The Look of Star Wars
As I mentioned in the last post, I got the AMT/Ertl Corporate Alliance Droid kit on Ebay fairly cheaply. It was an easy build and a great kit to practice weathering techniques on. For various reasons, however, it took me forever to finish this kit. One reason, of course, was the demanding middle-of-the-term school schedule. The other main reason was that this kit was visually uninteresting. Something about it did not scream “Star Wars” for me. Perhaps this shows some of my bias toward the original trilogy, but the look of this vehicle just did not seem to fit into my idea of what Star Wars looks like. I have seen it on screen and thought nothing about it, but when I spent some close-up time with the kit, I just could not get excited about the look.
A large part of the visual problem was that the Corporate Alliance Droid is largely the same color. All the pictures I found of it show a coppery metal finish. The only variation is the red-orange in the eye slits at the top. To paint this kit, I first coated everything with a silver enamel. Following this, I mixed together some acrylic Dark Earth with primer to make a dulled light brown, and then I airbrushed the whole kit with this color. I still needed a metallic look, however, so I thinned some acrylic Brass to give the whole kit a metallic sheen. Next, I scraped off some of the top acrylic layers to get down to the silver bottom, but I was not thrilled with the silver I used, as it did not show through well. After adding a few scrapes and scratches, I gave the whole kit a couple of dark gray washes to fill in the cracks and crevices with the dirty look.
These weathering techniques were a good start, but I still needed some more color contrast on the kit. To do that, I moved to the dry brush technique. First, I dry-brushed almost the entire kit with Rust, and this gave it a nicely weathered look with some more intriguing detail than before. I considered stopping here, after adding a few burn marks and worn edges with my weathering powder. The problem was, however, that I was still bored with the overall look. To remedy my boredom, I dry-brushed the entire belt with Gunmetal. My intent was that this would add the look that the Droid had been trudging through some serious terrain, and the belt was taking the brunt of the dirt. To my surprise, this minor addition added a ton to the overall look of the kit. It added contrast between the belt and the body of the Droid, which was a much needed visual boost.
By the time I reached the end, I was much more satisfied with the look of the kit, and I was really happy to test and practice a bunch of different weathering techniques. I am still unsure about how this look fits into the Star Wars universe, but I think what it really needs is a couple of Wookiee figurines climbing up on it, ready to attack. I may try to sculpt those sometime down the road!