Tuesday, 25 February 2014

WIP Beastmen with Boltguns

I don't know whether it's the beginning of the end but here I am starting another project, though this time it was more of a bits box archaeological dig rather than an actual planned-from-square-one sort of project. These Beastmen have been sitting at the back of the cupboard waiting for the "right" moment to unleash themselves upon my hobby table, and with 2014 being the year of tidying up the unfinished and unstarted, today was their day under the scalpel.

Putting these guys together reminded me of cutting up the Wargames Factory Zombies to make my zombie guard, with at least one arm on each model cut, pinned and green stuffed over to make the necessary angle. Unlike the zombies however, I couldn't make use of any open hands to hold the barrels of the weapons. A lot of squinting, swearing and poking around with a sculpting tool later, and I had "hands" which will paint up halfway decently (I hope).

By the time I had three of them together I was ready for some fun, which you can see above. The model of a Beastmen reading an Auspex really breaks the traditional notion of these beasts being nothing more than cannon fodder. Add in a Chaos shoulder pad, power claw, re-breather and a few Imperial baggage and I really have no idea who they would be fighting for. Maybe a rogue Inquisitor? Counts as Chaos Space Marines? Either way I had a lot more fun putting these guys together for fun, rather than setting out to model a specific unit for in game purposes. Beastmen with Lasguns didn't fit the bill!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Photo Post: Curiosity Cabinet

A browse through a local junk shop yielded this little gem for less than the price of a spray can. The left side holds selected models from my Ork army of five years ago including a few unfinished models to remind me not to buy any more greenskins, while on the right is a selection from my current projects including a stalled Beastman army of one. A great conversation starter and display piece, just don't tell the landlord about the extra holes in the wall!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Fear To Tread Diorama #1

After a few test runs with different modelling clays, and a small Blood Angels sculpture using a mix of "Sculpey" I finally felt confident enough to try a larger sculpt using an armature made from brass wire using a couple of new tools, which will strengthen the final sculpt while making it light enough to mount as part of a diorama. After the positive response from my previous Horus Heresy "Know No Fear" diorama I have decided to try creating another, this time based on the amazing artwork on the cover of James Swallow's "Fear To Tread".

As the wallpaper for this particular novel is for sale at the Black Library you can head on over there for a more detailed preview. I would say at this stage my aim is to sculpt 100% of the details and remain as close to the original artwork as possible, but I may be temped to make us of some generic modelling supplies for smaller items like the chains. As it is, I started this project on a whim by following the instructions of the back of the Super Sculpey pack, and used some aluminium foil to bulk out the basic shape, so as to keep the layer of modelling clay as thin and even as possible.

As mentioned previously I added a little 'basic' Sculpey to the Super Sculpey to lessen the transparancy and make it easier to create a 'smooth' finish, not that I was too concerned given the extra details yet to be added, most likely in Green Stuff and other two part sculpting materials. Once most of the armature was covered it was into the oven for a quick bake, just in case I decide to add any more bulk using a second baked layer. As it stands currently I have a nice mock up to work with, and with everything baked I can put it to one side as I peer closely at the cover art to work out all the little details! This is going to be a journey of a thousand steps, so to speak.

On a final note, I would like to mention the brilliant diorama of this artwork which has already been created by a contributor of Bell of Lost Souls, who kindly have me on their blogroll. You can check out the finished diorama over on their website, and marvel at the "object source lighting" used. I don't think I will be that adventurous but it's going to be a long while before I can put brush to this model, with a few distractions between now and then in the form of a few Necrons and Blood Angels.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Basic Sculpting Armatures MkII

(This post follows on from my previous attempts at creating armatures back in 2012)

The view from my painting desk. Where is the Canadian winter?
With two days up my sleeve this week thanks to a shift change I naturally did what any hobby enthusiast would have done, given the unseasonably warm weather, and stayed indoors making models. Naturally, not before a trip to the local craft store with some new and unusual tools.

The two blue handled pliers were a gift from my work tool box, while the pink handle "three in one" tool as well as the rotary bead tool were new additions to the ever expanding "non-painting" tool kit. The brass wire was an old purchase for pinning (brass can be filed easily using hobby files) and will hopefully be strong enough for creating sculpting armatures. The critical failure of my previous attempts to make armatures using brass has been the soft nature of the metal breaking easily when grasped with the standard pliers. Not so with the new pink handled beading tool, its rounded prongs can easily manipulate the soft wire, while the centre flat section straightens any waves, and the clipping section cuts through brass like butter.

Additionally I found what I can only describe as a "rotary beading tool" in the bargain bin, which I think is designed to mix different colours of twine for creating necklaces and friendship bracelets? What I saw was the perfect way to add strength and speed to the armature creation process. You basically attach the lengths of wire to the tool, twist the end and attach to a solid object and rotate the handle until the desired "twist" is created. Simple stuff, hopefully the pictures do a better job of explaining.

What is not so obvious in the danger to eyes and fingers during the process, with thin sharp wire flicking every which way and best kept at arms length. In the end, with all the tension release I cut sections of the wire ready for twisting and setting in the desired shape. This basically involved holding the torso in one set of pliers while unwinding and twisting with the other set of pliers (not to mention a bit of swearing as the whole thing began to unravel). I tried in vain to dab some superglue to prevent too much movement once the third twist of wire was cut short, but in the end made a concession to the use of some green stuff to hold everything together before positioning the limbs.

So where to from now? I have recently been inspired by a lot of Space Marine fan art, but there's minimal fun to be had sculpting such flat armour when you have a whole parts bin full of marine bits, and I don't want to dive in too deep and lose interest. I mentioned during the introduction of my Winter Painting Project (Necrons) that I had been playing a lot of Day of Defeat recently and the character models'aesthetic appealed to me, so I took my own advice and made a few armatures based on the poses from the game menu.

Hopefully you can see the resemblance (As with all my posts, you can click for a larger picture). Admittedly not all of the scales match, some arms/legs are out of proportion, and while the shoulder height is roughly the same the bases are definitely not level! Such is the fate of modelling mid-day with the beckoning sun streaming through the window. I did get out of the house eventually and grabbed a coffee while the green stuff set, and also tried out a little Sculpey on a different armature which I will be sharing with you soon. So many projects! Nothing seems to be getting finished, but the enthusiasm is staying with me.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

WIP Necron Destroyer Lord

This guy was an impulse purchase at the start of the month, and despite the massive amount of Necrons on my painting desk he jumped the queue as I was keen to try adding a contrasting colour for the "Royal" Necron Lords and Triarch models. After accidentally knocking over the premix glaze I use for shading (you can see the three colours I mix together in the photo below), I was pleasantly surprised to find the rapid drying time out of the pot changed the opacity of the mix, allowing for a much darker colour when taken from the edges. It was really pleasing to paint near black in the shaded sections by mixing three bright colours together!

After a few fudged attempts at wet blending I returned to a rough drybrush method for the basecoat, which will be covered a little once weathering is added. Where I did spend a little more time on was the glowing green, using a combination of green glazes from Vallejo (very bright) and GW (grimdark, as expected), as well as tinting with yellows and a little brown in the recesses. I will be trying the OSL next, but after the weathering. Once again I went for speed rather than quality of the paint job, as previously mentioned my main aim is to 'loosen up' my painting style and look at gradients of colour across the whole model, rather than painting each individual section of the model perfectly.