Warhammer 40k Skaven Jezail sculpture

In an attempt to remove some of the rubbish from the blog, I’m consolidating some of my old little posts into one big post. This is an update of a set of blog posts from 2011 about sculpting a figure based on a concept design of a Warhammer 40k Skaven, so any references to dates are from back then.

I had started hunting through my books for some ideas and I thought I would go for something a bit bigger than I’d normally made. Whenever I made something large I always made an armature but couldn’t find any wire so legs got chucked as an idea. I went through plenty of books looking at goblins, monsters, beasties and assorted things until I flicked through my copy of “The Gothic and the Eldritch: The Collected Sketches of Jes Goodwin” and stumbled across this…

Oh yeah!

Reading the notes it seemed that Mr Goodwin had run over some ideas for the Skaven in 40k but they got dropped, which is a shame as the idea of scavenging, WWI style gas mask wearing rats carrying crude black powder weapons just hits all the right spots for me. So, here we go…

The base to hold the shape while sculpting starts life as a chunk of wood with two holes drilled into it, a couple of wooden sticked are rammed into the holes and then…

Two metal tubes are placed over the top so that when the final piece is baked it will slide off easily. Two sticks/tubes are used to stop it spinning around while sculpting. Next came blocking out the basic shape.


blocking out the upper body and the right arm as well as…


Getting the back into shape.

The filter part of the gasmask was made from 1 marker pen lid, several bits from an old tape deck, some small screws, the inner part of a set of headphones and a couple of bits of plastic.

It’s mounted on a bit of wood so it will slide in and out when needed as I won’t be able to bake this part with the rest of the body. Super glue doesn’t seem to like heat and I’m pretty sure the plastic will object to being put in the oven.

The gun barrel was made from a long bit of brass tube I had, and used some more to make the shell casings on the bandolier.

The rifle butt is now in place and there is a long tube of copper running from the back of the butt through the hand up to the barrel which in turn is attached via some milliput. The other arm is in place to add some support and to hold it in place. The back has the gas tank roughly in place with some details glued on. This tank comes off as its just held in place with a couple of screws which slide in and out of the sculpey body. Like the gas mask front, the tank has plastic bit so will not be going into the oven at the end but will be glued on after it has been baked.

Two things i’m not happy with. Firstly the barrel, not so much what it looks like (it will end up with loads of sculpey around it) but the fact when I swing the body around i sometimes nearly take my eye out. The other is the feet. There are two things I hate to paint, draw, sculpt, model… hands and feet. I don’t know what to do with them at the moment as the semi finished one (left foot) looks like a clowns shoe. All it needs is to be about an inch longer and it will be perfect for Mr Tumble. I needed to rethink them before I tackle the right one.

The final baking process happened on a Sunday night at around 10:30pm because I thought it would be a good idea to do before bed… yeah smart move there. I watched the gun burn slowly while the rest of him cooked but fortunately no serious damage happened. There are a few cracks in the robes but overall it happened pretty smoothly.

I gave him a once over and a quick spray to get the first coat on him. Next will be crack filling and replacing the one thing that got damaged which was the end of the gunsights. I now need to add some extra details such as the hammer on the rifle, the trigger guard and some extra bits of detail. After another coat to get the spots I’ve missed and cover the new details I’ll leave him for a while for the paint to fully cure. I also needed to come up with some sort of colour scheme.

The base was quite tricky as I had no idea what to do, other than I wanted something to hold him in place. What I finally ended up doing was blocking up the wooden base with some Das modeling clay and then adding detail to the base. I found an interesting tutorial on how to create scenic bases at xenite.wordpress.com which involves sand and sculpey.

The final piece is quite chunky, over 30cm long with that gun barrel poking out and 18cm high. He is one of the bigger pieces I’ve done but he is lacking in detail and textures. I’ve thought about tidying him up a few times but I’m going to leave him as he is. He’s a good reminder of how my skills have improved over the years.

A full collection of images showing the start to finish process are in my Picasa gallery

Projects of future past

Hey look, its another reeeeeaaaally long gap between two blog posts. Ho hum… One of the projects I’ve been working on I had hoped to get finished by this weekend as it sees the release of X-Men: Days of future past and I was hoping to tie in a bit. Yet in my own typical fashion, I’m late to the party. So while the rain is coming down (yup, its another bank holiday) I can’t get outside to paint so instead I’m doing admin and catching up on some other bits n bobs.

Magneto’s helmet

This little item is what I’ve been trying to finish. Based on a mashup of the X-Men: First Class helmet and the more flamboyant comic one, I started building this as a test that got carried away. I’ve been itching to try out Pepakura for years now but its PC based so had to make do with grabbing time on other peoples computers when possible. Not the best way. But around the end of April I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night with Wineskin in my head (yeah I actually do things like that). Wineskin is an OSX app which runs PC software in a wrapper and I’ve used it in the past to run things like Star Trek: Elite Forces and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. Pepakura, for those not in the know, is a paper folding app that gobbles up 3d files and spits them out as printouts you cut up and glue together to make things. The prop industry has been using it for a while to kick off projects and I figured it was time for me to have a go.

A quick hunt online got me a few different versions of Magneto’s helmet and using the free version of Pepakura (viewer) I tried a few out. I chopped and changed around some of the details and set to making my own with the intention of not actually finishing it.

Yeah…

magneto helmet

So one fine Saturday morning I sat in the cellar hacking up paper and gluing it together.


magneto helmet

magneto helmet

I then layered fibreglass into it, along with some matting, some more resin and then started to coat the whole thing in car body filler. You know, theres something bad ass about putting a big helmet on, even when its not finished. I can’t see beyond the end of my nose without the glasses on but I feel awesome.


magneto helmet

Layers of filler, paint, lots of sanding (thankfully the rain washed the dust away from the garden) and more paint followed by erm… oh yeah… sanding.


magneto helmet

I kept coming across weak spots from the first slushing so a lot of time was spent gouging out these parts and filling then getting back in the garden to sand.


magneto helmet

I had some paper templates to measure around the edge and to get the raised lip I blocked out the negative space with plasticine and then mixed up some Rondo to brush in. For those not in the know, Rondo is a mix of car body filler and fibreglass resin and takes its name from Bondo (a brand of car body filler) + resin. A word of warning, this stuff stinks. It takes two of the most evil smelling products on the planet and merges the stench. Even with a mask on it was vile. On the plus side, it brushes in nicely and flows well.


magneto helmet

Once the raised edge was in place I just removed the plasticine and sanded/carved it neater. A little tip that I came up with, my plasticine was rock solid and rather than spend ages kneading it, I popped it into a plastic bag then sunk it into hot water. The plasticine softened up nicely and was easy to press into place.


magneto helmet

I spent ages carefully examining the surface for marks and pin holes but sometimes just running your hands over it… lovingly… caressing every surface… ahem… helps you to find things that are not quite right. I managed to find a couple of minor dimples which couldn’t obviously be seen.


magneto helmet

The crest is sculpted from milliput and then drilled and pinned to the head. I’ve got the paint ready for the final colouring but sadly its not ready in time for me to wear to the premiere of Days of future past unless I time travel like in the story. Of course this isn’t a bad thing as I wouldn’t be able to see or hear anything while wearing it.

Frejya

Freyja Statue
Freyja
Huzzah! She’s done. I’m in the process of cleaning her up and should be ready to mould later in May (not much time left is there?)

She’s gone through around three different bodies and I’ve lost track of the number of heads she’s had. Around her base she has a cauldron, a boar (Hildisv√≠ni) and two cats (more like Lynx’s than puddy tats), she wears a cloak of falcon feathers and a necklace (Br√≠singamen) and she has a large drinking horn in her hands.

She will be available via Etsy and Sacred Earth in the near future.

Seals

These seals are going like hot cakes. So far I’ve done versions for bookmarks, fridges, computers, LARPing and even a badge which was actually quite hard to get the pin into place after the resin has set.

FE Suffolk

Lastly, I am giving my annual talk at FE Suffolk this Tuesday (27th May) where I will be talking about my experiences with three.js, a javascript 3D library.

Wax off

The two objects are now merged and cleaned up.

And one large render later…

Now to turn this into a banner and tiny little avatar where noone can see any of the details i’ve put in…

If anyone wants to download the c4d files they are available below. One is the two items (skull and blobby waxy bit) separate in case anyone wants to use them separately and the other is the cleaned up mesh of the two items as one object. Both zip files contain the materials, textures and alphas for the scene.

NB, the renders are setup with colour correction so there are some filters setup on the materials to adjust for a gamma adjustment.

Non merged version

merged version seal