Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Making a Greek helmet

Posted: February 22, 2013 in Projects

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I’m making this Greek helmet as part of a dress-up day for my son for school.

I didn’t take many images at first as I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but it’s starting to look rather good.

The first stage was to make paper templates to get he shapes and the fit right, then I broke that apart again and flattened out the template sections and cut out the same shapes from hard board.

Hardboard won’t bend easily, it will simply snap, so to get the bend in the front and back plates the board was soaked for an hour – bent into shape (bent into a tighter bend than I actually needed so when it spings back – it goes to the shape I need) and then dried on a radiator to set the bend.

The front and back are glued with copious PVA to a card head-band – pegged in place and left over night.

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The texture you can see on the surface is P38 car putty – and the greenish color on the curve at the back is standard grey/yellow milliput to get the curve.

The next stage is to get the dome of the crown.
For this I shall use a balloon. The balloon is inflated in position so that it squeezes into the space and produces the dome.
Don’t start with the balloon or you’ll finish with a balloon shaped helmet, and that isn’t desirable.

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The balloon is covered with plaster-bandage to set the shape – and then covered with the P38 car putty. the plaster layer is for safety – you don’t want to be spreading car putty on the balloon and risk bursting it – the effect would be spectacular, but again, not desirable.

Once set the balloon can be popped and removed.

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The crown was then sanded using a file and an electric sander and then the crest can be added. I first made a paper template to get the cut right to match the helmet – and then cut two identical crests (one in reverse) to form the two sides of the crest.

That was glued with PVA and left overnight – the front and back pegged together and pegs glued in between to form the angle at the middle.

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Left to set overnight – there were some inevitable gaps between the crest and the helmet – these were filled with milliput.

Next stage was to fill the crest – you could use polystyrene or similar – I chose to use expanding foam as I had some left over in the garage – it does the job but it’s messy stuff – so do outside! it expands and continues to expand! so don’t squirt too much in! let it fill the void itself and scrape of excess – but don’t get it on your clothes or carpet! (I warned you!)

once set – a bread knife will remove excess foam and then to finish I again used the P38 car putty and sanded it down.

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The finish touch is to add a little 3D detail simply by gluing string on with PVA – a bit tricky, but will look good when painted (hopefully).

And finally, just to paint. First I undercoated matt black spray (Halfords car paint), and then finished with a Bronze colour – again car spray, I used ‘Ford Tibetan Gold’.

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I ran some duct tape around the inside rim to make it more comfortable to wear and also a soft pad added to the inside top so it didn’t sit too low on his head.

Iwo Jima flag raisers

Posted: January 31, 2013 in Projects

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This is the Revell 1/72 Iwo Jima kit, actually a re-release of the Esci kit.
A little bit of background.. I wanted to build a new army of US Marines for the Pacific edition of the boardgame Memoir’44, and it just seemed essential to have the Iwo Jima figures to complete the set, and I figured a good way to actually use them would be when one of the infantry units takes an objective marker.

To that purpose I needed the figires based on a hex tile, but I also wanted them to look good on the shelf where in fairness they will spend most of their time. So first job was to create a base but with the summit able to be removed as a hex tile.

First job was to find a nice plinth base – this came from a charity shop for £2 and came complete with a porcelane robin redbreast which was removed and handed back to the bemused shop assistant. Armed with a cool base – the hill was created simply with expanded polystyrene cut to shape with a hot knife and plastered with wall filler to harden the surface – a hex cut from plastic card is made to fit on the top and the surface textures blend to match. Scraps of twigs and dirt extracted from the garden border are fixed to the surface with PVA and sprayed black.
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The figures themselves are not very good. They look skinny, the helmets are not great and assembling is frankly a nightmare. There’s no easy way to assemble them so they all hold the flag pole, so what I did was to assemble them loosley with liquid plastic glue (which does leave the joint soft for a while) and then fiddle like buggery with them resetting the amrs with the liquid poly until I had them jammed into the right position – not easy! For the pole by the way, I’m using a bit of steel wire rather than the plastic one from the kit.

From the image below you can see the amount of putty (the green colour) I skimmed over the figures to cover the joins at the shoulders and generally to improve the look of the figures – the details and drapery on these is very soft.

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Once the figures were set in the right position – they were sprayed black – then sprayed green using a can of aerosol Humbrol green (which helped lots because painting inbetween the figures would be very hard with a brush alone.

The flag comes as a decal – which is perplexing, for a good while I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with it. A decal alone would be much too fragile. I normally print flags out on paper – but I realised I could use the decal, I painted PVA glue on the edge of thin piece of paper – wet the decal and stuck it to the paper – wrapping it around the side and sticking the other side of the decal to the back of the paper again with PVA to fix it. then, while still wet – cut the flag out and folded it to look similar to the one in the photo – once the PVA is set the flag is set hard and it can be glued to the pole.

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That’s it really, in summary – I really love this piece, it’s perfect for what I wanted – but the kit is really hard to assemble and not recommended, I really only used it as an armature and it was £9! but I do love it.

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Siege of Fray Bentos

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Projects

1/72 scale Mark IV 'Fray Bentos'

This model represents the story surrounding the tank named ‘Fray Bentos’ which became ditched during the battle for Passchendale. It’s worth reading the story which you find here..

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After reading the story I became posessed with the urge to make a diorama to represent the story. I chose to use the 1/72 kit by Emhar and the figures are by Caesar, one – the guy priming the grenade is actually a Ww2 figure, I needed the pose.

The base was shaped from polystyrene using a heated knife and then coated with wall filler to harden the surface. The ‘mud’ is cocoa powder stuck on with PVA and then sprayed with varnish to help fix, this also produced the patchy colours quite nicely. The mud on the thanks and sides of the tank is also cocoa powder.

The water was simply plaster of Paris, poured in and left to set, then painted brown in a patchy uneven tone, and then coated with gloss varnish.

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