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Everything posted by fritzthefox

  1. I have been wanting to model Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet for a long time. I am not a fabrication wizard, though, so it has proven to be an elusive dream. I've been forced to resort to available model kits The closest I have been able to find is Hasegawa's rare 1/32 scale all-transparent Sabrejet. (If only they had given this treatment to their Starfighter!). And that was only the BEGINNING of the scavenger hunt. I needed a similar scale Wonder Woman. The best I could do was a 3 inch vinyl figure (closer to 1/25th scale, I guess, but she's an Amazon, right?) of the New 52 WW. I wanted a more classic costume on her, so I needed to carve off some bits and putty in some other bits and repaint her. I fashioned new gauntlets and a belt out of pinstriping tape, and used a vintage letraset sheet of rub-on transfer symbols for the stars on her costume. Her golden lasso is real 14kt gold jeweler's wire. The jet was pretty straightforward to build...no paint required and no putty possible...although working with the clear plastic could be challenging. I rapidly grew tired of canopy glue and acquired a low-vapor CA glue, which worked much better. The spindly and brittle landing gear are still frightening. I doubt I will ever take this model anywhere. The next owner of this house can have it. I decided that the Hall of Justice would make a nice background, and then it occurred to me that there might be other interesting super vehicles parked there, too, so I picked up Polar Light's 1/25th scale '66 Batmobile (The most iconic of the batmobiles, and more or less contemporary with the Sabre) and a vinyl Batman. They required less custom work to make right, although I did replace the phone cord of the Batphone with a more realistic curly one fashioned from very fine wire, replaced the opaque grill work with some brass etched mesh and substituted a wire aerial for the plastic one. Batman just needed some shorts painted on. (It was not until he went Hollywood that he lost his shorts, which would probably not be the first time something like that has happened) Custom made wheel chocks and a ladder and a concrete apron made from foamcore and sandpaper tied it all together, along with the background art, which I drew myself. Overall, I am happy with the result, although if anyone ever finds an all-transparent F-104 or Panther (or XF-90, but that seems pretty unlikely) in 1/32 scale or better, let me know. You will instantly become my new best friend. (I tried to convince a talented maker of a 1/32 resin Panther kit to cast a copy in clear resin, but he said the molds were not suitable for that. Sigh...so close) Anyway, here's a few pix...
  2. Wow, a Mig-28! No one has been this close before!
  3. I found what I was looking for, so this post is now moot. I can't seem to delete it, though, so here is a funny cartoon... http://www.boomandzoomgraphics.com/redmenace.html
  4. I managed to find what I was looking for, so this post is now moot. I can't seem to delete it, though, so enjoy this cartoon, instead...
  5. If you really want one, I will be offering one of the models, among other things, in a kickstarter following the completion of my cartoon, in an effort to raise money for the next one :m1helmet: Stay tuned to fritzthefox.com to keep abreast of things. (That day is still on the horizon right now)
  6. One reason you don't see too many shiny metal spaceships in older movies is because the reflective properties of the aluminum can be a nightmare when shooting in front of a blue or green screen. Here's a chromakey test I threw together today. You can see that there are some spill problems. The stand is too much in shadow, and causes some reflection headaches, as well. Fortunately, the stand will be a non-issue for the real shoot, since the plane will be on a wire. The first photo is undoctored. The second one is how it appeared in the editor with the chroma key applied and generic sky background placed behind it. The final photo is after some cleanup in Photoshop. For the actual shoot, I'd like to avoid that last step, since I'd have to do it to every frame of the shot.
  7. As promised, here's an update, and something you don't see every day: twin twin mustangs. I received my decals, which turned out to be a good news, bad news thing. The bad news is that when you order from websites written in Japanese, you can never really be sure what you are getting. What I had hoped were going to be dry transfer decals turned out to be waterslide decals, instead. The good news is that they were very, very good waterslide decals, so they looked much better than the kit decals I had tried. I also used a few custom decals printed by Fireball Modelworks, which turned out nicely. Between the two, I got some markings I could live with. The final step was to airbrush the exhaust smoke. The Tamiya paint does not adhere very well to the foil, so the smoke is fragile, and you can see where I boogered it up a bit on one of the planes. Fortunately, it just looks like weathering. Fritz's nose proved a bit too long for the front canopy, so I had to decapitate him and reorient his head a bit. I also had one canopy break during assembly, so I had to build another one. Fortunately, I had a spare kit,which will be used prior to filming as a stunt double, to test the set-up before crashing one of the models, so I swiped a new canopy from it. I found the micro foil glue not quite strong enough to hold the front canopies in place, so I tacked them down with a couple drops of CA glue. Fortunately, no crazing. I still need to assemble the center section, which will contain the battery, glue the tubes for the guide wires under the wings, and add Fritz's copilot, but they are very nearly done!
  8. I can't complain about Revell's service. I just had them ship me a part I needed in less than two weeks. I even told them I had simply lost it and would be happy to pay for a replacement, but they charged me nothing. The only correspondence I received was auto-confirmation of my form submission, and email that it had shipped (which I received the day it arrived in the mail lol) Keep in mind that email is a notoriously unreliable form of communication and, if all else fails, pick up the phone.
  9. What scale is it? On smaller scale models, panel lines would mostly be invisible, anyway. (The fact that most model kits include them is more of an aesthetic than a realistic choice) I would let photo reference be your guide. If you want to rescribe them, you certainly can...just find some scale drawings to guide you. But for smaller scale aircraft, they probably won't be missed. Alternatively, if you are planning an aluminum finish, you could be truly masochistic and foil it one panel at a time. Ultimately, I'd say do whatever you want. It's YOUR model. :m1helmet:
  10. I like the wood grain, too. Is the lozenge pattern a decal?
  11. Just a brief update: I finished foiling the second aircraft (I'm making two, since something bad could conceivably happen to the model during filming), and now I'm working on the decals. Obviously, this plane requires custom decals, but I was not at all happy with how the inkjet decals I printed worked out. Despite clear coating the sheet, they wrinkled and ran when hit with the water/microset. And the decal film looks bad on the aluminum. So I am attacking the problem by commissioning some Alps-printed stuff for the custom markings and using as many dry transfer generic markings as I can find. Hopefully that will give me an acceptable result. Hopefully, I'll have some more photos to post in a few weeks.
  12. I was never sadder than when the USAF and Navy decided to paint everything in low visibility colors. This model reminds me why. Beautiful!
  13. This build requires a bit of back story. I'm a cartoonist. Most of my cartoon work is devoted to aviation subject matter. One of my most popular and enduring characters is Fritz the Fox. I've been working on another animated Fritz cartoon lately. (If you've never heard of Fritz, you may enjoy his aerial hi-jinks...follow the link in my signature, if you are curious) This cartoon is a tribute to creature features and cold war films of the fifties, so it seemed only natural that it should include one cheesy miniature shot. Here's a bit of concept art for the cartoon... Fritz's mount in this particular toon is a Twin Mustang of the Alaskan Air Command. In order to make the shot work, I had to come up with a couple of F-82's that I could somehow motorize and crash into an arctic diorama, all within the confines of a budget and amount of space that would not provoke objections from my saner half. I thought you guys might enjoy the build thread... The first and foremost challenge was how to model Fritz himself. Most model kits don't include an anthropomorphic Fox that you can put in the pilot seat. Fortunately, I have some friends at Ironwind Metals (formally Ral Partha). They were able to help me mold a 1/72nd scale Fritz the Fox head that I could stick on a pilot figure. I liked the result so much that I had Fritz and his sidekick, Hans, cast in several scales (which I will soon offer as a resin kit for sale on my site). It turned out the biggest expense was the sculptor, so after seeing how it was done, I sculpted Fritz myself. Before I knew it, I had boxes full of resin Fritz parts! Here's a 1/72nd scale Fritz being assembled for the model. You can see one assembled cockpit with Fritz, and another Fritz awaiting painting. The bag in the background contains the first batch of resin 1/32nd scale heads. Sadly, they had a defect, but the mold is being repaired and the next batch should be ready soon, along with masters of the new pieces. The small heads had a tiny bubble in the nose, as well, which is why the unpainted Fritz has a green nose. I had to sculpt a replacement. For the aircraft, I chose Monogram's (Revell's) venerable F-82 kit. The challenge with this model is its small size. The only other option was the much-maligned Modelcraft 1/48th scale kit, but it is hard to find, harder to build and harder still to make pretty, so I stuck with the classic. This photo shows the finished cockpits and motors being test fitted. The motors are the smallest ones I could find, from an RC Quadrocopter. They will be powered by a small cell battery in the wing center section, which can be accessed via the plane's ammunition panel. It won't fly, but the motors are adequate to spin the props at several thousand rpm, which will be necessary to get a good prop blur when shooting video at a hundred frames per second. Fritz's airplane(s) in the paint shop...next up is a bit of weathering and then applying the bare-metal foil for an authentic aluminum finish. Beginning to apply the bare-metal foil to Fritz's plane...painstaking work, but it couldn't be shinier. The Carson visor in the background has made the task more bearable...I highly recommend one to anyone who does a lot of detail work. There are four different power of lenses you can swap out, and the LED light can be repositioned or even removed and placed wherever. Sometimes I foil the plane, and sometimes it foils me. The compound curves of the fuselage can be a real challenge. When in doubt, I follow the paneling of the real aircraft. Odds are, if the engineers couldn't get the real aluminum panels to bend that way, then I'm not gonna have much better luck with foil. See the incompletely foiled fuselage in the photo? There are over a dozen pieces of foil on the port side alone. I invented a few new curse words while trying to put the paw print on the tail of the other fuselage, too. Slow going, but it is exciting to see it take shape. Here's one of the completely foiled planes ready for clearing, decals and weathering. The prop hubs have been installed. This was more challenging than it sounds, since the model's props were not designed to fit on the tiny shaft of the electric motors. I had to cut some 4mm long bits of tiny brass tubing and glue them inside the hub, then somehow mount them to the shaft. My initial effort to glue it on the shaft nearly wrecked one of the engines...a small disaster, given that the motors were now glued inside the fuselage...as the glue ran down the shaft and seized up the engine. Fortunately, I was able to clean it off and try again. The second time around, I used tire balancing putty, which is both very sticky and very likely to stay where you put it. It worked great! Note the discolored foil around the exhaust stacks: I boiled some aluminum foil with egg shells for about twenty minutes to yield the oxidized metal look, then cut and pasted them on with micro-scales foil glue (which also serves double-duty as a decent canopy glue). I must've cut a dozen of them just to get four good pieces. The ammunition access panel was slightly weathered by painting it with bleach, which took the shine off of it a bit. I'll save the rest of the weathering for after I apply the decals. I'm waiting for some spray-on acrylic varnish in the mail so I can put on the custom decals. Since the plane must match the one in the cartoon, I obviously cannot use all of the kit decals, so I will be printing my own. Stay tuned to see how that goes...
  14. Green screen in photoshop is pretty easy...you can use the mask pallette to block out the green, just beware of a couple gotchas: 1) The green screen needs to be as evenly lit as possible 2) Beware of green spill...that is, reflected light from the green screen falling on the model and messing up your matte. The further the green screen is from the model, the better. Aluminum finishes could be troublesome. An alternative to green screen is an old film trick: you lock down the camera and take one exposure in normal light, then backlight the model and take a second exposure with the model in silhouette. You can then use the second exposure as a mask for the first.
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