Moebius Conan the Barbarian Resin Kit – Learning a lot, making mistakes

 Conan, Moebius Models, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Moebius Conan the Barbarian Resin Kit – Learning a lot, making mistakes
Apr 062014
Working on the join with his sword hand

Working on the join with his sword hand

I’ve been working slowly but surely on Moebius’ Conan the Barbarian.  Last time was mainly Conan’s face and torso.  Since then, I’ve painted, then repainted (and repainted) his legs, trying to match the torso.  I should have made enough flesh for the whole kit, and I should have painted all the flesh in one go.  Instead, I went at him piecemeal, then ran out of flesh tone, then forgot exactly how I got the original colors, which made it a real trial and error to reproduce.  The final colors matched fairly well, but it was a lesson learned.  Future models will be managed better.

Had similar trouble wiith his hands.  Under ordinary circumstances, I’d have scratched the whole project, cleaned him up, and started over.  This time though, my airbrush work improved dramatically and I was very proud of the paint job on Conan’s torso and face.  So much so, that I didn’t want to start over.  Not saying my airbrush work is that good, just saying that it was a quantum leap forward for me personally.

Finally, everything progressed to the point that I attached legs to torso last night.  Not wanting any accidents, Monique helped me prop him up with bubble wrap and air pillows.  If he fell, or the glue didn’t hold, no harm done.  Got up this morning for work, house dark, dogs asleep, and the first thing I did was to make sure he was still standing.

Conan02In the future, I’ll pay more attention to painting individual pieces to match better.  And I’ll experiment with pinning and pre-assembly, which should help prevent some of the mistakes of this kit.  And, I’ll pay more attention to smoothing out details.  This kit has some rough areas, such as the toes.  At first, I thought they were acceptable, but over time, I’m wishing I’d cleaned them up better.  Same for inside the mouth.  This is my first kit where the interior of the mouth is an issue.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes on this model, but that’s because I’m trying new things.  Because of that, in some respects he’s the best I’ve ever done, and in other ways, not so good.  Not going to start over, because the parts that turned out well were a personal best.  Not confident that I could repeat it.  So I’m just doing the best I can with the rest, and counting this model kit as a learning experience.

For now, here’s the current work in progress.


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.

Moebius Models Conan the Barbarian – Painting the shadows

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Mar 022014

Been having a lot of fun with Conan.  He’s a great kit to work with.  Recently, I’ve been focused on doing the flesh tones.  At one point, the colors were very satisfactory, and I thought it was a good stopping point for the body.  But Monique (my Devil’s Advocate and quality control monitor) pointed out that professional model-builders do a lot more in terms of shading.  I’ve dry-brushed for years, and am learning on the airbrush.  It had seemed enough to me, but after her nudge I rethought it.  Without trying new techniques and stretching past my current abilities, there would be no improvement.  So, back out with the airbrush and the flesh tones.

After lots of practice and different attempts, I’m pretty happy with it.  Learned a few new things.  One very big one… thin my paints more.  Then more.  And a bit more.  As a newbie with the airbrush, it caused a lot of aggravation when the paint would stick and spatter, even after a thorough cleaning.  It finally hit me.  Tiny tiny amounts of paint; then about 4 times the volume with thinner.  We both use blue window cleaner to thin our paints.  Now my paints are finally spraying smooth and not clogging.  It may sound too easy, but it was a big deal to me!

The other thing was more of a progression.  Bit by bit, and with lots of stops and starts, I’m actually learning to use the airbrush.  In this case, detailing the shaded areas of muscle around Conan’s torso and legs.  It took lots of attempts, but at this point the result makes me pretty happy.

I’ve tried to take pictures to show exactly what I mean.  It’s a great camera, but for some reason, it’s just not capturing the fine detail of shading and flesh tones.  When you’re looking at these pics, bear in mind it looks much better in person.  If I can figure out what’s wrong with the pics, I’ll post better ones.  But for now, hopefully you can still see what I mean.  It’s my first time to ever attempt detail work with the airbrush.  And hopefully, just one more step along the way get learning how to use it well.

Small things causing big problems

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Feb 092014

Conans HelmetIt’s been about a month since my last post.  Beginning on a new model, Conan the Barbarian, a resin kit by Moebius.  You may have wondered what progress I’ve made since then.  Well, here it is.  This…  Conan’s hat.

Okay, it’s his helmet.  And I’ve been stuck on it for weeks.  Not all my fault, I’m not innocent either.  To begin with, I’m new (skill-wise) to the airbrush.  Figured, it’s a helmet.  Two basic colors.  Some shading.  Great opportunity for some simple practice.  Boy, was I wrong.  Actually, not so much about the airbrushing, but about having a clean edge where the two colors meet.  I’ve tried taping the edges, but there was bleed.  Tried mold-builder as a paintable frisket… that stuff always peels the paint up with it.  Eventually, I knew I’d have to just paint it with a brush.

In the middle of me being stubborn with the helmet, I dropped a part of my airbrush down the sink.  Not the first time, and it’s always a major hassle re-sealing the drain trap.  So this time, just wasn’t in the mood.  Went online, and ordered a bunch of replacement parts for the airbrush in general.  And a drain trap meant for salons.  It has an escape lid, with a hair-catcher.  I guess that’s important for hair salons, but it seemed like a pretty good solution for me, too.  Next time something important gets stuck in the trap, just pop open the lid and pull out the gunk.

When it arrived, I installed it, rescued the airbrush part, and set everything aside for the moment.  When the replacement parts arrived, they got stored for the next emergency.  Which was today, the first day I tried to airbrush again.  Cleaned the airbrush, took it to my desk for reassembly.  Not gonna drop anything down the sink from there!  Instead, a (different) piece hit the floor, bounced, and disappeared.  This wasn’t one of the spares, it had to be a completely unique part.  No simple replacement.  Monique and I hunted for maybe half an hour.  Finally, at the most extreme part of our search, I pulled the piano away to make room to pull the desk out, and shined the flash on the floor in back.

There it was.  Not just all the way back.  Not only was it up against the baseboard, it was as far against the baseboard as it could get, and then LEANING on the baseboard!  As if it was trying to climb the wall to get away from us.    We reassembled everything, including the airbrush, desk, and piano.  I told Monique I wasn’t in the mood to airbrush any more.

As a matter of fact, I’m moving forward.  The helmet is done.  Maybe it needs a bit more touch-up, but that’s not going to happen.  What you see here is the result of my work today, and I’m afraid to try any more.  Who knows WHAT catastrophe would happen if I tried to paint it again?  So, I hope it’s good enough because that’s my final decision.  Until next week.

While I’ve been working on the hat with the two pointy horns, Monique has knocked out a fabulous job on Moebius’ Dracula and victim.  And obtained her holy grail of models, Janus’ Man of 1000 Faces (Lon Chaney).  And started her first resin model, Devonian Encounter.

Looks like I’ll be busy writing up her adventures for a while.

Starting A New Resin Model Kit – Moebius Conan the Barbarian

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Jan 012014
Great art to inspire a dynamic Conan model kit

Great art to inspire a dynamic Conan model kit

After finishing Captain America: Ultimate Soldier, I took the obligatory few days off from model-building.  Cleaned up the workspace, washed out the paint bottles. Time to clear my head.  There are a number of models waiting to be built.  In particular I have a Galaxy Quest NTE-3120 N.S.E.A. Protector that’s been calling my name.  I’m a bit scared of it, because it needs custom lighting.  But the time is coming.

For the moment though, it’s going to be Moebius’ Conan the Barbarian resin model kit.  First impression is that the box it came in is gigantic!  The model is large, standing an impressive 12 inches tall, but the main reason the box is so large is the packaging.  The model is held in two layers of form-fitted styrofoam, carved to hold each piece securely.  I’ve never bought a model so safely packaged before!

With over 20 pieces, I categorized them as Conan, Girl, and Base.  In broad scope, that’s the order they’ll be done.  The base makes a wonderful stand to hold Conan while I work on him.  Seems obvious, but not every kit has such a good working mount.  While gluing and painting, Conan was mostly stable, but he wobbled a bit.  A toothpick wedged uder the offending foot took care of it.

Piece by piece, they look good.  The seams fit great.  I like when a model is sculpted to join on obvious seams.  Makes the painting so much easier.  The detailing is very clean.  I did some small touch-ups, but mainly running a polisher with a rotary device was sufficient.  The biggest visible problem is the thumb on his sword hand.  The sword itself need a tiny bit of rebuilding.  Not much, just to cover a small missing chunk near the guard.  But his thumb… seemed to be missing a lot of ‘meat’.  It took several layers of Bondo (makes a good contour putty) applied with a toothpick in the crevice between hand and sword grip.


You can see the blemishes, but you have to be pretty close to tell. This is after I rebuilt the thumb.

After applying a light gray base coat, a number of smaller blemishes became visible.  I could have simply ignored them, but decided to smooth down as much as possible.  Spent this evening just smoothing down the minor rough spots.  I’ve read that this kit was originally slated to be a styrene kit like the majority of Moebius model kits.  In midstream they switched to resin.  Just to address the question, a couple of reviews state that the detailing suffered because of the change.  One reviewer mentioned a lack of fingernails and toenails.  There’s some truth to the loss of detail, though I couldn’t really tell until working with a magnifier on the small blemishes.  But my kit, at least, came with fingernails and toenails properly sculpted.

The proportions are good.  Very appropriate to the source material, which is a comic book cover.  Conan #1, from the 1970’s series.  I’ve worked on models with crisper detail, and models with softer detail.  You’ll have to determine for yourself what’s acceptable and what’s not.  As for myself, I like the work.  It looks like Conan, the art is strong and dynamic, and it’s a good match for the original artwork he’s based on.  As typical with Moebius, there’s a very nice color instruction sheet.  Going to enjoy this model kit.

Moebius is the only company I know that provides full-color instruction sheets!

Moebius is the only company I know that provides full-color instruction sheets!

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