My daughter was going to throw away an empty bottle of Thierry Mugler Alien but I managed to snatch it before it reached the bin.
Look at that thing! It’s an amazing design and I thought I could do something with it.
I thought I could put it on a base and create something to use as scenery for Warhammer, Gaslands or any other tabletop game. I washed it down and buffed off the lettering on the front before sticking it to a chunk of wood.
Sadly, I didn’t take many pictures of it being made but I basically chopped up a base, covered it on filler and rocks to make a rough base then hit the whole thing with black primer.
To get some colours down, I sprayed the whole thing with a series of lighter colours. Once dried it was weathered with inks and powders. The base was covered in flock, moss and some skulls from the GW skull pack. A Christmas pressie from my daughter, she basically supplied a lot of the part for this in the end.
I think the final piece looks suitable for some monolith from a long lost Xeno species in 40k. It will also work as a place of worship for a chaos tribe in AoS or Warhammer Fantasy.
I’ve got a soft spot for Ork lads. It’s sort of green and a bit spongy.
Every now and then I find an image that I really like and that inspires me to sculpt something. I came across this illustration by DiegoGisbertLlorens aaaaages ago and thought I’d have a go at doing a large-sized piece based on it.
This started as a rough blob of car body filler over a wire armature. Then I started throwing Milliput and Super Sculpey over the top to build some shapes.
I’m afraid this is going to be a hodgepodge of images as I spend about 2 years poking at this guy on and off. I didn’t keep a very accurate record, or even any record of it.
One problem I did run into was the back of the Ork as I didn’t have any minis which looked like this. I ended up having to ask someone to send me photos of an Orks bum so I could see what their trousers looked like. A bit of a random request.
This should give you an idea of his scale. He is about 6 1/2 inches tall and a bit of a big lad.
His little details were added with nails, pins, bits of wire, chunks of wood, metal tubing and other scrap bits I had in my bits box. While the knife was carved from hardened Aves Apoxie sculpt and added after.
He was baked and I also made up some stikkbombs from brass tubing. No point in being a sneaky lad if you can’t blow stuff up.
Loads of primer, sanding, carving, cleaning, etc…
Spinny Ork lad has his plastic shooter added as well.
At this point, I’m just painting and adding more details. I wanted something to be hanging from his belt, so 3d printed a marine helmet but it didn’t look right. I also had a skull that I was going to use on him. That went on the belt, while the helmet got cut up and used on the base. The grass flock was a mix of tea leaves and spices I have which I use for basing.
The final details on the base was a load of moss, seed pods and the painted marine helmet.
Since finishing, he has snuck off and joined a WAAAGH! run by the chap who kindly supplied the Ork bottom photos. He seems happy there by all accounts. At least he’s with his own ladz.
A few months ago, I was moving my office/dungeon/work area around and started thumbing through some of my artbooks. One of the books I opened up was my copy of ‘Ratspike’ which is a collection of the work of John Blanche and Ian Miller. I’m a huge fan of both artists, Miller for his detailed line art and mythos inspirations, Blanche for his bright, powerful images that fuel much of the Warhammer universes.
One image drew me, the flying galleons which sometimes appear in the background of his picture and theres one picture with one of them as the main focal point of the image.
As I haven’t made any one off models for a while, I took the inspiration and decided to try and make something similar.
Guessing the basic shape of the hull, I sketched out a couple of rough profile plans to try and establish the dimensions. There’s a lot you can get away with in 2D that you can’t when you translate it to 3D, so there was a couple of things I had to add or change to make the shape work. What I was left with was a set of loose paper templates and some vague ideas of the shape. I didn’t want anything too set in stone, simply as I knew I’d be making stuff up as I went and sometimes that looseness helps.
The basic shape was blocked out with plastic sheets which I skimmed in places to smooth the shape, then glued coffee stirrers over the surface.
To get the bendyness into them, I soaked the stirrers in water for 24 hours. This made them more flexible so they followed the shape I had made for the hull.
Details started to be added like the ramparts, beams to simulate support struts, the rudder and pencil marking out locations for the mast. The square hole in the starboard side is the mounting point. I used a square one so it wouldn’t spin or roll in place. This is a similar technique used for mounting models when filming them, the mounting points are hidden in different places to allow it to be filmed from different angles without the camera seeing the supports.
In this case, I only wanted one mounting point but its in a hidden enough spot to give the idea the ship is flying. Next came the sculpted prow and bow faces.
I blocked them out and then sculpted in Aves Apoxie Sculpt.
At the same time I did something I said to myself that I wasn’t going to do. I ordered bits, lots of bits.
I originally wanted this to be built using only materials I had on hand but quickly gave in to my weakness for buying extra parts. An anchor, a ships wheel, ladders and different dowels for the mast and rigging.
Barrels and minis to convert for the crew. One of my first ideas was to use some of my old minis, but balked at the idea of cutting them up to convert so ordered some plastic Empire troops to use.
The mast went in, I started to pile in the detailing as well. Rivets, planks, sculpted ends to the mast, the crows nest and anything I could to add little details to the hull.
Speaking of the hull…
I started carving more details onto the woodwork as I wanted to exaggerate the grain. Unrealistic I know, but this is a flying ship. The rule of cool applies here.
More details are added, including the spars at the back for the rigging.
And then its time for some paint.
Once primed, I started to paint it with different browns as well as washes of reds, greens, blacks and blues to give weathering effects.
The rest of the ship slowly gets covered in different paints and washes.
Next up is the details like barrels, wheel, anchor etc…
Then onto the crew. I wanted to theme it around a crew from the Empire, so painted each of them as having uniforms from different regions.
We have the powder monkey, captain, a young deckhand mopping up after the monkey, the first mate who is watching out from the aft and a lookout with his oversized pipe up in the crow’s nest. Each of them is converted in some way as well. The captain has a peg leg I carved from some dowel. The deckhand wields a mighty mop sculpted from Green Stuff along with a bucket I made. The lookout has his pipe. While the first mate had some parts cut from him and his hands replaced with different ones. Even the powder monkey had one of his tails removed as the model comes with 2.
You’ll see the flag in that last picture as I was working on the flag and sail at the same time. To get them to hold in place, I thinned PVA glue and soaked them both in the mix before leaving them to dry.
I had to spend quite a bit of time getting the rigging in place for the sail. It was fiddly but I’m glad I took the effort as it came out well. The flag was based on a design from my copy of the Empire Army book from the 4th edition of WFB. I wanted to keep with the Empire theme of the ship so found something which fitted. The sail in the painting has a huge figure painted on it but my freehand skills are not great. I bottled out and left it blank if a little stained.
The last part to complete was the background. For this, I wanted to have a rock as if it was floating, the same as the picture. I carved up some foam blocks and glued the shape over the wooden support.
First, it was given a thin mix of paint and PVA as a base coat. This mix makes the foam quite tough, and helps to fill a few of the seams where I had glued the foam together. The rest of the painting was just lots of shades of grey, brushed, dry brushed, washed and stippled over the surface.
I did consider adding a few trees and houses like the original painting but thought it would be enough as it is.
Flock and lichen came next along with a small waterfall made from clear silicone sealer and a few rocks scattered around. The plants got a thin spray of different shades of inks to break up their colours and help to blend them into the scenery a little better.
And lastly, the base, I didn’t want to paint it as I liked the wooden texture. I thought it matched the ship nicely so a couple of layers of shoe polish worked to stain it.
A few people have asked me over the course of the build where I was getting stuff from, so here’s a list.
Wooden coffee stirrers, scrap wood and plastic card for the start of the build, came from somewhere. The bottom of my materials box mainly.
The miniatures (Empire State Handgunners and freeguild) as well as barrels came from Element Games
Thanks to some recent work on updating the blog I unearthed this unfinished post about the Inquisitor Rosette I made a few years ago. It was half written in 2018 and deserves to see the light of day.
The main parts had been laser cut for me and the cog parts went on to become part of my Mechanicus Purity Seal. The bits have been glued together and then the skull was donated from the normal purity seal casting by using enough resin to mould just the skull. It was a nice way to keep a similar design motif going. Oh who am I kidding, it was to cut down on the effort of making a new one.
It was pretty quick to prime and prep for casting.
I then had a go at casting in brass, bronze, copper, cast iron and two in a white finish. One to stain as if it was bone or ivory, the other to paint up in Inquisitorial colours. Already to kick ass for the lord Emperor.
The humble Servoskull, they’re everywhere in 40K artwork. Last year, just before Halloween, I was in town and spotted a cheap plastic skull in shop window that had a light inside it. Seeing a bargin that had potential, I snagged it, planned to turn it into a Servoskull. Heres how it went.
It’s not very big but enough for what I wanted. The bulb inside is quite bright and the whole skull has a soft glow to it when lit. I started by cutting the bottom away and was hoping to scoop out the soft gooey brains within. Sadly, no brains, only wires.
The inside of the skull was lined with milliput for two reasons. Firstly to give it a rigid core, the soft vinyl bent too much. Secondly to block any light spilling out inside it. I started to sculpt some details to the outside skull and add some bits as decoration. A brass Aquila from Forgeworld, some screws drilled into the skull, a few random bits of 3d printed parts I made, some milliput over the top in places and I added anything else I could find which fitted.
I also sculpted some teeth over the top of the old ones as they didn’t look right. Skully has a little bit of overbite but doesn’t look too bad.
I designed the base in Cinema 4d and 3D printed it so it could house the battery and hold the whole thing up.
Testing the light to make sure nothing spills out around the edges.
Primed in black and then a base coating airbrushed a bone colour.
The painting was fairly simple with lots of weathering using oil paints. I hot glued plenty of wires dangling out of the end to hide the battery wires sneaking into the base as well.
One servoskull. It came out well for a cheap skull although most of it got covered in new material.
There some more pictures in the google gallery below.
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…
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