29 December 2013

The Rhino - Painting (III): Rhino suit (5)

And so I wrap up the painting of the Rhino suit from the neck down: the left leg is now [effectively] done! The head cowl and horns will be tackled once the figure is permanently mounted on its display base.

Unfortunately, save for whatever I might get done today in the remaining pre-dinner hours, that also means that the painting for 2013 is effectively done! The remainder of my year is not some- thing I would wish on very many people, so . . .

That being said, a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014 to the readership and yours! In the next six weeks, I will be completing the Rhino and starting--and hopefully finishing!--Judge Dredd, so check back often as the posting count should be rockin'. . .

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot. . . ",


27 December 2013

"JUSTICE": Judge Joseph Dredd--Intro

Being oh-so-close to priming as I am, I thought it was time to get the ball rolling on the painting portion of the project. . .

Firstly, I will say that this will be rendered as originally conceived; i.e., with a black/blue-black uniform. I will probably custom-mix my black to give myself a little more flexibility in my tonal shades, as well as provide a more vibrant appearance to the figure. While most of the artwork shows the Judges' jumpsuit as a medium to royal blue--with the de rigueur hard-edged shading in black, as in so many cases in the Silver and Bronze Age of Comics, what we the readership see is the result of artistic deliberation and/or concessions to the limitation/s of the printing process, not necessarily the conceptual canon. To further complicate matters, Dredd was originally published in B&W: he would not be graced with full-colour until Fall 1988 (Prog 589), over 11 years after his introduction in Prog 2!

As with most venerable comic book icons, points of detail are as varied as the artists behind them. For example, most of Dredd's gear is usually depicted as a tone of Chrome Green; but there have been any number of instances where his elbow and knee pads have been yellow/ ochre/buff. As of this writing, I haven't decided which colour/s I will use. . .

So much for that. I hope to have whetted your appetite for the visual feast around the corner. And any comments, especially from our die-hard 2000AD fans, are most welcome!

26 December 2013

Judge Dredd -- Prepwork - Home Stretch

I have just attached the right arm to the torso and dressed the seam, and with that, the torso sub-assembly can be deemed completed! In fact all the sub-assemblies are now pegged to their work-bases, and save for a few minor touch-ups here and there--and the final (I hope!) final once over, the prepwork is effectively done! I think this may very well be primed by the end of next week!!

Does that mean the groundwork is done? Regrettably not. . . but I am closer! General clean-up and resurfacing has been completed, and all that remains is cleaning up and suitably weathering the tedious custom engraving along the base of the plinth.

Almost there!

25 December 2013

Notable Acquisitions December 2013

This was a Dark World Creations December/Christmas! And a stellar one it was/IS. . .
  • Durham Red (70mm, David Richardson)
  • Judge Death (70mm, David Richardson)
  • "Mean Machine" Angel (70mm, Pedram Karimfazli)
  • PSI Judge Anderson (70mm, Fabricio Torres)
And more "zombie goodness" (Cheers, Rin!) is on its way. . . 

PS--While all of the above are Tier-1+ figures (i.e., exceptional!), Death and "Mean Machine" are simply "off the chain"!

The Rhino - Painting (III): Rhino suit (4)

After 2 1/2 sessions, the right leg is now [effectively] done! The legs have proven to be the most challenging part of the project to date, if only because they have to be painted in anticipation of the addition of rather dramatic weathering: they are more an extension of the groundwork, than a component of the figure!

This will very probably be the last bit of painting done before the weekend. Barring any unforeseen developments in the days to come, I am hoping that the figure itself will be all-but-done by the end of the 29th. . . 

Movin' right along. . .

The Rhino - Groundwork -- Wrap-up

Phase I of the groundwork is now essentially done!  I think I have one more session of general debris/rubble ahead of me to integrate the various components of the rubble field, add burst mains, etc., but this could could be done at the outset of Phase II, hence the completion of Phase I.

If I can jump into Phase II before the weekend, and apply the basecoats by Saturday, the groundwork might be ready to accept the figure by Sunday.

Getting closer. . .

22 December 2013

The Rhino - Painting (III): Rhino suit (3)

The left arm is now [effectively] done!

Half-way there. . . Perhaps even a bit more than. . . I have begun applying the spot-washes and "filters"to the torso, and start tightening-up some of the detail lines and textural relief in and around the folds of the completed sections.

So far, so very good. I am very pleased with what is now before me; and though still overwhelm- ingly grey, the landscape of the morphology is beginning to emerge quite nicely!

More to follow. . . 

21 December 2013

The Rhino - Painting (III): Rhino suit (2)

The right arm is now [effectively] done! 

Two down . . .  

I am hoping that I have the time and inclination to tackle the left arm tomorrow before I am faced with putting up the brushes for the rest of the week, if not the year. . . 

Stay tuned!

15 December 2013

The Rhino - Painting (III): Rhino suit (1)

With the face effectively done--there is still the matter of integration once the surrounding Rhino suit is completed--it is time to take a deep breath and jump into the deep end. . . 

While laying out my palette--blues and warm orange-biased tertiaries to custom-mix my grey hues--I decided to break-up the Rhino suit into six manageable portions: head, torso, arms (x2), and legs (x2).

First up, the torso; and it is now effectively done. There will be A LOT of post-drying washes, dry-brushing, and touch-ups to maximize the depth and visual presence of the skin texturing, but the foundation coat of oils is now in the books.

One down. . . five to go. . . 

14 December 2013

The Rhino - Painting (II): Face

Phase 1 of the face is now done. I don't really anticipate the need for a Phase 2; rather, it will be a matter of tweaking the contrasts--using concentrated washes of the shadows and the most reflective tints for the super-highlights--until I am satisfied with the overall tonal gradient. 

Hopefully tomorrow. . . 

UPDATE 15.12.2013. . . Face is done!

Green Arrow (Eaglemoss DC Chess) -- Review (cont.)

Regrettably, the conclusion of this review is not what I had hoped for. . . 

On the plus side, the quality of the sculpture is superb! As best as I can tell, it is indeed com- prised of 4 pieces + base. This is a significant cost-saving measure afforded by the use of resin, with minimal down-side.

The negative. All the fineness and subtlety of the sculpture is virtually negated by the coarseness of the filler used! So much so that the figure is effectively rendered unusable once the paint is stripped!! Apparently, the production team is either unawares of the nuances of cold-cast metal casting, or are limited by budget constraints. Back in the day, I would have never used an aluminum powder so coarsely ground with the resin they are using--and without a thixotropic medium (read: "stratifier")! What is happening is that the essentially one-piece casting is being poured from the feet, and all the filler metal is settling to the upper body and head. The result is a relatively smooth, albeit virtually metal-free, lower body, and a craggy, coarse upper body. Of course, if you are willing to fill-in the roughness with paint, I don't suppose it really matters; but you are eliminating the repaint option. And even if you elected not to use a stratifier, a finer grade of Al powder would circumvent the problem, but would cut into your profit margin. 

Admittedly, this could have been a fluke. I can tell you with complete and authoritative confidence that it does happen. But if your fallback to a failed casting is a heavy (heavier?) application of paint, then any pretense at quality control during production is disingenuous, if not superfluous. 

I contacted Eaglemoss' CS, and received an immediate and candid response from a charming young lady. To wit, she was not in a position to discuss production issues. When I asked her if she could direct me to the point person on the production team, she replied that she did not have a contact to give me.

And so, my patronage of Eaglemoss has come to an end. The decline in painting quality was merely a symptom of what now lays beneath (HINT: paint is not intended to be used as either a filler or an adhesive!). And I don't need to be wasting my time OR money on an operation whose entire focus now appears to be the latter. CAVEAT EMPTOR!

13 December 2013

Ladies and gentlemen. . .

I am very proud--and pleased as punch!--to announce that "Queen of the Prom" was deemed "Best in Contest" in Dark World Creation's 1st Anniversary Commemorative Painting Competition.

My sincere thanks to Aaron Ishmael (bka Rin) for sponsoring the contest, and the opportunity he afforded us. I am very much looking forward to providing Jessica with some full-bodied companions!

DWC isss AWESOME!!!!

Well, the gang at Dark World Creations is certainly living up to the Christmas spirit! Their last two releases in their 2000AD line are off the charts!!

First up, their rendition of the Judge who is the poster child for "Beauty can be deadly", the blonde bombshell of MC-1, PSI-Judge Cassandra Anderson:

I already have this stunning piece and a hands-on review will follow soon.

And their Chrissstmas sssurprise, announced but a few hours ago. . .

I can only hope that the rest of Death's companions are not far behind. . .

And last, and least only in stature, their latest addition to the DotA horde, Zombie Kid Joe.


PS--Happy Friday the 13th!

PPS--All of the above are now available from The Red Lancers! (as of 12/23)

12 December 2013

The Rhino - Groundwork -- Images

A couple of images of the groundwork through [the majority of] Phase I:

Though there are a few more points of detail to be added, I will probably start applying paint over the weekend. . . I hope. . .

More to follow. . .

Holiday Greetings '13

This year has seemingly flown by! And I expect the last fortnight or so will be a warp-drive run into 2014!!

Whether that is a good thing or not is entirely subjective. I truly hope that most of us will see it as page 1 of a highly-anticipated, hot-off-the-presses novel, but I completely understand--and empathize--if expectations are tempered. . .

Regardless, make sure to take some time for yourselves this Holiday Season: plot out a new project; or make some inroads on an ongoing venture; or simply wrap-up that poor soul that has been desperately clamoring for completion! Make this Holiday fortnight truly memorable!! And above all, enjoy whatever time you have with family and friends, for they are the ones who will be with us in the 365-day journey that is right around the corner.

So, without further ado, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the readership a joyous, restful, peaceful--and, yes, productive!-- Holiday Season; and a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

Thank you for your patronage and support.



11 December 2013

Green Arrow (Eaglemoss DC Chess)

Those who frequent this blog are well aware of my affinity for Eaglemoss pre-painted collectible figurines--to be stripped, cleaned, and repainted as they deserve!

My latest acquisition is the Green Arrow from DC's "The New 52" reboot. This is the modernized version of the Emerald Archer, complete with compound bow, form-fitting tactical costume, and armored boots. And while it is not my first figure from the DC Chess Collection, it is the first one that I have stripped.

The DC Chess Collection (actually two distinct sets) figures differ from the main Eaglemoss DC Comics Super Hero Collection offerings in that the former are cast in what Eaglemoss calls "metallic resin". "Metallic resin" is a euphemistically vague, and potentially misleading, phrase. What resin was used? What filler was used?? What is the percent saturation??? All of which leads to the ultimate question: are these cold-cast bronze/"pewter"?

The figure is now in its third day in the "purple bath". To date, I have been able to "break down" the figure to 5 pieces:
  • the figure 
  • the left hand/compound bow (white metal)
  • the drawn arrow
  • a 'block' of arrow fletchings (inserts into box quiver)
  • the circular plinth

My observations to this point:
  • The hand/bow unit is cast in white metal and separated quite readily from the left wrist.
  • The balance of the figure is cast in what appears to be a polyester resin sparingly “filled” with powdered aluminum.This is by no means a "cold-cast" metallic! That being said, the retention of detail and the quality of the casting is superb!!
  • The quality of the painting continues to decline. The paint is astoundingly "heavy" and obliterates virtually any detail that it might touch (e.g., the finely sculpted/cast third and fourth fingers on the right hand were hidden under paint!). I can virtually guarantee that even an average paint-up will be light years ahead of this factory slop! 
  • Eaglemoss should be commended for pinning the ankles of the figure with music wire. This is the "Achilles heel" (pun intended) of virtually every "hard resin" figure, and the inclusion of this critical support will do much to forestall any disappointment in the future.

I will continue this review in the days to come once all the the paint is off the figure. . . 

09 December 2013

The Rhino - Groundwork

The Rhino's groundwork is a "project within a project". While all of the foundation work was done/ completed before priming, the very character of the subject demands that most of the defining elements (read: rubble) be done once the groundwork is permanently attached to the display base, with the most important aspects added after the completed figure is permanently attached to the latter.

So today I began to build-out the groundwork. This consisted of individually cracking/crushing a number of Verlinden (#1447) red bricks, and applying the larger structural elements to an under- layer of MS. Once this was cured, I carefully applied a coat of thinned white glue to the overall debris to 1) seal the bricks I applied in the previous step; and 2) apply a layer of chipped and ground bricks for texture and blending.

So far, so great! I think I will have one, maybe two, more general debris sessions ahead of me (using chipped/ground bricks and cat litter) before I can begin painting the "core" ground work. Then comes the fun part. . .(gulp!)

07 December 2013

The Rhino - Painting (I): U/Cing

THE RHINO IS NOW UNDERCOATED. . . and curing in the oven.

The Silver Age Rhino is not the most colourful of characters--chromatically--and herein lies the challenge: how to make a uniform medium grey vibrant and visually interesting! Layering my acrylic undercoat, I was able to "sketch" the lighting plan, as well as introduce colours to break-up the monotony of what amounted to little more than a tonal variant of the primer.

How well did I succeed, and how well will I translate this into the final oils?  Stay tuned. . .

03 December 2013

"I'm Rhino. I knock things down. That's what I do. . .that's who I am!"

Save for a few loose ends in the texturing phase; the final once-over; and--of course--the groundwork, the Rhino is, at long last, DONE!!!

I will hopefully have him primed and on the paint-bench within the fortnight. . .

UPDATE 06.12.2013. . . Did I say fortnight? The figure should be primed and on the painting bench sometime over the weekend. In the meantime, the groundwork is primed, and the black edging and foundation shadows applied.

FOLLOW-UP. . . THE RHINO IS PRIMED!!! Time to go shake-up some acrylics. . . And the groundwork has been permanently attached to the display base!

02 December 2013

Dragon 1/9 scale Bane (#38320)

I acquired this figure on one of the plethora of Black Friday internet sales—and at 50% off msrp, who could resist?! This is the model kit, not the pre-painted (but some assembly required) Action Hero Vignette (#38110). The difference between the two products are as follows:
  • More elaborate boxing/presentation: sleeved, hd foam-lined
  • Completely prepainted
  • Full groundwork/ready-to-display setting (vs. bare plastic display base)
And, of course. . .
  • Price

WHAT YOU GET: 11 finely-molded, solid, “hard vinyl” pieces + one circular, plain, black polysty- rene base. The torso, one-piece legs unit, boots, and mask (3 pieces) are molded in lt. grey; the rest is molded in flesh. 

As with many of my fellow miniaturists, I would love for Dragon to include the “groundwork” setting with their figure kits—or at least make them available to be bought separately. In this case, however, while nicely painted and finished, it would require an inordinate amount of work to make it “show-quality: IMHO, simply not worth the additional cost.

Dragon took quite a few “short-cuts” on this piece. I acquired it knowing that this would be a long- term project to get it up to snuff, with most of the work to-be-done centered on the pants. I have yet to determine how much work will be required on the vest, but I am certain that at least a moderate amount of resculpting will be involved. Ditto for the mask.

Are these earlier releases worth the msrp? Honestly, I would have to say no. But if you can find them at 30% off or better, and you are willing and able to put the time and effort into it to get it “up to speed”, then by all means, go for it!  

01 December 2013

The Rhino--Back on the front burner. . . AGAIN!

By way of prologue, this project has been something of a poster-child for "false-finishes"! Just when you think there is nothing left to be done, one or the other thing pops up, which then forces a reappraisal of all the work done in the immediate area.

Having said that, I can say with utmost certainty that the end is in sight: all that is left to do is detailing the left foot, and adding the tubercles to the shoulders, etc. I will also revisit the left eye to make sure all is as it should be.

And that is it! Save for the groundwork, but that is another story altogether. . .

PS--In case you are wondering, yes, the news about the supposed depiction of the Rhino in ASM 2 was a primary motivator in seeing this project through to completion in the immediate future. I hope they don't decide to go totally "Ultimate" with Aleksei's 'suit'--he is, after all, Aleksei Sytsevich, not Alexander O'Hirn!

Ultimately Amazing?

With now less than 6 months (2 May 2014) before the highly-anticipated release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2--and less than a week before the release of the "first" trailer, it should come as no surprise that "news" has begun to trickle out of the guarded vaults of Sony. . .

Whether it is "good news"--or "bad", will ultimately depend on your personal take on the story- line and how the characters are portrayed. Though hardly a "scoop", it appears as if the movie will definitively set the story in the Ultimate Marvel universe: Earth-1610.

Personally, this is a disappointment, as I have no real connection with the Ultimate universe. The allusions to this setting were fairly obvious throughout ASM 1, but I was hoping that the series would take 'something old' and 'something new' to create a new, vibrant interpretation of the printed works. They have definitely taken "something old", but what they have taken--and why--is at best illogical--at worst, insulting! So, we'll hope for the best as we await the Ultimate Electro, the Ultimate [mecha-]R.H.I.N.O., and--the gods help us--the Ultimate Green Goblin. . .

On the plus side, I guess that Gwen Stacy will survive at least through the second installment-- and the alignment of Disney and Sony is further enhanced. . .

"Excelsior!"? I think not. . . 

30 November 2013

Notable Acquisitions November 2013

Nocturna Masquerade (70mm, Pedro Fernández)

22 November 2013

John W. Higgins Armory 1931-2013

"In January 2014, the Higgins Armory Museum will transfer to the Worcester Art Museum its unique collection of arms and armor, which is widely regarded as one of the three most significant arms and armor collections in the Americas.  The transfer, which will allow the collection to remain on display in Worcester, will follow the closure of Higgins at the end of 2013. . . . "


Thanks for the countless memories!!! Fair well and Godspeed!!! And, of course, I'll be in Worcester in 5 years or so. . . :)))

17 November 2013

Judge Dredd -- Prepwork #4

The figure is now in the final finishing stage. There is still quite a few bits and bobs to be reworked (mainly on the left hand), but the end is definitely in sight!

I wish I could say the same for the "groundwork": this is an extensively reworked Kabuki Models’ Eagle Rock Plinth. I would say I am a little over half-way done, but there are a few enhancements that I am considering that will extend the time on the workbench significantly.

More to follow. . . 

15 November 2013

Judge Dredd -- Prepwork #3

Clean-up continues to progress quite nicely. The head is the first piece to be completed, and it is now pegged and on its work block awaiting final once-over and priming.

Very little remains to be done as I am effectively in final once-over -- before assembly. One area that will demand my attention in the days ahead are the belt's magazine pouches: upon close inspection,  there were quite a few air bubbles along the edges. While these were filled last week, reduction (of filler) and re-detailing await.

A notable addition was made this evening, and that was the viewfinder of the TTB (through the barrel) sighting system. The digital render shows the full viewfinder (much as we see in the new Judge Anderson release), but the kit provides but a rudimentary eyepiece; thus, the distinctive "knob" of the Lawgiver MK 1 is a must enhancement. This was done with a piece of sprue sand- ed to the appropriate diameter, and superglued in place. Final detailing has yet to be done.

More to follow. . .

FOLLOW-UP. . . I was entertaining adding the second, upper magazine to the Lawgiver, but decided that it would be too much of a distraction. Instead, I opted to replace the flimsy resin barrel of the weapon with one made from copper tubing ground-down to size. This relatively simple, albeit nerve-wracking, procedure makes all the difference in the world!

10 November 2013

Judge Dredd -- Prepwork #2

The "custom accessory piece" is now done--and attached! 

One of the characteristic weapons of the Judges was the "daystick"--as in "beat the living 'daylights' out of the perp". As I felt the figure was somewhat off-balance with nothing in its left hand, I decided to add a daystick.

I used a piece of ps sprue to carve a daystick. Aside from drilling out the left fist, there is very little additional work to be done save restoring the last two fingers. Nothing could be easier, and the effect is quite dramatic.

Now to get the figure ready for priming. . . 

09 November 2013

The Queen of the Prom


"The Ripper" (bka Divio Juckal)

This posting is embarrassingly L-O-N-G overdue. And while the image that follows is a vast improvement over some past postings, there is still much work to be done in learning the idiosyncrasies of the DSLR.

Be that as it may, and without further ado. . .

06 November 2013

The Return of Dredd. . .

. . . to my workbench, that is. . .

Admittedly, I am in a bit of a quandary as to what to proceed with next. One thing I do know, however, is that I do not want to lose the momentum generated by Jessica. So rather than wait for what might arrive in the next 2-3 weeks, I decided to revisit a project that was started earlier this year: Dark World Creations' 70mm Judge Dredd.

This evening, I tapped and pegged the legs, and tentatively fitted him to the groundwork. So far so good. . . 

UPDATE 07.11.2013. . . The groundwork has been tentatively fitted - and pegged - to the display pedestal--you will see what I mean shortly. 

UPDATE 08.11.2013. . . The legs have been fitted to the reworked surface of the groundwork. With that being done, I can now focus on pre-prime finishing of the figure, and start to work on a custom accessory piece.

02 November 2013

Notable Acquisitions October 2013

Dark World Creations Jessica (1/10 scale bust, Pedram Karimfazli)

26 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting (4) - Finishing

The project is now essentially finished. The bust will be mounted on its display base later today; and then begins the critical finishing phase--including painting the hair-- that will probably take the better part of two weeks.

While I am hardly surprised at how enjoyable this little exercise has been, I am very surprised at how quickly it went. The exceptional casting was certainly a factor, but I must attribute the overall rapid progress to thorough planning and having a definitive "vision" of the finished product. As many of you have heard me say before, you should know what the completed piece will look like before the figure is even primed! There are enough surprises in any given project to go into it clueless and relying on Fortuna's benevolence!

I should have images up within the fortnight! Stay tuned!!

UPDATE. . . Jessica is now permanently attached to her display base; and her hair has been undercoated. While I definitely liked her as a blonde, this is a much better "look" for her.

UPDATE 30.10.2013. . . Just to bring everyone up to date, the ribbon is done, and the hair all-but! Tomorrow will be a down-day at the bench--no, not because I will be indulging ghoulish proclivi- ties; but rather 'cause it is month-end. That's OK. . . it will give the paint another day to set. . . Friday should be "final assembly" day, and by next week, I should be well into my crash OJT using a DSLR!
She really looks the part!!!. . .    

UPDATE 01.11.2013. . . Assembly and the remaining undercoating are DONE! Tomorrow, I will hopefully be able to finish painting the hair, and begin finalization. . . 
Stay tuned!

UPDATE 02.11.2013. . . JESSICA . . . IS . . . DONE!!!!!!

25 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting (3) - Dress

The dress is now DONE!

As I went with a lighter. more neutral hue--as would befit a prom dress, my original plan to make her a blonde does not work as well as I had hoped. By tomorrow, I will have her new hair color undercoated.

More to follow. . .

24 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting (2) - Chest & Back

Not surprisingly, the week at work has not improved one iota. All the more reason to seek relief and gratification at the bench! And it was found!!! The chest and back are now DONE(!); and the wound is about 70% complete!

This is coming together not only faster than anticipated, but better as well. If everything continues to progress as it has, I should have it mounted on its display base by Sunday.

Stay tuned!

22 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting (1) - Head & Face: Day 6

As I had feared, this has been the week from Hell at work--and it's only Tuesday! But the little bench-time afforded me has worked out quite nicely, and THE FACE IS NOW DONE!!! There will probably be some tweaking here and there per usual, but otherwise IT IS DONE! Even the eyes have been glazed!! And I am delighted!!!

I will probably avoid the bench  the remainder of the work week, and hit it hard Friday evening. My goal is to have the chest and back blocked-in before I call it a day on Friday, and then start the localized enhancements on Saturday. I figure the remaining fleshtones will be completed by the first weekend in November (12 days).

Thinking ahead, once the fleshtones are done, and the remainder of the figure undercoated, the bust will be mounted on its permanent display base. . .

More to follow. . .

20 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting (1) - Head & Face: Day 5

As I suspected, yesterday turned out to be an "off" day. Though some research and palette tweaking was accomplished, I didn't get anywhere near the bench.

The down day and the additional research paid off handsomely today: Phase 1 of the face is now done! This new (to me!) approach of working in smaller sections (sub-assemblies, if you will) and then bringing it all together affords a greater degree of control--and yes, precision--to the process. It also affords me a greater opportunity to "switch horses", if you will, if I don't care for how some- thing is developing. I plan to finish the ears and continue working the mouth the remainder of the day.

So far so good! If work isn't too bad this week, I might have a chance to at least block-in the remaining flesh before the weekend. If not, I will spend some time setting-up the photo-shoot area: Rin was kind enough to give his blessing to in-progress reveals!

Stay tuned. . .

18 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting (1) - Head & Face: Day 4

The eyes are now DONE! There will still be some minor tweaking and finishing to be done (read: tying-off the loose ends), such as the milky overglaze, but essentially this watershed phase is now behind me.

I also began glazing and blocking the wounds with oils tonight, as well as applying a very controlled grisaille with Payne's grey over the face. Finally, the first layer of oils was applied to the teeth. 

The second game of the season of the hometown Gladiators is tomorrow night and I will be there! I am going to try to get the face blocked-in before I head out, but we'll see how things look in the morning. . . 

More to follow. . .

17 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting (1) - Head & Face: Day 3

The eyes--or rather, the irises--are now DONE! The overpaint in oils has been completed, and hopefully the surface will be dry in 24 hrs. so that I might paint the pupils and the symptomatic conjunctivitis. Zombies are all about the eyes, and these will set the stage for the balance of the face--and the bust itself.

The venation across the chest and back has been tweaked and enhanced with oils. The stage is now set for the glazing of the flesh.

I can't wait for the weekend!

16 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting (1) - Head & Face: Day 2

The eyes--or rather, the irises--are now done. Unlike my usual approach, these were blocked-in using acrylics. Tomorrow I will hopefully be able to overpaint with oils (using Liquin as a medium), and then paint the pupils on Friday.

I also undercoated the wound; as well as laid down the venation across the exposed flesh. These will represent the normal human veins: the blight veins will be more superficial and darker, and applied over the first coat of oils, thus enhancing the sense of depth, as well as the transparency of the skin.

So far so good. I am very pleased with what is currently before me. . . I just hope I can keep on, keeping on.

15 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting - INTRO: UC'ing

The flesh is now undercoated. This process was quite a revelation in and of itself, as for the very first time in my painting career, I was sorely tempted to complete the fleshtones solely in acryl- ics! I can certainly understand the appeal of the medium, especially in specific instances: in this case, mottled, 'undead" flesh.

I also uc'd the eyes and the teeth. As the eyes will be a multi-layered application, I will try to set the pupils/irises either tomorrow or Thursday.

I will also hopefully be able to apply a basecoat of oils in the next couple of days. That should have the "canvas" ready for mottling, etc. by the end of the week and the weekend.

More to follow. . . 

PS--As soon as I hear from Rin regarding the rules concerning "reveals" prior to the close of competition, I will begin to go into greater detail in my postings, as well as upload ip images--
or not. 

14 October 2013

Jessica -- Painting - INTRO

Painting this bust will be a treat. It being October, however, I fully expect more than a few 'tricks' to insinuate themselves into the process. Hopefully, I will be able to suss most of these out well before they impact my progress. . .

Let the game begin!

2013 Status Report -- [Early] Fall Update REVISED

The newly revised 2014 Show lineup:

1) Jessica (Dark World Creations DotA bust,1/10 scale)
2) "Justice" - Judge Joseph Dredd (Dark World Creations, 70mm)
3) The Rhino (Studio McVey, 65mm)

And this WILL be it! Prospective entries may be removed, but this is the base of what I will be working with through February.
Back to the bench!

13 October 2013

Jessica -- Prep #2

I have already sculpted--and am in the process of finishing--an integral pedestal to support the bust. The remaining prepwork is entirely at the discretion of the miniaturist. 

I decided to do the following:
  • Enhancement of the dorsal surface of the pinna: the back of the ears are essentially featureless. DONE
  • Extend the torn shoulder strap of the dress with MS. This creates more depth and dimensionality to the bust. DONE
  • Undercut all layered surfaces as necessary--notably, the right shoulder strap of the dress. DONE
  • Enhance the edges of the wound with MS. DONE
  • Add distressed areas of flesh on the face. DONE
  • Tear one of the earlobes? DONE
Aside from these minor enhancements, the bust will be essentially stock. 

Back to it! 

UPDATE 14.10.2013. . . Jessica is now in the oven drying, and, barring any oversights on my part, will be primed within 24 hrs. [UPDATE: She is now primed and in the oven curing! Tomorrow, I break out the brushes!!]

Jessica -- Prep #1

As time is of the essence, and this is the only long weekend in October, most of my time will be spent at the bench with the newly-arrived Val Zombie bust. . . totally!

Dark World Creations is an internet-only retailer. Chuck is the only retailer that I know of that carries their products here in the States; BUT. . . he doesn't carry their busts. So when I decided to throw my hat in the ring with their 1st Anniversary Commemorative Painting Contest, my only option was to order direct. NOT A PROBLEM! Aaron (bka Rin) is all about the CS. I first contact- ed him on a Tuesday, and my figure was on-order on Thursday evening. He shipped on Friday, and it was in my hands yesterday! Packaging was exceptional, and the contents were pristine! It was a pleasure to see that kind of concern and care for a client!!

The bust. The character of Jessica, both the 70mm FF and the 1/10th scale bust, were designed/executed by the Swedish graphic artist/sculptor, Pedram Karimfazli. And it (the bust) is exceptional! This ol' dinosaur is actually warming-up to the concept of digital sculpts largely due to the efforts of the artists in DWC's stable. 

The bust consists of two pieces: the bust itself and the ponytail. My only criticism of this piece is the fact that there is no means provided to display the bust. While this is clearly indicated in the description of the piece: "This bust does not include a base or a stand," it is decidedly a bump- in-the-road for the miniaturist who wants to get straight to painting. Personally, it's neither here nor there for me, especially as I tend to rework/replace the pedestal portion of all my busts. But to a relatively inexperienced miniaturist, this could be a deal-breaker after the fact. Jessica is now in the oven with her newly added pedestal: hopefully it will be a done-deal before the lunch break. . .

Casting is exquisite, fit is perfect, and clean-up is minimal. While I could conceivably have her ready for priming before the end of the holiday weekend, it is more likely that I will have her primed and undercoated by the end of next weekend. And that will leave me 4 1/2 weeks to paint, and a fortnight to photograph!

Back to it! 

03 October 2013

Dawn of the Apocalypse Competition & Jessica bust

Greetings all!

Aaron and the good folks at Dark Word Creations have decided to commemorate their first anniversary by sponsoring a Dawn of the Apocalypse Painting Competition.

It is after all October. . . What with Hallowe'en and the premiere of the fourth season of the Walking Dead (October 13th!!!!), how could anyone resist! I am definitely in: my canvas is on order, and the palette-selection has begun. . .

Let the games begin!!!

UPDATE 12.10.2013. . . Jessica has arrived, and is on the bench (well, actually in the oven)! Kudos--and THANKS!--to Aaron (Rin) and the gang at DWC for their superb customer service!!

Back to the bench!

PS--Review and update/s to follow soon!

01 October 2013

"The Revenant" -- Prep #1a

The last major pre-prime hurdle is now behind me. . . The bust has been pre-mounted on its display base, and all is now set to accept the painted work. 

While I will do a quick color sketch on the "groundwork" to block in the colours and get a feel for the hues and tones prior to transferring the bust to its "final resting place", the groundwork will be painted in situ once the bust itself is painted and permanently mounted.

Let the final clean-up and finishing begin!!!

29 September 2013

"The Revenant" -- Prep #1

The bust is now securely mounted on its working base, and I have filled the inscribed name of Ossorio that graced the ankh. Without the nameplates, this would be a potential source for misinterpretation (no context) by the "uninitiated", as well as a distraction.

The worst is now behind me! All that's left-to-do in the pre-prime prep is removing what seam lines there might be, and pre-mounting the bust on its display base. All projects should be so easy and straightforward!!

More to follow. . .

Project title

It has been decades since I've had to work with Latin to any great degree; and even longer since it was part and parcel of day-to-day life, so I am unabashedly stumped to come up with a "correct" title for my revenant project. . .

This is what I have to date. . .

Miles Christi spiritus funesto (or should it be funestus???)

which translates as: "Soldier of Christ (reference to any crusader, but in particular the Military Orders) deadly spirit (spiritus was used at least through the 13th c. to describe a ghost or revenant)"

If anyone is up to speed with their Latin, and would like to comment and/or suggest, it would be most welcome--and appreciated!

Thanks in advance!


28 September 2013

"The Revenant"

The title of this post is but the working title of my latest project. Hopefully, I will be able to come up with something more inspired by the time it is completed. . .

The subject is Quarantine Studio's newly-released 1/4 scale bust of a blind revenant of a medieval crusading Order (more on this later), sculpted by the inimitable William Paquet as an homage to the inspiration for this artistic tour de force: the first film in Amando de Ossorio's Blind Dead tetralogy, Tombs of the Blind Dead (La Noche del Terror Ciego). I've been a huge fan of this series since I stumbled upon it at a Blockbuster over 25 years ago; when I saw what William had come up with, I ordered it immediately!

Before delving into the bust, please indulge a brief quasi-historical meandering. The knights in these films are generally referred to as Templars; but in fact, this descriptive is not introduced until the second film, Return of the Blind Dead (El Ataque de los Muertos sín Ojos). In the first film, they are simply referred to as the "Knights of/from the East". The inferred identity is contextually fairly obvious, but it provides free reins to the creativity of the backstory, including the mystical cruciform device in the shape of an ankh.

Back to the bust. It is a one-piece casting that measures 10.5" in height. The casting is impec- cable, with minimal seam lines--I would suggest that when you do find them (and they are there!), you mark them lightly with pencil to give you a trail to follow. I should point out that the resin used is remarkably light in weight/density, which makes this sizeable bust a breeze to handle.

I would have considered doing this one straight OOB if not for the extended support for the bust itself that includes two in situ nameplates: the English version on the front, and the Spanish version (with a Templar cross!) on the back. These are extremely well-done (as one would expect), but therein lies the rub, at least for me: while I should be focused on the moldy, undead crusader, my attention is drawn to the nameplates at the base of the sculpture. . . !

I was able to remove the expanded base in short order thanks to the low-density resin, and the bust is now upon my bench awaiting final clean-up. I do intend to add some personal enhance- ments, but this will not come into play until the bust is completely painted and mounted on its display base, so the project itself will be "stock".

More to follow. . .

2013 Status Report -- [Early] Fall Update

As always, there are a lot of projects either underway or under consideration. And, in the spirit of absolute candor, ALL are currently being under-worked! For any number of reasons, the fast start of earlier this year has throttled back to a slow crawl. This just underscores two of life's old saws: "Best laid plans. . . "; and, "The road to Hell. . . "

It is what it is, and with the Atlanta Show less than 5 months away, it is time to objectively re-evaluate what is likely to be at the show--or not. This is my revised 2014 Show lineup:

1) "The Revenant" (Tombs of the Blind Dead) (Quarantine Studio bust, 1/4 scale)
2) The Rhino (Studio McVey, 65mm)

My erstwhile "2013 Project", Adrian Smith's Frankenstein (iM, 1/8th scale), has gone the way of its companion; i.e., sidelined. There is way too much work to be done to make this the stellar piece it can be, and I am less than inclined to approach a Tier-1 sculpture as a glorified Aurora kit--in spite of its design!

The only good thing about a "light schedule" is that it greatly reduces the likelihood of a year-end crunch with a mad-dash for the deadline to the Show. I was done jumping through those hoops last year--and that is one wagon I intend to stay on! If not for my mental health, then certainly for my physical. . . 


27 September 2013

Notable Acquisitions September 2013

Quarantine Studio Tombs of the Blind Dead (1/4 scale bust, William Paquet)--AWESOME!!!

21 September 2013

New piece

Things have been a bit topsy-turvy in my neck of the woods for a while now--and will continue to be so for at least another fortnight or so; thus, you might say I've been "distracted". But today, I stumbled upon an idea that has prompted me to break out a resin mannequin, and start generating some dust!

For those that might be keeping track, this will be my first original, ground-up sculpt in five years--and the first full-figure--assuming I complete it--in almost a decade!

While I will save the textual reveal until I am bit more into it, I will say that it will be in 135mm "scale" (my favourite working scale back in the day); and it will be a "humorous"/tongue-in-cheek horror/fantasy take on a beloved movie character. While I am prepared to sculpt the entire piece, I hope to be able to introduce some multi-media elements for heightened realism and textural depth.

So far, I am about 70% through the posing, and the mannequin has been mounted on its work base. I think I have about three or four major cuts remaining before I can begin to think about locking the pose. . . 

Stay tuned. . .

19 September 2013

Bad moon rising. . .

With bench-time at a premium, I have resigned myself to simply push forward and whittle away at manageable portions, rather than immerse myself in multi-course undertakings. To this end, I have been literally whittling away at the reconstructed right "hand" of my current lycanthrope; and after two sittings, the end is finally in sight! There are still some minor "sizing" issues to be tweaked, but all in all things are coming together quite nicely.

Once the hand is done to my satisfaction, I can then permanently attach the arms, and proceed with the reconstruction of the fur and hair. Fortunately, this is something that can be best tackled in small servings. . .

09 September 2013

The Rhino--Back on the front burner. . .

It has been a while, and while I'm still in "thick brush", things are starting to assume a semblance of normalcy. . . Or, it could just be that I'm getting used to the "madness". . .

In any event, with Fall right around the corner, it's time to start paring down the project list to the finalists. One of these will be the Rhino, so he was moved to front & center on the bench yester- day. The left arm/hand is now finished and permanently attached. I still have to rework the deltoid and trapezius, but once that is done (this week?), all that remains is the right hand, skin textur- ing, and final finishing.

Close. . . 

UPDATE 12.09.2013. . . Work continues. . . The left arm and shoulder are now done. The right hand has been repositioned, and it makes all the difference in the world! I continue to work on the feet, attempting to get the right "pose" and a convincing "drape" of skin. . . almost there. Assuming nothing unexpected breaks cover this weekend, I will hopefully be well into the skin texturing by Sunday! 

Stay tuned. . .  

28 August 2013

Computer woes. . .

Just a quick note to let you know I will be out of commission for the next 10-15 days as my computer gave up the ghost Monday night. While I was hoping that there might be a little life left to be squeezed out of the old girl, I suppose it was too much too ask of a stalwart companion for over a dozen years!

While the ultimate prognosis was terminal, literally and figuratively, the good news is that it appears as if the hard drive survived unscathed. So once I am back up and running, I should not have suffered any appreciable loss.

Hope to be back ASAP!

25 August 2013

Wicked Witch of the West - Prep 1

The paint on the resin parts is now "stripped", and I can begin to prep the piece. . .

First step is filling in all the button holes, etc. on the back side of the figure. This was done using MS, carefully doing repeated fittings with any overlying pieces . There are but two major openings remaining, and those correspond to the respective LEDs.

I then proceeded to fill the slight gap between the resin head and the polystyrene hat, again using MS. This phase will be ongoing as I will add more volume and detail to the WW's coiffure. I will conclude the work on the hair before making any corrections to the face. While the latter will be minor at worst, they might prove mostly unnecessary once the hair is fully "dimensionalized".

I discovered something interesting while cleaning up the work I had done. I thought that the black paint used to paint the "monkey's share" (lion just doesn't work here) of the WW would have been an acrylic, but as I was cleaning off the Vaseline (used as a release/barrier) with rubbing alcohol, my paper towel was black! My experience with acrylic is that once cured, it is impermeable to alcohol; however, the underlying styrene was not primed. . . The only other paint I know of to react this way to alcohol is latex. Hmmm. . . Anyway, it is quick and effortless, so I'll take it!

Finally, I began work on the WW's hat. The stock hat was about 3/32" too short, so I elongated the cone with MS. While there is still a bit of fine-tuning--to say nothing of the finishing and clean-up!--to do, the "new hat" is essentially done.

More to follow. . .  

21 August 2013

"Loyaulte me lie"

Remember before God
and those who fell at Bosworth Field,

having kept faith,
22 August 1485


"...and your little dog, too! Ahhh-ha-ha-ha!!!"

Those that know me well know that I've got a thing for green-skinned ladies... OK, arguably TMI... lol. This "affection" (affliction?) can be traced back to my first viewing of the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz, in the early '60s. I mean. . . green skin AND flying monkeys? What's not to love???

On a more serious note, I am a HUGE fan of the Wicked Witch of the West and her minions. And while I am very much looking forward to Polar Lights' now-2014 release of the Witch and Nikko gazing into the crystal ball as Dorothy & Co. make their way across the poppy field, I wanted a smaller, stand-alone project to work on.

Enter Hallmark. Yes, that Hallmark. And specifically, the 2007 Wizard of Oz Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Ornament of The Wicked Witch of the West, sculpted by Joyce Lyle. I spent a couple of hours of tracking down WWotW collectibles this past weekend, and while there are LOADS out there, the only one that met the criteria--scale, quality, and price--was the aforementioned piece.

This is a wonderful little piece: kudos to Ms. Lyle!!! It is one of the "Magic Light and Sound" offerings: there is a recorded track of the WW threatening Dorothy and Toto (in Munchkinland) followed by her chilling cackle, which is co-activated with two LEDs that make the translucent smoke cloud glow red. Very effective!

If there are any Hallmark collectors amongst the readership, my apologies in advance for what follows. First order of business (after playing with the "Magic Light and Sound" countless of times!) was to commence "deconstruction". My goal is to convert the "Hallmark collectible" into a fine collectible miniature; and as with any pre-paint/pre-finished piece, you have to break it down to its components. This went quite well--and quick! So much so, that it is now all-but-done!! And much to my surprise this is a mixed-media figurine comprised of no less than 19 pieces (17 + the base plate and battery cover)!! The only pieces that I will not "break-down" are the upper arms, as these are quite firmly attached, and I can simply fine-tune the seams in-situ.

The only parts remaining to be separated are the hat from the head. The latter is cast in resin, as are the hands, and I want to avoid any damage to it or the hat. [NOTE 24.08: The head is proving to be inseparable from the hat, so all mods to the former will be done in situ.] Once that is done, I will "dip" the resin pieces to strip the paint, and then on to the fun stuff!

Stay tuned!

FOLLOW-UP 22.08.2013. . . The resin pieces are now in the Super-Clean, and the waiting begins. I figure it is going to take about 3 days, give or take, to loosen/dissolve the paint. Well worth the wait!

17 August 2013

iM's Frankenstein Returns. . .

To the front burner and our blog that is. . .

While the days are perceptibly getting no longer, there is definitely a taste of Fall in the air, and it is time to start getting serious with our 2013 project once again.

I have been preparing myself for this for the last few weeks, mostly in terms of re-familiarizing myself with the kit and reviewing my notes. To a lesser degree, I began fitting the mail fauld, which will be limited to the ventral/frontal aspect of the subject. This in turn, forced me to reassess the mounting of the crossed small swords.

If there is one criticism that could be leveled at the design/engineering of this kit, it is the fact that the mounting pegs (read: blocks!) that are present on virtually every piece are overdone! This is simply not necessary, and "dumbs" the kit down to insulting levels. To date, I have had to completely remove three of the quadrangular pegs; and I have had to modify at least a half-dozen to improve fit, etc.

Back to the swords. . . these are now pegged with Al rod, and have been fitted to the pelvic block. Not only can I now create a more realistic "hang", but I can thread the rod through the mail and avoid any unsightly drapery on the latter. It also distributes the weight of the mail across [at least] two fixed points, which should take care of any support problems down the road.

That about does it for now. Once I decide what my painting strategy will be, I can proceed with assembling the sub-assemblies. . .

More to follow! 

05 August 2013

Catching up. . .

It has been extremely hectic/busy, so bench time has not been what I had anticipated going into the Dog Days. . . then again, expectations have rarely been met this year.

The good news is that the bench has seen a fair degree of activity in the last fortnight, and this posting will serve as a catch-up summary. . .

The Rhino -- Getting ever closer, the hands are just about ready for finishing. Once that is done, final finishing and skin texturing are all that stand between the bench and the painting table.

Zombie SS-Panzeroffizier -- Tons of work on this bad boy. . . First thing I did was reduce the height of the bust: I just couldn't get my head around the gear that very effectively (and esthetic- ally!) filled the dead-space on the left side of the bust. Once that was done, the planning/plotting began in earnest, and to date I have removed the tie, and started reworking the Feldmütze. Spoiler: my rendition will be promoted to SS-Obersturmbannführer. . . you can well begin to imagine the work that lies ahead. 

The Red Skull #4 -- Most of the work has concentrated on the right arm: it has been pegged, fitted, and reanimated; finishing is well underway. The right hand has been fitted; and reanimation is underway. The Cosmic Cube has been cut and finished, and awaiting polishing. Finally the base of the RK is now undergoing final clean-up before commencing enhancement.

K. Yoshiaki -- A remarkably fine bust. I've already discussed the warpage on the crest--I had to repeat the process a few times under higher heat for it to "stick"; but it looks great and no nega- tive side-effects whatsoever. The choice of location of some of the sprues might cause some concern, but I assure you it is nothing to fret over--just proceed slowly and carefully, and you will be done in no time. I've got a bit more to go before finishing the shikoro and the ushirodate; but other than that, this pup is just about ready for priming!

That's it in a nutshell! I hope to start clearing some additional space on the workbench soon so that I can begin working on "Frank" again!

03 August 2013

Notable Acquisitions June-July 2013

Art Asylum/Diamond Select Rogue's Gallery The Vulture (1/6? scale bust, Eli Livingston)
Quarantine Studio The Dead Reich: Pzkommandant Jürgen (1/4 scale bust, William Paquet)

26 July 2013

Zombie SS-Panzeroffizier

I am having a ball with Oberschütze Senfgas. . . so much so that I decided to get a head-start on things and ordered the third release in Quarantine Studio's The Dead Reich series, Panzerkom-mandant Jürgen, over the 4th of July weekend. This bust was unveiled/ [pre-]released at WF this year, and I was frankly doubtful that the studio-casts/APs would still be available. But I contacted the folk at QS, and luckily, William was still casting!

(display sample painted by the sculptor, William Paquet)
It finally arrived today, and yes, however frustrating, it was worth every minute of the wait! This is a gorgeous one-piece casting!! MANY THANKS to William, who is every bit as good a mold-ma- ker and caster, as he is a sculptor and painter!!!

As a sidebar historical note, while the piece is generically titled--as is this posting, the rank of our subject, as provided, is that of a SS-Untersturmführer (2nd LT).

That's it for now. . . Stay tuned!

KATŌ Yoshiaki -- REDUX: Review

IT . . . HAS. . . ARRIVED!!!!

And it is a beaut! Steve and the team did a superb job of molding and casting!! Kudos all around!!!

For those not familiar with the kit, the sculpture is cast in 4 pieces: head/kabuto; torso; shikoro; and ushirodate.

A couple of items of note:
  • The bust is cast in the now-standard grey PUR. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this medium, but it should be noted that it is a bit softer and more "plastic". The reason I mention this is that you might find the crest of the kabuto slightly bent. NOT TO WORRY! My sample's right "wing" was just that, and all it takes to make it good as new is 30-45 seconds under a hair dryer at high heat: resin has memory and it will return to its original shape on its own. A word of caution if you have never done this before, or you are using the hair dryer for the first time: proceed slowly and do not hold the hair dryer too close to the resin. Depending on your dryer, "High" might be too hot--I always use my thumb as a heat sink and a temperature gauge: if it's uncomfort- ably hot on your skin, then it is too hot for the resin. The usual disclaimers apply:         1) Proceed with caution; and 2) If you are relatively new at this, test on a scrap piece of resin first!
  • Steve included the original Ft. Duq. refsheet in my sample. I emailed him a revised refsheet when I sent him the master to reflect the most up-to-date information available to me on this helmet. The information contained in the original refsheet is regrettably not correct. Since Blogger does not appear to have a way to attach a Word .doc or a .pdf, here is the link to my posting on planetFigure which contains the revised refsheet as an attachment.
Pics to follow shortly. . .


25 July 2013

Oberschütze Senfgas -- Prepwork: Phase (1) - cont. [UPDATE 2]

Making serious progress. . .

The right lens is just about done. Final "distressing" still awaits, but it is all-but-done.

More importantly, the left lens is mounted and the lens/frame unit is now in the process of fitting (read: curing under the lamp). AND. . . the left eye has been mounted/permanently attached. Looks great as is, but more detailing and build-out to follow. . .

KATŌ Yoshiaki -- REDUX

. . . and now available! 

This is just a newsflash for the forthcoming full review of SK Miniatures' version of my bust of KATŌ Yoshiaki. This is the sixth release in their reissue of the Ft. Duquesne's Great Warlords of the Sengoku series of 1/8th scale busts.

While this is old news to those of you who have been following my involvement with the resurrected line, it is worth repeating that this is effectively a new release! I completely reworked the kabuto and the shikoro before surrendering it to Steve so that he and his team could work their magic on it. . . 

The bust is now available from The Red Lancers on this side of The Pond. Please note that the boxart Steve used is the original boxart: it is not that of the revised sculpture. To the best of my knowledge there is no image of the reworked piece anywhere on the Web. . . YET!

Stay tuned. . . 

21 July 2013

Oberschütze Senfgas -- Prepwork: Phase (1) - cont. [UPDATE]

This is the first time I've touched Oberschütze Senfgas in over two weeks, and I am again surprised how much had been accomplished in the last few sessions. . . 

Today, I went ahead and cut-out the gas mask lenses, and mounted the lens on the partial right frame. The left lens might be a bit more challenging depending on how I decide to mount it.

More to follow. . .  

FOLLOW-UP. . . The left lens has been tentatively fitted, and it looks GREAT!  I remain undecided to what extent it (the lens) will be distressed/damaged; and as to how much of the face behind the lens will be built-out (read: traumatized). But since I am starting with nothing, I now have the right eye/orbital area in rubber, and I should have a casting available to play with by the end of the week.

Stay tuned!

14 July 2013

Red Skull [FF] #4 -- It has begun. . .

When it rains. . . it's time to do some modelling!

My rendition of SS-Standartenführer Johann Schmidt is going to be approached as a "filler" project-- i.e., no schedule, per se; just a fun undertaking to pass the time. Thus, the postings may appear sporadic, to say nothing of erratic. . .

This is the TD list as of this writing:
  • Add liner to trenchcoat - DONE
  • Assemble and fit skull to torso - DONE
  • Detail and finish skull
  • Rework collar tabs - IN PROGRESS  
  • Add EK2 ribbon
  • Make and fit RK
  • Make and fit skull-handled swordstick
I don't believe there are too many mods remaining to be listed, save for the right arm: I am still not sure how this will play out.

Back to the bench!

UPDATE 15.07.2013. . . After much consideration, I have decided to reposition and reanimate the right arm; rework the right hand; . . . and have Herr Schmidt holding the Cosmic Cube! The right hand is now pegged; the right forearm tapped to receive it; and all the basic reanimation cuts to arm and hand have been made. So much for not wanting to get sidetracked with a major project! In for a Pfennig. . . 

12 July 2013

Red Skull [FF] #4 --Introduction & Kit Review

Given that I am immersed in working with the Dead Reich busts, it should come as no surprise that I would gravitate to my favorite Marvel Nazi, Johann Schmidt, better known as "The Red Skull".

I have completed 2 renditions of the Red Skull, both major conversions: a full figure and a bust. I have 2 other full figures underway; and I have one bust waiting patiently in the [extended] wings. I don't want o get sidetracked with a major project, so I thought I would start playing with something a bit less involved. . .

Enter ST Models' Oberst iG Claus Schenk, Graf von Stauffenberg. I stumbled across this beauty of a kit at the Atlanta Show this year, and I immediately grabbed it: this is a perfect base for a Red Skull conversion!

The figure was sculpted by SEO Ho, and though it scales out to a just about perfect 90, it should be noted that this is quite a petite figure that will be dwarfed by just about any commercial "90mm" offering!

The kit is comprised of 8 pieces + groundwork. As my sample was one of the first hundred issues (16/100), I also received a complementary 3-piece bust of von Stauffenberg, which is nothing more than a "cut-down" of the full figure.

The pieces are exquisitely cast! Superb resin; no air holes/bubbles whatsoever; and seam-lines, while there, have to be diligently looked for--once found, they are simply lightly scraped, or wet- sanded. The only negative re: the casting is the location of the sprues at the shoulders. These are butted against the shoulder-boards, and it will take a light touch to remove them without damaging the latter: FWIW, I removed both in less than 5 minutes! 

As with any Red Skull project, the conversion is a relatively simple one, provided the base figure is up to snuff. The entire project essentially revolves around the resculpting--or replacement--of the kit's head with that of a--THE--Red Skull. I haven't decided what I am going to do this go- round as of yet. . .

The left hand (holding the briefcase) will be reworked to have it hold the RS's skull-handled swordstick.

The optional gloved right hand. . . Not really sure what to do with it. . . It could be reanimated to have it holding a cigarette in a cigarette holder; but I might rework the entire arm to have it holding the Cosmic Cube. . .

Beyond that, most of the work will be enhancements of a cosmetic nature, requiring little if any actual conversion work. Von Stauffenberg was a Heer officer, so there will be some work chang- ing his army insignia (specifically the collar tabs) to that of an SS officer -- an SS-Standarten- führer to be precise. The figure is rather sparse in the insignia department, so I will add -- at the very least -- the EK2 ribbon, and the RK.

In the interest of full-disclosure, it should be noted that the figure is wearing a single-breasted leather trenchcoat--as best as I can tell, a StriWa (Striegel & Wagner?) trenchcoat.

To date, I have already removed all of the sprues, and pegged the boots at knee and sole. The one significant drawback to this figure is that there should be a distinct attachment point of the boots to the knees: as it is, extra care needs to be taken to ensure that the position of the feet are just right.

More to follow. . .

FOLLOW-UP 13.07.2013. . . I have decided that the head of the subject will be modelled using an Andrea 90mm skull as the base. It will have to be modified to varying degrees, but it is an excellent jumping-off point for an undertaking such as this.

06 July 2013

Holiday sidebar. . .

This in and of itself has very little to do with modelling--other than the fact that it indirectly put the kibosh on the anticipated bench time this weekend.

As I mentioned earlier, there were some high priority home repairs on the slate, the priority status due to the endless amount of rain we've had in the last week or so. Well, that was effectively accomplished on Wednesday, and while there is some finishing still to be done, it can wait until things are a bit less soggy.

Well, the rain wasn't going to let me/us get by that easily. This morning I was awakened by a booming thud; and I quickly realized there was no power in the house. I looked outside, and one of our Bradford Pear trees had decided to undergo meiosis--right unto the power, phone, and cable lines! The tree, while seemingly healthy, was obviously water-logged; so I assign this mishap to Mother Nature.

Nine hours later, things are somewhat back to normal--we have power and all the amenities back--but my lady and I are whipped! There is still the tree (half up, half down) to contend with, but that will hopefully be dealt with next week. In the meantime, this is a perfect instance to paraphrase Robbie Burns, "The best laid plans. . . "

04 July 2013

Oberschütze Senfgas -- Prepwork: Phase (1) - cont.

Though it might be too early to throw in the towel, I might as well resign myself to the fact that my 4th of July goals will not be realized--at least not in their entirety. Between the all-but-non-existent benchtime in the past fortnight and some last-minute, high-priority home repairs, things are running a bit behind schedule. But just "a bit". . . 

In any case, I have been able to spend some time at the bench in the last few days, and at least Private Mustard Gas is making significant progress. The refinishing of the helmet is just about done, and I have begun working on the filter mount of the gas mask in earnest. I hope to get the lenses cut out sometime over the weekend -- once that is done, things should start falling into place rather quickly.

To those who celebrate the day, hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July!

'Til next time. . . 

29 June 2013

Oberschütze Senfgas -- Prepwork: Project Notes/TD List

William was extremely candid re: his approach to this series:
As the series evolves I am working hard to refine the designs of the uniforms and gear. ... But, these are fictional characters so I will also use artistic license when I feel the urge.
And I am perfectly fine with that. These are works of historical fantasy, and one should not expect them to be historical paradigms: historicity is not what compelled me to acquire these.

Having said that, IMO, the broader the historical foundation, the more believable the unbelievable becomes. If nothing else, historicity becomes the "lure" that might attract someone who would otherwise unilaterally dismiss the work. This was/is my motivation for expending so much effort on my renditions of the Red Skull--and now these.

Hence the following TD list. As those of you who know me well know, WWII is not my area of expertise; but neither am I a wet-behind-the-ears noob. I feel there are some areas that could benefit from [a little] additional prepwork, and with everything else being good to go, it is worth spending the time. . .

  • The helmet. The Stahlhelm is a subject of specialization unto itself; and I doubt that I would be able to become sufficiently knowledgeable in the time it takes to prep the bust. But I do want to make sure that the "lines" are right, and that the finish is ultimately believable.
  • The gas mask. Work has already begun on the focal piece of this work, and there is more to be done. Again, a very complex subject that AFAIK has not had much press devoted to it. My intent is to accurize--within reason--the mask and filter to M1938 specs. While I have begun work on the filter as well, I have yet to scale it out to determine whether a Fe41 or a Fe42 is a better "fit".

And that is it! The challenge here is to first accurize; AND then suitably distress the items depicted, whether sculpturally or via paint/finishing. One must keep in mind that these are the reanimated dead 70 years after the fact. . .