Random thoughts

/Random thoughts

Replicating metal tracks on plastic

While scratchbuilding may make you feel like a god, making plastic look like real metal is a sign of reaching all-powerful status.

Dramatic? Yes. Well deserved? Yes. Or at least I think so…

I’m working on the Takom Mk. 1 Male and am about to start painting the hull. But with the house up for sale and me spending a lot of time at the fiance’s house, smaller bite size projects tend to take precedent. Such was the case this weekend when I started working on painting and weathering the tracks. (Very nice click tracks, by the way)

Step 1: Primer
I sprayed my standard Touch n’ Tone on the tracks and left them to dry and cure for a few days.

Step 2: Airbrush base color
Using my airbrush, I sprayed a haphazard pattern across the entire run of tracks (repeating all the rest of the steps for right and left side) of Tamiya german gray + hull red. I then went back in and threw a few strips of that base color + buff to lighten it. It looked like a pretty decent patchwork pattern. That’s the point.

Step 3: Brush paint the highlights
My vehicle is going to be painted for the desert, which means lots of sand “polishing” the high points of the tracks. I brush painted Vallejo’s Natural Steel color across all the top of the track link (the high part at the back of each link). In retrospect, I wish I’d done the same to each of the bolt (?) heads too. Most of this gets covered up in the graphite step below, but it would have provide a bit more pop than what the graphite did on it’s own.

Step 4: Washes
Again, in a haphazard, striped pattern, I applied several washes from AK Interactive (Engine grime, dark rust, light rust, and a dark brown). I applied all the washes except light rust, then let them dry for a few minutes. Then I came back and hit the bolts and the edges with the light rust. It was a bit bright, but that’s OK.

Step 5: Graphite rubbing
Taking a pencil and cutting the wood away to expose the graphite lead inside, I used a hobby knife to make a powder. Then using my finger, I rubbed the high spots of each of the track links individually. This gives each track link a slightly different look which helps to make this feel real and inconsistent. Practice this technique first because you can really change the look of the underlying paint job if you’re not careful. That may be fine, depending on the look you’re going for.

Step 6: Polishing
As a last step, I came back with a Q-tip and polished the high spots pretty vigorously. This helps to bring out the realistic metal “shine”.

I’m pretty proud of how they turned out. I look forward to trying them again on other types of vehicles.

By | 2016-10-29T19:09:30-05:00 October 3rd, 2016|Random thoughts|0 Comments

Working away….

Modeling makes my mind calm. There’s several types of activities that help me pull my brain out of the haze and stress of daily life… photography, video games, etc. But there’s something about modeling that’s different, I think because it results in a physical creation.

I’ve been working on the Alliance Modelworks FAMO mit Flak conversion for a couple months now, and I banged out the construction of the Takom Mk. 1 Male and Takom Big Bertha kit over the summer. My house is staged for house showings (it’s for sale and on the market), so having a spray booth/painting setup in the model room has been near impossible. Or at least highly inconvenient. So I’ve not done much painting lately.

But that all changed over the weekend. I actually finished construction on the FAMO and primed and rust/primer basecoated the FAMO and Mk. 1.

I never really realized how dang many bottles of paint and various assorted thinners, weathering products, and whatever else goes with the finishing process!

With any luck, I’ll have at least the Mk. 1 finished completely in the next couple weeks…

By | 2016-10-03T21:57:48-05:00 October 3rd, 2016|Random thoughts|0 Comments

Where in the hell did that stash come from?


Yeah, it was bound to happen sooner or later… my stash is out of control. Given that I’ve only been back in the hobby for 4 years, it seems ludicrous that I’ve gotten to this point. I travel regularly, and it’s too damn easy to stop in the local hobby shops and check out the deals. Add to that purchasing another modeler’s stash… and BAM! Big stash!

I think I’m going to have to start clearing things out, especially considering I’m moving in a few months. But that process sounds even worse than packing up and moving extra stuff.

By | 2016-10-29T19:09:30-05:00 September 13th, 2016|Random thoughts|0 Comments

Interviewing Jake

This is a bit strange, but I’m going to try it anyway. I’ve seen this interviewing technique done elsewhere and it always seemed fun. So here we go… Jake interviewing Jake.

1. How long have you been modeling and what got you into the hobby?

I started when I was in middle school, some 25+ years ago. I did most of my “first round” building in high school. I even entered (and placed, as a junior) in a number of shows. This was back when materials were mainly what you found or repurposed, after market kits almost all came from Verlinden and a small number of cottage industry companies.

My “dark ages” story is pretty typical: went to college, had a roommate, limited space, time, and interest in things other than girls and grades. In 2000, I went to work for LEGO doing Web development and fan relations. (I worked with the adult enthusiasts who build with LEGO bricks as their creative medium of choice) This was a form of modeling, with a community that was very similar to scale modeling.

2. What is your favorite part of the hobby: Research, Building or Paintwork/Finishing?

I love the whole process of digging in deep on a subject, and finding images, construction/design specs, and details about the vehicle and/or scene. As a history buff, understanding the history, whether how the engine was developed, or the equipment deployed, or the types of problems a particular group of people faced in the field is part of the fun.

When it comes to building vs. painting, I love both. If I have to chose, it’s the construction element I love the most, but that’s probably because I’ve been doing more of that lately. I’ve also spent most of the summer keeping my house staged for a sale, so I’ve had to keep the footprint of tools and workspace portable. That’s been a lot easier for the construction gear than the painting gear. (I have 8+ models completed and primed, awaiting paint at this point)

3. What, if any is your favorite genre and why?

I love Armor, but specifically the odd subjects. Give me a repair truck over a Tiger 1 tank any day. The “rear echelon” vehicles are the most fascinating to me. The radio trucks, the field kitchens, the Red Ball Express trucks… these are truly fascinating. The action packed parts of an army are certainly interesting, sure. But getting the army there, keeping them feed, keeping the troops entertained, these are areas of modeling, and history for that matter that never get much attention.

4. Which other modeler’s work do you admire?

My first response is my friend, Bob Bathea. He’s local to Austin like I am, and a great figure painter and teacher. Check out more about him here and here.

There’s a ton of folks I follow on Facebook and see post in Facebook modeling groups. Here’s a few:

5. What, if any, skill do you feel you could improve on?

Painting, without a doubt. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a novice at all of it, but painting is an area I have a long way to go. In fact, right now I have at least 3, maybe 4 vehicles waiting to go.

6. With the recent advances in the hobby what aspect excites you the most?

Two things:

  1. The burst of new(ish) manufacturers like Meng, Takom, Miniart, Rye Fields, etc. that are bringing impressive models at (mostly) reasonable costs and are often focusing on subjects we’ve not seen before. I look forward to seeing more interesting, non-standard subjects!
  2. 3D printing. I’ve already used 3D printed parts on a model and it was really impressive. Not super cheap, but not super expensive either. I’ve talked to a designer on Shapeways about making one of his 1/24th scale designs in a 1/35th scale. In a matter of minutes, he had the new ones posted and I had posted. Billie Jean DeBekker has been working on a FAMO conversion that uses 3D printed parts making it faster (and more likely) to bring to market.

7. What model would be your dream subject for release?

I’d have to first say: WWII American Homefront anything. That period of time was fascinating in our country. From my grandparents telling me about the tents on the Washington, D.C. mall to the cities that I’ve read about being camouflaged from the air over miles and miles with people effectively living, working, and shopping under a huge tent. Factories in motion, women in action, home front soldiers patrolling. I’ve been watching the new show “Manhattan” about the secluded desert pop-up town where the atomic bomb was being developed. A mix of WWII military, 1940s civilian, and desert wild west imagery is fascinating. “The Pacific” mini-series touched a tiny bit on this aspect of the WWII story, but I want more. Purely from the vehicle standpoint, we have almost none of the cars, buses, semi trucks and trailers, and structures that the home front was made up of in kit form.

8. Everyone has a dream project that given the time, money and space they would love to build, what would yours be?

I have a few:


By | 2016-10-29T19:09:31-05:00 September 11th, 2016|Random thoughts|0 Comments

Friday Fun Finds – August 25, 2016


By | 2016-10-29T19:09:31-05:00 August 27th, 2016|Random thoughts|0 Comments

Rant: Lady modelers are just modelers

When my Boresight magazine arrives, I’m always excited to tear open the envelope and read. I usually get through at least half the magazine standing in the spot where I open my mail.

IMG 1623
When the Nov/Dec 2015 issue arrived, I was… Frustrated. Right there on the cover the top story was “Lady modeling comes to Bulgaria”.

“Lady modeling”, you say? Is that some sort of special sub-genre that focuses on female figure painting? Is that a style of airbrush technique that a group of women have perfected? Is that a group name acronym…Lazy Articulated Dioramas of Yesteryear?


Basically, it was an article that took a talented modeler, prioritized her gender, then said “LOOK! There’s a female in this hobby after all!!”. For those keeping score at home, this is flat out sexism and it make us all look like the mostly homogenous group we happen to be. And it’s frustrating as hell. The fact that we see a woman in our hobby and immediately seize on her gender rather than her skill and promote her as some sort of oddity reflects poorly on our hobby and each of us as individuals participating in it.

A while back, I ranted about how it was frustrating that I had to try to explain to my young daughter what scantily clad women and historical scale modeling had to do with  each other, thanks to Mig and the Weathering Magazine.

If you’re still not following why this is sexism, let me dig deeper:

A woman shows up to a mainly male meeting/club/hobby/show/site/everything and is met with inherent separation, institutionalize by showing women as objects in context rather than particpants (whether through Weathering Magazine style pinup photography, or “hey look at the oddity” style Boresight articles), you’re creating a two camps. You’re not welcoming a talented modeler or interested newbie into the single “team”, you’re making sure the females know they’re different and separate.

Why did the Boresight editors feel that they needed to create a “hey it’s a female!” Article? Why not just call out a talented modeler?

(Additional note: After I posted the rant post I mentioned earlier, I had a number of women reach out directly and thanks me and/or support my position. This is real, folks. And just because you personally don’t experience it or understand it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.)

IMG 1624

By | 2016-10-29T19:09:31-05:00 August 27th, 2016|Random thoughts|0 Comments

Moson Model Show – one helluva collection

The last few years, I’ve been blown away by the amazing images of stunning creations that come out of the Moson Model Show in Hungary. One of these days, I’m going to plan a trip to this show… although I’m not sure if I’d feel encouraged or sadden by the talent on display!

Check out their Facebook page, and be sure to look at some of the amazing photos people have posted:


By | 2016-10-29T19:09:31-05:00 May 10th, 2015|Random thoughts|0 Comments