31 May 2014

Judge Death - Painting: Priming

The crime of an idle paint brush will be tolerated no longer. . . it mussst end. . . and sssssoon. . .

28 May 2014

Looking ahead in 2014--pre-Summer revision

It is so hard to believe that Summer is less than a month away--three weeks to be exact! Where has the year gone???!!! 

As in the previous posting, I have not listed all I hope to get done: just those items that will most likely get done--especially if I can start slinging paint in the next fortnight or so.

Here goes . . . 
As always, subject--and now less likely--to change. . . save to add.

Figone's Colin

The other day, I was reading a fellow miniaturist's blog, when I ran across a bust that immediately struck a chord. The rendition in question was a minor conversion; but the base piece was not credited, hence it took me about 30 minutes to track it down.

The base piece was a delightful 1/12th scale bust titled, Colin, (sculpted by Romain van den Bogaert) in Figone's Fantasy line. Colin is intended to be a caricature of a pirate, and as such is an eminent success--but it is ideally suited to be converted into a much more menacing subject.

If Colin is any indication of the quality of Figone's product line, then this is a manufacturer that has earned--and deserves!--our patronage. The bust is designed in two pieces, and the casting quality and evinced detail is second to none: the castings are flawless! 

As a bust, it should be noted that this is essentially a head study mounted on the top half of a backless torso. I am not a big fan of this approach, but in this case, it serves my purpose to a T: the back has already been rouged-in with MS and is now curing in the oven. Once cured, I will tap the base of the bust, insert a tin-solder mounting rod, and transfer it to its work base.

Before closing, I should point out that as I could not find a retailer on this side of the Pond that carried this particular offering, I ordered it direct from Figone. Their customer service proved to be excellent: I received it today, 10 days after placing the order.

Stay tuned. . . !

UPDATE 30.05.2014. . . I had the opportunity to do a little grinding on this piece this evening. The quality of the resin--as a casting medium as well as a tooling medium--is exceptional!

Notable Acquisitions May 2014

NutsPlanet Teutonic Knight (1/10th scale bust, Jun-Sik Ahn)
Figone Colin (~1/12th scale bust, Romain van den Bogaert) 

27 May 2014

Weekend Update

Prepwork on Tyrion and Judge Death is officially done: both pieces are now in the priming queue. Given that it is month end, I probably will not get them on the painting bench til the weekend. I should be able to start breaking out the paints by next week. . .

It should be noted that Death's "groundwork" is still very much a work in progress, much like Dredd's base was earlier in the year. Unlike Dredd's, however, the completion of Death's base is not slated to coincide with the commencement of the painting of the figure.

Images to follow as soon as the pieces are primed. . .

26 May 2014

Tyrion -- Prepwork: FINE

It's now all about the fine details and the pre-prime assessment that will brook no compromise... 

I still have to finish and detail the buckles; and the hair still awaits final texturing. Both aspects will hopefully be accomplished before eod.

Updates will be made in this posting. . . 

1700 -- Buckles and straps all-but-done: all that remain are the prongs and final clean-up. The face is finally done: any additional work would serve little purpose and it's best to leave well- enough alone. 

1848 -- Final finishing is underway. Final glazing coat to pedestal has been applied. Prongs have been sculpted and awaiting final clean-up. Hair texturing is underway in earnest.

25 May 2014

Judge Death - Prepwork 3: Final Assembly

1210 -- The left arm has been permanently attached, and the no-fill seam finished. 

1347 -- Reanimation of left hand and the pterodactyl's tail is finished.

1543 -- The right arm has been permanently attached and finished.

All that remain now are some final tweaks and a final once-over - or two. . . 

UPDATE. . . Or so I thought. In a pre-final once-over session, I noticed another point-of detail that had been overlooked.

At first glance, Death's buckle is simply a winged, fanged skull. WRONG! Actually, the fanged skull is "framed" by a displayed, mostly skeletal version of the same pterodactyl that comprises the right pauldron. Guess I'm not quite out of the woods yet. . . 
FOLLOW-UP. . . The stylized pterodactyl skull has been roughed-in, and is now curing in the oven. DONE!

24 May 2014

Judge Death - Prepwork 2a

I am now a little over 50% done with basic clean-up, and it is time to begin delving into the minor mods that I need to execute to have the figure meet my requirements.

First up is the removal of the zipper and the badge chain. The Dark Judges each personalized their "robes of office" to taste: amongst other, more obvious, deviations, Death replaced the zipper of the jumpsuit with lacing/"stitches"; and removed the badge chain altogether. While details such as these might vary according to the artist, the above two are surprisingly consistent throughout, and thus may be taken as canon.

Secondly, I have begun to reanimate the left hand to suit my purposes. This is relatively minor work, but delicate nonetheless.

Stay tuned. . .

UPDATE. . . The head is now permanently attached and both pauldrons have undergone their final fitting. The eyelets for the "stitches" have been tapped and cleaned. NEXT: The stitching. . .

UPDATE (2). . . The "stitches" (MS) are now in place, and curing in the oven. Back to clean-up!

UPDATE (3). . . Didn't get quite as far as I had planned today, but I hadn't factored-in the mods-- or the bit of repair work required by a fragile pterodactyl leg (right pauldron)! This is not a slam on the design OR the casting: just be careful and make sure you know where the legs-and the tail!- are at all times when you are handling the piece. I am anticipating being caught-up by mid-day tomorrow. . . 

23 May 2014

Judge Death - Prepwork 2. . .

. . . and the home stretch?

With a long holiday weekend before me, my primary goal is to relocate some pieces from the workbench to the painting bench. I am shooting for three, but I will be satisfied with 2.

One of the pieces is Hisssss Honor Judge Death. With 3 of the 4 Dark Judges now available, I am getting seriously lapped by the good folks at DWC--not that I'm complaining mind you! And in a recent conversation with Rin, I was informed that they have no intention to gear down any time soon. In short, it's a VERY good time to be a miniaturist and a 2000AD fan! 

The main problem with prepping this figure are the extremely faint seam lines! The casting quality is superb, and if one is not extremely cautious, one will miss a seam line!!

So I have my work cut out for me. I am about 30% through the basic clean-up, and by eod tomorrow, I hope to have the figure assembled.

Stay tuned. . .

22 May 2014

NutsPlanet's Teutonic Knight bust (1/10th scale)

I have just received my third NutsPlanet bust this year: a 1/10th scale Teutonic Knight, their latest/May release.

First of all, the kit. In a relatively short period of time, NutsPlanet has proven themselves to be one of the premier figure manufacturers in the world! The quality of every important aspect of a resin kit is consistently at the 9-10/10 level. In a word: EXCELLENT, if not Superb! This kit does nothing to compromise that rating. It is superbly designed and sculpted in 6 pieces (including a 3-piece crested great helm, and a bare head oozing character!) by house sculptor Jun-Sik Ahn. I wish I knew the name of the caster so that I could credit his evinced mastery of the production process! These are some of the very finest castings on the market today!!

Now, in the interest of full disclosure and objectivity, as a historical depiction, this piece falls somewhat short of the mark. First of all, there is nothing to suggest that the design fits within a temporal framework. Secondly, as a corollary to the first, there is a temporal mash-up of equip- ment depicted. Thirdly, since the only painting guide provided is the boxart, this suggests that the subject is in fact a Hochmeister of the Order. In fact, this could be painted to represent any Germanic maa of the first half of the 14th c.--or virtually any maa at all of the same period if you were to omit the crests (i.e., horns). And with a little research and work, the options--and histo- ricity!--increase geometrically!    

I could provide greater depth and specificity, but that is really outside of the scope of why I ac- quired this bust. This will be converted--relatively minor, but challenging nonetheless. . . less IS more!--to a fantasy character that will be immediately recognizable once it's done, drawn from a corpus of literature near and dear to my heart.

That's all for now. . .

18 May 2014

Ghost -- Prepwork 1

When we last saw Ghost back in February, he had been assembled and filled.

This afternoon, I began to work on the direwolf in earnest. First up, the paws. These are an un- defined mess that will require resculpting the general shape and most of the claws. While I have just done some preliminary grinding, it is already a vast(!) improvement over what was provided.

Next, the dentition. Again an undefined disaster(!!): I have added the upper canines, and the upper and lower incisors. This is simply a visual "band-aid", as I am not inclined in any way, shape, or form to resculpt the full dentition, which is what it requires. Unfortunately, my first pass, was, well, a pass--I will have to resculpt the canines (x4) and incisors (x12) to have any hope of it looking convincing.

More to follow. . .

Tyrion -- Prepwork - Home Stretch

With everything fitted and [mostly] polished, I am now well into final finishing. . .

The buckles on the straps have been roughed-in and sized: these should hopefully be done within the week.

The face is essentially done. There are still a few tweaks to be done, and the hair to texture, but otherwise. . . 

I am hoping to have this piece primed and on the paint bench by the end of the Memorial Day holiday.

Stay tuned. . . !

17 May 2014

Jon Snow -- Prepwork 4a

The Bastard of Stark (or is he???) is not only back on the front burners, but he now has a full head of hair! I had removed all of Snow's hair as it was ridiculously overdone, and the time had come to restore it before hitting the home stretch on the head.

I also tweaked the drapery of the doublet's skirt somewhat in anticipation of final detailing and finishing. 

Moving right along. . . 

16 May 2014

The "Red Viper" - Graphic Interlude

I just received my latest "tool": a Nikon Coolpix L28, and the image that follows is one of my test shots to check out that everything is as it should be. . . .

I am really quite pleased -- all the more so as this is the first shot I took. This is a no-frills, point-and-shoot camera that does everything that I require--and more than replaces the tried-and-true Sony Mavica FD-90 that I've had for over 13 years! Many thanks to my dear friend and colleague, Rich, who introduced me to the Nikon Coolpix (he has an L22) and its vastly underrated capabi- lities as a hobby "tool". 

But I digress. . . In the image above, you can see my progress-to-date on Prince Oberyn. I still have a little bit of grinding (reduction) to do on the turban [DONE!]; but once that is done, I can begin to enhance the mantle as a prelude to reworking the helmet.

More to follow!

13 May 2014

The "Red Viper" -- Prep 2

All of the heavy grinding has been completed: all that remains is fine detailing, etc. which would normally be undertaken during final finishing.

As I indicated in the last update, I had roughed-in the extension of the helmet in clay, giving me a maquette of the lines of the celata. That clay "veneer" has been carefully peeled off, and the final reduction of resin completed. Next, I will restore the clay and finish the maquette of the extension before:
  1. photographing;
  2. reworking the mantle;  and. . . 
  3. begin replacing clay with MS. 
So far, so good! I will post images of the completed maquette once done. . .

09 May 2014

"Gazzze into the ffacce of ffFear. . . "

This is very much on the QT, but it looks like Dark Judge #3, Judge Fear, will be DWC's next release in their 2000AD line. And he/it? looks AWESOME!!!  Rin and the team continue to raise the bar with their Dark Judges. . . and with that in mind, my only questions now are: What do they have planned for the Fiery fourth? And, can we look forward to the Sisters of Death??

UPDATE 23.05.2014. . . The Lord of War is now available -- and ON ORDER!!!

The "Red Viper" -- Prep 1 and TDL

I think--HOPE!--most of the grinding has been completed. I removed all the mail save for the right upper arm; the hanging portion of the turban; and the ventail. I also filled-in the slot for the nasal, as the latter will not be used. I hope that most of the "prepwork" will be completed in the next fortnight; then I can begin the re-constructiive phase of the prep.

My design is very "fluid" at this point. As of this writing, I intend to:
  • Add a surcoat.
  • Convert the helmet to a stylized celata.
  • Add a movable, hinged upper bevor [11.05.14 - I have roughed-in the extension of the helmet in clay to convert it to a stylized celata. The lines and flow of the helmet as they stand do not warrant the addition of a visor/bevor.]
  • Add a fore-crest.
  • Add a ring fibula/brooch.
  • Possibly add a 'standard' [A superfluous addition given the dimensions of the modified helmet.]
  • Rework the face -- primarily the nose.
  • Rework the mantle.
More to follow. . .

08 May 2014

The "Red Viper"

You might say that I have been "snakebit" (quite à propos given our subject!) by GoT--but in a good way! The books and their sublime adaptation by HBO are an endless source of inspiration. So much so that it is the prevailing theme in my workshop--and my head!

My latest project is the "Red Viper" of Dorne: Prince Oberyn Nymeros Martell. He is such a compelling character that I have been thinking of ways to depict him ever since I first encountered him. And yesterday, it finally hit me: convert my 1/4 scale bust of Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid (released by Fort Duquesne in 1999)!

This is almost a match made in heaven! Dorne is very much Andalucía--geographically, climati- cally, and culturally. And Oberyn, like El Cid, is not only a redoubtable warrior, but a captain of fortune. The similarities do not end there. . . quite the contrary. I have to wonder if GRRM's inspiration for the "Red Viper" were any of the peninsular paladins of the Reconquista!

The project is well underway. Mostly, it will be adding things here and there to bring the historical more in line with the fantasy, and then refinishing. I should have close to 80% of the conversion work in-progress by the weekend; but as always the devil is in the details--and there are loads of detail!

Stay tuned. . .

02 May 2014

Sláine - Prepwork 2

The right arm has been permanently attached. I will hopefully be able to "finish" it sometime over the weekend. Work on the left arm continues. . .

I have also roughed in the fringe of the "plaid". This will probably need additional tweaks before sculpting can begin.

All in all, I am delighted with the progress. Even with the little disposable time available to me these days, this project may be ready for priming by the end of the month. . . 

UPDATE 03.05.2014. . . A very eventful--and productive!--late night/early morning. Late last night, I began the fitting of the mantle/"plaid": it has a very unnatural, gravity-defying drape that needs to be addressed. However, one must also take into consideration that the "plaid' will not fit over an attached head (i.e., one must first attach the "plaid" before proceeding with the head). So, I de- cided to break-off the right "collar" of the "plaid". Now, the head is permanently attached, and the "plaid" simply slides into place. Once everything is painted, I will then reattach the right "collar", and simply re-texture the fur. Perfection! 

I have also pegged the figure and mounted it on its work base. Graphic update to follow soon. . .