A glimpse into my scale modeling hobby

Welcome to my scale modeling page!

This page is an attempt to share pictures and thoughts from my scale modeling hobby. I hope to share some of my techniques but also to learn new techniques and continually improve my skills. Have a look around and enjoy my pictures!

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Fun with Troopers

15BCCEDE-4AC4-4845-A760-0FB109D88124I have sorely neglected an update on this blog for a variety of reasons, but the primary reason is the model community on Instagram. Instagram provides a great platform to share photos of projects and connect with other model builders. I have found it to be a good way to micro blog much of the progress I make on the various builds I have going, as well as a quick and easy tool to see what others are doing and perhaps get some inspiration. If you are at all into models, and why wouldn’t you be if you happen to be reading this, start searching out some of the scale model hobbyists on Instagram and enjoy all of their fantastic pictures.

The allure of recording longer form thoughts, however, still calls me, so I cannot avoid coming back here to share some thoughts about my favorite hobby. I have two completed builds to share on here in the next couple of weeks, as well as some thoughts about a pretty hefty project I am working on, so there is plenty to keep this page busy for a while. For now, I want to stick with a Bandai figure model I finished a few months ago: Rogue One’s iconic Death Trooper.

1A916C05-9688-43FB-ACE1-638AF9201D65This kit, along with the Captain Phasma kit, are my two favorites produced by Bandai up to this point (I’m still eyeing the General Grievous kit that just came out as a likely usurper). The kit comes with two different build schemes, a standard trooper or a specialist trooper. I decided to go with the Specialist because he is equipped with more cool-looking gear.

BB7939F6-D9D3-472A-B42D-2253CA201998The cool factor is what makes this figure stand out. The Death Trooper is loaded with weaponry and gadgets, which all enhance an already creepy/cool design. I had to do very little paint work other than coats of gloss and flat clear to give it a slightly more realistic and less plastic look. I did a little dry brushing on the weapons, but besides that, this was a fun and quick project.

FADE9558-8A86-474D-88A1-1A7017669AE0If I had to make one complaint about this kit, it is the fact that the eyes and mouth pieces are molded in a clear green but that gets completely lost in all the black of the figure. You could probably rig up some lighting to accentuate those more, but lighting does not typically fit my financial or time budgets.

67FE6E8F-B60C-48CE-9E58-48DE639BF90DNext up, I will take a look at my recently finished Bandai A-wing model. So, while you are waiting, grab the Death Trooper kit and have some fun!

A Bit of Backdraft

5C6CF448-B1BA-497A-8EB3-C06937F98494If you have ever played as the First Order in Fantasy Flight Games X-Wing Miniatures tabletop game, you are probably familiar with the pilot named “Backdraft.” On a couple occasions, Backdraft has been the bane of my pilots’ existence with his rear turret. I regularly had him on my mind as I was building the Special Forces First Order TIE from Bandai.

A665E1E9-90EE-4E29-B8F9-C001EBB4A8ADThis is a great kit, in line with the standard First Order TIE Fighter. The main differences were the bigger cockpit for two pilots, the red armor plating, and the rear turret. I really like the design choice of the splash of red on the Special Forces TIE.

I do not really have much to say about the process of building this kit because it was straightforward and problem-free. This time around, I painted the wing parts separately to avoid hours of annoying masking. A lesson learned from the previous First Order TIE I built. For weathering, I did a little bit of panel line washing as well as some light color pastels to highlight some of the corners, edges, and details.

8BC86BED-793D-4C17-8624-EA7D0B757A84I have been surprisingly prolific recently, probably because there are no papers to grade or lessons to plan for the next couple months. Thus, there will be more regular posts coming out over the summer. As always, I keep my Instagram account up to date on what I am currently working on, so check it out and follow @lifetoscale.05758599-BFB1-4037-BDAA-D46205B429B8

Customizable Clones

IMG_1941I keep coming back to these Bandai figure kits because they are just awesome. They are quick and make a great side project during a more prolonged or difficult model project.

One of the fun things about the Clone Trooper kit was that there were so many options for how to paint and weather this guy. Stormtroopers are fairly uniform, but thanks to the Clone Wars TV series and even some brief glimpses in the prequels, clone troopers had a lot of different markings, not to mention they weathered a lot more and their armor showed it.

IMG_1940When I first started assembling the clone trooper I was undecided about what sort of paint scheme I wanted to use, if any at all. Over the course of the build, I settled on the 212th Battalion color scheme because I have always loved Obi-Wan Kenobi and these were his troops on Utapau. I did a little googling to find a quality picture of the paint scheme and then jumped right in.

Two regrets about the way I went about painting this kit, which will influence future projects. First, I had already assembled the trooper so I had to do some difficult masking in hard to access places, which could have been eased by masking before I assembled. Second, because I did not want to mask the entire trooper, I hand painted the spots that needed markings. Both of these regrets left me wishing I had masked and airbrushed all the markings before assembling the parts. Lesson learned for next time.

IMG_1942Because I painted directly on the plastic, I was able to easily do some chipping with a toothpick and xacto knife. These gave a nice worn effect to the battalion markings. Then, to top the painting off, I did some panel line washing in a few spots and added some weathering pastels also. I finished the kit with a semi-gloss lacquer because the clone troopers were never quite as shiny as the stormtroopers.

Overall, I am pretty proud of my first real customized paint job, notwithstanding the usual weathering effects. I really like the result, and if I had endless supplies of money (haha!) I would probably try to customize several different clone varieties. Lessons learned and a good-looking figure make a great success. As a bonus, you can switch out the heads to be either a Phase 1 or Phase 2 trooper. As you can see from the photos, I preferred the Phase 2.

This is a great kit that will look even better when displayed next to my eventual Battle Droid and STAP kit.

Beastly Battlestar

IMG_1924Hey, I actually finished a model kit! That feels like such a rare statement these days other than the Bandai figure kits. Even those can be few and far between. We will just say that I really like to take my time to finish a kit. That sounds like a job interview answer, “I take so long to finish things because I am such a perfectionist.” Something like that…

Down to business. I just finished another great kit from Moebius Models. The massive Battlestar Pegasus from the 2000s BSG TV show. Much of the same praise I have given Moebius before applies here, but I have to admit that after spending plenty of time with the meticulously engineered Bandai kits, it is hard for anyone else to live up to that standard. Fortunately, there were no glaring seams and any smaller ones are fairly camouflaged. Thankfully, because I hate filling seams.IMG_1928I had a few firsts on this kit. This was my first go with photo-etched parts. I bought one of Paragrafix’s photo-etch sets for the landing bay arms and the inside panels on the front piece. I like the little bits of detail they add, but I definitely can’t afford photo-etch kits every time I build a model. Second, I used a Vallejo wash for the first time with the Pegasus. I found it really easy to use, and it gave the kit a great finish. I did not really do much other weathering on this kit, because the wash gave a nice grimier look while making the details pop a bit more.

IMG_1932This model kit is BIG! The picture above shows the Pegasus compared to the TV show’s namesake, the Galactica, and you can see how much bigger the Pegasus is. I still think I like the design of the Galactica better, however. I definitely had to do some shelf reorganizing to display this beast.

IMG_1925Overall, a great kit and a worthy addition to my collection. It was not overly challenging and looks really nice. So say we all!

Phantastic Phasma

History may remember Captain Phasma as the cool-looking trooper who was a bit of a dud in her on-screen role (I’m still waiting for Episode 8 to change that), but hey, she is pretty darn good looking. This figure kit from Bandai is a good reminder of how great she looks.

The figure comes molded in bright, shiny chrome, which as you might guess is a fingerprint magnet. I kept having to wipe off my grimy fingerprints after working on the kit, but I did not see any other figures on the market that quite matched the chrome look of the Bandai kit. Just a few thoughts on the build and paint process, and I will let the pictures speak for themselves:

  • No problems with assembly. The parts fit just like all of the Bandai figure kits. The cape options were the only main downside. The box has either a hard plastic cape in two parts or a see-through fabric-y cape. I ultimately chose the fabric because I really did not like the rigidity of the plastic cape nor the two parts. I think there are other options out there for nicer fabric capes, but I don’t have the budget to buy another one when there are already two options in the box.
  • I decided to take a bit of the chrome bite away by giving the whole kit a gloss varnish. This helped facilitate a little bit of wash weathering but still maintained a lot of the cool chrome look.
  • Speaking of weathering, I did only a little. I did some panel line washing throughout the kit and gave her a few smudges here and there. I gave her blaster the most wash treatment.

I really love this figure kit from Bandai. Cape issues aside, Phasma looks awesome and everything looks well-proportioned, scaled, and colored compared to some of the other options out there in the same scale. This Captain looks great up on my shelf next to her buddies Kylo Ren and the First Order Stormtrooper. I cannot wait to see how they might utilize her in the next movies, because when a character looks this awesome, she needs an awesome role.

Hello, FineMolds, My Old Friend…

img_1538…and hello, blogging, my old friend. It seems I am in the “complete a model every 3-4 months” phase of my life right now. The great thing about hobbies is how relaxing and rewarding they are, but with young children in your life, hobbies become a commodity. Still, a glorious, glorious commodity I relish whenever I have the chance.

If you follow my Instagram account, @lifetoscale, you will have seen a couple WIP pictures of the above Naboo Starfighter. Finally, the finished product gets its 15 minutes of fame. This kit has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years, but it has taken a back seat to many of the newer Bandai kits. But, Bandai had to take a break for a bit and give way to my 0ld favorite, the now discontinued line of FineMolds Star Wars models. The Naboo Starfighter is easily the most iconic ship of the Star Wars prequels, elegant in its simplicity and curved lines. Here are a few of my thoughts about the kit, in no particular order:

  • This is a tiny ship. Next to my other ships in the 1/72 scale, it is quite a bit smaller and looks much more cramped for the pilot.
  • Very simple assembly with few parts. Most of the seams were hidden, as FineMolds was pretty good at, but I needed to do a little filling on the front engines.
  • There were two pilot/droid options-Anakin and R2 or a Naboo pilot/generic R-series droid. I went with the Naboo pilot because the normal guy never gets much love.
  • I struggled with how much I wanted to weather this ship. In the movie, the ships looked very shiny and well-kept, but I can’t leave a Star Wars ship with no scratches or dings. I suppose that was one of the big critiques of the prequels. As a result, I used a little Tamiya panel line wash and added a few smudges here and there but tried to avoid getting too excessive.
  • Some of the waterslide decals were tiny! It took some deft fingers to get those in place.
  • I finished the kit with a couple coats of gloss varnish to maintain the shiny look seen in the movie.
  • I really liked the base for this kit. It is not the standard landing gear or in-flight display; rather, it accentuates some of the cool factor of how this fighter was docked in the movie.

img_1541If you can find one of these lurking around ebay, pick it up! It is a fast build (assuming you don’t have two small children and too many hobbies) and looks great next to the plethora of Star Wars ships in this scale. I imagine there are a lot of ways you could kit-bash or light the engines on this kit, but that is not for me right now. Maybe when the kids are in college…

img_1537

Hot Pursuit

img_0473

These two Bandai kits look great together. Watch your tail Blue Leader!

I briefly waffled on what to build after my Bandai Resistance X-Wing, but looking back it should have been a no-brainer. How can you follow up an X-Wing build with anything other than a TIE? I had both the standard First Order TIE and the Special Forces TIE in my stash, but I decided to start basic and come back to the Special Forces at a later date.

I really like the inverted color scheme of the new TIEs in The Force Awakens, and after spending some time with the ship, they look sturdier in comparison to the original TIEs. I still remember that first brief glimpse of the new TIEs in the original teaser as they were chasing the Millenium Falcon. I knew there was something different about them, but the shot was so fast it was too difficult to catch. Six months later, I am now considerably more familiar with the look.

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A good look at the TIE head-on. The wings look considerably sturdier than the OT version.

This model kit from Bandai was a fast and easy build. The parts are molded in a pretty decent color scheme, but most advanced modellers will want to add their own touches with preferred paints. I used a combo of sky grey and white for the wing panels and metallic black for the TIE frame and body. A couple of gloss coats, minimal weathering, and the desired pose on the base made for a nice finished product.

Closing in for the kill.

Finally, I decided to use the laser blasts provided by Bandai in order to display the TIE in pursuit of my T-70 X-wing. I intend to have some fun photographing these two kits together!

Check your rear stabilizer!

ThisbeRich

Amateur Miniature Models!

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