Thursday, December 30, 2010

My last post in 2010

Well it has been a very good year for me, modeling wise. At the beginning of the year I had this gut feeling and even considered 2010 to be 'the year of the model' for me. Looking back, I completed no less than twelve builds this year. Considering that some even had landscaped bases and figures, this for me was a fairly large number. Although not all of them were posted here, most can be found by scrolling back a few pages even if not in their completed state. Perhaps I will find some time in the new year to do a 'year in review' type of update.

Christmas came and went and I have been enjoying my down time by building LEGOS with my little man. He received some really great kits this year and they have been keeping him occupied during his school vacation. We received a ton of snow which kept me busy plowing for a day or so and the wood stove has been working overtime.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and here's hope for a happy new year to each and every one of you who've followed me along the way. I plan on continuing my modeling streak during 2011 and may even try to one up myself with some larger projects. I have some great ideas and even something of size in the works but more on that in due time.


Just so this isn't a completely text filled post I will attach some pictures of what little modeling I have done during this last month. I am not a big fan of the one and only half track crew figure set on the market, so I cobbled together figures and parts from the spares box that I have acquired over the years for my XX Corps M2A1 vignette. In the next few pictures they are placed in the vehicle in their primer black state, I still have some final trimming and sanding to do but this should give some idea of what I am aiming for. I've also added some more personal gear and need to do some final painting of the added straps and other bits so you may see some odd spots, shiny from glue or unpainted. Not to worry as when it is all said and done, you wont see a thing.

Lastly, before we ring in the new year here's a small glimpse at what has found it's way to my bench, Hobby Boss's HST. OK, it hasn't actually spent much time at the bench at all, this has been a TV tray model I have been tinkering with while sitting with the family as they all play with their new Christmas presents.

Truth be told, this isn't quite up to par with what you may or may not be familiar with when it comes to modern kits. There are some big ejection pin marks and a few slight fit problems but at the same time, it is a kit full of detail and promise and of a great subject matter as well. I absolutely cannot wait to paint this thing, as it gives me a lot of scope to go wild, with the over the top shading and weathering effects that will probably get some peoples blood boiling. I'm a sucker for those slightly exaggerated painting and weathering effects that bring the model from the toy like phase into a realm of 'realism'.

So happy new year and happy modeling to all of you, may you find more time to cut and glue in the coming year so that you can fully enjoy this wonderful hobby that we all partake in whether you build strictly out of the box, or spend the year correcting the kits rivets. Here's hoping for less of the negative complaining in the forums and more of the posting of pictures of all of these long awaited and recently released kits being built and as always, 'build how you like and like how you build.'

With warm regards,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some pigment progress and a 'tip'

I recently started working with the pigments on this build and it's one of my favorite parts to a build for two reasons. One, it means I'm coming close to the end of long journey and two because it is where I feel the build begins to take on that scale 'realness' to it. For this build I have used Vallejo pigments exclusively.

I'm not quite close to being done, as you can still see some shiny new stuff near the dingy filthy stuff but I thought I'd put these out there. You never know what you might have missed until others get a look and give you feedback...

which leads me to the 'tip'.

Thanks to a posted comment below I have been informed that I forgot to paint the tip of the shovel. Can you imagine that? Thank you poster of said comment, you have saved me from some major deductions next year if I enter this in a show. You sir, (or madam) and your eye for detail are much appreciated. Please do stick around and keep me informed of any more hamfisted goofs on my part.

Seriously, I owe you one.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Very slight progress...

and a little 'gardening' as well*.

*pun intended/see below

I have added some more oils to the rest of the build, dry fit the wheels, tracks and gun and gave it all a light dullcoat to cut down on the shine and add some tooth for the pigments, which will be my next step.

These aren't a whole lot different than the last photos I posted but it looks much better all 'assembled' like this, rather than a partial hulk that the last two photos shown. The camera is having some maintenance right now after a small fall, so I can't take pictures of the 234/2 I am finishing up for a customer, I hope it comes back before I have to ship this one off as I'm pretty happy with its outcome. Anyway, on to the Marine GMC pictures.

As far as my 'gardening', I was given a Monroe Perdu 'Normandy Well' kit for a group build on the Modelers Alliance and I have started on a small base with three GI's taking cover, although the figures do not appear in these pictures, you can see the beginning of the groundwork really starting to take shape here.

You can see more of the whole progress, as well as a bunch of other great builds by others using this well, on the group build forum at ModelersAlliance

As always, feel free to tell me what you like, don't like or wonder about. Of course, clicking on the pictures makes 'em bigga'!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sometimes, life steps in

...and you find yourself at the mercy of it's twists and turns regardless of your ideas, ambitions, or plans. It's often at these times when I realize just how much I have to be thankful for, just how much I have going for me and just how much I take for granted. Since my last update here, Laurel has lost both of her grandmothers. Needless to say, things here on the home front have been very hectic and draining, both literally and emotionally.

Only now, as things slowly begin to return to a somewhat 'normalcy' have I found a little bit of my modeling mojo. Today was a busy day for mother and son, what with his friends birthday party and a few errands they had to run, so I found myself sitting at the bench staying warm and dry as it showered on and off outside. After an hour of tossing the football around with my little guy when they returned home this afternoon, we stopped for dinner after which he headed off for a bath and a movie on the couch while I went back to my work in progress.

I don't have much to show for all of this, as my main focus is a project for something which will be shown sometime in the future but I did take out the Marine half track and work on that a bit. Nothing too extravagant, but the camo is applied and I began working with the oil paints. I hope to have a little bit more to show in a couple weeks, perhaps something a little closer to end result, or at least a more of a complete picture but I just thought this small advance warranted a couple pictures.

Monday, September 27, 2010

And then...

or better yet: "One small step forward, one huge setback and a great modeling weekend with friends."

So it has been quite a while since my last update as 'real life' has been slightly hectic. I've been busy at work which is a good thing and of course school is back in session for my son as well as scouting, so I've been distracted with that stuff but lets get back to the modeling front. Over the last six weeks or so, I have been busy tweaking some stuff for AMPS East. The show/competition was a two day event in Danbury CT. and a great time was had by all. I hung out with my club brothers, met some old friends and made some new ones. I spent a little money and even took home some hardware.

So, back to the title above, which would you prefer first the good news or the bad news? Well, lets get the bad news out of the way.

I was actually busy working on the base for my M3A3 for the first week or so, as I had really hoped to enter it in the diorama category. I had begun painting up the figures and planning out the groundwork when disaster struck. I was hoping to get the tank mounted to weather up the tracks and tie it into the base and then complete the groundwork enough to at least bring it to the show, even if the diorama part wasn't 100% complete, I could have entered the tank itself. Now to understand exactly what happened, you have to know that I store my 'in progress' dioramas in an old bureau in the hobby room, each drawer containing the base and accompanying kits that go with. As I sat down to begin a session, opening the drawer to pull out the base, the drawer came straight out, slip from my hands and dropped the huge, very heavy base directly on top of the tank, if you look carefully at the bottom half of the base, you can see some dents and dings in the finish caused by the model. Parts flew around, cracking noises were heard and I sat there in silence as I could only imagine what had happened.

First will be a picture of the huge, very heavy base that crashed on the M3A3 inside the drawer and then the M3A3 itself, who's full damage is hard to see in the picture. It's more than just pieces popped off, some of the body is cracked and the lower hull is now 'toed in'. It will be a very tricky fix, so this one will be put away until a later date for now. I may even build a completely new kit for the base if need be. It was a huge blow to the modeling mojo when it happened, and I'm not looking forward to the repair process.

In the meantime, I pulled out a couple of my other projects to try and keep the model juices flowing in a positive direction. I mounted my white-washed M2A1 to it's base and started the groundwork. I still have work to do to tie the two together, add a figure or two for scale, and of course some more personal gear and machine guns and such but at least the vehcile is finally in it's environment so to speak. I will feature this in a larger layout of photos all on its own when it's finally complete.

I also broke out my new airbrush, the Badger Velocity that I won in the 'ScaleModelAddict' youtube contest. I took first place in the armor category which bagged me the velocity and runner up in best of show which earned me the Patriot. I opted to give the Patriot to another contest entrant who's build I enjoyed because I really didn't need two new airbrushes. Anyway, I primed, base coated and started highlights on my Marine GMC. It doesn't look like much at this point but it is progress and that's all that matters I suppose.

Lastly, the great modeling weekend with friends was all that I mentioned earlier plus a little 'rewarding', both figuratively and literally. I entered my 3rd AD mortar carrier in the diorama category and my WC-57 Dodge command car in the open wheeled category, both in the Advanced level and took home two silver medals. I have never competed like this before and I must admit, it was fun as well as educating. Reading the judges comments/critiques has shown me exactly what it takes and the type of things they look for. Had I known then what I know now, these both would have been gold. Thanks to them, I will become a better modeler on my next builds.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday afternoon

I'm just beginning to see, now I'm on my way
It doesn't matter to me, chasing the clouds away.

Who was that, the Moody Blues? Anyway, it seemed fitting and frankly I couldn't come up with anything else off the top of my head.

So, work continues on the AFV Club M3A3. I've done some more pigment work and built up another layer or two back and forth between washes and pigments to create some depth but I still have work to do in that area as a whole. I just though it was different enough from the last set of pictures to post this update. I made some stowage and mounted it but it appears I need to tighten the rope a bit, which is odd because it was taught when I last saw it. Perhaps as I kept painting the tarp and net, they became softer as they absorbed the paint and squished a bit more. *note to self: wait until all is painted before attaching rope in the future.

I just added the tracks before taking the pictures, they have yet to see any paint or weathering so ignore their cleanliness, I just wanted to get them attached before getting too far ahead with the running gear. I used the kit tracks because I was not in the mood for individual links on this build. The plan was to avoid the aggravation on something that will be mostly hidden by filth but murphy's law poked it's head in. Since I use straight M.E.K. for my glue, it attacked the vinyl tracks like a rabid pit bull with it's balls in a vice and I had some major scrambling to do at one point to save them, which I believe I did but time will tell.

Anyway, enough chatter. Check out the pictures if you'd like, as alwasy, clicking on them makes 'em friggin' huge! lol.



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

Well, it's been a busy weekend.

I haven't really held up my end of the bargain here now have I? I guess all that 'part one' and 'part two' stuff was all for not. I should have called them something completely different considering my lack of follow ups. At any rate, although I haven't posted anything new in a few days, my M3A3 is just about ready for an update, it's just been far too time consuming drinking beer and eating food off the grill, making s'mores at the campfire, watching fireworks and sleeping out in the tent.

Speaking of which, between the boys kicking and the stray chocolate lab sniffing and whining to come in every hour or so, I didn't get much sleep. Thank the lucky stars for coffee...

So to all of you in the states, enjoy your fourth, stay safe and happy and relax while you can, the work week will be here before you know it. To all my friends and followers across the pond where this holiday doesn't mean quite the same thing, stay happy and healthy as well, water under the bridge and all that right? Or over the damn? I can't remember... ;^) Oh, and happy Canada day (belated?) to all of you up in the land of the maple leaf, eh?

Happy modeling to you all and remember, 'build how you like, and like how you build' It's a hobby for goodness sake, relax and enjoy it.

All the best,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1st Part One

Sorry I'm tardy.

Yeah, it's been a few days but the weather has been far too nice and my son and I, who's now out of school for the summer, were out having fun. Anyway, I'll try to get a couple more models posted over the next few days depending on what else comes up. It's also a big holiday weekend so I may be off drinking Guinness and watching Fireworks.

For now, I'll post a few photos of my XX Corps M2A1 half track that I started showing here some time ago, progress on this one has been slow lately but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The reference pictures show a fresh clean vehicle right after receiving it's whitewash but I guess I am trying to show what it may have looked like weeks or more later. I like 'em dirty, what can I say. I'll be mounting this on a base in some muddy, sloppy snow and slush, so it should all turn out OK in the end.

Enough talk, here's a small update for now.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 27, part two

Told you I'd still be here.

This is where I am with my Marine 75mm GMC M4 half track. I have been focusing on the rest of the gun and mount assembly as well as detailing the fifty cal MG's and their custom mounts. I still have to tweak them a bit and get everything a little tighter but here is a dry fit view of where in the build I am currently. I'm really enjoying the work going into this build, the paint scheme still lurks in the back of my mind though but I gotts ahake that and keep moving forward.

Click the pics to make 'em bigger.

More stuff later.

June 27th part one

Yup, part one.

Over the rest of today and the next day or so, I will be doing my best to post updates of the many builds that have been featured here recently. I need to be concentrating on wrapping all of these builds up and getting them off the bench's Que, as I have some more pressing projects that just arrived via UPS.

First update of the day is the most recent pictures of the Dodge. I've pretty much wrapped this one up as far as paint and weathering, I only need to mount it on it's base. The contest will close at midnight on the 30th, so I'm in good shape, I think.

Click on the pictures, they're huge.

More later.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Still pluggin' away

Non stop in my spare time even.

I think I'm about done with my X-Wing, I added an R2 unit and the pilot figure, cheesy as he may be and then gave the model a flat coat to kill the shine. I may revisit this some time in the future when I figure out exactly how those ILM guys got their 'dirty universe' look but for now, it's gone to the shelf looking like this.

My 'Stuart' tank is still in progress, I have been attacking it slowly with layers of oil paints to show some dust and fuels stains. I will continue to tweak the look as I am aiming for a really dirty vehicle, covered with dust and grime in layers, giving the vehicle some depth and the impression of a tank under constant pressure, with no time for any maintenance. I still have to figure out what I will do for stowage in the rear basket, I don't have any British gear, so whatever I use will have to be scratch built.

Lastly for today is my Dodge command car. As I may have mentioned previously, this is being built for an online competition, which can be found on I am very close to completion with this and only have a few small tweaks and then I can mount it on it's base. Nothing too fancy or extravagant, just some simple groundwork and a tree, to give the scene a little extra something to hopefully edge out the competition and bag myself a decent prize.

As always, clicking on the picture will increase the size to allow for more detailed viewing. Comments are always welcome.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

US Marine 75mm GMC half track

This a fairly well known photo of what at first glance appears to be an M3 75mm GMC. In fact, it's been captioned in books as such and even built that way in model form. When the photo is studied a bit more carefully, one finds the tell tale stowage doors on the sides of the body giving away instantly, that this is the smaller, M2 chassis. Whats left of the windshield frame is still attached to a cut up skate rail, seen just through the drivers open door top. There are quite a few 'custom' mounted machine guns as well as the antenna mount.

Considering the gun shield makes passing between the cab and the crew compartment virtually impossible, the rear compartment of the M2 would make a horrible choice for this configuration as unlike the larger M3 chassis, it lacks any rear door. The M4/M4A1 half track however, a variant based on the M2 chassis did have a rear door, making this a possible base vehicle to build this odd conversion. With that in mind I grabbed two kits and decided to cut them up and make one.

The biggest hurdle is right off the bat, cutting these two crew compartments up and joining them seamlessly. They need to be straight and true if this is to come out right. After many test fits until I was satisfied, it was all placed dry fit to the chassis and tacked in place with a little glue. Once that set up enough to remove, I added a new rear floor and finished gluing the rear body assembly and set it aside to dry.

While the rear body dried, I assembled the cab without the windshield. The model part is cast completely in clear, which after masking off the glass panels, gets painted. Cutting this part up was out of the question, so I scratch built the remanining frame in place and attached it to the skate rail. To match the photo, I cut the skate rail and the top of the windshiled frame away to clear room for the gun barrel. There is still much work to go into the gun as it was just dry fit for these photos but it gives a sense of where this is heading.