29 March 2015

"Child of the Cursed Earth”– ‘Mean Machine’ Angel





When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

“Alasss, poor Jossssseph. . . !“ – Judge Death




When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

26 March 2015

Anne Bonny - Prepwork (cont. no. 1)

By way of a recap of the last few days. . . 

The minor approach worked well up to a point. Unfortunately, where it succeeded most was to bring the sculptural structural shortcomings of the face to an unequivocal fore. To make a long story short, I have essentially re-sculpted the left side of the face. As of this writing, finishing is underway and I am a little over half-way done: before it's all said and done, I will have some 10 hours, +/- , into this reconstruction. Which is fine, as my rendition will truly be one-of-a-kind!

I have also fitted the pistol into its bandolier loop. This required careful manipulation of the loop, which, for all its thinness, is remarkably sturdy. Additionally, it required that I reduce the length of the truncated barrel by 1+mm, and then reconfigure the loop using a targeted application of heat. 

Finally, I lightly ground a depression on the downward slope of her right breast to accommodate the grip of the pistol. Procedurally, this was a trial step that would determine if I would keep the pistol--or not. There appears to be an obsessive rule with busts that the absence of distinctive martial dress (costume or uniform) requires the presence of a weapon to impart that "martial air" to the subject. . . BALDERDASH! The pistol as displayed on the boxart is distracting and non- sensical!! Prior to receiving the bust, I was all-but-convinced that the pistol was destined for the spare-parts bin, where they would accompany Blackbeard's pistols of various scales. But upon receipt and seeing how the pistol and the carrier were designed, it forced me to reassess. 

Before calling it a day this evening, I fitted the ends (separate piece) of the kerchief to the head. 

I plan to resume work on this project tomorrow evening, but that will be the last opportunity I will have to work on Mistress Anne until the following weekend. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

23 March 2015

Anne Bonny - Prepwork

This is actually pre-prepwork as the sculptural flaws MUST be corrected before proceeding. 

PROBLEM: Left eye too shallow and too high. 

SOLUTION: After careful consideration, I decided to take a less invasive, minor surgical ap- proach: reduction and reconstruction. To this point, no putty has been used, and nothing more than light shaving—with Dremel and blade—executed. The difference is remarkable! I have aged her by 5-7 years, and she is beginning to look like the lean hardened hellion that she apparently was. I figure I have 3-4 more sessions with her (4-6 hours max) before I break out the putty for minor adjustments, mainly lower eyelid and brow.

I think it was the swept-over bangs that impacted the proportional and structural issues of the sculpt. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

Nutsplanet's Anne Bonny -- Hands-On Review

The highly-anticipated casting of Nutsplanet's Anne Bonny, first in a proposed series of lumina- ries from the Golden Age of Piracy who were associated with "Calico Jack" Rackham, arrived today! Kudos to The Red Lancers for its usual exemplary service! 

First the good news. . . The casting is immaculate (no surprise there!), as one would expect--and in no few ways remarkable. The kit is comprised of five pieces, plus the generic display riser/ped- estal. While I completely agree with the parts breakdown, it's the way the parts were broken down that leaves me amazed and stupefied. For example, the loop for the flintlock on the bando- lier is hollow cast as part of the bandolier! Not as part of the flintlock; not as a separate piece-- but perfectly cast en suite with the bandolier! And the 2/3 flintlock provided--which includes the cock and frizzen--is beautifully and perfectly cast, again, in one piece! Mold deterioration in my sample is already evident, which is hardly surprising given what they have subjected these molds to, but nothing of any importance has been compromised. As impressive as the engineering and design is, they could have saved themselves a lot of heartache (and money)--without losing an iota of detail--by going a more traditional, arguably less adventurous--and spectacular, route. 

Regrettably, everything speculated upon in our pre-release review is as it is. Not as bad as I might have thought (e.g., the bridge of the nose is nowhere near as disproportionate as it might appear), and with a very slim outside chance of being able to paint around it; but if you want to do it right (read: have it look right from any and every angle), surgery will be required. However, as I noted before, I do not believe it will take any more than a day's work to get us back on course. . .

Other than that, she is everything anyone could possibly want!

To date, all the pouring sprues on the main pieces--hat and torso--have now been removed. 

More to follow. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

22 March 2015

Judge Mortis - Prepwork: The Right Pauldron

I've always considered Mortis' right pauldron--in the guise of a skeletal pterosaur--one of the em- bodiment of pestilence's defining characteristics. 

As I mentioned in the overview to the project's prepwork,most of it will focus on the right pauldron. The beautifully cast, one-piece pauldron has neither tail nor pseudo-pteroid bones. And while nei- ther structure is absolutely critical, their absence, IMHO, is a detractive distraction. 

Fortunately, the fix(es) are relatively easy. The pseudo-pteroid bones can be added in less than hour using spare resin stock: the pour sprues for the arms or heads/skulls make ideal blanks. Hollow out the ends to accommodate the wing bone nubs, glue, and carve/grind away until you are satisfied.   

The tail is a little trickier, depending on the amount of interaction you might require between the tail and the extended right arm. Personally, a limp hanging tail is little better than no tail at all-- especially as it will be largely blocked from view. My version of the tail will be somewhat prehen- sile in nature, wrapped loosely around Mortis's arm. To date, I have attached the base structure of the tail (malleable tin wire), and positioned it around the outer half of the arm. . . 

More to follow. . . 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

Judge Mortis - Prepwork

The dreaded Judge Mortis has won out!

Mortis has been pegged (as always, proceed slowly and ever-so carefully to get past the spindly ankles) and mounted on its work base. AND. . . the two-piece tail has been assembled.

The prepwork on the whole is largely unremarkable: simply a matter of carefully cleaning the elu- sive seam lines. Once you find them, I would suggest rubbing some powdered graphite along their entire length as a static reveal. Most of the prepwork will be focused on the skeletal ptero- saur right pauldron--but more on this when the time comes. . .

Insofar as what might lie ahead, I hope I don't disappoint when I say that this one will be built essentially straight OOB. I might distress a few areas to reveal the underlying decay; but other than that, I anticipate a relatively brief stay on the workbench for Death's right-hand [Dark] Judge.

Stay tuned. . . 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

21 March 2015

"Child of the Cursed Earth” -- Mean Machine is DONE!!!

Just a quick post to announce that I have just completed my final entry in DWC's 2000AD Painting Competition!

Before closing, I just want to say that I wish all figures were as much fun as DWC's offerings.
To me, they define what this hobby is. . . should be!. . . all about.

Images of all the entries will be posted within two weeks.

Let's see. . . who's next. . . Mortisssssss? Or perhaps Sláine. . . ??

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

15 March 2015

Nutsplanet's Anne Bonny - Pre-release Review

The forthcoming bust of Anne Bonny has now been fully revealed, and I am sad to say that my initial impressions are not substantiated by what I have seen to date.

Before proceeding, let's lay our foundation as best we can with the little information available to us. Anne was in her early 20's at the peak of her short-lived piratical career. She was apparently ginger-haired. . . as well as intelligent, attractive, and quick-tempered. Regrettably, unless she was just awakened from a deep slumber, or very grog-gy (thanks to Rich for that one!), that is not the impression on would get from the sculptor's depiction of this hellion! Rather, the impression I get is that of a befuddled, slack-jawed ingenue playing dress-up!

My greatest concern are the apparent sculptural inconsistencies, entirely uncharacteristic of the work provided heretofore by the immensely talented Jun-Sik Ahn. Normally, I would withhold any comment until I had the figure in hand, but since reality is highly overrated in this social media- driven world that we live in, then those who live by the sword must be prepared to be, at best, cut by the very same.

For starters, what is it with the left eye?! This is not a case of a "droopy eye", or some similar affliction--this is simply a poorly sculpted eye and/or upper left quadrant of the face! The problem stems from an inherent longitudinal asymmetry of the face, with the left side skewed upward, thus widening the bridge of the nose, and repositioning and angling the eye in relation to the right eye. 

Which brings us to the boxart. Myeong-ha Hwang is a masterful painter whose skills far surpass his age, and the time he has been involved in what we do. So what happened here? The flesh- tones are spot-on brilliant; but the rest, save for the tricorne, appears to be either still in-progress, or at best, rushed rote.

Not an auspicious beginning to a proposed new series. If the future of the series depends on the reception to this piece, then said future is already on very shaky ground! I very much hope that this was an unfortunate exception to the quality evinced to date, and that the NP team is not being spurred to ultimate failure by the "I want it now!" demands of the marketplace.

In closing, my sample remains on order, and I am VERY much looking forward to its arrival. I am hoping that the problems are primarily due to lens distortion and compression, and nothing to break a sweat over. On the other hand, if they aren't, I could care less about boxart--especially in this instance, where it exacerbates the apparent problems. And any sculptural shortcomings are, afaic tell, readily remedied with less than day's work. Worst case scenario will require resculpting of both eyes, but that is not a deal breaker. My only real regret regarding this offering, if the appa- rent is real, is that it will in all probability be the gallow's call for a very promising and exciting series.

Full--HANDS ON--review to follow upon receipt.

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

"Mean Machine" Angel - Painting: Dial 4+ -- Groundwork and Finishing

This is the final installment for this project: henceforth, all work will be logged in one of the 5 existing installments. 

Phase 1 of the groundwork is now completed. Basically, this is the acrylic undercoat, which serves as a tonal grisaille, using cool-ish earth tones ranging from a pale khaki to a deep, earthy red. Once I get MM's boots done, I will go back and start finalizing with the oils.

More to follow. . .

PS--HAPPY IDES! 

FOLLOW-UP. . . After applying a tonal grisaille (in acrylics) to the boots, I decided to apply the base oils to the groundwork. Any more work on the groundwork will take place after the figure is permanently mounted FOLLOW-UP (2)--which it now is! 

16.03.2015 - The left eye has been undercoated (Reaper Yellowed Bone + Linen White).

19.03.2015 - Things are rapidly coming together. . . The left eye has been painted; and along with the right "eye", is now awaiting final glazing. The cybernetic arm is all-but-done: just a bit more staining and outlining, and it will be in the can. Most of the outlining of the clothing has been completed: all the remains is select, integrative weathering. We'll see how much remains to be done by the end of the weekend. . .   
   
When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

13 March 2015

"Mean Machine" Angel - Painting: Dial 4 -- Fabric and Leather

The design and costume of the figure have prompted me to do a 180° from my normal approach: I am painting MM from the top down. Which means that the upper half of the figure is now in oils, though far from finished. 

At this rate, I am reasonably sure of having all the fabrics in oils by the end of the weekend. This in turn should allow me to have the figure all-but-done in the next 10 days. Depending on how the paint sets, this means that I should be able to begin serious weathering within the fortnight. 

Stay tuned. . . 

FOLLOW-UP 14.03.2015. . . The denims are now done. . . and for the most part weathered. My days of completing any portion of a figure at one sitting are long behind me, I am happy to say. That is not what painting [a figure] is all about: any and every time you change the setting and/or composition of the figure, the figure must be reevaluated and subsequently integrated into or with its new elements.

FOLLOW-UP 15.03.2015. . . The leathers--boots and belt--are now done! And MM has been per- manently mounted on its display base. Hence, I deem this project completed. . . though it still has a week-10 days of "finalizing" to undergo.

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

10 March 2015

"Mean Machine" Angel - Painting: Dial 2 -- Metallics, pt. 2: The Arm

The  cybernetic arm [right] is now underway. So far, this has been a very interesting undertaking-- and I am less than 40% into it! To date, I have applied the Dark Iron and Iron, while enhancing the distressed areas with washes of Mars Black and Burnt Umber just to warm things up a bit. While I am quite pleased with the progress to-date, the next steps will determine how close I am to my goals--especially as I will be introducing the blues and the foundational weathering in the next phase. 

Stay tuned. . .   

UPDATE 12.03.2015. . . I am delighted to report that I am VERY close to my vision for the arm. The metallics are, in effect, done; AND I have begun the staining and weathering in earnest, as well as beginning the reassembly of the various enhancing addenda. I would say that the arm is now ~70% done: my goal is to have it all-but-done by the end of the weekend.

More to follow! 

UPDATE 14.03.2015. . . The arm has been permanently attached. I hope to have it fully assem- bled with all elements painted by the end of the weekend. DONE!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

08 March 2015

DWC's Rogue Trooper Decommissioned

 This from Rin and DWC:

Hi Guys,

Well, Rogue Trooper's production moulds have expired and we have decided NOT to remake them. This means that Rogue Trooper is no longer available!


Rogue Trooper was our first 2000AD project over two years ago so it's a good time to retire him.

Many thanks!
 

Rin

If you are interested at all in this classic offering, the time to act is now! Red Lancers and CMON, to name but two, still show it as available.

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

"Mean Machine" Angel - Painting: Dial 3 -- Flesh

I was going to plod on and "finish" the metallics today, but given the time change (am I the only one who hates   DST???), and the block of time required, I decided to take a bypass straight to the flesh.

And Phase 1 of the flesh is now done! My "new" approach to flesh was prompted by my work on relatively large expanses of distressed flesh (e.g., Jessica, Daenerys), and I find it to be a more dynamic--and user-friendly!--way to render variegated tones. With MM, we not only have to deal with the exposure to radiation and extreme heat, but necrotic areas as well. So this is the poster- child for post-Apocalyptic trauma!

As for the aforementioned "organic continuity",  I couldn't be happier--at this point! We'll see how this plays out in the days and weeks to come. . . 

Stay tuned. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

07 March 2015

"Mean Machine" Angel - Painting: Dial 2 -- Metallics

By way of an introductory note, all "white" metallics will be done with G-S Mr. Metal lacquers.

Phase 1--basecoating--of the body's metallic enhancements is now done. Next, I will polish the metallic surfaces as called for; followed by touching-up of the flesh undercoat. DONE!

The rest of the process will involve staining and weathering the metallics once the flesh is painted in oils. AFAIC, the challenge here will be to achieve an organic continuity when one of the com- ponents is decidedly inorganic.

So far, so good. . . 

The  cybernetic arm [right] is next. While this will be in many respects easier, the challenge here will be to maintain a visual gradient of depth while introducing a diversity of complementary tones and textures on a rather limited canvas. 

Stay tuned. . .  

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

"Belay that! Black flags. . .!!! "

About three weeks ago, I announced that I had refloated my Blackbeard project by way of appraising how much work remained to be done. 

Well, it appears NutsPlanet is hell-bent on seeing me return to to the Rovers' Roost! They have just announced the forthcoming (1-2 weeks) release of a bust of none other than Anne Bonny! As if that were not bad enough, this appears to be the first of a series: "The Golden Age of Piracy-- The Pirates of Calico Jack on the Caribbean". While the plural Pirates could simply be a typo, and refer exclusively to fair Anne, I prefer to believe that Mary Read--and Company of course!!!-- will be just over the horizon. 
"Yo ho, yo ho. . . a pirate's life for me. . .

FOLLOW-UP 07.03.2015. . . You've all heard me rave about the quality of NutsPlanet's products. Well, let's add something else to the list: their Customer Service! No, I did not have to contact the NP team re: an issue with a kit; but last night, on a whim, I emailed them to make some inquiries as to what we might expect in the future. And, this morning, I had a most gracious response from Benny Sa, a principal of NP! Should I be surprised? Absolutely not! But the fact remains that this willingness to engage with the customer base is all-too-rare nowadays, and Benny's prompt and enthusiastic response suggests to me that he is in this for the l-o-n-g haul. Kudos to you, good sir, for maintaining the standard!

But I digress. . . Benny confirmed that Anne is the first of a projected series. Mary is one of the projects under consideration, but he would/could not commit to a release date--or if they would ever see the light of day. Reading between the lines, his response indicated to me that the ex- pansion of the series would depend first on the response to Anne, and then on the response to the subsequent releases.

So if you want to see great kits of your favourite filibusters and freebooters, reach out to the good people at NutsPlanet and make yourself heard! And to Benny and the NP team: MANY THANKS!
   
When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

04 March 2015

"Pale Rider" - Pre-Prep (I)

As I indicated in my response to Lloyd's gracious comment, I had arrived at my vision of this piece before I ordered it. . . Now the time has come to pay the piper!

This bust will be the foundation piece of  my interpretation of  "the Pale Rider": the fourth Horse- man of the Apocalypse, bka Death. While I will rework the bust itself to some extent (refine the drapery, add eyes, etc.), the lion's share of the pre-prep will revolve around the sculpting of a skeletal hand and then animating it so that it holds a scythe (also scratchbuilt) convincingly.

The hand is about 50-60% done, but I have not even begun to think about the articulation!  I am sculpting the hand in SSF. Once done, I will disarticulate all the bones save the carpals, and reassemble the hand with soft wire or solder: this should provide me with an eminently posable hand.

Back to the bench!

FOLLOW-UP. . . The left eyeball has been roughed-in.
 
When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

03 March 2015

"Mean Machine" Angel - Painting: Dial 1 -- UC'ing

Not quite where I'd like to be, but close enough. . . 

The flesh and metallics on "Mean Machine" are now undercoated. I will hopefully have him ready for the lacquers and inks by the end of the week, but definitely by the end of the weekend. 

I also undercoated the right "eye". The definition of this grated orbit was less than hoped for on the computer rendering: it is hardly surprising that it is but faintly discernible on the bare casting. I have enhanced the orb with paint and will likewise replicate the grating with paint, using trompe- l'œil to suggest the depth of the layers and the reflectivity of the "glowing" eye.

And so it begins!

More to follow. . . 

UPDATE 05.03.2015. . . The pants and A-shirt are undercoated.

UPDATE 06.03.2015. . . Undercoating is completely done!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

02 March 2015

MDC's Zombie Highwayman

At the Show this year, I was rather taken with a uniquely bizarre bust as rendered by Mike Hall: Model Design Construction's (UK) Zombie Highwayman. Whether or not it is a "walker"/"rider"? (though it definitely could be with some creative input on the part of the end-user!) is neither here nor there; but if you think of it as a "headed horseman" (from Sleepy Hollow, of course!) you would be more in the ballpark.

The kit is packaged in a sturdy black plastic box, with padding for the contents provided by an appropriate amount of bubble-wrap. The contents are comprised of two pieces: the main bust and the tricorne, both excellent castings from one-piece butterfly molds in a saturated grey resin that is eminently workable. The bust scales out at ~1/6 scale/300mm.

This is a simple fun bust that harkens back to better times--it can certainly be done over a week- end straight OOB. But if you are willing to give your imagination free rein and ponder the options, you might just make the bust your own. I, for one, am definitely to going to explore the possibili- ties. . .  

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003