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Table Top Terror

Back in the 1950s, if you wanted a quick and easy movie dinosaur, you just slapped a foam rubber sail to the back of an alligator or iguana and presto!  Instant Dimetrodon!  Of course, maybe it wasn't so quick or easy to do that . . . but the idea was to produce a familiar and yet bizarre prehistoric reptile, which is a more accurate description, by the way, since a Dimetrodon was technically not a dinosaur.


Anyway, the kit we are going to do today is from Creative-Beast Studio and it's incredible sculptor, David Silva.  David came on the scene relatively recently for most dino modelers, but his kits are beautiful.  Great detail and beautiful casts.  Plus, he often throws in a few surprises.

In the case of this kit, Silva provides a translucent sail.  I toyed with it for a while, but in the end, I opted for an opaque rendering . . . though in the light, you can still see a little shine through.

So . . . here we go.

STEP 1: Wash your kit in warm water with dish soap and allow it to dry to remove oils and mold release agents can cling to the kit.  Washing kits makes it easier for primer and paint to adhere.

STEP 2:  Assembling the kit is fairly straight forward.  The tail, arms and legs have a "lock and key" style connection. I did a test fit for each part and found that a little trimming was in order.  I like to use Xuron Rail Nips for big pieces, as you can see in the photo to the right and a Xacto with #11blades to shave the edges of the key part for a smooth fit.


STEP 3:  I don't think it is necessary with this kit, but I decided to pin the joints using nails with the heads clipped off and 3 minute epoxy.  In the photo to the left, you can see my standard technique for lining up the parts.

Select a nail and clip the head off with pliers if necessary.  Choose a drill bit just a little larger than the circumference of the nail and drill a hole about 1/4 inch into the body.  Then take a toothpick, clip it so that it will fit in the hole and protrude slightly, and put a dot of wet paint on it.

Then, press the key part into the lock part so that the paint leaves a little dot on the second piece.  This will tell you where to drill your second hole.

When the second hole is drilled, slide the clipped nail into the body and then match it up with the second part, in this case the arm. Once you are happy with the fit (and a little bit of "play" is a good thing), cement the parts together using 3 minute epoxy.  You can use CA glue (aka Superglue) as well, especially around the seams, but epoxy will really hold it well.


STEP 4: Once the epoxy has set, you need to fill the gaps between the parts and press the skin pattern back into the filler.  I used Aves 2 part putty for this kit between the joints at the tail, arms, legs and upper head.  Roll the two parts together in equal amounts and let it sit 5 minutes or so before pressing the putting into the seams.

Before the putty sets (which can take a couple hours, actually), you need to take a skin impression and press that pattern back into the putty.  I use Alchemy Works Repliscale. In fact, I have done this so often that I have a "library" of skin impressions that I typically use if they fit

STEP 5: Before you paint the kit, you need to apply a primer coat.  I use FW Inks Cool Gray sprayed through an Iwata HP-B airbrush at about 20 psi, but you can use a spray can and get good results.  The primer may reveal places needing more putty, but I have to say with this kit, the cast is so good, I did not need anything else.


STEP 6: After a few experiments, I decided to go for some traditional lizard colors . . . yellow, green and black.

The first coat was done with FW Inks Olive Green over the entire kit, followed by FW Inks Yellow Ochre sprayed in randomly in sweeps on the body, completely under the chin and lightly on the belly.  I also put in yellow spots more or less randomly of varying sizes.

Then I turned to FW Inks black.  With the airbrush on low pressure (around 12 psi) I carefully shot in black circles around the yellow dots and put in lines in stripes in light lines.  The process takes some patience, but one of the great things about yellow and black is that you can overlap one with the other to make corrections or improvements.

Also, you'll notice the base.  It is something of a rock and dirt slope with lichen sculpted over it, so I kept the colors simple.  The rocks are FW Inks Cool Gray and the dirt is FW Inks Raw Umber. 


The lichen is done with Apple Barrel Spring Green dry brushed over the surface. In the final stages, the rocks are dry brushed with Apple Barrel Dolphin Gray and then sprayed over with Lifetone Freestyle Transparent Payne's Gray.  The dirt is coated with Lifetone Freestyle Transparent Raw Umber.

When it was all done, I coated the entire kit with Testor's Dulcote to protect the paint job.  I have to say, I was tempted to stop there . . . but no!


STEP 7:  The sail was then sprayed with Lifetone Freestyle Transparent Bright Flesh, which is actually a very vibrant red (at least on this kit!)  A heavier coat went on the sail and then around the sail on the body and on the snout, it got a lighter coat.

I also patched in layers of Freestyle Transparent Jet Black, Light Green and a little Yellow Ochre. The key is to layer things slowly so that the skin patterns can start to take on some depth.

Once I was happy with it, I hand painted the teeth with Americana Buttermilk, a craft paint. and sealed the whole thing again with Testor's Dulcote.  It protects the paint job and prepares it for the finishing phase in this construction, the oil wash.

STEP 8: The oil wash will bring the kit together, blending the skin tones. An oil wash is made by mixing oil paints with thinners. I mixed up about 5 parts mineral spirits to one part Burnt Umber oil paint by Windsor & Newton (aka Winton) artist oils.  This solution was applied to the entire kit beginning at the top and working my way down.  Before it dried fully, I wiped it off with a clean rag with just a little mineral spirits on it.  (To learn more about oil washes, you can click here.)

STEP 9:  The last little bit is to finish the eyes and claws. I painted the eyeball, which is about 1.5 mm, white with a tiny 00 brush.  Using the very tip of a needle, I put in a vertical line for the pupil and when it dried, coated it with Tamiya Gloss Red.

The claws were done with flat black and finished with a light coat of Future Floor Wax.  A little Future went on the teeth as well.

That is about it . . . if you have questions or kits you want done professionally, you can contact me at writesjk @ gmail.com.



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