Sprue Cutters Union – to Plan or not to Plan

This months topic:

“do you plan and prepare for every step of your build’s process or do you wing it as you go?”


The grand master plan,…. No i don’t really meticulously plan out my builds as such. I usually purchase kits as my taste at the moment requires, often even on impulse. Not much of any planning going on there.

After i purchase a kit and it lands on my bench i tend to spend a considerable time reading up on the subject at hand, just to get my feet wet and to hopefully get some inspiration going. Again, not really planned out.

Before the first cut is made i do read through the instructions to get a feel for the way the kit is built up and to spot any possible bottlenecks or tricky bits. Still not much of a plan being hatched.

Do i do any planning at all then??

Well,… yes! Sorta….i think…

Once the build is underway and as i am slaving away at work or doing laundry or cooking or whatever i am doing away from the bench i do tend to ponder over my project a lot. What tools to use, how to tackle a certain puzzly bit etc. etc. And as i am engaged in that process, i do plan out each individual building/ painting session. Usually it goes something like this; “Tonight i am going to spray the basecoat on project A, then i am going to weather the deck of project B as A is drying. And if there is time left i could possibly start on the assembly of the superstructure parts of project B”


And that is really all the planning i do. Mostly winging it during every step but i do feel more comfortable when i know what todays bench time is going to look like. So i am never fully without some sort of mental picture of what i am required to do next.


SCU October 2015 – The Important things

This months SCU topic saw a very diverse response from my collegues and as the month is about to close it is time for a frog’s point of view!

What is, in your opinion, the single most important thing in modeling. The one thing you cannot do without?

Simple. Basic painting and assembly skills!

Sometimes you come across that modeler that shows his completed model of the most horrific Lindberg puttybomb monstrosity and yet turned it into a contest winning work of art. On the other end of the spectrum you also see the kind of modeler who draws his wallet and buys an expensive kit and all the fancy PE and resin he could get his hands on, yet utterly fails to produce a credible model.

To me it all comes down to having a solid basic skillset to fall back on, no matter what you have on your bench. So many models fail to ever turn out to be a reasonable model just because the modeler screwed up during assembly, even before any painting or fancy schmancy shading, washes, streaks and pigments and whatnot.

Just this week i saw an online post of a guy, just starting out doing armor models and asking his audience what to “get” for his second model kit. In comes the horde…. “PE!”, “Get a Big Ed Set for it!” and etcetera etcetera… This makes my toes curl to no end and will probably result in our new modeling friend to think he is not good enough or quit modeling alltogether when he finds out that using all that fancy stuff is harder than it looked.

Here is what i told him.

Learn to walk before you can run! Build and paint a few models. Have fun with it and try to not worry too much about uber realism. Thats a skillset that can only be built up over time, not purchased with fancy stuff.

Well i did not say that literally but that was the basic idea i tried to convey.

So yes, learn to properly assemble a kit, free of glue marks and seams showing. And learn to use an airbrush to be able to reliably put down a solid basic paint scheme. THEN worry about what comes next.

In my opinion this is something you just simply can’t escape and you will simply have to learn first before you can move on and evolve

Sprue Cutters Union – Eye for Detail

The Sprue Cutters Union is a group of like minded modelers who have a website or blog. Each month the host of the Union over at The Combat Workshop conjures up a new topic to discuss. Each member then writes up a post with their thoughts and opinions about the topic at hand. Interested? Write your own post and share it with Jon over at The Combat Workshop. You can find him on Facebook.

This month: Do you bother with details that will not be seen in the finished product or do you pour your heart and soul into each nook and cranny of the build?

Easy one for me: No.

It is like me in real life: Hard worker, doesn’t mind getting dirty while on duty and would do overtime if needed. On the other hand: When off duty, tends to be procrastinatig, lazy and easygoing.

If i am building, say an armor model, i usually will build it buttoned up if the kit does not include the appropriate figures. I also prefer my armor that way even if it comes with figures. If said kit comes with all kinds of parts or PE to detail the inside of the hatches, for instance, i can bet your sweet behind i will most likely skip it. You can’t see it, i do not care about it…..no brainer situation. The model will look the same in the end as you can’t see the omitted detail.

On the other hand, if i were to be building a HE-111 or a B-17 to name just a random few subjects, there is a lot of glass involved. Therefore the person looking at my model can see inside. That is where i DO have time for superdetailing such as figures inside or a tiny map on the navigators bench.

I am an internet modeler. This means i show my work online on my blog, my facebook page and the forum(s) i happen to frequent. This would mean my models are as good as the pictures i take of them and show online. If these photographs cannot show any given detail i will most likely end up not adding it to the model.

And, to be honest here, i have been known to use selective model picture taking techniques to not show omitted detail or flaws in a build…. shhhhhh. But that is off topic and a detail not needed in this post.

Sprue Cutters Union – Stashed Away

The Sprue Cutters Union is back! This time with a slightly altered flavor. Write your blogpost on the topic at hand and submit it to The Combat Workshop on Facebook. It is that easy!!! So if you are a modeler and a blogger, do join the fun.

The topic this time: Why do modelers have a stash that they sometimes can’t even build in their lifetime?

This topic by the SCU has been online for a little bit and i intended to write a substantial post filled with snappy one liners and infinite pools of wisdom but quite frankly, i am mostly running a blank on this one. I simply can’t tell you why us modelfolk do this… My best guess would be that procuring/ expanding and maintaining a stash has alot to do with a mild form of hoarding.

And umm… yup. That’s about it for this blogpost…

I can speak a bit for myself here though.. Analysing myself i feel the need to have a modest stash for inspirational related issues. My interests vary widely and my desire to build a given subject may change often and unpredictably. That is why i have several air, land and sea subjects waiting for me to build. One day i might want to build a tank, the next day something happens that makes me want to build an airplane. That’s just how i roll i guess.

Maybe in much the same way the painter has several unfinished works in his studio and the photographer has several lenses for near and far work. I don’t know, i just imagine so.

And let’s face it. There is some kind of attraction to the various boxes and their inspiring shiny boxart that makes you wan’t to have them. In comes the connotation with addiction…

Lastly, there is the price factor. Models are relatively cheap to come by and there is a staggering amount of different ones outthere. One can easily justify spending $20 or 30 on a box and not really have to bleed for it. Repeat that thought pattern several times and there you have it, growing stash!

I think the subject, in a strange way has many facets and is not easy to answer with one black and white statement. Too many factors involved in my humble opinion.

Sprue Cutters Union – February 2015 – A Dying Race

The Sprue Cutters Union is back and bigger than ever! If you are into modelling and maintain a blog, facebook page or website about it…. join us! Write your article about the topic at hand and share it over at The Combat Workshop. Also don’t forget, as a courtesy to the other bloggers, to post the links to their respective articles in your own article post. Simple as that and everyone is welcome!


This week’s topic: Is our hobby dying?

In one easy to understand word: NO, the hobby is not dying. Far from it even. This writers opinion is that it is changing.I could stop there and be done but let me elaborate and digress for fun and giggles.

A few years back i ended up in an adult form of “show and tell” in front of a group of people (don’t ask). So, naturally i brought one of my models and explained to the audience how i achieved painting and building the model and how i could also tell a bit about the historical background of said model. To my astonishment and delight i found my audience genuinely captivated and interested in my model and asking questions about it! One could conclude that the average Joe can appreciate a good model when they see one and be interested in hearing about it. So much for the dull, dusty and stuffy image our hobby is often referred to. People like models, period.

My personal opinion is that the modelling hobby is a rather specialised one that is not meant for everyone. It requires patience, dedication and eye for detail and, maybe to a lesser extent, an interest in the historical background of any given model. So often do i hear the phrase: “Wow, that is so detailed and cool! I could never do that because i simply do not have the patience for it”. And thats exactly why i think only a select group is really deep into the hobby.

In a way our hobby is facing a population in modern times that has a “sensory overload luxury problem”. There is easy entertainment all around us that is easily accessible, readily available and requiring no skill whatsoever. Especially moving to the united states i observed a 24/7 economy that caters to people wanting stuff. Now. Alot of it and anytime i want it. And i am participating too! I can pop on a neverending stream of episodes of “Cops” on my wide screen HD TV screen and sit on my lazy bum all day watching it and be entertained. (they never ever listen, it amuses me to no end) Not everyone has a natural sense of patience, just look around you on the freeway going to work. People weaving and bobbing and elbowing their way to a position just inches away from where they were….. tsssk tssk… impatient, what? Exactly.

The observation that the LHS around the corner being at it’s decline or getting smaller in my humble opinion is not without merit but it also doesn’t mean that the hobby is declining or dying. It is merely shifting position. I could order any modelling related item at any time of the day and have it delivered to my doorstep from the comfort of my home. I am noticing myself that i shifted from buying my kits at the LHS to buying them off the web. I still prefer going to the good old hobby store for paints and small supplies. Shifting and changing, not dying

I honestly think that we, modelling folk, absolutely need not worry about us being a dying race. A bunch of dusty dinosaurs with a questionable, hermit style  hobbychoice. Absolute nonsense! Visit your preferred modellers hangout on the interwebs and look up the “new guy saying hi” corner. There is a definate influx of new enthousiasts!

Our hobby went from the teenager at the kitchentable pumping out cheap airfix kits by the dozen, then blowing em up with firecrackers to a slightly more mature audience with a wallet that want quality kits to build. A shift from a ” building plastic toys” to “building high quality reflections of history” if you will. Not dying,…. changing

See? It is certainly not a matter of doom and gloom. Look around you and what is available to you compared to ten or twenty years ago. A vast expansion of available quality hobby related materials is what you see. Hardly a sign of companies abandoning us model folk because there is no profit to be made anymore. So rest easy,… go back to your benches and accept the change i say!

Hobby Boss – Armored Train Car – 1:72

The kit in question has a tiny background story to tell…

Normally you would never see me purchase a kit like this since i am not a train guy. But in this case the kit was purchased for me in order to paint and weather it and give it to a relative of mine (who IS a train guy) as a christmas present. In order to reach this deadline i had less than a week to build and complete.

The Kit:



Yep, armored train car… As Germany invaded Russia in summer ’41, the russian military was woefully unprepared as Stalin envisioned this not occurring before ’43. One of the problems that needed quick attention was protection of trains

In typical russian practical fashion a simple but effective solution was found: take an old grain wagon or something similar, slap on some armored plating and modify the roof so it can hold the turret of a KV-1 heavy tank. Done and home in time for vodka.


Thanks to a very low parts count construction only took me about two hours, including coffee and smoke breaks. I was pleasantly surprised that the model was of a decent size and not so small it dissapeared on the palm of my hand. Also the low parts count did not affect detail levels at all. Not being into trains i still can hugely appreciate the great potential for weathering these subjects. Just look at all those pretty rivets! Oh and did i mention the railway track base that comes with it? Our lust for weathering is starting to surface!



In retrospect i really wished i had more time to work on this model so i could really go to town on the ageing of this little gem. But alas, it is a speedbuild. Nevertheless i really tried to not rush too much and even had a chance to do some color modulation effects and the likes.

I started off by priming the whole thing, then coated the model in flat white and added black preshading


I then proceeded by airbrushing Vallejo Russian Green in progressively lighter shades to accentuate the flat angled surfaces. Darker towards the wheels and lighter towards the roof.


Lastly i handbrushed the protruding parts and all riveting to make them ” pop”. The subsequent weathering will tone down the stark contrast and blend everything in.


Also i gave our base a nice coat of paint. Flat black for the rubble, dark brown for the wooden parts and gunmetal and steel for the tracks.



After coating my work with satin varnish my model was ready for weathering effects. Using oil paints i started with a dark pinwash around all the protruding parts. While cleaning this up i added some streaking effects with it as i went along. This was then augmented by drybrushing the entire model with a very light color for more “pop”.


After i let all this give some time to cure, i then proceeded with more streaks using rust colored oils. The tracks got treated with washes and generous coats of dust effects using pigments.


Done! Time spent: approximately 20 benchtime hours over the course of 5 days. A true speedbuild. Thanks for watching

Sprue Cutters Union – Old Dog, New Tricks

The infamous Sprue Cutters Union is back! A ring of blogging modellers that discuss a certain topic and sharing their views and ideas each in their own style. If you are a modeller and you maintain a blog or website you can join in at any time! Write your blog article, discussing the topic at hand and post the link to http://thecombatworkshop.blogspot.com/ Also, as a courtesy to the other participants and in order to create traffic inbetween all our blogs, post the link to the other blog articles to your own post. It is that easy!

sprue cutter union 2

This months topic: What new things, products or techniques will you use in 2015?

2014 has been no less than life changing for me as a person. As a modeler i look back at my year and realise i did do a whole lot of new things. Techniques such as hairspray chipping and the use of color modulation come to mind but also incorporating streaking effects and chipping by brushpaint are things i experimented with in 2014.

This year i envision mostly building on these first steps and experiences. Especially the color modulation techniques are hugely exciting to me even if it is not something to every modeler’s taste. I personally admire the masters at this technique being able to incorporate light and shadow on their models by clever use of paint and weathering techniques.


In terms of totally new things… right now i am planning on  buying and using dedicated streaking agents and premade washes by companies such as AMMO by Mig Jimenez or AK interactive.


Also i am planning on stopping buying value kits in exchange for more sophisticated, higher detailed kits. They cost more but the scrooge in me must admit that they are just better than your average revellogram puttybomb kit. Time to be honest to myself and draw the old wallet. Shut up and take my money!

In extension to that i found that i am starting to use more and more aftermarket on my models as a standard, rather than a luxury.

All in all there may be some new things happening this year but for the most part i am aiming towards developing and refining techniques and ways of painting models that i have already started experimenting with in the previous year.

Take a look at what my esteemed collegues say about New things for 2015:

The Combat Workshop

Doogs Models

Yet Another Plastic Modeler

The Museum Modeler


A Scale Canadian

Motorsport Modeler

Eternal Wargamer

David Knight

Mattblackgod’s World

Miniature And Modelpainting

Greg’s Models