I’m not quite dead yet…

…I’m actually feeling better, I think I might go for a walk.

Ok, long hiatus away from hobby time, mostly due to work and a change of pace.

The busy period of work ran me through the wringer.  I was quite exhausted by the time things slowed down and I needed a mental break.  I had a couple video games and those just pulled me in and helped me to unwind.

After the last game was finished, I started poking around and found a program that lets you build video games.

Wow, I had one of those years ago as a teenager.  It was pretty cool then, but fairly crude by today’s standards.  There were few options to really personalize it and it was very closely tied to AD&D 2nd Edition.  So the mechanics made it tough to really branch into different genres or story telling.

Big Red's Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

Big Red’s Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

This program, RPG Maker MV is a lot different.  Although designed to work out of the box to do JRPG style games (think early Final Fantasy), it can be customized quite freely.  In fact the code is easily modified and Java plug-ins are easily incorporated to add functionality.  I have also been using some graphic manipulation to do my own thing.

Since I wasn’t coming into this sort of thing cold, I decided to do a very quick and simple plot to build a game start to finish to see how it works.  I have the intention of making the game all ages as I will be putting it on the iPad we are giving my oldest for her birthday.  She is old enough to play those kind of games.

Big Red's Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

Big Red’s Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

For the plot I have Little Red Riding Hood all grown up and on her way to college.  Along the way she meets a lumberjack, a werewolf, and well I will leave the rest a secret in case I ever do make it widely available to play.  It is a blend between fantasy and modern with police, mobsters, a mystery to solve, and a few silly commentaries on society.

I am sure this will take a bit of my free time but the first game is 99% done right now.  I am just finalizing the final dungeon and scenes so it should be down to the compiling piece after that.

Big Red's Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

Big Red’s Little Adventure made on RPG Maker MV.

I have a few pictures to show off the very crude work I have done so far, but I am sure my daughter will like it…the wife is already bugging me to play now that she knows there is about 10 hours of game play.

I know this is a totally different change of pace for my blog but your regularly scheduled miniature blog will be returning soonish.  I felt the need to post something as it has been over 3 months since my last post.

Although out of my version of ordinary, I hope this post inspired you.  If nothing else maybe try some other creative outlets to keep your mind and motivation fresh.

Proof of life – Or don’t forget me when I’m gone

It has been ages since I last updated.  My wife had surgery a while back so I have been fairly busy looking after her, plus the usual insanity that marks my work this time of year.  Anyhow, to give some perspective (and a bit of music), have a listen to this: Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone.

The project that got some work since my last post is a 3 storey building I have been building.  I added a few new ideas, including a bit more of a cluttered roof.  As shown by Deano it definitely shows the size.

Sci Fi urban terrain.  Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Sci Fi urban terrain. Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.  Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Sci Fi urban terrain. Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

But you will notice I left off my usual side clutter and none of the corners are clad in card.  I thought I would try a smoother wall and was shown instead my simple buttresses actually do reinforce the walls.

Sci Fi urban terrain.  Note the warping.

Sci Fi urban terrain. Note the warping.

As shown above, the plaster actually pulled in and warped the wall a very appreciable amount.  Looking back at the building front you can see the plaster cracked and the walls pulled apart.  Right now I think I will just add a card clad over the corner and hope the bowed wall isn’t too noticeable.  For the time being, this building will have to do.  The next larger building I do will have some internal framing to push the walls out as well as my buttresses.  Little thing that should stop this disaster in the future.

While watching a movie last night, I also threw a bit of paint on one of my Ford F150 trucks.  The rough splotchy red will look quite faded and worn once I tone back the black and add my dirt and dust treatment.  As shown by Deano, the large doors even give a bit of cover for the clever agent.

Ford F150 Raptor by Kinsmart (1:46 Scale)

Ford F150 Raptor by Kinsmart (1:46 Scale)

Ford F150 Raptor by Kinsmart (1:46 Scale)

Ford F150 Raptor by Kinsmart (1:46 Scale)

Short little update today, but hopefully inspiring to you.  If nothing else to try squeezing in the relaxing hobby time to help keep you sane.

Avengers getting assembled (5)

The title holds no secrets, but I am a bit behind schedule.  I spent yesterday afternoon watching a movie with the kids so I likely won’t be able to finish Captain America this weekend.  But, I am sure you are here to see my work.

Captain America, twelfth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, twelfth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, thirteenth stage of sculpting.

Not shown yesterday, I did add some details to his helmet including the giant A.  It is out of scale with the actual helmet, but it is visible and clear from table distance away.  So I decided to keep it.  Way too long spent perfecting that.

Today I finished most of the details of his helmet.  I added in the chin-straps and the radio.  I also cleaned up a mistake I missed on the back of the helmet.  The next time I sculpt on the helmet it will be to smooth it out one more time and call that part finished.

I opted for hard ear covers that could be a radio headset or sound-dampeners.  Partly because I hate sculpting ears even more than eyes on a face.  Also because battlefields are noisy.  With a good headset he would still be able to hear around him and the radio, and a bit of noise-cancelling to prevent tinnitus from gunshots and loud blasts.

I have included the face in shadows so those who can’t filter out colours will see how well the sculpting does blend together to look like a real face (and not a black-face miniature).

Overall he looks more like a modern soldier than a guy in tights, but the heroic stance and shield will help identify him as Captain America.  Oh, the giant A on his forehead will help too.

Storm, third stage of sculpting.

Storm, third stage of sculpting.

Just getting a single pic to show the hours worth of work, I trimmed the seam from last time and added the next one.  Slowly but surely Storm will get finished.  Not a project I enjoy as much as it is simply transitions and blending and very little cool details to sculpt.

Mjolnir and amputated hands.

Mjolnir and amputated hands.

Who has also been getting some work is Thor.  The first pic I will show is his hammer.  I have been gradually working on it, and it will take several stages itself.  The flat surfaces are cured and then raised and beveled edges added very slowly.  This shows 2 of the 6 sides done.  The handle will likely get a bit more love too.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fifth stage of sculpting.

Today I did two stages of work on Thor.  First I did his left fist, well the first stage anyways.  There will be some more work and thumb added once it is fully cured.  What these pics showcase though is the start of his face.  I added in the eyes and nose, with a base putty to add the cheekbones and brow too.  Not my worst piece of work, I will try to make him look like Chris Hemsworth.  So far the eyes are right, but again the nose is a bit off.  I am thinking of going fully comic style with the helmet.  I will be doing tights for him.  And yes, the boots are taking shape too for the more astute readers.

While he does look like a commedia del arte actor right now, the basis of his face is there.  The chin of course will be built out quite a bit to reflect the rugged features of a son of Odin.

Lots of pics, a bit of progress, and hopefully a little inspirational for you.  If nothing else, for those who have seen my earlier work, this should inspire you to improve your skills too.

 

Avengers getting assembled (4)

Captain America, eleventh stage of sculpting.

This morning I decided to sneak downstairs to do some sculpting work.  There I was intently focused on getting the nose of Captain America exactly right…when a little voice piped up from my elbow and startled me.  I jumped a swore a little bit and my tool jumped with me.  The end result was the nose got moved.  So I went back to the drawing board and redid his nose and mouth.

Captain America, eleventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eleventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eleventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eleventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eleventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eleventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eleventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eleventh stage of sculpting.

I decided I wanted to put the chin straps down his face, and I like the covered ear look of one of the helmets in the latest movies so I will go that route…and I will add a mouth-piece coming out of it.  What kind of officer doesn’t have his head glued to a radio?

The face was my vain attempt to copy Chris Evans.  I think I got his smirk/grimace down pat but the nose is a bit off.  I have to say I am pretty impressed with myself.  Faces have always been my weakness and this isn’t too bad.  I would say it actually turned out pretty good.

With it being a weekend, hopefully I can get some more work done on Captain America (Storm and Thor will get some work too).  My goal is to get him finished this weekend, but I don’t want to rush it.  I have decided to stay with the spandex look to his suit and see how it looks all finished.

Hopefully this inspired you today, if nothing else to keep your attention on sneaky little foot-steps an not 100% on your work.

Avengers getting assembled (3)

Captain America, tenth stage of sculpting.

As the title suggests, I did find a bit more sculpting time.  I squeezed in a bit yesterday morning and I did a bit while my daughter was painting.

Captain America, ninth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, ninth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, tenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, tenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, tenth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, tenth stage of sculpting.

Up first we have Captain America.  I added in the knee pads above the shin guards.  Originally I was considering a multi-part articulating set of knee pads like baseball catchers wear.  After looking at them more closely, I realized I didn’t like how those looked while walking and I remembered the weird gait of catchers.  So instead I added in the straps and called it done.  Right now I am also back to thinking on fabric types for his pants.  I may do some bunching in a few places, but I am back to thinking about spandex type pants again.

What has also begun to take shape are the final details.  I decided to just try sculpting the helmet and face over the face blank to see how it works out.  The front of his trademark mask is just taking shape now.  Yes, the bottom edge does need a bit more work, but as the nose will get sculpted in there I am not too concerned.  I also added the eyes about 1/3 of a millimeter too high.  If I add in a chin strap to the bottom of his face it might hide it a bit better.  Then again, it might not be too obvious anyways.

Behind his propped up form you will notice the hands.  The left hand looks terrible in the shield for a reason: I am bulking out the basic layer to give better adhesion.  I will add in the handle and the anchor points for a strap too.  The strap itself will get added on over his arm once it is attached.  The knuckles that will be most visible got all my attention and very much look the part.

Thor, third stage of sculpting.

Thor, third stage of sculpting.

Thor, third stage of sculpting.

Thor, third stage of sculpting.

Thor, fourth stage of sculpting.

Thor, fourth stage of sculpting.

Also getting a bit of attention has been Thor.  The third part of his armour was added yesterday, and I do have a couple of rough spots on the back.  This stage also had a small gap: I underestimated the height I needed to raise the middle layer to.  The back will likely not get tidied up.  It isn’t a hard fix, but the form is present.  The cape of course will cover all of this work, so it is the edges and sides that might be visible, so they are the parts I spent the most time on.

Today I started adding in the details of the armour.  Obviously the first four of the six discs have been cut from a styrene rod.  I blended them in with greenstuff, in fact the lower left one is a true circle…now.  I also added in a bit of a flame motif into the front of the breastplate.  I was going to do a series of angular overlaps much like the costume from the latest movies and decided against it.  I am pretty happy with how this has turned out so far.  I may add more details to the breastplate, I haven’t really decided yet.

With both of these sculpts I have had a big picture idea and the small details (and sometimes not so small) get decided on by whim.  I find taking the breaks between helps.  Besides the obvious part about the curing time, it also gives me a chance to reevaluate the project.

I might be biased, but I think the helmet and detailing are starting to make both of these come alive.

My usual rambling length, but hopefully equally inspiring today.  If nothing else, this should give you that nudge to experiment and be creative.  The nice thing about this hobby is nobody has a life on the line or any major risks if things go wrong…so don’t be afraid to push your boundaries and take the step into the unknown.

Avengers getting assembled (2)

After a pause to do my last post, eat supper, and get the kids to bed I was able to sit down with my tools and the now cured Avengers.

Captain America, eighth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eighth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eighth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, eighth stage of sculpting.

For Captain America very little progress since last update, just the first of his knee pads.  I say first as I want to incorporate segmented armour to cover the entire joint.  Once fully cured there will be another plate just above the knee pads.  This will give the illusion of him actually having protected legs, I hope.

Once the next plate is added (and cured) I will move on to his pants first then the straps for his pads.  After that it will be is sleeves and then the dreaded hands and head.

Thor, second stage of sculpting.

Thor, second stage of sculpting.

Thor, second stage of sculpting.

Thor, second stage of sculpting.

Thor, second stage of sculpting.

Thor, second stage of sculpting.

Also getting some progress is Thor.  I am sure some movie fans and comic fanatics will be crying foul at what I am doing, but I am going with my own version of the armour inspired by both the movie and the battle armour from the comics.  The 6 discs that are the Thor trademark will remain…but I will actually give him a 3 piece set of armour.  His tunic and first layer of plate is visible now.  Over the top of his chest will be the final layer of armour with some interlocking triangular patterns.  I will go with some pauldrons that are incorporated into it too.  The final 2 discs of course will secure his cape right above the clavicle.

Although not shown, I am actually sculpting the back as well.  The bottom edge on the back is good and smooth, the layers above less so…I will be putting the next plate over what I cut corners on.  I am taking a page from Kevin White (Hasslefree Miniatures) for this guy: even sculpting what is hidden is sometimes necessary to get the most realistic final effect.

I am very impressed with how quickly he is progressing compared to Captain America.  Maybe it is the new project burst of energy, maybe it is that this is simple shapes than  the detailed very tiny plates and pads for Captain America.  Or maybe, and this is just crazy talk, I am actually improving.  To be honest I think 1 and 2 are probably the closest: I did the second layer of armour in about half the time it took to do one kneepad.

Anyhow, hopefully this quick update inspires you, if nothing else to take advantage of brief windows to help your projects progress.

Avengers getting assembled

Thor and Captain America.  Notice the size differences and similarities.

With a weekend without houseguests or needing to go into work, I managed to make some progress on the 3 minis I am working on.

Captain America, seventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, seventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, seventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, seventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, seventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, seventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, seventh stage of sculpting.

Captain America, seventh stage of sculpting.

First up, Captain America has the start of his lower-leg protection.  I decided to do the basic shin-pad first then build up the knee protector on top of that.  Straps of course will go on once everything is cured.

Also finished are his belt-buckle and the small divot in his chest body armour I kept forgetting to fix.

 

Storm, second stage of sculpting.

Storm, second stage of sculpting.

Storm, second stage of sculpting.

Storm, second stage of sculpting.

Storm, second stage of sculpting.

Storm, second stage of sculpting.

Also getting some progress is Storm.  I added in the fabric bunching behind her bent left knee.  I also added in the piping to her pants leg.  In the Fox X-Men movie, her costume has a very unique set of piping/seam running up both legs, above her hips and down the back of the legs.  To keep with the costume my wife chose, this is one of the key features I think I need to replicate.  Other than that, her sculpt will simply consist of fabric bunching at the bulges and bends.  And I use fabric loosely…this costume is gortex or some other pleather…

Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures.  Reposed to be Thor.

Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures. Reposed to be Thor.

Thor and Captain America.  Notice the size differences and similarities.

Thor and Captain America. Notice the size differences and similarities.

Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures.  Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures. Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Thor, first stage of sculpting.

Thor, first stage of sculpting.

Thor, first stage of sculpting.

Thor, first stage of sculpting.

Finally, today also saw me coming up with a solution to a sculpting problem I was having.  I have been wasting green-stuff.  In the early stages of Captain America, I used excess to bulk up some of my larger monster bases.  But, they are all done right now.  I realized if I had another project on the go, I would waste less green-stuff.

One of the toughest Avengers to find a proxy for is Thor.  There are countless forums out there with vain attempts to find suggestions.  It seems a smooth-faced Viking is rare, let alone one who isn’t wearing enough fur to cause seizures in animal rights activists.

So I decided I would sculpt Thor.  For his pose I decided to go with a dynamic hero pose with Mjolnir hanging loosely down by his side and a slightly raised left fist.

As a base I used the Reaper Heroic Dolly.  For size comparison, it matches fairly well with the non-heroic, but a couple of body part ratios are a bit off.  For scale, he matches more or less with Deano.  For the first phase, I added the bottom of his tunic.  I will sculpt from the bottom up on his tunic to get the various layers and straps to get positioned properly.  I will keep his arms bare, and I am not sure if I want tights on his legs (like the comics) or leather-ish pants.  Naturally he will have a giant cape (sculpted last) with the giant round brooches.

Short post today, but hopefully inspiring.  If nothing else, hopefully you try fooling yourself that biting off more is the best way to fix a figurative mouth full of food.

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