by Bob Caruso
This figure is from Japanese Animae. It is called Nausicaa on Kai. The entire figure was painted with Andrea acrylics, predominately Prussian Blue. The exception was Vallejo White, for adding highlights to the face, and Vallejo Metallic Green for the visor.
The legs on the figure were too lean; same thing with the butt (there was daylight showing between the rider and the saddle.) I first assembled the bird (Kai), cleaned it up, then went on to assemble the figure. Of course the fit wasn’t the greatest, so out with the tried and true epoxy putty.
The legs around the butt were filled and squashed on the saddle. When hardened, I popped it off, and some judicious carving and sanding resulted in a better but- to-saddle fit. This same technique was done on the saddlebags, the air mask, and other pouches.
The belts were highlighted and redone and the entire figure was cleaned up. My cleaning up process entails picking around all the details such as belts and pouches with homemade tools. I made these tools specifically for the purpose of raising the level of detail to greater sharpness. This is a technique used in for mold-making. If the detail stands out before you mold it , you still have detail to paint after it is cast, because recasting softens all edges.
Turning back to the bird Kai: The bird itself had a smooth surface. I carved the feathers in relief using a hot knife. This made the bird come to life. Then I did some major cleanup on the face, beak and leg protectors. The lot was washed with lacquer thinner to smooth out the prickly points. (Don’t try this unless you can control the plastic melting; it is a critical operation). The pieces were primed and then painted with Andrea and Valejo acrylics. The eyes…well, the anime artists follow a different procedure than the military miniaturist for painting the eyes…the big wide-eyed childish look is the result of this style.
Photo by Phil Novak