Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Many Bothans died to bring me this information

Okay so none did ... maybe a few tauntauns? ... no? I guess it just felt more epic that way. Coming up with a strategy to paint the Bandai 1/144 scale Millennium Falcon, unfortunately, involved the more mundane method of online research of blogs and forums to see how it has been done before.  

A Bothan conducting a mission briefing; source: wookieepedia

Being fairly new to the vehicle painting scene, I'm pretty sure the methods laid down below aren't as fool proof as I wish them to be. As I'm more used to painting using water-based acrylics only, I will have to be careful when incorporating enamel paints such as the Tamiya Panel Line Accent Colours as well as lacquer paints basecoat like the Tamiya AS-20 Insignia White into the mix. Also the possibility of using gloss clear coats to facilitate decal placement as well as panel lining before applying a matt coat to remove the shine - all adds to the complexity for a vehicle-noob like me.      

Painting strategy for the Bandai 1/144 Millennium Falcon model kit

As part of my 'research' to find an accurate colour scheme for the Millennium Falcon, I played numerous matches in the Star Wars Battlefront Fighter Squadron Mode until I finally got the power up to play the most famous Corellian YT-1300 light freighter in the galaxy. I had a blast using the ship. More importantly, I recorded useful digital references from my multiplayer session (see video below). Dice, the game's publisher, has recreated cool movie-accurate versions of the various vehicles from the original trilogy. Nonetheless, the Falcon's colour scheme is still usable as the only thing that has changed in the Force Awakens is the radar dish ... and perhaps a tad more sand weathering.    


One thing is for sure, regardless of the colour scheme I'll have to test out some of the above painting strategies on old unwanted parts first rather than directly on the Falcon. That way, if things turn out badly you won't see a grown man cry pitifully over his spoilt plastic toy. Thankfully, lady luck was with me as I found the perfect piece to be the guinea pig - an old Chaos Rhino Transport part. It has sufficient details which in part mimic those found on the Falcon's hull. It'll allow me to test out the non-acrylic paints as well as weathering pigments I haven't used before.   

A Chaos Rhino part (front/back view) that will serve as the practice piece for at least two of the above strategies

Gathering the required materials for my paint-test-session for the hull is turning out to be a slower than expected process mainly because the supplies have become super pricey due to the falling ringgit and the fact that some key ingredients I need are out of stock. So even as I slowly acquire the stuff I need to begin test painting the Chaos Rhino, I prepped parts that fell under more familiar ground namely the figures and cockpit interior. All these will be painted using acrylics so I already have what I need to get started on Han Solo, Chewie, Finn, Rey, BB-8 and the cockpit interior.

Figures and cockpit interior are pieces which lie in my 'painting comfort zone'
Parts were cleaned using Isopropyl Alcohol before being primed with my favourite primer

Parts pertaining to the said figures and cockpit interior were cut off from the sprue, cleaned with isopropyl alcohol (it's worth noting that some expert modellers don't bother to clean their kits prior to priming), and then primed with the light grey Tamiya Fine Surface Primer. In a departure from my usual practice, I will be painting most of the parts still attached to the sprue/runner/gate. Why? Because the parts involved are too tiny to be effectively held in any other way.

Locations where joints occur were blocked off with Blutack before priming
For the figures, as much of the runners/gates were trimmed off before being primed
Some parts were primed as is on the sprue (left) while others will be primed after assembly (right)

It amazes me how Bandai still managed (and is willing) to cram so much detail into the figures and cockpit interior seeing that the focus is primarily on the Falcon's exterior hull. To show you what I mean, I chose the smallest figure in the model kit: a 1/144 scale BB-8 Astromech Droid (see below).

Even at such a small scale, the BB-8 Astromech Droid still holds some fine details

Seeing that the Millennium Falcon is going to be a long-haul-project, I plan to get a quick fix for my Bandai Star Wars model kit addiction by attempting something that requires less paint and less work to assemble. I will likely finish a 1/12 scale model kit of the Stormtrooper long before I finish painting the Falcon so I plan to do a review of this kit - the whole shebang - from unboxing to assembly to decaling and painting in a few weeks time. So stay tuned for this in a future post.  

Service guarantees citizenship, would you like to know more ... Oops ... wrong trooper quote

Although I'm in full-blown Star Wars mode, I still have enough left in the tank to remain enthusiastic about other projects such as the Chaos Nurgle Chosen. By the next post, I should have completed yet another major portion of the mini so stay tuned for that as well. Until then, be well and happy!

15 comments:

  1. Your posts are always great to read!
    waiting to see more of this project!

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    1. You are very kind to say so Luca ... thank you very much.

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  2. Very excited at seeing this develop, best of luck.

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    1. Thanks Michael ... I'm going to need it.

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  3. I'm amazed by the endeavour you are taking. The BB8 mini totally blew my mind off. What can I say, may the Force be with you!!

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    1. If you like this BB-8 you should see the Bandai 1/12 scale BB-8 model kit. I have my eye on that one. :)

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  4. Awesome! Can't wait to see what you do with it!

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  5. And I am dying to see your Nurgle Chosen!

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    1. Dying? Nurgle? You sir are indeed a loyal servant of Chaos. LOL :) All kidding aside, thanks Prof ... I hope I don't disappoint.

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  6. The force is certainly strong in this one!

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    1. Yep ... I'm loving these Bandai Star Wars model kits and can't get enough of 'em. Heck I will even buy a Jar Jar Binks one ... errrrr ... ok maybe I won't go that far.

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  7. I'm eagerly lokking forward to see you working your magic on this kit.

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    1. Weathering is key to the Falcon ... and I have no experience using the Tamiya Weathering Master kits. I have a bad feeling about this. ;)

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  8. A fascinating project...waiting for more!

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    1. Painting the figures and cockpit is about all I can attempt at the moment because I still don't have the needed supplies to attempt painting the hull.

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