PKA H0.5 Nearly Done

Wrapping up this project quickly now–so I can move on to the next one–here’s a couple more progress reports:
July 6, 2007

Maschinen Krueger:
You may want to blend in some shorter grasses next to the path and a few small clumps of roots from branches into the middle. It looks too manicured right now. Also, try to add some short grasses around the perimeter to conceal the bases of the clumps where they contact the groud.

I tried to bring in some shorter grass clumps towards the front (probably not real visible in the awful pictures), but I’ll try doing that around the sides, as well. The reason I didn’t do it around the sides before (aside from the tedious nature of it) was that I didn’t want it to appear as if there was an "outer edge" to the tall grass at the edge of the base–if that makes sense. The manicured effect isn’t nearly as bad in-person, but it does need further refinement. For the past two nights, I’ve been taking my decal-trimming scissors to trim the grass in such a way where the heights appear random. Obviously, I’m not quite there yet. I’ll continue working with it this weekend and hopefully get it looking better.

The "Scenery Manual" (published by Woodland Scenics) suggests taking the grass between your finger and thumb, and then making small circular motions with the grass there, to randomize the height before trimming the bottom and gluing it down. It works, but it’s not quite perfect if it’s still looking "manicured". Upon close inspection, the base looks like it’s full of green hair plugs.

And the reference pictures (especially the second one) are a big help. Thanks!

Whoo hoo, pictures
Looks great to me.
Adding the tufts of grass in the ankle joints would work, just don’t over do it

Thanks! And yeah… I was thinking about how my old Ford Ranger would get grass stuck in the rust-holes by the wheel wells when I would take it down field roads. Regardless of how long the grass actually was, the stuck pieces would rarely be longer than four or five inches.

I suppose now would probably be a good time to talk about the limited modifications I made to the kit. There was the Mecha Skunk hoses (already mentioned). In addition to that, I used some phone wire to wrap around the elbow joint–just to give it a little bit of color there. I believe it was one red strand and three black strands of wire. The binocular brackets didn’t line up right with allowing the canopy to close, so I cut those in half and attached them directly to the torso below the back of the canopy. Since their "holders" in the cockpit served no purpose after that, I looped jewelry wire around one of them; and ran a black phone wire entwined with a strand of jewelry wire through the other, out the canopy opening, and up to the binoculars. I think that effect worked.

Finally, just to be different, I tried something I saw in the Ma.K. Modeling Book. I bought a 100-pack of cheap glue-on fingernails and used two of them for the shoulder armor. I had to bend them a little bit to get them closer to the desired shape, and I cut them so one end was a straight line to line up with the torso. I think it worked great. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the rest of the fingernails, but I’m sure they’ll have other model-related uses down the road.

July 9, 2007
Well, I’m nearly ready to call this done, but I’m still open to any closing suggestions on it. A little report on the progress I accomplished over the weekend…

On Friday night, I added more (and shorter) grass around the edges of the grass already in-place on the base. I think the end result has pretty-well taken care of the "hair-plug" look that it was suffering earlier. I also think that–for all the grass–mixing about 10% of Woodland Scenics "Light Green" with 90% "Medium Green" has given it a bit more realism. I’m not so foolish as to think that the grass I’ve added is perfect–or perfectly in-scale, but it looks more like grass than it does look like a piece of wood growing green hair. So more grass added around the edges. Enough about the grass.

The rest of the weekend was trying to get the wood stain to look right. If you compare the photos below to the earlier photos, you’ll see that the base is much darker–and probably a hair more shiny. On Saturday, I applied stain and a "clear satin" overcoat. On Saturday night, I realized how "gunky" it looked (for lack of a better word), sanded it back some, and then more carefully applied stain and overcoat on Sunday. It looks better now. I still need to prune back some grass here and there, but I think the base is pretty-well wrapped up at this point.

And here’s the photos (or links to them, anyways):

These aren’t "finished" photos, as I’m still open to last-minute suggestions about anything involved with it. After I clean up the grass (which I think will be an ongoing process) and sort through any feedback, I’ll get some "final photos" up.

And that, as they say, is that. I’ll add finished pictures to the gallery once I have them.

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