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Armor/AFV: Axis - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Axis forces during World War II.
Hosted by Darren Baker
DML #6520 StuG IV Early to Late Version
Big-John
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Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011 - 02:33 AM UTC

Quoted Text

and maybe one day I'll grow up to be real figure painter!




I'd say you have already grown up. Don't be so hard on your self. This looks great!
majjanelson
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Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011 - 05:30 AM UTC
Mike,

I would say your "test" figure looks quite good, but you should have much less white around the eyes. Your painting of the facial details are excellent (I love the 5 o'clock shadow look), but if you look at your own eyes in a mirror while in sunlight or even outside on an overcast day, you should see much less white areas. Maybe add some skin tone eyelids to the lower sides to reduce the exposed white.

Human eyes usually are more squinted slits like this OIF Soldier's (image from web):



Of course, an emotional expression can cause the eyes to widen in surprise or fright, but the rest of your figures facial expression doesn't imply this.
BBD468
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Posted: Tuesday, January 03, 2012 - 11:55 AM UTC
Hi Mike,

love the camo on the figures. Happy new year man!

Gary
Bratushka
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Posted: Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - 07:29 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Mike,

I would say your "test" figure looks quite good, but you should have much less white around the eyes. Your painting of the facial details are excellent (I love the 5 o'clock shadow look), but if you look at your own eyes in a mirror while in sunlight or even outside on an overcast day, you should see much less white areas. Maybe add some skin tone eyelids to the lower sides to reduce the exposed white.

Human eyes usually are more squinted slits like this OIF Soldier's (image from web):



Of course, an emotional expression can cause the eyes to widen in surprise or fright, but the rest of your figures facial expression doesn't imply this.




I have a lot of pictorial books on WWI and WWII and after reading what you said looked carefully to see if it bore out. I think the pictures like that you posted show squinting from bright sunlight rather than a normal way people have their eyes. In bright sun on refective surfaces like sand, ice/snow, light colored environment where more light is being reflected the eyes will close to keep too much light from affecting what's being seen. Most of the battle pictures I see in my books show open eyes. Some have the wide eyed stare from a filth encrusted face and are among the most haunting. Even in the half dozen DAK books I have, this squinting isn't the norm. I agree that a specific situation may well affect how wide eyes open, but when in danger, whether on patrol in hostile territory or in actual combat, wide open eyes take in more than eyes squinted to near shut. Sighting a weapon or resonding to gunfire or shapnel sometimes show the squints, but it isn't 100%.

Check this guide from Archer Fine Transfers: http://archertransfers.com/PAGE_EyeballInstructions.html
majjanelson
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Posted: Wednesday, January 04, 2012 - 01:32 PM UTC
Jim,

All of your points are valid, but if I remember correctly, Mike's dio has snow on it. Snow and lake/ocean water can easily cause squinting. Depending on how Mike sets up his figures on his dio, the figures could be looking into the distance, which squinting can also imply.

All I'm trying to say is that IMHO, the eyes just need a little less white showing for the expression, environment, and situation. I am an artist, but I certainly not am not a figure expert.

And Mike's work is EXCELLENT.
SdAufKla
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Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 04:37 AM UTC
Hey guys,

I really didn't intend to instigate some heated discussion here. The figgy on the previous page was just a practice figure to test out some variations on my usual painting techniques and get a bit of "brush time" before commencing the figures for the actual vignette.

@ Big John: Thanks for the props there, BJ, but there are a lot of outstanding figure painters that I have a lot of admiration for and who provide me with motivation and inspiration -

John Rosengrant, Taesung Harms, Man-Jin Kim, Patrick Ang, Chris Mrosko, Gunther Sternberg, Andy Evans, Stefan Muller-Herdemertens, Bill Horan...

The list goes on and on. These are the guys that make me feel like a real fumble-fingered amature. But one day!

@ Gary: Thanks to you too. (I really loved the way your StuG III came out, too!)

@ Jeff and JIm:

Thanks for the constructive critisism and observations, Jeff. The guy's face is not one of my best efforts, and I agree that he looks at least a bit "doe-eyed" if not "pop-eyed." But, hey, that's why he's a practice / test effort.

Jim, I appreciate your comments, too. (BTW: I cribbed the picture from AFT to use as a painting reference.) I think Jeff's comments were honest and made in the spirit of constructive critisism, and I'll surely consider them, as well as your comments, as I move forward with my next figures.

Hopefully, I'll have an up-date here in the next couple of days. I'm almost finished with the first of the actual figures for the vignette, and will post some pics of him soon. I think he's an improvement over the practice guy.

'Til then, everyone, Happy Modeling!

Bratushka
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Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 07:07 AM UTC
No heat from my end and no knock on your painting! Just my unasked for 2 cents worth! !
stamey
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Posted: Thursday, January 05, 2012 - 01:45 PM UTC
Hey Mike,

The figures are superb! If these are just practice...the final figures should be awesome. What did you use to apply the splinter strips? This is where my camo painting Doesn't make the grade. Keep up the great work and am dying to see them up close.

Scott
SdAufKla
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Posted: Friday, January 06, 2012 - 12:25 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hey Mike,

The figures are superb! If these are just practice...the final figures should be awesome. What did you use to apply the splinter strips? This is where my camo painting Doesn't make the grade. Keep up the great work and am dying to see them up close.

Scott



Thanks Scott.

I pretty much followed Andy Evans' Historicus Forma painting article (link above) for the Vallejo color mixes and basic cammo painting technique. Aside form that, it's just small brushes and time. The "raindrops" were painted with an Artej 100/0 brush, and the rest of the camouflage was painted with a 20/0 liner. Both are natural hair sables.

Painting the camouflage is simply tedious and time consuming. I'm also finding that I have to be very conscious to keep the "splinters" consistant in size and overall color ratios. It's easy to want to rush and make the "splinters" larger and larger in order to cover more space faster.

I'll bring these guys with me to our meeting next week, but hopefully I'll have some new pics up here before then.
dvarettoni
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Posted: Friday, January 06, 2012 - 02:31 AM UTC
they mike all i can say is wow thay look great can't wait to see the others
dave
Braille
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Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012 - 09:14 AM UTC
@SdAufKla – Mike,

Finally got enough spare time to read through your entire build log and found it to be extremely motivational, informative and historically interesting. Really like the scratch made items throughout the build, masterful building skills. Super job on the driver’s station and entire crew compartment. Nice touch with the small sized chains on the hardware outside the vehicle. I’ll have to give your casting texture method a try. I did have one question, where did you acquire the brass rail that you’re using on the base. BTW that base looks the part!

Your figure painting is excellent too! Thanks for posting the links and sharing your techniques and methods.

Keep it coming
~ Eddy
Bratushka
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Posted: Sunday, January 15, 2012 - 12:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text

No heat from my end and no knock on your painting! Just my unasked for 2 cents worth! !



Oh yeah, my own figure painting skills stink! Mine end up looking like a 3 dimensional comic book figure or a coloring book picture brought to life. Even when I start to get a smile inducing effect I never seem to know when enough is enough. Now, if you want figures that fell into a really deep mudhole and are covered head to foot in muck, I'm your man!

Really, I can't even approach the level of these figures.

RE: Someone mentioned there's snow in the dio. As someone who commuted through a lot of rural area about 130 miles a day and generally worked 6 day weeks and often 7 for 22 years, the really bad visibility winter days were with lots of snow cover and bright sunshine. Overcast and dark days were no thing. Of course that's stating the obvious.

Still, this has got to be one of my 3 favorite builds since joining this site!
SdAufKla
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Posted: Sunday, January 15, 2012 - 04:49 AM UTC

Quoted Text

@SdAufKla – Mike,
... I did have one question, where did you acquire the brass rail that you’re using on the base.... ~ Eddy



@ Eddy: Thanks for the kind words. The brass rail is part of a section of 0-guage model RR track. I bought a couple of sections, pulled the brass rail off the injection molded ties, and then cut it to shape with a Dremel.

It's a bit over-scale, but looks the part, and to most observers, train track is train track. Except for a couple of injection molded track sections that come with kits, I don't know of any other good sources. Unfortunately, all of the model RR track is either too small or too large for 1/35 scale. One day I'd like to see a company like Plastruc or Evergreen make an extruded styrene rail in 1/35, but I honestly think that's a pipe-dream.

@ Jim Hand: Also thanks for the kind words. I'm really trying to take my figure painting to the "next level," but I'm simply amazed at the work done by some other guys. I don't know if I can ever develop the brush control and eye for color that the best of the best figure painters have.

At any rate, I think the matter of the whites of the eye is one of those areas where "technical accuracy" intersects with "art." One of the most important ways to show interaction between the figures in a vignette or dio is to show them looking at each other or at something (even if that something is implied off the base). However, in order to show where someone's eyes are directed, it's necessary to show some "white" to distinguish the "pupil" from the rest of the face.

I used to rely almost exclusively on the "Clint squint" for my figure eyes, and with some practice, you can add the hint of a pupil even with that technique. But, eye direction really gets lost with that method, and then you need more dramatic head positioning (turning and tilting) to carry the effect of interaction.

So, what I've been trying to do is to find that happy medium place where I can show enough white but not too much. As a practical matter, the white's of the eyes on the practice figure above are actually almost invisible on the figure when viewed normally (i.e. without magnification or extreme photographic enlargement). So, although the figure looks a little wide-eyed in the photo, this effect is nearly invisible in real life.

Having said all of that, though, I do try to keep the whites smaller. It's hard, but that's why I painted the figure above for practice. Here're a couple of the faces from my Firefly vignette (also posted here on Armorama):





Hopefully in these, you can see waht I'm trying to describe about showing the direction that the eyes are pointed in. The whites provide the contrast for the pupils agaist the rest of the face so that the viewer can see where the figure is looking and not just the direction where his head is pointed.

Anyways, practice, practice, practice...
Braille
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Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 05:18 PM UTC
@SdAufKla – Mike,

Thanks for the reply, it is very much appreciated. You’re right that train track is just that, train track! I asked because I am looking for rails to use on a planned base for a 35th scale LZ Models flatcar and your rail caught my eye . . .

That figure and set of heads you painted are totally awesome!

~ Eddy
jrutman
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Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012 - 03:04 AM UTC
Well spit in the fire and slap gram mah!! When are we gonna get to see more on this?
J
BBD468
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Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012 - 04:56 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Well spit in the fire and slap gram mah!! When are we gonna get to see more on this?
J



Dangit Jerry, you took the words right out of my mouth!

Looking forward to more goodies from you man!

Gary
SdAufKla
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Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 10:55 AM UTC
@ Eddy and Gary: Thanks, guys!

@ Jerry:

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry... NEVER spit in the fire! Have some respect, man!

Alright, here're a couple of up-date photos.

I've still got a bit to do to finish up the DML practice figure, but here's where he stands (pun intended ) right now:



He still needs a belt buckle and the fuel can, but he showed that the camouflage painting technique would work, so I'll finish him up some day.

Here's the sitting Bodie figure. When the vignette is finished, this guy will be sitting on the gun mantlet next to the driver's hatch.



I'm pretty sure the head on this figure is from Alpine.

I've also finished up the standing Wolf figure. He was a minor conversion. I removed the cast on throat microphone and wires and replaced his head also with one from Alpine.





Right now I'm painting the walking New World Miniatures figure. For this guy, I patched up the hole and tears in his pants, replaced the MP 40, gave him new hands and a head from Hornet.



This guy shows the basic technique that I'm using for the camouflage. I paint it on like my normal acrylic undercoats, only with the camouflage, I just add shadows using a glazing technique with oil paints. All of the rest of the uniform, face and hands, and other details are painted like normal - oils blended wet-on-wet over acrylic undercoats.

These guys are turning our to take a lot more time to paint than I originally thought they would. The camouflage is very tedious, and I have to be on my guard to not rush it.

Anyways, that the latest...

Now, time to go give granny a smack up-side the ol' noggin' for Jerry! (But NO SPITING in the fire!)

Happy modeling!
pseudorealityx
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Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 12:30 PM UTC
You know, all the late war German camo variations are a big reason why I shy away from late war German armor. Give me field grey or panzer black anyday.

Looking good Mike.
BBD468
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Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 12:50 PM UTC
Hi Mike,

Your figures look amazing! i dont understand the practice figure because it looks like your an ace on the figure paiting already.

Gary
stamey
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Posted: Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 02:05 PM UTC

Your practice is perfect!! Now hurry up and finish this masterpiece! Looks great Mike
SdAufKla
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Posted: Sunday, January 22, 2012 - 03:03 AM UTC
@ Jesse: Yea, I can appreciate that. German WWII uniform cammo is a pretty complex subject, but really, when you get down to tackling individual examples in scale, I think it usually winds up being a case that "close enough" is also good enough.

If you paint the cammo patterns with breaks along the seams where the clothing article is sewn together, then the actual amount of the pattern that's visible in any single area is very limited on a scale figure. This means that, IMO, you can get away with good approximations of the patterns that just need to be close but not exact. Keeping the general shapes of the pattern spots along with their general sizes and color proportions can make for pretty convincing execution.

And another thing, because the subject is so complex, very few people are real "experts," so most folks who view your models have only the vaguest idea of what the real patterns looked like anyways.

For example, the uniforms that I'm doing for my StuG crew should probably be in the non-reversible Sumpfmuster 44 pattern (the most up-to-date winter uniform in '45), but I've done them in the earlier reversible WH Splintermuster pattern. However, very few viewers would know this. In my defense, though, since the Germans collected up their winter uniforms each spring, cleaned and serviced them, and then re-issued them the next winter, the earlier uniforms depicted in a later setting are still historically plausible.

So, while the subject isn't open to complete "artistic" interpretation, the complexity of the subject can work to the modeler's benefit!

@ Gary: Thanks for the props, but really, I do have to practice. I build so slow (Scott Amey can tell you how long I've been dragging out this project) that I constantly have to re-learn how to do some things – especially when it comes to finishing techniques.

Besides, in this case, the technique I'm using for painting the cammo has been new to me, so I needed to figure out how to do it, hence the "practice" figure. Heck, I needed to see if I was even capable of getting some decent results before I commenced to working on the figures for the vignette. My back-up plan in case I couldn't pull off the Splinter cammo was to do the uniforms with the white sides out leaving only small cammo areas that needed to be painted.

(Did I mention that it's been a long time since I painted any camouflaged uniforms?! )

Anyways, I'm blaming it all on Andy Evans and his Fallschirmjaegers on the Historicus Forma website. His figures looked so good that I just had to see if I could add something similar to my vignette.

@ Scott: Alright, alright… I guess you guys are about due for a break. I promise, next month's meeting will be the last time that I'll bring this in for "Show an' Tell"!

(Have I said that before…? )

Happy Modeling!
django70
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Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 05:30 AM UTC
This is not modelling...This Is Art, Dammit! Man, I gotta tell you: Inspiring. I've bookmarked this page, and will proceed to drain every bit of knowledge out of it I can. Hell, I don't even really dig Stug IV's a whole lot (although I am a confirmed Pzkpfw IV junkie)...but this is truly awesome.
jrutman
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Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 - 02:40 AM UTC
Alright man,no need to slap Grammah upside the haid.
Thos figs are really top quality castings and the poses are very natural. Good selections. And,of course,it's hard to beat Alpine products. The cammo is coming along nicely. I like the way the one knee patch pattern is painted at right angles to the rest of the leg. Very cool. This is why it's always good to see what a jumpmaster can do when translating his attention to detail training to the real world.
This will be another show stopper from you.
J
SdAufKla
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Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 - 03:48 AM UTC
@ Lee: Thanks. Glad you're enjoying the build!

@ Jerry:


Quoted Text

... This is why it's always good to see what a jumpmaster can do when translating his attention to detail training to the real world...



"Jumper! Put your hands on your head; tilt your head to the rear."

Thanks old friend.

"Keep your feet and kness together and your eyes on the horizon!"

jrutman
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Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 - 03:54 AM UTC
Yeah-bone!!
J