Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchanment [Completed]; a proxy for Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons

It has been an extremely long time, roughly more than a year since I started this Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen proxy project using the 70 mm Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment resin figurine. Although the miniature in no way resembled the popular character in George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy novel series, I had set out to at least capture the spirit of Daenerys in the Akelarre Enchantment figurine. This project is arguably a miniature conversion (I'm well aware most don't consider it a conversion unless parts of the miniature have been physically altered) in the sense that its original paint job has been modified to resemble the subject matter, a proxy if you will.  

Akelarre Enchantment, used here as a proxy for Daenerys Targaryen and her dragon Rhaegal
Scale of the 70 mm Nocturna Models resin miniature as compared with a paperclip and 5 Malaysian sen

Having a predominantly light pastel colour scheme is key to allowing a casual observer's focus to fall on both her face and the young dragon on her arm. This required very subtle blending of the shadows and highlights of her dress as is most noticeable on her light turquoise dress/head gear and light pink pants. When contrasted against her face/skin tone and the young dragon, the light pastel colour scheme actually made both look 'much more alive'. I'm not sure if I'm making much sense here but that is how I feel about the piece or at least wanted to convey through my painting.  

Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment [Completed]
Side view highlighting the main, non-neutral colours used - light turquoise, pink and green
Achieving smooth blends took many hours due to the pastel lightness of the overall colour scheme 
Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment [Completed], back view

One difficult part of this project was the ribbons on her head gear. Both ribbons were shaped in a straight line right out of the box and both needed a blast of hot air (using a hair dryer) to make them pliable enough to be reshaped or resculpted. In what was a perfect example of different art forms overlapping, I took what I had learned from my self-taught figure drawing lessons about "S-curves" to reshape the ribbons into a dynamic form. More on this little trick in a post on my other blog.

Two ribbon-like adornments attached to her head gear was the final pieces of the puzzle
A stance that befits a queen and the mother of dragons
Use of pink helped make the 'Princess Leia buns' more prominent
Focus of this piece centred around two conflicting elements i.e. her face and the dragon

In an interesting development, Daenerys Targaryen's overall colour scheme resulted in the miniature being well suited to having a video taken of it. For some reason - maybe I just got the lighting right this time - the 360 degree YouTube video I took of the Nocturna Models Akelarre Enchantment turned out really well. It was in fact the best video of a miniature I have taken so far. Do check it out below if you can and let me know what you think.  

360 view of Akelarre Enchantment
For a 360 degree view of the Nocturna Models Akelarre, please check out the YouTube video below. For videos of other select miniatures that I have painted, kindly visit my YouTube channel at FourEyedMonster Miniatures. Please choose high definition (HD) for the best video viewing option.

Nocturna Models resin model kits continue to play a huge part in my development as a miniature painter. This Spanish company's figurines always push me to a higher level artistically as is the case for any well sculpted miniature. But even as I feel genuinely pleased with what I have achieved with Akelarre Enchantment's paint job, I remain utterly convinced there were so many things I could have done better, and will try to do better in future projects. With this Daenerys proxy, a large chunk of my current project pipeline has now been completed. Another massive round of prep work, assembly and priming work lies ahead for a new set of miniatures for the pipeline. More on that in my next post but until then have a great week with your hobby or loved ones or even both. Cheers!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star [Nickelodeon Best Friends Diorama - COMPLETED]

What better way to celebrate the return of sunny blue skies after a haze-free week then to complete perhaps the most cheerful pair of figurines in my collection. And who else better exemplifies such a happy and optimistic outlook than both SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star. Back in the day, when my son was a preschooler and I had less whites in my hair, our first SpongeBob episode together was one that revolved around bad breath. It was disgusting enough to make me wonder what SpongeBob's appeal to kids was. But in the end I got it. Now I wish more people have SpongeBob's innocent goodness in his heart than the Squidward Tentacles we have all become.        

Patrick Star (left) and SpongeBob SquarePants (right)

Shading for this mini-diorama looks deceptively simple but it actually took a lot of layering as well as wet-on-wet blending to achieve the smooth transitions you see, especially on Patrick. Less shading work was done on SpongeBob, partly to balance out the fact that he had more details than Patrick. 

Nickelodeon Best Friends mini-diorama featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star
Having more details meant SpongeBob warranted less shadows/highlights transition work compared to Patrick
Side view (left) highlighting SpongeBob's nose
Olive green shadows on SpongeBob could easily have been shaded olive brown instead

One thing that could have been done differently was the olive green shadows on SpongeBob. An alternate choice would be to use olive brown instead. However, I chose the former to brighten up SpongeBob's colour scheme and hence the overall look of the piece. Meanwhile, my son cheekily suggested that Patrick's belly button should contain more shading (if memory serves me right, there was an episode showing Patrick's fascination with the contents of his belly button .... ewww ?) to reflect the contents of Patrick's innie. I passed on that! There is a case for too much realism.

Back view of the Nickelodeon Best Friends mini-diorama featuring SpongeBob and Patrick
Hands on back shoulders, the classic best friends pose
Side view (right) highlighting Patrick's tummy
Patrick had more shadows/highlights transition work done on him to compensate for lesser details

Living in a pineapple under the sea means the base has to be a sandy beach. It's a no-brainer. To accurately simulate such a texture, I used a combination of three old Citadel acrylic paints i.e. Bestial Brown, Bubonic Brown and Bleached Bone. Dry-brushing the latter two hues on top of the the initial basecoat colour created a sense of depth on the already nicely sculpted beach. But one challenge the base threw up was the difficulty in getting paints to penetrate the tiny ubiquitous pockmarks. To solve this problem, I mixed Citadel Lahmian Medium into the basecoat colour of Bestial Brown to reduce surface tension of the paints. This then allowed the basecoat paint to penetrate the pockmarks.

Base comprises three layers of dry-brushed paint to simulate depth in a sandy beach 

It has been a slow couple of weeks hobby-wise. I must be suffering some form of burnout as my productivity seems to have nosedived drastically. Even my plan to draw at least one portrait a month has been effectively curtailed. Try as I might, I can't quite put my finger on what's ailing me. If I don't get a handle on this soon, I might just find my painting or drawing activities come to a complete standstill. And that can't be a good thing if the law of inertia is anything to go by.

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