.  Even with a coupon, Amazon won hands down.  Same with a compressor.  Michael’s had a nice one in stock at $25o, that would have served my purposes.  Amazon had a much better offer.

Click the pic to view details at Amazon

Why the Badger Anthem 155?  Because it’s beginner friendly.  With only 1 needle it gives “pencil lines” to 3-inch thick lines.  I can’t tell you exactly how thick a “pencil line” is, but I figure it’s got to be thin enough to serve my needs.  It’s dual action, internal mix, siphon feed.  Dual action lets me adjust the air-flow and the paint flow with one finger.  Internal mix gives a more thorough spray pattern than external mix.  Siphon feed means it pulls the paint from a glass bottle that hangs from the bottom of the brush.  I can mix and use more paint this way.  I can also buy extra bottles and keep mixed paint ready to use.
The Badger Anthem is easy to clean, requires no tools (everything is finger-tight) and has very few parts.  We got it for about $69, free shipping.  Am I an expert?  No.  But I’m  good at researching, and the Anthem is the airbrush I chose.  Guess I’ll find out when it arrives how good it is.

Click the pic to view details at Amazon

For the Air Compressor, Monique found the “Airbrush Depot Brand High Performance Multi-Purpose Gravity Feed Dual-Action Airbrush with Hose and a Powerful 1/6hp Single Piston Quiet Air Compressor.”  Mouthful, huh?  But that’s actually the product title at the top of Amazon’s page.  We chose it because it had the features needed to be a good airbrush compressor, because it had excellent reviews (4 1/2 Stars out of 5), and because it was only $65.00.  For that price, just the air compressor alone would be a good deal.  To get the airbrush thrown in with it, it’s a no-brainer.

While waiting for them to arrive, I got started on my new resin model kit –  Captain America: The Ultimate Soldier.  This is an incredible sculpt.  The pieces are very clean, and the seam lines minimal.  He deserves my best effort.  So today I spent several hours filing, sanding, and cleaning up the seam lines.  The amount of detail is unbelievable.  Normally I’ll fully assemble a figure before painting, but it might be smart to paint the main parts before assembling.  Going to have a lot of fun building this kit!

Getting ready to file the seams down.

The Next Phase: Captain America “Ultimate Soldier” and “Let Freedom Ring” (and learning to airbrush!)

 Captain America, Heroes, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on The Next Phase: Captain America “Ultimate Soldier” and “Let Freedom Ring” (and learning to airbrush!)
Jun 302012

I turned 52 today.  It was an excellent birthday for a modeler;  my parents gave me an airbrush kit.  Monique and I have often thought about using an airbrush with our models, but have always been put off by the cost and the learning curve.  Now I’ve got one, and incentive to use it.  Monique is interested as well.  One of her gifts to me was the Modelmania 2-volume dvd set.  We’ve already watched parts 1 and 2 on disc one.  These are older videos, but come highly recommended by other modelers.

Monique also bought me a couple of models, both of them Captain America.  How we got to this point is a story in itself.  With the great Marvel movies recently, she knew I loved all of them, especially Captain America.  Years ago, before there were so many other models available, we saw the “Let Freedom Ring” kit.  I was taken with the diorama; the detail and story were superb.  However, the Captain America in this kit was a bit scrawny.  Well-sculpted, but his physique was more appropriate to Spider-Man than to Cap.  Now that we’re both modeling, she remembered that kit.  It’s sold by Mojo Resin.  I’ve bought from him before, and will again.  His models might need a lot of cleanup, but they’re pretty cool.  (He also has a range of ‘uncensored’ models, so I’m not including a direct link.  You can Google him easily if you’re interested.)  Here’s a link to a great page showing the finished model, with excellent details on how he achieved his results.

In this particular instance, Mojo Resin no longer makes or sells this model.  But Monique emailed him, and he very generously cast one just for her.  This being a custom order, no returns are possible.

Now you’re ready for the story.  I was cruising the internet, looking for a good model kit.  Found a collection of other people’s buildups, and was checking out the Captain America models.  There were several I liked.  Monique expressed an interest, and I pointed out my favorites.  I completely skipped over “Let Freedom Ring”.  Since she had already ordered it, she couldn’t resist asking my opinion.  My knee-jerk response, without thinking, was “I hate it- Cap is way to scrawny, he needs to be beefier.”

Well, long story short, she admitted to ordering it.  And not being able to return it.  Of course, knowing that changed my thoughts about it.  Especially when she told me it was sculpted by the same artist that did my recent Doc Savage model.  This is actually very encouraging, because I started off hating Doc, but by the time he was finished, I loved him.  When the kit arrived, we looked at it.  Lots of detail, lots of pieces, and tremendous scope for painting.  I’d be happier if he was built more like a bodybuilder than a gymnast.  But still, the sculpting is detailed and accurate.  It looks like he’s going to be very fun to build.  Of course, I’ll keep you posted when I start him.

Over the next month or so, Monique constantly told me she was going to build him, since I didn’t like the kit.  I told her he was MY gift, and I was going to build him.  Our deal is, she builds monsters, I build heroes.  Besides, she’s never done a resin kit yet, and this needs a lot of cleanup.  She’s a bit intimidated by the Black and Decker rotary tool I use, so it looks like he’s mine.  But I think she enjoyed giving me a rough time for telling her I didn’t like him.

Think that’s enough?  My life is way more complicated than that.  For that matter, Monique is way more complicated than that.  Being the devious little planner that she is, she came up with a backup plan.  Since my very favorite Cap model is the “Ultimate Soldier” by Mad Dog Resin, she decided to get him.  Both of us had independently tracked down the manufacturer, and discovered this kit is out of production.  Can’t find him anywhere, not even on eBay.  I found a single website that wanted $135 for him, and I couldn’t tell if it was a current site, or even a legitimate one.  That’s where I left it.

Monique can be very persistent, though.  She not only traced the kit to Mad Dog, she emailed him.  He was incredibly nice, and offered to make her a kit.  With the proviso that we send him a picture of the finished model.  He even rushed the job, so she could have him in time for the day of my birthday!  I do NOT know how much she paid.  What I DO know is Captain America: Ultimate Soldier is an awesome kit.  I don’t know if I’ll learn the airbrush in time to use it on this kit, but whether airbrushed or hand-brushed, this is going to be a lot of fun.

The printout on the side Monique found somewhere online just to show what the finished model can look like.

Monique’s hand-sculptured shield

Also, since Mad Dog told her Cap’s old-style shield is no longer available… my make-it-happen girl ordered some sculpey for both of us.  Then she sculpted the shield and baked it.  Her intention was to inspire me to make my own shield.  But I love the thought and effort that went into this, and the fact that she made me a shield with her own hands.  It may not look machine-built, but neither would one that I made.  If it’s a little dinged, and out of form, I can only assume the original metal wasn’t as durable as Captain America’s modern-day shield.  Seems that, with a bit of dremel work, some creative painting, and a bit of weathering, her shield would look amazing laying on the ground behind Cap, as if he’s leaving the past and moving forward into the present.

One last story (I can’t help myself!)…  Last year, Monique decided to take up model kit-building with me.  For our anniversary, she sent me out to buy her a model.  After some searching, her favorite choice was Revell’s Dracula.  We wound up spending our anniversary building models.  Monique is a member of The Clubhouse, a forum for model-builders.  She got a lot of advice there while shopping for my birthday.

In one of her posts, she describes that day: “Talk about nerds, on our last wedding Anniversary, we spent 8 hours together building models. That was my first build.”  Someone responded “This is by far, one of the most romantic things I’ve EVER heard!!! Good lord. That’s beyond awesome. Good for you two.”

I agree, and am glad to see others share our unusual view of the world.  It was a great anniversary, a lot of fun, and we both discovered a shared love of model-building.  We’ve been assembling and painting models together ever since!

Her next project is probably going to be Elvira.  Mine will be Captain America: Ultimate Soldier.  I’ll keep you posted as we go.

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