Tuesday, November 26, 2013

December is Coming: A Malifaux Showcase

It certainly is.  Here in the Midwest temperatures have dropped down into the twenties and have hovered below freezing.  I can't think of a more suitable force to be painting in the winter chill than Wyrd Miniatures's Malifaux box set: the Children of December.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the steampunk/fantasy/western skirmish game called Malifaux, it's what you might expect, but with a twist.  When playing a game of Malifaux you can leave your dice bag at home, all "dice rolls" are determined by the flipping of cards from a poker deck (and a few you might cheat from a hand of six).  There was some buzz around my local game store about the second edition of the game and its new plastic minis.  I was pretty blown away by the Arcanist faction, and most specifically Rasputina's starter force.

Let's take a look at the painted models!

The Fist of December is one bad mamma-jamma.  This was a model I was looking forward to painting and relished the opportunity to bust out the airbrush to build broad shading.

Secret Weapon's realistic water/crushed glass combo makes for a wonderful wet snow.  IF YOU USE THIS PRODUCT BE SURE TO WEAR FACE PROTECTION AND A MASK!  The glass dust is very unpleasant if inhaled..

A bit of cross-hatching to create a ice shine effect was done with Ice Blue, a 1:1 mix of Ice Blue and white, and a top highlight of pure white.

You might remember seeing this guy on the blog before, it's a model I converted from the GW Varghulf kit.  The original concept was a "counts as" varghulf (which was awesome, it performed spectacularly each game).  I never did put paint on the model when I used it in my Vampire Counts army, but now was the time since it was being added to my Malifaux force as a counts as Sabertooth Cerberus.

Almost seven years later Cerberus got the paint job he was due!

The leader of the crew is Rasputina, a woman in-tune with the chill of winter.

A bit of heavy eye-liner really made her frozen eyes pop against her alabster skin.

I really like the model's pose, the winter wind blowing through her parka, her stoically looking on as she ponders the next move in her dire strategy.

Rasputina's totem is a wendigo.  The model came stock with a cowboy that he was strangling, but I didn't like it.  Instead I went with a simple tree trunk and resculpted his foot and hand to fit.

I'm pleased with the finished look: nice, clean, and simple.

The Ice Gamin are a bit of mischievous comic relief for the crew, silly little buggers that will stab you in the back when you're attention is elsewhere.

The look of the gamin is perfect for their size, capricious.

That's it for this week, thanks for stopping by and checking out my new Malifaux crew!

Until next time, good gaming and happy hobbying, and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Showcase: One Strange Warriors of Chaos Army

As promised I'm back this week to show off a chaos army you're probably not used to seeing on the table top.  This project stretches all the way back to September when I received a commission from long-time customer Michael P. to do weapon-tail and helmet conversions on a squad of Fimir.  The project kept rolling from there, and after Michael added two demon princes to the list and a lamassu, it was finally complete!  

I put the finishing touches on the lamassu last week and it's time to show off the entire army, let's take a look!

The lamassu's head is a conversion bit from Raging Heroes.  They call it a sphinx head, but it fits perfectly with the chaos dwarf look of Warhammer fantasy and the lamassus they employ.

The body of the beast comes from the chaos Manticore kit for Warhammer fantasy, and its tail is that of a Skaven Hell Pit Abomination.

By definition a lamassu is either a bull or lion with the head of a man and the wings of an eagle.  Warhammer depicts theirs as the cloven type, so Michael was keen to have the rear feet converted to hooves (the kit comes stock with what can be roughly described as reptilian feet).  A bit of grey stuff later, and voila!  Full frontal lamassu.

Having already seen the pics of the rest of the models, you're probably wondering what the whole army looks like together...

What a great project to work on, it was truly a blast and I'm excited for Michael to wreak havoc with his models on the table top.

That's all for this time, come back next week to see what else is brewing at the Monster Lab!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What's on My Desk: Another Look at Two Favorite Projects

This week I'm revisiting two projects, one from a year ago and another from only a few weeks back.  

I'm excited to show off a revisit of the extreme Ghetorix conversion that I originally did for long-time customer Michael P.  Kevin M. saw the conversion I did for Michael last December in the galleries and knew it was the next piece he wanted for his Circle or Orboros army.  I really enjoyed working on Michael's E.G. and was eager to give it another shot.  Let's take a look at the work!

The extreme warp wolf model is a full pewter piece, which brings a whole list of challenges when attempting to do even the simplest manipulations to the model.  We live in a resin and plastic age, but there is something to say for a stout pewter model, it has a certain gravitas.

The E.G.'s right arm needed repositioning so that it could hold its axe with both hands.  A move of 1/4" was needed to bring the arm back and away from its body.  Since I was working with pewter there was only one thing that would do to get the job done, the bone saw.  After cutting about a 1/8" into the top of the E.G.'s shoulder I brought out another heavy duty tool (one that I have only used in this conversion), a pair of adjustable Irwin toothed pliers.  The teeth on the pliers do a moderate amount of damage to the arm, so a good amount of resculpting is necessary to bring the arm back to form.

Some expense was shaved off this piece by bending the extreme warp wolf's existing fingers to hold its axe instead of resculpting each finger for a perfect grip.  The one I did for Michael was a complete resculpt of each finger, which is great, but this method is excellent when trying to keep costs low.

When all is said and done, this version of the extreme Ghetorix conversion takes seven hours and is a piece that I'm proud to put the Monster Lab stamp on.  I even like the way the left hand is lightly gripping the axe haft, it's like the force behind the swing is so great he's having trouble holding on!

Last month I showed off my second original sculpt for casting, a dragon chariot base.  I'd like to take one last look at the piece and a few castings that were made of it before it leaves for the Netherlands and becomes a part of the client's product line.

Jeremy G. over at Prairie House Miniatures did a fantastic job casting and resculpting the base, creating four test casts.  I was really pleased with how the piece turned out, it looks even better as a single cohesive resin sculpt.

It was a proud moment packing the dragon base and its copies away for mailing to their owner, and another exciting step down my road as a professional sculptor.  I can't wait to do more!

That's it for this week, come back next time to take a look at Michael P.'s Fimir themed army which contains two nasty demon princes and a custom Llamasu!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Showcase: X-Wing Miniatures, Millennium Falcon and Slave 1 Alters

This week I have something a little different than what I usually show off here on the blog, X-Wing minis!  The X-Wing miniatures game has taken a lot of game stores by storm, its popularity due to its ease of play, complexity, and of course, the Star Wars universe.  Another probable factor contributing to its success is that the minis come pre-painted.  But, just because a piece is pre-painted that doesn't mean it can't be altered!  That's exactly what I did for new customer, Donovan, who requested a fresh look at his Millennium Falcon and Slave 1.

Both the Falcon and Slave 1 are duplicates in Donovan's collection and he wanted models for "vanilla" versions of those ships, ones that don't represent the craft popularized by episodes IV, V, and VI.  

With a little bit of art direction I was ready to go and broke out the airbrush for a base coat.

The classic M. Falcon uses a red palette, so I wanted to go in the other direction and use a blue based gray and rich royal blue.  Yellow was my choice for headlamps and cockpit glow, a nice natural contrast color.

I mentioned to Donovan that a "bomber babe" on the cockpit would be a nice touch and he jumped on the idea, eagerly requesting that she be a Twilek.

"Trudy the Twilek" now graces the newly re-christened "Trudy be True!"

Can you guess what inspired the design for Trudy's paint scheme?  You might just push one at home or work every day...

I stuck with the classic sky blue engine glow for Trudy.  Some times you just can't beat an oldie.

It was definitely a blue week, as once again the Slave 1 draws upon a red palette.  I happily used the chance to paint with my favorite color hue again.

I stayed on the dark end of the blue spectrum, inspired by the idea of a "stealth" coloration, perfect for hunting down bounties and committing space piracy.

Though the paint scheme was a stealthy one, I still wanted to add something bold to the design.  Alien-tribal seemed like a fun way to add some complexity to the repainted Slave 1 while not breaking with its subtle approach.

I used my Badger airbrush for both base coating each ship and adding their engine glow.  I went back with a bristle brush and added more highlight to the effect, and was done in minutes!

I hope you enjoyed checking out my X-Wing alters, come back next week to see what else I'm working on here at the Lab!

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