Sunday, March 19, 2017

R.I.P. Bernie Wrightson

Yet another one of my artistic influences has passed away, Bernie Wrightson died today due to complications from brain cancer.

His art will continue to inspire.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Rising Sun: Oni of Blood

The Rising Sun kickstarter just got underway and so I'm posting pictures of one of the two figures I did for the game, the "Oni of Blood."

Art by Adrian Smith

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Wrath of Kings: Kor Kallum (AKA: Winged Guy)

I think this guy was done sometime back in 2014 but I'm not sure. He's finally getting released soon and since they have released pictures of it I can post mine. Again, at the time I had no idea what the character was called so, "Winged Guy" was my personal reference for him as I sent progress updates when I was working on him.

This figure was an engineering challenge. There is a lot of detail elements going on behind him with his wings, spikes and his topknot and I had to make sure all those details are independent and do not interfere with each other. 

A bit of a blast from the past for me, I didn't know if this figure was ever going to get released so it was a surprise to see pictures of it popping up online this past week . Hope those of you who play WoK enjoy this!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

10 years as a freelance sculptor

I just realized that this is my 10 year anniversary as a freelance sculptor. I had sculpted figures for Privateer Press during my time there but I was doing more mold making while most of what I sculpted was on my off hours. But it wasn't until mid Dec ember of '06 that I decided to give up the hourly wage situation and sculpt full time.

Back in July/Aug of '06 I was employed through a temp agency at Nike working on the production line making soles for their new line of shoes that were going to be released in '07 but it turns out that the design didn't test well overseas and the line of workers they hired to meet the expected demand for the shoe began to progressively be cut back. About every week the management would tell us that the dwindling number of employees was because they were building a team of the best workers and those not there just didn't meet their standards and that there would be no more lay-offs and there was nothing to worry about. But every week there would be less workers and that same speech and by mid December I was the last of 5 workers hired out of an original 160-ish people (on my shift alone) when they announced the closing of the line. So, 2 weeks before Christmas I was unemployed and very unenthused about the upcoming job hunt.

But this actually coincided with the Dire Troll Mauler Extreme sculpts, (who is also celebrating his 10 year anniversary too,) purchase by Privateer Press. I had sculpted it during the summer, shown it to Jason Soles when we met up in October and got an email asking to buy it soon after. It was right about the same time I got laid-off that I received the check for the DTMX. I had asked my girlfriend how she felt about me doing sculpting as a freelancer instead of dealing with the buracracy of a regular job and she said to go for it. Luckily businesses have been employing me ever since.

I wanted to say, "Thank you" to all the miniature game projects and people who have enjoyed the work I have done and kept me employed this past decade and hopefully I can keep on doing this gig.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Massive Darkness: Reptisaurus Rex

I guess I lied, kind of? I got asked to do this guy after the campaign was over with and I had thought I had done everything there was for me to do with Massive Darkness so this was a surprise.

Sculpts like this end up being kind of odd when you start translating the foreshortening aspect of a 2D picture into 3D, Especially capturing the bulk of what is implied in the concept you begin to realize how thick the creature actually is.

  Finalized set...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What the hell is it? Part:4

I had hoped to have more done by now but I ran into a problem, and that is; the weather. Right now it's the hottest it's going to be all year and for about two weeks I can't get any work done because the heat makes the putty too soft. When you start getting into the 90 degree or more zone for temperature it can change the texture of the putty as well as dry it out. The heat spiked so quickly that it actually began to damage some of my works in progress I had on my table, including this one. I had to wait until it cooled down a bit so I could repair the sculpt. After I had everything fixed I popped it into the oven to lock it all in place. I do this normally so I don't accidentally jab a finger into what I've already worked on and it also makes a solid foundation to support all the upper body's weight but I thought I was going to have a bit more time to play around with the details. Oh well, I can still add stuff later.

I've decided to give him the obligatory mechanical arm mostly because it will give me a chance to show how I do some of the mechanical work for things like pistons and armor. I've got a rough idea of where this is heading but we'll see. I might change my mind along the way.

The Technical Stuff!

1: Mid-line baking; As mentioned before I do this to both help support what I will do next and prevent me from ruining what I have done already. Most of my sculpts get baked about 3-4 times at least but I don't want to overdo it as excessive baking can scorch the Fimo and damage the figure. This is also the core reason I start from the bottom up, it will support all the upper weight without worrying about collapsing.

2: Aluminum and Brass rods; amazingly helpful material to have! You can get this from many R/C hobby shops, normally there is a cardboard standee with all different gauges and diameters and normally the smaller sized rods fit snugly inside the next size ups interior allowing you to make telescoping details and layered effect. Because it's soft it can be cut with a hobby knife and filed with fine tooth hobby files.

The shoulder is going to be made from a mass of pistons and levers with hoses and wires wrapped about it. In this picture you can see the beginning of the levers which were made from Aluminum tubes of various sizes as well as brass for the actual flange-like coupler for the shoulder. The outermost lever of the shoulder is supported by a piston that is sandwiched between two support struts. The struts were made from Magic Sculpt which I use for a majority of my armor details. It is a 2-part epoxy that is hard as hell once dried. On top of that, if you heat treat it (about 150 degrees) it makes it even harder. I mixed some up and flattened it out then placed it in the oven for about 15 minutes, after that I can sand and file it to the shape I need.

I'll probably be focusing on the mechanical arm next (the hot weather won't mess that up at least) before moving on to the rest so probably next update will have more Aluminum work in it.

Thanks again for checking this out and if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What the hell is it? Part:3

I'm beginning to think I should start labeling these entries like 80's horror movies. You know; What the hell is it? Part III - 3D or Dream Warriors or something like that. Anyway, getting into the details...

It evolves! It becomes! It is not I who am crazy! It is I who am MAD!

You can begin to see the details I am inflicting upon this poor wad of putty, an asymmetrical fashion design with lots of layers. (I don't know, can you see that?) I decided to avoid a general, specific idea for this guy and make him as eclectic as I possibly can. To do that it's important to be influenced...

At this stage what's needed for me is visuals. Don't get me wrong, I love a good story, (in fact I can get pretty unreasonable about that,) but I usually play something in the background that has some kind of influence on my personal sculpting to help get me in the mood. It's not the story but more that, if I glance up from my project something interesting is happening on the screen. You know; "Visual." For this I decided to go for some of the more eye-popping things I could think of; Terry Gilliam and Brian Froud seemed like excellent spring boards to leap from and I love me some George Miller for unique ideas. So I pulled out a bunch of my inspirational media for a push.

New tools to pay attention to and I can't believe I didn't include them into the usual suspects. Glass plates, caliper and probe. The glass plates are key for acting as a pallet for the putty, it allows you to roll tubes by putting a sausage of Fimo on the plate and rolling out an even length between the two plates or to squash the putty flat so you can use it for lengths of fabric or just to keep your Fimo handy. Very helpful. The caliper is a great assist in making sure you get symmetry between left and right aspect of the sculpt are close. In this case it was the length and width of the feet. The probe is... (wait for it...) A "probe" from an animal dissection kit. Yeah... Just think about why I would have something like that for a second...

The glass plates are from a drink coaster set I got from a craft store. Apparently the marketing idea was that you could put photo's of you and your family in the coaster and while guests drink beverages they could look at pictures of you while you served the drinks. Does that sound... Sane to you? I re-purposed them and now they assist me in my monster-making endeavors. If you want a tool like this you need to find something that is thick and putty will not stick to. The ones I am using are 10mm thick and have beveled edges, not sure where to get them so keep an eye out. Don't get something that's going to crack if you put pressure on it or cut you up when you touch it. Also, if you are using Fimo, DO NOT USE ABS PLASTICS as Fimo will melt it. The caliper is from a drafting tool kit, (Yes, I have drafting / architecture schooling but only at a high school level) and it's one of those tools that you won't use a lot but you'll be happy if you have it. Again, RE-PURPOSED! The probe is pretty much just a needle or pin wedged into the end of a wooden dowel. You can make your own for real cheap but keep in mind that mine IS from an actual dissection kit... Oh, yeah.

The Technical Stuff!

Because I sculpt big I found that starting at the bottom and feet, in most cases, works best. You can't build a house without laying a solid foundation and I need to make sure whatever I sculpt above the waistline will be supported by what's below. So I start at the bottom.

The knee pad was done separately, I have a collection of aluminum tubing and brass rod for various uses. I highly suggest checking this product out, you can find it in your hobby store usually in the RC plane section. I took the caliper, measured the knee and found a piece of tubing that was roughly the same width and sculpted on that instead of the figure. This helps prevent me from mashing-up or deforming the musculature / detail underneath.

Another reason I do this is because it allows me to focus on a specific part of the figure and if I want a piece of detail to really pop out this is how I do it. Things like belt straps and fabric folds are more organic and conform to the shape of the figure and can be sculpted directly on the figure but armor pieces need to look like chunks of metal strapped to a fleshy appendage. Metal beats flesh so the armor pieces that I am sculpting need to look the part which is why I treat them as their own entities.

Here are some close-ups of the foot detail including the knee pad attached to the left leg. Folds and straps for the various effects were done by smashing Fimo between two glass plates until thin. Then I cut them up with the hobby knife to get the sharp edges in the putty, remove them from the glass pallets and arrange them so the sharp edges are where you would expect to see something like that. In this case, the edges of quarters or tongue in the boots or anywhere I needed to show separations of fabric.

I'll cover things like screws and rivets later, maybe next post. Again, if you have questions let me know.