Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Mollymauk Part 1

For a while now I've been wanted to do a figure based on one of the characters from Critical Role.  Once I learned the 1st campaign would be ending, I decided to wait and pick a character from the new campaign.  Well, that started back in January and the characters they picked did not make it easy!  When it comes to 54mm or larger figures there aren't many options for tieflings, half-orcs, goblins, female monks, etc.  I spent a while looking but couldn't find any current sculpt that could reasonably pass for any of them.  So I turned to plan B, find something I could convert.  I settled on the 75mm Child Thief figure from Terrible Kids Stuff.  I'd started it a while ago but the project just didn't hold my interest.  So it got set to the side and I didn't think I'd ever get back to it.  But when I began to look around for potential pieces to convert, the look and pose made me think of Mollymauk.  I just needed to change him into a tiefling (add horns and a tail), extend his jacket down to the ground, and add a variety of smaller details.

Here's a reminder of what the original sculpt looked like.  I began by removing unnecessary details on the pants and clipped down his collar.  Then I started to add details on the main body.  Redid the shirt, added a belt and boot tops.  I made an armature for the tail and horns and sculpted over them (still got one horn to do though).  Most recently I've begun working on the main coat.

Free cloth, like a banner, is tough.  I don't know how the real sculptors do it.  What I've come up with is to place the putty between sheets of wax paper and roll it out to the desired thickness.  Then I cut it to shape and, leaving the paper on, bend it into the desired shape.  The wax paper helps keep fingerprints off.  Once it's hardened I remove the paper and glue it to the figure.  I doubt this is the ideal approach... but it's working well enough for the current project. Last night I did the other half of the coat.

Up next I'll use some more putty to fix the gap between the two halves and the seam where it meets the original coat.  The rest of the coat details will be sculpted directly on the figure.  I've got to do the fabric under the right arm and the hood.  Lots of details to add to the sleeves... but that will be a problem for another day.

I've never tried a conversion this extreme, but I'm quite happy with the results.  I'm hoping to have him done and ready to prime by the end of the weekend.  Fingers crossed!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Brom Part 5

Getting back to Brom, I moved on to his clothing.  This was an area that I struggled coming up with a color for.  I decided to go with an orange-green-purple palette, which is not a typical choice for me.  But the orange hair and rust and then the green verdigris pushed me in that direction.  Still not much purple, aside from some undertones, but I plan to work a bit more of that in in a few spots.  I made a couple aborted attempts at the cloth on his right arm before I settled on a color I liked.  I initially thought green plus some brown or grey, but that kept looking too bright and vibrant.  In end then, I went more with brown plus some green (maybe 3 parts brown to 1 part green).  This gave the subtle effect I wanted.  I then continued that onto the cloth around his waist. Afterward, I did some of the fur bits and the leather around his left arm.


I still need to do the back of his armor.  What you're seeing here is just some of the undercoat.  I started with purple and then started to lay down rust tones.  Normally I don't worry too much about how clean the undercoat is, I just want some color there.  But in this case, since so much of the metal is rusted away, I won't be covering up nearly as much with the metallic.  So I'm planning to put a bit more work into the rust now so I don't have to do quite as much once the metallic goes on.

Normally I try to assemble as much of the figure as I can before painting.  This guy doesn't have a lot of parts, but I opted to leave the hands/weapon off.  The main reason was the cloth and details around his waist.  I'm sure I could have managed if it were just cloth, but there's a rope and a tiny skull dangling from his front.  With the hands/weapon there it would have been very difficult to work on those finer details. Plus the connection between his arms and hands is good, so I don't foresee any gaps or issues there.  The only thing I still want to do before attaching the hands is base coat the inside of them.  You can see the fingers on his left hand are mostly blocked by the body, same for the back of his right hand.  But, depending on the angle, you can still see them a bit.  So, it'll be easier to lay down some initial dark coats/shadows there before attaching.  Then I'll paint the rest.  In the meantime, here's a peak at how he's going to look.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Lozza Part 2

I've begun to convert the bike.  Not a ton of progress, but it's starting to take on a new look which makes me happy.  I stretched the front end for a chopper style bike by clipping and replacing sections of the fork. I also took some wire and added the brake line to the front wheel.  Once I attach the front to the rest of the bike, I'll add in some more cables to the engine and rear wheel.  It's a relatively simple model kit, so I feel like adding those details really takes it up a level.

Still debating what to do next.  While the elongated front feels sleek and fast to me, I'm thinking I'll add some armor to the back and beef it up.  Make the rear a little more tank-like.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Lozza Part 1

While I continue to work on Brom, I'm starting to prep a future project, Lozza from Latorre.  He's a 75mm scale fantasy figure, but when I first saw a WIP image of the sculpt on Facebook it made me think of a post-apocalyptic figure, something from the world of Mad Max.  I was still inspired by that interpretation, and I haven't done much of anything in that genre, so I want to still take the figure in that direction.  In general, I think the final version still works, though I plan to do some minor conversion work to the figure.  The first thing I wanted to do was remove two plates hanging from his right side.  I don't know what they're meant to be, what they're supposed to be made out of, or what their purpose is.  All I can say is they look like 'fantasy stuff.'  Even if I were to do this as a fantasy piece, those sections would bother me.  If I can't figure out what they're supposed to be, how am I going to paint them?  So, last night I went to work on the figure with some clippers and a hobby knife to remove them.  I then tried to carve and file the resin to make new surface look like a continuation of the wrapping around his waist.  I also had to put in a continuation of the belt.  I might tweak it a bit more, but overall I think I'm happy with how it turned out.

I could also put a pouch or something hanging from his belt to cover up that section... but I think it turned out well enough that I don't need to do that.

The next bit of converting will be on his head.  There's a strap for a mask which you can see on the top image.  I'm going to leave the strap, but on the front I'm going to create a pair of goggles.  That's all I have planned for the figure at the moment.  Maybe I'll come up with some other stuff I want to add, but for the time being I'm turning my attention to the rest of the scene.

I picked up some stuff along the way.  Since I was thinking Mad Max, I wanted to include a vehicle.  Since he's 75mm, a car would make the scene pretty damn big!  I could do just part of a car (with the rest of the base so not included), but that seemed challenging and possibly unsatisfying (like the viewer might expect to see the whole thing).  So instead I thought what about a motorcycle?  It fits the Mad Max world and is small enough that it won't need a huge scene or dominate the base.  I did some searching and was surprised how hard it was to find a motorcycle in 1:24 scale.  I finally found a simple kit for a dirt bike.  Not the most detailed model, but it'll work.  Plus I plan to do a lot of converting work on it... redo the front to extend the poles and move the wheel farther forward and add all sort of accessories to the back (packs, trophies, gun holster, etc).  Lots of good Mad Max reference images online, so I'll be checking out the vehicles for inspiration.  At the moment I'm looking for some other 75mm bits that could work.  From the Aradia kickstarter I got a pile of skulls and I think they could work well in the scene.  At the moment I have a vague idea of what I want to do, but am still trying to get a clearer picture and nail down the details of the base.  Aside from the figure and the bike, the rest is up in the air.  But that's okay.  I've got time, other figures I'm working on.  This is a project I've wanted to do for a while, so I want to go slow and make sure that the scene will live up to my hopes for the piece.  I just wanted to share this early look at it and give you a peak at what I've got in the works.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Brom Part 4

Working on some weathering at the moment. I decided to try something a little different this time. On the recent metals I've done, I've started with undercoats of different colors (black, purple, brown, and rust).  Then I've stippled on the metals.  The undercoat shows through in spots and creates some subtle effects.  However, in this case I planned on doing a very corroded metal.  So I decided to start with some pre-weathering.  I laid down a dark purple base and then applied rust and veridgris shades. After that was done, I applied the metal through stippling.  I tried to let those undertones show through, especially at cracks or crevices. You can see these first two stages below.

Then I went back over with the rust and verdigris shades and did another round of weathering.  I covered up most of the metal.  I also went to the brightest shades of the rust and verdigris colors I've got (the Secret Weapon Miniatures weathering acrylics).  In the end, was the pre-weathering necessary?  I'm not sure.  I like to think those undertones helped build up an effect, create more a history, blah blah blah.  But hard to say for sure.

Just a little view showing the inside of the left pauldron.  Put a mottled pattern of rust with some metal still showing through here and there.  Mostly this is to show the armor on his back.  One of the difficulties with this sculpt is figuring out what some of the things are supposed to be (or at least what they could possibly be).  The box art only shows the front of the figure, so hard to tell what Latorre did with this section.  It feels a little like the material on his forearms... but not quite.  After chatting with a friend, I'm leaning towards treating it as extremely corroded metal.  There are some rivets down the center and a detail at the top which would fit with a piece of metal.  Plus, it's a piece covering his upper body, so armor/metal makes sense.  It's the best interpretation I've come up with, so unless something else comes to mind, that's what I'll be doing with it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Brom Part 3

Here's a quick mini-update.  I did a tiny bit more work on Brom, focusing on the wooden pauldron.  I used a series of browns (Walnut, Muddy, and Driftwood) and then Khaki Highlight for the final lights.  I have plans for some dull or faded green cloth on the figure, so I imagine I'll be recycling some of those browns and mixing them with the greens.  I'll have to experiment a bit, I've done that with blue and assume it should produce similar results with green.  The other reasoning behind that choice is to create a consistent feel to the piece by reusing colors in different mixes.

I also started on the fur under his left pauldron.  There I'm going from dark brown into grey.  Still a ways to go before the contrast is consistent with the rest of the figure.

Just a quick cell phone shot.  The lighting is a bit harsh, so the figure feels a little washed out (but not too bad).

I also thought I'd share this shot of the work on the base.  In the first post on this figure I mentioned doing a broken bridge.  I took some wood strips and hacked at them with the hobby knife in order to make the planks.  I tied them together with string and wound that around the posts.  For the sections I was happy with, I applied some thin superglue (a variant you can find at hobby stores) which quickly soaks into the string and then hardens, locking it in a specific shape.  Still going to do a bit more with the strings at the posts, so those sections are still moveable.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Brom Part 2

This past weekend I started painting the 54mm scale dwarf from Enigma.  I've been in a bit of a painting rut the last few weeks, but I think this project has broken me out of it.  I had a plan for the scene, but I've been racking my brain on what do with the colors on the dwarf.  He's got a random mix of equipment on him, different, materials, and some sections I'm not even sure what they're supposed to be.  So I didn't have a clear vision of how I wanted paint the figure.  After looking at a variety of other versions (this dwarf and others), I decided to go with a triadic color scheme of orange, green, and purple.  Maybe not the most common scheme, feels a little like the joker depending on how you do it.  But I'd used the same scheme on the samurai.  My though is to bring the orange in through the hair and then rust/weathering.  For the cloth, I'll do a pale green.  And then I can add some purple here and there (in the skin, in some of the armor sections, etc).  With the random hodgepodge of equipment, I felt I needed a clear color scheme or else the piece could end up looking like a mess.

I began with the part that I had the clearest vision on, the face.  Most of it is hidden by the beard, so that ends up being as much a focal point as the face itself.  For the hair, I did a base of Ruddy Leather with Walnut Brown for any sections that needed particularly dark shadows.  I then worked from Ruddy Leather up to Secret Weapon's Orange Rust and then Burnt Orange.  I did the final highlights with Fair Skin Highlight (I like using skin tones to highlight the hair, do the same for brown hair).  I tried to really concentrate the highlights there there'd be more shine.  So I picked essentially a ring around the hair on the top of his head for the highlight placement, with the strongest highlights towards the front.  The shape of the beard is like the side of a circle, so the highlights naturally should be at the top.  Getting lighter towards the face also helps direct the focus up there.

On the cloth around the head, I used some glazes of Carnage Red and Walnut Brown to build up the blood stains.  On both the cloth and the face I deviated from my traditional glaze approach.  Instead of using inks in a cup/well palette, I took regular acrylics and mixed them with matte medium and water directly on my wet palette.  Normally the consistency of glazes make them impossible to use on a regular palette.  But the matte medium makes them more viscous and prevents them from flowing all over the palette, while at the same time making them very transparent.  It also allows me to mix colors more easily for the glazes.  I wanted different shades of red in the blood stain (darker where it was more concentrated, lighter out towards the edges).  It's not how I plan to do all my glazing, but it's something worth playing around with.  From time to time, like here, it comes in handy.

Here's a couple close ups of the face.  Under the eyes, instead of using my regular skin tone and then adding glazes, I went with purple mixed directly into the skin tone.  I want a strong color and to be able to control it, so more purple in the shadows and less in the highlights.  The rest of the face was a traditional skin mix (Chestnut Brown, Rosy Shadow, Fair Skin, Fair Highlight, and Pure White).  Then some glazes of red in the cheeks and on the nose.