Monday, October 17, 2016

Building a 1/35 Japanese Kurogane 4x4 staff car diorama - Part IV: figures

Ahhh, figures - the Achilles Heel of many model makers...

In Part III I had just started testing the location of the partially made figures in the staff car (click here for Part III).

I continued on with the figures. The front passenger was to have been wounded, and there was a perfect head in the Masterbox kit with a great expression for this. You can see the scale difference between the Masterbox heads and the kit's original passenger and driver bodies... But the expressive face was just too good to not use!

Look at that large head there.

I also added the shade material at the back of the officer's cap. This was made out of an old seal from a whiskey bottle - every bottle of (halfway) decent wine or whiskey comes with a metallic foil seal around the cork and the top inch or so of the bottle. When you find one that is decent, foldable metal - keep it!  (Don't bother with the crappy plastic ones).

Then I began painting. Base coat of khaki, flesh tones, the usual stuff.  I will be doing an in-depth post soon about how to paint figures, so I won't go into too much detail here.

Driver with invisible steering wheel.

I added a pistol from the spares pile to the officer's hand.

What looks wrong here?  Can you spot the problem?

The figures continued until I was happy with them. I tried to particularly pay attention to their facial expressions.

It's hard to realistically paint blood.  Avoid bright red, that just looks garish and unbelievable.

Critical Assessment of your model

Then it was time to assess the progress so far, and two things really started to bother me.
1. The officer wasn't actually firing the pistol. He had no finger on the trigger.
2. The kit's rolled-back hood looked too fake, too perfect, too solid.

I used a tiny piece of stretched sprue to give the officer a trigger finger.  Technically he now has six fingers. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

Much better!

And I built a wire frame for the hood, based on the size of the plastic kit hood. A bit of guesswork went into this, but the basic shape was the same.  Then I cut a piece of white tissue to rougfhly the right shape, soaked it in a mix of 70% PVA white glue and 30% water, and draped it over the wire frame. Then I carefully placed this on the car, taking care to not drip glue over the bodywork.  I also used a spare couple of photoetch rifle straps as hood ties, as I wanted to have one flapping in the wind to give more motion to the diorama.

Building the hood frame out of easily-bent wire.

Once this dried, I painted it up and was very pleased with the result.  It's a much more realistic version of the hood than the chunky, solid original kit part, and it was easy to do.

I think you'll agree, this is a big improvement.

Check back next time, I'll be finishing the model and the figures and starting on the diorama base!



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