Thursday, 31 May 2012

Prometheus - spoiler-free thoughts

A big perk (sometimes) of being a Projectionist is having to run a film through before the public sees it. Its an even bigger perk when its a film you've been dying to see. So this morning saw me all alone in a 350-seat auditorium, being paid to watch "Prometheus" - what could be bad about that eh? Sadly, the film. It starts well and looks terrific - although setting it only 80 years from now is a BIG mistake. No way will we have technology that advanced by then. The Prometheus ship itself is excellent and i'll be buying the inevitable kit, and the interiors are very close to the Nostromo's, tying both films together there. I can buy a prequels technology being better than the film that follows as the prequels ship is a state of the art craft while Alien's is a beat-up tug. So far, so good then. The film unfolds at a nice sedate pace, again similar to Alien, there's a few lines that are near indentical from Alien & Aliens, which i'm surprised at Ridely for doing and up to the half-way point i was really rather enjoying it. But, when it all starts to kick off, something so absurd and so unbelievable happens that i was taken right out of the film with a real "whaaaat??????" moment. Its totally ludicrous and the film suffers from that moment on because of it, as you're reminded of it in pretty every secne from then on. That'd be bad enough, but then we start to get explanations. For everything. The whole point of calling Alien "Alien" was because of the mystery and how what they encounter is so Alien to us. Well now its not. This is spoiler-free, so i can't say why, but every reason and every explanation reduces the established continuity down to some dumb-ass, cliched crappy seen it all before type of SF film. Just the same way the Thing reboot was. We also get along the way, almost word for word dialogue from the first 2 films, characters stolen from the first 2 films, scenes lifted from the first 2 films. And the new creature designs... Those in Alien and Aliens are truly worthy of being called classic and iconic. These are not. Again, i refer you to the Thing reboot. Such, such a shame. The whole thing comes across not so much in the style of Alien, its much more Sunshine mixed heavily with Mission To Mars. Such a shame. If Alien is a 10 (which it is) then Aliens is a 9. And this is a 6.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

General Blackblood - colours

Next question is: what colour his adornments? Look back through the years and his tassles etc sure do change colour: .
Trouble is, i don't like any of them. So i put the primed shoulder dangly things on (which sure went to making him more bulky), as well as blocking in the belt, and had to have a ponder:
In the end i decided to go grey,as that wouldn't be too odd or garish, and went with Vallejo's "Pale Blue Grey" heavily dirtied down to represent the state he ends up in:
You can also see i'm working away on the belt, putting washes on, and based the head band

Hutt Pod Racer

Okay, a Pod Racer that i'm sure to be doing is a Hutt one, mainly as all the pilots you see in "Phantom Menace" are either human size or smaller, and it'd be nice to have a bigger fella in there. All i've got so far is and idea of the Hutt crammed into his seat, sporting Biggles-esque flying goggles and scarf:
and the notion of a huge, whacking great engine to get that bulk up and into the air, the basis of which is a salad dryer donated by my friend Ian yonks back, with a Plasticard band around the middle in case the pastic doesn't take to glue:

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Very happy to say that my Sandtrooper armour passed clearance and i'm now one of the 501st. Expect event pics at some point hopefully soon!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sunday, 27 May 2012

General Blackblood - life-size

Ha! Just stumbled on this pic of me and the good General over on the FTVMC Facebbok site. That's when i took him down to a modelshow in Newhaven and he won one of the category's. I don't own him any more, selling him to my friend Ian - who runs the Dredd/2000AD Blog listed at the bottom of this page, and he doesn't look like that any more as Ian chose to strip him down and repaint him in the Clint Langely/gun metal livery (you might find shots of what he looks like now on there). Anyway, this is how i painted him and its interesting to see, something like 7 or 8 years down the line, how my colour choice has remained the same, even down to the red band i plan on putting on the smaller version

Friday, 25 May 2012

General Blackblood - colouring in

Blackblood has from the start been green. And always will be to me. I can understand why Clint Langley went the gunmetal route for his take on the characters in his tales:
to go along with his photo-realistic approach, but its just not for me. So, green he is, but he's gone from a metallic sheen on the above cover to solid green in later tales:
So the question i had was - is he metallic or not? Was he supposed to be so in the above, or was that just because of limits to the colouring process and he should've been metallic? I ummed and ahhed over this but in the end went metallic, as i've always had him as a vain, arrogant so-and-so, who dresses himself up in as much pomp as he could - so surely his paintjob would reflect that. So here's where i'm at:
I've used a pot of metallic green that Citadel produced back in the 80's and is still viable. I chose it over a spray can as (A) i could mix it with black to darken the ridges as you see i've done here (B) after the Sandtrooper build, i can't afford another can of paint

Thursday, 24 May 2012

B-Wing - change of plan

So there i am, beavering away on the build: ?
When i spy a new build challenge over on the excellent SFMUk site, which is a group build of 1/72nd craft to assemble into a massive rebel hanger. As that was an idea i had for displaying this ship:
i thought i'd join up. And that was good as something has been niggling me if i chose to go with an inflight version - this lack of detail on the side of the wings that would be covered if they were displayed down:
Its as if the makers never really wanted them open? So that was that prop sorted then. The only trouble i'm gonna have if the wings are laid down is that, the bottom one folds up fine but, for some reason, the top one starts pulling at the joins as i push it down:
But reckon i can handle that ok. Last thing to deal with are the decals. They're pretty accurate from what i can tell, being orange circles:
Trouble is, the area they're meant to go on are very highly detailed and no amount of decal softner will make them lay flat i reckon. So am looking around for smaller replacements. After all, what's wrong with coming up with my own individual craft from a squadron

The Pod Race challenge

Those lovely folk over on the SFMUK site have started up a couple of new group builds, one of which looks to make the creative juices flow: Basically, build a Star Wars Pod Racer, using anything you like, as long as its to 1/35th scale and no more than 2 foot by 1 foot big. How could i resist? Starting to haunt DIY, hardware and kitchen sections, looking for donor parts

Monday, 21 May 2012

Sandtrooper - nearly done

VERY close now - all the armours done, lenses are in the helmet, belt is made and all i've left to do now is put the voice device in the chest and weather the Backpack. The orange Pauldron arrived today and i'm chuffed to bits with it as the quality is just superb. Thought i'd show you a finished arm, just so you can see where i'm going with the extent of the weathering. Hopefully, next pics you see of this build is me in it.

Friday, 18 May 2012


THRILLED to receive this in the post today. Sculptor Graham has shown he's a genuine talent and genuine fan with his Joe Pinappeles, the cooler-than-cool assasin of the ABC Warriors kit he produced a while back. Next up, he's tackled Blackblood, which i'm chuffed to bits about as the black-hearted (if he has one) treacherous member of the group is my favourite by far. Opening the box up today, its the same standard as the Joe kit and i can't wait to crack on.
Not only because i know it'll be a hassle-free build, but i'm looking forward to the paint-job, which i plan on being radically different to Joe's. As is usual these days, i'll be doing updates here and on me Youtube channel at the same time:

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Sandtrooper - weathering pt1

Okay, thought i'd show you how i'm going about things and i'll be showing you what i did with the shoulder bells:
I mix up on a paper plate a splodge of Burnt Umber and a splodge of Raw Umber. I then dip a torn off bit of sponge into the Burnt Umber and heavily mottle it all over the armour. I also dip into the Raw Umber if i want a dark area every so often:
All the guides tell you to wait 5 mins but i've found that far too long on smaller areas like this, and it takes a heck of a lot of rubbing to remove it. I leave it for about half that, then start to remove it by wiping in a circular fashion with an old flannel. Its messy at first, but as i continue, thicker areas are left and i tends to leave them as and when they appear, adding to the natural form to things:
When i've got to a point where i think the encrustations and weathering are nearly thee, i stop - as seen on the bell on the right:
Trouble is, i've this nasty smeary Burnt Umber all over. So i remove it with a clean bit of kitchen towel. Which leaves my with the left bell - far, far too white areas comparec to the rest. To get round that, and blend everything in, i've found that lightly dabbing at the armour with a non- washed out, still heavily laden flannel, i get a nice, subtle discolouring:
Next up, adding the grey and the yellow.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Dianoga - in print

Colour me a Happy Bunny - picked up the latest Star Wars Insider magaine in Smiths yesterday and there's my Dianoga in amongst the pages. I'd sent the pic off not long after i'd finished the build and got an email back from Lucasfilm (gulp) pretty much straight away saying they liked it and would be using it in a future edition. I'd have been happy to have had just an acknowledgement from the
m, but to have it in the mag is a real thrill.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sandtrooper - backpack nearly done & getting dirty

With the E6000 setting on parts, i thought i'd just show where i am on other parts. The packpack is nearly done. Again, i'm indebted to Nathan over on the UK Garrison, both his tutorial (esp on how to fix the mortar tube to the frame) and his advice and all-round Good Bloke-ness. All i've got to do here is fill the 5 small pipes with material (again, cheers for the pointers there Nath) and the gubbins to the mortar pipe. You can also see here i've attached the canvas MP40 pouches to the left-hand strap. The other thing that's been busying me is i've started on weathering the armour. I've chosen to go with the back plate first as: (A) If i mess it up, it'll be hidden mostly by the backpack, right? (B) If there's a serious buildup of much, figure it'd be there, shoved down between the back and the frame. So, i've been having a play with Burnt and Raw umber, experimenting with various degrees of "strengths" of the paints and how they interact with each other. The darkest areas on the back plate, i doubt i'll be repicating elsewhere. The rest though, i'm pretty happy with. I want my Trooper to have been stationed on Tatooine a LONG time and his armour to reflect that - sort of like Davin Felth, the muckiest of the Troopers seen in "A New Hope". The plan is to gain experience as i weather the parts, building up lastly to the helmet - really the focus on any suit? Anyway, i'm happiest with the kidney plate, which the rest of the suit most probabaly will be similar to. These first three pieces i was kinda nervous about doing, but i'll be detailing the rather odd way of how to go about it in my next post. Here's a clue:

B Wing - assmbled and basecoated

Okay, stop, stop. Something i missed off the box and only realised when i started building the darn thing is that it is in actual fact a Snapfix kit. Wouldn't know it though from the accuracy of the parts. With it being one of those, i chose to basecoat the parts before building. Here's the sprues in Grey Primer:
And the basecoat, Valljo's "Pale Blue Grey" as (A) i didn't want a boring dull grey affair, (B) thought the bluish tint might help tie in with the other colour on this ship:
And here she is assembled, with just a couple of joins to fill. A surprise, and a rather disapointing one, is that the canopy is a real dark smoked affair - meaning the excellent cockpit detal won't be seen. To counter that, i've done it in black with stark white highlights, hoping they may just be visible. For the same reason, i've just done the basic of colours on the pilot, thinking if i darken it down he just won't be visible

Saturday, 5 May 2012


Building the Sandtrooper is all well and good and great fun. Ditto the scratchbuilds. But i haven't made a kit from out of the box since the Blade Runner Spinner quite a while ago and i've missed doing one. So, i had a quick look around eBay and soon came across this kit of a ship i've always liked the design of, but have never built before. I've been kinda put off in the past as the only incarnation i've come across has been the Snap-Fit version - and snap-fit kits of the 80's were sure lacking in places. But this was the stand-alone kit, which i was surprised to pick up for a very little amount:
Upon arrival, i was even more surprised and chuffed to see that it appears to be 1/72nd scale, with some really nice detail:
I've long had it in mind to try and assemble a "fleet" of Star Wars craft all in 1/72 scale - maybe one day to have them all in one great big hamnger. Sadly, my collection thus far amounts to just the Fine Molds Y Wing and TIE Fighter, my accurised MPC Falcon and, i guess, my converted Escape Pod:
I'd love to add to it the Fine Molds Slave 1 and Falcon but, coming in these days at about 70 and 200 quid a pop, that ain't happening. So i'm chuffed to have this inexpensive addition. I said above about having a big hanger eventually but, in the meantime, i may be making a small one just for this craft. Its an unusual design that doesn't appear suited to an easy display choice, but i've come across this image of one being tended, which is really neat and i may well try and do a riff on.

Imperial Probe Droid - murderer

With the Probe Droid nearing completion, thought turned to how to display it. I didn't want to have it just on a snow-covered base as that's kinda dull. I did toy with the idea of having it checking out one of the Shield Generators you see it pass by shortly before being blasted by Han and Chewie. But figured the generator would overshadow the Droid. So i started to think where else in the Star Wars universe i could place it. After all, they must be used elsewhere, right? Something that's always niggled me in "A New Hope" is how Luke's aunt and uncle are fried to a crisp when he discovers them. Sandtroopers carry the standard E-11 Blaster, which kills folk without even making a hole in the clothing. And the other weapons you see some of them carry just look like bigger versions - certainly none of them carry any sort of fuel tank. So who burnt them? Guessing not Jawa's or Tusken Raiders - their weapons look far too crude. As far as i know, Krayt Dragon's don't have fiery breath. Then who? I got to thinking, we know a "detachment" of troops was sent down to retrieve the Droids - we don't see it, but how about if it was supplemented by a number of Probe Droids? After all, Tatooine's a big place. And we know Star Destroyers carry them. That was that then, my Probe Droid would be the culprit. Which would give me a nice, easy, different setting for it. Straight away i decided to only have one figure with the droid as, again, i didn't want to take attention away from the main subject. Looking at the scene again, the easiest one to do would be the one on his/her back, splayed over some boxes. A quick search on the 'Bay typing in "Skeleton action figure" turned up this figure by Papo, which was going for only a couple of quid:
It looked to be almost already in the pose i wanted, with the bonus of having its mouth open, almost in a scream. First thing i did on its arrival was to sever the right arm and cut the spine at the base of the ribcage:
I then had to find a couple of boxes for the figure to be sprawled over. I wasn't tying too hard to be accurate here (which would be a heck of a job), more conveying the feel of it. I chose a 1/72nd tank turret for the main box and, as a lil' in-joke, half of R2D2's foot from the old MPC kit for the box the left arm rests on. Once i'd placed them, i could glue the spine and arm back on and, studying the scene, there seems to be remnants of clothing on the left shoulder of the corpse, which i made from damp toilet tissue soaked in White Glue. A hole was drilled in a round base for the clear support rod for the Probe Droid, boxes put in place, scatter material glued on, and everything was given a coat of Grey Primer:
Painting-wise, i went with warm greys for the boxes, dirtied right down. Looking closely at the scene, the skelton seems to still have some red flesh here and there, especially inbetween the ribs on the right side. So i filled that with a dark red and only drybrushed that area when covering it with black. Over the black i went back with the same red to highlight some areas, especially around the eye sockets etc to bring out a bit of the detail. And that were that, a nice simple, unusual way of displaying a superbly designed robot

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Sandtrooper - gaining momentum

Right, decided not in the end to try and find a spacer to stick on top of that Wipe Bottle so that the bowl will fit okay and decided to take a short cut and put in four strips of ABS hotglued at just the right length to give me the height i want:
Elsewhere on the Backpack build, you can see i've bolted on the lower blue seed tray, which has the cistern assembly riveted to it. You should just be able to see to the right the length of black drain pipe, which now needs details added to it. Its a pretty thick pipe and therefore heavy and therefore has upped the weight of the pack to much higher than i thought it'd be - and this is before the other seed tray and all its gubbins is added. Think i'm gonna be sweating a heck of a lot.
Other progress has been to start strapping things together. This is all new to me and is both a lot of fun and a real head-scratching exercise as i figure out just how things like that go. Anyway, i'm finally at the point where i can now actually hear something. Getting excited: