A glimpse into my scale modeling hobby

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Hot Pursuit

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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!

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First Order of Business

IMG_0440Everything is looking rather Imperial-y on my workbench, as I just recently finished Bandai’s First Order stormtrooper and have started on the First Order TIE.

The First Order trooper looks great, as I expected. I did very little painting on the figure itself, just a couple coats of gloss and one dull so that he had a little shine but not too much. The troopers in the movies all have good looking armor, at least until they are blown up.

IMG_0443Most of the paint work came on the accessories. All the hands needed white on the palms, which I never noticed while watching the movie. The weapon accessories all came molded in black, and the new blaster design is black, white, and silver. I found it easier to paint the whole thing white and then add in the black and silver highlights. The melee weapon was a similar story.

IMG_0441I chose the now iconic TRAITOR!! look for my trooper for now since it is so different from any trooper look we have seen before. He looks great, with the only minor complaint the blobby looking fist hand.

Up next, the First Order TIE. Here is a little preview.IMG_0445

Blue Squadron, Still Reporting

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A man and his ship, unseparable

Finally! After a few months of silence and little work time, I have finished my Bandai T-70 Resistance X-Wing Fighter. As a little Father’s Day gift my wife took my 2-year-old and 2-month-old out for a little while, and I got a little work time to finish off my X-Wing.

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Top view in flight

I love the final kit! This was my first Bandai vehicle kit, and it definitely required more work than the figures, but it was well worth it. Lots of great detail, easy instructions and a great visual reference page for painting and decals. One of the most challenging parts of this kit was all of the tiny decals. When you are on a newborn schedule, there is very little time to dedicate to multitudes of miniscule decals.

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Try and catch me, TIE pilot

A few thoughts on finishing the kit. Instead of using the blue molded parts, I made a mixture of blue, white, and clear to match the decals as closely as possible. I used a light base color, knowing that I would be doing an oil gunk wash later and darkening the kit overall. After two gloss clear coats, I covered the ship in Starship filth oil paint, then wiped it all off, leaving the grime in the panel lines. I did have to re-scribe some of the panel lines where decals had covered them. Finally, I added a few dark soot spots around the engines, gave it two clear dull coats, and I was finished.

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Cockpit and BB-8 shot

I am very happy with the final results. I am really coming around to the snap kits, when they are made really well. There were only a couple spots I used a small amount of glue on to keep secure for the long haul. The Bandai kits can look great with minimal extra effort or a lot, which makes for a great product suitable for all ages and skill levels.

Next up, I am working on the Bandai First Order Stormtrooper and something as yet to be determined. I am leaning toward something not Star Wars. Perhaps the Battlestar Pegasus…

A Couple of New Things

After wrapping up the Ford Tri-Motor, I had to head back to the Star Wars universe for my next build. I can never stray too far from the Wars, since that subject is what got me into the hobby in the first place. Plus, I am still riding high after seeing The Force Awakens (henceforth known as TFA) three times in the theater and pre-ordering my Blu-ray.

Fortunately, I have been able to find the Bandai TFA kits for the X-Wing, TIE/fo Fighter, and First Order Stormtrooper on eBay or Amazon for reasonable prices, so I decided to dive into the new T-70 X-Wing. First of all, I loved the design of the new X-Wings in the movie, plus I just love X-Wings. Ever since my first glimpse of X-Wings in action way back in the late 80s from a VHS recording of the¬†A New Hope TV broadcast, I have been in love. Maybe they reminded me of my late grandpa’s war stories.

This was my first foray into the Bandai vehicle kits, and so far I have not been disappointed. The same attention to detail present in the figure kits is evident here, but there is definitely more need for the model-builder’s touch. The kit could work straight out of the box with no glue or paint, but where is the fun in that? We always want to make it look more authentic!

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I find great joy in painting tiny figures!

One of the things I have not done in a while and found that I really missed was painting tiny figures. This kit came with a seated pilot, standing pilot, and BB-8. For all of them I used a combination of decals and paint. I will definitely be adding more mini painting to my future plans.

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Minis, cockpit, and scissor wings.

As with the minis, I am using a combination of the decals and painting for the whole ship. The tough part about that is matching the paint to the decal color. I have yet to mix up the blue, but hopefully I will get to that this week.

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The fuselage and the wings ready to be joined in perfect Bandai snap-fittery.

The distinct blue stripe on the new X-Wings was molded in blue, but I decided to go ahead and paint that on my own to give it a less plastic-y look. That is this week’s goal.

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Everything fits well as is usual for the Bandai kits.

I am slowly making my way through this kit, not because it is too challenging or time-consuming, but because we are getting our house ready for a second kid to arrive any day now. I can maybe squeeze in an hour in the evenings every once in a while. On that note, I have started an Instagram account to provide more real-time developments on my kits, as well as fun photos of my action figure collection or old models in new settings. You can find me at @lifetoscale on Instagram. I will continue to post blog updates as well, but they take longer to put together, thus they occur much less frequently. I will leave this post with one last picture of BB-8 in his native habitat.IMG_0254

You Know How to Fly This Thing?

IMG_0203One of my favorite things about the scale model hobby is the opportunity to constantly learn new skills. On the Revell Ford Tri-Motor kit I learned how to make my own decals and tried to advance my seam filling skills. The former was really easy, the latter is still a work in progress.IMG_0202

This kit from Revell is not high quality. The parts did not fit well at all, and it lacks in detail. In other words, the perfect kit to customize for this Indiana Jones lover. I used the ILM model and props book for visual reference and did my best with what the kit had to offer.IMG_0200I did a minimal amount of weathering with a dark gray wash and some soot streaks, but the biggest addition was my custom decal of the Lao Che Freight logo. Easy to make and full of the extra character the kit needed, it was a worthwhile diversion with minimal research. Check out this previous post for more details about the decal-making process.IMG_0204

I probably spent far more time on this kit than I needed to, but it was a nice change of pace from the usual Star Wars lineup. Plus, I learned some new skills in the process. As someone who loves to learn, I am always appreciative of new challenges. Heading on to another Bandai Star Wars kit next!IMG_0205

Decal Success!

I have moved to a new workspace in my house, after we rearranged our rooms to make room for a new baby to arrive at the end of March! My desk is now right by the window with lots of great natural light to work during the day. It is also more open with lots of great space to display my stuff (for now, at least…).

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New location of my workspace. Good storage and shelf space. My display case is now in the opposite corner.

With everything moved, it was time to lay down the gauntlet on whether to make my own decal for the Ford Tri-Motor. I had been waffling for quite a while about the merit of making my own decal, and I was actually leaning toward not until I did some research and discovered that it is not a difficult process if you have the right materials.

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The photo I used to create the decal.

I started by finding a good screen shot of the plane door from the scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Then, I imported the image into a photo editor and erased all of the background except for the red font. The result left the edges a bit pixelated and fuzzy, but it worked out decently for the small scale.

Once I was down to just the font, I brought the image back into Google Drawings and created several different sizes to check what fit best with the scale. Then I ordered decal paper and an acrylic coating spray, printed a few different sizes, and checked for the best size fit.

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Different sizes to check for scale.

With a size picked out, it was as simple as any other waterslide decal. Cut it out, put it in water, apply it to the model, use some micro set to help it stay, and then put on some protective clear coats. I am glad I decided to go through the process because it adds extra nerdy flair and helps the model feel more authentic to the original from the movie.

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Final application. Definitely worth the little bit of extra work for a more authentic result.

This is the Kit You’re Looking For

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I finally got around to finishing the 1/12 Sandtrooper kit from Bandai, and it looks great! The steps of the build were very similar to the standard stormtrooper kit, but the extra weapons, the pauldron, and the backpack added enough of a different touch to make the build a unique experience.

IMG_0162Here are a couple thoughts on my finishing choices:

-I used Pledge wax for a gloss finish over the decals and to give the base shiny trooper look. This is where I stopped with the standard trooper.

-I did not want to over weather the armor because I thought that the Sandtroopers would still try to keep their armor as clean as possible in a harsh environment. I could not, however, resist giving this guy a dirty look so I used some weathering powders sparingly to give the appearance of dirt and sand. This gave just the right amount of wear that couldn’t be polished out no matter how hard he tried.

-Finally, I finished the whole piece with a clear dull coat. This was my attempt to simulate years in an environment not conducive to anything looking good.

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These Bandai kits are too fun, and I fortunately have been able to grab some on eBay for very reasonable prices. I guess that whole embargo thing didn’t really work out, Disney and Revell…

Next time you hear from me, I will have pictures from a new workspace! We rearranged our whole basement to make room for a new baby in April, so my workbench moved. I should have some good updates on the Tri-Motor soon.

ThisbeRich

Amateur Miniature Models!

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