29 April 2013

iM Frankenstein--Assembly Intermezzo/Update

By way of a brief update, the lower half of the body, save for the R poleyn straps and the tasset restraining strap (parts 39 & 40, and 49), is now completely dry-assembled.

Next step: fitting and finishing!

28 April 2013

Notable Acquisitions April 2013

industria Mechanika Adrian Smith's Frankenstein (1/8, 3D sculpt by Rishikesh Nandlaskar)
Quarantine Studio Hyde (1/4 scale bust, William Paquet)
Polar Lights Guillotine (1/18? scale; nb: This is Polar Lights' latest reissue of the 1964 Aurora
   classic with 21st c. enhancements, like magnets for the head. I loved this kit back in the day, 
   and it is an affordable, albeit admittedly guilty, indulgence!) 

iM Frankenstein--Assembly 1: The Flail Head

I was fully expecting to spend the day painting, but best laid plans and all that. . . 

So, instead, assembly has begun on Frank! And I decided to start on the flail's head, if for no other reason than to reduce the number of loose parts. 

It's a fairly straightforward process: 
  1. Dry fit the 4 barbs to select which goes where in order to maximize fit, and mark accordingly.
  2. Clean and finish all the parts.
  3. Assemble.
  4. Putty any gaps and such.
  5. Drill out the location slots on head of flail.
  6. Cut one link form the supplied length of chain and fit to slots. DO NOT PERMANENTLY ATTACH AT THIS TIME! 
And that's it! Frank is now officially in-progress!!

FOLLOW-UP. . . The mandible is now fitted and tentatively attached.

27 April 2013

iM Frankenstein – Project Notes/TD List

Q: With the workbench clean and as dustfree as it has been in over 8 years, what is the first order of business?
A: Get to work and start generating new dust!

And that is precisely what I have done. . . 

I started a speculative TD List last weekend when I was informed that the kit was en route. I had already downloaded all the hi-res images of the 3D sculpt that I could find on-line, so I had a modicum of familiarity with the piece. And my speculations have been vindicated. . .
  • Delete arrow shafts - DONE ; fill in openings>>scarified - DONE
  • Delete crossbones - DONE 
  • Remove groin plate - DONE
  • Detail top skull with wire as in 3D design - DONE
  • Resurface plate as deemed necessary
  • ??? – Add suspension ring to back of L scabbard 
  • Add linings to poleyns - DONE
  • ??? Add buckle to L poleyn strap
  • Undercut and thin edges of plates as warranted  IN PROGRESS
  • Undercut/detail rivets as warranted  IN PROGRESS 
  • Remove fabric overhang from left leg - DONE ; rebuild edge of greave - DONE  
  • Define stitching around circumference of neck; extend where necessary
I will add to the TDL when warranted as the project unfolds. I don't believe there are too many mods remaining to be listed, but you never know.  

Back to the bench!

Spring Cleaning

The arrival of Frank has not only rekindled an ebbing ember for this passion of ours, but it has prompted something that has been L-O-N-G overdue: a thorough overhaul--and cleaning--of the workbench.

What does one have to do with the other, you ask? As I mentioned in the review, Frank is BIG! This is the largest FS I will have ever worked on. And while size/scale has never been--and is not--a concern, one must have the space to accommodate the work in progress. Hence, the clean-up.

Cleaning my workbench was like going through an archaeological dig of my hobby life over the last 8 years. Plans and dreams that were started, but never made it close to the finishing stages. Notes and sketches from projects finished as well as un-. And each layer of epoxy dust yielding new evidence of unrealized visions and detoured expectations.

Most of you probably will never let things get quite this bad. Admittedly, it's a consequence of having a rather generously-sized workspace that was the erstwhile base of operations of my business. And to paraphrase George Carlin, the more room you have, the more s**t you will fill it up with. George was certainly right, and it was time to clean the s**t up!

I'm a little over half way through the process. All the ip works have been carefully gathered and safely packaged away. Most of the assorted bits and pieces of hardware have been collected and now await sorting. I should be mostly done by the end of the weekend, but one does not undo 8 years in a couple of days. . .

Back to the dustbowl!

26 April 2013

"It's Here. . . IT'S HERE. . . HERE!!!"

It has been an eventful week. . . First, I break out the oils on a piece that most thought probably would never see the light of day--or a full moon! And yesterday I received a kit that has been discontinued by the manufacturer, or rather, put on hiatus for the foreseeable future: Industria Mechanika's (hereafter iM) 1/8 scale (that's "monster scale": in human scale, it's approximately 1/6!) Frankenstein.

For those who want it short and sweet: if you like the subject matter, then don't hesitate. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED! MSRP is--was--US$190; it is available for US$200 at the one shop where the subject of this review was acquired. As I mentioned, it is no longer available from iM: the first edition of 50 issues is now closed. If you are seriously interested in acquiring this piece, and you've exhausted all options, please drop Michael Fichtenmayer a line (http://industriamechanika.com/blog/contact-us/) in the hopes that he receives enough commitments to warrant a second edition.

And now for the unabridged version. . .

I received issue 27/50, Edn 1, as inscribed on the label of the sturdy self-folding container. The box not only provides all the protection the contained gem might require, but it will be in use long after this kit is completed. One thing I will say for iM: the presentation is as thoughtful and professional as the marketed work. For those that might be familiar with BaneBeasts, it is very reminiscent of their presentation.

The moment of truth. . . the box is opened. . . and inside are the following:
  • 53 exquisitely cast pieces (including the groundwork base) protected by bubble-wrap, self-sealing bubble-wrap envelopes, and zip-lock pouches, depending on the size of the item/s to be protected.
  • a section of mail
  • a length of brass chain
  • color assembly guide--which was the source for the parts list I compiled. . .
The green highlighted pieces are what have been dry-assembled and currently on my bench. The greyed-out strikethroughs are pieces that I have elected not to incorporate in my rendition.
Piece no. 49 was omitted from the instructions as well as the itemized parts in the latter.
Make no mistake about it. . . this is A BEAST!!! Helmeted, it stands approximately 12" tall, on a base that is approximately 9" in diameter--and there is very little dead space!

The quality of the castings is exceptional! No critical flaws anywhere, and the few air voids present are on the attachment pegs, not the pieces themselves. As an added bonus, the quality of the resin is superb! I don't know if there were options to be had, but Michael nailed it. While a LARGE kit, it is not uncomfortably heavy. I am guessing that if I had cast it in the resin I usually use, it would have been a pound (or more!) heavier. And the low density resin cleans up and takes to blades beautifully!!! In my experience, the closest analogy would be a fine soapstone (this kit) to marble (other kits). I got a seamless join between torso and hips with a few passes of the #12 blade.

It is really beautifully engineered: even a beginner could assemble this monster provided he/she follows the illustrated instructions! With the uncompromising fit, you can virtually dry assemble the entire kit without glue! I now have the the entire body on the base on the workbench without a drop of glue. Pretty impressive. . .

My only criticism is that the textured metal surfaces created by the 3D sculptor leave something to be desired (read: overdone!). It is neither rough from the forge, nor is it "finished". Rather, it is texture for the sake of avoiding an unbroken surface at all costs. While it might give the more intrepid modeler a reason to try different finishes, I feel it is potentially a source of confusion and distraction.  Regardless, it is easy enough to remedy if one is so inclined. I for one will invest the time.

So there you have it, my review of my "2013 Project". I am delighted that my patron was as enraptured by this compelling design as I was--and that we managed to find one! This may be my first iM kit, but it will not be my last. In fact, I will be receiving my second one in less than a month! Lots of exciting products in the works!!!

24 April 2013

Remember Divio Juckal? Painting (III): Flesh

About 15(!) months ago, I decided to shelve a project that, up to that point, was proceeding quite splendidly. And in a rare (for me!) urge to paint while the days get longer and the temperatures warmer, that same project is now front and center on the painting bench!

I've decided to go well off the beaten path with this one. Glazing with "wet palettes" using linseed oil as my "solvent". Instead of opaque/semi-opaque earth tones for the flesh tones, I've opted for transparency, resorting to the opaques only in the deepest shadows--or where I want to create a tonal light trap or an emphatic gradient. You get the idea. . . I'm having fun, where the only thing that matters is the realization of a vision.  

The flesh is now approximately 70% done. The only unpainted areas that remain are the left leg and the hands.

As to images, that might have to wait until [well after?] the piece is completed. First of all, the linseed oil sheen is too "hot". Secondly, I plan to enter this piece in the Road to the Crystal Brush Qualifier at CMON Expo, and I have yet to receive an answer re: the extent of pre-Show exposure permissible. Finally, my camera is currently on its last leg, and I don't know if it is up to the task.

More to follow!

18 April 2013

Industria Mechanika's Frankenstein!!!

This is Michael Fichtenmayer's, the man behind Industria Mechanika, 1/8th scale offering of Adrian Smith's take on Shelley's "quilt". The most impressive master was 3D sculpted by Rishikesh Nandlaskar . . .

This is just a teaser for what in all probability will become my "2013 Project". To whet your appetite, please see here. . .

More to follow soon!!!

06 April 2013

QS Hyde - Benchnotes

Whilst I think this is an inspired bust--why else would I have bought it?--I feel the shoulders are too wide, too massive, creating a top-heavy look that throws the piece off-balance. Easy enough to address. . .

As I was removing the wedges of the upper arms, I discovered two things:
  1. The bust is cold-cast marble/porcelain, one of my favorite mediums!
  2. The bust is roto-cast; i.e., it is hollow!
The latter is not a problem: I filled the cavity with 100cc of PUR. As I said, there is nothing about this bust that is problematic; but if you are inclined to "personalization" as I am, you should be aware of the potential potholes before you.

BTW, this unpainted version is a limited edition: I received #2/32. 

Back to the bench!

Kudos to Quarantine Studio

I've got to give it up to the gang at Quarantine Studio. I just received my third piece from them Thursday (Hyde in their Zombies Unleashed bust series), and it just keeps getting better and better.

Design and sculpture is overseen by William Paquet, no stranger to this community, who serves as VP of Creative Development. Production and packaging are simply OUTSTANDING! When I first received the production version Herr Burkhart, I thought that they had sent me the pre-paint version by mistake: full graphics box, sealed styrofoam insert sandwiching the wrapped bust. When I opened the styrofoam, I saw the beautifully cast, immaculate unpainted figure. . . WOW! I relived the experience with Hyde this week. I must say, it is an absolute joy to simply receive an order from QS!

Just taking the opportunity to recognize the efforts of a relatively young company that has a VERY promising future ahead of it. . . Keep 'em coming, guys!