25 February 2014

Jon Snow -- Prepwork 3

The first bilateral arm session knocked me off my stride a bit. As I said, the arm castings themselves, to say nothing of their attachment to the torso, left much(!) to be desired. 

So I took a break from the arms, and worked on:
  • face -- the first phase of the left half of the face is essentially done, and it looks AWESOME!
  • "knees" -- if you recall, I removed the legs at the knees, and created a socket in which to attach the displaced legs. The exposed "knee" area was used to lock the position of the lower legs by building out the breeches and tucking them into the boots.
  • boots -- further reduction and refinement.
  • doublet -- starting build-out of the represented layers.
About half way through this evening's session, I realized that I am essentially resculpting the entire figure, using the stock figure as a core. And I am fine with that. . .

23 February 2014

Jon Snow -- Prepwork 2

Yesterday, I tentatively fitted the arms to the torso. I immediately knew that any completion would be quite a number of sessions away due to the poor fit and sub-standard castings. What I didn't realize was that fitting the arms would be such a God-awful amount of work(!)--especially if there were any expectations of the distal forearms (i.e., gauntlet cuffs) lining up naturally with the proximal forearms. 

By this evening, I was able to peg and "re-socket" the left arm, and tweak the attachment points of gauntlets-to-forearms to where they where acceptable. Once I finish detailing the plastron of the doublet, I will then be able to permanently attach the left arm. Hopefully, lining-up the right arm will proceed with significantly less hardship. . . 

More to follow. . .  

FOLLOW-UP 24.02.2014. . . The right arm is now pegged and re-socketed, and curing in the oven in situ. I'm under no delusion that this will take care of the pesky arms, but I do know that I'm well on my way to having a workable miniature!

22 February 2014

NutsPlanet RULES!!!

I have just received the first two bust offerings (NP-B001 and B002) from this relatively new South Korean manufacturer, and I am speechless! For the sake of brevity, I will simply say that these are some of the finest resin castings it has ever been my pleasure to own!!

By way of background, NutsPlanet launched its venture late last year. Hitherto they have been dedicated to their "Super-Deformed" (SD) Warriors line: caricatures of historical subjects. But fast on the SD's heels, in January, they launched their 1/10 scale Bust line. While I have never been particularly taken with SD's, the quality of their design, casting, etc. was apparent; so when they announced their busts, and two of the three initial releases were characters from the "Game of Thrones", I knew I had to give them a looksee. . .

I can't recommend this manufacturer enough!

Jon Snow and Ghost -- Project Notes/TD List

  • Re-work the proportions of the figure.
  • Re-work the likeness of the subject.  
  • Re-work cloak.                                
  • Re-work doublet to series accuracy.
  • Re-sculpt the boots.                         
  • Re-sculpt the belt.
  • Replace (re-sculpt!) blade and crossguard of 'Longclaw'.
  • Re-work Ghost's fur, dentition, and fix casting flaws on 2 paws. 
Items in grey are ip.; items in red are done.

I will add to the TDL when warranted as the project unfolds. I don't believe there are too many--if any!--mods remaining to be listed, but you never know.

Notable Acquisitions February 2014

As you might well imagine, the annual "Christmas in February" elation was tempered rather severely by the no-less-severe Winter storm that swept through the Southeast a fortnight ago. Thus, it is extremely fitting that the theme for this year's remote acquisitions is "WINTER IS COMING!" (i.e., Game of Thrones). . . 

KITS 
NutsPlanet "The Lord of Lion" (1/10th scale bust, Jun-Sik Ahn) -- AWESOME!!! 
NutsPlanet "Night's Watch" (1/10th scale bust, Jun-Sik Ahn

The "register of spoils" is admittedly light, but these were the "must get" items on my shopping list.

21 February 2014

Jon Snow -- Prepwork 1

I am a great admirer of Alfonso Gozalo's work. He has created some real gems for the likes of Andrea and Knight Models, to name but two. That being said, this particular piece cannot be counted amongst those stellar offerings.

The likeness of Jon Snow (as portrayed by Kit Harington) is, at best, arguably passable. With a little work and some careful painting, however, a more-than-acceptable likeness, far superior to what is provided, can be achieved.

Where this piece utterly fails are the anatomical proportions--linear and volumetric! If you are not prepared to undertake some relatively advanced corrective measures, then I would strongly sug- gest not acquiring this figure--unless, of course, you have no intention of ever building/painting it.

To date, I have begun reducing the length of the head; I also intend to add volume to the face. I have also removed both legs at the knees and reduced their length by 3-5mm.

As I said, this is a "Dr. Doom" project. Unlike that disaster, however, this piece could be ready for priming in less than 4 weeks--it won't be, but it could be! 

More to follow. . . 

UPDATE 22.02.2014. . . I have decided to omit the scabbard in my rendition, with the replace- ment of Longclaw's blade now more than likely. Also, I will re-detail the doublet.

20 February 2014

"Winter is Coming!"

I think the motto of House Stark is a most à propos title for this posting.

The subject of this review is the recently-defunct Toison Studio's "Winter Knight", a 70mm vi- gnette of a medieval knight and a wolf. . . Yeah. . . right! Whatever! This is a figure of Jon Snow, the [so-called] Bastard of Stark, and his direwolf, Ghost, sculpted by Alfonso Gozalo.

As a prelude to what will follow, I acquired this figure because the company went-under at the end of last year, and because I am a HUGE Game of Thrones fan. That being said, my expec- tations were well below-average--and I was not disappointed!

This vignette was offered in two versions: a limited-edition initial release of 50 resin castings (with white metal sword/hands and scabbard); and a mixed-media general release in white metal (the figure) and resin (Ghost, cloak, and groundwork). The kit is comprised of 11 pieces in the LE resin; 13 in the general release m-m offering. Knowing the unreliability of Spanish resin casting, I opted for the general release. 

Both the sculptural and casting quality is Fair/Fair +. I see very little difference between the cast- ings of the two versions, so I am doubly glad I opted for the m-m kit. To date, I have fitted the cloak to the figure, and assembled the direwolf--as well as filled the numerous voids in the cast- ing of Ghost's body and the sizeable gaps in the joins of its two legs to the body.

I don't anticipate any mods of any significance, save perhaps replacing the blade of 'Longclaw', and possibly discarding the paltry scabbard: if I decide to keep the scabbard, it will be replaced outright. One thing I will do is re-sculpt the boots, which as cast are quite appalling.

This is my "Dr. Doom" for this year. As such it will be a long-term project that will be worked upon when I am feeling particularly masochistic. In spite of it all, however, I am quite glad I got this kit, and look forward to adding the completed project to my collection.

UPDATE 21.02.2014. . . I have begun to work on the cloak in an attempt to reduce some of its cumbersome mass. I have also pegged the figure and transferred it to a work base. I think most of the weekend will be spent doing research--especially as the premier of Season 4 is but six weeks away!

16 February 2014

"Moondirge" -- A 'handout'. . .

The right "hand"/paw is now--finally--done!

As to what comes next, I haven't decided yet. I will probably continue the reconstruction of the hair and fur on the lower half of the body before completing assembly--and proceeding with the final finishing. . .

Stay tuned!

14 February 2014

Zombie Kid Joe - Prepwork (3)

The head has been permanently attached, and Joe is now completely assembled! He has also been pegged and mounted on his workbase. All that now remains to be done is finishing the left cargo pocket, and tweaking the wound edges.

With any luck at all, he might be primed by the end of the Holiday weekend!

UPDATE 17.02.2014. . . Kid Joe is now ready for priming; however, due to the rather involved (as of this writing) groundwork I have envisioned for him, I intend to postpone priming until the ground- work is at the very least roughed-in, and Joe has been fitted to same.

"Mean Machine" Angel - Prep 1a

Clean-up of the mechanical arm is done(!) and it is now ready to receive its enhancements. To date, I have singled out four items to be added: 2 cables, 1 wire, and a hydraulic hose. I may decide to add a wire or two more (as filler), but I want to keep things relatively simple and clean.

Movin' right along. . . 

FOLLOW-UP 15.02.2014. . . The final tally of enhancements is as follows: 2 cables, 2 wires, and 2 hydraulic hoses. All the enhancements, save for the wires, have been sized and fitted. 

Back to general clean-up! 

UPDATE 16.02.2014. . . MM is now pegged (brass tubing) and fitted to the groundwork.

UPDATE 17.02.2014. . . MM is now on its workbase. . . and the pre-prime assembly of the me- chanical arm has been completed, and the arm fitted. Almost there! 

12 February 2014

ATLANTA 2014 CANCELLED!

I received this announcement from the Show Pre-Registration Chairperson a little before noon this morning:

For the first time in 37 years, with a great deal of disappointment and unhappiness, I am an- nouncing the cancellation of the AMFS/AMPS Atlanta Show for 2014. Until now, we have suc- cessfully dodged weather situations; but the current one, I feel, makes the cancellation neces- sary. While weather forecasts for the weekend are marvelous, the days leading up to it are uncer- tain and the very last thing we want is injury to our friends and/or damage to vehicles and perso- nal property.

All monies for pre-registrations/ vendor fees, etc... will be refunded as soon as possible.
 

We hope that everyone understands the need for this decision and will join us next year for the 2015 event.
 
David Oswalt, Show Chairman 


I am as disappointed as anybody, if for no other reason that I will have to wait yet another calen- dar cycle to see friends and colleagues whom I see but once a year at the Deep South's premier figure-modelling event!

That being said, I applaud the Show Chairman's decision! By mid-day Saturday, some people will be questioning his decision, but all I have to say is if you want to play Monday-morning QB, go watch a football game! This was an extremely difficult call--and, as I said, I'm glad it was made!

10 February 2014

"JUSTICE" -- Judge Joseph Dredd: Epilogue

As I said in the concluding posting of this project, this has been an awesome project! And the main reason for that is that this is what I like to call an "onion figure". 

What is an "onion figure"? That is a figure that can be appealing to--and modelled by!--miniatur- ists of virtually any level. A beginner can take the figure at face value, and with basic skills and a relatively simple palette, achieve results that they would be proud to call their own. By the same token, advanced miniaturists can 'peel the onion' as far as they deem fit, and wring out every nu- ance afforded by the masterful design and sculpture. The outcomes will vary, but I can assure you that the satisfaction derived from the doing and the finished piece will be very similarly gra- tifying.

Before closing, a hint for anyone contemplating doing this figure: paint the head completely before permanently attaching the head to the torso. In retrospect, I backed myself into some- what of a corner by having to maneuver around the raised right arm. It is certainly doable--but it would have been a lot easier to attach the completed head once done.

09 February 2014

"Mean Machine" Angel - Prep 1

I have to say that. . . THIS IS AN AWESOME FIGURE!!!

While some Liquin was setting on the pieces on the painting bench, I spent the last hour working on "MM". There is very little clean-up to do; and what there is, is dealt with in short order with burr, blade, and file. The torso and legs have been permanently joined.

Most of my time was spent working on the crimped cable on the mechanical arm, as provided-- this is now mostly history. If you decide to take this route, proceed slowly, and do not remove too much at once: what can be overlooked by having a piece cast en suite will be be all-too visible to one and all with a separate item! Think ahead--and twice again!--before removing any stock.

Once the stock cable is removed, then the fun(!) begins: the mechanical arm will be enhanced and detailed with additional cabling and wire.

Stay tuned!

"Mean Machine" Angel

"Mean Machine" Angel is Dark World Creations' third release in their 2000AD series. Arguably the best-known of the nefarious Angel Clan, the crazed, one-armed cyborg was featured in the 1995 cinematic adaptation, Judge Dredd.

The kit, designed/sculpted by the Swedish graphic artist/sculptor, Pedram Karimfazli (Jessica, Jared), is comprised of 6 pieces (torso, legs, and a 4-piece mechanical arm) + logo-ed base, which is unique in that it provides a usable Cursed Earth terrain. Though scaled to the company standard "70mm", the figure measures ~82mm to the eyes. . . well, eye.

Casting quality is excellent, with but two air bubbles that will have to be addressed. That being said, one of the cables on the arm has been unnaturally 'crimped' as a design/casting expedient (should have been cast as a separate piece!), and I will replace it in my rendition. Since one of the air bubbles is on this very cable, that leaves only one to address!

As with all the DWC releases I have worked on to-date, this one promises to be a lot of 'challenging fun'. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

08 February 2014

Judge Dredd - Painting (VIII): The Home Stretch

Dredd is now mounted on its permanent display pedestal! And as such, the project can be deemed completed. 

That being said, the helmet remains to be done. This will be a modular sub-project executed over the next 72 hours. Once the epoxy has cured and set, I will undercoat the helmet. If time--and inclination!--permit, I will then attempt to work the red trim tonight. Once that is done, it's just a matter of finishing the helmet.

This has been an awesome project! In closing, I have heard any number of 'comments' re: the price point of the DWC kits. All I will say is:
  1. You need to check the current price of like-scaled figures. . . DWC's prices are very competitive. And. . . 
  2. This figure more than lives up to its price point. In fact, it far exceeds "bang-for-the-buck" expectations. . . as long as the goals that you are setting for yourself and the figure will require more than a casual weekend to realize--and you have the chops to execute!  
I have scheduled a photo-shoot for Dredd and The Rhino on Wednesday or Thursday. Images of both will be posted by Monday latest.

UPDATE 10.02.2014. . . Save for the final glazing of the visor, and any points of detail that might have been overlooked in the preliminary once-over, "JUSTICE" is done! Sidebar note: Given the difficulty of achieving a glass-smooth compound surface of moderate size in a smaller scale, I decided to give Dredd's helmet a slightly textured finish. It provides that added touch that grounds this rendition on "our" side of the reality fenceline.  

07 February 2014

The Imp

At last year's Atlanta Show, I purchased a Castle Miniature 150mm bust titled "Le Petit Héros"-- which also happens to be the title of a coming-of-age novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Those familiar with the episode which I believe the sculpture is based on (see below) will knowingly applaud Yury Serebryakov's choice of title for this piece.

The bust depicts Tyrion Lannister as portrayed by Peter Dinklage in HBO's Game of Thrones. The piece is based on his appearance at the Battle of the Green Fork in "Baelor" (S1ep9)--the only time, if memory serves, that Tyrion wore one of the lion-head pauldrons that are associated with the House Lannister warrior nobility. That being said, the sculptor exercised a degree of artistic license with the inclusion of an off-the-[right] shoulder fur mantle, which in no way de- tracts from this excellent offering.

The component castings are exceptional in every way: the 3-piece bust is cast in a 'Silly Putty pink-brown' resin that is a dream to work(!), though somewhat harder than most. It should be noted that no means of display support, whether plinth or rod, is provided.

If you are a fan of HBO's Game of Thrones, this is a must have! You will not be disappointed!!

06 February 2014

Judge Dredd - Painting (VII): Wrapping-up

The steps that comprise the wrapping-up process were launched a week ago. While there is still LOADS to be done, the sooner I got into outlining, etc. the sooner I would have an idea of what the finished product would look like and/or what needed to be done to have it look the way I envisioned it. 

30.01.2014 - I began outlining and deepening the shadows--in short, maximizing the sculptural detail and flow through visual relief, focusing on the gauntlets, the cartridge belt, and the jump- suit. And I am very, VERY pleased!!! Yes, the figure is based on the comic book Dredd, but the appearance is very believable, and the finish realistic. . . PERFECT!

04.02.2014 - Buckle undercoated. For those of you unfamiliar with the uniform of a Judge, the belt buckle is an escutcheon of the US arms on the breast of a gilt eagle. 

05.02.2014 - The white metals are done! (see here)

06.02.2014 - The white stripes on the buckle are done. The lightning-bolt reflections of the visor are all-but-done. Both are now curing under the lamp, and I will hopefully be able to proceed with the reds tomorrow. . . And to make the most of the opportunity, the daystick and the Lawgiver have been given their first dry "stain" of black. . .

07.02.2014 - The red stripes on the buckle are done. I also began to apply the tonal washes (oils) to the yellow metals, which I will then follow-up in the next 72 hrs. with a super-highlight session. And I continued the outlining and shadow-deepening, veering into the range of blacks as planned. Finally, I painted the ocular on the Lawgiver's sight.

Zombie Kid Joe - Prepwork (2)

Joe is now completely assembled. . . or nearly so. The limbs--all three of them!--have been per- manently attached, and the head has been fitted--but not attached--to the enhanced neck open- ing. In case you are wondering, the conversion to a crew neck has been completed. All that remains to be done is finishing the left cargo pocket, and enhancing the wounds as I deem necessary to create the appropriate "undead" flow.

Before closing, I should point out that I tweaked the relative position of the left, load-bearing foot and the head: there is now a much more apparent "stiffness" and "unsteadiness" to the figure that just shouts . . . WALKER!!!

This is a great little figure that I am enjoying immensely!

05 February 2014

Judge Dredd - Painting (VC): The Metallics, pt. 3/ Conclusion

"Conclusion" is perhaps somewhat of an overstatement since the gilt escutcheon of the helmet remains to be done, but this is more of a final detail than a "step" per se.

I finished the "white" metals today: the Lawgiver MK1 and the daystick. This was a straightfor- ward application of Gunze-Sangyo Mr. Metal Iron, which once buffed out, was highlighted with Mr. Metal Stainless Steel. I will let this set for a few days before picking out the details with black/ brown/blue oils, and overpainting with Mars Black, respectively.

Movin' right along. . .

03 February 2014

Zombie Kid Joe - Prepwork

As I mentioned, today is an 'off day' at the painting bench. So I decided to spend some time with Joe. I have permanently attached the arm and the left leg, and have tentatively fitted the head, as well as begun converting the collared neck to a crew neck. All I can say is that this is very dis- turbing little piece. . . and I mean that as a compliment!!!

FOLLOW-UP. . . Clean-up on Joe is just about done! This speaks more to the quality of the casting and the thought that went into laying-out the mold than how fast I can work!! 
 
I did enhance the shorts somewhat: I undercut the flaps of the cargo pockets, added a button, and pleated the pockets. These add relief and an interesting point of detail that will direct the eyes upward.

Judge Dredd - Painting (VI): The Groundwork, pt.2

Today is by and large an 'off day' for painting to let things dry, etc. So I decided to spend some quality time with the groundwork. And to this end, the eagle plinth is now permanently attached to its display pedestal! 

I think I will leave well enough alone, and resume painting on the morrow. With respect to the plinth, this means the exposed, battered stone. Insofar as the figure is concerned, I hope to be able to finish undercoating the remaining primed surfaces by Wednesday night at the latest. 

Stay tuned!

02 February 2014

Zombie Kid Joe

So many [cool!] figures. . . so little time. . .  That is the quandary I currently find myself in: I want to paint, but disposable time is at a premium.

I currently have YM's Blackbeard bust on the bench, and more than likely it will be the next to migrate over to the painting hutch. But what next?

DWC's Mean Machine will definitely be on the bench before the end of the month, and as of this writing, one of its stablemates in the DWC catalogue will most likely be joining him: Zombie Kid Joe.

Joe is DWC's latest release in their "Dawn of the Apocalypse" line. Designed/sculpted by Chris Moffit, it is a brilliant little piece, accurately proportioned and exquisitely cast in 5 pieces (plus groundwork), that though scaled to 70mm, measures but 40mm to the eyes: remember, this is a kid. . . a 4-5 yr.old kid! While there is no official backstory--at least one that has been made public, Rin shared that "the idea was that he hid in a cupboard and was then [attacked] by. . . zombies when he left his house". Good enough!

As I related to Rin, my only concern about this piece is that the simplicity of the kit belies its un- limited potential! You can go to town on this one!! Having said that, the only mod planned as of this writing is to convert the polo shirt to a T-shirt.

An excellent product as would be expected from the folks at DWC.

Judge Dredd - Painting (IIIB): The Green Gear, pt. 2

Phase 1 of the boots and knee-pads is now done!

One would think that the boots would be a breeze to paint, but for this miniaturist they were as trying as the cartridge belt! Again, it all depends on your vision for the items and how much mileage you are willing to squeeze-out of the impressive foundation. 

Speaking of which, as with the items in part 1, these will definitely be revisited once the oils settle to get the most out of the "landscape".

NEXT: The Helmet and the Daystick. . . 

01 February 2014

Judge Dredd - Painting (VI): The Groundwork, pt. 1

As it is a bit late to jump into the boots and kneepads, I thought I would use the time to start work on the "groundwork". 

If you recall, this is an extensively reworked Kabuki Models’ Eagle Rock Plinth [NOTE: though still available from any number of retailers, Kabuki Models has apparently discontinued their line of plinths.] that is representative of an Eagle on the Grand Hall of Justice in Mega-City One: I made any number of enhancements that reinforce the Judicial theme.  

My vision of this presentation is that of Dredd on top of a battered, gilt stone eagle topping one of the towers of the keep of the Great Hall. While hardly original (think Batman on a gargoyle), it is most effective!

Painting would be the most challenging aspect of the execution: how to best depict weathered and battered gilt stone? For this challenge, I elected to try metallic acrylics, Andrea's to be precise. And while I have only completed Round 1 of the painting (initial gilding), I think this is going to turn out rather nicely. 

Round 2 will tackle the exposed, battered stone. . . Stay tuned!

Judge Dredd - Painting (VB): The Metallics, pt. 2

The yellow metals are now done! At least Step 1 is. . . As before, once the inks/lacquers are cured, I will go back and create deeper tones with oils in situ, finishing it by selectively punch- ing-up the highlights with printers' inks. 

I can't say enough about the dividends that varying the yellow metals will yield! Think of your me- tallics as the catchlights of the figure and vary them accordingly to create the visual flow that you have envisioned. 

Assuming there are no surprises to be stumbled upon as the day unfolds, the right pauldron will be permanently attached before calling it a day. DONE!

More to follow. . .