SBS: Through the Paddy

by David

Hey all,

time for another SbS. This is a summary of my first adventure into the world of 1/72nd scale minis, which started at a lovely and sunny weekend at the Herzog von Bayern Competition in Ingolstadt in April 2017. I will tell you a bit more about my love for 1/72 minis and how it all started in a future installment. But this was the beginning of it all... I guess, the article also has another message: that sometimes stuff happens when you try new things, but that you (almost) always can (try to) fix it, if you're just dedicated enough.

Anyway, when I got back from Ingolstadt, I dug out a set of Vietnam-era 1/72 "Special Forces" that I had bought for another project that might become reality some time (or not). I have always been super-interested in the Vietnam war and will delve a bit more into that in another future contribution here at MV, but this will be way in the future (post 2020 World Model Expo), so don't wait up. 

I didn't have a story in mind when I started the project, but simply rummaged through the beautiful set, which was originally designed by ESCI (check the pics of the box and its contents over at Plastic Soldier Review) and repeatedly re-published by other producers, including Italeri and Revell (where my little box came from), to let inspiration hit me. My decision fell on the running guy - I liked his dynamic pose - and immediately a little story came to my mind: I saw a brawny Marine running through a rice paddy, holding his helmet (he had been too lazy to close the straps). Maybe he was running from Charlie staging an ambush - or equally likely from a "tame" water buffalo gone wild! I also liked that the mini was rather well-cast, there were no undercuts, no flash and very few moldlines.

Before I started working on the Marine, I started with the base. In addition to my first attempt of painting a 1/72 miniature, I also wanted to try some other stuff, such as using the Vallejo Mud Effect I had bought on a whim, and experimenting with resin water (spoiler alert: disaster ahead!). I picked up a 20mm round plinth (made from a simple beechwood staff cut to about 4cm height by a lovely carpentery-inclined friend of mine), and just lathered a solid layer of Vallejo Russian Mud on it. This was supposed to become the ground of the rice paddy.

Next, I started to work on the trooper - and I realized what a pain it can be to prepare these soft-plastic minis for painting. Today, I know a lot more about that (there will be a MV article on preparing soft plastic 1/72 minis in the future, by the way) and I actually enjoy doing it. But the Marine being my first one it was a big hassle - despite the rather high quality cast. All in all, I worked a good 2.5h on the mini before I decided that it was ok - but, as you can see in the next pic, I did not manage to remove all the fine pieces of soft plastic that always appear when you don't use the blades properly. Here's a pic after the 2k priming method worked its magic:

The following pic shows the state after about 1.5 hours of paintwork: basic colors have been applied to the Marine, and the skin has received some first highlights and shadows. 

The next steps involved painting some more of the skin - deepening contrasts, adding lights and shadows - and making a few changes to my originally envisioned color scheme. I decided to give the mini a few more colors (and to challenge myself a bit more). First, after seeing a few pics and illustrations that flak jackets were sometimes black, I decided to do that. Second, I wanted to try my hand at 1/72 camo, so I gave helmet and pants a new basic color (a lighter green)...

... and painted the classic ERDL camo on them:

After painting some minor details I spent some time on the base, super-gluing a few grass tufts to simulate rice plants:

Then it was high time for a bit more detail work on the mini. I gave his helmet and his trusted M-16 some straps. These were made from the sticky parts of orange-colored "post-its", cut in slim lengths. The stickiness of the post-it help applying the paper strips where you want them. After sticking them to the correct position, I fixated the straps with a tiny bit of super glue. 

In addition, I prepared the base for the water-works. I used a piece of thin clear plastic, glued it to the base with super glue and tied it all together with multiple layers of sticky-tape. Especially with round plinths this additional layer of stability and tightness is useful, as it's really hard to get the length of the clear plastic exactly right such that there are no small gaps. I made the clear-plastic barrier about as high that the water will reach to the trooper's mid-shins. 

Since this was the first time ever that I worked with resin water, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. So, I decided on using Vallejo Still Water, which is a single-component (1k) acrylic resin, which hardens by drying in plain air. I knew that the 1k "water" shrinks while hardening, but thought that that wouldn't matter as long as I poured multiple thin layers... Well, wait for it... Anyway. To simulate the muddy water of a rice paddy I mixed a bit of brownish ink into the resin (Army Painter Strong Tone and Vallejo Model Wash Brown) and did a first pour:

All in all, I poured three layers, waiting for at least 24 hours between pours for each layer to dry. However, after the first and second pour worked out well I got a bit carried away - and poured a bit too much "water", such that it touched the trooper's right leg (the one that was supposed to be in the air). Speaking of Icarus flying too close to the sun! As expected, the water shrank while drying, but it stuck to and got sucked up the leg a bit, such that there now was a "hole" in the water (sorry for the crappy pic):

What to do? I could have tried to repair the situation by pouring more water into the hole. But I did not like the water up the trooper's leg, so I decided to start again! "Carefully" I cut the guy from the base and out of the "water"...

... and in the process of course pulled off much of the painstakingly camouflaged pant:

So, I built a new base using Vallejo "Russian Dark Mud" and some rice plants - this time made from stiff brush-hair painted green (I didn't like the effect of the ready-made grass tufts), and "repaired" the Marine's camouflaged pants:

And then... Water-attempt number two. This time, I ditched (pun intended) the 1k Still Water and tried 2k water, closely following my jungle-brother Josua's fantastic Water Tutorial:

After 48 hours the big moment had arrived. I removed the barrier - and was really happy. There was a small "dent" in the resin, but nothing that couldn't be repaired with a bit of filing, sanding and polishing.

Next I used an old brush to sculpt some waves from Vallejo Water Texture, a whitish acrylic paste that dries crystal clear. I really like that stuff. Here's a pic of the first layer:

... and after that one had dried (depending on the thickness, this drying can take 30 mins to a couple of hours) - and I had painted the plinth black - I added a second layer of waves:

The rest was just a bit of minor detail work on the waves and some final brush-ups. And then, the Marine was done:

For additional (pretty lousy) pics of the finished mini, please see its Putty & Paint page.

Thanks for your attention. Let me know if you have questions in the comments below!

All the best, D.

PS: You might notice that at some point the Marine's M-16 became "bent". This happened while I transported the mini (on its plinth) to a paint-meeting and the gun broke. Normally I would carefully cut it off at the breaking point, drill holes into both sides and repair it with an acupuncture needle and some superglue. But at that point I just couldn't be bothered... 

Review: OSL Masterclass in Hamburg

by Roman aka jar

Hey Jungle,

Object Source Light?
Nothing wrong with that. Many painters paint it, but it is always good to know the wisdom behind it. In my one day masterclass seminar "Object Source Light" we are working on this. In depth knowledge on OSL.

I have been in Hamburg just recently to enjoy some days of holidays and visit some friends, but also to teach this class up north. I want to thank everybody for joining up, from near and far. Thank you all for your will to learn from me and your support in my work, art and teachings. From my curriculum about this seminar:

Instructor: Roman Lappat

Duration: Saturdays (one day)

I usually do not teach masterclass seminars, but when I do these seminars focus on one subject, because they aim to teach you to master a certain topic. This Object Source Light (OSL) Masterclass
all about light sources from objects and about the "how to" place them and the "why" behind it. After this seminar you can transport these into your projects easily.

Main topics:
- Understand the principles of OSL
- Learn how to include them on different materials
- Learn about different time slots when to include these effects in your projects

Student level: All

Early in the morning when my students achieved their first OSL studies. I call them "basic knowledge" to understand the theory behind it, before we go deeper in how to apply advanced knowledge.

This was my explanation figure for the basic OSL ...

... and the group's results:

Thanks to Heiko and the WuDao Kung Fu School for providing hospitality, a roof over our heads and a relaxed and chilled atmosphere for this one day seminar ... It is always a pleasure teaching in the Wu Dao.

After the basic knowledge we enjoyed a quick lunch and then continued painting until it was dark outside. Of course it was not dark on our painting tables as it was now time to understand OSL and its application while other basic colors come into paly ...

This was my epxlanation figure for the advanced part of OSL:

Thanks to everyone again for a real cool day and your will to learn from me. OSL?
From now on not a big deal for these gentlemen!

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes,

Want to join up to one of my seminars?

Review: Private Coaching with Thomas

by Roman aka jar

Hey Jungle, 

another private coaching review dropping in the jungle.
A private coaching is a two day session were I help you with your miniature painting questions, one on one. Of course all subjects are differents as the painters who arrive at the studio in Augsburg are on different journeys to progress in their painting skills. So they all have different questions.

Early February I was happy to welcome Thomas from Berlin for a two day session.
He loves to paint his models mainly for gaming, but was interested in more knowledge. We both agreed on that my content of my beginner seminar would fit perfect to his questions. It is not very common that I teach this subject in a private coaching, but the more fun it was.

Me & Thomas

Somehow I was not able to take many photos as we were both in depth in guidance, teaching and learning. Really enjoyable chats about life too. Time went by in a glimpse of an eye and Thomas did really learn quite a lot. So far he was using a basic color for certain areas and a wash on top of his gaming models without deeper background on why or how to do something different. This is were I came into play with the content of my beginner seminar:

Instructor: Roman Lappat
Duration: Friday/Saturday/Sunday (2.5 days)

The word 'beginner' might be confusing to many first time participants of this class. It is not a class for 'only' beginners. In fact it is a class for every person, at every age interested in figure painting, whatever their experience level is.
'Beginners class' means that I give an introduction into my way of thinking while painting; in detail a lot of in depth theory is explained while extracting art concepts from art history lessons and putting this knowledge in practical exercises on miniature canvas. During the weekend you will not only learn to improve your painting skills, you will also learn to understand the 'Why?' behind everything. With that you will be able to teach yourself in your own hobby future by just recognizing what nature has to offer.
Main topics:- Learn to see your world with different eyes
- Introduction into basing composition
- Learn how to feel harmony in different aspects
- Important contrasts for figure painting
- Explanation about how to paint a light situation on your figure
- Understand colour theory and learn how to use it properly
- Learn about different materials, their unique properties and learn to paint them
- Wide range of painting techniques explained and used
- Learn to lose fear of doing something wrong
- much more!

My experience level in doing this specific class is high as I have done over 60+ hands on seminars over the last decades. Many of my students visit this class several times to manifest the massive amount of knowledge presented in one weekend.
Student level: All

Of course this seminar usually takes 2,5 days. In this private coaching I had only two. This is mainly the reason why I did not take many photos during the coaching. We were busy.

"Nochmals vielen Dank für die empfangene Gastfreundschaft und das für meine Begriffe perfekt Coaching - freue mich darauf, heute Abend die Dämonette meinem Bruder zu präsentieren." - Thomas

Thomas' beginner content demonette:

Thank you for two splendid days in good company, Thomas and your will to learn from me :)

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes,


You want to book me for your private coaching?
Appointments for 2019 are already in the making. If you want to have your very own two day private coaching with your personal subject do not hesitate to contact me via:

Or join up for a larger group seminar instead:

For more reviews like this check:

Review: Material Masterclass in Augsburg

by Roman aka jar

Hello Jungle Painters,

well, well, well ...
It was time for my first group seminar in 2019 and we went all in for my Material Masterclass.

This is what my curriculum says about this seminar:

Instructor: Roman Lappat
Duration: Friday night, Saturday (1,5 days)

This is an in depth two day seminar that takes you deep into understanding a wide variety of different materials, to analyze them and extract their properties into your painting work. Most important in this class are the questions: "Why?" and "How?". My Material Masterclass will help you step forward big time in your knowledge about observing and painting what you see.

Main topics:

- Learn to read material properties
- Learn the grisalle painting technique for applying texture
- Learn to tint it properly by using glazes
- Learn how to put too much time in such details
- Focus on: leather, fabrics, metals, fur, hair

Student level: Advanced For this class you should be prepared with an advanced skill level. You should know about zenital light, basic color theory, contrast range and how to create a blending.

I want to thank everyone for joining up in the MV studio.
A small group, but this only benefits the students ... well known faces and it was beautiful to see your progress since the last time we've met! Thanks for joining from near and far :)

Friday night ...

Studying material ...

Studying from the real thing ...

Recreating its properties ...

In depth analysis ...

... and of course some fun ...

Saturday morning we tinted these with color ...

We then started to work on different busts to put that knowledge to a test ...

Now the fun began ...

Time to focus now ... when it comes to color on top of it
and even more focus to work more on top of this ...

A happy teacher is a teacher who enjoys his students click moments and who helps them to get them ... I really enjoyed these 1,5 days with you, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you all for some beautiful hours spent together and your will to learn from me!

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes

Want to join up to one of my seminars?