Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Big Nuts: Customized

To affix a heavy mini to a wooden display base, I need to somehow thread the base. This is done by placing a customized nut into one of the existing cavities of the mini's sculpted base, and securing it with either resin or epoxy. I first hack a bunch of notches into the nut (in this case it was a square one) with a file and hacksaw: this 'keys' the nut for the epoxy to lock into.
The griffon's base is actually two pieces, and quite difficult to place together, much like a 3-dimensional puzzle. I had to strap the whole thing to a block of wood, to create a flat plain, while adding some pins and epoxy. Everything worked out, but gaps needed filling all over.
A smaller bolt was nested into the metal (after having been drilled and milled) for the back portion of the base. Two points secured to the display base made sense for a mini of such significant weight. Ultimately it worked out well and the beast is now ready for wing-attachment and priming.
But first - the ears need some attention - as cast they are not so imposing, so a little Kneadatite Green Stuff Epoxy and the bird has more attitude.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Bird Brain: Grenadier Dragon Lords Giant Griffon

I got abducted by aliens. I didn't take it personally. But I'm back, and so, striking back into working up some old minis, I turn my attentions and affections to the Grenadier Giant Griffon, a Dragon Lords branded release, obtained for about $40 (which I thought was a dandy price for such a massive and heavy piece). It was glued a bit here and there by previous owner, so I scraped that off. Now - to join these big chunks together as solidly as possible:

Holier Thank Thou
This thing is seriously solid metal, a few large bores are done, half to reduce the weight slightly, half to allow space to install some anchor pins between the parts...
...which in these case were just some large screws with the heads cut off.
A little padding of Aves Apoxy Sculpt in between to make sure the two mate-comfortably (...oh... to mate comfortably)
And then the parts come together, with some two part epoxy, making sure the threads of those screws are really soaked.
That's all for now. Hopefully that light outside the windows tonight is not my 'friends from the stars' back for more... and more progress will be posted soon.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Ral Partha Dead Skeleton Guy

This Ral Partha skeleton was one of those minis I've got that refused to be painted properly. I remember getting this guy in the blister back in time. His first colors came in enamels, and stayed that way for some time before being stripped in the late 2000s.

I tried another pass but the anatomy of the sculpt was not readily very paint-able: there are areas bulked out of proportion for purposes of strength and ease of casting, that render the bones far too thick for a sensible final display.

The final attempt was done straight over top the previous paintwork, and centered on a dark base coat that built up through off-white bones, which are painted on top of the physical bones. I guess there's no easy way to describe this: because of the thickness of the bone-members, I had to depict the bones atop the sculpt several times, around the girth of the sculpt. So if one reviews a 360 circumnavigation of this guy he will appear to have more bones than anatomically feasible, but from any one angle he looks really good, with gangly thin bones.

The shreds of cloak clicked into being after several frustrating failed attempts, I started washing it with a gross pea green color and some other vomity earthtones and it seemed to operate nicely. A little rustiness on the scythe blade and some chalky and juvenile wood-grain stuff on the handle-pole and suddenly I had a decent looking mini... nicely balanced overall and conquering the awkward thick parts by simply keeping them in the dark colors.

Seeing this mini complete also made me decide that from here on out all restored minis must have decorated bases, and in most cases cannot be on the base they were cast in. This guy could do so much better were he standing on something interesting, it would carry so much better. NOTE: This post was originally published somewhere in 2020, but I yanked it to rinse out all the wierd spam comments that showed up. It is hopeful some lovely new posts will come with pictures of various Grenadier projects underway. But hope is a funny thing...

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Back from the Dead, with a finished Death Giant of the Undead Legion

Six years after I resolved to complete my copy of the Grenadier Death Giant of the Undead Legion, I finished it. Seriously I really finished it. Done. This is a big deal, it means I might finish other things as well! Previous posts described the project and the approach to customization, as well as accommodating the difficulty of stabilizing such a large white metal model. I have now here some images of the completed Giant.

The general colors were simple: decay and old bone. The chainmail shirt is dealt with rather abstractly, and the colors are simply blotted on, like an Autumn leaf. The helmet was quite fun, dark brown base, clay-like red and turquoise verdigris rust playing different parts for an overall effective ancient-look...

Stance was tough, my descriptions of the drilling and pinning touches on some of this, but if the thing didn't stand properly, and look like it was comfortably menacing, it wouldn't have worked at all as a model.

The 'face' needed to look right as well, not dopey, not skewed, but genuinely fierce and unsettling - the position of the model's jaw was crucial. The placement of browns and earth colors wasn't just a recess-finding wash, but a deliberate definition of the sculpt's form, deepening the severity of the features.

A striking profile, an assault from an un-feeling foe... I think I did quite well on that copper-rust stuff on the helmet...

The model was painted entirely assembled: all joints sealed, all pins pinned, everything was completed to make the thing effectively a single-piece miniature. It was lightly washed with dish detergent and water to remove finger grease (there was a lot), dried for several days to make sure no moisture lurked in any recesses, then primed on a low-humidity day with pre-warmed Krylon gray primer.

The first step was to paint the inside of the rib cage dark gray. There was no chance of creating any effects or colors there, so making it 'all shadow' or at least largely irrelevant to the outside coloration was the way to go.

Now for some details of note First, the axe...

I believe I did quite well on the axe head, with dominant reds and oranges. I studied photos of actual old metals to guide this. The red tassel just below the head... I could have done better on, could have had more variation in color to pronounce the sculpt...

... But after a half-way point had been reached I decided that this project had to finish, even if I didn't have things just-so, as long as it was colored, coherent, and respected the detail sculpted in, it was going to work... The above shows how nicely my additional sculpted chainmail worked out at the shoulders.

Here's a nice spot: the knee/shin guard, it's really a super nicely designed part of the model, and I treated it differently than other areas as an exercise in color. This is base-coated in a dark gray, but uses a fiery rusty red in the recesses, it comes off nicely, though not strictly logical, maybe an iron-like texture.

The really good bits are really around back, where I've cut-away the original sculpted straps (which were boring) and added my own, green-epoxy sculpted rotted leather straps, held aloft by interior brass-rod armature. I likely could have done better on the color, but again, we're in the home-stretch and this thing has to be finished. Nice view on the scabbbord there as well, basic colors with verdigris decay and (gulp) an attempt at a gem-like appearance on those blue baubles. Maybe I should leave that to the Eldar-painters...

This shield... I swear the time spent is not reflected in the results... I agonized over this. I knew I wanted to get some design on there, the real-estate begged for it, but I realize I'm not at that painting-level where I can work that freehand stuff into the general painting and have it work right. I drew and traced and copied and worked many designs, taken from outside influences, even before attempting the application on the shield. This works... sort of. I'm not pleased with the bare wood areas, that definitely could have been better, but with that animal-graphic on there it distracts a bit, I suppose it works its best. Again, I just wanted this thing done and out of my life for good...

And the base, all stock, slightly modified just so the whole model could stand upright properly, painted in such colors as would delineate the model from the base but still stay in the same universe. The wood was cut from a shipping pallet some years back, stained and coated with something I found in the basement...

A view from below, perhaps what the rest of the 25mm neighborhood might see after this guy came and wrecked up your village...

...before thundering off into the distance, swinging his axe at anything in his path. Erm, actually I mean her axe... for as any anatomist with an eye for the distance between Ischial Spines of the human pelvis can see, it was a beauty what became this beast.

Seriously, no shit, that's a female pelvis.

I'm proud of this bona-skell. Having had this mini for so long, having made attempts since boyhood to make motion on the model, I've come to know the parts and details very well. Eagle-eye Grenadier nuts will question the absence of the dagger that came with the set... I left it out, it's nicely sculpted but it became too much, especially after I added some leather straps near the sword, hopefully I'll find some nice satellite project to work it into in tribute. Super eagle-eye Grenadier nuts will question the absence of the 1mm tall spire that should be on the top of the helmet: mine never had it, lousy cast? Not important.

Along the way I broke some drill bits and molded and cast an extra jaw bone for a friend who has the same set. The biggest lesson I take from this is that I can actually finish something, so I'm glad to move from big to small as I approach completing the Grenadier Dwarven Troops set. I promise anyone reading this that it's not going to take another six years.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Citadel Miniatures Logo

I didn't fancy that the first post I'd write in over a year (maybe longer) would be a simple thing like this. I envisioned that it would be a great hurrah of finished minis, lovely juicy photos of blazing paint colors. But by God that is to come, there have been rather SIGNIFICANT occurrences for this Ghola that have held me back from stripping, restoring and painting. But that is soon to change and I hope to be posting much more regularly.

This is a simple posting about a simple thing. A little curious thing I caught out of the corner of my eye. This is for the graphics and drawing folks out there, who appreciate stuff like this, but may be of interest as well to any Oldhammer folks and anyone who loves vintage (and I mean vintage) Citadel minis.

I've long loved that spooky little Citadel-tower that is the essential logo, printed and re-printed on a million products and in a million publications. I've never seen a decent-sized version of it to behold what it actually is, usually it sits about an inch tall, often smaller...

Here's an instance from the closest Citdael product I have at hand, an old plastic Skeleton Army box:
So with that graphic love of a very nice and cryptic logo stuck away deep in my brain for many decades, I was alarmed when I found, within the back ad-pages of an old Dragon magazine (September 1986) this little black and white advert, featuring a fairly detailed and fleshed out vision of THAT building, THAT tower that we've all come to recognize so well.
Now, sure it's not IDENTICAL like a genetic copy, but by golly it's most assuredly the basis, or genesis, for that graphic. So the alarm came from two directions:

A) How did I not see this before? I've had this copy of Dragon since the late 80s... I thought I knew every inch of these classics...
B) Oh my gosh, did I discover a relic of graphic that relates to the original Citadel logo that is of any significance (doubtful)?

I don't believe that Citadel had any connection to this ad or the company, it's just that this company found and used the graphic that had been used for the Citadel logo. Well if anyone has any insight as to the origins of the Citadel logo, and how it relates to the curious little snippet I found, please let me know. I'm fascinated by this stuff. I haven't called the number. I'm going on the bold assumption this won't get me any free dice.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An Iron Maiden Takes Form

I decided to take a lump of gray Sculpey III and start making an Iron Maiden (the metal wardrobe-thingy that you get crunched up in when you've done something awful).
The clay itself is a junky mix of black and some found-white (got loads of Sculpey with mysterious origin), augmented by some of the Pro Create gray-stuff epoxy. I enjoyed the results of the main shape, which took a bit of sanding and filling with more Sculpey to look just so.

The face came out awful, probably because I was trying to watch Top Gear or Downton Abbey or something while sculpting, so I decided to make a fresh one independent of the main sculpt, to replace it afterwards. This too is entirely from Sculpey. Each detail of this little face below (meant to resemble the crude and naive visage often seen on these torture devices), the nose, the chin, whatever, is its own separate sculpting 'session' added bit by bit with very mild and brief bakings in between to harden the work
I chopped the original face off, creating a spot for the new one to go on.
…and I do hope to update very soon with the results of the transplant, as well as some of the hinges, latches and other embellishments. Isn't that lovely?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Gray Guy Progress

Progress on the gray guy, suckers removed in favor of hands plus he's now got a damned knife, where the heck did he get that? Put that down dude! As mentioned previously this is a design-as-it-goes mini so I can test how the Pro Create material goes. So far the thing I don't like the most is the lack of tackiness, as Kneadatite has the stickiness I like, especially in cases of adding tiny little amounts of material to areas that have cured already.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Gray Guy, Still Kicking

I bought some Pro-Create nearly a year ago, started a guy up to test it out, put everything down for a good long time and just recently picked it up again. Here's a pic of the nasty in the works. I think I may chop off the sucker arms and give him some hands.
Oh, and it's now THREE years since I pledged I would paint my big Grenadier skeleton, boy how much can life get in the way? Tsk, tsk.

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Doctor

Here's a good piece with good perspective on the new Who, Mr. Peter Capaldi (who I think will be very good): The piece is right here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Progress Using Pro Create

Some progress on this little guy, using Pro Create. Eyes are Green Stuff just because I had a quantity of rolled-up spheres (cut in half here and applied as potential eyes). I have no idea where this will go, but it's a decent test for the Pro Create, which I still find to be tougher stuff. Also, it has a different tackiness, which takes time getting used to (I prefer it to be sticky, so building onto already-cured work is easier)