Between work, a baby, video games and going back to school it’s hard to find the time to do some model building. This led to me not wanting to actually build anything for a while, until last weekend, when I moved all my stuff to a new model room… today I worked on the Barzam conversion from Ako, it’s taking a while because it needs more work than I thought but so far it looks really cool, can’t wait to start painting it.
It’s been a while since the last post. A few things have happened since then, I moved and it has taken me some time to unpack all my modeling stuff, mainly because I have been preparing everything for the arrival of our son, who will be born any day now. On the modeling side there was a lot of stuff going on about my last model and it got ugly, with insults and things like that, so I was kind of put off and took a break. Today I sat down and did some modeling for the first time in 2010. The subject is the RMS-154 Barzam from the graphic novel Gundam Sentinel. There is no kit of this mobile suit, so I will be using the AKO Creation conversion kit, released some time ago. The donor kit is the RX-178 Mk.II Ver2.0, it is a very good kit, very well engineered for poseability. If I didn’t like the Barzam that much I would feel bad about butchering it. The conversion kit is very well done too, Ako has done a great job bringing these injected plastic conversions to market, especially for those of us who like to limit our budgets. The plastic on the conversion kit is a bit soft, but the part breakdown is very nice and it allows for easy painting. This is the progress after a few hours.
This scene is, in my opinion, the natural progression of where I want to take the “real world” side of my modeling (I also do sci-fi subjects, which are a lot more flexible). Some modelers strive for their models to be the most realistic, they try to fool the observer into thinking that what they are seeing is indeed the real thing, but magically shrunk. There are very good modelers out there that definitely achieve that effect. But after modeling for a while I decided to go in a different direction, although I try to make realistic looking models I don’t push full force for that (I don’t add a lot of PE or do a lot of scratchbuilding), I want to strive to make thought provoking models, the ones that make the viewer go ‘hmmmm’. This came about because I started to think about the kind of models and dioramas that are created out there. They have never made me go hmmmmm, maybe because they depict scenes that are somewhat removed from reality. We see tons of models and dioramas related to war, but very few show wounded soldiers, even less show dead soldiers and almost none go the extra step and show dead civilians. So it seems we leave out the unpleasant aspect of a war and model the somewhat pleasant. With this in mind I decided to try to model unusual things, things that are not the norm. The first attempt was my AH Hellhound in Colombian Air Force markings, which is a statement against the War on Drugs. A bit subtle and abstract. Then came the Freedom Fighter, in honor of the Animal Liberation Front. This was a lot less abstract, although it had the advantage of the written word. Finally this scene, Liebe Mutter. The idea behind this scene came from thinking about why I did not model any vehicles belonging to SS units. I didn’t do it because the SS and specifically the Waffen-SS were “the real nazis” those that committed atrocities against civilians. Or so that’s how history has been written. Then I stopped to ask, what was really inside the mind of the men that did this? So this scene was born out of asking myself the question, what did these men do when they were not committing atrocities against humanity? Would a “real nazi” SS soldier find a moment of solitude in the forest to write his mom a letter and let her know he is ok? I don’t know, that’s where the viewer has to ask the question and answer it.
As with the Hellhound, this model is flawed, because it needs some sort of written statement to be made to get the “thought provoking” effect. The very subtle indicators require previous knowledge of history, what I mean here is that the viewer would have to know the vehicle belongs to an SS unit – almost impossible since it has no divisonal markings and the license plates are partially covered – and the other indicator is probably as bad, the camouflaged uniform was worn by the Waffen-SS.
Some other details about the model itself. Depicts an SdKfz 251/1 Ausf C from the 1st SS Panzerdivision in Kharkov, 1943. The driver figure is from a Tamiya set, heavily modified (it’s more putty now than plastic), all painted with Vallejo acrylics. The groundwork is a mix of plaster, static grass, dry kitchen herbs, tea leaves and the excellent paper leaves by Model Scene (glued down one by one).
Every time I have an idea for a model that involves something new I try to build something else to practice it. Most of the time the something else ends up being pretty involved at the end, but no harm I guess. For the SdKfz. 251/1 I wanted to model some Waffen-SS figures. So I took a Dragon figure and started practicing Waffen-SS camo painting following Calvin Tan’s technique from his book. First results were pretty bad.
As I practiced I got a bit better, although one thing I couldn’t really get right was painting faces with acrylics only, so I went back to the oil paints and finished the figure. I still have the equipment to paint and fix on teh figure. I still need to give it a flat clear coat.
This is going to go with some of the Melusine PVC figures I bought a while ago, which I have repainted and I am in the process of weathering.
A local hobby shop, Galaxy Hobby, sponsors two model contests every year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The one in the spring is a general modeling contest, things like aircraft and armor but no science fiction. SciFan is held in the fall, with only science fiction related models allowed. This year I was awarded two prizes, a 1st place in Anime Spacecraft and a 2nd place in Robots (there were almost no mecha entries, so they all got lumped together). Cool thing is the award comes with in-store gift certificates, which I used right away!
For Ashes (1997-2009).
I really miss you furry girl.
This vignette was made in honor of the anonymous freedom fighters of the Animal Liberation Front that risk it all to release those that deserve better from us.
Until all of us are free…
To learn more about the issues please visit:
Terrorists or freedom fighters?
About the model: The freedom fighter was made with parts from the four figures in the infantry kit and heavily re-positioned and re-sculpted with Tamiya epoxy putty. The figure was painted with a base of Floquil weathered black and Tamiya acrylics and later shaded with oils. The chicken in his arms was also modified for a better fit with a Dremel tool. The boltcutters come from a 1/35 Pz.IV kit. The other two chickens are OOB. All are painted with Tamiya acrylics. The base is one half of the packaging on an iPod nano. The side of the shed was made with Evergreen styrene and wire mesh. The soil is from the garage around my apartment building. It was painted with Tamiya acrylics and the hairspray technique was used to do the paint chipping on the shed. The grass is a mix of static grass and long grass from Woodland Scenics. The message on the wall was hand painted with a fine paintbrush.