Archive | February 2016

Where did I put my keys?

Or too many pockets.

The post today shows off a few days work on Captain America.  I have added in the yoke on the back as well as some pouches on his belt.  The top of his boots have been marked out and placed.

Captain America, fourth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, fourth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, fourth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, fourth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, fifth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, fifth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, fifth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, fifth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, fifth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, fifth stage of sculpting.

The left hand pouch was a bit rushed, and I didn’t get a chance to look at the miniature on the big screen until after it had mostly cured.  I’m not 100% with it at all angles, even without magnification.  I am undecided on if I will remove it or not.  Conveniently, the bad angles are ones that won’t be visible once he is holding his shield.  Happy coincidence.

Also started at the same time were the top of the boots, again the edges are alright but the tapering needs some work.  Again, something I will go back and do.

Finally, the yoke didn’t look quite right on his right hand side.  So I took out the trusty scalpel and evened out the angles.  Yes angles, because after I did the one side, I needed to do the other.

I have been struggling with getting the best pictures of the greens.  I have tried my usual lighting, and over-exposing the light.  My camera is really picky and out of 12 pics I rarely get 2-3 that are good enough to look at, let alone showcase all the details I want to examine.  So any advice on pics of greens would be appreciated.

Short post today, but no less inspirational, I hope.  If nothing else, it shows you what a bit of time stolen here and there can do to help a project along.

It takes a real man to wear pink

Or purple in this case.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures.  Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures. Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures.  Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures. Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures.  Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures. Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures.  Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures. Whiplash proxy.

I have decided to call Whiplash aka Ivan Vanko finished.  I am fairly happy with the NMM I did on his pistons (?) on his back and a couple spots on his gloves.  Given more time I am sure I could bring it to the next level.  In the end though, he is intended to be a playing piece not for display so it is ok if he looks good at arms length.

I added in the lighter purple to his knee pads and I also redid the arc reactor.  The wet-blending went a lot better this time and gave a much more electric look.  Strangely I did less blending and fewer shades.  Go figure.

Right now I am sitting at even numbers for good guys and bad guys (in the super hero department anyways).  The Agents on my table need to get finished, especially Nomad who is sitting half-finished and looking at me with his big sad eyes.  I do also have a whole bunch of troops to act as the army of minions for my various villains.  So there is a bit of work ahead of me.

On the topic of work ahead, here is a quick update on Captain America.  I added the abdomen armour to be similar to the pads of a baseball catcher.  I also added in the ubiquitous suspenders.  I am at a crossroads right now.  I need to decide if I want him to have more of a fabric suit or spandex.

Captain America, third stage of sculpting.

Captain America, third stage of sculpting.

Captain America, third stage of sculpting.

Captain America, third stage of sculpting.

Fabric would give more of a uniform look, but it would cover most of his muscles.  It also would mean adding a bit of sculpting on the joints and creases where fabric folds and creases.  That is both an interesting challenge and a bit of frustration: adding in cloth folds after all the raised areas (like belts) is tougher.  I will make the armour plates and pads part of whatever suit I give him.

Spandex would keep the superhero look.  It would highlight his muscles and still tie to the classic costume worn by Captain America.  It would also look a bit jarring and make tying the armour into the suit a bit more difficult.  The other option is to split the difference and go with close-fitting fabric.  I would add in a few creases but the muscles would still be fairly obvious.  That might be the way to go, kind of like Under Armor meets actual armour.

To close it off I give you an action shot that would have made the final fight scene of Iron Man 2 a bit less of a difficult challenge.

Crosswire, Afterburn and Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures.  Whiplash, Ironman and Hulk proxies.

Crosswire, Afterburn and Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures. Whiplash, Ironman and Hulk proxies.

Anyhow, hopefully this short post was inspirational to you.  If nothing else it shows how a bit of creative brushwork can fix your previous mistakes and make a figure pop.

Working through the ranks

Ah yes, the bad puns continue.

Yesterday evening I had a chance to add a few more details.  I spent more time working on the details than I intended.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting.  Weird angle to show the elbowpads.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting. Weird angle to show the elbowpads.

I sculpted the elbow pads very quickly, in about 10 minutes.  I was just adding the holes in the right elbow when my hand slipped and I wiped out the left elbow pad.  Quick resculpting, measuring to compare and eyeball verification…then I bumped the left elbow as I was adding more greenstuff to the right elbow.  Sigh.  I think I spent about 45 minutes on the elbow pads.  I didn’t add the attachments as a separate piece as I see these would be included in his tunic.  I am 50/50 on if I want the plates to be included or as separate pieces.  Either way works, so I will see how I decide in the end.  As long as I leave the option to add straps I can still go either way.

I also threw a belt together quickly for him.  I am not 100% on the two band style belt but I figure once I get some pouches and his suspenders on there it will all look good.  Yes, suspenders.  It is one of the costume components I want to continue.  Plus, I may actually put a pouch or grenade on the straps so it will be more like webbing or a load bearing vest than suspenders.  Then again, pretty embarrassing to drop your pants in a fight.  Either way, suspenders are the way forward.

I also salvaged a shield to give Captain America.  I am sure it is the right size based on arm placement and how it matches what portion of his body is covered.  I have it just held on with tape for the pics.  His ball amputation and hand graft will make it fit better and let it rest on his shoulder a bit.  If you are wondering why, look up some videos of hoplite warriors.  The shield was very heavy and not spun around like a plastic trashcan lid as seen in the movie Troy.  Yes, a vibranium shield would weigh less (mostly because it’s imaginary but that is another story) but if you have never tried using a shield or blocker (the football or martial arts variety), I recommend you try a simple exercise.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting.

Captain America, second stage of sculpting.

Find a hardcover book and hold it in your hand with your elbow bent 90 degrees and your arm away from your body.  And hold it.  Yes sounds simple.  But even a light book will start to feel heavy and your army will droop.  Some sort of exercise is based on this principle (isometric I believe) and after having to stand holding something static for a while I believe it.  So that dear readers is why I will have Captain America resting his shield a bit: he might be superhuman but he is also fairly smart.

Anyhow, hopefully this was inspirational for you today, if nothing else to try the little book exercise.  See exercise can be educational.

The First Avenger

Ok, if you have been following this blog for a while, the title seems a bit off…didn’t I just post 3 of the Avengers in a group shot?

For those who are watching superhero movies, this should tell you exactly what I am posting.  As an aside, Knight Miniatures just released their Marvel game and re-released their Avengers.  I do have a Knight Miniatures Batman so I know they are a bit bigger than my current figs.  Now, that doesn’t mean down the road I may get them, but I personally don’t like the classic costume version they have done for Captain America…so this project will go forward anyways.

Non-Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures.  Reposed to be Captain America.

Non-Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures. Reposed to be Captain America.

Non-Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures.  Left stock form, right reshaped.

Non-Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures. Left stock form, right reshaped.

Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.  Non-Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures.  Reposed to be Captain America.

Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures. Non-Heroic Dolly by Reaper Miniatures. Reposed to be Captain America.

To start with I decided a while back to get some dollies/armatures from Reaper.  I have always made my own armatures for sculpting.  So why did I take a step back as it were?  Well basically, laziness.  When working with men in tights, a pre-sculpted musculature saves me time.

My lovely wife decided to get me some for Valentine’s Day (awwww romantic…I got her jewelry so it wasn’t a total nerd-fest).

To start with, I will showcase the non-heroic male dolly.  As shown in the first pic, I did reshape my Captain America start state from the stock shape.  Standing beside Deano they are a bit closer to heroic scale in height but the proportions are a lot more toned-down.  What is worth noting, is my dolly still has a millimetre and a half of flash to file down on his feet so he won’t tower quite so much over Deano.

Now, all the rest of these pictures are for my own selfish purposes, but I am sharing for the benefit of you.  Awww, no seriously.  I will point out what I did step by step, but first my concept.

Captain America, first stage of sculpting.

Captain America, first stage of sculpting.

Captain America, first stage of sculpting.

Captain America, first stage of sculpting.

The latest Captain America movies show him in a more modernized suit, and his helmet is obviously a helmet of some type (but without padding or stand-off, not a very good one).  What has bothered me is that he didn’t really wear armour.  Sure, the suit looks cool, and he does have elbow and very thin knee-pads in some of his suits, but where is the stuff to protect him from badguys.

Here is a bit of reality folks: armour is heavy, bulky, and uncomfortable.  From kendo bogu to simple vests up to frag vests with plates and shoulder-guards, nothing I have worn is what I would call comfortable.  Once you wear it enough you get used to wearing it.  In fact, you stop noticing it as much and learn to adapt.  But, modern armour would not let you do the high-octane rough and tumble we see in most action movies.

However, there is another type of armour worn by another type of action hero…or should I say athlete.  Both hockey and football equipment do provide impact protection and freedom of movement.  Considering the huge resources of SHIELD and the Avengers, I wonder why Captain America wouldn’t wear some sort of hybrid of sports equipment and armour.

Well, wonder no more.  The first piece of equipment sculpted is his chest/back armour which is really just a bulkier version of the chest guard used in hockey.  I added on military style shoulder-guards as they are actually lighter and give easier movement than hockey shoulder guards.  They are actually thick pieces of Kevlar anchored to the vest with loose straps.  So here is my first combination of the two armour types.  Once cured, the front and back will have a thick strap/vest connection.

Captain America, first stage of sculpting.

Captain America, first stage of sculpting.

Captain America, first stage of sculpting.

Captain America, first stage of sculpting.

Now, if you look at the pictures, you will see some differences and mistakes.  The first picture shows tool marks and errors.  I quickly fixed those mistakes and took the other pictures.  Then, while writing this post I saw some more tool marks and mistakes on the left breast-plate so fixed that too.  See, dear reader, I told you these pics are primarily for me.

The next stages will see me adding in some of the lighter padding and the elbow pads.  I will be cutting off both the “balls” and sculpting hands.  The right hand will be a “knife-hand” four finger point while the left will be grasping his shield.  The legs will get a bit of an upgrade too from the world of sports: over the front of his boots will be soccer style shin/knee guards to give him some protection on the shin, ankle, and knee as he does his acrobatic combat.

A lot of pics and rambling today, but hopefully inspirational.  If nothing else, I encourage you to try your hand at sculpting to make your own revisions to characters…if I can do it, I am sure you can too.

I’m all out of whip puns

Depending on how often you read my blog, the title may be good news or bad news.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures.  Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures. Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures.  Whiplash proxy.

Crosswire by Reaper Miniatures. Whiplash proxy.

I have taken a week off of work (just spending my vacation days before FY end and my March is going to be very busy) and so expect a lot of updates on my blog.

Yesterday I managed to throw some paint onto my Whiplash figure.

I decided to go with an Asian skin tone.  Vanko was from Russia, but in the Eastern part of Siberia there are a couple of different ethnic groups.  Besides, I was tired of painting white guys.

I might go back and paint the separate panel on his knees like I did his helmet and shoulder.  I obviously need to highlight the metal parts, and I am not sure if I want to redo the arc-reactor.

Anyhow, expect an update on him (and likely a couple other minis) later this week.

Hopefully this was inspiring to you, if nothing else to show how a couple of crude conversions can look a lot better with a bit of paint and patience.

Hosercanadian SMASH

If the title doesn’t give it away, I managed to get another superhero finished.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy.

I took a page from the internet and turned the Reaper Clay Golem into the Incredible Hulk.

A bit of greenstuff hair was about the limit of what I did.  I could have done up shredded pants, but decided against it.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures.

He is quite large as shown by the comparison to Deano.  Obviously, Deano is halfway through getting painted.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures.  Deano by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures. Deano by Hassle Free Miniatures.

And for a bit of an action shot, here are my Avengers thus far.  Black Widow, Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy.

Clay Golem and Afterburn by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk and Ironman proxies.  Ekaterina by Hassle Free Miniatures as Black Widow proxy.

Clay Golem and Afterburn by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk and Ironman proxies. Ekaterina by Hassle Free Miniatures as Black Widow proxy.

Hopefully this was inspiring, if nothing else to build up your own super team.