Hobbyco Est.1935

Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer in 1/10 scale by Moebius Models

Kit Build, Paint & Review by Helen Grant

Helen Grant Senior Display Model Builder

Senior Display Model Builder
Helen Grant

Hobbyco Collab Partners
Helen Grant Senior Display Model Builder
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by Frank Frazetta’s classic dark fantasy painting ‘Death Dealer’. Of course, being me, I’ve always hoped it might be turned into a model kit. A few years ago, Kabuki Studio produced an amazing resin version in 1/24 scale, but my humble lifestyle made it a bit hard to justify the expense of that beauty. So you can imagine my delight when I first learned of the 1/10 scale plastic kit released by Moebius Models. Affordable, sizeable, and superbly designed, it was the ‘Death Dealer’ kit I’d always longed for!

Just the box is brilliant. The header sleeve slides off leaving the artwork perfectly free of the blurb. In fact, I’m going to cut it out and frame it. The instructions include a beautifully painted model to aspire to. Well done to the model maker. They raised the bar for me.

OK, I’ve studied the instructions, as you should do, now let’s dive into the kit.

With my trusty GodHand cutters I made clean work of removing the horse body parts from the sprue. A quick test fit and I could see I will need some bulldog clips here and there.

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All in all, the horse glued together without dramas. I always use Revell applicator glue. It dispenses a tidy amount along the edge and gets into those tight places. Remember! It’s a plastic kit, so seams are unavoidable. The body spikes and recess holes make it easy to line up the edges.

I set this aside to dry …tick tick tick tick…..

Well, while I waited for the horse to dry, I concentrated on the Death Dealer figure. I did a test fit of leg halves and found the gap on the feet wanted to open when I pressed the thigh joint closed. No worries, my bulldog clips are always ready. I have collected quite a number of various sizes over the years. I did see a tutorial that suggested the instruction steps needed to be swapped for assembling the torso after the legs, but I followed the instructions to the letter, and really, it wasn’t too hard forcing the legs into the hip recess. The plastic is thick enough to wrestle with.

I did have a problem with the rider’s cape. It wouldn’t sit realistically flat around the neck. Of course, this annoyed me and I had to fiddle with it to make it right. I got out my needle file set and PROEDGE # 1 knife and chipped and hacked away at the inside of the cape and shoulders until I was happy it sat naturally at the nape.

Back to the horse. A lot of sanding needed to be done on the legs and chest. I use a set of 3 stix and replacement grit belts 120 to 320 grades. The spring-loaded stick has a flat surface as well as a pointed tip for getting into tight spots. Pro-edge makes replaceable sanding bands when you wear them out.

After I had a nice sit in the sun doing other things, it wasn’t long before the putty had set well enough to sand. A few nasty areas needed another leveling of putty. I have found Tamiya Putty (Basic Type) just right. Note, the thicker it is applied the longer it takes to set. Fortunately, the seams only required a small amount. A handy tip, the putty shrinks as it dries, so overfill the seam where you can and allow a longer setting time before attacking it with your file. Sanding will remove some detail, but with a Pro-edge file set, you can sharpen or replace any lost detail.

Another tip, place masking tape on either side of the seam. This way, the putty will stay in a neat line. The solvent in the putty will bind to the plastic, here I have used Tamiya 10mm masking tape.

Plastic kits can have a mold release agent on them from manufacturing. So it is helpful to wash all parts in warm soapy water before painting if you’d like to be safe. Leave on a paper towel to dry.

Now the fun part, painting.

I have to admit right off the bat that I’m a Gunze Mr. Color paint fan. The company produces a fine quality product and I prefer lacquers, they airbrush well. The pigment is fine and they dry fast so I can move on to the next step without putting my clumsy thumbs in wet paint. I can understand that some modelers like to use water-based acrylic paints. There is a universe of paints waiting to be tapped into. Over the years I have found Gunze Mr. Color paints do everything I need.

Then again…

In my collection of paints, I also have Humbrol enamel, Tamiya lacquer, automotive paint, acrylic poster paint, and artist oil colors. If it has the color and application characteristic I want I’ll use it. Gunze Mr. Color paints require a lacquer thinner with an airbrush. I strongly advise you to use care and safety with them. Spray in a well-ventilated area and always use a solvent rated breathing mask plus a spray booth.
For fine shading I use a Tamiya HG airbrush. With the right amount of thinner added to the paint, I can spray a very fine line. For larger areas, such as the horse body, I use a Sparmax Double action 0.3*MAXSP03* Normally I have 3 airbrushes hooked up, Tamiya for fine work, Sparmax for medium work and Paasche single action for everything else smaller than an elephant. I have a Sparmax compressor and set the pressure to 25-30 PSI. Perhaps we can touch more on airbrushes and compressors in the future?

Now then, let’s start painting the horse.

My base coat was Mr. Color # 29 Hull red. OK, I hear you ask, “What an odd color for a black horse.” But I have my time-honoured methods of madness. When I build up colour with an airbrush all the dark colours are applied first with the lightest applied last. Here I used, in order Mr. Color #114 red brown then #318 radome tan.

After working up through the highlights, let’s shade it back a little. I used Mr. Color #92 satin black in my Tamiya HG airbrush. I lowered the air pressure down to 15 PSI. All the low areas were done with semi-gloss black. Now that we have our highlight and shadow values set, we can apply and overall filter to darken the horse to our liking. I cranked up the pressure on my compressor to 30 PSI, loaded my high flow Sparmax #3 with Mr. Clear Color lacquer 50/50 with thinner and let the model have it with an allover coat of a “Clear” transparent black. I applied several coats until I was happy the horse colour read dark enough to be almost black yet still have all my hard work shading come through. This transparent coat also acts as a sheen unifying layer bringing the finish up to a pleasing gloss finish which has the added benefit of giving the horse a protective layer so that any softer based paint used would wipe away if I botched it.

Now for the fiddly stuff of hand painting harnesses, buckles, horse eyes, spots, dots, teeth, skin, and swords.

The rider didn’t require much effort, just keeping the job neat. The chain mail and helmet were painted Mr. Color # 159 Super Silver. Over the top, I applied artist oil color black then wiped the excess away. The black stays low in the details. Note, artist oil paint works well on lacquers but not so well on enamels or acrylics as the oil softens enamels. I use these extensively for shading.

Moebius includes chains and rings to add to the saddle and sword. No problem here. Tweezers are a must. The instructions give you measurements. But silly me didn’t quite follow the measurements and snapped the chain here and there, so I only had just enough to attach the sword. The rider’s cape was painted the same as the horse, but with less clear black filtering. . Artistic license is needed for the shirt. Frank Frazetta’s painting does not show the shirt…or much else on the chest, so here I just grabbed whatever colour came first. Don’t get ahead of yourself here, The cape gets glued down first THEN the helmet.

Now for the base.

I base painted this Mr. Color #132 Earth green or Olive green. Then masked around the skulls and painted them satin white. I used artist oil paint, burnt umber and black on all the base shading. This was dug into all the detail with a stiff brush, then the excess whipped away. At the beginning of my blurb I mentioned I use Humbrol, well, this is where I find Humbrol ideal for dry brushing. I used # H66 mixed with # H103 Matt cream. I scooped out the thick pigment from the bottom of the tin, spread it across some paper to allow the solvents to be absorbed. Then taking a flat brush with the nearly dry paint on it and dragged it across the high points….hey presto… that’s dry brushing, I love experimenting with dry brushing!

Last of all, the entire model received a heavy wet coat of Mr. Color satin clear. This dries quickly and achieves a harmonious sheen.

I just love this model and type of kit. I grew up building Airfix Scots Greys and Hussar soldiers on horseback so this brings back fond memories.

So I’m an old kid like everyone else.

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Helen Grant Senior Display Model Builder

Helen Grant

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