28 May 2013

Jean Vingeanne - The Sub-assemblies

What prompted this posting was reading Michael's comments on the iM Facebook page re: his buildup of Freaky Gothic:
. . . I need to do the pants first because they need to be inserted into the coat before attaching the long collar parts, and it's easier to paint this way.
To each his own--and let me be the first to say that one's AvP (assembly vs. painting, not Alien vs. Predator! *;) winking) depends much on the quality of one's casting. 

Michael may be able to attach the lapels after the pants are attached, but I certainly couldn't (casting flaw) -- nor would I want to! Unless you have a perfect, seamless--did I say PERFECT?-- fit, why would you want to risk marring the painted surface. . . or at best getting it dirty with resin-dust, etc.? And the pants will be in the way of the inside of the greatcoat tails!

My AvP strategy for this kit is as follows (in painting order):
  1. Great coat unit  (including both forearms)
  2. Legs unit
  3. Head
  4. R Gauntlet
  5. L Gauntlet
  6. Gun
  7. Groundwork
Needless to say, I am anxious to see what Michael does with his. . . 

Jean Vingeanne - Prep & Assembly (1-C)

I am happy to report another busy day. . . Had to squeeze 'em in while the getting was good, 'cause the rest of the week looks pretty dismal, what with month-end, etc.

The day was once again spent with the Rhino, and my favorite Martian of the moment. Not much to report on the former, more at touching-up and cleaning-up before moving on to the next phase. And I did put out feelers for the display base. . .

Re: the latter, most of the prep putty-work is now completed. I built-up several areas that were paper-thin--literally: these will not be seen (mostly), and it was primarily done for peace of mind during painting and mounting. Once safely in a display cabinet, it would not have been an issue; but, they were so thin that even a glancing blow could have disastrous consequences. In short, better safe than sorry.

As a brief aside, I regularly hold cast pieces up to my worklight before commencing the Prep phase to make sure that the piece is sufficiently dense throughout. If it is, just a few seconds lost. If it isn't, this is the time to do something about it! 

And, finally, the right arm is shimmed and located. As I indicated, this concludes most of the fitting putty work on this piece. All that remains to be done is final assembly of the subassemblies and finishing, and the one or two scratchbuilt items I have planned. . . 

Until next time. . .

27 May 2013

Notable Acquisitions May 2013

industria Mechanika Calum Watt's "Freaky Gothic" (1/8, 3D sculpt by David Richardson)
MiniArt Gladiator (Murmillo) (1/16th, polystyrene, ???)
Studio McVey Kifaro (65mm, Allan Carrasco)

Monday wrap-up. . .

A productive day. . .

Jean Vingeanne
  • Left arm shimmed and located
  • Prepwork begun on forearms and gauntlets

The Rhino
  • Face all-but-done save for eyes
  • Work continued on groundwork

Sunday night wrap-up. . .

Progress continued to be made well into the night. . .

Jean Vingeanne
  • Scaphocephalic head shape roughed-in.

The Rhino
  • Secondary horn completed in situ
  • Feet completed
  • Left hooves added
  • Groundwork tapped to accept foot pegs

26 May 2013

iM's "Freaky Gothic" - Prep & Assembly (1-B)

I have added cross-belts across the chest, and have fitted the left lapel to ensure a seamless fit. Once that is cured, I will continue working my way down the lapel tweaking the fit with MS shims until it is just right.

Some of you might be wondering why I decided to add cross-belts to such a well-"landscaped" and relatively small area. The cross-belts are a characteristic piece of equipment of the character I am depicting, and they just so happen to fit rather nicely in period military dress.

Hint: the subject's name is Jean Vingeanne. . . Going forward, the post title will bear this name.  

That's it for now. More to follow soon. . . 

News from WonderFest 2013

I have been too busy to keep up with all the latest and greatest from this year's WF, but here are a few tidbits to whet the appetite. . .

From Moebius. . .
  • Curse of the Werewolf (sculpted by Mike Hill)

From Round 2. . .
  • Wizard of Oz vignette of the Wicked Witch and Flying Monkey (1/8th scale; TBR early 2014)
  • Thor (1/8th scale; TBR 2014)

No definite release dates, but definitely something for us to look forward to. Since these are all slated for release in 2014, I'm sure we will get updates at iHobbyExpo in the Fall. Stay tuned. . .

24 May 2013

iM's "Freaky Gothic" - Prep & Assembly (1-A)

The right lapel, the more difficult of the two, is now fitted and I'm through about 90% of the clean-up of the same.

I am real curious to see how others (especially the gk'ers) will approach this item. The fit of my particular sample left something to be desired. I had to shim two major sections with MS and recreate a more suitable transition between the lapel and the pants. Obviously, nothing that we don't do in some fashion on virtually every figure that lands on our benches; but this is definitely not a "shake and bake" figure. On the plus side, it is now a seamless fit.

The next major area to be shimmed is the left arm: the fit is just not right. Once this is done, most of the major assembly prepwork will be completed, and I can begin to focus on clean-up and assembling subassemblies. 

As I mentioned earlier, the beautifully-cast bicorne will not be used; instead, I plan to replace it with a bonnet rouge. This will not only introduce some colour, but it will "suggest" something alien.

That's it for now. More to follow soon. . . 

23 May 2013

The Rhino #2 - Preliminaries underway. . .

Hardly news, but with a long weekend coming up, thought I'd bring the readership up to date. . .

In my initial posting I mentioned that the new face was already roughed-in in SSF. Well, I have just finished baking the core face! I would say the face is about 60% done, with the detail work and final "landscaping" still before me.

I have also removed the legs at the hips, and am in the process of reposing the figure.

Finally, I spent some time with the groundwork this evening, using a section of Secret Weapon's 120mm (size, not scale!) round-lipped Urban Street. This company has some top-notch products, and their prices are more than competitive!!! If I had known about the scope of their groundwork selection, US$5.00 would have saved me about a week's worth of work on a recent project!

That's about it for now. Rest assured, more to follow!

20 May 2013

Studio McVey's Kifaro (SMM22)

I was able to pick this miniature up at the CMON Expo this weekend (thanks to Josh!!!), and it is stellar! The casting quality is superb, and the design. . . well, it was sculpted by Allan Carrasco, so 'nuff said.

While it is a marvelous mini based on and/or inspired by an arsinoithere, I have other plans for this. This will be the first of three (that I know of) projects depicting Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich, better known as The Rhino. You might recall my initial dalliances with Rhino #1, and while this project has been shelved (but not forgotten!), it is time to start getting serious about one of my favorite Spidey villains. Especially as Paul Giamatti has been cast to play the Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2!

Enter M. Carrasco's anthropomorphic arsiniothere, Kifaro. This piece is just about the perfect core figure for a conversion to a standing Rhino. Once you carefully remove the snout/horns, the skull girdle, and separate the hands from the wicked hafted "cleaver", you are over half way to the finish line! Of course, a new face will have to be sculpted (already roughed-in in SSF!) and the hooves reworked. . .

Stay tuned!

17 May 2013

iM's "Freaky Gothic" - Prep & Assembly (1)


As I mentioned in my review, there certainly are issues that must be dealt with; but, they are no worse. . . check that, they are significantly easier to deal with than some of my more recent experiences. In fact, it is ironic that some of my recent travails have provided an excellent preparation for some of the testier areas of the current project.

To date, I have assembled about 10% of the kit: R leg and shoe; and collar to the coat. These are virtually no-fill assemblies provided you don't rush it and adequately prepare the mating surfaces.

I have also begun to plot out my personal take on this kit. As I indicated earlier, the bicorne, the pipe, and the pistol will not be part of my rendition. I have also shortened, based on Calum's original concept art, what I will refer to throughout as the "wall gun". The way the gun was engineered, it lends itself quite readily to this type of modification: while I ultimately decided against it, I briefly entertained converting it to a carbine!

Speaking of the gun, the only real disappointment of this kit is in the lock mechanism! At first glance, it appears to be a some sort of flintlock; but the original design is more suggestive of an early caplock. Regardless, as the devil is in the details, most of the work on this project will revolve around the gun.

All in all, a good start! Back to the bench. . .

16 May 2013

Looking ahead in 2013. . . Pre-Summer: revised

It has been an eventful first third of the year, all things considered. In spite of a brutal work schedule that has exceeded any worse-case scenarios imaginable, I still managed to spend some time at both benches and finish my first figure in well-over a year! Hoping to continue "riding the wave", this is my revised 2013 lineup:

1) Adrian Smith's Frankenstein (iM, 1/8th scale)
2) The Rhino (Studio McVey, 65mm)
3) The Vulture (Art Asylum bust, 1/6th? scale) --or--
    "Oberschütze Senfgas" (Quarantine Studio bust, 1/4 scale)
4) "Jean Vingeanne" (iM's "Freaky Gothic", 1/8th scale) --or--
    Zombie SS-Panzeroffizier (Quarantine Studio bust, 1/4 scale)
5) SS-Standartenführer Johann Schmidt (ST Models, 90mm)

Frankenstein is my "2013 Project": it is first and foremost on the project burners. As always, subject--though less likely--to change.


iM's "Freaky Gothic" (1/8th scale)

Michael was kind enough to let me know that my order of this highly-anticipated kit shipped on Monday and I am delighted to announce that it is now in my hands (issue 23/50, Edn 1)!!!

The subject was Inspired and based on original concept art (2005) by Calum Alexander Watt, and was 3D-sculpted by David Richardson, the man responsible for DWC's Judge Dredd."Freaky Gothic" was apparently Mr. Watt's title for this piece, and "he was some sort of alien trapped sometime in the 1800's." Well, if I might indulge my historical leanings, I would narrow it down to the half century between 1790 and 1840. But I digress. . .

Presentation is top notch! While the box itself is of a lighter weight than we might expect, this is absolutely not an issue provided the shipping box is sturdy enough--and mine certainly was! Moving on to the contents, Michael's packaging is exemplary! The contents are carefully bagged and wrapped in bubble-wrap, and the pipe is taped to a sturdy cardboard backer to avoid the inevitability of Mr. Murphy.

The kit is comprised of 25 for-the-most-part exquisitely cast pieces, including the base: you can see the kit breakdown here. Note: the breakdown only shows 24 pieces; this is the extra piece...

While the kit virtually builds itself (the engineering and production design is inspired! FYI--the height from soles to eyes is 8.5"/~215mm), my issue falls significantly short of being hassle-free. Firstly, there are at least four instances of problematic mold shift--one of them straight down the shorter barrel section of the "wall gun". Nothing that a little patience and careful planning / execution won't readily correct, but it will certainly challenge the skills of less-experienced figure modellers.

There is also a problem with incomplete fills along the thinner sections of the lapels, the knee closures of the culottes, etc. While there are a myriad of ways to address the issues, care must be taken not to exacerbate the problem by breaking through the paper-thin backing that is there. It might be problematic for a less-experienced--or heavy-handed!--miniaturist.

Before closing, I can honestly deem this kit "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!" The concept and design are brilliant; and the casting, save for the noted exceptions, is excellent. But I would say that a slightly above-average level of modelling experience will come in quite handy if confronted with the unexpected.

And finally. . . Finishing options run the gamut!! I am quite anxious to see everyone's take on this ET!!! In the meantime, I have a pretty good idea of what I am going to do. . .

Stay tuned. . . 'cause this figure is now right next to Frank on the bench, and, along with Frank, is slated for completion for early next year!! And just to stoke your curiosity, the magnificently cast(!) bicorne, the pipe, and the pistol will not be part of my rendition. . .

12 May 2013

Nabu the Wise

One of the things that I love about this hobby is the momentum generated by the completion of a project! With Frankenstein still weeks away from being ready for priming, and Creoda awaiting spares that will have to be reworked extensively, I wanted a relatively quick little project to get ready.

Smart Max figures are infectious! They are an absolute joy to paint, and very amenable to "personalization". Hence, why I decided to pull out my casting of Yateem (more pics available here). I picked up Yateem with the sole purpose of converting it to a steampunk version of Dr. Fate--I even gave the war mandrill to my lady! But upon recent further reflection (I began thinking about this about a week ago), I decided to take it back to the "source" and make him Nabu the Wise, Lord of Order: same work, just a different title.

This is a masterfully-executed piece by the most-talented Allan Carrasco (see Garde des nécropoles). The kit is comprised of 11 pieces + the standard Smart Max plinth: 4 of the pieces make up the mandrill (if they had done a hamadryas baboon [pedantic sidebar: given the ibis- crested helmet--the ibis being associated with the god Thoth, the indicated primate is a hamadryas baboon! Especially as mandrills are found in western equatorial Africa, and are tropical forest dwellers...] or a gelada, it would still be mine!), with the remaining 7 going to make up Yateem. This is a very petite figure--overall height is just over 50mm! I was fortunate to get an excellent casting: there are but 3-5 air-holes to be dealt with and these are in non-critical areas. Truly Smart Max production at its best!

This is about as small as I can go anymore on a figure, and fortunately there are no eyes to done! I would love to see the subject in a more heroic scale, but I am more than happy to settle with this.

Stay tuned!

11 May 2013

CMON Expo 2013

Just a quick reminder while I'm thinking about it. . . This time next week, I will be about halfway through the premier CMON Expo gaming convention in Atlanta. My lady and I plan to submit entries in the first "Road to Crystal Brush" 2014 Qualifying event.

With MFCA taking place this weekend, and WF taking place next, I don't expect I will be seeing many of the more familiar faces around the show; but if you are planning on being there, be sure to look me up.

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I will take my leave of you for the next week or so. I will try to post (or respond to comments) as warranted, but that will largely depend on work. Have a great week!

Mierce Miniatures

About 9 months ago, give or take, Maelstrom Games, purveyor of the BaneLegions, ceased operations. The whys and the like were less than clear at the time, and the outlook on the fate of the BaneLegions was even murkier to an observer from across the Pond.

I slowly began to flesh-out the salient points earlier this year: unfortunately the disposition of the BaneLegions was no clearer (to me!)--until recently. And I am delighted to report that while the BaneLegions may have a more limited, generic future, Darklands is alive and well!!!

BaneLegions were designed and produced by a team of very talented enthusiasts within Maelstrom Games that apparently has become the company we now know as Mierce Miniatures (MM). The pulse of MM's R&D and production is their Darklands wargame, and going forward, much of the BaneLegions line has been seamlessly integrated into this historical-fantasy world set in pre-medieval NW Europe. Hence, BaneLegions has not so much gone away, but has been re-branded, if you will.

That is the most basic Cliff-notes version of a messy affair, which for BaneLegions fans, has a most happy ending. MM is promising great things in 2013, and I, for one, already have a list of about a dozen future releases that I can't wait to see! To get a sneak preview of what is in the works, see here.

I have already ordered some replacement spares for my Creoda project from MM--and so far, so great. I wish Mierce Miniatures all the luck in the world and am looking forward to many enjoyable hours at the bench with their products.


09 May 2013

MiniArt Gladiator (1/16th scale)

The much-anticipated kit has arrived; and save for the condition of the box (thanks to our good ol' USPS!), it does not disappoint!

The kit represent a murmillo, based on the latest research (see Junkelmann). Kit breakdown can be seen here. It is comprised of 38 (you actually get 42 pieces, but 4 are for the spares) well- molded polystyrene pieces that at first glance are extremely good -- I do not say 'excellent' because there are some very shallow sinks along the crest, etc. that might be missed by the unwary, but that ultimately could be worked into the weathering of the galea, etc. Also, there is the typical bit of flash, etc. one has come to expect from Eastern European and Russian kits, but this is absolutely nothing to be concerned about! I may reconsider once I get into the kit, but I have a very good feeling about the overall production quality. 

Assembly should be fairly straightforward. So much so, that there isn't an assembly guide per se--not that one is needed!

Finally, this kit includes a decal for the shield. Most of you know how I feel about these contrivances; however, it could prove useful as a template, mask, stencil, etc.

I stand by my original assessment:  this kit will satisfy OOB--or, as the basis of a super-detailing project. Either way, assuming the modeller does his/her part, it should make for a handsome addition to any collection

08 May 2013

Divio Juckal -- Painting (VII): Loping to the finish line. . .

I know this is a bit premature, but after today's work, I can now deem this piece [all-but-] DONE!!! And to hallmark the event, I have moved the thread  to the "Completed Projects" folder.

Aside from final finishing and detailing, all that truly remains is assembly and mounting. Barring any last-minute surprises, this should be accomplished over the weekend. That will then give me a couple of days of "digestion", and two days to correct any oversights. By Friday morning, he should be more than ready for registration. . .

Images will follow sometime after the Show, as I have yet to receive any response to my query re: pre-Show exposure. . .

UPDATE 11.05.2013. . . Juckal is now completely assembled, and permanently mounted on its display base. Once the epoxy has fully cured, I will begin the "final finishing"; but to be honest, save for "punching-up" the fur on the mane, detailing the hind claws, and glazing the eyes, this piece is display-ready. 

A most enjoyable fortnight or so. . .

07 May 2013

Divio Juckal -- Painting (VI): Home Stretch

The piece is coming together much quicker than I had anticipated--save for the hands and facial details (eyes, teeth, etc.), domnului Juckal is essentially done!

Which means, of course, that I still have a pack's worth of work ahead of me! The groundwork has been undercoated and is now "curing". I will hopefully begin to apply oils, etc. within 48 hrs. And then there is the final finishing and detailing of the figure itself. . . 

Best get back to it. . .

FOLLOW-UP. . . The hands are now painted, and the first coat of oils is on the base. . . The finish line--he muttered trepidatiously--is now in sight!

06 May 2013

iM Frankestein: Second edition coming this Summer!

Michael has just announced that there has been sufficient demand, requests, etc. to warrant the ordering of a second edition of this hellacious kit! GREAT NEWS!!

You can see his announcement here. The second edition will be a limited run of 30-35 kits, so tarry not!

And to those of you who decide to take the plunge. . . ENJOY!!!

04 May 2013

"Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?" - Follow-up

The gladiator is finally on these shores, and is now on order. Full review to follow upon receipt.

On a sadder note, the first shots of Ernst Udet, MiniArt's first in a projected trio of German WWI Kanonen, have been posted and it does not bode well! As a dear friend and colleague astutely pointed out, "Why are they doing a figure of Ed Sullivan?" Sadly, he is spot on. Given that, I have to wonder if the kit will include Topo Gigio??

All levity aside, the samurai debacle by this company is somewhat understandable; and much to their credit, they publicly admitted their myopic approach to the subject and the project. But will they be as forthcoming with a subject for which there is no excuse to getting wrong? Best case scenario, they jumped the gun on the ip reveal shots, and the figure is being resculpted as I write...

Time will tell. . .

UPDATE 22.05.2013. . .  

UPDATE 08.07.2013. . .  Goering. . . Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. . . again!

iM Frankenstein--INTERMEZZO: Detailing the Skulls

Even if I had decided to do this kit straight OOB, there is one enhancement I would make: detailing the skulls on "the monster's" girdle. Or, more accurately, add the suspension wires/cords to the top skull, especially as the suspension of the lower skull was provided!

And that is now done! Using .015" lead/tin solder as wire, I reproduced the design as in the 3D rendition. . . the ENTIRE design! While the lower skull's "wiring" was cast en suite, it would have been little more than trompe-l'œil once painted. So. . . in for a penny, in for a pound!

Check back soon: I will add an image of the reworked skull girdle as soon as I am able. . .

Back to the bench!

Divio Juckal -- Painting (V): Fur

The integration of the "clean" inside of the shirt with its hirsute surroundings is well underway. . . as is now the fur!  

The fur is at once the easiest of items to paint on this figure due to the superb definition provided by the sculptor and the outstanding casting; as well as the most difficult! The fur will determine the success of any rendition of this piece. I am taking my chosen multimedia approach very slowly, and will continue working on it well past the figure being mounted on its display base. The trick is not to overwork it at any one sitting so as to compromise the already-done work. 

So far, I am delighted!!! But this is but Phase 1. There will be at least one more intermediate phase before the final shadowing and highlighting are done (Phase 3). And all this with less than 2 weeks to go. 

Best get back to it. . .

03 May 2013

iM Frankenstein--Assembly - UPDATE

Just to bring everyone up to speed, there are now 10 pieces that have been permanently attached:
  • Mandible
  • Flail head (5 pieces)
  • Heel spurs (2 pieces)
  • R Poleyn strap (2 pieces)

That accounts for ~20% of the pieces in this kit. Of the remaining 38 pieces (not including the base), only 10 remain untouched and in the bags.

I hope to have the lower half of the body cleaned and assembled-for-priming within the fortnight...

Stay tuned!

02 May 2013

Divio Juckal -- Painting (IV): Shirt

The inside of the shirt is now in oils. I opted for a slightly blue-biased warmish green that will be weathered and stained accordingly once dry and permanently attached. It is currently under the lamp, and hopefully it will be ready for mounting on Saturday. 

On track. . .  

FOLLOW-UP 04.05.2013. . . The shirt has been permanently attached successfully! Very little touch-up work to be done. Once the adhesive has set, I will spend the majority of the rest of the day reworking the shadows to enhance the depth of the additional layer just added. . . 

Once that is done, I move on to the fur and final detailing. . .

01 May 2013

Divio Juckal -- Painting (III): Flesh - UPDATE

The flesh, save for the hands, is now done! Well, nearly so. The primary application of paint is done; however, this project will demand constant revisiting and touch-ups/enhancements due to the effect of sparse fur--some sculpted, some not--over "human" flesh.

I will set the figure aside through Monday, concentrating on the accessory pieces: the shirt and the hands. These I will hopefully have u/c'd by tonight. [DONE]

Stay tuned!

iM Frankenstein--Assembly: Heel Spurs

Month-ends and productivity at whichever bench are, as a matter of course, mutually exclusive, but one must try to make the best of it. . . 

To this end, I decided to focus on the heel spurs (parts #44 & 48). These are an interesting accessory that, in all honesty, could just as easily be left off if they seem a bit "too much". I personally applaud the decision to include them! 

My reservation regards their orientation. As provided, they are "pointing" up, as one would expect with equestrian spurs. But our subject  is hardly evocative of a HEAVY cavalryman! Admittedly, he could be riding some fantastic steed, but I'm sticking to the canon of his name. Thus, I simply reversed the orientation of the spurs so that they now point downward, making them an effective tertiary weapon. Attaching the left spur was simply a matter flipping the part -- easy peasy. The right one will require a bit of trimming of the peg, and then subsequent filling, but nothing to fret over. 

Movin' right along. . .