Monday, December 19, 2016

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas - back in 2017

The holidays are here, and I will be taking a little break along with my family. 

We are heading to Sydney to spend Christmas with our parents (my partner and I grew up in Sydney before we moved to Melbourne in 2006, and our families are still there).

As such, I will not be posting any blog posts for the next two weeks.

I hope that Santa Claus brings you lots of model kits if you've been good.

I'll be back in early 2017!

Merry Christmas,


Just look at the shading that's gone into this model...
Sweet snow diorama base too. Reminds me of the winter in Stalingrad, 1942.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

My end of year video

Here's a little video I uploaded, with an End of Year message for you all.

I'll keep it short and sweet today.

Video link: 2016 End of Year Christmas video



Saturday, December 17, 2016

Using twisted wire to make your own trees for dioramas

This week I got a chance to make an oak tree for my SU-122 diorama.

I will be uploading a full video tutorial in the very near future, but I wanted to share one of my in-progress pics with you.

It is a surprisingly fun process making a tree. In the past I have often used found twigs from real-world trees in my dioramas (see for example my Japanese Kurogane diorama) but making your own tree just lends such an air of realism, and the scale likeness can't be beat.

Like I said, a full build video is on its way, but in the meantime I present to you a Young Oak Tree in Autumn.



And I only pricked myself with the sharp wire once! Hurrah!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Video tutorial: The hairspray technique for chipping paint on scale models

I've just uploaded a new video tutorial to Youtube, this time going into more depth on the Hairspray Technique for chipping paint on models.

The Hairspray Technique

It's such a simple technique, with such dramatic and realistic results. You'll never paint a rusty piece of metal again in quite the same way, and it works just as well for chipped paint on worn areas on tanks, handrails, etc.

Check it out. You will be surprised at just how simple it is.

Video tutorial: The Hairspray Technique for chipping paint on scale models.

Until next time,



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Painted a leather jacket today

So today I used oil paints to paint a brown leather jacket on one of my Soviet tank crew figures.

It was a pleasant change to be able to paint it in natural sunlight, rather than under artificial light. As a result, when I took photos of it this evening under a lamp, it looks freakish and cartoonish and crazily exaggerated.

I'll never get over the difference between working under natural and artificial light.

I find that oil paints are just the bee's knees when it comes to painting leather. The semi-gloss result, the delicious blending between colours - this is the one situation when I will always recommend one medium over the others. Acrylics and enamels are much of a muchness with oils in all other situations, I can make cases for and against in most situations.  But for brown leather?  Nup, oil paints every single time.

Until next time,



So those yellow highlights look freaky in these photos.
In real life, it looks nothing like as garish.
(Which is a relief.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Video tutorial: How to use a Wash to bring out detail on scale model figure uniforms

To me, figures really are what makes a tank or soft-skinned vehicle come to life. 

You can have a stunningly built and weathered tank, but without some context it remains a little flat, a little ho-hum.  Add figures and scenery, for even the most basic vignette, and it suddenly tells a story, the viewer connects with it and has a dialogue in their imagination. You don't get that with a single vehicle, it remains a showpiece but there is no emotional connection.

My latest video tutorial is about using washes to really make details pop on scale model figures.

Anyway, this video wasn't pre-planned, I happened to be working on my resin Soviet figures and realised I needed something to improve one of them. Turned on the camera, and voila, the rest is cinemagraphic history.

Do please check it out and see what a difference washes can make. They are so ridiculously easy, and so ridiculously fast, there really is nothing stopping an aspiring model maker from having this in their repertoire.

It works equally well on resin figures, plastic figures which come included in your standard Tamiya model tank kit, as well as Dragon or Master Box figure kits. It works in all scales, although I tend to work fairly uniformly in 1/35 scale.

It is also a technique which translates to different mediums. Acrylic paints, enamel paints, oil paints all work with washes.  My only word of caution is keep an eye out for a glossy or semi-gloss finish which can result from a wash. Easily rectified with a finishing coat of matte varnish or dullcoat.

So yes, try it - what have you got to lose?

Video link: How to use a Wash to bring out detail on scale model figure uniforms

Until next time,



Monday, December 12, 2016

A new Dremel 4200 rotary tool

Yesterday was my birthday (thank you, thank you) and I must have been very good, because I received the following from my wonderful, wonderful partner Aimee.

Dremel 4200 rotary tool for scale model building
A Dremel 4200 rotary tool. Top of the line, baby!

Yes, it's a Dremel 4200 rotary tool. But you already knew that, as you read the photo caption.

I've been wanting one of these for a long time now. There have been many, many times when I've wanted to grind out an inaccessible bit of a model, and have had to chisel at it with a scalpel like a caveman. Now there's no stopping me.

Keep a look out for an upcoming video review very soon, once I've had a chance to play with my new toy.  Just don't tell my daughter I said that, it would undo all the times I've said to her "A tool is not a toy"...

Until next time,



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Painting fabric on my 1/35 Soviet model tank crew figures

Tonight I have been working on painting the uniforms of two of the Soviet tankers and mechanics in my work-in-progress SU-122 diorama.

Shadows in fabric

The mechanic is in a blue coverall. In the below shot, I have painted the blue basecoat, and then using a fine brush I have painted in the shadows a darker shade of blue (mixed in some black with the original blue). It does look a bit glossy in these shots, I may need to spray the finished result with a clear matte coat.

Shadows done.

Shadows perhaps a little overdone!

Shadows from behind.

Highlights on fabric

Then I mixed up a lighter shade of the original blue by mixing it with white. I've heard that you should never use pure white and pure black for mixing shades, you should use yellow or brown or somesuch. Nah, white and black have always worked for me. I'm open to being convinced though, tell me why with photographic evidence and I can be converted.

Then I drybrush the lighter shade on to all the highlights, followed by an even lighter shade on the really upper highlight areas such as the tops of the shoulders, shoulderblades, breast pocket and thigh pocket flap.

Highlights done, it really pops now.

Highlights have been drybrushed.

I am a little worried it looks too exaggerated, so I will check it in normal sunlight tomorrow and see how it looks. I find artificial light can really play tricks with shadows on uniforms, painting at night you can be a bit heavy-handed and it looks a bit too extreme in the cold hard light of day.  I'm also concerned at how semi-gloss the blue looks, but with some dust and dirt that will be toned back.

I also worked a little on one of the tank crew, but after a quick coat of olivey-khaki I noticed that the very fragile moulded collar at the back of the next has somehow snapped off. So a quick repair with gloopy Hubrol Model Filler was called for.

You can see the repaired area here.

So that's it for this evening. It's 9:30pm, time to put the brushes away and relax.

Until next time,


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

About Me page now added to the site


As of today, I've added an "About Me" page to my site, which you can access via the navigation at the top of the home page.

If you're interested in hearing about me, where I live, how I got into model making, etc, then do please check it out.

If none of that matters at all to you, then just keep on enjoying the model nerd posts as normal.

Carry on!



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Video tutorial: How to paint 1/35 scale model figure faces

Painting faces in 1/35 scale.  A lot of armor modellers hate painting faces. 

I know armor modellers who refuse to build dioramas or vignettes, purely because while they may be aces at painting and weathering a 60 ton tank, they cannot paint a tank crewman's face to save their life.

This is where my latest video tutorial comes in.

Last night I finished editing it. And it is a doozy - it came in at 20 minutes long. Now for some people that is waaaay too long for a Youtube video tutorial. So I also did a 60 second cheat sheet version.

I recorded these while painting the faces of the resin Soviet tankmen figures which arrived a couple of weeks ago.

In my video, I concentrate on working with my AK Interactive Flesh and Skin Tones acrylic paint set. I really do recommend this paint pack. I used to get average results with drybrushing of Humbrol enamel flesh tones, and I have also experimented with artists' oils, but I have always found mixing convincing skin tones a real challenge.  When I first began using the AK Interactive set about six months ago, it was a revelation. The pre-mixed colours took so much of the frustration out of the equation.  Now, if I do a bad job painting a face, it is purely down to my skill and I can no longer blame the paints!

I have included a link at the end of this post to where you can purchase this set at the lowest price on Amazon.

Below are some faces which I have painted with the set:

Painted 1/35 face of a Soviet officer

My German Afrika Korps tank commander.

DAK tank crew. The kneeling guy looks rather concerned.

I share some of my other secrets in my videos as well. So whether you dive in deep on the long masterclass version, or go for quick answers in the 60 second tutorial, I feel certain you will find something of use to help you improve your figure face painting.

SHORT VERSION: How to paint 1/35 scale model figure faces - easy 60 second tutorial

IN-DEPTH VERSION: How to paint 1/35 scale model figure faces - in depth, step-by-step tutorial

Until next time,



Friday, December 2, 2016

What the postie brought today - Part 1

Exciting!  A package in the mail!

And just look at what was inside!

Old Hindenburg has never looked so good.

A Life Miniatures 1/10 scale bust of Paul von Hindenburg. I can't wait to start this!

Look at the detail in that sculpture!

I also collect pickelhaubes (German WWI spiked helmets) and Imperial German medals, so this model is pretty perfectly right up my alley.

I also received some resin 1/35 German winter infantry figures for an upcoming snow diorama.

Man, I love the detail in resin castings...

I am a lucky chap today.



Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Christmas model wishlist (hint, hint)

Aaargh! It is December already!  How did that come around so fast???

So if I was a Very Good Boy and Santa Claus was to bring me my best, most favourite Christmas presents in model kit form, what would they be?  This needs a Top 5 List!

My Top 5 Models I Would Like To Receive This Christmas:

#1  - Trumpeter 1/32 Avenger
TBM-3, TBF-1C, whatever - as long as it has that sweet, sweet belly gunner position, I'd love to build it.

#2  - a 1/35 Hetzer
I don't care which manufacturer, as long as it isn't Italeri, because their kits are shit.
But seriously, Hetzers are just the coolest little tanks out there.

Small and cheeky.

#3  - Any Industria Mechanica sci-fi kit in 1/35 scale
Because they are just lovely and interesting and really rather expensive for what you get. So Santa would have to shell out for this one, I can't bring myself to pay those prices.

Coming in 2017.

#4  - Tamiya 1/35 Panther Ausf. G
Panthers are pretty damn sexy tanks, and in 30 years of model making I have never made one. Well that needs to change, dammit! And this latest Tamiya kit looks amazing. Plus, having recently built a Tamiya tank after many years elsewhere, it is just perfectly engineered and I want more. Finaly, as if I need another reason, Panthers are my mate Gav's favourite tank.

#5  - An old-school 1/32 Spitfire MkI
Because I would like to make it into a weather vane on my garage. Imagine how cool that would be, a lightweight Spit with its prop spinning in the wind, the fuselage turning to meet the wind, mounted on a piece of dowel?  In Battle of Britain colours, of course.  But it would have to be cheap as chips for such a tough outdoors existence, maybe an old 1960s Revell kit? Under 20 bucks Santa, reckon you can do that?

BONUS #6  -  any 1/32 WingNut Wings WWI fighter, because I would like to see what all the fuss is about. I keep hearing that WingNut Wings kits are just the bees knees in ultimate easy 'it's-a-pleasure-to-build' kits, and I want to see if that is true.  Plus I'm sick of seeing them win all the 1/32 propeller plane trophies at model shows, perhaps if I build one I too can pick up a coveted trophy in 2017. (Or at least understand why someone else did.)

Oh, Peter Jackson, you weird little Hobbit creature you.

So, those are my Top 5 (well, Top 6 actually).

What would you like to unwrap under the tree on December 25th? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you.