Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Arise, blog! (updates: some more 40k painting, terrain building, and sculpting)


Been quite a while away from my blog... too long a while. I have not forgotten about my promise to paint more 15mm this year but I freely admit that I've been distracted. Games Workshop may be a shitty company at times but the setting of Warhammer 40k is very appealing to me. For a while now its been all I've been inspired to work on. I'm sure I'll eventually tap out creatively at some point and return to the bright colors and adorableness of 15mm.

I guess I can justify ignoring my 15mm stuff as long as I force myself to work on something else like I've been doing.

'Since we last spoke' picture roundup:

Firstly, I decided that I wanted to paint some of my Orks that had been sitting around collecting dust. This was both for my own sake and for the sake of making a step by step painting guide for my little cousin who was eager to paint his own Orks.

My prototype Ork Boyz. I went for an intentionally washed out scheme to make them feel 'backwater'

Here is the painting guide I ended up making for my little cousin: Warning, HUGE images.

Definitely not the most advanced way of painting out there... but I wanted to keep it simple for the little fella. He's only 12 after all!

Soon after I began to hit a stride with the Orks I was struck by a sudden need of Ork terrain. So after a trip to the hardware store for some supplies I ended up putting this together:

The glyph on the front door is Orkish for 'runtherd', basically the Ork who gets to boss around all the goblin sized slaves called 'grots' or 'gretchin'

Graffiti and Orky symbols can be painted on later, I figured

It wasn't long after I was reaching relative completion with my Runtherd hut that I realized I had no huts for the, well, Runts. Seeing how simple it was to make the larger structure (its just styrofoam, stucco and concrete patcher) I opted to make a small village of tiny huts for the Runtherd to lord over like a sort of Orky mayor.

The buildings are currently a couple stages ahead of this point, this just happened to be the most recent photo I had on the hard drive. They have since had Orky 'teeth' added to the roof linings. They have also been mounted to 1/8th inch MDF board for basing purposes

Since I apparently have gaming hyperactivity I decided that having these buildings was meaningless without more terrain. So I grabbed the pinkfoam and started hacking away!

While I was making desert hills I also rigged up some MDF board in two 6x2 panels and flocked them with sand. No pictures of that yet, but theres not much to see until its painted anyway

While the terrain was drying I ended up deciding on a reddish color like the Australian outback or maybe Arizona.

I'm not sure if I'll drybrush the cliffsides after painting, they kind of look decent as-is to me

In further acts of gaming self-flagellation I decided to help my gaming pal strip and repaint his Orks. To be fair I was only partially looking out for his interest, I mostly just wanted to grub some free painting practice on models that weren't mine. Evil of me, I know!

My friend boogered his Orks up really good so some serious stripping was in order. Spoiler alert: SuperClean won the 'contest' (but all performed ok)

So in between stripping his stuff I cleaned enough of an Ork to do a test model to both get a feel about how his damaged Orks would look with paint on them and to also run a test paint scheme by my friend to see if he approved.

All in all it was a success. My friend also approved of the color scheme. I chose it to maximize contrast (and also so I wouldn't have to highlight black because I'm lazy!). I also made a crude light box from a milk jug as seen in the picture above.

The creativity was beginning to flow in earnest but my work on the Orks hit a bit of a snag. A lot of my buddy's stuff had damaged components and clearly paying an arm and a leg to GW for extra bits was out of the question. InstantMold to the rescue!

Here I made a copy of texture metal for scrap armor plates

Since the metal textures went so well I continue to test the limits of a push mold. All in all InstantMold is worth every penny. Big thumbs up

I've since experimented with making two part 40k weapon molds with good success. In order to maximise cheapness I've started using cheap air-drying clay to fill the mold and to my amazement it actually worked. A little trimming, care and epoxy gap filling is involved but the amount of money saved is enormous. I could literally mix up a batch of say, 20 plasma guns for only a dollar or so worth of material, probably less. A victory for cheap-asses everywhere!

And please, don't bother with bringing up the legal or moral ramifications of making simple molds of bits. If Games Workshop didn't have their heads up their own asses I wouldn't need to resort seizing the means of production like some sort of wargaming communist. I don't play in their stores nor do I sell the casts so frankly I don't feel in the slightest bit dirty by casting their models.

Anyway, rant over. It can't be a post involving Games Workshop without a least one rant!

Working with GS and InstantMold did kind of give me an itch to try out sculpting, I must admit. I have long envied sculptors for their ability to make their ideas tangible so I set out to try my hand at it. One trip to the art store later, and bam!

The figure on the right has the dubious honor of being my first sculpted model. Upon close inspection the proportions are off in a few ways. One leg is too long, the hips are misaligned and the scale is too close to 32mm (I wanted 28mm heroic)

The head and hands came off of a stray Star Wars mini that I bought for a pittance

I really bodged up the pant legs on the back side so I tried my best to fix it with GS

Not terrible for a first go round I'd say. This was not my first use of sculpting materials... but it was my first shot making a miniature from scratch. I still can't make armatures worth a damn, though. Maybe my florist wire is too small. Or maybe I'm just terrible at making armatures! I should learn to measure and solder them at the joints instead of twisting them.

I was not content to simply model one figure... so I opted for a second test. This time I chose to use a photo reference, namely a design concept of an artist who I am friends with.

Cats. In. Spaaaace.

Even though his picture is infinitely more cute than my model I am pleased with how the sculpt turned out. I figure with a little paint to dress him up the SpaceCat will look alright. In fact I'm currently building a small crew of SpaceCats for use in a homebrew skirmish game (and also as more practice sculpting since the large, rounded features of the model are beginner friendly)

The inspiration for the SpaceCats goes back to high school. My artist pal and another close friend all used to doodle various cartoon animals having a kind of sci-fi war during our free time. Actually modeling old high school ideas is deeply satisfying.

Here is a link to an animated storyboard of the SpaceCats fighting SpaceRodents that my artist friend made. He really is quite talented, there are times when I would eat his brain if it could give me his talent.

All credit goes to my friend, naturally.

Once I get the hang of sculpting some more, maybe I can sculpt the SpaceCats and other assorted creatures in 15mm. It would be a hoot if I could sculpt up a skirmish force for both sides and actually sell a few.

Anyway, crawl-walk-run. Gotta practice some more before I can consider anything like that. I am, after only, only a neophyte modeler.

Well, thats it blog! I'm not dead, just deeply, deeply distracted from my original goal of more 15mm painting. But I will totally work on the Blasterverse more, I promise!

Peace out!



  1. Well, you've certainly been busy. I find your projects all interesting and very well done. Thanks for the modeling update.

    Plus, InstantMold is great stuff. It makes me happy.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! :)

      Indeed, InstantMold is amazing stuff. I can't imagine living with out it now

  2. wow, love the concept, plus vid has The Clash's music (version) on it.

    Absolutlely dig the style and congrats for your sculpting effort, seems it does justice to the drawings. Hope to see he cat painted tho...

    I'd reccomend you to check " critter commandos " indie wargame ;) you'll love it if you are into toon animals. Cheers.