Sunday, April 1, 2012

Boatman/Black Coach WIP: Sculpting Crew

Progress is coming along on my Boatman of River Styx counts as Black Coach conversion.  This week I started sculpting the crew and laid down the foundations for the base, let's take a look.

The "crew" is going to consist of a dead passenger and Charon himself, piloting the boat.  GW's Black Coach is modeled transporting a vampire in the process of regenerating and driven by a wraith, this is great because mine will stick close to both the spirit of the original model and Greek mythology (the boatman transports one soul at a time across the River Styx into the Underworld).

Like most custom sculpts I do, I started with a wire frame base for the skeletal structure of the passenger's body.

A little blob of green stuff for a head and he's 50% done!  We'll see the finished model down below when I add his funeral shroud.

Next up was Charon.  Like his passenger, the foundation for his body was a wire frame skeleton.

Where the boat's passenger will be seated and static I want Charon to look a bit different in that he'll be floating and more airy.  Charon's model will give the whole piece a strong sense of movement.

With a pin vice I made a hole in a decking board and attached Charon to the boat.  When his cloak is finished I'll cut this piece to make him look like he's floating.

With both crew models in place I set to work making their shrouds/robes.  Using the same technique I outlined in February's article detailing the WIP of my vampire lord, I rolled out two pieces of green stuff.  I stopped periodically as I rolled to stretch each shroud by hand, a few holes formed in the thin areas when this happened, but this is a good thing.  I'll work around the holes that formed to make the shrouds look tattered and worn.  To further the worn look I used a tool to cut and drag out the ends of each piece.

This is an in-progress pic, but Charon's robe/shroud will be much more tattered than his passenger (he has been doing this for all eternity after all, whereas his passenger is newly dead!).

After cutting their garments to the final shape I draped them over the wire frames I made earlier.  To depress the shrouds to their frames I used a cupped tool, gently pressing the green stuff first to the frame, then pushing it into the negative space under arms, heads, etc.

Green stuff will sag while drying, so to keep the upward curls in Charon's cloak I hung the model on its end by a clothes pin.

The passenger is hunched over and covered ominously by their shroud I was hoping this would give them a suitably depressing look.

Next week I'll go back and resurface a bit of Charon's cloak to smooth out the areas that bunched undesirably on his back.

There are three connection points between Charon and the boat: two edges of his cloak and his scythe haft.  Now that his paper clip frame piece is cut he looks like he's floating! 

To represent its other-worldliness and the Coach's in-game ethereal rule, I used the broken pillar as the boat's connection point to the base to look like its flying and phasing through intervening objects.  The final look will be achieved after I add a piece of column inside the hull.  The final touch will be a few spirits whirling about the hull.

A last touch will be two lanterns, one hanging from the bow of the boat and one from Charon's scythe.

After a little basing work, some touch-ups, and a few last details, the Boatman will be done!


  1. Incredible! Really cool work with the cloaks. You could make a whole vampire counts army like this! Or at least the ethereal models. Great work. I can't wait to see this painted.

    The tshirt arrived in the mail the other day. I'll get a picture with it in the next few days and send it to you. Thanks!

  2. Very nice. I love the whole boat idea, and the greenstuffed boatman is awesome. Your step-by-step explanations are very helpful. Keep up the great work.

  3. Thanks guys! I have had the most fun working on this project, it's really something special when you take an idea out of your head and watch it come to life on the table.

    Cameron, that'd be great, I'll update your feature post when I get the pic!


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