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Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

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Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby mangozac » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:08 pm

I'll start off with full disclosure: bringing this design to resin has been my pet project for the past year. The Fiddler is an awesome design created by the talented artist Alex Iglesias back in 2010 (original artwork). An equally talented 3D modeller named Don Bradford then created an insanely detailed 3D animation model. Last year I arranged a license agreement, had it prepped and then 3D printed and now my mate Alan from Black Dragon Castings/White Dragon Miniatures is casting and distributing them. I got my hands on a pre-production kit ahead of the product launch at Salute 2013 this weekend in the UK.

Darkmessiah got one of the other pre-production kits and painted it in a fantastic digicam: http://www.coolminiornot.com/329738. I decided however that I wanted to paint mine more in line with Don's 3D render: more like a modern US tank in a sand colour and with lots of worn paint. I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to use the advanced "hairspray chipping" technique. In stead of hairspray though I'm using the Mig Productions "Absolute Chipping".

First up, some assembly shots ;)

Bagged and unbagged:
Image Image

I skipped pics during cleanup and assembly because it was kind of boring. So straight to the temporarily assembled model (it gets broken back down into sub-assemblies for painting):
Image

I prime with my favourite primer: Tamiya Surface Primer (grey).
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Next up all of the parts got a coat of Tamiya XF-63 German Grey, followed by two coats of Pascoes Floor Polish (a clear coat). Note that I use Tamiya thinner too, as I find it works really well.
Image Image

From here on I'm in uncharted territory (for me anyway) so I proceeded just with the pelvis piece to experiment. I sprayed on two coats of the Mig Absolute Chipping and let it dry:
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Next I did some pre-shading for the main coat. I sprayed XF-1 Flat Black onto the bottom surface of the pelvis to shade the underside. Then XF-2 Flat White was painted roughly into the centre of each of the panels (except for the bottom panels).
Image

Over this I sprayed a coat of XF-60 Dark Yellow. At this stage it's hard to see the effect of the pre-shading but in the past I've found that once the paint receives a clear coat it become much more defined. That's just how flat the Tamiya colours are!

Immediately after cleaning the airbrush I set upon the part with some water, old, stiff brushes, a toothpick and a toothbrush. The idea is that the water causes the chipping fluid layer to dissolve in a controlled manner, causing the outer layers of paint to chip off. Unfortunately it didn't work fantastically - I think either the chipping fluid needed more coats or the coats needed to be thicker. In the demo video for Absolute Chipping they brush it on so I might try that on the next part tomorrow night...

Still after a bit of perseverance I got some decent chipping effects. Unfortunately it did wear through to the actual primer (rather than the dark grey "fake primer") in a couple of spots, but that will be easy enough to fix with a brush. I'm determined to perfect this technique, since all of the armour modellers make it look so simple!

Image

Stay tuned for more progress - I'm hoping to knock this project over pretty quickly!
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby NoseGoblin » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:37 am

Nice! I have been waiting for this one... Congrats on the license!
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby mangozac » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:52 am

Thanks Mark! Yeah it's great to finally get it to production and have one in my hands after a year of organising!

Just gotta sort out this chipping effect and I'll be cruising along...
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby factor40 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:10 am

Awesome stuff, Zac! The final model looks better than I anticipated, I think those prints loose detail when photographed. Keep up the good work!

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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby mangozac » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:18 am

Yeah I would have liked some of the details to be a little sharper, but it's a combination of things. We learned a lot in the process so the next one we do should be an improvement. In any case it has turned out quite nicely!
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby Joey » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:29 pm

Nice stuff Zac!
In case you continue to have chipping problems -remember that the missus' hairspray still works fine.
Image
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby mangozac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:41 am

Thanks Joey! The ironic thing is that these chipping fluid products are supposed to give more consistent results than hairspray.Yeah, consistently bad *rimshot*.

Actually I did work out the issue a couple of days later - it turns out that the Mig Productions chipping fluid is also used for the actually chipping procedure as well. All other products are used just as a coat underneath he main colour coat and then you use warm water to do the chipping. That's a big difference and Mig Productions should really make a more obvious point about that!

So I've taken the opportunity to clean up a couple of panel lines I missed, primed those areas and then resprayed the German Grey and clear coat last night. Tonight/tomorrow I'll hit it with the chipping fluid and pre-shade/colour coats. I'll then hand paint the metal surfaces (it will be quicker and easier than masking them all and then airbrushing).
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby mangozac » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:37 am

Soldiering on!

As you can see, painting is progressing. I thought I'd solved the issues with the chipping fluid, however after painting all of the rest of the parts in one big batch and then trying to chip them it still wasn't working as it should. I believe where I went wrong this time was the use of a clear coat over the German Grey colour. The chipping fluid has relatively high surface tension and the gloss coat prevents it from giving an even coat over the top of the gloss. Apparently you shouldn't need to use any kind of clear between your base colour and the chipping fluid, but I was really paranoid about removing paint back to the actual primer. Further research concluded that I should mix in some Tamiya X-21 Flat Base with the gloss to flatten it down a bit and allow the chipping fluid to cover evenly.

I won't be using the Mig Productions product again though. I've purchased some AK-Interactive Worn Effects fluid and will try that next time. Having to use the chipping fluid for the removal too means you go through a lot of the Mig Productions stuff, so the AK-Interactive product should be more economical too.

Anyway, on to the pics. Nothing too exciting here: you can see the failed chipping on the leg. I'm just going to have to do the traditional "sponge and brush" chipping technique. I've given all parts except the torso their grey paint. Once that's done I'll do the chipping, hit it all with gloss clear and then pinwash all of the details. Then weathering (the exciting bit!).

Image Image

I think these shots show just how naturally matte Tamiya paints are: they make the Vallejo paint (the dark grey parts) look super glossy!

Hopefully I'll get another update done over the weekend ;)
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby Commissar-Krad » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:31 am

Tamiya is great for airbrushing. It never clogs up like Vallejo and other water based paints can. Looking forward to more progress. It's such a sick model!
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby mangozac » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:46 am

Tamiya is indeed great stuff. A lot of people consider their stuff to be a bit gimmicky, but given the choice I'm happy to run with Tamiya products - nothing but good quality in my opinion!

After seeing the actual kit Don the 3D modeller got excited and did up a new piece of artwork. Check it out: http://lucid-grey.deviantart.com/art/The-Fiddler-Destroy-368402108?q=gallery%253Alucid-grey&qo=0. The guy is an amazing artist and I was lucky enough to see some of the progress shots as he composed the scene!
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby Fleafa » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:08 am

He has mad skills. Wish I was that good!
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby mangozac » Sun May 12, 2013 8:16 pm

A little post-Mothers'-Day update ;) I have been making progress on this but have struggled to find time to post about it! This update was completed during the week, but I'm only now posting these images.

I've sprayed a few markings onto the Fiddler, inspired by those shown on Don's latest render. To do this I took some measurements, drew up the markings in Inkscape and then printed them out. I then placed the printout atop some 18mm width Tamiya tape temporarily stuck to my cutting mat and used a knife to cut through both the paper and the tape. The tape was carefully lifted and fixed to the Fiddler.

This was done on both thighs and I also did a unit number marking on the top left of the torso.

One other thing I did try was to stipple on a small amount of liquid mask after I had applied the templates to the model (to simulate where the markings had been chipped or worn off). After spraying Tamiya white I removed the tape and the liquid mask, but the the result was less than impressive. Perhaps I just aren't yet skilled enough in applying liquid mask but it simply didn't give me the effect I wanted. So I brushed some Vallejo white over the top of the sprayed markings to make the chips less severe and much finer.

The masked thigh:
Image

After removing the mask:
Image

Unit marking:
Image

Pretty pleased with the overall result. I've since given it all a coat of gloss clear and have begun applying weathering oils and washes. For vents and deep panel lines I'm using thinned artists' oil paint. For everything else I'm using AK-Interactive AK-121 OIF & OEF wash (which is just a clay brown colour). The first time I tried the oil based weathering techniques (on my Superheavy Assault Walker) I had a lot of trouble because I hadn't laid down a suitably consistent gloss clear coat. I've not made that mistake here however and applying the oils works like a dream!

I've found that the wash needs to be shaken up pretty regularly during use (like every 5 minutes) in order to keep the pigment nice and suspended - maybe you're supposed to decant some of it into a palette rather than apply straight from the bottle. I'm about halfway through this stage and will have a photo update when it's done.

Once oils are done I think we'll be ready for final assembly (exciting!).
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby mangozac » Thu May 16, 2013 8:04 am

Well last night I finished applying the oils. It took way longer than expected and I'm still getting used to working with the oils (slow drying time=be careful where you put your fingers!). The best thing about the oil paints is how they can be used in very thin, transparent layers to tint the colour underneath.

As mentioned in the last post, I'm using AK Interactive AK-121 OIF & OEF wash for the bulk of the shading/grime and applying thinned black oil paint for vents and metal areas.

In order to add some interest I decided to fade the upper panel surfaces with white oil paint and give that tired desert operation look. I just dotted on a few spots of white oil paint and then used a large brush to spread them out and blend evenly. The white paint has also given those panels a very matte appearance, making the contrast between them and the glossy un-faded panels very start. Once the model is given a coat of flat clear it should all look much more uniform.

Image

Image

As you can see I started some assembly. I'll complete the assembly after I've done the flat clear coat, so that I can weather it all in a uniform manner. I'll wait a couple of days before the clear coat - you need to ensure that the oils have cured sufficiently first.

So the processes left are:
- Flat clear coat
- Paint optics
- Grease and oil stains (have to be done after the clear coat so that they're glossy)
- Dust weathering (pigments, etc.)

I secretly sat the torso on top of the assembled legs and it looks really exciting! Can't wait to see it come together! I do need to start work on a base for it though - I have a simple dirt and concrete base in mind.
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby aussiekirgan » Thu May 16, 2013 7:45 pm

Looking fantastic!
These logs really show the time and process and layers upon layers that go into this quality of work..
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Re: Painting Log: The Fiddler Mech

Postby mangozac » Thu May 16, 2013 10:07 pm

Yeah I agree - magazine articles I've been reading make it look so quick and simple!
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