Also known as WIP.
I have decided to start on Cinder by Reaper, the only dragon I got with my Bones 2 kickstarter.
This is one huge dragon, and a bit intimidating to paint for that reason alone.
As I rambled in a previous post, I thought the horns resembled Maleficent so I was going to go with a black and purple dragon. In fact, I did a test pattern on the colour scheme on one of my dragon hatchlings already.
Although tough to clearly see, this giant lizard does have the initial coats of purple on the belly and membranes.
I have also decided to do something I saw was very striking on another dragon: the wing membranes will be two-tone. The underside will be light purple and the back just a shade lighter than the body, staying an almost black with purple highlights.
I will be taking my time with this one, the biggest time commitment I see being the brush-work. I intend to highlight each scale individually as opposed to my ham-fisted broad-brush dry-brushing that would normally be slapped on it.
The wings will be a bit of an issue as I am seeing my purple keeps bleeding through black with each coat…and I don’t want a bright purple like I did on my hatchling.
Also getting a bit of work is a new DnD model. A new player joined the group with a dragonborn paladin. As I only have one dragonborn model, the selection wasn’t hard. His character was armed and armoured slightly differently. So I chopped off the sword, added a javelin, and put on some quick plates to have it read more as plate.
A quick a dirty post, light on text but with lots of pics this time. Hopefully this was inspirational to you, if nothing else to nudge you onto that large project you have been putting off.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
I had a bit of free time this morning and was able to make a bit of progress on a few figs.
First off, Captain America’s boots got a bit of progress.
As shown, I have added in the laces to the front and the edge flaps that hold the boots together. Yes, the entire top will get blended down, but the laces were my priority for this morning. I stopped the laces from going the full way up as I am putting the shin guard on and there is little reason to do work that will not be visible. In fact, most of the laces I did sculpt likely won’t be visible. Oh well. Slowly but surely he is taking shape.
I have decided I will add a bit of fabric bunching on his knees, at his boots, and butt…in short the places that would show the difference between spandex and fabric. But now I need to stop my half-ass periodic sculpting of hands and heads…the time for those parts is coming fast.
Second, we have my second sculpt shown. My wife’s favorite super hero is Storm from X-Men. Now, she has had a variety of costumes over the comics and movies so I asked her which one she wanted, and it is Halle Berry as Storm from the first two X-Men movies.
So far I have added the join between her breasts (including the zipper) and the flared bottom of her pants. The zipper does go all the way up to her collar but her collar will have to wait for the head so I will leave room to blend and tie it in and carry on once her head is done. After trying a few different poses, including a walking pose, I decided to have her flying. Her left hand will be a fist and the direct of her focus. A flying Storm ready to call down lightning. Again, I am sure there are better pics that could be taken, but these are the ones I needed to see my work. I am still not 100% with the right pant bottom but I will leave it for now. At normal scale it looks good. I did resculpt these 4 times (and her chest twice because of fat fingers).
Last up today we have a very simple conversion. I am taking Blood Widow from Reaper and converting her to Spider Woman. That consists of…well to be honest paint. She is a bit taller than Deano, but she is standing on her tip toes, so she is actually a bit shorter than him. And yes, for the hard-core comic nerds, yes she was an Avenger too. And a Hydra Agent. And a freelancer. And has worked with multiple heroes and villains. So overall, she deserves her own category and can be used by any side in the game I am working on.
A short post today, but hopefully inspiring. If nothing else I hope to inspire you to tackle those bigger projects as smaller bite-sized stages.
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.
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.
Or purple in this case.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.