25 December 2017

Old Man Carl - Prepwork 2

As I indicated in the introductory review, I had a laundry-list of items to address in my pre-receipt evaluation of the figure. I am very pleased (and not a little relieved!) to report that the figure is pretty much good-to-go OOB! 

The only item that absolutely requires a second-look is the sling to Michonne's katana. Yet even this is a minor alteration that can be addressed in 1-2 hrs! 

The rest of the prepwork is SOP finishing. I am reducing the bulk and defining some of the folds of the poncho, but the greatest challenge in this will be dealing with the hardness of the resin. If you haven't replaced your burrs and cutters in a while, NOW is the time to do it!

That's about it! I will comment on any unexpected encounters in future posts. . . 

Until then. . . 

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

24 December 2017

Harley Quinn - SS: Brief Interlude (Critique)

In my review of the figure, I lamented the choice of molding given that the legs were finely tex- tured with an "engraved" diamond/lozenge fishnet pattern.

I have several problems with this, most of which could have been avoided by:
  • Using the right kind of resin. 
  • Using a butterfly/one-piece mold.
  • Pressure casting.
  • And in lieu of the above, not texturing the legs at all!

WHAT, say you?! Not texture the legs when she's wearing fishnets??!! In either of the scales pro- vided, the fishnet pattern would be barely discernible. Don't believe me? Take any of the hi-res images of Ms. Robbie in costume available on-line, reduce it to the size of the figure before you, and tell me what you see. . . 

Now, kudos to Andrea for providing what they did! If the appropriate medium and molding/casting method had been used, I would gladly turn a blind eye to what follows. . .

Fishnets come in a variety of patterns, mesh sizes, etc. Harley has a hexagonal mesh, not a lo- zenge! Also, fishnet stockings a very plastic; i.e., the sizes and shapes of the mesh conform to the underlying leg and any movement of the same. The designers of the figure did not take either aspect into account, and while providing a very fine lozenge mesh pattern, it is constant through- out, save across the buttocks. This would serve to "flatten" the legs. 

Lastly, the pattern is "engraved". This makes it nigh unto impossible to paint, as the mesh is "below" the skin! [nb: If you look at the boxart, the hose are not painted at all!]

I have come up with A solution to all of this, which I will elaborate in greater depth when the time comes.

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

Harley Quinn - SS: Prepwork 1

To date:
  • Permanently attached left leg.
  • Cut off bat; drilled-out bat grip in left hand to accommodate haft of mallet.
  • Ground-off "Daddy's Lil Girl".
  • Pegged (thigh) and fitted right leg.

More to follow. . .

26.12.2017. . . Phase 1 grinding/removal of choker has been completed. All the visible tattoos, save for the self-applied "prison" tats on the thighs, have been designed and scaled: 6 down, 12 to go. . .

31.12.2017. . . Both legs have now been pegged (large "non-skid" paper clips). I will be restoring the soles of the boots (DONE) and fitting the figure to its workbase (DONE) in the next fortnight.

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

"Daddy's Lil Girl Monster - Intro & Review

Andrea Miniatures has done it again! In what is slowly emerging as a Christmas tradition, they have released a figure that I simply cannot do without. The first, as you might recall, was “Dra- gon Lady”, released in December, 2014. This year’s offering is no less spectacular: “Daddy’s Lil Girl”, the premier release in Andrea’s Upside Down – Outlandish Figures series (bn: I can only hope that Mistah J is next!).

The quasi-eponymous title of this piece is as red as a red herring can get—so long as you don’t have access to the visuals! For if you do, then the subject of this piece is obvious to virtually any- one, regardless of the marketing chaff hurled at us: this is none other than the the scene-stealing Margot Robbie in the role of Harley Quinn in the film Suicide Squad (2016).

The computer-generated design is commercially available in two scales: 1/32nd and 1/24th (54+ and 75mm, respectively). As indicated in the subject of this posting, I elected the 1/24th-scale offering. The kit is comprised of 10 pieces: 8 white metal (incl. base) + 2 resin (the legs). The white metal castings are exceptional--evidence that the 3d-printed prototype was not thoroughly cleaned before surrendering to the moldmaker included. The resin legs are a bit more problematic in that they were cast in 2-piece molds, which saddles the miniaturist with removing noticeable, significant even, seamlines from the finely textured fishnet stockings--more on this when the time comes. . .
__________________________________________________________________

This is yet another figure that while acceptably fine straight OOB, potentially demands a bit more attention from the end-user, depending on the extent of his/her 'anality'. . .And I think we all know by now where I fall in this range. . .

As we have seen in an alarming number of Andrea releases of late, the promotional boxart simply does not do justice to the figure--nor executes its intended purpose particularly well. This leads to a rather involved TDL for the ever-decreasing number of miniaturists who don't paint by and for the numbers! As to the aforementioned TDL, here is what I have to date:
  • Grind-off bas-relief of “Daddy’s Little Girl” on t-shirt. The fact that the silk-screened(?) motif of the t-shirt is raised (as is the “Good Night” of the bat) delivers a conflicting message as to whom the intended audience might be. It reminds me of the plastic airplane kits of the late 50s-early 60s with embossed markings! Furthermore, in the movie, Harley’s t-shirt reads “Daddy’s Little Monster”! The ground-off bas-relief will be replaced with a custom-made decal (see below).
  • The choker is another head-scratcher. . . Per the boxart, the band is purple, and has “HONEY” in large gold letters. Again, who are they—Andrea—trying to kid here??!! Purple? HONEY?? I have two options: 1) replace HONEY with PUDDIN; or 2) elimi- nate the choker altogether. I choose #2. As much as the PUDDIN choker is iconic, she never wore the choker while wielding the mallet (see below); and it beats the hell out of sculpting six letters in this scale!
  • Rework/enhance spikes on wrist bands.
  • Replace baseball bat with scratchbuilt mallet. The actual bat is embellished rather extensively: to achieve a convincing rendition in scale is a tall order, and one that I don’t feel is worth the not-insignificant effort to get right.

I intend to use custom-made decals to replicate the majority of the ink displayed by Harley in the film (nb: the boxart omits two major tattoos, and a number of minor ones). While I am not a big fan of using decals to replicate things that could be rendered with paint and brush, it is my es- teemed opinion that these cannot. And more to the point, even if they could, I could not do these justice at this stage of my career.

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

23 December 2017

Old Man Carl - Prepwork 1

The first step is obviously removing the figure from its supporting scaffolding. This was done with nail clippers and hobby cutters. Some words of advice:
  1. Start from the outside, and work your way in circumferentially. 
  2. Clip distally from the figure, THEN remove the remaining sprue proximally to its insertion.
  3. As mentioned in the review, the resin is brittle. Cut carefully, and only use sharp cutters.
The whole process should take less than an hour. 

Next I tapped the legs and permanently attached the support pegs, made from large "non-skid" paper clips. The figure is now mounted on its work base. . .

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

MAiM's 1/24th Old Carl--Intro & Review

MAiM—Modern Armies in Miniature—is a German figure and accessories manufacturer that has been in operation since 2009. They have rather limited distribution, which makes acquiring their products a bit of a challenge, a challenge that Irather, my ladywas faced with this Holiday Season.

MAiM has been releasing a series of figures based on AMC's The Walking Dead. This Septem- ber they released Old Carl, based on an illustration by English artist, MJ Hiblen. Whereas their earlier releases were, IMO, less than compelling, Old Carl is brilliant! And this is entirely due to Mr. Hiblen's design, incorporating elements from three of the influential adults in Carl's life: his fa- ther's hat, badge, and revolver; Michonne's katana; and Negan's "Lucille". At a stretch, you can include the poncho as a nod to the unrealized shipsters: Carol and Daryl.

This was a Christmas present from my lady (Thank you. . . Thank You. . .THANK YOU!!!) And an early one at that: I was presented with it this morning! At the time of ordering, Carl Grimes was very much the deuteragonist of the series; at one time, he was Robert Kirkman's favorite charac- ter in the show! However, as we all know by now, Carl's fate appears to have been sealed in the mid-season finale (ep8) of S8, which makes this iteration of Grimes fils all the more significant. This is how I want to remember Carl--not the victim of a creatively-bankrupt showrunner who has helmed a season-and-a-half--and counting!--of disjointed mediocrity and uninspired storytelling. 

The computer-generated and -printed design is available in three scales: 1/35, 1/24, and 1/16 (54, 75, and 120mm, respectively). As indicated in the subject of this posting, I elected the 1/24th-scale offering.

Interestingly, the figure is provided straight out of the printer, with no discernible finishing whatso- ever! This will be a dealbreaker for many, if not most; but before jumping to conclusions, let’s ex- amine what it is provided. 



The kit is comprised of two pieces: the figure itself and the distal, business end of “Lucille”. The pieces are provided supported by resin scaffolding that obviously must be removed: think of them as three-dimensional, structural sprues. Whereas only polystyrene, injection-molded figure kits are provided on structured sprues, just like their scale model counterparts, MAiM’s 3d-printed resin figures are trailblazers insofar as presentation is concerned. 

Once all the scaffolding is carefully removed using sharp cutters—DO NOT twist or snap-off(!), you will need to reduce the insertion points of the sprues. Think of these as the 3d-printed casting's counterpart of seam-lines, with the advantage of having no distortion, slippage, or shrinkage!

MAiM models exhibit the 'microsteps' usually associated with 3d-printing. I have a number of 3d-printed castings, and none have required additional work to reduce the printing layers. In my ex- ample, layering was apparent in the quite-brittle, flesh-tone coloured resin of high durometer. To address the layering, MAiM suggests that one “use . . . a small flat brush. Wet the brush [with acetone] and stroke up and down on the areas on your model that might show steps. You will see that the steps disappear instantly. Repeat it if necessary! 

Once the prepwork is done, the figure should now be ready for priming. Any remaining 'steps', etc. should be effectively "filled" by the primer.
          __________________________________________________________________

This is yet another figure that while acceptably fine straight OOB, potentially demands a bit more attention from the end-user. However, the old saw about fools rushing in definitely applies here, and while I will make some mods, they are nowhere near the number anticipated before I had a chance to spend some time with the figure. Having said that, the shortcomings in research are appalling. . . 

In closing, I would rate this figure a B/B- -- a solid A for casting quality and overall conceptual de- sign; C/C- for execution. 

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

10 December 2017

Year-end reassessment

As we enter the final three weeks of 2017, there have been some developments that will see a revamping of the benches going into the New Year.

I haven't done much of anything since Thanksgiving. Tis the cold and flu season--AMEN!--and the ramp-up at work has surpassed expectations. The two, along with dealing with the daily vicissi- tudes, have pretty much knocked the wind out of my creative and productive sails.

I was hoping to get a much needed infusion of inspiration in the last fortnight, but none was to be had. And then the news broke that the forthcoming Atlanta Show would be held in Marietta, not Decatur! On the one hand, I am very glad that they were able to secure a location with the show less than 2 months away; but the new venue precludes my attendance. And that in turn removes any incentive to complete the projects currently on the benches.

This afternoon I cleaned-up the work bench in anticipation of two new projects that will hopefully be launched before year-end. With regard to the painting bench, I am going to see where the muses lead me in the days to come. . .

Stay tuned. . .

FOLLOW-UP 18.12.2017. . . I continue in my creative nadir, so this weekend I put away all the historical projects--two busts--on my painting bench. These will be replaced by two 75mm full figures that hopefully will make it onto Santa's sleigh before the Ol' Man departs the North Pole.

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

17 November 2017

Valak -- Intro & Prepwork I

What a difference 2 years make!

When I first conceived of a project with a nun as the centrepiece, she was affiliated with the Light. 24 months later, I am ready to revisit this project, with one telling difference: Sister Sonia has gone over to the Dark, and the project will proceed as Valak, the Demon Nun! As much as I would like to be able to claim this as an original concept, the subject will be based on the cha- racter in The Conjuring cinematic franchise.  

Things are moving along quite nicely. When we last left the Sister, I had removed the rosary/cru-cifix, started general clean-up, and pegged the bust (nb: as per usual from this manufacturer, no means of display support (read: column) is provided. Since then, I have:
  • removed the upper portion of the veil and bandeau; 
  • restored the upper cranium;
  • begun to rework the eyes, removing the upper lids; 
  • separated the head from the torso (as a preliminary to reposing);
  • begun to rework the guimpe.

Before closing, I would like to clarify the issue of scale. I have seen this bust advertised as being 1/8, 1/9th, and 1/10th--the manufacturer claims 1/8. However, this is most definitely not a 1/8th scale bust: it scales out at very slightly larger than 1/10th.

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

14 November 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork IV: Beat to Quarters!

As I fast approach the end of the prepwork, this is what remains to be done:

  • Cleaning-up and finishing the buttons.
  • 'Stitching' the button holes.
  • Texturing the hair.
  • Final finishing and polishing.

She should definitely be primed within the month!

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

30 October 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork III: Finishing

The finishing of the underside of the bust and the plinth is ABD (all-but-done). Which means that the plinth should be permanently attached to the torso very shortly. . .

The remaining work is all about realizing the vision, the finishing, and getting the "canvas" ready to accept primer. I hope that I am much further along that what my eyes are telling me. . . Re- gardless, much elbow grease will be expended in the days and weeks to come. 

Stay tuned!

FOLLOW-UP. . . The 'column' has been permanently mated to the reworked and re-finished plinth! The remaining pieces (5) will be attached during the painting of the bust.

02.11.2017. . . The buttonholes have been 'cut', and await 'stitching'. The locations of the cor- responding buttons have been finalized and tapped.

03.11.2017. . . The buttons have been sculpted! Save for incidental corrective work, the putty-work has been completed!! And the hat is now in final finishing. As a sidebar note, I would point out that the circumference of the crown is grossly over-scale! If you elect to use the slouch hat and reduce the circumference of the crown, proceed with extreme caution: by the time you are done, the 'walls' of the crown will be scale-thin--and very fragile!

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

29 October 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork: Musings

With naught but buttons and buttonholes remaining on the "to-be-done" list, some thoughts about the last 11 days. . . 
  • This project has been not only superbly enjoyable, but it allows me to strike-through an entry on my figure bucket list. I had long-resigned myself to the fact that if I want- ed to do a historical reconstruction of Mary Read, I would have to do it myself.
  • This project has afforded me the opportunity to pull some dusty tomes off the shelf, and re-immerse myself in the wonderful and challenging maze that is History. If no- thing else, it takes me back to the days when historicity was a critical underpinning of every release and/or project. Sadly, that has not been the case for longer than I care to remember. . .   
  • I started with 3 of the 4 stock pieces provided (nb: there are 5 pieces in the kit, but two of the pieces are different hats; I did not use the holstered flintlock or the cocked hat). My final pieces count is 7(!): hat, head, torso, baldric buckle+tongue, ends of neckerchief (x2); and plinth.
  • This is an original figure. In the interest of complete transparency, and in acknow- ledgement of the efforts of my fellow artist and manufacturer, Roman Rux, I recognize the "foundation" of this project without hesitation. Having said that, the fact remains that the figure before me is, for better or worse, entirely my own.

Back to the bench. . . !

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

27 October 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork II

Finishing is now well underway, with all major mods involving putty at the very least roughed-in. The hat has been fitted, and the head repositioned and neck resculpted. 

The bust has been re-posed and the pedestal reworked. Permanent attachment may be post- poned depending on the accessibility to areas that have yet to be finished, but everything is ready to be finalized. 

More to follow. . . 

FOLLOW-UP. . . The 'column', a section of brass tubing, has been permanently attached to the bust. Once the underside of the bust is finished, the 'column' will be permanently mated to the reworked plinth.  

28.10.2017. . . The hair has been roughed-in, as has the baldric's buckle. UPDATE:  The hair is in the final finishing stages, as is the buckle and tongue of the baldric. I would note that though designed separately, the buckle and tongue were conjoined as a unit during finishing that will be attached after painting. Save for the ends of the neckerchief and the buttons, this concludes the putty-work. Finally, final finishing of the plinth is underway.

29.10.2017. . . The ends of the neckerchief are now done! Final finishing and polishing is under-way. . .

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

22 October 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork

The rework of the bust is, conservatively, fast-approaching the midway point.

As of this writing:
  • The underlying torso has been sculpted.
  • The head has been removed and tentatively repositioned. 
  • The "stock" hair has been ground-off.
  • The reworking of the face and neck has commenced.
  • The hat has been reworked. 
  • The left front panel of the shirt and the jacket have been roughed-in.
  • The front half of the baldric has been roughed-in.

Save for the underlying torso, everything else is a work-in-progress. IF I can maintain the mo- mentum, I am hoping to have Mary completed, primed, and on the painting bench by mid-December, at the latest.

More to follow. . .

UPDATE 23.10.2017. . . The bust below the neck, save for the details (e.g., buttons), is now completely roughed-in, fore and aft. I anticipate there will be significant reworking/resculpting in the weeks ahead; but for now, conceptually, I have an inkling of what the finished piece will look like. . . 

Movin' right along. . . 

UPDATE 25.10.2017. . . Preliminary finishing (more at clean-up) is underway. The neckerchief and the right sleeve of the jacket have been roughed-in: the former should be effectively done by the weekend. Finally, I will spend the next few days "posing" the bust and permanently attaching it to the pedestal. Once that is done, I can shift my focus to the head, resculpting the hair and fitting the hat.

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 October 2017

Mary Read, ca. 1720

NB: The title of this post will double as the 'working title' of this project.

For whatever reason, Anne Bonny is my favourite of the femmes fatales of the Spanish Main. But as most of you are aware, Rackham had a brace of hellions with him; and the second one was admittedly the more interesting and capable of the two.

By the time Mary Read reached the West Indies, she had served as a soldier in [most likely] the War of the Spanish Succession, and as an innkeeper in the Netherlands. It could be said she was well groomed for what followed. . .

Neither of the hellcats have been particularly well-served by the historical miniatures' community. In fact, the best full-figure available is the 54mm rendition of Mary Read released last year by Andrea. Mary arguably also takes first honours in the bust category: the 1/9th scale rendition sculpted by Roman Rux and the Ademola team, and produced by the now-defunct Polish com- pany, Ademola 22. This will serve as the "base figure" of this project.

My sample was produced by SK miniatures (UK) [Many thanks to Steve for the excellent cus- tomer service, as always!], who acquired a portion of the Ademola line.The 5-piece casting was exquisite! In all honesty, significantly better than the original offering. My only criticism is regard- ing the resin used to cast the one-sided cocked hat and the pedestal: this grey resin was quite soft and "vinyl-y". Neither here nor there with respect to the pedestal; but definitely annoying, if not problematic, with respect to the hat.

I selected this bust because 1) it was the only one available of the subject; and 2) because of the face and the overall morphology. The rest will have to be "reworked" if one is striving for anything approximating a historical reconstruction.

In general terms, the bust will be essentially resculpted from the neck down. On a more granular level, at the very least I intend to:

  • Rework the hat and the coiffure.
  • Sculpt the underlying torso.
  • Resculpt the shirt.
  • Sculpt a seaman's jacket.
  • Resculpt the baldric. 
  • Rework kit-provided pedestal. 

Time to weigh anchor. . .

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

17 October 2017

Blackbeard -- Painting: Oils III - Headwear, pt1

I have now reached the first of what I anticipate will be several watershed phases in this project: the headwear.

What do I mean by a "watershed phase". Simply that this is, or prepares for, a climactic instance that will define, or at least heavily influence, what follows. In this case, I am painting the kerchief/ headwrap and the undersides of the hat in anticipation of permanently attaching the hat before continuing with the rest of the bust.

I painted the kerchief a "dirty" yellow, using Cad-Bar Yellow Light as the base hue, modified with Williamsburg French Light Sienna. Shading was done with Raw Umber and Mars Black (re: the latter, if applied in a deliberate and controlled fashion, it will "muddy" the yellow without tipping-it to green). Think of the resulting colour as a very cool, "light" yellow ochre.

The hat, a black felt, was simply done with a proprietary mix of Lamp and Mars Black.

Once these items are acceptably dry (by week's end?), I will permanently attach the hat to the bust and begin re-evaluating--and finishing!--the face.

UPDATE 19.10.2017. . . The hat is now permanently attached, and all is well. . . As a sidebar note, I used 5-minute epoxy to attach the hat. The way I had refitted the hat resulted in an almost "snap-fit" to the head, and I had little confidence in the prospect of the hat snapping into place before the super-glue started to kick. So, I opted for epoxy: it gave me all the time needed, as well as provided a perfectly clean join. 

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

16 October 2017

Blackbeard -- Painting: Oils II - The Face

I have just completed the basic application of oils on the face. I cannot say that the face is by any means "done", as this project will be defined by the ongoing effort to integrate all aspects 
of the figure until the bust is truly one. 

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

15 October 2017

Blackbeard -- Painting: Oils I

The first application of oils is done! This was little more than basecoating the irises; and applying the initial tinting grisaille to the teeth, and all the hair--facial and otherwise--save for the brows.

With the beard "blocked"-in, the character of the bust is now a determinant in how you paint it and the colours you will use. This is a very powerful bust; BUT, it will be up to the miniaturist not to bury that character and emotion under paint. . . 

FOLLOW-UP. . . The irises were basecoated with a thin application of Payne's Grey. I stress "thin" as I hoped I would be able to paint the pupils before calling it a day. The irises and  pupils are now in place. . .  

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

14 October 2017

Blackbeard -- Painting: UCing

The bust, save for the flesh and the beard, is now undercoated! 

Two things about this bust: One, your palette--to say nothing of your canvas!--is rather limited, so colour, or rather, tone, selection should not be undertaken in a cavalier fashion. 

Two, the design of the bust will dictate your approach. This is definitely an inside>>out project! Flexibility and adaptability will carry the day!!

FOLLOW-UP. . . I have decided to "undercoat" the beard in oils. This will afford me the opportu- nity to glaze the beard to maximize the depth and tonal shifts. 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

13 October 2017

Blackbeard -- Painting: Priming

The bust is now primed! I will probably commence undercoating tomorrow. . .

UPDATE 14.10.2017. . . The hat is now primed and undercoated. I used Stynylrez Black, thereby killing two birds with one stone. . .

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

10 October 2017

Blackbeard -- Prepwork IV: Finishing

Save for the modifications to the crown of the hat and final finishing, Blackbeard is DONE!

If all goes as planned, I will prime the bust this weekend. . .

UPDATE 13.10.2017. . . Final finishing of the bust has been completed! The bust is now drying 
in the oven; and I will prime shortly. That leaves naught but the hat to finish, and it is now in the finishing stage. . . 

UPDATE 14.10.2017. . . Final finishing of the hat has been completed!

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

04 October 2017

Blackbeard -- Prepwork: The Pedestal

The last major putty exercise involves the pedestal. The stock pedestal, a generic item common to most, if not all, of Young's busts is, IMO, too limiting--and, in this case, ultimately detracting. And since I have no problem whatsoever in creating an en suite pedestal. . .

The roughed-in pedestal is now in the oven curing. I figure there will be 1-2 more putty sessions to finalize "pose" and lines, and then it will be down to finishing and polishing.

More to follow!

FOLLOW-UP. . . Into finishing and polishing. . .   

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

25 September 2017

The Joker "TwE" - Prepwork IV: Finishing the Face

For the first time, I am all-but-convinced that the end is truly in sight. This evening, I concluded work on three areas that were less than I had envisioned: the eyebrows; the cheekbones, and the left masseter muscle. The corrections were less anatomical in nature than artistic: the face, in my eyes, was simply off-balance/asymmetrical. 

There is still the final finishing to be done, but hopefully the putty-work is done--or nearly so. . . 

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

24 September 2017

Lady Stoneheart -- Painting - Basing

In anticipation of the imminent transfer, I prepared the display base to receive the bust yesterday. And now the bust is permanently mounted upon its final resting place.

This is the fourth bust/figure that I have transferred with a significant amount of work remaining. While it requires a more comprehensive "masking" of the base to protect its relatively delicate finish, the perspective it affords is well-worth the additional effort.

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

Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors

Yesterday, I received four colors (of a 175+-color line) by this manufacturer, and I am VERY im- pressed--and pleased!

Originally out of Brooklyn--and still based in NY state--Williamsburg Oil Colors have a diverse range of competitively-priced colors--especially tertiary--whose texture and consistency suit the miniaturist to a T! I wish I had discovered them earlier in my travels!!

As a sidebar note, the two major garments of the current project--gown and cloak--will be painted with Williamsburg colors.

Definitely worth a look-see. . . 

Back to the bench!

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

Lady Stoneheart -- Painting (II) - The Chemise and Gown: Day 2

Phase 1 of the gown--the base hue--has been completed. The gown will be a 3(4?)-step process, with measured weathering of each of the "layers"--full-strength 'glazing', if you will. 

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

23 September 2017

Lady Stoneheart -- Painting (II) - The Chemise and Gown: Day 1

Phase 1 of the chemise is completed. The bust is now in the oven (low heat) to accelerate the "settling" of the colours.

FOLLOW-UP. . . The chemise is DONE!

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

22 September 2017

Lady Stoneheart -- Painting (I) - Head and Face: Day 3

The face is now all-but-done. I say a-b-d because there will most likely be a few more tweaks, "markers", etc. to be added - or modified - once the visible hair and the hood are finalized, and the collar of the chemise is finished. 

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

21 September 2017

Lady Stoneheart -- Painting (I) - Head and Face: Intermezzo, pt. 2

As anticipated, the hood has been permanently attached--the bust is now fully assembled. I will spend the next few days working on the face--and the lighting. I will probably try to get the che- mise done by the end of the weekend. Then all that will be left to do is the gown and the hooded cloak. . . 

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

18 September 2017

The Hempen Jig -- Ouverture

As I am now full tilt into "The Hangwoman", I thought I would post an image of one of my all-time favourite pieces, "A Date with Jack Ketch". . . 


This is a rather extensive conversion of John Rosengrant's 1/9 scale Pirate Captain bust (Warriors), finished at the eleventh hour of 2007.

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

Lady Stoneheart -- Painting (I) - Head and Face: Intermezzo

As my bench-time is severely limited this evening, what was done hardly merits the coverage of a full "step". . .

Before moving on to Phase II of the face, it would be best to frame the ravaged flesh with what hair there is and/or would be visible. Thus the hair was base/undercoated with Vallejo Silver-Grey.

Tomorrow (hopefully; or Thursday, depending on the volume at work), I intend to apply the oils to the inside of the hood. Once that is dry, I will complete assembly of the bust, and finish the paint- ing of the face and hair.

Stay tuned!

UPDATE 19.09.2017. . . The inside of the hood is now painted. As is the basecoat of oils of the hair. The latter is truly a basecoat that will primarily integrate the hair into the shadows of the hood, and allow me to selectively highlight the visible portions to maximum effect. With any luck at all, the hood will be permanently attached before 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

17 September 2017

Jon Snow - Painting: Wrapping-up

I am delighted to report that this project is now definitely on the home stretch. . .

  • Snow has been applied to hair and collar.
  • Eyes painted on Longclaw's wolf's-head pommel.
  • Final distressing of leather finsihed.
  • Final outlining finished.
  • The "Brother of the Night's Watch" is DONE!

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

16 September 2017

Jon Snow - Painting: Wrapping-up--Longclaw

Longclaw's handle has been finished and primed--in white (nb: Tamiya), of course. If all goes as planned, I intend to have it permanently mounted on the bust by this time tomorrow. . .

FOLLOW-UP. . . Or not. Things obviously didn't go "as planned". The resin used on the handle appears not to have been mixed thoroughly, which resulted in 'the sweats' and localized delami- nation while the primer was curing. The handle is now in the purple bath to remove the primer and the remaining uncured resin.

More to follow. . .

UPDATE 17.09.2017. . . The handle is now in the oven to check the repairs and to cure the Sty- nylrez primer. While I am thoroughly convinced that the cause of the unpleasant detour was im- properly mixed resin, I cannot discount the possibility of an adverse reaction with a "hot" primer... so I went with an acrylic the second go-round. Assuming all checks out in the next hour or so, I should be back on track by lunch. . . 

FOLLOW-UP. . . Longclaw's handle is now permanently mounted, and the bust is completely assembled! All that remains to be done on the handle are the black eyes of the pommel.

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

Lady Stoneheart -- Painting (I) - Head and Face: Day 2

Phase I of the face/flesh and the wound is now done! As is the left eye!! A very encouraging--and disturbing!--launch of the paint portion of the project!!

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

Jon Snow - Painting: Finishing+

I usually have a very distinct 'Finishing' step and concluding 'Wrap-Up' step; but as we have seen, this project has been anything but conventional. . .

I just finished Phase I oils of the hair, and, save for the painting and attachment of Longclaw's hilt, this project can be deemed completed! I am hoping that it will be completely done within the fort- night, but that will entirely depend on disposable time and how the oils settle. The work that re- mains will be addressed in a 'Wrapping-Up' entry.

Until then. . . 

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

15 September 2017

Jon Snow - Painting: The Collar

You might recall that a significant portion of the prepwork was spent reworking the stock wolf-skin collar which Jon Snow only wore during his "apprenticeship" in the Night's Watch, to the post-induction black kyloe collar, which he wore through this season.

This evening, I basecoated the collar in warm dark/medium grey acrylics. The collar will be a multi-media item with the shading executed in black-ish oils; the midtones in acrylics, and the highlights in oils and acrylics. This will provide the greatest depth and vibrancy to an item that 
is essentially achromatic.

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

12 September 2017

Jon Snow - Painting: The Pedestal

The storm is finally beyond us! Save for some very light rain and the occasional waning gust, Atlanta has ably survived its first tropical storm in recorded meteorological history. Heartfelt thanks to those who reached out to express their concerns and well-wishes.

Now comes the "fun" part! The post-storm clean-up. Kudos to the metro Atlanta power and road crews who have outdone themselves in clearing the major hazards--namely downed trees and power lines. They have also restored about 40% of lost power in highly unenviable--dangerous!-- conditions.

My building was not one of those enjoying power, so I am back home dealing with the intermit- tent power outages and beginning to clean-up the scattered jetsam. And in the interims, I deci- ded to proceed with the chromatic "sketching" of the pedestal. As you might recall, the pedestal was of a thematic nature, representing "The Wall". Nearly all renditions--the boxart a notable ex- ception!--are primarily dark grey/black. . . the wall is mostly ice! So I am beginning to counter- shade, if you will, the bust in acrylics, with the support significantly lighter than the bust it is supporting.

FOLLOW-UP. . . With the acrylic base/undercoat done, I decided to take the watershed step of all projects: permanently mounting the subject on its display base. Much remains to be done--on the bust itself, as well as the pedestal; but the remainder of the work will benefit from the 'display perspective'.  

More to follow!

UPDATE 13.09.2017. . . The pedestal received its targeted application of oils today--Titanium White, Mars Black, UM Blue and Raw Umber. Actually, I could leave it as is, and deem the pe- destal done! But it is only about half-way home. . . Hopefully the oils will be dry by this week- end, so that I can proceed with the final step: Tamiya's Diorama Texture Paint Snow and Pow- dered Snow Effect with Reality-in-Scale's Snow-in-a-Pot!

UPDATE 14.09.2017. . . I apparently very lightly drybrushed the distal edges of the pedestal--the perimeter in contact with the display base--'cause it was bone dry to the touch by the time I got home! Thus, I got a jumpstart on the weekend and the base layer of accumulated snow is now drying! I used Tamiya's Diorama Texture Paint Snow (Snow, not Powdered Snow), which, as you might surmise, is coarser than the Powdered Snow. As I am a "newbie" using this product, I have no idea what it is going to look like once it is dry; but rest assured, regardless of the outcome, you will read abut it here!

UPDATE 15.09.2017. . . The pedestal is now effectively done! And I've become a HUGE fan of the Tamiya DTPs--Diorama Texture Paints. It really couldn't be any easier (read: controllable), and the results are spectacular! Yesterday, I "anchored" the pedestal to the display base with a rela- tively coarse ring of Snow; today I completed "The Wall" with a mix of both Snow and Powdered Snow, reduced as required and/or to taste with MiG's Acrylic Thinner. I fully expect to revisit the pedestal for tweaks to enhance the flow and balance of the piece, but these will be nothing more than touch-ups to achieve a given result.  

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