Tuesday 29 April 2014

1:300 BE2c — finished

So, here's that 1:300 scale BE2c I had going in my last post, all painted up and mounted on its magnetic flight stand, ready to be shot down easily by pretty much anything else in the sky.

I'm still not very happy with the wing struts, but I don't think they look quite as awful under a coat of paint.

The cyanoacrylate adhesive I used to assemble the thing seems to have bubbled out of the joints and left a nasty crystalline detritus — I hadn't noticed it before I painted the model. It's not too obvious unless you're looking for it, but I'm not all that pleased at it.

1:300 scale BE2c — WIP

I'm trying to build a 1:300 scale BE2c for aerial wargaming purposes, and this is the result so far. There's some good, and some not so good.

The wings and tailplanes are just light cardboard. That's fine for my purposes; plenty strong enough to take handling with a reasonable amount of care, and I can print the outlines straight on to it, which makes cutting out very simple. It will also, hopefully, make painting the wing roundels a lot easier than trying to get perfect circles by eye and guess.

The fuselage is epoxy resin. I've made a silicone rubber mould from a master cobbled together from various materials. I've embedded a bit of paper in the verical stabilizer during casting to give the epoxy a bit of reinforcement. I'm reasonably happy with the way the casting has turned out, though I neglected to key the two halves of the mould properly, so I'll have to take special care with alignment for future impressions.

The struts are copper wire, and that's where my major dissatisfaction lies. I haven't been able to get decent sharp bends around each loop, so the struts don't look like they're properly bedded into the wing surfaces. I'm not entirely sure how to resolve the issue, but do I have an idea to try: I might just pierce the lower wing and push the strut-pairs through it, gluing them from beneath (the undersides are never really visible anyway).

Thursday 3 April 2014

Light Stage — last one, I promise

I made this photograph to try out a group portrait on another painted backdrop.

The figures are from various manufacturers, and of various ages — the grey wizard (2nd right) and the thief in the middle are the oldest, and hail from the late '70s. The figure on the far right is the newest, and is one of WotC's iconic character figures, though I don't recall the name of the character or what her class was supposed to be.

I find it interesting how much the perceived image size changes the tonal range within the photo; clearly it pays to perform any tonal adjustments at the same size as the intended use size. A smaller image on-screen looks a lot darker than the exact same image at full size.

Click on the image to embiggen it.

This one was taken after darkening the backdrop considerably, which helped a lot with exposure, and with the light tilted forward somewhat so that I was getting more reflected light falling obliquely across the front of the figures.

I think I might be getting the hang of this.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Light Stage — more fiddling around

I've been experimenting with the use of a painted background sheet for my new light stage, and I'm reasonably happy with the results. It provides a decent setting for the models without being overly dominant.

I've also been playing with fill-flash. I'm in two minds about it.

It does benefit the reduced-size image (shown here at bottom-right), but in a larger on-screen image it tends to flatten out the tonal range a bit more than I'd like. I haven't bothered testing images for print, because frankly, I doubt that will ever be likely to become an issue.

I suspect that best results overall will probably be to use the fill flash, but to Photoshop the crap out of it to bring the tonal range back up a bit, if need be.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Light Stage - Addendum

I've done some test shots with varying parameters: a white or silver reflective shell, and a neutral grey or light blue background. Apart from setting the camera to macro and aperture priority (to maximize depth of field), I've let its automatics take care of everything else. Apart from cropping, the images have undergone no post-processing of any kind.

The results are unsurprising. The best combination to achieve the greatest fidelity in colour and tone is a neutral grey background, with a matte white reflective shell.

Neutral background, white shell

Neutral background, silver shell

Blue background, white shell

Blue background, silver shell

Light Stage

I've made myself a little light stage for photographing miniatures in. It seems to work pretty well, though I might experiment with it a bit to see if I can improve results.

Essentially, it's just a seamless stage built from foamcore and light card, surrounded by a cardboard cylinder, painted on the inside with silver matte white paint, and with a cut-out in front to shoot through. A single daylight bulb provides all the light I need; a key overhead light, and lots of diffuse reflected light from all around. It's not a lighting setup that would suit portraits of human beings, but it shows promise for little toy tanks and roleplaying dollies.

15mm (1:100 scale) Crusader Mk.I from Battlefront
The images do still need a little post-processing; I tend to leave my camera to do most of the work when I'm actually shooting, and then make fine adjustments in Photoshop. I admit, that's made me rather lazy about my photography, but life's too short to get too anal about these things, and I can no longer be bothered fussing and fiddling with my camera.
Don't know the manufacturer of this guy, but it's always been
one of my favourites among the huge-battle-armour figures.
Very old figure, don't know its details. The very, very long sword
is hammered and ground down from a nail to replace
the original, which got busted.

Eyeball Tentacle Monster complete

Here's my eyeball-tentacle-monster, all finished bar the painting. I've included an old Grenadier figure of a magician for scale.