Friday, May 10, 2019

New video: Hot wire foam cutter - the tool I didn't think I needed...

You guys know me. I like to save money where I can when building models. I'm always banging on about not wasting money on single-use tools or the latest gizmo. Usually this advice is sound, but sometimes you encounter so much grief and frustration trying to use a workaround that it makes sense to cough up and buy the proper tool. Trying to neatly and cleanly cut foam is one of those times.

For months I avoided purchasing a hot wire foam cutter. I know you can make your own, but my electrical skills are dodgy and I didn't want to burn my house down. So I used workaround solutions. And the results weren't pretty. I believe the term "butchery" is used in this video.

Am I happy with it? You betcha. Every time I use it, it makes me smile because I'm not swearing at the terrible results I previously achieved!

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
Hot wire foam cutter - the tool I didn't think I needed...



Wednesday, May 8, 2019

New video: How to scratch build metal trash cans for dioramas

Here's my latest video, showing you how to scratch build your own old-school metal trash cans for scale model dioramas. Perfect for adding a sense of grit and grime to any streetscape! I show you mine built in 1:20 scale, but in the video I also give dimensions to make these in 1:35 scale as well.

Video tutorial: how to make scale model metal trash can diorama scenery

It's a very satisfying technique. I won't lie, it's fiddly and tricky and time-consuming, but the results are well worth it.

Full disclosure: I first saw this technique in a Facebook photo tutorial by a modeller named Luc Po. So all credit for the technique must go to him. I just thought that the world could use a video tutorial, it's a lot easier to follow, and here it is.

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:



Saturday, April 13, 2019

New video: The easy way to paint a rust effect on scale models

This week is a follow up to last week - today it's all about the easiest way to paint rusted metal. Honestly, it's almost impossible to stuff this up. Plus it's another one of those fun, random, not-quite-sure-how-it-will-look-until-its-completed processes that I love so much.

The easy way to paint a rust effect for scale models

It's incredibly simple.

  1. Paint something with random splotches of Tamiya Red Brown XF-64.
  2. Then splatter on speckles of other shades of reddish, orangey, brownish tones.
  3. Then judiciously apply rust pigments.

Voila! You now have a piece of rusty metal.

There's really not a lot more to it than that - yes, there's room to finesse it, and of course feel free to play around with the technique, but it's pretty hard to mess it up. I love a process that can't go wrong!

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
The easy way to paint a rust effect on scale models.



Friday, April 5, 2019

New video: How to paint a weathered galvanized metal effect for scale models

I received a few queries last week, asking me how I had painted the roofing in my corrugated iron video. So I'm releasing two videos in response - one showing how to paint a weathered, galvanized natural metal finish (this week) and next week I'll be showing you the easiest method ever for painting rusted metal.

How to paint a weathered galvanized metal effect for scale models and dioramas

For a galvanized metal finish, all you need is:

  • a dark metallic paint
  • a light metallic paint
  • a light grey paint
  • salt

That's it. Easy-peasey.

I'll let the video do the talking, but I think it gives a suitably realistic and weathered finish. The spots of darker metal could be slightly smaller to be more in scale, but I can live with it.

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
How to paint a galvanized metal effect for scale models



Friday, March 29, 2019

New video: Dave's Cool Tool #1 - Corrugated iron maker

I've been playing around this week with a new gizmo, and it gives amazing results. It's a tool for making scale corrugated iron sheets. Normally I don't like to waste money on single-use tools, but I've been spending lots of cash on corrugated styrene sheet and I realised that there had to be a better solution. Now I can make as much corrugated roofing as I want at a tiny, tiny cost.

How to make corrugated iron for scale models and dioramas

I was starting to muck about trying to form my own scale corrugated iron using the corrugations inside cardboard... it wasn't effective.

I saw a couple of online tutorials about making your own tool. Hmmm, possibly...

Then I found this. It's from a hobby shop here in Melbourne, and they invented it themselves. For $20 it looks and performs much better than anything I could have jerry-rigged together, so I grabbed one. And I'm very, very happy with it. (You can kinda tell in the slightly overexcited video - I think I need to get out more...)

It was invented by Brunel Hobbies, and is available from their website - Brunel Hobbies.

By the way, this is in no way a paid recommendation - I have not received any commission, and I paid for my tool like a normal person. When I do find something good, I like to share it with you guys.

Plus, as an added bonus, it just looks slick.

Video is embedded below, but in case it doesn't work here is the link:
Cool Tool No1: make corrugated iron for scale models and dioramas



Monday, March 18, 2019

New video: Airbrushing - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Last week I had a mixed week with my airbrushing. There was some good - my new Mr Hobby PS-270 airbrush is amazing. There was some bad - I managed to snap off the thread on the tiny nozzle of my old workhorse Sparmax DH-103 airbrush. And there was some ugly - I've realised I'm really rather bad at replicating graffiti on my scale model buildings...

I find graffiti very tricky. It's probably because I never did graffiti when I was an impressionable teenager. But I find it very hard to capture that fluid, smooth motion in the strokes of the pen or airbrush. Because I'm so carefully copying something that feels a bit alien to me, I don't have a fast and easy hand, and I think it shows. Oh well, c'est la vie - as I regularly tell my daughter, we all get better with practice.

But the good news is that I did manage to remove the stuck broken-off thread from inside my airbrush. A couple of people suggested I use an Xacto blade as a sort of jerry-rigged screwdriver, jam it into the broken thread and then screw it out. Hurrah - it worked!

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
Airbrushing scale models - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!



Friday, March 8, 2019

New video: How to make your own fallen autumn leaves for dioramas

Sure, you could purchase commercially available fallen leaves for your diorama. They look good, and it's a little touch that adds a lot of realism to a scene. But they're really, really expensive - $10 for about 2g of leaves in my local hobby shop. Why not make your own? As long as you have a sharp scalpel and a steady hand, it's easy.

How to make fallen autumn leaves in 1/35 scale for diorama scenery

It's just turning to Autumn here in Australia, which means there are heaps of dead leaves all over the ground. Slightly annoying if you have to rake them up, but for me they are sweet, sweet free leaves that I can chop up to make little tiny leaves.

It's pretty simple, so I'll stop writing and let the video do the talking.

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
How to make your own fallen autumn leaves for dioramas.



Saturday, March 2, 2019

New video: Scale model detailing hint - drink more whisky!

I've been busy on my second scratch built 1:20 scale building, and yesterday I built a small lock for the door. I'm rather happy with it. While I was building it, I thought I should do a video for you guys explaining the brilliant, brilliant material that I used to make it: metal foil from the top of whisky bottles.

Scratch built padlock for scale model diorama

I absolutely love this stuff (the foil that is, not the whisky. Although I love that too...). It's really malleable, incredibly versatile, and it comes free with sweet, sweet whisky. Win/win.

Using metal foil from bottles for detailing scale models and scratch build dioramas

As I outline in the video, there are literally millions of uses for this when detailing your scale models: seatbelts, rifle slings, brackets to mount pipes to walls, plant leaves, clothing, fabric, etc etc. The only limit is your imagination.

It holds its shape forever. It takes paint beautifully (although I'd be safe and prime it first just to be 100% sure). It's available in a range of thicknesses, from almost 1mm to 0.1mm, depending on what bottle you source it from.

Plus, did I mention you get to drink the whisky inside the bottle?

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
Scale model detailing hint: Drink more whisky!



Friday, February 22, 2019

My secret new project revealed! Big scale, big ambitions

I've been busy since I became a full-time modeller a few weeks back, and I can finally reveal my plans to you now that I have at least one completed project to show you. I've finished my first new scratch build, and it's big in a number of ways: big scale (1/20) and big plans ahead.

The new build is a miniature urban artwork of a building in my local area, the Yarraville Racing Pigeon Homing Club. I've spent three weeks scratch building this, and the finished result is about 40cm wide.

My plan is to try to complete a number of similar large scale miniatures of buildings and locations that I love in Melbourne, the city I live in. After a few months, I'm hoping to hold an art exhibition and showcase my work in person.

It's still early days, but it's very exciting to have embarked on this crazy plan. I'm loving the building process - it's great to feel a real sense of my modelling mojo set to full steam ahead!

I've also started a new Instagram page to highlight my artworks - you can see them @davidhouriganartist

Of course, Dave's Model Workshop will continue as it always has - I'm not going anywhere. I'll still continue to produce content around scale model kits and dioramas. This second outlet is more about artworks for sale rather than commercially available kits for the modelling hobby.

It's all happening!

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
My new project finally revealed: Scratch built large scale diorama



Friday, February 15, 2019

New video: What do you do with all your built models?

Yesterday I bought a model that has already been built. It was for sale by a widow, who was getting rid of the scale models her husband had made while he was still alive. It got me thinking about what the hell will happen to all of the models that we build - more specifically, it got me wondering what will happen to all of my built models when I shuffle off?

It's easy enough to sell off your stash of unbuilt model kits if you need to. But getting rid of built models? Not so easy.

The model I bought, a 1/350 Tamiya King George V battleship, is in pretty poor shape. The guy who built it was no master of his craft, but that's what tempted me, I plan to (some day) try to resurrect it, to take the basic structure and improve upon it and make something special. It's a form of recycling - rather than seeing this end up in landfill, which I suspect was the alternative.

Anyway, I'm very interested to hear from you guys as to what you actually do with all your built models, and what you ultimately plan to see happen to them. It's a slightly morbid, but fascinating, aspect to our hobby that I've not really considered before.

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
What do you do with your built scale models?



Saturday, February 2, 2019

Exclusive video for MOD Squad members - a behind-the-scenes tour of Dave's Model Workshop

I've just released a special behind-the-scenes video touring my workshop area, which is going to be released exclusively for members of The MOD Squad, my supporters on Patreon. So aside from getting a 10% discount at a number of hobby suppliers, you also get some content that will never be released to the general public.

There's no link or embedded video today - the link is only visible to supporters on my Patreon page.

If you're already a member - this is one more small way to say thank you for your support. It helps me to build Dave's Model Workshop into something greater.

If you're not already a member - please consider it. For 3 bucks a month you get a lot of benefits. Here's my Patreon page if you want to check it out in more detail. I want this to be a two way street, if you support me you get tangible benefits in return. Seems only fair to me.

Some Australians in the audience may get the below reference, but for the rest of you: Go on, do yourself a favour. Join The MOD Squad.




Friday, February 1, 2019

New video: 1/32 scale Hasegawa Mitsubishi Zero A6M5 - built model showcase

A lot of you have asked for a more detailed view of some of the models I display in my workshop - the older stuff that I didn't film as I made them. So today I've released a video showcasing one of my favourites - the ancient 1/32 Hasegawa kit of the Mitsubishi Zero A6M5. It's a cracker.

1/32 scale Hasegawa Mitsubishi Zero A6M5 - built model showcase

Even though there are some pretty big faults with this build, the Zero remains one of my favourite completed models. Partly this is because I like the Zero aircraft itself - it's a tough little beast and yet it's lines are simple and elegant, it's very Japanese in that way that they can make things utilitarian yet beautiful at the same time.

The second reason I like this build is because it was the first time I ever tried salt chipping to weather the paint job. It was a bit of a watershed moment for me.

It's not my best build ever, there are some glaring problems, but it has a special place in my heart.

Watch the video - I hope you'll like it.

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
1/32 scale Hasegawa Mitsubishi Zero A6M5 - built model showcase



Friday, January 25, 2019

New video: Scale model figures 'how to' guide - Part 1 Construction and building

In this new multi-part video series I will show you how to build and paint scale model figurines, mostly concentrating on 1/35 military miniatures. The series is mostly aimed at beginners, but I hope there is something of value to more experienced model makers as well.

Scale model figures 'how to' guide - Part 1 Construction and building

In this first part I go step by step through construction: what tools, you'll need, how to clean flash from the mouldings, how to get limbs attached as cleanly as possible, and how to fill the inevitable gaps when they sometimes don't come together as nicely as you'd like.

I'm doing a group of 1/35 German figures at the moment, as part of my ongoing Krupp Protze diorama, and I figured it was a good chance to cover off some basics and really get deep into the detail of model figurines. I know a lot of modellers struggle with figures - they can produce absolutely stunning armour or aircraft, but when it comes tome to prop the machines with people around them for a sense of scale it can be a bit daunting for some.

Like most things in life, it all comes down to practice (as I regularly tell my 6 year old daughter) but there are a couple of hints to take on board and some traps to avoid which do make it a lot easier, and more of a pleasure, to build and paint model figures.

The video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
Scale model figures 'how to' guide - Part 1 Construction and building



Monday, January 21, 2019

New video: Is it time to upgrade your beginner airbrush? Cheap v intermediate examined.

I've been using the same cheap airbrush for the last ten years. The generic Sparmax DH-103 airbrush and compressor cost me $100 Australian back in 2007, and it has never given me a moment's trouble in all that time. Everything you've seen me produce has been painted with that rig. But I recently decided that it was time for me to upgrade, to lift my game and get a better airbrush.

Don't get me wrong - you can get by for a long time with a cheap beginner airbrush (hell, I did). If you're considering your first foray into airbrushing scale models, I would most definitely recommend you pick up a cheap one to learn on. I promise you, once you try airbrushing you will never go back to only using paintbrushes - I guarantee it.

But there are compromises involved in a cheap airbrush, and eventually you will want to get a better brush. It took me ten years, your results may vary (or you might be less of a tightwad than I am!).

So I got a new, higher-spec airbrush from - it's a 0.2mm Mr Hobby Procon Boy FWA Double Action Platinum. It is a bit of an eye opener to me. I can't put it any other way - it is just a lot better than my current cheap airbrush.

If you're interested in picking up one for yourself, here is a link (I get no commission, BTW!) - and even better, if you are a member of The MOD Squad you get a 10% discount. Win / win!

time to upgrade from your beginner airbrush

The full details are in the video below, but the main difference is the control of how precise you spray. For fine work, like say freehand airbrushing 1/72 scale camouflage, it makes a huge difference. Watch the video, you'll see what I mean.

Now I need to think about if I ever want to pull the trigger and buy one of the really expensive airbrushes, like a Badger or Paasche. Those are in the US$200+ range, and I've been told that the results you see in a jump to an expert airbrush is the same as the jump from a beginner's to an intermediate. I'm not ready for that expense yet, but it would be interesting to see. Maybe a future video, who knows?

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
Is it time to upgrade your beginner airbrush?



Monday, January 14, 2019

I'm back, and 2019 is going to be BIGGER than ever!

I'm back from several weeks' holiday, and it's good to be thinking about model building again! All that time spent lazing in the ocean and on golden beaches, I was missing my solitary indoor nerdy hobby... ;)

I can't believe that 2019 is already two weeks old. And I have some big news to share with you guys.

Please excuse the self portrait, but I couldn't come up with anything better for the video thumbnail...

I'm going to be a full-time modeller next week! Check the video for more info, but it's all very exciting indeed.

Video is embedded below, but in case that doesn't work here is the link:
Welcome to 2019 - lots of big news for the new year!



Monday, January 7, 2019

Summer beach action

I'm a lucky man. Today I got to belt the Sand Scorcher around a huge, empty beach.

Summer holiday bliss.