Beginning Again with a Vintage MPC AT-AT

VFX Freak

Well-Known Member
^ Thanks, Scott! Nice! I've really got to build a good base for it. I bought some Sculptamold and fake snow, and will give it a try soon.
 

VFX Freak

Well-Known Member
sweet! Man that model is nice! Makes me look at my MR and think it needs repainted.
That's what always kept me away from the MR AT-AT. I thought the model itself was pretty good (though not so accurate, as I learned here on the RPF), but the paintjob was never satisfactory. I understand that you can't devote that much time to painting a production item, but I'd rather have something like that arrive as an unpainted kit, or at least with that as an option.

I assume painting it will drop its value? I have an MR stormtrooper blaster I've always wanted to age, but I've been chicken because it will likely be worthless afterwards.
 

Axlotl

Master Member
Looks great!
Can I offer some constructive criticism on your photos, though?
Try bringing the white point up in the background - almost to the same white as the foreground, but not quite.
This should make it look a bit more natural, since there's quite a lot of sunlight on your model.

atat2.jpg

(that's just a quicky I did using the magic wand tool to select the background.
I'm sure you can do much better since you've probably got the fore- and background on different layers, and the luxury of time)
 
Last edited:

VFX Freak

Well-Known Member
A couple more details...

I don't like the kit's rubber band method for attaching the head. Someday the rubber band will break and it would be a pain to replace. I decided to use magnets so the head could still be re-positioned, or simply removed if I want to make changes or repairs. My LHS has lots of magnets in different sizes and these worked well:

Magnets.jpg

I had to saw off a little of the neck on either end for clearance, and then I just used super glue to hold them in place.

Helpful tip! Make sure your magnets are properly aligned BEFORE gluing them in. I suggest marking the sides that will attract each other with a Sharpie. I didn't and I glued one magnet on in with the wrong orientation and the head was repelled by the neck. Duh. That was a pain to change because super glue really works, and super glue remover will strip off the paint. Ask me how I know... :rolleyes

Another thing I didn't mention earlier is that I scribed the little shields on the cheek guns. I made the lines a little too big; but it's still better than leaving them blank.

And one other thing that I think worked pretty well. What's the best way to do cockpit glass? I was planning on painting clear gloss over black or maybe even red (there's only one shot in ESB where a Walker has a red illuminated window. It's the first hero shot of them approaching. Did they give up after that because the lights were battery powered and they caused problems during animation? I'm curious if anyone has any insight.)

I saw a tip in an AFV modeling magazine that suggested using a pencil to give glass ports on a tank a reflective sheen, so I tried it on the Walker:

Cockpit Glass.jpg

I think it's pretty effective, and it's really easy. The only tip here is not to rub too hard with the pencil or you will scratch away the underlying paint. I did that a little bit but I think it just made the port look like it had taken a hit, so I'm okay with it.

Looking at this photo I can see I should have drilled out the barrels of the cheek guns, but when I was gluing them to the head I hadn't yet gained enough confidence to do it correctly. Now I think I could and it would look better.

Also notice the color variations on the head. In this case it's mostly because of ambient light. There's green light bouncing off a nearby table and blue light reflecting the sky. It's really important to control the light hitting your model when it's time for the hero shots, which these aren't, so I didn't really care.

Thanks again for looking.

David
 

VFX Freak

Well-Known Member
Looks great!
Can I offer some constructive criticism on your photos, though?
Try bringing the white point up in the background - almost to the same white as the foreground, but not quite.
This should make it look a bit more natural, since there's quite a lot of sunlight on your model.

View attachment 514455

(that's just a quicky I did using the magic wand tool to select the background.
I'm sure you can do much better since you've probably got the fore- and background on different layers, and the luxury of time)
Thanks for taking the time to fiddle with the photo. You're right, the background isn't balanced properly. I wasn't taking the time I should have. Also, believe it or not, I just taped the background up behind the model instead of doing it as layers in Photoshop. I was going for down and dirty old school. Once I get the snowy display base made, I'll do some better photographs that will hopefully look more realistic.

I appreciate the criticism though.
 

Axlotl

Master Member
Ah, I didn't realize you were kicking it old school! Good job!
Tell you what, if I get the time today I'll draw a proper mask around your AT-AT and rebalance the white points properly (that first was just a quick hack-job I did in between bites of lunch).
And nice work with the model - it looks HUGE in the photo. I was surprised by how small it actually is.
 

VFX Freak

Well-Known Member
And nice work with the model - it looks HUGE in the photo. I was surprised by how small it actually is.
Thanks! It's all about the lens and the point of view. I shot it as low as I could get the camera with as wide a lens as I could get away with considering the small background I had. It was a 23mm lens on the Fuji X-T1 which has an APS sized sensor, so it's equivalent to a 35mm on a full sized sensor.

Then it's important to use the smallest aperture possible for maximum depth of field. Nothing makes a model look small like the focus not carrying along the length of something that's supposed to be huge. I used a tripod and shot these photos at f16. If you're into photography you probably know all this, but it might help someone.
 

Axlotl

Master Member
I know nothing about photography :lol.
Got 20 years of professional Photoshopping under my belt, though - so I got that going for me.
 

oslm

Active Member
Hi VFX,

Your model and camera work is fantastic, it really blends well with the background. Excellent work and this is for you to enjoy.

Walker Card.png

Looking forward to your revised background shots and have a good day.

Oslm
 

scottjua

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
A couple more details...

I don't like the kit's rubber band method for attaching the head. Someday the rubber band will break and it would be a pain to replace. I decided to use magnets so the head could still be re-positioned, or simply removed if I want to make changes or repairs. My LHS has lots of magnets in different sizes and these worked well:

View attachment 514452

I had to saw off a little of the neck on either end for clearance, and then I just used super glue to hold them in place.

Helpful tip! Make sure your magnets are properly aligned BEFORE gluing them in. I suggest marking the sides that will attract each other with a Sharpie. I didn't and I glued one magnet on in with the wrong orientation and the head was repelled by the neck. Duh. That was a pain to change because super glue really works, and super glue remover will strip off the paint. Ask me how I know... :rolleyes

Another thing I didn't mention earlier is that I scribed the little shields on the cheek guns. I made the lines a little too big; but it's still better than leaving them blank.

And one other thing that I think worked pretty well. What's the best way to do cockpit glass? I was planning on painting clear gloss over black or maybe even red (there's only one shot in ESB where a Walker has a red illuminated window. It's the first hero shot of them approaching. Did they give up after that because the lights were battery powered and they caused problems during animation? I'm curious if anyone has any insight.)

I saw a tip in an AFV modeling magazine that suggested using a pencil to give glass ports on a tank a reflective sheen, so I tried it on the Walker:

View attachment 514453

I think it's pretty effective, and it's really easy. The only tip here is not to rub too hard with the pencil or you will scratch away the underlying paint. I did that a little bit but I think it just made the port look like it had taken a hit, so I'm okay with it.

Looking at this photo I can see I should have drilled out the barrels of the cheek guns, but when I was gluing them to the head I hadn't yet gained enough confidence to do it correctly. Now I think I could and it would look better.

Also notice the color variations on the head. In this case it's mostly because of ambient light. There's green light bouncing off a nearby table and blue light reflecting the sky. It's really important to control the light hitting your model when it's time for the hero shots, which these aren't, so I didn't really care.

Thanks again for looking.

David
wow... seeing your hand for scale makes it even more impressive. That's stupid small, and the detail you achieved... dude dude dude...
 

Sym-Cha

Master Member
I'm so proud that this AT-AT turned out so great ... to think just some time ago it remained in a plastic bag in my dark and spider cob webs filled attic and now look at it ... almost ready to being animated ... would you like to take on another, David ... I've still got the ROTJ version of this MPC AT-AT :



:lol

Chaim
 

stopeverything

New Member
I'm so proud that this AT-AT turned out so great ... to think just some time ago it remained in a plastic bag in my dark and spider cob webs filled attic and now look at it ... almost ready to being animated ... would you like to take on another, David ... I've still got the ROTJ version of this MPC AT-AT :

[url]http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz258/Sym-Cha/AT-AT_zps4rfny2az.jpg[/URL]



Chaim
I've got two of these waiting to be finished! Finishing a Boba helmet right now. :)

Awesome work, VFX, I'm definitely going to be following some of what you did when I start on my own!
 

VFX Freak

Well-Known Member
would you like to take on another, David ... I've still got the ROTJ version of this MPC AT-AT :

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz258/Sym-Cha/AT-AT_zps4rfny2az.jpg

:lol

Chaim
Thanks, Chaim! Believe it or not, I was so sure I'd screw something up that I bought another kit myself when I started this one. It's still in the box. It may get built someday, but I'd really rather see Bandai come out with a more accurate and detailed kit. I'm ready to take it on now!

David
 

Randy13

Well-Known Member
Hi VFX,

Your model and camera work is fantastic, it really blends well with the background. Excellent work and this is for you to enjoy.

View attachment 514474

Looking forward to your revised background shots and have a good day.

Oslm
If this photo was released without any mention that the AT-AT is from a vintage MPC kit, I think a majority of the world would automatically think it's a still from ESB.
 

scottjua

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks, Chaim! Believe it or not, I was so sure I'd screw something up that I bought another kit myself when I started this one. It's still in the box. It may get built someday, but I'd really rather see Bandai come out with a more accurate and detailed kit. I'm ready to take it on now!

David
well when you're ready to tackle the V4 x wing... let me know... I'll send you mine to practice on. I know you'll do an amazing job.

- - - Updated - - -

and I'm not kidding at all...
 
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