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Redemptionists (4) – Making A Display Base

Screaming Trees ‘Change Has Come’ 

I’ve finished the model of Karloth Valois – I wanted to depict him as an itinerant Wyrd, before becoming the Underhive’s premier super-villain:

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So, on with the base.

This is still a work in progress, but as it might take a fair bit of time to complete the detailing, it seems worthwhile to at least demonstrate the basics of creating a display base.

It’s helpful to plan it out, and make a mock-up version, using cheap material – such as cereal box card – before beginning the final model; as this allows you to chop and change your ideas as necessary, without wasting costly material.

I made a sketch, based on some of the old, scratch-built Necromunda scenery, which appeared in the original release of the game:

005Obviously, this is not high-art; just a quick record of your ideas. It’s only ever a matter of personal taste; but I think that a straightforward idea is better than an overly elaborate one. Partly because if you’re not careful, the base can over-power the miniatures; but partly because otherwise it ends up absorbing most of your time and effort.

First, the mock version – getting an idea of the size needed:

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Make templates:

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Use these to transfer the design to foamcard:

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The initial mock-up:

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At this stage, it looked a bit bland and static; so I decided to make the bridge the focal point of the setting:

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The bulkheads were turned into the bridge’s legs – to make them look a bit more robust, add beams made from sprues/rhinestones:

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As well as pipes, made from plastic rod/tubing:

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The foamcard hills were a bit flimsy; so I made versions out of corkboard:

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Attached to the actual base – this was just a spare off-cut of wood I had lying around; you should be able to buy something cut to order if needed, either online or from a timber merchant:

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These were then blended into the base by stippling them with wood-putty:

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Then using PVA/sand to cover the remainder of the base:

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Once this has dried, give it several thin coats of watered down PVA (about five parts water to one part PVA).

I made the bridge’s platform from foamcard:

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This was supposed to be an old, damaged bridge in the Underhive – so cut it to shape, and use brass rod to keep the pieces attached:

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This was set to be overlaid with plasticard – to cut it to the same size, it’s helpful to use small dots of bluetack in order to prevent the metal ruler slipping around on the plastic:

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I wanted to make a cracked concrete effect, so cut two pieces of plasticard to the same size:

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To make the broken concrete effect, cut the plasticard into cracked parts:

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Then trim these a bit with a craft knife, before gluing them down:

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I also used some old chicken-wire, to represent damage:

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As you can see in the middle of the section, I then attached some bits of foamcard/plasticard to represent broken up slabs of concrete:

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It needs detailing; plus I’m not sure whether to make the water element dynamic or stagnant – but that’s the foundation, at any rate.

Redemptionists (3) – Using Greenstuff

The Lilys ‘Coby’

Greenstuff is a two-part epoxy resin, which can be used to fill gaps, or sculpt details onto models. It’s also quite tricky to work with, if you’re not used to it. So, I thought it might be helpful to make a beginner’s guide to the basics of sculpting with greenstuff.

Firstly though, epoxy resin is toxic – although it’s unlikely anyone reading this is inclined to eat it, it can provoke an allergic reaction in some people when handled. It’s also advisable not to leave it lying around, where it can get into the wrong hands or paws. It takes several hours to fully cure – and it’s best to leave it overnight to be sure.

When you buy it, it comes as a bar of epoxy and hardener:

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You then remove some of this in equal parts:

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And knead it together to create green….stuff:

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You can then remove small pieces, as required:

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It’s a good idea to use a bit of water both when kneading epoxy putty, and while working with it, in order to prevent it becoming too sticky. If you want to sculpt detail with it, it’s helpful to leave it for c. 10-20 minutes to harden a bit, as that way tools leave an indent in the surface, rather than changing the overall shape of the putty.

I only really use it for two purposes: filling gaps; and adding small details. I am also pretty rubbish at sculpting, so I avoid being too ambitious. As a rule though, it’s best to avoid making sculpted details too elaborate, as you may not be able to paint them.

What I would recommend is two general principles – building up the putty in several thin layers, rather than a single thick one; being patient and gentle with the pressure you apply to the putty.

These are the tools I generally use – candle carving tools and dental tools: 

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Colour-shapers:

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The smaller variety of these can be very expensive – but the larger ones are fairly cheap; and can be bought from art and craft stores, or ebay. Although the small versions are costly, they are extremely useful. They’re silicone-tipped tools, which can be used to smooth putty out and push it around, more easily than any other sculpting device.

Finally – a craft knife, ball stylus tools, and the humble cocktail stick:

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Filling gaps is fairly straightforward. The main tool I used here was the cup-round colour shaper:

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There was a deep gap between the right arm and the body – so I filled it in two stages. First, putting a small foundation-layer of putty in the gap:

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Then when that had hardened, applying a second layer, and smoothing this out to be flush with the surrounding plastic:

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Slightly more advanced, I decided to cover the gap between the knees and the body by sculpting cloth onto the legs:

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First a strip of putty is put on:

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It’s then smoothed into place using the colour shaper:

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As you can see, there was a small hairline in the putty, where the two ends of the original piece were joined:

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So it was smoothed out using the colour shaper:

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Because it’s a fairly ragged type of material you’re sculpting, it doesn’t have to be too precise:

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More challenging was the Scavvy model, as the conversion meant it was missing the front half of the tabbard. Again, this was sculpted in two stages – first, a foundation layer, which was flattened into place using one of the bladed sculpting tools:

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Then add a second layer:

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I then used the ball-stylus to add details:

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It was finished by gluing a shoulder plate into place:

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The Scaly needed scales adding to it. So, first make some small balls of greenstuff:

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Place one of these onto the model:

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Flatten it out:

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Then straighten the edges a bit:

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Repeat as needed:

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Done.

Redemptionists (2)

Muttonbirds ‘Nature’ 

 

I decided to expand the Redemptionists into a diorama; depicting the last stand of Karloth Valois. If you’re unfamiliar with Necromunda, Karloth Valois is the Underhive’s arch villain – a Necromantic nomad, who gravitated towards Scavvies; and was chased into the abyss by Redemptionists. Afterwards, he was rumoured to resurface, evasively; with an entourage of plague zombies.

The background story makes him a faintly sympathetic figure, persecuted by the intolerant fanaticism of the Redemption; while the original model was a bit camp. I wanted to turn this around, and make a more sinister version of Valois; and depict the Redemptionists as the heroes of the piece, having chased Valois down to his lair.

I’ve assembled the Scavvy retinue – I was just going to modify several Chaos cultists, as they look like generic Necromunda gangers; but thought that making a Scaly would add more character:

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In the original game, Scalies were armed with crudely-built spear guns – so I converted the main body and weapon from an Ork Nob:

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You can see the alterations:

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To make a rope for the harpoon, I used some copper wire, which came with some plant labels:

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Put two strands into a pin vice, then twist the pin vice around as if you were drilling with it:

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It then turns into plaits:

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Copper wire is a particularly easy type of material to use; but it can be expensive – florist’s wire would probably work just as well.

The almost-finished Scaly:

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It needs some actual scales adding with greenstuff, but otherwise done.

Redemptionists (1)

Holst ‘Jupiter’

I’ve been interested in the Blanchitsu-themed models that sites such as Ironsleet, Legion of Plastic, and the Convertorum – amongst others – have been making for a while now. Mostly these are kit-bashed Inquisitor warbands; which explore the narrative background of the Warhammer 40,000 universe – often inspired by John Blanche’s sketches and paintings.

I’m not so keen on the Inquisition as a theme, but I like the Necromunda artwork and setting; so decided to make a small project based on the Underhive. I made a previous diorama based on the Scavvies last year; so in this case, decided to make a group of their arch foes – the Redemptionists.

The initial idea for this was just to create a figure based on the old Klovis The Redeemer model; but I figured such a Quixotic personality needs a Sancho Panza-esque henchman. Or two. Then I finally decided to create a small Necromunda gang.

What I thought might be helpful for anyone new to complex modelling is to go through the basic stages of kitbashing – from cleaning and assembling bits and pieces, to using greenstuff (i.e. epoxy putty) to fill gaps, and then making a display base.

Tools needed:

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Safety goggles – really only needed when clipping wire to pin pieces together. A razor saw – for making accurate cuts through thicker plastic parts. Precision tweezers. A needle file. Pin vices (you only really need one, but this saves having to change the drill bits constantly between different diameters). Plastic-clippers. A modelling knife – which I forgot to include in this picture; but this is the one I use:

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Superglue/plastic cement:

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Blu-tack is also invaluable when test-fitting pieces.

A bitzbox is a good investment to have, in general. It doesn’t need to be anything special – I just use this type due to the large number of odds and ends I have, as it saves a lot of time when looking for something specific:

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I don’t have a particularly creative imagination, so I tend to rely on trial and error when constructing models around whatever vague vision I have – although it’s always helpful to forage around the internet, either for art or other peoples’ versions of similar models, to help your own ideas take shape.

These were the pieces gathered together, to create the central character – the Redemptor Priest:

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Parts from Empire flagellants, various Adeptus Mechanicus figures, along with imperial guard kits. As noted, this really is just a case of trying things out, blu-tacking them together, and seeing what works.

To make the Redemptor Priest, I removed the torso from a flagellant body, using the razor saw:

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Then used the torso from an Adeptus Skitarii – I decided to leave the gaps in the cloak, as it looks more dynamic:

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For the head, I used a chaos cultist and a flagellant. Remove the arm from the cultist

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Then remove the hair, using a modelling knife:

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I cut the brazier off the flagellant’s head using the razor saw, then attached these together:

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Book from the Empire Battle Wizard’s kit; right arm from a flagellant:

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To make the left arm, I used an Adeptus Mechanicus power claw:

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And the Imperial Guard sentinel chainsaw:

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These were both cut and then attached as you can see:

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The necklace was at the wrong angle; so to get it contoured properly, I held the model above a tealight candle to soften the plastic, which was then pushed into place with the tweezers:

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To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend this, as it’s easy to melt the plastic, and damage it; but haven’t yet figured out a different method to soften it.

This figure didn’t require being pinned together, but one of the henchmen did. When drilling a few bits of plastic, a regular pin vice is fine; but if you want to drill through metal – or you’re working on something which requires a lot of drilling – it may be worth buying a pin vice which has a comfort-grip, as your hands can cramp-up quite badly.

However, these were the pieces used to make the henchman’s body – a Skaven Plague Monk:

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A Vampire Counts Zombie:

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Firstly, remove the legs from both models – and drill where you will attach the separate pieces:

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The large hole in the centre here isn’t needed for the modelling, just for mounting the finished model on a cork to hold when it’s being painted:

026Cut some short lengths of wire:

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Superglue the wire into the leg; then when that’s dried, attach it to the body:

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When completed:

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The bell had some scuffed areas, which often happens when removing plastic bits from sprues:

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Giving it a quick file smooths it out:

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My nails don’t look very clean here, I have to say. Anyway, the completed henchman – using a vulture from the Warhammer Giant kit to finish it off. This was really just to balance the model out a bit, given the lurching stance of the figure; but it also adds to the grim character of the model:

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The finished Redemptionist gang:

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I will make a tutorial on using greenstuff, next.

Space Hulk Diorama (19) – Done!

New Order ‘In A Lonely Place’ 

Finally complete:

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I’m going to take a short break for what remains of the Summer; and then hopefully start a small Blanchitsu-esque project.

Space Hulk Diorama (18) – Librarian Finished

Panda Riot ‘Like Flowers At Night’

The Librarian is finished, at long last – barring any further need for adjustments; as the red colour on the book page may not work out:

 

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Probably the last update before this diorama is finally completed, though.

 

Worth a look

Death Guard Plague Marines (Simon Modrow)

Deathwatch marines (Watching Paint Dry)

Painting Don Quixote (Coloured Dust)

Iron Empire Jet Girl (Serpentarium)

Photos of the month (Boston Globe)

 

Space Hulk Diorama (17) – Painting Object Source Lighting

Meat Puppets ‘Scum’ 

I’ve nearly finished the Librarian figure, with only the freehand designs to go. I usually leave these until last, as they tend to be quite painstaking. The colours haven’t come out quite right in the photographs, particularly on the face, but nevermind:

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I decided to paint the staff with a glowing effect – i.e. object source lighting. It has an odd, intricate design sculpted onto it; and wasn’t cast especially well on this model. Normally OSL is best achieved with drybrushing, but it wouldn’t be possible here – so instead, the technique just involves highlighting with increasingly bright layers as normal, but then glazing over each of these with the previous colour, to blend it together.

These were the colours used:

044Firstly, it was basecoated black:

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I then painted the swirly lines grey – purely because it made them easier to see:

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Paint the lines with Vallejo Air Colour Blue:

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Glaze over the staff with a thin mix of the same colour, VAC blue:

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Layer – Andrea Blue:

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Glaze over the lines with another thin layer of VAC blue:

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Highlight – Lothern Blue:

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Glaze the blue lines with Andrea Blue:

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Highlight – Lothern Blue + Pale Grey Blue (c. 1:2 ratio):

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Highlight with pale grey blue, in selective areas – such as corners/tips:

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I then glazed the whole staff with several thin layers of VAC blue; before finishing with another glaze – this time, using diluted Asurmen blue; as it has a slightly satin effect, which makes the main area of the staff look black again, rather than grey:

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Done.

Unfortunately, I’m not very imaginative; and haven’t quite figured out the freehand designs yet. Once they’re done though, the diorama will be finished, save for a few minor tweaks here and there.