Testing out some red ceramite texture work. Done as an excercise in preparation for a certain red, angry, angry Marine dude.
This is my favourite way of painting Space Marine armour, examples of which I plan to showcase more on the blog in the future. The idea behind it - using a series of super small, micro-brushtrokes built into the highlights, to convey texture. To give the idea that ceramite plate of Space Marines - even when it's polished and covered with Ultramarines parade-ground level, ceremonial paint - isn't Ferrari-smooth, but instead has a poruous, micro-scratched texture, similar to hulls of modern tanks (power armour was supposed to change a Marine into a walking tank, after all).
Now the value work on the red still could use a bit ironing out, to make the reflections more realistic (red is quite tricky), but I am very happy with the look of the texture itself. Since this particular test was done in preparation for a Khorne, Chaos model, I was aiming for a rougher, duller, less reflective red surface, than I would in case of a Blood Angel for example (which would combine the microscrathes with a higher value contrast on the red, to convey a more polished paintjob, while still retaining some texture).
I also just ordered these two scenic bases made by Secret Weapon. They will serve as a source of bits for the Angry Dude's display base. Like I said, the guy suffers from some serious anger management issues.
Here's a quickie project that I've finished lately. This was a very fast paintjob, made for fun. An excercise in painting a Blood Raven that would evoke the look and feel of Space Marines, the way were depicted in THQ's Dawn of War II.
Since it was a fast project, the base paintjob is nothing special on a technical level. Just a simple, edge highlighted Marine. It's the weathering that sets the mini apart, though up close, it't still not as refined as on my showcase Marines (Luna Wolf for example). Normally this sort of heavily faded, 'straight to the metal' type of weathering is not something that I use on my Astertes, but I wanted to evoke to specific look of Marines from DOWII, and their armour had that, heavily worn, industrial look to it in the game.
The mini is available for sale. If interested, shoot me a message on facebook or over at firstname.lastname@example.org
Newest project - 1/6 Boba Fett Mythos Custom.
I wanted to sell my old Sideshow Boba Fett figure, but since there's been quite a few better 1/6 Fett figures released lately, I decided to make mine stand out from the crowd by customising it, with Sideshow's Mythos statue as inspiration.
It's not going to be an exact recreation of the Mythos design, rather a figure made with the same idea behind it. Meaning - that of a Boba Fett "beyond the movies", shown during some undescribed mission from the character's past. With slightly different gear than his movie loadout, and armour shown with a different stage of weathering.
First up is the helmet. The visor still needs some cleaning and glossing up, but other than that it's pretty much finished. Not having to be a slave to the exact pattern of scratches and damage seen on the movie armour, I could really go to town with weathering for a realistic finish. And though the Dentedhelmet.com purists will instantly notice a "non-canon" mosaic of patterns, the overall look and feel still fits very well with movie Boba. And it makes total sense, since it's unreasonable to think Fett's armour would look exactly the same during all of his deployments.
I plan to repaint all of his gear and armour this way (with some bits having complete colour scheme changes), give him more weapons and some additional fabric elements to his costume.
Note: bear in mind that the following photos have their colour filtering slightly too much on the red side, so it's not 100% representative of the colours in hand.
Here's the original Sideshow helmet for comparison:
A little blast from the past.
Tyranid Tervigon, that I've painted a few years back. Reuploaded for my new CMON profile.
It was meant to be a training excercise for a different Tyranid project. I wanted to paint a Hive Tyrant in the most organic, realistic way possible and this Tervigon was meant as a test for some techniques and texture work. That was several years ago, I've never got around to making that Hive Tyrant, but I did get beter at painting fleshy surfaces since then, so I might revisit that project soon.
As preparation before painting the model, I've gather quite a hefty collection of research images meant as inspiration and reference material. The collection had everything, from photos of the most disgusting bugs, wounds sported by people fighting in warzones, most horrific diseases and hospital oddities imaginable, right down to pictures of rotting animal carcasses. One day someone found that collection on my laptop, and I had some embarassing explaining to do.
I think I would have prefered for them to find my porn. At least they wouldn't secretly fear that I was a psychopath, who's going to murder them in their sleep one day.
Alternative photos of the Luna Wolf Legionary (click for close-up pop ups), this time on a lighter background. Specificaly light pink background, couse that's all I had at the moment. Usually I stay away from light photo backgrounds, since I think darker ones are more atmospheric and make the figure stand out more, but I wanted to shake things up a bit.
It came out good. Next time I think I am gonna print me some of those popular blue backgrounds that fade into white. You know, put some razzle-dazzle and high-end production value into this show.
Click on individual photos, for close-ups.
Unknown Legionary of the Luna Wolves Legiones Astartes second company.
Pictured above, fighting on the fields of Ullanor during the final battle of the planet, in which the Emperor himself, along with his favourite son Horus, personally led the forces of the XVI Legion in a speartip assault against the fortress of Ork Warlord Urrlak Urruk, effectively cutting the heart out of the biggest Ork empire in recorded history. It was a seminal victory of the Great Crusade. One that solidified humanity's place as rulers of the galaxy and one which ended in Horus being given the mantle of the Warmaster.
- Left hand blown off during combat
- Numerical on the left shoulder pad (partially obscured by blood), identifies the Legionary as a member of the second company's third tactical squad.
This was originaly supposed to be a super quick project, meant to be done in a day or two. I was really excited by GW release of plastic MK IV marines in their Betrayal at Catlh set, which I thought looked great (better proportioned than FW versions, with no "chicken leg syndrome", sleeker helmet design, better casts) and I wanted to get my hands on them. I was hovewer swarmed with projects at that time, so I decided to whet my appetite by finishing a quick, single model from the set, before I could get more ambitious with the models. However as I started to put detail on the figure, I just sort of couldn't stop and started being more and more precise and in the end I finished him as a display piece.
Lot's of attention was given to textures and weathering. Really wanted to give it that walking tank vibe. I got some questions regarding my technique for finishing armour, unfortunately there is no special, specific method to be described here. Over the years I simply develpod good enough brush control and an eye for weathering surfaces, that allowed me to apply fine details. There was no sponge technique or chipping medium involved (both of these are not precise enough for this scale anayway), every scratch and line was applied by hand. If that's sounds like a tedious pain in the ass, that's becouse it was.
Overally really happy with this one. I just wished I knew from the start what way this project would eventually go, since there are still some small elements of the figure that are a bit sub-par, becouse I painted them when I still approached the model with a "quickie project" attitude.
The minis is now available for sale. If interested, let me know at email@example.com
Once upon a time I used to collect Hot Toys figures.
I stopped when I realised that:
So I sold most of the 1/6 pieces I own, save for a couple of personal favourites, featuring characters close to my heart. Chief amongst them was Hot Toy's DX09 figure of Michael Keaton's 1989 BATMAN. Not to turn this into yet another internet Nolan-Burton debate (I have place in my heart for both), Michael Keaton's rendition of Batman is amongst my favourite popculture performances of all time.
People more eloquent than me, allready penned numerous articles on why his interpetation of the character was so powerful and evocative, despite being (seemingly) simple in comparison to all the painfuly genre-aware, deconstructive movie supeheroes of today, so I won't be getting into that. What's important is that I decided to keep my Hot Toys rendition of the 1989 version as my One Ultimate Keaton Batman Collectible, couse I simply love me some Keaton Bats.
Especially BATMAN RETURNS Keaton Bats which is a movie whose quirks, melancholy and twisted romanticism I fell in love with as a kid. Plus, that fucking cowl man. Say what you will about the design changes made to the rest of the suit, I won't defend them, but BATMAN RETURNS cowl coupled with Keaton's face resulted in the most badass looking rendition of Batman in any medium. Period.
I mean look at this fucker.
So why am I talking about BATMAN RETURNS? Well, some time ago Hot Toys released their RETURNS version of Batman, which you can see here. It immediately became my newest One Ultimate Keaton Batman Collectible, and is currently on my "to buy list", despite me moving away from collecting 1/6 figures..
It meant that my old DX09 1989 HT Bats was dethroned and destined to be sold to a different collector, since there is room for only one rubber-clad, S&M gargoyle figure in this house. But not before I had the chance to apply some...modifications of my own.
Allright, so the general idea behind this custom was to take the "fresh out of a superhero factory" look of the original figure - which showed Batman at his most presentable - and modify him to look the way he did in the final act of the first film, during the Cathedral sequence of the movie.
With customs like this there will always be an element of improvisation when it comes to accuracy, due to poor documentation of the movie. I scoured the net looking for high quality pictures of the suit used in that scene, as stills from the movie proved to be of little help, mostly due to poor lighting conditions and camera focusing mostly on the cowl and not the rest of the body. Fortunately I found high res photos of the suit, taken at some Hollywood prop auction, which documented every inch of it. Even that didn't fully remove the element of guesswork, since when looking at 20 years-old rubber custumes like this, it's sometimes hard to tell what is intentional "movie damage" and what is just natural degradation of the suit due to passage of time. But I think it did help to better my placement of the damage on the suit. It's not 100% accurate, some of the burn marks on the cowl are a little bit too heavy, but I think the overall feel of the scene was captured.
The damage on the suit was done by doing exactly what it was meant to represent. I burned the rubber and texturised it with hot tools. Btw. the rubber used by HT in this figure is really solid. A far cry from their previous rubber suits which were infamous for quick self-degradation and just generally being shit. In addition to burning, cutting and scratching, I also made sure that there was a glossy, smooth sheen visible on some of the damage, which was meant to represent the glass-smooth surface of liquidised rubber. You can clearly see such glossy patches showing through the patina of dust on the original costume.
The effects of dust and dirt (which I think look a bit better in hand than they do on the photos) were done using modelling pigments, which were later affixed using matt spray varnish. The matte varnish not only helped seal the pigments in place, but also contributed to the dusty, dirty look of the figure, by flatting the surface of the suit, making it a bit greyer, dustier, as it appeared in the movie. However, since modelling pigments never really look 100% dry when covered with varnish, I also applied a second layer of pigments with no protection. Though there was risk that pigments could be eventually misplaced/removed by too much handling, I knew that re-applying them as needed, would be super easy and would only take minutes, so it didn't worry me.
I also painted my own blood effects on the face. Firstly, becouse I wanted this figure to sport the neutral face plate instead of the open one (the figure came with three different facial expression plates, only one of which - the open mouth one - came with blood). And secondly - becouse HT factory painted blood looked really poor and inaccurate, more like an accidental splotch of ketchup.
I also added some fine scratch marks to the belt. Though the pictures you're looking at. show the cleaner version of the belt, before I added futher dirt effects, since after looking at the photographs I decided that the belt looks to pristine and high-contrast in relation to the rest of the figure.
The cape of the figure was de-lined to make it just a bit more flexible and less stiff. Despite the overal engineering excellence of HT products, they are infamous for not beig able to properly produce something as seemingly simple as a cape, which results in their super-realistic, 250$ figures, looking like they're wearing table cloth. It does drape around Bat's shoulders a little bit better now. Unfortunately, by de-lining it I uncovered it's inner surface which is grey and made from a different material than the black, faux-leather exterior. You can see it clearly here.
Fortunately, when the figure is posed in a simple, standing position (which is where he looks best after all), it's not really visible.
There were also some subtle modifications done to the ears.
When DX09 was first showcased, people went crazy for it's fantastic sculpt of Keaton's face and the cowl. My only small gripe with the sculpt is that it's so good, it's almost a little bit too good. What I mean is that HT has done an idealised version of the cowl. The original movie costume was very crude. It was a simple, low-tech ruber cast with lot's of imperfections, bumps and asymetrical lines. The HT sculpt on the other hand was perfectly symmetrical. One of those asymmetries in the movie costume was a certain subtle but noticable curvature to the ears that made them slightly stick out from the cowl. It's especially visible in the cathedral scene.
Here's the curvature that I am talking about, compared to HT's perfectly smooth lines:
I am not sure if this curve was especially noticable during the catheral scene becouse they've used a different suit for that particular sequence (those low-tech, rubber casts always sported some small differences between them, even if made from the same mold). Or was it part of the weathering that the prop department put the suit through for that sequence. Either way, I decided to replicate that effect, by sculpting subtle curves on the sides of both ears and then give it some texture so that it matched the surface of the rest of the cowl.
The important thing here was subtlety. This kind of effect can be easily overdone, so I tried to keep it subtle enough that most collectors wouldn't even notice it if it wasn't directly pointed out. But I do think it slightly betters the accuracy of the suit and adds some of that assymetry visible in the original costume. Here's the final effect:
And lastly, I've modified the base so that it represented the old, moldy, dusty planks of the Cathedral floor, riddled bit cracked bits of dark brown masonry. The planks were made from Algida sticks. Perfect excuse to stuff your face full of icecream.
Anyway, I hope you'll like it.
Here's an obligatory Elfman theme, to cap things off:
I was planning on writing a serious, proper introduction to the site, a mission statement if you will, channeling the spirit of all the bloggers who try to legitimize their hobbies by attributing them with deeper meaning and pretentiously throwing around the word 'art' way too much. But then I thought it would be best not to blow this thing out of proportion and just show it for what it really is.
A blog with various stuff, eliciting responses ranging from "neat" to "huh".
Stuff mostly of a modeling nature. No, not the cool, sexy, socialy hip modelling. The other kind. The one that deals with plastic, resin and paints. We don't have as many attractive people here, but we do have miniatures of laser guns and swords in space.
Stuff combining my love of assembling and painting small stuff to look like other, bigger stuff, with my love of imaginary worlds and the creative side of popculture.
So stuff not limited to any specifc type of modeling, meaning you're as likely to stumble upon posts with armies of tabletop miniatures, as you are of finding pictures of movie sculptures or scale models of military aircraft.
The kind of stuff that might trigger the same part of your brain that lights up and wakes up your inner kid everytime you see an awesome LEGO set, despite the fact that you're an engaged adult who pays taxes and has a mortgage.
Stuff that hopefully becomes a useful routine for my procrastinating, ADHD riddled brain to focus on.
That, plus the occasional post about random bullshit mixed with some popcultural ramblings and my oh so very important thoughts on why "superhero movie X" sucks/rocks.
That's it I guess. I haven't abused the word "art" and yet still managed to end up with an introduction that tries a bit too hard and is somewhat pretentious in it's own way becouse of it.
Anyway. Hope you're here to stay,
Purveyor of Stuff.
PS. As I am not a native english speaker, you can probably expect to see some record-scratching grammatical errors in this place, with some regularity. However, being a Poland-born, half-Vietnamese guy (go figure), who learned english mostly from religiously consuming 80's flicks on VHS during his formative years, and later translating Games Workshop armybooks in his teens, I would kindly ask you to be considerate with any prospective grammar natzi-ing done in relation to the shit posted here. In this regard, graciously be more of a grammatical Stauffenberg, and less of a Himmler.