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.

Conan03

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

 Conan, Heroes, Moebius Models, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Moebius Models Conan the Barbarian – Painting the shadows
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

 Conan, Heroes, Moebius Models, My Models, Resin Models  Comments Off on Small things causing big problems
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

 Conan, Heroes, Moebius Models, Resin Models, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Starting A New Resin Model Kit – Moebius Conan the Barbarian
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.

Conan08

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!

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!

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