23 July 2017

Spock - Prepwork II

First things first. . . the distal portion of the left forearm has been removed; and the neck opening has been ground-out. 

In my introductory posting, I mentioned that, "This project will be the least prep-intensive of the four, and can be deemed a near-OOB undertaking." I also indicated that, "The proportions below the neck are somewhat "discordant", but there is very little that can be done about that."

Regarding the latter, I do not believe that the source of the problem was artistic; rather, the areas most afflicted--and the thinness of the medium!--suggest a production issue, namely shrinkage. The fit of the arms to the torso is very poor; and the depth of the chest is extremely shallow, vir- tually two-dimensional. This, in turn, makes the head and hands appear disproportionately over- sized.

What all this means is that I will be spending a not-inconsiderate amount of time reworking the torso, and the fit of the arms to the same. I have accomplished much in two sessions today, and I expect that I should be all-but-done within a fortnight. 

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

22 July 2017

LCDR Worf - Prepwork II

To date, I have:
  • Removed all the "sprue" funnels, and assembled and filled the bust. (NOTE: the head will not be permanently attached until the mock-turtleneck collar of the undergarment is completed [see below].)
  • Removed the Klingon emblems from the baldric, and the TNG combadge.  
  • Ground-down the collar of the stock tunic.

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

Spock - Review and Prepwork I

This project will revolve around the AMT/Ertl's 1/6th scale figure of the USS Enterprise's Vulcan First Officer Mr. Spock (CDR--Starfleet, UFP). This was the third of four TOS figures released by AMT/Ertl.

This kit is comprised of 8 medium-grey vinyl parts, a light grey polystyrene phaser, and a black polystyrene circular display base. The casting quality is VG+++; however the thickness of the vinyl is significantly thinner than the first two releases.
  
Overall, this is a VG representation of Spock--particularly the likeness! The proportions below the neck are somewhat "discordant", but there is very little that can be done about that. In spite of this, as with the other entries in this line I have reviewed, most of the problems I see in the build-ups stem from the modeller--including that of the boxart! Shortcomings in assembly, but espe- cially in painting, do not do this figure--or the subject!--justice.

As with my other Star Trek character projects, I intend to convert this to a portrait bust. This project will be the least prep-intensive of the four, and can be deemed a near-OOB undertaking. My TDL as of this writing consists of the following:
  • Create and fit the neck.  IP
  • Remove the distal portion of left forearm.  DONE
  • Reposition arms to enhance flow and dynamics.  IP
  • Create and fit the wrist.
  • Tweak the anatomy of the right hand.
  • Tweak the face to enhance the likeness.
  • Rework the duty "tunic" to canon specs.  IP
  • Sculpt the support pedestal.

To date, I have removed all the "sprue" funnels and test-fitted the parts. So far, so good!

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

19 July 2017

LCDR Worf: "The Sword of Kahless" (DS9 ep409) -- Review, Project, and Prepwork I

I recently watched an episode of Deep Space 9 that has inspired my next foray into the world of Star Trek. . . LCDR Worf!

While TOS--and DS9!--were handled by AMT/Ertl, TNG was the exclusive domain of GEOmetric Designs. How ably these were rendered by the respective companies is open to discussion; but as full figures, none rated more than a B-/C+. Having said that, GEOmetric was not only the pio- neer in the field, but would eventually release 16 figures in a five-year span (1992-97); AMT/Ertl would release 4 TOS and 2 DS9 offerings from 1994-1995.

This project will revolve around GEOmetric's second release in the series, LT Worf. This rendition depicted Worf as Chief Tactical Officer and Security Chief on the Enterprise-D under CAPT Jean-Luc Picard. Sculpted by John Dennett, it is comprised of 8 pieces beautifully cast in black vinyl: I intend to use 4 of the stock pieces to create a bust of LCDR Worf.

LT Worf was promoted to LCDR in 2371. While awaiting reassignment following the destruction of the Enterprise later that year, Worf took an extended leave of absence from Starfleet to evaluate his future.The following year he was reassigned to Deep Space 9--soon thereafter, he embarked on the quest that is the inspiration of this project. . .

The most obvious difference between this iteration and the stock kit--aside from the conversion 
to a bust--will be the "red" Command tunic in lieu of the "gold" Operations tunic. This is hardly a simple chromatic conversion as the TNG tunic must be reworked to the upper portion of the DS9 Starfleet Utility jumpsuit. In addition, I intend to:
  • Resculpt the hair; add a pony-tail.
  • Replace the Klingon baldric insignia with sculpted emblems. 
  • Resculpt the combadge.
  • Sculpt the Sword of Kahless (bat'leth).
  • Sculpt the support pedestal.

To date, the pieces have been trimmed, and the bust dry-assembled--yes, the fit is that good! 

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

16 July 2017

"Bones"--Prepwork III

Just completed roughing-in the neck, and tentatively fitting the head. Positioning of the head will probably not be finalized until the medical smock is at the very least 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

15 July 2017

"Bones"--Prepwork II

The second step of the prepwork is devoted to the resculpture of the head/face. This is progres- sing quite nicely, and I would say that I am a little over 50% done. . . 

Moving right along. . .

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

11 July 2017

"Bones"--Prepwork I

As with Kirk, the assembled bust was filled with PUR, per my usual MO with hollow-cast, vinyl figures. I then bisected the upper limbs a little below their respective elbows. Finally, I ground- 
out the neck join, and pegged the head. 

So far, so good. . . !!!

FOLLOW-UP. . . Just finished removing the Division insignia from the left breast. . .

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

10 July 2017

"Bones"--Review and Intro

The kit is comprised of 7 light-grey vinyl parts, a black vinyl tricorder, and a black polystyrene circular display base. The casting quality is superb!

As with Kirk, the proportions are to scale at 8 heads. Likewise, most of the problems I see in the build-ups stem from the modeller, not the kit!
In this instance, however, unlike Kirk, the likeness does leave something to be desired. That being said, the shortcomings are exacerbated by an evinced lack of fundamental modelling skills--or indifference/complacency.

While Kirk aimed at enhancing--and improving upon!--the stock kit, this project will essentially be an extensive conversion using the stock kit as a base: I intend to depict "Bones" in his medical smock.

Anticipated [re]constructive work is as follows:
  • Resculpt portions of the face to enhance the likeness. IP
  • Resculpt the hair. IP
  • Rework the neck join. DONE
  • Resculpt the duty tunic to depict medical smock (S2 specs).  
  • Sculpt the support pedestal. IP

The project, as planned, will use but 4 pieces of the stock kit: head, torso, and arms.

To date, I have removed all the "sprue" funnels and assembled the torso.

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

06 July 2017

Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy, MD, LCDR

I am enjoying the Kirk project to no end! So much so, that I decided to undertake a comparable project for myself, revolving around none other than Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, the second release in AMT/Ertl's 1/6th scale vinyl Star Trek character series. 

Full review to follow upon arrival. . .  In the meantime, I will say that I intend to likewise convert this figure to a portrait bust.

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

23 June 2017

The Joker "TwE" - Prepwork II

The reworked roughed-in face was essentially completed after last night's posting. This amounted to little more than mirroring the work done on the left onto the right.

Today, I roughed-in the neck, as well as enhanced the rather sparse hair. I also reduced the over- all length of the torso by removing about a 1/4in. from the distal end, as a prelude to tapping a hole for the support rod: the bust can now "stand alone". 

Once I get the neck the way I want it, I can begin working on the face in earnest. Stay tuned!
 
FOLLOW-UP. . . Though still very much a work ip, the neck is now over 80% done. And it is fit- ted! I also adjusted the "angle of presentation" of the overall bust, and it looks. . . AWESOME! 

UPDATE 24.06.17. . . The one drawback to sculpting a turned head en suite with the torso is that the neck/collar is usually unflatteringly skewed. In most instances this is hardly noticeable, es- pecially once painted; but if the head is removed, the truth is immediately apparent. And thus, with the neck all-but-done, I devoted myself to rebuilding the left side of the collar. And then fol- lowed-up with launching the finishing phase of the torso. . .

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

22 June 2017

Capt. James T. Kirk - Prepwork III: The Phaser

The Phaser II, as provided, is very nice. Unfortunately, in my sample, there was a significant pro- duction flaw (read: sinkhole) on the right side of the Phaser that simply could not be ignored! 

It is not hard to correct, but it is tedious. I decided to "fill" the depression with MS, and then re- store the structural elements with blade and burr once the putty had cured. I am now about 80% done; and so far, so good. . . 

As a sidebar note, the grip of the Phaser, which is molded en suite with the hand, is arguably one of the weakest aspects of the figure. This has since been replaced with a scratchbuilt resin grip that slides into the gripping fingers. Final detailing and finishing await. . .
 
When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

The Joker "TwE" - Prepwork

The project has begun!

The first thing I did was carefully cut-off the head, which is molded en suite. This is not hard to do, especially given the durometer of the resin; but it is not something to rush into. Decide how best to cut to minimize the work that will follow. 

Next, I hollowed the neck opening. This will accommodate the neck that will be sculpted after the conversion of the face is all-but-done.

So much for the torso. Time to embark on the journey that will be the face/head. I am all-but-certain that the face/head can be converted from the stock head. My first step was to roughly sketch the salient features to get an idea of where to begin cutting. I decided to begin by reduc- ing the lower lip in its entirety; and then augmenting the left cheekbone and enhancing the chin and the mandibular insertion of the masseter muscle with MS.  The additions were intended more as roughing-in structure and volume than any formal resculpting.

So far, it's unfolding quite nicely. . .

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

19 June 2017

The 2017 Project, pt. 2

The bust arrived today, which underscores why Steve is one of the most reliable, trustworthy fig- ure retailers/manufacturers across The Pond! Thank you, good sir!!

Regrettably this is a "good news, bad news" scenario. The good. This is a late production version of the bust: rather than the terracotta-coloured resin, it is cast in the light blue-grey resin. The casting quality is superb! I do believe this is a pared-down-version of the bust; i.e., if memory serves, the original offering included a top hat; this one does not. No biggie, as it would have gone straight into the spare parts bin. 

The bad. This is supposedly a 1/9th scale (200mm) bust. If that is the case, then Harley is a 1/8th scale (250mm bust)! Which means she would significantly dwarf Mr. J. . . Which means, in turn, that the joke's on me, and the diptych project is no more. . . 

BUT. . . that does not mean that I cannot proceed with creating a most formal, 'white tie' Joker based on Alex Ross's masterful renditions!

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

14 June 2017

Capt. James T. Kirk - Prepwork: Update (2)

Some significant progress to report! 

The head was ABD (all-but-done). . . technically. In short, it was undoubtedly better than what was provided in the kit, and for most it would have been "good enough". BUT. . . was it good
Or better than "good"?? And the answer was--not really. To that point, I had gotten off the ground floor and had taken my initial steps onto the first floor. The time had come to commence with the fine analysis of texture and form. . . 

And after about an hour analyzing stills from the show, and another hour at the bench with the putty, the head is on the home stretch! It will be a rather lengthy lap, as I intend to resculpt ALL the hair; but once that is done, I can then begin the final finishing. . . 

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

12 June 2017

Capt. James T. Kirk - Prepwork: Update

Not much to report, actually. As I indicated earlier, this will be a rather lengthy process, primarily due to the nature of the medium. 

I will say that the head (face, hair and neck) is all-but-done--and I am very pleased. I figure an- other 10 or so hours and it--the head--should be ready for priming. 

I am still tweaking the fit of the neck and the wrist. The neck is just about done; the wrist may require additional flexion, but I am still on the fence about this. FOLLOW-UP. . . The position of the wrist has been entirely reworked. Not quite there yet, but finally on track. . . 

So far, so good. The vinyl is getting a little easier to work, which is a good thing, as it will expe- dite surface mods and finishing considerably. 

'Til next time. . .

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

11 June 2017

Mista' J - Painting VII: The string tie

I wanted to get this tricky bit of work out of the way asap--especially after having permanently attached the head. The painting of the string tie was the main contraindication to prematurely attaching the head, but given the minor repositioning undertaken, it was an acceptable risk.

The color of the string tie is inextricably tied to the color of the shirt and vest. In short, there is no canon color, per se. I chose to paint the string tie a vibrant green with an obvious yellow bias. The latter muted the bright green somewhat, and will complement the purple coat nicely. 

NEXT: The coat.

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

10 June 2017

Mista' J - Painting VI: Face 3

I decided to take a fairly straightforward, fundamental approach to the "whiteface": Titanium White and Lampblack. I added Payne's Grey, Zinc White, and Flake White to the palette; but these are for the final "tweaks", not for the foundation coat. 

The trick is to work thin, and know when to go wet and when to go dry. The base white is applied wet, little more than a glaze. The shading is applied thinned and dry; and then carefully blended with an absolutely dry brush. 

So far, I am delighted!!!

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

Mista' J - Painting V: Face 2

The face, as it turns out, will be a 4-step process. . . 

Step 2. I stained the eyes bloodshot, and "outlined" the face in black, methodically feathering the black into the white primer coat. This effectively acts as a foundational grisaille for what is to follow in Step 3.

I then permanently attached the head to the torso. This will allow me to control the lighting of the face during the painting of the "whiteface". . . 

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

07 June 2017

The 2017 Project

The bust of Harley, a more mature, realistic portrayal of the Joker's Princess, got me thinking. . . What if I could create a diptych inspired by Alex Ross's Tango with Evil

Once the seed was planted, I was off to the races! Seriously. First turn: track down Castle Minia- tures' "Top Drawer" bust. This bust, sculpted by Yury Serebryakov, was released in 2012, if me- mory serves, and while not particularly difficult to find, it is getting somewhat scarce--especially as it appears it is no longer being produced. I ordered mine from SK Miniatures in the UK, and they are now OS.

I should have it in-hand hopefully within the fortnight. In the meantime, there is much to be done.

My tentative plan is to convert the stock head of the "A-list" Victorian to that of Mister J himself. 
I will resculpt it if the stock head doesn't work to my satisfaction, but I don't believe that will be necessary. That should be the extent of the "hard work"--though based on my experience with "Le Petit Héros", to say nothing of the images I have seen, there will be quite a bit of surface finishing to be done.

The greatest challenge will be in the staging of the two busts. The fact that "Top Drawer" is back- less will be quite helpful, though my perception of the diptych in its final form will be like nothing I have seen--or done!--before.

More to follow upon arrival of the bust!

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

Moebius' Death Dealer -- in-country and en route!

I was notified yesterday that Moebius' Death Dealer is now available. Hopefully, the kit will be in my hands sometime in the next 72 hrs.!

UPDATE 09.06.17. . . Death Dealer is here! As of this writing, I can unequivocally say that the presentation (read: packaging) is 5-star +++! 

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

04 June 2017

Harley Quinn (B) - Prepwork

As I am going great guns with the Clown Prince of Crime, I decided to resurrect a project last touched nearly 6 1/2 years ago: a bust of Harley Quinn! You can get all the background infor- mation, etc. by clicking on the subject tag at the foot of the posting. . .

As I indicated back then, I was not overjoyed with the design of the head/jester's cap. This was the work of a sculptor who was not a miniaturist--and it shows! So, time to re-engineer the cap and head. . .

The first thing I did was to peg the head to satisfy myself with the alignment and lightly glued the head to the guimpe along the [lower] edge of the collar. That done, I glued the right "horn" to the cap, and the bobble to the collar, emulating the left horn; I then carefully removed the horn from the bobble. Finally, I removed the head along the upper edge of the collar, giving the bust two distinct pieces: head and torso.

More to follow. . .

FOLLOW-UP. . . I carefully pegged the right bobble in place, drilling through it into the torso and inserting a length of  large "non-skid" paper clip. I also smoothed the neck opening to have it ready to receive the to-be-modeled neck stump; and filled-in a few of the errant air voids men- tioned in the review of the piece.

UPDATE 05.06.17. . . The neck stump has been modelled and fitted; and the tips of the horns fitted into their respective bobbles.  The bust is now in the oven curing. . . 

UPDATE 07.06.17. . . My initial intention was to set-up this bust as a torso with a "plug-in" head. But after careful consideration--and much dry-fitting(!), I decided to to proceed with a one-piece bust, if only because the advantages of a separate head did not warrant a two-piece approach. 

The fully-assembled bust is now before me. There a a few minor putty sessions awaiting me, but otherwise it's just a matter of general clean-up and final finishing. With any luck at all, she'll be ready for priming by next weekend! 

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

03 June 2017

Mista' J - Painting: Intermezzo 2

A brief interlude by way of progress. . . The coat-tails were dry to the touch right before calling it a day last night, and I permanently attached the torso to the legs to allow it to cure overnight.

This morning, upon confirming that everything was as it should, I proceeded with permanently at- taching the primed left arm. I have yet to decide when I will permanently attach the right arm; or how much of the right arm will be [pre-]painted prior to attachment. 

FOLLOW-UP. . . The left forearm has been uc'd.

FOLLOW-UP 2. . . The brocaded vest has been selectively glazed with a weak linseed oil solu- tion to provide more reflectivity and "pop".

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

01 June 2017

Mista' J - Painting IV: Let's face it. . .

IT'S ABOUT TIME!

The time had finally come to begin working on the face. To be honest, I have yet to see a painted Joker--save for the boxart--where the face met expectations. The sculpture is masterful. And my casting at least is well within expectations. In fact, as noted earlier, with a modicum of effort and diligence during prep, one couldn't ask for a better canvas! This is not the figure to take a cavalier attitude about that much-revered keystone of figure modelling: "It's all about the face". . . 

So. . . how best to approach the face? As you now I have already uc'd the hair: this sets the up- per "frame" of the face chromatically. Next, I tackled the defining mouth. I did this in acrylics as an under- and base-coat that I will later tweak with very controlled applications of thinned oils to suitably distress the teeth.

So far, I couldn't ask for more! Things will definitely get serious in the next step as I begin apply- ing the oils. . . 

Stay tuned!

UPDATE 02.06.17. . . The eyes and eyebrows have been blocked-in, as have the lips. Re: the latter, this was more at defining the shape and depth rather than finishing. I will hopefully be able to begin the "whiteface" in earnest 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

Mista' J - Painting III: The Trousers

Or what I thought would be the next step. . .

Once again, I have been detoured from the filed plan. Not a bad thing. . . not at all. But the focal point of the project continues to have a good laugh, albeit disembodied, at my expense. . .

In any case, I was afforded a multi-hour block of time this afternoon, and I decided to tackle the trousers. These are a challenge at virtually every turn--and that's before we even begin to consider whether to pinstripe. . . or not!

All's well that ends well, and I am quite pleased! Especially with the pinstriping!! Given the tone of the hue--and the scale!--this is not an exercise in micro-striping! Rather it is a fluid, synthetic treatment that underscores the plasticity of the fabric.

Finally, I tackled the undersides of the coat-tails. Once the oils are dry, I will be able to perma- nently attach the torso to the legs. . .

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

29 May 2017

Mista' J - Painting: Intermezzo

This is not so much an interlude as an epilogue to the first block of painting on Mista' J before moving on to the defining aspects of the figure. . . 

The shirt. While a distant third on the list of canon colours, I chose to paint the shirt a "custom"/ proprietary purple-biased black for any number of artistically-driven reasons.

The "string tie". UC'd using Polly-S Jungle Green. . . And while I had the Jungle Green out--and in anticipation of the next step, I uc'd the hair.

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