Category: The Fiddler

Completed: The Fiddler Mech

Posted by Mangozac on June 10, 2013

As with everything I do it took longer than planned, but the Fidder is finally completed!

I spent my long weekend finishing off the base so that I could do the pigment “dusting” to both the base and the model at the same time (to ensure the tones are correct). The base has turned out fantastically, especially after the pigments were added – they really pull everything together.

I’m very pleased with the concrete sidewalk on the base – I’ll share the technique on an upcoming post for my Warhound diorama (that’s next on the agenda). It was coloured by airbrushing with a custom Vallejo paint mix and then discolouration was applied using some oil and enamel paints. This step really makes the difference and makes it look like real, dirty concrete. A dark wash was applied to the joins between the slabs. I do have to note how much better these oil washes look than trying to achieve the same effects with acrylics. After the oils had dried I misted a light coat of Tamiya TS80 Flat Clear spray over the concrete to dull it down a bit.

But by far my favourite detail is the Coke can in the gutter. It was a last minute addition that came to me in a moment of inspiration. It’s simply a piece of 2.5mm styrene rod with a crinkle pattern carved into one side. A small hole and a piece of microstrip make up the ring pull on one end. It was then primed and painted with Vallejo silver. The sides were given a coat of semitranslucent red (in order to retain some of the metallic sheen of the silver underneath) and finally “Coke” was painted on the side in white with my finest brush. It turned out fantastically and as my girlfriend pointed out it gives a really good reference of scale.

As I said above, it was the pigments dusting that really brought it all together. Despite the concrete looking dirty from the oil paint application, it needed to be covered in dirt to simulate the arid environment. In particular the gutter needed to be very dirty. I mixed up a nice colour using Secret Weapon Yellow Earth, Green Earth and Slate Grey pigments and applied it everywhere. It was deposited in heavy clumps in the gutter and then some Tamiya X20A thinners were dropped on top to settle it down. Once the thinners had evaporated I feathered it all out a bit and the result looks great.

All in all it’s been a very satisfying project. As always I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way! The biggest change that I think would have helped would be to add some warning sign and other aircraft style decals in a few spots. I just didn’t have any handy when I was at that stage and didn’t want to delay things waiting for some to arrive via mail order!

I do also have a 1/35 soldier figure to add to the base but the intention is to sculpt a futuristic looking helmet/visor system for him first. I’ll get around to that one day and he can be added to the base then 😉

On to the pics!

I’ve got to give a shout out to my girlfriend Kat for taking the pictures with her super expensive camera in her home studio. Thanks! 😉

WIP: The Fiddler Mech 6

Posted by Mangozac on May 29, 2013

Today’s brief update is showing my progress on the diorama base. As you can see I’m going for a dirt street and section of sidewalk. The base is made from a piece of timer chopped to size and then edged with a styrene skirt. On top of this does a dirt mix and then the cement. I added too much black to the hydrostone “cement” mix so it’s a little bit dark, but that’s ok it will paint up to the right colour just fine.


Ignore the strange effect on the dirt – I had just applied some more (a dirt and PVA mixture) on top of the base dirt coat (which is dirt, hydrostone and a glob of PVA).


Here’s the Fiddler sitting on top to show the scale. The next step is to scallop out slightly the spots where the feet will go, fill them with a sand and gel medium mix and then press the Fiddler into it to make it look “settled” into the ground (rather than hovering slightly above it). This thing would weigh a few tonnes so it would certainly put some pressure on the ground!

Once that’s all done I’ll paint the edging in gloss black, mask it off and then paint the dirt and cement.

WIP: The Fiddler Mech 5

Posted by Mangozac on May 21, 2013

It’s very exciting to have finally assembled the painted parts. It looks great and is really coming together now!

After soliciting some advice from some mates who use similar techniques over on WargamerAU, I was introduced to Tamiya XF-86 Flat Clear. I specifically wanted a clear that I could spray through my airbrush, as the Tamiya TS-80 rattle cans are lacquer based and too thick of an application can cause damage to the underlying paint. I went down to Toyworld and grabbed from XF-86 and I have to say it’s very impressive. You just thin it like any other Tamiya acrylic and it provides a nice matte surface.

So all the parts got a coat and I then painted up the various optic sensors, followed a coat of gloss on the optics only. I then used super glue and 5 minute 2-part epoxy to assemble everything (epoxy is preferred as there is no danger of white hazing created from the super glue fumes).

Fiddler_WIP_18 Fiddler_WIP_19


One thing I have come to notice is that I really was a little too heavy with the brown wash application. At the time it felt like I wanted a really strong contrast, but in hindsight a little more subtle would be been better. In any case it’s too late now – everything is sealed with the matte clear coat!

Next up: dust effects!

WIP: The Fiddler Mech 4

Posted by Mangozac on May 16, 2013

Well last night I finished applying the oils. It took way longer than expected and I’m still getting used to working with the oils (slow drying time = be careful where you put your fingers!). The best thing about the oil paints is how they can be used in very thin, transparent layers to tint the colour underneath.

As mentioned in the last post, I’m using AK Interactive AK-121 OIF & OEF wash for the bulk of the shading/grime and applying thinned black oil paint for vents and metal areas.

In order to add some interest I decided to fade the upper panel surfaces with white oil paint and give that tired desert operation look. I just dotted on a few spots of white oil paint and then used a large brush to spread them out and blend evenly. The white paint has also given those panels a very matte appearance, making the contrast between them and the glossy un-faded panels very start. Once the model is given a coat of flat clear it should all look much more uniform.



As you can see I started some assembly. I’ll complete the assembly after I’ve done the flat clear coat, so that I can weather it all in a uniform manner. I’ll wait a couple of days before the clear coat – you need to ensure that the oils have cured sufficiently first.

So the processes left are:
– Flat clear coat
– Paint optics
– Grease and oil stains (have to be done after the clear coat so that they’re glossy)
– Dust weathering (pigments, etc.)

I secretly sat the torso on top of the assembled legs and it looks really exciting! Can’t wait to see it come together! I do need to start work on a base for it though – I have a simple dirt and concrete base in mind.

WIP: The Fiddler Mech 3

Posted by Mangozac on May 12, 2013

I have been making progress on this but have struggled to find time to post about it! This update was completed during the week, but I’m only now posting these images.

I’ve sprayed a few markings onto the Fiddler, inspired by those shown on Don’s latest render. To do this I took some measurements, drew up the markings in Inkscape and then printed them out. I then placed the printout atop some 18mm width Tamiya tape temporarily stuck to my cutting mat and used a knife to cut through both the paper and the tape. The tape was carefully lifted and fixed to the Fiddler.

This was done on both thighs and I also did a unit number marking on the top left of the torso.

One other thing I did try was to stipple on a small amount of liquid mask after I had applied the templates to the model (to simulate where the markings had been chipped or worn off). After spraying Tamiya white I removed the tape and the liquid mask, but the the result was less than impressive. Perhaps I just aren’t yet skilled enough in applying liquid mask but it simply didn’t give me the effect I wanted. So I brushed some Vallejo white over the top of the sprayed markings to make the chips less severe and much finer.

The masked thigh:

After removing the mask:

Unit marking:

Pretty pleased with the overall result. I’ve since given it all a coat of gloss clear and have begun applying weathering oils and washes. For vents and deep panel lines I’m using thinned artists’ oil paint. For everything else I’m using AK-Interactive AK-121 OIF & OEF wash (which is just a clay brown colour). The first time I tried the oil based weathering techniques (on my Superheavy Assault Walker) I had a lot of trouble because I hadn’t laid down a suitably consistent gloss clear coat. I’ve not made that mistake here however and applying the oils works like a dream!

I’ve found that the wash needs to be shaken up pretty regularly during use (like every 5 minutes) in order to keep the pigment nice and suspended – maybe you’re supposed to decant some of it into a palette rather than apply straight from the bottle. I’m about halfway through this stage and will have a photo update when it’s done.

Once oils are done I think we’ll be ready for final assembly (exciting!).

WIP: The Fiddler Mech 2

Posted by Mangozac on April 26, 2013

Soldiering on!

As you can see, painting is progressing. I was having an issue with the chipping fluid but I sorted it out: the Mig Productions Absolute Chipping product required you to also use the fluid to chip the paint (rather than just warm water as is used with hairspray and other dedicated products). However after painting all of the rest of the parts in one big batch and then trying to chip them it still wasn’t working as it should. I believe where I went wrong this time was the use of a clear coat over the German Grey colour. The chipping fluid has relatively high surface tension and the gloss coat prevents it from giving an even coat over the top of the gloss. Apparently you shouldn’t need to use any kind of clear between your base colour and the chipping fluid, but I was really paranoid about removing paint back to the actual primer. Further research concluded that I should mix in some Tamiya X-21 Flat Base with the gloss to flatten it down a bit and allow the chipping fluid to cover evenly.

I won’t be using the Mig Productions product again though. I’ve purchased some AK-Interactive Worn Effects fluid and will try that next time. Having to use the chipping fluid for the removal too means you go through a lot of the Mig Productions stuff, so the AK-Interactive product should be more economical too.

Anyway, on to the pics. Nothing too exciting here: you can see the failed chipping on the leg. I’m just going to have to do the traditional “sponge and brush” chipping technique. I’ve given all parts except the torso their grey paint. Once that’s done I’ll do the chipping, hit it all with gloss clear and then pinwash all of the details. Then weathering (the exciting bit!).

Fiddler_WIP_9 Fiddler_WIP_10

I think these shots show just how naturally matte Tamiya paints are: they make the Vallejo paint (the dark grey parts) look super glossy!

Hopefully I’ll get another update done over the weekend 😉

WIP: The Fiddler Mech

Posted by Mangozac on April 16, 2013

I’ll start off with full disclosure: bringing this design to resin has been my pet project for the past year. The Fiddler is an awesome design created by the talented artist Alex Iglesias back in 2010 (original artwork). An equally talented 3D modeller named Don Bradford then created an insanely detailed 3D animation model. Last year I arranged a license agreement, had it prepped and then 3D printed and now my mate Alan from Black Dragon Castings/White Dragon Miniatures is casting and distributing them. I got my hands on a pre-production kit ahead of the product launch at Salute 2013 this weekend in the UK.

Darkmessiah got one of the other pre-production kits and painted it in a fantastic digicam: I decided however that I wanted to paint mine more in line with Don’s 3D render: more like a modern US tank in a sand colour and with lots of worn paint. I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to use the advanced “hairspray chipping” technique. In stead of hairspray though I’m using the Mig Productions “Absolute Chipping”.

First up, some assembly shots 😉



I skipped pics during cleanup and assembly because it was kind of boring. So straight to the temporarily assembled model (it gets broken back down into sub-assemblies for painting):

Fiddler 1

I prime with my favourite primer: Tamiya Surface Primer (grey).


Next up all of the parts got a coat of Tamiya XF-63 German Grey, followed by two coats of Pascoes Floor Polish (a clear coat). Note that I use Tamiya thinner too, as I find it works really well.


From here on I’m in uncharted territory (for me anyway) so I proceeded just with the pelvis piece to experiment. I sprayed on two coats of the Mig Absolute Chipping and let it dry:


Next I did some pre-shading for the main coat. I sprayed XF-1 Flat Black onto the bottom surface of the pelvis to shade the underside. Then XF-2 Flat White was painted roughly into the centre of each of the panels (except for the bottom panels).


Over this I sprayed a coat of XF-60 Dark Yellow. At this stage it’s hard to see the effect of the pre-shading but in the past I’ve found that once the paint receives a clear coat it become much more defined. That’s just how flat the Tamiya colours are!

Immediately after cleaning the airbrush I set upon the part with some water, old, stiff brushes, a toothpick and a toothbrush. The idea is that the water causes the chipping fluid layer to dissolve in a controlled manner, causing the outer layers of paint to chip off. Unfortunately it didn’t work fantastically – I think either the chipping fluid needed more coats or the coats needed to be thicker. In the demo video for Absolute Chipping they brush it on so I might try that on the next part tomorrow night…

Still after a bit of perseverance I got some decent chipping effects. Unfortunately it did wear through to the actual primer (rather than the dark grey “fake primer”) in a couple of spots, but that will be easy enough to fix with a brush. I’m determined to perfect this technique, since all of the armour modellers make it look so simple!


Stay tuned for more progress – I’m hoping to knock this project over pretty quickly!