Lets Make Bases

My favorite basing technique over the last year or so has been to sculpt a surface directly onto a base prior to attaching the model.  This is similar to other basing techniques that I have written about, but rather than gluing a tall bit of material onto the base, I add details to a thin layer of greenstuff or other 2-part putty.  This technique is a bit (only a bit) more time consuming than gluing on layers of rock, cork, or super-sculpy, but allows for much greater control in the design of the base.  This is also a great way to get a handle on the properties of greenstuff if you are just starting out as a sculptor.

One of the excellent things about putting the time in to really craft your miniature’s bases is that it gives you another way to tell their story to the viewers.  The Eldar that I have been working on are scouring a rusted wasteland of a planet in a region littered by centuries of wreckage and scrap.  Having a distinct idea about the environment that your minis are in can add a lot to the miniature itself.

Here are some of the tools and materials needed for this project. Note that the primary sculpting tool will be a dulled and polished hobby knife blade. This thing is not sharp at all. Its great for creating deep divots or lines in putty.
When I do these bases I like to mix greenstuff, but add some super sculpy to the putty as I mix it. This changes it’s sculpting properties slightly. I only add about 10-20% to the full volume of the putty. So long as the sculpy is less than either the blue or yellow component of the putty, it should set just fine. The resulting mixed putty is slightly softer and stickier. Great for adding the rough type of detail we will need later.
Smooth the putty out across the base. Don’t worry too much about overlap. That will get cut off later. Start breaking up the surface of the putty with some bold lines. The position of these lines will only be determined by experience. Play around with it, find what you like the best. Keep in mind you can always press out the lines and start again if they don’t look the way you like.
Join the lines here and there to create a broken surface, not unlike a dry creek-bed. You could stop here and add some fine sand to get an interesting looking base. With these I kept going…
Using the handle of a clay shaper or paint brush (or whatever you have laying around) press in some indents to break up the smooth surface of the putty. I would alternate the angle that I was using to make a natural and random pattern.
Using the tip of the same handle I created pits in the surface of the putty. This finalized the dry rocky ground look I was going for.
One of the things I like about this form of basing is that you can integrate as much detail as you like. In this case I am trying to capture the feeling of a wreckage strewn wasteland. Here I pressed a bit of a model into the putty to give the impression of some steel emerging from the dusty ground.
Once the putty has fully set, carefully do any edge trimming with a sharp hobby knife blade. This step is optional and I didn’t do it on every base, depending on how much putty was spread around.
Here is an example of a base that has been painted and slightly weathered. The next steps are to paint the base edges and to add weathering powder once the mini is attached. When attaching the mini I do a shallow pin past the plastic of the base. This gives just enough strength to keep the two parts together. I don’t trust the paint to be a good surface to attach the mini to alone.
Here is a finished base with the mini attached.
Here are all the bases for the unit. These took a few hours to do including painting and set time.

 

I like making bases this way, especially if I am working on some other sculpting.  This gives me a way to use spare putty that would otherwise set up and go to waste.  Its also relaxing to work on these as the level of detail needed for them is not very fine.  Of course you could simply purchase some resin bases from one of the many manufactures out there.  If you want your own design or style, this is a great way to go about it.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section!

Warriors of Chaos: Return of the Prince & Chariots

There is a new Warriors of Chaos book out for Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  They have dragged me back in!  The good news is that this has motivated me to get back into some of the half-baked models that I created for previous incarnations of my WoC army.  Several of the previous conversions and sculpts that I created are going to get some attention, some new details, and finally… painted!  The two first items in the hopper will be the winged Tzeentch (sometimes Slannesh) Demonprince.  I love this model.  It’s one of my favorite creations and now with the new book actually has a great deal of utility in the game.  The flying Tzeentch DP was my MVP in the one game that I have played in the new army book.

One new item added to the book is the Gorebeast Chariot.  I have the perfect model for this unit!  When I initially got into doing WoC I determined that having chariots pulled by evil looking monsters would be fantastic, so I made this guy;

Apparently GW agreed with me and gave the warriors a new type of chariot.  This guy is going to get a bit of an overhaul.  New base, new riders (who don’t look like they are about to fall off the chariot) are going to happen.  I will probably add some more armor here and there to give the chariot some more meat.

It has been very satisfying to get back into the WoC, I am not going to lie.  It is also good to get back into this army and try to get it completed after many years!

Sculpting & modeling tips on Twitter


I will be posting quasi-weekly (occasionally I am away from the internet, yup) tips on things that I learned over the years about sculpting, modelling, and general hobby tips.  Follow me on Twitter, and keep an eye out for #SculptingModelingTip on posts.  If you have any questions about these tips, please feel free to message me here, or on Twitter!

Demon Prince, and new Chaos Warriors

With Adepticon right around the corner, I am busting my butt to get my chaos army wrapped up. Here are some new images of the converted chaos warriors, and the Demon Prince.

Demon Prince Sculpt

Demon Prince Sculpt

Demon Prince Sculpt

Demon Prince Sculpt

The Demon Prince is the first fully sculpted miniature I have created.  There is a GW head from the zombie kit stuck into the armor of the demon.  It represents the soul of demon’s final adversary, who’s defeat which triggered his final accent to demonhood.  It was very fun to design, and create, although it took forever to complete. The wings took an especially long time.

Chaos Warriors with halberds

Chaos Warriors with halberds

These are two different chaos warrior units armed with halberds. The center 4 warriors, including the standard bearer, and the musician are represented by the giant mutant, and the task master behind it (not pictured), whipping it to motivate its rush into combat.

Thanks to John at Plastic Legions for help with the photos!

Wings!

So this will be a bit of a tease of what is to come for the demonprince, at least until I can take some proper pics. These are the wings for the beastie. Its been interesting to build these, its required a lot of research. I’ve been checking out pics of bird wings (especially skeletons to get the proportions down), and looking at some of the different model wings that are on miniatures that I have. It is actually a great exercise to copy an existing miniature sculpt, and see how close you can get to the original.

Work in progress wing sculpt
Pardon the dag image. Phone-camera.

I decided to sculpt the wings myself partially because I wanted to see if I could meet the challenge, and I was having a hard time finding wings from another kit that were both the correct size, and a style that I liked. These are coming together really well, but man they take forever to sculpt! The feathers really come together when you get them done, but after doing about 1/4 of two wings, I am feeling winded! I suppose it will be good to give the putty time to cure. Getting a thumbprint into the middle of one of these would BLOW!

The other sculpting I have been doing this week has been a pair of folded up sails for a pirate ship! This has been another task of copying another model to some degree. John over at Plastic Legions is running a pirate game at Adepticon this year, and will have some kind of bad-ass pirate ship going on! I am chipping in by making some sails. Arrrrr.

Fixing the High Elf Spearman

*While in the process of trying to get some pics of some of my new Chaos creations, I decided to make live a draft of a post that I have been working on for a while.

I commonly hear people complain about the plastic High Elf Spearman kit. When you consider the bizarre proportions of the models that the kit makes, you can’t really blame folks.

I actually really like this kit. It needs a ton of loving before the models will look good, no doubt. The criticism that the proportions are way off is dead on, and is pretty much to blame for the cartoon look of the HE spearmen. If you address the proportions some, the models actually start to look pretty good. Here is my prototype for a High Elf Spearman.

High Elf Spearman Work In Progress

I did 3 distinct things to this model to get it to look better. The first thing to do was to add about 1-2 mm of waist length under the torso component. This was accomplished with a simple shaped wad of fresh greenstuff. If made much longer, I would need to pin the torso to the leg piece as well. The next step was to position the arms in a more natural, and interesting way. For some reason the GW stock kit makes the elf look like he is floating in an inner-tube in the water. The last thing was to add about 2 mm of length to the space between the foot and the bottom of their skirts. This helps the legs not look too short after the waist is adjusted. After this the proportions are better, not perfect, but better.

Obviously, I also added a lot of details to this model with putty. This captures the look I want for a High Elf soldier far better than the rather bland details the existing kit has. This is a matter of personal taste, not really a criticism of the GW kit. I also wanted their spears to be longer so I replaced the shaft of the plastic one with 1/16th” aluminum tubing.  Eventually the shield will receive a press mold applique.

As I said, I really do like this kit. I think it has a lot of flexibility in the ways that the models can be posed thanks to the way that most of the major body parts are their own piece. Some of the newer kits seem to be designed to lock into a particular position, and would be more difficult to vary their poses.  Oh, and I bet you are wondering what happened to his left foot.  He lost it in a de-basing accident.  It will give me an excuse to learn to sculpt elf kicks!

New Warriors (coming soon)

I have the base of 30+ new Chaos Warriors done. I need to add arms, and the final layer of armor. These guys have been MUCH easier to produce than the first 30. I suppose I learned a lot with the first set.

These guys are going to have halberds as their weapon of choice. I have to say that I was really happy to see that the halberd gained a bit more utility in 8th ed. WHFB. I really like the way that ranked up units with pole-arms look. The halberds are going to be created in a similar way to the ones that the chariot riders are carrying.

The centerpiece of each unit is going to be a particularly chaotic standard bearer, an overgrown, and savage mutant with the standard mounted into it’s back, to keep its amputated, weapon attached arms free to go at the enemy. This will be based on an Ogre model that looks like a cross between the chaos warriors themselves, and the trolls that I have done in the past. One of the inspirations for this model was the creepy, massive, Persian executioner from the movie 300. This guy will be mounted on a 50×50 base, along with one or two other chaos warriors (who will be holding chains to restrain the creature). This breaks up the form of the otherwise very regimented looking unit. This is something that I have seen other modelers do, especially with chaos mutants, and Orc units. I think its a great way to give a rank and file unit a bit more character.

I will post pics as soon as I can get an opportunity to take them!

Something new : IoB Painting Competition

There is a Island of Blood painting competition happening on the Waaghcast Forums. Images of work in progress are being shown throughout the competition, with the final submissions due December 1st. I decided to jump in on this to give me an excuse to work on something other than my Warriors of Chaos that isn’t an entire army. I’ve been good about staying on task with the Warriors, but changing it up some will be good, especially in the painting side of things where I feel I need more practice.

The plan is to make a small vignette of a skaven warp-fire thrower based on the plastic model from the Island of Blood box set. I will post my WIP shots here as they happen.