posted by RJ 12:41 PM
Friday, August 9, 2013

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This is a highly anticipated re-release of a kit that fans have been hoping AMT would reproduce for many years now.  The kit parts have been molded in a clear metallic purple color, tires in a black vinyl and the windshield in clear or optional blue.  The wheels, engine, roll bars and bright work are all chrome plated. The large decal sheet includes flames, stripes and various custom graphics that allow the builder to put their own spin on the project.  The shortened VW chassis is well detailed, as is the fully chromed engine, complete with “bag of snakes” exhaust pipes.  For this special release, AMT has also included a multi piece die cut cardboard display of a typical California beach drive in from the 1960s – the same type that AMT included in this kit when it was originally released.

This is a great kit, with lots of potential. The modeler can build 3 different off road versions as well as a street version of the Manx.  Options include 2 up tops – a hard Surrey style flat top or a more conventional shaped top; build it open with simulated tonneau cover over the back seats, as well as a body-less full blown race style dune buggy with roll bars.

Thanks for the great review Cyber Modeler!

Polar Lights ALIEN: EO Kane teaser

posted by JamieH 5:39 PM
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I just realized it has been a bit since we last posted something. I was reviewing our digital sculpt of our recently announced ALIEN Executive Officer Kane kit. I’m all for the dramatic so I figured I would throw up this quick teaser image. The sculpt was done by zBrush master (and one of our annual Wonderfest neighbors) Bill Wieger.

The kit will be 1:9 scale to match the scale of the MPC ALIEN kit. We are still getting pricing settled and we are deciding whether to do it in resin or as a vinyl kit. Injected styrene would be problematic for this one because of all of the detail that tool trapping would cause. Anyway, see what you can see. We’ll be showing off the whole thing soon.

POL912-Kane-teaser

4-H update

posted by RJ 5:07 PM
Friday, July 19, 2013
Okay so it appears we did not do as well as we had hoped. He had missed a step in the directions, the ALL pieces had to be painted, even those that were purposely not painted for artistic appearance. It was upsetting but a great learning experience. I am happy with the way it turned out and there is always next year

PolarLights 1/350 Refit Enterprise

posted by RJ 10:40 AM
Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Arboretum17_zps99af06ef

We recently received this buildup from an excited customer. Taking nearly 17 months to complete, the refit kit is a replica of the Star Trek: The motion Picture .

Visit http://scifimodelaction.com/sfmaforum/index.php?topic=1421.0  to see the full build-up

The 4-H model – Finishing

posted by RJ 3:56 PM
Monday, June 24, 2013

AAA-4H155 AAA-4H-1343

Ensure that all paint and glue on your model is perfectly dry. It is good practice to start applying decals the day after you finish assembly and painting. Ensure also that your model is free of contaminants and dust, so nothing may be trapped underneath a decal.

Cut out all the decals you wish to apply with a sharp knife. It is not necessary to cut out the decals perfectly; rather you should leave a few millimeters around each decal to avoid cutting it accidentally.

 

Fill a bowl or shallow cup with warm water. The water should be at least lukewarm to remove the decals from the paper they are printed on, but not scalding hot. Never use boiling water to apply decals.

Hold the paper the decals are printed on with a pair of tweezers. Make sure you are not gripping a part of the decal itself under the tweezers.

We actually held the paper next to the car and gently slid the graphic onto the car. It is helpful if you get the car wet prior to sliding the graphic to help in positioning it. This will allow you a few seconds to slide the image into the place you want it.

 

Hold the paper the decal is printed on close to the part you are applying the decal to. The edge of the paper must be lying on the edge of the part, so the decal is transferred immediately from paper to part. Using a clean, wet brush, maneuver the decal onto the part and position it accordingly. Ensure that all air bubbles and creases are removed from the decal by pushing them out with the brush.

 

Dry the decal by very gently by dabbing it with a clean paper towel. The decal should be left alone for an hour to allow it to dry completely. Until then, it may be accidentally repositioned. To reposition a partially dry decal, simply apply some warm water with the brush and maneuver it back into position.

 

 

 

A few things we have learned…

  • Remember that whatever paint-removing solvent you use, it must not harm plastic.

We do have a minor issue under the car where the solvent degraded the plastic a little,but it is underneath…

  • Keep all empty sprues when you have finished assembly. They are useful for stirring paint, or making tools that won’t scratch the model you are working on.

These are also helpful for applying glue and you can throw them away when done.

  • Keep all unused decals. You may later find them useful for other models.
  • Some parts are more easily painted while left on the sprue.This is true particularly of very small parts for the engine. He chose to leave some the original color and chrome but that is an artistic choice.
  • A torn decal is not useless. Careful positioning of the damaged portions can restore the decal to a whole appearance.This is where wetting the model can be handy and allow you to slide the decal into position.
  • If your paint is too thick to feed through the airbrush, try diluting it with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. The alcohol thins the paint while it is in the airbrush, but evaporates soon after leaving it.
  • When applying solvents, paints and glues, do so in a well-ventilated area. Observe all warnings and instructions printed on all your materials and tools.
  • Knives and other sharp tools must be handled by experienced and responsible persons only.
  • Small parts may pose a choking hazard to small children and animals.

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Polar Lights Models: Thor box art

posted by JamieH 10:32 AM
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Although we just announced our upcoming Marvel Comics Thor model kit recently at Wonderfest, the kit has been in the works for some time. The Thor box art was just turned in this past week, so we figured we would show off a preview.

The first step in starting a kit like this is getting control drawings or turnaround drawings done of the model so that we can get the idea of the kit submitted to the licensor and also supply a clear vision of the kit to the sculptor. I did the drawings myself for the Wolverine kit. (I just couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by) I wasn’t quite as attached to Thor as a character. He has always been around as one of the key characters in the Marvel universe and an Avenger of course. My heart was always with the X-Men though. I knew what he was all about, knew his background and powers etc., but I wasn’t sure about the details and idiosyncrasies of the character. I needed to find someone that I knew I could bounce my overall idea off of and would be able to flesh it out form there. Joe Jusko came to mind. Though he is known as a painter, he had done a few pieces of line art for us for our Captain Action line so I figured I would run the job past him. As it turned out not only was he familiar with the character, he was a huge fan having read the Jack Kirby and John Buscema comics from the “Silver” and “Bronze” age of comics.  Not only that, he also had a fondness for the old superhero models that we are all familiar with and was excited by the opportunity to turn one of his favorite characters into a kit.

Thor art blog 1

So, I explained my idea of trying to translate one of Kirby’s classic poses into a kit that would feature a modern, realistic but stylized sensibility. The one thing I was hung up on was what to do for the base. I like a figure to tell a story similar to the old Spider-man kit. Joe suggested a broken rainbow bridge along with some rubble and Thor-centric accouterments. As long as we could make sense of the goofy-footed Kirby-esque stance I was up for anything. He came back with an awesome drawing of everything we had discussed. I had to plan on editing it down a bit due to concerns for the cost, but for the most part, it was exactly what we needed.

Thor art blog 2Thor art blog 3

Of course Joe’s next question was “any chance I could do the box art?” After some quick negotiations, we were able to come to terms to allow him to do just that. The exact pose he had drawn actually fit our established figure box layout quite well. So we decided to just keep working with that angle. The question then became, “Okay, what’s in the background?” Of course the remainder of the rainbow bridge and Asgaard of course, but I threw a bit of a monkey wrench into the works when I brought up the idea of the box turn reveal of a bad guy. I had used the same approach for the MPC Hulk & Spider-man kits and in a more overt way on Wolverine. Joe figured out a way to incorporate a fallen storm giant. Again, I trusted the Thor fans intuition and let him run with it.

Thor art blog 4

I think the end result turned out great and I was glad to have such an established and respected artist like Joe. I also feel fortunate to have found that he was a true Thor fan and was able to contribute to a kit of one of his favorite characters.

All images subject to licensor approval.

 

The 4-H Car ….Assembly

posted by RJ 3:41 PM
Thursday, June 13, 2013
  1. Before gluing parts together, always ensure that the contact points are clean and that the parts fit well. When applying the plastic cement, only apply to one of the parts. An excessive amount of plastic cement will not only prolong or prevent proper adhesion, but may also melt and deform the parts. Plastic cement must always be used as conservatively as possible. When gluing clear parts, such as windows or canopies, try to avoid plastic cement. This is because plastic cement can “fog” clear plastic even in areas where not directly applied. For clear parts, use white glue.
  • Gaps between parts may become apparent after assembly. To remove a gap that is too large to overlook, it may become necessary to separate the parts, adjust their fit, and re-adhere. Another option is to fill the gap with modeling putty, or another substance which dries to hardness and can be smoothed and painted over. When applying putty, only the smallest amount is required. An excessive amount will be difficult to remove later and in the case of clear parts, may be impossible to remove without evident damage to the part beneath. Follow the instructions on the packaging and use a plastic tool to apply the putty, so as not to scratch the model.
  • If an assembled part is not adhering properly in some places, it may not be necessary to separate the parts and re-adhere. Another option is to use a liquid plastic cement to re-adhere the parts. By applying a small amount of liquid glue to the outside of the gap, the glue is drawn into the gap by capillary action. It is important not to apply too much glue, for the reasons above, but also because too much glue may remain outside the gap and dry to hard, malformed bubbles. In general, less than a drop will suffice. When the glue has been applied, hold the parts firmly together until proper adhesion is assured.

 

Once two parts are glued together, it may be necessary to clamp them together until the glue sets. This may be done by holding the two parts firmly together with your hands, but you may also use a variety of tools to do the same job. Elastic bands, clothespins, plastic clamps, tape, and wire are all suitable materials. When applying the clamps, make sure that the pressure exerted on the parts is great enough to keep the parts together, but not nearly enough to deform or break them. Also make sure that whatever clamp you choose to use will not scratch the plastic.

 

 

Whether you are a competitive modeler (contest, 4-H, Boy Scouts, etc…) or building for fun the following links offer some great tips and tricks to help you.

http://www.ndsu.edu/fileadmin/4h/FamilyConsumerScience/FE101.pdf

http://www.scaleautomag.com/

 

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Here we are assembling the engine. He used most of the parts from the Stingaree model, he choose to use use the larger exhaust headers found in the Royal Rail model to customize this model. Here he is trying to hold them in place while they dry.

 

The 4-H car…Painting…

posted by RJ 3:18 PM
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I am starting to learn what the H’s stand for…this is my son’s 4th year in 4-H modeling and each year become progressively more difficult. I have tried to help him find some of the best practices for completing these projects.

We live in an apartment for our first challenge was to choose a suitable place to paint. You should not paint where dust or other airborne particles may adhere to your work. Choose a clean, dry place, between 5 and 30 degrees Celsius to apply and dry paint.

We have a balcony which at least provided good ventilation, however he skipped the first instructions that were to wash the release agent and any other dust particles off the car and went right to work painting the car. (sigh). He also held the spray can about 3 inches from the car. Now I am not sure which of these factors caused the problem, but the paint pooled in spots on the car.

So, step 2 for my little modeler was sanding and stripping the paint off the car.

What he failed to realize is that Painting over particles will not remove or hide them, but trap them in place.

Now there are several kinds of paints you can use. We used model spray paint, some people prefer air-brushing. This is a little more costly (which is why we use the other)

You will want to mix your paint to a thorough consistency. Start by striking the closed container of paint sharply and repeatedly against the palm of your hand.

It may become necessary to mask adjacent parts from the part you wish to paint, so as not to accidentally get paint on that part.

When painting with a brush, always ensure that it is of appropriate size and that there are no loose or stray bristles. Brush painting should be reserved for small or isolated parts, or parts which require a certain finish to them. Applying paint with a brush leaves striations in the direction of brush travel, and must not be used for exteriors or large surfaces.

The 4-H Project: Cleaning the model

posted by RJ 10:18 AM
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

 

Our first step was to clean all of the parts. Since we learned from our 2012 experience, we knew that for the paint to stick evenly all parts had to be clean. Dust and oil inhibit the adhesion of paints and glues, as well as detract from the final appearance of the model.

Soapy-Water

To remove dust and oil, we simply washed the pieces (still on the sprue) with warm water and a very small amount of detergent. We used the sink, however you may also wish to use a shallow basin and a strainer to ensure that you do not lose any small pieces down the drain. We let them soak for several minutes, agitating them occasionally. Taking the pieces out, you can leave them in the strainer to rinse thoroughly, the lay them out on paper towels and dry them thoroughly with a clean paper towel.

Some modelers suggest removing pieces and assembling prior to painting, however out 4-H leader suggests that is all items on a sprue will be the same color, you can paint them while still attached.

Small scissors or shears can be used to remove the parts from their respective sprues. Using a knife to remove parts is difficult, dangerous, and may damage the part. Only when the part is removed may you use a fine knife to remove any flash or excess sprue still attached, this is where we use the small nail  clippers they are easy for him to handle alone and less dangerous than the sharp small knife.

The 4-H model…or starting it…

posted by RJ 8:38 AM
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My son has selected the AMT Stingagree (http://www.autoworldstore.com/AMT_Stingaree_1_25_Scale_Model_Kit_p/amt38664.htm)  which he will kitbash with pieces from the AMT Royal Rail (http://www.autoworldstore.com/AMT_Royal_Rail_ihobby_Exclusive_1_25_Scale_Model_K_p/amt630ihobby.htm). The Stingaree is described as a wild showrod-meets-dragster, which will be a perfect fit to kitbash with some of the wilder elements of the Royal Rail. But more on that later.

This year we are taking what we have learned over the last few years and combining the use of glue, paints, and decals to create a finished model – incorporating parts of another model.

 

In addition to the materials that are referenced above we have also purchased or at  least gathered (and by we I mean I have purchased for my sweet 11 year old) the following items:

  • Assorted paints (mostly greens – because he likes green)
  • Plastic cement – several kinds including one especially for windows
  • Tweezers and small nailclippers (these are great for trimming sharp bits from the sprue)
  • Assorted elastic bands
  • Modeling knife (this is my exacto knife – and used with my supervision)
  • Small shears
  • Masking tape – we do very little masking because the painting we do is pretty basic
  • Paper towel

Some people would also include modeling putty and sand paper but we are also a little more basic. Now the rules say he could do any vehicle, spaceship, airplane, etc… but since this was the first year he has done a combination kit like this, I suggested something a little more basic. Our first few attempts were basic designs, snap together kits, then last year marked a new project where he had to both paint and glue.

The paint did not stick to the model, bubbled – badly. So when I started at Round 2 I set out to figure out just what had happened to avoid having it happen again.

 

1)     So now that we have selected the model. This is not the kit he wanted, but we had to select one that was more advanced than some of his choices, and a little less exotic than others.

 

AAA-4H-1343 AAA-4H155

 

2)     While we did not research these cars, we did visit the Auto World store to look for a model that we would like to do, that fit the requirements. We looked at the number of pieces, materials required to complete this project and the ability to modify this particular piece. Without the ability to see the  step-by-step instructions – I think he made a good choice.

3)      Next he had to look at the configuration. Configuration may include tires, accessories, the doors and windows open or closed, or even embellishments and exhaust pipes. In the case of the Stingaree, and the Royal Rail both offered many customization options.

AAA-4H- AMT38664-3

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