June 30, 2017

FRIDAY'S WITH FARLEY: Tool up for...Another Dose of Useless Tidbits

There are some modeling tools/supplies that definitely seem like frivolities. The sort of things you would buy and have on your workbench were you loaded, or if you just had to have every single tool made by a certain manufacturer regardless of if they were useful or not. Well, luckily for you (I may not be loaded, but that hasn’t stopped me from buying every single piece of modeling equipment I could ever get my hands on), so here is a list of a few tools that may seem unnecessary but will actually make your work a whole heck of a lot easier! In no particular order I give you “Farley's List of Things That Might Seem Unnecessary But Are Actually Very Useful”...
1. Tamiya’s Paint Stirrers (ref.74017)
You get two of these stainless steel sticks per pack—and I started the list with these because this (for me) was the first type of “should I buy it?” tools that ended up being invaluable to my model-making. And I’m sure that just like me, you’re thinking, “Um, I have these things called toothpicks. You know, you buy them by the truckload for about $4.50, so… why would I possibly need expensive metal toothpicks?”

Well, first off, these are not toothpick shaped. One end is a sort of small spatula shape, and the other end is a tiny little concaved scoop, and especially once you’ve leveled up to using airbrushes in your work, you will appreciate having that tiny little concave end, where you can just add two or three drops of paint instead of (always) accidentally pouring more than half of your already miniscule ¼ oz. (or less) bottle of paint that you waited for weeks to arrive from Japan just to have the right color and then you spilled it all into your mixing cup that–uh-oh—had a few drops of satin black still floating in it, and now you’re stuck with a whole airbrush cup of an unusable color… all because you weren’t able to divvy out a few drops as needed like you’d be able to if you had that perfect little spoon end of these wonderful stirrers! And of course there’s the flat stirring end which works SO much better than a toothpick ever could, you will seriously be wondering why you went so long without picking up this set of stirrers (designate one for enamels and one for acrylics) AWESOME! And, if you care about the environment at all, then you can pat yourself on the back for not throwing out 50 toothpicks for every one jar of paint you have to stir, and if I learned anything from watching Tiny Toons when I was in the 3rd grade, it’s that it takes one tree to make each toothpick, so think of how many forests you’re saving!
 2. Tamiya Electric Handy Drill (ref.74041) – This little AA battery powered drill is a life saver! I’ve probably spent a few days worth of hours using pin-vises until my fingertips were rubbed raw, just trying to hollow out some gun barrels. Then I got a Dremel and—Oops! I just disappeared whatever it was I working on because I cranked the speed up just too high, and now the barrel of my tank needs to look like a sawed-off shotgun… somehow.
This little hand drill (that you get to put together yourself! I found this very fun by the way) is the Goldilocks of drills, just enough torque to get those tiny jobs done in a flash, but not so much that you end up with a puddle of melted plastic of what used to be a kit.

3. The Glue Looper (ref.CVD-101) – If the superglued areas of your models look like a second graders macaroni diorama, then you need these trusty little helpers. Precision super-gluing that cleans up easy and finally lets you see what photo-etch is supposed to look like. I tried using bent paper clips, but let the pros handle things like this, that’s why they became engineers in the first place, to help us become better modelers! 

By the way...need a a Looper for thick glues?" Well...it's called the Thick Looper v3. The v3 works like a quill pen. Using a proprietary loading technique, it draws a .015" line of glue placing it where you want it to go. My kits and my fingers have never been happier or looked better!

4. The Small Shop Hold and Fold Photo Etch Tool (ref.SMS-003Speaking of photo-etch, if you were having trouble like I was (throwing models out the window when the photo-etch went wrong) then maybe you need some help… well, lots of help. But what you don’t spend on therapy you can use to get yourself some excellent tools so that the photo etch on your models ends up looking how it should. And once you start to get the photo etch right, you will really start to feel like you are becoming a master, and your models will show every bit of that extra effort.  
5. Squadron Precision Putty Applicator (ref.10205) – Once again, I can hear you thinking it, “But that’s what toothpicks are for!” Oh man, once you get one of these babies then puttying—well, it still might be the worst part of building the model, but I guarantee that it will be at least 50% less hateful than it used to be! And this Squadron one is really the best one that I’ve tried, especially if you just want one good all-purpose putty applicator. Of course there are sets with many differently shaped applicator blades that work wonders as well, but if you just want one and to keep your workbench nice and clutter free, then this is the best one if you are just going to have one!

6. Paragrafix Modeling Hold & Place Pencil (ref.PGX-2) – I wake up some days with four thumbs which is not conducive to working with small parts on a kit as they tend to end up just about anywhere and everywhere. Enter the Hold & Place wax pencil. Spot the part and grab it with this little wonder and get right back in the game. As an added bonus it easily holds and places small parts when gluing. Into small scale figures? The Hold & Place is perfect for painting. Assembling those teeny, tiny 28mm mulit-pose kits...This is a godsend! ...and after a day of heavy use and flying parts and you have to do is renew the tip by sharpening with a standard pencil sharpener.

Another simple why didn't I think of that product is the Abrasive Cleaning Disc. A rough hunk of rubber ideal for cleaning out clogged sanding files, sticks, paper, pads and anything else with some grit on it!  Crud on your no. 11? Files gunked up?  Give 'em a rub and they will be good as new and all this cleaning is contributing to longer lasting and more effective abrasives. The cleaning disc can remove resin, metal, wood, plastic, and other medium residue from just about anything on your bench.  Simply rub off excess materials without damaging or dulling the coating of your abrasives and save big bucks by prolonging the life of you modeling tools. True Grit baby!

June 27, 2017

FARLEY'S FIGURE OF THE WEEK #156: TSSD’s US Cavalry Dismounted Casualties

Sure, TSSD’s US Cavalry Dismounted Casualties (from the bagged sets #17) have a certain charm of implied carnage, but in the hands of a true master the gore comes to life, as it were. These 1/32 scale plastic figures are painted and embellished by artist Compton Creel and his best piece of work is one you probably would not see. It’s the flat, underside of the dead Bugler. Deader that dead, both his eyes have been dislodged and it appears that his nose has already been removed as a war prize. Creepy cool and our figure of the week.

June 23, 2017

FRIDAY'S WITH FARLEY: Another Dose of Useless Tidbits

The Good Stuff...
Recent Treasures...
Click images to enlarge
 I recently picked up this wonderful little personal effect at a local militaria show. It is a rosary used by three generations of soldiers. It was originally purchased by James E. Noian Sr. and carried by him throughout world War I. His son James E. Noian Jr. carried during World War II and the Korean War and his son Lawrence J. Noian carried it during the Vietnam War.

• Socialized...
On You Tube...
View the recently unearthed first ever educational and safety film for building and painting miniatures! Hidden for decades before finding its way into the public domain, this film was made in 1949 by Coronet Films. This short film follows the adventure of little Billy as he learns the do's and don't of painting his very first Space Marine.
This actually leads to the the most excellent Doctor Faust's Painting Clinic You Tube channel.  It is jammed packed with fantastic Reviews, Modeling & Miniature Tips, Tricks & Techniques. Dry brushing, Painting Flesh, Painting horses, Sc-Fi, Historical Miniatures and ton's more. It's all here in one place with great camera work, more information then your brain can handle and a sense of humor to boot make this a Must Subscribe site for modelers. My favorite? The Beginner's Guide To Building Plastic Models Hundreds of dollars worth of tools, kits, photo etch, paints, pigments, etc. can intimidate those just entering the modeling hobby. Have no fear! Start right here! No frills. No fancy techniques. No expensive equipment. Just the very basics to get you started building plastic model kits.

For over 20 years Doctor Faust's Painting Clinic has been on the web helping countless numbers of people enter the wonderful world of painting miniatures and building model kits. For the past 5 years I have produced over 400 tutorial videos on Youtube covering topics ranging from basic painting techniques to model lighting to building replica movie props. I would like to continue to do this for another 20 years, but the costs and time spent working on weekly videos has become increasing difficult. That's where you come in.

...and don't forget to visit the Doctor Faust's Painting Clinic Blog and go over and like their Facebook page too! You can even support their Clinic via Patreon for as little as $1.00 a month. Pledge $2 and get exclusive content. A bargain if there ever was one!

• Quick Tip...
From Armand P. Bayardi...
Here is a simple technique for Basic Woodgrain Texturing
Over the years I’ve done a lot of woodgrain texturing for my master patterns. The technique that I use works on plastic and resin. It requires one tool – a Number 11 X-Acto blade.
- The key to this process is the tip of the blade.  It should not be snapped off as so often happens.  If the tip breaks, replace it.
- When I texture I use a “four sweep” technique.  The tip of the blade is always at a right angle to its cutting edge.  It is held at an angle of about 45 degrees to the workpiece.
- The first “sweep” is done by scraping right to left at a slight angle to the length of the workpiece. There is no need to try to scrape the entire length in one “sweep” – a series of shorter scrapes works just fine.  The second “sweep” is in the same direction at an obtuse angle to the first.  Turn the workpiece around and repeat the process – four sweeps.  Any “fuzzies” can be either 600 grit emery paper or 0000 steel wool.
- The tendency is to over-texture on any given “sweep”.  Don’t overdo it.  Practice on some scrap pieces until you get the feel.
 This technique works for me; it might for you.
• Built...
1/72nd Scale Dioramas...
• Quoted ...
 Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.
Jules de Gaultier
• Benched...
SneaK PeeKs...

• The Parting Shot ...

June 21, 2017


The MTSC Trench Runner universe expands again with our very first foreign contributor Julian Conde who hails from a way down in South America. Julian is an award winning modeler in Brazil who equally likes building figures and AFVs with an occasional sci-fi/fiction kit thrown in. We hope his interest in the latest products will bring a fresh new perspective to these pages. We look forward to featuring his talents, views and opinions (good or bad) on the latest modeling products right here on News from The Front!

Tell us a little about yourself?
My name in Julian, I’m 35 years old, and I live in São Paulo, Brazil. I've worked in show business for 23 years  as working a Stage Manager, Technical Director and Producer for bands, corporate meetings and festivals. For the last 11 years I’ve been touring with one of the greatest Brazilian Singers, Maria Rita. She is a 11 Time Grammy Award Winner. We have toured in 15 countries, and in most of them Ive been able to pay a visit to a hobby shop or two in Japan, USA, London, Portugal and France. I’ve had my share working with great bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Seal, Joss Stone, Roger Waters, Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Aerosmith, Iggy Pop, John Mclaughlin, and so on. I’m very proud of my career but it takes a lot of my hobby time. So I select my projects with special care, so I can really use my spare time to make a great model, with great premium materials and attention to detail.

How & when did you first get into the hobby?
My father introduced me into the scale modelling. I started as a boy, building airplanes (old Monogram kits) and some Tamiya Armor. It was all very amateur, few paints, no airbrush, no seam lines cleaned, decals with serious flash, etc. But it was fun and it gave me the start. When I started working at age 13 or 14 I stopped building models. My work consumes a lot of time with travels and pre-production. But I never sold or gave away my modeling tools. When I was 18 or 19 I decided to buy a new kit, a Zero Fighter. I did, and it gave me back those munchies for modeling again. Then I joined a IPMS Club in São Paulo, made some great friends and improved my skills by sharing experiences. Got to attend some model shows, win a few prizes and get excited for the next project. My downside to this day is a lack of time, as I said before. Sometimes I build a model or two a year. But when I do, I want to include only the finest kits in my projects, with the finest accessories, add on’s and materials for painting and weathering. I don’t use anything that’s not really great and really well made. It’s a lot easier these days to replicate rust, chipping, streaks and so on, so why not go for it with the best materials?

What aspects of the hobby appeal to you the most? What are your main interests?
My main area of interest is armor, figures and a distant fiction addiction. My collection of kits consists basically on 70% armor (WW1, WW2, Vietnam, and just a few modern MRAP’s, I don’t like modern armor besides some trucks), 20% Figures (Love great sculptors like John Rosengrant and Latorre), So my collection is made basically from great manufacturers such as Andrea, Pegaso (Andrea Jula Sculpts) Alpine, Life Miniatures, etc and 10% Fiction. Love the old Alien Halcyon kits, some Batman and even some Nuts Planet vignettes. I really like World War II and German Armor. I do have one boat in my collection and one plane. The Boat is a Merit 1/35 G5 Russian Torpedo Boat and the plane is a Zoukei Mura 1/32 Horten 229 (!!) for when I really lost my sanity building it. One day I plan to get a 1/72 U-Boat kit to make.

What are your other interests beside this hobby?
I really like movies, music and just enjoying some time in my home theater annoying the guy next door with high decibel trauma. My work leaves little room for wanting to go out, enjoy shows and plays, so my casual life is really quiet, based on movies, great meals and just being with friends. I am a collector of German militaria and books. Really like to have a piece of history, a medal, a armband, a post card that was used and maybe fought with in one of the great battles we replicate in scale.

What are some of your favorite web sites?
For new releases I really like PMMS website. I was very sad when they took that year break for illness, but so glad they are back. I read a lot of RSS news, and love to see MichToy’s blog, They have some great reviews for new products. My wish list from the Michigan Toy Soldier web site is a mile long. I really dig some Facebook pages, and I think it’s great that we can now follow our “mentors” such as Latorre, Mig and Alpine on Facebook, see new realease, ongoing projects and interact with them. I really love to talk to Mig one or two times, Chris Mrosko and Latorre. Love to interact with DEF models page, Life Miniatures, Takom and so many others that share with us on Facbook. They are amazing artists and great pillars of our hobby.

Do you post on  about your hobbies on Facebook or any other social media outlets
I really like to share my work, to get insights and opinions. I share my work on Facebook and Instagram, now with “Instastories” or such, I get to make some step by step of the building process and not flood my page with actual pictures on the timeline. Love to get feedback from other modelers around the world.

Do you belong to any forums or subscribe/post  to any  blogs?
I do subscribe to MichToy’s News from The Front and so many others through RSS feed. Love to take some time to see the new stuff online. I also get notifications from the Facebook pages I follow and like.

Any advice for someone new to hobbies?
Well, it’s great time for model making. We have so many products, so much online information and such great kits coming out today, that is very rare to get disappointed with our own work. I could never imagine eight years ago to replicate chipping by actually taking off paint with the chipping fluids. Pigments are amazing, the breakthrough in weathering. I used to buy artist’s pastel chalks and grind them up to and use but its a whole new ballpark with real modeling pigments. If you enjoy building models, you now have at your hands great products to make a model into a true scale replica, the goal for me, at least. Keep tuned to MichToy blog and so many other for new releases and reviews and step by step on products. Model On !
A Typical Brazilian Modeler's Man-Cave?

Checking his News Feed!
My Social Networks :
Facebook : Julian Conde
Instagram : @demoncore
Email : stage.tech@me.com

TRENCH RUNNER BUILD: Julian Conde Reviews & Builds the Thunder Model Case VAI Tractor

We welcome Julian Conde from San Paolo Brazil with his first review and build for us...

First of all, I would like to say it’s a great honor to write an article for MichToy. I’ve been a long time buyer and admirer of these guys, such great supporters of our hobby, I’m delighted to be able to be a part of their Trench Runner Staff for reviews, builds and step-by-step articles.

This is my first article...
I got excited when I saw images of kits from the new brand Thunder Model, they started with some great soft skin releases, and all the reviews looked promising. I decided on the WWII US Army Case VA1 Tractor (product # TDM-35001)

The box is very attractive and well printed. The kit comes with two sprues, rubber tires, decals, PE and painting instructions by Ammo of MIG.

The parts are flash free, very well formed and very delicate. The plastic has a soft but not brittle feel to it. Some parts like the steering column , pedals, suspension torsion arms and the axle pins (where you get the rear wheel to join the axle) are quite fragile. I should have replaced the rear axle plastic pin with a metal pin or brass tube. Now, in place and glued, looks ok, but very fragile. This is not a bad sign, the entire model is scale accurate and thin plastic is used for that achievement. 

Looks like a easy build, with just 2 sprues, but I wanted to make a more accurate model, so I took around 2 months to complete the model (plus base and figure), according to my schedule (not great amount of free hobby time). I added some wiring to the engine, based on photos and research, and also a headlight, common feature seen in these machines in war and after, it was field modified, so we can see the headlight in various supports and places. Looks like something a G.I. would do for convenience. There is no big secret, just a headlight, P.E. support and wiring. I used the great Elf Models Headlights, they come in various sizes, with separate parts for headlight, reflector, bulb and lenses. They are the best in my opinion, safe for some resin ones. Pictures to follow.

My first step, according to instructions is the engine. The engine and gearbox comes in two pieces (halfs), that are also the “chassi” main part. I used some general pics that showed the engine wiring just to make sure. I also have a good knowledge in engines and mechanics...

Next Step is detailing the engine with the photo etched parts provided and the wiring I added. I also added some rough texture on the exhaust and exhaust manifold intake, using some Gunze/GSI Mr. Surfacer 500 (Product #SF-285) and a hard old brush. I simulated the Belt for the fan and alternator. I used thin lead wire. That is almost not visible after build is complete. but that’s what we do,  modeling “behind the curtains”. Some bending must be made to the PE for the fan blade, so we get the proper angles for the blades. Piece of cake with a good PE bending tool. The wiring for the cylinders I used fiber optics. The distributor that comes with the kit is very fragile, so I built a new one with sprue and some punch and die bits. I added some all around punch and die details, looks missing by the pictures and the actual kit...

There are some bolts provided in the kit for the engine to gearbox joint, but since I was already punching, I made all of them from 03mm to 05mm plastic card. Some extra wiring was added to alternator and other parts...

The engine is quite detailed. Just some minor wiring and patience, it looks amazing, and since it’s well shown in the kit after assembly, is worth the work.

The PE Parts for the floor plates are quite tricky. Some extra attention and dry fitting must be made. They are fragile and hard to get to place. Careful placing is needed. The angles for the pedals also are up to you. They usually are not aligned, making it easy to make some used looking setup. The entire mechanical setup is quite tricky. If you dry fit enough and make sense of the instructions, you will be fine. The instructions manual could be a little more elaborate. They will work on that for sure for their next release which is a Scammel and they cannot be an easy build with a poor instruction manual. Either way, the PE parts have great detail and once in the right place are very nice. This is a “small build” but it takes care not to make a mistake. If you go by the book, it will look amazing.

All The parts were then primed for painting with Vallejo Gray Primer (Product #70601) . The rubber wheels (I hate them) are ok, but have some flash to sand off. And sanding rubber tires is not easy. Since the actual tire has a mold line it’s not that much of an issue, but in scale, looks like it can be a littler over. I would love to have always some DEF Resin wheels for every kit I own, but that is not a reality yet. They look ok, and hopefully won’t crack over the years. Headlight installed, some wiring and a support from spare parts PE. I also added a bigger spring on the seat support, the one in the kit is rather small. Made from copper wire.

I decided also to turn the front wheels a bit, so I had to make holes and pin the joints of the suspension, Almost making it workable to get the right angle. Once in place everything was glued. It helped making a stronger joint for the suspensions arms. Used metal pins cut to size for the job.

After the chassis is complete, you get to use the fuel tank as a holding place for painting. For me at least, was the easiest way to hold the model for painting. The fuel tank is barely visible after assembly.

Some Dry fitting below, with the Resin figure I chose, A OOP S&T Products U.S. Tanker, sculpt by John Rosengrant...

With hood in place...

The wheels still show some mold lines, but the textured mud and pigments will hide most of them. As mentioned before, the actual tire has those mold lines, so we just have to make it scale accurate.

The inner part of the rear wheel show some hard-to-get extraction pins. You can sand it off with patience. This is the only extractor pin visible after assembly, if I’m not mistaken. The inner part of the mud flaps also has some, but easier to sand it off and hide with some textured mud, and it’s well hidden after the wheels are in place...

I started the painting process with chipping in mind. So, base chipping color was applied, then some varnish (AK Interactive Ultra Matte Varnish (Product #AKI-183) to seal it off. Some AK Chipping Fluid (Product #AKI-089), then base paint with modulation (also AK). Chipping away…

Below you see some markings for the oil filter, and some PE placards added to the engine block and hood. Decals for instrument clusters also added :

After some drying time, sealed everything with AK Interactive Ultra Matte Varnish. Then started some wash with Vallejo washes to tone down the colors. Love to use those washes to tone down the base color, it’s my main tool for my own “modulation”

Then comes the markings. I always use Stencils. Just the dials are the kit decals, everything else is painted on with stencils. Used some placards, as mentioned before, from Eduard (PE). They are placed according to photos of the actual tractor I’ve found.

After, some rust and streaking effects

Next comes the messy Pigments part. I’ve used the pigments with the Vallejo washes to make a “texturized” wash, we now have this available in a prepackaged bottle, but this was a great idea I got some time ago. Works great. It helps stick the pigments, without affecting color result. It gets a very real finish, without repetitive patterns of dirt...

I the clean away the areas that are not supposed to have great amounts of dirt, like tire sidewalls. This is made with a cotton swab wet. You see a great result in accumulated dirt around the wheel ring, etc

Pigments applied over the kit, with some Textured Mud from AK Interactive (Product # AKI8024), it’s a great medium to add real mud texture. I never used pigment fixers, as they change the pigment color (for me) so I just place them and dip a drop of white spirit. The secret of pigments, is not touching them after applied. It will be there if you don’t mess with it...

Then, some oils streaks and wet spots...

Messy but looks great after...

Some final assembly before adding the final details, like mud splashes, rust streaks, oil and water streaks, some black smoke soot for the exhaust...

The base is made from epoxy,with some small rocks, foliage, and markings made from spare wheels and tracks. Used a tree trunk from Armand Bayardi. they are great. 

Below are some pictures of the base and figure painting process...

Final assembly photos below. It was a nice model to build. Can’t wait for some more Thunder Models releases. If they all turn out this way, it’s a new great manufacturer and we can look forward to every new release...

View Julian's Trench Runner Profile HERE