Sunday, September 24, 2006

Painting with pastels

I've never used chalk pastels before. But, some great model buildups praise them and I decided to incorporate them into my weathering technique. Combined with some airbrush work they definitely are well worth the praise. Below are my results and a brief 'how-to' on the top turret:
I used a few colors from a set of 12 earth tone chalk pastels. Using sandpaper, I made chalk dust that I could load onto a small brush and then apply to the model. Thin washes were achieved by dipping the brush in water then picking up some pastel dust. For the scorch marks/blast hits, I took my airbrush with thinned down Neutral Grey and first created the soft burn-like pattern. With a fine brush, I hand painted the dark cores with German Grey. Then, I highlighted the core edges with a mix of Titanium White and Light Grey. Finally, I gently spattered some very thin Neutral Grey onto the entire assembly with a toothbrush.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The mystery piece

Sunday was a good day for the falcon. I swung by Rob's place and started working on the 'mystery piece'. At least that's what I'm calling it. There is a small trapezoid shaped plate in front of the gun turret on the upper hull. I built this out of styrene sheet cut to size and then drilled the two holes out with a pin vise. It was then primed, painted, and glued on.
I painted the six large engine exhaust grills on the rear deck (as well as the three other grills on the escape pod walkways) with Tamiya German Grey. This color is dark but not black and has a tiny hint of blue in it. You can still make out the grill details with this color. Painting them was difficult because I had already glued the grills to their housings. I carefully painted the edges with a brush then filled in the centers and blended to the edge with the airbrush.
Here's some more missing pieces I added to the ship. On the lower hull jawbox, the studio model has what appears to be a piece of t-track with a flat strip of plastic running along the bottom edge.
At first I considered this pretty minor because it's on the under side of the ship. However, when viewing the front of the ship, the extra raised strip and the 't' cross section definitely change the silhouette of the lower jawbox. I masked off these new details and base coated the new details.
The last thing I did was to spray the pits of the lower hull with the same Medium Grey paint I used on the upper hull. No photo of that for now. The painting of the grills definately made the ship feel more like the falcon for me. I'll have to take a photo with all the parts in place for my next update. I believe I am about ready to begin the next phase of the paintjob...weathering.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Progress report

Here's a peak at the upper hull. Last night I added the little reddish-orange reflector looking rectangles to the jaw box, cockpit walkway, and one near the rear engine deck. These were more difficult to mask because they are so small. I used Testors orange mixed with a bit of crimson red. You can also see the yellow and red panels are finished as well as all of the little lines drawn in with the fine tip detail 'Gundam marker'. The ship is almost in a state where I can begin the weathering phase.Before I get there, there's a piece missing from the upper hull that Rob discovered. There are four good sized details missing from the sides of the lower hull jawbox. And I need to paint the engine exhaust ports and gun turret interiors with a nearly-black grey color.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Punctuation is important.

Last night I decided to sit at my computer, pour over reference photos, and draw the little tiny lines and dots on the lower hull. I used one of those fine tipped Gundam markers (kit builders use these to draw in the panel lines on mechs I believe). It took a good amount of time to be as accurate as possible. I started on the bottom so I could get a good system down before approaching the upper hull which will be seen more on the finished model.
Here's a closer look at what these markings look like. There are hundreds of little lines and dots just drawn on the surface of the hull. I chose to do these before weathering so that the dirt and damage will make these appear less 'new'.
I dug up these photos of masking the lower hull panels. I use good old 3M painters masking tape (low tack) and cut it to small piece to form shapes around areas I want to airbrush. I write the colors to paint on the tape so I know what goes where.
Here's another shot of the lower hull back end. It looks more complicated than it really is, but that's because I try to mask as many panels as possible at once.
Finally, I made a small collage of a selection of additional bits and missing details discovered and corrected on Monday. Some are not pictured here (perhaps later) while a few others still need to be corrected. I know, it seems a little late in the game to change things, but I would rather nail them before this thing goes in a display case.
Above you can see a little cylinder shaped thing sticking out of the side of that greebly branching the upper hull and mandible. Next is a small detail with a wire on one of the escape pod walkways. The opposite walkway now sports two little curved bits that cover the rails near the small grill. And the rear engine deck receives complicated three-tiered wedge piece on both sides. After I built these additional pieces, I attached them, masked around them, and sprayed them with base coat.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Shades of gray

Today I took on the task of masking and painting all of the various dark gray panels on the upper hull. The lighter, bluer, panels from the turret forward are tricky. I started with a mix of Light Grey, Flat White, and touch of Medium Blue. Then for the side of the jawbox and the top of the turret I darkened the mix a bit.
For the darkest ones, I chose Neutral Grey. I sprayed this on some of the engine flaps and the escape pod walkway opposite the cockpit. Next up was Light Grey which in reality was just a shade lighter than Neutral. I used this on the other dark fins (doesn't show in the photo) and one panel next to the escape pod walkway.
Next I'll give the cockpit walkway and the lower hull the same treatment. Then I need to start mixing the red.