Friday, August 30, 2013

On My Painting Table - Dwarf Gyrocopter - Intital Assembly

Looking through my Lead Pile, I have finally decided to tackle the neglected Dwarf Gyrocopter. This is the metal model, but not the original design.
I had purchased this model a few years ago, and it had been roughly stripped of its bad paintjob. It has since sat my lead pile unloved until now. I did manage to find all the pieces, except for the pilot, and started piecing this model together. I tested all the joins, and quickly realised that this model has got some serious problems. There are pieces that need to joined, that simply will not “glue” together, as there is not enough surface area. This was mainly the rotor blades, but also the landing skids and the vertical stabilizer (the thing at the back which swings from left-to-right).
After staring at the rotor blades for a while, and trying to figure out, how I was going to attach them to each other. I found myself with no real answers. They were too thin to pin, there wasn’t enough surface area to just glue them. I did consider creating some sort of custom support structure that sits under each blade and attaches to the rotor shaft, but that seemed way too difficult and time consuming. So I did what I always do, when I need some helpful tips. I turned to the internet, and did a Google search on “Dwarf Gyrocopter Rotor Blades”. I wanted to see how other people tackled the problem of attaching the Gyrocopter rotor blades. This is a summary of what I found:
  • Method 1. Use a small 8mm washer, under the rotor blades. Glue the rotor blades to the washer. The washer is naturally visible, but when painted it looks acceptable.
  • Method 2. It is possible to pin the rotor blades together but, you need to be very careful. Using superglue and green-stuff really helps to keep it all together.
  • Method 3. Soldering the rotor blades together is do-able, but you really have to be careful, because the heat can really damage/destroy the actual blades.
  • Method 4. Use a product called JB Weld. It can be purchased from any auto supply store. It is used for small body repairs. The problem is that it takes a while to fully dry. You need to let it set for a couple of days before it is fully dry.
  • Method 5. Don’t use the rotor blades on your Gyrocopter. Instead, get some clear plastic like the stuff used on food packaging and cut out a circular disc, the same diameter as the completed rotor assembly. Use a black marker to draw 3 fuzzy lines on the circular disc. Attach this to the Gyro, and now it looks like the rotor blades are spinning, and truly flying.
  • Method 6. Don’t use the Gyrocopter model at all. Simply make your own proxy model, with something else.
It was really interesting to see how different people tackled this problem. I was initially interested in soldering my rotor blades together, but I wasn’t really concerned, that if it went wrong, it would be disastrous, and I would have some real damage on my hands. So finally I decided to try and use the pinning method. I did have some reservations, regarding drilling into such thin parts, but carefully and slowly I did manage to pin my model together. Once I did the rotor blades, I then proceeded to use the pinning technique on ALL the parts which needed to be joined. I have taken photos of the process.
I used the standard Citadel pin vice, and ordinary paper clips. One paper clip provided all the pinning power I needed.
Here are the photos.
Here is proof that it is possible to drill a hole and glue a paper clip pin, into the thin rotor blades of this model. You can also see the pins used in the other parts of the model.
The pins have been passed all the way through the metal. I did this for extra stability. Once everything was dry, the pins were clipped very close to the model, and they are no longer visible.
Here is another view of the pins passing through the horizontal stabilizer.
The three rotor blades have been 'dry' fitted, but they have not been glued yet. I will probably use some green stuff as part of this process to make sure it really secure.
This is the model so far. I still need to attach the rotor assembly to the rotor shaft. I am thinking of using magnets for this joint. This may help when the model is transported or accidentally dropped. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On My Painting Table - Wizard Repaint (update)

I have been working on this wizard some more, and I am happy with the progress. I have removed some (not all) of the shine from his robes. I created a new paint additive, using a mix of matt medium and flow improver, and used this to make a dark purple wash, which I applied to the robes. I also used this new creation and made a black wash, which seems to perform a lot like GW's Badab Black, but I need to test it some more, before I can say, it is the same sort of thing. You can see this black wash on the wizard's hand, the one which is hold the staff. It looks like the old fashioned "Black lining", that used to be painted on minis, back in the 90s. I also created a new flesh tone, quite by accident, but I think I like it more than the "official" flesh colours produced by GW. Again, I will need to experiment some more, and see if I like it.

The next step is to clean up the base, as well as apply some actual basing material to it.

Here are the photos.

Tools of the Trade - Introduction

All jobs require tools. And for our hobby of painting miniature men, we have very specific tools. The obvious ones, are paints and paint brushes, but there are other tools as well. Everyone has their favourites, and not everyone uses the same kind of tools. I have been sourcing and collecting useful items (tools) for my painting table, since I started this hobby. I now have a very comfortable set-up, and I believe having such a comfortable set-up, makes this hobby more enjoyable. There is nothing more frustrating than not have the right tool for the job. I would like to start a series called "Tools of the Trade" on my blog, which looks at all the tools and items I have accumulated over the years that helps me with my hobby. I am not saying that everyone needs to go out and purchase these items, but it may be useful for people to see what I have and what I use.

A very important rule that I follow, is to try to acquire my tools as cheaply as possible, while still maintaining a high quality item. I grew up with a father who was a cabinet maker, and I used to watch him work. I quickly learned that there is no substitute for a good quality tool, so I try to avoid purchasing sub-standard tools. Having said that, I still like to source them as cheap as possible.

The types of tools I plan on covering in this series are; Paint Brushes, Paint Brush Cleaners, Paint Additives, Wet Palette, Dry Palette, Wash Tray, Water Containers, Model Scrapper, Exacto Knife, Medical Scalpels, Dental Picks, Model/Jewellers files, Clippers, Scissors, Pliers, Rulers, Cutting Matts, a Variety of Storage Containers, Drying Racks, Paint Racks, Lighting and more...

Monday, August 26, 2013

On My Painting Table - Wizard Repaint

After moving my painting table to my room, it has been a LOT easier to just pickup some painting time, between being a father to my children (and being a grown-up in general). I find that I paint something, then leave it, and go and do grown-up stuff, like cook, clean, wash, mentor, tidy, organise, fix, etc..and then give myself a 15 minute break to go back and paint some more. I find that this works really well, except the fact that my 15 minutes usually turns out to be about 30 minutes.

Here is a photo of what I have been painting.

This is a wizard that was in my lead pile. It has been a LONG time, since I painted a wizard, so I simply started painting over him. I didn't bother stripping him back to bare metal. I was just keen to start painting. I used purple ink (amongst other paints), and it has left a shiny area in some of the recesses. I will need to go back to fix this up. Just in case you were wondering he is not finished yet.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On my Painting Table - Hobgoblins

I have returned to painting these hobgoblins, and I am making progress on their skin, and the highlights of their robes. I am happy with most of the progress, but I did do some silly things, which I am not happy about. I drybrushed over some of my highlights, which was really sloppy and crude, which I now need to fix.

The weapons are not finished (or not even started), and I need to base them.

New (Temporary) Painting Table

I thought long and hard, whether to set up my painting table in a new part of the house, or whether I would wait for the leaking roof to be fixed, and then resume painting again. I finally decided that I couldn't wait any longer, so I measured up my old painting table, with the water damaged top. I took those measurements to my bedroom, and after moving some stuff around, I SQUEEZED the old painting table into its new (temporary) home.

It is not perfect, and it is a tight fit, but it works for now. At least I can get some much needed painting done. I will take photos of it when i put my paints, brushes and other tools back into place.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Water Damage

My hobby table has been damaged by a leaking roof. After a bad storm, the roof over my hobby room, let in a lot of (unwanted) rain. The rain poured all over my painting table, via a downlight. The vintage (1950s) wooden table was completely soaked, and table top is ruined. I really liked that table, I still remember when and where I purchased it from, back in 1997. All the papers, sticker sheets and labels on the table, were ruined (luckily my painting dairy was in a different area, and was not damaged). My paints, paintbrushes, tools and minis did get wet, but were salvaged (mostly). A few minis had their bases ruined, and some labels on my paint bottles are a little crinkled or torn, but this was minor damage.

Anyway, the roof is currently being looked at by our insurance company, and is still not repaired. It has been about 4 weeks now. The quote I received was AUD$8000 (about USD$8000) to replace the entire roof. Which at the moment I simply cannot afford. So I have packed everything up, and stored them a couple of large boxes/crates, and I am catching the leaking water in a bucket.

Here are some photos.

Here is the bucket catching all the leaking water.

Here is what my painting table did look like.