Friday, October 15, 2010

Got Colour Shapers?

For anyone out there who does any amount of sculpting in their armies - even just simple gap-filling, here's what I want you to do:

Step 1: Go and buy yourself some colour shapers.
Step 2: Go home and be amazed at how much they improve your sculpting.
Step 3: Send me rewards and money for changing your life! (Or at least a nice comment below).

I'm quite serious about Steps 1 and 2 - Step 3 is optional, but feel free to do it anyway!

These things are amazing, and I can't believe I got by without them before. And before you ask - no, I don't work for the company that makes them!

Essentially they look like a paintbrush, but instead of bristles they sport rubber tips of varying softness, shapes and sizes. The rubber means that your sculpting medium (such as Green Stuff) won't stick to it. At all (well, unless you use a very high ratio of yellow to blue). This allows the nice, smooth, shiny result you see people come up with in their sculpts. They come in soft (which have white tips) and firm (which have grey tips), which I'll mention in a second.

The same company also makes what they call Clay Shapers, which are the same thing but with very firm tips (which are black).

I have a range of shapes, with a couple of very firm shapers, a couple of firm and a few soft. I use the very firm ones to get the putty where I want it on the model and sculpt the basic shape I'm after. Next, the firm ones are used to add finer detail (such as folds in the cloth). Finally, if some details are too sharp, I use the soft shapers to lightly brush over the putty and smooth it out.

Using just these, I can get the basic sort of shapes I'm after. If I need to do finer detail, I do this with my metal tools - I bought Gale Force 9's sculpting kit which, although quite expensive, does come with a spiffy case. My girlfriend tells me it makes me look like a psychopathic dentist, about to torture people:

Anyway, that's how I do my sculpting - you can see some of my examples here (Death's Head veteran), here (Commissar's peak cap) and here (Counts-as Marbo).

I've still got a long way to go before I get really good, but it certainly helps to have the right tools for the job!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Death's Head Veteran Squad - First Member

Not feeling like painting the other night, I got to work on the first of member of my second veteran squad. After seeing these great stormtroopers by jdteixeira over at the Work In Progress forums, I've been wanting to use the idea of Necron Warrior heads for a while - a veteran squad felt like the perfect time to break them out!

He's got a shotgun I converted up as described in this guide, and a bit of green stuffing and plasticard work as well. The Necron Warrior heads need a bit of sculpting as they have no neck, and I bulked out the rear of the heads to look like fully-enclosed helmets. Let me know what you think! The bandolier was made in a similar way to the shell holder on the side of the shotgun. I had to repair the forearm as well, because it is the sergeant's arm from the troop box and removing the insignia just left a flat area that didn't look right.

This squad will probably go together quite slowly, as I want to make painting what I've already built my priority for the time being. I'll be adding updates as they get done though!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Yet Another Commissar - WIP

It's probably not a secret any more, but I really love painting Commissar models! They're one of the things that drew me to the Guard in the first place, and I like the unique personality they possess - it really makes them stand out from the ranks of Guardsmen. I've got 2 Commissars already done, but I'd been doing some minor sculpting for my shotgun conversions, and with the left over Green Stuff from these sessions I came up with this:

Now this idea certainly isn't mine - I first saw this beautiful example on Coolminiornot. Having a spare metal commander model (it's from the old Cadian Command Squad box) I decided to have a go at this conversion!

This is one of my few attempts at sculpting something other than a basic shape, so I decided to break it down into several steps and let each bit dry before I moved on to the next. It basically went as a cylinder on top of his head, then the basic peak cap shape. This ended up being too flat on top, so I added some more bulk to give a bit more of a sense of his head being there. I also sculpted the eagle symbol at this stage.

Once that was done, I added the brim, and when that was dry I finished it off with the braid above the brim, and glued on some thin slivers from plasticard rod at each end of the braid.

Let me know what you think! I'll paint him up at some point and show it off here, but I've got a lot more urgent things to do at this stage!