Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Quick Tips: Reshaping a resin miniature part

Often times, a resin part(s) straight out of the box may not resemble the shape shown on the cover art. An example of this is the Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment 70 mm resin miniature. But fear not, the solution to this little problem is actually pretty straightforward and simple. And all it involves is a simple household appliance i.e. the hair dryer.

Akelarre Enchantment is an example of a resin model kit in which a part requires reshaping

Firstly, you can either paint a basecoat layer on the part concerned or leave it unpainted before reshaping. In the example below, a basecoat layer was painted on the ribbons before they were blasted with hot air from the hair dryer for about three seconds or more (the length of time the part is exposed to hot air varies with how thick it is).

Ribbon parts before they are reshaped
A simple hair dryer was used to generate the required heat to make the resin parts pliable

Then, while the ribbons were still pliable after being softened by the hot air, they were reshaped into a more dynamic form resembling the cover art. You have to work quickly though as the resin parts cool very quickly and in mere seconds will have cooled and re-hardened. Remember NOT to use excessive force when reshaping the resin parts in order to prevent them from accidentally breaking. Always err on the side of caution as you can always reheat the parts if they have cooled before you achieved your desired shape.

Ribbons were quickly reshaped to a more dynamic form before being allowed to cool and harden again

Once reshaped and painted, the ribbons were then attached to the Akelarre Enchantment with an alternative colour scheme as painted by Shire Works' resident painter (see photos below). The usual super glue-pure baking soda combination was used to glue such a small part. This gluing combination is describe in another post. Some additional midtones and highlights were then painted on the ribbons to finish off the reshaping process. 

Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment, as painted in an alternative colour scheme
Ribbons were glued on with the help of the Super Glue-Baking Soda combo

 And this concludes Shire Works' latest quick tip guide for the beginner miniature painter. For more detailed photos as well as a video of the Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment, please click on the following link =>

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Behind the Scenes: Knight Models The Hulk

Soon to appear more regularly in the Shire Works blog are a series of posts showcasing a behind the scenes look at the work that goes into a miniature; from assembly all the way to its fully painted stage. We begin this series with the Marvel Universe miniature from Knight Models i.e. The Hulk. Even at 1/28th scale this resin model kit is huge, measuring in at roughly 90 mm in width and height. From the resin parts supplied, either a Red, Green or Grey Hulk can be assembled. In this case, the more well known Green Hulk was our choice.

Knight Models The Hulk, separate resin parts prior to assembly
To remove possible coating of release agents, resin parts are washed and left to dry

Be it resin or metal miniatures, it is always advisable to wash the separate parts prior to assembly. This helps to remove 'release agents' that could be coating the miniature, which in turn prevents acrylic paint from adhering properly to the surface. (Note: Release agents are chemicals used to separate the resin/metal miniature from its mould) 

The Hulk assembled with Super Glue after its individual parts have dried
Some putty (green stuff) is used to fill some small gaps found in the miniature

After The Hulk was assembled, some putty, or green stuff, was used to fill noticeable gaps in the miniature. If done correctly, the putty would seem like part of the miniature itself after a layer of primer coat has been applied. (Please check out the previous blog post for a quick tip on priming as this particular stage is not shown for The Hulk). Following the application of a coat of primer, The Hulk's skin is painted up in progressively smoother and lighter greens.  

Hulk Skin Tone Step 1: After priming and a basecoat of dark green
Hulk Skin Tone Step 2: Adding a midtone of olive-like green
Hulk Skin Tone Step 3: Adding highlights (bright greens bordering on yellow) and smoothening out colour transitions

Next was painting of The Hulk's torn-up pants to resemble the texture of denim. This involved using blue and grey acrylic paints as well as a blue wash. Blue paints of varying hues laid down a foundation of the jean's general colour. Meanwhile, the blues mixed with greys were applied in crosshatch-like brush strokes to mimic denim texture as well as applied on the raised folds of the jeans to indicate highlights. For a more detailed look at how The Hulk's pants were painted as denim jeans, please click here.    

The Hulk with his blue denim jeans

Last but not least, details on The Hulk's face, the boulder on his right hand and the base he is standing on was painted to finish up the paint job. Both the boulder and base were painted primarily using dry brushing techniques while the face was delicately painted using very fine Kolinsky Sable brushes which are well suited to highly detailed work. To cap off the entire colour scheme, The Hulk's hair was painted in a very dark shade of green.

The Hulk (Knight Models), completed

For a 360 degrees view of The Hulk, please click on the YouTube video below. Please don't forget to choose the HD quality option for the best view of this Knight Models miniature in its completed form. The Hulk was painted by Shire Works' resident painter Kuan Hua aka FourEyedMonster whose personal blog showcasing his work can be seen on this link.

This wraps up our first post of the brand new series. Do keep a lookout for more in the future as we take turns peeking behind the scenes at miniatures from the Knight Models, Nocturna Models and Ax Faction product lines. If you are interested in any of the three brands stated, please visit the respective products tabs shown in the bar below the banner.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Quick Tips: Priming a metal miniature

Following an earlier blog post on working with metal miniatures - specifically Knight Models Loki - here now is a short piece on what to do with your figure after you have assembled and prepped it. Right after the prepping stage, the model looks rather messy with the glue residues near its joints and the green stuff used to sculpt Loki's foot brace as well as elbow joints. But fret not. Applying a layer of primer coat on (or priming) the miniature will not only remove such eyesores but also allow acrylic paint to stick to it. Acrylic paint does not adhere well to neither metal nor resin hence the need for a thin layer of primer coat.   

The Tamiya Fine Surface Primer (Light Grey) was used to prime the metal Loki

To prime your miniature:
1. Shake the primer aerosol spray can vigorously for about one minute;
2. Hold the can upright about 20 cm away from the miniature;
3. Spray across the miniature in short light bursts;
4. Turn your miniature in between the bursts;
5. Stop spraying once a thin layer of primer coat has covered the miniature; and
6. Leave it to dry - how long depends on the weather so from a few hours to overnight. 

Knight Models Loki, after priming - a closeup view

For safety and proper working conditions:
1. Always spray in a well ventilated area; and
2. Protect the surrounding area from overspray e.g. by using old newspapers.

Knight Models Loki, after priming - front view
Primer coat removes all evidence of prepping
Knight Models Loki, after priming - back view

For a more detailed view of how a primed miniature looks, please click on the YouTube video below. It shows a 360 degree view of the Knight Models Loki after priming.

Once the primer coat has dried, you are now ready to paint the miniature using acrylic paints. For some ongoing miniature painting projects, please check out the blog site of Shire Works' own resident painter =>

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Nocturna Models Battle Chick [Assembled; unpainted]

Part of Nocturna Models' Necrospace line, the Battle Chick is a 70-mm (1:28 scale) resin miniature that is synonymous with the Spanish company's exquisitely detailed figures. 

Nocturna Models Battle Chick, freshly assembled sans a paint job for now

Shown here fully assembled, the Nocturna Models Battle Chick actually comes in nine separate resin parts of varying sizes. Click here to see details of an unboxing of the mini. 

Going forward, progress on her paint job will be posted on Art and Musings of a Miniature Hobbyist which is the personal blog of Shire Works's in-house miniature painter.

The Battle Chick is currently available from Shire Works. For more information, please select the Nocturna Models product tab below the blog banner, click here or on the ad below.

Friday, 22 May 2015

More tips on working with metal miniatures - Assembling Loki from Knight Models

Working with metal miniatures can throw you challenges that seem insurmountable at first. But most of the time, any problems that arise can be easily solved using basic hobby tools such as (a) green putty (otherwise known as the sculptors epoxy putty), (b) a mini hand drill and (c) a pure baking soda-super glue combination that increases bonding strength.  

Knight Models Loki, assembled and ready for priming

Loki comes in both resin (throne) and metal parts (Loki himself). For an unboxing video of the Knight Models Loki and his step brother Thor, please click here.

Individual parts of Loki prior to assembly

In some cases, it's better to create more surface area for the separate parts to bond together with. This can be accomplished by using a mini hobby hand drill. For example, the drill can deepen a hole for the accompanying part to fit better as in Loki's horns to his helmet as well as the three pronged blade to the staff. The drill can also help in creating an indentation (which increases surface area) onto which a small part can be glued on e.g. Loki's ponytail to the back of his head. And for very small parts with equally small surface areas such as the pony tail, a special gluing combination will also help. 

Using a mini hand drill to deepen the hole in which the horns will slot into
Mini hand drill at work again, this time on the tip of Loki's staff
Making an indentation with the drill can also help small parts stick better e.g. Loki's ponytail to his head

On occasion - as it is for Loki - there are a lot of small parts which would be difficult to glue together using just super glue. In such situations, the use of a pure baking soda-super glue combination can result in a stronger bond between the parts. Before reading further, please click here first for more information on how to use this combination safely. The photos below show some examples of the combination in use to create much stronger bonds.

Using a Pure Baking Soda - Super Glue combination for stronger bonds
Using the Pure Baking Soda-Super Glue combo on areas with minimal surface contact for stronger bonds
Super glue and pure baking soda combo creates a strong bond between Loki's pony tail and his helmet
Gluing a piece of plastic sprue to the base to increase stability

With metal miniatures, sometimes you encounter parts leaving small gaps after being glued/joined together. This can be easily corrected using Green Stuff which is an epoxy putty that usually come in two separate stripes of blue and yellow (but not necessarily as a different brand might come in different colours). Use a hobby knife to cut out the required amount, and mix the two separate stripes together and knead until it turns a uniform green. You will then have roughly an hour or more to sculpt the resulting mixture before it hardens.   

Green stuff, or sculptors epoxy putty

As mentioned, Green Stuff is useful for plugging small gaps. It also can be used to sculpt stuff e.g. in Loki's case - an extension of the rocky throne for Loki's foot to rest on (see photo below). Much more detailed information on how to use Green Stuff can be easily accessed online by just Googling for 'Introduction to Green Stuff'.

Sculpting green stuff to resemble a foot rest carved out of rock on the throne
Small gaps in between the arm joints were filled with sculpted green stuff
A different angle of the green stuff used to plug the gaps in between the arm joints

Well, that's it for this brief tutorial on working with metal miniatures. For more on Loki and other 1/28th scale Marvel figures from Knight Models, please click on the ad banner below.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Catch the new Avengers movie and get a hankering for some old school Marvel miniatures

A long holiday weekend is upon us so make sure you take this opportunity to catch the latest Marvel Avengers movies blockbuster The Age of Ultron. In this latest installment, some of our superheroes get new uniform and armour upgrades while others remain fairly unchanged. While the new stuff does look good, you can't beat the 'old school classics'.

To satisfy any carvings of the Marvel uniforms and/or armour of yesteryear, look no further than the Knight Models 1/28th scale Marvel miniatures. Comprising either white metal alloy or high quality resin, the photos shown below are of fully painted miniatures. However, the miniatures on sale in Shire Works are supplied unpainted and will require assembly

Captain America (White metal model kit)
Iron Man Special Edition (White metal model kit)
Thor (White metal model kit)
The Hulk with 3 head options (Resin model kit)
Loki (White metal model kit)

For more details and prices on the 1/28th scale miniatures above (and many other superheroes from the Marvel universe), please click on the blog ad banner below.