Dark Side parking

I don’t like figures! Better to say I don’t generally like ordinary figures, and the ones that cost as much as a premium model I won’t buy out of this exact reason. And from another point of view, I don’t really like how figures in a showcase give such a toyish vibe to the entire ensemble. I like a lot more a showcase with a simpler, museum-like aspect. I have a couple figures though, but with specific roles, meaning that they help giving a sense of scale to the non-conventional cars, like the Benz Patent Motorwagen, the Daimler Motorkutsche, the Mercedes Simplex or some of the Silver Arrows. Yeah, but that’s just me.

I told you all of that because the subject of this text is a figure that is very dear to me, a figure that doesn’t really fit into my collection, but it is a part of it anyway. I am talking about my Darth Vader in 1:18th scale. The weirdest thing happened when I was looking around in a bookstore and found this figure (WTF) in the hobby corner, yes, totally unrelated with the store’s general line-up of items. From the first look it seemed to be the right height, but I said to myself: “what would be the odds for this to be in 1:18th scale… but I’ll take it anyway”. I was pleasantly surprised by the way it was made. I couldn’t see this from the packaging at first, but it is very well made: it is all resin molded, the helmet, chest/shoulder plate and boots are painted glossy, everything else is matte and all the buttons, lightsaber or metal ornaments are very nicely painted. The cape is kind of thick, but you can’t tell this only when you inspect the figure in your hand. And after some research I discovered that Darth Vader was 2,02m in the movies, which should be about 11,2cm in 1:18th scale, and that’s how tall the figure is. Lucky me! I am not a fanboy, more like a fan, but I like these pop culture icons especially if they are as badass as Lord Vader himself.

saturday-9

I immediately linked the figure to the “dark side” of my collection of Mercedes-Benz cars, the AMGs. I try to buy them mostly in that color, as much as I can of course of if they are available in black.

DSC_5901

Since the figure is in the “force choke” stance, I searched for a way to take some fun shots with it, together with my models. What better than a side parking, a Dark Side parking!

This photoshoot was also done for a contest, and since the rules forbid the use of post processing, I tried to do make a SUV float using transparent nylon wires. 70 shots later I got the result I wanted. As always, I do my props from household items, so the background and the futuristic/metal spaceship environment was a challenge. I decided to go for a LED TV in the background with a lot of metal texture on an USB memory stick. The solution for the stand is pretty silly: I used some black oven trays placed upside-down on some boxes; I needed the reflections. Too bad there wasn’t one long enough for 3 models to be on it. Anyway, the interesting part, not the difficult one, was to suspend the black G55 AMG by AUTOart. For that I used a regular indoor clothes drying rack and the nylon wires I previously mentioned. This is how the entire ensemble looked like:

DSC_4290 (2)

After that is all about finding the right settings, a balance between the natural light, background light, shadows, reflections and composition of course. The only difficult part was to find a spot where to shot the scene from, a spot from which the wires weren’t visible.

DSC_4226

And also another downside of shooting something suspended with wires is that after each minor set modification, you have to wait for the objects to “settle down”.

DSC_4216

It was definitely a fun photoshoot and one I will remake for better results, now that I have a little more knowledge about the matter. I hope you like it!

02 AUTOart Mercedes-Benz G55 Darth Vader

And of course, since it’s that day: May the fourth be with you!

Advertisements

All the small things

Some time had passed and I began to be drawn to photography, but I did not have a camera to obtain the desired outcomes. Actually, the attraction began when a friend of mine bought an entry-level Nikon DSLR and the results he got in terms of model car photography really impressed me; and the thing worth mentioning is that he used a pretty simple set-up: two softboxes and a heavy paper background. And to be frank with you, that is really the simplest recipe for a good studio shot.

I set my goal to getting a camera like that in the then-near future. Of course, when you have a never-ending list of models to buy, the opportunity and budget for a new hobby is somehow permanently postponed. But when my friend decided to upgrade his gear and sell his first camera, I also decided to buy it in order to see if photography will catch on to me or not.

I got my camera in the last day of the month, a perfect opportunity to take a photo and enter it in our forum’s monthly photo contest. If I remember correctly, that month’s theme was something like “the relationship between a model car and objects in full scale”. And of course, nothing I had around the house would have made a good background and a proper light source for a 1:18 model and that is why, for my subject, I chose a model in 1:87th scale: my Mercedes-Benz 170V made by BUB.

Prior to my first experience with the DSLR, I made sure to make my homework and learn the basics regarding the use of it, which was totally new to me. Aperture, shutter speed, white balance, ISO value, were all pretty easy and logical to understand, but the first time you see yourself with the camera in your hands it’s not that easy to make them work together. This is pretty much the result I got that evening.

01 BUB Mercedes-Benz 170V

It’s not a spectacular photo but I find it cute and I always like to keep the steps that marked my journey kept in a safe place. It always helps with the progress and yes, photography stuck to me!