Sunday, June 30, 2013

TIE Interceptor 3: Painting and weathering

Last step for the TIE Interceptor. I used a mix of 50% White and 50% Light Gray from Model Air Color, an airbrush special line of paints of Acrílicos Vallejo. With this mix I airbrushed the entire model. I didn't use any primer because it's a very small model with thin details and I don't want to loose them with too much paint layers.

After this base color, take the needed time to mask perfectly both wings. Make sure the edge of the masking tape is well stuck to have well defined edge lines.

The mix of paint for the wing panels is half Black, half Dark Sea Gray:

I recommend to remove the masking tape a little bit before the paint is completely dry. That's the final result:

Cockpit has been sealed with Tamiya plaster and sanded before painting. With a soldering iron I reproduced a kind of blaster hits along one of the wings and with a thin electronic pliers (green one, in the photo) I cut the back part in one side of the wings simulating a hit with another ship doing multiple small cuts in different angles.

First step of weathering has been done with black oil paint diluted in turpentine, and applying it in all the edges, panel lines and small details. Remember to dampen first the plastic parts with turpentine. Using cotton sticks dampened also with turpentine clean the parts where the black oil paint has been applied until it has the appearance you are looking for.

Cockpit has been also weathered doing another kind of wash with oils. You can take several colors of your choice, in my case white, yellow and brown, and make small drops. Then take a plain brush dampened in turpentine and slide those dots from the front to the rear mixing the colors until they are almost imperceptible. This will give a variety of tonalities that will break the uniformity of the color despite you think you cannot see them.

The edge of scratches and hits have been painted with metallic steel, and after I applied black pigment.

Drill a small hole in the clear base, next to the foot stand, for the wires. In this way they will be quite hidden.

Next one will be the Y-Wing, hope each one will be better!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

TIE Interceptor 2: Lighting

Second part of this little project to practice painting, weathering, and lighting. It's always a pity to work in the interior of a model detailing and painting it, and when it's finished you cannot see anything. That's why I want to illuminate it.

First I tried with red led, as the original TIE fighters seen in the film, but with a red light you cannot see any of the details:

So finally I decided two install two led: warm white for the cockpit and red in the rear reactor. For that I used two short led strips (3 led length) where I cut the needed things: a resistor, one warm white led and one red led. Cutting them I can use the double sided tape to fix components in the interior. Resistor has been attached under the sit and a small hole drilled in the bottom of the hull, just behind the stand to hide the thin gray wires as much as possible:

Wires are easy to solder at the sides of the smd led and resistor. If you are not sure about the polarity of led, use a tester in the "diode" position to check it first. Try to test the circuit before soldering completely and fix it in place.

White led has been fixed in the top, in front of the pilot. And red led rear the sit:

That's the result (before gluing the hull and the front canopy:

And once fixed, before plaster and painting:

Now details can bee seen from any of the windows!!!

I hope you liked it, using led strips and cutting the necessary components it's straight forward to light a model, and the result deserves the work.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tie Interceptor 1 - Canopy and cockpit

Some time ago I purchased this old kit from MPC/ERTL. It was released in 1992 and includes 3 small ships from "Return of the Jedi": TIE Interceptor, B-Wing and X-Wing. The quality of the plastic injection is not very good and you have to sand all pieces and use special plastic plaster to fill the slots in the union between pieces. They are "Snap together" kits, easy and fast, and with not much detail that you can work to improve. That's why these models are really good to practice before building the large models that I'll attempt during next months.

My first problem has been with the transparent canopy. I never achieve good results painting the metal frame simulated in transparent parts because they are very difficult to mask. But this time I found a fantastic tip to mask clear parts using what we call in Spain "white glue", that one used in carpentry.

That glue has the property of fixing porous materials, but it doesn't work well in non porous ones. That's why it's a perfect masking fluid for plastic parts.

Here you can see the procedure. Just fill the areas you want to keep clear with the glue. Be generous, don't worry about the quantity:

Wait until it dries, you will see it becomes transparent again, and paint it all:

Glue made a kind of peel very easy to remove, and the final result is just perfect:

Another thing to improve is the pilot. Originally it comes a kind of figure more similar to a radio operator, than a TIE pilot. It has no mask, just a helmet, no tubes... nothing similar to a Dark Force pilot. So I used plaster to make the mask and put the tubes from the mask to the chest's "thing" using thin wire:

I also put some kind of control sticks in the cockpit, because in this model the pilot seems to drive pressing only buttons..... OMG!

I'll show more advances in next posts!!!