This is one of my first models/build-log threads in a long, long time. Getting back into the hobby after years of being away is both really exciting and kinda intimidating. Funny my first post is here …. Never built anything sci-fi before.
The kit is Bandai’s 1/48 AT-ST offering. After reading reviews and finding it at Hobby Lobby, I figured I’d go for it. (I was wandering aimlessly around looking for something to do after recently having shoulder surgery … not that I didn’t have a huge stash of models already at the house.)
The kit itself is really nice. Very well detailed and very well molded in grey styrene. One sprue comes in brown for the base and red/clear for other pieces. The entire kit can be built without any glue and does offer slight positioning options of legs and head.
I started off reading through all the directions, which are decently detailed, but in Japanese. To build and paint the model easily, you must skip around steps. I built sub-assemblies of the legs, and the “body”, and left the head and many other smaller pieces separated to ease painting. I built up sub-assemblies as much as I could, thinking about preparing for paint.
While painting the interior/ cockpit, being able to fit the head together to check things using the locating slots/pins was really nice. The cockpit is nicely detailed, but Bandai completely punted on the “pilot” figures so I’ll be leaving them out. This left the seats pretty bare, so I added stippling and spare PE belts. I also added some grab handles to the back wall and just inside the hatch. Painted base colors and added a little chipping, then sealed with Future.
Planning on at least an oil wash, maybe a little more weathering, and maybe some small, spare decals, but when closed up hardly anything will be visible.
This is where I sit for now.
Got a little more done on the interior this morning before heading off to do some other chores. I needed to let it sit and dry anyway before sealing everything with a matte coat. Then everything can be put together.
Here’s the oil wash and highlights are done.
I was considering adding a few small decals from my spares box, but after test fitting everything to make sure all the colors blended well, it was obvious you wouldn’t be able to see much (and that’s with the roof still off), so I decided against it. With everything closed up, most of the detail will just be lost.
We’ll soon have everything closed up and it’ll be off to painting, then heavy weathering is the plan.
Well, I didn’t get the matte coat laid down tonight. Honestly, just didn’t want to fiddle with the booth and airbrush.
However, I could resist fitting everything together to check things and the final stance. As I’ve said before with this kit, one of the nice things is that you can put it all together to check fit and then take it all apart again. Bandai did a good job with this kit. It’s kid and detailed-builder friendly all at the same time.
Things to note from the build … I didn’t like the look of the shields on the exterior weapons on the side of the turret, so I made my own out of plasti-card. I also added a couple of plasti-card strips to the turret just to add some detail or break up the symmetry. Other details were added from the spares box. The big addition I decided to do was to scratch build an M2 .50cal, gun shield, and turret ring around the hatch. As a tip of the hat to the ol’ girl, Mrs. Ol’ Reliable, I thought … “sure. I bet the .50cal would still be around during galactic empire times.” I also scratch-built an antenna and mount from plastic rod, wire, and stretched sprue. It didn’t seem right that a reconnaissance-type vehicle didn’t have a gun station up top or communications antennas. Lastly, I’d never done battle damage on a model before. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and went for it. Pretty pleased with how it came out, except for the big “scar” on the left “cheek”. I just feel like the angle is off. But … oh well. Anyway …. I pieced it together and took pictures. ….. enjoy.
Weeeellllll …. I figured I’d let this little guy stew enough just sitting in the paint booth, so I drug’er out. Time to get to some weathering. But first, priming, black basing, and a top coat of medium gray.
Dragging this back to the bench, I started in with a dot filter of burnt umber, black, yellow ochre, and titanium white.
(I should have just left it as a dot camo … I’d be done.)
The thing I love about oil dot filtering is that you can step away for a minute, come back and reevaluate things. After I got things done to my liking, I used a hairdryer to help set the paint … it’ll still need a little while to cure on its own, but it helps. In the meantime, I took a Gundam marker, these are new to me, and colored in the blast marks a bit. I also took a silver gel pen and gently touched a bit or two over the black marker to give the idea of bare metal. Very hard to tell over the gray, but I also added some silver chipping using silver enamel and sponge.
Next, the oil sludge wash. …. Oops … I should have thinned it a BIT more. I got some wiping work ahead of me.
Maybe I’ll just stop here and call it Swamp Thing … dirty bastard.
Still enjoying the process of getting my hands dirty again. I plan to continue weathering using methods long since practiced and maybe some new ones picked up here and there.
After taking stock in Q-tip, I decided to go ahead and give it a go … scrub scrub scrub…
The right side armor panel ended up having some orange peel effect in the paint and somehow I hadn’t noticed it until now. I don’t know. … after quick thinking, I’ve decided to leave this panel a little more dirty and will add more in-depth rust spots to it. Like it’s much older than the rest like it was maybe replaced or painted crappy. I’ll leave it different enough to be of interest but not enough to distract.
Tired. Not sure where to go from here … but off to bed. Maybe I’ll have more ideas in the morning.
So … I decided to just keep going with it. …
To help break up the darkness on the legs I went back to add some slight chipping with a silver gel pen. I was pretty sparse on this run as I didn’t want everything silvery mark to be “fresh”. The sludge wash covered up a lot, but you could still see a little even after the wash. On the legs, during construction, I’d purposefully gouged a few places to simulate damage from rocks, trees, etc. I added a couple of small dots of silver to the edge of them and then drug my finger through the silver along the same path as the scoring. It’s not much but it really helps to break up the darkness from the wash. I also tried to stay to the very outside edges of things, gun tips, armor edges, etc.
Lastly, I had some Tamiya panel line, dark gray, I tried for the engine vents. I didn’t like it so I tried to dab it off with a q-tip before it dried. Well, I flinched slightly due to a pain in my shoulder and ended up dabbing a spot in an open area. Fortunately, it was light enough and close enough to a panel door that it looked like a dirt/grease rub. … so I kept going. Ended up being a nice, subtle mistake. It’s just enough to help break things up a bit.
On the engine vents, I may try a black/ burnt umber oil wash to try and darken them up (I don’t have Tamiya panel line in black … plus, I’m not really sure how I feel about using them yet). But I think I’m pretty close to sealing up this weathering process and moving on to something else. I may try a couple of layers of dot filtering and sealing on that one armor panel just to see what I get. I also want to add some more chipping there with a fine brush to see what happens. After that, I figure I’ll try some dusting pigments and maybe some mud splatter on the legs. I wish I’d have thought to look through my spare decal sheets to see if there were a couple of small ones I could pick out and apply … I any still do that and then add some spot weathering.
Other than that … I might be getting close to done. Am I missing anything???
Well …. Ummm … so … … well, I finished it. . I honestly didn’t think I was this close to being done. Sorry, I’m just so surprised at myself. This is literally the first model I’ve not just finished but started and finished in a timely matter in … 6-7 … maybe 8yrs!?! Wow. … anyway, let’s see where we left off.
I did end up doing a black wash over all the venting. It worked like a charm. It also helped to break up all the “brown” from the sludge wash.
I also ended up reworking the rusty armor panel … like 3-4 times. I seemed to have gotten it juuuust right, and then I took it too far. In the end, I think I got it. I went back to a basic dot filter, but instead of wiping it almost clean, leaving streaks, I just got the colors good and mixed up and then I gently used the brush to get a good stippling look. I detailed it later with some dark spots using dark brown pigments. I also re-added some fresh, silver chipping with a sponge.
I used some Tamiya weathering master kits to dust the model overall. Mostly paying attention to the feet and legs, using sand and light sand for dust. I also used soot to detail the gun barrels, and some orange rust and dark rust to add a little more variation to the rusty armor panel.
Shaving some pigments from a dark brown pastel and mixing it with alcohol, I took a small, stiff brush and a toothpick and made some mud splatters on the feet and up the legs. I also turned the and splattered towards the underside. I let this get good and dry and then took a stiff bristle brush to pick some of the pigment off. I also re-added some slight silver chipping back.
I picked out a few other details here and there … and then … all of a sudden … I was done. I took it in and sprayed two coats of matte varnish and voila!
So without further delay … here. we. go …