Saturday, 29 September 2018

Pastel and flesh lacquer paint sets from Osaka, Japan

So did I travel to Osaka, Japan? Nah, I wish! But my brother-in-law did. And he was kind enough to ask if I wanted anything while he was checking out the multitude of hobby shops in the area. In that moment, I felt like a kid in a candy store without the monies to buy much of anything. There are so many scale model kits, resin figurines and paints in my wish list that even a cargo plane couldn't fit it all. And if you've seen the hobby shops in Osaka, Japan you would know what I mean. So all I dared ask him to get me was a few sets of paints for my resin figurine airbrushing sessions.

From Osaka, Japan .... two boxes each of four different kinds of Mr Color Special Paint Sets

One long standing weakness of mine is the fact that I can never have enough flesh paints be they acrylic, enamel, pastel, oil or lacquer. I tend to collect skin tone hues like how most modellers would collect scale model kits and resin figurines. Another weakness is my love for pastel hues. So when the opportunity came up for me to obtain paints of this nature that are hard to source locally, I pretty much jumped at it. Now, I finally have the specialized flesh color (found locally but it's twice as expensive) and the full pastel set of lacquer paints (couldn't find any locally) from Mr. Hobby.    

Kaiyodo/Mr Hobby Cutie Girls Figure Fresh Color Set for use primarily on anime figurines
Flesh colors in this paint set were developed with input from BOME, a Japanese sculptor/painter
Flesh colors comprise BC01 Pale Orange, BC02 Carrot Orange, BC03 Milky Peach and BC04 Coral Pink

Read enough of my posts and you would've suffered through my constant waxing lyrical over pastel hues. If ever pastel hues make sense for a project then that's my go-to color scheme over any other. There's something about the soft, light hues that's infinitely pleasing and soothing to my eyes. First in the Mr Hobby pastel series is its green set (see below) which comprises Custard Yellow (CP01), Muscat Green (CP02), Mint Green (CP03) and Turquoise Green (CP04). The first two greens have a strong yellow bias in them while the latter two shifts more towards the blue spectrum. 

Mr Hobby Pastel Color Set Green Version
Green Pastel Set comprises first four pastel hues (CP01 to CP04) in the Mr Color pastel wheel
Mr Hobby's Mr Color Green Pastel Set unboxed
Pamphlet showing how the green pastel hues interact with Primary Color Pigments of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow
Opposite side of the pamphlet shows line drawings of an anime character in turquoise green
Green Pastel Set comprises CP01 Custard Yellow, CP02 Muscat Green, CP03 Mint Green and CP04 Turquoise Green

Properties of the latter two hues of the green set transitions Mr Hobby's pastel series nicely into its blue set (see below). So it's no big surprise that the first color in the blue set has a fair amount of green pigments mixed into it namely the Aqua Green (CP05). Next you have a more pure blue Smalt Blue (CP06) followed by Wisteria Blue (CP07) and Cream Orchid (CP08), both of which presumably have had more red pigments added to them in view of their predominantly purplish hues.

Mr Hobby's Mr Color Pastel Color Set Blue Version
Add captionBlue Pastel Set comprises the second series of pastel hues (CP05 to CP08) in the Mr Color pastel wheel
Mr Hobby Blue Pastel Set unboxed
Pamphlet showing how the blue pastel hues interact with Primary Color Pigments of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow
Opposite side of the pamphlet shows line drawings of an anime character in wisteria blue
Blue Pastel Set comprises CP05 Aqua Green, CP06 Smalt Blue, CP07 Wisteria Blue and CP08 Cream Orchid

Third in the series is the red set which starts off with a pinkish Milky Strawberry (CP09) followed by a redder Cherry Red (CP10). Subsequently more yellow pigments seem to have been added to the last two colors Ruby Orange (CP11) and Honey Orange (CP12). As such this brings the Mr Hobby four set series full circle into what closely resembles a color wheel, albeit a pastel one.

Mr Hobby Pastel Color Set Red Version
Red Pastel Set comprises final four pastel hues (CP09 to CP12) in the Mr Color pastel wheel
Mr Hobby's Mr Color Red Pastel Set unboxed
Pamphlet showing how the red pastel hues interact with Primary Color Pigments of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow
Add captionOpposite side of the pamphlet shows line drawings of an anime character in cherry red
Red Pastel Set comprises CP09 Milky Strawberry, CP10 Cherry Red, CP11 Ruby Orange and CP12 Honey Orange

And so this is how the three different versions look like when combined together into a makeshift color wheel (see below). If required more hue variety could be had by mixing existing color options - CP01 to CP12 - but for most, especially anime-type projects, the colors provided should be sufficient.

On display, the complete set of pastel paints from Mr Hobby Mr Color

Mr Hobby's special paint sets opens up a path for me to complete 'anime-influenced pastel and flesh airbrushing projects' within a shorter period of time. They should also work fine for 'realistic' miniature projects, with the requisite subtle color transitions achieved via airbrush techniques instead of numerous half-tones applied via hand brush. More paints is almost always a good thing. The caveat? Using too many straight-from-the-bottle hues may lessen one's understanding of how colors work. Nothing that a good session with primary colors can't fix but that's a story for another day.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

MENG Model Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger with Henschel Turret [WIP - Part 1 of 2: Three-tone camouflage]

These last few weeks have been tough, to put it mildly. I've been battling to keep my mind constantly occupied so that thoughts (hence emotions) became an indistinguishable blur of white noise. (The irony ... writing is an activity in which I tend to hear my thoughts the clearest and loudest!) And because I haven't yet been able to devote any time to the hobby, I strove instead to chronicle attempts I made to paint a three-tone camouflage scheme, carried out sometime last month.

MENG King Tiger work-in-progress: German WW2 three-tone camouflage (Part 1of 2)

It all starts with the predominant hue in the three-tone camouflage i.e. a rather dull dark yellow (dunkelgelb) that was fairly common until end-1944. To be honest, the dullness of the dunkelgelb actually caught me by surprise. This was because up until then I had been more accustomed to German tank camouflage colors during 1945 which comprised a much brighter yellow hue. To my understanding, it became increasingly difficult for the German war machine to obtain supplies late into the war which may account for the camouflage color differences in 1944 and 1945. 

Basecoat of German WW2 dunkelgelb achieved using the Tamiya TS-3 Dark Yellow

Unless you're painting by hand, masking becomes a necessary evil during the King Tiger's three-tone camouflage creation process. Specialized tools in the market such as the Camouflage Masking Putty from AMMO by Mig Jimenez supposedly make the masking process easier. But like most scale model hobbyists I'm working with a tight budget so I made do with a cheap local rubber mastic adhesive product called Dolphin Sticky Stuff. (The international equivalent is Blu Tack by Bostik.) In addition to the rubber mastic adhesive, I also used Tamiya masking tape and pieces of white copier paper. 

Materials used: Dolphin Sticky Stuff (Rubber Mastic Adhesive) and Tamiya Masking Tape
Pieces of paper completed the triumvirate of masking materials used in a haphazard painting process  

Both the rubber mastic adhesive (essentially a reusable adhesive putty) and the Tamiya masking tape served to protect the dunkelgelb basecoat from being painted over.  Meanwhile, the pieces of copier paper functioned to shield specific sections from spray paint overspray. What I essentially did was to first spray dark green onto specfic unmasked areas of turret/hull. I then proceeded to shield those very sections from the resulting overspray when red brown patterns were in turn being sprayed onto the remaining exposed sections of the turret/hull (see photo above).

While the pieces paper (see above) functioned largely to prevent overspray, the rubber mastic adhesive and masking tape prevented the dark yellow basecoat from being painted on
At this stage of the painting process, the whole turret looked liked a horrendous screw-up

Ideally it would've been better to first wait for the dark green paint to dry, and then completely mask the dark green camouflage patterns before spraying on the red brown hues. But to speed up the three-tone camouflage painting process I had instead untidily positioned pieces of copier paper as a means to contain paint overspray. In my defense I had wanted to limit the amount of blue Dolphin Sticky Stuff being used. Even during those initial stages I could already tell that the rubber mastic adhesive wasn't going to fulfill its role as a masking material with flying colors.   

Masking process is repeated for the King Tiger's hull using the same triumvirate of materials
Again prior to the masking materials being removed, the hull looks like a complete mess

As I've never worked with a proper masking putty, I can only guess at why the cheap reusable adhesive putty I used as an alternative resulted in the damages that it did. But it's highly probable the cheap putty's adhesive qualities were far too strong for masking purposes. When the putty was being removed, its inherent stickiness caused the zimmerit decals to be removed together with the putty thus exposing bare plastic as well as primer coat layer. Luckily for me, the combined red oxide and light grey hues of the former and latter closely resembled actual battle damage in a King Tiger.     

Inherent stickiness of the rubber mastic adhesive tore out a section of the zimmerit decals thus exposing the bare plastic as well as parts of the primer coat 
More damage (sections with the red oxide plastic exposed) caused by removal of the rubber mastic adhesive
A momentary lapse of focus resulted in one of the exhaust pipes being snapped in two

Its overly strong adhesive qualities also meant the cheaper putty required a bit of rough handling to remove during the unmasking process. That combined with a momentary loss of focus saw me press the rear hull towards my body with excessive pressure thus snapping one of the exhaust pipes in two (see photo above). While not ideal, this again wasn't too serious an issue as the exhaust pipe could be easily glued back on. Below then are photos of the King Tiger's three-tone camouflage pattern prior to any touch ups that'll need to be done to correct the issue of paint overspray.

Section where the zimmerit decal tore off actually passes off as realistic battle damage
Rest of the King Tiger hull after the three-tone camouflage painting process
King Tiger turret after the three-tone camouflage painting process
Camouflage on the gun barrel has yet to be painted because its finer details require hand painting

One part of the King Tiger yet to be painted with any form of camouflage is the gun barrel. Due to the fine/thin patterns involved, the three-tone camouflage in this section will have to be done by hand. Revolving around overpspray touch up efforts and camouflage painting of the gun barrel, part two will be a continuation of the chronicle of my three-tone camouflage painting process. It's been three weeks since my dad's passing and I can't bring myself to paint yet. But at least I'm writing.

Monday, 3 September 2018

A brief hiatus …

I'm an extremely private person so it's not easy for me to put my recent thoughts into words. Even as I do this I cannot bring myself to weave personal thoughts into a narrative as cathartic as they may be. So I seek nothing but to acknowledge and mark a painful time in my life. For you see, my dad passed away peacefully last week. Regrets for things left unsaid will remain forever. I find comfort only in knowing the good he has done for many will stand him in good stead in his journey ahead.

It has crossed my mind to stop blogging for a significant period of time. Simply put, I can find no joy in talking about the trivialities of this hobby. But to stop what I'm doing leaves me with time to dwell on thoughts I rather not entertain. So I'll write again soon. For now though, I can write no more.
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