Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

A bit of mood music first!

Hello folks! Today I want to chat to you about a brilliant little set of products I stumbled across recently: Precision Ice and Snow from an outfit called Krycell.

I really don’t know where to start with this stuff because basically it is just brilliant from beginning to end! That, however true, is not going to be enough for the enlightened modellers that you are. So let’s try and break this down and look at the various aspects of these little bits of awesomeness. I ordered two different snows, a “Snow wash” and one Ice sheet. As yet I have not tried the ice sheet as the project it is destined for is not ready to receive it. But let’s take a look at the snow!:

What do you get?

Now going out on a limb I prepared to break my piggy bank; and then discovered this would not be necessary! When placing my order I saw that overseas orders were granted a free reload pouch of snow! So here is what I got for a total of £42 (not counting postage): 

The "Snow" package

The "Ice sheet" package
Inside the box: micron sieve, two bottles of "snow", a reload bag of "snow", and little instructions sheet

The "Ice sheet" unpacked

And finally the "Snow wash", also complete with instructions

As you can see the packaging itself is extremely aesthetically pleasing and adds that little something that a simple cardboard box just wouldn’t do. I know: do we care about the box? Ultimately no, but it should be credited to the product creators that they did not ignore this aspect and delivered something a little above standard from the outset. 

Also you can see that they don’t mess around with safety: that Ice sheet could have been thrown out of a plane and it would still have arrived in one piece!

Now how to use the stuff? 
Well the guys at Krycell don’t do half measures: all the tutorials are accessible directly from their site, as well as downloadable “quick start” step by step instructions. These instructions are also included in the package of goodies: so if you still haven't grasped how to use the stuff it might mean you need to learn how to read…

I chose to add snow to a model that had already been based – my rendition of Nork Dedogg – so blasting hair spray evrywhere was not an option… But oh joy! This stuff can be applied on any type of varnish, and what precision instrument do modellers often possess that can deal with varnish?: an airbrush! So I loaded up some matt varnish into my Prince August airbrush and blasted the base. You do need it to be a thick coating, as the little instructions explain very clearly. Then using that beautiful micron sieve I sprinkled the snow everywhere. Now I got really scared because this stuff does get EVERYWHERE when you sprinkle it. A bit nervous I waited about fifteen minutes to be absolutely certain my varnish had dried, and then came the moment of truth: brushing and blowing off the excess snow. This was literally a breeze: it might get everywhere but it sticks to NOTHING except the varnish and comes away very easily from anywhere untouched by said varnish. Now I wanted a light sprinkling of snow so I only used one layer of snow, but you can continue applying layers of varnish followed by snow until the build-up is to your satisfaction. Also note how it gracefully sits on the barbed wire.

As you can see: snow everywhere to perfection!

Next came the “Ice wash”. This stuff intrigued me because basically it appears to be a portion of the “snow” product mixed into a form of very liquid medium. When it comes out of the bottle it looks like grainy milk. I’m not sure if it can or will damage brushes in the long term, so to be on the safe side I fished out some of my crappy brushes to avoid potentially ruining good sable ones. 
Now this stuff really does need a serious shake before being used and you really have to shake nearly in between dipping your brush in it. This sounds annoying doesn’t it? Wait till you see what it does for you though! I applied very sparing amounts around chosen areas of Nork because I didn’t want to overload him with effects and mask the paintjob entirely. This stuff is really easy to use! It behaves a lot like a wash, quite close in fact to Prince Augusts’ (Vallejo) “Smoke Ink” in its behaviour. You can even thin it out using water or medium if you want; though at present I don’t see that as being of any use. It does sometimes run all over the place but this is no different from many other very liquid products used by modellers, so it is simply a question of learning to use a new product.
Discreet touches of the "Snow wash" are clearly visible around the various crevices of the armour design. It even mixed nicely with the rustwork I had performed previously!

Right, now that I have waxed lyrical about all the good aspects: what isn’t so good?

Well to be honest the products, their packaging (both collective and individual) are very high quality; their uses are multiple and the methods of application are very simple and accessible even to the most beginner of modellers.

There are however three things I would like to see: the first would be a thinner yet removable nozzle on the bottles of snow to reduce potential product loss while loading up the sieve and still allow for an easy replacement of salvaged product.

Which brings me to my second point: that sieve is brilliant but clearly aimed towards sprinkling larger surfaces of scenery or vehicles rather than for individual model bases. This causes quite a lot of product loss (easily averted by placing your work on a sheet of clean paper to catch any loss), but mainly you get the feeling of a lack of precision, whereas you want to feel in control when dealing with the final key stages of your latest prized work. So really what I would have liked, or would like to see in the future, is the possibility of ordering a smaller diameter sieve – maybe even half the current diameter - just for that extra feel of precision and reducing the potential loss of product.

Finally I would really have liked to find one or two agitator balls in the “Snow wash”, that stuff needs regular shaking and a couple of agitator balls would really guarantee a good mixing and distribution of the particles within the medium. You can of course, as I did, add a couple of agitator balls if you have any, but I still feel that it would be good to find the bottle 110% ready to go.
None of these criticisms mean the products are unfriendly, quite the opposite in fact, but the guys at Krycell are obviously geared towards improvement so that was my two cents worth of ideas.

All that remains for me is to try out the “Ice sheet” and then order a few more of those sheets to see the differences they offer the scale modeller.
For extra information and a look at Krycells other products click here
For Prince August products then you need to head this way

Happy modelling 
and don’t forget to spread the love people!