Tamiya Nissan 350Z complete!

mr.Nissan 350Z - Completed!

Okay, it has been awhile...again, but in my defense I started a new job and it's been taking a lot out of me but really happy to be coming home smelling of sawdust! Some good news is that I have finally acquired a new camera and took some shots tonight!

I present to you my completed Tamiya Nissan 350Z finished with Humbrol Metal-Cote. It was definitely a fun build thanks to Tamiya's ingenuity and great fit of parts, though somewhat simplified in areas, it is not lacking in detail. She did receive some extra attention in the form of Brembo brake decals on the front calipers & metal logos both by Hobby Design as well as flocking by KA Models for the carpeting. Nice to have another completed car sitting on the shelf.

This is my second completed build of 2012, lets see how productive I am in the coming month and a half!


Resurrection time

Tamiya BT-7
mr.BT-7 Resurrected
Okay, it's been awhile since I've posted anything. But I am happy to say that the Nissan 350Z was finished some time ago but have been waiting for a new camera to come in so I can post a decent pic. Sadly since then I haven't had a chance to sit at my workbench in what feels like a long time but things have settled some. And though I am a little short of my 12 models in a year, one can't argue that any number completed is better then none. I'm hoping the third victim to see completion is Tamiya's BT-7, which went together really quickly but those pesky finishing touches had put the project on hold. But over the weekend I cleared the dust off the case and made some progress: the tracks were permanently glued on, the turret top received a new coat of paint followed by weathering, while a water bucket and some homemade field blankets with straps were added to the crew's equipment. Just waiting on some fuel/ oil cans to arrive in the mail and I can have this baby wrapped up! _pL


Getting closer...

Couldn't resist seeing the chassis together with the painted body. It's definitely coming along and nearing completion... on the home stretch now :) pL


Rear three quarter

Thought I would put up another shot of mr.Body, this time of the rear three-quarter. Really love the look of this ride. The window seals were all masked off and airbrushed using Tamiya Satin Black in stages, making sure of no over spray. Easier said than done though, some over spray did occur but I was able to remove it using a tissue dampened with Tamiya Acrylic Thinner without damaging the surface. The taillights come molded in red and simply click into place for an easy clean finish and combined with the metal plated inner light cluster, makes for a very realistic rendition. _pL


Interior Is On Its Way

Spent some time on the interior, which is very well detailed and comes with the option of both left and right hand drive dashboards. I had a heck of a time getting the decals for the instrument panel to sit and some did not make it intact but since the instrument binnacle is deep, it's not very noticeable. The seat color here is a little bright but I will go over it again with a slightly darker shade (meaning another masking session) and then tone it down further with an oil wash. I laid down flocking powder for the first time. Pretty easy process of painting on a layer of PVA glue and then covering this with flocking powder, in this case I used Midnight Black by KA Models. After a moment or two of drying, turn the flocked part over a piece of paper to collect whatever is excess, which can be put back in the container for the next project and bingo: a nice carpeted floor. It's a very quick process but the effect really adds a realistic touch to the interior. The interior will also sport some seat belt retainers made from styrene. _pL 


Checking mr.Stance


With the clear coat on the body curing, I used this down time to work on the chassis. As previously mentioned, I had already put a color coat on the body when I first began the kit and that session included painting the chassis. The detail painting had also been carried out so it was just a matter of adding the disc brakes and exhaust.

A couple of things I wanted to get right with the 350Z was the anodized gold look on the brake calipers and the finish on the mags. Tamiya's metal finish on the wheels are impeccable but felt they were too bright. I went into my stash of Model Master paints and used Stainless Steel from their range of buffable metalizers. The tone of the Stainless Steel matched up really well with the body color when compared to reference photos. For the brake calipers, I used the same method as I did on the stanchions on the front shocks of Tamiya's Ducati 916: first a base coat of aluminium was applied and over this, a heavily thinned coat of Tamiya X-26 Clear Orange was airbrushed on until I was satisfied with the tone. I've ordered some Hobby Design Race Brake Calipers that will be used on this build to add that little bit extra. I did a quick check of the stance and as usual with Tamiya, the ride height was perfect. I did increase the rear track using homemade spacers made from styrene card as I wanted to push the wheels out to the edge of the vehicle.

With the chassis sorted, it's time to move on to the interior. _pL


Nissan 350Z - Color Coat

mr.Body having a day at the spa

Cars look great in silver and other metallic finishes, though they are tricky to reproduce, mainly because I find the size of the metallic particles to be over scale. I've had previous success with Model Master and Humbrol range of buffing paints but the former are no longer available (I do have a small stash though) as well as the finish is very delicate and must be handled with care.

This time around I broke out the Humbrol Matt Aluminum Paint 27001. This was my second attempt applying this paint to the Nissan as I had mucked up the finish the first time as well as I had missed some seamlines when prepping the body for paint. The Humbrol paint went on very smooth over the Alclad grey primer via my Badger airbrush and after a 15 minute flash off period, it was buffed to a rich aluminum finish. Satisfied, I sealed it with Tamiya Acrylic Clear shot again though the airbrush. I think the next time around I'll use the Model Master Sealer as I found the Tamiya Clear darkened the paint a shade or two. I let the body sit for a few days and then applied two coats of mr.Hobby UV Lacquer Gloss coat directly from the can. I let that rest for ten days to ensure it had fully cured and hardened. It was the first time using the UV spray and I have to admit the finish looked pretty good the UV paint did not attack the Tamiya clearcoat beneath - that was a relief! The body then received a light sanding with 2000 grit paper before employing Tamiya's range of polishing compounds, working my way up from coarse to regular and finally finish.

At this point the finish looked fantastic, with a scale metallic finish that was gleaming. When one gets to this stage in an automotive model with such success, one is pretty inspired to push forward! _pL


Tools & Such: Best New Addition

mr.Fiberglass pen

I have quite a small arsenal of tools that I use for my hobby, ranging from multiple x-actos (each with a different blade), tweezers, photo-etch folding tool, flexi-file, every grade of sandpaper, mr.Hobby jar opener, miter saw & box and the list goes on. Recently, my most prized tool has been the fiberglass pen. I wanted one of the these for some time now, ever since Marcus Nichols used one in issue 151 of Tamiya Model Magazine, on the Opel Blitz. Not being able to find one locally, I broke out mr.Credit card and ordered it online via Amazon. It's great for cleaning up seamlines on curved surfaces or removing putty from inner corners. This came in really handy for the Y-Wing when cleaning up the front part of the T-beams that connect the engine nacelle to the vector control vanes. Some care is needed, as the fiberglass splinters are rather sharp and a good cleanup of your work area is recommended post session and wearing a mask during work session. But in all honestly, it is the best $15 I've spent on a tool in some time and as refills are available, it's something you'll be using for years to come. _pL


New Project Revival


Happy to say that though there was a break in my posts, I was still keeping busy at my workbench! As I wrote in my very first post: as the weather changes, do does the modelling subject. So it was rather easy choosing my next plastic patient - out with anything requiring grime or battle damage and in with something shiny and new: mr.350Z by Tamiya. This car has always had a special place in my heart as it was penned by a fellow from my hometown of Leicester. I brought home the kit last summer, hoping it would be a quick build (famous last words) but also as a test subject for applying a realistic metallic finish for another project. In this pic I've just finished applying a few coats of Alclad's Gray Primer. It went on extremely smooth and happy that all the seem lines were successfully removed. This build is well on its way so stay tuned for in-progress posts of the build, showcasing the liberal amount of up-detailing that the 350Z was treated to! _pL


Y-Wing Completed

So, its been awhile but I am happy to announce the Y-Wing is finally complete! It was finished some time ago but I was only able to document her recently.

I'm really happy with the final result and glad that after 3 years of sitting on my shelf, she is finished. To sum up the extra detail added during build, I first attacked the vector control veins, which was the cause of the original pause on the project. I up-detailed the front of the spacecraft with extra plating from styrene sheet as well as busied up the cockpit with cables and hoses made from various diameters of copper wire. The final touch was a custom droid. The finish was a multistage process utilizing the hairspray technique I learned from Brett Green in issue 51 of Model Military International. The Y-Wing received a few filter washes using Humbrol enamels and 502 Abteilung oil color, and finished off with MIG Production pigments. A big thanks goes out to the builder at Studio-ACCESS, as his piece was a great reference and inspiration for this project. And of course Fine Molds for producing such a fantastic kit!

Happy to say that this is the first completed model of 2012 and there's more to come! _pL


Weathering Stage

Mr.Weathering Station

It was a pretty productive weekend: I temporarily setup in the kitchen as the missus is currently working on her thesis and decided to give her the studio area until she's done. I have to admit it's not a bad compromise as I have lots of natural light coming in and within reach of copious amounts of coffee & beer! After a two week hiatus I finally began the weathering stage. I first sealed all the sub-assemblies with a satin clear coat I mixed from Tamiya acrylics. I was a little concerned with what wash I should use as I felt a black/sienna wash would look too strong on such a light colored paint scheme. I opted to go with a mix of Panzer Grey (P035) darkened with Russian Earth (P034) pigments by MIG Productions, which gave it the subtle grungy look that I was looking for. I then highlighted some areas with a darker shade and let it all dry. Strangely, even though I had protected the sub assemblies, I think the thinner I used weakened the plastic and partly due to my clumsiness some of the parts cracked or broke off, most notably three pieces of plumbing. I manage to find and glue one of the pipes back in place but the remaining two had to be remade from wire. I decided then and there to glue everything together (before anything else broke off!) and leave her be on the display stand. I have a few details to finalize and then I can put her to bed, stay tuned! _pL


Say "Hi" to my Little Friend

I wasn't making any particular Y-Wing, so why settle for the astromech droid that came with the kit?
I took the R5-D4 head from my FM X-Wing kit, some plastic tube and surgically removed the legs from the droid provided and then up-detailed it with MIG Productions PE washers, leftover photo-etch and wire. I then decaled up the little fella and sealed it with a semi-gloss coat in preparation for the weathering stage. _pL


Getting Closer To Completion

Mr.Decal Time

More often than not, my plastic subjects rarely progress to the point where I get to apply decals (I am hoping to change this in the coming months). But, here we are! I know I said I wanted to paint on as much detail as possible but I figure let's test my decalling skills. The yellow bands on the nacelle caps were a breeze but the front module was something else. A lot of Micro Sol and Micro Set was use but in the end the decals complied. Next stop: weathering! _pL


Time For Stripage

As I mentioned before, I wanted to detail paint as much as was feasible rather than resort to the decals. Employing the 'hairspray' technique again to keep the weathering consistent, the blue was applied using Mr.Hobby Colour H323 Light Blue and then washed away with a stiff brush for the cockpit canopy and the side stripes. In the background you can see the nacelle caps nice and worn as well. _pL


Off To A Good Start: Main Colour Coats Are On

Mr.Hairspray Technique
The kit comes with a great set of decals including some very well rendered battle damage but I wanted to incorporate this by using paint and weathering techniques. I first laid down a base coat of XF-63 German Grey to create a blank canvas for the main color coats, which are Tamiya flat white for the front module and the engine caps while using off white by Mr.Hobby Colour for everything else - I really like the subtle contrast between the two. The colors were sprayed using my Badger 200NH in light coats, letting the German Grey show through to add some depth. I wanted the Y-Wing to look like it had logged a lot of combat hours and this was achieved by using the hairspray technique. It turned out really great, the paint was chipped away heavily on more exposed areas while fading the color on flatter surfaces. It looks well worn and it hasn't even received a wash yet - off to a great start! _pL


Time To Break Out The Tweezers

Decided to spend an evening and detail the cockpit with hoses and cables using fine copper wire - definitely looks a lot more busy! The front module also received some attention in the form of panels, lots and lots of panels, made from styrene sheet. Once secured in place, they were sanded down some. Now let's get some paint on her! _pL


FM Y-Wing: Almost Ready for Paint


Alright, happy to say that she's coming along, the sprues are empty of parts - just need to super detail the nose, including the cockpit area. Getting closer and closer to breaking out the paint!  _pL


FM Y-Wing Progressing Nicely

Mr.Vector Vane Installed

They're on! I think it was worth the extra effort, especially for such a visible area. Still have a bit to do before paint but it's progressing nicely. _pL


And So It Begins

Mr.Vector Vane

As promised, here is an in-progress pic of what I've been working on: FM Y-Wing. It's a fantastic kit and something a lot of collectors/builders have been waiting a long time for. I began this kit about three years ago and then shelved it. I wanted to up detail certain areas of it but didn't know to what point. After I finally finished unpacking, I felt the Y-Wing deserved to be the first kit I should work on in the new place. I've finished scratch building the vector vanes as they were a little simplified in the kit and though they took longer to construct than expected, I'm really happy with the effort! _pL


She Finally Arrived

I managed to nab a kit early from HLJ and when the email confirmation came stating she had been shipped and would be arriving at my new home,  I waited patiently. The daily routine consisted of peeping out the window in anticipation of mr.Mailman. If I took a washroom break, went to snack in the kitchen or make a cuppa, I would always come back to peak out that front window in the hopes to see a cardboard box waiting for me. But nothing. I finally decided to actually leave my humble abode and wander among the people of my new city. In this case, I went to work on my portfolio, which had been in the works for some time now... and sure enough when I got home there is a notice indicating that delivery was attempted and as no one was home, the package would be available at a nearby post office as of tomorrow afternoon! YES! YES! YES! Finally! I picked her up the next day and tore through the shipping box and... no matter how many images you see of a kit in an online review or of the box cover, nothing compares to having it RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!

All I can say is this is gonna be a good one! _pL


New Beginnings


The year began with me leaving my job and moving to a new city. I spent the first month getting the place together and figuring out storage issues - amazing how much one can accumulate over the years! Mainly books and models, lots of boxes of models... and two gym bags worth of clothes - we all have our vices. I was able to set up my original tables - one is now shared with my significant other but I gained a third table where I can airbrush in comfort, so not a bad trade off. I have had some time to build but only in the last two weeks. The kit in question is coming along nicely and I will post some pics showing the progress soon. _pL