|”We're in the pipe, five by five.”
A few months back, I found an old Forge World Arvus Lighter, forgotten and unassembled in a box, and decided to assemble it. With that hurdle surmounted, I decided to do the last step, and paint the model! I do not have much experience painting larger models, having only painted a scale T-26 for Iron Sleet’s Thorn Moon project. Like that model, I really wanted to experiment with using more scale modeling techniques, rather than the more traditional ‘Eavy Metal style. When planning the paint scheme, I watched a lot of YouTube videos by the scale modeler Night Shift, and would strongly encourage you to do the same if you are interested in pushing your painting skills.
|To add color modulation and weathering, I used various oil and enamel products to apply filters, panel liners, and streaking effects.
I wanted the Lighter to call up images of USA military planes, such as the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog), and chose to paint the model using grays. Specifically, I painted the top of the plane using USAF Medium Gray (Vallejo 71.275), while the belly was USAF Light Gray (Vallejo 71.276). This was done using an airbrush, masking the separating point using Tamiya masking tape. The metal parts were painted with a series of Vallejo Metal color paints, including Gunmetal Grey (77.720), Exhaust Manifold (77.723), and Duraluminium (77.702).
|Due to the resin pieces not fitting together well, I glued the cockpit and rear hatch closed, meaning I did not have to paint any interior detail.
After completing the basecoating for the model, I experimented using a few Tamiya Weathering Master pigments. These are essentially little makeup palettes, containing an assortment of different different pigments. With an old brush I simply applied the material to different parts of the plane, mainly using Soot and Rust. With a separate brush I then further blended the material by simply continuing to brush over the area, removing any larger, loose pigments. These did a good job of adding a little additional color to the model, and served as very basic weathering. Since these products are still essentially dry pigments, it is important to varnish the model if you plan to do additional painting steps (unlike oils or enamels, which will eventually dry and cure).
|The windshield was initially painted black before using an airbrush and Daler and Rowney White acrylic ink to create a gradient. I then added a layer of satin varnish to give it a slight shine.
At this point, I applied a few decals to the model. I used a few caution stripe decals I had from my previous Eva-01 build. Like with that model, I used Tamiya’s Mark Fit solution to soften and apply the decals. I also applied some decals from SIMP that were created for the Psycho Zaku from Gundam Thunderbolt. Before moving on, I also painted some chipping effects using a gray paint that was darker than the base coat, in this case, Ocean Gray (Vallejo 71.273). This was done using a small brush, focusing primarily along the edges of the model. I then went back and picked out some of the chips by lining them with a lighter gray. At this point I sprayed the model lightly with matt varnish, to seal in the decals.
|Decals from other model kits, in this case a Psycho Zaku from Gundam Thunderbolt, can be very useful for adding additional visual elements to a vehicle model.
The next stage was to better pick out some of the details and panel lines. I accomplished this using Ammo of Mig enamel products, specifically a streaking grime for Winter vehicles. The product is easily drawn into panel lines and other details via capillary action. After letting it dry for around 10 minutes, I went back with a brush with odorless thinner and cleaned up any areas I got too much enamel. To ensure the product never got too dry, making removing excess enamel with odorless thinner difficult, I did this stage in pieces, one section at a time, like a wing or the lower hull. This process takes a long time to complete, but it really helps add definition to the model.
To modulate the color of the model a little further, I did an oil dot filter with a series of Ammo of Mig Oilbrushers and some Abteilung oil paints. The technique is really simple, involving adding a large number of small, different color dots all over the model, and then using a brush, wet with odorless thinner, to brush most of the paint off, blending in the remaining paint. Finally, using enamel streaking grime, I painted some streaks on various places on the model and used odorless thinner to blend it in, further adding to the weathered look of the vehicle.
|Top view of the battered Arvus Lighter.
|And arco-flagellant races along with the Arvus Lighter.
I am thrilled to be able to say I have finished painting the Arvus Lighter. For years I assumed it would just stay in a box forever, due to its poor assembly, but I managed to put it together. The painting process was also a large undertaking for me, but the excitement of having the model assembled and realization that the model could be fun to use in games of Kill Team or Inq28 games pushed me to complete it. After the process was started, it was easy to keep pushing through the process, and a fun excuse to try new things. Admittedly, I still need to paint the base, so the model is not technically finished, but I still consider it a victory!
- Eric Wier