Saturday 31 August 2013

Know No Fear Diorama #4

The focus of this diorama is of course Roboute Guilliman, primarch of the Ultramarines. Unfortunately there are no readily available models at the correct 'scale' as he would no doubt tower over all the Space Marines in the diorama, so it's time to break out the green stuff and plastic card again!

Before I share the model (so far) with you I would like to give a big shout out to Tale of Painters who have just added me to their blog roll. They have one of the slickest blogs around, pumping out amazing work at an astonishing rate (there are five of them), all while promoting some of the lesser known blogs and including examples of user submitted content. Thanks guys!

With the desire to keep things bubbling along, so to speak, I picked my battles with this guy, using existing head, arms, iron halo and backpack parts to speed up the creative process. I filed a pair of shoulder pads flat, adding the ribbing using plastic card, doing the same with the power fists by removing the fingers.

The legs are built up around existing Space Marine legs with plastic card added to the mid calf and bottom of the boots for extra height. I also added height at the waist level, and width at the chest. I am 99% done on the basic armour structure, so it's on to the fiddly decorations, studs, lapels and purity seals now, though the temptation is actually to keep the model quite clean looking as per the original artwork.

The lower section of the backpack is from a servitor, while the upper is made from two search lights glued end to end, then some green stuff and tubing to finish it off. I am not sold on the early pre-heresy back pack designs, but may make a nod to lore by remodelling with some appropriate vents and piping to match the style seen on MkII back packs. The boot print is more Neil Armstrong than 40k!

For an added bonus, here is a work in progress picture showing the white plastic card added to mid-calf, the half finished back pack, and an earlier claw/fist design which lacked an exposed hinge. With the added height and chest bulk he certainly looked like he had chicken legs. I made sure to have the original artwork handy (see below) when working with the green stuff, but I think the front leg ended up a bit thicker then the rear.

Sunday 25 August 2013

Know No Fear Diorama #3

Things got a little gruesome this week, with the addition of a headless model to my growing Know No Fear diorama. Using the same technique as the previous model with the exploding chest I accentuated it somewhat to account for the trail of blood leading back down his torso. For the head I kept it simple, hollowing out the inside then keeping the blood spatter to a minimum as it will be closest to the observer, or already "in your face" enough without over doing it.

I may have made the zero-gravity blood a little too large, but this is very easy to fix as they are just super-glued on. Alas, no work in progress picture as I was a little keen with the undercoat while the apartment was vacant and the odour quite offensive, even if it is applied on the balcony. I used standard marine shoulder pads, adding the chaotic edge work with green stuff, and also took the torso from a Death Company marine. The legs and head are from a cheap three pack of 'non-poseable' Chaos Space Marines, as is the backpack.

As with the previous model, I scuplted the right foot at a more 'natural' downward angle, and looked for the most 'open' handed or relaxed hands from my bits box to avoid having to cut out a weapon and re-sculpt too much. All of this saves time for the excessive amount of sculpting required for my next model, Roboute Guilliman.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Know No Fear Diorama #2

Time to populate the diorama with some Space Marines! Having already traded away my copy of Know No Fear I have little reference point except the cover art, so I made a rough estimation that MkIV Maximus Armour would be appropriate for the time period, and is easier to convert than MkIII. The Word Bearers seem to already exhibit chaotic armour patterns despite more modern looking armour, but for today I will share with you my first "MkIV" Ultramarine.

 As you can see, he is missing a few vital bits, having been shot with a boltgun in zero gravity. I have attempted to re-create the illustrated 'spray' pattern but the effect should look better with a little paint and gloss varnish. I removed the bent right foot and scuplted a new version which ties in better with the 'floating' appearance. I had run out of appropriate hands so I also sculpted a basic version of is right hand attempting to protect the chest area. There is no exact model in the cover art, but such is the benefit of artistic license!

Around the back we see a continued 'spray' of blood, though with most of the damage of the explosive shell done to the chest area. With this guy floating in space I have added some basic shoe prints, and taken the 'oldest' looking backpack from my bits box to complete the model. Next up will be the headless Word Bearer!

Monday 12 August 2013

Know No Fear Diorama #1

I must confess I have difficulty sticking to the one project, with a myriad of ideas for armies, models and dioramas scribbled on pieces of paper and blog post drafts, and half started models in various boxes around our apartment. However, one of these that has stuck in my mind for a long time is the notion of re-creating the cover artwork for one of my favourite "Horus Heresy" novels, Know No Fear. 

Original Artwork by Neil Roberts, source: Black Library (used without permission)

With an epic space battle over the planet Calth the backdrop (thought no actual ships in the "middle ground" between the figures and the planet), Space Marines do battle in zero gravity (rather controversially without helmets!) As I see no reason for hard science to get in the way of inspiration, I have made a solid start to this project which I am delighted to share with you all.

Firstly I created a mock up using plasticard, pieces of sprue, and a spare flying base. I was happy with the amount of "real estate" available to position models, and I had planned to incorporate the planet in the distance as well. Unfortunately this is where the project stalled, gathered dust, and was lost under a mounting pile of Necron sprues. The thought of spending many more evenings sculpting all the little details to match the artwork exactly was quite daunting, and the model lacked height to portray the multi-storey slab sides of a spaceship. I also balked at the price of Forge World models to "correctly" portray the models!

Inspired by the relatively cheap and adequately "old" looking chaos marine mini-box I stumbled across while browsing my local store, I resolved to get back into this project by (relatively) quickly modelling up a much more detailed scene using a Basilica Administratum and some more plasticard tubing and box sections. With a more "rounded" layout I dropped the notion of having the world as a backdrop, added some much needed height, and saved time on the modelling side which I hope to put into crafting the figures and painting the whole thing in the harsh light/dark shading as seen in the artwork.

With the basics blocked out I altered the walled section slightly (read: re-did the whole thing) to give a more 'spherical' look to the diorama to ensure the central point would be the viewer's initial focal point. I am not yet sold on the angle, but nothing is permanent until all the additional models have been added and the overall layout begins to take shape.

As with most of my projects this is a slow burn rather than race to the finish, but I have already started on some very historically inaccurate models to go with the scenery. Is it to be Mk II, Mk III, Mk IV Power Armour? I have no real idea, they all seem to be wearing very intricately detailed Mk II Crusade armour judging by the legs, but Mk IV or V by the helmets floating around! Either way, it's going to be fun.

Monday 5 August 2013

Hobby: Choosing (and Using) Side Cutters

Recently I purchased a new set of side cutters (or hobby clippers) and spent quite a bit more than I usually would on hobby supplies. The reason? I had trashed my last 'good' pair and had been making do with a cheap set from a dollar store, which resulted in broken arms and weapons as I move into the finer Necron models and away from my usual Blood Angel and Ork models. I was also spending an unreasonable amount if time filing the excess plastic off to boot!

The offending 'cheap' clippers doing their usual poor job. Note the offset points!
Broken spring, bent jaws and loose pivot. Not much left of the old pair!

In the blurry background of the picture above you can just make out the red handled latest purchase. With an internal pivot, the bladed edge ground flush to the edge, improved spring design and extra thin jaws these are perfect for the smaller delicate sprues, and lessen the clean up work (filing) required on the larger pieces. Designed for electrical work, I had to promise not to abuse them or the warranty would not hold. Little did the seller know I would only be using these guys on fine plastics!

I probably would have 'twisted' these out in the past and broken the plastic.

So how do I avoid wrecking this pair? For starters I will never use them on metal models, or on brass or metal pins. Doing so can blunt the edge of the blade or even bend the jaws. I also had a bad habit of using them to remove large sections of models, for example removing a torso or turret, rather than using a saw or sharp knife. It's easy to be lazy when inspiration strikes and you don't care about the part you are discarding, but 'future me' hates finding the mangled mess left behind which would be perfect for the latest project. This was the way in which I broke the spring on the last pair.

Dollar Store clippers doing what they do best.
Bad, Better, Best.

So there you have it. For the price of another box of miniatures (which will probably stay in the cupboard unpainted anyway) I can actually prepare my current models without tearing, breaking, bending or having to file half the sprue off before assembly, and 'future me' will be happy when it comes time to paint properly prepared models. 

Never be tempted to 'twist' off the sprue!