Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Conversions: Lightning Farron

So Eric contacted me a while ago asking if I could convert up a character for him to use an  inquisitor for his armies. He's a fan of Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, a game I've played and somewhat enjoyed (despite its failings, gameplay-wise). For those not familiar with her, she looks something like this:

(image and character are copyright Square-Enix, used without permission)

I decided to start with a miniature that was close enough and greenstuff the extra clothing as needed. The base model was this Lara Croft knockoff from Freebooter Miniatures. For those of you unfamiliar with Freebooter and the work of Werner Klocke, surf on over and take a gander. They do some nice work, and I was pleased with the quality of the mini when it came in. I'm sure there's some irony in converting one video game character into another....

The originals sword is waaaaaaay too complex for someone like me to model out of green stuff at that scale. (on the other hand, give me 3D Studio Max and a rapid prototyper and we'll see) There are better sculpters out there than I who could've done a far better job, so I decided to go for the hard-modelling solution and create something that suggested the form and interlocking nature of the original without mirroring it. A Necromunda tri-barrelled shotgun fit the bill, combined with the machete that came with the original. The hand is pinned to the arm, but the sword is all glue, contact area, and faith. Hopefully it'll survive the journey and following rigors of the battlefield. 

A lot of sculptors from other lines neglect to give their character minis things like holsters and sheathes for the weapons they're swinging around, so I like to make sure they have somewhere to stow their gear. If you've played the game, you get used  to the sight of Lighting walking along with her holstered folding sword swinging against the back of her thighs as she walks. It must be terribly cumbersome to move around with it hanging like that, not to mention hard to keep your balance jumping around and such. Oh well, that's fantasy for you. 

Lastly, I've started experimenting with watermarks for my photos. I've seen my images pop up on forums and stuff, and while I don't mind you folks grabbing and posting them I would like people who see my work to know where it came from. So all you guys who've been reposting Tyracron and Titan pics, thanks for the extra publicity, but please, please tell people where to go to see more. Not that I'm a web-traffic whore (don't see any ads yet, do you?) but it's polite to source your stuff, you know? 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Conundrum: Metallic, or Flat?

As you may know, I'm a huge fan of the Zone of the Enders series, and the resin kits of their mecha have been Holy Grails that I've been chasing for a while. Recently, Kaiyodo released a toy of the hero mecha, Jehuty, as part of their ongoing Revoltech line. He looks like this:

Sexy, right? I have the resin kit for this fellow, and they apparently used the exact same molds, and just swapped in a set of ratchet joints. My issue here is the paint job. See, in the game, things were matte, and not shiny at all. You'll recall my Dolores model was all matte, with none of the shiny you see in the above figure. I've been working on the kit of his adversary, Anubis, who looks like this in the art:

 I found a reference for my exact kit in a hobby mag: 

Yeah, it's quite an undertaking. Again, it's in the same scale as Jehuty, amazingly, so I've been replacing screw-joints with ratcheting joints as I go (not to mention having to contend with the INSANELY FRAGILE resin it was cast in) but for now the issue is that color. I've been agonizing over whether to go metallic as above and thus make him compliment Jehuty, or go all flat, which would result in something like this:

That impressive model is 90% scratchbuilt, and is from Sparrow Scratchbuilt Aviation, an absolutely amazing site out of Japan. His stuff is mind-blowing, so check him out. 

Those matte colors, on the other hand, are totally meh. Surprising, considering he does some nice airbrush work on his aviation models, but the color work on this figure is downright underwhelming. If I went this route, I'd definitely pay more attention to the highlighting in certain areas. 

So, what do you all think? 

Friday, May 13, 2011

What the hell?

There were 5 or six comments on the Marbo post, and now there aren't.

What the fuck, Blogger? No wonder people are going to Wordpress. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mechanicus Secutor M-Alpha-Rho-8-Omega

With a battle against the Space Marines looming a few weeks ago (during Mecha Month, so yes, I was saving this) , I figured it was time to have a proper Marbo mini. He originally started out as a Tau Pathfinder, and steadily gained bits and green stuff augmentations until he was properly mechanized for field duty. Do the Mechanicus believe in poison? Properly, but I figured a chain sword-bayonette would look a lot more industrial than some knife with poison smeared on it. Aren't Astartes supposed to be able to just gland away poison anyway? Funny how the fluff never makes it into the tabletop game. Similarly, his nasty Exitus pistol had to be a more substantial weapon than your run-of-the-mill sidearm. Sharp eyes will also notice the Vulcan-90 grenades on his belt. 

How did he do on the table? He proved himself quite well, actually. After killing 3 Marines with his demo charge, M-Alpha-Rho-8-Omega charged the remaining two and massacred them, bouncing back into cover after a successful assault. Later on he harassed an HQ squad moving up to flank the main Skitarii advance, slowing them up enough for the troops to torrent them and their transport out of existence. Amazingly, this was one battle that Marbo managed to survive, probably because I had other things that were more threatening. Chimeras full of Skitarii and a Leman Russ Vanquisher with Pask on the main gun tend to attract more attention than one lone psycho. Overall, not a bad shakedown for a new model. 

On a more personal front, yours truly is now an employee of Apple, and will be hawking the their shining personal cogitators and other gifts of the Omnissiah as soon as he inloads their  doctrinal directives.  

Happy Wednesday, people. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011


No, I didn't just kill something in a fantastic way on Devil May Cry. The Stylish Blogger award is an honor from your fellow bloggers in appreciation for your work and your connection to the community. Thanks to Brian (MasterDarksol) from All Things 40k! It's kinda like a chain letter, so here's what you do:

-- Thank and link back to the person giving you the award (see above)
-- Share seven things about yourself
-- Select 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award
-- Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award 

Hmm... seven things, eh? 

1) I once met Stan Lee in an elevator. He's a great guy, and has a lot of fantastic stories to share if you have the time to listen. We had a seat and a coffee and must've talked for hours. One of the high points of my life, really. 

2) I used to work in the comic book industry. Yeah, you can Google it, too. I used to work for a company called Studio Ironcat back in the late '90's, and left to go back to animation school. There was a whole hubbub about them after I left, none of it to do with me. The work was long and the pay was shit, but I got to meet a lot of people at cons across the country and see a lot of things. One of the perks was:

3) A rich manga artist flew me to Japan just because he wanted to meet me. Really. Masaomi Kanzaki paid for my ticket and everything. When the day came to go meet him, his
accountant picked us up in his BMW (Kanzaki's) and drove us to the three houses he owned, which were side-by-side on the same Tokyo street. Kanzaki was (and is) insanely talented and a really, really cool guy. 

4) I'm a published author.  Back during the mid-90's I wrote Canadian gaming company Dream Pod 9. Source material for their Heavy Gear line that got spread across 5 or six books. Yes, they paid in Canadian money, so I was, at the time, being paid less than an author made in the US. 

5) I once ate a $500 meal for free. The creative director at my last job and I were walking around DC trying to find a restaurant to do my performance review in when we saw an Italian restaurant where an empty store had been the week before. Apparently they were doing a "soft launch" for their shareholders, and we blundered in thinking the place was open. We ended up ordering the best of the menu and not having to pay a nickel. We still tipped our waiter. 

6) I started blogging to keep myself sane and alive. Originally I wrote a lot as a hobby, generally short stories that no one else would ever see. I was going through a tough time in 2009, having lost a job and life that I was just carving out and, well, going crazy with depression. I figured I needed something to occupy my mind and energies whilst looking for a job, instead of dwelling on personal failures.  To make a long story short, I started photographing models and writing about them to stay busy, because you can't continue on like that, and it grew into this. The online community is amazing. See the best of it, and tune out the worst, because the sense of fellowship you get from other hobbyists, for me, is just like being back in school. So, when you see those sappy "thank you" posts from me, I mean it, because blogging, in part, saved me. 

7) I once served cocktails and hors d'ouevres to Colin Powell. Until recently, my father owned a catering business, and he catered a few dinners at Richard Armitage's home. Along with several other foreign dignitaries, including the Prime Minister of Jordan, and Caspar Weinberger, there was then-General Colin Powell. He's taller in person. 

So apparently the Stylish Award has  spread out through the community like wildfire, so I'm sure I've posted a lot of these after they have, in fact, already gotten one. In fact, it looks like Col. Corbane, Admiral Drax, Klaus Fischer and Dave Taylor are taken, icons that they are. Well anyway, here goes:

1) Propnomicon is a site focusing on Lovecraftian horror, specifically props inspired by, from around the blogosphere. Ever wanted to see an actual Necronomican or a sample of some edritch horror preserved in a jar? Take a look, because these things are amazing. 

2) Blight Wheel MIniatures: You may have known him as Big Daddy the Living Ancestor. He's responsible for the cool Knight Titan models that have been making their way around, as well as the Staghound-4 trucks and other vehicles you've see on Dave Taylor's site. He's getting ready to start his own miniatures company, and is turning out some beautiful kits for production. You're missing out if you don't stop by and look at his stuff. 

3) Ricalopia apparently has the same virus I do, because he can't stop converting things. I'm pretty sure his hands detach and work on models when he's asleep, too, because some of his work is just out there. 

4) Everybody knows Brian at A Gentleman's Ones, right? His Killzone tables are some if the best terrain I've ever seen, bar none. Besides being a fantastic modeler, Brian's a real stand-up guy who's done some really thoughtful and inspiring posts. 

5) Love him or hate him, Stelek at Yes the Truth Hurts is a straight shooter, and his advice will change the way you play 40k. If you're stuck on some point of the game or need to get your list working the way you want it, drop him a line and listen to what he has to say. 

6) Have you been over to Mordian 7th yet? He has loads of nice conversions, including more than a few Adeptus Mechanicus units, and really knows how to set up a gaming table. Check him out if you haven't yet. 

7) Tears of Envy's is a fascinating look into the alternative side of London and points beyond.   An extraordinarily talented designer in her own right, she's done work for John Blanche and Mantic Games, among others. Visit her site and plumb the depths of the archives; you won't be disappointed at the 

8) Nyhil over at Ten Inch Template burst onto the scene with some really nice Traitor Guard conversions, and segued into a wicked cool DE Skaven army without batting an eye. 

9) Oniakki has been doing some nice casting work over at Spirestone Wastes. His latest work involves some nice Space Hulk style starship corridors. 

10) Lokman Lam is an amazing artist that's done concept work for several miniatures companies, most notably Kingdom Death

Thanks again to MasterDarkSol Brian for the nomination, and my best to all the bloggers out there. A score of other people in my blogroll didn't make this list, but check them out just the same. There are a lot of gems out there on the interwebz, and the above listed really only scratch the surface. 

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Commissions: Dark Eldar Fighter

You'll recall seing WIP pics of this before Mecha Month started. When the client ordered a set of keel blades and other knifey bits from the Raider sprue, they really brought the model together. I'm only sorry weren't any good bits to use as missiles, but oh well. It has a really sleek, pod-fighter feel to it, now. 

Did I mention how awesome Dragon Forge flight bases are? Because they're awesome. All I had to do was stick a rare earth magnet in there to secure the fighter, and away we go. I may have to start on an air force for my AdMech army.

The Eldar Falcon was hell to cut apart, and even worse to trim down with all those curilinear surfaces. One of the ideas I'd had was to mate the two halves together and make a delta-wing style craft, but the thing looked too much like a Jedi Starfighter, and this one has a lot more of a mean, weaponised look to it, while keeping the lines of a racer. Those keel blades really set off the design, though, especially the rudders on the main drives:

There's also a set of large blades underneath, coming off of the nacelles, which the craft sits on when it lands. Yes, they'd dig into soft ground and sink the whole craft, but what the hey, the thing probably moors in a claw at Comorrach, and they probably never land when on a raid. You can see them better in the front-on pic: 

Yes, the thing ended up looking a little like the Batwing. Somehow that's more acceptable to me than the Jedi Fighter. Looking at those underside blades,  I'm sure the crazy-ass pilot goes skimming along through crowds at ground level, too. Of course, you're risking getting the fighter caught on, say, a tank, but no one accused the Dark Eldar of being safety nuts. 

Arguably, you wouldn't need big blade rudders when you have thrust-vectoring flaps on your engine nozzles, but they really unite the design and tie it in to the rest of the Dark Eldar fleet. Plus, without them the ship's a little control surface-light, and I wanted it to feel really nimble. 

He got a box of Kaballites, too, and some Wyches and Incubi to round things out. I wish I could have spent some time to take detailed pictures of them, but I finished them on game night, and had just spray-enamelled them before getting ready to meet the client there. 

I really love the new Wych sprue. They're really excellent sculpts for plastics, although those one-legged running poses are really, really fragile. I can see them breaking off in the transport case, but luckily, that's not my problem. Some of their weapons are a little too frail too, such as the chain-like razor flail mini. Again, it looks nice, but how long can it last being transported around? I guess it's good that he does a lot of hosting and not many away games. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

GOT HIM!!!!!

What a way to end Mecha Month. I was going to post some last-minute conversions, but fuck that. Osama Bin Laden's fucking dead. I'm only sorry W didn't get him instead of President Do-Nothing. I'm sure he'll appear to claim all the credit for the CIA/Military's hard work soon enou-- son of a GUN there he is, interrupting CSI-Miami. That was quick. 

Oh well, no sense looking a gift horse in the mouth. 

Cue the music, fellas. Drinks are on me.