Friday, December 28, 2012

Building a Better Demon: The Skethar King

December has definitely been a month for green stuff conversions and modeling for me at the Monster Lab.  Last week we saw a Ghetorix conversion I made for Michael P. and a few weeks before that I showed you how to make your very own Skethar alpha from two existing DGS Skethar metal models; that project was for my long-time customer Jon C.

Doing all these conversion projects got me itching to do something from scratch, so I pulled out my green stuff oven, my modeling tools, and world's best modeling epoxy and got to work sculpting an original Skethar alpha model, one that I'm calling the Skethar King.

Let's take a look how the work went from start to finish.

All great sculpting projects start as a humble wire frame.  My good buddy and fellow hobbyist Kent Plumb pushed me to get a soldering kit and I'm thankful he did, it beats waiting for green stuff joints to dry.

Next, I bent the mannequin into its final shape.  I wanted to have the S.K. in an animalistic "on-all-fours" pose, leering at some ill gotten treasure he's cradling in his front left hand.

A little bit of 'stuff on the frame and the S.K. began to gain a bit of bulk.  I didn't want him to be too pumped up so as I proceeded I tried to keep the muscle tone lean.

When I sculpt I like to do it step-by-step from one muscle group to another.  Doing it this way I feel a more natural muscle tone is reached.  The key is to make each group stand out, but not so much that they look like flayed muscle.

At this point, I have all the muscles in place and the frame is completely covered, now it's time to build the finer features of the model like hands and a face.

This is the beginning to a head that I ultimately scrapped.  It was 99% complete before I trashed it! sometimes you have to completely start over to get exactly what you want.

The Skethar King is holding a human crown.  I like the idea of the S.K. slaying his kingly victim (or stealing it!) and coveting his ill-gotten treasure.

And he's done!  In the end, I wanted to incorporate a few traditional "devil" themes like a spade-tipped tail, horns, and ridges on his tail to really bring the model together.

The end result is a capricious demon, skulking on all fours and reveling in his mischief.

The S.K.'s nasty grin captures the personality of a Skethar perfectly, malevolent and mischievous all at the same time.

That's it for this week, thanks for stopping by and checking out my work!  Come by next week to see what hobby projects are being brought to life here at the Monster Lab!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Extreme Ghetorix Conversion

Last week I mentioned that I've been hard at work on many sculpting projects this month.  This extreme warpwolf to Ghetorix conversion is one such project. 

Let's take a look at the work that was done.

This conversion was commissioned by Michael P.  One of his requests was to keep the extreme warpwolf's hands instead of the ones attached to the Ghetorix's ax.  I really liked this idea and got to work resculpting three fingers and a thumb on the right hand and four fingers on the left to give the hands a proper grip on the ax.

The original horns and head-blades were used from the conversion kit and a new hood was sculpted to bring it all together.

The extreme warpwolf really is a great model, super dynamic with surprisingly good balance even though the model is very top-heavy.  The only negative I could find to the sculpt was that it needed a ton of gap-fill, but that's to be expected with any sizable metal model.

A large amount of cutting and resculpting was needed to get the right arm into position.  The tricky part was aligning both arms, hands, and the ax so that they looked natural.  For the first time in awhile, the bone saw and heavy pliers were summoned from the bottom of my hobby box to get the job done. 

The final touch to the conversion was modeling the streamers trailing back from the Ghetorix's right arm (seen here supported by my finger).  They weren't glued on at the time this picture was taken since the model had to be shipped to Michael P. and I didn't want them to be damaged.

That's it for this week, thanks for stopping by and checking out what's been going on at the Monster Lab.

Happy holidays and good gaming!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tutorial: How to Build a Green Stuff Oven

This month I've been feverishly sculpting everything from Hordes conversions to original sculpts for production.  In the spirit of all this sculpting I think it's only fitting to take a closer look at a tool that I've been using to help speed up the cure time on my sculpting projects.  This week I'm going to show you a really simple way to make your own green stuff oven.

Let's run down a list of supplies we're going to need:

1. Large-size coffee can (approximately 7 inches tall & 6 inches in circumference)
2. Magic marker (Sharpie for me)
3. Scissors

Now that we've got all the things listed above, keep one thing in mind: BE CAREFUL!  Cut aluminum is a death trap for unwary fingers.  Then again, my good friend Kent Plumb is fond of saying, "the project's not done until you've bled on it."  In making my own green stuff oven I certainly did.

Let's get started.

Flip your coffee can over so that the bottom faces up. Drive a pilot hole near the bottom's edge with your hammer and nail.

We're going to repeat this process a few times, until we've made a hold big enough for our garden shears to fit in.

For me, about 5-6 holes did the trick.

Now that we can get the shears in, cut around the bottom edge.  At a certain point the curve of the cut is going to make it hard to continue.  Stop and go back to your pilot hole.

Make a perpendicular cut towards the center of the can's bottom, about halfway across. 

Now we can give ourselves more room to work and continue the cut along the edge of the can.  Bend the bottom up so it forms a triangle pointing to the ceiling.

Cut the triangle at its base away from the bottom of the can to remove the excess and get it out of the way.

Continue cutting around the edge until you reach across to the opposite side of your pilot.  Finish the perpendicular cut across the bottom and remove the excess aluminum.

It's looking a bit worse for wear with the jagged edges along the border, but don't worry, we'll take care of that before we finish.

Okay, we've removed the bottom and we're making good progress, but the edge is really rough.  Here's where the hammer comes in again.  Take your can to a place you don't mind banging on, and beat the jagged aluminum flush with the can's interior.

Great, now that's cleaned up we're ready to install the light.  Pick up your duct tape and tape around the outside of the can, 1/2 on 1/2 hanging off like its pictured below.  

Fold the duct tape down into the interior of the can.

This is going to be the bottom of our oven, flip over the can and we'll prep the top to hold the light fixture.

Open up your box and set a portion of it flat on your work surface.  Take the top of the can (the end that doesn't have any tape on it) and trace the can's mouth on the cardboard.

Cut around the line giving yourself about 1cm leeway on the outside of the line.  See below.

This piece is where the light fixture is going to rest on.  We need room for it to sit on top of the can and for the fixture to rest on it.  At this point you should have a cardboard circle that overhangs the edge of the can by about 1cm all around its top edge.

Next we need to cut a hole in the circle so the light fixture can heat the interior of the can.  Cut a conservative sized hole, one that will give plenty of room for the fixture to rest on.  Place your light fixture on top to help guide where you want to cut.  If the fixture falls through because you made the hole too big, no worries, just go back a step and cut out another cardboard circle, taking care to make an interior cut that will give room for the fixture to rest.

With the cardboard cut, we need to secure it to the can.  Get out your duct tape again and tape around the border.  Place the tape flush with the can then smooth it up under the cardboard before folding it over on top.  The smoother this is the better it will hold!

We're almost done and ready to use our oven!  Grab the light fixture you bought at your local friendly hardware store (mine is ACE Hardware) and remove the clamp if it has one.  Mine unscrewed by turning a butterfly nut.

Put a 40 watt bulb in your fixture and get ready to cook some green stuff!  Actually you don't want to "cook" it.  When I made my first oven I used 100 watt bulbs... the green stuff came out brown and crispy.  So watch your oven and make sure you aren't baking your model past a slight hardening.  This shouldn't take but a couple of minutes.

There you have it, your very own green stuff oven.  I hope you've found this helpful and hopefully it makes your next green stuff project a little more hassle free.

Come back next time to see some of the projects I've been putting mine to use on!

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