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LPS2 Round 2 - Report from Coat of Arms


Omnimech Dragonfly
Product #
20-608
Manufacturer
Suggested Retail Price
$7.95 USD


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Minidragon Fezian writes:

Doh! I posted my thoughts in the other thread… Suffice to say the nose-art seems weak; I can't really tell what it is. The photos are WAY too small as well. The pose and idea of the piece is very cool though. Mech needs more detail, especially the rear end.


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19 May 2006page first published

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RobH writes:

Lt. Annova stood in the shadow, "Hecate" - her brand-new Dragonfly - looming menacingly above her head. She hated these reviews, wasting good training time on keeping the top brass happy. God knows her team needed all the range-time they could get... replacement Mech jocks in new machines, the worst possible combination. Still, at least the front was relatively quiet currently - had to be really, that was the only time the brass ever came anywhere near it.

She could not wait to get back into the cockpit of the Witch, back in her element, back where she belonged....

The Midnight Witch

Dragonfly OmniMech by RobH

The Midnight Witch

The Dragonfly Omnimech (codename Viper) is a small, 40-ton lightly armed-and-armoured jump-equipped mech. Fast and agile, it is without equal in the recon and scouting role. Its light armament of medium lasers and/or SRM4 missile pods is sufficient to take out sensor stations and light ground defences, but it is not equipped to go head-to-head with main battlemechs.

Assembling the Model

The model came as 8 pieces: feet on the base, 2 legs, main torso, and 4 alternate arms (allowing you to build all-laser, all-missile, or mixed weapon variants of the model). Assembly is fairly straightforward; the joints are made with deep insert lugs, so no pinning was necessary. Only limited variations to the pose are possible without very major conversion work - you basically get to choose the angle of lean on the torso and the elevation of the weapons, on a model which can only be built looking forward.

Original casting

I cleaned all the parts with needle files to remove the very prominent mould lines. (Thankfully, most of the body panels are flat surfaces - otherwise, this would have been a nightmare task. Unusual for a BattleTech model, as generally mould lines are not a problem.) Then I washed all the pieces in soapy water, and left them to dry.

The pose and appearance I planned for the model was to be rear-echelon review, rather than active service. A Mech painted and polished for inspection, so I exaggerated the lean forward of the torso so that the nose was pointing towards the ground, and fixed the arms in a drawn-back position. I had already decided on the image I wanted to paint for the nose art, and the colour scheme for the mech. (But very nearly changed all that when I saw the final pose that the model had, very reminiscent of a Wild West gunfighter in a fast-draw stance, so I nearly changed everything to a cowboy theme!)

Once assembled, the model was brushed with acetone cleaner to remove any grease, and then I brush-primed the model in Humbrol Coal Black enamel - which has a slatelike blue/grey tint, rather than a pure black.

I always use enamels for undercoating, as I find they give a better surface for painting on than acrylic primers. Apart from this enamel, all other paints I used on this figure are from the GW paint range.
Undercoated

Painting the Model

I apologise that there are no in-progress pictures of this painting stage, but a minor error on my part - in erasing rather than downloading the camera memory card - obliterated the few that I had taken.

As the theme for this round was very specifically "Nose Art," I decided to concentrate on that aspect of the model for colour, and leave the remainder of the Mech fairly plain to give a better contrast. On a model so small, it would have been very easy to lose the freehand amongst a complicated colour scheme.

I had already decided on the "review" theme, so weathering was going to be minimal.

I started the painting of the Witch by painting the moon-and-moonlight-cloud background in pale grey (Shadow Grey mixed 1:1 with Space Wolf Grey). When this had dried, I painted in the witch-on-broomstick figure as a plain black silhouette. Then, using a fine-pointed size 00 brush, I painted the cloak and hood in Red Gore, the base of the skin tones in Bronzed Flesh, and the broomstick in Bestial Brown. Her hair was painted initially in Bubonic Brown.

The cloak was then highlighted in Blood Red and Flaming Orange, the skin tones in Elf Flesh, the hair with a 1:1 mix of Bubonic Brown and White, and the broomstick in Vermin Brown.

This was all done in one session while the paints were still wet; I had tiny drops of each colour paint on my tile palette.

These were then left to dry, before touching up the moon again in pure white. The small size of the image meant I was painting in dots, to build up shapes of the pieces of the picture.

The Midnight Witch

I left the model to dry for a couple of days, and then varnished the witch picture with an enamel gloss varnish. This was so that if I should make any mistakes when painting the Mech, I could easily clean the picture without damaging it. The 2-day drying period was to ensure that the enamel undercoat was perfectly dry, so that the enamel varnish would not lift or smudge it around the witch picture.

The Mech was painted a section at a time, treating each part - arm, leg and torso - as a single item, working from basecoat to finished highlight in one session, each time working with wet paints.

I used a mixture of 1:1 Black and Nightshade Blue for the main body colour, which was very sparingly highlighted initially by adding more Nightshade Blue to a ratio of 1:2, and then a single drop of Shadow Grey. The colours were kept wet by adding a tiny drop of W&N Flow Improver to the mix. The highlights were concentrated on the upper and forward edges of all panels and shapes, to emphasise a top-down lighting.

Once the whole Mech had been completed, I used a thin mix of Black and Flow Improver to paint in all the panel lines. The entire Mech was then spray matt coated.

The cockpit glazing was painted in Regal Blue, and then highlighted with a 1:1 mix of Regal Blue and White, and finally, a single point of pure white. At the same time, I painted the tiny dots under the cockpit to represent the pilot's rank and name, and the "Hecate" name on the nose of the mech.

The weapons and chrome parts of the hydraulic rams were painted in a 1:1 mix of Black and Boltgun Metal, then finished in Boltgun on its own. The yellow details were painted in Bubonic Brown, and highlighted with a 1:1 mix of Bubonic Brown and White. The number 2 on each leg is a decal from a 1/144th aircraft kit.

Basing and Display

I always show a vehicle or aircraft model with a scale reference, so that the viewer has something by which to judge the size of the vehicle "in reality." In this case, I was planning on using a single 6mm figure to represent the Mech pilot standing, awaiting review.

The 6mm scale figure is from GHQ, either a Modern U.S. or WWII German figure from a gun crew. Over a black undercoat, I painted the flight suit in Vermin Brown highlighted with Vomit Brown, and the helmet in White. The flesh tones are Elf Flesh.

The base is simply painted, to represent an area of hard standing. Starting with a basecoat of Shadow Grey, I painted irregular patches of Space Wolf Grey highlighted with 1:1 mix of Space Wolf Grey and White, then finally pure White.

The shadow of the Mech on the ground was painted using 3 or 4 coats of very thin Black.

The whole model then received a final coat of matt varnish, before the cockpit glazing was retouched with a gloss varnish (as was the base edge).

Overall

A very tough challenge, this one! Trying to paint a recognisable image, and make it stand out on a model with such small panels, was hard. I did consider simpler playing-card or geometric designs, but felt that a half-naked flying dolly-bird was more in line with the required WWII bomber Nose Art theme.

I am fairly pleased with the way this one came out. Painting a "black" colour is tough, to avoid it turning an overall dirty grey, or else highlighted so pale that it looks like the thing is made of patent leather (fine for bondage kit and thigh boots, not so appropriate for Battlemechs!). The highlights are kept very muted, and in shade are very close to the main colour. The risk is that whilst visible to the eye, they disappear in the photo compression of the camera (particularly in these pictures, where the varnish coat has a slight sheen). In hindsight, I should have chosen a different colour.

The freehand image is recognisable (I hope), the name is not so good, and I was in two minds as to whether it should be painted out, but decided to let it go in the end. Also, I would have liked time to make the planned diorama base with an officer's vehicle and bunch of inspecting officers standing in front of the Mech... still, not to be.

I hope you like this piece.

See the Finished Pictures