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Thanks for the kind words, Glitterwolf! Much appreciated!

I'm going to try to upload a cropped and fairly extreme close-up, mainly of the skin areas ... hoping that some of the under-skin vein work might show up, a bit better? (I'm sure I'll eventually get the hang of posting stuff. "Practice, practice, practice," I guess!?) As for the upper skin areas: that's supposed to be a purple-tinted bruise, around the obvious areas of surgical abuse someone did to poor Mascot Eddie. In looking at the article itself, it appears I knew about thinning paints using water, retarders, and flow improvers, and there is at least one image showing some Reaper brand paints, plus a wet palette ... but I'm not sure I knew, back then, how important it was to use "acrylic mediums" to make thin, transparent washes and glazes. I knew some things, but not all I needed to know, to pull off what I had hoped to, at the time. The "bruising" looks more like a brown basecoat, in these photos, which wasn't the intent, at all.

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_09.jpg

Edited by Wardenstein
Fixing goof-ups, on some of the explanatory text I added here.
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4 hours ago, Iridil said:

Fantastic - those goggles are sublime

 

Thank you kindly! As many of us likely do, I often have my doubts about how well things worked out. The goggles were just one area of many, on that project, where I wondered if I had done something pretty cool, or if I had just embarrassed myself, in trying to. Sometimes it's hard to get any kind of proper perspective, on that, when a person is "working behind closed doors" and is sending photos out, via email. Writers, at least in my experience, almost never get much reader feedback, on their projects. My only clue that I must have been "doing something right" at least most of the time, was the editor / publisher kept asking me back, later on. Turns out the editor was as much in the dark, about his own projects, and so was the publisher. People "voted with their dollars," on any given issue, or they didn't ... and even nearly a decade later, I'm still wondering what I should think of the four projects that were in that "Horror and Monster Modeller" special issue. I usually did vehicular models; so I "didn't really know" to the same degree, if I was doing well, or doing poorly, in the minds of readers. Sometimes being a writer is just that way. 

 

I'll try to get some more photos together, and post them, later on. I went through my "work in progress" folders on an older PC, for that project, and I do have some decent-enough "would tell a tale, of how things were done" photos I could upload. Turns out I had kept the photo I had printed out, on decal paper, of some local clouds. The print-out never would have worked as the final item, but it "let me cheat, a bit" by painting over those goggle lenses, with some blue and white (Tamiya?) paints, to improve the clouds. When I had the other stuff on there (the flaming enemy plane, etc.) I believe I had used two-part clear epoxy for lenses: just layering it on, one thin layer at a time. It's a bit on the "lumpy and bumpy" side ... but at least it protects what's underneath.

I'm thankful that I had the foresight, too, to take some photos, back then, that I never sent in, specifically "for publication" -- sort of "visual notes-to-myself, about what paints I had used". Turns out I used a number of Reaper's Master Series Paints, to basecoat (via  an airbrush) the flying helmet one Reaper color; the jacket's main areas, in another; and some of the stuff on the lower back-side of the bust, in a third RMS color. I'll try to get those photos organized, and cropped/shrunk down, so I can post them here.

The funny thing (at least, it's humorous to me?) is that most of the RMS paint colors I had, back then, were all (or mostly?) from what I've been told were likely "generation two" of Reaper's cool "Learn To Paint Kits". To this day, I'm still shaking my head, at myself, for never completed the minis that came with those LTPK's!? I plan to do that, though: I'm just not quite sure "when". I always liked those kit's contents, including Anne Foerster's written guides. Just never sat myself down, to paint up the minis.

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41 minutes ago, Chaoswolf said:

VERY COOL!! :winkthumbs:

 

I'm a big Iron Maiden fan, so I think this is pretty amazing, especially the light up eyes.

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Thanks much; and then some! There's a lot of amazing and inspiring work on these forums. With this project, I'm crediting the sculptor way, WAY more than myself for any perceived coolness that you folks here might be seeing! (Credit where due, eh?!)

 

While I'm thinking about it and/or before I "space it out," again ... I meant to post info about the book or magazine (the publisher called them "mooks") that this project was in, article-wise: so folks can see what the cover looks like, and so on. The link below isn't to a commercial site: it's pointing to the entry on "World Cat," for that back issue from "Sci-Fi and Fantasy Modeller". In other words, for any non-"book-a-holics" that might be out there: it's a giant collection of library catalogs, showing what library has what book. This is useful info to know, if there is a library near a person, who is willing to do an "inter-library loan" through a person's local library. Some books don't / won't get loaned out that way, and distance is often a factor in making that decision, for some of the libraries that have whatever rare book a person might be looking for. But for book nerds like me, it's a good option to know about. Anyway, here's a link to the World Cat listing for the book where this project / article was seen, back around 2014 ...

 

https://www.worldcat.org/title/horror-monster-modeller/oclc/909155404&referer=brief_results

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Here's the promised "work in progress" photos, showing how I "cheated" on the goggles. I used a decal (transfer) that was made on an inkjet, home-style printer, to "get into the ballpark. The original photo I took, of some clouds near my home, started this "I don't trust my freehand skill, so I'm gonna cheat" process. I applied the decals; then painted over them. I used Tamiya's XF-2 "(flat) white" paint with some blue mixed into it, for the background areas; and some of that paint, straight or unmodified, for the cloudy areas. Reaper's paints would have worked, too, for this -- I was using Tamiya's because I was more comfortable with airbrushing it, then; and I had the colors I needed, at hand. The main thing for paint-over-decals is just to avoid applying a chemically "hot" paint on top of the relatively delicate decals or transfers: you could undo your work, if the decals suffer from an unintended "chemical attack". But with water-based acrylics, as long as you gave the decals enough time to really cure or dry, and then wiped off any remaining decal setting solution, then you should be okay with over-painting them. I've also used hand brushes over decals, on other models. The second photo shows a paper-based printout, for test purposes: not the final "I'm using decal sheet" printout. To get into the ballpark, on sizing (and positioning, within the printout) I used Tamiya brand tape, to figure out "goggle shapes": applied some to the model; traced the outlines; put the tape on an index card; and used that to pick a "good spot of clouds".

 

Folks who hang out with "model car guys (and gals)" will recognize the masking agents I'm using: specifically, Silly Putty. It conforms well to irregular surfaces, and it's resistant to having things like most "not very chemically hot" paints sprayed on. But of course this sort of thing mostly works with larger-scale models. It probably has limited applicability for 28mm gaming minis, etc.?

 

The airbrush I used was by Paasche. I believe it's a "VL" model, or something within that line. I have several airbrushes. To be honest, in most cases, if I can get away with it, I tend to use the simpler, much more hassle-resistant "Paasche H model," which is an airbrush that (sadly) far too many advise beginners to avoid, simply because it's not a double action brush. It's cheap (by airbrush standards, anyway) and easy to clean, and once you're used to using an internal-mix single action, it can do a lot. But for this, I used the more fancy "big brother" of an airbrush. Note that even the Paasche VL double-action airbrush is comparatively inexpensive: especially if a person already has a compressor and the fittings for it, an air line, and a water trap for the line, and a regulator, and stuff like that. If it matters to anyone out there, I tend to shop at Coast Airbrush, via the web, for most things airbrush-related. I picked up the "quick disconnect" fittings for the incoming air line, at that place. It's a super-handy feature to have, on an airline and whatever brushes you may have, if a person has more than one airbrush. I'm sure there are other good airbrushes, out there, and plenty of cool places to buy them -- this is just what I had, and was using, for this project.

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_20.jpg

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_21-w.jpg

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_22-w.jpg

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In studying some old notes, I think I figured out (mostly) what I had done, to come up with a somewhat undead skin tone. The notes  I'm referring to include the "photo captions" I has chosen: when I e-mailed photos to the guys who ran Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller, it was just easier, for all of us, if I put my suggested captions into a portion of the file's names: thus making it hard for the captions and the photos to become "separated" or "lost". I'm glad I did that, on the custom flesh base-coat I came up with. Even so, it appears I mostly used a base mixture that consisted of the remnants of some Tamiya brand flat paints, that was already a custom mix: I had called it "plywood" or something akin to that, color-wise. The paint bottle is white, but I had sprayed the color inside, on the top of the bottle; which is why I have the top facing the camera, in this image. (I normally would never store paints, any way but upright.) It appears I had some remnants of a custom blue, that was probably some left-overs of the first series of Reaper's paints; and a pink.

The bottle that's on the right side, if I'm not mistaken, is the sickly-looking end result. I used that for the base-coat on the "flesh". That's probably what was left, after I applied the initial base coat, the first time. (Yes, I ended up having to re-do it, again, later.)

The idea of using pink plus a bit of a light-ish blue, was that I wanted those as "vein colors" over the basecoat; that, ideally, had it all cooperated with me, I could have "half buried" under an intentionally over-thinned, transparent mixture of the basecoat. In real life, though, I ended up three-quarters burying it, by accident, and then I had to re-do the two colors or hand-brushed veins, and some attempted "liver spots" I had added, that were also supposed to be subtle suggestions, "buried just under the skin". What I was hoping was that if I mixed up the basecoat, including the "vein colors," they'd all harmonize nicely, and be extra-subtle, etc.

 

Ugh. Not fun, having a paint job you really liked, at first ... only to end up having it "go sideways on me" (my fault, not the paint's)  and do it, on deadline. I really liked how it looked, right up until I couldn't resist the urge to "bury it all, just a teeny bit more". Not only did I lose the first, "cooler" paint job on the skin's / facial areas, but I then had to rush to catch back up, deadline-wise, too.

 

Anyway, what I'm talking about on that will (hopefully?) make more sense, when I get more organized, and "shrink" more images down, so they're sized appropriately enough, for use on these forums.

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_27-w.jpg

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I'm not sure you'll even be able to see what I'm referring to, in these next images? So I'll explain what's going on, more fully, a bit later ... the short version, for now, is that I was trying to randomly or organically place some under-the-skin discolorations, by taking one paint brush, overly loaded with paint, and "hitting" it onto a second stick or paint, so the paint would do a "splatter effect". I was intentionally using a standard, unmodified Reaper brand color, that was just a hair darker in value than the base coat was, so that if I didn't like where that "liver spot" ended up, I could just ignore it. If I liked where some other one "landed," I could, by hand, go in later with one or more darker paints, and sort of "punch it up, a bit". (Hopefully, what I mean will make sense in photos-to-come?)

 

To be honest, some of my techniques are borrowed (rather heavily, at times) from vehicular modelers. That effect I'm talking about, above, is arguably sort of an adaptation or modification of when armor modelers choose to organically or randomly apply what looks like mud splashes, on a tank kit (for instance). This stage of things did work, as planned ... but I got too careless, later on ...

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_28-w.jpg

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_29-w.jpg

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Okay ... Right after these next stages, is where I went on an epic-level cussing fit ... due to "burying" all this detail, accidentally, under what was supposed to be "multiple transparent layers" of intentionally-over-thinned custom-mixed undead flesh base coat.

 

I think what went wrong was that I did not do what I should have done, which was put on one over-thinned layer, and then, patiently, wait for the paint to dry enough that I could tell, more accurately, how light or dark that new coating was going to "end up drying". With a deadline looming, I had to make compromises, the second time around, and be far less "picky" and "detailed" when I went back in, re-doing each of the hand-brushed veins, etc. The forehead area, I never got to look as I wanted it, after all this. In any case, I tried to rush things ... and screwed it up ... and cost myself far more lost time, than if I had simply been more patient. Live and learn, I guess!?

 

One of the many things I loved so much, about writing for "Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller," was that they didn't force us to push any given product, or anything like that. (They had virtually no advertisers, and thus, cost way more -- but didn't have to "please" any person or company who was helping to pay their bills.) So if we said we liked Brand XYZ, yeah, it's because we really did like it!

 

Another thing I loved, when writing for those folks, is they let our personalities be very visible; and for me, a part of what that gave me the opportunity to do, was to do what I just did, here: admitting that even if my work sometimes got in magazines, I'm human, and I make mistakes. Sometimes hair-pulling ones; or "epic cussing fit" ones. I didn't have the space to talk this through, in that particular article, back then ... so I'm making up for that, now. I'd rather folks see the way things really happen; not an idealized dream world, where mistakes never occur. They occurred, at least for me, all of the time; or at least, more often than I wished. I just did I imagined the other authors did: whatever I could, to "press on" and get the project completed, to the best of my then-current abilities; and as close to being "on deadline" as I could manage. 

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_30-w.jpg

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_31-w.jpg

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I'll take a break from uploading photos, for a little bit, and will instead throw some of the words from the original article at you fine folks: specifically, a section about "painting".

 

For context: the publication I was writing for, back then (around 2014, for this article) was well-known for really in-depth discussions; lots of photos; that kind of thing. Typical article lengths, word-wise, for something like a vehicular model that I was building completely from scratch, ran around 3,000 words on up to 3,500 words; from time to time. This one was more like 2,500 words; so compared to some of my more "deep-diving technical stuff" kinds of articles, this one was always intended as more of a "lite and fun" article. With that said, though: the "Aces High" article I did probably still had half-again or double the word count of many articles from other scale modeling publications. The readers were paying a lot of money for each issue they bought, so we  author types all tried hard to "earn our page count," by giving as much (tested, and trustworthy) info as we could, that might be of possible interest to readers: either "directly" (like a step-by-step explanation) or as "food for thought," along theoretical lines.

In a moment, I'll quote the entire section from the original article, that talked about painting. Keep in mind that the photos I sent in, all had their own separate captions, too: and because of that, at times I could use the "main text" for talking about theoretical types of subjects, while I let the photos and their associated captions "do something else" -- perhaps explaining some of the  more linear, "step by step" processes that it took to either build something, or to show a multi-step painting process.

 

Another thing of possible note (before I cut-and-paste the "painting" section in over here) is that this is an older article, now: so some of the products I mentioned either aren't on the market; or over time, I found other products that I liked better. Mainly that applies to the sentences, up front, about primers. I still always prime anything I work on, but I no longer use the exact product I mentioned. (They massively changed the way they made that paint; and it's much harder for me to find, now.) These days, I'm a big fan of the primers made by a company called "Mission Models". Also: at the time I wrote this piece, I didn't know as much as I do now, about the use of acrylic mediums, for mixing up transparent versions of formerly-opaque paints. Other than that, what I wrote back around 2013 or 2014 still applies to how I generally do things, these days: regarding painting kits or scratch-builds.

 

(quotes on)

 

You'll see from the photos that I always prime my kits, as a preliminary step before "real" painting begins. I use the Plasti-Kote brand of gray automotive primer, all the time: both sprayed out of the spray can it comes in, or at times decanted from that spray can, and sprayed via airbrush.

 

I figured I would end up doing something ballistic to the upper layers of paint, when I got to that stage of things - just because that's becoming what I like to do - but the plan didn't get much more defined than that, early on. I knew I would like the ability to undo certain later steps, if necessary, and/or might want to touch up nicks or so forth: so, I wanted to use basecoat colours I didn't have to custom mix. I like the Reaper brand of paints, which they sell for their fine line of cool gaming mini's - but these are mainly intended for hand-brushing, as supplied.

 

Now, that's not a deal buster: there's ways around that. One of the best is to be aware of things like extenders and flow improvers. These are additives you can put into stuff like Reaper's line of acrylic paints, to either make them hand brush in a manner that suits your personal tastes more closely, or that allows you to do specific tricks - or you can use them to make acrylic paint go through an airbrush without any hassles. Acrylics tend to sometimes want to dry inside your airbrush, while you're trying to spray them, so this is a super handy pair of painting additives to have!

 

One of the best combinations of drying-time extenders and flow improvers I'm personally aware of is a custom mix sold by a small company called "Miniature Giant". They make no secret of the formula they use, for what they've named their "Lasting-Flow" product. You can buy it from their web site, pre-mixed, in a convenient little dropper bottle, or you can mix some up yourself. Their published formula is 25% flow improver, 25% retarder, and 50% distilled water. They sell and recommend "Winsor & Newton" brand acrylic "Flow Improver," by itself; or you can check places like Dick Blick Art Supplies, online. The drying time extender they sell and recommend is by Liquitex. It's called "Slo-Dri Fluid Retarder". If you're mainly going to do hand-brushing work, I've found that Miniature Giant's 0.5 ounce dropper bottles of pre-mix last a long time. I like the stuff so much that I buy the raw materials, and keep a big (250 ml) jug of it pre-mixed and ready for airbrush work.

 

You'll see from the photos that I used paints from Tamiya's fine line of acrylics, too. I know a number of people say you can save money by reducing (thinning) that brand of paints, using something like car windshield washer fluid, or possibly isopropyl alcohol. I never do that. I always use Tamiya's X-20A thinner product for applying (their acrylic) paints. I find that certain problems some people attribute to those paints, doesn't affect my work - likely because I'm using the recommended thinner. Now, for cleaning up, yes: I do often use dollar store isopropyl alcohol. But for applying Tamiya's line of acrylic paints, I always use their X-20A thinner product. It's always been great stuff, for me!

 

One further painting tip, then I'll let the photos tell you the rest of the story. One of the handiest ways I've found to get ultra-thin mixes of various paints to go through any airbrush without just running all over the place, is to do a bit of test spraying onto a Zip-Lock style bag, before you do your "real" spraying with an airbrush. Why on earth would you do that?! Because the paint doesn't want to stick worth a darn to that kind of plastic! So, if you can adjust your air pressure down enough, and get the quantity of paint fine-tuned down far enough, you'll find that yes, you can even get acrylic paints to stick to slippery surfaces like food-safe plastic bags. Try it, the next time you feel you may run into trouble when spraying ultra thin mixes!

 

(quotes off)

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One last image, for tonight: a picture of a paint product I was using, back then, to get into cracks and crevices, and darken them while also adding sort of a "colored glaze" to those areas. These were semi-remove-able, fairly transparent, pre-made washes (or glazes, or something in that ballpark) which were called "The Detailer". This was another tip or trick I was stealing, then, from "what I knew best" which was vehicular modeling. In this case, "model car guys (and gals)" used that product to fill in things like the really shallow engraved or "bas relief" detailing on things like the grille area on model cars or trucks. I'm not sure if the product is still even available? But if it is, "army painters" or "speed painters" might want to look into it, for things like detailing chain mail on figures, etc., or for possible uses with things like bases. Just be aware that with products of that type, sealing it in some way may be a good idea: it's made so that it can be somewhat open to being removed, if it gets where it should not have gone, or is too dark, and etc. I was using it, in part, because there's no way I had the time to do things like complicated "smooth blends" and the like, back then. So I guess that means I was sort of "speed painting" parts of this bust? And some big areas got left in "plain, unaltered basecoat," too.

 

I was just beginning to find out that wet palettes existed, too. I had picked up one by Privateer Press, that I'm showing here.

 

SFFM-Horror-and-Monster-Modeller-Special-Issue_by-Ward-Shrake_Eddie-from-Aces-High_32-w.jpg

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