Friday, 31 October 2014

Grot Orderly of the Bad Moonz Clan [Completed]

Once when I was young, I momentarily harboured the idea of pursuing a career in medicine. Then, I asked myself if I was truly willing to dedicate my entire live towards the service of the poor and sick. Ashamedly, my answer was no. I couldn't reconcile between my selfish desires to live a normal life with lots of family time and that of a selfless health care worker. So to me, nothing is more horrifying than health care workers who kill patients with their ineptitude and indifference. This brings me to my piece for this year's Halloween, a bumbling Grot Orderly who calls himself Baldrick Greenadder. 

Meet Baldrick Greenadder, grot orderly extraordinaire and assistant to the Ork Painboy
With so much blood on him, things don't seem to be going too well for the patients
If your health care worker has this expression on his or her face ... run

Because I couldn't really make out all the items that were placed on Baldrick's surgical tray, I had to make things up as I went along. Hopefully you can spot some of the items listed below:
1. Magnet - For pulling out those hard to reach bullets;
2. Surgical knife - For slicing and dicing those damaged parts away;
3. Rusted blades - For initiating a medical procedure the orks lovingly call Gangrene-sectomy;
4. Piece of dirty cloth - For bandaging wounds as orks believe dirt helps initiate blood clotting;
5. Metal rods - For when all else fails, it doesn't hurt to poke around for a solution. 

Can you spot the surgical knife, magnet, spare blades, extra cloth and some pokey things on the tray?

Baldrick's cloths were painted in a colour that you would usually see in a human health care worker while some yellow bands of cloth were added to indicate where the Grot Orderly's loyalty lies i.e. the Bad Moonz Clan. The only other clothing on him were the bandages which had some blood effects painted on them using, for the first time in my miniature paint works, the Tamiya Clear Red X-27.  

Baldrick seems to have a lot of arterial blood on his work clothes ... not good
Grot Orderly's pants were painted in the colours of a hospital orderly's attire

One key challenge I faced when painting the Grot Orderly was trying to make the liquid in the syringe look realistic. Though I can't say if I truly managed that, it was my first try at painting a liquid inside a clear container so I certainly hope to get better at it in the future. The liquid is blue in colour because Orks use a human drug called Viagra which serves like a shot of adrenalin for them.

Is that a liquid solution of Viagra in the syringe?
Thin line of highlight was applied to simulate reflection of a cylinder glass syringe
Side view (right) of the Grot Orderly

I hope you liked meeting Baldrick Greenadder. But I hope too for your sake you never have to meet one yourself whether in-spirit or in-real-life. Happy Halloween and go give yourself a good scare.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Setting the tone for my Mother of Dragons

In the Nocturna Models Enchantment figure, I finally found a miniature that could be effectively used as a proxy for Daenerys Targaryen, a major character in my Game of Thrones project. To ensure she retains the spirit of the Mother of Dragons, I am limiting colours I can use to those worn by actress Emilia Clarke when she played the character in the HBO TV series, from Seasons 1 to 4 so far. To further complicate matters, I am attempting to achieve a very light pastel colour scheme overall.

Nocturna Models Enchantment, early work-in-progress

Having previously struggled with very light pastel colours, I was particularly pleased with the subtle highlights and shadows that I managed to convey on her long loose sleeves and bustier. Shadows and highlights on her upper clothing saw some of the smoothest colour transitions I have managed to date. That might not be saying much but it's still a huge personal achievement for little old me.   

Light pastel turquoise with bright highlights and subtle shadows
Crevices in Enchantment's headgear await a yet-to-be-decided dark shadow colour

Meanwhile, the crevices in Enchantment's headger actually requires a further (and darker) shade of shadow. But I have yet to decide on the shadow's hue. At the moment, I am torn between dark turquoise and a greenish blue grey. I am leaving it unpainted for now as I should get a better sense of which shadow colour is more suitable once I have painted articles of clothing near the headgear. 

Colours used to mix the shadows, midtones and highlights; white (not shown) was added to the final highlight

To obtain the light pastel turquoise mid-tone, I used a mixture of Vallejo Model Color Sky Blue and Yellow Green while various amounts of Deep Sky Blue and/or Light Turquoise was added to the various layers of shadows. For the highlights, I added increasing amounts of white to the mid-tone.

Back view of the Nocturna Models Enchantment, early work-in-progress
Light pastel turquoise sets the tone for how this Daenerys wannabe will be painted in the future
Darker hues of turquoise gave the folds of the sleeves their shadow

This light pastel turquoise sets the tone for how I want to go about painting this Daenerys wannabe. Going through my head right now is the many other light pastel colours that will soon follow to give her a soothing colour scheme that is light and airy. I hope to eventually convey what I always sensed from watching the character on TV which is an interplay between fragility and strength. To me, Emilia Clarke best portrayed the character when dressed in soft colours as it belied the harshness inherent in a daughter of House Targaryen. Only thing left to do is to try and translate it to paint.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Dammit Jim, I'm a Doctor, Not a Survivor

Captain's Log, Stardate 7201.3. This is Lieutenant Commander Leonard McCoy filling in for Captain Kirk and First Officer Spock. Both have gone missing together with 12 other crew members of the USS Enterprise during a seemingly harmless trip to a Minshara-class planet the locals call Dukkha. For now, all contact with the crew members on shore leave on the planet have been lost.

Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy, chief medical officer of the USS Enterprise

Surface scans of the planet came up with the images that show what the ship computer has identified as Commander Spock, Yeoman Tonia Barrows and Captain James T. Kirk although they bear no resemblance whatsoever to their original form. In fact, they look like monsters called zombies from an old earth movie from the ship's database. So until we know more, that's what I am calling them. 

Crew members of the Federation starship USS Enterprise have turned into zombies
Spock, Yeoman Tonia and Captain Kirk looking excited prior to the ill-fated shore leave
Back view of three crew members who have been plagued with an unknown vector

So far, I have not been able to find a cure for this mysterious plague affecting the three crew members away on shore leave. Although it has not been confirmed that the others on the planet have also turned into zombies, I wouldn't rule it out at this stage and am assuming the worse. Nonetheless, the ship's medical team is working around the clock to ascertain what's happening to Kirk and the others. 

Zombie Spock attempting unsuccessfully to make the Vulcan sign of greeting
Zombie Kirk may seem to have an effeminate demeanour but he is anything but
Zombie Tonia retains memories of her cheer-leading days hence this effort to spell out her name 

Zombification seems to have enhanced the green hues inherent within Spock's Vulcan physiology, more specifically in the skin. I haven't seen old pointy ears look so much like a hobgoblin since he tried drinking Nurse Christine Chapel's infamous chocolate marshmallow milk shake in the last Starfleet Officers New Year party. Also, further scans show that a fellow crew member may have tried using a Vulcan nerve pinch to bring zombie Spock down. However, by the look of the smudged hand print's position, I can safely surmise the attempt was incorrectly placed therefore unsuccessful.  

Spock deems his current state to be ... illogical
Pus in a wound to Spock's left arm suggests mode of infection could have been a bite
Hand print on Spock's back seem to indicate a failed attempt at applying a Vulcan nerve pinch

These changes in physiology apparently also affect humans as Yeoman Tonia's skin has darkened considerably as if due to accelerated onset of necrosis. In addition, her hair has gone from an original light brown to a brighter yellowish blonde, indicating a possibility that hair melanin is also affected. A bite mark in the region of her right knee provides a clue as to possible mode of infection. A similar bite mark is seen near the left elbow of Spock. Both wounds are filled with pus and blood.  

Yeoman Tonia Barrows has seen her hair take on a lighter hue while her skin got darker instead
A pus-filled bite mark on Tonia's right knee is another possible indication that bites are a mode of infection
Seeing that Tonia is a 'Red Shirt', it stands to reason she is most likely patient zero

Captain Kirk, his zombie version anyway, seems to have been shot at with phasers. Hopefully no serious irreversible injury has been inflicted on his internal organs that could prevent his healing if we manage to find a cure for this zombification disease. Interestingly enough, Kirk does not seem to sport any visible bite marks in the scans. Perhaps transmission was made via other bodily fluids.

Captain Kirk has retained his ab muscle tone despite zombification
A belt in the 23rd century? Kirk was always a rebel in fashion
Phasers set to kill seem to have little effect other than cause a small wound

Continuous efforts have been made to contact other crew members of the USS Enterprise on shore leave but to no avail. Meanwhile, something weird about the inhabitants of Dukkha has revealed itself to us. After a few days of shore leave, a majority of the inhabitants started wearing clothes that mimic fashion prevalent on Earth during the 20th century. It's as if they have scanned, downloaded and utilised information from the ship's records. It looks like we will have to sent in two groups of a four-member away team, similarly dressed, in order to investigate this whole puzzling mystery.

USS Enterprise lies in orbit around a planet called Dukkha

Updates will be made as soon as possible. Chief Medical Officer McCoy out, computer ... end log.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Zombie Girl in a new light, and Last Night on Earth

What with Halloween around the corner, the Walking Dead Season 5 in full swing and the presence of so many wonderfully painted undead on show in the blogosphere during Zombtober 2014, it was inevitable that I would be bitten by the zombie bug. So I decided to revisit the Knight Models Zombie Girl which I painted a year ago and retake her photos (I wasn't too pleased with the original ones) as well as bring out my Last Night on Earth board game pieces to work on in yet another project.

Knight Models Zombie Girl revisited at lower ISO settings

To properly capture the mood of a horror piece, I went for a darker look in my second photo session with Zombie Girl. As such, I used a much lower ISO setting to reduce the camera's sensitivity to light while repositioning the lamps closer to the miniature itself. Hopefully I have done it justice this time. 

Look closely at the ground to spot a Reese peanut butter bar or a Nestle crunch chocolate bar
A wonderfully sculpted piece that captures the true horror of a zombie
Zombie Girl's clothes sported a Halloween colour scheme

With the new lighting, the Zombie Girl now looks like she is shambling oust from the shadows along at dusk rather than the 'deer caught in the headlights' washed out look. Having the camera less sensitive to light also made the background a pure black which better suited the piece on display.

Before and after a change in ISO settings and positioning of lights

Meanwhile, I finally managed to put Zombie Girl in a video inclusive of the appropriate sad and spooky music. The video was intentionally shot at a low ISO setting for that dark look (see below).

360 view of the Knight Models Zombie Girl
To view Zombie Girl in 360 degrees, please check out the YouTube video below. For videos of other selected miniatures I have painted, please visit my YouTube channel FourEyedMonster Miniatures. Please remember to choose high definition (HD) for the best video viewing option.

Also in a breakthrough of sorts, my son seems to be finally over his fear of zombies. For the first time since the Walking Dead series started, he finally sat together with me to watch Season Five's Episode One: No Sanctuary. The abattoir scene alone is worth the price of admission and is a must watch. Now all I have to do is to convince him to have a game of Last Night on Earth with his mum and I.

Last Night on Earth ... the zombie board game

This zombie-themed board game comes with a set of eight survivours and 14 zombies. Details on the miniatures are pretty good considering they were only meant to be functional board game pieces.  

Any horror movie aficionado can tell you that there are way too many survivors ...
... but hopefully these zombies can restore the natural order of things

These plastic miniatures will definitely be the smallest board game pieces I have ever attempted to paint. So far, I have encountered some problems during prep work. For example, I found it extremely hard to remove the mould lines and I also noticed that details are rather blurred on some pieces.

Smallest board game pieces I have yet to try painting

Despite the issues encountered during prep work, I am still very excited with the theme I am planning for the survivors (maybe) and zombies (definitely). I have a specific theme in mind that incorporates my all-time favourite fictional universe/franchise together with the undead and perhaps the survivors too. Conceptualising this theme (more details will be revealed in a later blog post) has been the easy part but pulling it off, I feel, is a whole new ball game altogether. But if I do, it's going to be sweet.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Knight Models Spider-Man [Completed]

In the end, finishing the paint job on Spider-Man for my Marvel Universe project was easier than actually putting the Knight Models metal (Spidey) and resin (taxi) miniatures together. If you had been following my progress on Spider-Man, you would have known that I just had the blues on his costume to complete. While that in itself required a fair bit of patient blending and layering, it was nothing compared to the challenge I faced when gluing Spidey to the taxi in a manner that ensured the whole diorama/structure was strong and stable. More on that experience later in the blog.

Knight Models Spider-Man [Completed]
Highlights and shadows on Spidey were painted with an imaginary light source coming from the left (or his right)

Working on the Knight Models version of Spider-Man was essentially a back to basics in terms of the colour scheme I needed to work on. All three primary colours - blue, red and yellow - were accounted for and it gave me the chance to practice my blending and layering skills on all three hues. 

Knight Models Spider-Man miniature actually has a New York City taxi as its base
Vehicle was painted as a New York City taxi inclusive of freehand logo and checkers design
All the primary colours are accounted for in this miniature's colour scheme
Top view of the Knight Models Spider-Man miniature leapfrogging a taxi

Because of how I had positioned Spidey on top of the yellow cab, the miniature's centre of gravity was such that it would have easily toppled over. To overcome this problem, I glued a triangular piece of sprue onto the back of the taxi as a means of added support. To glue the sprue as well as Spidey on the cab, I used a super glue-pure baking soda combo to ensure sufficient bond strength.

Gluing a triangular sprue to the taxi helped stabilise the whole structure

Each time I look at the miniature, I appreciate more and more how dynamic the miniature looks. This Knight Models piece managed to capture the essence of Spidey's agile movement. It was also fitting Spidey should leapfrog over the iconic yellow cab as he is synonymous with New York City.

A straight on eye-level view of the Knight Models Spider-Man
Vehicle's windows were painted in a teal/turquoise colour scheme
Spidey's left side has darker reds and blues

360 view of the Knight Models Spider-Man
To view Spider-Man in 360 degrees, please check out the YouTube video below. For videos of other selected miniatures I have painted, please visit my YouTube channel FourEyedMonster Miniatures. Please remember to choose high definition (HD) for the best video viewing option.

Completing Spider-Man means I can now move on to the next member of The Avengers which will be The Hulk. He should be another fun piece to work on in my Marvel Universe project as I will get to do a lot of skin tone work albeit of a greener shade. Now if only my one pack ab would turn into an even six when I am angry. Wouldn't that be a sight for sore eyes. 

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